Polychain, Outlier Ventures Back Blockchain Startup's Plan for Web 3.0


While the idea of a decentralized internet – commonly referred to as the Web 3.0 – seems attractive to many in the blockchain industry, creating an infrastructure to support it is at least one goal that needs to be completed first.

It's a challenge that Haja Networks is taking on with a new database protocol and a database network. Both of these open-source products would enable interoperability between different blockchains and allow users to sell or lease their data to businesses while maintaining control over what information is accessible to third-parties, said CEO Samuli Pöyhtäri.

The startup recently completed a funding round lead by Outlier Ventures and featuring Polychain Capital, BigchainDB and Creathor Ventures. Outlier also joined Haja as a strategic partner. The total amount raised was not disclosed.

Lawrence Lundy, Outlier's head of research, noted that solving interoperability for databases – including blockchains – is key to helping develop the new internet. And the Haja team, composed of former Protocol Labs and IPFS developers, is on its way there with OrbitDB, an open-source database project.

Pöyhtäri told CoinDesk that «we see a lot of problems with the current web, with data being settled and data being monopolized by companies. There's a problem with data being centralized, there's [infrastructure issues], there's censorship possibilities and it's inefficient.»

As such, he wanted to develop a way to make databases easily communicate while maintaining a trustless, peer-to-peer framework, he said, adding: «We can't really build the user experiences that we need to [in order] to be able to compete with the current web so that's essentially what we're enabling here, by building decentralized protocols to make data secure in trustless ways.»

This would just be the first step in building the infrastructure to support a decentralized web, he said, adding that this infrastructure would in turn help solve scalability issues, which can help fuel adoption.

According to Pöyhtäri:

«If we look at the usage of decentralized apps right now, it's pretty bad in a way. I think everybody would like to see a lot more adoption and usage but essentially it's not there. Part of that problem, a big part of that problem, is the scalability problem, which I believe is a topic right now… with different projects working on it.»

South Carolina Sanctions Startup Over Unregistered Token Sales


Blockchain startup ShipChain has been hit with a cease-and-desist order from the South Carolina Attorney General's Office, which claimed the company violated the state's securities statutes.

The state's Securities Commissioner said in an order issued Monday that ShipChain offered what amounts to an investment contract by way of its token, which is «the only medium of exchange on the platform.»

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Crypto Data Startup BitKan Raises $10 Million in New Funding


Shenzhen-based cryptocurrency data startup BitKan has raised $10 million in a Series B funding round.

Leading the round is a Chinese financing firm called Zhongyunhui Capital, with IDG Capital and bitcoin mining giant Bitmain also contributing funds, the company announced Wednesday. Bitmain is an existing investor in BitKan, having invested $1.6 million in the startup in 2016.

BitKan said it will use the new funds to expand its business and build a platform dubbed «K site» within its existing application, which is expected to go into open beta on April 20. The company is also planning to open offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo as part of its expansion plans.

The new service is envisioned as a paid platform that shares user-generated content, with users paying to access this material with the startup's planned KAN token.

BitKan touted the new platform as a push for higher quality content, such as investment strategies for the Chinese cryptocurrency market, as a response to an environment that the startup said is fueled by «fake ICO whitepapers and scams.»

«Free content can only attract page views, but putting up a paywall can improve content quality considerably,» CEO Yu Fang explained.

Founded in 2012, the firm originally started as a platform for over-the-counter (OTC) trading that also provided cryptocurrency price and mining data, as well as wallet services.

The funding marks the firm's latest effort to look for new revenue following the closure of its OTC platform after the Chinese government's clampdown on initial coin offerings and domestic trading services last year.