DeFi Platform Archimedes Raises $4.9M in Seed Round

• Archimedes, a decentralized finance (DeFi) lending and borrowing marketplace that is launching this month, secured another round of funding.
• The seed-funding round of $4.9 million was led by Hack VC and included other backers such as Uncorrelated Venture, Psalion, Truffle Ventures, Cogitent Ventures, Haven VC and Palsar.
• Archimedes’ mission is to make capital efficient DeFi opportunities more accessible by offering users leverage that multiplies their original yield opportunity.

Archimedes Raises $4.9M in Seed Round

DeFi lending and borrowing platform Archimedes recently closed a seed-funding round of $4.9 million led by Hack VC. This adds to the pre-seed funding of $2.4 million for a total of $7.3 million in pre-launch fundraising from various investors including Uncorrelated Venture, Psalion, Truffle Ventures, Cogitent Ventures, Haven VC and Palsar.

Launching This Month

The decentralized finance marketplace is set to launch this month with an aim to make capital efficient DeFi opportunities more accessible for users through leverage which multiplies their original yield opportunity. Upon taking out a loan on the platform users are sent a non-fungible token (NFT) representing a yield-generating stablecoin position leveraged up to 10 times the principal collateral amount.

What Is DeFi?

DeFi stands for „decentralized finance“ and refers to financial activities carried out on a blockchain such as lending or trading digital assets or currencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum respectively. Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are digital assets recorded on the blockchain that represent ownership of virtual or physical items which can be sold or traded as well as used in games like CryptoKitties and CryptoPunks among others.

Mission To Make Capital Efficient DeFI Opportunities More Accessible

Archimedes‘ mission is to provide users with easier access to capital efficient DeFI opportunities through leveraging their original yield opportunity up to 10 times the principal collateral amount upon taking out a loan on its platform represented via an NFT asset issued by the company itself when repayment begins.

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Crypto Market Retreats After Weeks of Uptrend, Major Tokens Drop

• Crypto market capitalization dropped 3.5% in the past 24 hours following a decline in U.S. equity markets.
• Ether and dogecoin led the slide among major tokens, falling more than 5%, while bitcoin lost just 1.6%.
• Outside of majors, avalanche (AVAX) fell 7.7% while lido (LDO) dropped over 10%.

The crypto market has been taking a breather in the past 24 hours after weeks of an uptrend. Market capitalization dropped 3.5%, following a decline in U.S. equity markets, with Ether and dogecoin leading the slide.

Ether and dogecoin fell more than 5%, while bitcoin lost just 1.6%, according to CoinDesk data. This caused upward of $173 million in longs, or bets on higher token prices, to be liquidated. Ether futures saw $86 million in liquidations while traders of bitcoin futures lost $46 million, per data source Coinglass.

Outside of majors, avalanche (AVAX) fell 7.7% while lido (LDO) dropped over 10%. This was a marked shift from the previous month, where Lido had seen a 135% jump in value. Meanwhile, some tokens traded in the green, including those of interoperable blockchain platform Quant (QNT) and layer 1 network Aptos (APT), with both rising over 4%.

The pullback appears to be a much-needed bull breather, following a notable upswing in the crypto market. This was largely driven by strength in bitcoin and strong transactional activity among tokens such as SOL and ADA.

The crypto market has seen a surprising amount of stability over the past few months, with market capitalization remaining relatively steady despite the recent pullback. This could be a sign of market maturity, as traders become more comfortable with the idea of crypto as an investment asset.

Crypto Custody Revenue Could Reach $8 Billion By 2033

• FTX’s collapse has led to a greater focus on regulated custodians.
• The crypto custody revenue opportunity could grow to $8 billion by 2033 from less than $300 million today.
• There is a large revenue opportunity for crypto firms and banks to provide Wall Street-like custody, market-making and prime brokerage services to new crypto investors.

The recent collapse of the crypto exchange FTX has caused the crypto industry to take a greater focus on the use of regulated custodians. According to a research report from Bernstein, the crypto custody revenue opportunity could grow to an impressive $8 billion by 2033, up from less than $300 million today. This would be driven by an increase in institutional participation in digital asset markets.

Analysts Gautam Chhugani and Manas Agrawal commented that “Crypto custody is the foundational enabler for institutional adoption”, noting that it is a technological endeavor that is focused on securing the private key. They expect to see a jump in penetration of crypto custody with existing investors, as well as a sharp growth in custody services due to the increased institutional presence in the digital asset space.

