Project takes off with $31.6M in alleged exit scam

A crypto project called Fintoch, which claimed to be backed by investment banking firm Morgan Stanley, seems to have taken off with almost $32 million of its users’ funds, according to on-chain detective, ZachXBT. 

In a thread, the crypto sleuth showed a diagram that detailed the movement of the funds. The on-chain detective alleged that the project had likely conducted an exit scam.

The fund promised a 1% daily interest for investments from users. However, users of the platform have started to report that they are now unable to withdraw their funds from Fintoch. 

In addition to this, while the project claims to be owned by Morgan Stanley, the investment banking company, denied any ties with the project through a statement. The firm said that Fintoch used its trademarks without any authorization and said that they do not assume any responsibility for transactions with the company.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) also issued an alert against Fintoch earlier in May. According to MAS, the company “may have been wrongly perceived as being licensed or in any other way authorized or regulated by MAS.”

Apart from these, reports back in March suggest that the image used for the CEO of the company, called Bobby Lambert, actually belongs to a paid actor whose real name is Mike Provenzano.

Related: $3M worth of customer funds swiped via alleged Swaprum DEX rug pull

In other news, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a warning regarding a recent surge in fraudulent crypto job advertisements. On May 23, the FBI advised United States citizens and individuals residing or traveling abroad to remain cautious, as these deceptive ads are often associated with labor trafficking.

In April, the crypto space experienced a continued surge in crypto exploits, exit scams, and flash loan attacks. According to blockchain security firm Certik, over $103 million in funds was stolen from various crypto projects and investors in the month.

Magazine: US enforcement agencies are turning up the heat on crypto-related crime

Web3 threatened by Web2.5 and regulations, exec warns

As Web3 remains in its early stages, its ideals and original vision of creating an interoperable financial landscape are under attack, according to Jamie Burke, the founder and CEO of Web3 accelerator Outlier Ventures.

In an interview with Cointelegraph, Burke outlined several aspects of Web3 that are currently being threatened by concepts like Web2.5 and regulatory actions. The executive said that while these are “understandable,” it takes Web3 away from its original purpose and hinders its wider vision.

Interview with Outlier Ventures founder Jamie Burke 

According to the executive, some projects are settling down and compromising on limited versions of Web3. Working with startups, Burke said that there are founders who are building temporary fixes due to various technical limitations. “Whether it’s an independent app developer or large enterprise, they’re all kind of making these compromises,” he said. This ends up making products that are not interoperable. He further explained that: 

“They just want to build products people can use that have Web3-like characteristics, but because they’ve been built in silos, that means that they’re not fully interoperable.”

This then becomes a huge problem, especially in decentralized finance (DeFi), where fluidity and composability are necessary aspects of the space. Burke argued that when these silos are created, it ends up having app chains that are not interoperable with other app chains.

And while some argue that these are temporary, the executive highlighted that as business models get built within these Web2.5 paradigms, more people will want to defend them. “And so, Web2.5 becomes permanent, and we never really realize the full vision,” he added.

Related: Peer-to-peer crypto exchanges struggle to navigate shifting legal landscape

On the other hand, Burke said that the industry is also facing regulatory attacks from government factions who want to exercise control over the industry. According to Burke, both the United States and Europe somehow expressed that they want central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) to replace stablecoins.

“They can directly control who you do what with they have full auditability, but they are by design, in state capture. So, the state can then send it to you, and they can block you,” he said.

Burke believes that as these regulatory challenges allow more control for governments, it leads to the “stifling of innovation” and creates a “problematic version of Web3.” He explained that instead of these, it would be better to support peer-to-peer markets. Burke suggested:

“What I would propose is that when you enable basic economic primitives, like digital property rights, like the sovereignty of identity and wealth, you enable peer-to-peer markets.”

Burke suggested that these markets will increase the amount of exchange of value. When this happens, it will result in greater tax income for the state.

Magazine: Here’s how Ethereum’s ZK-rollups can become interoperable

Hotbit exchange halts operations, urges users to withdraw funds

In an announcement, the exchange said that its operating conditions have deteriorated since a former member of its team was subjected to an investigation back in August 2022. According to the exchange, the probe forced them to stop their business for weeks.

In addition, Hotbit also cited various incidents within the crypto space as contributors to its decline. The exchange cited the FTX exchange collapse and the banking crises that caused the USD Coin (USDC) depegging incident as reasons for its deteriorating cash flow. Hotbit said that the incidents resulted in a continuous outflow of funds from centralized exchanges.

Apart from these, the Hotbit team also believes that centralized exchanges are becoming “increasingly cumbersome” and are “unlikely to meet long-term trends.” The exchange said that the only options are to either become more decentralized or embrace regulation.

The exchange also blamed the repeated cyber attacks and the exploitation of “project defects by malicious users” as reasons for its downfall.

Related: ‘Big Short’ author Michael Lewis almost ready to publish book on SBF

As the announcement came, several members of the community reported that they are unable to withdraw their funds from the exchange.

Crypto exchange Hotbit announced that it will be stopping all of its operations starting on May 22. The exchange asked all of its users to withdraw their funds before June 21, 04:00 UTC.

Some also warned community members of phishing links that pretend to be the official Hotbit exchange in Google. 

While Hotbit is taking its bow, other exchanges are still carrying on and are launching campaigns to fix the issues in the crypto space. Crypto exchange Coinbase recently published a campaign that says “update the system.” On the other hand, OKX took it a step further and wants to “rewrite the system” entirely.

Magazine: Ordinals turned Bitcoin into a worse version of Ethereum — Can we fix it?

NFTs in the academy: Fighting fake credentials and unfair wages

One of the pressing issues in education is fake credentials. On May 18, the Washington Post reported that there are about 2,800 people who purchased their credentials without attending the proper classes. They were able to pass the National Council Licensure Examination in the United States. Authorities are now trying to find these people.

The rise of fake credentials and teachers being undervalued and underpaid are some of the recurring problems that the education sector continues to face. Cointelegraph went on a mission to see if nonfungible tokens (NFT) can provide a solution to these headaches found in the education sector. 

This is not a one-off problem. In the United States, some estimate that around 100,000 fake degrees are purchased from illegitimate institutions or “diploma mills” every year. Some of these degrees can be bought for $1,000 without any of the work required for such academic achievements. 

NFTs are a “solid solution” to degree forgery

In 2021, Beau Brannan, a professor at Pepperdine University, argued the case for NFTs use in education. Back then, Brannan wrote that taking individual classes and putting them on an unalterable public ledger, with uniquely designed images, could make education more valued. 

“Institutional education would arguably improve because the individual classes would matter more as opposed to being bundled into a degree and hidden.”

Fast forward a few years, Brannan still holds the same beliefs about NFTs. The professor told Cointelegraph that NFTs offer a “solid solution” to a massive international problem which is degree forgery.

