Top 20 Global Investment Firm Franklin Templeton & VC Illuminate Finance Invest in Curv Series A

The global investment firm Franklin Templeton and Illuminate Financial, a Fintech venture capital firm, join Curv, an institutional cryptocurrency wallet solution, as investors – joining Curv’s July 2020 Series A funding. The move sees the former two firms join the $23 million funding round, including several top investors, including Digital Currency Group (DCG), Coinbase Ventures, CommerzVentures, Google’s Digital Garage, and Team 8.

According to an email sent to the BEG news desk, Franklin Templeton will switch from a customer of Curv to an investor. This follows the successful completion of a proof of concept built by BNP Paribas that allows Curv to transfer digital assets across blockchains securely.

This partnership will see the two traditional finance heavyweights join the digital and crypto world through Curv. The institutional wallet firm aims to drive traditional finance corporations to own and hold digital assets through its Multi-party Computation (MPC) technology. MPC allows a secure transfer, storage, and management of digital assets on distributed ledgers.

Franklin Templeton aims to leverage Curv’s MPC technology to expand into the growing crypto and decentralized finance (DeFi) market on a secure platform. Curv’s MPC technology introduces a keyless approach removing all single points of failures to help institutions securely move assets and deliver them instantaneously on a blockchain.

Joe Boerio, EVP, Chief Risk & Transformation Officer at Franklin Templeton, believes joining Curv as an investor will improve security when transferring assets across blockchains with the MPC technology – protecting the system “against cyber breaches and insider collusion.” He said,

“We are excited to participate in Curv’s journey as it sets a new standard for digital asset security and scales its business across major financial institutions across the globe.”

Over the past few months, governments worldwide have taken a front foot in regulating the virtual currency industry to curb illicit activities. Due to this, first-time institutions entering the field are leaning towards licensed institutional wallets to store their digital assets. Curv, in particular, has witnessed a growth in its client base, offering an enterprise-grade infrastructure for these institutions ensuring they securely deploy these solutions. Itay Malinger, Curv CEO and Co-founder said,

“The addition of Franklin Templeton is a barometer of the traditional industry’s shift into digital assets, and a broader desire to bring public blockchain-based offerings to market.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

SBI eSports Signs Pro FIFA and Super Smash Bros Ultimate Players; Will Be Paid in XRP

SBI eSports, a subsidiary gaming venture of Japanese financial giant SBI Holdings, has signed two professional players to its e-team. In an official announcement made on 16th October, the SBI e-sports subsidiary also revealed that they would be paying its player’s salaries in XRP.

Back in September, the firm revealed that they were planning on paying their player’s salaries in cryptocurrencies. The official announcement read,

“The company aims to raise awareness of the SBI Group by strengthening contact points with the digital generation, and to create synergies with the various financial services businesses of the SBI Group.”

The payment of salary in the digital token would be facilitated via SBI’s crypto-asset trading division called SBI VC Trade. However, the final decision to accept salaries in XRP tokens would lie in the players’ hands. The official signing read,

“Players will be paid in the crypto asset ‘XRP’ instead of Japanese yen based on the wishes of the player and the sponsorship contract with SBI VC Trade Co., Ltd.”

The two pro players signed by the SBI eSports include one of Japan’s top pros in the Nintendo Switch fighting game, Super Smash Bros, Ultimate player Kenji “Ken” Suzuki, and FIFA 21 player Subaru “Mikey” Sagano, who has represented the German soccer club 1. FC Nürnberg.

The signings made by the SBI e-Sports is one of a kind because of the digital asset salary clause, which was not only highlighted in the official announcement but also in the personal tweets made by the signed players.

SBI to Conduct a Security Token Offering for SBI eSports

The SBI Group is also set to conduct a security token offering for the eSports subsidiary expected to occur on October 30. The offering would see 1000 total shares up for grabs valued at 50,000 yen (about $475) per share.

SBI Group is a Ripple partner and one of the significant stakeholders in the digital asset firm.

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Author: James W

Venture Fund to Invest Majority of $100 Million Raised Fund in DeFi Protocols

San Francisco-based venture fund Electric Capital has raised $100 million from university endowments and other non-profits and it will be using this to invest in digital assets and related businesses.

The firm is known for its earlier investments in crypto projects like Anchorage, Bitwise, and Celo. A third of its assets have already been invested in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and several projects like DerivaDEX exchange.

The fund that closed in May will have a long-term time horizon of 10 years, according to its co-founder Avichal Garg, who previously worked at Google and Facebook as the director of product management. He said,

“Bitcoin and Ethereum are a minority of the fund.”

“Our thoughts are more toward Defi protocols, apps built on top of this stuff.”

