Celo Launches Web3 Africa Fund to Support Blockchain Startups

Celo, a mobile phone-focused blockchain platform, launched the Celo Web3 Africa Fund to support 250 projects in developing African blockchain-based projects.

The fund will select 250 projects, and in addition to financial support, it will also provide business and technical guidance for potential projects. At present, the fund is open for application.

The company said it would hold corresponding seminars in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, and South Africa. It will help blockchain projects to be listed on decentralized exchanges.

The Celo network has differentiated itself from other blockchains, enabling payments with its Celo Dollar stablecoin, which could be directly sent to a person’s phone number rather than an address.

The smartphone-focused Celo platform currently boasts more than 1 million registered wallet addresses across 113 countries.

The company claims that it will be able to reach 1 billion users worldwide by 2025.

Last August, Celo, a mobile phone-focused blockchain platform, announced a 100 million funding program, popularly known as the “DeFi for the people” fund, aiming to make DeFi accessible to the 6 billion smartphone users worldwide.

Crypto Valley Venture Capital (CV VC), a Switzerland-headquartered private venture capital company, announced that it has launched African Blockchain Early-Stage Fund that targets blockchain startups from across the continent.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / /

Bank Indonesia to Evaluate CBDC Influence to Local Economy

Doni Primanto Joewono, the Bank Indonesia (BI) Governor, said cryptocurrency can facilitate financial system efficiencies and inclusion. The administration is evaluating the impact of adopting central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Speaking at a side event of the G20 summit, Joewono noted that the growth of crypto assets spurred by digitization in the post-pandemic era has transformed general life and people’s activities. 

These transformations, therefore, pursue central banks to explore the issuance of CBDCs. Joewono said “a number of central banks are carefully continuing to study the possible effects of the CBDC, including Indonesia.”

The governor also stipulated that a regulatory framework is crucial for the stability of crypto assets. He pointed out:

“Crypto assets can potentially help emerge new risks that could affect economic, monetary, and financial system stability.”

As part of the CBDC feasibility study, Bank Indonesia plans to offer a white paper concerning establishing the digital Rupiah.

This seems to be a change of tune based on Indonesia’s previous tough stance on the crypto sector. Previously, the national Financial Services Authority (OJK) asserted that financial firms should not offer cryptocurrency services. OJK had stated:

“OJK has strictly prohibited financial service institutions from using, marketing, and/or facilitating crypto asset trading.” 

Once rolled out CBDC, the digital currency is expected to drive the financial inclusion of nearly 1.7 billion people left out of the banking system. 

CBDCs are digital assets, pegged to a real-world asset and backed by the central banks, meaning that they represent a claim against the bank, precisely the way banknotes work. Central banks will also be in complete control of their currency supply. 

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / /

Multicoin Capital Injects $430m Venture Fund III for Blockchain Startups

Cryptocurrency investment firm Multicoin Capital has announced the launch of $430 million Venture Fund III to help startups focusing on decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), open finance, and Web3 infrastructure.

In this round of funding, the firm said Venture Fund III would invest between $500,000 and $25 million in early-stage blockchain projects or companies, adding that it may invest up to 100 million US dollars or more in supporting mature projects with potential market influence in the future.

Samani, managing partner at Multicoin Capital, commented on the latest move and said, “We are continuing to invest at a fairly rapid pace, issuing, on average, probably one term sheet per week or more for a long time like over a year… We invest across market cycles, we find assets that we think are very exciting and we buy them and then hold them forever.”

Founded in 2017, Multicoin Capital is a thesis-driven investment firm that invests in cryptocurrencies, tokens, and blockchain companies reshaping trillion-dollar markets.

Multicoin Capital is the lead investor in data DAO project Delphia, which closed a $60 million Series A in June.

In May, Crypto Valley Venture Capital (CV VC), a Switzerland-headquartered private venture capital company, announced that it has launched African Blockchain Early-Stage Fund, which targets blockchain startups from across the continent.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / /

Funding for Crypto Startups Falls to One-Year Low

Digital currencies, public stocks and venture capital backing crypto startups have finally cooled down after massive growth due to the effects of an economic storm, according to Bloomberg.


Bloomberg reported, citing data from the research firm PitchBook, that funding for private crypto firms in the second quarter fell to its lowest level in a year.

