VC Roundup: Lightning Network Payment Rail, DeFi Trading Platform and Blockchain Security Firm Raise Millions

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Even with the onset of the crypto winter, 2022 was a turning point for venture capital financing. Crypto and blockchain firms have collectively raised $30.3 billion in venture capital in the first half of 2022, more than all of last year’s totals. While the number of deals has declined in recent months, startups at the intersection of blockchain payments, decentralized finance (DeFi), and cybersecurity are still drawing significant interest from the VC community. The latest edition of VC Roundup highlights some of the most intriguing financing deals of the past month.

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ZEBEDEE Closes $35 Million Series B

ZEBEDEE, a Bitcoin (BTC) powered payment processor for the gaming industry, has raised $35 million from several investors including Kingsway Capital, The Raine Group and Square Enix. ZEBEDEE is essentially a platform that allows game developers to incorporate programmable money, including BTC, into their games. The payment platform is powered by Lightning Network, making ZEBEDEE a “Bitcoin enabler of choice” for its partners, according to Kingsway Capital managing partner Afonso Campos.

Blockchain Security Firm Raises $90 Million Series A

Blockchain security firm Halborn closed a $90 million funding round in July led by Summit Partners with additional participation from the likes of Castle Island Ventures, Digital Currency Group and Brevan Howard. Halborn was founded in 2019 by ethical hackers who offer blockchain security services. The company recently warned MetaMask users to grow weary of a phishing campaign targeting their browser wallets.

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DeFi Platform Hashflow Raises $25M in Series A Financing

Hashflow, a decentralized finance trading platform headquartered in San Francisco, has closed a $25 million funding round backed by some of crypto’s most prominent venture capital funds. The investment round, with the participation of Jump Crypto, Electric Capital, Dragonfly Capital Partners and GSR, will help Hashflow expand its product offering for market markers and institutional traders.

Socios acquires 24.5% stake in Barca Studios

Fan engagement token platform Socios announced in early August that it would invest $100 million in Barca Studios, the digital content arm of FC Barcelona football club. Socios, owned by blockchain technology provider Chiliz, will help FC Barcelona accelerate its Web3 and nonfungible token (NFT) engagement strategy. In particular, Barca Studios is pursuing NFT and metaverse projects that will help the football club connect with its massive global fan base, and will rely on Socios’ blockchain to execute the strategy.

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EtherMail provides seed funding for wallet-to-wallet communication

Web3 email solution EtherMail has raised $3 million ahead of the planned launch of its encrypted wallet-to-wallet communication service. Scheduled for release in the third quarter, EtherMail will allow Web3 companies to send “rich, relevant content directly to their asset holders,” reducing the risk of communications fraud. The service also streamlines the distribution of community newsletters by enabling autonomous, self-updating mailing lists. The seed round was led by Fabric Ventures and Greenfield One.

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