Defi Cross-chain Interoperability Protocol Nomad Raises $22.4m from Crypto Leaders

Defi cross-chain interoperability protocol Nomad has secured a $22.4 million seed round from the crypto industry leader.

Crypto investment firm Polychain led the round. Capital, Wintermute, Gnosis, Algaé and Polygon participated. Other participants include newcomers Coinbase Ventures, OpenSea,

This financing round will be used to expand Nomad to other blockchains, helping it create a more secure cross-chain bridge encryption ecosystem, where different blockchains can communicate more securely and cost-effectively, avoiding hackers – such as The $625 million attack on Axie Infinity’s Ronin network in March.

Anurag Arjun, the co-founder of Polygon, said, “Because Nomad provides a trust-minimized protocol for cross-chain messaging, there are potential applications that go well beyond just token bridging. We look forward to seeing some exciting new use cases come to life on-chain.”

Nomad is a cross-chain communication protocol that uses an Optimistic fraud-proof mechanism to ensure network security. Optimistic verification allows observers to challenge messages through on-chain fraud proofs without relying on custodians or validators.

Currently, Cross-Chain Bridge Nomad has more than 14,000 users and has completed a total transaction volume of $700 million.

Nomad currently supports cross-chain operations on the Ethereum mainnet and Moonbeam, Evmos and Avalanche blockchains, through which developers can build cross-chain applications (or xApps) such as token bridges, native cross-chain assets, cross-chain governance applications, etc.

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GameFi Industry Expected to Reach $2.8B by 2028

The growth and adoption of the crypto GameFi business are expected to make the game-earning non-fungible token (NFT) gaming industry reach $2.8 billion by 2028, according to Absolute Reports, a company that provides market research services.

The report shows that while the cryptocurrency market is going through a “crypto winter,” WAX and Binance Smart Chain have stable community numbers with 2.94 million and 2.49 million customers, respectively.

The rise in popularity of playable and earnable non-fungible token (NFT) games on the Ethereum sidechain is a significant boost as blockchain gaming provides users with a simple, accessible and engaging way to An important factor in the growth of blockchain gaming.

The GameFi market is analysed based on type, console, and market region. The report also delves into a detailed analysis of the market-leading companies, including Sky Mavis, Dapper Labs, Decentraland, Immutable, and The Sandbox.

The report further revealed that blockchain gaming attracted 1.22 million active user wallets (UAWs) in March this year.

DappRadar’s research shows that blockchain gaming leads the way in decentralised applications, accounting for 52% of blockchain activity.

The data shows that VCs’ interest in investing in gamefi startups during the downturn has been increasing.

In early July, Blockchain gamefi Land of Conquest received investment from venture capital firm Huobi Ventures, who also signed as the lead investor in the game.

Blockchain game “Cross the Ages” (CTA) has received a $12 million seed round from gaming crypto investment firm Animoca Brands, video game developer Ubisoft, and Sebastian Borget, co-founder and COO of The Sandbox.

Play-to-earn (P2E), or GameFi, is the next major opportunity for Web3 and blockchain.

P2E is a popular business model that stays in the blockchain game world that integrates both Web3 and blockchain, which corresponds to the F2P (Free to Play) model common in the real world of the game industry.

The intense crypto bear market, which has fueled a significant increase in the number of customers for blockchain-based games, is considered a springboard for further growth in the crypto ATM market.

Another study projected the crypto ATM market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.4% over the forecast period, six years from 2022 to 2028. 

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Venture Capital Firm Variant to Establish $450m Venture Fund III

Venture capital firm Variant has announced the launch of a $450 million Venture Fund III to help startups focused on Defi and Web3 infrastructure.

In this funding round, the company said Venture Fund III includes $150 million in seed funding and $300 million in opportunity funds.

Venture Capital (VC) firms continue penetrating the crypto sector, given that they have pumped in $17 billion so far this year.

Venture capital firm Variant was founded by veterans such as venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16Z).

This is the third funding launched by the company. Its second fund was launched in October last year, valued at $ 110 million. The fund itself comes about a year after the $22.5 million debut fund.

DeFi projects in Variant’s portfolio include Cozy Finance, Empiric, Euler, Fei Protocol, Flashbots, Gearbox, Goldfinch, Morpho, Sense, Union, Uniswap, Verto, and Yield Protocol.

The company said it has doubled in size, bringing in a total of 15 professionals with deep expertise in DeFi, consumer, and infrastructure to help the fund manage portfolio support functions, as well as provide information on a listing, token design, and community building, etc.

