Decentralized Exchange (DEX), dYdX, Raises $10 Million Following A Record 2020

Decentralized exchange dYdX has raised $10 million in Series B round led by Three Arrows Capital and DeFiance Capital, which the team calls “an important milestone.”

While a16z, Polychain Capital, Kindred Ventures, 1confirmation, Elad Gil, Fred Ehrsam continued their support, Wintermute, Hashed, GSR, SCP, Scalar Capital, Spartan Group, and RockTree Capital are the new investors in the DEX platform. Arthur Cheong, founder of DeFiance Capital said,

“We have been users since the early days and are excited to back dYdX in the current round to accelerate its mission to build the most powerful decentralized trading platform for cryptoassets.”

The funds raised will be used to add new assets and features, partnerships, strategically invest in international growth markets such as Asia, and further expand the team, which recently added six new members across engineering, design, & growth.

The DEX runs on smart contracts on the second-largest network, Ethereum, eliminating the need for a central exchange. The infrastructure of the decentralized exchange combines non-custodial, the on-chain settlement with an off-chain low-latency matching engine to deliver an institutional-grade, liquid, and low slippage trading experience.

The investment came after a “record” 2020 that saw the total cumulative trade volume across the perpetual, margin, and spot trading increasing 40x, reaching $2.5 billion in 2020, up from $63 million in 2019. Also, loan originations registered $17.4+ billion from dYdX lending pools.

In 2021, total cumulative trade volume has surpassed $3.5 billion, with the team preparing to launch Layer 2 solution with StarkWare for cross-margined perpetuals to scale lower cost in February.

Besides these metrics, dYdX users also jumped 4.8x with 38,588 unique wallets depositing funds into the exchange’s smart contracts.

dYdX, however, accounts for only 2.37% of total DEX volume, recording just over $5 million in volume in the last 24 hours. The majority of the DEX volume share is captured by Uniswap at 47.7%, followed by SushiSwap at 21.3%, and Curve and 0x at 11..21% and 9.69%, respectively, as per Dune Analytics.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum Based NFT Game, Axie Infinity, Raises $860,000 in Governance Token Sale

Top Ethereum-based crypto game Axie Infinity has raised $860,000 in its sale of AXS governance token.

The firm launched the AXS token officially this month on Uniswap and Binance. It was valued at $0.12 when it was first launched. But its current market price stands at $0.47, according to CoinGecko.

The fundraising was led by Delphi Digital and was necessary to make yield farming more simplistic. Other contributors to the funding include Sparg and Arca.

Axies’ are used like CryptoKitties, which are non-refundable tokens, symbolized by cryptographically distinguished cartoon characters that are almost difficult to find elsewhere. The NFT collectible creatures are rare, especially the Axie NFT, which was sold for 300 ETH ($1,300) this month.

Axie Infinity the only NFT project with over 10,000 users

Jeffrey Zirlin, the co-founder of Axie Infinity, commented on the achievement in an interview.

“We’ve overtaken CryptoKitties by quite a lot,” he said, adding that the company is the first Ethereum-based NFT project to cross the 10,000 level for monthly active users.

Based on information available on data site DappRader, Axie Infinity game currently maintains over 2,500 users per day, which makes it the most popular game on the Ethereum blockchain.

AXS token has been in development for two years

The AXS project may be coming when blockchain is taking center stage for the latest technology. But the Vietnam-based start, who also developed the Sky Mavis game, said the AXS token project began two years ago. According to Zirlin, the launch would have happened earlier, but the pandemic put a little hold on its development.

The scale of today’s governance token is coming amidst collaboration with Chainlink, announced a few days ago.

The announcement stated that Chainlink’s decentralized ETH/USD had been integrated into the game to make sure players always see the current price. The game also added Chainlink’s Verifiable Randomness Function (VRF) for more efficient in-game play involving breeding Axis.

Zirlin also said that the governance token’s primary goal is to bring everyone onboard by aligning their incentives. Core developers, content creators, and players can all have their aligned incentives, which the token will provide.

He also revealed that the tokens would have both fee-sharing features and governance functions, and the proceeds from such features will be sent to the Community Treasury.

Zirlin also confirmed the crypto gaming firm is about launching a new game mode, which will be available on the platform early next year. The game will feature an animal crossing-like setting, where the players can farm on virtual pieces of land to earn in-game tokens.

The play-to-earn approach is part of the game’s success.

