News Roundup – Blockchain Investments

News Roundup

Who’s investing in blockchain companies and technologies? We round up some of the latest funding headlines:

Bithumb parent BXA secures $200m in Series A funding
Japan’s ST Blockchain Fund has provided the Blockchain Exchange Alliance (BXA) with $200m in Series A funding, according to a report in Cointelegraph Japan. BXA is the parent company of Bithumb, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange that recently lost around $13m to insider fraud and also sustained losses in a 2018 hack. “ST thus removes any doubt about its faith in the local market with the investment, as increasing Bitcoin (BTC) prices spark fresh interest from South Korea consumers,” Cointelegraph reported on 15 April. A press release from BXA noted: “The fund shared our vision of creating a global digital exchange platform that can efficiently transfer value across borders with lower costs, which was the key rationale behind this investment decision.”

PayPal invests in identity management startup Cambridge Blockchain
PayPal has become an investor in a Series A funding round for Cambridge Blockchain Inc., a Massachusetts-based startup that develops software for identity management and compliance. In an announcement published on 1 April, Cambridge Blockchain said it would work with PayPal to “explore potential collaborations to leverage blockchain technology”. Cambridge Blockchain has also seen investments from the Omidyar Network and an Omidyar Group venture called Flourish, as well as funding from Foxconn’s HCM Capital, Partech Partners, Future\Perfect Ventures and Digital Currency Group. The company’s software combines blockchain with an off-chain personal data service to create “an independent source of validation” for financial institutions.

Blockstack plans SEC-qualified token offering
Blockstack, a decentralised computing network for developers, plans to offer $50m worth of its new Stacks Token, with a total of 295 million tokens going to current voucher holders or “qualified purchasers”, as well as to an App Mining programme for application developers. “We’ve been in a confidential submission process with the SEC, making progress as we drive towards an SEC-qualified token offering,” co-founder and CEO Muneeb Ali said in blog post on 11 April. “Recently, US markets have been closed to crypto projects given regulatory uncertainty, and we believe in opening the US markets to innovation in this area. We’ve been working with securities lawyers to create a legal framework that can enable blockchain protocols to comply with SEC regulations. Our framework is consistent with the latest SEC guidelines released last week.” Muneeb noted that the offering is “expected to be the first SE-qualified token offering of its kind”.

Okta launches $50m fund and invests in Trusted Key
Okta, a Silicon Valley firm that provides identity management software for enterprise users, announced the launch of a $50m investment fund on 3 April. Okta Ventures will focus on investing in and nurturing “cutting-edge technologies” for identity, security and privacy. “Beyond investing in industry-wide innovation, we also recognise how valuable these advancements can be for our customers, who are often looking for solutions to some of the hard problems these companies are solving,” co-founder and chief operating officer Frederic Kerrest said in a press statement. Okta’s first such investment, announced at the same time, will be in Trusted Key, a blockchain-based startup for secure digital identity management.

Interest in blockchain high among firms chasing digital transformation
Almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of IT, security and engineering decision makers at large technology companies pursuing digital transformation are investing in blockchain, according to the first-ever Digital Enterprise Report from identity management software firm Okta. “Respondents at companies already working on a formal digital transformation initiative reported that they’re investing in some of the latest and greatest technologies (and buzzwords),” the report stated. In addition to blockchain, other areas seeing investment include the Internet of Things (72 per cent), artificial intelligence (68 per cent) and augmented reality (58 per cent). “As these global businesses continue to see returns on their investments, it’s safe to assume they will continue seeking new ways to innovate,” CIO Mark Settle noted in a blog post about the report.

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