A simple search shows various sites offering fake diplomas. Source: Google

According to Brannan, there’s no way to verify degrees from a school. “I have no idea what is in it. I am just trusting the institution, brand and accreditation process,” he said. The professor believes that verification for individual courses would give more insight into college degrees. He explained:

“If individual courses become part of the student ledger, it creates another level of accountability for the school and teacher.”

The professor also explained that this also “opens up the playing field.” Brannan said that if this is implemented, other gifted teachers and non-institutional courses can be offered to students who perhaps don’t have access or the finances to go to a traditional school.

Challenges in implementing NFTs in education

While there are clear benefits in using NFTs, there’s also a mountain of challenges the academe must climb before these solutions can be adopted. 

Brannan said that access and adoption may be some of the problems that must be addressed when implementing NFTs in the academe. “Access and adoption are always a challenge in early technology. But when incentives are aligned, it is amazing how resilient we become,” he said.

Offering a perspective from the NFT space, the Binance NFT team told Cointelegraph that one requirement in implementing NFTs in education is good technical literacy from educational institutions, teachers, and students. They explained that:

“NFT technology is still fairly new and so to be able to introduce NFTs into a very established space, like education, it is going to require a good level of understanding about the benefits that this kind of technology can bring.”

Apart from technical literacy, Binance told Cointelegraph that it also requires appropriate investments, a shift in the “ways of working” and revamping long-standing processes and infrastructure that has been around for many years.

Despite the hurdles that need to be overcome, the Binance team encouraged educators to explore the possibilities of NFTs if they want to think about new ways to create and distribute educational resources, reward achievements, and engage with students.

Related: Secret Service owns crypto, loves blockchain and has an NFT collection: Reddit AMA

Returning value to educators with the power of blockchain

Apart from fake credentials, one of the biggest issues in the academic world is teachers being undervalued and underpaid. 

Recognizing these problems, a community-led protocol called Open Campus started a mission to create decentralized solutions for educators in an attempt to solve these problems.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, TinyTap CEO Yogev Shelly, who is also a council member at the Open Campus protocol explained how their team is working to help educators be rewarded for the content they create through NFTs.

According to Shelly, they’ve introduced Publisher NFTs, which could generate revenue for educators to “empower teachers and educators to freely create knowledge repositories.” The executive shared that there’s been a growing interest in connecting Web3 to education. He said:

“I was astonished to know how much interest has been expressed in education from the Web3 community along the way, which gives us great motivation to continue to bring value to teachers, creators, and students through decentralization.”

The executive believes that the power of blockchain and tailored smart contract protocols are the keys to decentralizing education and providing a “fair experience for the stakeholders.”

Magazine: Memecoin sends BTC fees to the moon, miner profits top $50B and more

Wells Fargo to pay $1B on shareholders lawsuit settlement

Financial services firm Wells Fargo has reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit, agreeing to pay shareholders $1 billion. The lawsuit alleged that the bank had misled its shareholders about its efforts to resolve the 2016 fake accounts scandal.

A $1 billion all-cash settlement was granted preliminary approval by U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods in a Manhattan federal court. Another hearing will be held on September 8 for final approval.

In a statement, the bank said that it disagreed with the allegations made in the lawsuit. On the other hand, while they do not agree with the accusations, they are “pleased to have resolved this matter.”

Back in December, Wells Fargo also made a $3.7 billion agreement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to resolve allegations that the bank’s actions had harmed more than 16 million individuals with deposit accounts, auto loans, and mortgages.

Back then, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse compared the Wells Fargo issue with the FTX collapse. According to Garlinghouse, the world was outraged by FTX, which he believed to be “appropriate.” However, the CEO expressed his concern about the lack of attention to the Wells Fargo case considering that they’ve also “mismanaged billions in customer funds.”

Related: Defending against SEC to cost Ripple $200M, CEO Brad Garlinghouse says

Members of the community recently voiced similar concerns on a recent Reddit forum. On May 17, one Redditor said that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission should also look into banks. They wrote:

“People put their hard-earned money in a bank thinking it is 100% safe, take loans for house and cars only to be scammed out of it.”

The community member also argued that banks have violated regulations multiple times every single year, but “the SEC has stayed rather quiet” about it. Another Redditor echoed the sentiment and said that it’s “obvious the banks get a pass for the most part.”

Magazine: Crypto regulation: Does SEC Chair Gary Gensler have the final say?

US Secret Service has an NFT collection: Nifty Newsletter, May 10–16

In this week’s newsletter, read about the United States Secret Service’s nonfungible token (NFT) collection, and how Elon Musk’s tweet caused a surge in an NFT collection’s floor price. Check out how someone tried to sell an image for Bitcoin (BTC) months before the infamous Bitcoin Pizza Day, and learn about LG’s new patent for an NFT-trading TV. And don’t forget this week’s Nifty News, featuring the popular gaming franchise Assassin’s Creed revealing its “smart collectibles.” 

Secret Service owns crypto, loves blockchain and has an NFT collection: Reddit AMA

In a recent ask-me-anything (AMA) session on Reddit’s r/cryptocurrency subreddit, representatives from a task force within the United States Secret Service revealed that they own crypto, maintain an NFT collection and recognize the potential of blockchain technology in combating financial crime.

In contrast to some regulators who view cryptocurrencies as tools for fraudsters and scammers, the task force expressed enthusiasm for the transparent and public nature of blockchains. They described it as an “amazing opportunity” for law enforcement agencies to effectively trace the movement of funds, aiding the fight against illicit activities.

Continue reading

Milady NFT floor price surges after Elon Musk tweet

On May 10, Elon Musk’s tweet featuring artwork from the Milady NFT collection caused a surge in the floor price of Milady NFTs. Initially reaching a peak of 7.3 Ether (ETH), the price eventually settled at 5.69 ETH.

The Milady collection, created by digital arts collective Remilia, comprises 10,000 anime profile picture NFTs that draw inspiration from street-style tribes. Artist Charlotte Fang played a significant role in the design process.

The name “Milady” cleverly plays with the expression “my lady,” traditionally used to address noblewomen. However, the internet has satirically associated the expression with overzealous chivalry and “nice guys.”

Continue reading

Primordial NFT? Someone tried to sell a JPEG for BTC months before Bitcoin Pizza Day

On May 14, a tweet by developer Udi Wertheimer ignited a brief frenzy on Crypto Twitter. The tweet suggested that the world’s first real-world purchase made with Bitcoin might have been for a JPEG image, challenging the commonly known narrative of Bitcoin’s first purchase being for pizza.

The shared screenshot, dated Jan. 24, 2010, predates the famous Bitcoin Pizza Day by four months. It shows a user named Sabunir attempting to sell a picture on the Bitcointalk forum for 500 BTC, which was worth approximately $1 at that time. The screenshot even reveals that Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous founder of Bitcoin, was trying to assist in facilitating the sale.

Continue reading

LG Electronics files patent for NFT-trading TV

South Korean company LG Electronics has filed a patent application for a blockchain-based smart TV that enables NFT trading. The application was published in May in the World Intellectual Property Organization’s database.

