Posted on

Prediction Startup Numerai Raises $11 Million in ICO

U.S. prediction market startup and hedge fund Numerai raised $11 million in an ICO to launch its Erasure project.

American prediction market startup and hedge fund Numerai (NMR) has raised $11 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) to launch its project Erasure, Numerai tweeted on March 21.

Introduced in late 2016, Numeraire network provides a blockchain and cryptographic token-based ecosystem for incentivizing anonymous data scientists to create predictive models. Based on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, Numeraire tokens are used in trading market predictions on the startup’s platform.

Numerai founder Richard Craib said that the funds from the recent ICO will be mostly spent on hiring engineers for Erasure, the decentralized unit of Numerai’s marketplace, Coindesk reports.

Announced in October 2018,Erasure is reportedly scheduled to launch later in 2019. Once launched, Erasure will allow users to sell their predictions to any investment fund in the public network via the peer-to-peer InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), and directly connect their crypto wallets to the Ethereum-based marketplace, Craib told Coindesk.

While Numerai-based prediction models are mostly focused on traditional assets at the current stage, the launch of Erasure will enable predictions on any asset, Craib added.

The ICO round was reportedly led by VC and private equity firm Placeholder, and crypto investment company Paradigm, founded by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam.

Following the news, the price of the Nomeraire token jumped almost 19 percent, trading at $5.77 at press time, according to data from CoinMarketCap. The token is exposed to traders on five crypto markets: Bittrex, UPbit, Poloniex, DDEX, and IDEX, and has a market capitalization of $7.7 million.

Recently, Binance Launchpad, the token platform of major global crypto exchange Binance, completed a $4 million sale of Celer Network (CELR) tokens in under 20 minutes.

Posted on

US Prediction Startup Numerai Raises $11 Million in ICO

U.S. prediction market startup and hedge fund Numerai raised $11 million in an ICO to launch its Erasure project.

American prediction market startup and hedge fund Numerai (NMR) has raised $11 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) to launch its project Erasure, crypto industry media outlet Coindesk reports on March 21.

Introduced in late 2016, Numeraire network provides a blockchain and cryptographic token-based ecosystem for incentivizing anonymous data scientists to create predictive models. Based on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, Numeraire tokens are used in trading market predictions on the startup’s platform.

Numerai founder Richard Craib said that the funds from the recent ICO will be mostly spent on hiring engineers for Erasure, the decentralized unit of Numerai’s marketplace, Coindesk reports.

Announced in October 2018,Erasure is reportedly scheduled launch later in 2019. Once launched, Erasure will allow users to sell their predictions to any investment fund in the public network via the peer-to-peer InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), and directly connect their crypto wallets to the Ethereum-based marketplace, Craib told Coindesk.

While Numerai-based prediction models are mostly focused on traditional assets at the current stage, the launch of Erasure will enable predictions on any asset, Craib added.

The ICO round was reportedly led by VC and private equity firm Placeholder, and crypto investment company Paradigm, founded by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam.

Following the news, the price of the Nomeraire token jumped almost 19 percent, trading at $5.77 at press time, according to data from CoinMarketCap. The token is exposed to traders on five crypto markets: Bittrex, UPbit, Poloniex, DDEX, and IDEX, and has a market capitalization of $7.7 million.

Recently, Binance Launchpad, the token platform of major global crypto exchange Binance, completed a $4 million sale of Celer Network (CELR) tokens in under 20 minutes.

Posted on

Silvergate Bank Onboarded 59 New Crypto Customers in Q4 2018

Major U.S.-based bank Silvergate added 59 new crypto customers in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Crypto-supportive Silvergate Bank has signed on a slew of new cryptocurrency customers in the fourth quarter on 2018, according to a recent filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The filing reveals that as of Dec. 31, 2018, Silvergate had 542 digital currency-related clients including cryptocurrency exchanges and miners, custodians and global investors, among others. This marks an increase of 59 crypto-related customers since a previous filing in September 2018.

By Dec. 31, 232 cryptocurrency customers were purportedly in various stages of the bank’s customer onboarding process, including regulatory compliance.

The bank further says that it believes that acceptance of digital currency by traditional financial institutions will continue to grow, highlighting the following data:

“Currently, there are over 300 institutional investment funds with aggregate estimated assets under management of between approximately $7.5 billion to $10 billion. Over $8.3 billion has been invested in digital currency-related projects, excluding initial coin offering funding, since December 31, 2013. Approximately $1.3 billion in venture funding was raised in the digital currency and blockchain market in the 12 months ended June 30, 2018, which is the most recent date such information is available.”

