Investors Flock to US Money Market Funds Amid Banking Crisis

As the global banking crisis continues to fuel concerns among investors, the popularity of US money market funds is surging. According to Emerging Portfolio Fund Research (EPFR) data obtained by the Financial Times, more than $286 billion has been invested in these funds so far in March. The inflows are the highest seen in a month since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The top beneficiaries of this trend are Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Fidelity. The figures show that Goldman Sachs’ money funds have grown by 13%, receiving $52 billion in investment. JPMorgan’s funds have seen inflows of nearly $46 billion, while Fidelity has enjoyed nearly $37 billion in investment. These funds are offering their best yields in years, as the US Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates in a bid to curb inflation.

Money market funds are a popular choice for investors during uncertain times because they offer high liquidity and low risk. The current crisis in the banking sector has only served to amplify these qualities. The fear of liquidity constraints and potential bank failures has caused many investors to seek out safer investments, and US money market funds are delivering the kind of stability that investors crave.

In the seven days leading up to March 22, total money market fund assets increased by $117.42 billion to $5.13 trillion, according to a report from the Investment Company Institute. Government funds increased by $131.84 billion, while prime funds decreased by $10.83 billion. Tax-exempt money market funds shrank by $3.61 billion.

The influx of cash into money market funds is driven by fears surrounding the health of the financial system. Banks in the US and Europe are facing liquidity constraints as monetary policy tightens, and investors are wary of the potential risks associated with these developments.

For example, on March 24, shares of Deutsche Bank dropped due to an increase in the cost of insuring against its potential default risk. The bank’s five-year credit default swaps (CDS) climbed 19 basis points from the previous day, closing at 222 bps, according to Reuters, citing S&P Global Market Intelligence data. Meanwhile, in the US, there is still uncertainty surrounding regional banks, as insurance on default for financial services firms Charles Schwab and Capital One soared last week. The latest data shows that credit default swaps jumped over 80% to 103 bps as of March 20.

The surge in popularity of money market funds underscores the ongoing concerns of investors in the face of a global banking crisis. With interest rates continuing to rise, and fears of liquidity constraints and bank failures mounting, it seems likely that this trend will continue in the months ahead.


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Philippine Crypto Exchange Snags $50 Million In Funding Round Led By Tiger Global

Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX) has raised more than $50 million in a funding round led by U.S. investment firm Tiger Global Management as the cryptocurrency exchange looks to make virtual assets more accessible in the Southeast Asian country. 

UBX, the venture fund of UnionBank of the Philippines, which counts one of the country’s richest clans, the Aboitiz family, as its largest shareholder, has taken part in the financing round, PDAX said in a statement on Thursday. Other investors include Kingsway Capital, Jump Capital, U.S. blockchain payments firm Ripple and DG Daiwa Ventures, the investment company jointly established by Japan’s Daiwa Securities Group and Digital Garage, among others. 

“Today, PDAX facilitates the exchange of crypto and fiat currencies, and enables payments in and out of metaverse applications,” Nichel Gaba, founder and CEO of PDAX, said in the statement. “We are in the middle of developments that will continue to make access to digital assets safer, easier and more efficient for everyone.”

Tiger Global led another $12.5 million funding round in PDAX last August, according to the crypto company. BC Group, a Hong Kong-listed firm that runs the city’s first licensed digital asset platform named OSL, also participated in the round. 


The new investments underscore the potential for cryptocurrencies in the Philippines. The country was ranked third in Southeast Asia in terms of adopting of digital assets last year, according to blockchain data platform Chainalysis. Some blockchain-based games that allow players to earn cryptocurrencies have become an income source for people in the Philippines as the pandemic cut down on physical jobs.

PDAX was established in 2018 by Gaba, who spent nearly a decade working in various roles in investment banking, including HSBC. The crypto exchange is one of the 18 licensed virtual asset service providers in the Philippines as of December, according to the country’s central bank. 

PDAX’s mission to make crypto investments accessible to people in the Philippines has attracted the likes of more established players in the emerging industry. The company said it had struck partnerships with BitMex Ventures, the investment arm of derivatives exchange BitMex, as well as ConsenSys, the blockchain software firm that operates the popular MetaMask crypto wallet.

PDAX has also teamed up with the UnionBank and the country’s treasury bureau to launch a blockchain-based app that allows traders to invest in retail treasury bonds.


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Seized Russian Dark Web Sites—Trump’s Dumps, Ferum Shop—Raked In $263 Million In Bitcoin, Ether And Litecoin Sales From Stolen Credit Cards


Amid a growing wave of cryptocurrency seizures and government cybercrime crackdowns, Russian authorities have taken down massive swaths of the illicit credit card market as the nation looks to bolster legal cryptocurrency adoption, shutting down four sites this week that together have pulled in hundreds of millions of dollars from the sale of stolen credit cards, according to cybersecurity firm Elliptic.

Key Facts

Four illicit websites seized by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs on Monday made more than $263 million in cryptocurrency proceeds from the sale of stolen credit cards, representing roughly one-fifth of the global market for illicit cards, according to an Elliptic analysis released Wednesday.

Among sites taken down, Ferum Shop was the world’s largest marketplace for stolen credit cards, making an estimated $256 million in bitcoin since its launch in 2013, according to Elliptic, while marketplace Trump’s Dumps, which infamously used former President Donald Trump’s likeness to help sell raw magnetic strip data from stolen cards, raked in about $4.1 million since 2017.

Notices posted on both websites Wednesday morning warned users that the platforms had been seized by police and were pending criminal investigations, while in another seized marketplace, dubbed SkyFraud, Russian authorities left an emoji-laden message buried in the sites’ source code teasing, “Which of you is next?”

Investigators on Monday asked a Mascow court to arrest six members of an unnamed hacking group for allegedly circulating illegal “means of payment,” according to state-owned Russian news agency TASS, but it’s still unclear whether the suspects are directly linked to the dark web credit card sites.

The seizures come less than a month after Russian authorities seized the then-largest illicit credit card dealer, UniCC, which facilitated some $358 million in transactions over nine years.

According to Elliptic, closures and seizures of carding sites this year have already accounted for almost 50% of sales in the dark web market for stolen credit cards—part of a broader slowdown in illicit dark web activity as tightening cryptocurrency regulation makes it more difficult to launder funds.

Key Background

Earlier this week, Russia’s government said it had reached an agreement with its central bank to draft legislation recognizing cryptocurrency as a form of currency by February 18, largely as an effort to help curb cybercrime. According to a draft document, the move would force users to undergo identity checks conducted by the country’s banking system or licensed intermediaries and make it a criminal offense to transact cryptocurrencies without the checks. “The establishment of rules for the circulation of cryptocurrencies and control measures will minimize the threat to the stability of the financial system and reduce the use of cryptocurrencies for illegal purposes,” legislators said, lamenting that a complete ban on cryptocurrencies would be “impossible.”

Big Number

$214 billion. That’s roughly the value of Russia’s crypto market, representing about 12% of the total value of the world’s cryptocurrencies, according to United Kingdom broker GlobalBlock. 

What To Watch For

Amid simmering tensions with Russia over state-sanctioned cybercrime, President Joe Biden is reportedly slated to release an executive order that will task federal agencies with regulating cryptocurrencies as a matter of national security as soon as this month.


Russia’s not alone in cracking down on cybercrime. U.S. authorities arrested a New York City couple on Tuesday for allegedly conspiring to launder $4.5 billion worth of bitcoin stolen during a hack of cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex in 2016, $3.6 billion of which federal authorities have recovered in what the Department of Justice is calling the largest financial seizure ever. According to court filings, 34-year-old Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan, 31, conspired to launder the proceeds of 119,754 bitcoins by employing “numerous sophisticated laundering techniques”—including using fake identities to set up online accounts and running computer programs to automate transactions.

Editor’s Note: Heather Morgan was a ForbesWomen contributor from July 2017 until Forbes ended the relationship in September 2021, and was never an employee.