LG’s proposed technology aims to facilitate seamless connectivity between devices, crypto wallets and an NFT market server, thereby enabling transactions. The smart TV incorporates onscreen QR codes when connected to an NFT market server, allowing users to complete transactions via a cryptocurrency wallet.

Continue reading

Nifty News: Assassin’s Creed unveils ‘smart collectibles,’ MechaFightClub winds down and more

Ubisoft’s popular gaming franchise, Assassin’s Creed, released customizable “smart collectibles” on May 16. These collectibles include a transparent 3D-printed cube housing a character figure and a Polygon-based NFT called a “Digital Soul” that serves as proof of ownership.

Continue reading


Thanks for reading this digest of the week’s most notable developments in the NFT space. Come again next Wednesday for more reports and insights into this actively evolving space.

Tesla updates AI-trained robot army, takes new bots for a walk

Tesla has released new footage showcasing its Tesla Bots, which now appear to be capable of walking steadily, picking up items and recognizing objects. The video was presented by Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the company’s shareholder meeting event.

The video showcases some notable upgrades made in the Tesla Bot project. This includes enhanced motor torque control, artificial intelligence (AI) training based on human-tracked movements and object manipulation capabilities. More importantly, the humanoid robots can now walk in a straight line without needing assistance from the Tesla staff.

In one demonstration, a Tesla Bot retrieved objects from one container and then placed them into another, showing a potential use case for robots doing human-like tasks. This action served as an example of how the bot’s AI can be trained using human demonstrations.

The humanoid robots were first revealed at Tesla AI Day 2022 back in October. Back then, the robot could barely walk forward, with its insides showing. Another version that was more complete was also shown but needed assistance from the staff to stay standing. 

Initial version of the AI robot demonstrated at Tesla AI Day 2022. Source: Tesla 

Various internet users reacted to the new footage, with some congratulating the new milestone by Tesla and others threatening to beat the robot up if they see it in the streets. 

Related: ‘Is that legal?’ — Elon Musk chides OpenAI’s for-profit pivot after $50M investment

The new robot demonstration came days after Musk announced that he is stepping down from his CEO position on Twitter. On May 11, Musk said that he will become Twitter’s executive chair and chief technology officer, saying that he will shift his focus on product, software and system operations.

Musk will be replaced by Linda Yaccarino as the next CEO at Twitter. On May 12, the billionaire announced that he is looking forward to working with Yaccarino to transform the platform into “X, the everything app.”

Magazine: Make 500% from ChatGPT stock tips? Bard leans left, $100M AI memecoin

Crypto community responds to US democrats backing SEC’s crypto authority

The Democratic Party in the United States has expressed its intent to back the Securities and Exchange Commission’s total authority over crypto in a memo that circulated among committee members prior to a hearing. The documents were shared on social media, causing backlash from members of the crypto community. 

On May 10, the documents were shared on Twitter, highlighting key messages for the democrats to support the SEC’s authority on crypto regulation. This includes its argument that nearly all digital assets constitute securities.

From threatening to give their votes to other parties to arguing that there are a lot of contradictions in the documents, various members of the community went on Twitter to express their dissatisfaction with the move against crypto.

According to one community member, the memorandum shows where each party stands on crypto regulation. According to the Twitter user, the Republicans want a clear framework while the Democrats assert that the SEC has already clarified that almost all digital assets are securities.

Meanwhile, another member of the community expressed that they can no longer be a part of the party. The community member argued that the Democrats are playing god with the “future of American innovation.” In addition, the Twitter user said that they are making decisions over a technology that they do not understand.

Related: Biden calls to end $18B ‘crypto tax loopholes’ — Community begs to differ

Community member Austin Campbell also highlighted how foreign governments would be excited about the prospect of taking the future of Fintech from the United States. Campbell tweeted:

On May 8, Coinbase visited the United Arab Emirates to see its potential as a strategic hub for the crypto exchange. At an event called Dubai Fintech Summit, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said that the U.S. is “a little bit behind” in terms of regulatory clarity. The executive also shared that he met with UAE Minister of Economy H.E. Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri during their visit. 

In the same event, Crypto Oasis co-founder Saqr Ereiqat spoke about how the UAE’s infrastructure is more business-friendly than the U.S. The executive argued that the regulatory framework in the U.S. is “complex and fragmented” while the UAE has it more streamlined and highlighted that there’s a growing interest in the region.

Magazine: Crypto regulation: Does SEC Chair Gary Gensler have the final say?

Bitcoin Cash enables CashTokens upgrade on its network

The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network underwent a major upgrade, allowing developers to create tokens with the same properties as BCH. These are called “CashTokens,” and they can be issued by anyone using the network. 

The network successfully upgraded the blockchain at the BCH block height of 792,772. According to BCH developer Jason Dreyzehner, the new upgrade includes support for CashTokens, which the developer believes to be a “tool for expanding financial access.” The upgrade also includes other features like future-proof multiparty vaults and technical improvements for transaction validation.

The developer highlighted that CashTokens can be used for various applications from payment stablecoins and commodities up to even gift cards and event tickets. Dreyzehner also mentioned that advanced on-chain applications will also become possible from its underlying technology. This includes decentralized exchanges (DEXs), security vaults and bridged sidechains. 

Related: Ordinals good or bad for Bitcoin? Supporters and opposers raise voices

The price of BCH tokens also surged on the same day due to the new update. Data shows that the tokens went from $114 to a high of $120 on May 15. Despite the hype, the price action was short-lived as the price almost instantly went back to the $113 to $114 range after the day of the upgrade.

Bitcoin Cash price index from May 14 to May 16. Source: Cointelegraph

The CashTokens upgrade on the Bitcoin Cash network comes as BRC-20 tokens became increasingly more popular. On May 9, BRC-20 tokens surpassed a $1 billion market capitalization. The explosive growth came two months after the Bitcoin token fungibility protocol was created, and was fueled by the growth of tokens like ORDI, NALS, VMPX, PEPE and MEME.

While the new development proves exciting for many, it came with a new set of problems for the network. On May 10, CryptoQuant analyst Axel Adler Jr expressed that increased fees and a backlog of transactions have besieged the Bitcoin network because of the new token standard.

Magazine: $3.4B of Bitcoin in a popcorn tin: The Silk Road hacker’s story

South Korean lawmaker leaves political party amid crypto investment controversy

Kim Nam-kuk, a South Korean lawmaker, has announced his departure from the Democratic Party over his alleged crypto dealings while legislating on digital assets. The politician said that he will continue his fight to prove his innocence independently. 

According to Kim, his departure will relieve party members of the burden brought about by the controversy. He believes that the issues should no longer affect the party during a crucial time. While he is leaving the party, Kim highlighted that he will still support the political faction.

Meanwhile, the politician also said that he will be continuing his efforts to bring the truth to light as an independent legislator. “I will stand up to the end to unfair political offenses and reveal the truth,” he said.

Kim criticized the media for reporting on his crypto dealings, stating that the reports were not based on facts and promising to strongly deal with these.

