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US SEC Approves Blockstack Token Offering Under Regulation A+

Blockstack has received approval from the SEC to run a public token offering via Regulation A+ — a first use of the regulation for a token offering.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has given blockchain-based startup Blockstack the go-ahead to run a $28 million public token offering under Regulation A+, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on June 10.

Blockstack will reportedly launch its token offering online tomorrow, July 11. While other firms have previously taken advantage of Regulation A+ funding, this marks the first time that investors will receive a token, rather than shares in the company.

Regulation A+ is an initial public offering (IPO) alternative geared towards startups in need of early funding. Regulation A+ funding was introduced in 2012 via the “Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act.” As the report says, any member of the public can partake in a Regulation A+ funding round.

While Regulation A+ has more lenient disclosure obligations than as with an IPO, it has two tiers with hard caps on raised funds, maxing out at $50 million within a 12-month period.

This is possibly a precedent-setting moment for the crypto space, as per the report. Initial coin offerings (ICOs) have been on the decline. Crypto firms raised billions of dollars through ICOs until the SEC began an ongoing crackdown in the name of investor-protection laws, as per the report. The report cites research from TokenData, which apparently shows that ICO funding dropped from $6.9 billion in Q1 2018 to $118 million in Q1 2019.

Blockstack founders Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea reportedly spent 10 months and approximately $2 million to gain approval from the SEC. Ali apparently said that Blockstack had to develop a protocol for running what is essentially a regulated ICO through Regulation A+ from the ground up. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Blockstart applied for SEC approval to run a $50 million token sale in April.

As the report says, some blockchain-based startups have conducted token sales under SEC Regulation D, including Blockstart. Unlike Regulation A+ sales, Regulation D sales do not require SEC approval; however, they are limited only to accredited investors, i.e. companies that hold a minimum of $5 million in assets and $1 million in its figures’ cumulative net worth.  Blockstart reportedly received $47 million through Regulation D funding in 2017, along with an additional $5 million from venture-capital funding.

According to the WSJ, a crypto-based startup YouNow Inc. has also has filed for a Regulation A+ funding round.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, major traditional exchanges such as Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange have shied away from Regulation A+ IPOs due to recent events.

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Ethereum-Based Decentralized Video Streaming Startup Livepeer Raises $8M

Ethereum-based decentralized video streaming startup Livepeer announced that it raised $8 million from institutional investors.

Ethereum (ETH)-based decentralized video streaming startup Livepeer announced that it raised $8 million from institutional investors in its Series A funding round in a Medium post published on June 17.

Per the announcement, the startup will use the newly acquired resources to support the further development of the Livepeer protocol, network, software and ecosystem to further adoption. The round was reportedly led by venture capital firm Northzone, which was also one of the first investors in Spotify.

Other participants in the round purportedly include Digital Currency Group, Libertus, Collaborative Fund, Notation Capital, Compound, North Island, Coinfund, Haivision and StakeZero. Furthermore, according to the post David Mendels, the former CEO of online video platform Brightcove, has also joined the company in an active advisor role.

The company also claims that, since Livepeer has been first launched on Ethereum’s mainnet, thousands of users participated in securing the network and over 100 events have been streamed through it. The startup also notes that it is currently building plugins which allow media servers and transcoding services to run on its network.

As Cointelegraph reported at the beginning of the current month, United States-based blockchain identity startup BanQu announced that it closed an extension of its Series A funding round led by multinational drinks and brewing company Anheuser-Busch InBev’s investment arm.

Also, at the end of May, compliant tokenization startup Standard Tokenization Protocol announced that it secured $7 million in funding.

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Corona, Budweiser Owner’s Investment Arm Backs Blockchain ID Startup

BanQu announced that it closed an extension of its series A funding round led by Anheuser-Busch InBev’s investment arm ZX Venture.

United States-based blockchain identity startup BanQu announced that it closed an extension of its series A funding round led by multinational drinks and brewing company Anheuser-Busch InBev’s investment arm. The development was announced in a post on June 6.

Per the announcement, the undisclosed amount of funds have been raised by ZX Venture to allow BanQu to continue the development of its supply chain transparency and traceability, and continue its geographic expansion. Crunchbase estimates the annual revenue of the funding company — which owns the Budweiser, Corona, Leffe and Becks beer brands — to be $22.1 billion.