Zirlin responded to questions about the game’s play-to-earn approach and said the process is one reason for its success.

According to him, players can spend time playing the Axie Infinity game to earn ERC-20 tokens, which is approximately $5 per hour.

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Author: Ali Raza

Decentralized Finance Firm, UNION, Raises $3.9M to Expand Risk Management Protection

UNION, a defi risk management firm, raised $3.9 million in a funding round, which drew participation from several crypto trading companies and venture capital firms. Some of the key firms that led the funding round include 3 Commas, Solidity Ventures, AAM, Spark Digital Capital, Alameda Research, Black Edge Capital, and Alpha Chain.

Decentralized finance was slated to become the success story of 2020 for the crypto world; however, the defi ecosystem has started to show the vulnerabilities which many analysts predicted earlier. In recent times, there have been reports of several defi projects cropping up within weeks and managed to create a market cap of tens of millions of dollars just because of the hype surrounding defi.

The popularity also led to several scam tokens and platforms. With the rising vulnerabilities and risks in the defi market, Union comes in as a safeguard against some of the most common risks associated with defi these days. Those risks include glitchy smart contracts, overexposure to an asset, layer 1 risk (entire protocol fails), impermanent loss (specific to liquidity providers), and collateralization risk.

UNION Promises Complete Risk Management

UNION is looking to cover all the risks associated with the defi space and believe a complete package like theirs is more economical and secure than insurance against individual risks. Union co-founder Michael Beck believes that security and protection for customers are necessary to scale the ecosystem further. He said,

“As DeFi is still growing, it would be disingenuous of anyone to state that they ‘know all the risks’ of Defi.”

Beck noted that such a mechanism “is necessary for DeFi protection to scale with DeFi itself.” He added,

“No one can guarantee what regulators will do, but as of right now, where people can use DeFI, they can use our protection tools.”

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Author: James W

SEC Raises the Crowdfunding Limit; A Better Alternative to ICO, IEO, & Venture Capital

The US Securities and Exchange Commission raised the limit on crowdfunding from $1.07 million to $5 million, making it easier for startups to raise money from non-accredited investors.

With a 3-2 vote on Monday, several exemptions were made to federal securities legal guidelines that require issuers to register with the SEC and publish monetary statements.

Many financial instruments are categorized as securities, and to offer security, one is either required to register, which is a time-consuming and expensive process, or fall under the exemption such as Reg A, Reg D, which now also involves Reg CF or Reg Crowdfunding.

With this rule change, companies are now provided with more flexibility.

“This means entrepreneurs can raise more money and do so more easily,” said Bruce Fenton, CEO of CEO Chainstone Labs. Adding,

“This is huge – $5 million is significant enough to attract much larger and more high quality issuers. The small business sector will be rebuilt — this is a step to accelerate that. Reg CF also sidesteps the accredited requirement- an antiquated thorn in the side of innovation.”

The change in the rules is the newest assistance to small and medium-size corporations following the expansion of accredited investors’ definition in August.

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said the rule would “improve effectivity and facilitate capital formation,” and that it might cut back regulatory prices and burdens for corporations.

“Huge for companies from non-tech hub cities, underrepresented founders, and less sexy industries,” said Ryan Selkis of Messari.

Meanwhile, Shehan Chandrasekera, Head of Tax Strategy CoinTracker, says this brings a better alternative for crypto companies that usually goes the route of Initial Coin Offering (ICI), Initial Exchange Offering (IEO), and venture capital.

“REG Crowdfunding limit went up to 5M from 1M per SEC. A better alternative to an ICO or IEO,” he said.

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Author: AnTy

BTC Direct Raises $13 Million in Series A Funding; Bringing New Life to the Crypto Broker

BTC Direct, a Netherland-based fiat-to-crypto gateway platform, has raised around $13 Million in a Series A funding round. The funding round has brought in a new lease of life for the startup, which has been funded and run by its founders. The lead investors of the Series A remain undisclosed.

Toon Schraven, head of marketing and communications at BTC Direct, revealed that the Series A funding round was backed by a European investment group and several other private investors. The platform revealed that it would utilize the new funds to expand its workforce and expand its services and develop new products. The firm would also utilize a portion of the fund for broadening its marketing efforts.

The fiat-to-crypto gateway was launched in 2013 as a crypto brokerage service, which later started to offer fiat-to-crypto on-ramp to crypto exchange wallets service providers. Apart from the brokerage and gateway services, BTC Direct also runs a crypto trading app known as BLOX and a private trading desk and hardware wallet service.