Partners Jin Li, Spencer Noon and Jesse Walden said, “Variant is designed for this moment in cryptocurrency. There’s a reason we’ve stayed small: because it allows us to work with our Portfolios work closely together and guide founders on the most important issues they face early on in their journeys.”

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Ethereum Hits 6-Week High amid Addresses in Profitability Surging

Ethereum (ETH) reached highs of $1,770, a scenario has last seen on June 10 as more momentum continues trickling into the network.

Market insight provider Santiment pointed out:

“Ethereum had a big Thursday, soaring above $1,770 for the first time since June 10th. This spike was just two days after ETH hinted at a big move following its AllTimeHigh in address activity, breaking over 1 million for the first time in history.”


Source: Santiment

Even though Ethereum had retraced to $1,715 during intraday trading, the second-largest cryptocurrency continues to enjoy an uptick in address activities. 

For instance, the number of non-zero addresses has been scaling heights. Crypto analytic firm Glassnode explained:

“The number of non-zero ETH addresses just reached an ATH of 84,626,207.”


Source: Glassnode

This suggests that more participants are joining the Ethereum network, given that daily active addresses recently reached historic highs, Blockchain.News reported. 

On the other hand, the bullish momentum ETH undergoing has triggered increases in profits to reach a monthly high. Glassnode noted:

“The number of Ethereum addresses in profit (7d MA) just reached a 1-month high of 47,590,069.435. Previous 1-month high of 47,585,913.821 was observed on 25 July 2022.”


Source: Glassnode

An uptick in address activity coupled with the recent merge news seems to have triggered the current upward trend in the Ethereum ecosystem. 

During a recent developers’ call, the most probable date for the merge was announced as September 19. 

The merge is expected to transform the Ethereum network into a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism from the current proof-of-work (PoW) framework, which has been elusive for a few years.

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Babel Finance Lost Over $280m in Proprietary Trading with Customer Funds

Babel Finance has undergone severe loss as it executed proprietary trading with customer funds.

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The Asian crypto lender has been in trouble and abruptly suspended client withdrawals from last month. This report comes from the company’s restructuring proposal deck.

Due to proprietary trading failure, the company lost more than $280 million in Bitcoin and Ether, according to the deck dated July 2022.

While in June, due to a heavy market downturn, Babel Finance specifically lost around 8,000 BTC and 56,000 ETH after facing liquidation.

“In that volatile week of June when BTC fell precipitously from 30k to 20k, unhedged positions in [proprietary trading] accounts chalked up significant losses, directly leading to forced liquidation of multiple Trading Accounts and wiped out ~8,000 BTC and ~56,000 ETH,” reads the deck.

Following these heavy losses, Babel’s lending and trading departments have been unable to meet margin calls.

According to the deck, “conclusion: Single point of failure – The Proprietary Trading team’s failed operation falls outside of the company’s normal business which has otherwise been running smoothly with proper management and control.”

The Block said that Babel Finance describes its proprietary trading business as “risky”, yet it failed to hedge its positions.

“A Proprietary Trading team operates several Trading Accounts not controlled or monitored by Trading Department; no trading mandate or risk controls were implemented for these accounts; no PnL [profit and loss] was reported,” per the deck.

Babel Finance has also reportedly played with customers’ funds in 2020. 

According to a leaked recording, Babel Finance, in October 2020, leveraged some user funds to boost a bitcoin trade. Following that, the company face potential default risks during that year’s Black Thursday market crash.

However, as per the recordings, Tether reportedly stepped in to save Babel Finance at the time.

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Top Lawyer Sydney Schaub Departs from Gemini by Joining Opendoor Technologies Inc.

Sydney Schaub, a top attorney at Gemini Trust Co., a cryptocurrency exchange run by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, is leaving her job to join online real estate company Opendoor Technologies Inc. as a chief legal officer.

According to Reuters Media, Schaub is leaving Gemini after working at the exchange as general counsel for four years with the company started by Bitcoin billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

Niels Gjertson, deputy general counsel chief at Gemini, will be taking her position, a Gemini spokeswoman revealed.

Gemini promoted assistant general counsel Niels Gjertson to assume the role of general counsel and will oversee legal, compliance and regulatory affairs when he begins on Aug 5.  

Schaub joined Gemini in 2018 after working as general counsel for more than one year at e-commerce fashion retail platform Rent the Runway Inc.. Before joining Rent the Runway Inc, Schaub worked at Square (now known as Block Inc.,) where she spent almost six years at the Jack Dorsey-led financial services company.

