BondbloX Secures $6M in Series B Funding Led by Beacon Venture Capital

Singapore-based Fintech BondEvalue Pte. Ltd. has added new investor Beacon Venture Capital, the corporate venture arm of Thailand’s Kasikornbank, to its cap table as part of a US$6m Series B round, according to official announcement. Beacon Venture Capital joins existing shareholders MassMutual Ventures and Citigroup who also participated in the round. 

Other investors include existing shareholders Potato Productions, a company helmed by entrepreneur Lee Han Shih, and Octava, a Singapore-based family office. 

The latest round follows a Series A raise of US$6m in 2021. This additional funding will allow the Company to scale BondbloX Bond Exchange (BBX), its digital exchange for trading fractional and full-size bonds, as well as grow its international expansion to Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) in India, which recently went live. 

Powered by distributed ledger technology, BondbloX enables investors to buy and sell bonds in denominations of US$1,000 instead of the usual US$200,000, and through a public exchange where prices are highly transparent. 

BBX has seen strong interest from global clients since launching the platform to individual investors last month. BBX also has future plans to list US Bonds (Treasuries as well as Corporate Bonds) on the platform.

This announcement follows the announcement made last month that Citi is the first digital custodian participant of BondbloX Bond Exchange (BBX) for the institutional market. The partnership will allow Citi’s clients that meet certain criteria to become BBX participants and begin trading bonds (both fractionalised and full-sized) almost immediately. 

“We are immensely honoured to welcome Beacon VC to our Series B round, as well as other new and existing shareholders including Citi and MassMutual Ventures,” said Dr. Rahul Banerjee, Co-Founder and CEO. “The bond market is broken globally, and BondbloX is on a mission to allow individual investors the same access to the market that institutional firms enjoy. We look forward to working together with Beacon VC and other investors to redefine Bond investing” he added.

 In joining the recent round Thanapong Na Ranong, Managing Director of Beacon VC, said, “BondbloX is truly innovating Bond investing and disrupting an asset class which has lagged in digitization. The use of distributed ledger technology coupled with traditional financial custodians excites us and has great potential to re-shape the bond market for all.”

Henry Salmon, Head of Investments, Securities Services, Citi, said: “The digitization of markets, assets and processes is an accelerating industry trend and a key investment theme for Citi. We are delighted to continue our investment in BondbloX. I believe their embrace of new technology and the innovation in the bond market has delivered a unique value proposition.”

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Sui Donates $1M to London Business School for Web3 Research

Sui has announced a significant donation of $1 million to the Wheeler Institute for Business and Development at London Business School (LBS). This contribution is earmarked for advancing research and educational programs in the rapidly evolving field of decentralized computing, signifying a major step in preparing future leaders for the challenges of the digital economy.

Sui is a groundbreaking Layer 1 blockchain and smart contract platform, uniquely designed for efficient digital asset ownership. Its innovative approach, based on the Move programming language, allows for parallel execution, rapid finality, and enhanced on-chain assets. Sui’s scalable architecture supports a wide array of applications, offering speed and affordability. 

Bridging Academia and Blockchain Technology

At the helm of this initiative is Dr. Greg Siourounis, a key figure in the Sui Foundation. With a rich background that blends academic prowess and entrepreneurial spirit, Dr. Siourounis, an alumnus of LBS with a Ph.D., has spent over two decades in academia and finance. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor at Panteion University in Athens, Greece, and plays a crucial role in expanding the Sui Network and its community.

Dr. Siourounis emphasized the importance of this collaboration, stating, “As we prepare the next wave of business and technology leaders, it’s critical to equip them with cutting-edge technological solutions. Sui’s endowment to LBS is a strategic move to empower young leaders with the necessary tools for implementing global positive change.”

The Core of Sui’s Contribution

The funds from Sui will be instrumental in developing new research initiatives, educational programs, and outreach activities at LBS, particularly in areas intersecting business and blockchain technology. Key focus areas include fintech, automation, payment systems, and blockchain technology, aiming to provide comprehensive guidance and support as LBS and the Wheeler Institute expand their technological and developmental research and teaching.

