“Ethereum Killer” Raising Up to $450M; Solana Foundation Rolls Out A $20M Fund to Expand Ecosystem

“Ethereum Killer” Raising Up to $450M; Solana Foundation Rolls Out A $20M Fund to Expand Ecosystem

Ethereum competitor Solana, which is seen as a potential “Ethereum killer,” has raised a big amount, which is between the $300 million and $450 million range.

“Fast, cheap, and deterministic, I’m even more bullish on Solana now,” commented Joe McCann, a margin trader and founder of Nodesource on this development.

Back in 2019, Solana raised $21.8 million led by Multicoin Capital and included BlockTower Capital and others.

As for the latest funding, the network was planning to close a smaller round in March but expanded their fundraising scope in response to high demand, reported Decrypt, citing multiple unnamed sources.

“I’m excited and impressed to see the recent growth of Solana’s business. They’ve had industry leading tech for a while, and it’s gratifying to see reality catching up,” Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of crypto exchange FTX, which launched a decentralized exchange on Solana last year, told the publication.

Founded in 2017, the blockchain boasts 50,000 transactions per second compared to Ethereum’s 10 to 15 transactions per second throughput.

Solana’s native token SOL, which is known for showing strength in the bear market with fast recoveries, is currently trading at $41.50, only down 29.4% from its all-time high of $58 in mid-May, despite the latest deep correction the crypto market experienced.

SOL is one of the best performing tokens in the past 24 hours, 7-days, and with 2,045% gains year-to-date as well.

Elsewhere, Solana Foundation launched a $20 million fund to further expand its ecosystem in South Korea, just weeks after raising $60 million in funding from Hacken, Gate.io, and others to support projects in Brazil, Russia, India, and Ukraine.

Switzerland-based Solana Foundation is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to build, support, and grow the Solana network and its community.

The Fund launched is in partnership with blockchain fund ROK Capital, which hopes to bolster Solana-based infrastructure projects including Web3, Defi, and NFTs. ROK Capital General Partner Brian Kang said,

“Solana is one of the fastest-growing networks in the industry, and in addition to injecting capital, this new fund will provide tailored services for projects to successfully accelerate in Korea.”

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Author: AnTy

Gitcoin Spins Out of ConsenSys After Raising Over $11M in a ‘Strategic’ Capital Move

Gitcoin Spins Out of ConsenSys After Raising Over $11M in a ‘Strategic’ Capital Move

Gitcoin, a decentralized funding program supporting open-sourced blockchain projects, has grown its Treasuries by $11.3 million, a blog post confirmed on Wednesday. The funding was led by Paradigm, with top crypto firms such as IDEO, 1kx, Electric Capital, The LAO, and MetaCartel Ventures also joining the round. Other individual investors included Andreessen Horowitz’s board partner, Balaji Srinivasan, and Naval Ravikant, co-founder of AngelList.

The additional funding aims to increase the firm’s capital during tougher crypto market times and assist the company spin-out from its parent company, ConsenSys.

“It was time for us to go and see if this bird can fly and if we can do this on our own and manage our own balance sheet accordingly,” Gitcoin COO Kyle Weiss said.

Launched in 2017, the firm has helped several companies get off the ground, including Uniswap (UNI), Defiant (a crypto-focused publication), and the Ethereum 2.0 testnet, Prysm. The program has released nearly $20 million in grants to connect crypto and Web3 startups with open-source developers.

Weiss said the extra funding would enhance the “general development of the space” to decentralize the internet while helping open source developers in funding, especially in times of crisis.

“We want Gitcoin and Gitcoin Grants to have staying power, so now is the time to make sure there’s enough money in the treasury to last the next four to 10 years, potentially through at least another bear market” Weiss said.

Gitcoin rolled out four grant programs in 2020 to over 20 projects after $975,000 in grants across 2019.

