Future of Crypto | Edition #15 – May 2022
Welcome back to another edition of the Future of Crypto newsletter, where we bring you a weekly dose of some fresh hot cuppa brimming with the affairs from the crypto universe. If you're new and curious, read on to find out what happened in the world of Crypto across seven dynamic themes, and join other Crypto fanatics in receiving some fresh Weekly Cuppa of Crypto delivered right to your inbox every Saturday! ☕️
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The More You Know: As of March 2022, more than 9,500 cryptocurrencies exist. How many have you added to your portfolio?
Reality Check: A week after the Terra crisis, dark clouds still hover around the crypto sphere as many players are expanding their capabilities to participate in securing the interest of the investors and safeguarding the space.
Here’s the TL;DR:
Binance is in talks for regulatory approval in Germany.
Fireblocks unveils a web 3 engine to support DeFi and NFT apps.
Robinhood to let users hold their own crypto and NFTs as it reaches for growth beyond stock trading.
Crypto giants co-launch Chainabuse platform to water down rising scams.
Sony to expand entertainment into the metaverse.
For the longer read, let’s get going –
Countries far and wide are gearing up their respective initiatives to float their CBDCs.
In Europe, Norwegian startup Nahmii announced it was selected by Norway’s central bank Norges Bank to build its CBDC sandbox. European Central Bank (ECB) executive Fabio Panetta revealed the ECB has been working on a preparation phase to launch the Digital Euro, which will be completed in late 2023, allowing EU member countries to test the new CBDC for the next 3 years before making it publicly available. In South America, the Central Bank of Chile was in the news for considering the issuance of a CBDC as it feels there is still not enough information to make a final decision. Additionally, the South African Central Bank was in the news for believing that a digital rand in South Africa could cut the high cost of cross-border payments for banks, but its introduction is still a few years away; however, regulation of crypto assets is in the offing and might come into force within nine to 15 months.
On the other hand, cross-border payments system Swift started a new set of CBDC interoperability experiments partnering with Capgemini amidst concerns that without interoperability, individual CBDCs could create new domestic silos, fragmenting the global payment landscape.
In the past week, an array of regulatory measures from players across varied sectors were in the limelight for the Crypto-coins segment.
Cryptocurrency exchange Binance grabbed the headlines as it is in talks to gain regulatory approval in Germany and is recruiting compliance personnel for its team.
The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) of Nigeria published new rules relating to the issuance, exchange, and custody of digital assets in the country, bringing legitimacy to crypto and related businesses and ultimately opening new doors for crypto usage in Nigeria.
Indian cryptocurrency exchanges, including WazirX, CoinSwitch Kuber, and CoinDCX, delisted the Luna tokens of stablecoin TerraUSD from their platforms after they incurred losses.
Microsoft issued an alert for ‘cryware’ malware based on observations of researchers from the Microsoft 365 defender research team that affects crypto wallets.
What’s more – Shopify made the bulletin for allowing its merchants to now enable Crypto.com to pay on their online storefronts and give customers more ways to make their purchases with cryptocurrencies. Derivatives specialist StoneX Group carried out its first US dollar-denominated bitcoin swap, joining a growing cadre of legacy financial players making first forays into crypto markets.
In other news, BitMEX launched a spot trading platform BitMEX Spot Exchange allowing retail and institutional investors to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. An International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) executive discussed the possibility of launching a joint body of global market regulators within 2023 to better coordinate cryptocurrency regulations. Similarly, seven major crypto giants, including Binance, Circle, Solana Foundation, The Aave Companies, Hedera, TRM Labs, and Civic, joined hands to launch a community-driven scam reporting tool called Chainabuse, aiming to enable crypto users to issue warnings and discuss ongoing fraudulent activity such as scams and hacks in real-time.
As for the funding rounds, Elwood Technologies raised $70M in a Series A funding round co-led by Goldman Sachs (GS) and Dawn Capital.
The volatility among stablecoins continues as the stability of their price has come into question.
Decentralized DAI stablecoin surged about 40% in value over the past week after the collapse of the algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD, making it one of the largest decentralized stablecoins. Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon officially released a governance proposal for community members to vote on his idea to ditch the UST stablecoin and create a new blockchain. The British Treasury Department affirmed its commitment to regulate stablecoins after the collapse of Terrausd (UST) and terra (LUNA), creating conditions for issuers and service providers to operate and grow in the UK while ensuring financial stability and high regulatory standards. Moreover, investors have withdrawn more than $7B from Tether since it briefly dropped from its dollar peg, raising fresh questions about the reserves underpinning the world’s largest stablecoin.
Several ecosystem participants’ collaborative moves made most of the headlines in the NFTs segment last week.
Kinguin launched its NFT marketplace in partnership with Immutable X, featuring 40+ collections and over 200,000 unique NFTs, giving gaming and esports customers access to a vast array of exclusive NFT offerings.
OCEEDEE partnered with WazirX NFT marketplace and the CryptoSauga Club to launch footwear NFTs in India.
German football league Bundesliga signed up OneFootball, Sorare, and Topps as its NFT partners to create and distribute DFL’s digital collectibles.
Getty Images signed a new multi-year partnership agreement with Candy Digital to develop a diverse portfolio of NFT products and collections derived from Getty Images’ extensive library of more than 465 million images.
Scienjoy announced a strategic alliance with MetaU to launch a unique NFT exchange platform, through which participants of the Scienjoy NFT Experience X program will list and also sell their nonfungible artworks to collectors using major virtual coins.
