Standard Chartered raises $36m for crypto custody platform

Standard Chartered has raised $36 million in a new series A funding round for its cryptocurrency custody subsidiary, Zodia Custody. The funding round was led by Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings, which reportedly became the second-largest shareholder in Zodia Custody. Prior to this funding round, Zodia was backed exclusively by Standard Chartered and Northern Trust, with Standard Chartered holding a 90% stake in the firm. However, it remains the majority shareholder even after the latest fundraise, according to Zodia Custody CEO Julian Sawyer.

Zodia Custody was launched in December 2020 as a joint venture between Standard Chartered and Northern Trust, with a focus on providing custody services for digital assets. The platform is designed to provide institutional investors with a secure and compliant way to store their cryptocurrencies. With the new funding, Zodia plans to expand its offering and develop new products and services for its clients.

Standard Chartered’s move to raise funding for its crypto custody platform is part of a larger trend of global banks expanding their capabilities in the cryptocurrency space. As more institutional investors look to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies, banks are stepping up to provide the infrastructure and services needed to support this demand. In addition to Standard Chartered, other major banks such as JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of New York Mellon have all recently announced plans to offer cryptocurrency-related services to their clients.

The involvement of SBI Holdings in the latest funding round is notable, as the Japanese conglomerate has been a major player in the cryptocurrency space for several years. SBI Holdings operates a number of cryptocurrency-related businesses, including a crypto exchange and a mining subsidiary. The firm has also invested in several blockchain startups and is known for its bullish stance on cryptocurrencies.

In summary, Standard Chartered has raised $36 million in a funding round for its cryptocurrency custody subsidiary, Zodia Custody, with SBI Holdings leading the round. The move reflects a larger trend of global banks expanding their cryptocurrency-related capabilities to meet growing demand from institutional investors. With the new funding, Zodia plans to expand its offering and develop new products and services for its clients.


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Unchained Capital Raises $60M in Bitcoin Funding

Despite the bearish trend in the crypto market, Unchained Capital, a financial services provider for Bitcoin holders, has raised $60 million in a Series B funding round led by Valor Equity Partners. The funding round also saw participation from NYDIG, Trammell Venture Partners, Ecliptic Capital, and Highland Capital Partners.

Unchained Capital’s approach to Bitcoin custody is different from traditional centralized exchanges or single key solutions. The company uses multi-signature technology to enable clients to share control of their Bitcoin holdings between private keys they hold themselves and private keys held by Unchained or other financial services companies. This approach eliminates single points of failure and counterparty risk by sharing the control of funds between multiple parties. The multi-signature process can be compared to a safe deposit box with two keys, one held by the customer and the other by the bank.

During the 2022 crypto market crashes, centralized solutions such as BlockFi, Celsius, and Three Arrows Capital collapsed, resulting in the loss of users’ funds. This has highlighted the importance of mitigating counterparty risk and eliminating single points of failure, which can be achieved through the use of multi-signature solutions. Unchained Capital has secured over $2 billion in Bitcoin across thousands of keys globally, highlighting the growing demand for more secure custody solutions in the crypto market.

Joe Kelly, CEO of Unchained Capital, noted that multi-signature technology is one of the most important technologies in the Bitcoin ecosystem that can be taken mainstream. He explained that it helps protect individuals from loss and theft, which are two of the biggest issues in the industry. The funding from the Series B round will be used to expand Unchained’s reach and suite of services, allowing the company to enable new entrants to Bitcoin to leapfrog centralized custodians into their safer collaborative custody model.

Unchained Capital’s success in raising $60 million in Bitcoin funding highlights the growing interest in more secure and collaborative custody solutions in the crypto market. Casa, a competitor crypto security company, recently added Ethereum to its suite of products. As greater numbers of Bitcoin and crypto enthusiasts learn to take custody of their assets, multi-signature technology will undoubtedly play a greater role in ensuring their security. Ultimately, Unchained Capital hopes to further the mantra “not your keys, not your coins,” highlighting the importance of taking control of one’s assets in the crypto market.


