Značka: crypto

EmpiresX 'head trader' to face 4 years of prison over $100M crypto 'Ponzi'

One of the leading figures convicted of being behind the $100 million crypto “Ponzi” scheme, EmpiresX, has just been handed an over four-year jail sentence by a United States court.The sentencing was handed to Joshua David Nicholas, the “head trader” of purported crypto platform EmpiresX, who is nowset to serve a 51-month prison sentence along with three years of supervised release for his role in the fraudulent scheme. It follows a Sept. 8 guilty plea from Nicholas for conspiracy to commit securities fraud.According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), over a two-year period, Nicholas made claims the platform would make daily “guaranteed” returns using a trading bot that utilized “artificial and human intelligence” to maximize returns. In reality, the “bot” was fake, and Nicolas and his associates, Emerson Pires and Flavio Goncalves, operated a “Ponzi” scheme that paid earlier investors with money from later investors. The DOJ alleges blockchain analytics shows Pires and Goncalves, both Brazilian nationals, laundered investors’ funds through a “foreign-based” crypto exchange.Only around $1 million of investor funds were sent to a futures trading account for EmpiresX with the majority of funds either lost or misappropriated according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) which filed civil actions against the three in June.At the same time, fraud charges were leveled against the trio by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which said investor money was used to “lease a Lamborghini, shop at Tiffany & Co., make a payment on a second home, and more.”Related: HashFlare founders arrested in ‘astounding’ $575M crypto fraud schemeInvestors were also told EmpiresX was registered with the SEC as a hedge fund and that Nicholas was a licensed trader.The SEC said the platform was never registered with the Commission and Nicholas’ was suspended from trading by the National Futures Association for misappropriating customer funds.The scheme ran for two years, from around September 2020 until early 2022 when it fell apart as the platform refused to honor customer withdrawals who were likely wanting to leave the crypto market due to significant price drawdowns that began at the time.Pires and Goncalves, who were residing in Florida, allegedly began winding down the operations of EmpiresX in early 2022 and left the U.S., they are now believed to be in Brazil.

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Programming languages prevent mainstream DeFi

Decentralized finance (DeFi) is growing fast. Total value locked, a measure of money managed by DeFi protocols, has grown from $10 billion to a little more than $40 billion over the last two years after peaking at $180 billion.Total value locked in DeFi as of Nov. 2022. Source: DefiLlamaThe elephant in the room? More than $10 billion was lost to hacks and exploits in 2021 alone. Feeding that elephant: Today’s smart contract programming languages fail to provide adequate features to create and manage assets — also known as “tokens.” For DeFi to become mainstream, programming languages must provide asset-oriented features to make DeFi smart contract development more secure and intuitive. Current DeFi programming languages have no concept of assetsSolutions that could help reduce DeFi’s perennial hacks include auditing code. To an extent, audits work. Of the 10 largest DeFi hacks in history (give or take), nine of the projects weren’t audited. But throwing more resources at the problem is like putting more engines in a car with square wheels: it can go a bit faster, but there is a fundamental problem at play.The problem: Programming languages used for DeFi today, such as Solidity, have no concept of what an asset is. Assets such as tokens and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) exist only as a variable (numbers that can change) in a smart contract such as with Ethereum’s ERC-20. The protections and validations that define how the variable should behave, e.g., that it shouldn’t be spent twice, it shouldn’t be drained by an unauthorized user, that transfers should always balance and net to zero — all need to be implemented by the developer from scratch, for every single smart contract.Related: Developers could have prevented crypto’s 2022 hacks if they took basic security measuresAs smart contracts get more complex, so too are the required protections and validations. People are human. Mistakes happen. Bugs happen. Money gets lost. A case in point: Compound, one of the most blue-chip of DeFi protocols, was exploited to the tune of $80 million in September 2021. Why? The smart contract contained a “ >” instead of a “ >=.”The knock-on effectFor smart contracts to interact with one another, such as a user swapping a token with a different one, messages are sent to each of the smart contracts to update their list of internal variables.The result is a complex balancing act. Ensuring that all interactions with the smart contract are handled correctly falls entirely on the DeFi developer. Since there are no innate guardrails built into Solidity and the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), DeFi developers must design and implement all the required protections and validations themselves.Related: Developers need to stop crypto hackers or face regulation in 2023So DeFi developers spend nearly all their time making sure their code is secure. And double-checking it — and triple checking it — to the extent that some developers report that they spend up to 90% of their time on validations and testing and only 10% of their time building features and functionality.With the majority of developer time spent battling unsecure code, compounded with a shortage of developers, how has DeFi grown so quickly? Apparently, there is demand for self-sovereign, permissionless and automated forms of programmable money, despite the challenges and risks of providing it today. Now, imagine how much innovation could be unleashed if DeFi developers could focus their productivity on features and not failures. The kind of innovation that might allow a fledgling $46 billion industry to disrupt an industry as large as, well, the $468 trillion of global finance.Total assets of global financial institutions from 2002 to 2020. Source: StatistaInnovation and safetyThe key to DeFi being both innovative and safe stems from the same source: Give developers an easy way to create and interact with assets and make assets and their intuitive behavior a native feature. Any asset created should always behave predictably and in line with common sense financial principles.In the asset-oriented programming paradigm, creating an asset is as easy as calling a native function. The platform knows what an asset is: .initial_supply_fungible(1000) creates a fungible token with a fixed supply of 1000 (beyond supply, many more token configuration options are available as well) while functions such as .take and .put take tokens from somewhere and put them elsewhere.Instead of developers writing complex logic instructing smart contracts to update lists of variables with all the error-checking that entails, in asset-oriented programming, operations that anyone would intuitively expect as fundamental to DeFi are native functions of the language. Tokens can’t be lost or drained because asset-oriented programming guarantees they can’t.This is how you get both innovation and safety in DeFi. And this is how you change the perception of the mainstream public from one where DeFi is the wild west to one where DeFi is where you have to put your savings, as otherwise, you’re losing out.Ben Far is head of partnerships at RDX Works, the core developer of the Radix protocol. Prior to RDX Works, he held managerial positions at PwC and Deloitte, where he served clients on matters relating to the governance, audit, risk management and regulation of financial technology. He holds a bachelor of arts in geography and economics and a master’s degree in mapping software and analytics from the University of Leeds.The author, who disclosed his identity to Cointelegraph, used a pseudonym for this article. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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Cybercrooks to ditch BTC as regulation and tracking improves: Kaspersky

