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How Tron’s Justin Sun plans to use Poloniex to capitalize on the DeFi craze

On this week’s episode of The Scoop, Sun said between Tron and Poloniex, this year the majority of his energy will be focused on the DeFi space. 

The post How Tron’s Justin Sun plans to use Poloniex to capitalize on the DeFi craze appeared first on The Block.

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Foxmont Capital Releases First PH Venture Capital Report

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Philippine-based venture capital fund Foxmont Capital Partners launched the Philippine Venture Capital Report 2020 on the final day of the Philippine Startup Week virtual conference last November 27, 2020.

The report, which is the first of its kind in the Philippines, is a joint effort between Foxmont Capital Partners, PWC Philippines, QBO Innovation Hub, UBX, and Manila Angel Investors Network. It was formally released to the public during the fund’s conference session entitled “Investor Perspective: Beginner’s Guide to Fundraising and Valuation” presented by Santi Ongsiako, one of Foxmont’s principals.

“It is an honor and a privilege to present the country’s first venture capital report that focuses on investing activity and startup trends in the Philippines,” said Ongsiako, noting that the report details all investor and VC activity made in the Philippines during the first half of 2020 as well as the drivers of the startup scene going into the new year.

The launch of the report coincides with the global pandemic which has affected not only businesses but the way people in general utilize technology in conducting day-to-day activities. This has greatly influenced the growth of the tech industry despite a downturn in most other industries.

Ongsiako added: “Despite the economic burden that the pandemic has placed in this country and all others, we found one thing to be clear: that startup activity in the Philippines has matured significantly in a very short period of time. Over the past three years we’ve seen local conglomerates announce new venture funds, the establishment of venture capital and private equity associates in the Philippines, and the Manila Angel Investors Network—both created to organize and structure the investment side of the industry.”

This statement is in line with the country’s startup ecosystem jumping 17 positions to rank 53rd in Startupblink’s 2020 Global Rankings in a span of three years. On a per-city level, Metro Manila rose 830 positions among the top 1,000 cities in the world for startups, making it into the top 31 to 40 bracket in Startup Genome’s Emerging Ecosystems Ranking for the same period.

Philippine Venture Capital Report highlights

Currently, Metro Manila’s startup ecosystem is valued at USD 1.6 billion in terms of total exit valuations and startup valuations compared to 2018’s recorded USD 378 million. While the startup scene is seeing considerable growth, the Philippines is still lagging behind other Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore and Indonesia in terms of deal volume.

The first half of 2020 recorded USD 51.8 million in venture capital funding at the early-stage level, surpassing the whole of 2019 which recorded only USD 37.9 million. However, this is still nowhere near 2018’s record high of USD 110.2 million in completed early-stage VC deals.

Makati City still remains as the top destination for local startups to establish their roots, accounting for 29 percent of total deal volume in the country. However, the city lags behind neighboring cities in terms of actual deal value.

Although Mandaluyong only accounts for seven percent of total deal volume, the city has a lion’s share of funds raised with 60 percent of total funding raised or about USD 335 million over the past two and a half years, owing largely to Voyager Innovations.

This year alone, Voyager received USD 120 million in private equity funding with notable sources being Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings, American private equity firm KKR and Voyager’s parent company PLDT through newly-issued shares.

This maintains fintech as the best funded industry in the Philippines’ startup ecosystem in the last three years, accounting for more than half of the top 20 investment deals and the top three being all fintech.

The second highest valued deal completed in the first half of 2020 is Tonik Finance’s seed stage funding led by Sequoia Capital India and Point72 Ventures worth USD 21 million to launch the digital bank in the Philippines by Q1 of 2021. This is followed by Uploan which raised USD 10.2 million in Series A funding from Infinity Ventures.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, there are 136 fintech startups in the country as of early 2020 with this number projected to grow annually by 16 percent. The mix of niches are distributed as follows: 29 percent for alternative finance; 22 percent for payments; 19 percent for Blockchain; and 30 percent for remittances, investments and crowdfunding platforms.

Other active sectors in the startup space are information technology and software solutions, and transport and logistics. Sectors on the watchlist are e-commerce and education technology which have seen great adoption primarily due to the pandemic, as well as healthcare and medicine.

Impact of COVID-19 to the tech industry

Many sectors of the Philippine economy have greatly been affected by the pandemic, having been through one of the toughest lockdowns in the world, with most of the country in some form of quarantine since March of this year.

While it has been especially hard on industries such as tourism and hospitality, the technology industry has experienced a significant boom as companies expedite digital transformation strategies and individuals adopt disruptive solutions to adapt to the limitation in movement.

Particular niches that have seen substantial growth are e-commerce and fintech with fintech being forecasted to increase its transaction value by 24 percent at the end of the year according to the Global Startup Ecosystem Report.

The report has identified key milestones that the country has achieved over the year in terms of increasing technological literacy:

  • The adoption of e-learning and non-traditional teaching platforms
  • The prevalence of remote work policies among both large corporations and SMEs
  • The rethinking of operational processes particularly with MSMEs, utilizing digital solutions to improve business resilience
  • The increase of digital-first businesses enabled by e-commerce platforms
  • The transition of traditionally less tech-savvy government agencies to adopting digital solutions to continue providing services to the public
  • The increase in tech literacy for older generations

In this light, particular companies that stood out during the pandemic are: HR and payroll solutions-provider Sprout Solutions; online grocery service MetroMart; on-demand personal services platform MyKuya; and telemedicine platform AIDE.

The full report is available to the public through the Foxmont Capital Partners’ official website.

