Značka: Facebook

Zuck got PUNKed — new Metaverse-linked ETF shorts Meta shares in holdings

An exchange-traded fund linked to companies involved with the Metaverse launched on the Cboe BZX Exchange — shorting shares of Facebook’s parent company, Meta.The Subversive Metaverse exchange-traded fund (ETF, listed under the ticker PUNK, opened for trading at $25.15 on Thursday. The fund’s holdings include shares of Block — formerly Square — Google’s parent company Alphabet, Microsoft, Sony, GPU manufacturer Nvidia, Coinbase Global, Galaxy Digital and online gaming platform Roblox. However, exposure to Meta — one of the largest tech firms in the world, with an $837 market capitalization — was conspicuously absent from PUNK’s top holdings.$PUNK https://t.co/nBYPFrIKo8 pic.twitter.com/jAB2APsML9— Michael Auerbach (@msauerbach) January 27, 2022According to a Thursday Bloomberg report, Subversive Capital Advisor founder Michael Auerbach claimed the reputation around Facebook’s parent company — purportedly based on reports the firm was not doing what it claimed in regard to removing hate speech and posts encouraging violence — made it unsuitable for the ETF. The fund takes a short position on 40 Meta shares, the only one out of the 59 companies in its holdings.“Facebook seems to be the antithesis of what actual consumers want their digital futures to look like,” said Auerbach. “Mark [Zuckerberg] and his team are not the best custodians of our digital futures.”Christian Cooper, the ETF’s portfolio manager, added:“We want to make sure this industry develops, without getting “Zucked-up,” from those who see the true potential of this space.”Related: Meta unveils metaverse AI supercomputer, claims it will be world’s fastestAt the time of publication, the Metaverse ETF is trading at $24.74, having fallen more than 2% since opening. In December, ETF-issuer ProShares announced it had applied with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to list shares of a fund tracking the Solactive Metaverse Theme Index — with companies including Meta, Apple and Nvidia. However, there are also current listings for Metaverse-linked ETFs from Roundhill Ball, Evolve, Fount and Horizons across the U.S. and Canada.

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Zuckerberg's Diem reportedly weighing sale after stablecoin plans falter

Meta-backed crypto initiative “Diem” is reportedly trying to sell its assets, seemingly calling time on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s grand ambitions for a stablecoin to act as the internet’s currency. Diem — which was previously known as Libra — is Meta Platform’s cryptocurrency initiative. According to insider sources speaking with Bloomberg, it is considering selling assets to return capital to its investors. The sources said that Diem is in discussions with investment bankers to determine the best way to sell its intellectual property and cash out on whatever value the project has maintained. It’s unclear how the company will be valued, and there is no guarantee that they will be able to find a buyer. According to the source, about a third of the venture is owned by Meta. The remainder is owned by members of the association and partners, which include Coinbase Global, Uber and Shopify. Diem has sparked no shortage of controversies in its short time of existence since launching on June 18, 2019. Libra, as it was known at the time, intended to be maintained by a Switzerland-based consortium of companies called the “Libra Association.”However, news of the project’s launch triggered immediate pushback from the U.S. government and regulators around the world, who cited concerns regarding privacy and monetary sovereignty. Both Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and former Libra head David Marcus testified before the House Financial Services Committee.Related: New name, old problems? Libra’s rebrand to Diem still faces challengesAt one July hearing in 2019, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio asked Marcus, “do you really think people should trust Facebook with their hard-earned money?” “If our country fails to act, we could soon see a digital currency controlled by others whose values differ radically from ours,” Marcus responded. Deterred by regulatory scrutiny, many partners began to abandon the project altogether, eventually including Marcus himself. It was at this point it rebranded to Diem, hoping to shake off the mass regulatory panic that drowned out Libra’s initial announcement.

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Meta unveils Metaverse AI supercomputer, claims it will be world’s fastest

