Cryptocurrency Daily News Bulletin: August 16, 2018August 16, 2018 2:14 pm
Pantera Capital, a blockchain investment firm, has launched a new crypto fund with a capital commitment of more than $71 million already in place, according to public documents. A filing submitted by the company to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday indicates that the new investment scheme, called Venture Fund III, started its first offering on July 31 and has raised $71.44 million from 90 investors. It’s still unclear at this stage how much more, if any, Pantera is seeking to raise for the fund, although a report from TechCrunch said on Thursday the firm is targeting as much as $175 million in total.
Canadian financial firm BMO Capital Markets is working with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan on a new blockchain pilot. The trial sees the two firms register a fixed income issuance on a blockchain platform in an effort to assess the viability of using the technology for this purpose. “The transaction included Bank of Montreal as the issuer and Ontario Teachers’ as the buyer of a CDN $250 [million] 1-year floating rate Deposit Note, making it the first Canadian dollar fixed income issuance demonstrating the viability of blockchain platform,” BMO said in a statement.
Coinbase has acquired Distributed Systems, a San Francisco-based digital identity startup, the company announced Wednesday. Distributed Systems has already been working on “decentralized identity solutions,” Coinbase Identity project manager B Byrne wrote in a blog post. The startup’s five-person team will join a unit within Coinbase that is dedicated to developing digital identity solutions. Blockchain can help individuals maintain complete control over their digital identities, ensuring that their personal information remains safe, Byrne said. He went on to write that this could apply to Social Security Numbers for Americans by adding protections for users.
AT&T is being sued by Michael Terpin, claiming the company’s failure to protect his cellphone data led to hackers stealing $24 million in cryptocurrencies. In a lawsuit filed by Los Angeles litigation firm Greenberg Glusker on August 15, Terpin claimed that AT&T’s employees have been complicit in a SIM swap fraud. The lawsuit claims that Terpin’s account has been hacked twice in seven months, saying “most troubling, AT&T has not improved its protections even though it knows from numerous incidents that some of its employees actively cooperate with hackers in SIM swap frauds by giving hackers direct access to customer information and by overriding AT&T’s security procedures.” Terpin is seeking $23.8 million in compensatory damages and a further $200 million in punitive damages, according to the suit.
US National Insurance Advisory Company, The American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS) is turning to the IBM Blockchain platform to support a new automated insurance reporting tool, the organization announced Wednesday. Built on IBM Blockchain using Hyperledger Fabric, the open Insurance Data Link (openIDL) system is aimed to simplify regulatory reporting by allowing insurance carriers to store data on a permissioned blockchain for regulators to view on an as-needed basis, a press release says.
Y Combinator has just announced a new China division and its chief believes blockchain will bring long-term advantages to startups, according to a report. The Silicon Valley-based seed investment firm, which has incubated notable startups including Reddit, Dropbox and crypto exchange Coinbase, officially announced its entry into the Chinese market in a blog post on Wednesday alongside news that Lu Qi – a former chief operating officer of Baidu – will be in charge of the new arm. Lu also discussed blockchain, saying he believes its core features of data encryption and digitization of trust mean it has long-term potential in business. He added that the technology is especially interesting for its provision of different types of incentives.
UK: As much as 59 percent of U.K. companies have been affected by cryptojacking malware at some point. Roughly half of those cases took place in the previous month, news outlet Internet of Business reports August 15, citing a research commissioned by Citrix. According to Internet of Business, the research, commissioned by software company Citrix and performed by OnePoll, asked 750 IT executives from U.K. companies that number more than 250 employees about their experience with cryptojacking attacks.
Malta: The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has now published a Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) Rulebook specifically pertaining to the regulation of Issuers of VFAs under the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFAA). However, it seems that the publication of this rulebook has not got down very well with financial services providers who spoke to CCN. Some have lamented that it is onerous and over-cautious in several aspects and makes business slightly more complicated where cryptocurrencies and blockchain are concerned.
Swarm, a cryptocurrency startup, has revealed ambitious plans to democratize venture capital, and it has today taken a major step toward that goal by listing tokens that allow investors to purchase fractional shares in privately-owned fintech darling Robinhood, a wildly-popular commission-free stock trading app that recently earned a $5.6 billion valuation. Robinhood isn’t holding a security token offering (STO), nor has it even announced plans to make its shares available to the general public through a traditional public listing. Instead, through partnerships with brokers and syndicate managers, Swarm has sourced equity from former Robinhood employees looking to cash out before the firm’s eventual IPO. That equity is held by what is essentially a shell company, whose shares are then listed on the Swarm platform as SRC-20 tokens. All of this, Swarm says, can be accomplished without Robinhood’s permission — much less its willing participation.
Bitcoin $6,443.18 USD (1.27 percent): High Times Holding Corp, a New York-based media group advocating for cannabis usage, has decided against accepting bitcoin in its initial public offering (IPO), according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) dated Aug. 13. The SEC filing states that the initial announcement made two weeks ago, in which the company had said it would accept cryptocurrencies for its IPO, was “distributed in error.” At the beginning of August, CCN reported that High Times was accepting cryptocurrency for its IPO — which it claimed would have made it the first stock offering ever to accept investments in digital assets. In other news, US investors can now buy a Bitcoin exchange-traded note (ETN) through their online broker, bank or advisor. Although the CoinShares product is listed and regulated in Sweden, the note, Bitcoin Tracker One (CXBTF), is now listed in US dollars. The offering gives investors who may be concerned about a direct investment in Bitcoin a way to get into the market.
Ethereum $295.22 USD (4.23 percent): Vitalik Buterin, in a series of 71 Tweets, gave details on the history and status of Ethereum’s Casper research project. Casper is a proof-of-stake protocol currently being developed to provide Ethereum as a way to scale efficiently enough to power, for example, the gargantuan number of transactions per second that a traditional credit card must be able to handle. Buterin ended the discussion on Casper noting that both projects in fact are close to deployment, only needing ‘formal proofs, refinements to the specification, and ongoing progress on implementation’ before they are ready to be unleashed.
Ripple $0.292308 USD (2.42 percent) is considering breaking into the Chinese market to apply its distributed ledger technology (DLT) to cross-border payments, a Ripple executive told CNBC August 15. Jeremy Light, vice president of European Union strategic accounts at Ripple, said in a phone interview that the company is looking to enter the Chinese market to speed up international payments with its DLT. Light said that “China is definitely a country and region of interest.” In February, Ripple made an attempt to enter the Chinese market by partnering with Chinese payment service provider LianLian in order to offer faster and less expensive cross-border transactions to their customers across the U.S., Europe, and China.
Kin $0.000129 USD (1.25 percent): The Kin Ecosystem Foundation, creator of the cryptocurrency backed by social media company Kik Interactive, has selected consumer 40 apps to participate in the inaugural edition of its development incubator. Announced on Wednesday, the program, which will fund 40 out of the more than 200 projects who submitted applications, will primarily feature new apps, though it also attracted more than a dozen apps that already have a combined active user base that numbers in the millions. That’s also 60 percent more than the 25 projects the foundation had originally planned to accept into the program. The goal of the program is to fund the development of miniature in-app “kin economies,” bootstrapping the adoption of the cryptocurrency that last year raised $98 million through an initial coin offering (ICO).
– WN.com, Izaan Khan