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How Far Has ICO Funding Fallen Since 2019?

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How Far Has ICO Funding Fallen Since 2019
How Far Has ICO Funding Fallen Since 2019?

A report published by research firm CB Insights has found that equity funding has dramatically overtaken initial coin offerings (ICOs) as the dominant means of finance in the blockchain space. While the largely unregulated ICO boom of 2018 raised $7.8 billion, initial coin offering funding fell more than 95% to raise $371 million in 2019. By contrast, equity funding raised $2.8 billion last year. The report also notes the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi), noting that there are currently more than $1 billion in assets on DeFi platforms — up from $300 million as of January 2019.

2019 saw 807 venture deals signed, only a slight drop from 2018’s 822. However, the total sum raised fell roughly 30% from $4.26 billion in 2018 to $2.79 billion last year. VC activity is up significantly when compared with 2017 — which saw $1.25 billion raised from 297. However, the average sum raised by blockchain companies was higher in 2017 with $4.22 million — compared to $3.45 million in 2019. The data also demonstrates “crypto companies’ commitment to funding their own ecosystem,” with NEO Global Capital and Coinbase Ventures comprising the two-most active VCs in the space during 2019. Similarly, while hedge fund investment in blockchain is increasing, CB Insights attributes the funding to funds that specialize in cryptocurrencies.

53% of global venture capital funding in distributed ledger technology (DLT) firms occurred in the United States and China last year. While the combined share of Chinese blockchain funding has returned the same level as in 2015, investment has been steadily moving from the U.S. to China since 2015. In 2015, U.S. blockchain funding represented 51% of the global total, compared to China’s 2%. In 2019, the U.S. accounted for 31% while China had grown to 22%. However, 2019 also saw a rise in funding from emerging blockchain hubs, with both the U.S. and China seeing a slight decline in market share compared to 2018’s 34% and 27%, respectively. 2019 was the first year in which China’s share of global DLT funding decreased.

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HIVE Blockchain Buys A Bitcoin Mining Facility for $2.8M

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HIVE Blockchain Buys A Bitcoin Mining Facility for $2.8M
HIVE Blockchain Buys A Bitcoin Mining Facility for $2.8M

HIVE Blockchain Technologies, a Canadian publicly-traded ether (ETH) mining firm, has announced on March 30 the acquisition of a dedicated cryptocurrency mining operation with access to 30 megawatts of low-cost green power. The transaction was valued at CAD $4 million (USD $2.8 M). The facility, leased by Cryptologic Corp, is located in Lachute, Quebec. The firm intends to expand its total available power capacity globally to approximately 50MW, whose mining activities in Europe are focused on the Ethereum network, while Bitcoin miners will be supported in Quebec’s facility.

According to Frank Holmes, interim executive chairman of HIVE:

“The acquisition provides us with an advanced, operating Bitcoin mining facility ready to transition to next generation mining hardware with access to some of the lowest cost electricity on the planet. The cost of US$95,000 per MW is less than half the industry standard build cost per MW.”

HIVE hopes to add flexibility for future expansion plans. The firm already has a presence in Sweden. As detailed by the Canadian firm, the facility offers about $0.04 / kWh in electricity costs, and the electrical infrastructure expects to provide triple redundancy systems for power and internet connectivity, operational staff, and approximately 14,000 Bitmain S9 miners that are currently installed. Holmes highlighted some reasons behind expanding into Quebec:

“A blend of factors makes Quebec a very attractive location for us: geographical diversification, competitive green energy costs, the cost of skilled labor and VAT costs. The acquisition provides us direct control of our destiny, including significant capacity for expansion and flexibility for our future operations. And of course, the positive outlook for blockchain adoption is a reason for our expansion.”

HIVE’s interim executive chairman clarifies that the facility operates entirely on renewable hydroelectricity, thus maintaining 100% green energy. Also, he added that their GPU-based resources provide flexibility to identify and focus computing resources on existing and new cryptocurrencies as they become more profitable to mine.

The news comes after HIVE Blockchain Technologies announced on March 6, the two-phase expansion of its Ether mining operations by more than 20% at the company’s facility in Sweden. In a recent interview Holmes commented on the company’s intentions to improve the profitability of the Iceland facility, as they have done in Sweden.

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Dutch Government Looking To Use Blockchain In The Fight Against The Pandemic

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Dutch Government Looking To Use Blockchain In The Fight Against The Pandemic
Dutch Government Looking To Use Blockchain In The Fight Against The Pandemic

A consortium of Dutch companies has launched the “Tech against Corona” initiative. Participating firms will freely provide the Dutch government with access to innovative technologies that can be used in the fight against COVID-19. Netherlands-based distributed ledger technology (DLT) firm, Tymlez, is one of more than 10 companies who are freely providing their services and technologies to the government.

Tymlez has offered its blockchain platform as the underlying technology to “model the medical goods ecosystem through a platform that matches supply and demand.” The firm’s blockchain will be used to ensure transparency across the supply chain — preventing predatory value extraction, such as price gouging, amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Some of the other local companies contributing to the initiative include cybersecurity firm, Cybersprint — who is providing security services to several hospitals, information security firm, Taxion — who will freely administer online systems to organize volunteer workers, and IT firm, Compumatica — who will enhance the internet connections of home workers operating in critical service industries. Dutch telecommunications company, KPN, will also partner with global IT conglomerate, Microsoft, to provide computing systems as part of the initiative.

Bitcoin (BTC) is also being used in the fight against COVID-19 in the Netherlands, with the Dutch Red Cross accepting Bitcoin donations through its website. The Italian Red Cross has also embraced crypto — raising nearly $20,000 in BTC for the purchase of medical supplies, including an advanced medical post for pre-triage treatment of coronavirus patients.

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University Students Using The Power Of Blockchain For Elections

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University Students Using The Power Of Blockchain For Elections
University Students Using The Power Of Blockchain For Elections

Students enrolled in the University of Malta’s Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies masters program have built a decentralized application (Dapp) that has been used for voting in upcoming student representative elections, per a March 28 press release. The Dapp is built on top of a decentralized digital identity platform that was provided to the students by Vodafone. The election was the first live project to be executed using Vodafone’s digital identity platform. “We are pleased to have been the first use-case for the Vodafone [digital identity] platform, and as far as we can tell a world first to hold a student election on a blockchain,” said Joshua Ellul, the director of the University of Malta’s Centre for Distributed Ledger Technologies.

While the application was built to allow voters autonomous control over their data rather than relinquishing personal data to a centralized entity, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted some of the advantages offered by remote voting platforms. Ellul stated:

“At this time especially, given the current situation, it was important to have a remote voting mechanism in place that enables trust and transparency thanks to the Blockchain-based solution.”

Ellul stated the biggest challenge to developing the platform was “onboarding users in a trusted manner,” adding that “digital identity platforms such as that provided by Vodafone provide a solution.” Voting is private but transparent, meaning that the results of an election can be publicly verified. The University of Malta introduced its blockchain masters course during October 2019.

Malta has long been a crypto-friendly jurisdiction. Whether that would remain the case appeared unclear when the now-former Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, resigned after facing widespread allegations of corruption and ties to the political assassination of a journalist. While the new government-issued statements indicating that leading crypto exchange, Binance, is licensed in the country shortly after taking office, the new government has expressed that its position regarding blockchain has not changed for the time being. They added that it will seek to consolidate blockchain with other emerging industries under the umbrella of “Digital, Financial and Innovative services.”

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