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New LGBT token aims for equity but raises red flags with community

The cryptocurrency community has raised concerns about Maricoin, a new token supposedly related to the LGBT+ community, with some people even suspecting the project to be a scam.Launched in December 2021, Maricoin promises to enable a “social, ethical, transparent and transversal means of payment” targeting the global “pink economy,” which is estimated to amount to trillions of dollars.One might question Maricoin’s ethics though, as its name is a portmanteau that plays on a Spanish slur for homosexuals.According to the project’s website, Maricoin runs on the Algorand blockchain, with creators planning to list the token on several crypto exchanges in 2022.The project was reportedly founded in Madrid by local hairdresser and entrepreneur Juan Belmonte, who said that the new token is designed to help the community profit by providing a new payment method for LGBT-friendly businesses worldwide.According to CEO Francisco Alvarez, as many as 8,000 people were already on a waiting list to buy Maricoin as of early January.Despite the token being widely promoted as the “first coin created by and for the LGBT+ community” on many mainstream media channels, Maricoin is not quite the first cryptocurrency project related to the LGBT+ community. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, there are a number of LGBT-related tokens and initiatives, including the LGBT token, which was launched back in 2018.Several industry observers have expressed skepticism over Maricoin, with some even alleging that the initiative could be a scam.“It’s not a coin, it’s a token, clearly a scam to catch fools who want to make easy money with crypto. Their website is poorly made, ugly and doesn’t have a single tech line about how this crypto will work. Not a single whitepaper and their waiting-list form is a damn Google Doc,” one Redditor argued.Related: Beware of sophisticated scams and rug pulls, as thugs target crypto usersJustin Ehrenhofer, vice president of operations at crypto wallet service Cake Wallet, said, “This 100% feels like a scam.”  He noted that the Reuters article on Maricoin didn’t include much skepticism on the project: This 100% feels like a scam. You need to FILL OUT A GOOGLE FORM to indicate how much you want to “invest” in “MariCoin”? Yet @enriqueanarte @TRF publishes this likely scam, without much skepticism. *Maybe* everyone involved is oblivious, but this appears to be a textbook scam 🙁 https://t.co/3TY4NfyDgQ pic.twitter.com/j1ZQaZea8G— Justin Ehrenhofer ️‍ (@JEhrenhofer) January 4, 2022Maricoin did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. This article will be updated pending any new information.

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Bitcoin ‘died’ 45 times in 2021 as media still eager to post BTC obituaries

As Bitcoin (BTC) was hitting new historical highs above $68,000 this year, global cryptocurrency naysayers were increasingly blasting BTC for its extreme volatility and potential risks.According to Bitcoin Obituaries data by Bitcoin education portal 99Bitcoins, the original cryptocurrency was declared “dead” as many as 45 times in 2021, which is at least three times more than in 2020.Despite the growing number of Bitcoin critics in 2021, the amount of obituaries is still significantly less this year than was recorded in 2017, the year when BTC first reached close to $20,000. That year, Bitcoin “died” 124 times.Incepted in 2010, 99Bitcoins’s Bitcoin Obituaries list includes English-language statements including content about the fact that Bitcoin “is or will be worthless.” To qualify an obituary, the content should be produced by a person with a “notable following or a site with substantial traffic.”T has counted 438 obituaries so far, with one of the latest obituaries produced by Robert McCauley, an associate member of the Faculty of History at the University of Oxford. In a Dec. 22 guest post for The Financial Times, McCauley argued that Bitcoin is “worse than a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme,” arguing that BTC holders “will have no one to pursue to recover” sums that they “paid the miners for their Bitcoin.”Eswar Prasad, senior professor of international trade policy at Cornell University, previously predicted that “Bitcoin itself may not last that much longer” due to the growing “​​promise of decentralized finance.”While Bitcoin naysayers keep betting on a gloomy future of BTC, some analysts like Bloomberg commodity strategist Mike McGlone believe that Bitcoin could hit $100,000 next year.Related: Crypto community responds to Charlie Munger yelling at Bitcoin againAs previously reported, the crypto community has been strongly anticipating BTC to hit $100,000 by the end of 2021. After failing $100,000 predictions, some executives like Kraken CEO Jesse Powell are still bullish on Bitcoin price in the long term but also expect a potential crypto winter in the short term.At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading at $47,597, up around 70% over the past 365 days, according to data from CoinGecko.Bitcoin 365-day price chart. Source: CoinGecko

