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Bipartisan bill for blockchain competitiveness passes US House

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As the cryptocurrency community eagerly anticipates the United States House of Representatives vote on the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century (FIT21) Act, another, albeit less ambitious, pro-crypto legislation has already been passed: the Deploying American Blockchains Act of 2023, approved by a substantial margin of 334 to 79.

This bipartisan bill instructs the secretary of commerce—currently Gina Raimondo—to undertake actions deemed necessary and appropriate to enhance the competitiveness of the United States in blockchain technology or other forms of distributed ledger technology.

The legislation designates the secretary as the primary presidential advisor on blockchain and assigns several key responsibilities, including policy development, research, and promotion of the technology. Additionally, it mandates the establishment of an advisory committee comprising representatives from government, industry, academia, and culture, tasked with presenting an annual report to Congress.

Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester and Larry Bucshon introduced the bill, both of whom lack prior involvement in blockchain or cryptocurrency matters. On December 5, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce unanimously endorsed it, with the Chamber of Digital Commerce and Blockchain Association lending their support.

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Notable opponents of the bill included crypto skeptics Sean Casten, Bill Foster, and Brad Sherman, as well as pro-crypto Senator Cynthia Lummis’s fellow House member Harriet Hageman. Casten, alongside Sherman, Foster, and others, led the Blockchain Integrity Act, introduced into the House on May 7. This proposed legislation aims to prohibit the use of crypto mixing services for a period of two years while the Treasury Department conducts an evaluation of such services. However, this bill is yet to be brought to a vote.

The House officially passed the Deploying American Blockchains Act on May 15, coinciding with the approval of two other bills— the Consumer Safety Technology Act and the Promoting Resilient Supply Chains Act— which have implications for blockchain technology. All these bills will now proceed for consideration in the Senate.

Currently, there are approximately 50 bills related to cryptocurrency under consideration in the U.S. Congress, each at varying stages of evaluation.

Source: cointelegraph.com

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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

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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

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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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