Bitcoin (BTC) is forecasted to be a less enticing payment choice by cybercriminals as regulations and tracking technologies improve, thwarting their ability to safely move funds.Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky in a Nov. 22 report noted that ransomware negotiations and payments would rely less on Bitcoin as a transfer of value as an increase in digital asset regulations and tracking technologies will force cybercriminals to rotate away from Bitcoin and into other methods.As reported by Cointelegraph, ransomware payments using crypto topped $600 million in 2021 and some of the biggest heists such as the Colonial Pipeline attack demanded BTC as a ransom.Kaspersky also noted that crypto scams have increased along with the greater adoption of digital assets. However, it said that people have become more aware of crypto and are less likely to fall for primitive scams such as Elon Musk-deepfake videos promising huge crypto returns.It predicted malicious actors will continue trying to steal funds through fake initial token offerings and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and crypto-based theft such as smart contract exploits will become more advanced and widespread.2022 has largely been a year of bridge exploits with more than $2.5 billion already pilfered from them as reported by Cointelegraph.The report also noted that malware loaders will become hot property on hacker forums as they are harder to detect. Kaspersky predicted that ransomware attackers may shift from destructive financial activity to more politically-based demands.Related: Hackers keeping stolen crypto: What is the long-term solution?Back to the present, the report noted an exponential rise in 2021 and 2022 of “infostealers” — malicious programs that gather information such as logins.Cryptojacking and phishing attacks have also increased in 2022 as cybercriminals employ social engineering to lure their victims.Cryptojacking involves injecting malware into a system to steal or mine digital assets. Phishing is a technique using targeted emails or messages to lure a victim into revealing personal information or clicking a malicious link.

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Spain for the win? Top 3 fan tokens to watch during the FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is boosting the value of national soccer team fan tokens despite the cryptocurrency bear market.World Cup Qatar hype boosts fan token pricesThese digital fan tokens are currently rallying despite the cryptocurrency market downturn, securing up to 170% gains from the Nov. 10 lows. At the core of the massive uptrend is the World Cup, which will be held from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18 in Qatar.Fan tokens are cryptocurrencies that enable fans to engage with and participate in their favorite team’s decisions. Moreover, they create new sponsorship opportunities for sports clubs and national squads outside of traditional revenue sources.Here’s a brief overview of the top gainers in the fan token sector, alongside their technical outlook during the course of the World Cup.Spain National Football Team Fan Token (SNFT)The Spain National Football Team Fan Token (SNFT) emerged as the top gainer in the sports token section, rising 170% to a high of $0.54 on Nov. 19, nine days after bottoming out at $0.20.SNFT/USD daily price chart. Source: TradingViewSNFT’s outperformance versus other fan crypto tokens may reflect the Spanish football team’s higher odds of winning the World Cup in 2022. But in traditional terms, Spain’s odds of winning the trophy is +800, meaning betting $100 would yield $800, according to Vegas Insider.From a technical perspective, SNFT trades inside a neutral zone, as confirmed by its daily relative strength index (RSI) at around 58, below its overbought threshold of 70.In other words, SNFT shows potential to continue its rally during the World Cup and its price should reflect how the Spain National Football team performs.For instance, back-to-back wins for Spain may stretch SNFT’s valuation above its current resistance level of $0.538 for a potential run-up toward its record high near $0.718, as shown in the four-hour chart below. SNFT/USD four-hour price chart. Source: TradingViewConversely, a pullback from $0.538 could have SNFT eye a correction toward $0.412, down about 18% from today’s price.Spain will next play Costa Rica on Nov. 23 in the Group E category, followed by a standoff against Germany on Nov. 28.Brazil National Football Team Fan Token (BFT)The Brazil National Football Team Fan Token (BFT) appears to be the crypto market’s second favorite fan token. Its price has rallied 130% in just nine days, from $0.45 on Nov. 10 to over $1 on Nov. 19. BFT/USD daily price chart. Source: TradingViewBrazil is the favorite to win the World Cup this year with +350 odds in traditional betting circles, meaning a $100 bet would return $350. That could serve as a fundamental factor behind BFT’s growth in the coming weeks, given the token still has room to run based on its neutral daily RSI.As of Nov. 19, BFT eyes a breakout above $1.05, its current resistance level, toward its short-term upside target at around $1.16. An extended rally could occur if Brazil wins the World Cup on Dec. 18, paving the path toward $1.31, up 25% from today’s price.Related: Metaverse community with 3M users adds utility with FIFA World Cup 2022™ collaborationConversely, a pullback would risk sending BFT toward $0.82, its October 2022 support level.Brazil’s first match is against Serbia on Nov. 25 in Group G, followed by a standoff against Switzerland on Nov. 28.Portugal National Team Fan Token (POR)The Portugal National Team Fan Token (POR) is the third-best performer in the ongoing fan token boom, rising about 100% to $6 on Nov. 19, nine days after hitting lows of $3.10.POR/USDT daily price chart. Source: TradingViewTraditional bookies measure Portugal’s odds of winning the World Cup at +1600, meaning betting $100 would yield about $1,600.POR now tests $6 as its resistance, with its daily RSI near 64, just six points below its overbought threshold. A decisive pullback from the said price ceiling could have POR eye a correction toward $4.80, its support level from September-October 2022.Conversely, continued success in the World Cup for Portugal may flip the scenario to bullish, leading POR above its $6-resistance to eye a rally toward or above $7.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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World population reaches 8 billion, but how many are in crypto?

