Future of Crypto | Edition #3 – February 2022
Welcome back to another edition of the Future of Crypto Newsletter! If you're new and curious, read on to find out what happened in the crypto space across six dynamic themes, and join other crypto nerds in receiving some fresh Weekly Crypto Cuppa delivered right to your inbox every Saturday!☕️
Edition #3 brings intriguing headlines from around the Cryptosphere that will keep your cup of curiosity filled; with innovative launches and product expansions remaining at the forefront for the week. The NFT, DeFi and Metaverse verticals were bustling with activities, noticeably being the most active segments of this edition.
Here's the TL;DR:
Coinbase partnered with Ledger to provide additional security layer for the digital assets of it's users.
FTX made the headlines with the launch of its gaming unit "FTX gaming" to further its aim to become a "crypto as a service" platform for game publishers.
Opera integrated DiversiFi into its browser to offer faster transactions via Ethereum layer 2.
Manchester United partnered with Sony to build a virtual replica of Etihad stadium in the metaverse.
5ire partnered with Nebraska to develop a smart policing system for the city.
For the longer read, let's get going –
With countries across the globe eager to hop onto the CBDC bandwagon, the segment continued to bustle with activities last week.
The US CBDC project made significant progress with its pilot testing, where one of the two recently conducted pilot tests accounted for the digital dollar achieving a record speed of 1.7M transactions per second, surpassing the throughput of some of the best cryptocurrency networks. In Europe, Sweden’s Riksbank concluded Phase 2 of its CBDC technical trials, with the stage focused on examining issues such as offline function and performance and integration of external participants in the e-krona network. The Swedish bank also extended its partnership with Accenture as a supplier for its CBDC experimental project for another year. Bank of Jamaica christened its CBDC Jamaica Digital Exchange or Jam-Dex, with the tagline “no cash, no problem”. In Asia, Taiwan’s central bank unveiled its plans to complete the second phase of trials for its prototype retail CBDC by September 2022. The Central Bank of Thailand announced their intentions to trial a CBDC in the second quarter of 2022 and Thailand Stock Exchange revealed its ambition to support the trading of Bitcoin and other digital assets.
Additionally, China’s CBDC project seems to be hitting an all-time positive note at the moment, with the head of China’s central bank disclosing that over $315,000 worth of digital yuan is being spent each day as payments.
The Crypto-coins segment has actively been in the spotlight as of late – driven by a plethora of product and market expansions, with companies equally embracing its potential.
South Korean financial goliath Kookmin Bank formed a Digital Asset Management Committee with the aim to launch a crypto exchange traded fund and announced its plans to roll out crypto investment products targeted at retail investors. Cryptocurrency exchange FTX announced the launch of a new gaming unit, dedicated towards driving cryptocurrency and NFT adoption in the gaming world, with the initial offering reportedly being a ‘crypto as a service’ platform facilitating game publishers to launch tokens and support in-game NFTs. Furthermore, Gunnercooke reportedly became the first major law firm in the UK to offer its clients the option to pay with cryptoassests for its service.
In other news, Brazil took its first step to regulate day-to-day usage of Bitcoin in financial transactions with the senate’s Economic Affairs Committee, approving a bill to acknowledge and regulate Bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets in the country. Forbes’ “most iconic business series of recent times”– Unicorn Hunters – launched Unicoin, a next-generation cryptocurrency that pays dividends in bid to address the issue of extreme volatility of traditional tokens. Crypto-friendly neobank Cashaa rolled out its ‘personal accounts’ feature, providing users with an interest of upto 24% on crypto assets. Creator economy platform Koji also made the news for announcing the launch of its integrated crypto wallet that brings extension-free Web3 and crypto to Koji users inside social media platforms. Popular American streaming television service Sling TV partnered with Bitpay to allow its customers to pay with cryptocurrency for monthly subscriptions.
After initially witnessing a major debacle owing to an escalation of political unrest in Europe, the global crypto market bounced back with Bitcoin surging over 11% to $38,816.10 and Ethereum by over 9% to $2,623.83. Except for USD-pegged Tether and Dogecoin, most of the other notable digital tokens were in green, including Terra that zoomed 17% to $67.30 on Friday.
