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From Santander embracing crypto, Solana opening a real-life store in NYC to Telegram going the NFT way: This month in crypto

Let’s examine what was making news throughout the last month. There’s something extra at the end of the read!

Mercedes-Benz has launched Acentrik, a blockchain-based data-sharing platform. The project is aimed primarily at corporate users, with features such as Know Your Business and stringent access restrictions. The data is not saved on the blockchain. Rather each dataset is represented by a non-fungible token (NFT) and a metadata hash.

According to reports, the Spanish banking giant Santander will begin offering cryptocurrency trading to its clients in Brazil. According to Santander Brazil CEO Mario Leo, the bank is trying to create crypto services in response to increasing demand from its Brazilian consumers.

Solana’s real-life store is open in New York City. The store named Solana Spaces aims to educate users about Solana blockchain and Web3. “This isn’t the first time the cryptocurrency has stepped outside the Metaverse; it has previously announced the launching of the ‘Saga,’ a Web3 Android mobile phone. New Solana-themed stores have opened in New York City. The “Solana Spaces” store attempts to educate visitors on how Solana operates and what web 3 is.

Binance announced that Fans of the Rome-based professional Italian football team Società Sportiva Lazio (aka “S.S. Lazio”) might “open the upcoming 2022/23 season with cutting-edge NFT tickets.” Lazio’s NFT tickets include additional incentives for the Binance Fan Token community, such as discounts, freebies, and experiences, making the upcoming season a great highlight for all S.S. Lazio Fans.

The largest asset manager in the world, Blackrock, signs a deal with Coinbase to provide crypto trading, custody, prime brokerage and reporting capabilities to its clients.

Meta begins its international expansion of NFT support on Instagram. As a result of this extension, users and businesses in over 100 countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and the Americas will be able to publish their NFTs on Instagram. Before this, support was only accessible to a limited number of creators in the United States.

The United States Federal Reserve Announces “FedNow” Fast Payments System For 2023. According to Fed, the FedNow Service will transform how everyday payments are made across the economy. Users can send instant payments at any time of day or night, and the funds are immediately available to recipients.

Bitcoin now has over 1 million unique wallet addresses, according to research. Regarding network utilization, Ethereum and Litecoin are distant runner-ups behind Bitcoin, with 158 million and 148 million unique addresses, respectively.

Telegram co-founder Paul Durov intends to establish an NFT marketplace and hopes to incorporate a “little bit of web3.” Paul intends to build a platform where username holders may sell their identifiers to interested parties through blockchain using NFT-like smart contracts.

Binance has teamed with payments giant Mastercard to create a cryptocurrency-enabled payment card in Argentina. The Binance Card, issued by Credencial Payments and meant to “bridge the gap between cryptocurrencies and ordinary transactions,” would allow Binance customers to make crypto purchases online and in-store, including Bitcoin (BTC), wherever Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach announced the project on Twitter and LinkedIn. 

As The Merge Approaches, Ethereum Classic’s hash rate achieved an all-time high on August 20, 2022. The Ethereum Classic network’s hash rate measures the processing power per second employed when mining a coin. The ATH hash rate lowers the chances of a “51% attack.” 

Australia Will Use’ Token Mapping’ As Crypto Regulation Framework. The Australian government will review how bitcoin assets are managed to keep procedures current and safeguard consumers.

John McAfee’s ex-girlfriend alleges McAfee faked his death and is still alive and well in Texas. Ex-girlfriend Samantha Herrera said in a Netflix documentary titled Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee, published on Wednesday. In June 2021, John McAfee died in a Spanish jail cell while awaiting extradition to the United States on allegations of neglecting to file tax returns from 2014 to 2018 and failing to declare revenue from crypto ventures and consultancy services. When he died, he was 75 years old. 

Besides some gripping news from the crypto industry, some memes and videos added to the fun side of the tech groups. Time for five hilarious crypto memes!

Some Bitcoin humour

Ethereum was not spared either

Want to swim in the Metaverse?

 Hodling Vs Day trading

Why I don’t go to parties anymore

How DeFi is ready to power its way beyond investment and speculation

What do you think about when you hear “the future of finance?” Most people envision mobile payments, internet banking, and other cutting-edge technology. What about decentralization, though?

DeFi refers to peer-to-peer finance enabled by decentralized technologies built on the blockchain. From lending and borrowing platforms to stablecoins and tokenized BTC, the DeFi ecosystem has launched an expansive network of integrated protocols and financial instruments.

However, Decentralized finance (DeFi) is currently undergoing soul-searching. Terra’s collapse in May 2022 had a contagion effect on many other DeFi platforms. Subsequently, there has been a widespread perception that DeFi offers little more than circular financing and dangerously leveraged speculation, the type that may produce a domino of bankruptcy and failures. And to our horror, it’s partially true.

