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Animoca Brands and Brinc open new NFT accelerator: Launchpad Luna

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Animoca Brands and Brinc open new NFT accelerator: Launchpad Luna

Animoca Brands, a provider of digital entertainment, blockchain, and gamification technologies, along with venture accelerator Brinc, today announced the launch of Launchpad Luna, a new accelerator program to identify, mentor, and invest in promising blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFT) startups.

Launchpad Luna will also accept high-potential startups seeking to adopt blockchain and NFTs into their core business. The Launchpad Luna accelerator will identify and foster NFT innovation in the fields of culture, art, entertainment, media, gaming, streaming, collectibles, insurance, finance, and data management; DeFi and additional verticals will be added in the future.

High-potential early-stage projects and startups that are accepted into the acceleration program will receive training, a launchpad, and a monetary investment of up to USD $500,000 (or equivalent) in exchange for equity and tokens.

The Program

Admission to the program will be prioritized for climate-conscious projects that drive digitalization that place emphasis on proof-of-stake protocols and sidechains instead of proof-of-work, and that have lower overall physical footprints. Accepted entrants will receive training in optimizing a blockchain business to minimize energy use and carbon emissions. This is in line with Brinc’s plan to invest and support the development of more than 1,000 climate-conscious startups in the next five years.

Startups accepted into the Launchpad Luna program will benefit from a unique combination of technical resources on product development, token design, fundraising, marketing, research, analytics support, and data management. Startups will also receive support to help them scale all aspects of their businesses; including access to world-class mentors in the crypto world along with key exchanges, chains, marketers, and investors within the networks of Animoca Brands and Brinc.

“Launchpad Luna is an initiative that furthers our mission to enable a more inclusive digital economy and we are honored at the level of enthusiasm and support we have received from the global NFT community. We are thrilled to be doing this with Brinc, the number one accelerator in the region. Brinc’s presence and network significantly increase our pathways into Europe, the Middle East, and China. And we look forward to establishing a new ecosystem of accelerators and startups at the epicenter of regional start-up activity that will allow us to contribute to the shape of the future.”

– Yat Siu, Co-Founder & Chairman of Animoca Brands

Background

In early 2021, Brinc took over management of the investments into 50 AI-focused companies from Zeroth.ai; Animoca Brands’ accelerator for artificial intelligence startups. This collaboration laid the foundation for the new accelerator program; as both organizations recognized a broader opportunity to scale value creation by leveraging each other’s expertise.

Brinc and Animoca Brands bring together leading experts in their respective fields. Brinc has made over 160 investments and is one of the world’s leading venture accelerators. Animoca Brands has invested in more than 60 businesses that are built around the use and/or trade of NFTs and has launched various blockchain projects including The Sandbox metaverse and the REVV Motorsport token and platform.

“As we bring Launchpad Luna to market, we could not think of a better partner than Animoca Brands; which has proven successes with projects like REVV Motorsport and The Sandbox. Given the rapid evolution of this market; startups need a support system to navigate the shifting landscape of platforms, chains, and go-to-market strategies. While investors need confidence that the projects they are backing have solid foundations and are ready for growth and scale.”

– Manav Gupta, Founder & CEO of Brinc

The accelerator has support from various mentors and partners with an interest in the NFT space including AppWorks, Blockparty, Dapper Labs (the company behind CryptoKitties, NBA Top Shot, and Flow Blockchain), EllioTrades, Featured by Binance, Gabby Dizon (co-founder of Yield Guild Games), Harmony (ONE), Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR), Mai Fujimoto (Miss Bitcoin), Mateen Soudagar (DCLBlogger), Metakovan (Metapurse), Mindfund, Sebastien Borget (co-founder of The Sandbox and chairman of the Blockchain Gamer Alliance), Virtually Human Studio (creators of ZED RUN), WhaleShark, and others.

For those interested, Launchpad Luna is now accepting applications.