Further Reading

Feds Seize $3.6 Billion In Stolen Bitcoin, Arrest Couple Five Years After Massive Crypto Exchange Hack (Forbes)

Internet’s Biggest Marketplace For Stolen Credit Cards Will Shut Down (Forbes)


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Feds Seize $3.6 Billion In Stolen Bitcoin, Arrest Couple Five Years After Massive Crypto Exchange Hack


U.S. authorities arrested a New York City couple Tuesday for allegedly conspiring to launder $4.5 billion worth of bitcoin stolen during a hack of cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex in 2016, $3.6 billion of which federal authorities have recovered in what the Department of Justice is calling the largest financial seizure ever. 

Key Facts

According to court filings, 34-year-old Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan, 31, conspired to launder the proceeds of 119,754 bitcoins—currently worth about $5 billion—that were stolen from the Bitfinex platform after a breach of the cryptocurrency exchange’s systems in 2016.

At the time, the unnamed hacker allegedly made more than 2,000 unauthorized transactions transferring the stolen cryptocurrency to a digital wallet under Lichntenstein’s control, authorities said Tuesday.

They allege Lichentenstein and Morgan then employed “numerous sophisticated laundering techniques”—including using fake identities to set up online accounts and running computer programs to automate transactions—to transfer about 25,000 stolen coins out of the wallet and into financial accounts jointly controlled by the couple over the next five years.

According to the DOJ on Tuesday, special agents obtained court-authorized search warrants to go through the couple’s online accounts and were able to find files containing the private keys required to access a digital wallet containing 94,000 bitcoins representing about $3.6 billion in stolen funds.

In a statement, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said the recovered funds marked the DOJ’s “largest financial seizure ever” and called the case proof that “cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals.”

The couple has been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and conspiracy to defraud the United States, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.


The price of bitcoin pared recent gains after the announcement, falling nearly 2% to $42,910.

Crucial Quote 

“Cryptocurrency and the virtual currency exchanges trading in it comprise an expanding part of the U.S. financial system, but digital currency heists executed through complex money laundering schemes could undermine confidence in cryptocurrency,” U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves said in a Tuesday statement. 

Key Background

Ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline and meatpacker JBS, which sparked widespread gasoline shortages and meat-plant shutdowns, placed a massive spotlight on anonymity concerns last summer. In both instances, the companies paid millions in bitcoin to hackers taking advantage of the cryptocurrency’s anonymized transactions. “The only way you can begin to get on top of the pervasive” ransomware problem is “to develop a pattern,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said last summer after the DOJ seized $2.3 million in bitcoin as part of its investigation into Colonial Pipeline. At the time, Blunt called cryptocurrencies the “ransom payment of choice” for hackers and said lawmakers shouldn’t allow cryptocurrencies to operate “behind the scenes.”

What To Watch For

President Joe Biden is reportedly slated to release an executive order that will task federal agencies with regulating cryptocurrencies as a matter of national security as soon as this month.

Further Reading

U.S. Recovers Millions In Bitcoin Paid During The Colonial Pipeline Attack (Forbes)


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Forbes Blockchain 50 2022

Cryptocurrencies hog the spotlight, but blockchain’s biggest innovations are below the surface, saving billons each year for the world’s largest companies.

Reported by Maria Abreu, Nina Bambysheva, Justin Birnbaum, Lauren Debter, Michael del Castillo, Steven Ehrlich, Chris Helman, Katie Jennings, Jeff Kauflin, Javier Paz, Jon Ponciano, Marie Schulte-Bockum  

You’ve come a long way, blockchain! Since our inaugural roundup of the Blockchain 50, published in 2019, the billion-dollar companies (minimum, by sales or market value) on our annual list have moved beyond test projects and now rely on “distributed ledger” technology to do serious work. A lot of the action is in the back office, verifying insurance claims or facilitating real estate deals. It has also become vital to supply chains, whether checking the provenance of conflict minerals like cobalt or tracking auto parts for Renault. Nearly half of the Blockchain 50 are based outside the United States; 14% are Chinese. New this year: venture capital firms, which as a group invested more than $32 billion in the sector in 2021. 

Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether grab all the headlines, especially after booming last year and then losing more than $1 trillion in value since November. But in many ways, speculative cryptocurrencies are the least intriguing blockchain application. The most lasting impact will come as more and more multinationals integrate blockchains into their daily operations, unleashing untold efficiencies. 



In October 2021, the company that makes Photoshop and the keeper of the PDF format launched Content Attribution, which lets creators export their images directly to certain nonfungible-token (NFT) exchanges: KnownOrigin, OpenSea, Rarible and SuperRare. The feature lets artists protect their work against fraudulent claims by irrefutably proving their provenance before “minting” them as NFTs ready for auction. The service will eventually be available to all of Adobe’s 20 million Creative Cloud subscribers. 


KEY LEADER: Will Allen, VP at Adobe overseeing its Content Authenticity Initiative 



The insurance giant ($164 billion, 12-month sales) uses blockchain to streamline cross-border auto insurance claims in Europe. Different teams and incompatible databases used to mean lots of back-and-forth emails. Claims could take months to settle. Now there’s a single source record of each claim. Processing time has been reduced to minutes, and costs have fallen 10%. So far it’s being used by 25 Allianz subsidiaries to settle 850,000 claims. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: Hyperledger Fabric, Corda 

KEY LEADER: Bob Crozier, chief architect of Allianz Technology and global head of blockchain for Allianz Group 

Andreessen Horowitz 


Arguably the largest crypto investor in the world, the venture capital shop also known as “a16z” has raised around $3.1 billion in three dedicated blockchain funds over the past three years. That includes the massive $2.2 billion Crypto Fund III, which launched in June 2021. In total, the blue-chip firm has funded at least 60 startups working with blockchain and was an early investor in Coinbase, now valued at $34 billion. a16z also hopes to shape crypto regulation, having hired former officials from the SEC, Treasury and the Department of Justice to lobby policymakers. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, Flow, Celo, Near, Arweave and others 

KEY LEADER: Chris Dixon, general partner and leader of a16z Crypto 

Ant Group 


Since July 2020, this Alibaba affiliate has devoted 10,000 developers to blockchain. Already they’ve created 30 applications, generating over 100 million blockchain-tracked documents including patents, vouchers and warehouse receipts. The most mature AntChain application is Trusple (Trust Made Simple), which connects international buyers of products and components—beads in the apparel industry, say—to 6 million Chinese sellers. The app simplifies tax, customs and shipping, and enables banks to instantly complete payment, reducing auditing costs and default risk. Nearly 20 global banks including CitiBank, BNP Paribas, Singapore’s DBS and Japan’s Mizuho are providing financing via the platform. 


KEY LEADER: Geoff Jiang, president of Intelligent Technology Business Group, Ant Group 



The $137 billion (sales) Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee is testing the blockchain to try to speed up an arcane administrative process known as “coordination of benefits,” which determines one’s primary insurer. It usually requires a series of faxes (yes! faxes!) and phone calls and can take up to three months. Through a shared ledger with Chicago-based Health Care Service Corporation for certain Medicaid members in Texas, the companies now make this determination in minutes or hours. Anthem’s blockchain program processes around 3,000 to 5,000 verifications a month. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORM: Hyperledger Fabric 

KEY LEADER: Rajeev Ronanki, Anthem’s president of digital platforms 



Unintended policy cancellations are a big problem for insurers and often occur when a customer underpays or forgets to pay a premium. In 2021, insurance broker Aon ($12 billion, 12-month sales) partnered with insurance carrier Zurich to move invoicing to an immutable blockchain ledger—already leading to a double-digit decrease in cancellation notices. The technology, known as Adept, was developed by a subsidiary of Acord, the Pearl River, New York–based body that sets standards for the global insurance industry. Aon hopes to bring 10 more counterparties onto its blockchain this year. 


