White Star Capital Announces the First Close of its $30M Digital Asset Fund 19699

White Star Capital, a global multi-stage technology venture capital investment platform, today announced the first close of its new $30M Digital Asset Fund. The new fund will invest in crypto-networks and blockchain-enabled businesses at each layer of the tech stack including protocols, infrastructure and applications. The Digital Asset Fund will deploy between $500,000 and $2.0 million in initial investments into 15-20 companies with a core focus in Europe and North America. The team will take a research-driven approach to maximize returns through early access in both equity and tokens. To date, the fund has made two investments: dfuse, a blockchain API company that helps developers build performant applications by organizing the world’s decentralized data; and Multis, a Y Combinator backed company, which offers “crypto-first” business banking accounts with an aspiration to bridge the gap between Decentralized and Legacy Finance.

The Digital Asset Fund marks White Star Capital’s first specialty fund and will be run by New York based General Partner Sep Alavi and supported by Principals Thomas Klocanas in New York and Sanjay Zimmerman in Toronto. The fund will also benefit from White Star Capital’s extended team in London and Paris, as well as a network of venture partners in Tokyo, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Switzerland.

As an early-stage investor since 2013, Sep has been investing in crypto assets and involved with blockchain companies for the past five years. Previous to joining White Star Capital, he spent 12 years working in capital markets in Paris, Chicago and New York City. Thomas, started his career as a research analyst in the fintech and financial sector at Barclays in London before spending two years at Consensys in New York and consulting for various blockchain projects such as Coinhouse and Blockstack. He joined White Star Capital eighteen months ago. Sanjay joined White Star Capital in Montreal in 2017 and was recently promoted to Principal after completing his MBA at INSEAD in Singapore, Philadelphia and Fontainebleau.

“Digital Assets are gaining adoption, and venture valuations and token round distributions have rationalized, which is an attractive entry point,” said Sep Alavi. “Incumbents are rapidly entering the space and embracing the next wave of innovation. At WSC Digital Asset, we are looking to partner with the next generation of startups building global networks and frictionless business models. We are actively interested in investing in crypto protocols, infrastructure and middleware, privacy, financial, gaming, and social use cases”

While regulation continues to evolve pragmatically and positively around the sector, enterprise and institutional giants like Fidelity, JP Morgan, Facebook, Walmart and Square are embracing blockchain technology at an accelerating pace and this is just the beginning. According to a report by Andreesen Horowitz, startup and developer activity in the space have been growing 53.9% and 74.4% CAGR since 2010.

“White Star Capital’s international footprint and network, as well as our team’s blockchain expertise position us well to make an impact in the digital asset sector,” said Eric Martineau-Fortin, Founder and Managing Partner of White Star Capital. “Our platform and network will give us access to exceptional deal flow from various companies across blockchain use cases.”

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As Digital Currencies Gain Popularity, FPA and RIA Digital Assets Council Announce Education-Focused Partnership 11166

According to the RIA Digital Assets Council, 80% of financial advisers receive questions from clients about bitcoin, but only 8% can adequately explain digital assets. As cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream, now is the time for financial planners to build competency in this asset class. To support financial planners, the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) and RIA Digital Assets Council (RIADAC), a digital assets educational source for financial planners, announced a strategic partnership to provide education on the application of blockchain and digital assets.

“I’m pleased FPA has this opportunity to work with RIADAC to build our members’ competency in digital assets, which will allow them to augment their knowledge and better serve clients,” says Patrick D. Mahoney, FPA chief executive officer. “As the leading membership association for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals, we need to be on the cutting edge of supporting our members as they look to sharpen their knowledge and build their competencies. This partnership with RIADAC is consistent with that objective.”

