Future of Crypto | Edition #9 – April 2022
We’re back with a new edition of the Future of Crypto Newsletter! If you're new and curious, read on to satisfy your curious taste buds and join other crypto nerds in receiving some fresh Weekly Crypto Cuppa, delivered right to your inbox every Saturday!
Edition #9 brings intriguing headlines from around the Cryptosphere to keep your cup of curiosity filled. A plethora of innovative launches and market expansions remained at the forefront for the week. The NFT and Metaverse verticals were bustling with activity, noticeably the most active segments of this edition.
Here’s the TL;DR:
Goldman Sachs plans to offer crypto investment services to high-net-worth clients.
HSBC launches a metaverse portfolio for high-net-worth Asian clients.
Intel launches second-gen Bitcoin mining chips to boost mining efficiency.
Adidas to create metaverse avatars for fans inspired by a new shoe collection.
Binance.US raises over $200M in its first seed round at a $4.5B valuation.
The CBDC segment continues to gain momentum as more and more countries around the globe are developing ways to utilize CBDC potentialities.
In Europe, the European Central Bank was in the news as it hints to opt for a centralized solution for its new digital euro, raising questions about state snooping. In North America, the residents of Jamaica can now open a digital wallet that supports the country’s Jam-Dex CBDC as the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) prepares to launch the CBDC during the April to June quarter of 2022. In Asia, the People's Bank of China plans to expand its trial for its CBDC to include more cities following good responses during their pilot and the Winter Olympics venues.
In other news, Nationwide Payment Systems (NPS), which works in commerce enablement, has rolled out its global processing platform Worldwide Digital Payments which will power payments for crypto businesses and those working in related sectors. Barclays released a paper setting out a methodology for the mitigation of potential fragmentation risk presented by CBDC, through an architecture that places CBDC and commercial bank money on a similar footing.
Although crypto-coins continue to enter the mainstream with varied players from sectors far and wide trying to support possibilities, the skepticism still remains.
Singapore has approved a law that will tighten rules for cryptocurrency providers in the city-state who’ll be licensed only if they do business overseas.
The UN refugee agency has accepted its first stablecoin crypto donation worth $2.5M from Binance charity towards the organization’s humanitarian support for families forced to flee Ukraine.
The National Bank of Georgia has hit the headlines as it plans to regulate the country's crypto market by including rules for registering virtual asset service providers, testing compliance procedures, and halting money laundering.
The crypto segment has also achieved a couple of milestones in the past week. FTX US announced a strategic investment in the fifth-largest US-based stock exchange operator IEX to create a market structure for trading digital asset securities. Australian convenience store On The Run (OTR) was also on the news as it plans to allow clients to pay for products in cryptocurrencies by partnering with the digital asset exchange CryptoCom. Binance.US raised over $200M in its first external funding round, putting its pre-money valuation at $4.5B as it builds out a roadmap for an IPO.
On the other hand, chip giant Intel launched its second-generation Bitcoin mining chip called Intel Blockscale ASIC which will offer miners more efficient mining rigs than most models available in the market. Investment goliath Goldman Sachs announced that they are gearing up to launch crypto investment services for its high-net-worth clients. Kakao's Japanese webtoon subsidiary Kakao Piccoma also made it to the headlines after acquiring Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Sakura Exchange BitCoin in a bid to accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrency and NFT systems to webtoon services. Coinbase made its much-awaited debut in the Indian markets by adding support for UPI payments.
The stablecoins segment has been quickly gaining traction with a series of head-turning events this past week.
The United Kingdom's government announced that it will soon bring in legislation to embed stablecoins into its payment systems as a part of its plans to become a global crypto hub. Bitcoin (BTC) software firm Lightning Labs has secured a $70M Series B funding round led by Valor Equity Partners to enable and further develop the Lightning Network for faster and cheaper Bitcoin and stablecoin transactions.
The NFT space was abuzz with eventful happenings, highlighting several product launches, and funding activities.
Ledger unveiled the latest version of its crypto hardware wallet called the Ledger Nano S Plus prioritizes the needs of NFT collectors by offering support for clear signing via the company’s web app to ensure their safety when signing transactions. While global crypto trading platform KuCoin announced the launch of its NFT launch platform KuCoin IGO, real estate media production company HomeJab launched an NFT marketplace called real, specifically for original real estate images. Snoop Dogg also hit the headlines after partnering up with Clay Nation to launch some of his unreleased music and limited edition pitches as NFTs on the Cardano blockchain. Similarly, Mike Tyson launched a Mystery Box NFT collection via the Binance NFT marketplace.
