Popular South Korean actor and businessman Bae Yong-joon has invested an undisclosed sum in blockchain-based seafood trade startup Seamon.
Revealing the news, Seamon head Lee Jung-hoon said that, while he cannot disclose the amount of Bae’s investment, it is “a meaningful amount” worth “more than tens of millions” of South Korean won. One hundred million won is worth around $88,510 at press time.
Lee further said that Bae has long been interested in the food businesses, including marine products. So, when Lee asked Bae to be an advisor to the Seamon project, he instead “signed an investment contract last month.”
Seamon is developing a blockchain-based seafood transaction and smart contract system, according to information from its white paper. The project aims to make global seafood transactions “as transparent as possible, reduce unnecessary expenses, and achieve the faster and safer international transactions.”
The team is also creating a cryptocurrency called Seamon coin, which will be used in payments and as a store of value. It is also planning to launch an exchange called SeamonX for seafood trading market in Q3 or Q4 of this year, the white paper indicates.
The project aims to address common problems with the international trade in marine products such as defaulting on payments, or late payments. With marine products, this is a particularly vital issue to solve, as their freshness quickly expires, the report says.
Importers will be able to purchase Seamon coins from SeamonX and exchange them for products, making payments in real time. Exporters will be able to exchange the tokens for fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar, or the stablecoin tether (USDT), Lee said.
Seamon coin is already listed on the BCEX exchange with the ticker symbol SMEX, according to CoinDesk Korea. The exchange will also carry out a free distribution, or “airdrop,” of about 5 billion won ($4.42 million) in tokens from March 25.
CoinDesk Korea also adds that the news marks Bae’s first known investment in a blockchain startup. His net worth is estimated at around $135 million.
Medici Ventures, the blockchain investment arm of Overstock, has acquired a 5.1 percent equity stake in blockchain banking startup Bankorus.
Announcing the news on Monday, Overstock said Bankorus’ blockchain platform allows individuals and institutions to “securely” buy, sell, store and lend digital assets.
“The addition of Bankorus to Medici Ventures’ portfolio of companies will further our work in building the foundation of a blockchain-based technology stack for society,” said Jonathan Johnson, president of Medici Ventures.
“Bankorus has built a revolutionary blockchain banking platform that dovetails nicely with Medici Ventures’ goals of eliminating middlemen, democratizing capital, and rehumanizing commerce by helping individuals access and control their own digital assets.”
Founded in 2013, Beijing-based Bankorus has adopted the mission to unlock more than $60 trillion in traditional assets held by high-net-worth individuals and redirect it into cryptocurrencies. The firm aims to turn traditional and illiquid assets such as real estate, art, hedge funds and bonds into liquid digital assets through its security token marketplace.
With the new acquisition, Medici Ventures’ global portfolio of companies now stands at a total of 20.
In December, Medici also purchased a 29.6 percent stake in digital securities firm Chainstone Labs for about $3.6 million.
Medici’s own security token marketplace, tZERO, went live in January with its own tZERO Preferred (TZROP) token as the sole listed asset initially. Trading volume was light, however, and the token’s price dropped sharply soon after the launch.
Last month, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne told CoinDesk he expected volumes to soar after the year-long lock-up period for the token ends in August and the platform opens up to retail investors. Currently,
Canaan Creative, one of the biggest cryptocurrency mining equipment manufacturers in China, has closed a new funding round.
Securities Times, a Chinese financial news publication, reported Monday that the company, known for its Avalon line of mining devices, has raised “several hundred million U.S. dollars,” valuing the firm at over $1 billion.
When contacted by CoinDesk, the firm declined to comment. However, two sources close to the company confirmed the raise without disclosing further details.
The news comes months after Canaan’s application for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange failed to advance to a listing hearing and subsequently became invalid. It was reported in January that the firm might be planning another IPO application in New York.
The funding effort also comes amid the decline in the overall cryptocurrency market, especially over the second half of 2018, which has had an impact on crypto mining equipment makers in terms of product sales.
For instance, Canaan’s two major rivals, Bitmain and Ebang, both filed for IPOs in September and June 2018 respectively.
However, in a renewed filing at the end of December, Ebang disclosed that it experienced “significant decreases in revenue and gross profit” for Q3 2018. Similarly, Bitmain also posted about $500 million loss in an updated financial record filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange as part of its IPO application.
If Bitmain does not graduate to a listing hearing by March 26, six months after the initial filing, its IPO application too will lapse.