The global population figure has just reached a huge milestone, with 8 billion souls now sharing the planet. Meanwhile, crypto adoption continues to grow. According to Worldometer, which draws estimates from a 2022 United Nations report, the global population ticked over 8 billion on Nov. 15, doubling from a population count of 4 billion in 1974 — some 48 years ago. Worldometer said that as of 2022, the population’s annual growth rate sits at around 0.84% but will continue to slow. This could mean it could take another 15 years for the world’s population to reach 9 billion, while the population won’t hit 10 billion until 2080.In late 2022, the eight billionth human being will enter the world, ushering in a new milestone for humanity In just 48 years, the world population has doubled in size, jumping from four to eight billion.To learn more:https://t.co/M69jeqOAjm pic.twitter.com/F1pmAovthA— Visual Capitalist (@VisualCap) November 8, 2022China and India are the two most populous countries, with almost 36% of the global population between them.However, there currently doesn’t exist a consensus around how much of the world’s population currently holds digital assets such as cryptocurrency, with estimates varying. Market research firm GWI suggests that as much as 10.2% already hold crypto, with most ownership skewed toward nations experiencing high inflation or fluctuation in the value of their national fiat. Singapore-based blockchain firm TripleA estimated that as of 2022, the global crypto ownership rate is around 4.2%, with over 320 million crypto users worldwide. It reported that the United States was top with 46 million crypto holders, followed by India, Pakistan and Nigeria.In June, Blockware Intelligence predicts that Bitcoin adoption alone will hit 10% worldwide by 2030, as reported by Cointelegraph earlier this year. Earlier this year, Chainalysis ranked 146 countries in five categories in its 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index. It found that Vietnam led the pack for overall adoption rates, followed by the Philippines, India, Ukraine and the United States. However, the report did not suggest actual ownership figures.Related: Global crypto adoption could ‘soon hit a hyper-inflection point’China, however, remains a difficult country to ascertain the level of crypto ownership. A large portion of people in the world’s most populous country is understood to be tech-savvy and hungry for crypto. However, the ruling regime has other ideas at the moment. No accurate crypto ownership figures are available.Crypto adoption will inevitably continue to grow across the planet so we’ll round off with happy birthday, global citizen number 8,000,000,000.

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FTX and Binance’s ongoing saga: Everything that’s happened until now

All dates are Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).Nov. 2 — Reports SBF-founded company held significant amounts of FTTThe saga kicked off on Nov. 2 after reports that a leaked balance sheet from the Sam Bankman-Fried-founded trading firm Alameda Research suggested the company held a significant amount of FTX Token (FTT), the native token of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange.A large trading firm holding so much of one asset concerned the crypto community and brought questions regarding the relationship between Alameda and FTX.Nov. 5 — Trackers pick up significant FTT movement to BinanceOn Nov. 5 the Twitter account Whale Alert, which tracks significant on-chain crypto movements, notified its users that nearly 23 million FTT worth over $584.5 million moved onto Binance. 22,999,999 #FTT (584,818,174 USD) transferred from unknown wallet to #Binancehttps://t.co/Nm2jz9MKW0— Whale Alert (@whale_alert) November 5, 2022At the time, the amount was worth around 17% of the FTT circulating supply.Nov. 6 — Alameda CEO explains the balance sheetAlameda CEO Caroline Ellison tried to quell any panic in a Nov. 6 tweet saying the leaked balance sheet wasn’t reflective of the whole story and noted that sheet, in particular, was only for “a subset of our corporate entities” and other assets worth over $10 billion “aren’t reflected there.”- the balance sheet breaks out a few of our biggest long positions; we obviously have hedges that aren’t listed- given the tightening in the crypto credit space this year we’ve returned most of our loans by now— Caroline (@carolinecapital) November 6, 2022

Nov. 6 — Binance moves to liquidate FTT holdings due to ‘recent revelations’Later on Nov. 6, Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said his exchange would liquidate its entire FTT holdings citing “recent revelations that have come to light” believed to be in reference to the Alameda balance sheet.Zhao said Binance held around $2.1 billion equivalent in Binance USD (BUSD) and FTT due to its FTX divestment last year but didn’t clarify Binance’s current FTT holdings.He added it would sell the tokens in a way that “minimizes market impact”, expecting the token sales to take “a few months to complete.”As part of Binance’s exit from FTX equity last year, Binance received roughly $2.1 billion USD equivalent in cash (BUSD and FTT). Due to recent revelations that have came to light, we have decided to liquidate any remaining FTT on our books. 1/4— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) November 6, 2022

