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Mark Cuban is among a slew of investors taking a stake in Alethea AI, a Singapore-based startup that’s creating “intelligent” versions of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. The company announced Wednesday that it raised $16 million through a private and restricted token sale, a kind of fundraising tool used by blockchain-based companies like those in the crypto space. By Will Feuer Mark Cuban is among a slew of investors taking a stake in Alethea AI, a Singapore-based startup that’s creating “intelligent” versions of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. The company announced Wednesday that it raised $16 million through a private and restricted token sale, a kind of fundraising tool used by blockchain-based companies like those in the crypto space. Alethea seeks to distinguish its NFTs by allowing users to embed AI animation, interaction, and voice synthesis capabilities into the digital art — enabling people to even converse with NFTs. “Give your NFT Superpowers,” the firm’s website advertises. NFTs are digital assets that represent ownership of virtual items like computerized art and sports highlights. “While NFTs have continued to be exciting for collectors, Alethea AI has managed to uniquely combine AI Powered Avatars that are secured on-chain as NFTs,” Cuban said in a statement. “The result is not only fun and entertaining, but the foundation for a level of interactivity that is going to advance quickly using Alethea’s technologies.” Alethea allows users to embed AI animation, interaction, and voice synthesis capabilities into the digital art. Twitter/@Sotherbys In its latest funding effort, Alethea drew some other big-name investors, too, including Metapurse — whose founder famously paid more than $69 million earlier this year for the first NFT to be sold by auction house Christie’s. Alethea began to see some success this summer tapping into the continues explosion of interest in NFTs. The firm sold one intelligent NFT, or iNFT, for $478,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in June. Prior to the June sale, that iNFT, named “Alice,” starred in a Twitter live video during which it answered questions from viewers in real-time, although many of its answers were simply, “I don’t know,” or, “I’m sorry." Alethea CEO Arif Khan told Bloomberg that the company will use the proceeds from the sale to maintain and upgrade its current services. Potential future projects, he added, is giving a CryptoPunk, a famously expensive collection of 10,000 NFTs, the ability to rap. The latest fundraising round comes as the NFT market soars in popularity, with various multi-million dollar sales. The NFT market has soared in popularity, with $2.5 billion in sales the first half of 2021. SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett The market saw $2.5 billion in sales in the first six months of 2021, up from just $13.7 million in the first half of 2020. Source: https://nypost.com/2021/08/26/mark-cuban-invests-in-firm-creating-ai-nfts-that-talk/
  Mastercard, the American multinational financial services corporation, announced the company is dipping further into the digital asset ecosystem by acquiring the blockchain intelligence firm Ciphertrace. The partnership announcement says the firm will help bolster Ciphertrace’s and Mastercard’s cyber security solutions. Mastercard Purchased Ciphertrace for Undisclosed Sum On Thursday, the financial payments giant Mastercard (NYSE: MA) has revealed the company has acquired the blockchain surveillance firm Ciphertrace. The blockchain company is a Menlo Park, California-based cyber security firm that specializes in tracking “more than 900 cryptocurrencies.” Ciphertrace was founded by Stephen Ryan on May 31, 2016, and it has filed a number of patents throughout the years. In mid-May, Ciphertrace reported on cryptocurrency crime moving toward decentralized finance (defi), and during the first week of August, Ciphertrace claimed it had enhanced monero (XMR) tracing capabilities. In the acquisition announcement Ajay Bhalla, president of Cyber and Intelligence at Mastercard, discussed the benefits of digital assets but the payments giant wants to make sure the ecosystem is “trusted and safe.” “Digital assets have the potential to reimagine commerce, from everyday acts like paying and getting paid to transforming economies, making them more inclusive and efficient,” Bhalla said in a statement on Thursday. Bhalla added: With the rapid growth of the digital asset ecosystem comes the need to ensure it is trusted and safe. Our aim is to build upon the complementary capabilities of Mastercard and Ciphertrace to do just this. Mastercard’s