The TechCrunch Podcast Network has been nominated for two Webbys in the Best Technology Podcast category. You can help TechCrunch win by voting for Chain Reaction, which digs into the wild world of crypto. Or Found, which brings you the stories behind the startups by sitting down with the founders themselves. Please take a few moments to vote here. Voting closes April 20. (NB I host Chain Reaction, so vote for my show!) Welcome back to Chain Reaction. About 10 months ago, Solana’s co-founder and CEO, Anatoly Yakovenko, announced the launch of Saga, a web3-focused Android smartphone. The phone is now being rolled out, and we got to test one ahead of its launch. Unlike typical Android devices, the Saga has web3 features and a “Solana dApp Store,” where you can find apps for web3 platforms. The store has a slim handful of applications: Four wallets: Phantom, Solflare, Ledger and Squads Three DeFi apps: Marinade.finance, Jupiter and Mango Three NFT apps: Nokiamon, Minty Fresh and TIEXO Three social apps: Dialect, Audius Music and urFeed And the dApp “workspace” The phone also has a built-in mobile wallet adapter, which is part of the Solana Mobile Stack (SMS) that is invisible to users but is infrastructure that connects dApps to wallets, Steven Laver, the engineering lead at Solana Mobile, told TechCrunch. Similar to how MetaMask has a connect button on its desktop client, this adapter is a “comprehensive technology” that will bridge web dApps to mobile devices, he added. The device also includes a web3-focused feature, the Seed Vault, which is embedded into the phone. Users can import a seed phrase from another crypto wallet or create a new one (Solana recommends creating a new one). You can read all about it here.
This week in web3
As crypto startup valuations come back to Earth, big investors are bargain hunting (TC+) Crypto funding might have declined last quarter, but investors behind the largest funds in the space are sticking to their guns. “There’s always going to be a need for big funds and investors to help the startups get the funding they need,” Lydia Chiu, vice president of Business Development at Ava Labs, told TechCrunch+. With the current regulatory scrutiny on the space alongside the bearish market sentiment, venture capital funds are needed more than ever, she said. CeFi and DeFi in the face of regulation (TC+) The full magnitude of the impact of the current market volatility in the wake of the collapse of FTX is still unknown. The dominoes keep falling and it is hard to predict how many more projects and organizations will end up being affected. What is undisputed is how the entire industry has been impacted and that the conversation about crypto regulation has risen to the forefront. Twitter partners with eToro to show real-time stock and crypto information Twitter has partnered with the investment platform eToro to show real-time information about stocks and crypto prices. This expands upon the social network’s Cashtag feature, which provided info about a limited number of stocks and crypto coins through TradingView data. The new partnership with eToro goes beyond just displaying information. It also redirects users to the eToro site where they can engage in trading. a16z’s crypto report anticipates developer growth as blockchain scaling solutions expand (TC+) As the crypto market continues to find its footing in an ever-shaky climate, Andreessen Horowitz, which launched a $4.5 billion web3 fund last year, released its second State of Crypto report. It dives into everything from blockchain activity to new technologies, but one theme that stands out is that blockchains are scaling. Hong Kong’s ZA Bank wants to be the go-to bank for crypto startups As the collapses of Signature Bank and Silvergate sent crypto companies scrambling, a virtual bank from Hong Kong is extending a warm welcome to web3 startups. Hong Kong-based ZA Bank is now allowed to serve as the settlement bank for regulated web3 companies in the city, the company said today at Hong Kong’s web3 festival, an event that’s backed by the region’s government and has attracted crypto startups and institutions from all over Asia.
The latest pod
For last week’s episode, Jacquelyn interviewed Arianna Simpson, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz (commonly known as a16z). Prior to joining the a16z family, Arianna founded Autonomous Partners, an investment fund focused on crypto. She also helped launch Crystal Towers Capital, which is an early-stage fund investing primarily in YC companies. A16z has dug deep into the crypto space after launching four funds dedicated to the industry, with the most recent one being about $4.5 billion in May 2022. Some of its portfolio companies include big crypto players we’ve interviewed in the past, like Alchemy, Avalanche and Aptos. We talked about Simpson’s background, how her strategy has changed over the years, what she looks for in founders and whether she would launch another VC firm in the future. And we also discussed: The current investing climate Web3 gaming space Where founders are building Regulatory landscape Advice for founders Subscribe to Chain Reaction on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite pod platform to keep up with the latest episodes, and please leave us a review if you like what you hear!
Follow the money
Trading-focused blockchain Sei raises $30 million, bringing valuation up to $800 million Xclaim, an exchange for bankruptcy claims against crypto companies, raised $7 million Metaverse-based Gameta raised $5 million Pear Protocol raised $1.25 million for its on-chain trading platform Huddle01 raised $2.8 million to build a decentralized real-time communication network This list was compiled with information from Messari as well as TechCrunch’s own reporting. To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important crypto stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday at 12 p.m. PT, subscribe here. Call me, beep me, if you wanna reach me by Jacquelyn Melinek originally published on TechCrunch