Welcome back to our bi-weekly edition of Web3 News Updates.
This keeps you in the loop with the blockchain industry’s happenings and whatnot, ranging from startups, funding, adoption, and partnerships.
Here’s a rundown of events and news over the last two weeks:
TL;DR (QUICK TAKE)
- MakerDAO adds Chainlink Automation to its Keeper Network.
- China Launches National Blockchain Research Center
- ConsenSys and Onramp.money Partner to Bring Easy Crypto Access to MetaMask Users in India
- VRRB Labs Raises $20 Million in Pre-Seed Round for Layer 1 Development
- Vault, a Web3 music platform, raised $4M in Series A funding led by Placeholder VC
- Robinhood board approves $578M stake purchase from Sam Bankman-Fried
Binance Responds to Turkey Earthquake: CEO ‘CZ’ Leads $5 Million BNB Aid Effort
Binance CEO “CZ” has revealed that the company is taking action to assist those impacted by the Turkey earthquake. The earthquake, which struck on February 6, has caused widespread damage to several communities and individuals.
To aid in the relief effort, Binance has declared that it will distribute $100 worth of BNB tokens through an airdrop to all Binance users in the areas most severely impacted by the disaster.
The identification of eligible users will be made through the review of Proof of Address submissions made before February 6 in the ten cities affected by the earthquake: Adana, Adıyaman, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Kilis, Malatya, Şanlıurfa, and Osmaniye.
Binance considers the POA method the best option to locate users affected by the earthquake, with estimated donations valued at $5 million or 94 million Turkish lira.
Binance Charity has set up a public donation address for Emergency Earthquake Appeal, accepting contributions in various cryptocurrencies, including BTC, ETH, BNB, BUSD, and XRP.
Cryptocurrency transfers are popular for disaster relief as they offer fast, cost-effective, transparent, and unrestricted transactions, especially when traditional banking services face difficulties.
China Launches National Blockchain Research Center
China continues to embrace blockchain technology despite its crackdown on crypto. The National Blockchain Technology Innovation Center has been launched in Beijing to explore core blockchain technologies with local universities, think tanks and businesses.
The centre is led by the Beijing Academy of Blockchain and Edge Computing, famous for developing the ChainMaker blockchain, which is supported by 50 business corporations and can execute 240 million transactions per second. The goal is to advance the digitalisation of China and expand its blockchain industry.
China claims to account for 84% of global blockchain application filings, with a 19% approval rate.
The country is promoting the use of a central bank digital currency, e-CNY, but transactions only reached 100 billion yuan ($14 billion) by October 2022.
A former executive of the People’s Bank of China has called for a review of China’s strict crypto restrictions.
A permanent ban could lead to missed opportunities for the financial system in blockchain and tokenisation.
MakerDAO Takes Stability to New Heights with Chainlink Integration
MakerDAO has integrated Chainlink’s decentralised oracle into its framework to enhance the stability of its DAI stablecoin. The integration, made possible through a successful governance vote, will allow
MakerDAO to incorporate Chainlink Automation into its Keeper Network, a network of bots responsible for maintaining DAI’s stability by controlling parameters such as price and the debt ceiling.
The integration will allow for improved price updates, liquidity rebalancing, and upgrades to the debt ceiling for DAI collateral assets, making the stablecoin more secure and accessible to users.
The agreement, reached by DAO delegates, also included changes to the dust parameter and compensation for 17 recognized delegates, amounting to 109,048 DAI.
In addition, the integration of Chainlink Automation will receive a 6-month stream of 181,000 DAI, making DAI more secure and accessible to users.
ConsenSys and Onramp.money Partner to Bring Easy Crypto Access to MetaMask Users in India
This integration will allow Indian MetaMask users to purchase crypto using their bank via Onramp easily.
In addition, money’s API supports local payment methods like UPI and IMPS.
This partnership aims to increase the adoption of blockchain technology in India and make it easier for users to access decentralised applications.
The CEO of Onramp. Money, Gaurav Dahake, expressed excitement about the partnership and its potential to drive blockchain adoption in India.
VRRB Labs Raises $20 Million in Pre-Seed Round for Layer 1 Development
VRRB Labs, a Miami-based blockchain start-up, raised $1.4 million in a pre-seed funding round with investors, including Jump Crypto, Big Brain Holdings, and Taureon.
The equity plus token warrant round valued VRRB Labs at $20 million.
The company is developing a language-agnostic platform to attract web2 developers and build its own Layer 1 blockchain network.
VRRB plans to use part of the funding to provide grants and bounties to bring developers on board and is set to launch its first beta testnet next month.
In addition, the company’s proprietary consensus mechanism, Proof of Claim, aims to solve blockchain networks’ scalability, security, and decentralisation issues.
Vault, a Web3 music platform, raised $4M in Series A funding led by Placeholder VC
Vault, a music platform utilising web3 technology, raised $4 million in a Series A funding round led by Placeholder VC, with participation from Alleycorp and Bullpen Capital.
The round closed in Q3 of last year at a pre-money valuation of $42 million. The founders, Nigel Eccles and Rob Jones, previously founded FanDuel, a sports betting platform.
Vault allows artists to release “digital music collectables” (DMCs) using NFTs on the Solana blockchain, providing fans with extra content and a new revenue stream for artists.
However, Eccles prefers not to label Vault as an “NFT-gated” solution, as users typically overlook the underlying technology unless they opt for self-custody.
Eccles says he initially avoids mentioning crypto when talking to artists about listing projects on Vault, instead positioning it as a “digital boxset”.
Later, he discusses the NFT aspect, and some artists, like Fletcher, are already familiar with the technology.
The recent funding will expand Vault’s proprietary protocol and make it available for third-party support.
Robinhood board approves $578M stake purchase from Sam Bankman-Fried
Robinhood’s board has approved the purchase of a $578 million stake in the company, previously owned by former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX co-founder Gary Wang.
The shares were bought last year through Emergent Fidelity Technologies with loans from Alameda Research, a sister firm of FTX.
The shares, equaling 7% of the company, were seized by the US Department of Justice on Jan. 9. Robinhood confirmed the board’s approval for the buyback in its Q4 report on Feb. 8.
The 55 million shares of Robinhood stock, worth $578 million, were seized by the US Department of Justice after a court filing from cryptocurrency lender BlockFi.
This aimed to reclaim the shares as collateral for a loan taken out by Sam Bankman-Fried and Gary Wang.
Robinhood’s CEO Vlad Tenev confirmed that the company has been working with the DOJ to buy back the shares, but more is needed.
The shares have been the centre of multiple disputes, including a request from FTX to stop BlockFi from claiming them and the bankruptcy filing by Emergent Fidelity on Feb. 3.