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Goldman Sachs joins $28 million round in Blockdaemon

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Blockdaemon, the leading independent blockchain infrastructure platform powering 25 million registered users across the platforms they support, has announced that it has closed USD $28 million in its Series A funding round, led by Greenspring Associates, with participation from Goldman Sachs, BlockFi, Warburg Serres, Uphold, Voyager Digital Ltd., Illuminate Financial, and Hard Yaka.

Existing seed round investors Boldstart Ventures, Coinfund, Kenetic, CoinShares, Borderless Capital, Blockchain.com Ventures, Lerer Hippeau and Heavybit increased their investments, showcasing their continued commitment to a long-term technology partnership.

Konstantin Richter, CEO and Founder of Blockdaemon, said, “This funding represents a significant milestone for Blockdaemon. With investment from industry leading financial technology providers and VC firms, this round will enable us to further expand our node infrastructure services, add to our growing team, and strengthen our presence in emerging markets across the globe while deepening our existing strategic relationships with global financial institutions. As the trusted gateway to the blockchain industry for financial institutions of all sizes, Blockdaemon simplifies the complicated, time consuming and costly node management process by providing enterprises with the best-fit node configurations that allow them to rapidly scale up operations.”

This funding round adds capital to the explosive growth Blockdaemon has experienced over the past year as they have deployed more than 10,000 nodes across 40 blockchain networks and 20 global regions. Having significantly increased its headcount over the past 12 months, including deepening its executive talent with the appointment of Cecily Mak as Chief Operating Officer and Demetrios Skalkotos as Global Senior Vice President of Sales; Blockdaemon will expand global headcount further following this round. Blockdaemon has averaged more than $5 billion in staked assets and is on track to have upwards of $50 billion by year end. This Series A round demonstrates the significant global commitment to revitalizing existing financial infrastructure by incumbent financial services firms.

“Blockdaemon has demonstrated that enterprises need a simple way to build secure blockchain infrastructure,” said Hunter Somerville, General Partner of Greenspring Associates. “Konstantin and the Blockdaemon team have done a phenomenal job of making the entry point to blockchain easy and secure, and we look forward to working with them on their next stage of growth.”

Blockdaemon is the foundational layer to the blockchain industry, enabling participants to stake and deploy nodes with institutional-grade security, scalability, and reliability. Supporting 40+ cutting edge blockchain networks including ETH 2.0, Bitcoin, Cardano, Polkadot, Cosmos, SKALE, MobileCoin, and the Lightning Network in the cloud and on-premise through the Blockdaemon Marketplace, Blockdaemon offers access to new financial infrastructure for a variety of market participants, from large financial institutions, exchanges and custodians to small, agile crypto native firms and developers. It is trusted across the blockchain ecosystem including industry’s leading networks, exchanges, enterprises, custodians, developers, and funds. With a 10x growth in revenue since the beginning of the year, Blockdaemon plans to accelerate future growth through targeted acquisitions.

“Blockchain is a key driver of innovation in the financial services industry and Blockdaemon is powering its infrastructure. We are excited to join them as they continue to provide institutional-grade blockchain technology to all that want to leverage it,” commented Oli Harris, North America head of digital assets at Goldman Sachs.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.finextra.com/pressarticle/87989/goldman-sachs-joins-28-million-round-in-blockdaemon?utm_medium=rssfinextra&utm_source=finextrafeed

Crowdfunding

EBA Clearing and Iberpay Introduce Interoperable Services to Handle Messages that Comply with SEPA Request to Pay Scheme

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EBA Clearing and Iberpay revealed on Tuesday (June 15, 2021) that they have introduced two interoperable services to handle messages and offer functionalities that comply with the updated SEPA Request-to-Pay Scheme (SRTP) developed by the European Payments Council (EPC).

The introduction of these infrastructure services took place on Tuesday, which is actually the day of the entry of the new SEPA scheme.

EBA Clearing and Iberpay have made a considerable effort to provide this service to clients right from the launch of the scheme. They claim to be the first European infrastructure providers that are ready to provide this new feature.

Payment service providers or PSPs and other service providers complying with the updated SEPA scheme are now able to exchange SRTP messages end-to-end, within seconds and across Europe, because of the connection between real-time messaging systems of EBA Clearing and Iberpay.

This key milestone offers the missing piece to support various use-cases that may help clients who rely on instant payments.