KEY LEADERS: Christa Davies, CFO 

A.P. Moller—Maersk 


The world’s second-largest container shipper ($54.5 billion trailing 12 months) now counts 250 ports and 20 ocean carriers using its proprietary TradeLens blockchain, which cuts time and reams of paperwork out of tracking containers as they move through global seaports. Sportswear giant Puma, which ships out of northern Germany, can now track a specific container in seconds rather than hours, according to Maersk. TradeLens, which Maersk co-developed with IBM in 2018, has tracked more than 55 million container shipments and is now being used by other shipping giants such as Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd and Singapore’s Ocean Network Express. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: TradeLens, Hyperledger Fabric 

KEY LEADER: Christian Hammer, chief technology officer, TradeLens 



China’s fourth-largest tech firm has 20,000 developers building (mostly) financial applications on its open-source blockchain. Last year they generated $47 million in revenue, a drop in the bucket for the $15.5 billion (sales) firm, but the future looks bright. In September Baidu won its largest contract to date, a $25 million deal with the government of Tongxiang, a city southwest of Shanghai, to build software to track the supply chain for the roughly $5 billion worth of synthetic fibers used to make clothes in the textile center. Efficiencies from moving its workflow to a shared ledger have already cut lending costs by 50 basis points. Baidu estimates that the blockchain has helped reduce the supply chain’s energy consumption by 17% and could remove 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the environment each year. 


KEY LEADER: Xiao Wei, chief manager of Baidu Blockchain



In 2020 BHP, the $61 billion (sales) Anglo-Australian multinational mining outfit, sold its first “paperless” shipment of Australian iron ore to China. That evolved in 2021 to trading cargoes of copper concentrate to China, with all documents, assays and emissions data enshrined on its MineHub blockchain platform. BHP has since adopted blockchain-based traceability to ensure there’s no “dilution” of the nickel it sells to Tesla’s Shanghai battery factory and to track the carbon emissions of the copper it sends from Chile to electric cable maker Southwire in Carrollton, Georgia. BHP is now in talks with suppliers to use blockchain to guarantee that the rubber in the 6,000 giant truck tires it uses each year was produced without slave labor or illegal deforestation. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: MineHub, Hyperledger Fabric 

KEY LEADER: Michiel Hovers, group sales and marketing officer 



Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey’s other company, formerly known as Square, generated $42 million in fees from its Cash App’s bitcoin brokerage in just the third quarter of 2021. It’s a safe and easy way for crypto newbies to get into the game: Block generated $9.8 billion in revenue from bitcoin sales in the 12 months ending September 2021. Dorsey left Twitter in November and is a vocal crypto booster, so expect Block to lean into its new name. In July, it created a business called TBD, which focuses on building a decentralized financial system and is looking to build an energy-efficient bitcoin mining system. 


KEY LEADER: Jack Dorsey, CEO 

BNY Mellon 

New York 

This 238-year-old bank is fully embracing the future: The institution that Alexander Hamilton started now wants to be king of back-office servicers for crypto ETFs. The firm already has 90% market share in Canada, meaning it provides tax and administrative services to most of the 17 crypto ETFs currently trading up north. In October it announced another big ETF applicant, Grayscale’s $23 billion Bitcoin Trust. New York–based Fireblocks, which provides crypto custody services, is a new BNY Mellon investment valued at $8 billion. 


KEY LEADERS: Roman Regelman, CEO of asset servicing and head of digital; Mike Demissie, head of digital assets; Ben Slavin, global head of ETFs 



Boeing is partnering with Canada’s TrustFlight and developer RaceRocks to build a so-called digital aircraft record system that helps airlines keep up with required maintenance. This expands on Boeing’s earlier blockchain initiative with Honeywell’s GoDirect Trade platform, which in 2020 securely sold $1 billion in Boeing aircraft parts. In time they envision a global airworthiness records platform, which could save 25% in maintenance costs—worth billions annually across the industry. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: Go Direct, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Indy 

KEY LEADER: Charles S. Sullivan, president, Boeing Canada Operations 



The luxury watchmaker now tracks 320,000 timepieces on the blockchain, giving customers access to detailed product history and proof of authenticity. Breitling is also using it to move into the resale market. Want to sell an Avenger you were given a decade ago? You can get an instant appraisal via your digital wallet. Looking to buy? Like consulting Carfax before purchasing a Toyota, you can easily check out the number of previous owners and repair history. In February, Breitling will let European owners buy, sell or trade timepieces online; it already allows customers to trade in old watches for store credit. It’s running tests in Switzerland to let customers quickly alert police to stolen goods via their digital wallet and is experimenting with blockchain-based warranty claims for lost watches. 


KEY LEADER: Antonio Carriero, chief digital and technology officer 

China Construction Bank 


The world’s second-largest bank, with $4.7 trillion in assets, has so far processed $141 billion worth of transactions on private blockchains for everything from supply-chain financing to cross-border payments. Among its more recent products is EasyPay, designed to make it simpler for corporations to send large, paperwork-intensive transactions with fewer errors and less need for audits. If a company in Guangxi wants to buy palm oil from Labuan, Malaysia, the counterparties can load their trade contract, receipts and waybills into the shared ledger. Local CCB branches can then process both halves of the trade in parallel, instead of sequentially. The result: Total settlement time is reduced from two days to about ten minutes. The platform now connects 14,000 bank locations. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: Tianshu BaaS, CCB Chain, BC Trade 2.0 

KEY LEADER: Lei Xing, senior manager at CCB Financial Technology Company 

CME Group 


In October, the dollar value of Chicago Mercantile Exchange crypto futures reached $4.7 billion daily, temporarily making the CME the largest crypto derivatives exchange in the world. That same month the SEC approved the first U.S. bitcoin futures ETF, Proshares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO), which now has $1 billion in assets. CME has launched crypto futures contracts for ethereum, as well as “micro” bitcoin and “micro” ethereum futures, tailored for those who want to invest $150,000 or less. 


KEY LEADER: Tim McCourt, global head of equity index and alternative investments 



The largest crypto exchange in the U.S. went public in April 2021, and its market value soared as high as $94 billion before settling to a recent $40 billion. In the third quarter of 2021, Coinbase logged more revenue ($1.3 billion) and net profit ($406 million) than in all of 2020, while its customer base swelled from 43 million to 73 million in the first nine months of the year. Next: diversification. Its “Coinbase Cloud” software aims to help developers build crypto applications, and in October, it announced an NFT marketplace to compete with OpenSea. A month later, CEO Brian Armstrong told investors Coinbase NFT could become “as big or bigger” than its trading business. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: Bitcoin, Ethereum and dozens of others 

KEY LEADER: Brian Armstrong, CEO 

De Beers 


The $5.1 billion (12-month sales) diamond producer has registered more than 400,000 stones, worth some $2 billion, on its Tracr blockchain, up 50% since January 2021. The platform records a diamond’s cut, color, clarity and karat, then tracks it along the supply chain. Users can instantly verify the rock’s origin and authenticity with a simple scan as it’s mined, cut, polished and sold—eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming mail-in verification. Tracr now has more than 30 industry participants, including Zales, Jared and Kay Jewelers. 


KEY LEADER: Jason McIntosh, chief product officer, Tracr 

Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation 


If you bought or sold a security in the U.S. last year, odds are that the clearing and settlement services were provided by DTCC, far and away the largest post-services firm in the world. In September DTCC, which processed $2.3 quadrillion in 2020 trades (total face value of the securities; trailing 12-month sales $2 billion), successfully completed a six-month test on a blockchain project that will reduce errors and cut settlement times from two days to less than one. DTCC’s main business remains publicly listed securities, but its new Digital Securities Management application is targeting pre-IPO companies with privately traded shares. 


