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Fireblocks crypto startup raises $133M in funding round with BNY Mellon

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Cryptocurrency startup Fireblocks has raised $133 million in a Series C funding round.

The investment round was led by venture capital firms Coatue, Ribbit and Stripes, with strategic investment from BNY Mellon and Silicon Valley Bank.

Michael Shaulov, CEO of Fireblocks, said the cash injection will allow the company to expand the settlement infrastructure needed to onboard new customers as crypto adoption heats up:

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“While we have no plans to become a bank, we believe our infrastructure will lend itself perfectly to power an entirely new era of financial services.”

Regarding his firm’s investment in Fireblocks, Micky Malka of Ribbit Capital said, “We are standing at the cusp of the biggest transformation that the world’s financial system has ever seen,” adding that Fireblocks is at the “forefront of this revolution.”

Series C funding is usually geared toward more developed projects that have already achieved a fair degree of success. These companies require additional capital to help scale their products and services into new markets or even to acquire other businesses.

Fireblocks was founded in 2018 by veterans of Israeli military intelligence including Michael Shaulov, who previously co-founded a mobile security startup, Lacoon Mobile Security. The firm specializes in digital asset custody and also works on accelerating the speed of digital transactions. According to the Wall Street Journal, the latest funding round brings Fireblocks’ valuation to over $900 million, with the firm raising a total of $179 million so far.

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Fireblocks has been a magnet for venture capital firms looking to capitalize on the growing institutional demand for Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies. Before its Series C fundraiser, Fireblocks had already raised a cumulative $179 million from investors like Galaxy Digital, Swisscom Ventures, Paradigm, Tenaya Capital and Cyberstarts.

Through Fireblocks, banks and fintech companies can connect to the cryptocurrency market by offering custody, tokenization, asset management, trading, lending and payment solutions. Since its inception three years ago, the company claims to have secured $400 billion in digital assets on behalf of its customers. Its institutional clients include Nexo, Celsius, BlockFi, Salt and Coinsquare.

BNY Mellon is not the only banking institution that has been preparing to launch its own crypto custody solution. Deutsche Bank is also planning to move into the crypto custody business, along with offering trading and token issuance services.

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Bryan Routledge, associate professor of finance at Carnegie Mellon University, claimed that crypto custody is not that different from traditional services already offered by legacy banks. Storing a public and private key pair is important, “But it’s not that difficult,” or should not be for most banks, he said.

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Ripple

Coinbase CEO Shows Support for Ripple and XRP Amid Battle with SEC

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The XRP Army believes that Brian Armstrong could be hinting at relisting the cryptocurrency

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has displayed support for Ripple in its fight against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In a series of recent tweets, Armstrong writes that the company’s case is seemingly going “better than expected.”

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Armstrong stressed that launching attacks against the crypto industry and hurting investors is “politically unpopular.”

The head of the largest American exchange then channeled Ripple’s oft-repeated talking point about the SEC hurting consumers instead of protecting them:

The irony is that the people they are supposedly protecting are the ones attacking them.

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XRP relisting rumors get a new life  

Armstrong’s tweets inevitably reignited rumors about Coinbase potentially relisting XRP on its platform.

The exchange moved to suspend XRP trading after the SEC filed a lawsuit against Ripple on Jan. 19, which triggered a massive price drop.

As reported by U.Today, Coinbase relisting rumors started making the rounds on social media after XRP trading pairs started showing up on the company’s mobile app last month, but it ended up being a bug.

Despite its legal troubles, XRP has remained resilient, with crypto mogul Mike Novogratz recently noting that the cryptocurrency has tripled in value since the agency filed its complaint.

Coinbase’s run-in with the SEC

Ripple started alighting itself with Coinbase after Armstrong publicly called out the SEC for threatening to sue the leading exchange over its yet-to-launch lending offering.

Even though the company caved in to the SEC’s demands and shelved the product in question, it seems like it hasn’t buried the hatchet with the formidable regulator.

Earlier this month, Coinbase proposed replacing the agency with a new cryptocurrency-focused regulator, arguing that the laws from the 1930s were not suitable for the “technological revolution.”

The exchange will have to convince Congress to pass a legislation that will establish a dramatically different regulatory regime that it envisions.

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Bitcoin

Legendary Trader Peter Brandt Challenges Binance with Four Questions about 88% BTC Crash

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Here’s what is unclear for Mr. Brandt about mysterious Bitcoin (BTC) flash-crash of Oct. 21, 2021

Prominent trader and analyst Peter Brandt has taken to Twitter to ask his four questions in the context of the flagship crypto’s 88% dropdown.

What do Binance and Binance.US have in common?

First of all, Mr. Brandt challenged the character of corporate relationships between Binance and Binance.US, its unit focused on American markets.

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Also, Mr. Brandt asks whether Binance is planning to release detailed documents to specify statistics for trades, their volume and prices during the flash-crash.

Then, the trading legend asked about the role of the platform in taking the opposite side of a client fills.

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Besides the Binance CEO and co-founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, Mr. Brandt mentioned the Interactive Brokers platform, U.S. watchdogs CFTC and SEC and Gary Gensler, the SEC chairman.

Most expensive “trading algorithm bug” ever?

Also, Mr. Brandt attached a screenshot of a tweet by CZ when Binance’s boss warned his audience about expected volatility spikes across cryptocurrency markets.

Finally, Mr. Brandt added that he never used Binance for trading.

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As covered by U.Today previously, on Oct. 21, 2021, amidst a spending rally, the Bitcoin (BTC) price briefly tanked to the $8,000 level, losing more than 88% in no time.

A similar flash-crash was registered on 26 other low-liquidity exchanges. A Binance.US representative attributed this dramatic plunge to a critical bug in third-party mechanisms by one of the platform’s sophisticated institutional clients.

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Crypto Exchange

Crypto investments a financial backup for Facebook whistleblower

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Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee turned whistleblower, revealed that her refuge in Puerto Rico is currently being supported by an auspiciously timed cryptocurrency investment.

Haugen worked as a Facebook product manager before accusing the company of spreading controversial and insensitive misinformation. She allegedly possesses numerous confidential research documents, which, according to her, shows that “Facebook prioritizes profit over the well-being of children and all users.” Previously, Facebook has been accused of influencing the 2016 United States presidential election with the help of Russian agencies.

In a follow-up interview with The New York Times, Haugen was asked about her financial situation:

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“For the foreseeable future, I’m fine, because I did buy crypto at the right time.”

The whistleblower also received financial help from nonprofit organizations (NPO) backed by Pierre Omidyar, a co-founder of eBay. However, Haugen clarified that Omidyar’s NPO fundings were only used to finance travel and related expenses.

According to Haugen, shifting to Puerto Rico helped her join her “crypto friends” who enjoy capital tax exemptions on Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrency assets.

Iconic whistleblower and former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency agent Edward Snowden also continues to show support for the Bitcoin economy amid regulatory pressures from governments across the world.

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On Oct. 4, Snowden tweeted about Bitcoin’s tenfold growth despite China’s blanket ban on crypto mining and trading.

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