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ASTRI hosts Smart City Forum with thought leaders and distinguished speakers

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The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) has hosted a Smart City Forum in which government, business and thought leaders shared their views on the essential collaboration for a smart city and what a “tech-backed” sustainable future looks like for Hong Kong as the territory is moving full steam ahead on its journey to become a world famed Smart City.

The event was opened by the Honourable Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Alfred Sit Wing-hang, following the welcome remarks from ASTRI Chairman Ir Sunny Lee Wai-kwong.

“Developing Hong Kong into a smart city is undoubtedly an important commitment of the Government. However, the full participation of the private sector, academia and research institutes is also of paramount importance to help us move towards this goal. I am glad to learn that many of the technologies developed by ASTRI could play a part in our smart city development in various aspects,” said Mr Alfred Sit.

Ir Sunny Lee said, “ASTRI is fully aligned to our Government’s clear commitment to Hong Kong’s technological development. Smart City stands alongside FinTech, Intelligent Manufacturing, Health Tech and Application Specific Integrated Circuits, as one of ASTRI’s core areas of expertise and focus. We understand a Smart City needs Smart People and therefore our numerous talent development initiatives are focused on ensuring the next generation is able to keep up with the pace of innovation.”

On the first panel titled ‘The Essential Collaboration for a Smart City,’ panelists discussed how we could achieve our best results by not only working together, but also finding the balance between healthy and stimulating competition and cross-sector collaboration. On the second panel titled ‘What Does a Tech-backed Sustainable Future Look Like?’, speakers discussed various aspects of a smart city from talent development, gerontech and healthtech to fintech, blockchain, artificial intelligence and how these technological applications will impact Hong Kong as a smart economy in particular on small and medium sized businesses.

ASTRI’s Acting Co-CEO cum Chief Operating Officer Dr Martin Szeto, who featured on the second panel and delivered the event’s closing remarks, said, “The HKSAR Government has made innovation and technology a key pillar of its framework to ensure Hong Kong develops into a world famed Smart City characterised by a strong economy and high quality of living. We believe ASTRI, with our award-winning innovations and talented researchers, is uniquely positioned to support the government and deliver against this vision.”

Dr Lucas Hui, Acting Co-CEO cum Chief Technology Officer at ASTRI, provided an overview of ASTRI during the event, said, “ASTRI is committed to contributing to Hong Kong’s future as a Smart City, whether that is through our technological innovations in the various initiatives under the six smart areas, or leveraging on our thought leadership position in promoting and exploring how innovation and technology can bring a positive impact to our society and build a sustainable and efficient future for Hong Kong.”

The event was held in the Asia Society Hong Kong and live-streamed to an audience online.

Blockchain

Supply Chain Finance Market Forecast to Reach $9.4 Billion by 2029: Increasing Emphasis on Sustainable Sourcing

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Global Supply Chain Finance Market

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Blockchain

Web3 Startups Raise Nearly $1.9B in Q1 2024 Despite Overall Downtrend in Crypto VC Interest

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Venture capital funding for cryptocurrency and blockchain projects has seen a notable resurgence in the first quarter of 2024, marking its first quarterly rise since 2021. Crunchbase data released today indicates that Web3 startups secured nearly $1.9 billion in funding across 346 deals during this period. This represents a substantial 58% increase from the previous quarter, offering a glimmer of hope amidst the ongoing downward trend in overall crypto VC interest.

The recent surge in funding can be attributed to investors adopting a more long-term perspective on Web3, as opposed to the hype-driven “tourist investors” predominant in recent years. Chris Metinko, the author of the report, notes that investors are shifting their focus to the AI sector, indicating a change in investment strategy. There is a growing interest in supporting the foundational infrastructure of the decentralized internet, rather than solely concentrating on crypto wallets and lending platforms, which attracted significant investments during the peak period of 2021 to 2022.

