bookmark_borderBitrue floats $50M cryptocurrency investment fund

The crypto exchange platform plans to support blockchain startups working on paradigm-shifting use cases for the emerging technology.

Bitrue crypto exchange has announced a $50-million investment fund geared toward supporting cryptocurrency and blockchain startups.

According to a recent announcement, the investment fund will target crypto projects working on use cases with the potential to advance the development of the emerging blockchain ecosystem.

Of the $50-million sum, 70% will be in the form of Tether (USDT), while the exchange also plans to fund the remaining 30% via its native token, Bitrue Coin (BTR). As of the time of writing, BTR is trading at $0.20 and is up about 578% over the last year, according to data from CoinGecko.

Projects looking to attract Bitrue’s investment can pitch directly to the company. As part of the announcement, the crypto exchange platform also revealed that it will be on the lookout for potential beneficiaries with members of the crypto community encouraged to nominate would-be recipients of the investment pot.

Commenting on the company’s selection plans to determine worthy recipients, Adam O’Neill, chief marketing officer of Bitrue, said:

“We will be carefully selecting projects that we deem have an appreciable chance of becoming successful or have some form of significant value. In this way, we hope that more entrepreneurs will be able to change the world through blockchain technology.”

Launched back in 2018, Bitrue ranks 72nd on the list of crypto exchanges based on 24-hour trading volume, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Bitrue joined OKEx back in August 2020 to become one of the first few platforms to offer hybrid crypto exchange services — both centralized and decentralized finance options.

Indeed, amid the clamor for institutional investments in the crypto space, exchanges are often ubiquitous in the seeding of new cryptocurrency businesses. Several major platforms like Coinbase and Binance have investment arms that routinely provide early-stage capital for emerging startups in the blockchain space.

bookmark_borderGriff Green: Doge-loving hippy hacker steals crypto before bad guys can

The organizer of The Robin Hood Group which once stole 10% of all circulating ETH from under a black hat hackers nose wants to change the way we think about charity.

A former chemical engineer, Griff Green, 36, traded in his savings for precious metals, which he used to travel the world for years before settling as a Bitcoin missionary in Ecuador. He led a white hat hacker war against the infamous black hat hacker of The DAO, and he organizes cryptocurrency camps at Burning Man to spread the word about crypto while dressed as Santa and riding a massive metal Doge.

His next big mission, with the blockchain-based charity initiatives Giveth and Commons Stack, is to transform the game of economics into one in which donations transform into investments… investments that can even wind up with the donor making a profit.

DAO master

The morning of June 17, 2016, was a pivotal day in cryptocurrency it was the day The DAO was hacked. The DAO was arguably the first major decentralized autonomous organization, having raised 14% of all circulating Ether in existence at the time from over 11,000 investors in May 2016. It functioned as an investor-driven venture fund, with tokenholders able to vote on investment proposals.

But a malicious actor found an exploit allowing funds to be progressively drained from The DAOs accounts. Green quickly organized his white hat hacker collective, The Robin Hood Group, to launch a counteroffensive.


White hat hacker and philanthropist Griff Green. (Pic: Supplied)

One week later, Green would be among the first nine graduates from the University of Nicosias Masters in Digital Currency program. He was hired by, a company developing on Ethereum, as a community manager responsible for organizing and educating The DAOs community.

Green jumped onto a Slack channel for The DAOs investors, imploring them not to panic as his team rushed to drain what was left of the projects holdings before the attackers could. He encouraged users to spam the network as much as possible to slow it down and increase gas fees, making it harder for the real hacker:

The DAO is being attacked. It has been going on for 3-4 hours, it is draining Ethereum at a rapid rate. This is not a drill We need to spam the Network so that we can mount a counter attack all the brightest minds in the Ethereum world are in on this.

At the same time, his team started replicating the hackers attacks for itself, draining The DAOs wallets of ETH before the hacker could take it.

We had 10% of all Ether in existence.

We were taking a huge risk, Green acknowledges regarding the legality of preemptively stealing tens of millions in Ether so the hacker couldnt. The Ethereum chain was controversially forked following the hack in order to turn back time to before the hack, but Ethereum Classic emerged as a still-valuable token. This meant that Green and crew effectively held 10% of all ETC with the funds they had stolen.



Legal threats started pouring in, telling the group that the ETC should be distributed, despite the fact that We were just normal people, we didnt have a company, he says looking back. All the members of the group jumped on planes and flew to Switzerland to figure out legal representation, and it was the first time we all met in person. Eventually, the funds were returned through a DApp that Greens team coded.


Disco Doge
If you havent ridden around Burning Man on a giant Disco Doge, you havent lived.