Stablecoins are another aspect that are currently under active exploration by firms and authorities far and wide. Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group had announced the suspension of its three-year-old blockchain-based project, the Global Open Network Japan aimed at high scalability and multi-connectivity data processing, in a bid to accelerate its Progmat Coin project that is focused on providing a platform for the issuance and management of stablecoins. On the funding front, Singapore-based nonprofit organization Luna Foundation has raised $1B through the sale of LUNA, the native token of the Terra blockchain, with the funding aimed towards building a Bitcoin-denominated foreign-exchange reserve for UST (an algorithmic-based stablecoin in the Terra ecosystem).
The NFT space was buzzing with eventful happenings this week with a number of product launches, partnerships and expansion activities.
Cryptocurrency project ZINU announced the launch of Zombie Mob Secret Society (ZMSS), the first fully animated 3D NFT collection, with every ZMSS holder being granted a royalty-free license to their specific Zinu, to facilitate holders and creators to use and commercialize their respective NFTs within their industries. NFT marketplace Neon opened a vending machine at 29 John Street in New York City, which dispenses Solana NFTs in exchange for fiat currency from credit cards and mobile payment apps. India’s first fully curated NFT marketplace, backed by Rubix blockchain technology of level-1 with zero gas fees, was launched by Jupiter Meta, which will focus on verticals like music, film and gaming. Tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist Anirudh Suri’s ‘The Great Tech Game’ made the headlines for reportedly becoming the first book with limited edition NFT cards. In a bid to create an amazing experience for the different stakeholders in the virtual space, NFT creator Apotheosis NFT announced the launch of Requiem Notes, a single audio NFT in the OpenSea platform.
On the other hand, Solana-based NFT marketplace Magic Eden airdropped around 4000 NFTs to active wallets, and also revealed its intentions to form a decentralized autonomous organization. Russia’s leading social media platform Vkontakte announced plans to introduce support for blockchain and NFTs, with the cryptocurrency technologies incorporated into the platform’s scheme for monetization of user content and copyright protection. Sotheby’s first dedicated event for auction of NFTs, ‘Punk It’, witnessed 104 Cryptopunks going under the hammer that have been acquired simultaneously in a singular blockchain transaction by an anonymous collector, ‘0x650d’. In addition to this, New York-based sports company Trophecase announced a limited time opportunity where users will be able to mint NFTs for free.
The play-to-earn notion has been gaining quite the popularity recently, with blockchain game Axie Infinity hitting a new milestone the past week, as it surpassed $4B in all-time NFT sales. Denim brand Wrangler, in a partnership with NFT marketplace LTD.INC and Grammy award winner Leon Bridges, is planning to launch 75 NFTs crafted around a rare denim suit made exclusively for the singer-songwriter.
Last week was also witness to a major security breach – as the world’s largest NFT marketplace OpenSea confirmed that 32 users have lost NFTs worth $1.7M in a major phishing attack.
The DeFi vertical was abuzz with a diversified range of activities that drew our attention –
web3 browser Opera integrated with DeFi platform DeversiFi to help traders avoid the high gas fees on the Ethereum network by enabling layer 2 trading;
crypto index provider Compass announced the launch of the Compass Crypto Basket Fundamental DeFi Index (CCBFDEFI) to allow institutions to track a robust DeFi index to provide a smart exposure to the sector through its fundamental weighting model; and
Acardex set out to become the most unique DeFi on the Cardano network that utilizes the automated market maker protocol.
Brazilian asset manager Hashdex also made it to the bulletin for launching a DeFi exchange-traded fund on Brazilian stock exchange B3 under the ticker DEFI11, which only drew 2,200 investors compared to the expected raise of $96M. Additionally, DeFi lending platform Bonded hit the headlines for rebranding itself as Fringe Finance so as to better capture the Fringe’s 2022 roadmap project’s value and improve its brand. MRHB DeFi—the world’s first ethics-based decentralized finance platform—announced the launch of Sahal Wallet, a non-custodial cryptocurrency wallet that functions as a gateway to the entire MRHB ecosystem of ethical DeFi products.
