ETF Giant Leads $17.7M Series A for Blockchain Compliance Startup

WisdomTree was the lead investor in the $17.65 million Series A funding round announced Tuesday. Other investors include the state-backed Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), Japanese financial services giant Monex Group and venture capital firms RRE Ventures, Strawberry Creek Ventures and Panthera Capital Investments.

One of the world’s largest exchange-traded fund (ETF) providers is leading a $17.65 million investment in blockchain compliance startup Securrency.

As the lead investor, WisdomTree put some $8 million into the round, WisdomTree founder and CEO Jonathan Steinberg told CoinDesk in a phone interview.

WisdomTree recently launched its own bitcoin ETP on the SIX Swiss Exchange. So far, U.S. regulators have yet to approve a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), rejecting over a dozen proposals in the past two years. The WisdomTree product competes with a similarly physically backed bitcoin ETP on SIX from Amun AG.

WisdomTree says the investment in Securrency came down to the focused use of blockchain technology in a sea of misapplications. Regulatory compliance and adaptability was a must for the firm, Steinberg said.

“The financial services industry is created explicitly around know-your-customer and anti-money laundering and these are not going to be softened”, Steinberg said. “Know-your-customer is literally the foundation of regulated financial services.”

WisdomTree’s Steinberg said tokenized financial products could be to ETFs “what the internet was to newspapers” in terms of disruptive force. During the mid-2000s, WisdomTree took a forward position on the initiation of ETFs over typical mutual funds and is looking to do the same with blockchain-wrapped financial products, Steinberg said.

“Is there a wrapper potentially coming down the pike that could do to ETFs what ETFs did to mutual funds?” Steinberg said he told his strategy team. “I believe that it could be the blockchain wrapper.”

Securrency intends to use the new funding to further develop blockchain-based ETF services, according to a press release. Additionally, the startup will continue building relationships with tangential firms such as the government-backed ADIO.

Securrency’s “Compliance Aware Token” platform offers a blockchain-agnostic program for exchanging real and financial assets, particularly global digital securities, according to publicly available trademark details. WisdomTree’s liquidity, as a Nasdaq-listed firm with $64 billion in assets under management, will help spread the technology to new users, said Securrency CEO Dan Doney.

WisdomTree operates branches in the United States, Canada and the European Union, according to the company’s website. The firm launched its first ETF in 2006 and claims to be the only publicly traded asset manager centered on the exchange-traded product (ETP) sector.

ESET Flags New Latin American Banking Trojan That Targets Crypto

Major Slovakia-based antivirus software provider ESET has discovered a banking trojan that can steal cryptocurrencies and is especially widespread in Latin America.

Primary targets

Known as “Casbaneiro” or “Metamorfo”, the newly found malware family targets banks and cryptocurrency services located in Brazil and Mexico, ESET’s editorial arm WeLiveSecurity reports Oct. 3.

According to the report, Casbaneiro uses a social engineering execution method, which displays fake pop-up windows misleading potential victims to enter sensitive information. The capabilities of the malware are typical of Latin American banking trojans that can take screenshots and send them to command and control server, simulate keyboard actions and capture keystrokes as well as restrict access to websites and download and execute other tools, the report notes.

Stealing crypto via clipboard

Alongside banks, one of the major targets of Casbaneiro is cryptocurrency wallets. According to ESET, Casbaneiro is capable of monitoring the content of the clipboard and replacing the crypto wallets victims have copied with addresses belonging to the attacker.

As noted in the report, ESET has become aware of only one attacker’s wallet at the time of publication. Reportedly hardcoded in the binary code, the reported wallet has around 1.2 Bitcoin, worth $9,812 at press time with a total number of transactions amounting to 71, according to Blockchain.com.

Additionally, the newly discovered malware uses multiple cryptographic algorithms, with each one intending to protect a different type of data, the report says.

On Sept. 26, Amerian Internet infrastructure firm Juniper Networks warned users of a new spyware called Masad Clipper and Stealer, which reportedly uses the Telegram app to replace crypto addresses with its own.

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