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Expansion: U.S. Insurtech Branch Launches Home & Auto Coverage in Colorado & Oklahoma

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Branch, a U.S.-based insurtech startup, announced on Wednesday the expansion of its home and auto coverage in Colorado and Oklahoma.

Founded in 2017, Branch explained that it “taps” into the power of the community to make insurance accessible and affordable for everyone, utilizing technology to make it easier to save money by bundling home and auto insurance within seconds. Branch claimed it has revolutionized the insurance-buying experience by offering consumers a reimagined way to bundle their home and auto insurance in just seconds.

“Using technology and automation, Branch is now making it quicker and easier than ever for consumers to save money on their insurance.”

While speaking about the expansion, Steve Lekas, Co-Founder and CEO of Branch, stated:

“With each state expansion comes the opportunity to bring more consumers the insurance they deserve and we’re eager to welcome so many residents in Colorado and Oklahoma into the Branch community.”

Branch’s services are also available in Arizona, Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/04/174721-expansion-u-s-insurtech-branch-launches-home-auto-coverage-in-colorado-oklahoma/

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Binance Under Investigation in the US: Report

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Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange is said to be under investigation by the US Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

According to Bloomberg, government officials are digging into possible money laundering and tax infractions. The report cited individuals with knowledge of the matter.

A Binance representative, Jessica Jung, issued the following statement:

“We take our legal obligations very seriously and engage with regulators and law enforcement in a collaborative fashion. We have worked hard to build a robust compliance program that incorporates anti-money laundering principles and tools used by financial institutions to detect and address suspicious activity.”

Binance is far larger than the competition. The most recent trading 24-hour trading volume indicated over $80 billion in transactions with its nearest competitor generating less than half that amount.

Founded by CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao in 2017, the crypto exchange was originally based in China but has since exited the country. According to the aforementioned report, Binance is incorporated in Cayman but lacks a single corporate headquarters. Binance.US is a US-based exchange that is affiliated with the parent company that was created solely to target the US market.

Bloomberg cites information from Chainalysis that indicates funds affiliated with illicit activities went through Binance more than any other exchange.

Recent rules require that crypto exchanges to maintain both buyer and seller information for possible scrutiny by regulators. It is not certain how rigorous Binance is in complying with these demands but in the early days of crypto KYC and AML restrictions were fairly lax.

Recently, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler stated that crypto exchanges needed additional regulation regarding investor protection. The possible investigation of Binance, along with a regulatory transition with the Biden Administration, may foreshadow additional scrutiny for the entire crypto exchange sector.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/05/175336-binance-under-investigation-in-the-us-report/

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Canadian Digital Banking Platform Relay Secures $19.4 Million

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Relay, a Canada-based digital banking platform for small businesses, announced on Thursday it raised US$19.4 million in funding, which includes US$15 million through its Series A funding round that was led by Bain Capital Ventures and seed round of $4.4 million led by Better Tomorrow Ventures, Garage Capital, Tribe Capital, Panache, and Amaranthine.

Founded in 2018, Relay is looking to fully automate the finance function for small businesses through banking that deeply integrates into the back-office systems business owners rely on. The company’s product increases financial visibility and security while significantly reducing time spent on administration. Relay also noted that it is “building banking that is tailor-made” for employer SMBs, offering more customized functionality and support than a traditional bank. Relay Co-Founder and CEO, Yoseph West, further explained:

“Eighty-two percent of businesses fail due to cash flow issues, and traditional banking doesn’t help — business banking is often confusing, expensive, and siloed from other systems. We’re building a challenger bank that helps businesses succeed by offering powerful tools to increase cash flow visibility and streamline time-consuming financial processes — in addition to being affordable and easy to use.”

Relay is on track to have processed $1 billion worth of transactions by the end of 2021. The company went on to add that the funds will be used to accelerate its mission to increase the success rate of small businesses by automating financial management for business owners.

