With at least $1.3 billion invested globally in 2018, VC funding for blockchain blows past 2017 totals

Although bitcoin and blockchain technology may not take up quite as much mental bandwidth for the general public as it did just a few months ago, companies in the space continue to rake in capital from investors. Investor interest in the blockchain space shows no immediate signs of slowing down, even as the price of bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies hover at less than half of their all-time highs. A little more than five months into 2018, reported dollar volume invested in VC rounds raised by blockchain companies surpassed 2017’s totals. Not just that, the nearly $1.3 billion in global dollar volume is greater than the reported funding totals for the 18 months between July 1, 2016 and New Year’s Eve in 2017.

Read more

Move ‘Em Out: ICOs Don’t Seem So Scary Outside the US

In an environment of regulatory uncertainty, where the SEC has begun investigating ICOs and the industry surrounding the capital raising technology but has yet to make a formal decision of how it will regulate crypto tokens, issuers and other stakeholders are finding other jurisdictions a better bet for launching their projects. Both on stage and off during Blockchain Week, startup founders, attorneys and investors had strong opinions about how far to go in an environment where enforcement agencies know how easy the market boom for the tokens makes it for malicious actors to spin up a fake company and bilk millions of dollars out of unwitting buyers. Throughout the day, different speakers returned to the question of regulation, and from the stage it began to become clear that the rest of the world isn’t nearly as complicated as the U.S. This is perhaps unsurprising – as the world’s biggest economy it also has the most rules. Regulators in the U.S. would much rather err on the side of caution, even if that means curtailing some of the excitement. But other parts of the world take a more open-minded, if not lax, approach and that’s luring some ICO issuers overseas.

Read more

Tea Tokenizers Arrested in China for Alleged $47 Million Crypto Fraud

Police in Shenzhen, China, arrested six individuals who allegedly defrauded 3,000 Chinese investors out of $47 million by selling a cryptocurrency they claimed was backed by a commodity. The six suspects formed a firm based in Shenzhen called PEB, which beginning in January 2017 issued a blockchain-powered token dubbed Pu’er Coin. According to the police investigation, though the firm had only a “very limited amount of the tea in stock,” it promised high short-term returns to investors in social media promotions and roadshows at high-end hotels.

Read more

E-Commerce Giant Alibaba’s Jack Ma Says Blockchain Is Not a Bubble, Bitcoin Is

Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, spoke out at the 2nd World Intelligence Conference in Tianjin, saying that blockchain technology is not a bubble, but Bitcoin is. Ma said he has been researching blockchain for years, and believes strongly in its potential to address issues of data privacy and security for society at all levels – governments, corporations and individuals – in an era of big data. Ma added that regrettably, much of the attention the emerging blockchain industry receives comes from speculators who view blockchain as a “huge gold mine.”

Read more

OMA Among Winners of Competition for Unicorn Island Masterplan in China

OMA has been announced as one of four firms to win an international competition for the design of Unicorn Island in Chengdu, an “innovative masterplan specifically designed for New Economy companies.” As China moves from a production-orientated economy to a knowledge and service-based economy, the masterplan seeks to provide a variety of working and living conditions for both start-up firms and Unicorn companies. Along with OMA, the four winners also included Morphosis, who were recognized for their walkable scheme integrating business, green infrastructure, and lifestyle.

Read more

Related:

Fintech envoy for Northern Ireland appointed

Georgina O’Leary, Director of Innovation, Research and Development at Allstate has been appointed as the government’s new fintech envoy for Northern Ireland. Georgina will be responsible for promoting Northern Ireland’s thriving fintech sector and championing it as a place for firms to develop and grow their business. She is the digital transformation leader at Allstate and is known as a highly-accomplished technology expert in Northern Ireland. She has over 20 years of experience in tech businesses from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

Read more

Paypal acquires Swedish fintech startup iZettle for $2,2 billion

PayPal has agreed to acquire iZettle, a leading provider of mobile payment infrastructure across Europe and Latin America, for $2.2 billion. The deal happened just before iZettle was set to go public on Nasdaq Stockholm. The IPO will now be cancelled. With iZettle, Paypal will have access to hundreds of thousands of brick-and-mortar retailers. By joining forces with PayPal, which operates in 200 countries, iZettle will be able to accelerate its international expansion, including to the U.S.

Read more

There’s a Fundamental Divide in the World of Blockchain

The Consensus conference in New York City was a collision of worlds. Crypto entrepreneurs are more confident than ever that the token economy is the decentralized future of blockchain. The enterprise blockchain market, meanwhile, is looking beyond coins to deploy private, permissioned blockchains across different facets of their businesses. Cryptocurrency panels delved into complex issues like the token economy, the mining boom, and advanced cryptography. The enterprise blockchain side of Consensus felt like a different conference. FedEx talked about using blockchain for logistics. Enterprise tech and fintech giants like Deloitte, Microsoft, and SAP made announcements around enterprise adoption and deployment-ready use cases hosted on their own clouds. There was also a big focus on interoperability and standardization. Ultimately, it comes back to that core question of what’s more important: Bitcoin and the massive cryptocurrency market it spawned, or blockchain’s potential as a foundational technology driven in large part by investments from big banks and tech giants?

Read more

Thailand Introduced Legal Framework, But Players Don’t Know How to Comply

On Sunday, May 13, Thailand joined a pool of countries that have introduced regulatory frameworks regarding cryptocurrencies. The 100 section law, published in the country’s Royal Gazette, defines cryptocurrencies as digital assets and digital tokens that fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of the Thai Security Exchange Commission (TSEC), making it the main policeman of crypto transactions in the country. The royal decree has already come into force. That means that sellers of digital assets or tokens must register with the TSEC within 90 days, before Aug.14. Those who fail to comply risk facing a penalty of up to twice the value of the unauthorized digital transaction. The harshest punishment for unauthorized sellers is a jail sentence of up to two years. However, the situation remains unclear, as local companies and exchanges are only preparing to register with the SEC. The regulatory framework isn’t exactly ready, either.

Read more

US regulator creates fake ICO to teach investors a lesson

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has come out with an ingenious way to guide prospective investors on looking for red flags on ICOs. The SEC recently launched an ICO web page to demonstrate potential investment victims what are the obvious signals of frauds and scams in connection with these investments. The spoof ICO is called HoweyCoins and is artfully presented as a method to invest funds in the luxury travel market.

Read more

HoweyCoins ICO web-site