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Author: Lujan Odera

American Cancer Society Debuts a Crypto-Only Fund; Sets A Goal of Raising $1 Million

American Cancer Society Debuts a Crypto-Only Fund; Sets A Goal of Raising $1 Million

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has launched a crypto-only fund in collaboration with The Giving Block, a crypto-focused firm that facilitates donations to non-profit organizations. According to the website announcement, ACS intends to raise as much as $1 million within the first quarter of 2021. All the funds will be allocated to funding critical cancer research.

ACS stated that its funding ability has significantly dropped owing to the Covid-19 pandemic; in fact, 2020 was the lowest funded this century. The figure went down by 50%, a statistic that ACS hopes to reverse by adding alternative funding methods such as crypto.

In its appeal, ACS recognized the underlying potential in crypto-assets and how cancer affects cut across this burgeoning industry as well. The society’s Interim Chief Digital Officer Jeff Klaas said that the move to invite crypto donations is an effort to increase participation in the ACS mission. He added that,

“To do that, we need to ensure people can give to the fight against cancer when, where, and how they choose. We appreciate The Giving Block’s work to help make this possible.”

As for the crypto donations, the ACS crypto fund will be accepting the following cryptocurrencies; Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, Litecoin, Zcash, Gemini Dollar, Basic Attention Token, and Chainlink. This initiative has also come up with an incentive that will allow the first over $250,000 donor to name the fund while those who donate $10,000 or more will be featured on the Cancer Crypto Fund wall of honor.

Meanwhile, The Giving Block plays an important role in crypto donations since it was founded in 2018. They have worked with over 120 organizations, including popular names like United Way Worldwide and the National Society of Black Engineers. Within that period, the firm has enabled millions of crypto donations.

Pat Duffy, a co-founder of The Giving Block, said that crypto would play a pivotal role in curing cancer. He went on to note that a bullish market is perfect for the ACS crypto fund,

“With Bitcoin hitting a new all-time high, the creation of this new fund opens the door for the booming crypto market to save lives.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

SEC Files Lawsuit Against Crypto MLM Scheme, MMT, for Defrauding $12M From Investors

  • The U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) is raising charges to freeze the assets of a cryptocurrency Ponzi-like scheme.
  • Modern Money Team (MMT), ran two crypto MLM schemes collecting over $12 million in the process.

In a court filing submitted to the U.S District Court of Utah, the SEC is moving to freeze the assets of three participants in a cryptocurrency scam (Daniel F. Putnam, Jean Paul Ramirez Rico, Angel A. Rodriguez of MMT Distribution, LLC, and R & D Global, LLC), who raised $12 million in running a multi-level marketing scheme. The Ponzi-like scheme run from July 2017 through November last year even if investors continued paying to the scheme till March 2020.

Putnam’s and Rodriguez: Crypto mining scam

Modern Money Team (MMT), the Ponzi scheme, promised investors huge gains on their investments through the mining of cryptocurrencies on MMT managed mining hardware. The profits were then to be split to the investors each month. Investors from the U.S and all across the globe paid as little as $50 for a “two-year mining contract” or $2000 for a “lifetime mining contract”.

After raising $3.5 million from the “mining operations” from about 200 investors across the world, the defendants were unable to fulfill their weekly and monthly payouts at the end of November 2018 as the value of cryptocurrencies dropped sharply.

However, the top management of MMT used up a huge chunk of the users funds for personal gain. Putnam spent close to $150,000 on a condominium and spa the filing states.

Ramirez connection: MLM scam

In a fight to keep the scheme going on, MMT released a statement on pivoting their business to offer “cryptocurrency trading packages.” The filing reads,

“Investors could purchase packages ranging in price from $20 to $500 per package and in duration from one to two years. Half of the invested funds would be used to engage in trading activities, and the other half would be paid out as commissions to the MLM structure.”

