Hi all, Julie here.
Good weekend in Austin other than the fact that no one has bought the NFTs I minted yet. Sad.
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FTX’s Super Bowl Giveaway
I’m old enough to remember some of the first fintech Super Bowl ads back in ~2015. Oh how times have changed. Now there are going to be loads of ads on the big Sunday game, with a lot of them coming from crypto companies. I would have been shocked if FTX hadn’t done an ad after all of the sports marketing it's done this year. You might want to pay particular attention to this ad, however, since you might win crypto if you see it. It will air during the game’s second half and the amount of Bitcoin given away will be based on the East Coast time that it runs. Ex: if it airs at 9:45pm, it will give away 9.45 BTC. To be eligible to win, you have to retweet the pinned entry post on FTX’s Twitter account between the time the ad runs and midnight ET.
Funding and Deals
Polygon’s New Round
It’s not really an FTT newsletter without a Tiger funding round. Ethereum scaling project Polygon has raised $450M in a private token sale, led by Sequoia Capital India and more than 40 other investors participating (like Tiger Global). Investors were given Polygon's MATIC tokens at an undisclosed discount. Polygon plans to allocate $100M to its ecosystem fund and about $10M each to its various scaling products, including Hermez, Miden, Zero, and Nightfall, per year. More than 7,000 decentralized applications are currently building on Polygon, with some of its major partners including Aave, OpenSea, Mark Cuban’s Lazy.com, and Dolce & Gabbana for its NFT efforts.
Another Tiger Backed Company
You thought we were done with Tiger funding? Lol it’s 2022 you guys. Come on now. This time, privacy-minded blockchain network Aleo has raised $200M in preparation for its mainnet launch later this year. The round was led by Kora Management and SoftBank Vision Fund 2 with participation from Tiger Global, Slow Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Aleo is focused on building a foundational layer for Web3 that’s scalable and secure with its decentralized network. Yeah, I don’t really know exactly what I just said, but I feel like that happens most of the time with crypto and Web3.
Europe Fintech Funding
Berlin challenger bank Vivid Money announced €100M ($114M) of funding led by Greenoaks Capital, with Ribbit Capital and new backer SoftBank Vision Fund 2 also participating. The company currently has around 500k customers and is best known for being a financial one-stop shop “super app.” On top of basic checking and money management, it allows users in its four markets (Germany, France, Spain and Italy) to trade stocks and cryptocurrencies. Vivid plans to use the funding to expand into five more markets this year, and to be available across all of Europe by the end of 2023. It’s also in the early stages of adding insurance offerings and credit products.
The Olympic Yuan
China is letting athletes and foreign visitors pay for goods inside the Olympic Village with a Digital yuan. The trial follows China’s recently announced list of 164 national blockchain entities that are joining domestic retail CBDC tests that will examine the feasibility of its product across a wide range of industries. It’s kinda confusing since crypto is banned in the communist state, but China is a strong proponent of blockchain technology, albeit in a much more private, centralized and censored form. I feel like that kinda defeats the purpose a bit?
DriveWealth Wants to Tackle Crypto Fees
Anything to lower fees in crypto is getting a thumbs up from me. This time it’s coming from DriveWealth, which helps fintech companies offer stock trading. The company plans to launch a function that would allow its customers, such as Revolut and Cash App, to offer crypto trading. It’s doing this through acquiring crypto firm Crypto-Systems. DriveWealth’s founder says trading costs for crypto will collapse as regulators get involved and competition increases.
In its most recent earnings call, Coinbase said it was testing a subscription model as it expected pressure on fees over the longer term.
The WAGMI Fund
The Valkyrie Bitcoin Miners ETF offering exposure to the stocks of Bitcoin miners has been approved by the Nasdaq for listing on the exchange under the ticker “WGMI.” Details:
- Expense ratio of 0.75%.
- The fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets in companies that derive a minimum of 50% of their profit from Bitcoin mining.
- The fund’s top five holdings are Argo Blockchain, Bitfarms, Cleanspark, Hive Blockchain and Stronghold Digital Mining.
- The miners in the fund’s portfolio use about 77% renewable energy compared with average renewable energy usage throughout the US of 31%.
ENS Director Under Fire
Like many before him, Ethereum Name Service (ENS) director of operations, Brantly Millegan is under fire for tweets published years ago. The particular tweet is extremely intolerant and I’ll refrain from posting it here, but when asked about it on Friday, he stuck to its messaging. Now, the DAO has drafted a proposal that would effectively remove him from his director role. While many in the community are in agreement that he should be removed for these views, others are defending him on the account of free speech and arguing that this does not amount to misconduct. While the community must vote to remove him from this position, True Names Limited, the nonprofit that backs the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), terminated Millegan’s contract.
Instagram NFT Account Banned
A verified @NFT page on Instagram (with nearly 2M followers) was accused of promoting scammy NFT projects without proper disclosures. The thread quickly got picked up, garnering a thousand retweets and more than two thousand likes in a day. The tweet accuses the account of charging project creators $100k for promotional posts that were not clearly labeled as ads, making it hard for onlookers to know what was actually vetted and newsworthy. Twitter had already suspended the account on its platform. Space Cowboy, the account accusing @NFT of this behavior, analyzed 36 of the promotions and found that 25 either failed to increase in value as suggested or dropped below the initial minting cost. Multiple others, he says, were “blatant rugs.” Rolling Stone talked to multiple people who say they’ve seen @NFT promote rugpull scams — the posts of which were either deleted or are no longer accessible due to the account suspensions.
Together With Fintech Meetup
Fintech Meetup ticket prices go up on Friday – Get your ticket now! It’s the easiest way to meet new partners, fill pipelines and get business done!
Join thousands of fintech and banking industry professionals from 1,000+ companies including:
- Fintechs, including Alloy, Argyle, Array, Boomtown, Bread Finance, Cash App (Square), Checkout.com, Dave, Dwolla, Equifax, Emburse, NIUM, Pipe, Revolut, Ripple, Sila, Socure & Upstart (and many more!)
- VCs, including Bain Capital Ventures, Commerce Ventures, General Atlantic, Mosaik Partners, Next Level Ventures, Oak HC/FT, Point 72 Ventures & Tribeca Venture Partners
- Payments, Networks and Tech Cos, including American Express, Discover, Finastra, FIS, Fiserv, Mastercard, SWIFT, The Clearing House, Visa & Western Union
- Major banks, including Bank of America, Citi, CIT Bank, Cross River, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Santander & Wells Fargo
- 100+ Regional & Community Banks
- 150+ Credit Unions
- Plus Retailers & Merchants, Media and many others
Virtual, March 22-24. Don’t miss out–there’s less than 30 days left to get your ticket. Get Your Ticket Now!
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