Luno Floats Venture Capital Arm to Invest in Web3.0 & Fintech Startups

Luno, a digital currency platform owned by the Digital Currency Group (DCG), has launched Luno Expeditions, its Venture Capital (VC) outfit.


As reported by TechCrunch, the new VC offshoot will engraft itself as a funding outfit for cryptocurrencies or Web3.0 startups and those in the Fintech space.

Luno Expeditions is expected to fund as many as 250 startups annually, complementing the investment strategies that have long been defined by its grandparent company, DCG. According to Emily Cheng, the named Chief Executive Officer of the new offshoot leading a team of five, the decision to focus on both crypto and fintech firms is hinged on the fact that the entire outlook of the digital currency ecosystem is still being built. Some fintech firms fill in the bridge or gap that crypto startups are yet to fill.

“There is still a lot of work to be done in building the infrastructure that crypto will rely on. So our aim is to be supportive of this broader ecosystem. So what this practically means is we will invest in fintech companies that we feel match that long-term thesis, not just any fintech company,” she said.

As much as $50,000 to $250,000 will be invested in startups while at their seeds or pre-seed stages. It comes in at about $15 million to $75 million annually. 

“We are likely to invest at the upper end of that range. Also, we have some flexibility, including writing larger cheques as we scale,” the CEO said. “The reason we didn’t go with a fund structure is that we don’t need any external funding to be able to build this business, both from a capital and management fee perspective. It also allows us to finance investments with evergreen capital, which we believe is more valuable to founders building companies in the fintech space and aligns all of our long-term interests better.”

The emergence of Luno Expeditions trails attempts by established companies, including Paradigm Capital, Coinbase Ventures, and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), to pump into the fast-growing digital currency ecosystem.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Digital Currency Group Announces $250M Share Buyback from Crypto Trusts

Digital Currency Group (DCG), the parent company of Grayscale Investments, has announced a new share buyback program projected to be worth $250 million. 


As revealed by the company, the buyback program will feature a wide range of the company’s trust products with the first buyback covering up to $50 million in total for shares of Grayscale Litecoin Trust ($30 million), Grayscale Horizen Trust, and Grayscale Zcash Trust. 

According to Grayscale, as much as $200 million will also be invested in buyback programs for its other six publicly quoted Grayscale products. These include the Grayscale Bitcoin Cash Trust, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, Grayscale Large Cap Fund, Grayscale Ethereum Classic Trust, Grayscale Ethereum Trust, and Grayscale Stellar Lumen Trust.

While the timeline for the share buyback is yet unknown, the company said the move will complement the earlier approvals it has received to purchase shares of GBTC and ETCG, of which DCG respectively has $301.3 million and $4.5 million in authorized share repurchases remaining. The company said the share buyback will be carried out using cash on hand as the company’s management will decide based on its discretion.

The decision to buy back the six core products is perhaps influenced by the valuation plunge of the premium of these products as showcased from the data from otcnode. While the negative premium is all-encompassing, the Grayscale Ethereum Classic Trust is recording the worst plunge at -59.46% at the time of writing.

Amidst the business modifications, Grayscale has considered thus far the plan to convert the Bitcoin Trust into a full-fledged spot Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) product. While the application has been filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), no feedback has been received yet. 

That the SEC continues to reject other competitors’ applications for a spot Bitcoin ETF has casted doubts on the chances of Grayscale succeeding, however, time is the main determining factor to get the needed closure in relation to the company’s ambition in attracting institutional investors.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Digital Currency Group and Jamestown Bring New Years Eve Ball Drop to Metaverse

New Year’s Eve Party is a glitzy affair in NYC, as with most parts of the world. The celebration in Times Square, for one, generally accommodates around 58,000 people in viewing areas. However, due to the pandemic, the figures will be scaled down among other prohibitions. But visitors can also enjoy New Year’s Eve ball drop from the comfort of their homes – in the metaverse.

New Year’s Eve on Metaverse

The global real estate firm and the owner of One Times Square in Manhattan, Jamestown, and the cryptocurrency giant Digital Currency Group (DCG) have partnered to recreate the iconic tower of the New Year’s Eve ball drop in the popular blockchain-based virtual world – Decentraland.

Interestingly, DCG is a long-time backer as well as one of the largest owners of digital real estate (“LAND”) in Decentraland.

The virtual space of One Times Square will be unveiled with the global party dubbed “MetaFest 2022 NYE Party” on December 31st. The virtual guests will be able to take part in immersive games, as well as enjoy music and entertainment acts, rooftop VIP lounges, NFT art galleries, and more.

According to the official announcement, official programming will commence at 11:00 PM. EST and will extend to the early hours of 2022.