He also confirmed the Nov. 5 transfer of nearly 23 million FTT was part of Binance’s liquidation move.[embedded content]Zhao added later the move was “just post-exit risk management,” and referred to lessons learned from the collapse of Terra Luna Classic (LUNC) and its market impact, as opposed to being caused by a scuffle on Twitter. Nov. 6 — Alameda CEO offers to buy Binance’s FTT holdings Shortly after Zhao’s Nov. 6 announcement of Binance liquidating its FTT position, Ellison tweeted to Zhao saying Alameda would “happily buy it all” for $22 per share.@cz_binance if you’re looking to minimize the market impact on your FTT sales, Alameda will happily buy it all from you today at $22!— Caroline (@carolinecapital) November 6, 2022

Nov. 7 — FTX ‘bank-run’ begins, exchange addresses sluggish withdrawalsWith reports and rumors swirling, FTX users began to withdraw their funds from the exchange for fear it would go bust, and commentators implored those who hadn’t already to get their crypto out of FTX. Get your funds out of FTX. This is financial advice.— Ran Neuner (@cryptomanran) November 6, 2022

Reported data from Nansen on Nov. 7 showed stablecoin outflows on FTX reached $451 million over seven days, and users began to report sluggish withdrawals on FTX with the exchange addressing the withdrawal complaints assuring users everything was running smoothly.Nov. 7 — SBF says ‘assets are fine’, implores CZ to come togetherShortly after the exchange addressed user concerns, Bankman-Fried fired off a series of tweets saying a competitor “is trying to go after us with false rumors” and added that “FTX is fine. Assets are fine.”He claimed the exchange has “enough to cover all client holdings”, that it doesn’t “invest client assets” and has been “processing all withdrawals, and will continue to be.”He claimed FTX had $1 billion in excess cash and called on Zhao to “work together for the ecosystem.”Nov. 7 — CZ refuses Alameda’s over-the-counter dealResponding to a question on Twitter Zhao signaled his disinterest in taking up the deal earlier poised by Ellison to buy Binance’s FTT holdings for $22 per token saying “I think we will stay in the free market.”I didn’t say that. It was a question, not a commitment. I think we will stay in the free market. We still hold LUNA (now LUNC) today. — CZ Binance (@cz_binance) November 7, 2022

Nov. 8 — FTT price and crypto markets start to waiverSome analysts began to warn on Nov. 7 of a significant price drawdown of FTT due to the series of announcements and early on Nov. 8 the FTT price dove around 30% to around $15.40 from $22 in a matter of hours.The price of Bitcoin (BTC) also started to buckle with fears that FTX could soon be going under.Nov. 8 — FTX faces a ‘liquidity crunch’, moves to sell exchange to BinanceIn a shock announcement, Bankman-Fried said on Nov. 8 that FTX had “come to an agreement on a strategic transaction” with Binance for the exchange to help cover what he called a “liquidity crunch.”He added “all assets will be covered 1:1” and cited this as the main reason FTX asked Binance to step in.Zhao said shortly after that Binance had signed a nonbinding letter of intent to acquire the exchange, but noted they reserved the right to “pull out from the deal at any time.”Nov. 8-9 — SBF removes ‘assets are fine’ tweet, FTX websites go darkLate on Nov. 8, a few hours after announcing the deal with Binance, Bankman-Fried deleted his accusatory tweet thread that also claimed FTX and its assets were “fine.”On Nov. 9 the websites for FTX’s venture capital arm FTX Ventures and Alameda were taken offline whilst unconfirmed reports circulate that FTX’s legal and compliance staff quit on Nov. 8.Related: Galaxy Digital discloses $77M exposure to FTX, $48M likely locked in withdrawalsReports on Nov. 9 began to surface that Binance is possibly looking to back out of the agreement.Nov. 9 — Binance officially backs out of the agreementLess than 48 hours after the initial announcement by Zhao that Binance could move to buy FTX, Binance announced on Nov. 9 that it will not be pursuing the acquisition of FTX.As a result of corporate due diligence, as well as the latest news reports regarding mishandled customer funds and alleged US agency investigations, we have decided that we will not pursue the potential acquisition of https://t.co/FQ3MIG381f.— Binance (@binance) November 9, 2022

The exchange cited the reported alleged “[mishandling] of customer funds and alleged US agency investigations” adding “the issues are beyond our control or ability to help.”Nov. 9 — Crypto market in a sea of red The crypto market responded to the news with investor sentiment turning fearful with Bitcoin’s price hitting a multi-year low of $15,600, analysts expected further downside, suggesting Bitcoin could settle around the $12,000 mark.Nov. 9 — SBF reportedly tells investors he needs $8B in emergency fundingReports emerged on Nov. 9 that Bankman-Fried asked investors on a call for $8 billion in emergency funding to cover the “liquidity crunch” caused by user withdrawals over the past few days.Bankman-Fried reportedly was seeking to raise up to $4 billion from investors, and cover the remaining sum with debt financing and even his own personal fortune to make customers whole.Nov. 9 — FTX website urges against depositing, unable to process withdrawalsFTX’s website experienced downtime on Nov. 9 for around two hours and when brought back online, came with a warning strongly advising against depositing and that the exchange was unable to process withdrawals.The warning was further confirmed in a pinned post on FTX’s official Telegram channel with its administrator saying crypto and fiat withdrawals were affected and that they had “no idea” when it would be back online, saying they also “have a lack of information at this point.”

