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FinCEN Weighs In

Greetings from the very beginning of NYC Blockchain Week. This is where it all started just two years ago, when ETH and BTC prices began their meteoric rise in 2017, soon to be followed by the ICO boom and bust. Read more…

The post FinCEN Weighs In appeared first on The Barefoot VC.

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Greetings from the very beginning of NYC Blockchain Week. This is where it all started just two years ago, when ETH and BTC prices began their meteoric rise in 2017, soon to be followed by the ICO boom and bust. The feeling is less frothy and more realistic, but just as exciting in my opinion. We’ve already lived through a major cycle in these past two years, and the energy I see reflects the building that’s been happening over the past year. As if on cue, BTC prices are back over $6000 and not negatively impacted by the news of the Binance hack — Taiwan-based Binance is the largest crypto exchange in the world by volume.
Speaking of which, up until this morning, the Binance hack was the biggest news to hit the sector in the past week. However, this morning FinCEN (the US Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) released a 30 page guidance document outlining which companies/business models within the crypto space would fall under its jurisdiction – particularly which companies would be money transmitters (MSBs) under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and must obtain licenses in the states they do business and be subject to federal know-your-customer (KYC) regulations. Having just read through the entire document, I think it is significant in the clarity it provides. From my view, it also delineates regulatory authority between FinCEN and the SEC in the US. While the SEC has not provided guidance on “utility tokens” my read is that they are captured in the FinCEN document.
A few other interesting points of note (I’m sure legal experts will opine in more detail in the coming days but these are my quick takeways):
  • the document delineates between custodial (ie, Coinbase) and non-custodial wallets (ie, Blockchain.com) – citing that non-custodial wallets are NOT subject to MSB laws
  • privacy coins would not automatically be exempt “because [they] choose to provide money transmission services using anonymity-enhanced CVC [convertible virtual currency]”
  • decentralized exchanges (DEXs) – as long as they do not engage in order matching – are NOT subject to MSB laws
  • crypto payment processors are NOT exempt from MSB the same way payment processors are because they “do not operate…through clearing and settlement systems that only admit BSA- regulated financial institutions as members”
  • dApp (decentralized application) developers are not MSBs until the dApp is actually used, at which point “if an investor or an owner/operator uses or deploys the dApp to engage in money transmission denominated in CVC, then the investor or the owner/operator generally qualifies as a money transmitter under the BSA”
  • miners who mine for their own usage are not MSBs – however, if they operate services for others they would be subject to MSB law
  • crypto ATMs do qualify as MSBs
  • companies offering ICO pre-sales are MSBs as “the seller is the only person authorized to issue and redeem…new units of CVC “; however, P2P resale in secondary markets is not covered unless other regulation applies – in this case, likely under SEC regulation
Regarding the Binance hack revealed on Thursday, the ensuing discussion on whether to “roll back” the hacked transactions on the bitcoin blockchain was just as newsworthy as the hack…summary below:
The hack resulted in the loss of over 7,000 BTC (approx $40M) from Binance’s hot wallet. According to the Company, hackers’ techniques varied, including “phishing, viruses and other attacks,” The hackers were also able to gain access to users’ two-factor authentication (2FA) codes. This loss represented about 2% of Binance’s BTC holdings.
Although some community members offered to help cover the loss, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) confirmed the exchange would use its Secure Fund for Users (SAFU). This fund was established in July 2018 as an emergency insurance fund for “extreme cases” and is set up from a % of trading revenues the exchange generates.
In the immediate aftermath, the Binance team indicated that it had considered but rejected the idea of a bitcoin blockchain reorg, which would have involved incentivizing bitcoin miners to form a consensus to roll back the transactions that resulted in the loss. CZ outlined the pros and cons on Twitter, arguing that the potential to cause “a split in both the bitcoin network and community” overshadowed the “$40m revenge.” The mention of this idea sparked outrage – with much of the community arguing that the idea of a reorg was antithetical to the bitcoin network’s value of immutability. Others praised CZ’s transparency in publicly discussing the rollback conceptualy.
Whew, lots of other news below and we’re in only in Day One of NYC Blockchain Week….

