Container ship outside Hong Kong

Blockchain and trade finance have always seemed like natural partners, and a company based in India is taking another stab at cracking the code.

Persistence has built the back-end infrastructure for a trade finance system that will allow small and medium-sized buyers to more easily find financing for commodities purchased from sellers, traveling between the main trade hubs of Asia, places like Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai, among others.

The startup closed a $3.7 million token round led by Arrington XRP, along with Alameda Research and South Korean stablecoin company Terra, among others. The backers are purchasing the Persistence token, or XPRT, which is set to be released sometime late this year or early next year, once macroeconomic conditions appear to be stabilized, said Persistence CEO Tushar Aggarwal.

Related: Boardroom Raises $2.2M for Blockchain Governance Toolset

“Commodity trading is a notoriously difficult industry to penetrate,” Aggarwal told CoinDesk in an interview, noting that other firms like Perlin and Centrifuge have already entered this space.

Persistence’s advantage, Aggarwal said, lies less in its technology than in its business-development strategy.

To build an application that would appeal to companies outside of the blockchain industry, Persistence settled on Tendermint as its base layer, after investigating both Ethereum and Waves.

“A big focus of ours is the institutional folks. On the institutional side we tried to abstract away some of the complexity,” Aggarwal said.

Related: Dapper Labs Raises $18M in Token Sale for NFT-Centric Flow Blockchain

Read more: Cosmos Gains Traction in India Amid Broader Crypto Resurgence

The specific trade finance platform was built as a separate application atop Persistence, called Comdex. That platform was turned over to a third party that already has access to the trade finance industry. Invoices get turned into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that can then be collateralized to back


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The sale of Allworth Financial is heating up with a winning bidder expected soon, according to four banking and private-equity executives.

The auction has narrowed to three private equity firms; final bids were due last week, Oct. 6, two of the sources said.

Raymond James

(ticker: RJF) and

Moelis

(MC) are advising on the process, people said.

Allworth, which is owned by Parthenon Capital, is expected to sell for roughly $750 million to $800 million, one of the people said.

Allworth is an RIA aggregator that buys up smaller wealth managers. The Sacramento firm scooped up Capstone Capital in May, Houston Asset Management in April and, in October, it bought Retirement Advisors of America. Allworth, in May, had roughly $8 billion of assets under management, according to a statement.

Parthenon invested in Allworth in 2017 when the firm was known as Hanson McClain Advisors. Parthenon, of Boston and San Francisco, invests in financial services, health care services and business services. The private-equity firm is investing out its sixth flagship fund which raised $2 billion in December.

The Allworth sale is the latest in the wealth and asset management space. Last week,

Morgan Stanley (MS)

shocked many when it agreed to buy asset manager Eaton Vance (EV) for $7 billion. The sale is expected to set off more consolidation. “If

Eaton Vance

is selling— they’re considered one of the strong companies—then that tells you the mediocre and bad companies are selling,” one banker said.

Private-equity firms have been frequent investors of wealth managers. Hellman & Friedman owns Edelman Financial Engines, while TA Associates acquired Wealth Enhancement Group from Lightyear Capital in 2019. (TA and Genstar Capital own Orion Advisor Solutions.) GTCR bought a minority stake of CapTrust in June. Genstar and Lovell Minnick Partners sold a minority

JC Penney and Kohl’s (KSS) are the latest retailers to jump on the Amazon Prime Day bandwagon by holding their own sales events.

JC Penney made the announcement on Monday, saying that it was kicking off the holiday shopping season in mid-October with “new brands and amazing deals.” As part of its newly announced Cyber Days, JC Penney will hold its sale from Monday to Wednesday. Amazon Prime Day is being held Tuesday and Wednesday.

JC Penney, which filed bankruptcy in May, said it is offering more than 1,000 deals with up to 60% off some items. The company has partnered with top brands such as Sharper Image, PowerXL, Pure Enrichment, Cuisinart, Lego, Mattel, Fisher-Price, and Disney to offer deals to customers through the holiday season.

“It’s especially important to bring personal traditions into focus this holiday season, and we encourage shoppers to rely on JC Penney for all they need to make the holidays meaningful and memorable,” Jill Soltau, CEO at JC Penney, said in a statement.

