Ethereum Layer 2 Startup Optimism Raises $150m in Series B Round

Ethereum scaling startup Optimism has secured a $150 million Series B round, co-led by Andreessen Horowitz and Paradigm. - 2022-03-18T152455.122.jpg

After this financing, the company was valued at $1.65 billion.

Since NFT and Defi products are closely linked to the Ethereum network, the Ethereum network has found transactions becomes slow and expensive for paying gas fees, pushing drive users to Layer 2 look for solutions like Optimism.

Layer 2 (L2) solutions are reported to have saved users of the Ethereum network more than $1 billion in gas fees. This “Total value locked” (TVL) on the L2 platform has exploded over the past year, with about $5.75 billion currently held on these blockchains, according to tracker L2Beat.

Optimism CEO Jinglan Wang said:

“We made a commitment to the public that we would not take profit from operating centralized parts of the system, so we wanted to remove the financial incentive for ourselves to remain centralized. While we are making revenue, we’re giving all of that revenue back toward funding public goods on Ethereum … We don’t just want to say that we want to be decentralized, we also want to show the community that we’re setting up our own incentives to be compatible with that.”

As reported by blockchain.News on September 1, Ethereum Layer-2 Off-chain Labs raised $120 million led by Lightspeed Venture Partners in its Series B financing, aiming to expand Ethereum contracts to meet the growing demand for Ethereum transactions.

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Coinbase and Brian Armstrong Named as Defendants in a Securities Lawsuit

Coinbase Global Inc, Coinbase Inc, and Brian Armstrong have been named defendants in a class-action lawsuit filed by three Plaintiffs Louis Oberlander, Henry Rodriguez, and Christopher Underwood.


All of whom claim the NASDAQ-listed exchange acted in the capacity of a brokerage for securities without sharing the required risks involved in trading as many as 79 different tokens.

According to the Plaintiffs who are being represented by Connecticut law firm Silver Golub & Teitell, Coinbase is liable as a brokerage firm and an “actual seller” when exchange takes place, crediting and debiting the parties involved in the transaction in its accounts, rather than facilitating direct exchange between those parties.

The lawsuit against Coinbase is not surprising, seeing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is sparing no expense at cracking on crypto-focused companies. The legal disposition of the market watchdog has given more people the impetus to take legal action against platforms, with one of the latest being the lawsuit filed by a Bore Ape NFT owner against OpenSea for his token that was sold at a giveaway amongst without his permission.

In the Coinbase lawsuit, the Plaintiffs are requesting to “recover damages, consideration paid for Tokens, and trading fees, together with interest thereon, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs, to the fullest extent permitted by law.”

The bone of contention with this lawsuit is that the laws governing the definition of crypto securities are still somewhat unclear across the board. In the past few years, the SEC has brought a $1.3 billion enforcement action against Ripple Labs Inc for selling XRP coins which it termed unregistered securities. 

While the Ripple-SEC lawsuit is still ongoing, experts predict a settlement is likely. Still, the regulator is likely not poised to set a precedent that can impact its future enforcement actions against other startups operating in the space.

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Japanese Challenger Bank Kyash Raises $41m from Jack Dorsey’s Block and Others

Kyash, a Tokyo-based challenger bank, announced Thursday that it had raised $41.2 million in a Series D funding round from investors, including payments company Block (formerly Square), Greyhound Capital, and Japan Post Investment Corporation, SMBC Nikko Securities, Altos Ventures, Goodwater Capital, StepStone Group, JAFCO Group, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Capital, and others. - 2022-03-18T093711.611.jpg

The participation marked Block’s first investment in an Asia-based firm. Kyash said that it plans to use the latest funding to double the number of staff and expand its product growth. Shinichi Takatori, the founder and CEO of Kyash, disclosed how the company intends to use the financing.

Meanwhile, Takuma Baba, the Managing Director of Japan Post Investment Corporation, also revealed why they backed Kyash: “Challenger Bank is a core theme in fintech and unbundling of traditional banking has become an irreversible trend globally. We believe Kyash’s user-first and mobile-first philosophy and product architecture will allow it to evolve into a key platform upon rebuilding the financial services with technology.”

