Decentralized Indexing Protocol, The Graph, Raises $5M In A SAFT From Coinbase and DCG

Ethereum-based data startup, The Graph, has revealed that it has raised $5 million after its token sale.

The San Francisco firm announced on Tuesday that the new token sale, utilizing the Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) model, for various accredited investors.

Among the participants were highly reputable firms such as Coinbase Ventures, ParaFi Capital, Framework Venture, as well as Digital Currency Group. Previously, the company had acquired $2.5 million during the seed round, which was led by Multicoin Capital.

The Graph has developed an indexing platform that will help organize blockchain data for easy accessibility. Individuals can utilize The Graph’s open-source platform for searching specific Ethereum data just as is the case with Google search.

According to Yaniv Tal, The Graph CEO, there are thousands of developers who are already using the firm’s tools, which includes the team that came up with decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap as well as token-fueled Aragon project.

Hayden Adams, Uniswap’s co-founder, confirmed that they use The Graph’s tools for – the company’s analytics site.

Speaking to the press, Framework Ventures’ Michael Anderson, one of the lead investors, stated that his firm was pleased to support Yaniv and his team. According to Anderson, his firm would help The Graph to grow further once it launches. Anderson also stated that The Graph’s reputation was at par with that of Chainlink as well as Ethereum.

At the moment, The Graph is a hosted service but, plans are underway to ensure it moves to a decentralized network before the end of the year.

The Graph was founded in 2018 and currently services thousands of applications. The firm claims that it processed approximately 50 million queries every day, and in May, it processed 750 million queries, which represented an increase of 45% compared with April.

SAFTs are designed to allow firms to sell the rights to future tokens that are only available once the network is launched. The format was developed to ensure that a startup isn’t operating an unregistered securities sale.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Israel Govt backed Crypto Startup, Kirobo, Develops Reversible Blockchain Transactions

  • Israeli based blockchain startup, Kirobo, aims at reversing wrong address transactions to eliminate loss of funds through human error.
  • The “Retrievable Transfer” feature is currently in use on Ledger hardware wallets for Bitcoin transactions.

The Israeli startup, launched in 2018, has launched its mainnet version of its Retrievable Transfer feature protecting users from sending their digital assets to wrong addresses. The platform employs a layer two security solution (logic layer) on a blockchain that works in two levels.

First, the recipient of the funds must enter a transaction code to receive the funds. This ensures the open channel between the sender’s and recipient’s address is trusted hence directing the transaction only to the wallet selected. Next, the sender keys in the address as many times until the correct address is provided.

One of the most significant issues affecting crypto adoption is the fear of losing funds over a small error when inputting the long alphanumeric wallet codes. The volume of BTC lost differs from report to report. Several investors have lost funds through malicious attempts or human error when sending digital assets.

Addition to Ledger Hardware Wallet

Kirobo’s security layer will provide privacy enabled, retrievable transactions starting with Bitcoin users on Ledger’s hardware wallet. The platform is secured against a brute force attack and is also non-custodial, meaning users control their funds every step of the way.

Kirobo, supported by the Israeli Innovation Authority, has been testing its reverse transfer feature on the Bitcoin testnet since January. The mainnet feature will be free for any Bitcoin transactions up to $1000 on Ledger. More platforms will be added in the future, said Kirobo CEO, Asaf Naim.

On the firm’s mission, he said:

“Our aim is to make blockchain transactions as simple and as secure as online banking.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Power Ledger Report Suggest Its P2P Energy Trial is Ready for a Real-World Use

Power Ledger, a blockchain startup focusing on energy conservation through blockchain and based out of Australia, recently concluded its trial run for a blockchain P2P project for solar energy trading and released a report for the same suggesting the trail was a success.

The study also revealed that the trial run has the technical feasibility to launch on a large scale for real-world use.

The trial run was initiated in December 2018 and was concluded in January this year under the RENeW Nexus Project (An Australian not-for-profit organization). The trial made use of Power Ledger’s blockchain technology to trace the transaction for rooftop solar energy traded among households.

The peer-to-peer solar energy trading was partly funded by the Government of Australia, which surveyed 48 households in Fremantle, Western Australia. The outcome of the trial run found Ledger’s p2p energy trading reduced the cost of energy consumption. Jemma Green, chairman of Power Ledger, commented on the newly released report and said:

“Power Ledger has demonstrated how peer-to-peer energy trading can incentivize the right outcomes for the grid in a more cost-effective way.”

Blockchain Can Offer Stable Power Grids for Lower Costs

Power Ledger, in association with Curtin and Murdoch Universities, published another report last month detailing the findings of the P2P trial run. The study concluded that the use of blockchain for P2P energy trading helps local energy markets to keep the power grid stable and offer electricity at a lower price.