Relay will use this funding to increase customer acquisition, grow the engineering and product teams, and further integrate its platform into the small business back office.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/05/175335-canadian-digital-banking-platform-relay-secures-19-4-million/

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Crypto Exchange BlockQuake Pursues Crowdfunding to Raise Growth Capital, Plans Global Launch this Quarter

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Blockquake is a crypto exchange startup that is seeking to compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Earlier this year, Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) became the first crypto exchange to become a publicly-traded company in a direct listing on the Nasdaq. The company currently has a market cap of over $50 billion and is the largest crypto exchange in the US. Other big names in the space include Binance (along with its US iteration), Kraken, Gemini, and many more.  So can Blockquake compete with platforms already generating billions of crypto trades every single day?

Crowdfund Insider recently connected with Antonio Brasse, CEO and co-founder of Blockquake to ask him these questions. Of note is the fact that Blockquake is building its trading platform from the ground up with a compliance first approach. Brasse is steeped in the nuances of financial regulation having spent many years at establishment financial services firms including Citi, AIG, and New York Life. So he understands the scrutiny and expectations from the financial services regulators. Brasse believes that by launching sooner, compliance requirements, including immediate AML/KYC demands, can give Blockquake a step up in competing with established crypto trading platforms.

As part of Blockquake’s odyssey, the company has listed an investment crowdfunding pitch on Wefunder. Currently, the pitch is still in the “testing the waters” phase seeking to gain insight into investor demand. If the Reg CF securities offering goes live, retail investors interested in backing the firm will have the opportunity to purchase securities in the firm.

Why crowdfunding? Why Reg CF? And why not VC money?

Antonio Brasse: This crowdfunding campaign gives almost anyone who wants to invest an opportunity to participate in the early stages of BlockQuake. That includes the retail person, who is often shut out of a company until the public offering stage. This strongly mirrors BlockQuake’s ethos as a trading platform for everyone—from the first-time individual to the accredited institutional investor. The change in the Reg CF rules allows for a higher investment amount, which will allow more people the opportunity to invest in companies at earlier stages, and perhaps at more favorable terms.

In addition to our crowdfunding campaign, we are also actively engaging with Venture Capitalists to line up the right partner to grow the BlockQuake ecosystem.

You are testing the waters – correct? If you receive sufficient interest will this be a side-by-side with the ongoing Reg D token offering?

Antonio Brasse: We plan to continue with our ongoing Reg D token offering alongside the WeFunder campaign. This allows us to cater to both the investor audience interested in token offerings and those looking for a more traditional investment route in the company during our capital raise route.

Yes, we are in the “testing the waters” phase of the Reg CF.

You have filed for a license under NYDFS [New York Department of Financial Services]. What is the regulatory status in other jurisdictions? The ATS license?

Antonio Brasse: BlockQuake is pursuing MTL licenses in the states that expressly state it is still required and where an exemption through our banking partner isn’t accepted. We will also proceed with BD/ATS filing after launch, as we won’t initially have any digital asset securities according to US standards on the exchange.  BlockQuake is also pursuing MSB-related (money services business) registrations with various country jurisdictions.

There are already multiple established crypto exchanges. Coinbase just completed an enormous direct listing. Binance.US just hired the former Comptroller of the Currency. Can BlockQuake catch up?

Antonio Brasse: BlockQuake can absolutely catch up. Over the past year, we have also seen interest in cryptocurrency skyrocket. With that, efforts to regulate the sector have intensified.

To BlockQuake, this signals the strong need for a regulatory-driven exchange that addresses the current shortfalls–ranging from cybersecurity concerns to lack of fiat onramp and trading pair options–in the cryptocurrency space.

Additionally, multiple regulated exchanges are great for everyone as they enhance liquidity. There is an incredible amount of room for growth and competition in the crypto markets, which are still in their infancy stages relative to more established markets. If we look at the equities markets, there are about 60 major stock exchanges globally that coexist to keep the markets liquid.

Why is BlockQuake better than other crypto marketplaces?

Antonio Brasse: BlockQuake is a platform made by traders, for traders, differentiating us from the rise of companies that have only just dipped their toes into the booming cryptocurrency industry.

