Xcelerator November 2020 Updates: Stake Completes $54M Lockdrop, Shell Launches Stablecoin Pool

The Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator team is incredibly excited to share this month’s news from our teams and ecosystem! The Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator is a blockchain-focused startup accelerator at UC Berkeley, run by Blockchain at Berkeley, Berkeley Engineering (Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology), and the Haas School of Business.

Note: Xcelerator companies will be labeled with their batch number, Sp 20, Fa 19, or Sp 19. You can find a list of our portfolio here.

Company Updates

Shell Protocol Launches First Liquidity Pool

Shell Protocol (Sp 20), a stablecoin-based internet monetary system, has just launched their first stablecoin liquidity pool. In general, they are implementing five main design goals for their pools: deep stablecoin liquidity, reserve weights, protections against a broken peg, dynamic fees, and interoperability with aTokens and cTokens.

Ultimately, Shell wants to provide its users an easy to use, borderless, and programmable medium of exchange by utilizing stablecoins to their fullest potential, and this pool is the first major step in that direction.

StormX Ranks #2 Product of the Day on Product Hunt

StormX (Sp 20) has overhauled their referral system to enable quicker sharing of referrals by friends, and have significantly increased the rewards for referrals, to $1000 for referring a friend and $1000 for getting referred! Furthermore, StormX recently hit #2 on Product Hunt, a site that curates the list of best products every day!

Eluvio wins Hollywood Professionals Association 2020 Engineering Excellence Award

Eluvio (Fa 19) wins Hollywood Professionals Association 2020 Engineering Excellence Award with their Content Fabric product. A coveted honor, the HPA Engineering Excellence award seeks to reward excellent innovation by companies such as Eluvio in the media content creation and distribution space for users. Learn morn here!

Plasm Network’s 2nd Lockdrop Ended with 137,253 ETH Locked

Stake Technologies (Sp 20) is honored to announce that 137,253 ETH (around $54M) has been locked on their smart contract in 4 weeks. Now the TVL (Total Value Locked) on their Plasm Network is 154,036 ETH (1st lockdrop: 16,783 ETH + 137,253 ETH) and in total 9,778 transactions.

Plasm Network is a multi-virtual machines scalable smart contract platform on Polkadot supporting cutting edge layer2 solutions like Rollups. Plasm has both Ethereum Virtual Machine and WebAssembly so that users can deploy solidity smart contracts without modifications. Learn more about their lockdrop process here and in their blog.

Geer Partners with UC Berkeley to Sell Digital Merchandise in Games

Berkeley joins Geer™ (Sp 20) to sell University digital merchandise across video games. Part of the revenues will go to fund tuitions and grants to the eSport club. Geer is in talks with several other major universities to build similar partnerships with and are in the process of building out robust proof-of-concepts to test out and demonstrate their new products.

Finoa, StormX, and Snowball Make it to Coinlist Seed

Finoa (Sp 20), StormX (Sp 20), and Snowball Money (Sp 20) were selected amongst ~70 applications to be part of the CoinList Seed Demo Day, which focuses on introducing investors to early-stage crypto startups that are looking to raise their first rounds of private funding. Over 150 investors joined the CoinList Seed program, including investors such as CoinFund, Electric Capital, and Polychain Capital. Read more here.

Stake Technologies CEO Joins Japan’s Trusted Web Promotion Council Task Force

As of mid-October, Sota Watanabe, the founder of Stake Technologies (Sp 20), has become a task force member of the Trusted Web Promotion Council led by the Cabinet Office of the Japanese Government. This council aims to discuss how the current web can be improved toward decentralization and security, from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0.

SheeldMarket is First to Register with French SEC as a crypto Prime Broker

Good news in Paris, France mentions a past team — SheeldMarket (Fa 19) — that traveled through the Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator. SheeldMarket is an execution desk for investors and traders that simplifies. The group came together after observing the crypto-currency market’s fragmented nature. SheeldMarket has been registered as a Digital Asset Service Provider by the French SEC (AMC). This designates them as a custodian and broker dealer.

Anchain.ai Saves Millions of Dollars From Hacked Wallet

Anchain.ai (Sp 19) saves millions of user funds from a DeFi social engineering hack. The hacked wallet had $1.2M stacked ERC-20 USDC stable coins in a yield farming smart contract, and the hacker could have withdrawn the funds at any given time. However, by employing an aggressive strategy to withdraw user funds after reviewing the smart contract code, AnChain.ai was able to secure the user funds. We look forward to seeing AnChain.ai helping bring more security to the DeFi space! Read more here.