Facebook’s parent company Meta says that its newly-created artificial intelligence (AI) “Research SuperCluster” (RSC) will “pave the way” towards building the Metaverse.The social media giant said that it believes RSC is already one of the fastest supercomputers in the world and will snag the top spot when it’s fully operational in mid-2022, according to a Jan, 24 blog post unveiling the hardware. “Developing the next generation of advanced AI will require powerful new computers capable of quintillions of operations per second,” wrote the company. “Ultimately, the work done with RSC will pave the way toward building technologies for the next major computing platform — the metaverse, where AI-driven applications and products will play an important role.”CEO Mark Zuckerberg added in a Jan. 25 Facebook post: “The experiences we’re building for the metaverse require enormous compute power (quintillions of operations/second!) and RSC will enable new AI models that can learn from trillions of examples, understand hundreds of languages, and more.”The machine will be able to work across hundreds of different languages to develop “advanced AI” for computer vision, natural language processing, and speech recognition. “We hope RSC will help us build entirely new AI systems that can, for example, power real-time voice translations to large groups of people, each speaking a different language, so they can seamlessly collaborate on a research project or play an AR game together.”Meta didn’t disclose where the computer is located, or the costs associated with its development and creation. Decentralized finance analyst Camilla Russo compared Meta’s new machine to the Ethereum network, which is considered by some in the industry to be a global “supercomputer” of sorts already. facebook @Meta builds a supercomputer in private to better monetize users’ data in its metaverse.ethereum builds a world computer in the open that allows users to control their data in the metaverse.not the same. https://t.co/lTFIFRw840— Camila Russo (@CamiRusso) January 24, 2022Related: Nvidia CEO: We’re ‘on the cusp of’ a blockchain and NFT-enabled metaverseIn Dec. 2021, Vice President of Intel’s accelerated computing systems and graphics group, Raja Koduri, said that current computational infrastructure will need to improve a thousand-fold in order to power the Metaverse. “You need to access to petaflops [one thousand teraflops] of computing in less than a millisecond, less than ten milliseconds for real-time uses,” Koduri told Quartz at the time.Largely described as the next iteration of the internet, the Metaverse refers to a virtual space where people can work, play and socialize – often by using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology. In October, Facebook rebranded as Meta to reflect its renewed focus beyond social media.

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Meta reportedly plans to integrate NFTs on Facebook and Instagram profiles

Multinational tech conglomerate Meta is reportedly diving into nonfungible tokens (NFTs) by integrating a feature that will let users show off their NFTs on their Facebook and Instagram profiles. According to the report, Meta is currently working on prototypes that will allow users to mint collectible tokens.Meta is also discussing potentially launching a marketplace that allows the buying and selling of NFTs. However, while the news may excite millions of NFT enthusiasts that use social media, all of the projects are within the earliest stages and may still change accordingly.The discussions follow a push to onboard more staff to help with Meta’s projects. Back on January 12, Meta initiated a push to hire more employees and got around one hundred people to jump ship from Microsoft. Meanwhile, to avoid staff from ditching them for Meta, Apple offered bonuses from $50,000 to $180,000 along with stock options.Formerly known as Facebook, Meta’s major rebranding lets the company focus on initiatives beyond social media. Last year, the company announced its plans to create a metaverse that connects physical experiences to online social experiences. The company also released previews of haptic gloves that may be rolled out for use in its future metaverse.Related: Facebook’s centralized metaverse a threat to the decentralized ecosystem?Potential earnings in the NFT world are becoming very hard to ignore. Firms even predict that traditional brands will dive into the NFT space and explore how to earn within the market.Just recently, leading NFT marketplace Opensea surpassed $3.5 billion in monthly transaction volume. This means that over $169 million are being spent each day in NFT trading just within the platform. According to NFT sales tracking statistics, the NFT market has had a total of $25 billion in all-time sales so far.

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Meta poaches staff from Microsoft and Apple for Metaverse plans

Employees from Microsoft and Apple are jumping ship to join Meta Platforms as the company sets its sights on creating the Metaverse. According to former employees of Microsoft quoted by the Wall Street Journal, around 100 people have ditched the tech giant’s augmented reality team over the past year to join Meta Platforms. They claim that Meta has been particularly focused on snapping up people who have worked on Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality (AR) headsets. According to the WSJ, Linkedin profiles show that more than 70 people who were part of Microsoft’s HoloLens team have left the project over the past year, with more than 40 of them taking on new positions at Meta. Microsoft’s first mover advantage in the AR space makes its employees valuable assets to Meta. Microsoft announced its HoloLens project more than five years ago in 2016, with the technology developing into one of the world’s most advanced headsets. Apple is attempting to counteract an employee exodus to Meta by offering lucrative stock options and bonuses worth between $50,000 and $180,000, according to a report by Bloomberg. In late Dec 2021, the company offered the bonuses to a group of engineers in silicon design, hardware and some software operations workers. Facebook’s push to become MetaMeta Platforms was formerly known as Facebook until a major rebranding exercise in Oct 2021, signalling the company’s growing ambitions beyond social media. Its virtual reality hardware business “Reality Labs” has been hard at work in the months since, successfully creating a prototype of its virtual reality “haptic gloves” in mid-Nov 2021. Announcing @Meta — the Facebook company’s new name. Meta is helping to build the metaverse, a place where we’ll play and connect in 3D. Welcome to the next chapter of social connection. pic.twitter.com/ywSJPLsCoD— Meta (@Meta) October 28, 2021Despite these early successes, the centralized Meta’s attempts to dominate the Metaverse has led to no shortage of criticism in the wider community, which includes leaders in the crypto, NFT, blockchain and GameFi spaces. Some crypto leaders such as Hodl Asset’s Jenny Ta have suggested that Mark Zuckerberg shouldn’t be the one to lead Facebook into the Metaverse at all, given his history regarding data mining, privacy and content policies. “In order for him to have a clean slate for Meta, he must step down and he must have a new CEO to run it,” she said in a November interview with Cointelegraph.Both Microsoft and Apple have had their sights set on the Metaverse for quite some time. In early Nov. 2021, Microsoft announced a slew of Teams updates and upgrades to its Xbox gaming console, along with a new product called “Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces.”The metaverse is here, and it’s not only transforming how we see the world but how we participate in it – from the factory floor to the meeting room. Take a look. pic.twitter.com/h5tsdYMXRD— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) November 2, 2021