Mike Hutting, the CEO of BTC Direct, commented on Series A to find raise and said that the funding round would surely boost their morals and services. They are planning to utilize these funds to make their platform more user-friendly and develop new products. He said,

“Continuous focus is being spent on product development and broadening our marketing efforts.”

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Crypto Business Banking Startup, Multis, Raises $2.2M Backed by Coinbase & Y Combinator

Multis, a French-based business banking startup, has raised $2.2 million in its seed fund round that attracted industry giants, including Coinbase Ventures, Digital Currency Group, Y Combinator, and White Star Capital. The firm’s operational niche is building business bank accounts that allow clients to send, receive, and manage cryptocurrencies.

According to Multis Co-founder and CEO, Thibaut Sahaghian, crypto management is pretty complicated for prospectus companies that may wish to leverage digital payments,

“It’s very complicated to manage crypto as a company. As soon as you want to hold crypto or start paying employees and contractors, it’s a giant mess.”

However, Multis, which runs software as a service (SaaS) product suited for corporate teams, solves this challenge through its crypto-oriented business bank account. The Multis bank accounts leverage a multi-sig wallet based on Ethereum blockchain; this design allows the addition of other team members and the setting of fundamental guidelines.

Notably, Multis does not control clients’ keys, which means that the firm has no authority to block transactions or review the same. Sahaghian noted that their approach as a non-custodial crypto service provider eliminates a considerable amount of regulatory risk,

“From a regulatory point of view, it’s been very useful because we don’t hold assets and we can’t review and block transactions.”

The Multis business bank accounts also support stablecoins such as DAI and USDC; this means that clients can eliminate crypto volatility by holding their assets in the form of ERC-20 stablecoins. In addition to this, Multis provides an avenue to yield DeFi returns through Compound protocol.

Currently, a good part of Multis clients fall in the blockchain and crypto space, but the firm is looking to expand this market share with the integration of EUR and USD accounts via IBANs and cards. The firm has since expressed optimism in providing centralized management for crypto transactions; TechCrunch highlighted,

“Multis could act as a bridge between fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies. Companies with offices in multiple countries could use it to save money on intercompany fees.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Crypto Exchange Raises $52 Million in Series A Round to Offer Access to Stock Markets

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitpanda has raised $52 million in its first major funding round, Series A led by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures. Other backers included Austrian Speedinvest and other unmanned investors.

As part of the investment, Valar Ventures’ founding partner Andrew McCormack will also join the board of the centralized exchange.

Founded in 2014, the Vienna-based company boasts of 1.3 million users and 300 employees. It is focused on trading digital assets along with tokenizing precious metals. This year, the exchange expanded to France, Spain, and Turkey and further plans to enter other European markets as well.

The new funding round will be used for this expansion to offer users access to stock markets next year and recruit 70 new employees.

With this move, the digital investment platform is expanding into real-world assets joining the likes of eToro, Robinhood, and Revolut, which came from the traditional assets’ world and now entering the world of crypto assets.

Interestingly, 2020 has been a good year for trading assets, with retail investors pouring money into apps like Robinhood thanks to the government stimulus program to counter pandemic.

“The Robinhood movement in the U.S. helps a lot, but we want to be more customer-friendly,” said Eric Demuth, co-founder, and co-chief executive officer of Bitpanda.

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Author: AnTy

Equos Parent Company, Diginex, Raises $20M Ahead of Planned Nasdaq Listing Later This Month

Diginex, the Hong Kong-based parent company of the cryptocurrency exchange Equos has raised $20 million ahead of its panning listing on the Nasdaq stock market later this month.

The funding was raised from a group of private investors through the placement of convertible notes, including family offices in Hong Kong and London, and a hedge fund reported Bloomberg.

Diginex chief executive officer, Richard Byworth said the private placement was necessary from the standpoint of investors assessing the company’s upcoming takeover by 8i Enterprises Acquisition Corp. He said,

“This fundraise was an important initiative to ensure we are well capitalized to invest in our core businesses as we embark on our journey to become one of the world’s leading digital asset firms.”

The private fundraising announcement came before its shareholder vote on Sept. 15 on its takeover by 8i Enterprises.

The funds raised meanwhile will be used for capital expenditures. Diginex is also planning to shrink its Hong Kong office of 80 people, which is two-thirds of its global staff, and relocate them to Singapore along with its exchange business.