As long-time traders in both cryptocurrency and traditional finance, our team has a first-hand understanding of the frustrations that come from trading in the digital asset space. Taking this imperfect experience, we created an exchange that fills the void relative to transparency, security, performance, and trust – giving BlockQuake users an experience akin to trading in traditional financial markets.

We aim to be a unified, one-stop-shop that tackles the issues that arise with maintaining accounts across several platforms. We can support true fiat deposits and withdrawals in the top 6 currencies, which is more than any other exchange based on publicly available information. Our trading fee is also generally lower than major regulated exchanges.

Additionally, access to global liquidity providers means our users can feel confident that they are accessing deep liquidity with competitive market pricing. Users can also safely and securely trade through our partnership with Fireblocks and use of its hot vault solution.

Finally, we’re also a solution for the underserved self-directed retirement market that wants to get involved in cryptocurrencies. This market segment is enormous.

Will you offer both cryptocurrencies and digital securities?

Antonio Brasse: At launch, we will offer the top cryptocurrencies and stablecoins that represent over 90% of the trading market, with a plan to continuously onboard.

When we add any digital assets that may be viewed as a security by the US, we will preclude US persons from trading those pairs until we have our BD/ATS. As all users will be fully KYC’d, we’ll be able to segment users as necessary.

Investment terms on the offering are for a priced round at a pre-money valuation of $150 million. Is this the same as the Reg D offering? On the offering page, you state an independent valuation of $499 million. Why the spread?

Antonio Brasse: The Reg D/S token offering and the WeFunder campaign are not comparable because of different structures. Our pre-money valuation was determined by a third-party independent firm using traditional VC methods, which came back with a $499M valuation as a median number and just above $150M on the low end.

What are your expectations for 2021?

Antonio Brasse: First and foremost, we will launch globally this quarter. Then, we’ll expand our offerings, aiming to have over 100 trading pairs as well as additional fiat deposit and withdrawal options by the end of the year. Finally, interest-earning capabilities will come online during 2021 for those who want to buy, hold and earn.


Editors Note: Until the offering statement by Blockquake is filed, no offer to buy securities can be accepted & no part of the purchase price can be received; once the offering statement is filed, purchase price can be received only through an intermediary’s platform. No money or other consideration is being solicited, & if sent in response, will not be accepted. A person’s indication of interest involves no obligation or commitment of any kind.

Have a crowdfunding offering you’d like to share? Submit an offering for consideration using our Submit a Tip form and we may share it on our site!

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/05/175289-crypto-exchange-blockquake-pursues-crowdfunding-to-raise-growth-capital-plans-global-launch-this-quarter/

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Big Dog! Dogecoin Rises in Popularity for Payments at Adult Cam Platform Stripchat

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Dogecoin is rising in popularity. At the beginning of 2021,  Dogecoin traded at just about $0.0047. Since January, Dogecoin has rocketed in value jumping to over $0.72. Following Elon Musk’s appearance on SNL, Dogecoin cooled and now trades at around $0.42 – still an enormous increase in just a few months.

All of this volatility and notoriety appears to be boosting interest in the cryptocurrency that was started as a joke and is now valued at over $14 billion. Heck, even adult sites are seeing an uptick in Dogecoin utilization.

CI has received a note from adult cam platform Stripchat – a  service that reports over 400 million monthly users. According to Srtipchat, today –  20% of model payouts are being executed via cryptocurrency and a growing percentage of these payouts are in Dogecoin.

In the last 30 days, Stripchat has seen a massive spike in monthly payments using Dogecoin, reportedly a 500% increase since February.

While Doge trails more popular cryptos like Bitcoin (49.86%) and Ethereum (18.3%), the dog is catching up.

Another interesting factoid shared by Stripchat, recently, a record-breaking single tip on Stripchat hit $100,000. And it was completed with a crypto deposit.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/05/175325-big-dog-dogecoin-rises-in-popularity-for-payments-at-adult-cam-platform-stripchat/

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