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Square Crypto, Gemini, Marathon, Coinbase, OKCoin Among Leading Bitcoin Open-Source Developer Backers: Report

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The team at the Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange (BitMEX), a major cryptocurrency derivatives exchange whose senior management including its ex- CEO Arthur Hayes are facing criminal charges including large-scale money laundering, notes that they are pleased to announce that their Open Source Developer Grant program will “shortly be re-opened for new applicants.”

The BitMEX research team writes that they began directly supporting Bitcoin developers in July 2019 with a $50,000 grant awarded to Michael Ford. Since that time, they renewed Michael’s grant for another 2-year period and they have also supported other open-source BTC developers, like Gleb Naumenko, Calvin Kim, Amiti Uttarwar, and Jeremy Rubin.

BitMEX also mentioned that their support for these cryptocurrency-focused developers is “very much long-term.” While the grant commitments are usually for twelve months, they’re “always looking to renew” them and continue their support, BitMEX added. The company says that it also  believes that their track record “so far demonstrates this.”

BitMEX added:

“In the period following the launch of our grant program, many other trading platforms, individuals, and companies in the ecosystem have also stepped up. They have either launched new programs or accelerated their existing open source Bitcoin developer grant programmes. The catalyst for much of this funding is due to the success of the wider ecosystem, however we believe some of this success is because BitMEX led by example and demonstrated how to conduct these programs in an effective manner.”

The crypto derivatives exchange also noted that they apologize if they’ve unintentionally left out any companies, but the main new Bitcoin developer backers include: Square Crypto, Gemini, Marathon, Coinbase, OKCoin, the Human Rights Foundation, Brink, Kraken, BTSE, Digital Garage, Bitfinex, and Paradigm.

During the past few months, it was announced that Amiti will be “supported by Gemini and therefore her funding from BitMEX will end.”  BitMEX further noted that they “very much see this as a success story.”

The company’s management writes:

“We aim to identify new open source Bitcoin developer talent and support them financially for a few years. We are delighted that another exchange has taken over funding and we will look to attract new developer talent as a result.”

They continued:

“We also see Calvin Kim as another success story. We initially supported him with a US$40,000 grant in August 2020 while he was studying, however he has already progressed and secured a new US$100,000 12-month commitment from BitMEX, along with a $50,000 grant from the Human Rights Foundation.”

In the coming months, BitMEX reveals that it intends to “identify one or two more open source Bitcoin developers to support.” Initially, this support will be offered for about a year, however,  “hopefully for the longer term.”

The company explains that the application process will “open in the coming weeks” and after submission of your application form, “if successful, you will be interviewed by the Head of Research as well as the developers building and maintaining BitMEX’s Bitcoin wallet.”

Interviews are “likely to take place in August and new grantees may be announced towards the end of September,” BitMEX confirmed.

It’s worth noting that BitMEX has really struggled when it comes to ensuring regulatory compliance. Many other global digital asset exchanges such as Binance have also been facing serious challenges as they have failed to adopt responsible business practices.

Malcolm Wright, Chief Compliance Officer, 100x Group (BitMEX’s parent company), recently noted:

“Heads-up #crypto industry! #KYC has benefits … In a timely release after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)‘s 2nd 12 month review of #virtualassets yesterday where they stated that the #FATF Recommendations have not stifled innovation, our post here serves as evidence of that AML and CFT have tangible benefits to the social fabric of our society; to prevent illicit flows of money and profit from acts that harm others.”

He claims:

“I am proud to work for a firm that is taking compliance seriously, and that now gets to see the benefits of that. And, I’m looking forward to what comes next and working with an outstanding and driven team of financial professionals to do that.”

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/07/177781-square-crypto-gemini-marathon-coinbase-okcoin-among-leading-bitcoin-open-source-developer-backers-report/

Crowdfunding

William Callahan, Director of Government and Strategic Affairs at Blockchain Intelligence Group, Says Money Launderers Benefit from Volatility

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William Callahan, Director of Government & Strategic Affairs at Blockchain Intelligence Group,  has noted that Tether CTO and General Counsel had made an appearance live on CNBC last week.

William has asked us whether we think the U.S. Department of Justice was watching this “slow moving train wreck?”

He also noted that money launderers and other illicit actors “benefit from volatility.” He also mentioned that the Blockchain Intelligence Group provides blockchain forensics and analytics tools to global law enforcement agencies, regulators, and financial institutions “for over 302,000 ERC Tokens such as Tether, Binance USD, Uniswap and more.”

He recommends learning more about how to bring “safety, security, and transparency to your investigations.”

