Freshworks’ Mathrubootham, India Quotient’s Lunia invest in Singapore’s ZPX
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Singapore’s blockchain firm ZPX on Thursday said it has raised $1.3 million (Rs 8.4 crore) in a fundraising round led by venture capital firm SeedPlus based out of the island nation.

Others who took part in the round are Silicon Valley-based Milliways Ventures, Gokul Rajaram (product engineering head at Square), and Girish Mathrubootham (cofounder of Freshdesk). Anand Lunia (cofounder of India Quotient) and Nithin Kamath (founder of Zerodha) also participated, the company said.

ZPX has said it will use the funds to further build its blockchain stack, launch new products, and make key senior hires to the team. “Over the next 12-14 months, we are launching a series of products, including a digital token built on Ethereum known as 108 Token, a basket of cryptocurrencies, a token in stealth designed for the 99%, and ZenRelay, a decentralised exchange that seeks to initiate a paradigm shift for blockchain-based exchanges,” Aditya Mishra, co-founder and operating chief of ZPX, said.

The startup also claims that its global advisory board comprises of investors and operators with deep networks in South East Asia, China, India, and the US, such as Gokul Rajaram (Square), Balaji K Srinivasan (Counsyl), and Savneet Singh (Gold Bullion InternaBonal).

However, the company might not find it easy to conduct crypto-transactions in India. The central bank on Thursday barred banks, non-bank lenders, digital wallets and any other entities it regulates from dealing with individuals or companies engaged in cryptocurrencies with immediate effect.

“Virtual currencies… raise concerns of consumer protection, market integrity and money laundering, among others,” the central bank said.

Other cryptocurrency firms have also raised money in recent months; some through initial coin offerings of digital tokens or ICOs.

Singapore-based startup TrakInvest, which provides a social platform to hone trading skills, has raised $30 million (Rs 195 crore) via an ICO that ended on 8 March.

In February, Mumbai-based car and bike rental platform Drivezy raised $5 million in the first round of its ICO.

Times Group-backed Los Angeles-based music streaming company Inmusik is seeking to raise about $20 million (Rs 130 crore) through its upcoming ICO. The company will use the funds to launch its blockchain-based service first in the US and then in India and Europe, Stephen Brett, co-founder told TechCircle. The ICO will begin on 2 April and last for six weeks, he added.

Interestingly, global financial auditing and consulting company PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) said it was testing a new analytics tool, developed solely for tracking ICO. The tool will help companies keep track of their digital tokens and will safeguard them against their misuse, PwC said.

According to Eric Young, partner, forensic services, at PwC’s Hong Kong office, the decision to develop the tool was prompted by the fact that a growing number of companies are choosing the ICO route instead of the initial public offering one. Many companies in sectors such as manufacturing, technology and retail are showing interest in ICOs, Young added.

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