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China’s state-run news agency to launch NFT collection

In an announcement made on Wednesday, China’s official Xinhua News Agency will issue its first series of nonfungible token (NFT) collectibles. The move is a thumbs up to blockchain technology previously shunned by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In an official notice, Xinhua plans to publish 10,000 copies of 11 photos taken by journalists in 2021.The stride into NFTs is puzzling in light of recent events in the world’s second-largest economy. Following a nationwide crypto crackdown where Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) mining was banned, China has recently taken aim at NFTs and metaverses and proposed that they should be heavily monitored. Despite the anti-crypto sentiment, tech giants Tencent and Huawei were not discouraged from pursuing trademarks in the metaverse. Elsewhere, in early December, as part of a broader anti-crypto crackdown, some websites in Beijing, including ChainNews, went offline. Chinese crypto media kept a low profile on their websites and instead focused on growing communities on Twitter and Telegram.Curiously, however, it’s not the country’s first move into NFTs. During the “DeFi Summer 2.0,” The South China Morning Post created a series of NFTs using a new token standard called “ARTIFACT,” which is designed to preserve historical assets on the blockchain. However, it’s important to note that the SCMP is based in Hong Kong. As a result, the paper benefits from higher levels of autonomy as well as the executive, legislative and independent judicial power for which Hong Kong is known.Related: Chinese companies embark on a metaverse trademark raceHong Kong is no stranger to blockchain technology or minting NFTs. In June this year, pro-Hong Kong activists managed to archive articles from the Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper onto the blockchain. More than 4,000 Apple Daily articles were uploaded to ARWeave, a popular blockchain storage platform backed by Andreessen Horowitz.Ultimately, the PRC’s NFT release begs the question: Does Xinhua’s issuance of NFTs signal a nod toward adopting blockchain technology? At the time of writing, Chinese NFT advocates remain restricted in their trading activities. NFTs cannot be resold once purchased, while the only currency available to NFT fans is the national currency, the renminbi. Given China’s largely anti-crypto stance in 202, more evidence of the PRC’s moves into the blockchain space is required.

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South Park excoriates NFTs as investments in latest vision of post-COVID future

Apparently, it only took a pandemic for the writers behind the animated TV series South Park to offer their take on nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies… and it’s not a positive outlook.In its “Post COVID: The Return of COVID” special that aired Thursday, South Park depicted one of the show’s protagonists, Leopold “Butters” Stotch, also known as Victor Chaos, locked away in an insane asylum for years after it’s discovered he has a certain power to wreak havoc on the world. That power? Gathering investors to put all their money into NFTs. When he manages to get out of his cell, the result is comical violence, comparisons to drug use, and the possible downfall of society:“He escaped once before. In just a few hours he managed to get thousands of people to invest in NFTs, just like he almost did you […] another 30 seconds in that room and you would have started considering NFTs as a viable investment.”NFTs in south park pic.twitter.com/LnEkVvcYjA— edgar.eth (@EdgarAronov) December 16, 2021Though referencing aspects of the crypto space in mainstream media has become somewhat common, South Park — which often tackles topical issues with a comedic twist — seems to have avoided mentioning token projects with seemingly absurd names for the last ten years. Bitcoin (BTC) only made its first appearance in 2008, and though everyone in South Park’s fictional future of the 2060s still used the cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange, they also described it as a “fly-by-night Ponzi scheme.”Related: Imprisoned Silk Road founder causes a stir with NFT dropSouth Park’s vision of a world roughly 40 years from now implies the frenzy around NFT drops is unlikely to subside for many investors. This week, Wikipedia entered the space for the first time, selling a tokenized version of the first message posted to its website in 2001 for $750,000. However, some NFTs have been auctioned off for millions of dollars and traded for valuable real-world items, including cars.