Prior to the economic turmoil, cryptos’ rising popularity helped set a record of $9.85 billion in venture funds raised in the first quarter. However, according to Bloomberg, that just indicated how long it would take for venture capital deals to finalize.

“Even though the crypto market started slowing down in November, December, those deals were already in discussion, so they closed in the first quarter,” said Robert Le, fintech analyst at PitchBook.

The second quarter has provided a clearer picture of the effect of the economic turmoil on crypto companies. According to PitchBook, venture capitalists invested $6.76 billion into crypto companies in the period that ended in June, a 31% decline from the previous quarter.

“The crypto industry now mirrors the sluggish activity among tech and venture capital investors,” Bloomberg reported. 

“Everyone is really hesitant on closing deals right now,” Le said.

The collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin, critical financial troubles at crypto lenders like Celsius and Babel Finance, and several employee layoffs at Coinbase, Gemini and Crypto.com are all examples of the effects of the market downturn on the crypto industry, which have also contributed to the uncertainty.

While in the crypto startup sector, David Pakman – a managing partner at the crypto VC firm CoinFund – told Bloomberg that deals have fallen apart, and investors have revoked written offers in recent weeks.

Bloomberg added that more layoffs are likely, and valuations will decrease further. It added that the troubled crypto lender BlockFi Inc. was already looking to raise money at a reduced valuation of $1 billion. 

“What you’re seeing now is seed valuations are down about 20%, Series A valuations are down about 50%, and then Series B and beyond are down about 70%,” Pakman said.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / /

US Treasury Invites Public Opinions on Digital Assets Framework

The US Department of the Treasury invited public opinions on Tuesday on the potential risks and benefits of cryptocurrencies based on President Joe Biden’s executive order in March.

The Treasury stated that it is asking for input from the public that will help the administration in reporting to President Jow Biden on the possible impacts of digital assets on the payment infrastructures and financial markets.

Nellie Liang, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance, commented about the development: “For consumers, digital assets may present potential benefits, such as faster payments, as well as potential risks, including risks related to frauds and scams. The Treasury Department is seeking to benefit from the expertise of the American people and market participants by soliciting public comment as we engage in this important work.”

The request for public comment was launched on the Federal Register last Friday, July 8, but the Treasury formally announced it on Tuesday, July 12.

The Treasury expects the public to submit their comments by August 8th. The comments are just what people think or view could be the impact of mass adoption of cryptocurrencies, both for retail and institutional investors, and the potential effect of introducing new digital asset products and services. The agency also asked US citizens to weigh their thoughts on potential risks, such as losing private keys, and the authenticity of digital assets, including NFTs, among others.

The Treasury also noted concern that digital assets can pose risks to the underserved and vulnerable communities if exposed to such financial products with proper awareness: “The rise in use of digital assets, and differences across communities, may also present a disparate financial risk to less informed market participants or exacerbate inequities. It is critical to ensure that digital assets do not pose undue risks to consumers, investors, or businesses, and to put in place protections as a part of efforts to expand access to safe and affordable financial services experienced by more vulnerable populations.”

As reported by Blockchain.News, in March, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling the federal government to examine the benefits and risks of cryptocurrencies.

Biden’s executive order directed the Treasury Department to take the lead among other government agencies in developing regulations and oversight aimed at addressing both systemic and consumer risks around digital assets.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / /

BlockFi Stops Accepting GBTC as Collateral

BlockFi, a major crypto lending firm based in New Jersey, has reversed its earlier decision, and now stop accepting shares in the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) as collateral for loans.

Early Tuesday, the non-bank lender announced that it would cease accepting GBTC as loan collateral.

In a statement, a BlockFi representative said: “While we don’t currently hold any positions in GBTC and are winding down a couple of loans where GBTC is part of the collateral package, we are not saying that we won’t support GBTC as collateral moving forward. Like any collateral, we constantly evaluate appropriate collateral haircut ratios and aim to accept as many types of collateral that our clients hold as possible.”

The earlier move by BlockFi to seek winding down its positions in Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust was because of its exposure to Singapore-based hedge fund firm Three Arrows Capital (3AC). BlockFi lost about $80 million from Three Arrows’ bad debt in terms of the GBTC investment product whose value dropped massively amid the recent collapse of the struggling hedge fund.

GBTC allows investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin without directly purchasing and holding the cryptocurrency themselves.

