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MELON, Metaverse Brand Experience Experts, Raises $5M Seed Round




MELON is announcing a $5M seed round. The game development team is behind numerous major music events on Roblox, as well as experiences for partners and clients including the NFL, Chipotle, Mattel, Clarks, and PacSun.

The seed round includes Crush Ventures, the investment arm of Crush Music whose management clients include Miley Cyrus, Sia, Green Day, Lorde, Weezer, Panic! at the Disco, and Fall Out Boy, as well as GaingelsComcast Spectacor, and a large SPV led by Matt Finick who has also joined MELON’s board. Finick was formerly CFO at Roblox and at Marvel Entertainment.

The round also includes notable strategic angels such as Paul Yook, health tech pioneer; Deborah Dugan, CEO of Beyond Type 1 and, former CEO of Product (RED) and The Recording Academy of Music; Spencer Baim, Chief Brand Officer at Kinship, former CCO of VICE Media; Ernie Pomeranz, former CFO of Moderna; Jason Ve, Head of BD/Brand Partnerships at 88rising; and Gene Salomon, partner at leading entertainment law firm Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman.

“At Comcast Spectacor, we’re always looking for new ways to engage fans with great events and memorable experiences, and that’s what this investment is all about,” says Tucker Roberts, President of Spectacor Gaming, a gaming and entertainment company connected to Comcast NBCUniversal. “MELON is on the cutting edge of bringing experiences directly to where Gen Z lives–their phones–and we’re looking forward to the continued innovations that Josh and his incredible team will make at MELON.”

“MELON is at the forefront of the creative explosion happening in the metaverse,” notes investor/board member Matt Finick. “They are perfectly positioned to build some of the most impactful experiences across music, film and TV, fashion, and sports over the next few years of critical growth on these developing platforms.”

“We’re extremely fortunate to have such a strong collective of early strategic investors in MELON,” explains Josh Neuman, co-founder/co-CEO of MELON. “The Metaverse and platforms within it are ripe for disruption and we’re looking forward to evolving our creativity and storytelling in collaboration with our partners, as well as via our original IP. With this group, we’re going to be able to strategize and navigate the evolving landscape at the highest level.”

Neuman’s extensive experience at the intersection of media, brands, pop culture, and technology reflects the expertise that has allowed MELON to set the standard for activations and events in Roblox. Before becoming MELON’s co-CEO in 2021, he was a co-founder and key executive of several multi-million dollar music media, branding, and talent companies, including 88rising, Recreation Worldwide (acquired by VICE Media), Control Management (former management of superstar DJ, Tiësto), and Crush Music. He architected a multifaceted partnership between Red Bull and Skrillex, landed Kanye West for Samsung’s launch of the Galaxy Note II, and worked closely with Bono’s Product (RED).

Neuman’s cultural savvy and branding experience complement the extensive gaming and development know-how of company founder/co-CEO Devon Thome. A wunderkind in his mid-20s, Thome has been creating jaw-dropping experiences and innovation in open-world and metaverse environments for years. He made a name for himself in Minecraft before mastering the art of creating games in Roblox, where most of MELON’s work is currently focused.

They lead a team at MELON that has attracted talent from major game studios (EA, Pokémon GO) and lifestyle brands (Urban Outfitters, Marketing Arm, Honda’s former agency of record).
Award-winning executive producer and marketing mastermind Heather Healy is MELON’s SVP of Partnerships and Operations, with nearly two decades of experience running high-profile campaigns. Healy helped launch the careers of Bruno Mars and Foster the People and developed award-winning marketing campaigns and strategic partnerships for Fortune 100 brands. MELON’s VP of Entertainment Partnerships Becky Wilson previously worked at Urban Outfitters where she led key music initiatives, including in-store events, collaborations, and partnerships with notable artists such as Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, SZA, Khalid and LANY.

MELON’s multifaceted team has honed a keen sense for what works in the metaverse, and brands have taken note. In addition, MELON has perfected the art of virtual music events, working with major labels and attracting millions of visitors to events for Tai Verdes, Ava Max, KSI and Zara Larsson. Larsson’s event won the studio a Clio this year.

“Crush Ventures looks to invest in teams that are building the future of how creators and fans will interact. Josh, Devon, and the MELON team have proven to be uniquely capable of building one-of-a-kind games and experiences. We’re thrilled to invest in and partner with MELON as we explore opportunities together for Crush’s talent in the metaverse,” notes Andrew Kahn, Head of Crush Ventures.


Virtualness want to be the Canva of Blockchain:Kirthiga Reddy




Virtualness is positioning itself as the Canva of the blockchain world, according to Kirthiga Reddy. Reddy, the former Managing Director of Facebook India, is now the CEO of Virtualness. She believes that the platform can empower users to create content and communities in the virtual space, similar to Canva’s success in the design world.

Virtualness aims to provide tools and resources that simplify the process of creating and managing virtual communities. Reddy envisions the platform as a one-stop destination for individuals and businesses looking to leverage the power of blockchain technology for community building.

The platform offers a range of features, including customizable templates, social media integration, and analytics tools, designed to streamline the creation and management of virtual communities. Reddy highlights the platform’s user-friendly interface and intuitive design as key factors in its appeal to users.

Virtualness is tapping into the growing demand for virtual experiences and communities, driven by the shift towards remote work and digital interaction. Reddy sees immense potential in the platform’s ability to democratize access to blockchain technology and empower users to create meaningful connections in the virtual world.

