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Northern Data Group announces closing of Damoon acquisition

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Northern Data AG (‘Northern Data Group’) (Ticker symbol German stock market: NB2) (ISIN: DE000A0SMU87) today announces the completion of the acquisition of Damoon Limited, formerly Damoon Designated Activity Company (‘Damoon’)’ from Tether Group. The transaction was first announced in July 2023 and following the required regulatory clearances, the acquisition of c. 70% of Damoon was completed by the end of December 2023, while the remaining c. 30% of Damoon was acquired on 3 January 2024. The closing of the transaction now makes Tether Group, one of the world’s most successful and innovative blockchain technology companies, the cornerstone shareholder in Northern Data Group.

The acquisition value of EUR 400 million for 100% of Damoon is exactly equivalent to the purchase price of the more than 10,000 highly sought-after NVIDIA H100 Tensor Core GPUs, which Damoon owns.

In total, including the recently announced purchases, Northern Data Group now owns more than 18,000 NVIDIA H100 Tensor Core GPUs. Taiga Cloud, Northern Data Group’s Cloud division, is in the process of deploying the NVIDIA H100 Tensor Core GPUs, with the first of the deployments live since December 2023. The deployment of the NVIDIA H100 Tensor Core GPUs strengthens Taiga Cloud’s position as Europe’s first and largest dedicated Generative AI Cloud Service Provider, offering flexible and secure access to this latest and most advanced GPU compute power, to meet the surging demand for Generative AI GPUs across Europe.

The ongoing success of Northern Data Group’s vision and strategy has prompted its Founder and CEO, Aroosh Thillainathan, to announce Director Dealings to acquire shares in Northern Data AG for up to EUR 9 million per month and for a total of up to EUR 30 million in the period from 8 January 2024 (inclusive) to 8 May 2024 (inclusive). This will be facilitated via a preset purchase plan agreement, which has been placed with a broker as an irrevocable standing order. To the extent the purchase is made via the stock exchange, the maximum volume of the daily purchases on the stock exchange may not exceed 25% of the average daily XETRA trading volume of the company’s shares on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on the 20 trading days prior to the respective purchase date. If the trading volumes allow, the order must be fully executed within the four-month period. The purchases will be publicly disclosed regularly. The order has been placed via ART Beteiligungs Management GmbH (ART), the family office of Aroosh Thillainathan, which is 100% owned by him.

Mr. Thillainathan’s current stake in Northern Data Group is 2,761,316 shares, which includes the shares received following the conversion of the mandatory convertible bond in the amount of more than EUR 37 million, which he had purchased via ART in October 2023.

Due to the closing of the Damoon transaction and the required disclosures, Northern Data Group now expects its audited financial statements for fiscal year 2022 to be published in Q1 2024. Accordingly, the next annual general meeting will take place approximately seven weeks thereafter. 2023’s audited financial statements are expected to follow by the end of H1 2024.

The total number of fully diluted, outstanding Northern Data Group shares, following the completion of the Damoon acquisition and including the underlying shares for the outstanding mandatory convertible bond, which has not been converted yet, is 53,497,231.

Aroosh Thillainathan, Northern Data Group’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, commented:

“Northern Data Group’s growth as a global, leading High-Performance Compute company continues to go from strength to strength. Through the acquisition of Damoon, we have made outstanding progress in the realization of our Cloud strategy, and with the substantial investments made in the hardware critical to delivering Generative AI’s potential, Taiga Cloud, our Cloud Service Provider, is truly positioned for success.

In 2024, we expect to continue our dynamic development and actively seize market opportunities to deliver on our mission to drive the next era of tech-advancement. We’re building the High-Performance Computing infrastructure that will underpin the next wave of Innovation Bravery.”

Transaction Details

Northern Data Group completed the two capital measures agreed in the Investment Agreement announced in July 2023, as amended (“Investment Agreement”), (i) an increase of its share capital by EUR 10,487,826 and (ii) the issuance of a mandatory convertible bond with a nominal value of c. EUR 87 million, convertible into up to 4,763,051 shares in Northern Data Group, both against contribution in kind, by the end of December 2023. Thereby, Northern Data acquired 69.92% of Damoon, as well as 69.92% of the c. EUR 400 million shareholder loan granted to Damoon by Tether Group.

With the registration of a further increase of its share capital against contribution in kind by EUR 6,556,949 to EUR 48,734,180 on 3 January 2024, Northern Data Group acquired the remaining 30.08% of Damoon and of the shareholder loan granted to Damoon in implementation of the exercise of the call option granted to Northern Data Group in the Investment Agreement, as already announced in September 2023, thereby fully completing the acquisition of Damoon and the shareholder loan granted to Damoon.

