Category Archives: America

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tZero to Receive Largest Recorded Investment for Blockchain Startup

Chinese private equity firm GSR Capital has confirmed it signed a letter of intent to invest USD 270 million in blockchain startup up tZero, making it the largest recorded investment to such a company, according to Forbes.

Atypical investment structure

The USD 270 million investment came with an 18% stake in tZero, a platform for trading blockchain-issued securities, with GSR confirming it will spend another USD 104.55 million for approximately 10% of the platform’s parent company Overstock’s shares. Additionally, the private equity firm has pledged another USD 30 million in tZero’s initial coin offering (ICO).

This funding would bring the aggregate investment past USD 404 million, pushing tZero’s company valuation to USD 1.5 billion, surpassing its parent Overstock.com (USD 1.07 billion) despite the flagship product not even having been launched yet.

Independent letters of intent were configured and signed by all parties to secure the deal.

Sonny Wu, GSR Capital’s chairman and founder, told Forbes that his company has a long-term view on scaling the platform globally. This investment is GSR Capital’s first public blockchain venture, with its previous history focused on electric vehicles and clean energy.

tZero executive chairman and CEO of Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne, said that the money would be used to open more tokenized securities exchanges internationally for uses such as his SEC-licensed US platform. He envisions tZero’s token to be listed on each of these exchanges.

Byrne noted that raising capital from the businesses home in the US was proving challenging, hence they had to look further abroad. He told Forbes, “US capital is, to be honest, they’re gun shy on this whole blockchain issue… I’m sorry to say the US is not the leading country in the world.”

Hitting into US economics harder, Byrne said that he started the venture to undo what he called the ”original sin” of Wall Street – separating the trade of a stock and its settlement. tZero’s tokenized securities are designed to enable real-time, transparent lending of securities.

Such sentiments have led Byrne to be called the ”scourge of Wall Street” by those whose practices he criticizes, but this does not trouble him. Instead, he believes that the significant investments to tZero show that the tides are turning on traditional Wall Street practices.

 

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Ripple Books Bill Clinton for Keynote Speech at Fall Conference

Global payment blockchain solution Ripple has managed to secure former US President Bill Clinton as a speaker for its autumn technology conference, Swell.

Clinton is set to deliver a keynote speech followed by a Q&A at the San Francisco event on 1 October, as outlined in a blog post from Ripple on Tuesday. The post commends Clinton on his handling of the internet phenomenon during his time in office, as well his endeavors to make technology accessible for underprivileged communities internationally.

Comparing the current period of technological advancements with that of the 1990s ushered by Clinton, Ripple cites his credentials as valuable for interpreting the climate of today which requires a similar ability to balance risk prevention without stifling innovation.

Clinton received a physical Bitcoin from entrepreneur Matt Roszak back in 2016, although his wife Hillary Clinton refused to accept campaign donations made with Bitcoin during her two presidential runs.

Swell will be moderated by Gene Sperling who served as the National Economic Council Director and Adviser for Clinton as well as former President Barack Obama.

Crypto and politics coming to head

As politicians globally have begun demanding some form of regulatory control over the cryptocurrency industry, politics has drawn much closer to the field over the year. While in the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission is tightening its stance on ICOs and has even employed its first ‘crypto czar‘, companies themselves serving the industry are becoming more politically active.

Recent documents show Coinbase as the first of its kind to form its own political action committee (PAC), which would allow the exchange to donate to candidates in the US running for public office that accept crypto donations. As of yet, the PAC has listed no affiliations or lodged any donations, nor did it wish to respond to press requests for comment.

It will be interesting to see in the future if the industry may develop political power via these crypto-friendly PACs.

 

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McAfee’s Bid For POTUS Race Stirs Crypto Community

Hundreds of cryptocurrency enthusiasts have reacted to John McAfee’s Sunday night Twitter announcement of his intention to run for the US presidential elections in 2020. The Tweet has currently generated almost 800 comments, generally positive, and over 5,800 likes.

In spite of past refusals, I have decided to again run for POTUS in 2020. If asked again by the Libertarian party, I will run with them. If not, I will create my own party. I believe this will best serve the crypto community by providing the ultimate campaign platform for us.

— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) June 3, 2018

In 2016, he was nominated for the Whitehouse race by the Libertarian party. He lost to Garry Johnson; the New Mexico governor.

In his Sunday message on Twitter, McAfee openly expressed his love for the cryptocurrencies, saying he aims at serving the crypto community if he is elected as the president of the United States.

While some criticized the decision, many applauded him for his decision. A quick scan of the twitter comments indicated that many within Twitter would back him for the upcoming election.

The self-styled ‘Crypto Dad’ has a recognized influence within the crypto community, with past analysis showing that a single tweet from John McAfee has managed to move markets. Thus, the hypothesis that crypto fans will vote for him because of his apparent interest for cryptocurrency over fiat money seemingly holds true.

Although it would appear unlikely for McAfee to ever be American president, he might improve his chances if he uses his crypto-campaign strategy well. His 2016 campaign strategy was quite argumentative, using the premise of “a paradigm shift” with a manifesto based on free trade and acceptance of the use of cannabis.

Now, he has identified cryptocurrency and its growing community as a unique ticket to the upcoming election. His campaign focus for the 2020 presidential race will be mostly about cryptocurrencies, which have a growing community. McAfee seems to have his facts right, and if Americans begin to favor Bitcoin, a people network strategy could work in his favor.

 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons – NullSession

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