Author Archives: Julia Wheeler

Optimism Raises $150 Million in Series B Funding Round Led by Paradigm and A16z

received a $150 million investment from Series B to Optimism. This solution allows you to transact on Ethereum at low fees. Paradigm and A16z co-led the round which saw the company reach a valuation in excess of $1.65 Billion. This is one of the most valuable L2 Ethereum expansion layers.

These scaling technologies are being considered by VCs as a key to the future success of Ethereum. Although Ethereum fees were relatively low in recent years, it was almost never this way during the bull market. L2 solutions emerged to alleviate users who don’t want to pay these exorbitant fees. Optimism, which is based on Optimistic rollsups, takes L1 (Layer 1) information and processes it in batches in the L2 to return the abbreviated data back to Ethereum.

According to company numbers, Optimism already saves its users $1 billion in gasoline fees and has more than $469 million in TVL (total worth locked) on its platform. This is the fourth-largest rollup per L2beat statistics.

Hiring and Advancements are two ways to expand your business.

Users were informed by Optimism via a blog posting about where the funds would go. To continue delivering features, the company plans to hire additional people to augment its large staff. Optimism currently has 18 job openings in a variety of departments. These include software development jobs and finance positions.

This latest round of funding follows the company’s Series B funding round. raised $25 million, which was also led A16z. The company praised Optimism and said that it adheres to Ethereum development paradigms. This results in a very simple transition for developers, wallets and users. There are no new programming languages or code changes required.

Sequoia Capital Designates $500-600 Million to Crypto Fund Focused on Liquid Digital Assets

Sequoia Capital, an American venture capital firm, is launching a fund to invest in crypto assets. Sequoia claims that the liquid token fund will ‘complement’ its ongoing crypto investments in a blog. Sequoia also discussed previous partnerships with crypto movers, shakers and leaders like Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, and Michael Shaulov (co-founder of Fireblocks).

Venture capital firm Sequoia also mentioned blockchains such as Solana and Ethereum. Sequoia said that investing in these technologies has been a rewarding experience and that she learned a lot along the way. “Today, we’re doing exactly that with a new sub fund of $500-600M focused primarily on digital assets and liquid tokens,” the blog post on Thursday noted. Sequoia Capital continued:

Sequoia Crypto Fund is an extension of our larger commitment to crypto. This fund aims to be more active in protocols and better support token-only project. We also want to learn from doing. We are committed to continuing our collaboration with the crypto community and providing support for open-source research.

Last year, venture capital that is geared towards blockchain protocols, crypto assets and up-and coming blockchain startups has grown exponentially. The total $621 million in venture capital investments in 2021 was a record. Venture capital funds, which were primarily focused upon crypto tokens or blockchain technology businesses, accounted for 5.28% of total VC investments in 2021 with $32.8 million.

Sequoia Crypto Fund will invest $500 million to $600 millions in ‘liquid tokens’ and digital assets. Sequoia however says that it plans to continue to partner with other crypto teams. Sequoia Capital India was the leader of the $450 million round in Polygon’s investment round. Sequoia is regarded as one of the top 20 venture investors in crypto and blockchain. The California-based company invests in Metastable and Polychain.

Tesla logged a $101 million impairment loss from bitcoin in 2021 as the cryptocurrency’s value fluctuated

Tesla reported impairment losses of approximately $101 million last fiscal year due to value changes in its bitcoin holdings, according to a regulatory filing filed by the electric vehicle manufacturer on Monday.

The company shared its dealings and information with the most-traded cryptocurrency worldwide in a 10K annual financial performance report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Tesla stated that in 2021, the company suffered impairment losses of approximately $101,000,000 due to changes in bitcoin’s carrying value and $128 million from certain bitcoin sales.

A company may take an impairment charge if it sees a decrease in the carrying price of a particular asset on its balance sheet.

Tesla claimed that $128 million in profits resulted from the sale of a portion its holdings in March 2021.

In January 2021, the company made a initial investment of $1.5 billion in digital assets. These holdings were worth approximately $500 million more at the end of 2021, Tesla claiming that the fair market value was $1.99billion.

Bitcoin’s value climbed by 60% to $46,000 last year.

According to Monday’s filing, “We believe in long-term potential digital assets both as investments and as liquid alternatives to cash,” according to Monday’s filing. Tesla stated last year that it had revised its investment policy in order to allow for more flexibility and maximize returns on cash that wasn’t required to maintain adequate operating.

Tesla accepted bitcoin for a time last year, but Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, said that it stopped the practice in May due to environmental concerns “about the rapidly increasing use fossil fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions”. Later, he stated that Tesla would resume crypto payments once mining is more efficient.

Tesla isn’t the only company that has suffered a bitcoin-related impairment. MicroStrategy, a business enterprise software company, logged a $146.6million charge to cover its bitcoin holdings for quarter four of 2021.

Bitcoin’s 2022 price has fallen by 7%, and it traded at $43,000 Tuesday.

Decommissioned Power Plant in Armenia to Host Crypto Mining Farms

The equipment at the Hrazdan TPP has been deemed obsolete and inefficient, producing expensive electricity, and authorities in Armenia have decided to shut down the old power plant in the near future. Its premises and infrastructure, including power lines, water and gas pipelines, will be offered to other, more profitable businesses.

The plan to rent out the old thermal station was approved at a meeting of the Commission for Regulation of Public Services on Wednesday, Sputnik Armenia reported. A company manufacturing refrigeration units has already arranged the transfer of some of its production to the TPP, the news portal revealed.

