Licensed Crypto Exchange Seed CX Raises $15 Million in Funding Round

Francisco Memoria
  • Licensed cryptocurrency exchange Seed CX has announced it raised $15 million in its series B funding round.
  • This brings its total funding to $25 million. The funds are set to be used in a number of ways, including nearly doubling its staff.

Seed CX, a licensed cryptocurrency exchange focusing on institutional investors, has recently revealed it raised $15 million in its series B funding round, which was led by Bain Capital Ventures and OKCoin.

The Chicago-based crypto exchange, according to a press release, offers institutional trading and settlement for crypto’s spot market and related derivatives regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

The round brings Seed CX’s total funding to date to $25 million. Its funds are set to be used to expand its physical trading infrastructure, double its team to close to 40, and broaden its network of institutional trading groups. The exchange has reportedly already hired heavyweights, including the former managing director at CME Group John Hart.

According to Business Insider the company is currently in the process of onboarding clients. Its CEO and co-founder, Edward Woodford, noted the exchange’s growth has been tied to hedge funds’ interest in the crypto space. Per his words, funds are now getting comfortable with the market.

Woodford was quoted as saying:

They now see it in the same way they see the VIX and gold. One fund manager told me he wants it as a part of his macro strategy as a hedge against the broader portfolio.

Institutional investors’ growing interest, he noted, is tied to the trading technology in the space, as “in the finance world, anything less than 99.999% uptime seems pretty horrendous.” Crypto exchanges, he claimed, were created for retail investors, where lower uptime isn’t such “a big deal.”

Seed CX is reportedly going to help investors manage risks in their operations through a number of features that include a regime of trade surveillance and audit trails. Woodford added that out of the firms that have shown interest in using Seed CX, those who have never traded cryptocurrencies are in the “double digit percentage.”

In the press release, Woodford was quoted as saying:

As a licensed exchange for both spot and derivatives trading, we deliver the operational risk safeguards, strong institutional technology, operational support, and regulatory compliance that institutions demand. What is particularly exciting is that our unique offering brings large institutional traders, who have so far sat on the sidelines, into the crypto space for the first time.

Despite the interest institutional investors have in the space, some are taking a cautious approach, as they’re wary about the regulatory uncertainty surrounding crypto. Per Business Insider, a crypto hedge funder revealed some believe the SEC may go after ether’s founders and early adopters for “promoting an unregistered security.”

As CryptoGlobe covered the SEC recently announced its “first-ever enforcement action finding an investment company registration violation by a hedge fund manager based on its investments in digital assets."

Cannabis Shops Turn to Crypto Apps Amidst Coronavirus Cash Shortages

Michael LaVere
  • Cannabis shops in Boulder, Colorado are using bitcoin payment app Strike to conduct "contactless" exchanges.
  • Cash shortages and lack of sanitation are causing businesses to find alternative means for transaction. 

Cannabis shops are using bitcoin payment services to conduct business in place of fiat amidst the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to a report by CoinDesk, cannabis dispensaries in Boulder, Colorado have been onboarded to the closed beta for Strike, a bitcoin payment service application founded by lighting network supporter Zap. 

Zap, founded by Jack Mallers, has been operating a closed beta for the payment application Strike which allows users the option of sending bitcoin or dollars and receiving funds in their bank account. The application uses a simple QR code interface, similar to Venmo, that allows users to send funds without having prior knowledge or expertise with bitcoin. 

Mallers said, 

Every Strike user is given a public domain at strike.me. We’re using Lightning for really fast online settlement of value transfers. … It’s also beneficial for privacy on the sender’s side.

Johnny Kurish, general manager at Boulder’s Helping Hands Herbals cannabis shop, said the application allowed his dispensary to process $1,000 worth of purchases since being added to the beta last week. 

Kurish said the dispensary will switch to only accepting Strike payments, which allow for contactless exchanges in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

He said, 

We’re really lucky to have curbside drop-offs. We check the ID through the roll-up window, deliver the cannabis to a podium in front of the car. We’re happy to reopen with an option that’s safe for our staff.

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