Coinbase’s new venture capital fund has announced a strategic investment in Compound, a startup that is building money market accounts for cryptocurrency investors.
Compound is the first project to receive venture funding from Coinbase as part of the company’s new efforts for fostering blockchain innovation. As CCN reported, Coinbase announced the new venture fund to incubate early-stage startups in the exploding industry.
Coinbase’s funding is part of a larger $8.2 million seed funding round, which pools other backers including Bain Capital Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital, with participation from Transmedia Capital, Compound Ventures, Abstract Ventures, Danhua Capital.
While other coin and token projects have debated ways to generate interest or dividend income, Compound has run with the idea. In a blog update, Salil Deshpande, Managing Director at Bain Capital Ventures, he states that current lending solutions for cryptoassets “are not good enough: they are either centralized and have substantial counterpart risk, or require robust order books for each type of cryptoasset, which generally do not exist.”
Compound’s mission is to put cryptoassets to work that now “sit idle on exchanges and in wallets, yielding no interest,” according Founder Robert Leshner in a blog update about the funding announcement.
“…when Compound launches it’s [sic] first money markets on the Ethereum blockchain, individuals, institutions and applications will earn interest on Ether, stablecoins and utility tokens, with complete liquidity — similar to the overnight rate for dollars and government currencies.”
The core technology behind Compound is a decentralized blockchain infrastructure that is centered around a series of open-source smart contracts. As part of the smart contracts, the interest rates for each asset adjust dynamically in response to the borrowing demand for that asset. An algorithm makes these adjustments in real time, according to the project’s whitepaper.
Compound hopes to attract borrowers such as hedge funds, sophisticated speculators, and other Ethereum applications.
As Compound’s technology aligns closely with Coinbase’s entrenched status as a company that is revolutionizing traditional finance, it is no small wonder why it has received the firm’s backing. The company’s target market of institutional investors is in line with Coinbase’s recent rolling out of a suite of tools for only these clients, as CCN reported on May 15.
Compound’s core technology also eases reporting, since each money market is transparent, auditable, and completely predictable. Coinbase itself has also worked hard on institutional-grade reporting as part of efforts for becoming an SEC-regulated brokerage.
US Senators Coercing Libra Partners is Un-American: Coinbase CEO
Facebook’s plan to launch Libra came under further pressure after its partners Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, and Stripe announced that they were leaving the digital currency project. And as it turned out, there was some political pushing involved.
Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent letters to the chief executive officers of Visa, Mastercard, and Stripe, wherein they asked the trio to quit Facebook’s Libra project. The politicians iterated that the social media giant had failed to respond to regulatory concerns related to money laundering, terrorist financing, economic stability, and monetary policy. They further reminded the executives about Facebook’s track of record of misusing users’ data.
“Your companies should be extremely cautious about moving ahead with a project that will foreseeably fuel the growth in global criminal activity,” the senators wrote.
The language turned threatening as both Schatz and Brown warned Visa CEO Alfred F. Kelly Jr., Stripe CEO Patrick Collinson, and Mastercard CEO and president Ajaypal Singh Banga of consequences should they not quit Libra. The senators intimidated the trio that they would impose additional scrutiny if they decide to move against their recommendations.
If you take this on, you can expect a high level of scrutiny from regulators not only on Libra-related payment activities, but on all payment activities,” they wrote.
Coinbase CEO Bashes US Senators
Facebook did not provide any statement on the matter. But Brian Armstrong, the chief executive of San Francisco-based Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange, strongly objected to the way lawmakers went after Libra members. In a thread published on Sunday, Armstrong called the senators’ behavior “un-American,” adding that they both were resorting to “intimidation tactics.”
“[It] doesn’t matter what you think of Libra. If it’s not a useful tool or innovation, people won’t use it. Why the need for the intimidation tactics? This would be called anti-competitive/monopolistic behavior if any private company did it,” – Armstrong tweeted.
“Do we want to have a centrally planned economy, or let 1,000 ideas be tried in a free market to see which ones break through and deliver real value? Breakthroughs are by definition contrarian ideas, otherwise they would have already have been tried.”
Avivah Litan, vice president at Gartner Research, raised similar concerns. In her interview with CNBC, the analyst noted that governments are afraid of losing their authority to emerging technology projects like Libra. She also mentioned bitcoin, a non-sovereign asset, for scaring governments with its potential to replace all their monopoly.
“In the case of Libra, you replace central authority with task force authority and big tech authority. In the case of Bitcoin, you just replace all central authority,” said Litan.
Coinbase Eyes European Growth After Winning Irish E-Money License
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has been granted an e-money license by the Central Bank of Ireland.
Writing in a company blog Saturday, Coinbase UK CEO Zeeshan Feroz said the exchange is one of the very first firms to receive the license from the central bank, following a Dublin office opening a year ago.
The license will also help open up EU and European Economic Area (EEA) markets for Coinbase customers, Feroz said.
Speaking on the announcement, state-sponsored business development agency IDA Ireland – which was set up to attract foreign investment to Ireland – called the move a net positive for the local financial industry
As CEO Mike Shanahan put it:
“Coinbase’s choice of Dublin for this operation reinforces the strength of Ireland as a destination for financial services companies, providing a consistent, certain, pro-enterprise policy environment for businesses to grow and thrive.”
Coinbase was granted a U.K. e-money license by the Financial Conduct Authority in March 2018, allowing the exchange to operate as a money service in the country.
While the U.K. is currently an EU member state, its government is currently attempting to leave the economic bloc via the so-called Brexit in coming weeks or months. If it goes ahead, the separation would render Coinbase’s local license of limited benefit.
Earlier this month, Coinbase gained access to the UK’s Faster Payment Scheme through ClearBank following a split with banking partner Barclays that temporarily caused deposit and withdrawal issues for users.
Bitcoin Exchange Coinbase Dives Into European Expansion, Reaches Milestone With Coveted E-money License
Coinbase, the leading cryptocurrency trading platform in the US, just scored a major victory for its expansion plans in Europe.
Regulators from the Central Bank of Ireland have granted the San Francisco-based exchange an e-money license, making it one of only a few companies in the space to obtain such approval.
The company says its latest milestone will allow it to expand its operations in Ireland and across some its fastest-growing markets. Coinbase first stepped into Ireland at the end of 2018 when it opened a new office in Dublin, a hotspot in the growing European digital economy.
Management says its expansion in Ireland represents a huge opportunity for Coinbase to grow its operations in Europe at large.
According to the announcement,
“[The approval from the Central Bank of Ireland] will also allow us to secure passporting for our customers across the EU and EEA. We are committed to ensuring that our customers have the same safeguarding and security as any regulated financial institution, and the approval of a second European regulatory authority demonstrates our position as the world’s most trusted cryptocurrency platform.”
Globally, the license will facilitate Coinbase’s ultimate mission of leading the new decentralized financial movement.
The company remains focused on challenging legacy banking by building a new open, crypto-based system that can more easily people around the world who have no bank accounts or are lacking affordable financial services.