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Nifty News: Royalty-enforcing NFTs a 'new asset class,' South Korea buys NFTs with CBDC, and more

Royalty enforcing NFTs to be a ‘new asset class’: Magic Eden CEOJack Lu, the CEO of Solana-based nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace Magic Eden has floated the idea of NFTs designed to enforce royalties.Lu said in an address at Solana’s Breakpoint 2022 conference on Nov. 5 that these NFTs could “give rise to a new asset class” as the space grapples with the debate around opt-in royalties.He added that “creators need a sustained revenue model” and while royalties were one of those models there is “no way” to enforce them with the “current design” but added there are “many new innovations that could be made available to them.”Lu noted that over the past months, Magic Eden had spoken to “dozens, if not 100” NFT creators across differing NFT use case and that they found their needs “actually are very, very divergent.”“There is a real opportunity to give rise to a new asset class, and this asset class will have special properties but also have special trade-offs. So it could enforce royalties at a technological high technological level.”Those “trade-offs” would mean NFT creators would have “some level of control” Lu explained but added in the talks Magic Eden had with creators and holders that they were “willing to accept some of these trade-offs” in order to ensure that they could bring their business models to fruition.According to Lu, Magic Eden is set to launch an asset “next week” that can enforce royalties in partnership with Cardinal, a protocol enabling NFT conditional ownership and the privacy-oriented browser Brave.Jack Lu at Solana Breakpoint conference. Source: YouTubeSouth Korea tests buying NFTs with CBDCThe Bank of Korea (BOK) — South Korea’s central bank — has reportedly tested buying NFTs with its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) according to a Nov. 7 report from Yonhap News.The BOK said it had completed a simulation and research project carried out over the past ten months since Aug. 2021, creating a simulated environment for its CBDC using distributed ledger technology (DLT).The project tested the usual functions needed for a digital currency, including issuing, transacting and remittances using the digital won, while the report also noted that “the process of purchasing NFTs with CBDCs was also implemented.”It’s reported that this process was done through the simulated environment and a “digital asset system” built using differing DLT platforms with smart contract functionality, without going into further detail. The BOK also tested the possibility of applying Zero Knowledge Proofs (ZKPs) to strengthen the protection of personal information. ZKP protocols can be used for forms of digital identities with some iterations using NFTs as a digital ID solution, although it’s unknown if the NFTs transacted in the project were related to digital identities.South Korea has stated its plan to allow its citizens access to blockchain-powered digital IDs in 2024 that could be used in finance, healthcare, taxes, and transportation.TinyTap NFTs sell out giving over $100K to teachersAn NFT project by Animoca Brands in conjunction with its subsidiary TinyTap has seen six NFTs featuring a children’s educational course sell at auction for a total of around 138 Ether (ETH) — around $228,000, Animoca said on Nov. 7.The project was created as a way for educators to create content and receive a share of revenues when their course is purchased and used by learners according to Animoca.The six teachers who created the courses were given a 50% cut of thes sale of the NFT, generating them around $111,000 in ETH, while the teachers will also receive a 10% ongoing share of revenue by their course.The teachers, courses, and sale price of the six NFTs sold at auction. Image: Animoca BrandsAnimoca calls the NFTs “Publisher NFTs” with each representing co-publishing rights to a course — which is a bundle of education-based games on a specific subject created by a teacher.The NFT owner is expected to promote their course and share the revenue and is entitled to keep up to 80% of future revenue generated by their own marketing and publishing of the course.Trademark filings show Rolex is timing a Metaverse playRolex isn’t wasting any time gearing up to launch a Web3 play with trademark filings showing the luxury watch brand is ready to tick over into the Metaverse.The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) filings shared by trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis on Twitter show Rolex is ticking off a list of crypto and NFT-related trademarks to protect its brand across virtual realms.Luxury watchmaker #ROLEX has filed a trademark application claiming plans for:⌚️ NFTs + NFT-backed media + NFT marketplaces⌚️ Crypto keys and transactions⌚️ Virtual goods auctions⌚️ Virtual and cryptocurrency exchange + transfer#NFTs #Metaverse #Crypto #Web3 #Perpetual pic.twitter.com/J8C93Qcybj— Mike Kondoudis (@KondoudisLaw) November 7, 2022The filings suggest Rolex wants to offer NFTs, crypto wallets, crypto transactions and hints at a potential metaverse as it wishes to provide an “online space for buyers and sellers” and hold “virtual interactive auctions” although time will tell what type of online space Rolex may build.More Nifty News:Companies are showing a big appetite for trademark applications as crypto, Web3, and related filings have soared in 2022, reaching 4,708 at the end of October compared to the 3,547 filed in all of 2021.Related: NFTs still in ‘great demand’ as unique traders rise 18% in Oct: DappRadarThe Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 breakout, has reportedly axed its NFT plans aimed to boost its economy ruined by the pandemic amid increasing regulatory uncertainty on crypto and Web3 technologies in the country.

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Nifty News: GameStop NFT market goes live, Hong Kong’s NFT concept and more

The nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace for American video game retailer GameStop has officially gone live on Ethereum (ETH) layer 2 blockchain ImmutableX, all part of the latest Web3 push from the gaming retailer. The pair first partnered in February to build the marketplace offering a $100 million grant for NFT content creators and tech developers before a public beta of the NFT marketplace debuted in July.With the Oct. 31 announcement of the full launch, GameStop’s market will allow for popular Web3 games on ImmutableX such as the role-playing game Illuvium and Gods Unchained to be accessed by users.Gamestop has worked to launch a series of Web3-powered products over the past year with a beta self-custody crypto wallet released in May that integrates with its NFT marketplace. In March the retailer also launched its first beta NFT marketplace on Loopring, an Ethereum-based layer-2 protocol. Most recently in September, GameStop announced a partnership with FTX US aimed at bringing more customers to crypto and working together on e-commerce and online marketing initiatives. Hong Kong’s proof of concept NFTsThe Hong Kong government on Oct. 31 released a policy statement that set out its stance on virtual assets and detailed its related pilot projects, one of which involved NFTs.Its NFT-based project is a proof of concept to promote the usage of NFTs with the government Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB) and foreign investment department InvestHK issuing NFTs at their flagship Hong Kong Fintech Week event.The NFT serves as proof of attendance for the conference-goers with the statement saying it’s a “digital badge and memento using blockchain technology in celebration of their participation”.The NFT can also be used to create an Augmented Reality (AR) avatar “to experience the Metaverse” while at the event and holders will receive a discount on tickets for the event in 2023.Although it’s not mentioned what blockchain the NFTs are minted on they can be stored in a crypto wallet, or for those who are without a wallet, can be stored as what the statement calls an “NFT-to-be” with a user storing it on an email address until they create a digital wallet.Hong Kong Fintech Week kicked off on Oct. 31 and sees speakers from a range of Web3 firms including Yat Siu, co-founder of Animoca Brands, Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder of FTX, and Sebastien Borget, co-founder of The Sandbox metaverse and others.Art Gobblers makes over $20M hours after launchNFT project “Art Gobblers” created by Justin Roiland, the co-creator of the popular animated show Rick and Morty, has seen nearly $20.5 million in ETH volumes just seven hours after launch.The project is a collaboration between Roiland and venture capital firm Paradigm, and describes itself as an “experimental decentralized art factory.” According to Blur data, the project is seeing strong launch success with 12,906 ETH in volume at the time of writing. According to a Paradigm overview, the Art Gobblers ecosystem is intended to work by financially incentivizing artists and collectors in a feedback loop for both to contribute to the project, either with better art, or more money.A diagram explaining the intention of the Art Gobblers ecosystem. Image: ParadigmArtists create a drawing using the websites tool which can then be turned into an NFT provided they have enough native tokens called GOO, these NFTs can then be “eaten” by an Art Gobbler which will store the artwork in its “belly gallery” with the NFT artwork associated to that Gobbler on-chain.The project also enacts other deflationary measures such as restricting the amount of NFTs that can be minted and mechanisms that automatically adjust prices in coordination with an issuance schedule.The initial mint saw 2,000 “Gobblers” minted with the community expected to spend GOO tokens to mint a further 8,000 over the next 10 years.Cardano NFTs hit third place for trading volumeCardano (ADA) NFTs surged in trading volume over the past month placing the blockchain in third place according to an Oct. 27 report by analytics platform DappRadar.The report said in the last 30 days Cardano’s NFT volume reached $191 million bringing it to the third-largest NFT protocol behind Ethereum and Solana (SOL).Related: An introduction to decentralized NFT catalogsThe blockchain’s popular NFT marketplace JPG Store saw a 40% increase in trading volume in the last 30 days also which reached a value of $11.2 million.DappRadar attributes the surge to the blockchain’s Vasil hard fork upgrade that went live on Sep. 22 which brought with it increased efficiency for its smart contracts allowing decentralized applications to deploy and run at lower costs.More Nifty News:American National Basketball League (NBA) athlete Steph Curry filed a trademark application for a so-called “Curryverse” that could see the basketball champion granted exclusive rights for, among other things, “metaversal appearances.”A Japanese city has adopted a metaverse-based school to try to get students to attend classes with students able to explore a virtual campus and classrooms, although the students must gain permission from their real school principals before attending.

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I'm the captain now: Musk chops Twitter board, becomes sole director

Crypto-friendly billionaire Elon Musk has become the sole director of Twitter, following the dissolution of nine former board members, according to newly filed documents. In an SEC filing dated Oct. 27, the “consummation” of Musk’s takeover of Twitter came with the dissolution of Twitter’s board members, including Bret Taylor, Parag Agrawal, Omid Kordestani, David Rosenblatt, Martha Lane Fox, Patrick Pichette, Egon Durban, Fei-Fei Li and Mimi Alemayehou.“On October 27, 2022, and as a result of the consummation of the Merger, Mr. Musk became the sole director of Twitter,” the filing reads. The Tesla CEO later tweeted in a response to a Twitter user that the arrangement was “just temporary.” Previously, Musk has said the platform under his ownership will focus on free speech, eliminating spam bots and fake accounts, an edit function, and possibly even crypto payments. In the days since the Tesla CEO assumed ownership of Twitter, Musk has been busy providing updates on what his new platform could bring to the table. He has already floated the idea of a monthly $19.99 payment to get the blue tick verification and bringing back Twitter’s defunct short-form video service Vines, which saw 69% of five million voters in favor of its comeback in an online poll. The whole verification process is being revamped right now— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 30, 2022Meanwhile, Musk has also declared the formation of a “content moderation council” aimed at ensuring free speech on the platform and to consider reversing bans of certain Twitter accounts, such as that of former U.S president Donald Trump. A crypto wallet is rumored to be in development as well, but Musk has not made any comments about whether this is true. Of course, the takeover has also seen CEO Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer (CFO) Ned Segal and head of legal and policy Vijaya Gadde all ousted from their executive roles for allegedly misleading Musk about the number of spam and fake accounts on the platform. Related: Binance wired $500M to back Musk’s Twitter takeover — CZMeanwhile, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey who left Twitter’s board in May, and supported Musk’s purchase, appears to have doubled down on his stance by rolling over his stake of  over 18 million shares, worth around $975 million at the buyout price of $54.20, into the new private company, according to a filing with the SEC dated Oct. 27. The platform is a popular communication tool for crypto enthusiasts with roughly 120,000 tweets per day about #Bitcoin alone, according to BitInfoCharts.Musk changed his Twitter bio to “Chief of Twit,” the same day he visited Twitter’s San Francisco-based office carrying a sink. On Oct. 31, he changed his bio again to “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator” and, at one user’s suggestion, made his profile picture what appears to be him answering the phone as a child.

