Zhongyunhui Capital, IDG Capital and Bitmain Boost BitKan Funding Round

ZhongyunHui Capital, IDG Capital and Bitmain Boost BitKan Funding Round


BitKan, a China-based cryptocurrency data service provider, announced today that it has secured $10 million in Series B funding, led by new investor Zhongyunhui Capital, with additional support from another new investor IDG Capital and existing investor Bitmain. This follows a $2.4 million Series A funding in 2016 and a $300,000 angel round in 2015.

BitKan has been one of China’s best-known Bitcoin and cryptocurrency data sites and OTC trading providers for the past four years until September 2017, when the Chinese government issued a stringent warning about the ICO market. At that point, most China-based companies related to ICOs and trading chose to halt their businesses in China in favor of shifting their operations overseas — BitKan was one of these companies. It terminated its OTC services but kept its data, news and wallet services. Currently, BitKan is still headquartered in Shenzhen, China, but also operates globally in Hong Kong and Singapore, where they have set up offices with plans to add a Tokyo branch.

When asked about how BitKan sees China’s increasingly tightening regulation of the blockchain industry, Leon Liu, the chairman of BitKan, said:

Chinese government is actively exploring the best approach to regulate Fintech industry and blockchain industry is no exception. I believe Chinese government will finally have a sound and thoughtful law on this industry once they have enough understanding and intelligence of blockchain.

BitKan’s New Blockchain Project

“The capital injection will finance the development, promotion and operation of K Site, a blockchain project incubated by BitKan, and other products and services of BitKan itself, such as its E-wallet and data analysis,” Yu Fang, BitKan’s CEO, told Bitcoin Magazine.

“K Site will be a media dapp [decentralized application] which will be a new feature embedded in BitKan’s app.” said Fang. “K Site will host a variety of groups based on people’s interests and produce quality content including micro-blogs, full articles, videos and Q&A sessions. To maintain a high content-quality standard, users will be charged a small fee to join the groups. Free content can only attract page views, but putting up a paywall can improve content quality considerably. K Site aims to build a neutral, trustworthy crypto community where useful, reliable, in-depth news and discussions can be shared.”

Choosing Tradition Equity Investment over ICOs

Unlike many other blockchain projects, K Site will not launch an ICO but will use BitKan’s own user base as the springboard for its K Site, even though the site actually has its own token called KAN. Liu explained:

“BitKan has long been cautious of ICOs whose purpose is to help a certain project to raise funds and to build the community in the first place. For BitKan, it already has a large cryptocurrency user base which can be easily channeled to K Site. Therefore, for K Site, a traditional investment mode will meet the demands of this blockchain project.”

Expanding Overseas Business

The startup embarked on an international road as early as 2015. The new capital injection will enable the company to speed up its international expansion by extending BitKan’s already broad user base, according to Yu.

To date, BitKan has more than 1 million registered users globally, 40 percent of whom are from outside of China. Both the BitKan website and app are available in English, Chinese, Japanese and Russian.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bank of Montreal Expands Crypto Purchase Ban

Canada’s Bank of Montreal will prohibit customers from purchasing cryptocurrencies using Interac debit cards, on top of an existing Mastercard ban.

Not a Month Into Beta, Lightning Applications Continue to Grow

Not a Month Into Beta, Lightning Applications Continue to Grow


With the advent of the long-anticipated Lightning Network (LN), crypto enthusiasts have more to look forward to than faster, cheaper transactions. Just as smart contracts brought DApps to Ethereum’s network, the Lightning Network is primed to bring a host of Lightning apps to Bitcoin. These applications, fittingly dubbed LApps, will leverage the Lightning Network to usher in a new generation of payment applications to the blockchain industry.

Lightning Labs rolled-out their beta for the first implementation of the Lightning Network on March 15, 2018. In practice, the Lightning Network allows Bitcoin users to send transactions on an off-chain network through payment channels. Since these channels aren’t connected to the blockchain, users can send near-instant transactions, however small they may be, without incurring exorbitant fees.