Recently, William Callahan shared with Crowdfund Insider that he had retired at the end of last year from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as the Special Agent in Charge of the St. Louis Division and then proceeded to join Blockchain Intelligence Group, a cryptocurrency and blockchain forensics, risk assessment and investigator training firm.

Notably, BIGG Digital Assets Inc. (CSE: BIGG; OTCQX: BBKCF; WKN: A2PS9W), owner of Netcoins, the online digital currency brokerage that “makes it easy for Canadians to buy, sell, and understand cryptocurrency,” and owner of Blockchain Intelligence Group, a developer of blockchain tech search, risk-scoring and data analytics services, had recently confirmed record quarterly revenue of CAD ~$4.6 million for Q2 2021.

As reported on Monday (July 26, 2021), Tether, the largest stablecoin by market cap, is said to be a target of a criminal investigation in the US. According to a report in Bloomberg, the US Department of Justice is investigating whether, or not, executives committed bank fraud.

Rumblings have long swirled around Tether and questionable activity. The company has been targeted by the state of New York in the past. Tether eventually reached a settlement of legal proceedings with the New York AG’s Office. Under the terms of the settlement, Tether admitted no wrongdoing while paying an $18.5 million penalty to settle the dispute with the NYAG.

But a federal inquiry and criminal investigation may have a profound impact on Tether and its utilization in the crypto markets. Typically stablecoins are used by traders, both large and small, to quickly move in and out of crypto holdings. Tether (USDT) is the third-largest crypto by market cap, following Bitcoin and Ethereum, at over $60 billion. Tether’s 24-hour trading volume recently booked over $74 billion – more than either Bitcoin or Ethereum.

In the past, Tether has sought to allay concerns that all Tether tokens are fully backed by Tether’s reserves. Tether has published a report by auditors from Moore Cayman attesting to Tether’s status. The company has stated:

“Since the founding of Tether, we have made earnest and continuing efforts to enhance our public disclosures and communications. As a leader in the growing cryptocurrency industry, we remain committed to being among the most transparent stablecoins. This latest assurance opinion—and our dedication to providing further reports moving forward—is a reflection of that commitment.”

A broader audit is said to be forthcoming.

The Bloomberg report shared a statement from the company:

“Tether routinely has open dialogue with law enforcement agencies, including the DOJ, as part of our commitment to cooperation and transparency.”

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/07/178366-william-callahan-director-of-government-and-strategic-affairs-at-blockchain-intelligence-group-says-money-launderers-benefit-from-volatility/

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Folks Warming to CBDC Use: Guardtime Study

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Consumers are warming to the concept of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC), research from European deep tech company Guardtime shows.

Guardtime surveyed people in 10 countries and found 64 per cent of people would likely use a CBDC launched in their country, with 33 per cent saying they were “very likely” to. Only 10 per cent said they never would. 

One in three would be willing to convert their savings into a CBDC within a month and another 26 per cent would do so within half a year. Only 11 per cent said they never would. Thirty per cent said they would be happy to have their salary paid in a CBDC within a month, with another 27 per cent willing to do it within six months. One in eight said they would never accept being paid in a CBDC.

Folks may need to get ready for the possibility of CBDCs. According to research from the Bank of International Settlements cited by Guardtime, 86 per cent of central banks are actively researching the potential, 60 per cent are experimenting with the technology and 14 per cent have pilot projects ready.

“People worldwide have embraced rapid digitization during the Coronavirus crisis and that appears to be reflected in the relative enthusiasm for the launch of digital currencies from central banks,” Guardtime head of strategy Luukas Ilves said. “It is fascinating to see that 64 per cent of people would be willing to use CBDCs – even though they have not been launched yet – and are happy to support and trust central banks to ensure digital currencies are delivered.

“The work by central banks worldwide on CBDCs has been notable for its speed and coordination and underlines why they are winning the trust of consumers on delivering digital transformation.”

The numbers don’t mean everyone wants to eliminate cash, but 31 per cent said they would be willing to conduct more than half of those transactions in CBDCs within one month with another 28 per cent following suit at some point in the ensuing half year.

When asked, consumers cited privacy as the most important trait of CBDCs followed by ease of use and not costing more to use. International use and when there’s no internet connection were other factors.

“Guardtime believes the introduction of central bank digital currencies could upend the global economic order,” the company said in a statement. “This technology could bring a multitude of benefits such as more efficient trade, greater financial access for millions of people, and a reduction in crime. But there are important technological barriers to overcome regarding scalability and security, and it is on these points that Guardtime is in discussion with some central banks.”