“JCPenney is a true authority on quality and value for everyone’s holiday shopping list. We have been working to secure partnerships with new national brands and to expand our product offerings as part of our efforts to provide compelling merchandise and deliver an engaging shopping experience to our customers,” she added.

Kohl’s is also looking to go head-to-head against Amazon Prime Day by holding its own sales online and in-stores. Its deals will continue through December and offer discounts on brands offered at Kohl’s, including its newly added lines with Lands’ End, Lauren Conrad Beauty, TOMS, and Curated by Kohl’s collection.

Kohl’s said it will offer 5% Kohl’s Cash as part of its rewards program and other Kohl’s Cash opportunities throughout the holiday shopping season. The retailer also offers drive-up and in-store

By Christoph Steitz and Tom Käckenhoff

ESSEN, Germany (Reuters) – Thyssenkrupp has begun due diligence with potential bidders for its plant division as the German conglomerate accelerates a radical overhaul to sell or turn around ailing business units in the next two years, a top executive told Reuters.

In his first interview, Volkmar Dinstuhl, who oversees the divestment of non-core assets, said the company has opened the books to buyers of its plant-building units and received expressions of interest for its stainless steel division.

Thyssenkrupp

is also open to considering offers for its automotive and remaining industrial assets, said Dinstuhl, who heads up the group’s Multi-Tracks division, which houses businesses Thyssenkrupp no longer wants to own.

“Our goal is to find a solution for all our businesses within the next two years,” said Dinstuhl, the first time Thyssenkrupp has outlined a timeline for restructuring.

The Essen, Germany-based company, which makes submarines, warships, steel and car parts, as well as equipment for cement factories, construction and fertiliser plants, is struggling to define what its core business is.

Dinstuhl, an international chess master, is taking an opportunistic approach to reshaping the company’s portfolio after selling the company’s elevators unit for 17.2 billion euros ($20.2 bln) earlier this year.

That disposal gives Thyssenkrupp the financial strength to stem potential writedowns on other assets it has up for sale, allowing it to pursue a deeper restructuring than has previously been possible.

Dinstuhl said that Multi-Tracks, which accounts for about 6 billion euros in sales and was responsible for 400 million euros of negative cash flow in the 2018/19 fiscal year, will seek to sell, shut down or find partners for the 10 units it comprises.

“We’re basically an internal private equity fund,” he said.

Jennifer Cooper, who has held various M&A positions at Thyssenkrupp

CLEVELAND, Ohio — One of the most contentious political debates in Northeast Ohio this year is not about the presidential election, control of the Senate or even the Ohio Statehouse corruption scandal.

It’s about zoning in Pepper Pike.

Hundreds of yard signs bearing the phrase “No to Mixed-Use” are scattered throughout the small, well-to-do far-eastern suburb. They line the sidewalk-less residential streets as part of an effort that opposition organizer Manny Naft said aims to keep the city’s “bucolic” nature.

The signs refer to a measure on the Nov. 3 ballot to change the zoning for a 68-acre tract of land owned by behavioral health services nonprofit Beech Brook, along with two smaller adjoining lots. The issue has divided the community.

The division resulted in online bickering, contentious town hall meetings, threats of defamation lawsuits and even unused condoms left at Axiom Development Principal Bryan Stone’s home.

Stone, who lives in Pepper Pike, announced last month that he and the project’s investors scrapped plans to buy and develop the property at Lander Road and Chagrin Boulevard with houses, townhouses, office space and retail. After a lot of planning, he blamed the rancor surrounding the project.

“We will not move forward and invest time and energy on an idea that has been completely removed from the realm of civil discourse,” he wrote in a Sept. 25 news release.

However, Pepper Pike voters still have a chance to vote on the zoning change in November’s election. The proposal remains on the ballot.

Beech Brook CEO Tom Royer said in an email that the nonprofit decided not to pull the measure when Stone backed out. Early voting began Tuesday.

Regardless, the organization is now out of a deal to sell a property it longer needs to carry out its mission. The nonprofit has