Grayscale vs. SEC, Fidelity's Bitcoin ETF, Investments in Metaverse, NFTs + More News

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Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
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Investments news

  • Digital asset investment company Grayscale Investments has issued a letter to Secretary of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Vanessa Countryman, on November 29 to argue the SEC is wrong to reject spot bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) since it has now approved three bitcoin futures ETFs, one each from VanEck, Valkyrie, and ProShares. It claims the SEC violated the Administrative Protections Act (APA) by failing to treat the two Bitcoin ETF products the same.
  • The Fidelity Investments fund “Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin ETF” is currently pending listing on a Canadian exchange, according to a tweet shared by Bloomberg senior ETF analyst Erick Balchunas.
  • South Korean bank SoftBank Group Corp is investing USD 150m in South Korean metaverse platform Zepetto that sells high-fashion items for 3D avatars, according to the Wall Street Journal. The platform has around 2m users every day, where people scan a photo and build digital likenesses of themselves, then hang out in virtual worlds.
  • Crypto firm CoinShares announced it has agreed to acquire the French fintech firm Napoleon Crypto SAS and its subsidiaries for almost EUR 14m (USD 16m).
  • Bitcoin investment firm NYDIG raised USD 50m for its seventh fund to invest in cryptocurrencies, the firm said in a regulatory filing. NYDIG opened the fund on November 16th and a single investor contributed the full amount. It plans to leave the fund open indefinitely.
  • The decentralized exchange (DEX) aggregator 1inch Network has closed a USD 175m Series B round of funding, led by Hong Kong-based Amber Group, said the team. The round values the company at USD 2.25bn, Forbes reported. More than 50 investors participated in the round, conducted as a sale of 1INCH tokens, including Jane Street, VanEck, Fenbushi Capital, Alameda Research, Celsius, Nexo, Tribe Capital, and Gemini Frontier Fund. With new capital, the company aims to provide “an on-ramp for traditional finance players that are paying close attention to their disruptors.”
  • Blockchain security firm CertiK has completed a USD 80m Series B2 financing round, led by Sequoia, with participation from existing investors including Tiger Global, Coatue Management, and GL Ventures. The round brings CertiK’s valuation to nearly USD 1bn. “The newly raised capital coupled with revenue generated from both Skynet and Security Leaderboard, will be used for the development and operation of more innovative products,” said the press release.
  • Crypto exchange-traded product (ETP) company 21Shares has announced the listing of Polygon ETPs on exchanges Euronext Paris in EUR and USD on Euronext Amsterdam. As of November 2021, 21Shares manages more than USD 2.9bn in 20 cryptocurrency ETPs and 81 listings.
  • Venture capital firm Borderless Capital has announced the launch of its USD 500m Borderless ALGO Fund II. This new fund will be investing in digital assets powering the next generation of decentralized applications on top of Algorand (ALGO), including opportunities to disrupt the creators economy with NFTs and accelerating the growth of the capital that participates in the ALGO DeFi ecosystem through liquidity mining, lending, borrowing and yield farming.
  • South Korean blockchain investment firm Hashed has announced the launch of a USD 200m fund called Hashed Venture Fund II. Hashed’s investment thesis focuses on Web 3.0, "which is set to revolutionize the users’ interactions with the next generation of the internet, such as NFTs, DeFi, GameFi, etc." The company also promoted Sean Hong and Baek Kim, two long-time members of Hashed, to partners.

NFTs news

  • Non-fungible token (NFT) platform Sloika has recently closed a USD 2m seed funding round led by The Control. The project aims to offer a platform for photographers to reclaim ownership of their work in a Web3 environment.
  • NFT incubator NFT Investments has announced it has invested USD 1m in NFT Studios, which aims to produce Hollywood feature films funded exclusively through NFTs. The first such film is to be produced by Niels Juul, a Hollywood executive producer behind Martin Scorsese’s films ‘The Irishman’ and ‘The Silence’.
  • The English Premier League is considering a partnership with a crypto platform that provides NFTs, The Times reported. It added that the League’s approach will be “slow and cautious,” and different from the fan engagement model provided by a platform such as Socios.
  • NFT ecosystem Enjin (ENJ) has announced that over 70 ecosystem partners have committed to building the "decentralized metaverse" on the Efinity platform. Among them are newly announced adopters Hololoot and VRJam, which will complement the visual elements of the metaverse on Efinity, laying the foundation for a graphical creator economy.

Exchanges news

  • Thai crypto exchange Bitkub Online is planning to offer a range of digital currencies and services in more countries “to become the Coinbase of Southeast Asia,” per Bloomberg. The company is looking to expand to Malaysia, the Philippines, and Laos next year, having grown its local revenue more than 1,000% annually since it began operations in 2018.
  • Decentralized crypto exchange (DEX) IDEX has announced the launch of its v3 Hybrid Liquidity DEX on Polygon (MATIC). IDEX v3 Hybrid Liquidity combines an order book and automated market maker (AMM) liquidity pools to protect users from AMM pitfalls by instantly executing trades against the best combination of limit orders and pooled liquidity.

DeFi news

  • DAO incubator New Order has announced it is partnering with Web 3.0 accelerator Base Camp, whose parent company is Outlier Ventures, to launch between 30-40 new decentralized finance (DeFi) projects over the next two years. While the  main goal is to drive more DeFi, New Order and Outlier Ventures also plan to explore "MetaFi", a term coined by Outlier Ventures, which stands for DeFi applied to the metaverse.
  • DeFi incubator Dispersion has announced the launch of its platform AQRU, which enables access to the crypto yields available in DeFi. AQRU’s fully insured facility protects investor funds from theft and hacking, and offers access to major cryptoassets bitcoin and ether, as well as three stablecoins: USDT, USDC, and DAI.

Mining news

  • Bitcoin self-mining company Bitfarms has announced it has mined BTC 3,089 in the first 11 months of 2021, of which 339 were mined during November 2021. The company has also reiterated its goals to grow its hashrate to 3 EH/s in first quarter 2022 and 8 EH/s by year end 2022 from the current 2.1 EH/s as of November 25, 2021.
  • Bitcoin mining company Greenidge Generation Holdings (GREE) plans to sell USD 35m in senior notes, due in October 2026, according to a new filing. The new notes will bear 8.5% interest accruing from October 13, and are a “further issuance” to Greenidge’s USD 55.2m raise. The filing stated that the company intends “to use the net proceeds for general corporate purposes, including funding capital expenditures, future acquisitions, investments and working capital and repaying indebtedness.”

Adoption news 

  • Major Croatian supermarket chain Konzum announced that it now accepts nine cryptoassets for payment in its online store, allowing its customers to purchase groceries and other products with BTC, ethereum (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH), EOS, DAI, XRP, stellar (XLM), tether (USDT), and usd coin (USDC). The company plans to add this option to its “other shops across Croatia.” This type of payment is enabled through the cooperation with the local fintech company Electrocoin and their PayCek payment processor.

Crime news

  • US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials in August seized roughly USD 2.3m in cryptocurrency tied to ransomware attacks allegedly committed by Aleksandr Sikerin, a Russian resident, per CNN. The cryptocurrency wallet that is now under the FBI's control is traceable to ransomware attacks allegedly committed by Sikerin.
  • Jeremy Spence, known as Coin Signals, has pleaded guilty to soliciting over USD 5m from more than 170 individual investors for various cryptocurrency funds that he operated, promising fictitious returns of up to 148%. He is not yet sentenced, but his crime carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.

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(Updated at 17:20 UTC with a paragraph about the Hashed Venture Fund II).