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Alternative Investments: Direxion Launches Four Single Stock Leveraged ETFs Including Inverse 1X Apple And Tesla

August 12, 2022

As single stock ETFs roll out thick and fast, Direxion jumped on the bandwagon with the launch of its first four single stock leveraged and inverse ETFs. The funds, which trade on the Nasdaq, allow sophisticated traders to obtain magnified or inverse exposure to the daily performance of the common stocks of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA).

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Venture Capital: Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) Launches $600M Venture Fund For The ‘Future Of Games’

May 19, 2022

Andreessen Horowitz (a.k.a. a16z) has launched a $600 million venture fund focused on the games industry and the next generation of games builders. “Long term, we believe games infrastructure and technologies will be key building blocks of the Metaverse, an opportunity that dwarfs the current $300 billion game industry itself,” the firm said.

Artificial Intelligence: AI Helps More Accurately Count The Number Of Sea Lice On Salmon

May 19, 2022

Last week it was reported that a recent study that looked at the state of sea lice in the Pacific Ocean and found that the parasite is increasingly becoming resistant to a pesticide known as SLICE, or emamectin benzoate, one of the main tools that the salmon farming industry uses to combat the menace. An assessment usually involves manually counting the sea lice on salmon, a process that is often erroneous and sometimes accompanied by deliberate under-reporting. However, Benchmark Genetics, Norway, has collaborated with the Danish Technological Institute on a new, AI-enabled process that uses imaging technology and artificial intelligence to analyse the number of sea lice in real time.

Venture Capital: Revolut Co-Founder Nik Storonsky Takes Aim At “Clubby” Venture Capitalism With Own VC Fund

May 17, 2022

Nikolai Storonsky, the billionaire co-founder of fintech and challenger bank Revolut, is building his own AI-powered venture fund to remove the element of “crowd mentality” in current day venture financing. It’s a clubby world driven by relationships, and a sitting target for disruption, in his view.

Venture Capital: Inflection, The AI Lab Founded Just This Year, Raises $225M

May 16, 2022

Inflection AI was founded earlier this year by DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and Karen Simonyan, a British computer scientist and researcher also from Google DeepMind. The company’s AI intends to make it possible to communicate with computers using the same natural, conversational language that we use to converse with people. Inflection raised $225 million from unnamed investors. The valuation was not disclosed either.

Venture Capital: Brightseed Raises $68M For AI-Researched Health-Benefiting Compounds

May 10, 2022

San Francisco based Brightseed has raised $68 million in a Series B round led by Singapore sovereign fund Temasek with participation by existing investors Lewis & Clark AgriFood, Seed 2 Growth (now S2G) Ventures, CGC Ventures, Germin8 and AgFunder. Brightseed uses an AI platform dubbed ‘Forager’ to identify the hidden compounds in plants that can impact our health beneficially. The funding brings up the total money raised by Brightseed to $120 million.

Artificial Intelligence: AI-Powered MAGIC Goggles To Assist Field Personnel Perform Medical Procedures

May 9, 2022

DARPA has picked Raytheon (NYSE: RTX) BBN to develop goggles that are equipped with Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities to serve as a virtual medical assistant to combat medics on the field. The device would provide real-time, hands-free guidance for 50-different medical procedures.

Digital Assets: Gucci To Soon Accept More Than 10 Cryptocurrencies At Five Select US Stores

May 6, 2022

By the end of this month, Gucci will start to accept cryptocurrency payments in a few US stores, and later extend the pilot to all of its directly operated stores in the US this summer. More than 10 currencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Wrapped Bitcoin, Litecoin, Shiba Inu, and five stablecoins pegged to the US dollar, will be accepted by the iconic brand. The Gucci stores at Wooster Street in New York, Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, Miami Design District, Phipps Plaza in Atlanta, and The Shops at Crystals in Las Vegas will be the first to take crypto payments.

Alternative Investments/Fintech: AXS Investments Launches Leveraged Innovation ETF

May 6, 2022

Alternative investment asset manager AXS Investments launched the AXS 2X Innovation ETF (NASDAQ: TARK), a 2X leveraged product focused on companies involved in transformational industries, such as fintech, autonomous vehicles, genomics and next-gen internet.

Alternative Investments/Real Estate: Merk Investments Launches First Stagflation-Themed ETF

May 5, 2022

Merk Investments announced the Merk Stagflation ETF (NYSEARCA: STGF) which focuses on investments that would benefit from stagflation, or a situation comprising high and persistent inflation amidst weak economic growth. These investments are a dynamic basket of inflation hedges in the sectors of real estate, oil, bullion, and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS).

Venture Capital: Precision Farming Startup Solinftec Raises $60M

May 3, 2022

Founded in 2007 by a group of automation engineers from Cuba, Solinftec is an agtech focused startup with headquarters in both São Paulo, Brazil and West Lafayette, Indiana. The company raised $60 million in a growth investment round led by Lightsmith Group and joined by existing investors Unbox Capital and Circularis Partners and several undisclosed investors.