Before the Lightning Network went live, Lightning Labs launched their Lightning Desktop Wallet so users could get a feel for the network while it was in testnet. Now that the LN is in full beta, Lightning Lab’s wallet has been joined by Zap, a user-friendly wallet by Jack Mallers that’s meant to make the Lightning Network more accessible to the general public.

In the few weeks since its release, developers have introduced LApps for the network that look outside the limits of mere wallet and payment channel functionality. Now, there are dozens of Lightning applications for any of four distinct implementation (lnd, eclair, c-lightning and lit) across four programming languages (Go, C, Scala and Java), as developers continue to build on the technology.

One such developer, Nadav Ivgi, has been particularly busy. He’s the man behind the seven new applications showcased during Blockstream’s “Week of LApps.” The blockchain development company presented the projects as an extension of Lightning Charge, a payment processing solution for c-lightning, Blockstream’s implementation of the protocol in the C programming language.

Among these creations, Ivgi gives us nanotip, a tipbot that gives content creators and users an LN alternative to traditional bitcoin tipbots. Complementing the WooCommerce Lightning Gateway, one of Blockstream’s first LApps, Lightning Publisher is an additional WordPress plug-in that gives publishers an ad-free revenue alternative. With it, they can charge their readers a subscription to access content, payable through LN payment channels. Similarly, FileBazaar lets content creators monetize their data and files be they pictures, videos or other documents with an online marketplace that offers pay-per-view access to such content.

Lightning Charge’s LApp suite also comes with its own point-of-sale solution for merchants, nanopos. As one might imagine, point-of-sale applications have proliferated for the Lightning Network, as developers grind out code to find a solution to the market’s needs. Among these, we have another WooCommerce plug-in built on the Lightning Network Daemon (lnd), and Strike, a Stripe-esque API for merchants built with Eclair, the Scala programming language’s implementation of the LN. Eclair is also working on Lightning Conductor, an application that would allow users to convert their payment channel balances to bitcoin and back without closing the channels themselves.

Payment solution LApps abound but that hasn’t kept developers from building innovative, more nuanced applications for the Lightning Network. Take, for instance, Bitrefill, an application that allows you to top-off a prepaid mobile phone card with payment channels, or CoinMall, a Lightning-powered online marketplace for digital products. There’s even a Slack tipbot and one called CoinTippy for Reddit, Twitter, Telegram and other platforms. And then there’s 1ML, a search engine built to track nodes, applications and other aspects of the LN ecosystem.

There are more unconventional and curious manifestations still. Bitquest, a crypto-centric Minecraft server, is getting its own Lightning payments option, while Lightning Gem and Thunderdice have begun tapping into off-chain, Satoshi-funded gambling. Y’alls, a Yours-like blogging platform, is using Lightning payments for pay-per-view articles. Hungry? Lightning has that covered, as well, with Block and Jerry’s and Starblocks, crypto-couriers dishing out ice cream and coffee in exchange for LN micropayments (sadly, these services are not yet fully available).

This is just a sampling of an expanding list of LApps, and, if anything, the diversity of the applications currently in existence shows that the limits of what the Lightning Network can offer are confined to the imagination of the developers building on it. Bear in mind that, while these applications can run on either Bitcoin’s mainnet or testnet, their developers generally recommend that users stick to testnet payments until the Lightning Network’s kinks are ironed out. But with more than 1,000 nodes already supporting Lightning’s mainnet, it likely won’t be long until these, and other applications, can make the leap toward full functionality on Lightning Network’s growing architecture.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Korean Regulator Tells Crypto Exchanges to Revise User Agreements

South Korean regulators, whose decisions have shaken cryptocurrency markets in the past, are reportedly cracking down on exchanges’ contract terms.

The History of Lightning: From Brainstorm to Beta

Lightning Cover story April

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.