In another part of the plant, a free economic zone called Ecos has been established and is now open. Entities involved in the extraction of digital currencies will be allowed to set up their crypto farms in this area. A law legalizing crypto mining in Armenia was introduced in 2018.

Even after the Hrazdan TPP is decommissioned, the mining facilities will have access to enough electrical energy. A new thermal power plant with four power generating units, Hrazdan-5, has been built nearby by the Russian giant Gazprom. In November 2021, another TPP was completed by the Italian company Renco and Germany’s Siemens.

With the state-run Yerevan TPP, Armenia now has three modern thermal power stations. The report notes that the electricity they generate is more expensive than the energy produced by hydroelectric power plants and the Armenian nuclear power station west of the capital city.

However, the small nation in the Caucasus exports around 75% of their electricity to neighboring Iran which supplies Armenia with cheap natural gas used for power generation. This cooperation will be expanded after the construction of a new transmission line between Armenia and the Islamic Republic in 2023.

Cryptocurrency mining has been developing in Iran which recognized it as a legal industrial activity in 2019. The sector’s energy needs have also increased and both licensed and illegal miners were blamed for the country’s growing power deficit last year.

In May, then-President Hassan Rouhani announced a temporary ban on crypto mining amid rising demand and insufficient supply of electricity caused by the extraordinarily hot weather and droughts. Tehran lifted the restrictions in September when power consumption decreased with cooler weather but reintroduced them in December to avoid winter blackouts.

Zebedee CTO Sees Bitcoin as Currency of the Metaverses

Nike is selling virtual sneakers in metaverse. NFT-based Axie Infinity has seen play-to-earn gamers buy and sell in-game items almost 11.5 million times. With $3.81 billion in transactions, E-sports, which is the live streaming of video games by people over the internet, is worth $1 billion and attracts 26.6 millions monthly viewers.

Commerce in virtual worlds doesn’t seem to be something that’s going to happen, but it is something that is already here. It’s a new, global, and diverse industry so there isn’t much standardization in terms of transferring value.

According to Andre Neves Chief Technology Officer at Zebedee (a payments infrastructure company that focuses on game developers and, recently, metaverse builders), someone’s going do it.

He said that Bitcoin is the best currency to use for this purpose, in a conversation with Karen Webster from PYMNTS.

It doesn’t need to be as complicated as a metaverse or video game. He said that right now, “we’re currently in a virtual universe and we can chat and stream 8K video quality but we are unable to transact any value in this conversation.”

Neves explains that this is due to the fact that each country has its own currency, and its own laws. “So standardizing money for the global and virtual world is really important. You really need that medium to exchange value, without having to make any foray into foreign currency.

Neves stated that Bitcoin, a digitally native currency (a cryptocurrency), ‘provides this capability regardless of any geographic or real-world constraints. “So, regardless of where you are in the world and where I am, we can transact with the exact same monetary standard. It is very powerful to power virtual and real worlds using the same money. We’re only scratching the surface.

Play to win

One paradox of the current virtual world is its growing diversity, but it is also growing together. Video games have become immersive, interactive environments. The economics are shifting to in-game commerce.

The decade-old practice of playing games for free was replaced by paying for access to an internet community.

Neves stated that they are now moving to play-to-earn (which we like to call it), which allows for a bidirectional flow in value.

He says that this is where Bitcoin’s other aspect comes in handy. Neves explained that each one can be broken into 100 million units, called satoshis. These are ideal for nano-transactions and play-to earn.

He said that the current price of a credit card transaction is 60 cents. According to me, the cheapest app in the app store costs around 90 cents. Once that amount is charged to your credit card, it will be $1.20 due to fees. Traditional finance is not able to pay anything below 60 cents. A gamer who makes hundreds of transactions per day can’t have a limit of 60 cents.

Bitcoin does need some help, however, because transactions are now measured in dollars and tens instead of the fractions that a penny is intended. Zebedee relies on the Lightning Network as a Layer 2 solution. It’s simply stacked on top Bitcoin to handle transactions off-chain. This makes it much faster and more affordable.

Zebedee clients offer free games powered via ads. Instead of accepting them, gamers will be able to earn bitcoin by watching them.

Neves stated that they had flipped the model upside down. The game developer still earns ad revenue but some of it is being returned to players. They’re playing, they’re making – it’s a circular system.

Neves stated that the client’s ad return is up to 40% to 80%.

The new world

There are also metaverses, which have become the Next Big Thing after Mark Zuckerberg changed Facebook’s name from Meta to make it more relevant. They are moving away from being a place where people can get together and interact in a virtual environment to one that allows people to interact both socially and economically. Even though metaverses are still in their infancy and the virtual worlds are much more in construction than they are up and running, this is despite the fact that the virtual worlds are still in the infancy stages.

Neves stated that there is no shortage of payment dynamics, but that the key to this interaction is a different type. Interoperability is the key.

Webster was told by him that Meta/Facebook is one of the biggest players in metaverse. They will each have their own metaverse environment. “But interconnectivity and interoperability is what the true metaverse looks like.”

Neves pointed to the Apple and Google App Stores as an example. He said that “this future metaverse can’t occur if there are a lot of gatekeepers running slightly better virtual worlds.”

He said that interoperability is what’s required. “We need open standards so that every user, game developer or service provider can tap into it and activate all their services into the same open standard.

This, in turn, means that ‘the payment railways are required for many of these worlds interconnect with one another. So, the value that you might have obtained from one game can be used to purchase another, but it can also go down the street at a real-world store because it’s the exact same money that’s being used.