About a year later in November 2017, the team had similar success rescuing $210 million from the Parity multisig wallet hack. We wanted to tell everyone, Hey, guess what? We stole all this money, but you can trust us because we already gave back all the money in The DAO, Green recalls. But he explains that this was risky for the now-public team because anyone could use Google to find out where they and thus, the private keys could be found. That night, Green slept on a mattress with a baseball bat in front of the door, fearing someone might come to take the keys by force.

Hacking is not the only way in which Green has put himself at risk in the name of his principles. When the autonomous region of Catalonia attempted to vote for independence from Spain in 2017, Green went to a polling station to act as a human shield to protect the electoral process from the police, who were beating people to steal the ballots. This experience convinced Green that decentralized governance on the blockchain can only work efficiently if people are able to run their nodes without relying on centralized internet providers. The result was DAppNode, which helps people around the world set up peer-to-peer infrastructure.


Griff Green
Green wearing his signature Santa suit while discussing charity initiatives with controversial philanthropist Brock Pierce at Burning Man 2018. (Pic: Elias Ahonen)

From engineer to Ecuadorian evangelist

Green was born in Spokane, Washington, where he graduated from high school in the mid-2000s. He was interested in designing planes and rocketships but decided not to pursue mechanical engineering after he realized that much of the industry was oriented toward military applications. Instead, he went into chemical engineering at the University of Washington in 2003.

At the end of his studies in 2006, he interned at biopharmaceutical firm Amgen, where he helped genetically engineer Chinese hamster ovary cells to produce human proteins, he recalls, describing a creepy process in a laboratory filled with vats of blood. Later, he worked as a research assistant at his alma mater, turning algae into carbon-neutral fuel.

He soon found himself employed as an organizer of a really weird political movement in Seattle called Save Our Sonics trying to lobby the local government to keep NBA basketball team the Seattle SuperSonics from relocating to Oklahoma. His efforts ended with disappointment when the mayor sold the team away anyway with just the stroke of a pen, just as a judge was about to rule in the teams favor. This left Green with an impression of political movements being outmatched and outgunned by corrupt elites.


An alter to DOGE at Burning Man. (Pic: Elias Ahonen)


In 2007, Green joined SNC-Lavalin, a large construction and engineering firm, as a process engineer where he had an ethical dilemma regarding a job requirement to create a structure that sent highly acidic water into the ocean in a country with weak environmental regulations. He tried to tweak the calculation a little bit in order to decrease the pollution level and give the ocean ecosystem a break. His suggestions were not accepted, and Now, theres a pipe that I designed pumping shit into the ocean, and that really weighs on me, he says in a somber manner.

When layoffs came around in 2008, he had been putting his paychecks into gold and silver, as he had recently started feeling like the whole system is a corrupt conspiracy. He bought a pop-top van that he drove to Burning Man, a counterculture event held each summer in the Nevada desert. Something about the experience inspired him to see the world, and he took off on an adventure that never ended precious metals in tow.

He traveled around, volunteering in Ecuador and Columbia the first year and India and Southeast Asia the next, always returning home to Burning Man in August. Along the way, he learned about Bitcoin and bought some with $3,000 worth of gold.



In 2013, his BTC went to $24,000 I was used to living really cheaply, like $3 per night hostels with cold showers, he recalls. Green saw potential and became so obsessed with Bitcoin that he told his girlfriend, Youre great and all, but I like Bitcoin more, and Im going to Ecuador, and Im going to be the Andreas Antonopoulos of Ecuador, referring to a desire to bring cryptocurrency to the country with which he had fallen in love during his travels.

I became obsessed. My girlfriend got jealous we literally broke up because she was jealous of Bitcoin.

In Ecuador, Green went around college campuses, popping into random computer science classes to give presentations about Bitcoin and teach everyone how to set up a wallet, which he would then fund with a small amount, asking each person to find three new people to send a fraction of their coins.

Id knock on the classroom door unannounced, and Id be like, Hey, I want to give everyone in this classroom a little bit of Bitcoin and explain it to them. Id say five times out of seven, they let me in, Green recalls with a laugh. Soon, however, he saw that Ecuador was moving to ban Bitcoin, so he abandoned his missionary post. I had to bail, he recounts.


Griff Green 3
Griff Greens Burning Man camp banner, featuring the Silk Road camel with religious iconography, replacing baby Jesus with a Doge.