Crypto Contagion Risk

The move by these firms, including BlockFi, came as a response to the controversy facing Three Arrows Capital, which had a huge stake in GBTC and was offering arbitrage opportunities around the Grayscale fund.

BlockFi has been hit hard by the contagion risk triggered by the collapse of the Three Arrows Capital. Many other crypto firms, including lending platforms Celsius Network, Voyager Digital, and Vauld, also saw their fortunes wiped off amid the crash of TerraUSD and LUNA and consequently the downfall of the prominent leveraged crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital.

Grayscale’s GBTC is a widely traded Bitcoin fund. Recently, Grayscale filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for rejecting its application to convert its GBTC into a spot Bitcoin ETF (Exchange-Traded Fund). Among the reasons why the SEC rejected Grayscale’s application was the possibility of manipulation of Bitcoin trades — an argument apparently boosted by Three Arrows’ botched arbitrage trading plan.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / /

Magic Eden Floats New Venture Unit to Double Down on Web3 Gaming

Solana-backed non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace Magic Eden has announced the establishment of its own venture outfit called Magic Ventures, focusing on bootstrapping Web3.0 gaming protocols.


While projecting that Web3.0 games will serve as a GoTo ecosystem for many people, Magic Eden believes most innovations are still very rough, and they needed facilitating. The trading platform said the advent of Magic Ventures will absolutely help in investing in promising games and gaming infrastructure, which will bolster the growth of Web3 gaming. 

Magic Ventures will be led by Tony Zhao, who will double as the Head of Gaming Investments. The appointment of Tony is a thought-out decision drawing on his experience while staff at Tencent Games. During his time at Tencent, Tony focused on he focused on investing in up-and-coming games, acquiring world-class studios, and forming strategic partnerships across the entire Tencent Games portfolio.

Tony will also be joined in charting the way forward for Magic Ventures alongside Yoonsup Choi, Harrison Chang, and Matt Biamonte, all of whom have personally launched their own NFT collections and have a deep understanding of the Web3.0 ecosystem.

“The world of gaming is a massive market that has just started to venture into the world of Web3. We intend to deepen our relationships with both gamers and game developers alike to champion the future of games on the blockchain. With Magic Ventures, we are excited to invest in the next wave of creativity and innovation in Web3 gaming,” said Jack Lu, CEO of Magic Eden.

The launch of Magic Ventures trails the $130 million funding round the firm completed last month and the second for this year. Per the June round, Magic Eden entered the unicorn club with a $1.6 billion valuation. From its latest strides and with the advent of Magic Ventures, the startup said it is on track to expand its gaming ecosystem across the board.


Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / / /

Celsius is “Deeply Insolvent”, Says Vermont’s Financial Regulator

Celsius Network is “deeply insolvent”, Vermont’s Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) said on Tuesday, adding that the cryptocurrency lender is also not honouring its obligations to customers and creditors as it does not have the assets and liquidity to do so.


The DFR also said that Celsius has been involved in an unregistered securities offering, selling cryptocurrency interest accounts to retail investors including investors in Vermont and the crypto lender also lacks a money transmitter license.

Celsius, until recently was operating largely without regulatory oversight.

The regulator said, “due to its failure to register its interest accounts as securities, Celsius customers did not receive critical disclosures about its financial condition, investing activities, risk factors, and ability to repay its obligations to depositors and other creditors.”

Furthermore, the multistate investigation of Celsius has been joined by the state agency. While, the company’s decision to suspend customer redemptions is being investigated by state securities regulators in Alabama, Kentucky, New Jersey, Texas and Washington.

Celsius had positioned itself in the market by promising more than 18% in interest to peoples’ holdings who gave it their digital coins. The crypto lender, in turn, lent those coins out, Bloomberg reported.

However, the crypto lender has already begun repaying debts as it continues tackling the potential insolvency issue.

Celsius Network on Monday repaid partial debts to decentralized finance and lending platforms Aave and Compound respectively, Blockchain.News reported citing sources.

According to tracker Etherscan, the crypto lender repaid $78.1 million worth of USDC stablecoin to Aave and $35 million worth of stablecoin DAI on the platform Compound.

The Block reported that Celsius also withdrew 6,083 wrapped bitcoin (worth approximately $124 million) from Aave and transferred them to an Ethereum address known to interact with centralized exchanges regularly.

