5 Tales from the Crypto: NYDIG’s New Leadership, Juno Raises $18 Million, Circle Acquires Elements, and More!


Crypto friendly banking platform Juno has raised $18 million. The Series A round was led by ParaFi Capital ‘s Growth Fund. The fundraising included a sizable number of investors including Greycroft, Antler Global, Hashed, Jump Crypto, Mithril, 6th Man Ventures, Abstract Ventures,, and Uncorrelated Fund.

As part of the investment, Juno announced the launch of a new loyalty token, Juno coin (JCOIN). The program acts similarly to credit card rewards points schemes, and tokens will only be distributed to verified account holders. Juno users can earn JCOIN by spending crypto with their Juno debit card or by taking their paychecks in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, Ethereum or USDC. The company says that more than 75,000 customers in the U.S. take and invest at least a portion of their salary in cryptocurrency every month on its platform.

Juno offers cryptocurrency checking accounts that enable individuals to earn, invest, and spend in crypto. The checking accounts are free to open, and both crypto deposits and withdrawals are free, as well. The accounts are FDIC insured, courtesy of a sponsorship by Evolve Bank & Trust. Note that the USD holdings in the account, not the crypto holdings, are covered.

The dust has finally settled from Circle’s big announcement last week that it has accelerated its crypto payments roadmap courtesy of its acquisition of Elements.

A merchant and developer-first payments orchestration platform, Elements was credited for its ability to “take the complexity out of crypto payments,” by Circle Chief Product Officer Nikhil Chandhok. The Elements acquisition will help make it easier for merchants to integrate their current PSP relationships with Circle’s crypto payments solutions. “Providing well-designed payment products that can facilitate seamless, efficient, frictionless and delightful customer experiences are key to empowering merchants to take advantage of these next-gen payment solutions,” Chandhok said.

An issuer of both USD Coin (USDC) and Euro Coin (EUROC), Circle enables companies around the world to leverage digital currencies and public blockchains to facilitate payments, commerce, and financial technology. Founded in 2013, the Boston, Massachusetts-based company recently announced partnerships with GIANT Protocol to facilitate tokenized mobile data and with non-profit Mara Foundation to help developers in Africa build DApps and blockchain solutions.

There are big changes at the top for New York Digital Investment Group – more popularly known as NYDIG. The cryptocurrency investment company began the week with news that both CEO Robert Gutmann and President Yan Zhao were stepping down from their positions. Replacing them will be Tejas Shah, who will become NYDIG’s new CEO, and Nate Conrad, who was promoted to President.

Shah was formerly NYDIG’s Global Head of Institutional Finance. Conrad was previously NYDIG’s Global Head of Payments. Both Shah and Conrad joined NYDIG in 2020. In their new roles, both executives will be tasked with boosting investment in the company’s mining franchise and accelerating bitcoin adoption via solutions like the Lightning Network, which facilitates payment by bitcoin.

Speaking of investment, NYDIG’s C-suite personnel news came at the same time that reporters uncovered an SEC filing revealed that NYDIG had raised $720 million for its institutional digital asset fund. According to the filing, 59 investors participated with an average investment of $12 million.

Founded in 2017, NYDIG is among the industry’s biggest custodians of cryptocurrencies. The company holds more than $1 billion in digital assets for its customers.

As more card issuers authorize cardholders to transact in cryptocurrencies, it becomes increasingly important to make sure that card issuers are up-to-date and compliant with the regulations that govern digital assets. This week, we learned that Mastercard had launched a new solution, Crypto Secure, designed to enable issuers to determine the risk profile of crypto exchanges and other crypto providers, before specifying which purchases of cryptocurrency should be approved.

The new offering will enable issuers to accurately identify the crypto exchanges from which their cardholders are buying crypto, measure transaction approvals and declines, review their exposure to crypto risk at a portfolio level, and compare themselves to a peer group of financial institutions.

“Crypto Secure will provide card issuers with a platform that allows them access to insights which will improve the safety of crypto purchases,” President of Mastercard Cyber and Intelligence Ajay Bhalla said.

Crypto Secure is powered by CipherTrace, a cryptocurrency intelligence company Mastercard acquired just over a year ago. CipherTrace’s data analytics and algorithms provide insight into more than 900 cryptocurrencies, helping companies bring better security to their crypto-related operations. The Menlo Park, California-based company was founded in 2015.

We mentioned the Lightning Network earlier in our look at the goals of the new leadership team at NYDIG. Just recently, a company based in Vancouver, Canada, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, announced that it has secured $2.25 million in seed funding for its technology that brings the benefits of bitcoin’s Lightning Network to the payments rails of southeast Asia.

Hivemind Ventures led the round for Neutronpay, which disclosed the investment last week despite raising the money in June. Participating in the investment were Republic Cavalry, Ride Wave, Studio, Iterative, Fulgar Ventures, along with individual investors. Among these individual investors is Lisa Shields, founder and CEO of Finovate alum FISPAN.

The company has already put the new capital to work, adding talent with an eye toward boosting its capacity to develop enterprise APIs, soon, a consumer mobile app. ‘”Laying the infrastructure for Lightning across South East Asia would make it very easy for locals to better transact with each other and for the rest of the world to transact in the region – whether while on vacation or for doing business,” Neutronpay founder and CEO Albert Buu said.

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