The giving principle

Green organizes DECENTRAL and DOGECENTRAL, two cryptocurrency-themed camps at Burning Man, which is a radically oriented 10-day festival founded upon 10 principles including radical inclusion, gifting, radical self-reliance and civic responsibility. With the camps, Green aims to build a bridge between the Burning Man community and the crypto community so there can be an exchange of ideas and culture, something he feels can change the world somehow. The two communities have much in common as socially critical movements but tend toward opposing extremes regarding economic philosophy.

Swayed by his experiences in both political activism and engineering, Green is critical of the hyper capitalism that he sees in the cryptocurrency industry. If all you know is capitalism, then youre just going to do capitalism better, and I dont know if thats necessarily the right thing. But hey, look, theres this gift economy! he says, referring to what is known as the gifting principle at Burning Man, where money and any kind of trade or barter is banned.

The goal is to say, Wow! Look at what economics really is lets go a step beyond capitalism and start looking at how we can coordinate value production.

Green thinks of economies like games one can play the game in a capitalist manner to benefit themselves or they can play for the benefit of others. This desire to create an economic environment that rewards people for doing societal good inspired him to start crypto donation platform Giveth in late 2016. What if we integrate values and culture as part of the economic system? he ponders.


The best of blockchain, every Sunday

Subscribe for thoughtful explorations and leisurely reads from Magazine.

By subscribing you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy


Giveth currently functions as a transparent and traceable donation platform where anyone can trace how their donated funds are spent. Id say its like an Indiegogo for donations, Green says. In the coming months, there are plans to release a governance token, to be given out to all donors in accordance with their donations on the platform. These governance tokens could function like something akin to a tax return, where donors receive some money back for making donations.

Commons Stack, a Giveth spinoff that Green co-founded, is creating a general-purpose framework for nonprofit economies by allowing donors to effectively invest in charity-related tokens. If more people also buy that token because they believe that this nonprofit economy is going to create value, then you as an early supporter would actually make money the same way it works in the stock market, Green explains. Of course, it is entirely possible that donors will never get all their money back, but Green is confident that thats OK because the other option is a 100% loss of donated funds.

Every economy is a game. The rules of the game determine your score, and your goal is to get a high score. When you play the American economy game, you try to get as much money as you can. But when you play the help orphans game, you try to get as much money as you can by helping orphans.


bookmark_borderGoldman Sachs exec reportedly quits job after making Dogecoin fortune

After working at Goldman Sachs for 14 years, a banker reportedly left the firm due to netting massive gains from his Dogecoin holdings.

A senior manager at banking giant Goldman Sachs in London has reportedly left the company after making a fortune on a meme-based cryptocurrency, Dogecoin (DOGE).

Aziz McMahon, a former managing director and head of emerging market sales at Goldman Sachs, had resigned from the investment bank, allegedly after netting major gains from his DOGE holdings, The Guardian reports Tuesday. 

Though reports did not specify exactly how much money McMahon made from his Dogecoin holdings, sources claimed that it was a substantial sum, pointing out that DOGE rallied over 1,000% in value this year.

According to sources, the finance veteran was investing in crypto using a personal account and was not involved in trading cryptocurrencies for Goldman Sachs.

McMahon did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

Dogecoin has been repeatedly recording major milestones recently, outstripping the largest cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) in the number of related internet search queries. Since the beginning of 2021, Dogecoin has emerged as the fastest-growing digital currency, posting up to 13,500% growth year-to-date, surging from just $0.005 to an all-time high of $0.68 on May 7, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

Dogecoin price chart year-to-date. Source: CoinMarketCap

Launched back in 2013 by IBM software engineer Billy Markus and Adobe engineer Jackson Palmer, Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency based on the popular “Doge” meme featuring a Shiba Inu and was created as a joke. 

Another dog-based cryptocurrency has been surging recently. After breaking new all-time highs yesterday, Dogecoin imitator Shiba Inu (SHIB) subsequently saw a 13% slump to trade at $0.000028 at the time of writing.

bookmark_borderFrom cypherpunk to state contracts: the changing face of blockchain

Three blockchain executives discuss their work with governments in fraught political contexts, and the questions it raises about blockchain’s claim to the libertarian banner.

Blockchain continues to occupy an unusual space in the contemporary tech sphere, with concepts such as “decentralization,” “transparency” and “immutability” continuing to slide between a purely technical meaning and a more overtly politicized one. 

Certain blockchain advocates — at least, those still steeped in the libertarian ethos that survives the technology’s roots in the cypherpunk movement — continue to question the technology’s implementation for projects like government defense contracts, as well as its wider absorption into the traditional financial banking systems it was originally designed to circumvent.

Earlier this week, Cointelegraph reached out to several executives at the Fantom Foundation to reflect on the choices and approaches taken by blockchain companies who work in governmental and institutional contexts that raise fundamental questions about blockchain’s status from a socio-political perspective.

