Crypto is in slightly better shape than this time last week, although weekend price action in the market that never sleeps is often an unreliable indicator for the week ahead.

Irrespective of price movements, however, venture funding has been flowing into blockchain projects just lately. Let’s see where the big money’s moving in the crypto industry over the past seven days…


A $5 billion Bored Apes rumour

The headline act is unofficial at this point, but rumours have been swirling around Twitter and other places that Yuga Labs (creator of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT project) is raising funding that could give it a US$5 billion valuation.

An influencer known as NFT Nick discussed the alleged funding round on his podcast “The Nifty Alpha” on January 24, citing “a reputable source close to the information”.

The rumour then led to a sharp increase in the floor price of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, which are now trading at a scarcely believable 106.9 ETH at the time of writing. That’s about US$274,500. Less than a month ago, Bored Apes were fetching a 60 ETH minimum.

Twitter user and Bored Ape owner @rdm_41 has also recently been spreading the $5 billion rumour.

According to him, Yuga Labs has sold APE tokens to venture capital firms in order to raise money. APE tokens (not to be confused with at least four tokens already going by that ticker on CoinGecko) will supposedly be “governance tokens” for the Bored Ape Yacht Club and might be launching some time in the next few months.


FTX US seals $400m funding round

FTX, one of the world’s leading crypto exchanges (and a major sponsor of Blockchain Australia’s March conference Blockchain Week, last week closed a US$400 million funding round for its American venture – FTX US.

It helps give the cryptocurrency exchange’s American affiliate an US$8 billion valuation.

The Series A round was led by VC firm Paradigm and Softbank Group, with participation from Temasek, NEA, Multicoin Capital, Tribe Capital, Greenoaks Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners, among others.

According to a press release, the funds will allow FTX US to “grow its user base, bolster its derivatives efforts, and launch new business lines”.


Hong Kong’s Hashkey raises $360m fund

HashKey Group, a digital assets and blockchain financial services company based in Hong Kong, has announced it’s received US$360 million from various undisclosed investors for its new blockchain fund.

According to the company’s statement, the capital will be used to fund “entrepreneurs and startups that are leading the next wave of blockchain and digital asset innovation”.

HashKey Group has invested in some of the world’s biggest blockchain projects, including interoperability-focused layer 1 Polkadot, crypto lender BlockFi, decentralised finance blue chip Terra, and the just-about-everywhere crypto gaming, NFT and metaverse-focused company Animoca Brands.


Infrastructure beast Blockdaemon pulls in $207 million

It’s not sexy sounding, but Blockdaemon is one of those under-the-radar crypto projects that might just prove to be crucial to the growth of blockchain tech and therefore the Web3 industry as a whole.

Pitching itself as a “leading institutional-grade blockchain infrastructure company for node management and staking”, the firm has now announced its closed a Series C funding round of US$207 million with a “post-money valuation of $3.25 billion”.

The round was led by Sapphire and Tiger Global, with participation from existing investors SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Boldstart Ventures, StepStone Group, Matrix Capital Management, and Lerer Hippeau.

Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital has also reportedly joined Blockdaemon’s “cap table” – a list of the securities/stocks the company has issued and who owns them.


zkSnyc, Pluto Digital, BasicBlock and more

zkSync, a “zero-knowledge rollup” protocol developed by Matter Labs has reportedly announced a US$200 million DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation) fund. The Ethereum layer 2 scaling project is being backed by BitDAO, a DAO itself, which has a treasury worth more than US$2.5 billion.

Pluto Digital, a crypto VC firm, is reportedly buying investment company NFT Investments in a reverse takeover that will see it gain a listing on the Aquis Stock Exchange Growth Market in London. NFT Investments will issue GPB96 million (about US$130 million) of shares to Pluto Digital investors, which will provide a 70.5% stake in the new melded entity, according to a statement.

BasicBlock, a mobile application for truck drivers to scan and upload documents for quick and easy payment, has raised US$78M in equity funding. The round was led by Autotech Ventures, Clear Haven Capital Management, Emergent Ventures and Nelnet with participation from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, SaaS Ventures and TNT Ventures.

BCB Group has raised US$60M in a Series A funding round. BCB is the leading payment services provider in Europe for crypto and blockchain institutions. Investors included: Foundation Capital, Circle, Backed, PayU, Digital Currency Group, Nexo, Wintermute, Menai Financial Group, Pantera Capital and several more.

The Sandbox (a metaverse/gaming project owned by Animoca Brands) and venture accelerator Brinc have announced a US$50M open “Metaverse Accelerator Program”, as reported by Stockhead. The plan is to help funding for 100 startups, investing in about 30 to 40 a year with the objective of developing the open, decentralised metaverse.

Astar Network, a Polkadot parachain and a multichain decentralised app protocol, has raised US$22 million in a new fundraise. The round was let by Polychain, with participation from Alameda Research, Capital, Digital Finance Group and various angel investors.