Read more about the Terra collapse here

The “crypto-winter”

DeFi has since faced many criticisms. The thrust of all these criticisms is that most DeFi revolves around highly leveraged speculation – users deposited their money into these platforms that promised high yields. The platform, in turn, uses these funds to lend or invest in other projects. However, many such projects were wiped out when the crypto bear market hit in 2022. 

Nonetheless, there is a silver lining. Authorities in the crypto and DeFi sectors confirm that DeFi is still a developing field that will grow and consolidate as it evolves. Indeed, many think DeFi will become more integrated with traditional banking in the following years by linking with the Internet of Things, digital ID, and data storage. And the more it does, the less it will be centered on the risky habit of lending and borrowing virtually entirely for speculation.

DeFi benefits from using blockchain technology in various ways, including transparency, which may increase due diligence and assist individuals in identifying and avoiding dangerous financial frauds and damaging corporate practices. Similarly, smart contracts give further protection against rogue actors and fraudulent transactions.

DeFi’s Current Status and Potential

Some reports indicated that DeFi’s growth on the Ethereum blockchain was 780% in 2021. The total value locked (TVL) in DeFi protocols was more than $172 billion by the first quarter of 2022. The future of DeFi rests on the three strong pillars: composability, DeFi insurance, and governance.

Composability

Composability refers to the ability of several components to collaborate to produce the intended result. In the context of DeFi, composability is how diverse protocols and platforms work together to generate new financial solutions. This is not to imply that flexibility has not existed in conventional finance. DeFi, however, takes composability to the next level by allowing the creation of a trustless system.

On the blockchain, users can verify every transaction and activity. Ethereum serves as the impartial settlement layer, with no one entity wielding power. Furthermore, because DeFi is permissionless, anybody may design new financial products and apps that would not be viable with old infrastructure.

DeFi insurance

DeFi insurance is the missing link that will bring DeFi up to speed with traditional finance.

DeFi insurance arose out of need, as indicated by the predicted $10 billion fraud losses in the DeFi business in 2021. Insurance safeguards against unfavourable occurrences in the cryptocurrency sector, such as exchange hacks, smart contract failures, and stablecoin price collapses.

Despite the benefits of DeFi insurance, the claims procedure is still unknown. As a result, additional study is required to evaluate the usefulness of this new instrument.

Governance

Some DeFi platforms reinforce the blockchain community’s commitment to decentralization by making governance tokens available to users.

A governance token gives consumers control over the platform’s protocol, goods, and future innovations. Governance tokens are usually established using decentralized protocols that promote community-driven growth and self-sufficiency.

To make critical choices concerning protocol changes, recruiting, and even governance framework alterations, decentralized networking initiatives require governance mechanisms.

For example, a borrowing and lending platform may use its regulating mechanism to compute the requisite amount. In other words, decisions made by project stakeholders through its governance structure can directly influence the project’s success or failure.

When approached correctly, governance efforts can bring in a new era of decentralized growth and collaboration.

In essence, there remain many defenders of DeFi within the crypto sector. All of them continue to affirm that the space will continue to grow and, ultimately, make good on its promises.

Community-based popular NFTs save the day in crypto winter?

The first wave of NFT holders enjoyed soaring valuations of crypto projects like CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club. These NFTs are monetised based on intellectual property rights or copyrights by emphasizing ownership. Several NFT communities gradually emerged as an afterthought surrounding these popular projects. Now, many NFT initiatives are embracing a community-first approach, incorporating incentives and concrete value from the start. Now, cc0 NFTs are increasing, with decentralization giants favouring the open and transparent side of branding.

What are cc0 NFTs?

cc0 stands for “Creative Commons Zero.” Essentially, it implies that the proprietors of the IP rights of digital content surrender all copyright to the public domain. In other words, anyone may utilize cc0 products to produce their work.

A cc0 NFT is digital content in which the intellectual property rights have been waived. In other words, anyone can make a cc0 NFT. Non-holders can also develop commercial items from cc0 NFTs with no legal consequences.

Furthermore, if you utilize a cc0 NFT, you do not have to attribute the original inventor.

The curious case of Loot

Dom Hoffmann, the co-founder of the short video platform Vine, created Loot on August 27, 2021. Loot is an open-source adventurer gear generated and stored on the chain in the form of 8,000 NFTs. Pictured below are some Loot bags: A text file consisting of 8 phrases written on a black background. Interestingly, this text file is also an NFT.

The mint event was hugely successful; all loot bags were sold out. Then, an organic explosion of Loot-based projects ensued around the NFTs. 

So, what distinguishes Loot? First and foremost, these NFTs may be claimed for free. The claimant was just required to pay the regular Ethereum gas price. The second clear distinction is that these NFTs are simply a collection of words.

As simple as it may appear, the NFTs undoubtedly hooked the community. It essentially introduced a paradigm change in the NFT field. Meanwhile, the NFT loot bag initiative is valued by the community. You may use the NFT treasure bags to construct games, avatars, metaverses, and novels, among other things. Similarly, Loot and its 8,000 NFTs can be the foundation of an entire gaming metaverse. 

