Posted on

Blockchain Startup Bison Trails Receives $5.25 Mln Investment Backed by Galaxy Digital

Following a series seed round backed by Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital, Bison Trail will soon launch its blockchain infrastructure.

New blockchain startup Bison Trails has received an investment of $5.25 million in a seed round backed by Mike Novogratz’s crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital. The firm announced the fundraising in a Medium post on March 15.

Led by two early stage venture capital firms Initialized Capital and Accomplice, the series seed round was also backed by both Galaxy Digital and blockchain-focused asset management firm Distributed Global. Other investors included Notation Capital, Homebrew and Charge Ventures.

Bison Trails’ blockchain infrastructure is designed to offer a way to launch secure, available and geographically distributed nodes on a participatory blockchain network, the press release notes. The Bison Trails platform enables a number of blockchain tools including staking, validating, voting, transacting and securing blockchain protocols.

Accomplice has confirmed the news of their leading the co-lead investment in New York-based Bison Trails. Founded by Joe Lallouz and Aaron Henshaw, Bison Trails is designed to optimize block production and validation, and is actively securing a number of protocols including Livepeer, Tezos, and Decred, Accomplice wrote on its Medium.

Previously, Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital invested in blockchain security company CipherTrace, which reportedly raised $15 million in venture capital. CipherTrace aims to improve tools for crypto intelligence, anti-money laundering solutions, blockchain analytics and forensics and compliance.

Posted on

Seoul Medical Center to Launch Blockchain Tech Project With Korean Science, IT Ministry

A South Korean hospital plans to improve the accuracy of its healthcare data by using a blockchain-based platform.

A major hospital in South Korea’s capital city has announced plans to launch a blockchain-based platform aimed to improve its medical services. The news was reported by the Daily Medi, a healthcare sector-focused Korean news outlet, on March 17.

According to the publication, the “Smart Hospital” project was jointly developed by the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT and the Seoul Medical Center, and aims to improve data accuracy and reduce processing timing for the aforementioned hospital. The article also states:

“Seoul Medical Center will build an automated, personalized, integrated medical information platform by providing electronic prescription delivery, certificate issuance, and insurance claims through the blockchain-based system.”

The Smart Hospital project is one of the 2019 blockchain-based public project development plans issued by the Korea Internet and Security Agency, a sub-organization of the South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT, last December, with the aim of promoting the implementation of blockchain tech within the domestic industry.

According to the publication, the Smart Hospital project is scheduled to be launched this April.

As Cointelegraph reported on Feb. 19, in order to promote the country’s blockchain projects, the South Korean capital’s government announced the establishment of the “Seoul Innovation Growth Fund,” with the goal to invest more than $1 billion in blockchain and fintech startups by 2022.

Back in last November, Myongji Hospital, another major South Korean hospital located in the city of Goyang, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a domestic IT firm to develop a medical services platform backed with blockchain tech, as Cointelegraph wrote on Nov. 13.

Posted on

Consensus Algorithm Tendermint Raises $9 Mln in Series A Investment Round

Tendermint has raised $9 million in a Series A investment round led by cryptocurrency investment company Paradigm.

Blockchain consensus algorithm and peer-to-peer (P2P) networking protocol Tendermint has raised $9 million in a Series A investment round, according to a blog post published on March 14.

Tendermint has raised $9 million in the Series A investment round led by cryptocurrency investment company Paradigm, with contribution from Bain Capital and 1confirmation among other investors.

Part of the funds will purportedly be allocated to support of further development of the Cosmos Network and its ecosystem. The company also plans to spend the funds on the building staff and creating a sustainable business model.

The round closing follows the Cosmos Hub mainnet launch — so called “The Internet of Blockchains,” developed by Tendermint — on  March 13. The developers believe that Cosmos may contribute to solving blockchain’s scalability and interoperability problems.

Salil Deshpande of Bain Capital reportedly said that “we envision a future where multiple blockchains serve specific use-cases  —  store of value, privacy, general purpose smart contract platforms, and many others. In this future, interoperability solutions provide a crucial alchemy that could lead to an explosion of blockchain applications, as well as boosting usage on existing chains.”

Cosmos Hub will further pass two more phases, as the recent launch was reportedly the first in a series of proof-of-stake chains developed by Tendermint.

Tendermint reportedly supports leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance’s decentralized digital currency exchange. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao reportedly said that Binance Chain is based on the Tendermint protocol and runs on a Delegated-Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) consensus algorithm.

Posted on

Major UK Energy Company Acquires Stake in Blockchain Firm Electron

U.K. energy supplier OVO has announced a strategic investment in blockchain energy technology company Electron.

Major United Kingdom energy company OVO has invested in blockchain firm Electron through its recently launched technology division, Kaluza. The development was announced in an OVO blog post published on March 12.

Kaluza —  an intelligent grid technology company that provides software and hardware products to the energy sector — has reportedly made an investment in Electron, a London-based energy tech company that uses blockchain technology. The move aims to facilitate Electron’s deployment of distributed energy trading platforms.

Electron will purportedly use the proceeds of the investment to develop its energy platforms and systems, or its distributed flexibility marketplace. “The development of Electron’s shared asset register will be crucial to supporting the growth of Kaluza and deliver on its mission to securely connect all devices to an intelligent zero-carbon grid,” the post explains.