The P2P energy trial run includes a study of distributed Virtual Power Plant (VPP), a microgrid with 650 kWh battery powering homes for the East Village development in Fremantle, a sustainable development project featuring green homes that only run on clean and green energy. An excerpt from the report:

“Participants had a positive view of P2P energy trading and could see its benefits but stated that changes to the tariff structure would be required to make it attractive.”

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Author: James W

A $6.6 Million Seed Round Startup Launches “Easy” Crypto Purchasing Services

  • Ziglu, a cryptocurrency startup based in London, launches allowing an easy, safe and reliable crypto purchase gateway.

An official report released by Ziglu on June 15, 2020 confirms the launch of crypto marketplace and exchange, Ziglu after a $6.6 million seed round funding from friends and other angel investors. According to CEO of Ziglu, Mark Hipperson, the exchange is aiming to bring to its customers the best, cheapest and fastest ways to purchase multiple cryptocurrencies from one place.

Over the past few years, cryptocurrency has taken a hold growing to a massive ~$200 billion market capitalization in a decade. The growth of the market enticed more banks to take up the role of providing a gateway for crypto purchases and withdrawals. Hipperson however believes the market has changed a lot since the early days and hence has a strategy to do things different.

As the competition to offer avenues to purchase crypto heats up, Hipperson believes the current buyers of crypto are looking for a safe and easy way to get their crypto. Speaking on the launch of Ziglu, Hipperson said,

“This launch marks the beginning of an exciting journey for Ziglu to deliver transformational financial services for our customers. By offering immediate and safe access to best-price crypto, customers can spend, exchange and send their money, regardless of the currency, where, when and how they want.”

Ziglu will allow users to buy and sell multiple cryptocurrencies on the platform including BTC, ETH, LTC and BCH with about “15 cryptocurrencies expected to be added this year” according to demand, Hipperson said.

The statement also confirms a possible debit card launch in the coming quarter to allow users to spend their crypto easily. Ziglu is currently available on the iOS Apple Store for mobile devices.

Hipperson also spoke on the effects of the current COVID-19 global pandemic on the launch of Ziglu. The application will partner with two exchanges (instead of the planned five) at launch with more exchanges expected at a later date.

Ziglu enters an arena full of competitors including Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey’s Square app, which together with Grayscale Trust combine for a total of 50% of Bitcoin daily purchases from miners. The app recently rolled out new features that allows users to stack satoshis on a daily, weekly or monthly automatically.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Nike Shoppers Can Earn 3% in Crypto Rewards by Using Fintech Startup Plutus’ Visa Card

Nike, the footwear giant, has entered into a partnership with the London-based Fintech startup Plutus to offer its customers 3% cashback for crypto purchases.

Users can take advantage of this offer on online Nike stores using a Plutus Visa card, this would unlock an offer of 3% crypto cashback or up to 9% cash rewards.

Plutus operates within the United Kingdom and European Economic Area and keeping the ease of use for customers, all the offers available through Plutus Visa card would be available for purchase in Euro and Pounds.

Plutus Aims To Bring Crypto to the Mainstream

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, most of the shops and business have been shut for months and, as a result, online shopping has become ever more popular. This Nike-Plutus partnership would help people spend crypto to buy their favorite sneakers online and also receive a cashback for the purchase.

This is not the first stint for Plutus with a mainstream popular brand as Nike. Prior to this partnership, the fintech startup worked with major air travel websites like Airbnb and Skyscanner to help people book the tickets for their favorite destination using crypto. Danial Daychopan, the founder and CEO of Plutus talking about their experience in these kinds of partnerships said:

“Plutus was approved as an affiliate partner for both Airbnb and Skyscanner at the start of the year. However, all programs in the travel category have been temporarily paused by the company due to travel restrictions caused by COVID-19. Both of these partners were included to offer cashback to qualified Plutus members.”

The crypto rewards would be generated on the Plutus native token Pluton (PLU) which leverages on the Ethereum network to run a decentralized loyalty token program. The Plutus app would also allow users to earn passive income by staking their PLU token apart from the twelve percent total awards available on offer.

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Author: Lorraine Mburu

DeFi Startup Eidoo Partners With Contis To Launch Visa Crypto Card For EU, and UK Users

Eidoo, a Swiss-based Defi startup has partnered with Europe’s principal Visa member Contis to offer Visa crypto debit cards in Europe and the United Kingdom.

The new Visa crypto debit card would support Bitcoin and Ethereum while utilizing regulated stablecoins to offer crypto-to-fiat conversion to negate the volatility factor associated with crypto assets. The card would also allow for the storage of fiat and, since it would be targeting the customers of the UK and Europe, the card would support pound and euro.

Eidoo got the nod from Visa for issuing crypto debit cards on May 25th, allowing for almost 40 million Visa merchants to accept crypto in the form of stablecoins and derived fiat currencies.