“The Metaverse enables us to embed computing into the real world and to embed the real world into computing,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at the time. “What’s most important is that we are able to bring our humanity with us, and choose how we want to experience this world.”

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Bored Ape Yacht Club is a huge mainstream hit, but is Wall Street ready for NFTs?

Within months after its launch in April 2021, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) has become one of the main reasons Wall Street should take the emerging nonfungible token (NFT) market seriously, thanks to its recent sales turnover of over $1 billion.Celebrities ape into BAYCFor the uninitiated, BAYC is a collection of 10,000 cartoons of anthropomorphic apes with stylish clothes and disreputable expressions. Each ape is practically an image file that should be worthless in a sane world. Nonetheless, they have been managing to fetch astonishing sums, sometimes from some of the world’s most renowned celebrities.For instance, Jimmy Fallon, a popular American TV host, bought the image of a Bored Ape that wore a striped T-shirt and heart-shaped shades for almost $220,000 in November last year. And very recently, Academy Award-winning rapper Eminem paid nearly $462,000 for an ape that somewhat resembled him.Eminem’s bored ape, dubbed BAYC #9055. Source: The GuardianMeanwhile, one of the rarest Bored Apes, which had a gold fur trait, fetched $3.4 million in an online auction held by Sotheby’s in October, breaking the record of another rare ape with laser eyes, which was sold to the Sandbox for $2.9 million a month before.But what is the selling point?The BAYC collection fetches its value from NFTs, digital ownership proofs logged on a public blockchain. Think Bitcoin (BTC), but each “coin” is indivisible and unique in some way.Meanwhile, most NFT projects, including BAYC, settle via the Ethereum blockchain, priced in its native token Ether (ETH).But rarity is not the only reason people pay millions of dollars for Bored Apes. In addition to owning a unique avatar, people also gain admissions to an exclusive membership club, imposed with tokens. That gives them entry into an inner circle of elites, bringing them status and more profitable opportunities.APE FEST 2021 details posted in the BAYC Discord:https://t.co/KjYGPhYWCP☠️⛵️ pic.twitter.com/jvY38qf6NK— Bored Ape Yacht Club (@BoredApeYC) October 1, 2021Evan Luthra, the CEO, and founder of EL Group International and a BAYC’s exclusive club member discussed the allure attached to the elite association. The 26-year old angel investor referred to the membership as something that is “very strong for the Wall Street folks.””I think there is a new celebrity joining the club every single day.”Bored Ape collectibles also enable their owners to enter private messaging boards on Discord and gain privileged access to other NFTs.Bored Ape Yacht Club “floor price”Bored Ape collectibles also enable their owners to enter private messaging boards on Discord and gain privileged access to other NFTs. And then, there is a certain reselling value attached to these NFTs, as visible in its rising “floor price,” which reflects the lowest bid one may open for the collectibles.As of Jan.7, the BAYC floor price was 68 ETH, or around $217,800, up 380% from its mid-August low.BAYC Floor Price chart. Source: CoinGeckoNoelle Acheson, head of market insights at Genesis Trading, credited BAYC for being more flexible in collaborations than CryptoPunks, one of the only high-profile NFT collectible series that came before it. These collaborations include a BAYC-inspired Adidas gear, the signing of a talent agency, a potential Bored Ape music group, and other related assets emerging around the languid ape characters.”So, the concept of floor prices — which drives institutional investment in NFTs as well as their increasing use as collateral for loans — no longer depends just on how much investors think someone else will pay further down the road,” Acheson explained, adding: “Floor prices, and an asset’s appreciation potential, now also depends on what else the NFTs can be used for, other than just displaying.”Luthra agreed, adding that the continuous involvement of celebrities with BAYC would further boost its recognition among retail and institutional investors alike. That may bring more demand for its NFT collection, which, in turn, would push its floor price higher.The “Meta” factorJelmer Rotteveel, the co-founder of NFT collection MoonwalkerFM, attached one more bullish backstop to the BAYC core valuation: the ongoing hype around Meta, rebranded from Facebook to support the social media giant’s metaverse ambitions.”With the emergence of Meta we will be entering a new way of communication and business,” he told Cointelegraph, adding that NFTs would become an integral part of the metaverse sector, with users supporting unique digital avatars, such as Bored Apes, to interact with one another digitally. He added:”I believe that people will be looking more closely at the developments of NFT projects like BAYC, and, just like you saw with cryptocurrency, they will be stepping in one by one.”Acheson noted that Facebook/Meta has committed to spending approximately $10 billion on metaverse development, citing its CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s statement that they would look into