The blockchain space remains steaming hot in the face of a wave of unsettling events across the globe. While the economy continues its post-pandemic recovery and war rages in Ukraine, leading to sky-high oil prices and stuttering financial markets elsewhere, cryptocurrencies are finally living up to their promise as a store of value, with the value of most tokens remaining steady over the last few months.

That explains why there's been no shortage of investor cash pouring into the crypto space amid all of these worrisome events and proves that not only is blockchain here to stay, but also that it’s still one of the hottest growth prospects for smart money investors.

Crypto startups enjoyed a solid month in February, bagging millions of dollars in fresh cash even as investors pulled back on their outlays elsewhere. Here are some of the most notable funding rounds from last month:

AdaSwap

Yet more money in the DeFi space was raised by AdaSwap, which boasted some very prominent backers of its own, including the famed Israeli actress Gal Gadot and her film producer husband Jaraon Varsano.

AdaSwap’s $2.6 million raise was led by the angel investing platform iAngels, and also saw the participation of Shima Capital, Pluto Digital, GBV, and Stardust.

AdaSwap’s mission is to build the first functional DEX on the Cardano blockchain and it’s a very worthwhile goal. That’s because Cardano is one of the most popular blockchains of all, yet despite its cryptocurrency being ranked 9th in the world, it lags behind its peers in terms of its ecosystem. One of the difficulties developers face with Cardano is that its EUTXO-based blockchain is architecturally much closer to Bitcoin than Ethereum, meaning it’s very difficult to write smart contracts for the platform.

To get around this problem, AdaSwap has built its DEX on a Layer-2 protocol solution for Cardano, where it will bundle and process transactions. That will eliminate the difficulty of coding smart contracts and the long processing times that afflict exchanges such as SundaeSwap, AdaSwap explained.

The funds from the raise will also go towards building an NFT marketplace, which will sell curated collections from artists on the Cardano blockchain. AdaSwap is ultimately aiming to build an entire ecosystem of decentralized applications on the chain, including bridges that will make Cardano tokens interoperable with Ethereum, BSC, and Casper-based tokens.

“Current market competitors are focused on utilizing Cardano believers and fail to look towards other blockchains for attracting volume,” AdaSwap co-founder Itar Levy told Entrepreneur in an interview. “AdaSwap will launch as a cross-chain token to not only create a higher level of trade volume but then bring these cross-chain buyers over to Cardano with our great utilities and incentives.

BitsCrunch

As well as DeFi and GameFi, there’s no shortage of investor capital being thrown at the NFT space either. One of the most exciting projects to attract money last month was BitsCrunch, an NFT analytics firm which secured $3.6 million from Animoca Brands, Coinbase Ventures, Crypto.com Capital and other investors.

BitsCrunch’s goal is to protect investors in the crypto space by providing them with the tools they need to spot fakes and other scams. To do this, it relies on artificial intelligence-powered tools to determine the fair price of NFTs. It can also spot whether an NFT is a forgery or a copy of a genuine asset, and also provide warnings on “wash trading”, which is a fraudulent technique employed by scammers to falsely inflate the value of NFTs.

It’s a desperately needed service. OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace of all, openly admitted last month that as many as 80% of NFTs using its minting tool were either plagiarized from other artists or spam. And although OpenSea claims to be able to spot most fakes and delete them from its platform, it’s apparent that some do sneak past its sensors, hence the need for tools such as what BitsCrunch offers.

In an interview with Cointelegraph last month, BitsCrunch CEO Vijay Pravin Maharajan said the platform supports NFTs on Ethereum, Polygon and Avalanche and that it will soon add support for other popular blockchains, including Solana, Polkadot and Algorand.

Animoca Brands co-founder Yat Siu said he was investing in BitsCrunch because it can help investors to make more informed decisions and contribute to “the safety and security of the emerging metaverse.”

Dexalot

Perhaps the most notable round in the DeFi space involved Dexalot, which raised $7 million from Avalanche’s Blizzard Fund, with the participation of a number of Avalanche ecosystem players, including Colony, Benqi, AVentures Capital, and Avascan, plus decentralized finance investors Republic Capital, GSR and more besides.

Dexalot stands out from the increasingly crowded decentralized exchange space as it’s employing a central-limit order book to power its cross-chain exchange, as opposed to the automated market maker protocols that are used by the vast majority of DEXs.

Dexalot explained that it’s gone for a CLOB because AMM-powered DEXs simply aren’t suitable for professional investors. The AMM model almost always means that while they have sufficient liquidity, they can’t guarantee price execution. As such, they suffer from high slippage that eats away at the profits of more experienced traders who try to gain arbitrage with razor-thin margins.