Contis, the principal European Visa member, played a key role in enabling the crypto debit card as it holds the e-money license. The firm would also be responsible for the issuance of these non-custodial crypto debit cards where the users would have complete control over there crypto assets, as these cards would be connected to non-custodial Eidoo wallets. Thomas Bertani, CEO of Eidoo, said:

“Everyone is anticipating the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies, yet there are few solutions which make these digital currencies practical or useful in our daily lives. We know the key is to bring together the worlds of traditional and decentralized finance; the Eidoo Card is that bridge between these two worlds.”

How Would the Non-Custodial Crypto Debit Card Work?

The issuance of cards as well as crypto-to-fiat conversion would be handled by Contis, while Eidoo would look into offering decentralized wallet support.

While there are many crypto visa cards in the market, none are decentralized like the one being offered by Eidoo and Contis.

A user with their crypto-assets can convert it into a stablecoin using Defi exchanges such as Uniswap. The stablecoin obtained from the conversion of crypto can later be topped with a 1:1 exchange rate when the crypto card is used at a merchant’s shop.

The conversion of stablecoin would be facilitated by the likes of Moneyfold’s Ethereum-based stablecoins, Moneyfold Euro and Moneyfold GBP.

A user would be required to either stake or burn Eidoo’s native EDO token in order to pre-order the Eidoo crypto debit card. At present, a user is required to burn at least 100 EDO tokens or stake 2500 to pre-order the card. The firm is planning to ship the card orders in a phased manner, the first batch of which would be shipped this summer.

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Author: James W

Power Ledger To Build P2P Renewable Energy Trading Platform in Thailand

PowerLedger, an Australian blockchain startup known for its work in the field of renewable energy, has partnered with Thai Digital Energy Development (TDED) which is a public-private joint venture.

The partnership was announced on May 25th, which would see the development of an energy platform that would enable environmental commodification and peer-to-peer trading renewable energy trading.

The platform would offer blockchain-based transactive energy solutions, virtual power plants, issuance of renewable energy certificates and trading of carbon credits. The partnership aims to boost renewable energy and acceptance in Thailand, where the government is seeking to generate 25% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2037.

Jemma Green, the co-founder and executive chairman of PowerLedger, believes the new partnership and energy platform would be crucial to the establishment of economically viable renewable energy markets. He said:

“Our partnership with TDED will allow us to accelerate our efforts to promote distributed digital energy markets in Thailand.”

Thailand is Looking at Private-Public Sector Cooperation to Push Renewable Energy Usage

TDED being a joint venture of the private and public sector between Thai energy authorities and green energy specialists BCPG which is a Bangkok firm specializing in solar, wind and geothermal power and operations flourishing across Thailand, Japan and Philippines.

The partnership would oversee four BCPG clean power projects, including Chiang Mai University’s 12MW Smart Campus and its carbon management system.

PowerLedger has been working with BCPG from 2018 itself where the Australian startup helped the energy specialist to launch a similar peer-to-peer energy pilot program.

Vinod Tiwari, head of business development and sales at PowerLedger believes the partnership between the private and public sector could really help Thailand in achieving its renewable targets and given PowerLedger’s experience in the clean, green energy would only help in accelerating those goals. He explained:

“The platform acts as an operating system and innovative facilitator in the transformation of energy markets from centralised to hybrid, distributed energy markets underpinned by renewable energy and distributed energy resources. This unique market-based approach acts as an incentive to accelerate distributed energy resources and renewable energy deployment in communities and helps in achieving a country’s national renewable energy targets.”

The new platform framework would be open to other players in the renewable energy field in Thailand.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

FinTech Unicorn Revolut Gains Approval for AFSL from Australian Financial Watchdog ASIC

  • UK based Fintech startup Revolut bank receives green light to operate in Australia from ASIC.
  • Offering expertise in digital financial services, they now service over 10 million clients globally. Recently rated as the most valuable startup in the UK.

Reports have now surfaced that the UK based Fintech, Revolut, has now received approval for their Australian Financial Service License (AFSL). This was after the chairman of Fintech Australia; Alan Tsen posted a tweet applauding the start-up for receiving the license that was then confirmed by Revolut’s Global Expansion Manager,

The AFS license is granted by Australian Financial Watchdog, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). It allows people or companies carrying out financial services to operate legally within Australia. The ASIC issued them with an exemption as they commenced operations there in 2019 although the exemption expires at the beginning of June 2020.

The Fintech firm made its first move outside Europe by establishing a base in Australia. They then set up Revolut Australia which received ASIC accreditation. This local front would now be able to consolidate its presence in the Australian market. Last June, they launched their Australian Beta mode in pilot programs within Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Revolut offers deposits, credit cards, global remittances, and offers trading options. They have since extended support to clients who trade using Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC) amongst other stock and crypto options.

