Benson Oak launches new fund focussed towards Isreali based blockchain​ startups

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Benson Oak has set up a $100 million fund to invest in Israeli based blockchain startups. It has already raised $25 million for the said fund and the rest to be raised soon as reported by Jerusalem Post. Benson oak’s first fund was an early investor in the internet security firm AVG which generated 100x return for its investors when the company went public.

According to its managing partner Robert Cohen, Benson oak already have an existing relationship with Israeli startups. An excerpt below:

“I believe that there are great entrepreneurs in Israel who are leading the platforms of the future, with creating and disruptive use of blockchain technologies,” he said. “I moved to Israel six years ago, and with a passion to build companies, I have established Benson Oak Ventures as a new platform to provide financial and operational capital to the best entrepreneurs in Israel and around the world.”

Benson has almost raised $5 billion since 2003, and its bullishness in Israeli blockchain space is aligned with the Israeli government’s stance on the sector. The Israeli government has been supportive with its regulation towards the blockchain space, and Benson Oaks expect the twin benefit of Israeli startup ecosystem and governments hand-on stance towards the sector to generate above-market returns for its investors.

Bitmain valued at $12 billion in new series B funding round

Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 21.47.48.pngAccording to the Chinese news outlet Caixin, Bitmain has raised around $400 million in series B funding, valuing the mining giant at $12 billion. The new funding round has been led by Sequoia Capital China, Coatue as well as EDBI, a Singapore government-backed investment fund.

It has to be noted that Bitmain raised around $50 million last year in series A funding which was led by Sequoia Capital China and IDG Capital.

The report also mentions that Bitmain is conducting pre IPO funding and can go public on the Hong Kong stock exchange in future. Though there have been no confirmed reports from Bitmain or the investors involved about this funding round.

If the listing news is true, then this would be the third major stock listing from a Chinese crypto mining hardware company. Canaan Creative and Ebang Communication have both filed IPO applications with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Request network join’s Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 14.10.56.pngRequest network foundation has announced that it has joined the enterprise ethereum alliance (EEA) network. As our readers are aware Request network is a decentralized network built atop ethereum blockchain where users can request payments. This functionality has a lot of promising use cases, for instance, accepting recurring payments, paying taxes, invoicing and even in the IoT realm all without involving third parties.

As per the announcement,Request Network Foundation will collaborate with industry leaders in pursuit of ethereum-based enterprise technology best practices, open standards, and open-source reference architectures. This alliance is strategic for request network as the network relies on incorporating various payment network in the blockchain space to its own network, such that it can include all financial flows made with non-traditional currencies while staying compliant with accounting, auditing, and tax regulations.

According to Christophe Fonteneau, Head of Strategic Partnerships from the Request Network Foundation.

“The EEA offers us the ability to work with leaders in the financial industry to address specific, enterprise-based use cases. We look forward to helping define the building blocks needed to drive the Web 3.0 era of decentralized, connective intelligence.”

 

About Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance connects Fortune 500 enterprises, startups, academics, and technology vendors with Ethereum subject matter experts. The aim is to learn from and build upon the only smart contract supporting blockchain currently running in real-world production – Ethereum – to define enterprise-grade software capable of handling the most complex, highly demanding applications at the speed of business.

 

 

 

EOS ranks first according to the ​Chinese government rating

The second monthly rating of cryptocurrencies by the Chinese government is out, ranking EOS as the best followed by Ethereum, NEO, Stellar and Lisk. Bitcoin which was ranked 13th last month dropped to 17th this month.

It is quite ironical that EOS is first, considering the latest mishaps during its main-net launch besides not having a long enough timeline of its operation to gauge its utility as the best blockchain.

The monthly rating is known as “Global Public Chain Technology Evaluation Index” and is a Chinese government initiative launched by Center for Information Industry Development (CCID) of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The basis for calculating the ratings is a mystery, though the agency responsible for giving out the rating has mentioned that it is predominantly based on technological capability, usefulness, and innovation.

The first rating was launched in May 2018, and the purpose of the initiative was to make Chinese public aware of investible blockchain assets given the recent bout of frauds happening in the ICO market.

 

 

Radar Relay completes beta phase.

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 22.16.20Radar Relay, a wallet-to-wallet trading platform for Ethereum-based tokens built on the 0x Protocol has completed its beta phase. Overall the beta phase can be considered successful (emphasis mine) as it completed 35,000 trades providing $150 million in trading volumes. Besides 170 ERC20 tokens were added and 200,000 API requests were served.

The new update has brought major changes in onboarding, stability and API/SDK.

Better onboarding solutions regarding educational resources for explaining the nitty gritty before you make your first trade. For instance, there are videos and documentation for how to connect to the wallet, wrapping ETH and enabling tokens for trading.

On the stability side, infrastructure has been scaled up beside improvement in site performance and incident response process.

API has improved, and open source SDK has been released for sophisticated automated traders. In the beta phase SDK had to be connected to a node but now that necessity has been removed. A new website  developers.radarrelay.com has been released to provide tools and documentation for using API/SDK.

Binance to help Malta stock exchange’s accelerator program

binanceAccording to Finance Magnate article, Binance will be supporting Malta stock exchange’s MSX fintech accelerator program. It also has Thomson Reuters as one of the other supporter. As the name suggests MSX program is geared towards Fintech and crypto startups and support will be in the forms services and facilities like in-house accounting services and payroll, office space, conference rooms, and a training center.The program is specifically targeted towards foreign entrepreneurs as the local talent in terms of entrepreneurs is minuscule.

Malta has been promoting itself as a blockchain-hub by coming out with benign regulatory frameworks. The move has been successful and has attracted foreign companies like Binance to open their offices in Malta. For instance, Binance has opened its office in Malta to provide crypto-fiat trading. This move was a stamp of approval for Malta’s policy as Binance is one of the largest trading venues for cryptocurrencies.

According to a binance spokesperson:

“We moved our operations to Malta precisely because it has demonstrated its progressive approach to supporting and developing the crypto and blockchain industry. Malta is creating a safe and legislated environment for the industry to become reputable, attracting companies like ours and many others. The Malta Stock Exchange reflects these values, providing the infrastructure for entrepreneurs and start-ups to flourish in what is otherwise a highly competitive industry.”

 

Roger Thomas Clark a silk road alumni (pun intended​) to be extradited to US.

Roger Thomas Clark known online as “Variety Jones,” “VJ” and “Cimon” is finally being extradited to the US after getting caught two and a half years back in Thailand. He was a close confidante of Ross Ulbricht, the man behind Silk Road. Ross had high regards for Clark, in 2011 he wrote of Clark:

“This was the biggest and strongest willed character I had met through the site thus far. He quickly proved to me that he had value by pointing out a major security hole in the site I was unaware of… He has advised me on many technical aspects of what we are doing, helped me speed up the site and squeeze more out of my current servers. He also has helped me better interact with the community around Silk Road, delivering proclamations, handling troublesome characters, running a sale, changing my name, devising rules, and on and on. He also helped me get my head straight regarding legal protection, cover stories, devising a will, finding a successor, and so on. He’s been a real mentor.”

The indictment was unsealed on Jun 15,2018, according to the indictments

“CLARK, 56, a citizen of Canada, is charged with narcotics trafficking conspiracy; narcotics trafficking; distributing narcotics using the internet; conspiracy to commit, and aid and abet, a computer hacking conspiracy; conspiracy to traffic in fraudulent identification documents; and money laundering conspiracy.  If convicted, he faces, among other penalties, a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.”

Note: Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.