Crypto Briefs is your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
- Ex-CEO of German payment processor and financial services provider Wirecard is in police custody over suspicion of fraud, Reuters reported earlier today. According to media reports, Markus Braun turned himself in yesterday and will come before a judge today to see whether or not he will remain in custody. Braun is being suspected of fraudulently inflating the company’s balance sheet and revenue to make it look more attractive to potential investors.
- Baby milk powder is the latest food product to undergo a blockchain facelift in China. Per media outlet Finance.China, Beinmei Dairy – one of China’s leading milk formula providers – is now selling its products with scannable QR codes that can provide customers with detailed information as to where milk was sourced, how it was handled and how it was distributed.
- Blockchain-powered drivers’ licenses have gone live in South Korea, per Yeosung Kyungjae Shinmun. The licenses are hosted on smartphones via an app that links to national police databases, and can be accepted legally by police in place of plastic identity cards. They are also now legal for use in stores as proof of age, with convenience store chains stating they will accept these as well as conventional plastic cards.
- A Venezuelan real estate agency says it will enable payments in bitcoin (BTC), dash (DASH) and other tokens. Per an Instagram post from crypto exchange Veinte, property buyers using the RE/MAX Gold real estate agent will also be able to buy or rent commercial and residential properties using litecoin (LTC).
- Only 16% of Brazilians say they want to use crypto as a form of payment, per a study conducted by the Brazilian Society of Retail and Consumer Companies. The study found that 47% of respondents said they were skeptical about the use of cryptocurrencies as means of payment, with some of the reasons including a lack of trust in crypto and little knowledge or practical experience about how tokens can be used to make retail payments.
- Bitcoin rewards company Lolli said its browser extension that rewards people with bitcoin when they shop online, is now available on Microsoft Edge, says the announcement. After Mozilla’s Firefox and Google Chrome, Lolli is now coming to a newly revamped Microsoft browser, now built upon Chromium.
- Crypto financial services company BlockFi announced in an emailed press release that it hired a new Director of Business Development for Asia. Rishi Ramchandani, former head of global and Asia equities trading teams for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, will be tasked with building out the company’s business in the APAC region. He will be based in Singapore.
- Neufund, a German start-up looking to facilitate security token offerings (STO), said it is freezing all current fundraising campaigns and stopping all future tokenized equity offerings. According to a blog post by the company’s CEO and co-founder Zoe Adamovicz, the problem lies in the country’s lawmakers, who kept the company in a grey zone, not banning it, but also not “letting innovation happen”.
- Bitmain’s former CEO Micree Zhan proposed to buy out the rest of the company, offering other shareholders a total of USD 4 billion. In an open letter published earlier this week, Zhan suggested buying out co-founder Jihan Wu’s 20% stake, as well as the employees’ option pool (19% stake), three unnamed co-owners (approximately 15%), as well as other external investors. Given that the company’s valuation is at least three times as much, the media are doubtful Zhan’s offer would be taken seriously.
- Options trading platform Sparrow secured USD 3.5 million in Series A funding, the company recently confirmed in a press release. The funding round was led by BitMEX’s parent company HDR Group. Other investors include Signum Capital, Du Capital, and FinLab EOS VC.
- In its first equity round, Celsius Network Limited raised a total of USD 30 million, the company announced in a blog post. The round was led by Tether International Limited (the company behind the Tether (USDT) stablecoin), which invested a total of USD 10 million. Celsius will remain the largest shareholder, thus keeping full control of its lending platform.
- Decentralized crypto derivatives platform Opyn said it has raised USD 2.16 million as it looks to become “the primary DeFi [decentralized finance] platform allowing Ether hedging and decentralized finance investments through options.” The funding round was led by Haseeb Qureshi and Tom Schmidt from Dragonfly Capital. Other investors include Version One Ventures, Uncorrelated Ventures, 1kx, A. Capital, DTC Capital, CoinFund, as well as several angel investors. Opyn says it will use the funds to grow the team and develop the protocol.
- European football giant FC Barcelona held a flash sale of its token, which sold out in less than two hours. The FC Barcelona Fan Tokens (BAR), which were sold through Chiliz.net and Socios.com, have gone for a total of USD 1.3 million. At one point, the club sold USD 777,000 worth of tokens in less than two minutes. Announcing the news via Twitter, Socios CEO Alexandre Dreyfus said people from 106 different countries purchased the tokens.
- Huobi Token (HT), the native ecosystem token of the Huobi Group, can now be traded as a fully compliant crypto asset on Huobi Japan. The company confirmed the news in a press release, saying that Huobi Token is the first global exchange token approved by the country’s financial regulator — the Financial Services Agency (FSA).