FPA and RIADAC will provide educational programming and a wide range of content to help FPA members understand the complexities of cryptocurriencies and provide expert advice on how this transformational asset class can impact their clients’ financial plans. As an FPA partner, RIADAC’s educational content and thought leadership will be available to FPA members through a variety of channels:

  • RIA Digital Assets Council Certificate in Blockchain and Digital Assets: FPA members will receive a 50% discount when enrolling in RIADAC’s certificate program that provides financial planners practical literacy on blockchain and digital assets and introduces available options for a firm’s investment management strategy. The inaugural class debuts on Apr. 30, 2021.
  • FPA Blockchain & Digital Assets Community: FPA members will engage with dynamic guests and thought leaders from RIADAC in virtual, interactive discussions and exchange ideas with peers in the FPA Connect Blockchain & Digital Assets community.
  • Journal of Financial Planning: RIADAC will regularly contribute thought leadership content to help financial planners understand blockchain and digital assets in FPA’s flagship publication, the Journal of Financial Planning.
  • FPA Annual ConferenceRic Edelman, founder of RIADAC, will present an informative session on blockchain and digital assets at the FPA Annual Conference in Columbus, OhioSept. 22-24, 2021.

“Gaining vital knowledge about this new asset class will help financial planners attract more clients and serve them better,” said RIADAC Founder Ric Edelman. “We’re honored to be partnering with FPA to help financial planners who are committed to serving their clients’ best interests.”

Ric Edelman is known and recognized throughout financial services and his work to bring blockchain and digital assets education and awareness to the financial advisory community is commendable. I am pleased FPA members will have this opportunity to learn from Ric and his team at RIADAC,” says 2021 FPA President Skip Schweiss, CFP®, AIF®.

Over the coming months, FPA and RIADAC will explore additional educational initiatives and thought leadership programs that can benefit FPA members, their clients and the broader financial planning community.

Bitcoin Association launches Introduction to Bitcoin Development online course at Bitcoin SV Academy 10959

Bitcoin Association, the Switzerland-based global industry organisation that works to advance business with the Bitcoin SV blockchain, today announces the official launch of the Introduction to Bitcoin Development course at Bitcoin SV Academy. The course is available free of charge and can be accessed from today at http://bitcoinsv.academy.

Introduction to Bitcoin Development is part of the Bitcoin Development stream of Bitcoin SV Academy and has been designed to equip application developers with the skills, tools and techniques required to build applications on the Bitcoin SV network. The course covers Bitcoin as a data protocol – including reading, writing and advanced functionalities with the Bitcoin ledger, payment protocols, token protocols and smart contracts. At the conclusion of the course, participants will be tested on their knowledge through an online examination, with a course certificate available upon successful completion for those who have demonstrated proficiency and understanding of the subject matter.

Bitcoin SV Academy is an online education platform for Bitcoin which offers academia-quality, university-style courses and learning materials in three distinct streams, Bitcoin Theory, Bitcoin Development and Bitcoin Infrastructure. Developed and run by Bitcoin Association, Bitcoin SV Academy has been created to make learning about Bitcoin – the way creator Satoshi Nakamoto designed it – accessible, accurate and understandable.

The launch of Introduction to Bitcoin Development today follows the successful rollout of Introduction to Bitcoin Theory – the first course to be launched on Bitcoin SV Academy – in December 2020. Later this year, the first module in the Bitcoin Infrastructure stream Introduction to Bitcoin Infrastructure is due to launch, followed by intermediate and advanced level courses across the three streams.

NexChange Group and Marita Group Co-Host Africa Blockchain Week Virtual Summit to Showcase Continent’s Technological Leapfrog 12247

NexChange Group, a blockchain ecosystem and venture builder and MARITA Group, an African conglomerate will combine forces to co-host this Virtual Summit. The event will feature key industry players and decision-makers contributing to regulation, application, investment and education across many African countries.

Juwan Lee, Chairman of NexChange Group: “Africa is the next big move for blockchain. We see not just opportunities in the payment space and financial inclusion, but we see significant institutional involvement.”

The new reality has proven technology to be a bridge to a better future. Strong ties between African countries, like the cooperation South-South, encouraged by HRH Mohammed VI go beyond just politics. New economic bridges ensure that Africa is able to bypass certain steps on a technological stair, positioning itself ahead of the global curve. Described by the World Bank and called leapfrogging, it relies strongly on enhanced technologies including blockchain.

