US Bank Becomes Bitcoin Custodian, Axie Infinity Valued at USD 3B + 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.


Adoption news

  • US Bank, the fifth-biggest retail bank in the US, is expected to announce today that its crypto custody service is available to fund managers, CNBC reported. The offering will help investment managers store private keys for bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), and litecoin (LTC) with assistance from sub-custodian NYDIG, said the report, citing Gunjan Kedia, vice chair of the bank’s wealth management and investment services division. Support for other cryptoassets like ethereum (ETH) is expected over time, Kedia said.
  • Popular trading app Robinhood has enabled 24/7 phone support to its 22.5m users, following criticism it received over the company's lack of user support. Users just need to request a call in the app to speak live with a person on the team, and a notification will be sent when the user is next in line for a call, said the announcement.
  • Smart contract platform Rootstock has announced that decentralized marketplace Kripton Market, based on the Rootstock platform, will be used by over 700 commercial outlets in El Salvador to sell products and services priced in BTC. The team said it will also organize various meetups and training courses throughout El Salvador.

Investments news

  • Sky Mavis, the developer of the crypto-based online game Axie Infinity, is raising approximately USD 150m in Series B funding at a valuation near USD 3bn in a new round led by Andreessen Horowitz. The funding round will help them continue the development of the game, as well as the release of Ronin DEX, a decentralized exchange for the trading of in-game tokens.
  • Digital asset custodian Hex Trust said it has raised USD 10m in an investment round led by Animoca Brands. The company plans to use the funds to improve its infrastructure and security frameworks.
  • Decentralized exchange THORSwap has raised USD 3.75m in a private token sale led by IDEO CoLab Ventures. The new funding will allow THORSwap to continue scaling its development and operational resources, the team said.
  • Venture firm NFX announced a USD 450m fund dedicated solely to pre-seed and seed-stage startups. The fund is projected to support an additional 70 companies whose founders specialize in fintech, marketplaces, gaming, and proptech sectors, and increases investment in tech-bio and crypto.
  • The DeSo Foundation, the organization behind Decentralized Social (DeSo), a blockchain for decentralized social applications, said they are launching a USD 50m developer fund, The Octane Fund. This fund is all about fueling and accelerating the already-rapid growth of the DeSo developer ecosystem, the Foundation said, adding that there are over 100 apps building on DeSo.
  • Chainalysis, the blockchain data platform, said it has acquired Excygent, a specialized professional services firm that assists government agencies with cybercrime investigations, data processing, and lead generation, as the company aims to expand its offering to government agencies. No details about the deal were provided.
  • Fabrick, an open banking platform, and Bitpanda, a digital investing platform offering stocks, digital assets and more, said they have partnered to create a white label solution for Italian banks and Fintechs. The service enables users to give their customers and clients access to the growing world of over 170 digital assets, the companies added.

NFTs news

  • Non-fungible token (NFT) startup Dapper Labs said they have purchased virtual influencer startup Brud and will be bringing the entire 32-person team aboard. This is part of their new business unit, called Dapper Collectives, which will focus on decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).
  • US-based venture capital powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz said it has invested an unspecified sum into Manifold, a startup that is building a creators studio for authoring NFTs with an “App Store” where artists can add cool new functionality powered by code.

Mining news

  • Bitcoin mining company Marathon Digital Holdings said it has produced 1,252.4 newly minted bitcoins during Q3 2021, increasing production by 91% quarter-over-quarter. Their existing mining fleet consists of 25,272 active miners producing approximately 2.7 EH/s, and they currently hold around BTC 7,035 (USD 353.6m).

Legal news

  • A US appeals court revived a lawsuit by investors who claimed they were defrauded into buying the HelbizCoin cryptocurrency as part of a "pump and dump" scheme, according to Reuters. Investors said Helbiz promised to use proceeds from its 2018 offering to develop a smartphone-based transportation rental platform allowing users to rent bikes, cars, scooters, and flying drone taxis, but instead kept most of the money for itself.
  • On September 28, in Ukraine, a coordinated strike between the French National Gendarmerie, the Ukrainian National Police, and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), with the coordination of Europol and INTERPOL, has led to the arrest of two prolific ransomware operators known for their extortionate ransom demands – between EUR 5m and EUR 70m (USD 5.8m-81.2m). Per the Europol press release, besides seizing USD 75,000 in cash and two luxury vehicles worth around USD 251,500, an additional USD 1.3m in cryptocurrencies has been frozen as well.