decentralized metaverse applications.”Whether we believe him or not — investors are likely to think about getting in ahead of those flows,” she added.Will Wall Street ape into NFTs?As stated, BAYC’s net sales recently crossed the $1-billion-mark, almost 10% of what Apple earned in 2021. Meanwhile, the NFT sector, on the whole, processed sales worth $41 billion, which came to be almost equal to the global art sales in the year, data from Chainalysis showedMatt Hougan, the chief investment officer of Bitwise Asset Management, admitted that many of their clients had been looking for exposure in the NFT space without needing to crisscross through its daunting technology. In response, Bitwise launched a dedicated fund last mont, which tracks its own Bitwise Blue-Chip NFT Collections Index — a basket of the ten largest NFT collections weighted by market capitalization — and buys and holds artworks from BAYC, CryptoPunks, and other NFT projects. Related: The NFT world is gradually bridging the gap between niche and mainstreamThe “Blue-Chip NFT Index Fund” is available only to institutional investors who invest at least $25,000 into the product. Returns brought forth by Bitwise’s NFT fund since inception. Source: Bitwise Asset ManagementRebekah Keida, director of marketing at New York-based investment management firm, XBTO, favored the prospects of Including blue-chip NFT projects like BAYC or CryptoPunks into funds on Wall Street. Keida says that it would open the floodgates for accredited investors to pour thousands, even millions, of dollars into these digital projects. “The opportunities afforded by the increased capital flow enhances the legitimacy of top NFT projects while allowing investors a diverse bet in crypto,” she told Cointelegraph.Luthra showed confidence in asset managers’ ability to tail Meta’s foray into the metaverse sector, which, in turn, would benefit the NFT projects like the BAYC, saying:”If Meta thinks that the future lies in the metaverse and that’s where they are investing their time and energy, it only makes logical sense for asset managers to deploy funds towards the industry. As the space matures and there is more opportunities available, I am confident we will see many more metaverse related funds pop up to capitalize on the opportunity.”Meanwhile, Sami Chlagou, CEO at Cross the ages metaverse game, compared Meta’s potential involvement in the NFT space with “lighting a lamp in the heads of investors who are much more backward about this concept.””Whether you think Meta’s decision is good or bad, the fact remains that when one of the largest social networking groups open to innovation and known for shaking up our environment talks about a subject, it opens doors and the desire to get involved.”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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WhatsApp starts testing currency payments with Meta’s Novi wallet

Despite some senators in the United States opposing Meta launching its digital currency products, the development of the social media giant’s digital wallet, Novi, continues apace. Stephane Kasriel, head of Meta’s cryptocurrency and fintech unit Novi, officially announced on Wednesday that Meta’s messenger subsidiary, WhatsApp, has started testing transactions through Meta’s Novi wallet.According to the executive, the new feature is available for a “limited number of people” in the U.S., allowing users to send and receive money on WhatsApp “instantly and with no fees.”There’s a new way to try the @Novi digital wallet. Starting today, a limited number of people in the US will be able to send and receive money using Novi on @WhatsApp, making sending money to family and friends as easy as sending a message. pic.twitter.com/dGz3lejri7— Stephane Kasriel (@skasriel) December 8, 2021Kasriel noted that Meta has been able to test and learn which features and functionalities are “most important to people” since it introduced the Novi pilot in mid-October. He added that using Novi doesn’t affect the privacy of WhatsApp personal messages and calls, “which are always end-to-end encrypted.”Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp at Meta, confirmed the news on Twitter, noting some U.S. users can now send and receive money with Novi on WhatsApp. “People use WA to coordinate sending money to loved ones, and now Novi will help them do that securely, instantly and with no fees,” he wrote.Formerly known as Facebook, Meta officially launched a digital currency pilot in collaboration with major crypto exchange Coinbase and stablecoin firm Paxos in October. The pilot initially rolled out in the U.S. and Guatemala, using Pax Dollar (USDP), a dollar-pegged stablecoin issued by blockchain trust company Paxos.Related: Meta’s head of crypto to step down at end of yearA U.S. nonprofit organization, the Open Markets Institute, subsequently sent a letter to multiple regulators, including the U.S. Department of Justice, arguing that Meta may be “in the illegal business of receiving deposits without a bank charter.” The organization specifically pointed out that USDP is one of the smaller stablecoins “with far less liquidity and usage” than the top stablecoins like Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC).“There are several legal and regulatory implications for Facebook’s pilot that warrant particular attention by the agencies,” the Open Markets Institute letter stated.