Rahhal Boulgoute, Chairman of Marita Group: “Blockchain will revolutionize Africa and provide opportunities for financial inclusion. It is important that we expose blockchain technology in Africa.”

The impact is seen on Africa’s financial map. Over the last years, digital banking and mobile payments have proven to be a real-life case study for millions of users, making people’s financial lives better, ensuring inclusion, and changing the game for the unbanked. Banks, enterprises, and entrepreneurs are changing the continent’s destiny, shaping the investment landscape.

This event backs the efforts of the African regulators to adopt the required regulations to embrace blockchain and become a main global player in the technologies shaping the future. The ambition of the Co-hosts is to make Africa Blockchain Week the key platform for dialogue and networking between all stakeholders in blockchain to transform it into a reality in Africa.

NexChange Group is a venture builder and media platform specializing in Blockchain, FinTech, HealthTech, AI, and Smart Cities.

Marita Group Holding is a global company focused on:

  • turnkey solutions in real estate development, theme parks, smart cities
  • Renewable energy and waste recovery, hydrogen production, electric mobility
  • sustainable agriculture and sustainable development
  • local mining development of natural resources
  • health, medical products, equipment and supplies

ZIM & Marius Nacht complete additional investment in WAVE BL, a leading provider of a paperless Bill of Lading solution 11870

ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. (NYSE: ZIM) and Marius Nacht, one of Israel’s leading serial entrepreneurs and investors, announced today that they have jointly invested in a Series B Financing round of WAVE BL, a developer of groundbreaking blockchain network supporting paperless trade in the shipping industry. The two investors co-lead a round of approximately $8 million that will accelerate global implementation of WAVE BL’s proven technology.

ZIM pioneered the first paperless electronic bill of lading pilot in the shipping industry in 2017 using WAVE BL’s platform and has since widely expanded its use to become the industry leader. Electronic bill of lading is currently offered to ZIM customers worldwide, requiring only a simple onboarding process which is supported by ZIM.

Digitization of bills of lading is revolutionizing shipping documentation, sharply reducing time, complexity, errors and costs for all parties involved, while maintaining a high level of security and, importantly, being far more sustainable than the traditional paper bill of lading.

Aligning with international rules, standards and insurance coverage such as IG P&I Clubs and eUCP 600, WAVE BL’s one of a kind decentralized, digital documentation solution is changing the shipping industry as it becomes the new industry benchmark enabling secure and efficient remote business continuity.

Proceeds will be used to support development of WAVE BL’s business and further implementation of its pioneering technology supporting paperless trade in the shipping industry, as well as in other sectors.

ZIM President and CEO Eli Glickman: “Our early adoption of WAVE BL’s blockchain based platform to promote paperless trade highlights our leadership in utilizing digital strategies to best serve customers and has proven extremely successful for ZIM and for changing the industry. Today, ZIM is an industry leader in paperless shipping processes, and we are seeing growing interest from others in our sector to adopt the platform reflecting the significant benefits it provides to both customers and carriers. This new investment in WAVE BL is a step forward in the path to a more digitized and sustainable future, in accordance with our vision and values.”

ZIM CIO Eyal Ben-Amram: “Since completing the integration of WAVE BL’s platform with our system, we can offer every customer the ability to enjoy the vast benefits of paperless shipping, which is especially crucial during COVID-19. We are pleased and proud to continue our support of this exciting and leading company.”

WAVE BL CEO Gadi Ruschin“Our partnership with ZIM has enabled us to introduce our pioneering technology to a vast audience as we endeavor to become the shipping industry standard in paperless trade. We are extremely pleased with the continued faith and commitment of ZIM and Marius Nacht in our company and look forward to leading the wave of the future in shipping.”

Ophir Shoham, who leads Marius Nacht’s investments in high-tech: “We are proud to continue supporting WAVE BL’s remarkable technology and believe in its disruptive potential, leading to a fundamental change in the way business is conducted across countless sectors and industries. We are very impressed with the great progress the team has made and excited to invest in WAVE BL’s trail-blazing platform.”