The startup in question claims to have created the first and only non-cryptocurrency blockchain “to help lift people out of extreme poverty by connecting them to the global supply chains that they participate in.” Tony Milikin, chief sustainability and procurement officer at AB InBev, commented on the partnership with BanQu:

“Together, we are working to improve access to modern banking for thousands of farmers in underserved rural markets, driving inclusive growth and contributing to our own 2025 Sustainability Goal as well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

Furthermore, the startup claims that the funds will sustain its presence in Africa, Asia and Latin America. BanQu reportedly operates in 12 countries, including Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malawi, Somalia, South Africa, Syria, Uganda, the United States and Zambia, and has plans to expand to China and Mexico later this year. Maisie Devine, global director for the 100+ Accelerator at AB InBev, declared:

“Over the last year, we have implemented the BanQu platform with over 4,000 of our direct farmers in Zambia, Uganda and India.”

As Cointelegraph reported in August 2018, BanQu helps refugees, the displaced and the world’s poorest individuals establish an economic identity on the blockchain.

A recent Cointelegraph analysis examined how software giant Microsoft recently presented a decentralized identity network built atop of the bitcoin network with the aim of letting users take control over their personal data and content.

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Compliant Token Startup Standard Tokenization Protocol Secures $7 Million in Funding

Compliant tokenization startup Standard Tokenization Protocol announced that it secured $7 million in funding.

Compliant tokenization startup Standard Tokenization Protocol (STP) announced that it secured $7 million in funding in a press release shared with Cointelegraph on May 29.

Per the release, STP raised the funds in two separate private funding rounds from multiple venture capitalists by selling its STPT token, with $5 million in the first round and $2 million in the second. The investors cited by the company are Neo Global Capital, BlockVC and AlphaBit.

The announcement explains that STP’s service is designed to allow for the compliant and transparent tokenization of assets, as well as provide fractional ownership and improve returns for sellers by removing illiquidity discounts.

STP reportedly uses an on-chain validator in an attempt to ensure region-specific regulations, specifically those related to Know Your Client and Anti-Money Laundering requirements. Lastly, the company also promises that its system will enable automatically distributed programmed dividends and other new asset features. STP claims:

“The platform is providing an easier solution to issue fractionalized ownership of traditionally illiquid assets, which equates to a $256 trillion market.”

As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, a crypto-related company has launched a protocol enabling businesses to create tokens for real-world assets on the bitcoin sv (BSV) blockchain.

Also yesterday, news broke that Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin is planning to create cryptocurrency tokens backed by palladium, a rare metal.

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Trading App Robinhood Set to Raise at Least $200 Million: Report

United States-based stock and crypto trading app Robinhood is set to raise at least $200 million in a new funding round, Bloomberg reports.

United States-based stock and crypto trading app Robinhood is set to raise at least $200 million in a new funding round, Bloomberg reported on May 24.

Per the report, an unspecified source familiar with the matter told the outlet about the company’s plans to raise further funding. Moreover, Bloomberg reports that the round would increase the firm’s value to between $7 billion and $8 billion, but that the details could change.

Other people familiar with the matter also told Bloomberg that the new funds come from existing investors, all of whom asked not to be identified and to keep the details private. While the funding talks are reportedly ongoing, a further funding round could increase the company’s worth to $10 billion, but the numbers are subject to change until the deal is closed.

Robinhood, which allows for zero-fee stock trading, first introduced bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) trading in January last year.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this week, Robinhood has officially launched its crypto trading app in New York following the acquisition of a BitLicense by the New York State Department of Financial Services in January 2019.

Also during this week, the new April 2019 Exchange Review from crypto data provider Cryptocompare revealed that centralized cryptocurrency exchanges saw a major uptick in trade volume this April.

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Ethereum Foundation Announces Details on $30 Network Development

The Ethereum Foundation has announced a three-section approach to allocating the $30 million it earmarked for yearlong development costs.

The Ethereum Foundation has announced a three-pronged approach to allocating the $30 million it has designated for developing the Ethereum network over the next year, in an official blog post on May 21.

The breakdown for the three categories is future projects at $19 million, current projects at $8 million, and developer supports at $3 million. Much of the funding will go to Ethereum 2.0 projects including client teams, research, documentation and communication, and layer two projects like Plasma.

Plasma, which was first proposed by Vitalik Buterin and Joseph Poon in 2017, is scaling solution for the network employing autonomous smart contracts. Plasma will purportedly enable “ the blockchain to be able to represent a significant amount of decentralized financial applications worldwide,“ according to the white paper.

The Ethereum Foundation first announced its $30 million budget at the ConsenSys’ Ethereal Summit on May 10. Executive director Aya Miyaguchi then said that the foundation intends to bring academic involvement to Ethereum, which would purportedly attract top-tier researchers and developers and grants to academic teams and organizations.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the Ethereum Foundation announced the “rerelease” of its community website at the end of April, which purports to be a repository filled with community-created Ethereum content, such as documentation and tutorials for using Ethereum tools.