Blockchain 101 on the Official Educational Levels (Investment and Partnership Digest, Nov 22–28)

Lot's of educational initiatives at Luxembourg, Russia and South Korea, Thai SEC's warnings, Siemens to use technology, LINE with mobile payments, etc.

Investments

So while value may be moving out of the assets themselves as the market digests new information and re-formulates its thesis on crypto assets, value is continuing to grow across the cohort of companies serving the crypto ecosystem.

Meltem Demirors

  • A study conducted by Early Metrics shows that 44% of the 374 startups it surveyed failed to raise adequate funding within 12 months following audit. Other key findings are 53% of the startups raised less than their anticipated amount, 18% raised more than 70% of their projected value, and only 1 out of 10 were able to raise the amount they intend to make.
  • Final Frontier, Cashlink, and Dispatch conclude funding rounds. The rounds took place on 11 November until 25 November. Swiss-based Final Frontier revealed it secured over $800,000 in a Corporate Round. Frankfurt am Main headquartered Cashlink acquired an undisclosed amount of investment from Seed & Speed Ventures, FinLab, and Dr. Rainer Zimmermann. And California’s startup Dispatch secured $6 million in investments from various venture capital firms.

Partnerships

  • LINE messaging app will work with Mizuho Financial Capital Group and China’s Tencent. The partnership is intended for mobile payments services. After the partnership announcement Tencent’s stock value grew 13%. 51% of Mizuho Bank will be owned by LINE. Japan’s LINE Corp has 80 million users.
  • The Energy Management and the Power Generation Services Department of Siemens team up with Energy Web Foundation (EWF) to make the energy sector more economical and cost-effective by using Distributed Ledger Technology. Their quest involves speeding up the shift to a decentralized and de-carbonized energy system.
  • SBI Ripple Asia announced its partnership with Japan Payment Card Consortium for a cooperation on proof of concept (PoC) where blockchain technology will be used to share information on fraud with 9 credit card issuers. The PoC will be carried out on R3’s Corda platform.
  • The transfer agreement is finalized and Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange Co. Ltd (FCCE) is now at the helm of cryptocurrency exchange Zaif. For the meantime, Fisco will operate Zaif separate from its own operation. But, in the future, it will incorporate the two operations together.
  • Tech Bureau Europe joins Chronoswiss for a limited series of crypto design watches sold exclusively online. The series carries 5 designs featuring Bitcoin, Ethereum, COMSA, NEM, and Zaif. A digital certificate comes with the watch and is documented on the blockchain. Only 101 pieces for each design is made.
  • The University of Luxembourg’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability, and Trust (SnT) partners with VNX Exchange to forge a standard of security for the digital asset market. VNX founder says that the partnership is aiming to set up up-to-date security mechanisms for the security of their platform which will diminish the cost of cybersecurity by 50%.
  • Bitfury and the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics join hands for a blockchain project accelerator.  The university will offer courses for the training of specialists who can come up with pioneering projects in a short amount of time. The program is supported by the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of Russia.
  • Tezos Foundation’s South Korean offshoot seals a Memorandum of Understanding with Yonsei University’s Digital Society Research Center. The agreement aims to provide blockchain education and opportunities in the related field, and also future smart contracts development experts.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Thailand alerts the public against 14 unauthorized online operators buying and selling cryptocurrencies. Some operators have taken out their crypto products. The 14 websites cited are R Exchange, emoneythai.com, egtexchange.com, digicardshop.com, i-exch.com, eccurencyplus.com, ecurrencythailand.com, exchangercoin.com, lnwexexchanger.com, gamershoppings.com, misterchanger.com, thaiexchanger.com, payniex.com, and superrichexchanger.com.

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Bitcoin outperformed Vision Hill Crypto Fund Composite index returns by more than 100% in 1H19

Vision Hill Group released their second quarter 2019 crypto hedge fund returns report, a self-reported cryptoasset benchmark study that measures various fund performance (via Vision Hill Active Crypto Indices) relative to Bitcoin and the broader crypto market. In absolute terms, 2Q19 was a bright spot for crypto funds, offering by far the best performance since the benchmark started with crypto fund composite registering a 53.6% gain on the quarter (n = ~50) and is up 67% in 1H19. Through the first half of 2019, Fundamental crypto fund strategies (description below) are leading the composite, up over 80% on the year; while Opportunistic funds are up 65% and Quantitative funds are up 45%. On a relative basis, however, direct spot returns of Bitcoin have outperformed the Vision Hill Crypto Fund Composite by nearly 100%, and the Bitwise 10 Large Cap Index by almost 70% in the first half of 2019. Source: Vision Hill Benchmarks, The Block   Not all strategies have actually under-performed bitcoin and the broader market when considering data that includes 2018's bear market. Looking at the last 12 months, Quantitative focused funds are the only strategy to outperform BTC returns, up close to 40% since last May, which equates to more than 20% excess return over bitcoin during that span. Source: Vision Hill Benchmarks, The Block   Looking at the distribution of fund returns, Fundamental and Opportunistic strategies each generated median returns of ~50%, with 25% of funds making more than 80% (Fundamental) and 55% (Opportunistic), respectively. Quantitative funds saw softer median returns relative to the rest of the composite, at 26% for the quarter, but still had 25% of funds returning more than 60% in the quarter. Opportunistic strategies saw the tightest range of performance out of the group, as 75% of funds returned more than  22%. Source: Vision Hill Benchmarks, The Block   The study was produced using approximately 50 unique data points in Q2 across the three core strategies (Fundamental, Quantitative and Opportunistic), published as non-investable reference indices which act as a proxy for the overall composition of the crypto hedge fund landscape. The report also includes the caveat that the study should be considered a framework, rather than a long-term indicator of performance, as fund voluntary self-reporting can introduce biases (self-reporting, survivorship, and backfill). The asset manager hopes to continue to actively smooth out these issues overtime.   Other highlights from the report include: Median Sharpe ratio (a reward to risk metric) for the composite index came in at a 5.2 (Sortino at 7.2), up from 1.0 in Q1. For context, the Sharpe ratio for last 3 years of SP500 returns currently sits at .81 according to Morningstar. SP500 12m rolling sharpe ratios peaked close to 5 to close out 2017. The information ratio, used to evaluate the risk adjusted performance of a fund in relation to the risk adjusted performance of its benchmark, came in at 9.3 in Q2, vs .9 for Q1. Higher IRs imply better higher returns in excess of a benchmark, given levels of risk that the fund takes. Fundamental strategies: Long Only, Long/Short, Hybrids; Quantitative strategies: Directional momentum, market neutral/HFT-Arb, Long Volatility Opportunistic strategies: Credit, Generalized mining/active network participation, Other If you’re a crypto fund that hasn’t connected with Vision Hill and would like to participate in next quarter’s benchmark study, reach out at tracking@visionhilladvisors.com. Methodology on Crypto Fund index calculations can be found here.
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