River Financial raises $12M Series A to continue explosive growth of its Bitcoin financial services for traditional investors 11617

San Francisco-based Bitcoin financial services provider River Financial closed a $12 million Series A equity financing round to continue growing its financial service offerings for traditional investors. The investment round was led by Goldcrest Capital with participation from Craft Ventures, Polychain Capital, M13, Castle Island, Slow Ventures, and The Kraft Group.

River Financial previously announced a $5.7 million seed round in June 2020. In the nine months since the company’s seed round announcement, River’s client base has grown by almost 600%, and order volumes have increased by 3,500%. River’s recent iOS app has accelerated the company’s growth, already accounting for over 30% of all River’s order volume within five weeks of launch. River Financial continues to experience exponential growth in new customers and order volume month-over-month as global interest in Bitcoin continues to grow rapidly. Social unrest, inflation fears, and recent elections are driving droves of traditional investors to Bitcoin and River.

River is investing heavily in team growth and product development. According to Co-Founder and CEO Alex Leishman, “Bitcoin is on a trajectory to becoming a global reserve asset, and we are building the financial services that our clients will need for that future.” River’s focus on premium client services and traditional financial tooling, including tax lot tracking and account statements, is attracting increasing numbers of high-end clients who find incumbent solutions intimidating and confusing.

The majority of volume on River is driven by clients over the age of 50, but Co-Founder and COO Andrew Benson believes there is still a large underserved segment of the population, “River’s mission is to bring Bitcoin to investors around the world. Even as global interest in Bitcoin grows rapidly, most Americans over the age of 45 who want Bitcoin still don’t own any. River is helping to fix that by creating familiar, high-end financial solutions for investors who are new to Bitcoin.”

Max Dilendorf Serves as a Bitcoin Expert Witness in USCIS EB-5 Green Card Adjudication Proceedings 11039

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has frequently denied EB-5 applications that list Bitcoin exchange-traded-funds as a legitimate “source of funds”. Yet, in an unprecedented approach that included forensic reporting analysis, attorney Max Dilendorf provided an expert legal opinion and due diligence report proving that a green card applicants’ source of funds met the standards to be qualified under this program.

Because USCIS only requires a “preponderance of evidence” showing the legal acquisition of investment funds in EB-5 petitions and offers little guidance for applicants whose funds originated in cryptocurrency, Dilendorf’s confirming evidence was a significant achievement.

The Dilendorf Law Firm, NYC’s top law firm for the digital age, represented several clients in EB-5 matters with the USCIS concerning the clients’ EB-5 investments funded with cryptocurrencies. By submitting blockchain and cryptocurrency expert reports in these cases, the firm has provided evidence to support the legitimate “source of funds”.

The firm’s clients were software engineers and early cryptocurrency adopters who, in the opinion of the crypto compliance law firm, are legally qualified for obtaining EB-5 investor green-cards, as there was little doubt on the legality of the source of the clients’ cryptocurrency funds.

Dilendorf’s legal opinions and blockchain forensic reports, as submitted to the USCIS, included an expert assessment of the following:

  • legality of the specific digital assets and regulatory framework for the involved financial institutions dealing with cryptocurrencies;
  • origin and flow of cryptocurrencies funding the EB-5 investments;
  • mechanism and sufficiency of digital wallets, private cryptographic keys, crypto trading platforms and accounts establishing ownership of the clients’ cryptocurrency funds;
  • KYC/AML compliance measures taken at each point of the funds’ journey by clients and third parties, including crypto exchanges and OTC traders.

Max Dilendorf, Esq. is also a top forensic Bitcoin and crypto expert witness. His expertise has also made him one of the top cryptocurrency consultants for Fortune 500 companies.  Mr. Dilendorf’s recent speaking engagements have included the Thailand SEC, IBM, Berkshire Hathaway, and New York University, to name a few.