Per the document, in the fourth quarter of 2018 the bank saw two exchanges, 33 companies, and 24 investors among its new clients, including software developers, cryptocurrency miners, and service providers.

Throughout the whole year, Silvergate’s deposits derived from cryptocurrency customers reportedly increased by $150.4 million, or around 11.4 percent. Digital currency investors’ deposits saw a growth by $4.8 million to $577.5 million, while other startups’ balances increased by $46.4 million, reaching $273.9 million.

Last February, the Digital Currency Group (DCG), a cryptocurrency venture capital firm, announced that they had invested in the Silvergate Capital Corporation, which contains the Silvergate Bank. As the Corporation later revealed on its website:

“Proceeds from this placement will support further growth in the Bank’s nationwide fintech deposit initiative and its business banking and residential lending activities.”

Posted on

Binance Launchpad Hosts Its Third ICO With Celer Network Raising $4 Million

Binance’s exclusive token launch platform Binance Launchpad completed a $4 million sale of Celer Network (CELR) tokens.

Binance Launchpad, the token launch platform of the major global crypto exchange Binance, has completed a $4 million sale of Celer Network (CELR) tokens, the company wrote on March 19.

The tokens sale was completed in 17 minutes and 35 seconds, with all 597,014,925 CELR tokens sold in a single session.

As the company announced two weeks ago, the CELR token sale only accepted Binance’s own cryptocurrency Binance Coin (BNB), with each CELR token worth 0.000434 BNB or $0.0067 dollar equivalent. One BNB could purchase 2,303.35821 CELR tokens. The minimum investment amount was set at $20, while the maximum contribution amount was capped at $1,500.

Binance Launchpad is an exclusive token launch platform of Binance that is designed to help blockchain startups raise funding to develop products targeting cryptocurrency adoption. As such, Celer Network represents a layer-2 scaling platform that aims to enable off-chain transactions for both payment transactions and generalized off-chain smart contracts.

Previously, Binance Launchpad hosted two major tokens sales such as the Fetch.AI (FET) and the BitTorrent token (BTT). The BTT sale concluded on Jan. 28, with investors purchasing all 50 billion BTT tokens, worth of $7.1 million, in less that 15 minutes. The FET token sale raised $6 million dollars on Feb. 25.

At press time, Binance is the second largest crypto exchange by daily trading volume, having been slightly overtaken by Hong Kong-based OKEx. Yesterday, trading analytics platform The Tie published research claiming that 90 percent of trade volumes reported by crypto exchanges may be incorrect.

Posted on

BitGo Launches Custody for Blockchain Capital’s Security Token BCAP

BitGo clients will be able to hold their BCAP assets using qualified and regulated custody service BitGo Trust Company.

Blockchain security firm and wallet service BitGo has announced support for Blockchain Capital’s ERC-20 token, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on March 19.

Blockchain Capital’s BCAP token is a security token based on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain that was launched in a $10 million initial coin offering (ICO) back in April 2017. BCAP represents an indirect economic interest to the limited partnership interest in the tokenized investment fund, and is the world’s first security token that was sold in an ICO.

According to the recent BitGo announcement, BitGo users will now be able to hold their BCAP assets using BitGo Trust Company, a qualified and regulated custodian that provides compliant custody for security tokens. As a part of the announcement, BitGo has also introduced its multi-signature wallet security.

Ben Chan, BitGo’s chief technology officer, said that qualified custodial services that are compliant with securities regulations are critical for users of the platform.

Recently, Estonian Nasdaq-powered digital trading platform DX.Exchange announced the launch of its own security token trading and security token offering (STOs) listings. The platform reportedly allows investors to buy security tokens using both fiat and crypto such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum, Tether (USDT) and Ripple (XRP).

Previously, insurance giant AXA XL launched an insurance product that covers equity crowdfunding and STOs, and purportedly protects new online capital formation techniques, aiming to increase trust, confidence and security to potential investors guaranteeing that the issuer is insured.

Posted on

Japan Introduces New Regulations for Cryptocurrency Margin Trading

The Cabinet of Japan has reportedly approved new regulations in regard to cryptocurrency margin trading.

