Since then, the value of Solana’s cryptocurrency, SOL, has retreated from around $250 to $31 (at time of writing earlier this week). Against a macro-economic backdrop characterised by inflationary pressures, interest rate hikes, and general malaise, Solana’s fortunes have taken a similar dent to the rest of the crypto industry in what is now widely termed “crypto winter”.
On the upside, commentators are forecasting an easing of cryptocurrency bear markets in the months ahead. More certain, is that cryptocurrency, blockchain, and the more all-encompassing web3, are here to stay.
In the context of Solana, co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko explained on a recent podcast that despite the lower price of SOL, start-ups continue to develop and build on the network, start-ups who are also raising funds at “still pretty high valuations”.
Last November, sports betting company BetDEX Labs, co-founded by former FanDuel founders and early employees, raised the largest ever seed round by a UK-headquartered startup. Arguably more impressive than the quantum of the raise, the $21 million investment secured by Edinburgh HQ-ed BetDEX was led by Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange FTX, and San Francisco-based venture capital firm Paradigm – FTX and Paradigm are considered two of the most important players in the fast-developing web3 ecosystem.
This week, alongside the company’s New York PR agency, we announced a major milestone as BetDEX became the first fully-licensed sports betting exchange on blockchain. As we converge on Lisbon for Breakpoint, I’m sure a toast or two will be raised to an incredible year of progress for one of Scotland’s most promising technology firms.
An appetite for software
In 2011, entrepreneur turned investor Marc Andreessen penned his famous “Why Software is Eating the World” opinion piece, with the premise that every business needs to become a software company.
Sticking on eating analogies, when I met Estonian Ambassador Viljar Lubi last week he said nations must think about how they plan to “feed their people” in the future economy and how technology plays a central role. Ambassador Lubi believes technologists and policymakers should be thinking five years down the line, around developing tech trends and how to stay ahead of the curve.
From New Zealand with Love
We teamed up with PR agencies in Auckland and Los Angeles this week to support New Zealand tech firm StretchSense, as the company announced the launch of an AI and spatial computing centre of excellence in Edinburgh alongside its latest investment, a £7 million round led by Par Equity and supported by Scottish Enterprise.
Ben O’Brien-led StretchSense is planning on international expansion from Scotland. In O’Brien’s words, “With this investment we are expanding into the metaverse, focused on the key partnerships, new technology, and investments in scale needed to build the future of how people will create, learn, work, and play”.
As I said to StretchSense’s chief marketing officer, Charles Pludthura, I just hope the All Blacks don’t play too hard against Scotland when the all-conquering Kiwis visit Murrayfield later this month.
Nick Freer is the founding director of corporate communications agency the Freer Consultancy