In 2016, she was appointed as co-acting general counsel at Square Inc. after former legal chief Dana Wagner departed the company.

Schaub also worked in the legal department at Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which recruited her directly out of Harvard Law School in 2007.

In a statement on her LinkedIn profile on July 26, Schaub thanked her colleagues at Gemini and said she is expecting to take on a new challenge disrupting yet another regulated industry.

Schaub is joining Opendoor, an online home-selling company that went public in late 2020 by merging with a blank check company led by investor Chamath Palihapitiya.

The hiring comes at a right time when Opendoor is looking to reinvent its home-buying process. The company, which focuses its business on the so-called iBuying technology, expanded earlier this year into the suburbs surrounding New York City.

Eric Wu, Opendoor’s co-founder and chief executive officer, commented about the appointment: “Schaub has been instrumental in making companies that are disrupting old ways of doing business into household names.”

Massive Industry Layoffs

Schaub’s departure happened when Gemini recently exercised massive layoffs as it prepared itself to sail through a long crypto winter.

Over the past month, prominent crypto companies, including Gemini, Coinbase, BlockFi, and many others, laid off thousands of employees amid the crypto market downturn.

On June 2, Gemini cut 10% of its workforce because turbulent market conditions that it cited were likely to persist for some time.

Two weeks later, the exchange cut more employees in a second round that saw 7% of the workforce or 68 workers laid off. And reports showed that Geminin was likely to announce more layoffs in the next rounds.

Several crypto firms and exchanges have laid off employees as the global crypto market has significantly plummeted this year. The market meltdown has left several companies filing for bankruptcy or looking to get emergency capital infusions.

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DeFi Protocol Aurigami Raises $12m in Token Rounds

Decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol Aurigami has raised $12 million in token rounds, according to The Block.


The founding round was co-led by crypto venture capital firms Dragonfly Capital and Polychain Capital. While other participants included Coinbase Ventures, Alameda Research, Jump Crypto, Amber Group and QCP Capital.

Among angel investors were Aurora CEO Alex Shevchenko, Etherscan CEO Matthew Tan, former ParaFi partner Santiago Santos and CoinGecko co-founders Bobby Ong and TM Lee.

Aurigami told The Block that $9.5 million was raised via a private token sale, while $2.5 million via an initial exchange offering (IEO) on KuCoin, Bybit and Impossible Finance. It added that the private token sale closed in February and the IEO in May.

According to The Block, investors purchased Aurigami’s native token PLY, which currently trades at around $0.001. CoinGecko’s data shows that PLY has dropped 95% from its all-time high of about $0.02.

Aurigami is a DeFi protocol based on the Aurora network, which was launched earlier this year. Its primary function includes working as a lending and borrowing protocol on Aurora, a subnet of the NEAR blockchain.

According to data from DeFi Llama, Aurigami is currently the second largest lending protocol on Aurora behind Bastion, as its current total value locked (TVL) stands at over $20 million. Bastion’s TVL is at over $130 million.

Aurigami co-founder EY Tan informed The Block that the project has two main plans to increase its TVL. First, enabling NEAR’s native stablecoin USN as a borrowable asset, and second, supporting cross-chain lending and borrowing.

Tan also added that plans had been set to expand Aurigami’s current workforce size of 10 and grow its ecosystem using the new funds. The project is currently mainly hiring developers.

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US Senator Challenges Apple and Google about Fraudulent Crypto Apps

U.S. Senator. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, is requesting Apple and Google to clarify how they prevent fraudulent cryptocurrency apps on the Apple Store and Google Play Store.

On Wednesday, July 27, the U.S. lawmaker sent two letters addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, respectively.

Senator Brown is concerned about scams that continue to rob millions of dollars from innocent investors.

The lawmaker wrote in the letters to the two firms: “Cyber criminals have stolen company logos, names and other identifying information of crypto firms and then created fake mobile apps to trick unsuspecting investors into believing they are conducting business with a legitimate crypto firm. Alarmingly, far too many investors have fallen victim.”

Brown mentioned that it is essential for these app stores to have the proper measures in place to prevent fraudulent mobile application activity.

In the letter, Sen. Brown asked for details about these firms’ safeguards to prevent fraudulent activity in their app stores.

Senator Brown wrote: “In recent years, crypto trading platforms and exchanges have experienced a surge in popularity with millions of investors downloading mobile apps to trade and invest in digital assets. Millions of Americans use mobile apps to invest in unregulated digital assets, including cryptocurrencies.”