South Korean politician Kim Nam-kuk’s announcement translated to English. Source: Facebook

On May 8, the lawmaker was accused of liquidating over $4 million worth of crypto assets before the country started to enforce the “Travel Rule” by the Financial Action Task Force in March 2023. Authorities are still currently investigating the politician for alleged violations. 

Related: South Korea’s sweeping crypto bill passes first regulatory hurdles

South Korea’s central bank has been constantly ramping up its efforts to oversee crypto in the country. On April 24, the central bank of South Korea was given the right to investigate crypto-related businesses. With this, the bank will be able to request data on transactions from local crypto operators.

In other news, research for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) for offline payments is underway in South Korea. On May 15, Samsung Electronics partnered with the central bank to perform research on the offline capabilities of a CBDC. 

Magazine: Terra collapsed because it used hubris for collateral — Knifefight

UAE infrastructure for crypto is more ‘business-friendly’ than the US, says exec

At the recent Dubai Fintech Summit event, Saqr Ereiqat, the co-founder of venture-building firm Crypto Oasis, spoke about the United Arab Emirates’ infrastructures and how they can be “ideal” for crypto businesses. 

Speaking with Cointelegraph, Ereiqat highlighted that there are several factors that businesses should look at when considering a place to set their companies at. According to the executive, this includes the country’s regulatory infrastructure, digital infrastructure and its ability to attract a global pool of talent. The executive claims that the UAE checks all these boxes.

Crypto Oasis co-founder Saqr Ereiqat speaking at the Dubai Fintech Summit 

The executive also compared the UAE with the US in terms of regulatory frameworks. While Ereiqat recognized that the UAE and the U.S. have their own “strengths and weaknesses” when it comes to the crypto space, the executive argued that the UAE has taken a more proactive approach to regulating crypto. He explained that: 

“The UAE’s regulatory framework is more streamlined and business-friendly compared to the complex and fragmented regulatory environment in the US.”

Apart from these, the executive also told Cointelegraph that the region has a significant amount of capital, which could potentially help crypto businesses when trying to raise funds for their projects.

Related: Coinbase going international sparks community reactions: ‘Crypto is global’

In addition, the executive recognized that there’s already a growing interest in the region. According to Ereiqat, the latest data they have shows that there are already over 1,800 Web3 organizations in the region with more than 8,000 individuals working in the space. He added that:

“The Dubai FinTech Summit was a significant event that brings together stakeholders from the fintech industry […] The presence of crypto and Web3 leaders and projects at the event is an important indicator of the growing interest and adoption of these technologies in the region.”

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong also expressed similar sentiments in a fireside chat at the Dubai Fintech Summit event. According to the executive, the US may be “a little bit behind” in terms of regulatory clarity. Armstrong also said that the country is an exciting potential international hub for Coinbase.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong in a fireside chat at the Dubai Fintech Summit

Apart from Armstrong, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse also shared his frustration with U.S. regulations at a fireside chat at the event. According to Garlinghouse, defending themselves against the US Securities and Exchange Commission is about to cost the company $200 million. 

Magazine: Crypto City: Guide to Dubai

Crypto VCs made $2.6B worth of deals in the first quarter of 2023

While the crypto space still suffers a bear market, venture capital (VC) firms have still managed to make a number of deals at the start of 2023, proving that the space is very much alive even in what many would call a “crypto winter.”

According to PitchBook’s Crypto Report for the first quarter of 2023, crypto companies were able to raise $2.6 billion across 353 investment rounds. While this proves that the space is still moving, it’s obvious that it’s not as strong as it used to be.

The report showed that there was an 11% decrease in quarter-on-quarter deal value and a 12.2% decrease in the total number of deals. In addition, the quarter also recorded the lowest amount of capital invested in the space since 2020.

Venture capital activity across various quarters. Source: PitchBook 

The report also noted that valuation trends have been mixed. Seed rounds are up by 33.3% and late-stage rounds are up by 209.2% for the quarter compared to the entire year of 2022. However, early-stage rounds are down by 16.7%. 

Related: Animoca Brands reports $3.4B of assets in an interim financial update

While the report recognizes that the decline may potentially continue, it also identified some positive outlooks for the space. According to the data, layer-2 scaling solutions are still able to continue their momentum from 2022. The report cited Blockstream raising $125 million to finance a Bitcoin mining infrastructure and Scroll, a firm building a zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine scaling solution, raising $50 million in a late-stage VC round.

Apart from scaling solutions, custody solution providers Ledger and Taurus both received sizable investments in 2023. On March 30, Ledger raised $109 million as demand for self-custody soared. Meanwhile, Taurus raised $65 million in a Series B on Feb. 14.

Magazine: Crypto Twitter Hall of Flame, Gabriel Haines: Shirtless shitposting and hunting SBF on the meme streets

Pepe memecoin frenzy gets unwanted attention from scammers

As the hype surrounding the PEPE memecoin intensifies, bad actors within the space have started to take notice, resulting in various scam attempts plaguing the crypto space. 

According to blockchain security firm PeckShield, there were at least ten meme coin scams created in the last three days alone. The firm detected and reported scam tokens that recently had their liquidity removed, pulling the rug on investors.

On Twitter, fake Pepe claim sites are also starting to be more prevalent. Cybersecurity company CertiK also issued an alert on a fake Pepe site claiming to provide rewards. The firm warned the community that the website is connected to a phishing contract. 

Meanwhile, the official Telegram group of the Pepe coin community has also been occasionally seeing posts from fake accounts, trying to redirect its members to various websites. Members of the group have tried to consistently report and ban the users who were suspected of promoting scams.

Pepe coin’s creators have repeatedly warned the community to refrain from connecting their wallets with suspicious airdrops and giveaway claims. In addition, the team highlighted that they will not be associated with other tokens or projects. 

Related: PEPE vs. DOGE: How the memecoins performed their first time hitting a $1B market cap

On May 5, the PEPE memecoin hit a $1 billion market capitalization after it got listed on Binance. The token surged by more than 4,000% since its creation mid-April, gaining a total marketcap of $1.82 billion. However, days after its surge, the token’s market capitalization sunk by more than a billion dollars.

The token has also had its share of controversies. Crypto exchange Coinbase has recently warned its users that Pepe has been “co-opted as a hate symbol by alt-right groups.” The exchange’s announcement received backlash from the Pepe community, with some demanding a retraction of the statement and threatening to close their accounts with the exchange.

Magazine: Crypto Twitter Hall of Flame, Gabriel Haines: Shirtless shitposting and hunting SBF on the meme streets

Animoca Brands reports $3.4B of assets in an interim financial update

Venture capital firm Animoca Brands released an interim financial report laying out its key unaudited financial positions as of April 30, 2023. The company revealed around $3.4 billion in assets, claiming it remains financially strong despite recent reports of its valuation plummeting. 

Within the update, the company highlighted a cash and stable balance worth $194 million, liquid digital assets worth $566 million — including reserves in The Sandbox (SAND) tokens — and off-balance sheet tokens worth $2.7 billion for all other Animoca Brands majority-owned Web3 subsidiaries.