Expanding Business Globally

In March 2020, Kyash raised $45 million in Series C funding, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The fintech firm raised the capital in order to expand its digital banking offerings.

Founded in 2015, Kyash has developed a proprietary full-stack banking infrastructure to offer mobile-first consumer-facing digital wallets in Japan. The platform provides personal remittance apps and online payment under the Kyash service name and issues virtual and physical pre-paid debit cards that can be used at Visa merchants.

Founded by Takatori, who in the past worked in the banking and consulting industry, Kyash provides a mobile banking app that enables customers to make online and offline payments, remittances, and ATM withdrawal services.

Since October 2019, Japan has been shifting to a cashless society when the government began partially subsidizing digital payments. However, the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated this movement. Global social distancing mandates have made cashless payments more of the norm instead of the exception. As a result, the pandemic has impacted the growth rates of international challenger banks. From January to May 2020, Kyash witnessed a growth of about 22%. Like Robinhood and Starling Bank, other competitors also experienced increased growth rates during the pandemic.  

Kyash currently focuses on the Japanese retail market and may consider overseas expansion mid-to long term.

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Three EU Regulators Warn Crypto Investors of Potential Losses

Three European Union regulators, the European Banking Authority (EBA), European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), and European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), have warned investors in the digital currency ecosystem within the bloc of potential losses inherent in the volatile ecosystem.


The call was accompanied by warnings of the likelihood of the investors losing their money and not having the right to seek any form of help from the government as the digital currency ecosystem has no investor protection laws.

“Consumers face the very real possibility of losing all their invested money if they buy these assets,” the regulators said. “Consumers should be aware of the lack of recourse or protection available to them, as crypto-assets and related products and services typically fall outside existing protection under current EU financial services rules.”

The EU is one of the most prominent hubs for crypto-related activities, with a lot of startups offering services in the ecosystem springing up at a fast pace. The warnings from the watchdogs are notably a way to draw caution from investors and not necessarily a binding order.

“The ESAs note growing consumer activity and interest in crypto-assets, including so-called virtual currencies and the emergence of new types of crypto-assets and related products and services, for instance, so-called non-fungible tokens (NFTs), derivatives with crypto-assets as underlying, unit-linked life insurance policies with crypto assets as underlying and decentralized finance (DeFi) applications, that claim to generate high and or fast returns,” the joint warning added. “The ESAs are concerned that an increasing number of consumers are buying those assets to expect that they will earn a good return without realizing the high risks involved.”

Regulators around the world have been quite concerned about the massive rate of influx into the cryptocurrency ecosystem. While there are notably good digital currencies with good fundamentals and ecosystems, there are also some that scammers operate, but all of these assets exhibit volatility which can generally cause investors to lose funds. This forms the basis of the warning from the EU regulators.

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HK Outlines Regulatory System for Virtual Asset Sector

The Hong Kong government is working to establish a regulatory system for the virtual asset industry, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui Ching-yu wrote in his blog. - 2022-03-18T113003.127.jpg

In a letter to the virtual asset industry forerunners, Hui said that key measures include a licensing regime for the virtual asset service providers, contemplating the regulation of payment-related stablecoins. In addition, to provide traditional financial institutions with guidelines on offering virtual asset-related services to clients.

The government and financial regulators rolled out these measures to build a systematic development and operation of the virtual asset sector and tackle money laundering risks, he said. Also, these measures aim to “build up market confidence, and hence provide a pathway to its sustainable development.”

Following the new requirement introduced by the Financial Action Task Force, licensing regime for virtual asset service providers will be established as a regulatory measure, he said. Therefore, virtual asset exchanges will have to apply for a licence from the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) before providing services in the city under the proposed licensing regime.

Both securities-type virtual assets and non-securities virtual assets such as Bitcoin are subject to the licensing regime.

Hui noted that these regulatory actions are being taken to create a fair balance in requirements and obligations between virtual assets and traditional financial institutions in areas such as anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing as well as investor protection.

Due to the technology-driven nature of virtual asset trading, requirements to address potential risks such as system failures and cyber security will also be imposed, he added.