François Ortalo-Magné, Dean of LBS, highlighted the significance of Sui’s contribution, noting, “Gifts like Sui Foundation’s are pivotal for our school. They not only fund research but also empower future leaders to tackle global challenges innovatively.”

Sui’s Global Educational Initiatives

In addition to the LBS donation, the Sui Foundation has been active in promoting academic research in blockchain technology globally. This week, they announced the first recipients of the Sui Academic Research Awards (SARAs), distributing $225,000 in grants to nine universities worldwide. Furthermore, Sui has partnered with Costeas-Geitonas School in Greece to launch a new Web3 curriculum for high school students, titled “Blockchain and Business Innovation.”

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Kazakhstan Blocks Coinbase, Citing Digital Asset Law

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Culture and Information has clarified its decision to block the global cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, within the nation’s borders. The ministry asserts that the trading of cryptocurrencies on Coinbase is in direct violation of the Kazakhstani law on Digital Assets. This clarification was provided in response to an inquiry from “Kursiv,” following a request from the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovations, and Aerospace Industry. The request was made to block access to Coinbase, which contravened section 5 of Article 11 of the country’s Digital Assets Law.

This particular section of the law prohibits the issuance and trading of unsecured digital assets, as well as the operations of cryptocurrency exchanges dealing with such assets, outside of the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC). Only a select group of cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance and Bybit among others, are licensed to operate in Kazakhstan, with the AIFC’s Committee for Regulation of Financial Services being the authorizing body.

The move to block Coinbase was in accordance with the nation’s communication laws that oblige providers to limit access to websites containing prohibited content. This has raised questions about the regulatory environment for digital assets within Kazakhstan and the implications for global cryptocurrency operations.

The Ministry also addressed the earlier blocks imposed on the websites of Interactive Brokers and the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), both of which were subsequently lifted. The restoration of access to these sites occurred after significant feedback from the financial community and a request from the Financial Monitoring Agency to resume access to

The AIFC offers a unique regulatory sandbox environment, allowing both local and international companies to apply for operation within the center with minimal initial resources. These companies can offer FinTech and RegTech services, with the opportunity to develop regulatory requirements in collaboration with the AFSA. The reinstatement of access to Interactive Brokers and NYMEX, despite their previous infractions, signifies the delicate balance Kazakhstan seeks to maintain between stringent financial regulations and the fostering of an innovative financial technology ecosystem.

In an unrelated but simultaneous report, the telegram channel first highlighted the widespread blocking of foreign brokers and cryptocurrency exchanges in Kazakhstan on September 14. This has been a topic of heated discussion among financial analysts, with some, like Rasul Rysmambetov, calling it an “absolute mistake” attributable to potential technical errors.

Interactive Brokers, a major U.S. brokerage firm, and NYMEX, a primary American futures exchange, both now have restored access in Kazakhstan. Interactive Brokers is known for its extensive electronic trading platform in the U.S., while NYMEX holds a prominent position in crude oil futures trading.

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Nansen CEO Predicts Six Key Trends in Crypto

In a recent Twitter thread, Alex Svanevik, the CEO of, delved into six key trends he believes will significantly impact the cryptocurrency landscape in the coming cycle. The detailed thread, posted on October 6, 2023, underscored the blending of fintech with crypto, the potential of decentralized finance (DeFi) in gambling, the rise of Real World Assets (RWAs) like T-bills, the promise and challenges of Web3 gaming, the emergence of SocialFi, and the innovative intersection of Physical NFTs with mainstream retail.

Fintech and Crypto Convergence

Svanevik noted the growing integration of fintech frontends with crypto backends, referencing PayPal’s venture into stablecoins and Revolut’s support for ETH staking. He also mentioned crypto startups like BasedApp HQ that are increasingly resembling fintech products, forecasting a long-term shift where cryptocurrency technology overhauls traditional fintech backends.

