Crypto Staking Firm Figment Raises $110 Million in Funding Led by Thoma Bravo

Figment – a company that provides blockchain infrastructure and protocol staking – announced a $110 million Series C fundraise at a $1.4 billion post-money valuation. The investment was led by Thoma Bravo – an American private equity and growth capital firm.

Figment to Work on the Web3 Ecosystem

Apart from Thoma Bravo, the funding round was supported by many other giants in the financial field. These include Counterpoint Global (one of Morgan Stanley’s equity teams), Binance Labs, Avon Ventures, Mirae Asset, Bitstamp, CMS Holdings, B Capital Group, and more.

Figment aims to provide more accessible Internet by employing Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchain technology. The company is among the leaders in building the Web3 ecosystem and will use the $110 million to support the adoption, growth, and long-term success of the new iteration of the Internet that incorporates decentralization.

Lorien Gabel – Co-Founder and CEO of Figment – said his firm has had an “exceptional” year mainly because PoS has become mainstream and thus transformed the finance sector and added:

“The caliber of investors in our Series C round cements Figment’s position as one of the most trusted and well-established platforms in the Web3 ecosystem.”

Gabel claimed that “tons of experienced engineers” have recently jumped from traditional software into the crypto space. He revealed many of these people have joined Figment’s team and helped create an “amazing Web3 native organizational culture.”


Tre Sayle – a Partner at Thoma Bravo – commented on the funding round, as well, saying, “We are thrilled to be partnering with the talented Figment team.” The exec described Figment as a company focused on building the next generation of blockchain technology, which has an entrepreneurial culture.

Other Investments Orientated Towards Web3

A few days ago, Seven Seven Six (a venture capital firm owned by Reddit’s Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian) partnered with Polygon to launch a $200 million fund to boost developments in the Web3 sector. The initiative will support protocols that explore “better ways for humans to connect online.”

Speaking on the investment, Ohanian said Web3 is still in its early stages, and the “most obvious opportunities right now are in gaming and social media.”

“The initiative will do just that, with a focus on gaming properties and social media platforms built on Polygon’s scalable infrastructure. We have already seen some of the best products founders in our portfolio start building on Polygon, and I’m excited for Seven Seven Six and Polygon to play a big role in shaping what the new Internet looks like.” – he added.


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Christie’s Sold $150M Worth of NFTs This Year

Key Takeaways

  • Christie’s has revealed that it made nearly $150 million in revenue from NFT sales this year.
  • The auction house’s total global sales this year were strong at $7.1 billion.
  • Christie’s foray into the world of NFTs likely contributed to the wave of enthusiasm around NFTs in 2021.

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World-famous auction house Christie’s has made nearly $150 million in revenue this year from NFTs alone. 

A Novel Moneymaker

Christie’s, the British auction house founded in 1766, announced today that it had sold close to $150 million worth of NFTs in 2021 “after launching this new market first on the global auction stage.”

This represents a rather small portion of Christie’s total sales this year, which it projects to be $7.1 billion globally; total sales for the auction house were roughly 54% higher than they were last year. These are Christie’s highest numbers in the last five years. 

Traditional art still dominated Christie’s sales this year: two of the most valuable works sold at auction in 2021 were a Picasso at $103.4 million and a Basquiat for $93.1 million. However, the same May evening that the Basquiat sold, nine CryptoPunks—arguably the most famous NFT collection in the world—sold at auction for a total of $16.9 million. 

Beeple was easily the most valuable NFT artist represented in the auction house’s catalog this year. In March, he sold his “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” NFT at Christie’s for $69.34 million. This sale arguably kicked off the NFT craze that characterized this year.

In November, Christie’s sold another one of Beeple’s works, called “HUMAN ONE,” a 7-foot-tall astronaut sculpture that was paired with an NFT, for just under $29 million. That same month, Christie’s and OpenSea partnered to sell a whole collection of NFTs.

Total sales volume for the entire NFT market has been estimated at $12 billion in 2021, which might make the $150 million done at Christie’s seem rather small in comparison. However, it seems likely that Christie’s entrenched position in the traditional art world helped to elevate NFT art to new level of respectability.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies. 

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Crypto regulation is coming, but Bitcoin traders are still buying the dip

Looking at the Bitcoin chart from a weekly or daily perspective presents a bearish outlook and it’s clear that (BTC) price has been consistently making lower lows since hitting an all-time high at $69,000.

Bitcoin/USD on FTX. Source: TradingView

Curiously, the Nov. 10 price peak happened right as the United States announced that inflation has hit a 30-year high, but, the mood quickly reversed after fears related to China-based real estate developer Evergrande defaulting on its loans. This appears to have impacted the broader market structure.

Traders are still afraid of stablecoin regulation

This initial corrective phase was quickly followed by relentless pressure from regulators and policy makers on stablecoin issuers. First came VanEck’s spot Bitcoin ETF rejection by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 12. The denial was directly related to the view that Tether’s (USDT) stablecoin was not solvent and concerns over Bitcoin’s price manipulation.

On Dec. 14, the U.S. Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee held a hearing on stablecoins focused on consumer protection and their risks and on Dec. 17, the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) voiced its concern over stablecoin adoption and other digital assets. “The Council recommends that state and federal regulators review available regulations and tools that could be applied to digital assets,” said the report.

The worsening mood from investors was reflected in the CME’s Bitcoin futures contracts premium. The metric measures the difference between longer-term futures contracts to the current spot price in regular markets.

Whenever this indicator fades or turns negative, this is an alarming red flag. This situation is also known as backwardation and indicates that bearish sentiment is present.

Bitcoin CME 2-month forward contract premium versus Coinbase/USD. Source: TradingView

These fixed-month contracts usually trade at a slight premium, indicating that sellers are requesting more money to withhold settlement for longer. Futures should trade at a 0.5% to 2% annualized premium in healthy markets, a situation known as contango.

Notice how the indicator moved below the “neutral” range after Dec. 9 as Bitcoin traded below $49,000. This shows that institutional traders are displaying a lack of confidence, although it is not yet a bearish structure.

Top traders are increasing their bullish bets

Exchange-provided data highlights traders’ long-to-short net positioning. By analyzing every client’s position on the spot, perpetual and futures contracts, one can better understand whether professional traders are leaning bullish or bearish.

There are occasional discrepancies in the methodologies between different exchanges, so viewers should monitor changes instead of absolute figures.

Exchanges top traders Bitcoin long-to-short ratio. Source:

Despite Bitcoin’s 19% correction since Dec. 3, top traders at Binance, Huobi, and OKEx have increased their leverage longs. To be more precise, Binance was the only exchange facing a modest reduction in the top traders’ long-to-short ratio. The figure moved from 1.09 to 1.03. However, this impact was more than compensated by OKEx traders increasing their bullish bets from 1.51 to 2.91 in two weeks.

Related: SEC commissioner Elad Roisman will leave by end of January

The lack of a premium in CME 2-month future contracts should not be considered a ‘red alert’ because Bitcoin is currently testing the $46,000 resistance, its lowest daily close since Oct. 1. Furthermore, top traders at derivatives exchanges have increased their longs despite the price drop.

Regulatory pressure probably won’t lift up in the short term, but at the same time, there’s not much that the U.S. government can do to suppress stablecoin issuance and transactions. These companies can move outside of the U.S. and operate using dollar-denominated bonds and assets instead of cash. For this reason, currently, there is hardly a sense of panic present in the market and from data shows, pro traders are buying the dip.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.