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USD 150M Bet On ‘Extending’ Bitcoin, Miners Help Texas, Proof-of-Kraken, NFT Investments + More News
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- Muneeb Ali-led Trust Machines said they have raised USD 150m to “extend Bitcoin from being only a passive store of value to being the final settlement layer for a powerful new computational platform, and to both enable and grow the new economy of applications powered by Bitcoin the money and settling on the Bitcoin blockchain.” Investors in the company, that “will build upon the success of Stacks,” include Breyer Capital, Digital Currency Group, GoldenTree, Hivemind, and Union Square Ventures.
- The startup behind Bored Ape Yacht Club, the non-fungible token collection that counts celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Snoop Dogg as owners, is discussing a financing with Andreessen Horowitz that would value it at between USD 4bn and USD 5bn, the Financial Times reported, citing undisclosed “people with knowledge of the discussions.” NFTs pioneer Yuga Labs is seeking to sell a multimillion-dollar stake in a new funding round, it added.
- Tribal, a B2B payments and financing platform for emerging markets, said it has raised USD 60m in Series B funding led by SoftBank Latin America Fund, while Coinbase Ventures also joined the round together with other investors. To support its growing customer base in over 22 countries and its expansion across Latin America, Tribal will use the funds to continue building its local teams in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile, the company said.
- Arca, a crypto asset management firm, said it launched the Arca NFT Fund, which was capped at USD 50m and only open to existing Arca liquidity providers. “The Arca NFT Fund focuses on investing in the NFTs themselves, many of which have immediate cash flows and yields, and unique properties that accrue directly to the token holder,” they said.
- Operator-led venture capital firms Velvet Sea Ventures and 01 Advisors invested USD 100m into non-fungible token (NFT) collection Pixel Vault to launch an NFT entertainment company of the same name.
- KR1, a UK-based digital asset investment company, said it has invested a total of USD 5m into Starry Night Capital, a specialized investment fund dedicated to assembling a collection of high-profile NFTs. The fund was launched by Three Arrows Capital’s Su Zhu and Kyle Davies alongside pseudonymous NFT collector ‘Vincent Van Dough’.
- US-based major Bitcoin (BTC) miner Riot Blockchain Inc. shut down most of its BTC mining operation in Texas to conserve electricity due to the current cold and ice wave in the state. Riot CEO Jason Les added that they are prepared to support the community with resources at their disposal.
- Bitcoin mining difficulty, or the measure of how hard it is to compete for mining rewards, is expected to drop 0.68% in less than a day. The previous adjustment two weeks ago raised the difficulty to its new all-time high of 26.46 T.
- Bitcoin miner Greenidge Generation said fourth-quarter preliminary revenue rose 23% from the third quarter, from USD 35.8m in Q3 to USD 44m in Q4, even as the number of BTC produced fell 16% to around 609 in that period. They added that their hashrate climbed 17% to 1.4 exahash per second (EH/s) as of December 31, 2021.
- Kraken announced its implementation of “next-generation auditing standards” designed to let clients prove that their bitcoin and ethereum (ETH) balances are backed by real assets held in our custody. This Proof of Reserves audit, the team says, affirms that more than USD 19bn worth of client BTC and ETH is on their platform.
- Binance launched a new ad push ahead of the US Super Bowl featuring NBA star Jimmy Butler, who urges crypto consumers to do their own research instead of trusting celebrities when it comes to investing. Binance said it has chosen celebrities for its campaign that are known for their honesty and independence.
- Stocktwits, one of the social media sites at the heart of last year’s retail trading mania, partnered with FTX US and launched a crypto trading platform, looking to tap into the growing interest in crypto, Reuters reported. The company is planning to launch US equities trading by early next quarter, with trading in stock options, crypto derivatives, and other asset classes lined up ahead, it added.
- Russian Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov reiterated the Ministry’s stance on regulating rather than banning crypto, and suggested legalizing cryptoassets trading through banks, Kommersant reported, citing a letter Siluanov sent to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. Siluanov suggests banks can be authorized to provide crypto exchange services, while licensing rules will be introduced for other types of businesses as well.
- The Bank of Russia announced that Atomyze, a firm that sells tokenized metal from mining and smelting giant Nornickel‘s inventory, has become the first company in the country to be put on the central bank’s list of approved digital assets operators. The company uses blockchain technology based on Hyperledger Fabric.
- Business intelligence company MicroStrategy co-founder and CEO Michael Saylor says that tighter government crypto regulations would be a net positive for BTC as it would drive institutional adoption, per CNBC. He added that he himself is looking for clear, bright-line definitions of ‘digital property’ versus ‘digital security’ versus ‘digital currency’, and the operating rules of the digital exchange.
- Free Holdings, a Canadian entity claiming they own Quantum, an NFT considered to be the first of its kind, filed a suit in the New York federal court that auction house Sotheby’s had no right to sell the NFT under wrongly marketed ownership for USD 1.47m, per Law360. Free Holdings claims it took ownership of the piece in 2015.
- Celebrity entrepreneur Paris Hilton launched a series of NFTs “Paris: Past Lives, New Beginnings” on the Origin Story marketplace. “It is a collaboration with two innovative female digital artists, Paris Hilton and Superplastic’s synthetic superstar, Dayzee. These pieces represent Paris’s symbolic closing of one chapter of her life and moving onto the next,” per their website.
- Gaming giant Ubisoft and the HBAR Foundation behind the Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR) network, announced a partnership where Ubisoft will become a member of the Hedera Governing Council. Ubisoft is also setting up a Hedera-dedicated track into the Ubisoft Entrepreneurs Lab, which supports startups on a global scale, focusing on the future of entertainment.
- Hong Kong police have rescued a crypto trader kidnapped by a triad gang who demanded HKD 30m (USD 3.85m) in ransom, according to the South China Morning Post. The kidnappers had beaten the victim, 39, with hammers in their unsuccessful attempt to force the ransom payment, and he suffered leg fractures requiring hospital treatment, an unnamed source told the Post.
- Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms lost USD 10.2bn in 2021 on its newly created Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) division, which comprises its augmented and virtual reality operations, according to its fourth-quarter earnings report. On the earnings call with analysts, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company’s metaverse developments include releasing a high-end virtual reality headset by the end of the year.
- Huobi Incubator, the project incubation arm of Huobi Global, announced a strategic partnership with the DFINITY Foundation, a major contributor to the Internet Computer (ICP). The partnership will see Huobi Incubator provide end-to-end support for different Internet Computer-based dapps and projects, including seed round investment, technology guidance, marketing and community engagement, and more.