NYDIG Raises USD 100M, Meitu Buys More BTC, Crypto Climate Accord + 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

  • Provider of technology and investment solutions for Bitcoin (BTC), NYDIG, raised USD 100m of additional growth capital from strategic partners including property and casualty (P&C)-focused insurers Starr Insurance, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and other P&C insurers, joining NYDIG’s existing life insurance and annuity-focused strategic partners New York Life and MassMutual. They added that Mike Sapnar, CEO of reinsurer TransRe, will be joining as Global Head of Insurance Solutions, focusing on accelerating bitcoin-driven innovation in the global P&C industry.
  • The Hong Kong-based app maker Meitu said it acquired additional BTC 175.68 for around USD 10m, briging their total crypto portfolio to USD 100m.
  • Marlton, an investment management firm that holds “a significant and long-term” position in shares of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), issued an open letter to the Board of Directors of Grayscale Investments, advocating immediate action to address GBTC’s significant discount to net asset value. Per the press release, Marlton believes in the strategy of offering investors exposure to BTC in the form of an equity security, thereby avoiding the challenges of investing in BTC directly. But despite GBTC’s competitive advantage, its shares have traded at a “dramatic discount” to net asset value, with Marlton estimating that discount to currently be over USD 3.1bn. Responding to Grayscale’s plans to re-apply to the US Securities and Exchange Commission to convert GBTC into an exchange-traded fund (ETF), Marlton noted that previous such applications in 2016 and 2017 weren’t approved, and that GBTC stockholders deserve more from the company “than this failed and inadequate “wait and see” approach.”
  • Collectively Ukrainian public officials own more than BTC 46,000 per their latest declarations and data compiled by the OpenDataBot incentive. The figures revealed that a total of 652 Ukrainian state-employed officials declared they held a sum total of BTC 46,351 – worth over USD 2.67bn at the time of writing. A government member, the Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov, welcomed the news – writing on his Telegram channel that it proved how “far-sighted” and “progressive” the country’s officials are.

Ecology news

  • The Crypto Climate Accord is debuting today in order to make the crypto industry 100% renewable in energy consumption by 2030, Venture Beat reported. The group is a partnership of Energy Web, RMI, and the Alliance for Innovative Regulation. The group brings together parties including CoinShares, ConsenSys, Web 3, Ripple, the United Nations, and others who want sustainable blockchain and crypto technology, it added.

Adoption news

  • Billionaire Rick Caruso’s eponymous real estate firm will begin allowing tenants to pay rent in BTC at its residential and retail properties, reported CNBC. The privately held firm said it has also invested a portion of its corporate treasury in bitcoin and entered into a partnership with crypto exchange Gemini.

NFTs news

  • The South Korean-Japanese chat app operator Line – the most popular chat app in Japan – is working on a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace platform, the company revealed in an official document. It claimed that it would be making use of its own protocol, the Line Blockchain network, for the release and did not reveal what the platform would be called, nor when it hoped to unveil it. But the company wrote that it would allow “anyone to sell, purchase, and exchange NFTs,” using “a service that will be easy to use and easy to [globalize].”
  • Australian-based company and the team behind one of Ethereum (ETH)‘s major trading card games Gods Unchained, Immutable, said that their Immutable X platform alpha launched on mainnet today, stating that it’s the first layer-two (L2) solution for NFTs on Ethereum. The company aims to promote mainstream NFT adoption by offering carbon neutral, “gas-free minting and trading, self custody alongside seamless UX (user experience) for developers and consumers.”
  • Mexican premier football league Liga MX and the official licensee for their digital fan engagement platforms Serouno Group are working to create digital products and a new official fan engagement app – Liga MX Fan Engagement App, or Fan Zone – which will launch in July. To that end, they said, Serouno Group has made an exclusive partnership with NFT marketplace Bondly, in order to launch the first set of Liga MX NFTs.

Exchanges news

  • Spot trading volumes on crypto exchanges increased by 9% in March and reached USD 3trn, per CryptoCompare data. Top-Tier volumes increased 5.9% to USD 2.5trn while Lower-Tier volumes increased 29% to USD 493bn, they added. Meanwhile, derivatives volumes decreased by 5.3% in March to USD 2.74trn.
  • Kraken saw four times as many new users sign up to its platform in the first quarter of this year than it did in the second half of 2020. Spot trading volumes in the first quarter were 1.5 times higher than in all of last year, reaching a record level of USD 160bn, CNBC reported, citing CEO Jesse Powell.
  • The usership figures of the South Korean market-leading crypto exchange Upbit broke new ground again in March, the latest figures have confirmed. Per Yonhap, last month over 3.2 million people used the trading platform, up nearly three times on figures posted in January this year (1.19 million). In February, just over 2 million people were using the Upbit app. Yesterday, fiat deposits and withdrawals were briefly suspended due to “external” server issues and suspected bank-related issues, but the company stated that these have now been resolved, with KRW on/offs now operational, per an official notice.

Career news

  • Berlin-based crypto bank Bitwala has announced that Kristina Walcker-Mayer will take over the CEO position from founder Ben Jones. Walcker-Mayer switched from Berlin fintech N26 to Bitwala last year, initially in the role of CPO. She was involved in the last financing round in which the company raised EUR 15m (USD 17.86). Jones said that he’ll stay “very active” in Bitwala as its Chairman.
  • Investment management firm Arca has announced Bill Powers as its as principal and strategic advisor. Powers is the Managing Partner at The Strand Partners and former 19-year PIMCO portfolio manager and managing director. Powers will help shape the company’s strategic direction, focusing on the development and distribution of asset management product for new clients, and will also help expand into new markets.
  • Bitstamp said it appointed Sameer Dubey as their new Chief Operating Officer. At N26, Sameer served as the Head of Operations for UK. Prior to N26, he spent over a decade in executive roles at Barclays on their Payments and Cash Management Product team, they added.