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Dogecoin is better than Bitcoin for payments, Elon Musk declares

Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes that Bitcoin (BTC) is not that good for everyday payments as the meme-based cryptocurrency, Dogecoin (DOGE).Musk compared the world’s largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, to DOGE in a Time Magazine interview shortly after being named Time’s 2021 Person of the Year.“Bitcoin is not a good substitute for transactional currency. Even though it was created as a silly joke, Dogecoin is better suited for transactions. The total transaction flow that you do with Dogecoin, like transactions per day, is much higher potential than Bitcoin,” Musk said.Tesla CEO emphasized that Bitcoin is more suitable as a store of value, which is why its investors prefer to hold it rather than sell it or use it for payments. “The transaction volume of Bitcoin is low, and the cost per transaction is high,” Musk noted.On the other hand, Dogecoin is not that good as a store of value, Musk hinted, noting that the cryptocurrency is “slightly inflationary.” However, this “encourages people to spend, rather than sort of hoard as a store of value,” he stated.Bitcoin, the world’s most-valued cryptocurrency so far, was launched back in 2009 as a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system” with a limited total supply of 21 million bitcoins. In contrast, DOGE has an infinite supply after the coin switched to provide an uncapped supply after hitting a supply limit of 100 billion coins in mid-2015.Some industry figures like Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse have blasted Doge for its alleged “inflationary dynamics” and unlimited supply.Despite Musk criticizing Bitcoin as a payment tool, his electric vehicle firm Tesla briefly adopted BTC as a payment method earlier this year. The official reason for dropping the payment option were the company’s concerns regarding the “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions.” Tesla still continues holding a significant amount of Bitcoin on its balance sheet after purchasing $1.5 billion in BTC in February.A number of global companies like Twitter have been actively adopting BTC as a payment option by implementing the Lightning Network to decrease transaction costs.Related: Bitcoin transaction fees are down by over 50% this yearDogecoin doesn’t appear to have a much bigger transactional volume than Bitcoin, according to on-chain data. At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s daily transaction volume amounts to $31 billion, or 3.5% of its market capitalization, according to data from CoinGecko. Dogecoin’s daily transactions are worth $970 million, or 4.6% of its market cap.DOGE has emerged as one of the top-performing cryptocurrencies in 2021, much of which was apparently associated with Musk’s active endorsement on social media.

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Chinese crypto ban poses no threat to local industry media, sources say

While some major Chinese cryptocurrency-related publications seem to be shutting down, a number continue to be run by local news agencies that have switched to social media like Twitter.China’s most recent crypto ban would not significantly affect local crypto media sources as there are a number of ways to disseminate industry information, according to an executive at one of the biggest crypto publications in China.The exec, who asked to remain anonymous, told Cointelegraph on Wednesday that several local crypto sites have been moving their community to other media channels like Twitter and Telegram after the government enforced a new crypto ban in September. “They are trying to share more info there and keep low key on their websites,” the person said, adding, “We can get all the info we want from Twitter.”“More Chinese people came to Twitter and Telegram, some of them also have high quality,” another crypto media insider, who also wished to remain anonymous, told Cointelegraph.They noted that the People’s Bank of China declared all “virtual currency-related business activities” illegal, which caused some cloud service providers to cut services to websites like BlockBeats and Odaily. But this didn’t prevent them from posting industry news as they continued operating through new domains and shifted focus to posting on Twitter and Telegram.According to the media insider, ​​these websites were blocked because they are based in Beijing. “Media outside Beijing are not blocked,” the person said. Some crypto publications like Jinse, Panews and 8btc were apparently not affected by the latest crypto ban.The Chinese crypto media exec stressed that the crypto world is fated to be decentralized, stating:“There’s always hope for the Chinese crypto industry. We still have information sources and we keep getting more and more users, evangelists, developers and others. There’s nothing to worry about. Everything happens for the best.”Related: China’s central bank proposes to monitor metaverse and NFTsOne Chinese crypto side, major industry source ChainNews, went offline in November. According to Cointelegraph’s sources, ChainNews decided to shut down services late that month. The publication’s last post on its Telegram channel is dated Nov. 25. The website had more than 1.5 million visits last month, according to data from SimilarWeb.

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