KEY LEADER: Rob Palatnick, managing director and global head of tech research 

Digital Currency Group 


Think of DCG as a crypto conglomerate. The firm owns five major crypto companies: trading platform Genesis, news site Coindesk, digital asset exchange and wallet Luno, bitcoin mining firm Foundry and Grayscale, the largest digital asset manager in the world, with more than 150 portfolio companies and $39.6 billion under management. In November, DCG raised $700 million in a private stock sale led by Softbank at a $10 billion valuation, bumping founder Barry Silbert’s net worth to $3.2 billion. DCG’s newest startup, Foundry, has taken advantage of crypto miners being banned from China in May to create the world’s largest bitcoin mining pool, providing 19% of the network’s total processing power. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and others 

KEY LEADER: Barry Silbert, CEO 



Fidelity started mining bitcoin in 2015 when it was trading below $500, making the $11.1 trillion asset administrator one of the first traditional institutions to dabble in crypto. But true to its conservative nature, the 401(k) giant (2020: $21 billion sales) steered retail customers clear of owning crypto directly. Its main crypto niche today is not retail but providing custodial services and research to institutional clients through its Fidelity Digital Assets unit. The number of these big clients doubled to nearly 200 in 2021. Next: overseas expansion. Last year, Fidelity launched a Canadian bitcoin ETF and secured a permanent crypto license from the U.K. financial regulator. 


KEY LEADER: Tom Jessop, head of Fidelity Digital Assets 



Led by 29-year-old Sam Bankman-Fried, the world’s richest crypto billionaire (net worth: $26.5 billion), FTX dominates the hypercompetitive crypto exchange landscape. It handles some 10% of the $3.4 trillion face value of derivatives (mostly futures and options) traded by crypto investors each month. FTX pockets 0.02% of each of those trades on average, good for around $750 million in nearly risk-free revenue—and $350 million in profit. Additionally, the company hauled in a record $1.5 billion in private funding last year, rocketing its valuation from $1.2 billion to $25 billion. Eager to become a household name, FTX is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing, signing up a slew of celebrity brand ambassadors including Tom Brady, David Ortiz and Kevin O’Leary. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana and dozens more 

KEY LEADER: Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO 



The $32 billion (12-month sales) telecommunications and computer hardware company runs a blockchain innovation lab in Brussels with more than 40 clients— from a rice-trading startup to giant brewer Anheuser-Busch. The companies use the lab to test fresh ideas, backed by Fujitsu’s technical expertise. In November, for example, water purification firm Botanical Water Technologies started building a trading platform using Fujitsu’s in-house distributed ledger technology, which will allow sugar mills, distilleries and cola makers to sell or reuse the water they would normally discard during production. The platform, launching in April, will trace the water as it’s purified, sold and delivered, and give companies the option to donate a portion of their purified water to water-scarce communities. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: Hyperledger Fabric, Besu and Cactus, plus Ethereum 

KEY LEADERS: Frederik De Breuck, head of Enterprise Blockchain Solution Center; Shingo Fujimoto, manager of data and security laboratory, Fujitsu Research 

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China 


The largest bank on the planet ($5.6 trillion in assets) has 40 blockchain applications, which last year handled a total of more than $48 billion worth of transactions for local governments and industries including construction and transportation. Among its most innovative apps is Icago, which rewards users for making use of energy-efficient vehicles, whether trains, buses or electric cars. The bank’s blockchain connects wallets owned by ICBC customers to government transportation data. Carbon credits issued by the transit commission as nonfungible tokens can be redeemed for China’s new central-bank digital currency. In the future, securitized carbon emissions will be sold as bonds to companies looking to meet carbon reduction requirements. In Qingdao, a city known for its beer, the program removed 99,000 kilograms of carbon in 2021. This year, the program will expand to Shenzhen, Shanghai, Chengdu and seven other cities. 


KEY LEADER: Chaowei Liu, principal manager 

JPMorgan Chase 


JPMorgan’s Onyx Digital Assets network is making waves in the massive ($1.5 trillion a day, face value) repo market, the overnight government bond market that’s a steady source of profits for large financial institutions. By using smart contracts and JPM Coin, a digitized version of the U.S. dollar, Onyx repo trades settle in real time instead of overnight, reducing settlement risk and manual processing. The intraday repo application has so far facilitated the movement of $230 billion in trades, completing about $1 billion in transactions a day. In June, Goldman Sachs began using Onyx. 


KEY LEADER: Umar Farooq, CEO of Onyx by JPMorgan 

Kakao Corporation 

Jeju-si, South Korea 

South Korea’s dominant mobile messenger application, KakaoTalk, is used by nearly 90 percent of the country’s 52 million people, and as of May 2021 it has a marketplace for trading NFTs. Called KrafterSpace, the exchange is fully integrated with OpenSea, the San Francisco–based NFT bazaar that recently raised money at a $13.3 billion valuation. On KrafterSpace users can purchase tokenized artwork directly through Kakao’s messenger app with the accompanying digital wallet, called Klip Drops. Both KrafterSpace and Klip Drops are built on Kakao’s own blockchain, Klaytn, which has more than 800,000 active users. Separately, in August, Kakao launched a $515 million Klaytn Growth Fund to support developers willing to contribute to its blockchain’s ecosystem. 


KEY LEADER: David Shin, head of Klaytn Global Adoption 

LINE Corporation 


Part of Z Holdings, the $36 billion (market cap) Japanese internet conglomerate that also owns Yahoo Japan and Japan’s PayPal competitor, LINE is the country’s largest messaging app, with 300 million users. The company has developed a proprietary blockchain, also called LINE, owned by Softbank Group and South Korean internet conglomerate NAVER Corporation. Its services include a cryptocurrency exchange, an NFT marketplace and a digital wallet with more than 254,000 registered accounts. The associated cryptocurrency, LINK, is a big hit, attracting nearly a million miners. As of late January it had a market cap of $669 million. 


KEY LEADERS: Woosuk Kim, CEO of Unblock and LINE Tech Plus; Keun Koo, head of blockchain development at Unchain 

Marathon Digital Holdings 


Five years ago, Marathon was mostly known as patent troll, filing a raft of lawsuits (most settled out of court) against corporate giants like Apple, Amazon, Dell, Yahoo, Pinterest and Twitter. In 2017 the operation had annual revenues of less than a $1 million and a market cap of less than $10 million. It aggressively pivoted toward bitcoin mining in 2017, and the Nasdaq-traded company now has a market cap of $2 billion on revenue of less than $100 million. A big beneficiary of China’s bitcoin-mining ban, Marathon currently holds at least 8,133 bitcoin worth $300 million. The company intends to put to work 70,000 more servers in early 2022, increasing its computers devoted to crypto mining to 199,000, good for approximately 1.2% of total global bitcoin mining activity. 


KEY LEADER: Fred Thiel, CEO 



Twenty-four crypto cards, including Gemini, Uphold, CoinJar and BitPay, have been launched by Mastercard, letting customers spend their digital assets at 80 million vendors around the world. In October, the credit card giant partnered with Bakkt, a subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange (owner of the New York Stock Exchange), which will provide technology to allow even more Mastercard issuers the ability to accommodate cryptocurrency transactions. Mastercard also runs a blockchain incubator called “Start Path,” which has so far assisted 12 crypto startups, giving them direct access to the multinational company’s products, customers, workshops and mentoring. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: Terra, Rootstock, Monero, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Avalanche 

KEY LEADERS: Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president of digital assets and blockchain products and partnerships 



Facebook’s decision to rebrand as Meta and go all in on the (mostly) theoretical “metaverse” could be a boon to blockchain as well as Facebook, with its 2.9 billion member global community. After all, an immersive, all-encompassing virtual world is a natural environment for cryptocurrencies, custom avatars, NFTs, blockchain gaming, digital wallets and more. Let’s hope Facebook has more success with the metaverse than it did with Libra, its much-hyped cryptocurrency that was announced in 2019, renamed “Diem” in 2020 and sold to California bank Silvergate Capital in January 2022 for $182 million. To date little is known about the technology underlying Facebook’s metaverse. 


KEY LEADER: Mark Zuckerberg, CEO 



Enterprise software provider MicroStrategy and its crypto-Kool-Aid-guzzling CEO, Michael Saylor, are corporate America’s biggest bitcoin owners. The D.C.-area firm, which nominally makes boring back-office business software, has transformed itself during the pandemic into a crypto trading powerhouse. MicroStrategy now holds 124,391 coins worth $4.6 billion at today’s prices and has booked nearly $846 million in crypto trading profits since August 2020. 


