Week Ending 09.21.2018






There were no announced M&A activity this week in the areas we track.


Nxt-ID, the Sebastian, Florida-based payments company using biometric technology, said it is spinning off it payments authentication business by November 15. The unit includes its cryptocurrency and blockchain businesses. 

Amesite, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company developing college-level online learning materials with AI and blockchain, cut an equity sale to USD 19.65m from shareholders, including the founder and CEO Ann Marie Sastry, after reducing the number of shares on offer to 13.1m at USD 1.50 each. The original filing would have raised up to USD 19.64m from the sale of 13.1m shares at the same price.

Amesite completed a reverse merger in July and raised USD 5.5m in a private placement. The company, before the merger, was known as Lola One.

Other filings included OBITX


HEX Innovation, the Hong Kong, China-based blockchain company focused on healthcare, said it raised USD 20m in an initial coin offering. Earlier the company scrapped the public side of the ICO after a pre-sale, launched September 1, was more successful than anticipated. 

The company sold 100,000 ethereum, more than the originally announced 80,000, but the final amount raised was still less than the USD 22m the deal was valued at when announced as cryptocurrencies fell over the course of the ICO. The original pre-sale was a tenth of the final number raised.

Ideanomics (formerly called Seven Stars Cloud), the New York City-based AI and blockchain services firm, said it plans to list a logistical joint venture it is forming with APEN Trade Tech in China by the end of the year.

Last week Ideanomics hired Brett McGonegal as co-CEO, Uwe Parpart as chief strategy officer and Evan Kalimtgis as chief investment officer. McGonegal is the former CEO of Hong Kong-based investment bank Reorient, which was acquired by Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba.

Parpart is the chairman of the news service Asia Times and is a former Bank of America currency strategist. Kalimtgis has worked at JP Morgan and Glencore, the Swiss-based commodities trader.

At the same time, it said it was acquiring FinTalk, the secure messaging service, and is taking a 10% stake in Asia Times, the news service. The company announced the acquisition of marketing platform Grapevine Logic last week. Terms weren’t disclosed for all three of the transactions.

Ideanomics also said it has entered into a share swap with Liberty Biopharma, which is changing its name to HooXi. The specific details of the swap were not disclosed.

And it is planning a USD 6bn funding program with China’s First Auto Loan. The deals will mostly back electric vehicle upgrades for ride share companies mandated by the Chinese government.

MovieCoin, the Cayman Islands-based film financing and production company using blockchain, said it plans an initial coin offering worth USD 62.5m, based on where bitcoin traded on the day of the announcement, from November 1 to November 25. The company plans to sell the equivalent of as many as 10,000 bitcoin. The company is currently raising funds based off of 2,000 bitcoin in a pre-sale. Read VentureBeat’s take here.

Muzika, the Seoul, South Korea-based blockchain company focused on music, said it raised an unspecified amount from Singapore’s NEO Global Capital. 

New York City-based Elliptic Curve Ventures said it has begun operations. The fund will focus on seed and early-stage funding rounds for business-to-business blockchain, industrial and fintech companies.

Veridium Labs, the Hong Kong, China-based blockchain firm, said it has raised USD 5m ahead of a October 1 pre-sale for an initial coin offering from investors including Brian Kelly Capital Management. Read whitepaper here

K2 Intelligence, the New York City-based cybersecurity company, said it hired Gabriel Hidalgo as a managing director in its regulatory compliance unit. Hidalgo will provide consulting services on cryptocurrencies. Hidalgo was chief compliance officer at Noble Bank International.

Other deals include Finova Financial and Ternio

And Blackchain, the Vancouver, Canada-based blockchain company, said it is changing its name to Trackloop Analytics, and a stock consolidation that will cut the number of shares that trade in Canada by half. 


Blockchain does not bring new investors into the financial markets, is risky and in need of government, not industry, oversight, according to a UK Parliament report released this week. Commentary from the BBC, Bitcoin.com and BlockEx are here , here and here.

Exchange traded funds operated by Sweden’s XBT Provider related to bitcoin and ether were suspended from trading over a lack of current and consistent information, according to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Co-director of the Division of Enforcement Stephanie Avakian outlines steps the regulator has taken to police initial coin offerings. 

Updates on regulation in Switzerland, China, Taiwan and the US


CashBet, the Oakland, California-based sports betting company using blockchain, said it has appointed former Merrill Lynch and Microsoft executive Ed Brennan as president. The company is currently looking for a new CEO after the departure of co-founder Mike Reaves.

CoinBundle, the San Francisco, California-based cryptocurrency trading platform, said Katherine Hensel is joining its advisory board. She had run her own business consulting firm and founded hedge fund Sage Asset Management.

Tradewind Markets, the New York City-based precious metals trading platform using blockchain, said it hired Steve Lowe to an unspecified executive position. Loew will be responsible for building out the company’s European business. Lowe was previously at bullion dealer ScotiaMocatta.

Benhamou Global Venture, the Palo Alto, California=based venture capital firm, said it promoted Yashwanth Hemaraj to partner. Hemaraj focuses on AI and blockchain. 

Royal Bank of Scotland bankers, including Richard Crook and Mark Simpson, have left to start a block chain company called Chorum, according to a CoinDesk report.

Other hiring included JumpStart and Humanity.co


Financial services firms have increased blockchain spending 70% to USD 1.7bn over the last year, according to a Greenwich Associates report cited on Frieghtwaves.com