While large funding rounds were relatively uncommon in Q1, several notable investments stood out. Exohood Labs, a company integrating AI, quantum computing, and blockchain, secured a remarkable $112 million seed round at a valuation of $1.4 billion. EigenLabs, an Ether token “restaking” platform, raised $100 million in a Series B round led by a16z crypto. Additionally, Freechat, a decentralized social network leveraging blockchain technology, secured $80 million in a Series A round. These investments, among others, contributed to the increase in valuations and the emergence of four new Web3 unicorns in Q1.

Despite the recent progress, the future trajectory of Web3 remains uncertain. Metinko suggests that the next few quarters will be pivotal in determining the industry’s direction. While investors anticipate a rebound in investment as the decentralized internet evolves, it may take another year for venture capital activity to stabilize after the exuberance of 2021. Factors such as the approval of U.S. spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds and the upcoming Bitcoin halving could also influence the market, given the rising prices of Bitcoin and Ether.

A noteworthy example of significant funding in the Web3 space is Monad Labs’ recent successful funding round, which secured $225 million led by Paradigm. Monad Labs is a layer-1 blockchain compatible with Ethereum, offering faster transaction processing. This funding round harkens back to the golden era of crypto funding in 2021-2022, when L1 solutions attracted substantial investments.

Earlier this year, Balance, a digital asset custodian based in Canada, announced that it had once again reached $2 billion in assets under custody (AUC) amidst the recent market recovery. Similarly, Korea Digital Asset (KODA), the largest institutional crypto custody service in South Korea, has experienced remarkable growth in crypto assets under its custody, expanding by nearly 248% in the second half of 2023.

Analysts at Bernstein Research project that crypto funds could reach an impressive $500 billion to $650 billion within the next five years, representing a significant leap from the current valuation of approximately $50 billion. This forecast underscores the growing optimism and potential for substantial growth within the crypto industry in the coming years.

Source: cryptonews.com

The post Web3 Startups Raise Nearly $1.9B in Q1 2024 Despite Overall Downtrend in Crypto VC Interest appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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ASIC cracks down on blockchain mining firms

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Three blockchain mining companies – NGS Crypto, NGS Digital, and NGS Group – along with their directors, Brett Mendham, Ryan Brown, and Mark Ten Caten, are facing legal action from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for allegedly operating without a license, in violation of Australia’s Corporations Act. ASIC initiated legal proceedings against these entities on April 9, citing concerns about their non-compliance with financial regulations and their solicitation of Australian investors.

According to ASIC, the NGS companies promoted blockchain mining packages with fixed-rate returns to Australian investors, encouraging the transfer of funds from regulated superannuation funds to self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) for conversion into cryptocurrency. Approximately 450 Australians invested a total of around USD 41 million in these packages, raising concerns about potential financial losses.

The legal action filed by ASIC alleges that the companies violated section 911A of the Corporations Act, which prohibits companies from providing financial services without a valid Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). ASIC is seeking interim and final court orders to prohibit the NGS companies from offering financial services in Australia without an AFSL.

ASIC Chair Joe Longo emphasized the importance of investors carefully considering the risks before investing in crypto-related products through their SMSFs. Longo stated that ASIC’s actions send a message to the crypto industry about the regulator’s commitment to ensuring compliance with regulations and protecting consumers.

In a separate development, the Federal Court appointed receivers for the digital currency assets associated with the NGS companies and their directors to safeguard these assets amid concerns about the risk of dissipation. Mendham was also issued a travel restriction order, preventing him from leaving Australia.

While a court date for the proceedings has not been set, ASIC’s investigation is ongoing, with the regulator continuing to gather evidence and build its case. It is worth noting that the investigated companies share a similar name with NGS Super, a legitimate Australian pensions provider, leading to potential confusion among investors. NGS Super clarified that it is not involved in selling cryptocurrency or related products and has taken legal action to protect its trademark and members’ interests.

Source: iclg.com

The post ASIC cracks down on blockchain mining firms appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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