KEY LEADER: Michael Saylor, CEO 

National Basketball Association 


The NBA’s Top Shot platform has transformed the sports memorabilia business, bringing NFTs to the average fan. Powered by Vancouver, British Columbia–based Dapper Labs’ “Flow” blockchain, users can buy, sell and collect “moments,” akin to digital trading cards—such as a LeBron James dunk that recently sold for a record-setting $230,023. Its popularity isn’t slowing, either. Since November 2020, 1.3 million people created Top Shot accounts, and total sales have soared from $2.5 million to $992 million. Top Shot’s outsize success has generated broader curiosity about crypto within the league. The NBA formed a blockchain subcommittee to evaluate future opportunities, launched a WNBA version of Top Shot and entered a multiyear partnership with crypto exchange Coinbase. 


KEY LEADER: Adrienne O’Keeffe, vice president of global partnerships and media 



The 141-year-old maker of cash registers and ATMs wants to create a massive global network of 1.5 million locations that will allow passersby to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In January it bought Boston-based LibertyX, a bitcoin ATM company that has 30,000 machines scattered across America. In June, NCR spent $2.5 billion to buy Cardtronics, a Houston company with 285,000 ATMs at Circle Ks, CVSs and Krogers in the U.S. and nine other countries. Bitcoin, ethereum and a few other cryptocurrencies should be available on these machines by the end of the summer. 


KEY LEADER: Tim Vanderham, CTO 



Through its Swiss Global Palladium Fund, the world’s largest producer of palladium and refined nickel ($17.7 billion, 12-month sales) has issued $1.3 billion worth of tokenized contracts for its precious and base metals, including gold, silver, platinum, palladium, copper and nickel. The contracts, stored on the Atomyze blockchain, help industrial firms like Umicore, Traxys and Glencore track the origin and environmental bona fides of their metals and make it easier to adjust inventory levels. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORM: Hyperledger Fabric 

KEY LEADERS: Marco Grossi, CEO, Atomyze AG; Alexander Stoyanov, CEO, Global Palladium Fund 



By 2030, some 40% of all new cars will be electric. Demand for cobalt, used in EV batteries, is soaring. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s cobalt supply is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a war-torn country where child labor and other human rights abuses are common. Oracle and British startup Circulor, a raw-materials supply-chain tracking company, have built a blockchain-enabled platform to trace the provenance of high-risk, conflict-area raw materials such as cobalt. Many of the world’s largest EV manufacturers, including Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and Polestar, have signed on for the service, which is built on Oracle’s blockchain. 


KEY LEADER: Wei Hu, senior vice president, high availability technologies 



Started in 2018 by Coinbase cofounder Fred Ehrsam and former Sequoia Capital partner Matt Huang, Paradigm has quickly become one of the most prominent crypto VC firms. Investments ranging from $1 million to over $100 million include FTX, Coinbase, Chainalysis, Uniswap and Sky Mavis. Sixteen are already valued at $1 billion or more. In November, Paradigm announced a new $2.5 billion fund, the largest crypto-centric venture capital fund ever. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: Bitcoin, Ethereum and others 

KEY LEADERS: Fred Ehrsam and Matt Huang, cofounders 



In October 2020, PayPal launched a crypto brokerage service as part of its grand plan to become a one-stop financial super app. Crypto users engage with the app twice as much as regular clients, and its offering of crypto rewards through the Venmo credit card has been a big hit with younger users. Although the company now lets U.S. customers purchase up to $100,000 in crypto per week, most transactions are much smaller; daily trading volume is estimated to be under $50 million. Looking ahead, the company wants to expand its crypto offerings beyond the U.S. and U.K. and is exploring the launch of its own stablecoin. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin 

KEY LEADERS: Dan Schulman, president and CEO; Jose Fernandez da Ponte, SVP and general manager for blockchain, crypto and digital currencies 

Ping An (OneConnect) 


Through its subsidiary OneConnect’s blockchain financing platform, the sixth-largest company in the world has made more than $12 billion in loans to a million small and medium-sized businesses in China’s Guangdong province since January 2020. OneConnect’s software uses government data to analyze a borrower’s risk profile for banks, cutting transaction processing to as little as 10 minutes—a massive money saver for its 788 client financial institutions, including $5.6 trillion powerhouse ICBC. In November, a OneConnect subsidiary partnered with the People’s Bank of China to use blockchain to track and process the financing of imports and exports from mainland China and Hong Kong. 


KEY LEADER: Li An, associate director of product 



In 2019, Providence, a not-for-profit Catholic health system, acquired Seattle health-tech startup Lumedic. The prize? Lumedic’s blockchain, which helps solve time-consuming administrative problems like “prior authorization”—when a doctor needs to check with a patient’s insurer to ensure certain surgeries or medications will be covered. In 2021, 16 of Providence’s hospitals and four clinics across Washington, Montana and Oregon were using its shared ledger to speed up prior authorization processing time from days to hours. Last year, more than 40,000 treatments were processed on Lumedic’s blockchain. 


KEY LEADERS: Kimberly Sullivan, chief revenue cycle officer, Providence; Mike Nash, CEO, Lumedic (acquired) 



In response to European regulators’ ever-growing technical requirements, the French automaker ($53 billion 12-month sales) launched blockchain platform Xceed in April to track thousands of car parts going into every vehicle manufactured in 16 factories across Europe. If any characteristics—such as the size of a screw or a headrest’s positioning—aren’t up to standard, the manufacturer is automatically alerted and can then notify suppliers with the push of a button, saving weeks of time on audits. Partners include top suppliers like Faurecia, one of the world’s largest makers of automotive interiors, with $18 billion in annual revenue. By 2024, Renault hopes to enlist 3,500 suppliers in a bid to track every one of its 6,000-plus regulated car parts and features. Renault has also started 20 other in-house blockchain initiatives tackling everything from car-buying transactions to supply-chain traceability. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORM: Hyperledger Fabric 

KEY LEADER: Odile Panciatici, blockchain VP 

Samsung Group 


Most Americans know Samsung for TVs and other electronics, but those are just one aspect of the largest ($220 billion 12-month sales) chaebol (conglomerate) in South Korea. It also makes ships, runs theme parks, sells life insurance—and, since 2020, has been using a blockchain-based loan platform to make it easier for small and midsize enterprises to request government loans. Previously, such a request required documents from three parties—the government, the credit guarantor and the bank—which would take three weeks on average to process. The platform reduces paperwork, cutting processing time to 12 days and saving about 13,000 working hours a year. 


KEY LEADER: Jihwan Rhie, head of Blockchain Business Planning 

Signature Bank 


In 2015, Signature became one of the first banks to accept crypto customers. It was a prescient move: Total crypto deposits have surpassed $22 billion, and the bank has processed more than $200 billion worth of payments on its ethereum blockchain–based proprietary network, Signet. This year the company began offering bitcoin-backed loans. It has also partnered with stablecoin issuer TrueUSD to allow clients to mint and send instantaneous payments using the dollar-denominated asset. The market is a fan: Over the last 12 months, Signature’s stock has almost doubled. 


KEY LEADER: Frank Santora, chief payments officer 

Société Générale 


Last year France’s third-largest bank released Cast Framework through its Forge subsidiary. The software lets both mainstream financial firms and crypto startups create regulatory-compliant digital securities on a blockchain. A recent application was helping Banque du France refinance $45 million in securities backed by some of the bank’s home-mortgage portfolio, tracked on a blockchain. Using the blockchain reduced transaction time and saved on auditing costs. SocGen is also developing a so-called “smart contract” library of reusable code specific to financial services and has applied for a French regulatory license that will allow them to manage digital assets for clients. 