According to the firm, it will release additional financial updates beginning with an audited financial statement for 2020. The firm also promised to release financial and business highlights for 2022 and the first quarter of 2023.

The update’s release follows rumors that the company has faced financial struggles. On March 24, a Reuters report citing anonymous sources said that the company had cut its metaverse fund target to $800 million, with its valuation dropping from $6 billion to $2 billion.

Related: ‘No shortage of passion in the Parisian people’ for PBW amid protests — Animoca Brands CEO

The company immediately responded and denied the reports. On March 25, Animoca Brands told Cointelegraph that the claims were incorrect. The firm downplayed suggestions that its valuation plummeted and that it scaled back its metaverse fund target. The company’s co-founder Yat Siu highlighted that the source’s anonymity also makes it difficult to determine their agenda.

In other news, crypto exchange Kraken has created a fake crypto account to bait fraudsters. The company collaborated with popular streamer Kitboga, famous for annoying scammers with his content. Kraken built a custom environment to frustrate someone impersonating United States President Joe Biden.

Magazine: Crypto Twitter Hall of Flame, Gabriel Haines: Shirtless shitposting and hunting SBF on the meme streets

Buying a car with Bitcoin gets $3.7M fine, prison time in Morocco

A crypto user who purchased a luxury car with Bitcoin (BTC) has faced a sentence of 18 months in prison and a $3.7 million fine in Morocco, which still considers the use of crypto as an illegal act. 

A recent report by Euronews has stated that the Casablanca Court of Appeal has upheld the conviction of Thomas Clausi, a 21-year-old French citizen, on charges of fraud and illegal use of cryptocurrency.

According to Clausi’s lawyer, Mohamed Aghanaj, the court confirmed the verdict last week. This decision indicates that the Moroccan judicial system is taking a strong stance against cryptocurrency use in the country.

Using BTC to purchase a Ferrari resulted in Clausi’s arrest in 2021, as Moroccan customs deems the use of cryptocurrency to be an unlawful transfer of funds. Clausi was imprisoned in December 2021 on charges of “fraud” and “use of foreign currency for payment within Moroccan borders,” with a prison sentence and a fine which was handed down in October of the same year.

The legal case against Clausi began after a woman, who lived in Casablanca, accused him of “fraud” after exchanging the luxury car for a Bitcoin payment of around $437,000. 

According to Aghanaj, Clausi still has a month left to serve in prison.

Related: Porsche NFT trading volume nears $5M despite launch woes, minting halt

Despite its illegal status in the country, Morocco was hailed as the number one in BTC trading across North Africa in 2021. According to Triple A, a Singaporean cryptocurrency provider and aggregator, about 0.9 million individuals, equivalent to approximately 2.4% of Morocco’s entire population, currently possess cryptocurrency.

More than a year later, the country has started to finalize a crypto regulatory framework that will legally define crypto within its market according to its central bank.

Magazine: $3.4B of Bitcoin in a popcorn tin: The Silk Road hacker’s story

Bitcoin Ordinals make their way to Binance: Nifty Newsletter, May 3–9

In this week’s newsletter, learn about emerging technologies creating new ethics for humankind. Read about the nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace Binance NFTs adding support for Bitcoin Ordinals on its platform, and check out why Kenyan lawmakers are considering a tax on crypto and NFT transfers. In other news, former OpenSea manager Nathaniel Chastain was found guilty of insider trading in a federal court in New York, and don’t forget this week’s Nifty News, featuring Pudgy Penguins signing a deal with a major Hollywood agency. 

Emerging tech to create “new ethics” for humankind: MEWS 2023

At the Metaverse Entertainment Worlds conference in Monaco, legal expert and mathematics Ph.D. holder Stephen Castell discussed with Cointelegraph how technologies like blockchain and artificial technologies are transforming ethics and the banking sector.

Castell emphasized the importance of trust in the emerging tech industry and how it connects to the recent banking crisis in the United States. He noted that trust was a foundational concept of a bank at its inception.

Continue reading

Bitcoin Ordinals hit Binance NFT Marketplace in latest update

Bitcoin Ordinals, also informally dubbed as Bitcoin NFTs, will be supported on the Binance NFT Marketplace later in May, according to an announcement from the crypto exchange.

Users will be able to purchase and trade Bitcoin ordinals from existing Binance accounts, with the update including royalty support and revenue-generating opportunities for creators.

Continue reading

Kenya considers tax on crypto, NFT transfers and online influencers

Kenyan lawmakers are considering imposing a 3% tax on crypto and NFT transfers. A newly-introduced bill in the Kenyan parliament aims to enact a digital asset tax on income from the transfer of digital assets, including NFTs.

The proposed tax will require exchanges or those initiating the crypto or NFT transfers to collect and submit the tax to the government. In addition to crypto and NFTs, the new tax regime also aims to tax monetized online content.

Continue reading

Jury convicts former OpenSea manager in NFT insider trading case

Former OpenSea employee Nathaniel Chastain has been found guilty of wire fraud and money laundering in a federal court in New York. The former OpenSea employee was accused of insider trading after purchasing NFTs selected to be featured on the marketplace.

The defense attorney argued that Chastain wasn’t guilty because he was not informed that the information he received was confidential. However, the prosecution responded that the former OpenSea employee knowingly broke the law and used anonymous accounts to conceal the trades.

Continue reading

Nifty News: Pudgy Penguins signs with WME, Bitblox to make Web3 gambling games and more

NFT collection Pudgy Penguins signed a deal with Hollywood talent agency William Morris Endeavor (WME). The popular NFT project aims to spread its intellectual property through television, film and gaming. Meanwhile, startup Cryptoys revealed the launch of Star Wars NFT collectibles, which will be hosted on the Flow blockchain.

Continue reading


Thanks for reading this digest of the week’s most notable developments in the NFT space. Come again next Wednesday for more reports and insights into this actively evolving space.

Pepe vs. Doge: How memecoins performed first time hitting $1B market cap

Memes, internet jokes, and popular culture references have become an integral part of online communities. Because of this, cryptocurrencies inevitably gave birth to a new wave of assets called “memecoins.” While some argue that these coins are just a fad, others might also believe in their potential to bring financial gain to their investors. 

One of the most popular memecoins that was recently launched is a frog-themed token called PEPE. The token has gained traction amid the bear market and garnered a lot of support from various members of the community despite its official website saying “the coin is completely useless and for entertainment purposes only.”

According to its creators, PEPE is on a mission to “make memecoins great again” a play on former United States president Donald Trump’s political slogan, make America great again. The project also expressed its intent to surpass dog-inspired meme coins that “already have had their day” and have Pepe, which they argue to be the most recognizable meme in the world, take its place as the “king of memes.”

As it makes its way to the top, PEPE has to surpass the current king that sits on top of the charts for memecoins–Dogecoin. In a Cointelegraph Twitter poll back on April 25, DOGE still remained on top when Twitter was asked what they think will have the biggest market capitalization in 2025. However, PEPE came in close and claimed second place.