It was launched by CEO and co-founder Nikolay Storonsky, a Russian British based Entrepreneur and Vlad Yatsenko who serves as CTO. Vlad previously held developer positions in both Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse.

Most Valuable Startup in the UK

The digital bank was ranked the most valuable startup in the UK for 2020, at £4.2 billion. This was after they announced the receipt of a $500 million in funding from Technology Crossover Ventures notably also backing LinkedIn and Spotify. This catapulted them ahead of their peers Monzo also a digital bank given a £2 billion valuation. The platform now boasts of over 10 million clients globally.

These funds were most likely poured into the hiring of new staff process as they sought to increase their global presence.

In an interview with a media outlet last year CEO, Storonsky highlighted that they intended to onboard over 5000 new staff (technology developers, data scientists, support staff, compliance experts, and senior executives) by the end of 2020. It is yet to be seen how the global Covid-19 has impeded their expansion plans.

“Right now, I would say 60 percent of my time is just spent on hiring.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

FalconX Exchange Raises $17M to Enhance Trading Services For Its Growing Demand

FalconX, the US-based virtual assets trading startup that offers its customers best execution via data science, has announced that it has raised $17 million from different investors.

The firm stated that the funding round comprised Coinbase Ventures, Accel, Fenbushi Capital, Accomplice VC, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Flybridge Capital Partners as well as Avon Ventures.

According to a press release shared with Bitcoin EXchange Guide, the money will be utilized in rolling out fresh products, enhancing FalconX’s crypto trading services, as well as, enhancing its infrastructure in order to serve the expanding institutional clients in the market.

According to FalconX CEO, Raghu Yarlagadda, the firm’s technology is set to offer the right infrastructure that will define the future of digital assets.

According to the firm, in the last 10 months, it has processed over $7 billion in worldwide trading volume, which also translates to 600% quarterly growth rate which is fueled by tight spreads, removing spillage as well as hidden fees. The firm also attributes the exponential growth to high levels of enterprise-grade security.

The San Francisco, CA-based Exchange FalconX provides digital asset trading and has developed robust liquidity via various liquidity pools or exchanges as well as proprietary dark pools. Currently, the firm boasts more than 100 financial-based institutions ranging from crypto miners, hedge funds, payment gateways, and exchanges. The firm also revealed that it was seeking licenses in different jurisdictions in efforts to expand its footprint in the world.

FalconX was started in 2018 by Prabhahar Reddy as well as Raghu Yarlagadda. Before founding FalconX, Yarlagadda, an engineer and renowned entrepreneur, held various leadership positions including an executive role at Google. Yarlagadda played a vital role in scaling Chromebooks, helping to turn it into a multi-billion dollar venture. On the other hand, Reddy previously worked at Accel, a venture capital firm.

The FalconX team is made up of experienced individuals from Silicon Valley as well as Wall Street.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Decentralized Blockchain Platform Celo Wraps Up $10M cGLD Auction on CoinList

cLabs, a Silicon Valley-based blockchain startup, has revealed that it has raised approximately $10 million through auctioning off the Celo Gold (cGLD) tokens which were availed to investors within the CoinList platform.

According to a press statement shared with Bitcoin Exchange Guide, about 509 investors drawn from different parts of the world were involved in the auction process, and on average paying $1 for every Celo Gold (cGLD) token. The press release also indicated that the majority of the investors are from Germany as well as the United Kingdom. The startup also confirmed that on average, a buyer spent about $519 for the cGLD token and in most instances earned about 50 tokens in bonus for referrals. The auction came to an end on Tuesday morning after running for approximately 12 hours.

The current sale of the cGLD tokens will help the startup to add to its $30 million raised in venture capital funding by companies such as Polychain as well as Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). Apart from being a major funder of the project, Polychain is currently one of the 77 entities which are running Celo validator nodes.

Whereas it is not clear when the launch date will be, the CoinList investors are expecting to get their tokens before the end of the year.

[Also Read: Celo Adds 20+ New Members to the Alliance for Prosperity]

According to Andy Bromberg, CoinList co-founder, the cGLD token sale was the second time the platform has conducted a successful token sale this year and follows the successful sale of Solana tokens which raised 1.76 million. Bromberg also stated that CoinList buyers will be able to get the cGLD tokens direct into their CoinList wallets after the Celo mainnet finally goes live. Additionally, the investors can also opt to transfer their tokens to external wallets that they own to Custodians like Anchorage and Coinbase.

CoinList stated that it is focused on assisting prospective crypto projects to succeed and it was a pleasure to partner with the Celo project. Currently, Celo enjoys the support of more than 700 backers.

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Author: Joseph Kibe