Stablecoins regulatory regime in HK

According to Hui, plans are still under construction to introduce a regulatory regime for stablecoins.

“We are also contemplating the need to introduce another regulatory regime for ‘stablecoins’ as the nature of this particular type of VA makes it more likely to be used for payment purposes, and hence may pose risks different from those associated with other VAs, such as whether there is a robust mechanism for supporting its value or the impact on real economic activities in case of disruption of its payment function.”

The blog also highlighted that financial regulators had issued guidelines and regulatory advice on VA-related matters.

A circular issued by the SFC and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in January 2022 has set out regulatory guidelines for traditional financial intermediaries and banks to follow when distributing virtual asset-related products, providing virtual asset dealing services, and providing virtual asset advisory services to clients.

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Mina Foundation Raises $92m to Boost Zero-Knowledge Proof Technology

Mina Foundation, the blockchain outfit responsible for developing and managing the world’s lightest blockchain, Mina Protocol, has pulled the sum of $92 million in funding from investors led by Three Arrows Capital and FTX Ventures. 


The funding round also enjoined participation from investors, including Alan Howard, Amber Group,, Brevan Howard, Circle Ventures, Finality Capital Partners, and Pantera Capital.

Mina protocol uses Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Arguments of Knowledge (zk-SNARKs), a cryptographic proof that enables someone to authenticate information without revealing the said information. The focus of the blockchain protocol is to maintain and build on these techniques in a bid to redefine the pace of the next phase of adoption for its developers.

“The main opportunity here is to be able to program with zero knowledge for regular developers,” Mina Foundation CEO Evan Shapiro said in an interview with CoinDesk. “Historically, this hasn’t been possible – you had to be a cryptographer that also happened to be super good at the kinds of programming you need to work with zero-knowledge proofs. What makes this exciting is any developer who knows Javascript can now work with ZK proofs.”

Built as a protocol powered by its participants, Mina aims to be the goto blockchain for developers, and the funding round is poised to take it closer to this goal. 

“This [investment] from some of the most respected entities in crypto bolsters our aim to ensure that Mina becomes the go-to privacy and end-to-end security layer for Web3 while remaining powered by participants,” Shapiro said.

zk-SNARKs is a developing technology even in the nascent blockchain world, and the demystifying approach Mina is taking to make it available comes off as something that the majority of investors have identified. The Mina funding trails related to the funding of top blockchain firms, including OpenSea and 1iNCH, both of whom received $300 million and $175 million respectively in recent times.

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Top Altcoins with the Best Weekly Gain: BAT, GRT & APE

Despite the price fall experienced by the digital currency ecosystem in the past week, a rejuvenation was recorded for the better part of this week.


Trailing the upshot, the global crypto market cap soared to a high of $1.837 trillion amidst a soaring upshoot in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), both of which control over 60% of the crypto industry.

Despite the headway BTC and ETH recorded in the past week, a number of altcoins saw more impressive growths. These altcoins with the most remarkable growth are showcased below.

Basic Attention Token (BAT)

Basic Attention Token is the token that powers a new blockchain-based digital advertising platform designed to fairly reward users for their attention while providing advertisers with a better return on their ad spend.

Despite its low price currently pegged at $0.8496, up 3.46% in the past 24 hours, the token has always maintained a reputation as one of the most resilient altcoins amidst market surges. This week, BAT has recorded a 25.46% growth over the trailing 7-day period, placing it as one of the top earners for the week.

The Graph (GRT)

Despite shedding off as much as 6% of its accrued gains to be changing hands at $0.4096, the Graph remains one of the top earners for the week. 

The Graph is an indexing protocol for querying data for networks like Ethereum and IPFS, powering many applications in both Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and the broader Web3 ecosystem. During the week under review, the digital token has soared to a high of $0.4556 and has maintained a 26.84% growth within the same period.

ApeCoin (APE)

ApeCoin is arguably one of the newest sensations in town. Its debut, despite being filled with a lot of communal upheavals, APE is by far the biggest earner for the week, surging by over 713% at the time of writing to $8.46 after topping a daily high of $39.40 after making its debut on the Binance trading platform.