Ramirez was in charge of the funds collected in the MLM claiming he invests the funds in a BitFinex account. In Nov 2019, the payments to investors stopped abruptly. MMT told investors BitFinex froze Ramirez’s account and stopped any trading on the account. Investors have not received any payments since. As a word of caution, be mindful of new emerging companies like Forsage as well.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Revolut Crypto Investing App Valuated at $5.5 Billion After New $500M Funding Round

The UK-based digital bank Revolut is now valued at $5.5 billion, after raising $500 million in its latest series D funding round. Raising a total of $836 million across the 4 funding rounds. This makes it one of the EU’s most valuable fintech apps that is crypto-friendly.

The Revolut app has been used to buy, sell, and hold Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC) since 2017 while adding Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and XRP in 2018. In December last year, it received in Lithuania a banking license and started offering its customers prepaid cards together with banking services.

Funding Round Led by TCV

Revolut’s new funding round was led by TCV, the Silicon Valley-based venture capital group that invests in the top tech players on the market, like Spotify, LinkedIn, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and Airbnb.

The digital bank’s new $5.5 billion evaluation ties to the record set by a private Swedish fintech firm Klarna, back in 2019. Revolut has more than 10 million users. Aside from offering stock trading and cryptocurrency features, it’s now looking to obtain a UK banking license and to provide lending services.

The UK Offers the Most Lucrative Market for Neobanks

The market in the UK has proven to be very lucrative for disrupter banks, also known as “neobanks“. Customers of neobanks have increased in numbers from 7.7 million to 19.6 million in 2019, says an Accenture report from Monday.

If Revolut manages to clear its path with regulators, it will also launch in the US during the first half of this year, while also trying to expand into the Asian and Latin markets.

More Traction for Crypto and Neobanks

The co-founder of another UK-based neobank, Sterling’s Mark Hipperson, has plans to launch another banking venture called Ziglu, in 2020’s Q1. Ziglu will offer multiple fiat and cryptocurrencies balances under one account and will have a Mastercard debit card linked to it. Hybrid banks that combine banking with cryptocurrency transactions are becoming more popular with the latest developments in fintech.

For example, Coinbase announced just last week that it have become an official Visa Principal Member and collaborations with crypto-based banks such as Syngum and Switzerland’s SEBA.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Max Keiser Sets New BTC Price Prediction Target, Suggesting Bitcoin Will Hit $400,000

Highly acclaimed TV host Max Keiser said he’s raising his Bitcoin (BTC) price target again after he last did it in 2012, so he expects the price to hit the $400,000 record. As he spoke on February 17 for the news show Infowars, he told host Alex Jones that his previous $100,000 prediction was too conservative. These are his exact words on this:

“I am officially raising my target for Bitcoin — and I first made this prediction when it was $1, I said this could go to $100,000 — I’m raising my official target for the first time in eight years, I’m raising it to $400,000.”

BTC Still “Attractive”

Keiser spoke whole the coronavirus is continuing to overshadow the global markets and while BTC is trading daily at under $10,000. He mentioned that short-term volatility shouldn’t be taken into consideration and that BTC is as “attractive” at its current levels as it used to be when originally forecasted.

Keiser More Bullish Than Most BTC Supporters

Not mentioning a timeframe for its 40x returns prediction, Keiser is more bullish than many well-known BTC supporters out there. Even Tim Draper, who’s known for his good predictions, thinks that at least until 2014, the BTC/USD will be at $250,000, which is more modest than what Keiser believes. John McAfee said he will eat his own penis in case by 2021, BTC doesn’t crack $1 million. However, he withdrew from this bet a while back.

At the same time, the Bitcoin wallet Ballet’s CEO Bobby Lee thinks BTC will have the $500,000 price in 2028. A historically technical indicator that’s more accurate has made some calculations and averaged BTC at $100,000 in the time period between 2021 and 2023. During the show that had Keiser as a guest, Jones said he can’t promote BTC because he doesn’t understand it, so Keiser explained him how stats are stacked.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Ethereum-Based Private Jet Leasing Marketplace Jet Token is Raising $10 Million

Us based start-up, Jet token is currently raising $10 million for its Ethereum based private jets marketplace for hire. Anyone is free to hire the jets using ERC20 tokens. Jet token says this method of payment is very convenient and fast. A single flight from NYC (New York City) to Miami can cost $15,000.