PEPE and Dogecoin (DOGE) have their similarities and will inevitably perform differently from each other. Both crypto tokens gained a significant following and were created for a similar reason which is entertainment. However, the difference lies in their journey to a $1 billion market capitalization and performances after hitting the market capitalization. 

Dogecoin’s journey to the top of the memecoin world

Dogecoin was created four years after the genesis block of Bitcoin (BTC) was mined. It was created by software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer, attempting to poke fun at the cryptocurrency space. 

The memecoin first gained traction in January 2014 as it reached a market capitalization of $60 million. Four years later, the token’s market capitalization reached $1 billion for the first time as the coin’s price reached $0.0100.

Days after DOGE hit the milestone, the cryptocurrency proceeded to pump up to $0.0175, bringing its market capitalization to $1.98 billion before falling to a $784 million marketcap, when the price fell to $0.0069 back on January 16, 2018.

DOGE’s price chart in 2018 after it first reached $1 billion market capitalization. Source: CoinGecko

Almost four years later, the crypto had another run, breaking its previous record. On May 8, 2021, the token reached a market capitalization of $88 billion as its price reached an all-time high of $0.7315 per token. The price action is commonly associated with the bull run of 2021-2022 where token prices soared as BTC reached new highs. 

Related: You can now create a shitcoin in less than 23 seconds

Contrary to the expectations of its founders, DOGE became one of the most prominent cryptocurrencies to ever exist. At the time of writing, the token sits on a $10 billion market capitalization, surpassing tokens like Solana (SOL) and Polygon (MATIC) which arguably have more use cases than DOGE.

PEPE’s performance after hitting a $1 billion marketcap

Unlike DOGE, which took almost four years before reaching the milestone, PEPE gained popularity very quickly. Just three weeks after its launch, the meme-inspired crypto almost instantly shot up to $1 billion market capitalization. The token gained support and got listed in various exchanges from Bybit up to Binance. 

PEPE’s market capitalization reaching $1.8 billion. Source: CoinGecko

The token performed quite similarly to DOGE after hitting the $1 billion mark. After getting to $1 billion on May 5, the up-and-coming memecoin also almost reached a $2 billion marketcap on the same day. However, after reaching $1.82 billion in market capitalization, the token’s marketcap quickly plummeted to $725 million on May 9. 

At the time of writing, the token trades at $0.00000192 per token with a market capitalization of $800 million.

Magazine: $3.4B of Bitcoin in a popcorn tin: The Silk Road hacker’s story

Biden calls to end $18B ‘crypto tax loopholes’ —community begs to differ

United States President Joe Biden recently shared an infographic on Twitter, calling to end “tax loopholes” that allegedly help wealthy crypto investors. Members of the community responded to the tweet, questioning the figures shared by the president and if the said loopholes do exist. 

Cutting such loopholes would save about $18 billion according to Biden. However, the president did not provide any information as to which loopholes existed and what types of reforms would lead to the potential savings amount that the president shared. 

Cutting such loopholes would save about $18 billion according to Biden. However, the president did not provide any information as to which loopholes existed and what types of reforms would lead to the potential savings amount that the president shared. 

Pseudonymous crypto researcher FatMan responded saying that Biden’s “facts are off.” The crypto analyst highlighted that the crypto market shrank by $1.4 trillion in 2022 while corporate profits in the U.S. were at $11.8 trillion. “The crypto market is both much smaller & fell heavily. We both know where the loopholes really are,” FatMan tweeted.

Dogecoin co-founder Billy Markus also replied to Biden’s tweet. Markus asked which loopholes existed and claimed that he gave the government more money than what he made in crypto, “while taking all the risk.” Markus then proceeded to point out that most American crypto users are not rich but are trying to use it because they do not have enough.

Meanwhile, another community member was seemingly frustrated, calling out the administration for going after crypto while receiving funding from the former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.

Community member asking President Biden to give back the money received from FTX. Source: Twitter

While others are unsure of what crypto tax loopholes the president is tweeting about, Redditors theorized that it may be the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wash sale rule, which prohibits selling securities at a loss and reacquiring it within 30 days, not being applied to crypto yet. 

Related: White House silent on whether it will return $5.2M in donations from SBF

An example of this would be MacroStrategy’s move to sell Bitcoin back in December. On Dec. 21, MicroStrategy’s subsidiary MacroStrategy sold 704 Bitcoin (BTC) at an average price of $16,776 per BTC. The company also highlighted its intent to reduce its tax bill.

On Jan 3, tax attorney and CPA Selva Ozelli broke down the sale and explained that it’s a common strategy called tax-loss harvesting, where investors choose to reduce capital gains by selling their digital assets at a loss.

Magazine: $3.4B of Bitcoin in a popcorn tin: The Silk Road hacker’s story

How blockchains can solve greenwashing and contribute to climate action

As concerns about climate change and environmental sustainability continue to grow, many organizations are turning to innovative solutions to help address these pressing issues. One such solution is blockchain technology, which has the potential to revolutionize sustainability efforts across a variety of industries. 

On April 25, a World Economic Forum (WEF) whitepaper featured blockchain as a tool to fight climate change. The whitepaper highlighted the benefits of using blockchains in the climate action community. From improving market transparency to democratizing access to climate action, the WEF wrote about various benefits of using blockchain in sustainability efforts.

To further explore blockchain’s potential in sustainability, Cointelegraph reached out to industry executives to get their knowledge on how blockchain can combat greenwashing, how it’s currently being used in environmental efforts, and the long-term benefits it offers to the world of climate action. 

Solving the “greenwashing” problem

Greenwashing, a form of advertising that deceptively make products seem more sustainable than they actually are, has been gaining notoriety throughout the past few years. In one survey, 68% of executives based in the United States admitted that their firms are guilty of greenwashing. 

According to Daniela Barbosa, the executive director of Hyperledger Foundation, the problem lies with verifying if the companies who claim to be “green” are truly adhering to their professed sustainability plans and goals. 

The executive believes that it’s necessary to set up a system that tracks and keeps a record of these things. She highlighted that digital ledger technology (DLT) is the right tool for the job. Barbosa explained:

“With the inherent transparency and immutability of DLT, companies and whole industries can capture and document transactions such as carbon credits or sustainable sourcing throughout their operations, creating new credibility to sustainability claims.” 

Barbosa believes that trustworthy record-keeping systems will incentivize businesses to adopt sustainable practices, which will help them achieve climate goals and build consumer trust.

Related: Carbon market gets a much-needed boost from blockchain technology — Web3 exec

Meanwhile, Gene Hoffman, the CEO and president of the Chia Network, also echoed Barbosa’s sentiments. According to Hoffman, the current infrastructure of carbon markets is restrictive and not conducive to innovation throughout the value chain. As a result, companies are limited in their ability to be transparent about their sustainability efforts across their entire organization.

