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Andreessen Horowitz sets up a $515M crypto fund

Andreessen Horowitz sets up a $515 million crypto fund to help fund new blockchain projects – with this being the second fundraising campaign by the VC firm. 

According to the recent reports, Silicon Valley venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz has raised more than $500 million for creating a new crypto fund. The initial fundraising goal was $450 million, but the investment fund ended up nabbing in a total of $515 million. Chris Dixon and Katie Haun who led the investment clarified that the fund will be used to initiate a number of new blockchain projects. 

In an interview with Fortune, Chris stated, “It’s very rare that major, new computing paradigms come along, and we think this is on the scale of cloud and mobile for the Internet,” Chris and Katie explained that the fund will open up new avenues in the field of payments systems, digital stores of value, decentralized finance, Web3, and other ways to monetize content creators.  

Previously Andreessen Horowitz created another crypto investment fund worth $300 million, out of which $25 million went to Coinbase in 2013. Apart from Coinbase, the fund also invested in companies like Dfinity, MakerDAO, Compound, and Filecoin. Interestingly, Andreessen Horowitz was one of the first backers of Bitcoin and blockchain technology. 

The firm is also providing a free, seven-week blockchain education program, under its Crypto Startup School. Andreessen Horowitz partners and other top VCs are involved in the project. Promising projects also get an opportunity to pitch their ideas, and raise money. 

Andreessen Horowitz is clearly being actively involved in the crypto space, investing in projects, and setting up funds that will eventually trigger crypto and blockchain adoption. Last year, it also became a registered investment adviser, a distinction offered by the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

To sum it up, with a $515 million fund right there in place, it will be interesting to note how the capital will be allocated and to whom. Moreover, Marc Andreessen’s recent comment about rebuilding America amid the COVID disaster brings this question more into relevance.

Tranmere Rovers sets up problem gambling initiative with Gamban

Tranmere Rovers, its Chairman Mark Palios and its Captain Scott Davies have formed a partnership with The Big Step, Gamban and the NHS to help those impacted by problem gambling.

Emphasising the increased urge for problem gamblers to wager during isolation, the English League Two Football Club is aiming to help those affected by addiction.

However, the club’s announcement came with a headline containing the phrase “combat gambling threat,” seeming to paint all gambling with the same brush.

Tranmere Chairman Mark Palios: “When gambling gets out of hand it is like a virus itself and has huge consequences for individuals and families, undermining the relationships and destroying the trust that underpins everything.

“With the boredom and isolation that results from the  lockdown, it has never been more important to help those affected or at risk and we felt the time to act was now.

“The project with The Big Step is not just a short-term fix, but will evolve into a longer-term initiative too.”

Japanese STO Association Sets Guidance for Crypto Asset Management

Japanese STO Association

The Japanese STO Association lays down specific guidelines for the management of separately held customer assets and privacy. 

Recently, the Japanese House of Representatives announced that the revised Financial Instruments and Exchange Act (FIEA) will be enforced from May 1. In the latest development in this respect, The Japan Security Token Offering Association (JSTOA) has laid down a set of guidelines in regard to the separation of customer assets and electronic record transfer rights.

The Japanese STO Association held a meeting involving employees and the Board of Directors. In this meeting the number of rules were specified including those of electronic record transfer rights and management of customer assets. The meeting further stated that the JSTOA will monitor the management of separately held customer assets on a monthly basis along with certified public accountants and audits.

Moreover, in a quest to prevent investment solicitation, the board demanded a more lucid definition of digital asset sales to elderly customers so that it can outline specific guidelines regarding the same. – as the association believes that these people are more vulnerable to fraud.  

About the Japan Security Token Offering Association

The JSTOA is based in Tokyo and was founded in October last year. It was tasked to support the development of security token offering fundraising by involving industry experts while maintaining compliance with laws so that investors can be protected at all times. The JSTOA has backing from prominent names in japan like Nomura Securities, Rakuten Securities, SBI Securities, Monex, etc.

Crypto Regulations in Japan

Japan has been focusing on strengthening its regulatory compliance in regard to cryptocurrencies off late. As per schedule, the revised versions of the FIEA and Payment Services Act will come into effect from 1st May. 