At the same time, market making is likely to increase as institutional participation grows and as there is an increased demand for liquidity in large-cap coins and less popular tokens. Market makers are essentially brokers who facilitate liquidity in a market by providing both bids and asks for a given asset.

Furthermore, there is a large revenue opportunity for crypto firms and banks to provide Wall Street-like services such as custody, market-making, and prime brokerage services to new crypto investors. Prime brokerage services are essentially the provision of services to large investors such as hedge funds, which can include access to capital, liquidity, and analytics.

Overall, the report from Bernstein highlights the growing importance of crypto custody services in the digital asset space and the increasing revenue opportunities for firms that can provide these services. As institutional participation in the digital asset space continues to grow, so too should the demand for these services, which could lead to significant growth in the crypto custody market in the coming years.

117 Parties Interested in Buying FTX Assets: Panel Investigates

• Around 117 parties have expressed an interest in buying units of FTX, a legal filing posted Sunday said, as a deadline for initial bids approaches.
• The crypto company’s bankruptcy case could take years, and the estate has prioritized the sale of LedgerX, FTX Japan, FTX Europe and stock-clearing platform Embed.
• The Hash panel discusses the potential sale of LedgerX, FTX Japan, FTX Europe and the stock-clearing platform Embed, plus what this means to the bankruptcy case.

As the crypto industry continues to evolve, a legal filing posted Sunday revealed that around 117 parties have expressed an interest in buying units of FTX, the crypto company that is currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings. The filing also revealed that a deadline for initial bids is looming, with the crypto company’s bankruptcy case potentially taking years to resolve.

To make the process more efficient, the estate of FTX has prioritized the sale of LedgerX, FTX Japan, FTX Europe and the stock-clearing platform Embed. This is because these assets are seen to have a greater risk of losing value if not sold quickly. In order to facilitate this, a panel was set up to discuss the potential sale of these assets and the implications that such a sale would have on the bankruptcy case.

The panel is composed of representatives from the bankruptcy court, FTX, the creditors, and other interested parties. The panel has been tasked with determining the best way to move forward with the sale of these assets, as well as the potential implications of such a sale. Furthermore, the panel will assess the potential impact of the sale on FTX’s bankruptcy case.

The panel has also been asked to investigate the bids that have been made by the interested parties, and to determine which party can offer the most value for the assets. The panel will also examine the financial health of each bidder, as well as their ability to successfully complete the sale of the assets.

It remains to be seen whether the sale of the FTX assets will proceed, but the panel’s deliberations will no doubt play a large role in the eventual outcome. In the meantime, the court will continue to examine the various bids that have been made and decide on the best course of action. Whatever the outcome, this case will no doubt be closely watched as it will serve as an example of how the crypto industry handles bankruptcy proceedings.

ZK Cryptography: Revolutionizing Blockchain in 2023

• Zero-knowledge (ZK) cryptography has the potential to be a game-changer for blockchain applications due to its ability to ensure privacy, security, and integrity.
• A ZK-powered layer 1 smart-contract blockchain chain is expected to launch in 2023.
• Zcash recently upgraded using advanced zero-knowledge science and is becoming increasingly scalable and being used for real applications.

The potential of zero-knowledge (ZK) cryptography to revolutionize blockchain applications is becoming increasingly apparent. With its capacity to guarantee privacy, security, and integrity, ZK cryptography is becoming an increasingly attractive option for blockchain developers and users. As a result, investments and development of zero-knowledge proofs are continuing to grow, and the technology is showing signs of being ready for prime time.

The launch of a ZK-powered layer 1 smart-contract blockchain chain in 2023 is expected to take the technology to the next level. While existing chains such as Mina, ZCash, and Celo already use zero-knowledge cryptography, none of them provide true programmability or full on-chain smart contract functionality. As a result, they are limited in what they can do. However, a new layer 1 blockchain designed with all the right primitives in place could be the perfect platform for ZK-powered applications.

The Zcash blockchain is also undergoing significant upgrades, with advanced zero-knowledge science making it more scalable than ever before. This has enabled Zcash to be used for real applications, and the increased scalability has opened the door to further development. As a result, Zcash is becoming a more attractive option for developers and users alike.

Overall, the development of zero-knowledge cryptography is set to continue to grow throughout 2023, with more projects and protocols emerging to capitalize on the potential of the technology. As a result, blockchain applications are set to become more secure, private, and reliable than ever before.