With Virtualness, Reddy aims to democratize access to blockchain technology and empower users to create meaningful connections in the virtual world. She believes that the platform has the potential to revolutionize the way people interact and collaborate online, much like Canva has transformed the design industry.

Virtualness has already garnered attention from investors and industry experts, positioning itself as a promising player in the burgeoning virtual community space. Reddy’s vision for the platform reflects her deep understanding of the digital landscape and her commitment to driving innovation in the blockchain industry.

Overall, Virtualness is poised to make a significant impact in the virtual community space, offering users a powerful tool to create, manage, and monetize their virtual experiences. With Reddy at the helm, the platform is well-positioned to become the go-to destination for virtual community building, much like Canva has become synonymous with design excellence.


The post Virtualness want to be the Canva of Blockchain:Kirthiga Reddy appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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Sei Foundation proposes a version 2 network upgrade to bring EVM compatibility




Sei Foundation, the overseeing entity of the Sei blockchain operating at Layer 1, has taken a significant stride towards version 2 of its network, as revealed in an announcement made on Monday. Spearheaded by Sei Labs, this upgrade aims to elevate the blockchain’s performance by introducing a high-performance instance of parallelized Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

Following the necessary approval of the governance proposal, the network upgrade is scheduled to take place one week later. This swift timeline underscores the Sei team’s dedication to continually enhancing the efficiency of their network.

The introduction of Sei’s parallelized EVM marks a notable technological advancement in the company’s operations. This innovation enables Ethereum-based contracts to be seamlessly deployed on the Sei platform, resulting in near-instantaneous execution. Such a feature drastically reduces transaction validation times, significantly elevating existing efficiency and effectiveness standards.

Version 2 of Sei’s blockchain, slated for release, will support Ethereum and parallel execution, akin to other high-performance blockchains like Solana. This development further solidifies Sei’s standing as a formidable player in the industry. The upcoming Sei v2 update will also compete with other parallelized EVMs, including popular ones like Monad and Neon, in the fiercely competitive blockchain landscape.

Sei Labs has already indicated that the current upgrade is poised to attract significant interest, given the applications available on Ethereum. Notable investors and partners such as Uniswap, Frax, X2Y2, Bancor, Balancer, Rarible, Layer Zero, Nansen, and The Graph are currently in discussions with Sei to access v2. The anticipated adoption of Sei v2 is a significant testament to the platform’s potential to emerge as a leading hub for blockchain collaboration.

Since its beta launch on the mainnet within Cosmos in August 2023, Sei has primarily focused on applications developed with Rust that run on Cosmos. However, with the introduction of Sei v2, the team intends to expand its reach by engaging both new and existing users and optimizing network compatibility. This strategic pivot aims to foster inclusivity and adaptability for development.

Having secured substantial funding in April 2023, Sei Labs is now prioritizing the transition to Sei v2. The successful funding round, which raised $30 million across two rounds from investors such as Jump and Multicoin Capital, underscores Sei Labs’ commitment to supporting the Sei blockchain ecosystem financially and technologically.

The recent developments at Sei exemplify a strategic direction aimed at enhancing the blockchain’s efficiency and competitiveness. By embracing cutting-edge technological innovations and bolstering support for Ethereum-based applications, Sei positions itself as a potential catalyst for its services and a significant player in the blockchain industry. Investors and the broader tech community are closely observing how this substantial change could shape the future of blockchain.


The post Sei Foundation proposes a version 2 network upgrade to bring EVM compatibility appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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Brazil Central Bank Crafting Crypto Regulation Plan, Expected by Year’s End




Brazil’s central bank has revealed a multi-phase strategy to regulate cryptocurrency and virtual asset service providers, intending to finalize the regulatory framework by the year’s end.

These regulations will establish guidelines to ensure and enforce increased transparency regarding the potential benefits and risks associated with these investments, the bank stated. It opted for a phased approach to effectively oversee Brazil’s cryptocurrency service market.

“The contributions received will be utilized as we proceed, and the regulatory proposals are slated for completion by the end of 2024,” the bank added.

Reuters reported that the central bank’s recent decision delays the finalization of the process, following a 2022 law granting the bank authority to formulate these regulations.

During a congressional hearing in the previous year, Otavio Damaso, the central bank’s director of regulation, anticipated completing the crypto regulations by June 2024.

In December 2023, the bank conducted a public consultation on the matter, concluding in January. Subsequently, it announced a new public consultation scheduled for the latter half of this year.

The central bank informed Reuters that the initial consultation aimed to gather feedback from the public on the proposed regulations, also addressing aspects not covered by the 2022 law, such as the segregation of assets by virtual asset service providers. To this end, the first public consultation necessitated “considerable dedication from the involved teams.”

Additionally, the bank is progressing with the regulation of stablecoins, especially those utilized for payments and foreign exchange.

Brazil Restricts Crypto Contributions in Elections
In an effort to curtail cryptocurrencies’ role in campaign finance, Brazilian authorities recently enforced a ban on crypto donations to political parties and candidates.

The electoral court defended this ban, underscoring the importance of transparency and traceability in campaign financing. It reiterated its commitment to safeguarding elections “against irregular or illicit practices.”


The post Brazil Central Bank Crafting Crypto Regulation Plan, Expected by Year’s End appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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