Crypto Biz: Riot Platforms and Bitfarms dispute escalates

    2024.06.15 | exchangesranking | 41onlookers

    The corporate dispute between crypto miners Riot Platforms and Bitfarms has recently intensified. 

    On June 11, Riot Platforms disclosed a significant increase in its stake in Bitfarms, acquiring roughly six million shares worth over $111 million and bringing its total holding from 9.25% to 13.1%.

    The move came just a day after Bitfarms suggested a “poison pill” defense strategy to prevent Riot from increasing its stake to 15% or more. The defense mechanism is designed to dilute the value of shares and hinder Riot’s takeover plans.

    In April, Riot put forward a proposal to acquire Bitfarms, offering a considerable premium above the current market price of its shares. Bitfarms’ board rejected the proposal.

    The dispute’s backdrop includes significant internal friction within Bitfarms. Since May, the company has been dealing with the fallout of firing its CEO, Geoffrey Morphy, who sued the firm for breach of contract, wrongful dismissal and damages, demanding $27 million. The dispute between the companies seems distant from resolution.

    This week’s Crypto Biz also explores Tether’s $1 billion budget for startups, Ripple Labs’ new custodian deal, Circle’s programmable wallets on Solana, and Fireblocks’ partnership with Coinbase.

    “Not a classic VC” — Tether plans to invest up to $1 billion in one year

    Stablecoin giant Tether plans to invest a significant portion of its revenue in technologies like emerging markets, artificial intelligence (AI) and biotech, according to CEO Paolo Ardoino. Tether expects to invest at least $1 billion into deals in the next 12 months through its venture capital arm, Ardoino said in an interview with Bloomberg published on June 11. According to the CEO, Tether has a growing team of 15 who evaluate hundreds of pitches monthly. Tether’s venture capital arm has already spent about $2 billion on tech like AI and alternative financial infrastructure over the past two years.

    Ripple Labs closes Standard Custody acquisition deal

    Ripple Labs has completed the acquisition of the digital asset custodian Standard Custody. This acquisition could be strategic for Ripple’s plans to launch a United States dollar stablecoin and its broader goals of tokenizing real-world assets. As part of the deal, Standard Custody CEO Jack McDonald will be appointed as Ripple’s senior vice president of stablecoins while remaining as the CEO of Standard Custody. Ripple highlighted Standard Custody’s licensing as a core feature of the digital asset custodian, pointing to the company’s regulatory approval from the New York Department of Financial Services. This is Ripple’s second acquisition of a digital asset custody firm. In 2023, it purchased Metacaco for $250 million.

    Source: Jack McDonald

    Circle announces Solana programmable wallets, gas station

    Circle is rolling out support for the Solana blockchain across its Web3 services, enabling features such as programmable wallets and gas stations. According to an announcement on June 12, the integration will take place in two phases. The first phase will focus on programmable wallets and sponsored transaction fees via its gas station feature. The second stage will include support for non-fungible tokens and program interactions through the Smart Contract Platform, said Circle. The move will align Solana with other blockchains already supported by Circle’s Web3 services, such as Ethereum, Polygon and Avalanche.

    Fireblocks adds Coinbase International for perpetual futures, spot trading

    Fireblocks has partnered with Coinbase to expand its trading services, introducing perpetual futures and spot trading via Coinbase International Exchange, primarily targeting institutional investors. The integration allows Fireblocks to support perpetual futures and spot contracts, enhancing trading options under predefined security and governance protocols. The new capabilities are available only to users in “eligible jurisdictions” outside the United States. Coinbase International, a Bermuda-based company, gives no indication of which countries it serves on its website or Terms of Service.

    Before you go: The United States state of Indiana plans to become a hub for the data center and crypto mining industries by promising uninterrupted, low-cost energy.

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