Blockchain’s current use in sustainable initiatives

The days of companies pretending to be sustainable and environmentally friendly may soon come to an end because of blockchain technology and DLTs. At the moment, blockchain has penetrated various initiatives done by prominent organizations across the globe. 

“There is a growing range of applications leveraging DLT and related technologies, including green finance, sustainability reporting, climate accounting and supply chain traceability,” Barbosa told Cointelegraph.

The executive highlighted efforts like Genesis 2.0, a collaboration between the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub, Hong Kong Monetary Authority and United Nations (UN) Climate Change Global Innovation Hub. The project involved two prototypes for digitizing bonds with future carbon benefits included in their value. These were tracked, delivered and transferred using blockchain, smart contracts and other related technologies.

How blockchain can help fighting against climate change. Source: UNEP DTU

Apart from this, Barbosa also highlighted how the Government of British Columbia launched the Energy and Mines Digital Trust pilot which is building verifiable sustainability reporting. The project uses blockchain to protect its data and information. 

In addition to these, Hoffman sees the Climate Action Data Trust (CADT) as the most impactful climate initiative utilizing blockchain technology. The CADT aims to establish trust in carbon credit-related data among multilateral and governmental organizations.

Although it is not being led by Web3 natives, the initiative utilizes a public distributed ledger technology to address the issue of fostering internal cooperation among equal peers.

Furthermore, Hoffman also emphasized the significance of the Carbon Opportunities Fund, which builds on the foundation of the CADT. The project provides a reliable means for transparently sourcing carbon credits directly from project developers with end-to-end transparency. This approach enhances efficiency and transparency in climate markets that were previously opaque, according to Hoffman.

Long-term benefits of using blockchain in sustainability efforts

As blockchain gets more adoption in the climate action space, the industry could reap more of its long-term benefits according to the executives. Victor Genin, the senior solution architect at BNB Chain, believes that one of the best benefits of using blockchain in the sustainability sector is ensuring compliance. 

Genin explained that blockchains can provide a means to track goods, services and resources across the supply chain. “This creates an opportunity to monitor environmental compliance and ensure that sustainable practices are followed throughout the entire lifecycle of a product or service,” he added.

Apart from these, Genin highlighted that there are other benefits such as “increased transparency and accountability, traceability, energy efficiency, waste reduction, and collaborative approaches.”

Despite all the benefits that blockchain can bring to the table, Hoffman believes that it’s still not a “magical solution.” However, the executive believes that when it’s designed and implemented responsibly, blockchain technology can serve as the necessary foundation or framework for achieving greater transparency, accountability, and security in climate action efforts.

Magazine: US enforcement agencies are turning up the heat on crypto-related crime

WallStreetBets mod dumps memecoin worth $635K in alleged rug pull

A moderator of the popular trading subreddit r/WallStreetBets has dumped a large portion of the WSB Coin (WSB), a token project that claims to be the official memecoin of Wall Street Bets.

On May 2, WSB was launched by people involved in moderating the WallStreetBets Reddit forum. The subreddit gained notoriety for the GameStop short squeeze, sending hedge funds to their knees in January 2021.

The creators of the WSB token claimed that there would be no allocation for the team and that 10% of the coins would be reserved for the subreddit. The website writes:

“It’s the fairest launch memecoin you will find with no team allocation and no presale. Just a free airdrop and some coins for the community. 10% of the $WSB supply is reserved as a treasury for the r/wallstreetbets sub to do with as they please.”

However, just days later, one of the token’s team members started to dump massive amounts of tokens. On May 4, on-chain detective ZachXBT tweeted that “zjz.eth,” who runs the moderation bots for the subreddit, has allegedly pulled the rug on WSB investors. On-chain data shows that zjz.eth has sold WSB coins in exchange for 334 Ether (ETH), worth around $635,000 at the time of writing.

Related: KuCoin confirms an exchange user is behind alleged daily rug pulls

The token price dropped massively after the dump, going from an all-time high of $0.00067279 to an all-time low of $0.00004827 in two days. Community members warned people to refrain from buying the dip as the moderators still have access to 10% of the total supply.

Meanwhile, another moderator who goes by WSBmod has threatened to report those who were involved in the dump to the police and the FBI if they don’t reach out. The moderator urged zjz.eth to return the money. 

Cointelegraph tried to reach out to zjz.eth but did not get an immediate response.

Magazine: US enforcement agencies are turning up the heat on crypto-related crime

Sotheby’s launches on-chain secondary NFT marketplace: Nifty Newsletter, April 26–May 2

In this week’s newsletter, read about Sotheby’s auction house launching a secondary nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace. Find out about the popular marketplace Blur introducing an NFT lending protocol, and learn how a neobank has introduced soulbound NFTs for Know Your Customer (KYC) information. In other news, sellers are dominating the NFT market, and Meta is offsetting losses in its metaverse unit with artificial intelligence efforts. 

Sotheby’s auction house launches on-chain secondary NFT marketplace

Sotheby’s has launched an on-chain marketplace for NFTs. The platform allows purchasing secondary NFTs with Ether (ETH) or Polygon (MATIC), with artist royalties automatically paid according to their chosen rate through smart contracts.

The platform will try to distinguish itself by offering a selection of artists handpicked by specialists from the auction house. On May 1, Sotheby’s announced that its platform would launch with works from 13 digital artists, including XCOPY, Claire Silver, Tyler Hobbs and Hackatao.

Continue reading

Blur introduces NFT perpetual lending protocol

Budding NFT marketplace Blur has launched Blend, a perpetual lending protocol that supports NFT collateral. The platform was developed in partnership with venture capital firm Paradigm and aims for “financialization to scale,” while offering no oracle dependencies or expiries.

Blend matches lenders and borrowers through an off-chain offer protocol with no fees. The protocol offers indefinite borrowing positions until terminated, allowing borrowers and lenders to extend the loan expiration time by a predetermined period.

Continue reading

Neobank introduces soulbound NFTs for wallet holders’ KYC information

Cogni, a neobank with Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation coverage, is introducing soulbound NFTs for KYC information to its crypto wallet holders. The bank’s soulbound NFTs are nontransferable, and decentralized applications (DApps) can decrypt them only with the owner’s permission. The NFTs will satisfy KYC requirements in the United States and will be available to partnering DApps without further action required.

According to Cogni founder Archie Ravishankar, they are trying to provide a crypto wallet that offers something similar to the “normal banking experience.” Cogni also foresees the creation of a DApp marketplace that can be connected with only a few clicks, including KYC verification.

Continue reading

NFT markets are out of balance, with sellers dominating: Data

The NFT market has struggled due to buyer and seller mismatch in April. According to data from NFT tracker NFTGo, the number of sellers outnumbered the number of buyers in the NFT market throughout the month.

The data shows that on April 5, there was an increase in buyers, recording 18,495 NFT purchasers. However, the analytics site also recorded 36,423 sellers on the same day. Meanwhile, April 19 became the second-lowest point in the past twelve months with only 5,893 buyers, a slight increase from the lowest recorded date on June 18 last year.

