Cryptocurrency-lending startup BlockFi has secured $30 million from an array of investors, including Morgan Creek Digital, Winklevoss Capital and Arrington XRP Capital. The Series B funding round was led by United States-based capital fund Valar Ventures, with the participation of Akuna Capital, CMT Digital, Avon Ventures, Castle Island Ventures, Purple Arch Ventures, Kenetic Capital, and Hong Kong-based HashKey Capital, among others, according to a Feb 13 announcement.
With the raised funds, BlockFi — whose users can earn compound interest on and trade loans backed by assets — now has more than $650 million in assets on the platform. The company is planning to allocate the secured funds to the enhancement of its staff and the expansion of its offerings. BlockFi hinted in the release that it will roll out products accessible to a mainstream audience, starting with a mobile app in the coming months.
“We’ve demonstrated that we can build financial products around cryptocurrency that can look and feel like the apps you already have on your phone, and we’re well-positioned to drive mainstream adoption,”
said Flori Marquez, VP of operations and co-Founder of BlockFi. At this point, BlockFi’s initial annual percentage yield on assets is 8.6% for Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and stablecoins, while the company also provides crypto-backed loans which allow investors to access liquidity up to 50% of an asset’s value in USD, and zero-fee trading.
Previously, founder of hedge fund Arrington XRP Capital, Michael Arrington, said that he sees great potential for crypto lending companies. Arrington noted that higher interest rates are already driving adoption. “I know of first-time crypto users who are buying stablecoins to get higher interest rates than they normally would be able to with fiat,” he said. Cryptocurrency loans and lending began gaining traction during the 2018 bear market. As a recent analysis showed, the entire crypto loan industry is estimated to be worth nearly $4.7 billion, with demand for crypto loans rapidly increasing.
3 Big Blockchain Firms Working Together On A DeFi Product That Pays Passive Income
In a special announcement made at the Unitize conference on July 6, Cosmos, Polkadot, and Terra revealed a new DeFi savings product called Anchor that aims to offer dependable interest rates on stablecoins deposits. The companies involved in the creation of Anchor plan to launch it across their respective blockchains at the end of Q3 this year and scale across to other PoS blockchains in the future. Do Kwon, founder and CEO of Terra, explained in a prepared statement:
“While DeFi staples such as Maker and Compound have been revolutionary in creating fully decentralized crypto money markets, the volatility of their interest rates makes them unsuitable to be used as a household savings product. DeFi mass adoption needs the creation of a fully decentralized savings account that offers dependable APR.”
Anchor’s smart contracts receive stablecoin deposits and use a portion of them to acquire staking positions on compatible Proof of Stake blockchains. Users will receive their passive income from these staking rewards. The initial governance for this platform will come from the Interchain Asset Association (IAA), a newly formed organization that sees Zaki Manian of Cosmos, Jack Platts of the Web3 Foundation, and Do Kwon of Terraform Labs collectively steering the ship.
Telegram Is Set To Shut Down The TON Testnet By August 2020
Although Telegram has terminated its blockchain project, Telegram Open Network (TON), in May 2020, the TON test net has been apparently running for almost one year. In a July 6 update, the official TON development group on Telegram announced that it would be discontinuing its support of the test network for TON. Remaining TON validators will be turned off by August 1. In the post, the TON official recommended network participants save all their relevant data and stop their testing processes. Despite the testnet being set to shut down less than a month from now, network participants will still be able to continue their experimentation after the testnet is terminated. In order to do that, users can install their own testnet validators, described in greater detail in three different how-to documents containing guidelines for the Full Node, the Validator, and Test Grams.
Telegram launched the TON testnet for explorer and node software on Sept. 6, 2019. In anticipation of its scheduled Oct. 31 launch last year, the company released an alpha version of an iOS wallet to work with its native token, the Gram. But Telegram’s TON plans were never fully realized, as the United States Securities and Exchange Commission suddenly deemed Telegram’s $1.7 billion ICO illegal in mid-October. After a long-running legal battle with U.S. regulators, Telegram agreed to shut down its TON project, as well as return $1.2 billion to investors in line with a court-approved final settlement. As officially announced by Telegram CEO Pavel Durov, the firm had already reimbursed more than $1.2 billion by June 25.
Brock Pierce Enters The 2020 US Presidential Race
Brock Pierce, entrepreneur, crypto venture capitalist, and child star, has announced his USA Presidential run on Twitter July 5. His tweet stated: “
“I, Brock Pierce, am running for President of the United States of America.”
Pierce’s campaign site states that he is a pioneer digital currency and has raised more than $5 billion for the companies he has founded. Pierce is the Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and co-founder of EOS Alliance, Block.one, Blockchain Capital, Tether, and Mastercoin (first ICO). His website, sparse on details, does not say if he is seeking a nomination in a political party or if he is running as an Independent.