You might notice that all bets are placed on what the NFTs “could do.” Hence, owning a Loot bag was a bet on future utility, which was up to the community to build.

Now begins the uphill road. Can a decentralized community concur on creating inherent utility in owning a Loot bag? Almost a year after its launch, it is opportune we look at how the humble Loot NFT has evolved.

HyperLoot, which its authors describe as a “visual building block on top of Loot,” is attracting attention. Loot owners join the website using their crypto wallets, and HyperLoot produces an image of whatever is in their bag on the body of a digital explorer. HyperLoot creations, like the original Loot, are distributed under the CC0 “no rights reserved” license, thus placing them in the public domain.

In one of the interviews, Hofmann mentioned that the early hype around the project was only as much help. Initially, in the public domain, the NFTs were mostly reproduced into cheap clones and were not fancied by serious developers.

However, Hofmann predicted that there would be Loot-related novels and maybe the first Loot-related video games in the next year. And when more CC0 projects become public domain, they will almost certainly continue to intersect with Loot in unexpected new ways.

Conclusion

While the dream was that the “free-for-all” cc0 model would coalesce into something more than the sum of its parts, 2022 has been notoriously catastrophic for the larger NFT market. Even the most richly valued collections have witnessed a majority of value erosion.

However, these projects have held up quite well despite the crypto winter. More cc0 NFT initiatives are anticipated shortly. The new trend makes NFT distribution easier by allowing holders to use digital assets as they see fit. Some of the market’s most successful ventures provide cc0 collectibles, which has persuaded prominent artists to accept the move.

Australia Will Define Crypto In Token Mapping Exercise

In an exciting turn of events, the Labor government in Australia will undertake the world’s first “token mapping” exercise this year. This exercise is an attempt to define the various types of digital assets and includes all of them in an appropriate regulatory framework. 

The Committee of Country’s Treasury Department set out plans for regulations and consumer protections last year, as they said yesterday in a joint statement. It is the first time Australia’s new Labor government has been vocal about its intention to regulate digital currencies within its three month tenure.

A new set of rules on digital assets will be established in an attempt to shield the users from high market volatility while educating them about the potential risks. The department alluded to crypto advertisements “plastered all over big sporting events,” which inspired its intentions to push ahead with regulation.

Earlier this year, the leading cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com signed a sponsorship deal with the Australian Football League for $25 million. Moreover, the domestic exchange, Sqyftx, signed a three-year deal for an unknown sum the next month. 

This deal helped these exchanges to advertise in sporting arenas and on TV across the country. “As it stands, the crypto sector is largely unregulated and we need to do some work to get the balance right,” the department said.

The Token Mapping also formed part of a recommendation by way of the “Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre Senate select committee” last year, spearheaded by a Liberal Party minister. 

Moreover, the department believes that the country has a fragmented approach to digital assets, such as taxation. “The additional benefits of token mapping are many,” said Caroline Bowler, CEO of major Australian crypto exchange BTC Markets. 

Bowler added: “It will provide greater clarity to crypto investors; aid companies in developing their own blockchain-based innovations; provide guidance to digital currency exchanges; as well as assist regulators in shaping an appropriate regulatory regime.”

Anthony Hopkins is reaching Eternity with his First NFT Collection

Sir Anthony Hopkins, the winner of the Golden Globe, BAFTA and an Oscar for his acting prowess in film, television, and theatre, has partnered with Web 3.0 media company Orange Comet to curate a series of upcoming NFT drops that will showcase his work as an artist. 

The NFT collection is named The Eternal Collection and will include three drops that will centre around ten digital animations of Hopkins digitally rendered as different interpretations of various Jungian character archetypes that the actor has portrayed over his career. Moreover, these designs will also include Hopkin’s work as a painter. 

The Eternal Collection

The NFT collection is expected to go live on 16th September on OpenSea. Apart from that, Organe Comet will also auction a specialised one-of-one NFT, a unique combination of all the ten characters. Hopkins also plans to donate a portion of the proceedings to a charity of his choosing. 

The three-tier collection, one of one NFT, the ten legendary animations, and the 1,000 distinguished PFPs will have real-life utility as well, such as access to real events and autographed physical prints of the NFT artwork, exclusive audio clips, etc. 

“When Margam Fine Art approached us with the artistic vision to bring Sir Anthony Hopkins’ artwork to the metaverse, we knew this was a unique opportunity for the world of NFTs,” said Orange Comet CEO Dave Broome in a press release shared with NFT now. “This relationship is a superb symbiosis of technology and art from one of the finest actors and artists of our day.”

Hopkin has an interesting perspective on the collection! 

“The idea came out of a mist from somewhere,” Hopkins underscored. “I came up with the idea of psychological Jungian types […] because I sensed those in myself. That’s how I was trained. There is an element of mystery in all creativity, which I don’t understand; I don’t pretend to. I think we have it in us if we have the courage, or desperation, or energy to just do it.”

It is one of the most awaited NFT drops of the year as it celebrates the life of an award-winning and globally recognized artist.