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Discussion on crypto and major tech firms combine in hearing over decentralization of digital ecosystem

Blaine Luetkemeyer, a House representative from Missouri, revisited the issue of major companies exerting control over vast swaths of the internet, something he expressed concerns about encroaching in the crypto space.Speaking at a Wednesday hearing on digital assets with The House Committee on Financial Services, Luetkemeyer addressed Bitfury CEO and former acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks in saying that major tech firms including Instagram, Facebook — now Meta — and Twitter “control people on their platforms.” Luetkemeyer asked whether this level of control could extend to undue influence for the rollout of a digital dollar.“The point of crypto is to have true decentralization,” said Brooks. “The projects that succeed will be the projects that achieve that. Bitcoin succeeded because there were literally millions of participants in the node network, and so there is no CEO of Twitter to deplatform you, there’s no CEO of JPMorgan to take away your credit card.”Bitfurty CEO Brian Brooks addressing the House Committee on Financial Services on Dec. 8The Bitfury CEO added that he believed companies unable to meet this standard would be relegated to the “ash heap of history” — that is, lose their relevance and largely be forgotten. In his written statement to the committee, Brooks implied that a decentralized internet would be better “than an Internet largely controlled by five big companies”:“Crypto policy should take into account not only any new risks introduced into the system, but also the risks in the present system that are being solved by decentralization.”Related: Bank of International Settlement calls the rise of decentralized finance ‘an illusion’ in latest quarterly reviewFor many of the lawmakers in attendance at the Digital Assets and the Future of Finance hearing, the goal seems to be gaining a greater understanding of the existing space rather than how they might be able to provide a clear regulatory framework for crypto and blockchain for the future. The six CEOs in attendance from Circle, Paxos, Coinbase Inc., Stellar Development Foundation, FTX and Bitfury have fielded questions including those on ransomware attacks, quantum computing and price volatility.This story is developing and may be updated, as the House committee hearing is still ongoing.

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Former Facebook engineers at Mysten Labs raise $36M for Web3 infrastructure

Mysten Labs, the research and development firm founded by former engineers from social media giant Facebook, has announced the completion of a $36 million funding round towards its goal developing a Web 3.0 infrastructure platform.In a Monday announcement on Medium, the team behind Mysten Labs said the firm had raised $36 million in a Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from Redpoint, Lightspeed, Coinbase Ventures, Electric Capital, Standard Crypto, NFX, Slow Ventures, Scribble Ventures, Samsung NEXT and others. According to a CNBC report, CEO Evan Cheng said Mystery would use the funds to build the infrastructure necessary for cryptocurrency- and blockchain-focused firms to deliver technology.“We believe fundamental limitations in existing crypto infrastructure are frustrating broader adoption of Web 3.0,” said Mysten’s team, citing the scalability of existing chains as well as the lack of interoperability of many smart contracts.In addition to the development of Web 3.0 infrastructure, Mysten said it planned to launch a “next-generation NFT platform for the Metaverse” in 2022. The project is aimed at allowing users to more easily move assets across different virtual environments without sacrificing functionality. Related: Sommelier partners with Mysten Labs to launch Cosmos smart contractsFounded in September 2021 by former cryptographical program engineers behind the blockchain architecture for Facebook’s — now Meta’s — crypto-payments platform Diem and mobile wallet Novi, Mysten Labs is led by CEO Evan Chang, CTO Sam Blackshear, COO Adeniyi Abiodun, and chief scientist George Danezis. The most recent head of Novi, David Marcus, announced on Dec. 1 that he planned to step down by the end of the year. Meta — then Facebook — began piloting Novi in the United States and Guatemala in October.

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