KEY LEADER: Jonathan Benichou, chief financial officer, SG Forge 



The 278-year-old art auctioneer, known for selling Picassos, van Goghs and Warhols, is now gleefully hawking cartoon primates and pixelated cyberpunks. In April 2021, Sotheby’s held its first NFT sale, moving a body of work by digital artist Pak for $16.8 million. That was only the start: In all Sotheby’s did more than $100 million in NFT sales last year, contributing to the auction house’s record-breaking gross sales of $7.3 billion. In September, cashing in on the craze for unique NFT profile pictures on social media, Sotheby’s sold 101 images of monkeys, part of the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection of 10,000 animal avatars, for $24.4 million. The auction house now accepts bids in fiat currency and cryptocurrency. 


KEY LEADERS: Stefan Pepe, CTO, Sotheby’s; Sebastian Fahey, managing director, EMEA, and executive lead for Sotheby’s Metavers 

Stone Ridge Holdings Group 


In 2017, the financial firm that already owned a $13 billion asset manager, launched New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG), a subsidiary aimed at helping institutional investors buy and hold crypto. Stone Ridge has since bought and held some 20,000 bitcoin (worth $740 million at current prices) and last December NYDIG raised $1 billion from nine VCs including WestCap and Bessemer Venture Partners at a $7 billion valuation. Institutional clients include JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley; last year it cemented partnerships with banking software giants FIS and Fiserv. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Litecoin,Bitcoin Cash 

KEY LEADERS: Ross Stevens, executive chairman; Robby Gutmann, CEO 

Tech Mahindra 


The technology arm of Indian conglomerate Mahindra Group (2021 revenue: $5.1 billion) has developed more than 60 blockchain-based products spanning telecom, media and entertainment, manufacturing, retail and energy. One of the most interesting: VaccineLedger, which was developed in collaboration with a startup funded by Unicef and Gavi, the vaccine alliance that oversees a worldwide Covid-19 vaccine database with the World Health Organization. The blockchain helps prevent counterfeiting and reduces the number of vaccines that go to waste by tracing the shots from manufacturer to recipient. It records data related to custody, temperature, location and purchase orders for each vial. VaccineLedger already operates in two states in India, with plans to expand globally. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORM: Hyperledger Fabric 

KEY LEADER: Rajesh Dhuddu, global practice leader of blockchain and cybersecurity 



Over the past decade, Tencent has built a Chinese “super app,” used by more than 1 billion people for everything from gaming and social media to messaging and shopping. Now it’s developing a one-stop blockchain platform, Tencent Cloud Blockchain. Ten provinces and cities including Hainan, Guangdong and Beijing already use it to issue electronic bills for things like health care and transportation. As August 2021, Tencent’s blockchain had processed more than 15 million transactions in one city alone. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: ChainMaker, Hyperledger Fabric, FISCO BCOS 

KEY LEADER: Powell Li, general manager of Tencent Cloud 



Crypto’s town square, where Elon Musk shamelessly pumps canine coins and where millions of tiny traders try to send their latest purchases to the moon in 280 characters or less. There were 220 million tweets about NFTs in 2021 and an additional 60 million in January 2022 alone. And just because its crypto-obsessed CEO, Jack Dorsey, left in November to devote all his time to Block (see page 68) doesn’t mean corporate Twitter is forsaking its claim to the decentralized future. Twitter is doubling down on creator tools, like tipping other tweeters with bitcoin and letting users display their NFT collections as profile pictures—for a fee. 


KEY LEADER: Parag Agrawal, CEO 



The credit card giant has partnered with more than 60 crypto platforms including FTX, BlockFi, Coinbase and Binance to make it easy for people to spend digital currency through crypto-linked cards. All 80 million of Visa’s merchants now effectively accept crypto as payment, with the funds automatically converted to fiat currency before they receive it. While crypto transactions can be expensive, Visa leaves that headache to its partners, which charge as much as 2.5% in Coinbase’s case. Consumers have spent more than $6 billion using Visa crypto cards since October 2020. 


KEY LEADER: Terry Angelos, SVP and global head of fintech 



After hundreds of listeria, salmonella and E. coli infections last year, and millions of pounds of recalled food, the FDA finally seems to be getting serious about food safety. It announced in September 2020 that manufacturers and retailers will henceforth be responsible for tracking more than a dozen types of risky foods such as romaine lettuce, soft cheeses and fish at every point along the supply chain in order to identify and toss contaminated items more rapidly. The retailer is already tracking 1,500 items on the blockchain, triple that of a year ago. Its food safety initiatives are becoming more visible to shoppers: A recent Sam’s Club pilot in China let shoppers scan a QR code to gain information about where the produce was grown and when it was harvested. 

BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORMS: Hyperledger Fabric, Walmart Blockchain 

KEY LEADERS: Archana Sristy, senior director, blockchain, Walmart Global Tech; Tejas Bhatt, senior director, global food safety innovation 



One of WeBank’s latest blockchain apps encourages sustainable living by rewarding users for doing things like walking, taking the bus or recycling clothing. The Chinese digital bank, which is 30% owned by Tencent, issues Green Bud Points via a mini-app on WeChat that can later be exchanged for vouchers and gifts. All records are stored on its blockchain to ensure transparency and traceability. The platform already has 1 million daily active users and reports that it recorded a reduction of more than 2,500 tons of carbon emissions over 2021. Overall, WeBank has more than 70,000 coders working on its proprietary “FISCO BCOS” blockchain. 


KEY LEADER: Henry Ma, executive vice president and chief information officer 


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How Far Does Your Electron Travel?

Can blockchain solve one of the most problematic issues in renewable energy?

In recent months one of the biggest themes in energy has been the understanding that 100 percent renewable or carbon free energy is a very different proposition to 24/7.

First to cotton on to this were the big data tech giants like Google and Microsoft. They comprehended with total clarity the problems in the US of buying certificates to cover the total volume of energy consumed within a year, without consideration of time and place, and how it could destabilise the grid by sending wrong or even perverse incentives, and market signals.

Data giants arguably were in a better place than most to understand 24/7 and manage their power in a more nuanced way. With plenty of energy intensive operations that could be moved at choice, across the day and night, they could even do some useful load shifting. 

But outside of this elite band with their deep pockets, it has been interesting to watch the less technocratic but similarly determined manufacturing sector change and evolve, starting their own journey to greater sustainability.

One such example is Mercedes, which, for a number of years has been asking how to become more genuinely green. Patrick Koch, Head of Origination in Germany at Statkraft, has developed the Mercedes concept for Germany together with Klaas Bauermann and the two are at the forefront of this transformation. 


“Like everyone else, Mercedes is on a journey and they are plotting their own way to get to a place that you can really call sustainable quality” Says Bauermann.

Helping the car marque on this journey has involved careful coordination of all of the electrical resources of different shapes and sizes to create solid daily intake, hour by hour, painstakingly ensuring every kilowatt hour is accounted for once and once only.

For German plants, there is the solar park near Ingolstadt and twenty-four wind farms, which according to Elke Pußkeiler, Head of Supply Chain at Mercedes, the company is keen to increase. But when the wind and sun aren’t producing enough energy to meet demand, the company needed to find a solution to the variability of its renewable energy sources. To overcome this they worked with energy supplier, Enovos, and the Norwegian energy producer and retailer, Statkraft. 

Norwegian Hydro kicks in when the load outstrips the local renewable supply and every single hour is produced physically and accounted for by a Guarantee of Origin (GoO), which proves the renewable origin of the electricity. This, as well as the synchronicity of production and consumption, are independently certified by the German TÜV (the Technical Inspection Association).

Says Bauermann, “The complexity surprised us as we started to address the challenges of bringing in high-quality energy. But the mission itself was established with a very clear brief: Firstly, source for Mercedes the cleanest energy, for every hour of operation and secondly maximize, the share of local physical production (PPA) PPA , which are like a physical PPA, while minimizing the share of unbundled GoOs”.

“We start with the requirements from Mercedes and, to an increasing extent, many of their supply chain companies. The tyres, gearboxes and all the component parts that go into the car, and start building out the variable energy contributions. 

“Green baseload and peak load contracts from Germany lay the foundation of supply. We then add as much wind and solar as possible, taking care not to significantly exceed the demand in any few hours. The last part is delivered from flexible hydropower in Norway, and our green battery that we use to make sure we cover Mercedes’s demand for every single hour. So it all adds up exactly.”

