Bitcoin (BTC-USD) and Ether (ETH-USD) might not be doing much… But overall, this week’s news is encouraging on several fronts – as pioneers in the New Digital World keep building in a bear market. Let’s take a look.
Loopring Wins on GameStop News
Among the biggest gainers today is Loopring (LRC-USD), which has the good fortune to be chosen for GameStop’s (NYSE:GME) new wallet. Since GameStop Wallet is intended for Ethereum NFTs and crypto, it needs a “Layer 2” scalability solution, as Ethereum transactions are notoriously slow and expensive…and that’s what Loopring provides.
Lately everyone and their mom seems to be launching a self-custody wallet! In the past week, Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) added one to its app… Robinhood (NASDAQ:HOOD) announced a separate app for your NFTs… And interestingly, Ledger announced a new browser extension intended to let you manage your crypto in its hardware wallet – without compromising security.
Like Ledger Connect, GameStop’s wallet is a browser extension. As such, it’ll be directly competing with the biggest name in crypto wallets: MetaMask.
MetaMask’s biggest challenges – and opportunities – lie in providing flexibility and a decent interface for its users. The wallet that can achieve these could rule the New Digital World. And since GameStop is a multi-billion-dollar company with incredible name recognition and a devoted army at its back…it could be a very major contender in this arena. Stay tuned.
Crypto Founders Raise Another $344 Million From VCs
Outside of the Terra (LUNA-USD) debacle, crypto founders not named Do Kwon put their heads down and went on with business – including raising venture capital.
In the past week, I count 17 new fundraising rounds to crypto blockchains, totaling $344 million, with individual rounds averaging $20 million. And it’s very possible I’m missing a few.
None of these made Crunchbase’s list of The Week’s 10 Biggest Funding Rounds, which ranged from $82 million to $400 million each! We’re a long way from February, when Polygon (MATIC-USD) raised $450 million from Sequoia Capital, SoftBank, Galaxy Digital, and Kevin O’Leary of “Shark Tank” in a single round.
Yet the venture capital certainly hasn’t dried up, even in this painful market. And several of the biggest deals – totaling $137 million – went to Web3 gaming startups:
- N3TWORK Studios raised $46 million for its mobile games, “Legendary: Heroes Unchained” and “Triumph,” where your in-game purchases are NFTs and players can earn crypto.
- BUD raised $37 million for its metaverse app
- MetaTheory, co-founded by Kevin Lin of Twitch, raised $24 million for its “DuskBreakers” games.
- Azra Games and FreshCut raised $15 million each for a role-playing game (RPG) and a gaming video platform, respectively.
That’s more than double the fundraising going on in DeFi this past week. And who can blame investors large and small for shying away from DeFi right now, when Anchor Protocol (ANC-USD) on Terra just backfired so spectacularly?
Incredibly, though, Pebble managed to launch its seed round ($6.2 million) to offer 5% savings accounts based on stablecoins! It just goes to show how crucial stablecoins will remain in the New Digital World, even though the TerraUSD (UST-USD) stablecoin has utterly failed.
I also view it as another vote of confidence in USD Coin (USDC-USD), which Pebble will use in its accounts. After all, USD Coin is structured quite differently from Terra’s stablecoin: There’s no algorithm involved in its dollar peg – and a substantial backing in actual U.S. dollars.
The other major funding for a blockchain/crypto startup, worth $36 million, went to Certora. As CoinDesk described it, their “Prover tool is meant to complement human audits and bug bounties” so “developers [can] detect and prevent security mistakes before code is deployed.”
I certainly agree that cybersecurity is worth pouring millions of dollars into! All the high-profile hacks and attacks prove that we’re still very much in the “Wild West” era of crypto.
Speaking of bounties and high-profile hacks…
“White Hat” Hacker Earns $10 Million Reward From Wormhole
Remember Wormhole, the Ethereum bridge to other blockchains like Solana (SOL-USD), which was hacked for $320 million in February? It was the worst crypto hack of the year – until Axie Infinity (AXS-USD) was taken for $625 million in March!
On Friday, we started learning the results of Wormhole’s bug bounty program. If “white hat” hackers find and report a vulnerability – before a “black hat” hacker exploits it to attack or manipulate Wormhole – they could earn up to $10 million!
And that’s exactly what happened. Two weeks after the bounty program began, a white-hat hacker found a problem with Wormhole’s upgrade process for smart contracts. Some would say any upgrade to smart contracts undermines the whole reason for using them in the first place… Nonetheless, it’s something developers need to do if there’s a bug. And this is where the white-hat found a “self-destruct bug” that could be exploited to steal user funds.
In return, he won the maximum bounty of $10 million. “Wormhole is sending a clear message with this payout to the best, most talented white-hats on the planet that if they responsibly disclose security vulnerabilities to Wormhole, they’ll be well taken care of. Everyone wins in this arrangement, especially Wormhole’s users,” concluded Immunefi, the bug-bounty platform Wormhole is using.
Like the other startups mentioned earlier, Wormhole is funded by venture capital – specifically, by Jump Crypto – and it’s using this cash to expand to Algorand (ALGO-USD). That’ll be Wormhole’s tenth blockchain integration, as CoinDesk reported last week. So, it’s nice to see the bridge provider investing in security as well as growth! It’s a wild New Digital World out there, for sure, and we need to be able to move through it safely.
For now, a very different type of project is in the spotlight here at InvestorPlace as Luke Lango’s top pick for his Crypto Investor Network now. He just announced the top buy on Friday, so if you missed it, go here to learn more about Crypto Investor Network and how Luke’s team identifies the best cryptos for your money.
On the date of publication, Ashley Cassell did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines. To have more news from The New Digital World sent to your inbox, click here to sign up for the newsletter.