Belgian Gaming Commission sets new limit on weekly stakes

Belgium’s Gaming Commission (BGC) aims to have stricter regulations during the coronavirus pandemic. It announced a €500 ($543) stake limit, which will reset weekly. It’s primarily aimed at the online gambling sites while the country’s land-based facilities are inactive.

The rule is mandatory for all licensed operators as well as players.

Players also have the right to tighten restrictions individually so they can lower the total available sum and the operator needs to comply immediately. At the same time, the player has the right to restore the weekly limit to the original amount within three days of the reduction.

The Commission also asked players to remain vigilant and inform the organisation of any license holders that refuse to obey the new limit. As protection for the players, any money spent above the €500 will be returned to the player and the unlawful operator will be sanctioned by the BGC.

The regulation took effect soon after Magali Clavie became the new president of BGC. Clavie, a former president of the Superior Council of Justice, replaced Etienne Marique on April 6.

The BGC emphasised that it’s meant to inform people of the potentially harmful effects gambling can have while the country is in lockdown. “While gambling has never been the solution to any problem, the current situation could see people spending more time on the internet especially on gaming sites,” the Commission said in a statement. “In addition, many people lose social control because they are alone at home.”

Binance Sets Up $50M Blockchain Fund with Indian Startup WazirX

Global cryptocurrency exchange Binance has announced a partnership with Indian cryptocurrency platform WazirX. Under this collaboration, Binance has designated a $50 million fund for the purpose of blockchain development in India. This update is a part of the ‘Blockchain for India’ initiative taken up by both these companies. 

WazirX was acquired by Binance in November 2019. It is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows the buying and selling of various digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, etc. The WazirX platform is powered by its native token named WRX. 

Blockchain for India initiative
The $50 million blockchain fund will be used to empower the development and adoption of blockchain-based offerings in India. The fund will reportedly be backed by native tokens of both the companies –  Binance Coin (BNB), Binance USD (BUSD) and WazirX (WRX).

Talking about the collaboration, Nischal Shetty, WazirX founder, and CEO said, “With this fund, we want to encourage and enable more and more founders and teams to come in and BUIDL. This initiative also shows the incredible potential that the Indian blockchain ecosystem has to offer.”

As a part of the initiative, the funds will also be used to mentor local Indian venture funds and recipients. Moreover, a number of universities and colleges will also receive help from the fund to set up their own blockchain incubators. Interestingly, all projects selected under this initiative will have complete access to Binance’s cloud, decentralized exchange, launchpad, research, academy, portfolio companies, Binance Chain and Binance X.

The Indian Cryptocurrency scenario
The cryptocurrency space in India has not flourished much over the years due to various regulatory constraints and government interventions. However, the financial authorities of the country have welcomed the prospect of crypto off late. Recently, the Supreme Court of India lifted the ban imposed by the RBI on trading cryptocurrencies.

The latest collaboration between Binance and WazirX aimed to enhance blockchain development and crypto opportunities in the country is definitely hints towards a bright future. 

Dutch government sets out guidelines for online gambling

The Netherlands government has published regulations underlining the key points of the Remote Gaming Act with parliamentarians able to submit their views, as online sports betting moves a step closer.

The regulations form part of the Remote Gaming Decree, setting out how operators should behave, and certain conditions which must be met, in order to obtain a licence.

Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), will be in charge of handling licence applications, which will be available to operators for five years. The KSA will make a final decision on applications within six months of submissions.

The licenses will cover online betting, such as peer-to-peer casino games like poker,  casino games where players bet against the house and horse racing. Sports betting is also covered, but odds will not be permitted on youth or amateur competitions, as well as on events that are deemed ‘easy to manipulate.’ However, the online lottery will not be included.

Gambling adverts will not be allowed to be shown until after a 9pm watershed. Justice Minister Sander Dekker, in a letter to parliament, warned against tighter restrictions on advertising, and would consider adding a six-month extension to the two-year cooling off period, where operators who had previously targeted Dutch players without a licence, would be unable to enter the market in that time.

The Dutch senate approved a draft bill on Remote Gambling in February 2019, with online gambling, which is currently illegal, set to go live in the Netherlands from 1 July 2021, six months later than the original date of 1 January.