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Digital Assets Outfit Archax Raises $28M in Series A Funding Round

London-based digital assets exchange, Archax has announced the conclusion of its Series A funding round in which it pulled the sum of $28 million from investors.


As announced by the firm, the funding round was led by abrdn and enjoined participation from Bitrock Capital, Blockchain Coinvestors, CE Innovation Capital, Keiretsu Capital, Lingfeng Capital, Mathrix AG, SGH Capital, and The Tezos Foundation.

Archax comes off as the only blockchain-based trading outfit licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to trade all kinds of digital assets including crypto and securities. That the company could pull such massive funding at a time when the cryptocurrency ecosystem and the global economic outfit, in general, are reeling from bankruptcies across the board.

“We are extremely pleased to have been able to complete a round of this size during the turbulent crypto and traditional financial market conditions of the last few months. It is also fantastic to have such credible and strategic partner investors involved in the raise too – led by abrdn. We look forward to the next phase of the Archax journey as we scale up for launch and beyond with these partnerships in place,” said Graham Rodford, CEO and co-founder of Archax.

With the implosion of FTX Derivatives Exchange, the attractiveness of crypto trading platforms has remained bleak over the past year, however, Archax’s proposition is one that extends to cover all aspects of digital evolution.

The trading outfit said it will use the new capital to fasttrack its platform launch and to scale its already defined product offerings. 

As one of the few licensed entities by the FCA, Archax seeks to launch a wide range of Exchange Traded Products (ETPs), an offering it claims will soon be made available. With the trust it received from its investors, Archax is optimistic to deploy the funds to meet all of its targets as it looks to showcase how robust the United Kingdom is with respect to digital evolution.

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Neo-Banking Crypto Startup Juno Raises $18M in Series A Funding Round

Juno, a crypto digital banking firm based in India, announced on Saturday that it has raised $18 million in a Series A funding round led by ParaFi Capital’s Growth Fund.

Other participants also included prominent crypto industry figures like Coinbase Chief Product Officer Surojit Chatterjee, Messari’s Ryan Selkis, Polygon’s Sandeep Nailwal, and Jaynti Kanani, a16z’s Sriram Krishnan, former Coinbase Chief Technology Officer Balaji Srinivasan, and FTX’s Venu Palaparthi.

Juno said it plans to use the fresh funding to expand its product line, business operations, team, and tokenized loyalty program. The firm said its upcoming loyalty token, Juno coin (JCOIN), will only be distributed to verified account holders. The loyalty program will be similar to traditional credit card rewards points. According to the firm, the loyalty program will enable Juno members to take their paychecks in crypto or spend cryptocurrency with their Juno debit card and earn JCOIN while using the program.

Varun Deshpande, the CEO, and co-founder of Juno talked about the development: “We think these banks are not crypto-friendly. The aim of the loyalty program is to incentivize those already predisposed to using crypto to fundamentally replace their traditional banking stack.”

Established in India, June currently has 80 people working for the company, with 75 in India and 5 in the U.S. The firm plans to expand its team in the U.S to 25 people and the overall team to 150 people within the next 12 months.

Crypto VCs Continue Splashing Funds

Even after Bitcoin has dropped nearly 70% from its late 2021 all-time high, venture capital activities in crypto and blockchain startups have remained busy as ever. So far this year, VC investments in the landscape have reached $18.3 billion as of July. That almost triples the amount invested in 2020 and is also on pace to surpass 2021’s record mark of $32.4 billion.

Some of the crypto fundraising rounds this year have been huge in size. In January, Fireblocks raised $550 million at a valuation of $8 billion. In March, Yuga Labs raised $450 million at a $4 billion valuation. In July, blockchain startup Aptos Labs raised $150 million in a round led by FTX, and many more.