Source: http://thebarefootvc.com/2019/05/13/fincen-weighs-in/

Private Equity

Ordermark Funded $120M to Expand its Virtual Business

Virtual

Ordermark is based in Los Angeles, CA, one of the leading online ordering management solutions for restaurants and virtual restaurant concepts.

Ordermark was funded $120 million series C round funding. The funding was led by prominent technology investor SoftBank Vision Fund and joined by returning investor Act One Ventures. The grant will use to help more restaurants transition to online ordering during the pandemic and beyond.

The company’s software consolidates incoming orders from multiple platforms and sends them to a single printer. Ordermark also operates a company

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Ordermark is based in Los Angeles, CA, one of the leading online ordering management solutions for restaurants and virtual restaurant concepts.

Ordermark was funded $120 million series C round funding. The funding was led by prominent technology investor SoftBank Vision Fund and joined by returning investor Act One Ventures. The grant will use to help more restaurants transition to online ordering during the pandemic and beyond.

The company’s software consolidates incoming orders from multiple platforms and sends them to a single printer. Ordermark also operates a company called Nextbite, a portfolio of 15 readymade virtual brands such as CraveBurger, Firebelly Wings, and HotBox by Wiz, a collaboration with rapper Wiz Khalifa. Restaurants can offer these delivery-only brands out of existing kitchens, opening up additional revenue streams.

Jeff Housenbold, the Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said. They believe Ordermark is a leading technology platform and innovative virtual restaurant concepts transform the restaurant industry. And they are excited to support their mission to help independent restaurants optimize online ordering and generate incremental revenue from under-utilized kitchens.

The rise of ghost kitchens and virtual restaurants, often referred to as the 3rd wave of food delivery, have paved the way for a broader addressable market for online food delivery.

The statement of Alex Canter, the chief executive officer behind Ordermark 2020, has been a tough year for restaurants. That’s why they are focus on providing products and services to help keep their doors open. This funding allows them to offer more restaurants with innovative ways to reach more consumers.

By: K. Tagura

Author statement:

Funded.com is the leading platform for accredited investors network worldwide. We monitor and provide updates on important funding events. Angel Investors and Venture Funding can be a key growth for a startup or existing business. Whether it is a first, second or third round financing having a strategic alliance with an Angel Investor or Venture Capital financing can propel a business to the next level and give the competitive edge.

Source: https://www.funded.com/blog/2020/10/ordermark-funded-120m-to-expand-its-virtual-business/

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Private Equity

Alternative Investments/ESG: Amundi Launches Sustainable ETF With Exposure To Japanese Stocks

The Amundi Index MSCI Japan SRI UCITS ETF offers exposure to large and mid-cap companies with outstanding Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings in the Japanese market. The new ETF is an extension of Amundi’s range of sustainable ETFs.

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Alternative Investments/ESG: Amundi Launches Sustainable ETF With Exposure To Japanese Stocks

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Amundi’s new ESG ETF invests in large and mid-cap Japanese stocks.

The Amundi Index MSCI Japan SRI UCITS ETF offers exposure to large and mid-cap companies with outstanding Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings in the Japanese market.

The new ETF is an extension of Amundi’s range of sustainable ETFs. (ETF Stream)

Amundi Index MSCI Japan SRI UCITS ETF

The ETF tracks the performance of the MSCI Japan SRI Filtered ex Fossil Fuels Index, which in turn is an equity index based on the MSCI Japan Index (the parent index). The index is representative of the large and midcap stocks of the Japanese market.

It excludes issuers involved in Nuclear, Tobacco, Thermal Coal, Alcohol, Gambling, Controversial Weapons, Conventional Weapons, Civilian Firearms, Oil & Gas, Fossil Fuels, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), and Adult Entertainment.

Its total expense ratio is 0.18%. No performance fees apply.

It is an accumulation fund and will be managed by Amundi Luxembourg SA, an entity that is part of the Amundi group.

