Mastercard announced a major push into digital assets this week, launching a new product called Crypto Secure that helps banks assess the risk of crime associated with crypto merchants on its network. The service is powered by CipherTrace, a company Mastercard acquired last year.

Analysis: As we wrote last week, enterprise adoption of public blockchains and cryptoassets is likely to accelerate in the coming year, despite the bear market. Great companies plan for the long-term irrespective of market moves. To wit, Mastercard’s president of cyber and intelligence Ajay Bhalla said, “These are market cycles, they will come, and they will go… I think you’ve got to take the longer view that this is a big marketplace now and evolving and is probably going to be much, much bigger in the future.”

Horizon Blockchain Games, a Toronto-based start-up, has closed $40 million financing co-led by Brevan Howard and Morgan Creek Digital. Major game studios including Ubisoft (EPA: UBI) and Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ: TTWO) participated in the round.

Analysis: Despite declines in overall NFT volumes (see this week’s Quantitative Analysis section), interest in blockchain-gaming, which employs NFTs as playable characters and in-game assets, continues to grow. Gaming is touted as an on-ramp for driving mass adoption of Web3 and NFT’s and digital assets more generally are considered foundational to building an open Metaverse.


Golden, a Web3 start-up building a ‘decentralized protocol for knowledge,’ just closed a USD 40M Series A led by a16z.

Analysis: Most of the early Web3 applications have been in finance, gaming and NFTs but that is starting to change, and investors are taking notice. On this week’s episode of DeFi Decoded Alex and Andrew talk about how the ongoing Twitter saga is raising the profile of protocols and tokens as a better mechanism for building healthy social networks.