CasperLabs Pivots Away From Ethereum to Fundraise With Its Own Blockchain

Some crypto startups, like Solana and Dapper Labs, are eager to execute fundraising plans regardless of any coronavirus-induced downturn.

Likewise, CasperLabs, the startup advised by Ethereum Foundation researcher Vlad Zamfir, is now partnering with the Singapore-registered exchange BitMax to conduct its token sale in the form of an Exchange Validator Offering (EVO).

“It’s a really attractive opportunity to participate with the same terms that are usually only available to institutional investors,” said CasperLabs COO Clifford Sarkin.

This fundraising effort comes after the startup raised $14.5 million in 2019 from investors like Arrington XRP Capital and Terren Scott Peizer, who the New York Times dubbed Wall Street’s jack-of-all-trades. It originally focused on Casper protocol experiments.

Since then, CEO Mrinal Manohar said the startup switched to developing a new blockchain inspired by Ethereum’s proof-of-stake plans for participants to deposit their tokens as a way to fuel the network. Manohar’s team of 26 developers and researchers, out of a total staff of 34, plan to launch the new blockchain’s mainnet before 2021. Investor Michael Arrington said he’s not sure whether his firm will participate in the upcoming token sale before CasperLabs’ mainnet launch.

“We will very likely run a node,” Arrington said. “We haven’t made a decision yet on further investment.”

In the meantime, starting on March 30, a new CasperLabs token (CLX) will be sold to retail investors through BitMax, which predominantly serves traders in China, Vietnam, South Korea, Russia and India.

The exchange will automatically stake CLX for buyers when the mainnet launches later this year, after which there will be an enforced 90-day lock up to prevent prompt sell-offs.

“The target audience is for a more sophisticated demographic, since this token won’t be liquid at launch,” said Shane Molidor, head of business development at BitMax.

BitMax is especially popular…

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