Last month, Celsius froze withdrawals due to the recent market downturn, while other crypto firms, Voyager Digital Ltd. and Three Arrows Capital, recently filed for bankruptcy.

According to a report from Blockchain.News, besides clearing debts, the crypto lender has also started the restructuring process.

Celsius has hired new lawyers to advise the troubled cryptocurrency lender on restructuring, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), according to the report.

The much-needed restructuring plan has come as it seeks to escape the recent turmoil in crypto markets, the WSJ said, citing people familiar with the matter.

According to the WSJ report, Kirkland & Ellis LLP lawyers have been called on board to advise Celsius on options, including a bankruptcy filing.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / /

Lightspeed Venture Partners Launches 4 Crypto Funds with $7.1B

Venture Capital (VC) firm Lightspeed Ventures has announced it has secured the cumulative $7.1 billion to bankroll 4 new crypto funds.


As announced by the VC, the four funds include Lightspeed Venture Partners XIV-A/B LP, Lightspeed Venture Partners Select V LP, Lightspeed Opportunity Fund II LP, and Lightspeed India Partners Fund IV, which will focus exclusively on Indian innovators.

Per the details shared, each of the funds notably closed with $1.98 billion, $2.26 billion, $2.36 billion, and $500 million, respectively. 

Besides the announcement of these funds, Lightspeed said it has also launched Lightspeed Faction, an independent team dedicated to building on Lightspeed’s nine-year history of backing exceptional founders in blockchain infrastructure. The Lightspeed Faction team will be led by investors Sam Harrison and Banafsheh Fathieh.

Lightspeed has one of the broadest allowances as a VC supporting the digital currency ecosystem. Its funds are injected into innovative projects irrespective of their stage or a particular geographical location. 

“We believe in investing at the earliest stages of innovation, partnering with generational entrepreneurs who have clarity of vision, an insatiable desire to build something enduring, and the conviction and courage to compete and win against all odds,” said Arif Janmohamed, Partner, Lightspeed. “We love to partner with and even incubate companies around core dislocations in the enterprise landscape and to build relationships with prospective entrepreneurs years before they are ready to start building.”

The latest capital accumulation by Lightspeed shows that investors are unbothered by the latest downturn in the crypto ecosystem.

Lightspeed Venture Partners is one of many VCs dedicating funds to support innovative projects in the emerging Web3.0 world. While the combined $7.1 billion capital from the four funds is the largest seen thus far, other outfits like Haun Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) have also previously floated $1.5 billion and $4.5 billion funds, respectively.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / /

Animoca Brands Lands $75m, Creating Opportunities in Metaverse

In its latest funding round, digital entertainment, blockchain, and gamification outfit Animoca Brands announced it has raised $75 million.


According to the details of the fundraising, investors backed the firm at a subscription price of A$4.50 per share for a total of 23,237,058 new shares. Following this raise, the company now has a total of 1,836,142,334 fully paid ordinary shares on issue.

This funding round places Animoca Brands at a pre-money valuation of $5.9 billion enjoined high profile investors, including Liberty City Ventures, Kingsway Capital, Alpha Wave Ventures, 10T, SG Spring Limited Partnership Fund, Generation Highway Ltd, Cosmic Summit Investments Limited, and others.

The funding round is an extension of the $358 million boosts the firm received back in January as its valuation remained pegged at $5 billion at the time.

“Digital property rights represent a society-defining generational shift that impacts everyone online and will set the stage for the emergence of the open metaverse,” Yat Siu, co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands, “We are deeply honoured to continue to enjoy strong support from investors as we work to solidify the leadership position of Animoca Brands in the Web3 industry and in the field of true digital ownership.”

Known as a backer of some of the most popular Web3.0 gaming protocols, including Axie Infinity, and The Sandbox, Animoca Brands said it is still spearheading and innovating decentralized in-game rewards and monetization in video games for the emerging open metaverse.

The company said it is going to commit the “new capital to continue to fund strategic acquisitions, investments, and product development, secure licenses for popular intellectual properties, and advance the open metaverse, including through its efforts to promote digital property rights for online users.”

More funds are trickling into the digital currency ecosystem as investors align with startups brandishing the model that can guarantee a massive inflow of new users into the digital currency ecosystem.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / /
Bitcoin (BTC) $ 27,704.42 0.83%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 1,645.88 0.03%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 64.75 0.55%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 231.55 1.03%