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November 19, 2018
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blockchain

Blockchain gaming gets a boost with Mythical Games’ $16M Series A

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Fortnite, the free multi-player survival game, has earned an astonishing $1 billion from in-game virtual purchases alone. Now, others in the gaming industry are experimenting with how they too can capitalize on new trends in gaming.

Mythical Games, a startup out of stealth today with $16 million in Series A funding, is embracing a future in gaming where user-generated content and intimate ties between players, content creators, brands and developers is the norm. Mythical is using its infusion of venture capital to develop a line of PC, mobile and console games on the EOSIO blockchain, which will also be open to developers to build games with “player-owned economies.”

The company says an announcement regarding its initial lineup of games is on the way.

Mythical is led by a group of gaming industry veterans. Its chief executive officer is John Linden, a former studio head at Activision and president of the Niantic-acquired Seismic Games. The rest of its C-suite includes chief compliance officer Jamie Jackson, another former studio head at Activision; chief product officer Stephan Cunningham, a former director of product management at Yahoo; and head of blockchain Rudy Kock, a former senior producer at Blizzard — the Activision subsidiary known for World of Warcraft. Together, the team has worked on games including Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, Marvel Strike Force and Skylanders.

Galaxy Digital’s EOS VC Fund has led the round for Mythical. The $325 million fund, launched earlier this year, is focused on expanding the EOSIO ecosystem via strategic investments in startups building on EOSIO blockchain software. Javelin Venture Partners, Divergence Digital Currency, cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin and others also participated in the round.

It’s no surprise investors are getting excited about the booming gaming business given the success of Epic Games, Twitch, Discord and others in the space.

Epic Games raised a $1.25 billion round late last month thanks to the cultural phenomenon that its game, Fortnite, has become. KKR, Iconiq Capital, Smash Ventures,Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture Partners and others participated in that round. Discord, a chat application for gamers, raised a $50 million financing in April at a $1.65 billion valuation from Benchmark Capital, Greylock Partners, IVP, Spark Capital and Tencent. And Dapper Labs, best known for the blockchain-based game CryptoKitties, even raised a VC round this year — a $15 million financing led by Venrock, with participation from GV and Samsung NEXT.

In total, VCs have invested $1.8 billion in gaming startups this year, per PitchBook.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Bitcoin and the crypto market is once again crashing hard

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It’s not been a pretty year for anyone who owns Bitcoin, but the last 24 hours has been a period to forget as the cryptocurrency dropped below $100 billion in market cap for the first time in more than a year.

You have to go back to the end of October — the 29th to be precise — for the last time that the total circulation of Bitcoin in the market dropped below $100 billion.

It looks like this will be the first 24-hour period to hold that rate — so much for the relative price stability that many in the industry had complained about, be careful what you wish for!

The dip follows a decline that took Bitcoin’s price below the mark $6,000 for the first time this year — it has since plunged below $5,600. That, in turn, caused havoc in the altcoin market with valuations plummeting double-digit percentages nearly across nearly all of the top 100 valued tokens. Of the top ten, Cardano is down 14 percent, Litecoin 13 percent and Ethereum and EOS 12 percent. The changing prices also saw Ripple’s XRP token rise above Ethereum to become the second most valued cryptocurrency behind only Bitcoin.

As ever, the source of the malaise is tough to diagnose.

Bitcoin Cash, which is about to undergo a hard fork, looks to be the most likely cause.

Bitcoin Cash is about to undergo a hard fork that’ll result in two different chains — Bitcoin Cash ABC (BCHABC) and Bitcoin Cash SV (BCHSV) — and that has caused a great deal of uncertainty in the market.

You could argue that this situation caused the value of Bitcoin to decrease, that often draws owners of altcoins who trade their tokens for the cheaper Bitcoin. That movement can negatively impact both Bitcoin and the altcoins that are traded.

Of course, there are a wide number of theories as to what is happening out there. One thing that is for sure is that the markets are bleeding pretty hard today.

Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Pure Bit, a South Korean exchange, pulls a $2.8 million exit scam

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Another day, another exit scam. This time it comes to us from South Korea where an exchange, Pure Bit, has completely shut down after raising $2.8 million in Ethereum from investors.

The exchange, which promised to deliver something call Pure Coin, was live yesterday and today is completely shut down after posting “Sorry” and “Thanks” to their communications channels.

According to a Reddit thread, the team was anonymous and that the process of building and pumping exchange tokens is a “popular trend in Korea.”

“They have gotten rid of every evidence,” wrote one reader. “Website hosted by fake name / out of Korea host / messenger / contacts were all fake too. Now their only hope is to keep on track with that ether and hope for the best.”

