The Daily: Consensys Acquires Planetary Resources, New Zealand Backs Crypto R&D
In today’s edition of The Daily, we look at a company that has decided to expand from the cryptocurrency space into outer space by buying a venture focused on mining asteroids. We also cover an investment platform that has secured R&D funding from a government agency, as well as a limited-edition hardware wallet.
Struggling Space Startup
Consensys, the software company established by Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, has acquired struggling space startup Planetary Resources. The New York-based company said it will now operate its “space initiatives” out of Planetary Resources’ former facility in Redmond, Washington. The two sides did not share the financial details of the asset-purchase transaction, but it is safe to assume Consensys didn’t pay a lot.
When Planetary Resources was launched in 2012, the company promised to usher in an age of private entrepreneurship in the solar system. It said that it planned to expand humanity’s access to metals and minerals worth trillions of dollars and received the backing of many notable tech figures, such as Google’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt. However, by the start of this year, the company had failed to secure much-needed additional funding, leading to its decision to downsize its workforce and indefinitely delay its first asteroid-prospecting mission. Now it will be up to Lubin to prove he can become the Elon Musk of the cryptocurrency world by reviving Planetary Resources.
“Bringing deep space capabilities into the Consensys ecosystem reflects our belief in the potential for Ethereum to help humanity craft new societal rule systems through automated trust and guaranteed execution,” Lubin said. “And it reflects our belief in democratizing and decentralizing space endeavors to unite our species and unlock untapped human potential. We look forward to sharing our plans and how to join us on this journey in the months ahead.”
Callaghan Innovation Supports Vimba
Auckland-based cryptocurrency investment platform Mycryptosaver has announced it is changing its name to Vimba. The rebranding decision coincides with the announcement that the New Zealand government’s innovation arm, Callaghan Innovation, has agreed to back Vimba with R&D funding. The startup, which was originally founded as Mybitcoinsaver back in 2014, now claims to have 5,616 clients.
“This is a truly significant investment from Callaghan Innovation and a real show of faith in the future of this very exciting asset class,” Vimba CEO Sam Blackmore said. “The money will go towards new key features for our expanding service. We will use it to build secure multi-signature crypto wallets for our users and we’re also looking into expanding the range of cryptocurrencies available to them — beyond bitcoin and ethereum.”
After the investment was announced earlier this week, controversy erupted over reports that the government had spent taxpayers’ money on a Bitcoin company. However, Vimba soon issued a clarification stating that Callaghan Innovation had only approved a grant for 40 percent of the estimated cost of one of its projects, which was valued at roughly 315,000 New Zealand dollars in total.
10-Year Bitcoinniversary Memorabilia
Yesterday the cryptocurrency ecosystem celebrated the passage of 10 years since Satoshi Nakamoto announced the publication of the Bitcoin whitepaper. Hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger hardware wallet choose to mark the occasion by unveiling a new limited-edition device.
“The Ledger Nano S – White Paper Edition is meant as an homage to this iconic date, with its white casing and special engraving,” the company said. “Offering the same features as our standard device, it comes with the original whitepaper, in a made-for-the-occasion box.”
Crypto Is a Double-Edged Sword for Iranian Regime
According to reports from Iran, the head of the country’s Passive Defense Organization, Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali, described cryptocurrency as a double-edged sword for the regime in a recent TV interview. Unsurprisingly, the government wants to use the technology to bypass international financial sanctions, but fears it could also loosen its control of the economic activities of its citizens.
Jalali said that “cryptocurrencies are untraceable in the financial and monetary system of each country, but internationally they can provide us with great opportunities. Cryptocurrencies can help bypass certain sanctions through untraceable banking operations.”
He further called for the creation of a national Iranian cryptocurrency.
“Our major problem here is the U.S. dollar, because the United States uses its national currency to control any country’s SWIFT operations,” the general added. “So we should reduce dependence on the dollar and replace it with another currency.”
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