Future of Crypto | Edition #11 – April 2022
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Edition #11 brings the intriguing scoop surrounding the Cryptosphere to keep your cups of curiosity recharged. A flurry of innovative launches and funding rounds remained at the forefront for the week, with the NFT segment winning the day as the most active segment of the week.
Here’s the TL;DR:
Stripe to let clients make payments in USDC stablecoin via Polygon.
Opera launches a new web 3 fueled crypto browser for iPhones and iPads.
Coinbase unveils its NFT marketplace in limited beta.
Hyundai launches a community-based NFT project.
CoinDCX hits $2B valuation in new $135M funding round.
For the longer read, let’s get going –
The CBDC segment was abuzz with activities as more and more countries rolled up their sleeves to introduce their respective CBDC initiatives.
In South America, the Central Bank of Brazil confirmed that the institution would run a pilot test regarding implementing its proposed CBDC, the digital real. In North America, the Bahamian government was in the news for its plans to enable the payment of taxes using digital assets by working with the country’s central bank and the private sector. In Asia, the Bank of Japan announced plans to explore the digital Yen cautiously, preferring Sweden’s approach over China’s quick expansion of experiments.
In other news, Chinese multinational giant Tencent also hit the headlines for its plans to soon launch China’s CBDC wallet with WeChat integration.
As crypto-coins continue to enter the mainstream, varied players from sectors far and wide are trying to evaluate the integration of these digitized tokens into their existing frameworks.
Crypto investment startup Flippy raised $1.15M in a seed funding round led by Redstart Labs to scale operations and expand the team. Indian crypto exchange CoinDCX doubled its valuation to $2.15B following a raising of $135M in a Series D funding round co-led by Steadview and Pantera to aggressively expand its product offerings and talent base.
In other news, software platform Vaycaychella announced that the company is hosting a limited event where select investors will have the opportunity to see VAYK’s pilot portfolio of short-term rental vacation properties in Cuba and invest in it through VAYK’s first cryptocurrency offering. In Australia, plans to roll out Bitcoin ETF in the country after regulatory approval of products offering direct exposure to digital assets made for a key attention-grabbing event. Robinhood Markets Incorporation also signed a deal to acquire UK-based electronic money institution and crypto-asset firm Ziglu Limited. Internet browser Opera hit the headlines after it launched a web 3-fueled crypto browser for iOS devices that allow users to use decentralized apps (dApps), games, and metaverse platforms—including an integrated non-custodial crypto wallet. Additionally, Stripe created a buzz after announcing plans to let clients make payments in USDC stablecoin via Polygon. Twitter will be the first company to test this option by paying earnings via crypto to content creators who use its monetization products.
The stablecoins segment has been witnessing a series of head-turning events.
DApp platform NEAR protocol launched its native stablecoin USN on its NEAR public test network. On the other hand, DAO utility provider XDAO and PARQ developers made the bulletin as they are working together to issue a PARQ stablecoin that can be used to pay for the latter’s services, like rent or acquire a stake in PARQ real estate assets. Stablecoin network Arf was also in the news as it plans to bring working capital credit lines to money transfer firms called Arf Credit.
A plethora of innovative launches made most of the headlines in the NFTs segment last week.
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase launched its NFT marketplace in a beta version accessible to a small set of beta testers who will be invited based on their position.
Hyundai Motors was in the news for its plans to collaborate with the ‘Meta Kongz’ NFT brand to release 30 new limited edition ‘Hyundai x Meta Kongz’ NFTs, with further projects planned throughout the year.
KuCoin Ventures and its NFT marketplace, Windvane, launched a $100M creators fund to support and incubate early-stage non-fungible token (NFT) projects.
The NBA and NBPA launched a new NFT initiative, The Association NFT, where the collectible’s design will be dynamic and change over time.
Metaverse gaming platform Manufactory launched NFT-based land drops which form the crux of the gameplay and strategy building and are laced with in-game resources for the players to utilize and experience a digitally enriching experience in the Manufactory metaverse.
MetabaseNFT launched its NFT marketplace platform that emphasizes privacy and variety.
Air Europa partnered with TravelX to launch the world’s first series of NFT flight tickets, ten of which will be sold for a special flight from Madrid to Miami on 29 November 2022.