DeFi Revolutionizing Gambling

The DeFi model, Svanevik suggests, is poised to reshape the gambling and betting industry. By replacing the house’s cut with yields on capital, DeFi offers a more equitable framework. Innovations like Layer 2 solutions (L2s) and account abstraction are making decentralized betting platforms more user-friendly. Svanevik highlighted platforms like LooksRare, Rollbit, and PoolTogether as examples of this trend.

Real World Assets and Stablecoins

The narrative of stablecoins is extending to real-world assets (RWAs), specifically T-bills, as Svanevik pointed out. With platforms like Super State Funds, Mountain USD, and Open Eden Labs leading the way, tokenized T-bills might significantly reduce stablecoin supply. Svanevik expects giants like Circle and Tether to explore this avenue.

The Advent of Web3 Gaming

Web3 gaming is on the verge of a breakthrough, with several games launching after years of development. Although many will falter, a select few could achieve monumental success. Svanevik is backing projects like PlaySIPHER, MixMobOrigin, and Axie Infinity.

SocialFi’s Emergence

Svanevik acknowledged the real usage of on-chain social platforms like Friendtech, citing Layer 2 solutions and account abstraction as critical enablers. Despite expected iterations and forks, he believes SocialFi is here to stay.

Physical NFTs Bridging to Retail

Physical NFTs are carving a path to mainstream retail, with Luca Netz leading the way, according to Svanevik. Platforms like IYK App are facilitating other companies to experiment and succeed in this domain.

In the thread, Svanevik also encouraged feedback on any missed trends, which led to discussions on leveraging in DeFi and the role of blockchain in fantasy sports, suggesting the cryptocurrency landscape’s dynamic and community-driven nature.

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Hong Kong Monetary Authority Emphasizes AI and DLT in Fintech Roadmap

With the release of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s (HKMA) most recent Fintech Promotion Roadmap today, on 25 August 2023, the financial environment in Hong Kong is poised to be more attractive. This thorough manual presents a strategic outlook for the next year with the goal of promoting fintech adoption across the region’s diversified financial services industry.

The Roadmap accentuates pivotal fintech business sectors, primarily Wealthtech, Insurtech, and Greentech. Furthermore, it brings to the forefront two revolutionary technology paradigms: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), the underlying technology of blockchain. The drafting of this Roadmap was not an isolated endeavor. The HKMA joined forces with the Securities and Futures Commission, the Insurance Authority, and a spectrum of stakeholders from various financial sectors to ensure a holistic representation.

Delving deeper into the Roadmap, the initiatives of the HKMA are not limited to merely advocating fintech’s potential. Instead, there’s a distinct shift towards a hands-on approach, facilitating financial institutions in their journey to translate fintech theories into tangible solutions. Over the ensuing 12 months, the HKMA has earmarked a slew of activities:

  1. Fintech Knowledge Hub: Aimed to be a reservoir of fintech expertise, this hub will feature a directory, categorizing fintech service providers and financial institutions. This endeavor seeks to centralize resources, rendering them easily accessible for all fintech stakeholders.
  2. Events and Dialogues: With a commitment to nurturing a symbiotic relationship between financial institutions and fintech service providers, the HKMA envisions regular showcase events and roundtable discussions. These platforms will not only foster collaboration but will also be crucibles for innovation.
  3. Skill Development: Recognizing the importance of continuous learning in a rapidly evolving domain, the HKMA will orchestrate interactive seminars and training sessions. These sessions, tailored to address specific fintech niches, are poised to become knowledge transfer hubs, catalyzing cross-sectoral information exchange.
  4. Content Creation: To ensure that the intricacies of fintech adoption are well-understood, the HKMA has plans to curate and disseminate educational content. This will span use-case videos to research reports, providing a 360-degree view of the fintech adoption spectrum.