KSI Cash is Guardtime’s digital cash payment and settlement infrastructure.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/07/178406-folks-warming-to-cbdc-use-guardtime-study/

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Fintech Sila, an API Platform Offering Payment Infrastructure as a Service, Acquires $13M via Series A led by Revolution Venture

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Sila, an API platform that offers payment infrastructure as a service while ensuring regulatory compliance, has acquired $13 million in capital through a Series A round that was by Revolution Venture.

Sila‘s latest investment round was joined by Madrona Venture Group, Oregon Venture Fund, Mucker Capital, and angel investors such as Wise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus. The Fintech firm has now raised a total of $20 million.

Established by Simple co-founder Shamir Karkal back in 2018, Sila aims to help application developers with incorporating regulatory compliant payment functionaility and capabilities into their line of products and services.

The company’s banking APIs aim to replace the requirement for integrating with traditional or legacy financial institutions, which Sila claims saves clients long months of development work as well as considerable cost savings when it comes to typical legal and regulatory needs.

The APIs offer an additional layer on top of the ACH network, with key applications for identity/Know-Your-Customer (KYC) checks, bank account linking, as well as online wallet deposits all integrated.

With many different clients – which reportedly includes startups to middle-market NYSE listed firms – now signing up, Sila’s management noted that they ended Q1 2021 by quadrupling transaction volume as well as doubling their employee headcount.

The proceeds from the round will be directed towards hiring new talent and bringing on additional business partners while also expanding product features.

Karkal remarked:

“Sila’s mission has always been to make money programmable. Access to the US banking system, especially for innovators and entrepreneurs, is extremely complex and prohibitive. The Sila Money API platform provides easy, scalable, and compliant money storage and money transfer.”

As covered in April 2020, Sila, a U.S.-based banking and payments API platform, announced that it had secured $7.7 million through its seed funding round, which was co-led by venture capital firms Madrona Venture Group and Oregon Venture Fund, with participation from Mucker Capital, 99 Tartans, Taavet Kinrikus, CEO & Co-founder of Transferwise, as well as investor and entrepreneur Jerry Neumann.

Founded in 2018, Sila describes itself as a fintech company dedicated to empowering developers with open source infrastructure tools. The company is also aiming to overhaul the financial service world by using advanced APIs and distributed ledger technology.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/07/178376-fintech-sila-an-api-platform-offering-payment-infrastructure-as-a-service-acquires-13m-via-series-a-led-by-revolution-venture/

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Asian Virtual Event Manager EventX Raises $10M Series B

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Asian virtual event management company EventX has closed a US$10 million Series B funding co-led by HTC, a virtual reality (VR) company, and Gaocheng Capital, a Chinese private equity fund focused on enterprise software and technology-enabled services sectors. EventX supports in-country and cross-border events with Mainland China, and has partnerships with Alibaba, PwC, GL Events, Informa, Reed Exhibition, Yahoo, government departments, and universities.

“Gaocheng is committed to supporting next-generation SaaS solutions and bringing them to a new level of growth,” Gaocheng Capital founding partner Jing Hong said. “We were extremely impressed by EventX’s innovative product offering, talented management team, and hypercharged growth. As the pandemic continues to disrupt offline exhibitions and trade shows, EventX’s online and hybrid virtual technology is uniquely positioned to help businesses of different scales draw customers and expand connections over China and around the world.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed travel and has caused venture capitalists to invest in the virtual event software space. A comparable company in the UK, Hopin, has raised $565 million.

With their access to China and HTC VIVE’s technology, EventX will be adopting VR and prospecting technology into the core capabilities of the event SaaS product. As a trial of the VR and prospecting technology they are releasing a virtual event lite platform for NGOs, SMEs and startups.

“VR has the power to improve the world,” VIVEPORT president Joseph Lin said. “At HTC VIVE we strive to create the tools to expedite VR adoption — using not only our VR devices but also computers, tablets, and smartphones — and interact effectively.  The strategic alliance with EventX illustrates HTC VIVE’s continuous efforts in providing people and enterprises with the tools to meet, socialize, and learn in VR and beyond. Massive possibilities and enthusiasm can be seen in this partnership to bring people closer together without any geographical boundaries.”

“It is certain that virtual workspaces and virtual events will become the new norm,” EventX cofounder and CEO Sum Wong added. “The creation of this alliance will result in a deep level of integration between our own expertise and HTC VIVE’s groundbreaking work in the VR space. This collaboration will result in EventX bringing virtual and hybrid event experiences to a brand new level of immersion and interactivity.”

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/07/178394-asian-virtual-event-manager-eventx-raises-10m-series-b/

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