The firm uses software to determine which projects are seeing interest from programmers to guide its investments and help companies that it invests in grow. Electric’s original $35 million fund was invested in digital currencies like BTC, Ether, and blockchain projects.

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Author: AnTy

DeFi Lending App, Aave Protocol, Raises $3 Million Through LEND Token Sale

  • Two Venture Capital firms, Three Arrows Capital and Framework Ventures invest $3 million in decentralized finance (DeFi) lending platform, Aave.
  • The investment was made through the purchase of Aave’s native tokens, LEND.

In an announcement on Wednesday, confirms a $3 million investment in Aave Protocol, the third-largest DeFi app in total locked value. Framework Ventures and Three Arrows Capital directly purchased LEND tokens from the Aave Protocol Treasury, showing increasing interest from institutional investors in the DeFi industry.

According to the statement by Aave, the investment will be used in fostering decentralization of the lending and borrowing, token governance, new tokenomics, and an insurance fund in case of low liquidity on the platform. This investment will further DeFi protocol’s “mission of enabling global, permissionless tokenized assets money markets.”

Michael Anderson, CEO of Framework Ventures, believes the latest investment will help Aave strengthen its position as the private borrowing and lending assets moves to decentralized platforms. He said:

“Aave stands to significantly benefit from this underlying shift by enabling more assets as collateral, continuing to innovate with new lending features such as credit delegation and partnering with other DeFi protocols.”

The investors purchased around 30 million LEND tokens while it traded at $0.10. Following the rush in DeFi borrowing, lending, and yield farming, the token has since grown to $0.26, offering a 160% increase in the investor’s ignition investment.

Framework and Three Arrows Capital have taken a rather strong stand in the DeFi space despite governments taking a closer look at the industry. The two companies will actively participate in Aave’s staking and governance systems following the investment.

Aave has rapidly grown into the third-largest DeFi platform since launching at the start of the year, and Stanley Kulechov, CEO of Aave, believes the latest partnership will scale its platform. He said:

“Their [Framework and Three Arrows Capital] involvement will bring substantial expertise to scale the protocol for institutional usage, and they will be helpful stakeholders within our community.”

Aave is taking up a range of crypto assets in its borrowing and deposit pool, including Tether (USDT) and Ethereum (ETH), to boost its liquidity pool. Notwithstanding, the platform also recently joined the Chicago DeFi Alliance and partnered with OpenLaw to launch ‘under-collateralized loans” through credit delegation.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Incentivized Web3 Data Privacy Project, HOPR, Raises $1 Million Led by Binance Labs

Binance Labs, the incubation venture of Binance exchange, led a seed funding round of $1 million for decentralized privacy-focused HOPR. Apart from Binance Labs, other firms that invested during the seed funding round include Focus Labs, Spark Digital Capital, Caballeros Capital, and Synaitken. BinanceX, an early stage development platform, has also awarded a fellowship to the startup earlier.

HOPR is a privacy centered blockchain startup that incentivizes the data through a token-incentivized mixnet solution.

Gin Chao, Binance’s Strategy officer, said that the team at BinanceX and HOPR have been working on this privacy solution for quite some time now. He said:

“The team from BinanceX met HOPR over a year ago at Paris Blockchain Week, and we have got to know the team. We will be making much fewer investments, and these are the sorts of projects we will be focused on, in areas that we feel have a sort of immediate product-market fit.”

HOPR is also set to become a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) under the law in Switzerland and has the right set of tools to become a pioneer in decentralized privacy management. Chao said:

“I think it’s the right type of problem to be solving at this time, and HOPR’s solution is a great fit in terms of the ethos of blockchain and having an eventual decentralized organization with a token to address the problem.”

HOPR a New Network Layer Protocol For Safe Exchange of Data

Sebastian Bürgel, the co-founder of HOPR, said that their protocol is not another on-chain privacy solution but a network layer protocol similar to Tor, which facilitates a safe exchange of private data. HOPR would incentivize the participants with the native token to enhance the privacy of the network.

In a traditional system, when two systems are communicating with each other, they are confidential to third parties like telcos and internet service providers (ISPs). On the other hand, in the HOPR system, the data moves from one relay node to another, and each receiving node mixes the data with other traffic, and then it is passed on to the next node.

“Anybody can participate and be paid for the service of relaying traffic and thereby creating privacy for you,” said Bürgel. “You are paid in HOPR tokens similar to how miners get paid ETH on Ethereum.”

He further commented on the incentivization of the network participants suggesting right now it’s quite challenging to estimate as the network is decentralized so that the network participants would take the final decision. Burgel said:

“We imagine this is going to be a kind of marketplace. I think it should be comparable to a VPN subscription, which is an order of like $10 a month, so for some reasonable usage, it should be in that range.”

