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Regarding initiatives financed by the $1 billion cryptocurrency recovery fund, Binance remained silent

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    Binance-spearheaded Industry Recovery Initiative (IRI), a co-investment project aiming to support the cryptocurrency industry in the aftermath of the FTX collapse, may not have been as effective as desired, a new report suggests.

    After announcing the IRI in November 2022, Binance spent $15 million in its Binance USD (BUSD) stablecoins out of its total commitments of $1 billion in BUSD, Bloomberg reported on Oct. 10.

    Binance subsequently moved the remaining $985 million of the pledged BUSD back to its corporate treasury, planning to use it for investments. In March, Binance converted these funds from BUSD to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), citing growing regulatory concerns around stablecoins.

    Apart from Binance, the IRI had collected an additional $100 million in contributions from 18 organizations by the end of February 2023, including Animoca Brands, Aptos Labs, Jump Crypto, Polygon Ventures and others.

    Three months after launch, the IRI funded 14 projects, Binance claimed, without disclosing the names of the companies that received funding. The only publicly declared expense from Binance’s $1 billion IRI commitment was the exchange’s acquisition of the South Korean crypto exchange Gopax, announced in early February.

    According to wallet data collected by Bloomberg, the IRI has invested less than $30 million since its inception last year. Among nine named participants, only DWF Labs and Binance-backed Aptos had spent at least some of the committed funds.

    Related: New book reveals Binance CEO CZ rejected SBF’s $40M request for futures exchange

    After spending a comparatively small part of its total committed funds, IRI is still working to support cryptocurrency projects, as its Google Docs applicant form is still active.

    A spokesperson for Binance told Cointelegraph that the firm remains committed to supporting the industry. The representative added that "there are not as many companies in need of help," citing that the industry has significantly recovered from the contagion in the immediate aftermath of the FTX collapse. The spokesperson stated:

    "We'd also note that applications into the IRI dropped significantly, which is also a good sign that the industry is regaining its health. [...] We will keep funds available, as needed, but they will sit in our corporate wallets rather than in the IRI wallet. We will handle future acquisitions through business as usual."

    Binance declined to comment further about the IRI's past investments and other details.

    Transactions associated with Binance-spearheaded Industry Recovery Initiative as of Oct. 9, 2023. Source: Bloomberg

    The IRI’s high capital commitments versus its actual contributions come as the cryptocurrency industry scrambles for funding.

    The quarterly amount of cryptocurrency-related venture funding has plummeted as much as 70% from Q3 2022, the blockchain analytics firm Messari reported on Oct. 5. According to the report, crypto VC volumes in Q3 2023 amounted to just around $2 billion, down from the all-time high $17 billion in Q1 2021.

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