Predictably there is no nuclear on the Mercedes energy charts, which places the whole operation on a different footing from say Google who use nuclear, or ‘carbon free energy’ as Clean Energy Buyers Association likes to call it, as a flexible baseload.

Germany is less than a thousand kilometers from the huge hydropower stations of Norway and has barely 11 percent nuclear, so hydropower was never in question for this part of the task.

The Scandinavian hydropower gets sent, in high voltage direct current form (HVDC), by a newly built undersea connection that has only just been finished in March of this year.

NordLink, the new subsea interconnector between Norway and Germany, became operational with its 1,400MW link and there’s no doubt that it plays a crucial role for Mercedes.

It does raise an issue, although the power is delivered to the north of Germany, the passage through to the rest of the country is more theoretical and less physical in nature.

The importance of place

Sure, there is a national grid in Germany, but the level of electrical congestion in the north is one of the reasons for the building of a national interconnector, called Suedlink, between North Germany and South Germany. This part of an electron’s journey is a less happy story and remains far from complete: Suedlink is still under construction, with an uncertain future. The €16.7 billion price tag will push up electricity prices in Germany, despite the country already having the most expensive electricity prices in the world. While laying cable undersea is relatively easy, laying it two metres underground is a more expensive proposition. And none of the residents between Schleswig Holstein and Baden Württemberg want to see more power lines crossing their countryside, so tunnelling it remains the only, if most expensive option.

Clearly bringing the energy from north to south Germany has its issues. And while many energy commentators are unconcerned about this congestion issue, and see the process as electrons coming into and out of a big and somewhat theoretical lake, others are less certain about this view.

One seasoned investor with twenty years experience, and as many successful renewables projects under his belt, disagrees with the ‘lake’ notion, and says that the place of entry of electricity is vital. “From a financial, and market point of view, there is a clear right way to do it and also a very clear wrong way too.”

“The right way is to start with the interconnector and say how can we get our power to this point the cheapest way. The wrong way is to say where the wind is strongest and leave the rest to chance.”

“There is naivete about some developers and even some investors who expect the grid to be constructed to meet their needs, and are sorely disappointed when they find themselves having to curtail the energy coming from their much heralded project.”

It’s also possible that when the interconnectors are all built, there remain monopolistic control issues that prevent interconnectors being used to the full extent.

Certainly solving the congestion problems may turn out in the coming years to be a non-trivial issue.

In that eventuality, the importance of local energy markets, trading with blockchain enabled systems could be a solution. After all, an energy trading platform enabled by blockchain would allow for fast, secure and seamless energy trades to help solve congestion issues. 

It’s too soon to say whether the trade of renewable energy will continue to scale internationally or more locally, but you can see both trends in the market.

Ultimately it will depend on what the companies that are ordering it want to achieve and are willing  to pay for. Today, place appears to be of secondary importance for most companies. Tomorrow it may be a different story.


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What’s Next For Bitcoin Prices After They Reached Their Highest In A Month?

Bitcoin prices climbed today, reaching their highest value since January 5 as the sentiment of investors grew more robust.

The world’s largest digital currency by total market value climbed to more than $44,500 this afternoon, CoinDesk figures reveal.

This figure compared to an intraday low of less than $42,300 close to 4:30 a.m. EST, additional CoinDesk data shows.

After rising to a more-than one-month high, bitcoin prices pulled back, experiencing some rather modest declines and dropping close to $43,500 this evening.

At the time of this writing, the digital asset was trading close to $44,000.

[Ed note: Investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.]

Following bitcoin’s recent price movements, several market observers highlighted key technical levels, as well as other important factors, when emphasizing what traders need to know.

Mark Elenowitz, co-founder of Ethereum-powered exchange Upstream, offered some insight on the situation.


“The next point of resistance, I suspect, is around $46,000. If that is broken, then we could very easily swing past $50,000.”

“But if that isn’t broken in the coming days, then support seems to be hovering at around $38,000. And if the latter plays out, then we could be in for a few weeks of range-bound price action.”

Ben Armstrong, founder of BitBoy Crypto, also weighed in on the matter.

“Right now many crypto analysts are warning about a possible Bitcoin bull trap. The sentiment in crypto has turned very quickly and many investors are hopeful for a renewed bull run,” he noted.

“The number to watch for here is $46k-$47k. Many people have been targeting this range for a relief rally before further downward action and possibly a retest of the $29k level,” said Armstrong.

“We should be looking for Bitcoin to hold the $40,000 level as support to fend off a larger downswing.”

Katie Stockton, the founder and managing partner of Fairlead Strategies, LLC, also offered some insight in her daily note.

“If today’s breakout holds tomorrow, a bullish short- term bias would be dictated with next resistance near $46.7K based on a Fibonacci retracement level,” she stated.

Her note offered further detail on the crypto markets:

“From an intermediate-term perspective, we are moving from bearish to neutral, noting there is a weekly oversold upturn and a more pronounced loss of downside momentum.”

“That said, we see risk of additional corrective price action in the equity market that could be a drag on risk assets, in general,” said Stockton.

“Bitcoin shares a loss of long-term momentum with the equity market, suggesting a wide trading range has unfolded in which shorter-term views will shift.”

Disclosure: I own some bitcoin, bitcoin cash, litecoin, ether, EOS and sol.


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Bitcoin Prices Reach Highest Since Early January As Adoption Bolsters Sentiment

Bitcoin prices rallied today, rising to their loftiest value in more than a month as the latest signs of institutional adoption helped strengthen the optimism of market participants.

The world’s most prominent digital currency reached $44,508 around 2:30 p.m. EST, CoinDesk data shows.

At this point, the cryptocurrency was trading at its highest since January 5, additional CoinDesk figures reveal.

Further, the digital asset was up more than 30% from the recent low of roughly $33,000 it hit late last month.

[Ed note: Investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.]

Institutional Adoption

When explaining these latest price movements, multiple analysts pointed to recent signs that organizations are embracing bitcoin.

Earlier today, KPMG Canada, the Toronto-based branch of professional services firm KPMG, announced that it had purchased some bitcoin, as well as its digital sibling ether, CoinDesk reported.

Further, automaker Tesla Inc. revealed in a recently filed 10-K that it held almost $2 billion in bitcoin at the end of last year.


“Tesla’s 10K SEC filing update was released yesterday, reaffirming notions that Tesla held onto their BTC holdings amidst declines in Bitcoin’s price to the lower 30 thousands,” said John Iadeluca, founder & CEO of multi-strategy fund Banz Capital.

“Combined with the news of KPMG Canada adding Bitcoin onto its balance sheet, encouraged a sharp rise in positive Bitcoin price sentiment,” he stated.

Joe DiPasquale, CEO of cryptocurrency hedge fund manager BitBull Capital, offered similar input.

“The bounce from low 30 thousands gave the market confidence and we saw sentiment improving over the last few days,” he noted.

“Today news of Tesla maintaining its BTC holdings and KPMG Canada adding BTC to its balance sheet have also bolstered sentiment,” emphasized DiPasquale.

Josh Olszewicz, head of research at Valkyrie Investments, also spoke to these developments, noting how they are simply the latest sign of progress for cryptocurrencies.

“KPMG Canada, a big four accounting firm, announced today they will be holding BTC and ETH in their corporate treasury. The new allocation represents a growing list of significant institutional adoption and maturation of an emerging asset class.”

Lawmakers Embrace Bitcoin

Andrew Rossow, an internet and technology attorney, also spoke to adoption, but took a different angle, focusing on the actions of U.S. government officials.

“From a legal perspective, I believe a huge source of credit comes from Congress, with many members of the U.S. Senate speaking favorably on Bitcoin,” he stated.

“On Friday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz disclosed that he invested in $50K worth of bitcoin during its dip back in Jan., which lended additional favor to Texas’s journey towards becoming a notable bitcoin mining hub,” said Rossow.