The SEPA Request-to-Pay Scheme is the set of operating rules, messages and technical elements that lets a Payee request the initiation of a payment from a Payer prior to the exchange of the funds.

The implementation of the scheme was supported by the EPC after a call to action by the Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB) in November 2018 to start using the request to pay capability.

Request to Pay isn’t actually a payment instrument. It’s a way to request a payment initiation (pull payment). Request to Pay services are offered 24 hours, 7 days a week. They aim to enhance the payment process by adding a message exchange, which occurs before the payment (SCT or SCT Inst) and includes:

  • A request to the Payer for a payment.
  • The acceptation or refusal of this request by the Payer.
  • The information delivered as part of this request to pay exchange, allows the Payer to identify the Payee and makes it easier for the Payee to identify and reconcile the following payment.

Request to Pay should further improve with ongoing developments and has been identified by the European Commission and the Eurosystem in their retail payments plans as having the potential to add value to the SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) Scheme and to also improve the usability while supporting the adoption of instant and virtual payments.

Request to Pay may be used to support unpaid or returned direct debits, digital commerce payments, substitution of other payment instruments, public administration payments, payment of e-invoices and even at point of sale.

Juan Luis Encinas, MD at Iberpay, stated:

“Iberpay is strongly committed to playing a leading role in instant and digital payments and we believe that the launch of our Request to Pay service from the very beginning is a very important milestone for that. IBERPAY is extremely pleased to collaborate with EBA CLEARING with the aim to assure pan-European reachability for the SRTP Scheme and to better serve its users.”

Hays Littlejohn, CEO at EBA Clearing, remarked:

“We are pleased to see the Spanish community connected to our R2P Service from day one of the SRTP Scheme. IBERPAY is the first infrastructure provider extending R2P access to its user community. This supports our objective to build full pan-European reach for Request to Pay and ensure interoperability between the underlying infrastructures”.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/06/176639-eba-clearing-and-iberpay-introduce-interoperable-services-to-handle-messages-that-comply-with-sepa-request-to-pay-scheme/

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Blockchain

Traditional Versus Direct to Wallet Bitcoin Payment Gateways

Should you go the traditional route and go to a big company that accepts payments similar to PayPal?

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For those interested in accepting Bitcoin payments, there is a question of what type of payment processor to choose.

Should you go the traditional route and go to a big company that accepts payments in a similar manner to PayPal?

Or should you look into a direct to wallet payment gateway? These questions are important to consider when choosing a payment processor for your store.

What is a Traditional Bitcoin Payment Gateway?

PayPal and Stripe have long dominated the fiat currency payment market, and Traditional Payment Gateways for Bitcoin operate just like them. They act as a middle man, controlling the payments and handling them entirely.

The merchant doesn’t see any Bitcoin until they withdraw the Bitcoin from the “wallet” on the payment processor’s website. There can be added fees on the withdrawal process, and there is a longer wait time to process that Bitcoin.

Any of the woes you’ve experienced with PayPal? You’re going to experience them here too. PayPal has even entered the Bitcoin market.

Are Traditional Payment Gateways worth it?

But with the negatives of the traditional system, there are some positives. The set-up process is often quick and easy, although there is a lot of time lost in the KYC process.

Getting your ID checked can be a pain, especially if you don’t have the proper form of ID. But these processors can be plug in and go, the payment system itself for customers often works acceptably.

The merchant just has to deal with the process of withdrawing Bitcoin.

These businesses are also often more established. That means they know how to help with your taxes, they know what tax documents you might need. But it also means they are prone to attacks and hacks.

They keep large quantities of Bitcoin in the same wallets, this makes it tempting to criminals. You have to depend on the company’s security.

What are Direct to Wallet Payment Gateways?

These offer the alternative to traditional payment gateways, that include companies like Blockonomics and BTCPayServer. They are often smaller, but that means they are a labor of love.

The people running these companies often care about Bitcoin as a technology and a currency rather than looking to get a quick buck. They succeed by listening to customer feedback and implementing it, just like any small business.

What does this mean?

This means several things:

  1. You Are In Control: Direct to Wallet means you are your own bank. You control your funds, you control where they go, and no one else touches them. When a sale occurs, the Bitcoin is sent directly to your wallet, no middleman involved.
  2. Transactions are Fast: Because it goes directly into your wallet, the start to end process is much quicker. You don’t worry about the Bitcoin going through multiple wallets, so you get that Bitcoin in your hands faster.
  3. It is Cheap: Traditional payment processors have a lot more touch points to serve you with fees. There’s the transaction and then the withdrawal. Hence, fees generally stack up when using them. Comparatively, Direct to Wallet has only one touch point, the transaction, and they often charge a low fee for that. Blockonomics, for example, charges 1% after the first 10 payments.

