To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important crypto stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday at 12 p.m. PT, subscribe here.
Welcome back to Chain Reaction.
Seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year, but we’ve coasted into February and all seems to be somewhat relaxed (for once) in the crypto world.
Last month was filled with crypto companies laying off staff, developments around the existing and new Chapter 11 bankruptcies in the space, partnerships and conversations about potential recovery in 2023.
Even with a range of bad news flooding the industry, some cryptocurrencies had a bull run in January, amid the market turmoil.
Bitcoin rallied 40% on the month, while ether rose about 32% during the same period. Solana also saw serious recovery, from about $10 in the beginning of the year, near its lowest level since February 2021, up 146% to about $24.3 by the end of January, CoinMarketCap data showed.
These market movements could potentially spark more retail and institutional investors alike to dive in. But whether or not this seemingly random market rally will continue into February is to be determined.
This week in web3
As Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings move forward for several big-name crypto companies, those who lost funds are surely hoping to get all — or at least some — of their money back. Lawyers and experts shared their thoughts with TechCrunch on what these cases could mean for creditors and what may happen to those who saw their money disappear overnight.
Black people who invested in crypto were hit disproportionately hard during the most recent crypto winter, though many Black founders and investors who spoke to TechCrunch remain optimistic about the sector’s potential for the community, and society overall. If anything, last year’s economic correction was necessary, they told TechCrunch. “Bubble had to pop,” People of Crypto co-founder Simone Berry said. “It wasn’t sustainable and economic correction was needed.
French startup Sorare has signed a four-year licensing partnership with the Premier League. This deal marks an important move for the company as the English football league is one of the most-watched sports leagues in the world. As for sports fans who don’t particularly enjoy soccer (or football as Europeans call it), Sorare also teamed up with the NBA and MLB over the past few months.
Strike, a Bitcoin-based payment network and financial app, is expanding to the Philippines to grow cross-border payments and remittance markets. Aside from the Philippines, Strike plans on expanding further in the Latin American and African regions as well due to the “extreme amount of demand,” its CEO Jack Mallers shared. In general, the company’s partnerships and announcement point to its focus on growing the remittance market through its application and other alternative avenues, like Clover.
While crypto markets remain volatile, enterprise blockchain adoption is continuing to grow as businesses find new use cases for the technology, according to Daniela Barbosa, executive director of Hyperledger Foundation. One of the biggest demands over the past two years has been “hybrid use cases” and the technology doesn’t just help big companies, but smaller businesses, too, she shared.
The latest pod
ICYMI: For last week’s episode, Jacquelyn talked with Mo Shaikh, co-founder and CEO of the layer-1 blockchain Aptos. Shaikh is a three-time founder with over a decade of experience in financial services as well as blockchain technology and crypto. He also worked on blockchain strategic partnerships for Novi, Facebook’s wallet and was the strategy director at ConsenSys.
“When we’re thinking about Aptos, we certainly thought that the people need a new form of sharing information digitally and being able to share that information and economic value digitally in more efficient, more fair ways,” Shaikh said during the podcast. “That’s the mission that we’re on.”
Last year was huge for Aptos — as the blockchain launched publicly and raised about $400 million in funding, amid a bear market. The new layer-1 got backing from major investors like Andreessen Horowitz, Circle Ventures and the now-defunct FTX Ventures, to name a few. And even though the market is down, its token, APT, rose 380% during the month of January, according to CoinMarketCap data.
Looking forward to 2023, Aptos plans to make it a “year of intention,” Shaikh said. “I think it’s a year of intention for the entire industry.”
We also discussed:
What it’s like to launch in a bear market
Builders on the blockchain
Business development plans for 2023
Onboarding people not in the space
The future of interoperability and the multichain world
Follow the money
Haun Ventures leads Sovereign Labs’ $7.4 million seed round to help scale blockchains
Crypto security startup Hypernative raised $9 milllion to help prevent web3 cyberattacks
BlockJoy raised $12 million to help cut operating costs for businesses running blockchain nodes
Web3 marketing startup Addressable raised $7.5 million in a seed round
Everscale raised $5 million to help scale blockchains
This list was compiled with information from Messari as well as TechCrunch’s own reporting.