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Venezuela’s Oil Giant Turns to Crypto as US Sanctions Bite Again

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Venezuela’s state-controlled oil company, PDVSA, is ramping up its utilization of digital currencies in response to renewed US oil sanctions. With the Biden administration refusing to renew a license easing restrictions, PDVSA is facing increased pressure to find alternative payment methods for its crude oil and fuel exports. The move to digital currencies, particularly Tether (USDT), aims to circumvent frozen accounts resulting from US sanctions.

This strategic shift underscores Venezuela’s willingness to explore various currencies, including virtual assets, in its oil contracts. Traditionally, the oil market has operated predominantly in US dollars, but Venezuela’s adoption of digital currencies signals a departure from this norm.

Despite past corruption scandals, such as the uncovered $21 billion embezzlement involving oil export receivables, Venezuela’s oil exports have rebounded under the leadership of oil minister Pedro Tellechea. The country has reached a four-year high in oil exports, buoyed by US licenses permitting sales. To mitigate future risks from potential sanctions, PDVSA has implemented a new contract model requiring prepayment in Tether for spot oil deals.

Moreover, Venezuela is now mandating new customers to have digital wallets holding cryptocurrencies for oil transactions. This requirement reflects a broader strategic shift towards embracing digital currencies in the oil trade, indicating a willingness to adapt to evolving global financial landscapes.

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However, Venezuela’s foray into digital currencies is not without challenges. The recent arrest of former Vice President Tareck El Aissami, accused of embezzling funds from oil sales using cryptocurrencies, highlights the risks associated with crypto transactions. This high-profile corruption case, dubbed the “PDVSA-crypto incident,” underscores the need for robust regulatory frameworks and measures to prevent misuse of digital assets in the oil industry.

Source: cryptonews.com

The post Venezuela’s Oil Giant Turns to Crypto as US Sanctions Bite Again appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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New seed-stage VC fund from Finland secures €6 million in initial close for €30 million blockchain fund

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Helsinki-based Equilibrium Ventures (EQV), a new seed-stage venture capital fund focused on the crypto sector, has successfully closed the first round of its €30 million fund, raising €6 million from limited partners (LPs). This milestone highlights growing interest in blockchain startups and a promising future for the European crypto ecosystem.

The fund is led by an experienced team of partners: Mika Honkasalo, Henrik Sundvik (formerly of Bain & Company), and Christopher Ahn (ex-Molten Ventures investor). Equilibrium Ventures aims to attract and support founders with deep technical expertise in blockchain technologies, covering areas such as zero-knowledge proofs and smart contracts, essential for developing advanced blockchain solutions.

Equilibrium Ventures has attracted a diverse group of backers, including strategic investors, family offices, and notable LPs like Sebastien Borget, co-founder of the metaverse platform The Sandbox. This support underscores the fund’s credibility and signals growing confidence in crypto investments despite recent market challenges.

Dedicated to crypto infrastructure, Equilibrium Ventures emphasizes rigorous technical due diligence and value addition for pre-seed and seed engineering firms. With a network of about 70 blockchain engineers, mainly based in Europe, the fund is well-positioned to help startups develop robust blockchain technologies.

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The renewed interest in venture capital investment in blockchain, bolstered by evolving regulatory landscapes in the US and Europe, is expected to increase investor confidence in the crypto sector. Equilibrium Ventures, with its technical expertise and strategic support, is poised to become a significant player in Europe’s crypto venture scene.

Looking ahead, Equilibrium Ventures aims for a second close by the end of this summer, targeting 80% of the total fund. This progress indicates strong momentum and the potential for significant contributions to the European blockchain ecosystem.

Source: arcticstartup.com

The post New seed-stage VC fund from Finland secures €6 million in initial close for €30 million blockchain fund appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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Riot Platforms Acquires 14% Stake in Bitfarms Ltd.

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Riot Platforms, Inc. has announced its acquisition of a 14% stake in Bitfarms Ltd., as detailed in a recent press release by Riot Platforms. This move aligns with Riot’s strategy to influence corporate governance within Bitfarms.

Acquisition Details

On June 13, 2024, Riot Platforms purchased 1,432,063 common shares of Bitfarms Ltd., representing about 0.35% of Bitfarms’ issued and outstanding common shares. The shares were bought on the Nasdaq Stock Market and other open markets at an average price of approximately $2.70 per share, totaling $3,870,293.46.

Before this acquisition, Riot held 56,194,973 common shares of Bitfarms, equating to 13.65% ownership. With the new shares, Riot now holds 57,627,036 common shares, resulting in a 14% stake in Bitfarms.

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Strategic Intentions

Riot Platforms intends to call a special meeting of Bitfarms’ shareholders to nominate several independent directors to the board, citing concerns over Bitfarms’ corporate governance. Riot seeks to influence Bitfarms’ strategic direction and enhance its governance standards.

Riot is continuously reviewing its investment in Bitfarms and may adjust its position based on factors such as market conditions and the company’s financial status. Potential actions include increasing or decreasing its stake, entering into hedging transactions, or proposing additional strategic measures.

Forward-Looking Statements

The press release includes forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties, reflecting Riot’s current expectations and assumptions. Riot cautions investors to consider these risks before making investment decisions.

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Riot’s vision is to become the leading Bitcoin-driven infrastructure platform, focusing on a vertically integrated strategy with Bitcoin mining operations in Texas and electrical switchgear engineering in Colorado.

Source: blockchain.news

The post Riot Platforms Acquires 14% Stake in Bitfarms Ltd. appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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Manta Foundation Unveils $50M EcoFund to Foster Blockchain Innovation

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The Manta Foundation has launched its $50 million EcoFund to build a robust ecosystem for leading blockchain projects, as per Manta Network. This initiative demonstrates the foundation’s commitment to funding opportunities and developer support for innovative blockchain ventures.

Funding and Support Opportunities
Starting June 15th, the one-year EcoFund will offer significant financial support through its Ecosystem Grant Program, which provides early-stage projects with grants of up to $50,000. This initial funding is crucial for bringing innovative ideas to life.

Additionally, the EcoFund dedicates $35 million for direct investments in promising projects on the Manta Network. These strategic investments aim to foster high-growth ventures that align with Manta Network’s long-term objectives, promoting a collaborative and mutually beneficial environment.

Diverse Project Focus
The Manta Foundation supports a broad range of projects across sectors such as DeFi, Gaming, NFTs, and more. These initiatives are chosen for their potential to drive consumer adoption and significantly enhance the Manta Network ecosystem.

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Applications for the EcoFund are accepted on a rolling basis, ensuring ongoing funding and support opportunities. The foundation prioritizes projects with robust business models and scalability, aiming to ensure the ecosystem’s financial health and sustainability.

Specialized Funding Categories

In addition to general grants, the EcoFund targets specific high-growth areas:

– AI/DePIN: Focused on using AI and Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks for sustainable solutions.
– Zero-Knowledge: Investments in zero-knowledge technology to boost privacy and security in the blockchain space.
– Memecoins: The Moon Mission Grant supports the development and growth of meme projects on Manta Pacific, fostering a vibrant memecoin culture.

Events and Hackathons
To further enrich the ecosystem, the Manta Foundation has allocated $5 million for online and offline events and hackathons. These events aim to attract new developers and users, fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration within the Manta Network community.

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Source: blockchain.news

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