Wall Street Titans Back Bitwise in $70 Million Raise

Key Takeaways

  • Bitwise has completed a $70 million funding round led by Elad Gil and Electric Capital. A host of recognized Wall Street figures also participated.
  • The asset manager offers crypto index funds to accredited investors in traditional finance markets.
  • The funds will be used to grow Bitwise and expand its offerings, the firm’s CEO confirmed.

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Bitwise has completed a $70 million Series B funding round led by Elad Gil and Electric Capital.

Bitwise Closes Series B Round 

Bitwise Asset Management, a cryptocurrency firm with $1.2 billion in assets under management, has closed a $70 million funding round.

The firm announced it had completed the raise Tuesday. The $70 million sum puts the company’s valuation at $500 million. Elad Gil and Electric Capital led the round, while other participants included Wall Street faces like Stanley Druckenmiller and Third Point’s Daniel Loeb, Bridgewater’s David McCormick, and Blackstone’s Nadeem Meghji.

Launched in 2017, Bitwise is the world’s largest crypto index fund. Its 10 Crypto Index Fund offers exposure to some of the leading cryptocurrencies in a liquid, easy and cheap manner. The fund is particularly popular with those who want crypto exposure without going through centralized or decentralized exchanges.

Speaking of the raise, Bitwise CEO Hunter Horsley said:

“Five years from now, while some investors will still be trading crypto portfolios themselves, many long-term investors will want to rely on the same financial advisors, processes and brokerages they use for every other asset class.”

He added that the funds would go towards growing the business and broadening the scope of its products.

Bitwise has strong ties with financial advisory firms and family offices across the U.S. and plans to become the go-to solution for easy crypto exposure for the everyday investor. The firm is also piloting a DeFi index fund for accredited investors consisting of nine DeFi tokens, namely AAVE, SNX, UNI, MKR, YFI, COMP, UMA, LRC, and ZRX.

Bitwise has also applied for a Bitcoin ETF, though the outcome is pending the verdict of the relevant U.S. authorities.

Disclaimer: The author held ETH, AAVE, and several other cryptocurrencies at the time of writing.

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Solana Closes $314 Million Funding Round

Key Takeaways

  • Solana has raised over $314 million through a private sale of its native token SOL.
  • Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital, Alameda Research and several other investors participated in the sale.
  • The newly raised funds will be used to support the Solana ecosystem and develop decentralized applications.

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Solana Labs has raised over $314 million in a funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital.

Solana Announces Fundraiser

Solana Labs has raised a nine-figure sum in a private token sale.

The project shared details of the raise Wednesday, revealing it had sold $314,159,265 worth of SOL in a funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital.

Other participating investors included Alameda Research, Blockchange Ventures, CMS Holdings, Coinfund, CoinShares, Collab Currency, Memetic Capital, Multicoin Capital, ParaFi Capital, Sino Global Capital, Jump Trading, and Boys Noize.

Rumors of Solana’s forthcoming raise started circulating towards the end of the last week. The blockchain platform is hoping to capture some of the fast-growing decentralized finance market, which largely centers around Ethereum today.

Like Ethereum, Solana uses smart contracts, but it processes transactions at a much higher speed and lower cost. It uses a consensus mechanism called Proof of History. In a press release, Solana Labs co-founder and CEO Anatoly Yakovenko said that blockchains were at “an inflection point” and that “the next phase is onboarding 1 billion users.”

Solana says it will use its newly-raised funds to launch an incubator that will promote and fund the development of upcoming dApps, DeFi platforms, and Web3 projects. It will also create a venture capital arm and trading desk.

Ali Yahya of Andreessen Horowitz noted that Solana’s high-performance design means that the blockchain can run “at the speed of Nasdaq matching engines” and support many types of apps.

Meanwhile, Olaf Carlson-Wee of Polychain Capital remarked on the project’s “continually growing community,” adding that he sees Solana as a complement to Ethereum.

Solana launched its mainnet beta in March 2020 and has quickly grown since then. Today, the ecosystem encompasses decentralized exchanges like Serum and Raydium, stablecoins like USDC and USDT, and the recently launched NFT marketplace Metaplex.

The project has received heavy support from key crypto figures like Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of Alameda Research. In addition to this round, the 29-year-old billionaire’s firm has backed a variety of Solana-built projects. The ecosystem has also attracted millions of dollars in capital from exchanges and other firms.

The blockchain’s market cap is roughly $11.7 billion today. SOL is currently trading at $43, up 38.8% in the last week.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing this author held less than $75 of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and altcoins.

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“DeFi Homepage” Zapper Closes $15M Funding Round

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Framework Ventures led Zapper’s latest funding round alongside celebrity investors like Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher.

Zapper, the Homepage to DeFi  

Zapper has closed a $15 million funding round led by Framework Ventures.

Other participants in the raise included Spartan Group, DeFiance Capital, Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, ParaFi Capital, and Aave founder Stani Kulechov.

Zapper is a popular dashboard for DeFi users. More than a simple wallet manager, the tool offers added functionalities like swapping tokens and providing liquidity in DeFi. It also offers a bridge to Polygon, one of Ethereum’s favorite scaling solutions, and will support the Layer 2 Rollup Optimism in the future.

It sells itself as the “homepage to DeFi.” The project was born out of a 2019 hackathon and has quickly become one of the most popular apps to manage funds on the Ethereum blockchain. Since launching, the project has attracted 150,00 monthly users and has processed over $3 billion in volume through its swap feature. Soon, the team says, an on-platform app store and mobile app will be released.

Zapper’s seed investors included Coinbase Ventures, Delphi Digital, Synthetix founder Kain Warwick and Libertus Capital. Unlike many other similar DeFi projects, Zapper does not have its own token, though that could change if the rumors are to be believed.

Disclaimer: The author held BTC, ETH, and several other cryptocurrencies at the time of writing.

This news was brought to you by ANKR, our preferred DeFi Partner.

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Bitcoin Brokerage River Financial Raises $17M: SEC Filings

High-end bitcoin brokerage River Financial raised $17.3 million in a recent equity sale, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Thursday.

Form D filings reveal two-year-old River aims to raise nearly $500,000 in additional funding for a total of nearly $17.8 million. The firm reported 34 backers in its latest filing but none of them were known at press time.

It was not immediately clear if the $17 million figure includes funds from the $5.7 million seed round River completed last July with backing from Castle Island Ventures, Slow Ventures and a slew of other VCs. Partners at those firms did not respond to multiple CoinDesk inquiries.

CEO Alexander Leishman acknowledged in a brief phone interview Thursday the brokerage was considering pursuing additional funding. He confirmed in a Friday follow-up that River’s counsel had submitted documents to the SEC but declined to elaborate on the round. 

The SEC requires private companies notify the regulator of equity sales within 15 business days of the first sale in a round. The documents filed Thursday with the SEC state River Financial completed its first sale of the round on Jan. 28, 2021.

River’s equity filing comes as the bitcoin-only brokerage embarks on a massive hiring push across compliance, client acquisition and engineering, with at least seven positions open for a team currently only 16 strong, according to the website.

Software job postings indicate River intends to build new services for its iOS app, and is considering taking steps to bolster account security and develop “novel performance reporting features,” projects it offers as examples to prospective hires. 

River serves deep-pocketed bitcoin investors and has in the past insisted it manages a “brokerage” service, not an exchange. It is seeking to refine that white-glove offering already available 32 U.S. states, as evidenced by the client operations analyst position. 



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