Today’s Highlights: Crypto mining CEO Le Minh Tam disappeared with $35 million in funds, Draper Dragon backs $20 million raise for Alibaba vets’ blockchain startup Ultrain, Mike Novogratz’s crypto-focused merchant bank, Galaxy Digital LP, is set to begin trading tomorrow, HTC says its crypto-friendly smartphone will support Litecoin & much more.
Editors’ thoughts today:
Editor-in-chief Florin Adrian Oprea (FAO): Earlier today, while going through the tons of stories out there, we found this piece via Bloomberg. Time to go and read our own piece of analysis dated last February. State your mind on this topic if you want, you got plenty of options, check them below…
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Nikhilesh De – CoinDesk
The CEO of a cryptocurrency mining startup has reportedly disappeared with $35 million in client investments. Le Minh Tam, head of Vietnam-based Sky Mining, has been missing since July 26, according to the report. The startup, which claimed it would rent crypto miners to investors for between $100 and $5,000, received funds from roughly 5,000 individuals prior to Tam’s disappearance.
Chuan Tian – CoinDesk
A public blockchain project founded by the former head of Alibaba’s blockchain team has raised over $20 million from institutional investors in a combined token and equity sale.
Called Ultrain, the startup that leading investors in the round included token funds, such as Draper Dragon, FBG Capital, DanHua VC and Arrington XRP Capital, as well as blockchain industry startups, such as crypto wallet Bixin and exchange OKCoin.
Doug Alexander & Erik Schatzker – Bloomberg
Marie Huillet – Cointelegraph
Mike Novogratz’s crypto-focused merchant bank, Galaxy Digital LP, is set to begin trading on Canada’s TSX Venture Exchange on August 1, Bloomberg reports. The New-York headquartered firm will reportedly trade on the TSX Venture Exchange through a separate vehicle, Galaxy Digital Holding., under the GLXY ticker.
Christina Dimitrova – Cryotovest
Blocktrade, a Lichtenstein-based cryptocurrency exchange that is in the process of obtaining a multilateral trading facility license under EU’s MiFID II framework, announced it has launched last week a beta version for testing. The trial period ends on August 25, but the company has not indicated when the platform will go live.
Globe Newswire (press release)
DCEX, a cryptocurrency marketplace for retail and institutional investors, announced registration is open to the first digital currency exchange to utilize XRP as its exclusive base currency. DCEX is powered by blockchain exchange technology company AlphaPoint.
Reuters Staff – Reuters
Bitcoin briefly fell below $8,000 on Monday as investors scaled back their exposure to cryptocurrenices, after a sell-off in shares of technology and internet companies spilled over into other risky assets.
Madeline Meng Shi – Coindesk
HTC’s new blockchain-compatible smartphone will support litecoin, creator Charlie Lee said.
He added that he was joining the development team of the HTC Exodus as an advisor. The news comes days after Lee claimed he met with the Exodus’ team last week. Lee further confirmed that the Exodus will support the Lightning Network on litecoin natively.
Qiwi, a large Russian payments company, has played a pioneering role in blockchain development in that country, largely driven by its CEO and major shareholder, Sergey Solonin. The reason for Solonin’s interest in cryptocurrency recently came to light during a lecture he gave at the Moscow School of Communications, according to Rubase.
Benjamin Bain & Matt Robinson – Bloomberg (subscription)
The U.S. SEC is well known for bringing landmark cases against the biggest names in finance. But its powers to punish individuals and companies can also be intimidating, something that’s very much on the mind of Valerie Szczepanik, the SEC’s new top official overseeing the nascent cryptocurrency industry.
Via Business Wire – AlphaPoint Technology announced the appointment of Katya Fisher, Esq., to Company’s Board of Directors
Emmie Martin – CNBC
The future of bitcoin remains a topic of hot debate, but young people are significantly more likely to trust the cryptocurrency than their older counterparts.
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Alyssa Hertig – CoinDesk
There are early adopters, then there are early early adopters. The first coder to work alongside bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto, Martti ‘Sirius’ Malmi, is joining a team of developers launching a new cryptocurrency called AXE. The project, which is combining Malmi’s Identifi online reputation system with decentralized database system GUN, is taking on the long-desired mission of decentralizing the Web.
Wolfie Zhao – CoinDesk
The Agricultural Bank of China one of the world’s largest banks by total asset, has completed the issuance of a loan worth of $300,000 using a blockchain system. The bank tested the technology for the first time in one of its branches in China’s Guizhou province which issued a loan backed by a piece of agricultural land as collateral, a local financial news source reported (Ed. note – link in Chinese).
The Indian state of Telangana looks primed as a blockchain technology forerunner in the subcontinent. State officials signed MoUs with various blockchain startups and consultants to augment the use of the burgeoning technology in administrative services.
Wolfie Zhao – CoinDesk
Cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea may soon lose eligibility for significant tax benefits currently granted to smaller companies. A proposed revision to the existing tax law, announced by the South Korean government would exclude crypto exchanges from the category of startups or small and medium enterprises that can claim a tax cut of up to 100% according to CoinDesk Korea (Ed. note – link in Korean).
David Ebel – Forbes
Evolving regulations in privacy and data security are pressuring companies to accommodate user demands for control over their personal information. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) represents the largest change to European Union data protection laws in decades, and requires companies that do business in the region to provide increased protections for EU users.
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Elaine Ou – Bloomberg (subscription)
A new prediction market has been live on the Ethereum blockchain for less than three weeks, and already the death bets are rolling in. Up for wager on the Augur market are the fates of public figures like national leaders, celebrities and tech company CEOs. It’s controversial not just because some find it unseemly, but also because it could create incentives to kill.
Madeline Meng Shi – CoinDesk
Three-quarters of U.S. investors with more than $10,000 in stocks, bonds and mutual funds think bitcoin is a “very risky” investment, a new survey revealed. A poll conducted by Gallup and Wells Fargo asked U.S.-based investors about their views on bitcoin, finding that just 2% currently own any and more than 70% “have no interest in ever buying bitcoin.”
Jason Bloomberg – Forbes
If you’re concerned about cybersecurity, and you’re not up to speed on illicit crypto mining, aka ‘cryptojacking,’ then it’s time to get with the program. Cryptojacking is now more prevalent than ransomware, 2017’s most popular cyberattack method.
Lauren deLisa Coleman – Forbes
From startups boasting innovative strategies leveraging variations on this ledger technology to legacy corporations feverishly partnering in order to develop competitive advantages, the blockchain sphere is exploding, with enterprise spending in the arena reported to reach $9.7 billion in just the next three years
James Pickford – Financial Review
For Sylvie Gleises, head of marketing at insurer Axa Art, the problem is all too familiar. A fire sweeps through the home of an art collector, reducing their treasured hoard to ashes. But they find that not only have the much-loved artworks gone up in flames, so have their documents of ownership, tucked away in a drawer in the same home. Proving the collector’s ownership rights now becomes considerably harder.
JD Alois – Crowdfund Insider
The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at the Judge Business School at Cambridge University in the UK, has launched their second annual Blockchain study following their first successful blockchain benchmarking report in 2017.
Georgi Georgiev – Botcoinist
Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by means of market capitalization, Ethereum, noted that the community is placing too much attention towards Bitcoin ETFs. Instead, he reiterated on the importance of creating ways of facilitating smaller, retail investments into the market.
FAO: Florin Adrian Oprea, Editor-in-chief FinTech Daily News
DNT: Decebal Nicolaie Todarita, Editor FinTech Daily News