Ethereum’s Rollercoaster Year: The Merge, Censorship Concerns, and Record-Breaking Hacks

• Ethereum completed its shift to a more energy-efficient system for powering its network in 2022.
• This upgrade, known as the Merge, marked a massive reduction to the network’s energy footprint.
• However, the Merge has led to charges that Ethereum is becoming too centralized, and has not spurred a long-hoped-for bump to the price of ether.

In 2022, Ethereum made great strides towards becoming a global computer and decentralized financial system. The Merge, the blockchain’s massive upgrade to a more energy-efficient system for processing transactions, marked a key moment in the network’s development. This switch from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake was estimated to have cut the network’s energy consumption by around 99%.

However, the Merge also caused some controversy. Critics argued that the new system, which requires validators to „stake“ ether (ETH) with the chain for the chance to write transactions to its ledger, is becoming too centralized. Furthermore, the Merge has not resulted in the long-hoped-for bump to the price of ether (ETH), which has declined more than 20% since the event.

Ethereum’s year was also marked with other major problems. Growing concerns around censorship have surfaced, as well as the emergence of record-shattering hacks on Ethereum-linked infrastructure. This has raised questions about the security of the blockchain and dampened investor confidence.

In spite of these setbacks, Ethereum continued to make progress in other areas. The blockchain’s development community has been hard at work on scaling solutions that will allow it to process more transactions, as well as new tools for making decentralized finance easier to use.

All in all, Ethereum had a rollercoaster year in 2022. The Merge was a milestone achievement, but the blockchain still faces many challenges as it works towards becoming a global computer and decentralized financial system. As the blockchain continues to evolve, investors and developers alike will be watching closely to see what the future holds.

Argo Blockchain Sells Texas Mining Facility, Secures $35M Loan from Novogratz

• Argo Blockchain (ARBK) has agreed to sell its Helios mining facility in Dickens Country, Texas, to Galaxy Digital for $65 million and received a new $35 million loan from investor Michael Novogratz’s crypto-focused financial-services firm.
• The transaction will help Argo bolster its balance sheet and avoid bankruptcy after a deal for $27 million in funding fell through in October.
• Argo also entered into a two-year hosting agreement with Galaxy, securing a place for Argo’s computers to keep mining at the Helios facility.

Argo Blockchain (ARBK) has come to an agreement to avoid filing for bankruptcy protection, after agreeing to sell its Helios mining facility in Dickens Country, Texas, to Galaxy Digital for $65 million. The miner also received a new $35 million loan from noted investor Michael Novogratz’s crypto-focused financial-services firm, which will be secured by Argo’s mining equipment, according to a statement sent to CoinDesk.

The transaction will help Argo bolster its balance sheet and avoid bankruptcy after a deal for $27 million in funding fell through in October. Earlier this month, the miner said that it was in advanced negotiations to sell some of its assets and carry out an equipment financing transaction to avoid filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Speaking to CoinDesk, Argo CEO Peter Wall said: “Over the last few months, we have been looking for a way to continue mining through the bear market, reduce our debt load and maintain access to the unique power grid in Texas. This deal with Galaxy achieves all of these goals, and it lets us live to fight another day.”

In addition to the sale of the Helios facility, Argo also entered into a two-year hosting agreement with Galaxy, securing a place for Argo’s computers to keep mining at the Helios facility, according to the statement. This hosting agreement will enable Argo to maintain their presence in the Texas power grid, which is an essential component of their operations.

Meanwhile, Chris Ferraro, President and Chief Investment Officer at Galaxy, said: “The deal with Galaxy was structured to boost Argo’s balance sheet and capital structure. When the miner kicked off its process, we were in a position to solve the problem completely for Argo, while accelerating the expansion of our own mining capabilities.”

The news of the deal saw Argo’s shares more than double in early London Stock Exchange trading. On Tuesday, the company requested a 24-hour suspension of trading in its Nasdaq-listed shares.

Argo Blockchain is a London-based cryptocurrency mining company that provides cloud-based mining services for users worldwide. The company is one of the few crypto miners to achieve profitability in recent months, despite the ongoing bear market. The miner had previously announced plans to expand its operations and increase its capacity with the purchase of new mining rigs by the end of 2019.

The new deal with Galaxy will provide much-needed capital to help the miner weather the storm of the bear market and continue to expand its operations. It is a welcome development for the industry and a testament to the resilience of the crypto mining sector.

