Blocking and Tackling Blockchain


Sep 11, 2023


Sarah Parsons Wolter


Sep 11, 2023


Sarah Parsons Wolter


This week, a number of headlines have pointed to institutional adoption of blockchain applications, including the London Stock Exchange Group drawing up plans for a new digital markets business. While this business is not related to cryptocurrency assets, it looks to use blockchain technology to improve the efficiency of trading existing asset classes on the platform. If successful, LSEG would be the first major stock exchange to adopt fully blockchain enabled transactions.

SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) also recently announced that it has conducted a series of experiments that show it can securely connect multiple blockchains for tokenized assets to be globally transferred. At the same time, JP Morgan is said to be exploring a blockchain based token that represents a deposit to facilitate cheaper cross border transactions and settlement.

According to the European securities regulator, $800m of traditional assets have already been tokenized so far, and studies from BNY Mellon have reported 97% of institutional investors believe that tokenization will transform asset management broadly. Incremental projects and experimentation to implement blockchain technology are making steady progress as regulators also move forward in policy making. That said, after last night's opener at the Rugby World Cup, blockchain experimentation in the rugby playing world might be a little distracted for a few weeks!

Newsletter Image 9/9/23

Portfolio News

CapIntel announces launch of cutting-edge holistic wealth solution, OMNI - Designed to empower financial advisors and enhance their client relationships, OMNI is an interactive and intuitive presentation builder with embedded compliance and secure sharing protocols that streamlines financial conversations and enables better decision-making for both advisors and investors. Read more

Sigma Ratings rebrands as Sigma360®, launching the definitive enterprise risk decisioning software platform - The rebranded AI-powered platform delivers data ingestion and management, proprietary entity resolution and on-the-fly risk scoring and analysis to serve mission critical tasks for financial services, corporate and government end-users. Read more

Antler launches second Nordic €150m fund to double down on early-stage in the region - Antler has offices in Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen and the Second Nordic Fund will start making investments into tech startups across Sweden, Norway and Denmark immediately. Antler will also start backing founders in Finland from 2024 having just opened an office and started building out a team in Helsinki. Read more

Fondeadora follows in the footsteps of other new financiers after acquiring sofipo for expansion - Fondedora intends to expand its portfolio of products and services with greater digital financial solutions, which would eventually allow it to reach more customers, since the sofipos offer services such as receipt of sight money deposits and savings, allow them to receive or issue payment orders and transfers, and grant loans or credits, as is the case with Fondea Technologies. Read more

Underline welcomes key technology and telecommunications leaders to its growing team - This summer, Underline added a number of key leaders with decades of experience in the technology and telecommunications industries. These individuals will head departments across the company to drive the development of new technologies and products, and provide seasoned leadership to market execution teams. Read more

OpenSea unveils standards for redeemable NFTs - OpenSea, the second-largest NFT marketplace, is taking steps to standardize redeemable NFTs across the industry. This would allow NFT owners to seamlessly redeem their NFTs for physical and in-person items and special perks. Read more

Blocking and Tackling Blockchain

LSE Group draws up plans for blockchain-based digital assets business - Murray Roos, head of capital markets at the LSE Group, stressed that his exchange was “definitely not building anything around cryptoassets” but was looking to use the technology that underpins popular tokens such as bitcoin to improve the efficiency of buying, selling and holding traditional assets. Read more

Venture capital not done with crypto yet - One of the big focuses now is the tokenization of assets — reproducing securities as a token on a blockchain. Shifting legal assets on to digital ledger, in theory, means trading could be done round the clock, instead of only during working hours and days. It could also encourage more liquidity in otherwise hard-to-shift assets and bypass intermediaries that charge fees for their services, such as brokers or securities depositories. Read more

JPMorgan is exploring blockchain-based deposit token for payments, settlements - The bank has developed most of the underlying infrastructure needed to run the new form of payment, but wouldn’t create the token unless the project is approved by US regulators. Deposit tokens are transferable digital coins that represent a deposit claim against a commercial bank. Read more

Swift unlocks potential of tokenization with successful blockchain experiments - The results from a new series of experiments show its infrastructure can seamlessly facilitate the transfer of tokenized value across multiple public and private blockchains. The findings have potential to remove significant friction slowing the growth of tokenized asset markets and enable them to scale globally as they mature. Read more

Industry News

Morgan Stanley to launch AI chatbot to woo wealthy - Wealthy clients going to a Morgan Stanley banker to discuss their investments may soon have a different sort of experience: having a chatbot listen to their conversation. With clients’ permission, the bot will eventually create a meeting summary of the conversation, draft a follow-up email suggesting next steps, and update the bank’s sales database. Read more

Intuit launches generative AI–powered digital assistant for small businesses and consumers - Called Intuit Assist, the digital assistant is embedded across Intuit’s platform and products, namely TurboTax, Credit Karma, QuickBooks and Mailchimp, with a standard user interface to offer personalized recommendations using contextual datasets to the company’s over 100m small business and consumer customers across the world. Read more

How digital cash got caught up in the culture wars - A few years ago, CBDCs were the domain of policy wonks. Today, they are a topic of growing political importance and, among fringe groups, creeping paranoia. Read more