Dexalot’s CLOB system is similar to what’s used by centralized exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase, only it combines the traditional exchange model with a unique auction system. With this, investors can enter no slippage orders with full confidence they’ll execute at the exact price they specify. The system allows users to see buy and sell demand transparently, with buyers matched fairly with sellers, eliminating the advantage of speed that automated trading bots enjoy.

Operating on a testnet since last August, Dexalot has completed more than 250,000 transactions between more than 12,000 unique wallets. Community members will also be able to participate in Dexalot’s governance

Dexalot has been operating on the testnet since August 2021, registering more than 250,000 transactions and more than 12,000 unique interacting wallets. The community members who use the exchange will be included in the project’s governance, ensuring a community-led spirit from day one.

Dexalot’s CEO Nihat Gurmen said he was excited by the support it has received from across the Avalanche ecosystem. “Dexalot wants to create a truly transparent, community-owned crypto exchange where users can trade assets at the capital efficiency of central exchanges with the same, or better, user experience,” he explained.

Banger Games

One of the most promising startups in the growing play-to-earn gaming space, Banger Games proved with its $10 million funding round that crypto investors simply cannot get enough. Its list of backers reads like a who’s who of the blockchain venture capital world, with the likes of Avalanche, Shima Capital, GSR, Flori Ventures, Poolz Ventures, G20, LucidBlue Ventures, Belobaba Fund, Squares Capital, CSP DAO, Halvings Capital, OIG Capital, and BigCoin Capital all participating, alongside a heap of notable angel investors such as Polygon co-founder Jaynti Kanani, plus various DAOs and communities such as Neo Tokyo.

Banger Games could very well have raised much more cash if not for the rigorous ticket size limitations that it purposely imposed on investors to prevent anyone from dominating the round. It did so because it’s aiming to establish itself as a true community-driven project, where single voices can not just be heard, but also make a real difference. To that end, it took steps to prevent a single or small group of investors from gaining too much power.

“As the industry has exploded in different directions ( Crypto, Metaverse, VR, Indie Publishers, Play to Earn) we are certain that gamers feel more disconnected than ever,” Banger Games Chief Executive Borja Villalobos told Hackernoon. “Banger is the platform aimed at unifying this ever-increasing ecosystem into one central point in the gaming universe.”

To that end, Banger Games is building what it says is a gaming hub on which developers will be able to create P2E games and also connect existing video games that want to explore the emerging model. WIth P2E gaming, players compete with one another for rewards such as NFTs and cryptocurrency that can be used to make them stronger or sold on third-party marketplaces for a profit.

That’s the case with the first title Banger Games is working on - Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), which is currently up and running in a closed beta ahead of its official launch. Once the beta is finished, players will be able to take part in SMART Tournaments powered by smart contracts to win prizes. Other features will include a Battle Pass, that will track in-game achievements for players to win, and even an anti-cheat client that was developed with IBM, to prevent dishonest cheaters from winning unfairly.

One of the most intriguing things about Banger Games is that it is developing a software development kit that will enable developers of non-blockchain games to connect to its ecosystem and integrate with the P2E model.

Trust Machines

Trust Machines is one of the fascinating crypto startups to have raised cash last month, and not just because of the size of its round. Impressively, it raised $150 million from investors including Breyer Capital, Union Square Ventures, Digital Currency Group, GoldenTree, and Hivemind.

Founded by veteran Bitcoin programmer Muneeb Ali and Princeton computer science professor Dr. JP Singh, Trust Machines is working on what many believe might be the Holy Grail of crypto, building smart contract capabilities into Bitcoin itself, opening up the world’s most renowned blockchain to the world of decentralized finance, DAOs, and NFTs.

For all its success, Bitcoin is one of the most basic blockchains around, serving simply as a platform for transactions. It means that Bitcoin is seen as a currency and a store of value, but little else.

Trust Machines wants to change that and to do so it’s building on Stacks, a smart contracts network that’s linked to the Bitcoin blockchain.

“Bitcoin as a programmable Layer 1 is so underappreciated,” Ali told Forbes in an interview last month.

Ali believes it’s possible to convert the more than $2 trillion stored on Bitcoin into far more productive capital by building an ecosystem of applications atop of it. The idea is to create DeFi applications with yield-bearing and staking, social applications, DAOs, NFTs, and more, enabling BTC holders to fully participate in decentralized finance, without needing to swap their tokens for ETH or something else. To do this, Trust Machines will use a large portion of the funds it has raised to go on an aggressive hiring spree. It’s seeking experienced Bitcoin developers who have what it takes to build the above products.

Breyer Capital’s founder and CEO Jim Breyer told Forbes that he believes Bitcoin can become the settlement layer and a platform for Web3. “We're excited to support Trust Machines and their mission to help bitcoin reach its potential,” he said.