“This cannot be overlooked, regardless of your political affiliations.”

Market Dynamics

In an effort to shed further light on current market conditions, as well as provide some clarity on what might come next, Olszewicz highlighted some important key factors.

“Crypto derivative funding rates still lean negative, even with rising price and open interest, suggestive of on-going short interest,” he stated.

“Price may continue upward momentum so long as shorts continue to get squeezed and are forced to cover positions or become liquidated.”

Further, he spoke to the relationship between the price movements of digital currencies and the values of major indices like the S&P 500.

“Crypto also continued to decouple from traditional finance indices, such as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, throughout the day,” said Olszewicz.

“Strong correlations between crypto and these indices held through the month of January, but began to break after the non-farm payroll numbers were released on Friday. A decorrelation between the two sectors could be suggestive of returning risk-on sentiment in Crypto.”

Disclosure: I own some bitcoin, bitcoin cash, litecoin, ether, EOS and sol.


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Tesla’s Bitcoin Investment Hits Nearly $2 Billion—Here’s How That Compares To Billionaire Novogratz’s Galaxy, Dorsey’s Square And More


Electric carmaker Tesla revealed in a public filing Monday that the value of its bitcoin holdings ballooned to nearly $2 billion by the end of December, confirming the firm helmed by billionaire Elon Musk sold no cryptocurrency in the latter half of last year and cementing its position as the U.S. corporation with the second-largest bitcoin stash. 

Key Facts

In its annual report released Monday, Tesla disclosed the market value of its bitcoin holdings skyrocketed to $1.99 billion as of December 31 after its $1.5 billion investment in the first quarter, representing roughly 10% of its liquid assets (including cash and marketable securities). 

Despite revealing an accounting loss of $101 million spurred by bitcoin’s volatility last year, the firm reported $272 million in profits from the sale of digital assets last year and said it “believes in the long-term potential of digital assets, both as an investment and also as a liquid alternative to cash.”

With about 43,200 bitcoins, Tesla owns more of the world’s largest cryptocurrency than eight of the top 10 corporate holders, according to Bitcoin Treasuries, but pales in comparison to MicroStrategy, the data analytics firm led by staunch bitcoin bull Michael Saylor, which owns 125,051 coins worth about $5.4 billion.

As of January 1, cryptocurrency mining firm Marathon Digital held 8,133 bitcoins valued at $375.8 million and billionaire Jack Dorsey’s Square, which started buying bitcoin shortly before Tesla in October 2020, owned 8,027 coins worth about $350 million.

Remaining top 10 holders include crypto-exchange Coinbase (owning 4,487 bitcoins worth nearly $200 million), billionaire investor Michael Novogratz’s digital asset financial services firm Galaxy Digital (with 4,000 coins worth $173 million) and a host of small mining companies, including Hut 8 Mining, Bitfarms, Riot and Hive Blockchain, which collectively own nearly $800 million in bitcoin.


  1. MicroStrategy: 125,051 bitcoins 
  2. Tesla: 43,200 bitcoins
  3. Marathon Digital Holdings: 8,133 bitcoins
  4. Square Inc.: 8,027 bitcoins
  5. Hut 8 Mining Corp: 5,242 bitcoins
  6. Bitfarms Limited: 4,600 bitcoins
  7. Coinbase: 4,487 bitcoins 
  8. Riot Blockchain: 4,464 bitcoins
  9. Hive Blockchain: 4,032 bitcoins
  10. Galaxy Digital Holdings: 4,000 bitcoins

Big Number

$10 billion. That’s roughly how much about 20 public companies with a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion have invested in bitcoin, according to London-based crypto firm Nickel Digital Asset Management.

Key Background

Growing institutional adoption and heightened inflationary fears have lifted cryptocurrencies to meteoric highs during the pandemic, but not without bouts of crippling volatility. Shortly after Tesla lifted bitcoin to new price highs after announcing its $1.5 billion investment in February, prices crashed nearly 20% when Musk said prices seemed “a little high” on Twitter. Though bitcoin reached a new peak of $69,000 in November, the cryptocurrency has experienced several 20% drawbacks over the past year, including in May when the Tesla announced it would stop investing in bitcoin—and accepting it as a form of payment for its vehicles—because of the industry’s toll on the environment. At about $43,888 on Monday, the price of bitcoin is up 13% over the past year, but down 35% from its all-time high.

What We Don’t Know

Whether—or when—Tesla will once again invest in bitcoin, or accept it as a form of payment. On Monday, the firm said it “may increase or decrease our holdings of digital assets at any time” based on market and environmental conditions, but it gave no further details about its cryptocurrency future. 


“Investing in bitcoin puts a company’s cash at risk of unnecessary volatility and potential losses,” Jerry Klein, the managing director of $19 billion advisory Treasury Partners, wrote in emailed comments last week. Accounting rules require corporations to treat bitcoin as an intangible asset, Klein says, meaning firms must write down the value if the price declines, but can’t write up the value if the price appreciates. “This creates a no-win situation from an accounting standpoint,” he notes.

Further Reading

Tesla’s Bitcoin Investment Fell $1 Billion In Second Quarter Amid Crypto Market Crash (Forbes)

Billionaire Saylor’s MicroStrategy Bought $25 Million In Bitcoin During Last Month’s $500 Billion Crypto Market Crash (Forbes)


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How To Use The Forbes Digital Assets Watchlist

Dear Web 3 investors, NFT collectors and all the crypto-curious, 

The @ForbesCrypto team has been hard at work for the past few months developing the ultimate platform to help navigate the world of crypto and blockchain—Forbes Digital Assets—our all-in-one platform which includes news, market data, analysis, in-house research and virtual events covering all corners of the blockchain world.

To help get you started we’re launching Watchlist, a feature located in the top right section of the Forbes Digital Assets landing page that lets you track the performance of your favorite cryptocurrencies, be it Bitcoin, Solana or one of the smaller altcoins. Think of it as a way to bookmark assets you discover on Forbes in real time, for future exploration.

If you don’t have a registered Forbes account or simply haven’t signed in, your watchlist will by default consist of Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin, reflecting their current prices and 24-hour performance. Once you sign in, it’s tabula rasa! All you should see is the green circled cross button at the center of your watchlist. 

You can start making selections by scrolling down to the “Leaders and Laggards” segment of the main page, which shows the best and worst performers in the past 24 hours among cryptocurrencies that Forbes tracks. To view all available assets, click the corresponding link at the bottom of this section or select the “Assets” tab at the top of the main page. To remove an asset, click on ‘Edit’ in the top right corner of the Watchlist window and press the Remove button next to it.

Forbes currently tracks the 85 largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, but more will be added as we continue to enhance our platform. The tokens are ranked by “Impact”—a metric we have developed to address discrepancies in market cap calculations and the corresponding rankings of cryptocurrencies across several major platforms providing this data. Every cryptocurrency has a dedicated page with basic information about the asset, a price chart and accompanying data across various time periods as well as prices listed on major cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase Pro and Gemini.

Looking for in-depth, regular crypto insights? Subscribe to the Forbes CryptoAsset & Blockchain Advisor.

For context and further guidance, head to the News and Research section in the Dashboard tab featuring stories and research reports from our experts in data, crypto regulation, taxation and other relevant fields. We also regularly host webinars and panels with top executives and specialists to discuss emerging trends and investment strategies, where you can bring your pressing questions. All sessions are recorded and available on demand in the Events tab. 

And lastly, as the popular saying goes: “When in doubt, zoom out,”—and we mean it in the broadest sense. For the serious investor, looking for in-depth, regular insights, nothing beats the Forbes CryptoAsset & Blockchain Advisor, our monthly newsletter keeping you informed of all the nascent trends. But there’s no ultimate guide for investing in emerging assets and technologies so make sure to use other resources and platforms (other than Twitter and Discord) when building your watchlist. And if you have any questions, come to us! 


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Bitcoin (BTC) $ 41,853.21 4.57%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 2,225.36 1.01%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 72.21 0.40%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 249.25 8.54%