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5,000 miles apart: Thailand and Hungary to jointly explore blockchain tech

The financial technology associations for Thailand and Hungary have signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support the introduction of blockchain technology to their respective financial sectors.The MOU, signed by the Thai Fintech Association (TFA) and the Hungarian Blockchain Coalition on Oct. 25, will see the two associations “share experiences, best practices and explore areas potentially beneficial for direct cooperation,” according to a Facebook post by the Embassy of Hungary in Bangkok.TFA president Chonladet Khemarattana said that e-commerce, mobile payments, and digital currencies are growing rapidly in Thailand and that international cooperation is needed to further develop local financial technology, according to an Oct. 29 report from the Bangkok Post.He also claimed 20% of the world’s crypto holders are in Thailand, the country placed eighth on the 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index released in September by analytics firm Chainalysis and crypto payments company TripleA estimates almost 6.5% of the population owns cryptocurrency, The Hungarian Blockchain Coalition was jointly created by the country’s Ministry of Innovation and Technology and the National Data and Economy Knowledge Centre in March 2022, while the Thai Fintech Association is a non-profit founded in 2016 with the aim of representing the local financial technology industry including cryptocurrency exchanges.The pact comes as Thailand’s central bank, along with some of the country’s commercial banks, were involved in the testing of a cross-border wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC) transaction platform using distributed ledger technology in September. The Bank of Thailand also announced in August it was looking to start a pilot of a retail CBDC by the end of 2022 at a limited scale in the private sector among roughly 10,000 users. It would test the digital currency using “cash-like activities” such as paying for goods or services.Related: Crypto exchange Bitkub targeted by Thai SEC with wash trading claimsMeanwhile, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has enacted some restrictions on crypto this year, with it banning the use of cryptocurrencies for payments in March saying they “could affect the stability of the financial system.”The regulator is also cracking down on crypto lending platforms with the SEC planning to prohibit crypto exchanges from providing or supporting digital asset depository services. Hungary seemingly takes a similar hard stance on cryptocurrencies, in February the governor of the Hungarian National Bank, György Matolcsy, wanted a blanket ban on all crypto trading and mining across the European Union saying it “serviced illegal activities” and was “speculative.”

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Why is the crypto market up today?

Bitcoin (BTC) volatility is finally giving BTC bulls what they want — but why now?After drifting lower for months and spending recent weeks in a tiny trading range, BTC/USD has delivered 24-hour gains in excess of 7%.Hitting its highest levels since mid-September, the largest cryptocurrency is rewarding those who refused to sell and punishing shorters to the tune of around $1 billion.The change of trend has come quickly and caught many by surprise, as evidenced by that liquidation tally.Behind the scenes, however, little has changed — macroeconomic conditions have not undergone major upheaval compared to a week ago, and internal problems for Bitcoin, such as miner strain, remain the same.What could have caused BTC price action to break out of what could end up being a downtrend finally breaking after an entire year?Cointelegraph takes a look at three major factors influencing crypto market strength in the current environment.Fed could change its tune on rate hikesWhen Cointelegraph reported on why the crypto market saw fresh losses last week, the United States Federal Reserve was first on the list.Concerns focused on unwavering policy keeping the U.S. dollar strong and rates surging higher for the foreseeable future — the worst case scenario for risk assets.Nonetheless, the past week has seen the results of that policy spill over into other economies, notably Japan, which made repeated interventions in its exchange market to prop up the flagging yen.At the same time, rumors are gathering over the outlook for rate hikes as the Fed runs out of room to maneuver. After next month’s hike, suspicions are that policy will begin to U-turn, making smaller hikes in subsequent months before reversing altogether in 2023.Important upcoming dates for the Fed are:Oct. 28: Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price indexNov. 1-2: Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, rate hike decisionAs such, any signal that the Fed is preparing to soften its hawkish stance is being seized on by markets weary from a year of quantitative tightening (QT).November’s FOMC meeting is still overwhelmingly expected to result in a 0.75% rate hike, matching September and July, according to CME Group’s FedWatch Tool.Fed target rate probabilities chart. Source: CME GroupBitcoin volatility snaps record low levelsAnalyzing data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView, it becomes clear that BTC/USD has been too quiet for too long.This is especially visible in the Bollinger Bands volatility indicator, these rarely closer together in Bitcoin’s history and demanding a breakout out for weeks.BTC/USD 1-day candle chart (Bitstamp) with Bollinger Bands. Source: TradingViewThis month, Bitcoin volatility even fell below that of some major fiat currencies, making BTC look more like a stablecoin than a risk asset.Analysts had long expected the trend to undergo a violent change, however, and true to form, crypto markets did not disappoint.A look at the Bitcoin historical volatility index (BVOL), recently at multi-year lows seen only a handful of times, shows that Bitcoin still has a way to go to abandon this characteristic.“Pretty funny that volatility has been so compressed and we’ve become so conditioned as market participants that the slightest 3% move feels like a 15-20% move,” William Clemente, co-founder of crypto research firm Reflexivity Research, commented.Bitcoin historical volatility index (BVOL) 1-week candle chart. Source: TradingViewDollar eyes a new chapterAfter a parabolic uptrend throughout 2022, the U.S. dollar is only just beginning to show signs of weakness.Related: Analyst puts Bitcoin price at $30K next month with breakout dueThe U.S. dollar index (DXY) recently hit its highest levels since 2002, and momentum may yet return to take it even higher — at the expense of risk assets and major currencies alike.For the meantime, however, DXY is under pressure, and its descent came in lock step with a return to form for Bitcoin and altcoins.This flags an issue that Bitcoin bulls are keen to shake — ongoing strong correlation to traditional markets and inverse correlation with the dollar.“Bitcoin now has a correlation with Gold of about 0.50, up from 0 in mid-August,” trading firm Barchart revealed this week. “While the correlation is higher with $SPX (0.69) and $QQQ (0.72), the correlations have decreased of late.”Fellow analyst Charles Edwards, founder of crypto asset manager Capriole, noted that Bitcoin macro price bottoms are often accompanied by increasing gold correlation.BTC/XAU correlation chart. Source: Barchart/ TwitterScott Melker, the analyst and podcast host known as “The Wolf of All Streets,” also confirmed a changing relationship between Bitcoin and the Nasdaq.“Nasdaq futures are down. Bitcoin is up. The short term correlation between the two has disappeared over the past few weeks. I will take it,” he summarized.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Crypto incubators have a responsibility to maintain fiscal discipline