Direct to Wallet payment processors are becoming more and more popular. As Bitcoin continues to grow into the popular mindset, small businesses have to ask themselves who they want to facilitate their Bitcoin sales.

Small businesses need to stick together and support each other, whether it’s for Bitcoin payments or other services.

What should you use?

At the end of the day that still depends on you. There are plenty of reasons to go the traditional route, but just understand what you are getting yourself into. It might be worth it to take a look at the Direct to Wallet route to see if the benefits to your business outweigh the very few negatives.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.financemagnates.com/thought-leadership/traditional-versus-direct-to-wallet-bitcoin-payment-gateways/

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Blockchain

Latin American telecom company accepts crypto payments through BitPay

GoldConnect will be able to process crypto transactions made in Bitcoin, Ether and other digital assets through its new LatamConnect platform.

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GoldConnect, a Latin American telecommunications wholesaler, announced Tuesday that it will allow customers to pay with cryptocurrencies through payment processor BitPay, marking another important milestone in the region’s embrace of Bitcoin (BTC).

Crypto payments can be made directly through LatamConnect, a platform that connects directly with BitPay. Crypto payments made through BitPay are settled in local fiat currency.

GoldConnect said its embrace of crypto payments reflects growing demand for such services across the 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries in which it operates.

“As a disruptive telecom provider in the LATAM region, we must continuously embrace the latest technologies and business methods to improve the interaction and experience of our clients,” said Jeremy Villalobos, chief operating officer of GoldConnect.

Shaun Worley, vice president of BitPay, added:

“GoldConnect realizes the potential for crypto to transform the wholesale telecommunication industry, making payments faster, more secure, and less expensive on a global scale.”

Latin America is becoming a hotbed for cryptocurrency activity. Recently, El Salvador became the first country in the world to recognize Bitcoin as legal tender, setting the stage for mass adoption in the region. Political representatives from several countries, including Brazil and Panama, have also expressed an interest in embracing Bitcoin.

Related: Adopting the Bitcoin standard? El Salvador writes itself into history books

As Cointelegraph reported, Bitso recently became Latin America’s first billion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange. It took Bitso six years to bring in 1 million users and another 10 months to register 2 million, highlighting the steep adoption curve during the 2020–2021 bull market.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/latin-american-telecom-company-accepts-crypto-payments-through-bitpay

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Blockchain

Former PayPal employees launch decentralized cross-border payment network on Algorand

“Fueling cross-border transactions with regulated stablecoins to represent fiat on-chain has never been done before,” said Borderless Capital CEO David Garcia.

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Two former PayPal workers in business and technology have launched a cross-border payment system aimed at “faster, cheaper, and more transparent payments.”

In an announcement on Tuesday, fintech infrastructure firm Six Clovers said it launched its Rapid network, which connects banks, merchants and payment providers, allowing clients to transact in digital currencies and fiat. Founded by former PayPal employees Jim Nguyen and Nas Kavian and backed by venture capital firm Borderless Capital, the network is built on the Algorand blockchain and employs the technology behind stablecoins to represent fiat.

“Six Clovers is creating a bridge between traditional and decentralized finance, expanding access to the next generation of digital products and services,” said Algorand CEO Steve Kokinos.

The project claimed that its network will offer an alternative for payment providers currently using the SWIFT protocol for cross-border payments. Rapid uses USD Coin (USDC) to represent fiat on the Algorand blockchain, provides peer-to-peer transactions and can reportedly handle up to 46,000 transactions per second.

Related: JPMorgan and DBS to launch blockchain cross-border payment platform

“Fueling cross-border transactions with regulated stablecoins to represent fiat on-chain has never been done before,” said Borderless Capital CEO David Garcia. “[The network] is going to unleash a wave of mass blockchain adoption across banks, merchants, and payment providers as they see the need to embrace the digital future.”

A proof-of-stake protocol, Algorand said its blockchain is fully carbon neutral as of April. The project has implemented a “sustainability oracle” in partnership with ClimateTrade to notarize its on-chain carbon footprint and then lock the equivalent amount of carbon credits into a “green treasury.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/former-paypal-employees-launch-decentralized-cross-border-payment-network-on-algorand

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