Nexo Urges Vauld Creditors To Consider Revised Acquisition Proposal

• Nexo, a crypto lender, sent an open letter to creditors of Singapore-based rival Vauld after it suspended all withdrawals, trading and deposits on its platform and filed for creditor protection.
• The letter said that Nexo had presented a revised proposal on Dec. 2 and that the team negotiating the transaction had faced challenges with financial and legal due diligence information.
• Kroll, Vauld’s financial adviser, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Crypto lender Nexo recently sent an open letter to creditors of Singapore-based rival Vauld, after the company announced that it had suspended all withdrawals, trading and deposits on its platform, filed for creditor protection and was looking at restructuring options.

The purpose of the letter, which was signed by Nexo Management, was to create transparency to Vauld’s creditors, where it had been insufficient, regarding the merits of Nexo’s acquisition plan, as well as to contribute final improvements to some of the proposal’s commercial terms based on feedback from Vauld’s community. Nexo said that the team negotiating the transaction had faced daily challenges, such as receiving slow and incomprehensive financial and legal due diligence information, and that terms of the deal presented to Vauld creditors were „misleading“.

Nexo had presented a revised proposal on Dec. 2, however Vauld said earlier in the day that the deal announced in July had „not come to fruition“. Nexo responded by saying talks were continuing and it still hoped to complete the purchase, and that Vauld had until Jan. 20 to work on a restructuring plan.

Kroll, Vauld’s financial adviser, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The future of the acquisition process remains unclear, however, Nexo’s open letter to creditors clearly shows that the company is still eager to pursue the purchase of Vauld.

$250 Million Bond Sets Record: Sam Bankman-Fried Freed on House Arrest

• Sam Bankman-Fried was released on a $250 million bond, but he didn’t pay any of it in cash.
• The bond was acquired through collateral, which would be forfeit if Bankman-Fried fails to appear in court.
• Former SEC Enforcement Branch Chief Lisa Bragança discussed the latest legal developments.

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX, walked out of federal court a free man on Thursday after posting a record-breaking $250 million bond. Reports say that the bond was the largest ever pretrial bond, but the truth is far less than meets the eye. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Roos described it as a “gargantuan bond.”

Typically, a bail bondsman would charge between 10%-15% of the bond amount, in cash, to issue a surety bond or “bail bond.” In this case, 15% of $250 million would be $37.5 million, but Bankman-Fried did not pay any of that. Instead, he put up collateral in the same amount of the bond, and if he fails to appear in court, that collateral is forfeit to the court.

After his release, Bankman-Fried has arrived at his parents‘ home in Palo Alto, California, where he will remain under house arrest while awaiting his federal trial on multiple charges of fraud. Former SEC Enforcement Branch Chief and Bragança Law Attorney Lisa Bragança spoke on the legal developments, including the unprecedented bond.

The news of Bankman-Fried’s bond has made waves, with many speculating about the details of the bond and what it means for the case. Bankman-Fried has yet to enter a plea in the case, but whatever the outcome, his release on the $250 million bond signifies a significant development in the court proceedings. Time will tell what effect this massive bond will have on the case, but for now, it is clear that Bankman-Fried is out of jail and awaits his trial from the comfort of his home.

Sam Bankman-Fried Released on Bail; SEC Warns of Crypto Risks; Justin Sun Top Client of Crypto Asset Manager

• Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of FTX, was released on bail after appearing in US federal court in New York.
• The SEC is increasing scrutiny of audits of cryptocurrency companies to warn investors of potential risks.
• Justin Sun was reportedly a top client of crypto asset manager Valkyrie Investments, with over $580 million of bitcoin under management.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of crypto derivatives exchange FTX, has been released on bail after appearing in a US federal court in New York. Bankman-Fried is to remain under house arrest and must adhere to a long list of requirements, including a ban on any financial transactions over $1,000. The bail was secured in part by his parents‘ house in Palo Alto, California.

At the same time, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is ramping up its scrutiny of cryptocurrency companies, warning investors of the potential risks associated with relying on audits such as proof-of-reserve reports. SEC acting chief accountant Paul Munter said that such reports are “not enough information for an investor to assess whether the company has sufficient assets to cover its liabilities.”

In other news, one of the richest figures in crypto, Justin Sun, has reportedly been a top client of crypto asset manager Valkyrie Investments. A private financial document obtained by CoinDesk shows that Sun had more than $580 million of bitcoin stored with Valkyrie Digital Assets LLC at one point in August. This constituted over 90% of the money managed by this particular division of Valkyrie.