There is no proof yet that the team has pulled a full exit scam – there are examples of founders pretending to scam their investors to “teach them a lesson” – but given the abrupt movement of 13,000 ETH out of the collection wallet we can assume that the story ends here.

Even their chat room, hosted on their own site, is shut down.

It should be noted that South Korea has banned ICOs, giving scammers the perfect cover for absolute anonymity.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Venture capital and the blockchain will be the talk at Startup Battlefield Africa

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TechCrunch Startup Battlefield returns to Africa next month, and we have an agenda chock-full of interesting panels and our premier startup competition.

Joining us in Lagos, Nigeria on December 11 for a couple of those aforementioned panels will be Chris Folayan, the founder and CEO of Mall for Africa; Nichole Yembra, chief financial, risk and investment officer for Venture Garden Group (VGG) and a managing partner at GreenHouse Capital; and Olaoluwa Samuel-Biyi, partner at Hacked Capital.


Chris Folayan, who is originally from Nigeria, graduated from California State University, San Jose, and founded and sold several companies globally. He also established new companies in Africa, the U.S., the Middle East and Asia. Mall for Africa is a global economy e-commerce infrastructure company enabling Africans to purchase items directly from international online retailers in the U.S. and Europe, as well as local online retailers in Africa.

At VGG, Nichole Yembra is responsible for investor relations and the financial strategy of the seven technology companies under its umbrella as they serve public and private clients across the aviation, power, education, financial services, and social investment sectors. Through GreenHouse Capital, Nichole takes on fintech-enabled portfolio companies looking to transform the education, renewable energy, big data and fintech ecosystems.

Nichole Yembra

The portfolio companies’ products have connected over 3,000 students to tutors, revolutionized off-grid solar solutions and increased banking services of Nigeria’s nearly 84.6 million unbanked population. In addition to this work, Nichole is committed to making gender diversity a priority within the fintech space in Nigeria and enhancing opportunities for women in leadership.

Olaoluwa Samuel-Biyi

Olaoluwa Samuel-Biyi is a co-founder of SureGifts, a Nigeria-based gift card retailer and technology provider. Olaoluwa joined the founding team of Jumia in 2012 to work on business intelligence and commercial planning, before leaving to build SureGifts. He also consults on investment and financial strategy for Venture Garden Group. He studied Accounting and Finance at the University of the West Indies, Barbados.

And of course, the main event will be Startup Battlefield. Fifteen companies will compete in front of a live audience and top judges for a shot at US$25,000 USD in no-equity cash plus a trip for two to compete in Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch’s flagship event, Disrupt in 2019 (assuming the company still qualifies to compete at this time).

Startup Battlefield Africa is right around the corner and you can get your tickets here.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Coinbase is now worth more than all but three cryptocurrencies

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With its shiny new $8 billion valuation, Coinbase is now worth more than all but the top three cryptocurrencies that trade on the platform.

That’s right, the only cryptocurrency assets that are worth more than the platform that trades them are Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple. Bitcoin Cash, the currency forked from Bitcoin, is a distant fourth in valuation at $7.3 billion.

Coinbase’s Series E is nearly three times as much as the company raised in its Series D, and the fresh cash brings Coinbase’s total-capital-raised-to-date to over $520 million.

That’s a lot of money. Indeed, if Coinbase’s capital raised figured is compared to the market cap of the world’s various cryptocurrencies and other similar assets, it would rank around 20th.

But the bet for investors is, and should be, that if cryptocurrencies are indeed the next big idea in the ways that humans determine value, then Coinbase should be worth far more than any of the assets that trade on its exchange.

The fact that it’s neither indicates how much farther the company has to grow, or the limits of the thesis that cryptocurrencies will take over the world.

It shows that the wager on a particular crypto company is looking like a better investment than putting money to work in nearly any of the other crypto assets that are for sale. During the last few crypto booms, some investors said that it was probably simpler to just invest in various tokens instead of companies working on blockchains — faster returns and your money would be more liquid, to boot.

However, at least in the case of Coinbase, that wager likely wouldn’t have worked. Coinbase is also the company that every investor has wanted to invest in; it’s been a known winner for a while now, so its performance isn’t a huge surprise.

And now with $300 million, Coinbase is well-capitalized to survive either a market downturn (one will come eventually), and the current Crypto Interregnum.

Coinbase’s chief executive certainly thinks the market will grow. As we noted, Coinbase currently allows trading to just a handful of cryptocurrencies, but it has long harbored ambitions to expand beyond that.

Speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in September, CEO Brian Armstrong revealed that he sees a future in which every cap table will have its own token. Based on that, he said he believes that Coinbase could host hundreds of tokens within “years” and even potentially “millions” in the future.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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