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Binance to bring Bitcoin payments to Shopify via new partnership

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Binance to bring Bitcoin payments to Shopify via new partnership

Binance Pay users will be able to pay across merchants of Alchemy Pay’s partners, including e-commerce giant Shopify and software technology firm Arcadier.

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Binance to bring Bitcoin payments to Shopify via new partnership

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volumes, continues actively expanding into the crypto payments industry through a new crypto-to-fiat integration.

The company announced Tuesday a partnership with crypto-fiat hybrid payment platform Alchemy Pay to enable peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto payments at over 2 million global merchants through its payments application Binance Pay.

The new integration will allow users and merchants to pay and accept payments using 40 supported cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) in 18 countries where Alchemy Pay operates. Binance Pay users will be able to pay across merchants of Alchemy Pay’s partners, including e-commerce giant Shopify, software technology company Arcadier, mobile payment provider QFPay and others.

Founded in 2018, Alchemy Pay operates a global crypto-fiat payment gateway through 300 fiat and crypto payment channels in 65 countries, according to the company’s website. The company’s merchant networks also include Hong Kong’s biggest furnishing company Pricerite, Singapore’s Cé La Vi, Canadian footwear brand Aldo and Midwest Global Asia taxi services.

The firm is also running its own token, Alchemy Pay (ACH), an Ethereum-based token used to incentivize the ecosystem and access to the network’s consumption and governance. The ACH token has been seeing a skyrocketing surge recently, with its price rising more than 1,680% over the past 14 days.

At the time of writing, ACH is trading at $0.024, up nearly 100% over the past 24 hours, according to data from CoinGecko. On Tuesday, the token was listed by major global crypto exchange Coinbase.

Alchemy Pay 14-day price chart. Source: CoinGecko

Related: New study reveals high demand for payments in cryptocurrency

Alchemy Pay CEO John Tan said that Alchemy Pay’s partnership with Binance “significantly expands the practical backbone applications we build between the crypto and fiat worlds.” He also noted that the total value of the crypto market was “less than a tenth of a percent of what it is today” when Alchemy Pay was launched.

As previously reported, Binance Pay is a contactless P2P crypto payment feature on Binance, allowing users to send and receive crypto payments around the world. The app was launched in public alpha this March and is available to all eligible Binance users.

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Rothschild’s trust led funding round for Aspen Digital’s London expansion

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Rothschild’s trust led funding round for Aspen Digital’s London expansion

Aspen Digital aims for the Europe, Asia and Middle Eastern markets, leading the initiative by establishing headquarters in London and Singapore.

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Rothschild’s trust led funding round for Aspen Digital’s London expansion

Prominent British banker Jacob Rothschild’s investment firm Rothschild Investment Trust (RIT) Capital Partners partnered with New York-based Liberty City Ventures to lead pre-A funding for Aspen Digital, a crypto asset investment platform.

According to an official announcement, the funding round ended up raising $8.8 million to help the Hong Kong-based company develop an institutional crypto investment platform targeted at asset managers, institutions and professional investors. Aspen Digital CEO and co-founder Yang He said that the funding would also help the company penetrate into the London market. The company was founded initially to spearhead the issuance of an in-house security token, ASPEN, which represented $18 million worth of indirect ownership in the Colorado-based St. Regis Aspen Resort.

The announcement states other prominent investors include Somerley Capital, Cherubic Ventures, Token Bay Capital, and Thailand’s richest family and owner of Fortune magazine Chatchaval Jiaravanon and Chaval Jiaravanon. With the platform’s launch before the end of this year, Aspen Digital has shared intent to target budding Europe, Asia and the Middle Eastern markets. The company is currently planning to lead this initiative by establishing headquarters in London and Singapore.

Citing the rising interest for a single portal to manage all crypto holdings, Yang said:

“To have the oldest wealth management family in the world putting trust in us as a platform solution for the new world of crypto investment is a great validation.”

Adding to its existing services such as client portfolio reporting, risk management, market insights and custody solutions, Aspen’s new platform aspires to centralize prominent crypto offerings from market leaders including Celsius Network, Hex Trust and FTX.