Japanese financial regulators have reportedly introduced new regulations for cryptocurrency margin trading, local news agency Nikkei reported on March 18.

The Cabinet of Japan, the executive branch of the country’s government, has reportedly approved draft amendments to Japan’s financial instruments and payment services laws, limiting leverage in cryptocurrency margin trading at two to four times the initial deposit.

Margin trading is the use of borrowed funds from a broker to trade a financial asset, thus forming a collateral for the loan.

The new rules — which are reportedly et to come into force in April 2020 — will require cryptocurrency exchange operators to register within 18 months of that date, which will purportedly enable the Financial Services Agency (FSA) to introduce relevant measures in regard to unregistered cryptocurrency “quasi-operators.”

Following promulgation of the new regulations, entities dealing cryptocurrency will ostensibly be monitored similarly to securities traders in order to protect investors. Additionally, cryptocurrency operators will be divided into groups to identify those engaged in margin trading and those issuing tokens through initial coin offerings (ICOs).

With this move, regulators reportedly aim to secure investors from getting caught up in Ponzi Schemes, as well as encourage legitimate companies to practice offerings as fundraising tools.

In January, the FSA revealed that it was considering the regulation of unregistered firms that solicit investments in cryptocurrencies. The development is reportedly a bid to close a loophole in the country’s existing regulatory framework, in which unregistered firms that collect funds in crypto rather than fiat currencies remain in a legal gray zone.

Back in August 2018, the commissioner of the FSA said that the agency wants the cryptocurrency industry to “grow under appropriate regulation” in order to find the “balance” between consumer protection and technological innovation, noting:

“We have no intention to curb [the crypto industry] excessively. We would like to see it grow under appropriate regulation.”

Posted on

Crypto Exchange Bittrex Cancels Its First ‘Initial Exchange Offering’

Crypto exchange Bittrex has cancelled its first Initial Exchange Offering, which it had been planning to host on its Malta-based counterpart, Bittrex International.

United States crypto exchange Bittrex has cancelled its first token sale, dubbed an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO), which it had been planning to host on its Malta-based counterpart, Bittrex International. The news was announced in an official statement published on March 14.

Earlier this week, Bittrex International had announced plans to host the IEO today, March 15,  allowing investors to use Bitcoin (BTC) to purchase “XRD” tokens, developed by international gaming data blockchain project, Raid.

In yesterday’s announcement, the exchange outlined that it decided to cancel the IEO “as a result of significant changes in the business status of RAID.” Specifically, it explained that:

“A few hours ago [on March 14], OP.GG terminated its strategic partnership with RAID, which was a vital part of the RAID project. When [we] became aware of this significant event, we did not feel that it was in the best interest of our customers to move forward with the IEO.”

Bittrex International states that it chose to act quickly, citing the challenges it faces as a crypto trading platform to remain “vigilant to ensure the integrity of our markets.” The statement added that:

“one of the hardest challenges we face in advancing blockchain adoption is to avoid the rampant fear, uncertainty, and doubt that is everywhere in this industry.”

As previously reported, Bittrex’s move to enter the exchange-hosted token sale space follows the precedent of major crypto exchange Binance. The exchange’s token sale platform Launchpad hosted the high-profile token sale for the Tron-based BitTorrent token (BTT) this January, followed by another public token sale for AI and smart contract project Fetch.AI in February.

Bittrex is currently ranked 49th largest crypto exchange globally by adjusted daily trade volume, seeing about $62.8 million in trades on the day to press time.

Posted on

PwC’s Strategy&: Security Token Offerings ‘are Not Fundamentally Different From ICOs’

PwC’s global consulting subsidiary Strategy& has published an ICO and STO report in collaboration with Swiss Crypto Valley.

Security token offerings (STO) are becoming more popular, relative to initial coin offerings (ICO), according to a new report by Big Four firm PwC’s global consulting subsidiary Strategy&. Released on March 8, the firm’s forth ICO and STO report was developed in collaboration with the Swiss Crypto Valley Association.

According to the joint report, STOs “are not fundamentally different from ICOs.” The document states that STOs are “a more mature and regulated form” of fundraising, noting — given the definition of a security — that the tokens sold in an STO can provide investors with various financial rights.

STOs, the report claims, also combine a number of ICO features, such as low entry barriers for investors, as well as traditional venture capital and private equity fundraising characteristics, such as Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.