Snowball Money Announces Second Crowdfunding Campaign

Snowball Money (Sp 20) will be running a second crowdfunding campaign early in December 2020. Given the incredible success of their first round on Republic, this is certainly a campaign to keep an eye on! Stay tuned for more information!

Coin Announces Liquidity Token Offering

Coin (Fa 19), a FinTech startup founded by Microsoft alumni, is creating Coin Exchange, a P2P Decentralized Exchange built with Atomic Swap and AI technology to bridge the gap between traditional wallet and cryptocurrency exchanges. Coin will be launching their liquidity token offering in late November, and there has been lots of interest in the future of the platform! Learn more here!

Updates from our Partners

Web3 Foundation/Polkadot

  • The Polkadot community is getting a new dedicated conference on December 3rd with Polkadot Decoded. The free online event is perfect for anyone interested in learning more about Polkadot and connecting with the community, regardless of technical experience. It will feature talks from Polkadot Founder Gavin Wood, the Parity and Web3 Foundation teams, and from ecosystem teams building Polkadot parachains and cross-network bridges. Crypto journalist and Unchained host Laura Shin and Camila Russo of The Defiant will also join as special guest moderators. Check out the full program and register now to save your spot. Learn more here!

Tezos

  • Tezos offers a weekly forum — TQuorum — featuring presentations and events from their developers and community members — view it here!
  • Launch of Dexter, a Uniswap-like DEX, on Tezos in early October was received by significant traction within the DeFi ecosystem on Tezos. Read more about the launch here.
  • The Swiss city of Wetzikon distributed 10 CHF (Swiss Franc) via the Tezos Blockchain to their 25,000 residents on the Ecoo mobile app. Learn more about the initiative here.
  • Exaion, a subsidiary of the world’s second largest energy producer owned by the French Government, recently became a Tezos validator and plans to build “smart” applications on Tezos in the near future! Read more here!
  • The Delphi upgrade on Tezos is shown to increase performance significantly and reduce gas costs by up to 80% on the Tezos network. Learn more about the upgrade here.
  • Looking to stay up to date on research and development projects within the Tezos ecosystem? Check out the new Nomadic Labs Research Seminars!

Algorand Foundation

  • Earlier this year, the Algorand Foundation launched their 250 million ALGO Grants Program. It offers funding to developers, entrepreneurs, and organizations working to improve the Algorand blockchain across four categories: research proposals, development tools and infrastructure, applications and use cases, education and community.
  • Cudo is one of the many recipients of a grant from the Algorand Foundation. They are a distributed computing platform, and have partnered with Algorand to Turing complete compute resources to developers building applications on the Algorand blockchain.
  • Mentat Innovations has partnered with Algorand to enable easy integration and interoperability between enterprises and Algorand’s blockchain. They are a leading AI and blockchain solutions provider to governments and large global enterprises that are actively looking for the latest technology innovations. The Algorand Foundation is supporting Mentat through its 250M Algo Foundation Grant Program.
  • Uncommon Creative is a new project aimed at disrupting the current freelance platforms and empowering remote workers with trustless tools for securing contracts, guaranteed transactions, and quick resolution of potential disputes. The Algorand Foundation is delighted to support this amazing project by awarding a grant to the Uncommon Creative team.

Ecosystem and Blockchain News

Berkeley Offers Inaugural Building with Blockchain Course

UC Berkeley is offering a new for-credit course in SP21 in partnership with 3 protocols (Polkadot, Tezos, Algorand Foundation) called “Building with Blockchain for Web 3.0”. Our community looks forward to building out more curriculum with partners and for general audiences in 2021. Stay tuned!

Berkeley Ranks Top 3 in Coindesk Blockchain University Ranking

UC Berkeley ranked #3 in the recent Coindesk analysis that evaluated 46 of the best universities in the U.S. for Scholarly Impact, Campus Offerings, Employment and Industry outcomes, and Academic Reputation in the blockchain space. Berkeley was also recognized for having the highest industry reputation of all the universities who were a part of the study. Read more about the methodology and final ranking here. There is also a special feature about Blockchain at Berkeley that you can find here.

Check out more about our program and portfolios on our website.

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Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator

Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator

A partnership between Berkeley Engineering’s RDI & SCET, Blockchain at Berkeley, and Berkeley Haas