Offering insights into the motivation behind this initiative, Mr. Arthur Yuen, Deputy Chief Executive of the HKMA, was quoted saying, “The unveiling of this Roadmap is not just a milestone for the banking sector, but a beacon for the entire financial services industry. The underpinning philosophy of our Roadmap is collaboration. We’re looking beyond banking, casting a wide net to encompass sectors like insurance, wealth management, and capital market activities. Through synergies with other financial regulators and continuous engagement with stakeholders, our vision is a resilient, inclusive fintech ecosystem for Hong Kong.”

This initiative is not an isolated one. It dovetails perfectly with the overarching “Fintech 2025” strategy of the HKMA. This strategy germinated the “All banks go Fintech” initiative in 2021, a clarion call for banks to embrace digitalization. A subsequent Tech Baseline Assessment in June 2022 crystallized the growth trajectories in Wealthtech, Insurtech, Greentech, AI, and DLT. These insights were instrumental in sculpting the current Roadmap.

For those keen on delving into the granular details of the Roadmap and to understand the breadth of initiatives by the HKMA, the recently unveiled report is a treasure trove of information.

As Hong Kong stands at the cusp of a fintech revolution, the Roadmap by the HKMA is set to be its compass, guiding stakeholders through the labyrinth of fintech adoption, ensuring that Hong Kong retains its position as a global fintech center.

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Tachyum’s Prodigy Processors: A Game-Changer for Blockchain in Banking and FinTech

Tachyum, a leading tech company, has recently published a paper titled “Credit Unions, Blockchain, CBDC, FinTech and Tachyum Prodigy” on July 18, 2023. The paper highlights the potential of Prodigy, the world’s first Universal Processor, to revolutionize transactional banking and significantly reduce the environmental and financial costs associated with blockchain’s energy consumption.

FinTech companies are using blockchain technology more often because it enables direct payments between payer and payee without the need for a middleman. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that 77% of FinTech firms are either utilising blockchain now or moving to blockchain-based goods and services. Taking the lead in the transition to banking products and services based on blockchain, credit unions are at the forefront of this movement.

However, the energy consumption of blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies is a growing concern. The electricity use for crypto-assets is currently between 120-240 billion kilowatt-hours per year, surpassing the total annual electricity consumption of entire nations like Argentina or Australia.

Tachyum’s Prodigy offers a solution to this problem. The 128-core processor operates at clock speeds over 5GHz, outperforming all other CPU platforms in standard data center workloads. It delivers high hashing function performance required for blockchain banking while using only one-tenth of the power (core vs. core). This efficiency significantly reduces the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of hyperscale data center operations to one-fourth that of its closest competitors.

Prodigy’s patented architecture allows it to seamlessly switch from normal CPU tasks to AI/ML workloads, making it highly effective in the banking industry for identifying fraud and cyberattacks before they cause significant financial damage.

The Prodigy-powered data center servers can dynamically switch between workloads, eliminating the need for expensive dedicated AI hardware and significantly increasing server utilization. Prodigy delivers performance up to 4x that of the highest performing x86 processors for cloud workloads and up to 3x that of the highest performing GPU for HPC and 6x for AI applications.

Tachyum’s Prodigy Universal Processor is set to transform AI, HPC, public and private cloud data center markets, unifying the functionality of a CPU, a GPU, and a TPU into a single processor. This innovation is expected to save companies billions of dollars per year and contribute to the sustainable growth of data centers worldwide.

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Nigeria Plans to Regulate Digital Asset Platforms

Nigeria, one of the most curious nations about cryptocurrencies, is preparing new industry regulations for digital asset platforms. The Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is considering new regulations that would allow licensed digital exchanges to list tokens backed by certain assets, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Abdulkadir Abbas, the head of securities and investment at the Nigerian SEC, noted that the authority plans to only authorize listings of tokens based on assets such as equity, debt, or property. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether will not be among those assets. The aim is to register fintech firms as digital sub-brokers, crowdfunding intermediaries, fund managers, and tokenized coins issuers. However, the SEC will not register crypto exchanges until the central bank provides clear regulations for the crypto market.