Contrary to popular belief, a bear market provides ideal conditions for startup founders and developers to work on technological innovations. The absence of market frenzy and speculative investing helps startups to focus on the fundamentals, which are beneficial in the long run. However, bear markets dry up capital sources, and liquidity becomes the proverbial mirage of an oasis in the desert sand. Thus, startups turn toward incubators who become messiahs with their network of angel investors and venture capitalists.As incubators hold the key to funding, they are powerful enough to make or break a crypto startup. And, as Marvel’s Spider-Man reminded us, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Incubators, therefore, play a crucial role in guiding startups to adhere to crypto regulations to maintain fiscal discipline. To this end, mentoring and advisory support helps startups to navigate the tricky terrain of law while generating profits for investors. But why do incubators need to focus on fiscal discipline? The answer lies in the past.Ahistoricism could spell doomsday for cryptoThe philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Incubators have much to learn from the 2017 initial coin offering (ICO) craze to avoid the same mistakes in 2022. Crypto startups flooded the market in 2017, with ICOs generating quick money for new companies. However, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) came down heavily on crypto startups in applying the Howie test used for traditional securities.A later report found that 80% of 2017 ICOs were scams, and crypto’s legitimacy took a hit. But to be fair, there was an absence of crypto incubators to guide startups in the right direction.Related: CFTC action shows why crypto developers should get ready to leave the USWithout incubators, startups were radar less in conforming to financial jurisprudence. The situation was somewhat like a school with no teachers to ensure discipline in classrooms. However, 2017 had important lessons for the crypto sector.To begin with, incubators realized the need for crypto startups to follow regulatory best practices. Therefore, some incubators recruited special teams who played an important role in helping startups comply with financial legislation. Adhering to national crypto laws is crucial if crypto companies have to continue providing services. One of the strategies for regulatory compliance is developing a strong tokenomics model for crypto projects. Therefore, incubators became responsible for overseeing robust, utilitarian and growth-based tokenomics with appropriate safety nets like token vesting to prevent scams. By focusing on strong token economies, incubators ensure a safe investment space and sustainability for crypto projects. Apart from tokenomics, incubators have other responsibilities to maintain fiscal discipline. Strengthening incubated projects with mentoringPeople tend to believe that the most important role of incubators is bootstrapping liquidity for new projects. However, incubators have a larger role in guiding and mentoring startups. Some incubators have their own crypto experts and professionals who assist startups with ideation and strategizing. These in-house crypto veterans contribute during the ideation stage, utilizing their vast knowledge base to refine project ideas.On one hand, seasoned experts reduce the time to market, thereby helping projects to grow and scale faster. On the other hand, mentors guide inexperienced developers to prepare project pitches for grants and fund applications. Moreover, startups can benefit from the wide network of experienced professionals to connect with influencers, domain experts and CEOs. These advisory forums provide the necessary guidance to help startups stay on the right track. However, mentoring is not selfless service. Incubators have a stake in a company’s success because they have a claim over a significant portion of a company’s equity. So, a successful company would translate an incubator’s equity shares into millions of dollars with more investor interest. Thus, incubators have a huge responsibility for maintaining a startup’s fiscal discipline.But, there is a caveat. Responsibility should never become a burdenThe National Business Incubation Association has highlighted that 87% of incubated businesses survive after five years. That’s an impressive number considering companies that go solo have a success rate of just 44%. However, incubators cannot go overboard to ensure a project’s success. After a point, incubators cannot do much if the project founders fail to deliver.On rare occasions, startups ignore an incubator team’s advice, misusing the support system. Rather than dismissing these instances, incubators can learn from these failed projects. For one, incubators can strengthen their onboarding procedure and conduct stringent due diligence. Ultimately, incubators must work towards a more transparent and symbiotic relationship with startup founders and management teams.Related: Waves founder: DAOs will never work without fixing governanceIncubators are not just another cog in the crypto machinery. Rather, they provide the foundational base on which crypto companies innovate to build an entire ecosystem. But, incubators must ensure that their responsibility to maintain fiscal discipline never becomes a burden. Gaurav Dubey is the CEO of TDeFi, a crypto incubator and adviser for blockchain startups incubating and advising decentralized finance, nonfungible tokens, gaming and other crypto projects for more than 45 companies. Before joining TDeFi, he ran a Bitcoin mining firm and made several investments in crypto startups.This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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