Which companies are seeing blockchain investments, and what do they plan to spend their funding on? We look at some of the latest headlines here:
Blockchain investment firm Coinsilium expresses confidence for 2019
This past year has seen “record levels of institutional investment in blockchain companies”, according to Coinsilium, a blockchain advisor and investment organisation. “Coinsilium believes that increased interest in the sector has had a positive effect on the overall valuations of blockchain companies and the board therefore looks forward to the next 12 months with confidence,” the company said in a recent strategic business update. It added that key priorities in the coming year will be to “clearly demonstrate to the market the potential we see in the companies within our investment portfolio and to continue to build-out various new initiatives to take full advantage of a rapidly expanding blockchain industry”.
Central and eastern European firms take wait-and-see approach to blockchain
Blockchain adoption is “still in its early stages” across central and eastern European countries (CEE), and most corporate decision makers have yet to start investing in the technology, according to a recent survey in the region by Deloitte. Of CEE companies that have made investments in blockchain, most have been in the financial services or technology/media/telecommunications sectors, and those investments so far reflect mostly consultant fees or HR spending on blockchain skills. Almost 30 per cent of respondents said they plan to invest at least €100,000 into blockchain in 2019. “Hungary, and the whole of CEE is a few steps behind the US and Western Europe in the application of blockchain: they are waiting it out to see where it could be most useful,” Deloitte blockchain expert Károly Marton told the Budapest Business Journal.
Monerium closes on round of seed funding
Monerium, an Iceland-based company founded in 2016 “for the purpose of bridging fiat money and blockchains”, has announced it closed on a round of seed funding led by Crowberry Capital with participation by ConsenSys and Hof Holdings. The firm says it has now raised a total of $2m. “Becoming a licensed financial institution is the next key step for Monerium in order to assume full responsibility for and control over the complete range of functions required to issue e-money on blockchains: asset management, compliance, risk management, and product development,” CEO Sveinn Valfells said in a press statement. Monerium chairman Jón Helgi Egilsson added: “Despite what happened in 2008, global finance is still largely dependent on centralised institutions and systems, and there remains a distinct lack of competition. We believe the solution is to bring about greater decentralisation. By becoming an asset-backed, regulated, and redeemable e-money provider for blockchains, Monerium will help to decentralise global finance, which will offer customers more options to store and send e-money, while simultaneously supporting financial stability.”
Digital ID firm secures $5m from capital300 and Draper Associates
Authenteq, which has developed an automatic platform to verify, create and store digital identity information on a blockchain, recently secured $5m in funding from capital300 and Draper Associates. “Identity verification is critical for all kinds of Know Your Customer (KYC) and customer onboarding processes,” capital300 said in a press announcement. “As consumers do more and more transactions online, risks of abuse and identity theft are also increasing. The identity verification has become essential not only for the financial service industry, but also for industries like retail or media. Therefore, the need for Identity-Verification-as-a-service is tremendous and the estimated $10bn market is expected to grow significantly in the next years.”
Report: Russia considers Bitcoin investment of up to $10bn
According to a report in The Telegraph, Russia plans to invest in Bitcoin “to replace the US dollar as a reserve currency in a bid to tackle US sanctions”. Vladislav Ginko, described as a Russian economist with “close ties to the Kremlin”, told The Telegraph that Russia could invest as much as $10bn in Bitcoin, and that cryptocurrencies already account for eight per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Russia has already shown signs of “de-dollarisation” with increased holdings in euros, renminbi and yen, the paper reported. “The Russian government would be unable to open an account with an exchange to buy cryptocurrencies, so investment plans could involve the setup of an ‘intermediary cryptocurrency’ that can then be exchanged for Bitcoin,” The Telegraph noted.
$1m in funding will let Totle ‘accelerate global growth’
Detroit-based Totle, a startup that’s developed a platform for trading and managing digital tokens, has announced that it closed on $1m in private funding led by Arrington XRP, NEO Global Capital and Goren Holm Ventures. The company said it will use the funds to “accelerate global growth in the B2B space and expand solutions offered, including native wallet integrations and swap widgets”. In December, Totle launched an API designed to enable “non-custodial token exchanges at the best pricing”. “We’re connecting the fragmented decentralised trading and exchange ecosystem to provide the best liquidity, previously one of the largest barriers to DEX adoption,” the company said in last month’s announcement. “The Totle API relieves the need for third parties to integrate with many decentralised exchanges and provides a solution for platforms looking to move away from centralised exchanges.”