Bitcoin is the fastest growing sector for startup investment; Keybase raises over 10 million in investment round Led by Andreessen Horowitz; Singapore-based Bitcoin exchange Coin Republic looks to be in acquisition talks, and more top stories for July 20.

Bitcoin the Fastest Growing Area of Venture Capital Funding

According to Mattermark data, Bitcoin is the fastest growing sector for startup investment. Each year, starting in mid-2012 through mid-2015, the Bitcoin industry has grown its investment dollars by 151%. However, it should be noted – of course – that Bitcoin still only represents a minuscule fraction of the total invested dollars.

Blockchain Data Provider TradeBlock Partners With FinTech Sandbox 

Blockchain analytics specialist TradeBlock has announced a collaboration with Boston-based incubator FinTech Sandbox. As such, Sandbox users will be allowed free access to the blockchain data of TradeBlock’s API and download and store the information for up to six months for testing and demonstration purposes.

TradeBlock’s analytics and accounts manager, Ishan Singh, said: 

“The goal with this partnership is to empower early stage companies with access to the best data and tools available so that they can drive innovation. [...] We chose to partner with FinTech Sandbox given their unique model that focuses on providing resources to young, vetted companies for the benefit of the overall fintech community.” 

Blockchain Data Provider TradeBlock Partners With FinTech Sandbox

CEX.IO Adds Deposit & Withdrawal Options via AstroPay; Enables Buying BTC for Cash 

Bitcoin exchange CEX.IO has announced to extend its options for funding accounts and withdrawing money through a partnership with AstroPay. Apart from bank transfers, this allows for payments to CEX.IO in cash through AstroPay terminals Latin American region, China and Turkey. 

Chief Information Officer for CEX.IO Jeffrey Smith said:

“Our decision to choose AstroPay as a partner is based on a thorough research of the LATAM region and multiple requests from CEX.IO users […] Literally, our users will be able to buy bitcoin for cash in their local currency. And that is incredible.” 

Singapore-based Bitcoin Exchange Coin Republic Reportedly in Acquisition Talks

Singapore-based Bitcoin exchange Coin Republic appears to be in acquisition talks with an unknown non-Singaporean company. Although reserved in his comments, Coin Republic founder David Moskowitz pretty much confirmed that an acquisition may be forthcoming.

Moskowitz said:

“I’ve been in discussions with several firms and have received offers, but can’t comment at this point.”

Core Developer Jeff Garzik Proposes 2MB Block Size Limit to Buy Time 

Bitcoin Core developer Jeff Garzik has submitted a proposal to raise the block size limit from 1MB to 2MB. The proposal is intended to buy more time to reach a consensus on a more durable solution before the maximum amount of transactions on the Bitcoin network is reached. Garzik did emphasize that he still hopes his own BIP 100 – allowing for a dynamic block size limit – will eventually be adopted. 

On GitHub, Garzik wrote:

“This is an alternative to BIP 100, as a fallback if other consensus is not reached. It allows for limited experimentation to explore a size increase without going overboard.”

Core Developer Jeff Garzik Proposes 2MB Block Size Limit to Buy Time

Bitspark joins Accenture FinTech Innovation Lab

Bitcoin exchange Bitspark announced that it has been accepted into Accenture's Fintech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific 2015. This 12 week program provides mentoring from leading industry executives from some of the world’s leading banks, through panel discussions, workshops, one-to-one coaching, networking, as well as investment and partnership opportunities.

Bitspark writes on its blog: 

“We are hugely excited to be chosen to be part of the program! The opportunities that come with it are fantastic, and we’re looking forward to making the most of it to take our business to the next level.”

Keybase Raises $10.8 Million in Investment Round Led by Andreessen Horowitz 

Max Krohn and Chris Coyne have raised US$10.8 million for their cryptography “hobby project” Keybase. The Series A was led by Andreessen Horowitz, with individual investors including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, MakerBot co-founder Bre Pettis, and CEO Adam Ludwin.

Krohn and Coyne, who previously founded OKCupid, wrote in a blog post:

“We’ve gotten more ambitious [...] We have a new goal: to bring public key crypto to everyone in the world, even people who don't understand it.”

Ethereum Prepares for Take Off

Ethereum, the decentralized application and smart contracting platform is getting close to launch, as their Frontier release – the first release of the Ethereum main chain - reaches 99% completion. In a feature for Cointelegraph, Juan S. Galt lays out some future prospects of the highly anticipated decentralized computing network, including prediction markets, decentralized exchanges, and smart contracts.

Ethereum Prepares for Take Off