FinTech: Klarna Enables Block For Non-Card Gambling Payments

May 2, 2022

A gambling block helps customers keep in check their own urge to splurge on gambling sites. Gambling blocks were first launched by challenger bank Monzo in 2018, but applied only to card payments. Klarna announced April 28 that it had now enabled banks to extend voluntary gambling blocks to open banking-driven payments powered by its subsidiary, SOFORT. SOFORT is one of Klarna’s direct bank-to-bank payment methods, used by 75,000 merchants across Europe, including some online gambling and gaming sites.

Digital Assets: Goldman Sachs Makes Its First Loan Against Collateral of Bitcoin

April 29, 2022

Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) has extended its first ever loan backed by a customer’s bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency. According to a spokeswoman of the Wall Street giant, the secured lending facility lent cash collateralized by bitcoin owned by the borrower.

Alternative Investments/Digital: An ETP That Combines Gold And Bitcoin Now Trades On A Swiss Exchange

April 27, 2022

The new ETP from ByteTree Asset Management and 21Shares is based on the principle that in inflationary times such as these, “BOLD is the 60/40.” That’s because it balances a risk-on asset (bitcoin) with a risk-off asset (gold). The 21Shares ByteTree Bold Index ETP (BOLD) is the first exchange traded product (ETP) to combine gold and bitcoin in a single fund.

Digital Assets: Grayscale’s New Missive To The SEC

April 25, 2022

Grayscale Investment’s lawyers have shot off another letter to the SEC making their case for approval to convert GBTC to a spot bitcoin ETF. Grayscale Investments, the world’s largest manager of digital assets, has made yet another effort to get the SEC to approve its application to convert the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a…

FinTech: Stripe And Twitter To Test Crypto Payouts

April 22, 2022

Stripe said in a blog post today that it had been exploring crypto-currency based platforms to facilitate payouts to creators, freelancers, sellers, and solopreneurs across the world. The “open-access global financial rails” offered by cryptocurrencies was highly attractive to Stripe given that the Connect service could not still reach many countries due to hetereogenous local payment systems. In a pilot, Stripe is testing crypto payouts for Connect via a select group of creators on Twitter (NYSE: TWTR), its first partner.

Alternative Investments/Digital: Fractional Investment In $500M Hedge Fund Through NFTs

April 22, 2022

Blockchain startup IO Investment Academy is giving investors the opportunity to invest small amounts in a $500 million, blockchain-focused hedge fund that delivered a 300% return rate in 2021 and had an investment minimium starting at $100,000. This first DeFi NFT project is introducing fractional investment into the blockchain world to completely rewrite the traditional investing process.

Alternative Investments/ESG: New Japanese ESG Equity ETF Gets EUR 300M From Varma

April 21, 2022

Finnish pension insurance company Varma has invested EUR 300 million in the NEXT FUNDS Solactive Japan ESG Core Index ETF that was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on April 8. The ETF, custom-designed for Varma, is the largest ever environmentally responsible ETF to be listed in Japan.

Digital Assets: Bitcoin Mining And ‘Cryptoization’ Pose Risks To Sanctions And Global Finance (IMF)

April 20, 2022

In its Global Financial Stability Report for April 2022 the IMF has warned of the threats that ‘cryptoization’ could pose to the global financial system if crypto trading surged in emerging markets and countries such as Russia and Iran used their trapped energy to mine cryptos and undermine sanctions.

Alternative Investments/Digital: Allianz’ El-Erian Says Fed Waited Too Long To Recognize Inflation

April 19, 2022

Speaking to CNBC on Monday, Allianz Chief Economic Advisor Mohamed El-Erian said bitcoin is likely to move higher when the Fed responds to inflation. He commented: “That’s what you get when you’ve waited too long to recognize what inflation is and to take action.”

Venture Capital: Andreessen Horowitz Launches ‘a16z START,’ A Startup Accelerator

April 19, 2022

a16z START is looking for founders in the categories of American dynamism, consumer, enterprise, fintech, games and “other.” Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), the storied Silicon Valley venture firm, has announced its own startup accelerator dubbed ‘a16z START,’ backed by a16z’s $400 million seed fund. Originally launched in fall 2021, the VC firm’s accelerator has already received…

Digital Assets: Gemini Introduces Instant Crypto Rewards Credit Card

April 14, 2022

Crypto platform Gemini, which was founded by the Winklevoss twins, has launched the Gemini Credit Card. It’s the first instant crypto rewards credit card that provides a seamless way for consumers to acquire up to 3%+ back from 60+ cryptocurrencies supported on Gemini’s platform. Issued by WebBank, the new card features Mastercard as the exclusive card network.

Venture Capital/ESG: Stripe And Big Techs Launch $925M Worth Of ‘Advance Market Commitment’ For Carbon Capture Startups

April 12, 2022

Fintech giant Stripe is joining hands with several tech companies, including Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Meta (NASDAQ: FB) to form Frontier, which will spend nearly $1 billion to assure product offtake from carbon capture startups. Shopify (NYSE: SHOP) and McKinsey are also chipping in. Frontier will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Stripe.

Digital Assets: Sony And Lego Back Epic’s Metaverse Vision With $1B Each

April 11, 2022

Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, announced it had raised $1 billion each from existing investor Sony Group Corporation as well as KIRKBI, the family-owned holding and investment company behind The LEGO Group. The funding, intended to advance Epic’s vision to build the metaverse and fuel its growth, valued Epic at $31.5 billion.