Payments Giant Visa Acquires Fintech Firm Plaid for $5.3 Billion

Payments behemoth Visa acquired financial technology firm Plaid for $5.3 billion, according to a press release published on Jan. 13. Per the release, Plaid has developed a network that allows users to easily connect their financial accounts to the apps they use to manage their financial lives. The firm’s products reportedly allow for convenient sharing of financial information with thousands of apps and services by allowing users to link various accounts.  The announcement states that 75% of the world’s internet-enabled consumers used a fintech application for moving funds. As such,…

Analytics Firm Training Students to Detect Cryptocurrency Scams

Cryptocurrency analytics firm CipherTrace has launched “Defenders League,” a program designed to provide students with the training and tools necessary to investigate crypto-related scams.  On Jan. 13 CipherTrace announced partnerships with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Middlesex University London, and the Blockchain Acceleration Foundation (BAF). The Defenders League will initially consist of graduate students from Middlebury and Middlesex, along with BAF students at nine universities located across California. CipherTrace’s chief financial analyst, John Jeffereies, told Cointelegraph that the Defenders League’s objective is to make the crypto economy…

Huobi Exchange Partners With UAE Real Estate Firm to Enable Crypto Payments

Major cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has partnered with a real estate firm in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to allow real estate investors to pay in cryptocurrencies. The Singapore-based crypto exchange has entered a partnership with fäm Properties, a tech-driven real estate agency based in Dubai, to offer crypto payment options for its real estate investors, UAE-based business publication AMEinfo.com reports Jan. 12. Crypto to enable more stability and liquidity in the real estate market Specifically, the partnership enables fäm Properties to accept payment in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH),…

Asian Conglomerates Lead $31M Round for Blockchain Remittance Firm Lightnet

Lightnet, the company behind the Velo Protocol, recently raised $31.2 million in a Series A round. The funding was led by major financial and business groups including UOB Venture Management, Seven Bank, Uni-President Asset Holdings, HashKey Capital, Hopeshine Ventures, Signum Capital, Du Capital and Hanwha Investment and Securities, according to a press release on Monday. UOB Venture Management is the investment arm of Singapore-based multinational United Overseas Bank, while Seven Bank is part of the group owning the 7-Eleven franchise in Japan. Further adding to the notable roster of backers,…

Blockchain Developer Ant Financial Ranks Fifth Largest Private Firm in China

Fintech and blockchain developer Ant Financial, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has been ranked the fifth most valuable private firm in China. In an inaugural rankings report by Hurun, which is best known for compiling a rich list for China, Ant Financial is the top firm in its field and fifth largest in a ranking of all firms across industries. Published on Jan. 9, the report reveals that Ant Financial has hit a market valuation of $143 billion, based on a closing price from Nov. 29, 2019.  Alibaba ranked…

Interpol Collaborates With Cybersecurity Firm to Tackle Cryptojacking

Interpol has collaborated with cybersecurity firm Trend Micro to reduce cryptojacking affecting MikroTik routers across South-East Asia, according to a Jan. 8 press release. Though the collaboration reduced the number of affected devices by 78 percent, this is unlikely to have made a significant impact on mining hashrate. Cryptojacking is a malicious practice where attackers infect common devices with crypto mining malware, utilizing the victim’s resources to mine cryptocurrency. Cybersecurity firm Trend Micro collaborated with Interpol’s Global Complex for Innovation, based in Singapore, to sanitize MikroTik routers infected with mining…

Crypto Lending Firm BlockFi Adds Support for Litecoin and USD Coin

Major cryptocurrency lending company BlockFi has added support for two new assets to its list of supported digital currencies. According to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Jan. 8, the firm has added major altcoin Litecoin (LTC) and USD Coin (USDC) — the dollar-backed stablecoin from major United States-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.  The new additions mean that BlockFi users can now trade and receive loans as well as interest with the aforementioned cryptocurrencies. Clients can earn monthly compounding interest through the BlockFi Interest Account (BIA). USDC carries an annual…

CEO of Crypto Firm Longfin to Pay $400K in Settlement with SEC

An update from the courtroom shows that Venkata S. Meenavalli, the CEO of the embattled crypto firm Longfin, has finally yielded to paying a disgorgement fine of $400,000. The case filed against the supposed cryptocurrency firm last year by the SEC at the US district court for the southern district of New York alleged that Longfin Corp. and its acting chief executive officer misinterpreted their finances and lied to obtain a listing on the Nasdaq. According to the complaint, Longfin CEO Meenavalli created and managed a scheme that helped him…

Tax Compliance Firm TaxBit Raises $5M to Improve Crypto Tax Reporting

TaxBit, a crypto-oriented tax compliance firm, has raised $5 million in a seed round that saw participation from the Winklevoss twins’ family office, Winklevoss Capital. In a Jan. 6 announcement, TaxBit said that it plans to use the raised funds to enhance its software products on an international scale as its tax reporting tool has amassed thousands of everyday crypto users so far. Specifically, the Utah-based firm is planning to accelerate customer growth both in the U.S. and in regions like Canada, United Kingdom and Australia, TaxBit noted. TaxBit’s crypto…

Ousted Co-Founder of Crypto Mining Firm Bitmain Opposes Layoffs

Micree Ketuan Zhan, the co-founder of Bitmain who was recently dismissed by Bitmain’s current CEO Jihan Wu, has publicly opposed layoffs at the firm. As Bitmain — the world’s largest cryptocurrency mining firm — is reportedly planning to cut its workforce by 50% before the next Bitcoin (BTC) halving, Zhan claimed that he is “firmly opposed to layoffs” in a Jan. 6 Weibo post addressed to Bitmain employees. Zhan argues that Bitmain cannot lose its leadership in a highly competitive market Apart from claiming that Bitmain does not need to…