Cryptoverse: VCs double down on investments

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STORY: This is Crypto Weekly, with your top stories on alternative currencies. This week, crypto fever grips VCs and spreads in Central America.

Venture capitalists are stampeding towards crypto projects, investing $10billion globally in the first quarter of 2022.

That’s the largest quarterly sum ever and compares favorably with the full-year total for 2019 of $3.7 billion, according to Pitchbook.

M&A deals involving crypto target companies are also ballooning – 73 deals so far in 2022 versus 51 in 2021, according to Dealogic.

Central African Republic’s adoption of bitcoin as a legal tender is still baffling the cryptoverse – and likely the nation’s 4.8 million people.

Analysts see great challenges ahead including low familiarity, poor internet penetration and spotty electricity.

CAR became the only the second country to turn to bitcoin, after El Salvador.

Now its Central American neighbors, Cuba and Panama are embracing crypto.

Cuba’s move to license virtual asset service providers could help it dodge the decades-old U.S. trade embargo, which cuts off access to conventional international payment systems and markets.

Crypto may ease remittances and foreign trade, but economist Pavel Vidal has a few doubts.

“What we have up to now is a new legal framework that is more friendly for the use of the crypto assets in Cuba, but we don’t know exactly who is going to use this new legal framework, what kind of services these new actors are going to be offering and who is going to be the recipients of these operations.”

Meanwhile Panama is allowing the use of crypto assets, with payments for services and even taxes in cryptocurrency.

Panama’s already on the EU’s list of tax havens, and analysts fear crypto will do little for its financial transparency.

The company behind one of the most prominent series of NFTs – the Bored Ape Yacht Club – has raised around $285 million worth of cryptocurrency in a new venture.

Yuga Labs offered up plots of virtual land in the metaverse, which could only be bought using the project’s own ApeCoin, launched in March.