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Blockchain Startups Got $18M+ in US ‘PPP’ Bailout Loans



More than 40 companies in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry collected at least $18 million in payroll loans from the U.S. government.


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) published details of its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on Monday, revealing a who’s who of major and minor firms in the industry.

Loan recipients included Zcash developer Electric Coin Company, Ethereum venture studio ConsenSys and Rainberry Inc., the U.S. entity acquired by Justin Sun’s Tron Foundation at the time of its BitTorrent acquisition in 2018.

Crypto venture firms were also represented on the list, including Polychain Capital and Unchained Capital.

The PPP was created by the Trump administration during the COVID-19 outbreak to help businesses pay their employees during the ongoing economic crisis. The effort was meant to stem layoffs, though some 44 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since March.

The loans to blockchain startups are likely to be controversial among cryptocurrency users given the industry’s roots in the liberterian-leaning cypherpunk movement, which distrusted governments and banks. (Satoshi Nakamoto famously embedded a headline about bank bailouts into Bitcoin’s genesis block.) However, not taking an available subsidy arguably might have put any one company at a disadvantage to competitors that did, regardless of what the recipient believes about the policy’s merits, as one industry insider pointed out.

It may have even been a point of strategy. “Every fund has been telling their startups to [apply],” one Silicon Valley investor told CoinDesk in April.

The SBA published data on more than 660,000 recipients from a variety of sectors. Each entry included a range of how much money was received (specific amounts were not published) and the bank that issued each loan.

Loan recipients from the blockchain industry include:

  • ConsenSys received between $5 million and $10 million in April from Signature Bank.

  • Cybersecurity and blockchain solution firm KryptoBlocks may have received anywhere from $1 million and $5 million in May and June. (Note: KryptoBlocks appeared on the list twice: once for a loan between $1 million and $2 million, spelled “KRYPTOBLOKCS” and once for a loan between $2 million and $5 million.)

  • Crypto exchange Bittrex received between $1 million and $2 million in May from Celtic Bank Corporation.

  • Compliance firm CipherTrace received between $350,000 and $1 million from First Republic Bank in April.

  • Enterprise blockchain firm R3 received between $150,000 and $350,000 from Bank of America in May.

  • Cardano maker IOHK USA LLC received between $350,000 and $1 million from Bank of America in May.

  • Rainberry Inc., formerly known as BitTorrent Inc. prior to its acquisition by Tron, received between $2 million and $5 million from Bank of the West in April.

  • Polychain Capital received between $350,000 and $1 million from Signature Bank in April.

  • Electric Coin Company received between $350,000 and $1 million from Newtek Small Business Finance in April.

  • Crypto portfolio organizer Blockfolio received between $350,000 and $1 million from Wells Fargo Bank in April.

  • Security token issuance consultant TokenSoft received between $350,000 and $1 million from Cross River Bank in April.

  • Amalgamated Token Services, Inc. received between $350,000 and $1 million from Silicon Valley Bank in April.

  • Crypto tax adviser Token Tax LLC received between $150,000 and $350,000 from JPMorgan Chase Bank in May.

  • Crypto Blockchain Plug received between $150,000 and $350,000 from Umpqua Bank in May.

  • Crypto Kids Camp received between $150,000 and $350,000 from MBE Capital Partners in June.

  • Wallet maker MyCrypto received between $150,000 and $350,000 from JPMorgan Chase Bank in May.

  • MobileCoin received between $350,000 and $1 million from Blue Ridge Bank in April.

  • AccessCoin received between $150,000 and $350,000 from FieldPoint Private Bank & Trust in April.

  • CoinAlpha received between $150,000 and $350,000 from Radius Bank in April.

  • Athena Bitcoin received between $150,000 and $350,000 from Citizens National Bank of Greater St. Louis in April.

  • CoinZoom received $150,000 and $350,000 from Zions Bank in April.

  • CoinMe received between $350,000 and $1 million from First Financial Northwest Bank in April.

  • Digital Assets Data received between $350,000 and $1 million from Silicon Valley Bank in April.

  • BTCMiner received between $150,000 and $350,000 from Northeast Bank in June.

  • Chainscale received between $350,000 and $1 million from Bank of America in May.

  • FogChain received between $150,000 and $350,000 from City National Bank in April.

  • Quarkchain received between $150,000 and $350,000 from Fremont Bank in April.

  • SkuChain received between $150,000 and $350,000 from Cross River Bank in May.

  • SALT Blockchain received between $1 million and $2 million from Alpine Bank in April.

  • SafeChain Solutions received between $350,000 and $1 million from Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank in April.

  • ChainWorks received between $150,000 and $350,000 from Fifth Third Bank in April.

  • Everchain received between $350,000 and $1 million from Bank of America in May.

  • Chain.io received between $150,000 and $350,000 from Tioga-Franklin Savings Bank in April.

  • ShipChain received between $150,000 and $350,000 from Celtic Bank Corporation in May.

  • OmniChain Solutions received between $150,000 and $350,000 from First United Bank and Trust Company

  • Unchained Capital received between $150,000 and $350,000 from Burling Bank in April.

  • Truffle Blockchain Group received between $350,000 and $1 million from JPMorgan Chase Bank in April.

  • Voyager Digital Holdings received between $350,000 and $2 million from Signature Bank and BNB Bank in April.

  • Bitnomial received between $150,000 and $350,000 from BMO Harris Bank in April.

  • Permission.io received between $350,000 and $1 million from Zions Bank in May.

  • Factom (which is now bankrupt) received between $150,000 and $350,000 from Silicon Valley Bank in April.

  • Tax services firm Lukka received between $1 million and $2 million from Dime Community Bank in April.

  • Decentralized ID firm Civic Technologies received between $350,000 and $1 million from First Republic Bank in April.

  • Messari received between $150,000 and $350,000 from Silicon Valley Bank in April.

  • Crypto media outlet Bitcoin Magazine’s parent firm BTC Media received between $350,000 and $1 million from Celtic Bank Corporation in April.

  • Crypto media firm The Block received between $150,000 and $350,000 from Silicon Valley Bank in April.

By Nikhilesh De, July 6, 2020, published on coindesk

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

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