The completion of this acquisition and the in total three capital measures follows regulatory clearances being obtained, and the confirmation of the court-appointed independent auditor that the value of the contributions in kind are at least equivalent to the value of the 17,035,775 shares in Northern Data Group and the c. EUR 87 million mandatory convertible bond, convertible into up to 4,763,051 shares in Northern Data AG, issued by Northern Data Group as consideration in total.

The post Northern Data Group announces closing of Damoon acquisition appeared first on Hipther Alerts.

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China Targets Crypto Crimes in Metaverse & Blockchain

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The Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) of China is targeting cybercriminals using blockchain and metaverse platforms for illegal activities amid rising online fraud and personal data infringement.

Deputy prosecutor-general Ge Xiaoyan reported a 64% year-on-year increase in cybercrime-related telecom fraud charges. While blockchain crimes are rising, traditional offenses like gambling and counterfeiting have also expanded into cyberspace. Charges for internet theft rose 23% while online counterfeiting surged 86%.

Between January and November, prosecutors pressed charges against 280,000 individuals in cybercrime cases, up 36% versus last year and constituting 19% of all criminal offenses.

Zhang Xiaojin, director of the SPP’s Fourth Procuratorate, warned citizens about investment scams in crypto, noting the rise of crimes using metaverse, blockchain, and binary options platforms. He said digital currencies have become hotspots for illicit activities.

China’s crackdown on crypto crimes differs from Hong Kong’s crypto-friendly regulations that aim to protect investors without stifling innovation. The People’s Bank of China stressed the need for coordinated global crypto regulation in its latest report.

In 2021, China officially banned crypto transactions and mining but remains a major mining hub despite the crackdown. The SPP aims to strengthen inter-departmental coordination in curtailing crypto adoption and cybercrimes involving digital assets.

Source: Crypto Times

The post China Targets Crypto Crimes in Metaverse & Blockchain appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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Crypto Headlines of the Week: ECB Slams Bitcoin, Nigeria Blocks Exchanges

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The European Central Bank (ECB) has once again lashed out at Bitcoin, claiming that the recent approval of spot BTC ETFs changes nothing.

The central bank’s officials said Bitcoin’s fair value is zero, and the latest boom will spark massive collateral damage.

They claimed Bitcoin falls short in generating cash flow or other value-based returns, making it a poor investment.

While the ECB’s skepticism towards Bitcoin is not new, Nigeria is also growing skeptical of digital assets and crypto exchanges.

In an effort to crack down on currency speculation while the naira tumbles to record lows, Nigeria has ordered telecom companies to restrict consumer access to the websites of companies like Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken.

Here are this week’s important crypto stories:

ECB Slams Bitcoin Again
The European Central Bank (ECB) has reiterated its position on Bitcoin, stating that the approval of spot ETFs for the cryptocurrency does not change its unsuitability as a means of payment or investment.

“We disagree with both claims and reiterate that the fair value of Bitcoin is still zero,” the central bank wrote.

ETF approval for Bitcoin – the naked emperor’s new clothes (ECB Blog)

Kraken Files to Dismiss SEC Lawsuit
Crypto exchange Kraken has filed a motion to dismiss a November lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission that accuses the firm of failing to register with the agency and commingling customer funds. The exchange contended that the SEC’s enforcement action came as retaliation for political speech.

Kraken moves to dismiss SEC lawsuit, citing retaliation from ‘a politically compromised agency’ (Fortune)

Nigeria Blocks Major Crypto Exchanges
Authorities in Nigeria have blocked access to some of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges as the government tries to crack down on currency speculation while the naira tumbles to record lows.

On Wednesday, the country’s telecom regulator ordered telecom companies to restrict consumer access to the websites of companies like Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken.

Nigeria blocks access to crypto exchanges in an effort to curb currency slide (The Financial Times)

FTX Cleared to Sell Stake in AI Startup
A US judge has ruled that bankrupt crypto exchange FTX may sell its shares in artificial intelligence startup Anthropic.

US Bankruptcy Judge John Dorsey in Wilmington, Delaware, approved FTX’s proposal to sell the shares after FTX reached a compromise in court with a group of FTX customers that had opposed the sale.

Crypto exchange FTX to sell shares in AI startup Anthropic (Reuters)

Jack Dorsey’s Block Gains Big From Bitcoin Bet
Fintech company Block has reported a remeasurement gain of $207 million on its Bitcoin holdings. As of December 31, 2023, Block held approximately 8,038 BTC for investment purposes with a fair value of $340 million.

