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Andreessen Horowitz just closed its second crypto fund

Two years ago, the venture firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) took the wraps off a dedicated crypto fund from a subset of its limited partners, who’d provided the firm with $300 million in capital commitments. Now, the firm says it has closed a second fund in the same vein, this time with $515 million in capital […]

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Two years ago, the venture firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) took the wraps off a dedicated crypto fund from a subset of its limited partners, who’d provided the firm with $300 million in capital commitments. Now, the firm says it has closed a second fund in the same vein, this time with $515 million in capital commitments.

As general partner Chris Dixon — who leads the fund with general partner Katie Haun — tells Fortune: “It’s very rare that major, new computing paradigms come along, and we think this is on the scale of cloud and mobile for the Internet.”

Certainly, the firm has less competition for crypto deals at the moment than it might have back in 2018. Many VCs pulled back last year, with overall funding in 2019 down 28% from 2018’s peak of $4.3 billion, according to CB Insights.

Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency markets were also hammered, along with the broader stock market in a downturn sparked by the COVID-19 crisis, causing some to conclude they are as vulnerable to a lot of other instruments to stock market shifts.

A big upswing since — along with this obvious endorsement by a16z — could turn those trends around, however. Indeed, the entire market capitalization of cryptocurrencies jumped $35.3 billion in 24 hours as of 2:19 p.m. Singapore time, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com and reported by CNBC.

Bitcoin, specifically, which fell below $4,000 last month, shot up to $9,388.30 by earlier today (though, as this is being written, it has slipped to $8,695.41).

Industry participants attribute the rally to central bank monetary policy and the “bitcoin halving” that’s expected next month, when for the third time in the network’s history, the reward for mining a block will be divided by two.

Andreessen Horowitz has invested directly in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, along with a range of other bets that include Coinbase, the crypto lender Compound and Anchorage, a cryptocurrency custody service.

It’s also a member of both the Libra Association and the Celo Alliance for Prosperity, both of which are inviting developers to build decentralized mobile apps that are based on their own cryptocurrencies.

To drum up even more deal flow, a16z last month kicked off a free, seven-week program for cryptocurrency startups that aims to educate and “supplement — not replace — the many other excellent programs and resources that help founders learn about building tech startups,” Dixon wrote of the school late last year.

The firm isn’t taking equity in the startups as part of the program, it says. Instead, it’s apparently looking to build connections to and between founders who it might want to work with it in the future.

Source: https://blockchainconsultants.io/andreessen-horowitz-just-closed-its-second-crypto-fund/

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Members of WallStreetBets Forum Alleged in Telegram Crypto Scam Stealing $2M in BNB and ETH

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Members of the popular WallStreetBets Reddit forum were suspected of a presumable cryptocurrency fraud that could have caused losses of no less than $2 million. By creating a designated Telegram group, they duped investors by guaranteeing remarkable returns through capitalizing on the recent crypto market rally.

The Core of the Hoax

Per a report by Bloomberg, alleged members of the WallStreetBets Reddit Forum used the Telegram messaging service to execute a blatant scam. A particular account by the name of ”WallStreetBets – Crypto Pumps” presented users the chance to purchase a new token certified as WSB Finance before it was listed on crypto exchanges. The operation is known as a pre-mine sale.

The essence of the fraud was connected to the recent cryptocurrency boom as bitcoin and most altcoins skyrocketed in value lately. With some of the digital assets reaching 1,000% gains, the targeted WSB members conned investors into sending money without asking questions and with the potential of netting huge profits.

The notorious account also urged users to transfer popular cryptocurrencies such as Binance Coin (BNB) and Ethereum (ETH) to a designated crypto wallet and then to reach its ”token bot” to gain WSB Finance coins.

However, the perpetrators never dispatched those coins. Furthermore, another message on Telegram revealed that the people who had already issued a payment had to send an equivalent amount again or they would risk losing their initial investment.


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The Aftermath

After executing the hoax, more than 3,451 Binance Coins were withdrawn on Tuesday (May, 4th) from the wallet inside the Crypto Pumps messages.