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Author: Hank Klinger

Ripple And SBI Holdings to Launch ODL Service For RippleNet Using XRP in Asia in 2020

The joint venture of Ripple Asia and SBI Holdings, also known as SBI Ripple Asia, has announced its plans of launching On-demand Lqiuiduty (ODL) solutions using XRP in Asia this year.

Ripple has made a name for itself because of its cross-border remittance solutions, also known as RippleNet. The firm has seen many takers for its technology, which uses XRP for liquidity on the ledger to facilitate instant cross-border transactions at a minimal cost.

The ODL solutions have been quite a hit, and given Asia is emerging as one of the fastest-growing crypto hubs, the joint venture between Ripple and SBI holdings wants to push for its adoption further.

The announcement was made by the CEO SBI Ripple Asia, Adam Traidman, during an interview on June 18, where he talked about the popularity of Ripple in Asia and how expanding ODL services would be the right move as it offers much cheaper cross-border remittance services. He said;

“I expect that probably later this year, and into next year, things are going to move into wider spread production.

I expect remittance companies that were restricted in growth because they have pre-funding requirements, they have a lot of capital—they’re going to have a lot more flexibility.”

Traidman also believes that introduction of ODL would eliminate currency fluctuations and the pre-funding requirement for making cross-border transactions. He explained ODL services wouldn’t gain the same adoption and popularity in the United States as it is increasing in Asia and Japan.

The reason for this is the US offers low-cost cross-border remittance service, so the people over there don’t need a system like ODL, while in Japan, its not only costly to send money across the border, but it also takes around a whole day. Traidman said,

“ODL can be used to convert the Japanese yen to XRP in real-time in Japan, and a family in Vietnam can immediately exchange the XRP for Vietnamese dong.

In this way, the price movements of the Japanese yen and the Vietnamese dong are almost unaffected.”

Ripple’s On-Demand-Liquidity(ODL) has seen a massive jump in use and volume, which is evident from the fact that the bulk of transactions has tripled over the first quarter of 2020, while the US Dollar transactions have risen by 294%.

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Author: James W

Chinese Internet Giant Arm, Tencent Cloud, Looks to Form A 100-Member Blockchain Alliance

Tencent’s cloud computing arm venture is bringing together a 100-member blockchain alliance to further blockchain implementation and find new real-world use cases of the decentralized technology.

The news was first published on June 4th, revealing that the 100-member blockchain association would comprise of in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tions, en­ter­prises, in­dus­try me­dia, in­vest­ment or­gan­i­za­tions, think tanks, and ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions.

The blockchain alliance would collaborate to establish blockchain standards, while also formulating new use cases for industrial use. The alliance will consist of three critical committees, namely a blockchain stan­dards com­mit­tee, a tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee, and a com­mer­cial ecosys­tem com­mit­tee.

The blockchain standards committee would be responsible for working with federal regulators and blockchain enterprises to derive a common standard for blockchain development.

The technical committee, as the name suggests, would take care of everything technical, be it planning of various products and applications on the blockchain and creation of new technology-based on the blockchain.

The commercial ecosystem committee would look after commercial aspects, such as supply and demand, and other commercial needs.

Tencent has become one of the leading tech firms in China, with multiple subsidiaries focused on different fields of internet and technology. Tencent has also emerged as the leading investor in blockchain technology, among many other tech giants of China. The company has announced that it will invest $70 billion over the next five years towards emerging technologies such as blockchain, AI, and Fintech.

Tencent’s aggressive approach towards blockchain can be understood from the fact that China has made it clear that they want to remain at the forefront of the blockchain race. They are already conducting trials for their national CBDC when a majority of the other countries are only on the drawing board.

Tencent, along with other tech giants like Alibaba have also invested significantly in the blockchain space.

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Author: James W

This Crisis Will Recognize Bitcoin as Simply a Better Way to Hold Value: Tim Draper

Venture capitalist Tim Draper, who criticized the Indian government for considering the ban on cryptocurrencies, has now become hopeful after the Supreme Court’s decision in crypto’s favor earlier this month.

“The Supreme Court of India and the Indian government have shown that the best ideas ultimately prevail, and just in time, because the benefits of Bitcoin and crypto over current systems will become apparent during this crisis.”

When the reports of a former DEA secretary recommending a complete ban via “Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019” came, Draper said it will set the country back 40 years.

Now that the apex bank’s potential ban on cryptos by preventing banks and financial institutions from dealing with crypots has been curbed, businesses are re-entering the market.