This article is first published on BitPinas: Foxmont Capital Releases First PH Venture Capital Report

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Source: https://bitpinas.com/business/foxmont-capital-releases-first-ph-venture-capital-report/

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Hackers Demand 200 Bitcoin Ransomware After Compromising Leading Israeli Insurance Company’s Sensitive Data

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A notorious hackers’ group called The Black Shadow has compromised one of the largest insurance companies in Israel – Shirbit. The attackers have already released sensitive client documents and have demanded a ransom in bitcoin, which could rise to $4 million by the end of the week.

Israeli Insurance Company Hacked

According to a local media outlet, the first confirmation of the hack came on Monday evening. Representatives of The Black Shadow group posted an initial batch of compromised documents on a Telegram channel.

Shirbit had contacted the National Cyber Directorate and Capital Market Authority to open an investigation. Shortly after, the organizations confirmed the breach and indicated that the hackers have also leaked numerous insurance details, alongside the initial documents.

According to the report, Shirbit has many high-profile customers, including government employees. Company CEO Zvi Leibushor said that the safety of its clients is Shirbit’s top priority.

“Shirbit has invested millions of shekels in securing databases and protecting against cyber-attacks and meets all the stringent regulatory requirements in this area.” He added that the firm has invested “all resources and efforts needed for an effective safe and rapid solution to this cyber-attack, whose real goal is to try to harm the Israeli economy.”

Demand Requested In Bitcoin

After releasing a small part of the compromised documents, The Black Shadow reps have contacted the victims to request 50 bitcoins (about $960,000 with today’s prices).

However, in case Shirbit failed to pay the attackers within the first 24 hours, the demand would double to 100 bitcoins. The procedure will repeat and double to 200 bitcoins if another 24 hours pass without payment.

Furthermore, the hackers threatened the insurance company that if it fails to transfer the funds by the end of this week, they will sell all compromised data to other bidders.

It’s worth noting that numerous other Israeli companies and high-profile individuals have recently become victims of similar hacks and demands.

CryptoPotato recently reported that 20 Israeli crypto executives, all clients of the local telecommunications giant Partner, were hacked by stealing their SMS messages.

Another coverage informed that a new type of ransomware attacked called Pay2Key has been executed against several Israeli companies in the second part of 2020. The perpetrators had requested the demand in bitcoins, similarly to the Shirbit hack.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/hackers-demand-200-bitcoin-ransomware-after-compromising-leading-israeli-insurance-companys-sensitive-data/

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Bitcoin Price to Hit $36,000 in 2021: Kraken Crypto Sentiment Survey

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From what happened in the last couple of weeks, it appears that the crypto bull market is upon us. Bitcoin has been consistent with its volatility-induced rallies, and this is infusing confidence in investors.

So much, so that VIP clients in Kraken’s latest Crypto Sentiment Survey say that BTC will skyrocket to about $36,000 in 2021. They also feel that ETH could revisit its previous highs of $1500.

Bitcoin And ETH To Trade At Average Prices Of $15K and $549 By 2020 End

The latest Kraken Crypto Sentiment Survey covers investor sentiment for the second half of 2020. The exchange had already conducted a similar survey back in March this year. But then investors were way more optimistic about BTC and ETH price growth by December.

Now, the same respondents have retracted their bullish calls for bitcoin and ether (ETH) this year. According to the latest numbers,

The average bitcoin price target among 309 responses fell -35% surveyover-survey to $14,866, well below February’s average of $22,866. The median price target also retraced -28% from $19,424 to $14,000, and the most commonly cited price target was $15,000, down -25% from $20,000.

With respect to ether (ETH), the average price target among 289 responses was $549, off -32% from the previous survey’s average of $810. The median price target was unchanged at $500 and the most frequently cited price target was $500, up +66% from $300.

At 72 percent, traders and investors (down from 81 percent when the survey was conducted in March) comprised a majority of the survey responses. 18 percent of responses came from Institutions (broker, custodian, family office, hedge fund, lender, market maker, private equity firm, proprietary trading firm, or venture capitalist).

And the rest 4 percent – from crypto service providers (ATM, exchange, lender, payment processor) and miners. As compared to March, the researchers at Kraken anticipated a lower price growth optimism from the said respondents since the year is so close to its end.

The Outlook For 2021 Remains Super Bullish

When asked about how they see bitcoin and ether prices in the next year, respondents didn’t shy away from expressing their mega bullish calls. Survey participants called for an average bitcoin price target of $36,602 in 2021. Some put the median bitcoin price target at $25,000, but a lot of folks (approximately 61 percent) felt if not anything else, BTC will at least hit $20,000.

A small section of respondents reported hopium-induced ultra bullish calls.

Approximately, 8% of respondents provided a price target greater-than-or-equal-to $100,000, roughly 20% of respondents reported a price target greater-than-or-equal-to $50,000…

Survey participants were very optimistic about ETH’s outlook as well in the next year. This sentiment came from the discussions around Ethereum’s network upgrade and the growing popularity of the DeFi ecosystem. Respondents think ETH will trade at an average price of $1454 in 2021. Also, at the same time:

Close to 59% believe that ether will, at least, hit $800. Additionally, 22% of respondents see ether surpassing its previous all-time high of $1,595 set in early-January 2018 and just under 92% see ether, at the very least, trading higher than current price in 2021.

What becomes evident from the aforementioned numbers is that participants in a price prediction survey tend to project bullish figures for a longer-term.

Will Bitcoin(BTC) and ether (ETH) hit the above price targets in 2021? That still remains to be seen.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/bitcoin-price-to-hit-36000-in-2021-kraken-crypto-sentiment-survey/

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