Entry Into Crypto Gets Deeper Mastercard has been knee-deep in the crypto economy for quite some time and every couple of weeks the company’s interest gets deeper. At the end of July, Mastercard said the company’s card program was being enhanced for crypto trading platforms and wallets. A week later, Mastercard launched an initiative to help bolster cryptocurrency startups. While Ciphertrace announced the enhanced XMR tracing capabilities, that same week Mastercard outlined the firm’s plans for cryptos, stablecoins, and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Ciphertrace says the firm’s software helps companies find solutions to “enhance their security and fraud monitoring activities for crypto-related programs.” Dave Jevans, CEO of Ciphertrace, explained that Mastercard and Ciphertrace share a similar vision. “We help companies – whether they are banks or cryptocurrency exchanges, government regulators or law enforcement to keep the crypto economy safe,” Jevans detailed. He further added: Our two companies share this vision to provide security and trust throughout the ecosystem. We are thrilled to join the Mastercard family to scale CipherTrace’s reach across the globe. The Ciphertrace acquisition cost was not disclosed in Mastercard’s announcement. Mastercard also explained that Ciphertrace is one of many investments as the company has invested and partnered with firms like Uphold, Bitpay, and Gemini. Source: https://news.bitcoin.com/payments-giant-mastercard-acquires-blockchain-intelligence-firm-ciphertrace/
  Mastercard, the American multinational financial services corporation, announced the company is dipping further into the digital asset ecosystem by acquiring the blockchain intelligence firm Ciphertrace. The partnership announcement says the firm will help bolster Ciphertrace’s and Mastercard’s cyber security solutions. Mastercard Purchased Ciphertrace for Undisclosed Sum On Thursday, the financial payments giant Mastercard (NYSE: MA) has revealed the company has acquired the blockchain surveillance firm Ciphertrace. The blockchain company is a Menlo Park, California-based cyber security firm that specializes in tracking “more than 900 cryptocurrencies.” Ciphertrace was founded by Stephen Ryan on May 31, 2016, and it has filed a number of patents throughout the years. In mid-May, Ciphertrace reported on cryptocurrency crime moving toward decentralized finance (defi), and during the first week of August, Ciphertrace claimed it had enhanced monero (XMR) tracing capabilities. In the acquisition announcement Ajay Bhalla, president of Cyber and Intelligence at Mastercard, discussed the benefits of digital assets but the payments giant wants to make sure the ecosystem is “trusted and safe.” “Digital assets have the potential to reimagine commerce, from everyday acts like paying and getting paid to transforming economies, making them more inclusive and efficient,” Bhalla said in a statement on Thursday. Bhalla added: With the rapid growth of the digital asset ecosystem comes the need to ensure it is trusted and safe. Our aim is to build upon the complementary capabilities of Mastercard and Ciphertrace to do just this.   Mastercard’s Entry Into Crypto Gets Deeper Mastercard has been knee-deep in the crypto economy for quite some time and every couple of weeks the company’s interest gets deeper. At the end of July, Mastercard said the company’s card program was being enhanced for crypto trading platforms and wallets. A week later, Mastercard launched an initiative to help bolster cryptocurrency startups. While Ciphertrace announced the enhanced XMR tracing capabilities, that same week Mastercard outlined the firm’s plans for cryptos, stablecoins, and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Ciphertrace says the firm’s software helps companies find solutions to “enhance their security and fraud monitoring activities for crypto-related programs.” Dave Jevans, CEO of Ciphertrace, explained that Mastercard and Ciphertrace share a similar vision. “We help companies – whether they are banks or cryptocurrency exchanges, government regulators or law enforcement to keep the crypto economy safe,” Jevans detailed. He further added: Our two companies share this vision to provide security and trust throughout the ecosystem. We are thrilled to join the Mastercard family to scale CipherTrace’s reach across the globe. The Ciphertrace acquisition cost was not disclosed in Mastercard’s announcement. Mastercard also explained that Ciphertrace is one of many investments as the company has invested and partnered with firms like Uphold, Bitpay, and Gemini. Source: https://news.bitcoin.com/payments-giant-mastercard-acquires-blockchain-intelligence-firm-ciphertrace/