VC Firm Behind Snapchat Takes Aim at Crypto Investments

Lightspeed logo

Tech journal Recode reported last May 17th that the venture capital firm that helped launch Snapchat is looking at ways to increase their investment profile in the crypto industry.

Aaron Batalion, a partner at venture capital firm Lightspeed, is reportedly leading an effort to boost crypto investments for the firm. The initiative is to explore three possible methods: setting up a new fund, carving out a portion of an existing fund, or launching an entirely new project, Recode reported, citing “sources”.

According to Recode’s report, Lightspeed is more inclined toward carving out part of an already existing fund for crypto investments rather than setting up a new fund, something they have been considering over the past months.

Recode added that Batalion may not want to wait and is reportedly considering leaving the firm to launch his own crypto-focused project. Citing a source close to Batalion, Recode reports that Lightspeed is prepared to financially back the new potential project.

Batalion is far from the only partner at Lightspeed interested in crypto. Jeremy Liew, who led the push to invest in Snapchat and a bullish bitcoin supporter, was part of Lightspeed’s backing of Blockchain.com’s initial funding back in 2014

Lightspeed’s interest in crypto is shared by other traditional VC firms. Comcast Ventures and the Rockefeller family’s venture capital arm Venrock are reportedly making their own moves into the crypto space.

London-based Institutional Crypto Exchange By LMAX, The First In The World

LMAX Exchange

Fintech firm LMAX Exchange Group will be launching LMAX Digital, the first institutional cryptocurrency exchange which will let institutional investors trade Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litcoin, Ethereum and Ripple, five of the most established cryptocurrencies with the highest level of liquidity.

The move symbolizes the recognition of the crypto trade by the financial institutions as a legitimate industry, a long-awaited triumph of crypto enthusiasts who struggled with the stigma.

LMAX Exchange’s CEO, David Mercer, said: “The rise of institutional trading of crypto currencies will be a game-changer for the industry. We believe our new exchange will support the transformation of the crypto market from the fringes to the mainstream.”

The new exchange will be launched from LMAX’s data centre in London with plans of setting up in Tokyo and New York is being targeted in a few months.

Aside from the five top currencies, platform users of LMAX will also benefit from the public rulebook for all members, offer a full custodian solution and provide secure, multi-signature wallets offered by the company.

Bithumb Readying Move to London

Bithumb UK

ZDNet Korea reports that Bithumb is going to launch a trading platform in the UK.

Bithumb is the largest cryto exchange in South Korea and the sixth largest in the world by trade volume, handling about half a billion dollars in trading volume a day.

According to official documents, Bithumb Europe was registered lat February 27th, with offices at City Road in Islington, London. It will be headed by a Mr. Rahul Khanna, who is a partner of a firm called Canary Asset Management.

Bithumb will own 80% while Canaru Asset Management will own 20% of Bithumb Europe.

The new platform will be using the URL bithumb.uk. However, the website is currently non-functional. The delay may be due to the exchange’s search for a compliance specialist.

A spokesman for BTC Korea.com, owner of Bithumb, said to ZDNet Korea that: “Bitsum [Bithumb] is preparing to advance to Europe.”

The UK has been attracting crtypto exchanges lately, a welcome trend given the recent exodus of traditional financial institutions to Europe.

Huobi, a Singaporean exchange recently announced that it was going to set up shop in London due to the fact that it has “the most active trading scene across all of Europe.” Huobi handles almost $2 billion in trading daily, making it the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.

Meanwhile, London Block Exchange reportedly expanded its menu, now including Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum Classic. A recent survey of more than a thousand Londoners found out that 14 percent had purchased cryptocurrency at some point, and 20 percent of those that hadn’t been considering doing so.

British crypto businesses have also banded together, urging the government to regulate them formally to ensure their stability and protect customers.

Tea-Based Crypto Project Busted by Chinese Police

cop caught criminal vector

A cryptocurrency project has been scuttled by Chinese law enforcement for allegedly soliciting investments with fraudulent claims.

In a report from the Guandong Daily, a provincial media outlet, Shenzhen police arrested six individuals last Monday. They were accused of defrauding 3,000 Chinese investors out of $47 million by selling a cryptocurrency they claimed was backed by a commodity.

The suspects allegedly set up a firm based in Shenzhen called PEB, which beginning in January 2017 issued a blockchain-powered token dubbed Pu’er Coin, according to reports.

The project’s website says holders of the token were entitled to hold a contract which represented ownership of an amount of Pu’er Tibetan tea the firm supposedly had in stock, which the firm claimed to be worth billions of dollars.

While the token could be exchanged in a secondary market called Jubi.com, another website later claimed the contract could bring in a 12 percent annual return if investors choose to lock their funds for 12 months.

Police reports say that, though the firm had only a “very limited amount of the tea in stock,” it also promised high short-term returns to investors in social media promotions and roadshows at high-end hotels.

The police also said the project succeeded in attracting investors via manipulation of the secondary market, using it’s own funds to drive up the token price during the course of 2017.

The arrests mark another notable crackdown on alleged cryptocurrency fraud in China as law enforcement in the country have taken a hardline stance against illegal fundraising.

Previously, Xi’An Police have arrested the founders of an alleged nationwide crypto pyramid scheme that is said to have collected $13 million from over 13,000 people.

NYSE To Go Bitcoin?

New York Stock Exchange

According to the New York Times, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), owner of the New York Stock Exchange, is looking at a proposal to launch Bitcoin trading options. ICE could be the latest Wall Street giant to “go Bitcoin”.

Last week Goldman Sachs executive Rana Yared said, “inundated” by client requests, the bank had decided that Bitcoin “is not a fraud.”

According to the reports:

“[ICE] has had conversations with other financial institutions about setting up a new operation through which banks can buy a contract, known as a swap, that will end with the customer owning Bitcoin the next day — with the backing and security of the exchange.”

Pending official comment from ICE, Bitcoin, with Goldman’s position, seem to hold out against criticism by Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett bad-mouthing crypto as “rat poison squared” and “harvested baby brains.”

Bill Gates went along with Buffett against crypto telling CNBC, it was “a ‘greater fool’ type of investment” but that he nonetheless “would short it if there was an easy way to do it.”

First Of Its Kind Blockchain-based Registry For Container Shipping

Blockshipping Blockchain Container Shipping

Blockshipping, a Scandinavian company based in Copenhagen, Denmark, developing the Global Shared Container Platform (GSCP) – the world’s first freight container registry and global platform for container handling.

The global container shipping industry despite making up to 60% of the world’s sea trade is awash with problems — overcapacity, low rates, security threats, and ever-increasing environmental regulations. An industry this big is being pulled down by inefficiency and other problems inherent to the trade.

To combat this dilemma, Blockshipping is coming up with Global Shared Container Platform (GSCP), a blockchain-based platform which is the world’s first freight container registry and the first global platform allowing all players in the shipping industry to perform a wide range of transactions related to the handling of containers.

The GSCP platform will enable a savings potential for the global container industry of at least $5.7B per year. It is also aimed to reduce the global CO2 emission by at least 4.6 million tons yearly.

The GSCP ICO, starting on May 14 at 2 pm CET, is the first Nordic shipping-related ICO based on a new Danish framework called “The ICO 2.0 Framework” to ensure the highest standards of security, promote open, transparent and honest communication and to make sure that future Danish ICOs are compliant with Danish law.