On the funding front, Australian DeFi startup Tiiik raised $5.2M in seed round to build scalable architecture and expand the product offering for retail and accredited investors. Alternatively, Solana-based protocol Marginfi lured two major crypto investment firms, Multicoin Capital and Pantera Capital, in a $3M seed funding round based on a vision of simplifying margin trading in DeFi. DeFi protocol Teller also raised $6.8M to expand its integrations with third parties to launch loan marketplaces.
Furthermore, web3 RPC protocol Pocket Network announced its extended partnership with blockchain infrastructure Fuse to accelerate its aim to support 100 blockchains by the end of the year. Austrian cryptocurrency exchange Bitpanda also turned heads for its first-ever acquisition of digital asset custodian Trustology to make DeFi more accessible to institutional investors, service providers as well as token issuers.
The world of Metaverse has been gaining traction from a diverse range of industries. Many different players are introducing their offerings in this exciting hybrid-type ecosystem.
While digital maturity consultancy Digitopia announced the launch of the Metaverse Readiness Index (MRI) that serves as a guide to enterprises entering the metaverse, Asgard launched DAO metaverse solution that provides all functionalities of metaverse, DeFi and NFT under one roof. WPP’s Hogarth also joined the hype with the launch of The Metaverse Foundry, a global team of over 700 creatives, producers, visual artists, developers and technologists who will deliver – from design to execution – brand experiences for clients in the metaverse. Popular apparel brand United Colors of Benetton made its metaverse debut with the launch of its first store in the immersive universe.
What’s more – CSOP Asset Management became the latest fund house to launch Hong Kong’s first metaverse-focused ETF product, the CSOP Metaverse Concept ETF, targeting the metaverse investment theme. Luxury sports brand TWINZZ was also amongst the many who entered the space, by buying virtual land in The Sandbox, with further plans to begin building a world on the metaverse platform.
With an emphasis on building more gamer-friendly platforms, open-world metaverse platform Bullieverse raised $4M from investors to help build an arcade for play-to-earn games. Virtual being developer Neosapience was also in the news for raising $21.5 million in a Series B funding, alongside the debut of a new tool for its Typecast platform to produce better virtual actors and AI-powered characters capable of singing and rapping. On top of that, Tokens.com announced the signing of a letter of intent to buy 20% ownership in Metaverse Architects by its subsidiary Metaverse Group. The partnership will allow Metaverse Group to provide a host of services to the clients – including events, NFT design and drops, and architecture design and services. Similarly, Foxconn teamed up with XR developer XRSPACE to boost Taiwan’s global position as a metaverse leader. Football club Manchester City is also set to enter the metaverse, having partnered with Sony to build a virtual replica of its home stadium, Etihad.
An assorted mix of product launches and partnerships made up for most of the brew in the DLT vertical.
Where on one hand Coldplay and Ed Sheeran’s label Splinterlands teamed up with Warner Music Group to develop play-to-earn games, on the other hand D.C. United scored blockchain company XDC for a three-year deal as its new jersey sponsor. Coinbase added an additional layer of security for Ledger hardware wallets as the crypto token utility expands into the world of web3 with NFTs, DeFi and DAO. 5ire, the 5th generation blockchain network stole the headlines for signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Alliance, Nebraska, to help develop Smart and Robust Policing for the city. Furthermore, Aloha NFT officially partnered with Polygon blockchain to launch their “Alohachella” project that features NFT artwork and physical collector cards of 22 Hawai’i artists. ACCIONA is also set to sell carbon credits on the ClimateTrade blockchain as part of its agreement with the startup. Carbon credit markets enable organizations, companies, and individuals to sell or purchase rights to emit greenhouse gases.
In other news, the crypto community welcomed ZkSync’s newly deployed Rollup protocol on the Ethereum testnet, which is seen to be a positive development for its removal of need for human operators to validate transactions. JPMorgan Chase, Toshiba and Ciena’s joint venture to build the first Quantum Key Distribution network for metropolitan areas that instantly detects and defends against eavesdroppers was also a significant highlight in the DLT space. Crypto payments company Wirex added Polygon blockchain to their recently launched non-custodial wallet and the Wirex app so as to diversify the blockchains available on the app and allow more assets to be supported.
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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