Brown further asked Apple and Google to provide details about their app review processes that these firms take before approving cryptocurrency apps to operate in their app stores, including steps they take to prevent fraudulent crypto apps, and other information.

The lawmaker has requested both companies to provide responses to the letters by 10th August.

On Thursday, the Senator’s committee held a hearing examining scams in the crypto industry.

New Crypto App Scams

The senator’s letter comes after an FBI report last week, providing details of fraudulent cryptocurrency apps and wallets that purport to be sound investment opportunities.

In the report published on 21st July, the FBI disclosed that 244 investors, within a year, have been scammed out of $42.7 million through fraudulent mobile applications that claim to be legitimate crypto investment platforms.

The FBI report stated that cyber fraudsters are trying to cash in and take advantage of the rising interest in both cryptos investing and mobile banking.

The agency said since last October, it has witnessed scammers contacting U.S. investors with fraudulent offers of crypto investment services and convincing these investors to download fake mobile apps.

Such bogus apps often use the names and logos of legitimate US firms and fraudsters who create fake websites with this information to lure and swindle investors.

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Sky Mavis CEO Moved about $3m in Crypto before Disclosing Hack: Bloomberg

The co-founder and CEO of Sky Mavis moved about $3 million in crypto tokens prior to the disclosure details of the $540 million Ronin bridge hack in March, Bloomberg reported.


The report stated that Trung Nguyen moved the funds as part of an effort to salvage the firm’s funds following the attack. It added that these fund transfers were executed prior to the public announcement of the hack.

Sky Mavis is the studio behind the Axie Infinity blockchain game. 

Sky Mavis’s spokesperson Kalie Moore claimed that it was a necessary move to stop short-sellers from frontrunning the sale of tokens once the hack was publicly announced.

The funds were transferred in a series from Axie-linked wallets tracked by a pseudonymous Axie user called Asobs. These wallets all moved funds off the Ronin sidechain to centralised exchanges like Binance after the hack occurred, The Block reported. According to the Bloomberg report, however, the company confirmed only the one identified by the Sky Mavis CEO.

The Ronin bridge hack took place in March 2022. During the hack, the attackers compromised five out of the nine validator keys on the project’s Ronin sidechain. Following this, the hacker used these keys to siphon some $540 million worth of crypto from the project.

The Block has since revealed that a fake job advert was used as the attack vector in the exploit.

The crypto firm later raised funds to compensate victims of the attack. Sky Mavis also previously announced that reimbursement of affected users began on June 28.

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Zipmex Files for Bankruptcy Protection, Seeking Moratoriums from Third Party Creditors

Singapore-based crypto trading platform Zipmex has halted some of its core activities in response to its partner Celsius Network and Babel Finance’s financial woes, which it has exposed. Reportedly, the trading platform is seeking bankruptcy protection from the local court. 


With the latest turn of incidents, Zipmex announced it has submitted an application for a moratorium in Singapore that will protect it from its creditors in the country as long as it explores various solutions to its woes. Local media reported, five applications has been submitted on last Friday (July 22) on behalf of the firm’s different entities seeking moratoriums on legal proceedings for up to six months.

“We submitted moratorium applications in Singapore for all Zipmex entities,” Zipmex said in the announcement, “This helps protect Zipmex against third party actions, claims, and proceedings while it is active, and enables the team to focus all our efforts on resolving the liquidity situation, without having to worry about defending potential claims or adverse actions while we are doing so. It is important to note that a moratorium is not a liquidation of any company, and there is no significant status change from our last update.”

According to local law, such a filing automatically grants respite for either 30 days or until a Singapore court makes a decision on the application, whichever is earlier.

As early as June this year, American digital currency trading platform Coinbase Global Inc was planning to invest in Zipmex after a successful acquisition deal. 

Blockchain.News reported earlier that Zipmex is in talks with “Interested Parties” with whom it was discussing potential bailout options. While this option is open to the firm, it is also optimistic that it can salvage some funds from the $48 million Babel Finance is owing in its bankruptcy proceedings.

The Zipmex situation can best be described as an unforeseen one because of the unsecured exposure it has. The firm has said it would not mind writing off the $5 million claims it has against Celsius Network against its own balance sheet, as it has foreseen that the process to claim the funds may be very long and almost impossible.

Amid the filed moratorium and its ongoing woes, Zipmex said it will “continue to operate the Trade Wallet, NFT platform, and other products as normal, and there is no planned interruption to” these services.

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