Coinbase creates new crypto lending service geared toward large investors - Coinbase has created a new crypto lending service in the U.S. for institutional clients, helping fill the void left by the blowups of firms like Genesis and BlockFi. The platform was quietly revealed in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Sept. 1, which showed $57m had already been raised for the program. Read more

Barclays considers selling part of its UK payments business - The bank could sell a stake in its unit that processes merchant payments and is looking to bring in a partner with expertise in how to expand the business, along with raising capital, but it hasn’t determined how large of a piece of the payments operation it could sell. Read more

Former SEC chairman says spot Bitcoin approval is "inevitable" - In a recent interview with CNBC, Clayton highlighted that major financial institutions backing spot Bitcoin investment vehicles represented a shift in the market and that the SEC would eventually approve a spot Bitcoin ETF. Read more

EU pledges help to build African green bond market - President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, who is attending the African Climate Summit in Kenya this week, said the EU will help Africa attract private investment through its new Global Green Bond Initiative. Read more

Wall Street gets tough on return-to-office laggards - Where the financial services industry goes with remote work, so does the rest of the economy. While top banking executives were among the first to decry persistent remote work, these days, even technology giants that once promised long-term flexibility have become stricter with their policies — though few have returned to full five-day office schedules. Read more

FASB provides regulatory clarity to companies holding crypto, accelerating institutional adoption of digital assets - Groups that hold significant amounts of Bitcoin, Ether, and other tokens will be required to report these assets on a fair value basis, the FASB board voted on Wednesday, confirming changes recommended by the group almost a year ago. Read more

Adyen receives banking license from UK regulators - The license lets Adyen continue to offer its new embedded finance services to U.K. customers, a suite that includes bank accounts, virtual or physical cards, and capital services. Read more

Regulatory sheriffs await Robinhood’s latest UK foray - The meme stock platform faces hurdles in the UK to the trading method behind its US growth. Critics consider the so-called “payment for order flow”, or PFOF, a conflict of interest. UK regulators barred PFOF in 2012, and the EU is phasing in a similar ban. Read more

Norway’s oil fund is sending a message to companies on AI - The fund is trying to use its heft — it owns on average about 1.5% of every listed company worldwide — to improve all its investments’ use of AI by focusing on three areas: 1) ensuring boards are accountable for the responsible development and use of AI. 2) transparency of how companies use AI and 3) ensuring outside verification and auditing of their AI systems. Read more

Select Financings

Alix - San Francisco based estate settlement company raised $5.5m in Seed funding led by Initialized Capital. Read more

Anchor - Nigeria based banking as a service company raised $2.4m in Seed funding led by Goat Capital. Read more

Brine Fi - Decentralized crypto exchange raised $16.5m in new funding led by Pantera Capital. Read more

Certa - California based compliance and risk management platform raised $35m in Series B funding led by Fin Capital. Read more

Clara Analytics - California based insurance claims optimization firm raised $24m in Series C funding led by Spring Lake Equity Partners. Read more

Clay Financial - Toronto based home equity platform closed $1.7m in pre-Seed funding led by undisclosed investors. Read more

Firstcard - California based credit builder for college students raised $4.7m in Seed funding led by AngelList Early Stage Quant Fund. Read more

FirstMate - Decentralized platform for NFT creators to build digital storefronts raised $3.8m in Seed funding led by Dragonfly. Read more

GenTwo - Switzerland based asset securitization company raised $15m in Series A funding led by Point72 Ventures. Read more

Hyperproof - Washington based risk and compliance management SaaS raised $40m in growth capital led by Riverwood Capital. Read more

Ingsai Finance - San Francisco based high-frequency and algorithmic trading company raised $80m in growth funding led by Grong Capital. Read more

Ivy - Berlin based bank payments company raised $20m in Series A funding led by Valar Ventures. Read more

Kotani Pay - Nairobi based crypto payments focused on remittances raised $2m in pre-Seed funding led by P1 Ventures. Read more

MFast - Vietnam based financial services distribution network raised $6m in Series A funding led by Wavemaker Partners. Read more

Momnt - Atlanta based embedded lending company raised $15m in new funding led by TruStage Ventures. Read more

myZoi - UAE based financial services company for low-income migrant workers raised $14m in new funding led by SC Ventures. Read more

OneID - UK based digital identification service provider raised £1m in pre-Seed funding led by ACF Investors. Read more

Opna - London based carbon credit discovery platform raised $6.5m in Seed funding led by Atomico. Read more

Shop Circle - London-based e-commerce software company raised $120m in Series A funding led by 645 Ventures. Read more

Socket - Decentralized cross-chain crypto interoperability protocol raised $5m in new funding led by Coinbase Ventures. Read more

Starcart - Finland based online shopping platform raised €3.5m in Seed funding led by Inventure. Read more

Strise - Oslo based AML company raised $10.8m in Series A funding led by Atomico. Read more

Syscap - Mexico based private credit platform raised $2.3m in Seed funding led by Wollef. Read more

TANGGapp - Philippines based company focused on overseas Filipino workers raised $2.5m in Seed funding led by Goodwater Capital. Read more

ThetaRay - Israel based anti-money-laundering company raised $57m in growth funding led by Portage. Read more

Tradeteq - London based trade finance distribution platform raised $12.5m in Series A+ funding led by MS&AD Ventures. Read more

Treyd - Stockholm based retail financing company raised $12m in Series A funding led by Nineyards Equity. Read more


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