Ethereum Closer to an Eco-Friendlier Version

In this week’s top Europe, Middle East and Africa news, the second generation Ethereum will be delayed until at least 2023; and South African auction house Strauss & Co. has partnered with five of the country’s wineries to offer fine wine non-fungible tokens to the highest bidders.

Plus, Five AI, the British automated driving company, has been acquired by multinational tech firm Bosch; Nexo has launched a cryptocurrency Mastercard in some European markets; and Swedish Software-as-a-Service company Material Exchange has raised 25 million euros ($27 million) in a Series A funding round.

Ethereum Gets Closer to an Eco-Friendlier Version 2.0, but Next-Gen Scalability Still Delayed

No. 2 blockchain Ethereum took a big step toward its greener future this week with the launch of a “shadow” version of the forthcoming Ethereum 2.0.

But that was tempered by news of more delays that will see the most important part of the second generation of the smart contract blockchain, scalability, delayed until to at least 2023.


South African Strauss & Co. to Host NFT Auction for Fine Wines

Strauss & Co., the South African auction house, has partnered with five of the country’s wineries to offer fine wine non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to the highest bidders.

The sale, to be held April 18-25, will feature vintages from the past, present and future. Each NFT holds as many as 50 vintages, with collections from 66 to 288 bottles.

Bosch Acquires UK Autonomous Driving Firm Five AI

British automated driving company Five AI has been acquired by multinational tech firm Bosch, which said Five chose it over other takeover bidders because the companies “share a common vision of automated driving and of safe automated driving systems.”

The acquisition agreement was signed earlier this month, and both firms agreed not to reveal financial details. However, the deal is still subject to approval from antitrust authorities.

Nexo, Mastercard, DiPocket Launch Card Backed by a Crypto Credit Line

Nexo, a Swiss platform that provides instant cryptocurrency-backed loans, has launched a cryptocurrency Mastercard in some European markets.

Nexo Card partnered with Mastercard and DiPocket, a London-based eWallet, providing customers with access to crypto-powered liquidity at more than 92 million eCommerce sites around the globe. The card allows users to spend without selling their digital assets.

Sustainability-Focused Startup Material Exchange Notches Series A

Material Exchange, a Swedish Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company helping brands like H&M and Ugg source more sustainable materials, raised 25 million euros ($27 million) in a Series A funding round.

The startup connects fabric suppliers with buyers and has raised more than $35 million since 2017. The fresh infusion of capital will go towards helping Material Exchange reach new markets and power the growth of its product suite.

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