In other news, the game developing platform Mystic Moose partnered with the nonprofit One Tree Planted to offset the environmental costs of NFTs for its upcoming web 3 game Planet Mojo. NFT-based eSports platform Mokens League closed a $2M seed fund that will be used to finish the development cycle of the game as well as install and maintain game servers worldwide to provide a latency-free gaming experience. Similarly, the world’s first cricket NFT platform Rario raised $120M in a Series A funding round led by Dream Capital and the M&A arm of Dream Sports. It now gets access to Dream Sports’ 140 million users, who will be offered fiat-only products in India, potentially creating the largest cricket NFT platform globally.
Many industry players are recognizing the potential for growth in the DeFi space, and are making the best of the opportunities presented through varied activities.
Bastion, the lending, borrowing, and exchange protocol built on the Near blockchain, closed a $9M Series A funding round right on heels of its BSTN token launch. Solana DeFi protocol Delta similarly raised $9.1M, which will go for the protocol’s core development and ecosystem expansion.
As for the other activities, DeFi insurance platform Uno Re was in the news for the launch of Cover Portal, which addresses an underemphasized need in the DeFi space: easy access to insurance. On the other hand, Framework Ventures launched a $400M fund after reaching $1.4B in total assets under management that will go toward blockchain gaming investments with web 3 and DeFi as secondary areas of interest. Ethics-focused DeFi platform MRHB DeFi announced its gold sponsorship of Blockchain Life 2022 forum that is set to showcase the world’s first ethical and halal DeFi protocol. Additionally, Ethereum DeFi staple MakerDAO added the StarkNet Bridge as the first step of the four phases required in rebuilding Maker on StarkNet.
The metaverse vertical witnessed an assorted mix of diverse activities.
When it comes to the partnerships, GamesCoin Group made the headlines for building on Hadean’s pioneering technology to develop the world’s first “Play to Own” metaverse hub for gaming on the blockchain. Klatyn Foundation announced the onboarding of Alameda Research as a strategic partner and investor into the Klatyn blockchain ecosystem. Furthermore, Infosys acquired German-based consulting agency Oddity to boost metaverse and digital experience capabilities and expand the reach of Infosys’ client base in Europe and northeast Asia.
On the fundings front, Tower 26 Venture Fund raised $50M for VR games alongside the metaverse led by former studio executive Jon Goldman. Estonia-based Cardano metaverse startup Cardalonia raised $420K in a pre-seed round to help the company kick off the project and move more enthusiasts into the metaverse space. What’s more, CGHero, a startup that connects artists with gaming and metaverse jobs, also raised $5.2M in funding, witnessing an explosion in demand due to increased interest in metaverse.
As for the other affairs, Limitless started a formal business to offer metaverse-as-a-service and launched a $60M venture fund to build the digital globe. MetaVRse, a leading web-based creation platform, also introduced TheMall.io, a photorealistic 3D shopping center offering unprecedented opportunities for brands and retailers to increase customer engagement.
The DLT segment accounted for quite a stir of events that grabbed the headlines for the week.
Public blockchain Kadena launched a $100M grant program to encourage web 3 development on its platform, potentially opening the door to more use cases for the layer-1 protocol. SourceLess blockchain launched an impenetrable system, which, when installed into a car’s computer, will create a node that works in a way that any security issues will be canceled by running in SourceLess Blockchain and not allowing any virus or malware to execute. Even UK-based cryptocurrency startup Blockchain.com was in the news for reportedly exploring an IPO, which may happen as early as this year. On top of that, Algorand announced its plans to implement the first network self-sustainability smart contract to automate the offsetting of carbon emissions.
In other news, AmerisourceBergen partnered with Chronicled to leverage a new blockchain-powered solution designed to enhance pharmaceutical chargeback accuracy and significantly reduce chargeback rejections. Similarly, Contango Digital joined forces with Nakamoto Games to focus on building out the future of blockchain gaming and virtual metaverses and creating sustainable rewards, multiplayer functionality, unparalleled user experiences, and online security. Binance.US also hit the headlines for withdrawing from the advocacy group Blockchain Association, and instead creating a team to engage with lawmakers on digital asset policy.
As for the funding rounds, Live Bash raised $21M to create an affordable entertainment “ecosystem,” allowing performers to rent one of its physical stages to livestream and mint their performances. Ethereum-focused BlockApps’ $41M raise to continue its expansion into the enterprise blockchain space was another key event from the DLT space.
And that's a wrap 👋
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