Since the price of BNB at that point was approximately $625, the fraud caused losses of more than $2.1 million. Following the scam, thousands of people expressed their frustration and tried to expose the individuals behind the account. Moreover, the quantity of the other cryptocurrency – ether – still remains a mystery.

Two weeks ago WSB admins warned about offers that might try to take advantage of the forum’s name in order to allure the crypto audience. The ”WallStreetBets – Crypto Pumps” account has been removed from Telegram but whoever managed it left a message that might stun the affected victims:

”Buying Lambo now.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/members-of-wallstreetbets-forum-alleged-in-telegram-crypto-scam-stealing-2m-in-bnb-and-eth/

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South Korean Crypto Exchange Accused Of $1.5 Billion Scam

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The South Korean cryptocurrency exchange platform V Global was accused of luring 40,000 people into illicit multi-level deceit. The entire scheme amounts to more than 1.7 million won, which equals $1.5 billion.

The Investigation

As reported by the Korean officials, the police raided many places in the country related to a virtual cryptocurrency exchange, and its notorious CEO – known as LEE – alleged to fundraising without regulatory permission. The authorities blocked the exchange’s cash deposits as a part of the investigation.

In total, the Gyeonggy Nambu Police Agency reported that it searched the exchange’s headquarters in southern Seoul along with 21 other places and froze more than $214 million left in the account.

Another report from today shed more light on the developments. According to Yonhap News, the name of the organization is V Global. The Korean police are examining the accusations against them for fraud under the Certain Economic Crimes Weighted Penalty Act, the Similar Receiving Act, and the door-to-door sales business.

The main accusation against the exchange is gaining a deposit of 1.7 trillion won ($1.5 billion) from 40,000 members in the period between August 2020 and January 2021. The announcement revealed that most of the people were elderly or housewives with no experience in cryptocurrency trading.


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Too Good To Be True

The investigation revealed that the exchange urged investors to entrust their funds to an account and lured the members that the expected return would be three times higher than the initial investment. According to the authorities, there was a pyramid element in the scam as the exchange promised to grant an introduction fee of 1.2 million won ($1,065) for every newly recruited member.

The report affirmed that the trading venue paid some members in the form of a block. Therefore, people who signed up earlier received funds from individuals who entered the exchange later.

Moreover, the Korean police seem confident to deal with the fraud case as it revealed its intention to confiscate 240 billion won ($214 million) left in the V Global account as of the 15th last month, even before the prosecution process.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/south-korean-crypto-exchange-accused-of-1-5-billion-scam/

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Georgia’s central bank is exploring ‘Digital Gel’ CBDC

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The National Bank of Georgia said that it is considering launching a central bank digital currency.

In an announcement today, the central bank hinted at the issuance of a central bank digital currency, or CBDC, in an effort “to enhance efficiencies of the domestic payment system and financial inclusion.” The National Bank of Georgia, or NBG, said it would be inviting fintech firms and other financial institutions to participate in the project, named Digital Gel after the symbol for the country’s fiat currency, the lari.

“CBDC holds the promise to unlock the tremendous value of innovative business models for the benefit of society,” said the announcement. “The introduction of CBDC could increase financial intermediation efficiency, help introduce new financial technologies, facilitate financial inclusion, and reach previously unbanked populations.”

However, the bank mentioned the possibility of risks in the launch of a CBDC in the Republic of Georgia given the “new and potentially disruptive technology.” The NBG said it may conduct extensive testing of the CBDC in a controlled environment to ensure a smooth rollout, but did not provide any details regarding a timeline for launch.

With a population of roughly 4 million and a gross domestic product of approximately $15 billion, a nation like Georgia falls at the smaller end of countries exploring CBDCs. The Bahamas officially rolled out its Sand Dollar central bank digital currency in October, while China has been piloting its digital yuan in select cities prior to a full-scale launch. In the United States, Fortune 500 company Accenture announced this week it would be partnering with the Digital Dollar Foundation to conduct CBDC trials.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/georgia-s-central-bank-is-exploring-digital-gel-cbdc

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