The blockchain space remains steaming hot in the face of a wave of unsettling events across the globe. While the economy continues its post-pandemic recovery and war rages in Ukraine, leading to sky-high oil prices and stuttering financial markets elsewhere, cryptocurrencies are finally living up to their promise as a store of value, with the value of most tokens remaining steady over the last few months.

That explains why there's been no shortage of investor cash pouring into the crypto space amid all of these worrisome events and proves that not only is blockchain here to stay, but also that it’s still one of the hottest growth prospects for smart money investors.

Crypto startups enjoyed a solid month in February, bagging millions of dollars in fresh cash even as investors pulled back on their outlays elsewhere. Here are some of the most notable funding rounds from last month:

AdaSwap

Yet more money in the DeFi space was raised by AdaSwap, which boasted some very prominent backers of its own, including the famed Israeli actress Gal Gadot and her film producer husband Jaraon Varsano.

AdaSwap’s $2.6 million raise was led by the angel investing platform iAngels, and also saw the participation of Shima Capital, Pluto Digital, GBV, and Stardust.

AdaSwap’s mission is to build the first functional DEX on the Cardano blockchain and it’s a very worthwhile goal. That’s because Cardano is one of the most popular blockchains of all, yet despite its cryptocurrency being ranked 9th in the world, it lags behind its peers in terms of its ecosystem. One of the difficulties developers face with Cardano is that its EUTXO-based blockchain is architecturally much closer to Bitcoin than Ethereum, meaning it’s very difficult to write smart contracts for the platform.

To get around this problem, AdaSwap has built its DEX on a Layer-2 protocol solution for Cardano, where it will bundle and process transactions. That will eliminate the difficulty of coding smart contracts and the long processing times that afflict exchanges such as SundaeSwap, AdaSwap explained.

The funds from the raise will also go towards building an NFT marketplace, which will sell curated collections from artists on the Cardano blockchain. AdaSwap is ultimately aiming to build an entire ecosystem of decentralized applications on the chain, including bridges that will make Cardano tokens interoperable with Ethereum, BSC, and Casper-based tokens.

“Current market competitors are focused on utilizing Cardano believers and fail to look towards other blockchains for attracting volume,” AdaSwap co-founder Itar Levy told Entrepreneur in an interview. “AdaSwap will launch as a cross-chain token to not only create a higher level of trade volume but then bring these cross-chain buyers over to Cardano with our great utilities and incentives.

BitsCrunch

As well as DeFi and GameFi, there’s no shortage of investor capital being thrown at the NFT space either. One of the most exciting projects to attract money last month was BitsCrunch, an NFT analytics firm which secured $3.6 million from Animoca Brands, Coinbase Ventures, Crypto.com Capital and other investors.

BitsCrunch’s goal is to protect investors in the crypto space by providing them with the tools they need to spot fakes and other scams. To do this, it relies on artificial intelligence-powered tools to determine the fair price of NFTs. It can also spot whether an NFT is a forgery or a copy of a genuine asset, and also provide warnings on “wash trading”, which is a fraudulent technique employed by scammers to falsely inflate the value of NFTs.

It’s a desperately needed service. OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace of all, openly admitted last month that as many as 80% of NFTs using its minting tool were either plagiarized from other artists or spam. And although OpenSea claims to be able to spot most fakes and delete them from its platform, it’s apparent that some do sneak past its sensors, hence the need for tools such as what BitsCrunch offers.

In an interview with Cointelegraph last month, BitsCrunch CEO Vijay Pravin Maharajan said the platform supports NFTs on Ethereum, Polygon and Avalanche and that it will soon add support for other popular blockchains, including Solana, Polkadot and Algorand.

Animoca Brands co-founder Yat Siu said he was investing in BitsCrunch because it can help investors to make more informed decisions and contribute to “the safety and security of the emerging metaverse.”

Dexalot

Perhaps the most notable round in the DeFi space involved Dexalot, which raised $7 million from Avalanche’s Blizzard Fund, with the participation of a number of Avalanche ecosystem players, including Colony, Benqi, AVentures Capital, and Avascan, plus decentralized finance investors Republic Capital, GSR and more besides.

Dexalot stands out from the increasingly crowded decentralized exchange space as it’s employing a central-limit order book to power its cross-chain exchange, as opposed to the automated market maker protocols that are used by the vast majority of DEXs.

Dexalot explained that it’s gone for a CLOB because AMM-powered DEXs simply aren’t suitable for professional investors. The AMM model almost always means that while they have sufficient liquidity, they can’t guarantee price execution. As such, they suffer from high slippage that eats away at the profits of more experienced traders who try to gain arbitrage with razor-thin margins.

