Non-profit NEAR Foundation has hired Bill Earner as chief operating officer and Christopher Donovan as general counsel.

NEAR is a collective, a foundation and a development platform built on a new layer 1 blockchain designed to be fast, secure and scalable. 

There are 20+ million accounts on the NEAR network, more than 800 projects building and 200 million transactions to date, with the NEAR network being used for 300,000-400,000 transactions per day.

Earner was previously the venture partner at Entrepreneur First, an international talent investor which supports individuals in building technology companies. Before that, he was the general manager of Citymapper, a public transit app and mapping service. 

Earner also spent the best part of a decade as a founder and general partner of  Connect Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm specialising in internet and digital media sectors. As one of the early pioneers of London’s technology startup scene, he brings invaluable experience navigating the complexities of fast-growing ecosystems. 

Donovan was a partner and head of legal at Outlier Ventures, one of the first VC firms dedicated to investing in the emerging crypto ecosystem which has helped raise over $350 million in seed funding for its growing portfolio of 100+ high-profile projects from across the world.

Donovan has helped navigate the legal and regulatory complexities of Web3 by helping Outlier Ventures support the launch and growth of several billion-dollar crypto economies. Its portfolio includes notable projects across DeFi, NFTs and blockchain infrastructure with a focus on emergent Metaverse use cases such as NFT-based digital couture fashion brands, avatar marketplaces, and more. 

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Cryptocurrency shorts

Digital asset exchange will build a European headquarters in Paris and invest $145.7 million to establish the new operation.

Doshi, an educational crypto wallet designed specifically for teens and their guardians, has officially launched. It aims to create a unique community and platform where young adults can safely custody their digital assets, learn about blockchain technology and access the growing Web3 ecosystem. 

Blockchain developer platform Tatum has announced a $41.5m funding round. It wants to reduce the time taken to reduce the time to market from months to days by simplifying the creation of complex blockchain operations into single lines of code. Evolution Equity Partners led the round which featured Octopus Ventures, 3VC, Tensor Ventures, Depo Ventures, Leadblock Fund, Circle Holdings and founders of Bitpanda.

Nxyz, a Web3 platform enabling data infrastructure for blockchains, has raised $40m in Series A funding led by Paradigm and featuring Coinbase Ventures, Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital alongside angel investors Balaji Srinivasan, Jaynti Kanani, Jing Wang, Packy McCormick, Surojit Chatterjee and Ryan Selkis. 

Valory has raised $4m to plug the blockchain infrastructure gap between decentralised Web3 apps and centralised services. The seed round was led by True Ventures with Signature Ventures, Semantic Ventures, Prime Block Ventures, Proof Group and Atka also participating.

Gomu, an NFT infrastructure and liquidity enabler, has closed a $5m seed round with participation from Coinbase Ventures, Defiance Capital and Saison Capital alongside angels Carylyne Chan (former CEO at CoinMarketCap), Matthew Tan (founder of Etherscan), Bobby Ong and TM Lee (co-founders of CoinGecko), Mike Dudas (GP at 6MV) and Benedict Chan (VP Engineering at Chainlink). 

Solana blockchain-based move-to-earn fitness app STEPN is reportedly laying off 100 of its contract workers as its user numbers dwindle.

Rio de Janeiro is seeking partners to help the city accept crypto alongside fiat currency as tax payments in 2023.

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Crypto prices

The overall market cap of the more than 21,200 coins is at $915 billion at the time of writing (7am UK), a 0.8% decrease in the last 24 hours.

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.