Expands Investment Arm to $500 Million to Back More Web3 Startups and Founders

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Hong Kong-based crypto wallet provider and trading platform has decided to expand the size of its investment arm, called Capital, to $500 million (roughly Rs. 3,722 crore) to help fund web3 startups. The expansion arrives just days after cryptocurrency firm FTX announced the launch of a $2 billion (roughly Rs. 14,888.6 crore) venture capital fund called FTX Ventures to focus on advancing blockchain and Web3 technology alongside investments in “social, gaming, fintech, software, and healthcare.” Similar expansions have also been made by rival companies like Binance and Coinbase. Capital was launched in March 2021 as a $200 million (roughly Rs. 1,489.63 crore) fund to invest in early-stage startups that can help grow the crypto ecosystem to one billion users. Capital attempts to create a blend of a lean entrepreneurial fund team with the resources and experience of, which reaches over 10 million users through products including a Visa debit card, trading exchange, and a non-fungible token (NFT) platform.

As per a TechCrunch report, the fund is helmed by co-founder Bobby Bao and targets seed and Series A deals in categories including the metaverse, blockchain gaming, NFTs, and DeFi. To date, the investment arm has completed over 20 deals and its portfolio of companies includes Efinity, Genies, DeBank, Alethea AI, YGG SEA, and Matter Labs. Capital has also added Jon Russel, a technology journalist with over 10 years of experience to its list of partners. “ Capital is not even one year old, but already we work hand-in-hand with dozens of world-class founders and we want to find more. Adding Jon to the team is a statement of intent to double down and grow the web3 ecosystem,” said Bobby Bao, co-founder in a blog post.

“I’ve had offers to move into crypto full-time before but is the most ambitious company in web3,” said Russell. “The Capital fund brings a very unique advantage to help the world’s best web3 founders and startups to realise their potential and I can’t wait to play my part.”

The announcement from the Hong Kong-based crypto company also shows that crypto exchanges are increasingly involved in being a rainmaker and beneficiary of the ecosystem, including the industries in which they operate.

FTX, which has helped more than 15 startups, last week announced a $2 billion crypto fund. Its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, also owns Alameda Research, a venture company that has helped nearly 100 web3 startups.

Coinbase Ventures, the investment arm of the only publicly traded cryptocurrency exchange, and Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of trading volume, are also among the buggest investors in the web3 space.

Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

North Korea Stole Funds Through Cyberattacks on Crypto Exchanges to Fund Weapons Programme: UN Report

North Korea has continued to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes over the past year and cyberattacks on cryptocurrency exchanges appear to have been an important revenue source for the country, according to an excerpt of a United Nations report that cites cybersecurity professionals. Investigators found that cyberattacks stole digital assets worth more than $50 million (roughly Rs. 373.5 crore) between 2020 and mid-2021 from at least three cryptocurrency exchanges in North America, Europe, and Asia.

The report was submitted by independent sanctions monitors last week to the United Nations Security Council North Korea sanctions committee, but was viewed by Reuters. The confidential report claims that there has been “a marked acceleration” of North Korea’s testing and demonstration of new short-range and possibly medium-range missiles in January, “incorporating both ballistic and guidance technologies and using both solid and liquid propellants” — all majorly sourced through cyberattacks, of which, cryptocurrency exchanges have also been a key target.

The report also mentions an estimate provided by blockchain analysis company Chainalysis in its latest Crypto Crime report which states that North Korea launched at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms, extorting nearly $400-million (roughly Rs. 2,990 crore) worth digital assets in 2021.

“These attacks targeted primarily investment firms and centralized exchanges,” the firm explained in an excerpt of its 2022 Crypto Crime report. The hackers “made use of phishing lures, code exploits, malware, and advanced social engineering” to siphon funds from companies’ hot wallets into the addresses controlled by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Chainalysis added, elaborating, “Once North Korea gained custody of the funds, they began a careful laundering process to cover up and cash out.”

“Only 20 percent of the stolen funds were Bitcoin… And for the first time ever, Ether accounted for a majority of the funds stolen at 58 percent,” mentions Chainalysis.

“More than 65 percent of DPRK’s stolen funds were laundered through mixers this year [2021], up from 42 percent in 2020 and 21 percent in 2019, suggesting that these threat actors have taken a more cautious approach with each passing year,” the firm concluded.

Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.