Crypto exchange Zebpay has already made a comeback to India. Popular crypto exchange Binance and OKEx have also entered the market in partnership with WazirX and CoinDCX respectively.

In his recent trip to India, Draper interacted with some key crypto ecosystem stakeholders and shared with the local media,

“Absolutely! I met several Bitcoin and crypto startups while I was in India last week. I hope to be able to fund a number of them.”

Recently, Binance also announced a fund of $50 million to invest in crypto and blockchain startups.

Institutional Panic Triggering the Market

In the past few weeks, the crypto market took a deep fall, with bitcoin falling over 60% from its February high to $3,850. However, last week, the leading digital currency recovered only to fall back below $6,000 over the weekend.

According to Draper, the institutional panic was what triggered the fall as investors have been selling everything to get into cash. Some of the overleveraged miners also had their loans called and were forced to sell. However, long term holders saw this as a buy the dip opportunity.

“Long term, I think this crisis will allow people to recognize that bitcoin is simply a better way to hold value and spend money than through our current banking system.”

The Venture capitalist and bitcoin investor is known for his prediction of $250,000 for Bitcoin price by 2023.

While a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) is yet to make it to the market, bitcoin futures have been seeing a lot of activity in the market. Draper said,

“I think companies like Opennode and Lightning Network will make it a lot easier to spend bitcoin, and new companies will take advantage of the blockchain and smart contracts to create a more frictionless and honest system of commerce.”

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Author: AnTy

MakerDAO Sells $27.5M MKR To Venture Capitals To Expand DAI Use In Asia

The Maker Foundation has just announced that two venture capital funds acquired $27.5 million worth of MKR coins. The companies involved in this transaction were Paradigm and Dragonfly Capital Partners. The information was shared by the company in a press release on December 19.

5.5% Of MKR Supply Sold To Venture Capital Firms

The new investment made by these companies would allow them to be part of the decentralized governance of the Maker Protocol that became a very important part of this blockchain network.

At the same time, these firms became net holders of around 5.5% of the total supply of MKR in the market. This cryptocurrency has a total supply of 1 million MKR.

The Maker Foundation is trying to continue its expansion in the market, specifically in Asia, where they see there is a growing demand for stablecoins. These stablecoins are cryptocurrencies that do not have a value that fluctuates at all times, instead, they have a very stable price that helps users reduce their exposure to the inherent volatility of the crypto market.

According to the CEO of the Maker Foundation, Rune Christensen, the stablecoin Dai has been growing in Asia, which could also be very positive to bring new decentralized finance (DeFi) solutions to users.

The Decentralized Finance market has also been expanding all around the world. According to DefiPulse, the total value locked in USD reached $644 million a few hours ago. Maker represents almost 50% of the total value locked in decentralized finance applications.

Other firms that have been growing in this market include Synthetix and Compound. Each of them has $166.3 million and $90 million in funds locked, respectively. With the recent investments, Maker will secure its position in the market and remain a leader in the space.

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Author: Carl T

Portag3 Ventures Raises $320 Million In Latest Fund Round To Invest In FinTech Startups

The FinTech arena in Canada has been fast expanding as Venture Capitalists pump more funds into the space. Portag3 Ventures is the latest VC firm to raise a significant funding directed towards FinTech projects; the Canadian based company recently managed to secure $320 million.

According to reports by TechCrunch, Portag3 Ventures received the funds from both strategic investors and institutions. The $320 million will be used to support FinTech startups with promising products as the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) takes shape. Portag3 Ventures plans to capitalize its acquired funds on FinTech potential markets like Asia-Pacific, Europe, United States and Canada.

Despite the young nature of FinTech, a number of big global players in the financial sector participated in Portag3’s Ventures 2nd funding round. Notably were Credit Union Aviva France and Alterna Saving; others include Green Shield Canada, Eldridge Industries and CNP Assurances.

Adam Felesky, the CEO of Portag3 Ventures, noted that the firm also plans to use its platform to build global champions from Canada. He emphasized that the U.S market would accommodate Canada’s skill supply once they make more success stories. The CEO further added that existing FinTech stakeholders in Canada would be better off learning from Europe’s already successful startups.

Bitcoin Launches on Canada’s 3iQ Stock Exchange

Last month, 3iQ which is a stock exchange based in Canada announced that its Bitcoin Fund will roll out in December or at the beginning of 2020. The firm had earlier on filed with the Ontario Securities Commission for its prospectus approval; once cleared the BTC fund will trade in the Toronto Stock Exchange. Fred Pye, 3IQ’s CEO, confirmed that they intend to onboard large Canadian banks that are willing to be part of the FinTech revolution.

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Author: Lujan Odera