License applicants would undergo a year of “regulatory incubation,” during which the SEC would study their operations and render their services in the country, according to Abbas. He added that by the 10th month, the SEC should be able to make a determination whether to register the firm, extend the incubation period, or even ask the firm to stop operation.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had banned local banks from providing services to cryptocurrency-related platforms in early 2021. On the ban, the regulator cited high risks associated with trading cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The central bank also promised to impose strict penalties for any lender or financial institution failing to comply with the directive.

Despite the ban, Nigeria has emerged as one of the most active countries in terms of adoption and curiosity about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Nigeria ranks second by search interest for the keyword “Bitcoin,” behind El Salvador, which adopted Bitcoin as legal tender in 2021, according to data from Google Trends. Other jurisdictions in the top-five crypto-curious countries list include Slovenia, Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Nigeria was also among the top 20 countries in terms of crypto adoption in 2022, according to Chainalysis’ crypto adoption index.

While prohibiting cryptocurrencies, the Central Bank of Nigeria has been actively promoting its central bank digital currency known as the eNaira. The eNaira reportedly saw increased adoption due to national fiat reserves facing severe shortages.

In conclusion, Nigeria is taking steps to regulate digital asset platforms, with the SEC considering allowing licensed digital exchanges to list tokens backed by certain assets. The country aims to register fintech firms as digital sub-brokers, crowdfunding intermediaries, fund managers, and tokenized coins issuers. However, the SEC will not register crypto exchanges until the central bank provides clear regulations for the crypto market. Despite the ban on cryptocurrencies, Nigeria has emerged as one of the most active countries in terms of adoption and curiosity about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.


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Twitter to Add Cryptocurrency Trading

Twitter is set to expand its offerings by launching a new feature that will allow users to trade cryptocurrencies and stocks, according to a report by CNBC. The social media giant has partnered with fintech firm eToro to bring the new financial features to its platform. This is the first notable deal for Twitter since Elon Musk took over as CEO in 2020, after acquiring the social media network for $44 billion.

The new feature can be accessed through a “view on eToro” tab, which will take users directly to eToro’s trading platform. The fintech company, which was founded in 2007, introduced cryptocurrency trading features and a crypto wallet in 2019. With this new partnership, eToro hopes to bring a new audience to the Twitter platform, while Twitter aims to offer more financial services to its users.

Yoni Assia, the CEO of eToro, has called the partnership a perfect match. He believes that Twitter has become an important part of the retail investing community, with many users accessing financial news and acquiring knowledge on the platform. Assia added that “cashtags” searches have grown into the millions, indicating a growing interest in financial discussions on Twitter.

The partnership comes at a time when financial Twitter has become a trend, and was key to the retail trading boom in 2021. This new feature is expected to play a central role in this conversation and is already gaining a lot of traction. Assia also noted that this partnership is a significant opportunity for eToro to expand its customer base and reach more users who are interested in trading cryptocurrencies and stocks.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk has expressed his ambition to turn Twitter into “the biggest financial institution in the world.” In a recent interview, he floated the idea of turning Twitter into a “super app,” offering users access to several online services in one place. This concept is quite popular in China, where super apps function as a gateway to everything a consumer needs in their day-to-day life. WeChat, for example, offers instant messaging, social media, travel and hotel booking, banking and more.

In conclusion, the partnership between Twitter and eToro is a significant step towards offering more financial services to Twitter users. It also provides an opportunity for eToro to reach a wider audience interested in trading cryptocurrencies and stocks. The move also aligns with Musk’s ambition to turn Twitter into a super app, offering users access to various online services. It remains to be seen how successful this new feature will be and whether it will attract a significant number of users to the platform.