That happens despite the ongoing crypto winter that has left several crypto companies like Coinbase,, BlockFi, and OpenSea, among others, announcing massive layoffs of their workforce in the last three months. And others like Three Arrows Capital, Celsius Network, and Voyager Digital recently filed for bankruptcy court protection.

VC money is flowing into areas (such as blockchain infrastructure, Web3, NFTs, and blockchain-based gaming) that are likely to see growth once the dust settles in crypto markets.

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DeFiance Capital Seeking $100M in Funding to Invest in Liquid Tokens

Crypto Venture Capital firm, DeFiance Capital is in the process of raising as much as $100 million as it looks to invest in “Liquid Tokens.”


According to three sources familiar with the matter who spoke to The Block, the fund is dubbed the “Liquid Venture Fund,” and one of the sources affirmed that more than 50% of the projected capital had been raised.


DeFiance Capital prides itself as a “sub-fund and share class of Three Arrows Capital” of crypto hedge fund giant Three Arrows Capital (3AC). However, when the Su Zhu-led firm crashed back in June owing to its exposure to the collapsed Terra ecosystem, DeFiance Capital denounced its integral association with 3AC.


The Arthur Cheong-led VC came out to say it is a separate entity that was managed independently of 3AC upon the latter’s liquidation. That DeFiance Capital has not gone bankrupt is a testament to its upright financial standing at this time.


The firm is known as a major backer of some of the iconic names in both the Non-Fungible Token (NFT), Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and Web3.0 ecosystems. Specifically, DeFiance Capital’s top portfolio includes Axie Infinity, Avalanche, Solana, and ConsenSys to mention a few.


According to two of the sources, DeFiance Capital may not wait until 100% of the fund is raised before it starts injecting the funds into the project’s liquid tokens. The liquid tokens are digital currencies that have either already been listed on a trading platform or are about to be listed. 


Some of the sources confirmed that the firm has raised part of the funds from a crypto fund as well as a few family offices. There is no idea whether DeFiance Capital has earmarked the tokens it wishes to invest in prior to the completion of the funds.

Raising funds through token sales is becoming very prevalent in today’s crypto world and has been exploited by a number of protocols including Polygon and 1inch in the past.

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Nigerian Blockchain Firm Bitmama Closes $2 Million Pre-Seed Funding Round

Bitmama, a blockchain startup based in Nigeria, announced that it has closed its pre-seed funding round at $2 million after it recently added $1.65 million to the $350,000 that it raised in October last year.

Africa-focused venture capital firms Unicorn Growth Capital and Launch Africa led the investment in Bitmama. Other firms that also participated in the funding round include existing and new investors like Adaverse, Flori Ventures, Tekedia Capital, GreenHouse Capital, ODBA, Five35 Ventures, Chrysalis Capital, Enrich Africa, Thrive Africa, Angellist Ventures, as well as angel investors, such as Rene Reinsberg, Marek Olszewski, and Honey Ogundeyi.

Bitmama, which has built a distributed remote team across Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya, said it is working to democratize Africa’s highly fragmented payment system by leveraging blockchain-based solutions.

Ruth Iselema, Bitmama CEO, founded the Africa-focused crypto payments startup in 2019. The Nigeria-based company began as a WhatsApp group where members learned about cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin, and made transactions.

Bitmama, subsequently, developed a crypto exchange platform and allowed these users to access digital assets formally and explore other use cases, like buying, selling, and swapping crypto, and peer-to-peer transactions.

More recently, the firm introduced Changera, a social payment solution that allows customers to use stablecoins to facilitate remittances and international payments on Netflix and Amazon via virtual cards.

Iselema further talked about the development: “We started Bitmama to make it easy for anyone across the African continent to buy and sell cryptocurrency. But as time passed, we saw a couple of use cases we could employ this technology to solve. Many people wanted to make transactions asides from buying and selling of crypto, so we built stuff that could also let them buy local and international airtime and data. Then, due to local bank card limitations of $20 monthly spend, we provided virtual dollar cards for Nigerians to make international purchases.”