As for the exchange’s listing on Nasdaq, the company is seeking to get listed on Sept. 23rd if it gains approval from the Nasdaq and 8i shareholders. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has already approved the listing.

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Author: AnTy

DeFi-Focused Protocol, Chia Network, Raises Another $5M in Funding Round

  • Chia Network, a Layer 1 focused blockchain project, has raised another $5 million in a funding round led by Slow Ventures.
  • This latest equity addition brings the total amount of funds gathered from VC’s since its launch in 2017 to $16 million.

Bram Cohen, the creator of BitTorrent, is also the top dog at Chia Network and had earlier said that the idea is to go the IPO route and rely on VC funding before launching their token.

This recent funding round has attracted other prominent stakeholders in the crypto sector. These include IDEO, Collab Crypto, and Naval Ravikant, the latter being a returning investor to the Chia Network initiative. Following the progress made, investors expressed confidence that the project will now move to advance its course of disrupting the Ethereum DeFi market despite the odds being against them at the moment.

Slow Ventures’ Jill Carlson particularly highlighted that she is eager for Chia Network Mainnet launch, which might take place later in the year. She, however, noted a shift in interest by VC’s to DeFi but echoed that base protocols still have a long term value proposition:

“But we believe that much of the most exciting innovation is still occurring in new and soon-to-launch based protocols.”

Chia Network’s Cutting Edge in DeFi

With Ethereum’s scalability issues, base protocols looking to disrupt its market dominance cannot be ignored. Cohen noted that Chia’s protocol would offer a comparable DeFi functionality by next year.

The Chia protocol uses empty computer space slots, as opposed to a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus, which has proven to quite resource-intensive. In line with this, Cohen further said that interested chia community contributors could start building as they await the Mainnet release:

“We’ve now finished that format so if you generate plots today and put the resources into building those they will still work the day mainnet goes live.”

The Chia ecosystem will mainly focus on institutional clients, especially vertical vendors, in the financial services sector. Gene Hoffman, Chia’s Chairman, highlighted that they are already pursuing prospects not limited to government agencies and banks which might find value in their hybrid open-source model:

“[Banks] are concerned about having to route all their transactions through Manhattan. … They, too, understand they want the positives of an open network that can still use types of decentralized identity.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

DEX Leader Raises $11 Million in Series A Funding for Uniswap V3 Following an Explosive Month

A popular and widely used decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap has raised $11 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz with additional investment from Paradigm, Parafi Capital, USV, Version One, Variant, A.Capital, and SV Angel.

This latest investment round came just over a year after Uniswap raised a seed round from Paradigm to advance its research and development.

The company is “thrilled” with this move. It will be using these funds to grow its team to build Uniswap V3, which will “dramatically increase the flexibility and capital efficiency of the protocol,” as per the official announcement.

Just two months back in May, a new version Uniswap V2 was released that allows for cheaper transactions, pricing oracles, increased resistance to attacks like “flash loans,” and more diversification by liquidity providers.

Uniswap protocol has already started hiring and is eager to showcase its design to the Ethereum community in the coming months.

“The Uniswap protocol is now one of the most widely-used platforms on Ethereum, with approximately $1.5B in volume in July 2020 alone. While this indicates initial protocol-market fit, we are even more excited for what comes next,” it said.

The volume has exploded in the past few months, from $6.2 million on June 20 to $120 million on July 27. On several days, this DEX exchange even beat up the popular centralized exchanges such as Gemini, Binance US, and Poloniex and is slowly moving closer to Coinbase and Kraken’s trading volume.

Last month, Uniswap also recorded 1.42 million web traffic, an increase of more than 57% from June’s 90,000. Even its users are growing rapidly, reaching 146.5k up from 24k at the beginning of January.

Total Uniswap Users Over Time
Source: Dune Analytics

Unlike a traditional exchange, on Uniswap protocol, trading prices are determined by a deterministic algorithm, an automated market maker, based on demand.

On Uniswap, which doesn’t list any tokens but virtually any ERC20 token can be traded; instead of setting the price, one wants to buy or sell, one “pools” an amount of ETH and the token to buy or sell. Pools contributors are rewards with fees for every swap, helping the market stay liquid.

Interestingly, it is one of the few protocols with no native governance token, which like many other DeFi platforms, might soon become a reality, given its growth and the explosion of interest in the protocol.

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Author: AnTy