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US Crypto Crackdown Could Push Industry to Hong Kong

The cryptocurrency industry has been at the forefront of technological innovation for quite some time, and the United States has been a leader in the sector. However, recent US government actions toward cryptocurrency regulation have raised concerns for some about the future of the industry in the country. While the US has been adopting a regulation-by-enforcement approach, there is a growing feeling among some that a significant amount of companies, developers, and investors will soon flock elsewhere to work in friendlier environments.

Kaiko’s CEO, Ambre Soubiran, recently spoke to The Wall Street Journal and suggested that the recent crackdown on crypto in the US will inadvertently help Hong Kong in its goal of becoming a major crypto hub. She noted that “The U.S. being more stringent these days than ever on crypto and Hong Kong regulating in a more favorable way…is going to clearly shift the center of gravity of crypto assets trading and investments more towards Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong has been moving in a different direction, with the government initially outlining plans in January 2023 to become a crypto hub by rolling out progressive regulation to support high-quality crypto and fintech firms. The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) proposed a crypto licensing regime on Feb. 20, aiming to provide consumer protections without stifling innovation. According to a March 20 speech from Hong Kong’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Christian Hu, over 80 virtual asset-related firms have expressed interest in setting up shop there, and 23 crypto firms have already indicated that “they planned to establish their presence.”

Bloomberg reported on March 28 that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and SFA are set to hold a joint meeting on April 28 to help crypto firms set up domestic banking partnerships. Chinese banks, such as Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, the Bank of Communications, and the Bank of China, have reportedly started offering banking services to crypto firms in Hong Kong or made inquiries with crypto firms.

Soubiran also revealed in mid-March that Kaiko is looking to relocate the headquarters of its Asian-Pacific unit from Singapore to Hong Kong in response to the country’s friendly crypto stance. “What we’re seeing is a clear support for more clarity on the regulatory framework in Hong Kong,” she told Bloomberg in an interview, adding that “while we’re seeing an increased attractivity of Hong Kong in the region, we are relocating.”

The US government has become increasingly aggressive toward crypto since the collapse of FTX in November 2022, with Senator Elizabeth Warren even recently stating that they are building an “anti-crypto army.” However, the industry’s “center of gravity” could soon shift toward Hong Kong, as it rolls out progressive regulation and attracts more virtual asset-related firms to establish a presence there.


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Revolut faces issues with 2021 annual report

Revolut, a British-Lithuanian fintech company known for its crypto-friendly services, recently released its annual report for the year ending December 2021. The report revealed that Revolut generated a revenue of £636 million ($769 million) in 2021, a significant increase from the previous year’s £220 million ($266 million). This marks the company’s first-ever full year of profit since its launch in 2015.

Despite the positive financial news, the company’s annual report has faced issues. Independent auditors from the global accounting network BDO have reviewed the report and confirmed that it accurately reflects the state of the company’s affairs as of Dec. 31, 2021. However, the auditors also noted certain qualifications related to the report, which could impact its accuracy.

According to BDO’s qualified opinion section, the report was correct “except for the possible effects of the matters described in the basis for the qualified opinion section.” This suggests that there are certain factors that may affect the accuracy of the report, which the auditors have identified and highlighted.

Despite this, Revolut’s leadership remains optimistic about the company’s future prospects. The neobank has rapidly expanded its user base and range of services, including allowing customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. The company has also expanded its operations globally, with offices in over 30 countries and plans to launch in new markets.

Revolut’s CEO, Nikolay Storonsky, expressed his satisfaction with the company’s performance in the 2021 fiscal year, stating, “We are delighted to report our first-ever full year of profitability, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team.” He also emphasized the importance of innovation and growth in the company’s ongoing success, stating, “We are continuing to push boundaries and innovate in order to provide our customers with the best possible experience, and we look forward to even more growth and success in the years ahead.”

Revolut’s recent financial success and ongoing expansion efforts have cemented its position as a leading player in the fintech industry. Despite the issues with its annual report, the company’s strong financial performance and focus on innovation bode well for its future prospects.


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