The new investment from OVO is reportedly the first since Mitsubishi acquired a 20 percent stake in the firm. OVO is reportedly the seventh largest energy supplier in the U.K.

Blockchain has seen multiple applications in the energy sector globally. Earlier in March, Thai petroleum refining firm Bangchak Corporation Public Co. Limited (BCP) began testing a blockchain-based energy trading platform and commercial microgrid. The platform will support the basic electricity needs of an average BCP fuel station in addition to generating, distributing and storing energy for neighboring shopping mall tenants.

Last month, Japan’s solar power supplier Kyocera partnered with LO3 Energy to test blockchain-based virtual power plants (VPP) for improved energy distribution. The test will allow the companies to evaluate the the feasibility of VPPs that promote low-carbon use without fuels or carbon emissions based on peer-to-peer distributed consensus network.

According to recent research from Infoholic Research LLP, the global blockchain in energy utilities market is expected to grow by 60 percent by 2024. The market was assessed to be $210.4 million in 2018, and is expected to reach $3.4 billion by 2024. Infoholic Research predicts the growth at a compound annual growth rate of 59.4 percent from 2018 to 2024.

Posted on

Startup Finturi Raises $2.2 Million for Its Blockchain-Based Invoice Finance Platform

Startup Finturi has secured $2.2 million to let businesses secure loans against invoices with blockchain and AI.

Dutch blockchain startup Finturi has secured 2 million euro ($2.2 million) to enable businesses to secure loans against invoices via blockchain tech, the company tweeted on March 12.

Founded in September 2018, Finturi aims to help businesses finance invoices by linking them with financiers to borrow money against invoices, using blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI), according to a report by startup-focused publication EU-Startups.com on March 11.

Finturi has reportedly raised its first investment via an angel round led by NetSam Participaties BV, which evidently participated in an investment round for the first time, according to Crunchbase.

Finturi’s blockchain-based invoice finance platform is scheduled to launch in the third quarter of 2019. According to the report, the Finturi team plans to provide a completely peer-to-peer (P2P) platform in future that includes businesses’ clients.

Expressing concerns about many new businesses face difficulties with raising capital, Finturi CEO Johannes Brouwer stated that the firm aims to enable businesses to get loans against invoices within 24 hours. According to Finturi’s CEO, the upcoming platform will provide financiers with a “platform for investing in invoices with minimum hussle.”

The lead investor from NetSam Participaties BV said that blockchain tech combined with AI has a massive potential in eliminating inefficiencies in existing financial processes by cutting costs, accelerating processing time and providing  better security.

Recently, five Japanese banks entered into a partnership to launch blockchain-based financial services infrastructure. Targeting a range of financial operations for efficiency improvements, the banks will leverage IBM’s expertise during the development phase.

Last week, economist and notorious crypto critic Nouriel Roubini argued that blockchain has nothing to do with the future of financial services. Roubini excluded the term from the list of major technologies that he sees as leading to a manufacturing or fintech revolution, including AI, machine learning, big data and the Internet of Things.

Posted on

Russia: Central Bank Suggests Limiting Sale of Crypto Assets for ‘Unqualified Investors’

The Central Bank of Russia has suggested that the parliament set a yearly limit of $9,100 for crypto assets transactions performed by “unqualified investors.”

The Central Bank of Russia wants to set an annual limit for so-called “unqualified investors” that want to purchase digital assets, local business media giant RBC reported on Tuesday, March 12.

According to the documents obtained by RBC, the bank wants to amend the current draft crypto bill, dubbed “On Digital Financial Assets,” which recently passed a second of three readings in Russia’s parliament, the State Duma.

The central bank’s paper recommends equating investor limits to the ones set in a draft bill on crowdfunding, which is also being reviewed by the Russian parliament. The head of the State Duma’s committee on financial markets Anatoly Aksakov told RBC that the threshold will likely be established at around 600,000 rubles (about $9,100) per year — the same as the yearly investment limit in crowdfunding projects.

If the parliament passes the bill with the central bank’s current recommendations, unqualified investors will still be able to purchase and digital assets that were issued within the country, the report notes. Moreover, investors will be allowed to sell or purchase such tokens without intermediaries.

The Central Bank of Russia considers an investor “unqualified” if they have less than a one year minimum of investment experience. In order to be considered a qualified investor, one needs to obtain a qualification certificate — given they meet the minimum individual investment time requirements — or have at least two years of work experience in a company that is considered a qualified investor by the state.

As per RBC, the government also wants to establish requirements for financial intermediaries involved in crypto asset trading. According to the current version of the draft, banks, depositories and stock exchanges will be obliged to track all crypto transactions and reveal the amounts traded by unqualified investors to other counterparties, institutions or government bodies, if necessary.

The bill “On Digital Financial Assets,” which was initially approved in a first reading by the State Duma back in May, has raised a major discussion within Russian legal discourse. Its second reading was repeatedly postponed by legislators.

In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin set a deadline for the government to adopt regulations for the digital assets industry, urging MPs to adopt the bill during the spring session of 2019.

More recently, Aksakov told Russian news agency RNS that the crypto bill reaching the final stages before being put into law. The chairman of the financial committee expects that the bill will be adopted by the end of March.