hype grows, Tornado Cash founders go for a spin and FBI’s monitoring North Korean hackers

Welcome back to Chain Reaction.

To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important crypto stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday at 12 p.m. PT, subscribe here. Follow me on Twitter @Jacqmelinek for breaking crypto news, memes and more.

If you haven’t heard about this week, you’re probably living under a rock. But that’s ok, we dove deep into the hype and looked at what skeptics are worried about for the new application.

There was also a lot of talk around Tornado Cash as the two founders behind the crypto mixer were charged on Wednesday by U.S. federal agencies. Details on that and more below.

This week in web3

  1. Two founders behind crypto mixer Tornado Cash charged by U.S. federal courts

  2. FBI says North Korean hackers preparing to cash out after high-profile crypto hacks

  3. hype is skyrocketing, but will it actually reach the stars?

  4. Solana Pay integrates plug-in with Shopify for USDC payments

  5. cuts ties with Binance, which is mulling legal action in response

The latest pod

For this week’s episode, Jacquelyn interviewed Erik Svenson, co-founder, president and chief financial officer at Blockstream, a bitcoin and blockchain-focused infrastructure firm.

The company was founded in 2014 and has its own sidechain technology, Liquid Network, as well as bitcoin mining operations and hardware wallets for Bitcoin and other assets. It most recently raised $125 million in January and has raised more than $400 million to date.

Erik previously worked on Wall Street as a VP for AIG investments and was a co-founder and consultant of other startups. The last startup he co-founded before Blockstream was Dan’s Plan, a health tech company.

We discussed how the current macroenvironment is impacting Bitcoin-focused businesses and where Erik sees the most opportunities for startups today.

We also talked about:

  • Blockstream’s mining operations

  • Surviving a bear market

  • Transitioning from TradFi to crypto

  • Advice for startups

Subscribe to Chain Reaction on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite pod platform to keep up with the latest episodes, and please leave us a review if you like what you hear!

Follow the money

  1. Crypto lender Maple Finance raises $5 million to enter Asia amid regulatory clarity

  2. Vessel Capital emerges from stealth with $55 million fund focused on web3 infrastructure and apps

  3. Berlin-based Anytype raises $13.4 million for its open sourced tool

  4. Nodal Power raises $13 million to use landfill to power bitcoin mining centers

  5. Decentralized credit protocol PADO Labs raises $3 million in a seed round

This list was compiled with information from Messari as well as TechCrunch’s own reporting.

What else we’re writing

Want to branch out from the world of web3? Here are some articles on TechCrunch that caught our attention this week.

  1. Nvidia’s Q2 earnings prove it’s the big winner in the generative AI boom

  2. 5 trends in VC funding for pre-seed startups (TC+)

  3. Chronic technical debt could be holding your company back (TC+)

  4. The late-stage venture market is crumbling (TC+)

  5. Introducing the Startup Battlefield 200 companies at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023