With that, the overall number of both STOs and ICOs has declined significantly in the second half of 2018, which was allegedly caused by the ongoing crypto winter, as well as by the shift from the ICO to the STO model, the report says.

Out of total of about $19.7 billion raised by 1,132 ICOs and STOs in 2018, two projects accounted for over $5.8 billion of the volume, the report notes. Those companies are the Eos Foundation, which carried out the largest ICO in history, reportedly raking in over $4 billion in June 2018. The second ICO giant is Telegram messenger, which raised an also impressive $1.7 billion in two private ICO rounds for its TON crypto platform.

ICO/STO development from 2013 to 2018. Source: Crypto Valley

ICO/STO development from 2013 to 2018. Source: Crypto Valley

The report from Strategy& and Crypto Valley also noted the trend of the tokenization of commodities such as gold and oil, as well as the tokenization of intellectual property.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has long reminded investors that many tokens sold in ICOs are in fact securities under U.S. law, and thus should be registered with the agency.

Recently, Cointelegraph has reported that while ICO market is smaller that it was in 2018, it is still larger that it was at the beginning of 2017.

Earlier in February, ICO rating service ICObench reported that ICOs in Q4 2018 raised 25 percent less than in Q3, while the total number of ICOs increased.

Posted on

Report: Thai SEC Approves Country’s First ICO Portal

The Thai SEC has approved the first ICO portal in the country, and may reportedly later issue criteria that allows companies to tokenize securities and other assets.

Thailand’s securities regulator has approved the first initial coin offering (ICO) portal in the country,  local daily news outlet the Bangkok Post reported on March 12.

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) board of directors has reportedly authorized the first ICO portal that allows to screen ICOs, perform due diligence, confirm smart contract source codes and conduct Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures. The operator of the ICO portal is reportedly a foreign entity.

Archari Suppiroj, director of the fintech department at the SEC, reportedly told the Bangkok Post, “Thailand’s first authorized ICO portal is being finalized for official approval with the relevant government agencies such as the Commerce Ministry. […] The first ICO deal will be available for public offering in the near future under the digital asset royal decree.”

According to Archari, the ICO market has began to mature from project-based and intangible ideas to ICOs backed by physical assets. Archari also revealed that “in the future” the SEC will issue criteria that enables companies to tokenize securities and other assets.

Initially, the Thai SEC intended to clear the first ICO portal to operate legally last November, with plans “to approve each ICO offering, which might start in December.”

Last December, the Thai SEC announced its plans to consider loosening rules that form a “barrier” to ICOs, although there will be caps on participation. Tipsuda Thavaramara, general secretary of the Thai SEC then said:

“The proposed guideline is an attempt to find greater equilibrium in the regulatory process and reduce regulatory impediments, while taking risk management and investor protection into account.”

Posted on

Crypto Startup Behind Alibabacoin Agrees to Stop Using ‘Alibaba’ Name After Legal Action

Dubai-based crypto firm ABBC Foundation agreed to stop using name “Alibaba” after legal action by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

Dubai-based crypto firm ABBC Foundation has agreed to stop using the name “Alibaba” for its cryptocurrency after legal action by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, Reuters reported on March 11.

The decision from ABBC Foundation is reportedly part of a settlement of an almost year-long lawsuit brought by Alibaba against the crypto startup.

ABBC Foundation, previously also known as Alibabacoin Foundation, reportedly said that it regretted confusion caused by its former use of the name “Alibabacoin” for its firm and cryptocurrency. Per the report, the company’s coin will now be called ABBC coin.

As Cointelegraph reported in April last year, Alibaba had previously sued the company for copyright infringement after the latter’s initial coin offering (ICO) initially raised $3.5 million.

Later, in May 2018, a United States court ruled against Alibaba’s request for an injunction against the startup. However, despite the setback, in October last year, Alibaba won a preliminary injunction against ABBC Foundation (at the time Alibabacoin Foundation) in a lawsuit over the misleading use of Alibaba in their name in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Recently, Liu Song, Alibaba’s vice president, said in an interview that the company is considering blockchain tech implementation for cross-border supply chains.

In January, news broke that the Pakistan-based subsidiary of global telecommunications giant Telenor had launched a cross-border remittance service powered by the blockchain system of Alibaba’s payment subsidiary, Alipay.