Secretive Bitcoin company 21 Inc., becomes the world's most funded digital currency startup, founders of Counterparty announce the first issuance and trading platform for "smart securities," former JP Morgan Chase & Co. executive and high-profile Wall Street banker joins digital currency startup, and more top stories for March 11.

21 Inc. Raised US$116m, Looking to Build 'the Full-Stack Infrastructure for Bitcoin'

21 Inc. revealed yesterday it had raised US$116m in venture capital, and became the world's most funded digital currency startup. 

Formerly 21e6, 21 Inc. is looking to bring Bitcoin to the mainstream by building "the full-stack infrastructure for Bitcoin." Lead investors include Andreessen Horowitz, RRE Venture, Yuan Capital, Qualcomm Inc, as well as tech entrepreneurs and executives, Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, Jeff Scholl and Mark Pincus.

The San Francisco-based startup surpasses Coinbase, which has cumulated a total amount of US$106m in venture capital.

21 Inc. Raised US$116m, Looking to Build 'the Full-Stack Infrastructure for Bitcoin'

High-Profile Wall Street Banker Joins Digital Currency Startup

Blythe Masters, a former JP Morgan Chase & Co. executive, is taking the leadership of a new trading platform for bitcoin and other digital assets, called Digital Asset Holding LLC.

The company, which is set to launch later in the day, is looking to build a software that facilitates secure trading and settlement, as well as providing tools so customers can convert traditional securities and other financial instruments into digital form that can be embedded into the blockchain, Masters told the Wall Street Journal.

She further stated:

"We don’t think of bitcoin as being a store of value or an alternative currency or an investment. We think of it as a medium for exchange and a mechanism for recording information.

I have a deep personal commitment to the idea that we can ultimately restore confidence and trust in financial markets and I believe this type of technology can move us in that direction."

Counterparty Founders Announce Next-Gen Platform for Financial Markets

The founders of Bitcoin 2.0 project Counterparty, team up with MathMoney f(x) to launch, a fintech company looking to build the first issuance and trading platform for "smart securities," or self-executing digital contracts that are stored on a blockchain, according to a company's release.

Robby Dermody, co-founder of Counterparty and President of, stated:

"Since we founded Counterparty over a year ago, our focus has consistently been on the creation and positioning of this technology as a solution for structural issues in the larger financial markets. Symbiont is the next step in achieving that goal."

Evan Wagner, one of the founders of Counterparty and the Managing Director of Operations at, added:

"We're excited about the positive impacts blockchain adoption will have in the systems that power modern finance, and we look forward to seeing this technology put into use in a way that increases transparency, liquidity, and the overall functioning of capital markets."

With Abra, Traditional Remittance Companies Become Obsolete

US startup Abra, is looking to render traditional remittance companies obsolete by allowing users to bypass middle men by using the bitcoin blockchain and a network of "human ATMs," reported Finextra.

Backed by RRE Ventures, Abra, or A Better Remittance App, is an iPhone and Android software cash wallet and money transfer application that relies on a network of "tellers" who facilitate transactions.

Watch the official launch at LAUNCH Festival 2015:

80% of Bitcoin Trading is in Chinese Yuan

According to a new report by Goldman Sachs, 80% of bitcoin volume is exchanged into and out of Chinese yuan, with USD as the second highest trading currency, followed by smaller denominations in yen and euros, reported Quartz.

"The amount of bitcoin trading activity in China has also risen. [...] The Chinese bitcoin surge comes against a backdrop of waning confidence in the Chinese economy, as the yuan weakens against the strengthening dollar and capital outflows—once rare in China—increase at record rates."

U.S. Consumer Study: Bitcoin More Secure Than Mobile Wallets, Checks

The Walker Sands 2015 Future of Retail survey of 1,400 American online consumers, found that study participants consider mobile wallets and applications the least secure form of payment, ranking behind personal checks and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

The report reads:

"With cash on the decline and hacking scandals eroding trust in traditional POS systems, retailers who embrace mobile payments and convince consumers it’s a safe way to make a purchase might be able to offer the best of both worlds."

U.S. Consumer Study: Bitcoin More Secure Than Mobile Wallets, Checks

3 Anonymous Bidders Won the USMS' Silk Road Bitcoin Auction

According to US Marshals Service (USMS) spokesperson Lynzey Donahue, two winning bidders took home the bulk of the bitcoins seized from Silk Road, with one anonymous participant winning 27,000 BTC and the other winning 20,000 BTC. A third winner took home just 3,000 BTC, reported Forbes.

While the identities of the winners remain a mystery, the USMS said they will not release any information. "We only confirmed winners’ names in the past if they voluntarily came forward," Donahue stated

ShapeShift Raised $525k in Funding, Not £525k

ShapeShift, a popular instant exchange for cryptocurrencies, had recently raised US$525k in a funding round led by Barry Silbert and Roger Ver.

Initial reports state the amount inaccurately as £525k, reported CoinBuzz.

Launched in 2013, ShapeShift was created by Erik Voorhees, who currently serves as CEO. According to Voorhees, the funding will go towards improvements to the exchange engine, as well as marketing and legal work in Switzerland. 

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