A Layer-1 blockchain developed by former figures at Meta’s failed Diem crypto project is to receive $150 million of investment.

Aptos Labs was founded by Mo Shaikh (pictured) and Avery Ching. It uses Diem’s programming language, Move, which aims to make transactions cheaper and more efficient.

It is targeting sectors including gaming, social networks, media & entertainment, and finance.

The round was led by FTX Ventures and Jump Crypto, and included new investments from Apollo, Griffin Gaming Partners, Franklin Templeton, Circle Ventures, Superscrypt (founded by Temasek). It also saw continued support from a16z crypto and Multicoin.

According to Bloomberg, the funding round has more than doubled Aptos Labs’ valuation, which was already above $1 billion in March.

“This funding comes at a critical time in our industry. At Aptos, we are taking this as an opportunity to build the reliable foundation Web3 has been waiting for,” wrote the founders on Medium.

“This team has spent years building and battle testing world-class technology that will dramatically elevate the usability and socialisation of Web3. We are working with our strategic partners to identify consumer needs, and address them by shipping the most performant and upgradable blockchain technology.

“We’d also like to thank our Aptos community for the support over the past seven months as we’ve hosted hackathons, reached 20,000 operational nodes during devnet, launched our series of incentivised testnets and raised total funding of $350 million to strengthen this evolving community.”

Crypto payments firm BCB Group reveals deputy CEO

UK loyalty e-wallet Swapi introduces crypto rewards

Retail loyalty e-wallet Swapi is introducing cryptocurrency onto its platform.

The London company has revealed a partnership with global cryptocurrency investment app Luno which aims to help consumers get started with decentralised finance. 

Swapi has launched an exclusive offer in its in-app marketplace where users can redeem £20-worth of Bitcoin when they sign up to the loyalty app. The offer can be redeemed with the code LUNO, entered through the Swapi marketplace.

The companies claim to educate new investors on the potential risks and rewards in the cryptocurrency market. 

“We couldn’t be more excited to be working with Luno when more and more consumers are looking at cryptocurrencies for future investment and loyalty programmes,” said founder and CEO Pete Howroyd. 

Sam Kopelman, UK country manager at Luno, added: “Swapi is one of the fastest-growing loyalty e-wallet platforms and represents innovation toward accessibility in the finance sector that Luno is also championing as part of our mission to put the power of crypto in everyone’s hands. 

“Swapi shares our vision in wanting to provide consumers with increased financial flexibility and know-how with regard to their options outside of traditional practices.”

Cryptocurrency shorts

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao is personally suing Bloomberg Businessweek’s Hong Kong publisher Modern Media Company for defamation. The Chinese language version of Bloomberg story ‘Can Crypto’s Richest Man Stand the Cold?’ was published with the title ‘Zhao Changpeng’s Ponzi Scheme’.

James Howells, a man who claims a hard drive containing 7,500 Bitcoin is sitting in landfill in Newport, Wales, is pitching the local council with a multi-million-pound VC-backed plan to have humans and robot dogs working together to retrieve the crypto within three years. Estimated to be surrounded by around 110,000 tons of rubbish, the council has resisted his pleas to allow a search for years.

Coinbase Global is reportedly facing a probe from US regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission into whether it improperly allowed Americans to trade digital assets that should have been registered as securities.

Billionaire Shark Tank investor, owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team and crypto evangelist Mark Cuban has warned of a “nightmare” scenario if the SEC tightens its oversight of the sector.

The CEO of Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services, Michael Alan Stollery, has pleaded guilty for his role in a crypto fraud scheme which raised $21m from investors. He was accused of false and misleading statements, failing to register the ICO with the SEC, falsifying whitepapers, planting fake client testimonials and falsely claiming he had business relationships with the Federal Reserve and dozens of prominent companies.

More than a quarter of Asian Pacific startups are blockchain-related, according to a report from KPMG and HSBC. Based on a survey of 6,472 companies, non-fungible tokens were the most popular sector, followed by decentralised finance. Electric vehicle charging infrastructure, quantum computing and robotic processing automation rounded out the top five.

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Crypto prices

The overall market cap of the more than 20,300 coins is at $971.11 billion at the time of writing (7am UK), a 3.7% decrease in the last 24 hours.

Market leader Bitcoin – the original cryptocurrency created by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto – lost 4% to $21,150. BTC is 4% down in a week.

Ethereum, the second most valuable crypto coin – created as a decentralised network for smart contracts on the blockchain – fell 7% to $1,425. ETH is 7% down over the course of a week.

Binance Coin is a cryptocurrency created by popular crypto exchange Binance to assist its aim in becoming the infrastructure services provider for the entire blockchain ecosystem. Its BNB token lost 5% to $244, leaving it 6% down over seven days.

The XRP token of Ripple, a payment settlement asset exchange and remittance system, acts as a bridge for transfers between other currencies. XRP dropped 4% to 33.5 cents, with its price 6% down on seven days ago.

Cardano is an open source network facilitating dApps which considers itself to be an updated version of Ethereum. Its ADA token, designed to allow owners to participate in the operation of the network, shed 5% to 47.2c and is 3% down in a week.

Solana is a blockchain built to make decentralised finance accessible on a larger scale – and capable of processing 50,000 transactions per second. Its SOL token fell 7% to $35.94 and is 18% lower than its price a week ago.

Meme coin DOGE was created as a satire on the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies but is now a major player in the space. DOGE shed 5% to 6.2c and is 7% down over seven days.

Polkadot was founded by the Swiss-based Web3 Foundation as an open-source project to develop a decentralised web. Its DOT token, which aims to securely connect blockchains, dropped 6% to $6.68 and is 12% down on its price a week ago.

Polygon aims to securely connect blockchains as a sort of decentralised internet. Its MATIC token shed 9% to 77c, while it is 16% down in a week.

Avalanche is a lightning-quick verifiable platform for institutions, enterprises and governments. Its AVAX token fell 8% to $20.72 and is 12% down in a week.

To see how the valuations of the main coins have changed in recent times – and for round-ups of recent cryptocurrency news developments – click here.

For valuations of the top 100 coins by market cap in US dollars, plus 24-hour price change, see below.