 Fantom had recently announced a new public-private partnership with the Tajik Ministry of Industry of New Technologies that will see the rollout of a range of blockchain-based solutions across nationwide IT infrastructure. The partnership forms part of Fantom’s wider business strategy across Central and South Asia.

In respect to the incumbent Tajik government, citizens have long called attention to the abuses of President Rahmon’s dictatorial regime, which emerged out of a brutal civil war in the mid-1990smid 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. State monopoly over media, the systemic repression of political dissent and banning of the main opposition party, and the absence of civic and democratic freedoms has forced many Tajiks to seek political asylum abroad.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Fantom’s chief government relations officer Barek Sekandari said that Fantom’s choice to collaborate with various regimes, despite their politics, is due to the company’s priority to provide the populations of countries in underdeveloped economies with the same level of technological modernization as exists across the Global North. 

Sekandari argued that for Fantom:

“Our goal is not to help these so-called regimes or whatever to to be more repressive […] our goal is to solve […] real-world problems […] There are a lot of people suffering because of the state finance and health system, supply chain management, the educational system, the paper money system. These are the problems that the general public is facing on a daily basis. It’s not the government as a whole, if you put it that way.”

As noted, there are many blockchain companies who choose, for example, to pursue contracts with federal military agencies at the core of the Global North, the United States, where innovative technologies are already widespread and broadly accessible.

Sekandari further emphasized that Fantom is not only working with the Tajik ministry but also coordinating its work with international organizations working in the region, such as the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations, among others.

Fantom’s previous engagements in Central Asia and South Asia have also included the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Pakistan Punjab Prisons Department to formalize the beginning of blockchain-based software implementations

As with Tajikistan, Fantom’s choice to work with the authorities is a fraught one: under the premiership of Imran Khan since 2018, the government has come under criticism for its brutal repression of grassroots movements among students, farmers and teachers against the austerity prescriptions of a 2019 IMF loan conditional on a structural adjustment program. 

Responding to Cointelegraph’s questions about Fantom’s choice to work with the prison systems management of the Pakistani state, Fantom’s director of Asia operations, Samuel Harcourt, said the company would still hold that improving transparency and data integrity remains an important thing, regardless of the institutional context.

As part of a different project in the region, the Fantom also continues to collaborate with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Health, including work on a blockchain-based product to prevent the circulation of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Fantom’s CEO Michael Kong told Cointelegraph he believes the benefits of a blockchain system are particularly evident here, in light of the fact that 40% of drugs in Afghanistan are counterfeit, with most citizens therefore unable to trust the quality of what they procure at local pharmacies. 

bookmark_borderMajor Brazilian crypto asset manager secures $26M in funding

Coinbase and SoftBank have participated in a $26-million funding round for Latin America’s largest crypto asset management firm.

Hashdex, the Rio de Janeiro-based crypto asset manager with over 4 billion Brazilian real ($765 million) in assets under management, has raised $26 million in a new funding round from investors.

According to Bloomberg on Wednesday, venture capital firm Valor Capital Group led the funding round with participation from Coinbase Ventures — the VC arm of American exchange giant Coinbase — and SoftBank.

The $26-million capital influx comes as Hashdex is set to pursue its expansion outside Brazil. Indeed, the company is reportedly planning to open as many as 75 new locations across the world before the end of the year.

Hashdex also wants to increase its crypto offerings catalog with co-founder Marcelo Sampaio stating that investors are warming up to cryptocurrencies. “Investors are still getting to know crypto, and we see room to offer more products in Brazil,” the former Microsoft executive told Bloomberg in an interview.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Hashdex teamed up with Nasdaq to issue a crypto exchange-traded fund product in Bermuda back in September 2020. The Bermuda Stock Exchange approved the composite crypto ETF in February 2021.

Hashdex also teamed up with Nasdaq to create the Nasdaq Crypto Index for cryptocurrencies with the most liquidity on major exchanges and custodians such as Coinbase, Kraken, BitGo and Fidelity. The NCI consists of six cryptos, namely: Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Chainlink’s LINK and Stellar (XLM).

Hashdex is also a crypto ETF issuer in Brazil, with the company obtaining approval to list a composite cryptocurrency ETF product that tracks the NCI back in March.

Brazil and Canada remain the only two countries to approve a Bitcoin ETF, with several BTC ETF hopefuls submitting applications in the United States. Earlier in May, the Chicago Board Options Exchange filed a Form 19b-4 to become the exchange partner for Fidelity’s Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust Bitcoin ETF.