The ETF is market-cap weighted and includes a 5% capping on issuer weights. It comprises 68 stocks, compared to 320 names in its parent index.

The fund’s largest holding is Nintendo with 5.6% weighting ahead of Daikin Industries with 5% and Sony with 4.7%.

It is listed on the Deutsche Boerse and Euronext Paris.

ESG ETFs continue record run

European ESG ETFs continued their strong trend and set a record for assets gathered in a month (€3.9 billion), according to the latest Money Monitor report from Lyxor ETF for September.

Related Story:  Amundi Expands ESG Range With Two New ETFs

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/alternative-investments-esg-amundi-launches-sustainable-etf-with-exposure-to-japanese-stocks/

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Private Equity

Artificial Intelligence: Intel First To Deploy AI “On Edge” In Space

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) has the distinction of launching the first onboard AI processing chip into space. Earlier this month, the European Space Agency and Intel announced the successful deployment in space of PhiSat-1, the first-ever satellite with onboard AI-processing capabilities. Launched from a rocket dispenser on September 2, the PhiSat-1 is positioned about 530 km above our heads, moving at a speed of 27,500 km per hour in a sun-synchronous orbit.

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Artificial Intelligence: Intel First To Deploy AI “On Edge” In Space

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A satellite the size of a cereal box, carrying a camera and an AI chip, is now in orbit.

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) has the distinction of launching the first onboard AI processing chip into space. Earlier this month, the European Space Agency and Intel announced the successful deployment in space of PhiSat-1, the first-ever satellite with onboard AI-processing capabilities. (Business Insider)

Launched from a rocket dispenser on September 2, the PhiSat-1 is positioned about 530 km above our heads. It is moving at a speed of 27,500 km per hour in a sun-synchronous orbit.

PhiSat-1

The satellite’s objective is to monitor polar ice and soil moisture, as well as to test inter-satellite communication systems.

The satellite carries a hyperspectral-thermal camera and an Intel Movidius™ Myriad™ 2 Vision Processing Unit (VPU). The latter is responsible for the AI heavy lifting operations onboard the spacecraft.

Myriad’s immediate function is to curate the huge mass of data captured by the camera.

AI at the ultimate edge – space

The big problem facing the scientists was the sheer volume of data generated by the hi-fidelity camera onboard the PhiSat-1. The camera unfortunately does not know how to differentiate between a cloudy and clear environment.

It, therefore, takes a large number of photographs that are useless because, at any given time, clouds envelop two-thirds of the earth’s surface.

The junk photos consume precious internet bandwidth to send down to earth. After all that, scientists would likely delete the unclear photos.

The scientists decided to use onboard AI (also known as “on edge” processing) to curate the photos. Myriad-2 would examine the images, trash the useless ones, and send only the good ones to earth.

By discarding the cloudy images at the source, they saved nearly 30% of bandwidth.

“Artificial intelligence at the edge came to rescue us, the cavalry in the Western movie,” says Gianluca Furano, data systems and onboard computing lead at the European Space Agency.

“Space is the ultimate edge,” says Aubrey Dunne, chief technology officer of Ubotica, the Irish startup that built and tested PhiSat-1’s AI technology. “The Myriad was absolutely designed from the ground up to have an impressive compute capability but in a very low power envelope, and that really suits space applications.”

Ubotica worked with cosine, the maker of the camera, in addition to the University of Pisa and Sinergise.

After three weeks of testing, the team could establish that Intel’s Myriad AI onboard the PhiSat-1 was working fine.

ESA then announced “the first-ever hardware-accelerated AI inference of Earth observation images on an in-orbit satellite.”

Satellite-as-a-service!

Scientists can now visualize multiple applications of AI on satellites.

For example, the satellite, during one orbit, could switch from spotting wildfires on land to rogue ships or environmental accidents at sea such as oil spills.

It could measure crops and soil moisture over farms and forests, and assess the ill effect of climate change on melting ice caps.

Related Story:   Satellites and AI Could Together Predict Wildfires Accurately

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/intel-first-to-deploy-ai-on-edge-in-space/

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