The Construction of Virtual 26-story Tower and MetaFest’22

New Year’s Eve celebrations focused on Times Square have a century-long history. The MetaFest 2022 NYE Party contains a modern twist that depicts the need of the hour, especially with the rising COVID-19 cases. To construct and operate the iconic celebration on Decentraland, two metaverse firms – GrowYourBase and MetaVenture Studios – have joined forces.

Besides, the virtual One Times Square tower, which covers around 170 LAND parcels, will have five buildings, each with distinct exteriors and activated interiors.

Following the development, Michael Phillips, President of Jamestown, underscored the importance of metaverse with respect to the real estate evolution.

He spoke about the limitation of “physical real estate” constricted mainly to individuals with “geographic proximity.” According to Phillips, metaverse, on the other hand, can offer meaningful access to people to different places across the world with the help of “immersive virtual experiences.”

“Recreating One Times Square in the Decentraland metaverse is part of a larger digital asset strategy to evolve and enhance our physical real estate for Web 3.0 and open new pathways for our assets to existing in multiple metaverses in the future.” – he added.

Featured Image Courtesy of BillBoard


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SPACE Metaverse Raises $7M From Top Crypto Players

Key Takeaways

  • SPACE Metaverse has raised $7 million to bring its vision of the Metaverse to life.
  • The project focuses on creating an environment where socializing and virtual commerce can thrive within the Metaverse.
  • Capital has poured into Metaverse-related ventures since Facebook announced its rebrand to Meta.

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SPACE Metaverse will use the funds to help build out the Metaverse. 

SPACE Metaverse Announces $7M Raise 

Capital keeps flooding into the Metaverse. 

SPACE Metaverse is one of the latest projects to benefit from the boom after closing a $7 million funding round. The raise saw participation from some of the most prominent teams in the space, including Coinfund, Digital Currency Group, Animoca Brands, Polygon Studios, and NBA Top Shot creator Dapper Labs. 

SPACE Metaverse aims to create a virtual world that allows anyone to explore and interact with others. It’s focusing on what it calls “social commerce experiences” in the Metaverse, where users can earn rewards and benefit from economic opportunities in a way that was never possible in Web2. Batis Samadian, the project’s founder, explained that it’s hoping to provide the infrastructure for the decentralized economy evolving within the Metaverse in a press release. He said: 

As the Metaverse continues to gain mass adoption and becomes a place where a lot of people meet up to socialize, a natural evolution is commerce, which is what Space is focused on. Users will want to be able to view shows, buy items, sell items, and engage with digital goods within the Metaverse. Space is building the Shopify for the Metaverse to enable creators to sell their digital items in a turn-key fashion and allowing users to purchase it.” 

Coinfund’s Vanessa Grellet added that SPACED Metaverse could become “the leader in building the commerce virtual world.” She said that SPACED Metaverse is poised to become a leader in the space as projects rush to create the future of events and commerce. Sandeep Nailwal, a co-founder of Polygon, also described it as “one of the most promising” projects focusing on virtual commerce. 

“The Metaverse” has become something of a crypto buzz word in recent weeks, not least since Facebook announced its rebrand to Meta to focus on “bringing the Metaverse to life.” The likes of Solana Ventures, Enjin, and KuCoin have all announced nine-figure Metaverse-focused funds, while the tokens for Metaverse gaming projects have soared. With new capital raised, SPACE Metaverse will be hoping that the excitement surrounding the concept continues into 2022. 

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

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ZCash surges 7% after Digital Currency Group CEO announces $85M purchase

Digital Currency Group CEO and founder Barry Silbert has purchased more ZCash to add to his company’s coffers as the price of the token moved above $240 for the first time in days.

In a Wednesday tweet to his more than 678,000 followers, Silbert announced the purchase of $85 million in Zcash (ZEC), or roughly 376,106 tokens assuming an average price of $226. The buy is just the latest for Silbert, who seems to be portraying himself as a contrarian in the crypto market — responding to negative comments on ZEC by purchasing millions more.

According to data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro, the price of ZEC surged more than 7% following Silbert’s announcement, from $226.08 to $243.84. However, it has fallen more than 20% since reaching a six-month high of more than $300 on Thursday, shortly after its core protocol’s transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake.

Related: ZEC price jumps 20% in one day as Zcash devs unveil transition to proof-of-stake

Crypto whales like Silbert may be buying ZEC in anticipation of more of the project’s tokens going out of circulation due to lockup periods. Zcash’s main developer, Electric Coin Company, announced on Friday that users would be able to stake a portion of their holdings into a dedicated ZEC smart contract to become validators on its blockchain.

Source: TradingView

Digital Currency Group operates Grayscale, a $53.5 billion AUM digital asset manager th offers investors exposure to cryptocurrencies through its trusts. The firm first listed its Grayscale Zcash Trust on the OTCQX Best Market in October. Silbert has also hinted that the company is making plans to convert its Bitcoin Trust into a spot-settled Bitcoin exchange-traded fund.