The Jack Dorsey-owned company made $66 million in gross profit on bitcoin sales last quarter through Cash App, a banking services platform, representing a 90% increase year over year.

Jack Dorsey’s Block Is Sitting on $207M Gain on Its Bitcoin Bet (CoinDesk)

Reddit Now Holds Bitcoin
Social media platform Reddit has revealed investments in Bitcoin and Ethereum using some of its excess cash reserves. This was included in the SEC filings as part of its preparations for the company’s initial public offering (IPO).

Still, the exact amount invested in these leading cryptocurrencies remains undisclosed.

Reddit says it invested ‘excess cash reserves’ in Bitcoin, ether (Blockworks)

Crypto Super PAC Continues to Raise Funds
Crypto-friendly super PAC Fairshake received $6.8 million in funding last month, including $4.9 million from Gemini co-founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. Fairshake has quickly become one of the most popular super PACs for crypto-friendly donors this election cycle.

Crypto Super PAC Fairshake Raised $6.8 Million From Winklevoss Twins and VCs in January (Decrypt)

Major ETF Issuers Talk About Crypto in Miami Conference
The discussion on the spot Bitcoin ETFs was the most well-attended panel of the entire Exchange ETF Conference in Miami Beach, Florida, so much so that the staff ran out of the headphones attendees were provided with to listen to the speakers.

Crypto no longer outsider at famed Miami Beach ETF conference (Fox Business)

Retail Investors Were Behind Recent Crypto Rally
Retail investors were likely responsible for the strong crypto market rally in February, JPMorgan said in a recent research report.

The bank said that the anticipation of “the bitcoin halving event, the next major upgrade of the Ethereum network, and the prospect of approval of spot ether ETFs by the SEC in May” attracted retail participation.

JPMorgan Sees Retail Traders Jump Back Into Crypto Markets in February (Bloomberg)

South Korean Province Collects $4.6M in Crypto Tax
South Korea’s most populated province, Gyeonggi, has collected $4.6 million from crypto tax evaders. Using a new system, the province found 5,910 people who owed more than $2262 each. The $4.6 million collected so far has been from only 2,390 people last year.

South Korean province implements digital system to track tax evaders’ crypto (Cointelegraph)

The Bottom Line
The ECB has reiterated its critical stance on Bitcoin, despite the recent approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs, maintaining that Bitcoin’s intrinsic value remains at zero. Meanwhile, Nigeria is taking steps to limit cryptocurrency engagement amid concerns over financial stability.

Source: Techopedia

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Bolstering Native Food Markets Through Blockchain

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The Allan Labor Government is helping to bolster the native foods industry by supporting Traditional Owners with new options to track and sell native foods through blockchain.

Around 70 native foods business practitioners attended the inaugural First Nations Native Food Blockchain Workshop at Healesville last week.

The workshop was delivered by the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub in partnership with Agriculture Victoria and the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owners Corporation (FVTOC).

Over two days, the workshop explored the potential for blockchain technology to support positive outcomes for Victorian Aboriginal native food businesses. The workshop also focused on ways in which blockchain can support and uphold Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property rights for Victorian Traditional Owners.

Blockchain technology offers new abilities for data management and governance by enabling decentralised and tamper-resistant storage. It enables new and unique ways to further enable Aboriginal self-determination and data sovereignty for First Nations people within the native foods and botanicals industry.

The technology also offers a secure and transparent system for tracking product authenticity, with the ability to store and manage traditional knowledge and stories.

This workshop aligns with the objectives of the Traditional Owner Native Food and Botanicals Strategy, developed by the FVTOC and the Victorian Government in 2021, which laid out a plan to create a strong, authentic and sustainable bushfood sector.

Quote attributable to Minister for Agriculture Ros Spence

“This workshop provides more ways to help ensure Victorian Aboriginal native food businesses are equipped with the skills and technology they need to thrive.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Treaty and First Peoples Natalie Hutchins

“This is a great example of Aboriginal businesses coming together to drive a strong and sustainable native food industry and promote economic development.”

Quotes attributable to Gunditjmara Elder Professor Richard J Franklin

‘Blockchain unveils promising pathways for Aboriginal data sovereignty and community empowerment, crucial for uplifting our communities and ensuring improved outcomes.” “I am enthusiastic about the possibilities that blockchain holds, particularly within the native food and botanicals industry. Technology must be one of the many spearpoints we use in charting toward a tomorrow Australia.”

The post Bolstering Native Food Markets Through Blockchain appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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