Posted In:

Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin


#308
A TON Of Question Marks

Published:

Oct 19, 2019


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Posted In:

Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin

Published:

Oct 19, 2019


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Lost in the frenzy of the 2017 / ‘18 ICO (initial coin offering) craze, messaging app Telegram quietly raised nearly $1.7b in a private token offering from 171 purchasers to support the production of its own blockchain network called TON.

Nearly two years later, investors are rightfully asking where in the world are their “Gram” tokens?

It seems Telegram investors may have to wait a whole lot longer – or that they may even be getting their money back. In an emergency move, the SEC issued a restraining order preventing the TON network’s launch, citing that the Gram tokens are in fact securities.

Digital currency supporters were eagerly anticipating the launches of both Facebook’s Libra and Telegram’s TON. With the former touching 2.5b users and the latter nearly 300m users, they could serve as gateway into the broader world of digital assets. But even Facebook’s stable coin is facing challenges to get to market - with increasing scrutiny from Congress, and Paypal, Visa, Ebay, and Stripe dropping out of the Libra Association.

To top off the darker side of the ICO craze of late 2017, the BBC have recently published a new investigative podcast on the story of Dr. Ruja Ignatova, who sold a compelling cryptocurrency vision (aka a Ponzi scheme) with OneCoin and then allegedly absconded with $5bn in late 2017. The story has hit the news again with the publication of the BBC’s investigative podcast “The Missing Cryptoqueen”.

The moral of the story remains that regulators are closely watching the evolution of the digital currency space. If you are not buttoned-up, expect the SEC to throw some cold water all over your plans...

Portfolio News


#WinnersOfWealthTech ep 28: Aaron Schumm - Aaron Schumm, CEO of portfolio company Vestwell, joins this month's Winners of WealthTech podcast to discuss how his startup idea manifested itself, what he considers bad industry advice, and how to learn from failure. Read more

A TON Of Question Marks


The SEC sues Telegram, aims to stop distribution to US investors of Grams sold in $1.7B sale - Crypto-research firm, The Block, breaks down the drama behind the Telegram ICO that culminated in the SEC sueing to stop Telegram, Inc. and Ton Issuer, Inc from continuing an “ongoing illegal offering of digital-asset securities called Grams.” Read more

Terrifying tale of OneCoin’s “Cryptoqueen” is subject of BBC podcast - Cosmopolitan preview the new BBC investigative podcast on Dr. Ruja Ignatova, the self proclaimed Oxford educated "cryptoqueen," the woman alleged to be behind what could be the largest cryptocurrency scam of all time. Read more

Death threats for cryptocurrency 'scam' whistleblower - Jen McAdam, from Glasgow, has received death threats after speaking out about an international cryptocurrency "scam" called OneCoin that is said to have raised as much as £4bn around the world in investment before the founder, Dr. Ruja, disappeared. Read more

Industry News


Schwab, in bid for younger clients, to allow investors to buy and sell fractions of stocks - After slashing commissions, Schwab's bid to compete for the millennial investor continues with the introduction of fractional shares in the next few months. The feature could help investors by a portion of a highly priced stock, making ownership of companies like Amazon (over $1.7k per share) more accessible. Read more

American Express takes aim at rival Brex with new card offerings for startups - The cards will offer full corporate liability without requiring founders to provide a security deposit or personal guarantee. New technology allows AmEx to see a startup’s bank balance to let fledgling firms qualify for the cards. Read more

Fidelity rolls out cryptocurrency custody business - Fidelity is ramping up its cryptocurrency custody business, hoping to profit from the scarcity of big, regulated institutions in the chaotic world of digital assets, according to Abigail Johnson, the investment group’s CEO.  Read more

Wyre introduces new crypto ‘on-ramping’ technology - One of the biggest hurdles for onboarding new users into DeFi has been the onramping time for KYC (know-your-customer) - Wyre V2 is looking to solve this by abstracting it away from the user by leveraging information already provided in Apple Pay and Google Pay. Read more

Ripple CEO blasts Libra, boasts of warchest - Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse blasted Facebook’s proposed Libra digital currency this week and boasted of Ripple's cash warchest in the process. Read more

MakerDAO’s multi-collateral DAI token Is launching Nov. 18 - The long anticipated wait for the launch of the next version of the most popular DeFi protocol, MakerDAO, has been set - it will allow users to stake virtually any other cryptocurrency into the system and receive the Dai stablecoin. Read more

Craft Ventures just closed its second fund with $500m - The San Francisco based fund led by David Sacks, former co-founder and COO of PayPal, has closed its second venture fund with $500m in capital commitments. Blockchain has been a major theme within Craft's investment strategy from the outset. Read more

JPMorgan Q3 earnings beat expectations, stock jumps - Who says the financial incumbents are struggling?! JPM posted a strong Q3, surpassing wall street expectations across nearly all major business lines. Read more

A guy on Reddit turns $766 into $107,758 on two options trades - A little known sub-Reddit dedicated to educating novice traders on options has produced an individual who turned less than $1k into over $100k. He accomplished the feat with two legendary trades on short term, out of the money puts. Read more

$35b face data lawsuit against Facebook will proceed - Facebook has been denied its request to halt a $35b class action lawsuit regarding alleged misuse of facial recognition data. The suit claims that Illinois citizens didn't consent to having their uploaded photos scanned with facial recognition software. Read more

Select Financings


Galileo Financial Technologies - Salt Lake City based fintech infrastructure provider has raised a $77m Series A led by Accel. Read more

Lively - SF based health savings account (HSA) startup has raised a $27m Series B led by Costanoa Ventures. Read more

Next Insurance Palo Alto based small business insurance provider has raised a $250m Series C led by Munich Re, valuing the startup at more than $1b. Read more

Rho - New York-based digital business banking platform raised $4.9m of Series Seed financing led by Inspired Capital. Companies can apply for a full-service business bank account in less than three minutes. Read more

Sprout - Manila based HR and payroll startup has raised a $6m Series A led by Point72 Ventures.  Read more


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