Along similar lines, Cointelegraph previously reported on a survey highlighting investors’ interest in buying more crypto assets. Based on the information collected across a small group of 50 wealth managers and 50 institutional investors, 40% shared their intention to “dramatically increase their holdings.” However, the London-based surveyor Nickel Digital Asset Management highlighted that “many (investors) have just been testing the market to see how it works.”

Related: Thailand’s XSpring Capital raises $225M to build integrated financial marketplace

Just three months ago, Rothschild’s RIT invested $5.3 billion to acquire a stake in the Kraken crypto exchange. Based on Cointelegraph’s report, the move was made, as Kraken is preparing to “go public through a direct listing in 2022.”

Back in December 2020, RIT was also involved in a $142-million funding round for Paxos, a stable coin issuer partnered with PayPal.

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FTX launching NFT sports platform, backs LCS esports league with 7 year deal

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FTX launching NFT sports platform, backs LCS esports league with 7 year deal

FTX is teaming up with Dolphin Entertainment to create an NFT marketplace that will target brands within sectors such as sports, entertainment, gaming, esports and charity.

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FTX launching NFT sports platform, backs LCS esports league with 7-year deal

FTX is launching a nonfungible token (NFT) platform centered on sports and entertainment and has also stitched up a new sponsorship with professional esports league the League Championship Series LCS.

According to Variety, FTX US is teaming up with Dolphin Entertainment to create a “large scale” NFT marketplace that will target brands within the sports, entertainment, gaming, esports and charity industries to name a few.

We’re beyond excited to team up with Dolphin Entertainment to create an NFT marketplace for major sports and entertainment brands—including film, television, music, gaming, eSports, culinary, lifestyle and charity industries.

Dolphin Entertainment FTXhttps://t.co/RgKXuWfViF

— FTX (formerly Blockfolio) (@blockfolio) August 2, 2021

“We are excited to build marketplaces with Dolphin, both because of their ability to access content and IP, but also because they are leaders in public relations and influencer marketing for every major vertical of entertainment,” said Brett Harrison, president of FTX US.

“There are several items on the horizon that we can’t wait to launch together,” he added.

Dolphin Entertainment is a Florida-based TV and film production company that owns several independent PR and marketing firms that service the sectors outlined for the new NFT marketplace.

Details are sparse on the launch date or what blockchain will be utilized, however, Dolphin will work alongside FTX to provide the branding, production and marketing of the NFT platform, while FTX will provide the backbone with crypto exchange services and blockchain tech development.

Related: Top Shot to sell exclusive NFT moments at live basketball games

FTX is also backing the professional LCS esports league for Riot Games’ League of Legends (LoL). According to an Aug. 4 announcement from LoL, the exchange has signed a sponsorship deal for seven years.

FTX previously signed a naming rights deal in June to sponsor esports brand Team SoloMid for $210 million. However, the team was promptly barred from donning the FTX’s logo in esports competitions hosted by Riot Games, as it violated the game developers’ guidelines about crypto exchange partnerships. The team is currently allowed to bear the logo outside of North America and online via social media.

The new partnership is the largest sponsorship deal Riot has signed for an esports league, however, FTX’s monetary outlay is undisclosed at this stage.

“Starting this weekend, fans will notice FTX branding on the LCS broadcast around the most valuable currency in League of Legends: Gold. Player net worth, total team gold and those rollercoaster gold graphs will all be presented by FTX,” the announcement read.

FTX will also sponsor the LCS most improved player award that is voted on each season.

The latest partnership adds to FTX’s list of sponsorship deals this year, which includes Major League Baseball, a $135-million 19-year naming rights deal for the Miami Heat’s home arena, and the $210-million naming rights deal for Team SoloMid.

FTX is a popular crypto and derivatives exchange fronted by ambitious billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried. The firm recently raised $900 million in a Series B funding round at a valuation of $18 billion.

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