Crypto Thriving Under Pressure

The crypto boom has remained persistent in Nigeria despite the recent market crash. Early last month, a new study identified Nigeria as the country most interested in crypto since the market started to crash this April.

In April, Nigerian fintech startup Afriex closed a $10 million Series A round for a $60 million valuation. And many more related crypto firms have continued to raise funding rounds.

Early last year, Nigeria’s regulators tried to crack down on cryptocurrency, but a few months later such efforts failed to work. The nation is a prime example of how local users turn to crypto to cope with a struggling economy despite the prohibitive stance of the state.

The devaluation of the local currency has encouraged people to start saving in crypto assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Many young Nigerians view Bitcoin and major cryptocurrencies as a way to make some money as the traditional economy lags amid economic crisis and inflation.

Lots of people are taking advantage of the decentralized finance industry, with many embracing different yield farming programs.

 The biggest factor in crypto’s popularity in the country has been the intense drive and business aptitude of the Nigerian youth.

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DeFi Platform Forward Raises $5M in Seed Funding

Some of Thailand’s largest banks, Kasikornbank and Bank of Ayudhya have supported Decentralized Finance (DeFi) platform Forward with $5 million in seed capital through their venture capital platforms. 


Other key companies that participated in the fundraiser include; Primestreet Capital, GBV-Genesis Block Ventures Capital, Varys Capital, and Ratanakorn Asset Co., Ltd, Thailand’s largest real estate company. These companies have their focus on blockchain technology and digital assets investments.

Forward official said in a statement that the project will transform the world’s financial sector by developing financial products, investing in financial services, and setting up a decentralized derivative exchange and DeFi-focused services.

Forward is a Thai-based Fintech startup, blockchain, and investment services, provider. It has a decentralized and derivatives platform with an automated position hedger protocol that renders services such as derivative trading, crypto lending, borrowing, and services.

DeFi Forward Thinking Forward

The blockchain sector needs to prioritize increasing DeFi participation, particularly in Asia. Innovation and new businesses in this field require ongoing encouragement and empowerment. Only a reliable digital currency will enable DeFi to prosper. Tether coin has been reported to be one of the stablecoins powering DeFi projects.

Forward Labs has also collaborated with NFT artist LUNGtiger to promote their understanding of blockchain technology and to provide possibilities for NFT works by the young people at the College of Arts, Media, and Technology at Chiang Mai University.

Any services that conventional financial institutions offer should be available through DeFi. In essence, Defi is the mapping of traditional financial services into blockchain-based financial services, resulting in new services or derivatives based on the special characteristics of blockchain. 

The funding will position Forward to play a pivotal role in this evolving DeFi ecosystem. The protocol hopes to bolster its business, employ new hands and grow in key regions using the funding round.

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Animoca Brands Confirms New $110m Funding Round

Blockchain gaming and investment company Animoca Brands has raised new capital worth $110 million from the issuance of convertible notes. 


According to the company’s announcement, the funding round was opened to a limited number of investors, which includes Temasek, Boyu Capital, and GGV Capital, as well as existing investors Mirae Asset Management and True Global Ventures (TGV). 

As detailed by the firm, the Convertible Notes, which will expire in three years, were issued at a price of AU$4.5 ($3), and it does not change the company’s valuation from its last funding round. 

“We are incredibly pleased to complete a special strategic round of fundraising comprising several of the most respected institutional investors in the world, and we are honoured by the continued support from existing investors,” Yat Siu, co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands, “said Animoca Brands has grown significantly as a company in the last year, and our new investors will contribute strategic advice and perspective as we build the world’s leading company furthering digital property rights in the Web3 industry.” 

According to Animoca Brands, the newly onboarded group of investors will also play a crucial in advising the firm on its planned business strategies. The newly received funding will also be deployed to “strategic fund 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.”