On the fundings front, gaming NFT marketplace Fractal closed a $35M seed financing round led by Paradigm and Multicoin Capital to focus on building an engineering team and making new products for gaming companies. NFT marketplace Hot Drops, which allows mainstream and adult NFTs to safely coexist on the same platform, raised more than $2.4M in seed funding led by Transform Ventures founder Michael Terpin.
In other news, the official Formula 1 NFT and crypto-powered racing game F1 Delta Time which launched back in 2019, shut down after the owners Animoca were unable to renew the F1 license, leaving all tokens worthless. The UK government has announced its plan to mint its NFTs in the summer of 2022 as part of its global crypto plans. While Volkswagen South Africa launched an integrated metaverse campaign to promote the safety and intelligence features of its latest Polo model through an NFT treasure hunt game called Game on, Cardano’s decentralized cross-chain NFT marketplace Da Vinci Locker (DVL) started a private sale that kicked off on 5th April 2022.
Some funding rounds and head-turning partnerships were the key highlights for the DeFi space during the week.
DeFi hub ApeSwap partnered with Gauntlet Networks, the largest financial modeling platform in DeFi, to better optimize the former’s token emissions, leading to more efficient usage of liquidity and growth for the platform’s daily trading volume. DiversiFi partnered with cross-chain oracle SupraOracles which will allow DiversiFi to develop the premiere rewards token ecosystem on the Binance Chain and beyond.
On the funding front, DeFi platform Parallel Finance raised $5M at a $500 million valuation in a strategic funding round in a bid to become a one-stop-shop for DeFi systems. Similarly, another DeFi platform AlgoBlocks raised $1.9M in its strategic and private funding to push product development and growth initiatives, such as partnership and technical integration with other protocols.
Additionally, cross-chain DeFi infrastructure officially launched its DeFi services, becoming the first regulated provider allowing users to send, receive, and hold digital finance assets on the blockchain. DeFi Technologies also made it to the news after announcing its wholly-owned subsidiary and digital assets ETP pioneer Valour will begin trading Valour Cardano, Valour Polkadot, and Valour Solana on the Euronext exchange in Paris and Amsterdam.
Many players from different industries and sectors expanding into the metaverse have created quite a stir around the theme.
HSBC Holdings has launched a fund to capture investment opportunities in the metaverse for its high-net-worth clients in Hong Kong and Singapore. While beverage giant Coca-Cola announced that it is launching a gaming-inspired version of its fizzy pop virtually before it rolls out in the real world, Metaverse game ecosystem DeHorizon announced that their first game DeVerse is to launch on Polygon Mainnet which may enable low-cost transactions and friendly interactive experience for DeVerse players.
On the partnerships front, cryptocurrency hardware wallet provider Ledger has partnered with blockchain game The Sandbox to promote crypto education and bring security to its virtual world. English footballer Phil Jones was also on the news for teaming up with Stockholm-based media platform, Antourage, to launch a new metaverse membership project called Red Lion Sports Club.
In other news, cryptocurrency Shiba Inu hit the headlines as it will soon be launching its own metaverse, with 100,595 plots of virtual lands in a phased manner with prices starting at 0.2 ETH each. Lamborghini was also on the news after its last Aventador Coupe was auctioned off at the Sotheby’s with a metaverse skin and a soundtrack composed by Aoki. Similarly, Adidas also made it to the headlines after it plans to launch a platform to create metaverse avatars for fans based on their personalities and preferences for the brand's latest Ozworld shoe.
A plethora of funding rounds made most of the news in the DLT vertical.
Ethereum scaler Boba Network raised $45M in Series A funding at a $1.5B valuation in order to bypass the latency and transaction costs of the oversubscribed Ethereum blockchain efficiently.
Blockchain startup Kandola secured $450K in a pre-seed round led by AlphaWave Global in a bid to expand the team and develop a wide range of technologies.
Thailand-based venture capital firm SeaX Ventures secured a $60M fundraiser to accelerate the development of global startups throughout Southeast Asia and invest the proceedings in various sectors, including blockchain and Web3.
Biconomy introduced a $2M community grants program to support and assist blockchain developers, content creators, and blockchain projects.
Blockchain soccer game GOALS raised $15M in a funding round led by Northzone, Cherry Ventures, Moonfire Ventures, and Banana Capital to build a play-to-earn NFT-based FIFA game.
In other news, Gamefi.org joined forces with a cybersecurity team from the Icetea Labs ecosystem, Securichain, to level up the security of the products for its users.
And that's a wrap 👋
We hope you enjoyed this edition of the Weekly Crypto Brew, and we'll be back with more next week!
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