On the various launches and expansions, Robinhood announced it would let users hold custody of their own cryptocurrencies and NFTs in a separate, stand-alone app to push beyond stock trading. While music platform Spotify rolled out a test that will help a small group of artists promote their existing third-party NFT offerings via their artist profiles, cryptocurrency custody firm Fireblocks announced the launch of its web 3 engine, a software developer kit that will allow companies to create app infrastructure for NFTs, decentralized gaming, and finance. NFT marketplace Guardian Link also hit the headlines after it announced the launch of a web 3 startup incubator to help web 2 gaming companies transition to the web 3 space.
There’s more! Web 3 media company Tally Labs announced a seed funding round of $12M to expand the intellectual property and commercialization of Jenkins the Valet to a broader spectrum of entertainment mediums and hire for six newly-posted United States/remote job roles. Australian music NFT marketplace Serenade announced a $4.2M investment to help further fund and grow Serenade’s artist and partner roster across the UK, Australia, and the United States.
The DeFi segment was buzzing with news surrounding several innovative launches last week.
AQX crypto exchange announced its beta launch and urged investors to watch for more developments on the project, which guarantees high liquidity and tight spreads for traders, among other features. Solana-based agriculture simulation gaming project DeFi Land launched its first play-to-earn game called CryptoPotato, allowing players to fish, shoot, farm, drive harvesters, carter for pets, and do lots more for earning governance tokens in return. Logarithmic Finance launched a new cryptocurrency called LOG to create the next generation of decentralized financial and trading protocols, enabling seamless connectivity and interaction between early blockchain innovators and investors.
In other news, crypto exchange Coinbase rolled out a new set of features for its exchange, allowing users to access DeFi, dApps, and a self-custodial wallet app from inside the Coinbase app. S&P Global Ratings also grabbed the headlines for announcing the formation of a new DeFi strategy group to advance S&P Global's approach to decentralized markets. Polygon partnered with layer-3 project Orbs to launch a program that supports DeFi builders through the DeFi accelerator platform DeFi.org, providing funding opportunities, mentorship, and market exposure to chosen projects. Moreover, blockchain data analytics platform Nansen acquired DeFi portfolio tracker Ape Board to bolster its web 3 data capabilities which will spur the future launch of features, such as portfolio tracking and web3-native communication. DeFi insurance protocol Amulet made the headlines for successfully raising $6M in its seed funding round led by gumi Cryptos Capital to help adopt a multichain strategy and deploy it to other non-Ethereum Virtual Machine-based ecosystems along the road.
The metaverse vertical continues to expand as it observes an assortment of market expansions.
Sony was in the news for announcing that it is prepared to take a key role in the immersive virtual world known as the metaverse as it has been adjusting its approach to gaming.
Fidelity started offering access to the virtual world by launching the metaverse index ETF on the NEO exchange called Fidelity Total Metaverse Index ET.
Racer Valentino Rossi stepped into the metaverse with the launch of the VR46 brand, aiming to offer innovative content and immersive experiences to motorsports fans worldwide.
LaLiga named Korean company TVM as its official metaverse partner, with the two working together to create an official digital environment that will engage fans and integrate the Spanish soccer league’s other partners.
On the partnerships front, celebrity platform HeyHey partnered with Olive group of restaurants to foray into the metaverse, serving as a marketplace for the latter to list its digital assets. Similarly, British footwear company Clarks announced its entry into the metaverse with Cicaverse, an immersive gaming experience developed with online game platform Roblox and metaverse development studio Melon.
Additionally, Dallas startup STEMuli raised a seed funding of $3.25M, co-led by venture capital firms Slauson & Co and Valor Ventures, to expand its educational metaverse platform in schools nationally. Comic-Con India launched the Ethereum-based Non-Fungible League, with further plans for CCI to launch a series of limited-edition digital collectibles, which will lead CCI to foray into the metaverse.
The DLT segment accounted for a stir of events that made for an eventful scoop for the week.
When it comes to the funding rounds, blockchain investment firm Fortis Digital Ventures grabbed the headlines for its plans to raise $100M for a digital asset fund with an altcoin focus that aims to bridge the gap between traditional finance and DeFi. The fund requires clients to have at least a $2.5M net worth to invest. Twitch cofounder Kevin Lin’s Metatheory raised $24M, led by a16z, to focus on making high-quality games and virtual worlds that leverage blockchain technologies such as NFTs. Similarly, N3TWORK Studios raised $46M in a Series A funding round led by Griffin Gaming Partners to help the studio develop and produce its first two web 3 titles, Legendary: Heroes Unchained and Triumph, both of which will be focused around the use of cryptocurrency and web 3.
Some other news that turned heads with their activities:
Cryptocurrency Elite Token partnered with mobile virtual network operator Elimobile to launch their telco, using blockchain and tokenization, with standout offers such as an NFT marketplace and the Elisium platform.
Blockchain infrastructure platform Paxos partnered with State Street to integrate State Street's custodial services into the Paxos Settlement Service. Post the same, the latter was able to simulate the settlement and custody of shares on the Paxos platform and asset movements with Credit Suisse more efficiently.
While cross-chain bridge Wormhole launched support for the Algorand blockchain to capture some of Algorand’s $136M in DeFi TVL, Pocket Network added support for the NEAR network to improve developers' experience allowing them to deploy applications on any and every blockchain network supported by Pocket Network.
EY announced two extensions to its blockchain offerings. Its EY OpsChain now has an API that enables businesses to perform public blockchain transactions via an API without managing a blockchain node. Secondly, it unveils the OpsChain Supply Chain Manager, a privacy solution for the public blockchains.
Vietnamese Ministry of Home Affairs approved the establishment of the Vietnam Blockchain Association which became the first organization with a legal entity that will represent blockchain researchers, business owners, and consultants in the whole country.
And that's a wrap 👋
We hope you enjoyed this edition of the Weekly Crypto Cuppa, and we'll be back with more next week!
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