Dexalot’s CLOB system is similar to what’s used by centralized exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase, only it combines the traditional exchange model with a unique auction system. With this, investors can enter no slippage orders with full confidence they’ll execute at the exact price they specify. The system allows users to see buy and sell demand transparently, with buyers matched fairly with sellers, eliminating the advantage of speed that automated trading bots enjoy.

Operating on a testnet since last August, Dexalot has completed more than 250,000 transactions between more than 12,000 unique wallets. Community members will also be able to participate in Dexalot’s governance

Dexalot has been operating on the testnet since August 2021, registering more than 250,000 transactions and more than 12,000 unique interacting wallets. The community members who use the exchange will be included in the project’s governance, ensuring a community-led spirit from day one.

Dexalot’s CEO Nihat Gurmen said he was excited by the support it has received from across the Avalanche ecosystem. “Dexalot wants to create a truly transparent, community-owned crypto exchange where users can trade assets at the capital efficiency of central exchanges with the same, or better, user experience,” he explained.

Banger Games

One of the most promising startups in the growing play-to-earn gaming space, Banger Games proved with its $10 million funding round that crypto investors simply cannot get enough. Its list of backers reads like a who’s who of the blockchain venture capital world, with the likes of Avalanche, Shima Capital, GSR, Flori Ventures, Poolz Ventures, G20, LucidBlue Ventures, Belobaba Fund, Squares Capital, CSP DAO, Halvings Capital, OIG Capital, and BigCoin Capital all participating, alongside a heap of notable angel investors such as Polygon co-founder Jaynti Kanani, plus various DAOs and communities such as Neo Tokyo.

Banger Games could very well have raised much more cash if not for the rigorous ticket size limitations that it purposely imposed on investors to prevent anyone from dominating the round. It did so because it’s aiming to establish itself as a true community-driven project, where single voices can not just be heard, but also make a real difference. To that end, it took steps to prevent a single or small group of investors from gaining too much power.

“As the industry has exploded in different directions ( Crypto, Metaverse, VR, Indie Publishers, Play to Earn) we are certain that gamers feel more disconnected than ever,” Banger Games Chief Executive Borja Villalobos told Hackernoon. “Banger is the platform aimed at unifying this ever-increasing ecosystem into one central point in the gaming universe.”

To that end, Banger Games is building what it says is a gaming hub on which developers will be able to create P2E games and also connect existing video games that want to explore the emerging model. WIth P2E gaming, players compete with one another for rewards such as NFTs and cryptocurrency that can be used to make them stronger or sold on third-party marketplaces for a profit.

That’s the case with the first title Banger Games is working on - Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), which is currently up and running in a closed beta ahead of its official launch. Once the beta is finished, players will be able to take part in SMART Tournaments powered by smart contracts to win prizes. Other features will include a Battle Pass, that will track in-game achievements for players to win, and even an anti-cheat client that was developed with IBM, to prevent dishonest cheaters from winning unfairly.

One of the most intriguing things about Banger Games is that it is developing a software development kit that will enable developers of non-blockchain games to connect to its ecosystem and integrate with the P2E model.

Trust Machines

Trust Machines is one of the fascinating crypto startups to have raised cash last month, and not just because of the size of its round. Impressively, it raised $150 million from investors including Breyer Capital, Union Square Ventures, Digital Currency Group, GoldenTree, and Hivemind.

Founded by veteran Bitcoin programmer Muneeb Ali and Princeton computer science professor Dr. JP Singh, Trust Machines is working on what many believe might be the Holy Grail of crypto, building smart contract capabilities into Bitcoin itself, opening up the world’s most renowned blockchain to the world of decentralized finance, DAOs, and NFTs.

For all its success, Bitcoin is one of the most basic blockchains around, serving simply as a platform for transactions. It means that Bitcoin is seen as a currency and a store of value, but little else.

Trust Machines wants to change that and to do so it’s building on Stacks, a smart contracts network that’s linked to the Bitcoin blockchain.

“Bitcoin as a programmable Layer 1 is so underappreciated,” Ali told Forbes in an interview last month.

Ali believes it’s possible to convert the more than $2 trillion stored on Bitcoin into far more productive capital by building an ecosystem of applications atop of it. The idea is to create DeFi applications with yield-bearing and staking, social applications, DAOs, NFTs, and more, enabling BTC holders to fully participate in decentralized finance, without needing to swap their tokens for ETH or something else. To do this, Trust Machines will use a large portion of the funds it has raised to go on an aggressive hiring spree. It’s seeking experienced Bitcoin developers who have what it takes to build the above products.

Breyer Capital’s founder and CEO Jim Breyer told Forbes that he believes Bitcoin can become the settlement layer and a platform for Web3. “We're excited to support Trust Machines and their mission to help bitcoin reach its potential,” he said.