Animoca Brands has strategically positioned itself this year as the delight of investors. The sale of these Convertible Notes is the third time since the parent company to be raised capital this year. While this funding round was hinted at earlier, Animoca Japan secured $45 million in funding, further expanding its ecosystem.

The leading gaming platform remains committed to expanding its footprint in the digital currency ecosystem as it is searching for the next mega unicorn like The Sandbox.

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Rusk Media Raises $9.5m for Blockchain-Based UGC Gaming

Indian-based digital entertainment startup Rusk Media has pulled the sum of $9.5 million in a Series A extension funding round.


The startup revealed that the funding round enjoined participation from existing investors InfoEdge Ventures (IEV), Mistry Ventures, and Survam Partners participating in the round. The funding round was led by Seoul-based DAOL Investment and Audacity Ventures.

While not a traditional blockchain gaming startup, Rusk Media has plans to develop a user-generated content (UGC) social gaming platform using the new capital. Mega-firms like Roblox are currently popularizing the UGC gaming platform, and it has started gaining traction amongst children within the age group of 8–14-year-olds in the US and Southeast Asia.

With the Rusk Media proposed UGC social gaming platform, developers will be able to create games using freely available Rusk IP assets.

“With the behavioral shift of the digital native audiences – entertainment has transformed across 30-second snackable social videos, OTT shows, casual & AAA gaming. Our future plans are two-fold – firstly, scaling our content with OTT partners via our IPs in India and the rest of the world, with Playground leading the way for our expansion globally. Secondly, building a UGC-led social gaming platform that will enable game developers to create games and publish them on our platform using our game developer app that plans to leverage blockchain technology.”

Investors are particularly focused on the gaming aspect of blockchain technology as a way to onboard the next billion users in the long term. Rusk Media is tapping into a market currently dominated by the likes of Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, and Animoca Brands.

Rusk Media produces content streamed on social channels Alright! and Playground with over 500 million monthly views and shows on OTT Platforms. Drawing on its existing user base, Rusk Media hopes to make a hit on the market when it makes its grand entry into the space.

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Coherent Secures $4.5M in Seed Round For API Products

Blockchain data startup owned by a former platform engineer at Coinbase, Coherent announced on Thursday that it has secured $4.5 million in a seed round.


The round was jointly led by three venture capital (VC) firms whose specialty is to invest in seed and early-stage funds. These investors are Matchstick Ventures, Kindred Ventures and Foundry Group. 

The Coherent seed round also received attention from Coinbase Ventures, Chapter One Ventures, Alchemy, and Dan Romero, an individual investor who is an early employee at Coinbase. Particularly, the Alchemy team will be responsible for developing and distributing the API products in close partnership with the Coherent team.

Coherent was established in April by Carl Cortright after working as a platform and senior software engineer in Coinbase for almost four years. According to Carl, during his time at Coinbase, there were many faults with the incumbent platforms and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) available to developers.

The most compelling evidence was that the systems were always failing, and they required tons of repetitive infrastructure on top of them. The repetitive infrastructure was to enhance the usability of the applications and simply pass on the complicated data from blockchains with no improvements on ease-of-use for developers.

Coherent Launched to be User-Friendly

With this in mind, Coherent was launched to ease the drudgery involved in creating a Web3.0 application for a developer. The Coherent blockchain offers high integrity, multi-chain data designed in a way that offers clear understanding and usability to the developers.

The foremost data of interest to Coherent are on-chain transaction history, non-fungible token (NFT) data, and credentials. 

With no limiting rate or complicated transaction hashes to interpret, Coherent shared its vision to be “the central platform for all Web3 developers where useful, user-centric data across all chains can be easily obtained.”

Gradually, Web3.0 advancement and adoption are gaining contributions for several individual and organizational investors. Identically, KuCoin in partnership with Windvane floated a $100 million fund devoted to creators in the space. 

As has been noted, like the KuCoin $100 million fund, Coherent is designed to center around the users which are developers.

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