APE is designed to be a governance token launched by Yuga Labs, the startup that founded the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection and now has the IP rights to the CryptoPunks collection. The large community surrounding the BAYC collection stirred the massive embrace of the APE coin.

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LMAX Group to Launch Crypto Futures Products, Pairing with Switzerland’s SIX

LMAX Group, a global fintech firm that operates multiple institutional execution venues for electronic foreign exchange and cryptocurrency trading, announced Thursday a partnership with SIX Swiss Exchange, a major stock exchange based in Switzerland, to launch crypto-asset futures will be cash-settled and centrally cleared. - 2022-03-18T093410.324.jpg

LMAX disclosed that it plans to launch the cash-settled crypto-asset futures products in the third quarter of 2022, subject to regulatory approval.

The fintech company said the products would include centrally-cleared Bitcoin and Ethereum futures, which will trade 23 hours, five days per week on release. However, the firm plans to extend trading to run 24/7 once full products are rolled out.

David Mercer, the CEO of LMAX Group, talked about the launch and said, “the crypto futures market is three times bigger than spot and by offering access to deep institutional liquidity, we are providing a significant market entry opportunity as crypto and blockchain finance evolves. This pioneering solution will close the gap, enabling round-the-clock crypto futures trading, seven days a week, meeting the needs of a rapidly growing number of institutional participants.”

Providing Customers with Access to Digital Products

Last July, LMAX Group sold a 30% stake of its company shares to J.C. Flowers & Co, a U.S. private equity investment firm, to accelerate its future growth in FX and cryptocurrency markets. LMAX Group partnered with Flowers to accelerate the company’s next phase of innovation and growth and enable greater penetration in the FX and cryptocurrency markets globally, especially in the U.S. and Asia.

Established in 2010 and headquartered in London, LMAX Group operates five exchanges globally and matching engine infrastructure in Tokyo, London, and New York, which serve clients in more than 100 countries.

Over the last decade, the Group has developed a major institutional FX exchange. In 2018, the firm launched LMAX Digital, a leading institutional spot cryptocurrency exchange that serves over 500 institutional clients.

Serving banks, funds, asset managers, and retail brokerages in more than 100 nations, LMAX has built a strong global presence in the U.S., the U.K., Eurozone, and the Asia Pacific region.


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Samsung Plans to Develop Top-Notch Metaverse Devices to Foster Accessibility

During the general shareholder’s meeting, Samsung Electronics revealed plans to make the metaverse more accessible by developing innovative devices because it sees it as a new business model, according to South Korean media outlet Hankyung.  

Han Jong-hee, the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, noted:

“We will develop optimized metaverse devices and solutions so that customers can experience Metaverse anytime, anywhere.”

He added that the first step entailed discovering new opportunities in the robot business. 

Based on the company’s plunging stock price, Samsung sees the metaverse and robots as the new growth engines.

Furthermore, the electronics giant prioritises mergers and acquisitions in automotive electronic equipment, fifth-generation (5G) mobile communication, and artificial intelligence (AI) to revamp its revenue. The last Samsung acquisition was that of electronics firm Harman.

The release of metaverse devices might be on the horizon based on sentiments shared by Han Jong-hee during last month’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2022 held in Barcelona, Spain. He stated:

“The metaverse platform device is a hot topic these days, so please look forward to it.” 

The metaverse is gaining traction because more brands continue joining this space, given that it involves shared virtual worlds made more lifelike using technologies like augmented and virtual reality. 

For instance, McLaren Automotive recently entered the metaverse to give customers a new level of experience where they can mint and sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

By entering the metaverse arena, users would have the chance to own McLaren-branded products irrespective of whether they can afford an automobile from the company or not.

Meanwhile, Samsung continues to be involved in the crypto space. Its flagship phone, Galaxy S22 Ultra, is equipped with a crypto wallet, enabling users to store ID documentation and keys in digital format, Blockchain.News reported.  

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Bitcoin (BTC) $ 43,816.74 0.28%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 2,354.64 0.71%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 77.59 2.51%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 254.28 1.88%