The general aviation manufacturers association has said that currently, there are 14,217 private business jets in the US, leading in the private charter flights industry. However, currently, only 2,876 charter flights are remaining.

Focusing on the SEC

This company was founded in July 2018, and it was to compete with the TurnKey jet Inc. Turnkey Jet was the first crypto company to have a no-action letter from the SEC. Jet token, too, has decided to ride along with SEC decision on TurnKey. This decision was done to avoid their future tokens to be deemed securities.

This is what the jet token filling with the SEC read,

“We intend to operate in full compliance with the SEC’s guidance in the TurnKey Jet, Inc. No Action Letter dated April 3, 2019, and any future refinements to that guidance in the future, so that U.S. federal securities laws will not apply to the offer, sale and any resale of Jet Tokens,”.

The jets and the App

The jet Token company has outlined that it has already launched the IOS app and is planning to ship in this initial version of the app with built-in crypto payments by the end of this year.

The jet Token company will just serve as a broker for booking flights. However, they will also reserve their fleet of jets to compensate for a late or a canceled flight.

Also, the company filing reads,

“negotiated terms with Honda Aircraft Company for 4 Honda Jets and with Gama Aviation for the maintenance, management, and operation of our leased aircraft.”.

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Author: Matthew North

Bitbond Small Business Loan Company Gets Legal Approval to Launch Security Token Offering (STO)

Bitbond Small Business Loan Company Gets Legal Approval to Launch Security Token Offering (STO)

Small Scale Loan provider Bitbond is raising €3.5 million up in a Security Token Offering (STO) to help SMEs in Asia. This denotes the first STO to be endorsed by German administrative body BaFin.

As a private venture involved in loan provision, Bitbond boasts of facilitating business loans worth over €13 million to support SMEs with the use of eCommerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.

The funds generated from the potential Security Token Offering will be invested in loans to aid the growth and expansion of SMEs and online retailers across Asia.

First Of It’s Kind

Notably, the Bitbond STO happens to be the first STO in Germany to have its outline endorsed by BaFin- the country’s top financial regulatory body- as it looks to encourage crypto adoption.

The platform already bolsters more than 150,000 clients in 80 nations utilizing blockchain innovation to encourage suitable cross-border settlements as well as machine-based learning for effective credit-scoring.

According to CEO and founder of Bitbond Radoslav Albrecht;

“We are still in the process of uncovering the potential of emerging technologies like blockchain and machine learning, so it’s exciting to be at the forefront of this developing space.”

What The First Regulated STO In Germany Could Mean

It is impressive and applaudable that the German supervisory body is ready for advanced securities contributions. Undoubtedly, blockchain innovation could serve as a credible source of capital for independent businesses and small ventures across the globe. Albrecht also clarified on the conventional monetary framework as he was quoted saying:

“The traditional financial system is acting as an obstacle for countless entrepreneurs across the world. With this STO, we will continue to offer accessible loans to the small business that need them, so that they can grow and invest in their own communities in turn.”

Numerous organizations are already profiting the Bitbond platform. One of such is the case of Dr. Joemar Taganna, a bioengineer, who got a business loan from Bitbond to aid the launch of his software product development business; SciBiz. He enthused:

“It’s much easier to secure a Bitbond loan than more traditional routes to seed finance. There’s a lot less hassle, which makes it quicker to launch a business and achieve sustainable growth.”

This STO will keep running until the 8th of July and is available to financial specialists around the globe with the exception of the United States.

Could This Be A False Start?

Although many industry specialists already predicted the approval and endorsement of a Regulation A+ STO, the Bitbond STO– being the first government-authorized STO in Germany- just about shows the level of advancement being made in the country and Europe at large, although the U.S. appears to keep hauling its heels.

A Regulation A+ will be an extraordinary achievement for the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, however, the need for an ‘Exchange Agent’ seems to be a noteworthy hindrance that restricts crypto firms in the U.S making such significant moves.

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Author: Damola