Continue reading

Metaverse division’s $4B loss drags on positive first quarter for Meta

Despite its losses from its metaverse unit amounting to almost $4 billion, Meta posted a solid profit of $5.7 billion in its earnings report. The firm’s artificial intelligence projects offset the losses in its metaverse efforts. According to Mark Zuckerberg, its AI efforts have provided promising results across the business.

In addition, the Meta CEO also highlighted that the company is becoming more efficient in building better products. This puts them in a better position to deliver long-term results.

Continue reading



Thanks for reading this digest of the week’s most notable developments in the NFT space. Come again next Wednesday for more reports and insights into this actively evolving space.

Coinbase going international sparks community reactions: ‘Crypto is global’

Amid the regulatory struggles in the United States, crypto exchange Coinbase has decided to bring its business abroad with a global platform. Following this, members of the crypto community expressed their opinions, with some criticizing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and others expressing confidence in crypto’s future. 

On May 2, the exchange announced the launch of Coinbase International Exchange (CIE), which is a crypto derivatives platform catering to institutional investors. Trading in the exchange will be offered to institutional clients in eligible jurisdictions outside of the U.S.

Coinbase has been preparing this move since March, as many U.S. regulators aimed at crypto firms for their perceived roles in the collapses of Silvergate, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature. 

As the company’s international exchange was launched, various community members expressed their support for Coinbase and crypto’s growth worldwide. Tyler Winklevoss, the CEO of Gemini, which also recently launched a global derivatives platform, tweeted that “crypto is global” and expressed that it’s important that everyone is leaning into this.

Meanwhile, a community member said that Coinbase’s new move is a good step for crypto. “Crypto is the future and it is taking off, with or without certain countries who choose to over-regulate against crypto,” they tweeted. On Reddit, a community member believes that Coinbase made a great decision. According to the Redditor, it’s better for Coinbase to be safe than sorry.

Related: Coinbase officers, board members face suit over alleged insider trading during listing

While some celebrated the new development, others turned their pitchforks toward U.S. regulators. Community member Jesse Dow expressed dissatisfaction towards SEC chair Gary Gensler, accusing him of being “someone with an agenda.”

Moreover, John Deaton, the founder of Crypto Law US, claimed that the SEC has “failed miserably to protect investors.” The lawyer posted that the commission has not maintained fair, orderly and efficient markets. 

Magazine: Crypto regulation: Does SEC Chair Gary Gensler have the final say?

Bhutan’s DHI and Bitdeer to raise $500M to develop sustainable mining operations

Nasdaq-listed mining company Bitdeer Technologies Group and Bhutan’s sovereign investment arm Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) have teamed up to create eco-friendly and carbon-free digital asset mining operations in the Kingdom of Bhutan. 

In an announcement sent to Cointelegraph, Bitdeer and DHI said that they will launch the partnership by creating a closed-end fund with an approximate value of $500 million. The firms aim to start their fundraising efforts at the end of May, with the objective of attracting investments from around the world.

Jihan Wu, the chairman of Bitdeer, expressed enthusiasm about collaborating with DHI. According to Wu, the company will work with DHI to utilize Bhutan’s zero-emission energy to support blockchain technologies, which will eventually establish an unchangeable foundation for a universal store of value. He also added that the fund will provide a platform to develop international stakeholder networks that will contribute to Bhutan’s tech sector.

Meanwhile, Ujjwal Deep Dahal, the CEO of DHI, also expressed enthusiasm about collaborating with Bitdeer on the project. He explained that DHI’s goal is to enhance the lives of Bhutanese people and believes that the partnership with Bitdeer is a step towards a more sustainable domestic economy. 

The partnership is expected to create employment opportunities in various fields, including engineering, project management, and supervisory and supportive roles. Moreover, it is expected to stimulate economic growth and generate revenue in foreign currency for the local community and the country.

Related: Bitcoin proponents respond to New York Times’ BTC mining report

On April 17, it was revealed in court documents that the Kingdom of Bhutan was quietly investing millions in cryptocurrencies. Through its sovereign investment arm DHI, Bhutan grew a crypto portfolio without disclosing it to the public. The funds were discovered in the Celsius and BlockFi bankruptcy process.

Following the revelation of its secret investments, it was also discovered that the Himalayan kingdom has been mining Bitcoin (BTC) using hydropower since April 2019, when BTC price was around $5,000.

Magazine: Asia Express: US and China try to crush Binance, SBF’s $40M bribe claim

Blur NFT lending protocol gets mixed reactions from the community

Nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace Blur has recently launched its collateralized lending protocol called Blend, allowing a buy now, pay later approach in purchasing NFTs. 

Members of the community had varying reactions. Some believe that it’s massive for the space while others called on the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to protect users against such products.

On May 1, Blur launched a peer-to-peer perpetual lending protocol called Blend, a platform they developed with the help of the venture capital firm Paradigm. The protocol supports NFT collateral, and the team claims that it would collect zero fees from both lenders and borrowers.

A community member praised Blur’s new move and believes that it’s “massive for the space” and makes things more efficient. They tweeted:

Meanwhile, another Twitter user thinks that the new development from the OpenSea competitor is a good distraction from the “overall negative sentiment” within the NFT space. The community member may be referring to the dwindling number of NFT buyers in April. According to data from the analytics platform NFTGo, sellers dominated the NFT market in the month. 

Related: The gamble of crypto airdrop hunting and what it means for blockchain devs

While some were focused on the positives, others expressed their disapproval of NFT lending. A community member highlighted the risk of not being able to pay the loan and losing much more money in the process. Meanwhile, an NFT collector took the opportunity to give a lesson on NFTs.

Web3 lawyer Jesse Hynes tagged the SEC’s Twitter account and said that this was the type of activity that the commission should be protecting investors from. According to Hynes, it’s “extremely dangerous.” 

Blur has been constantly positioning itself within the NFT space, prompting moves from OpenSea in what the community informally refers to as the “NFT marketplace wars.” On Feb. 18, OpenSea implemented 0% fees to win back its users from Blur. OpenSea has also recently launched an advanced NFT marketplace aggregator in another effort to rock the boat.

Magazine: Nonfungible tokens; The Quick Guide

KuCoin confirms an exchange user is behind alleged daily rug pulls

Crypto exchange KuCoin confirmed that the address that’s allegedly responsible for launching thousands of meme coin scams belongs to one of its users. However, the exchange will not freeze the user’s assets without any official notice from law enforcement. 

On April 26, a Twitter user identified a wallet address that launched 2-5 meme coins daily for two years. Another community member pointed out that the wallet addresses were “owned and controlled” by KuCoin. At the moment, blockchain explorer Etherscan has already marked the said address as a fake phishing wallet.

In a statement sent to Cointelegraph, the crypto exchange confirmed that the wallet address belongs to one of its users. According to KuCoin Johnny Lyu, while the address does belong to one of the users of the platform, they will not freeze the account until they receive a notice from the relevant authorities. Lyu explained that: 

“When the reporting party has provided relevant legal documents, procedures, or reporting records, we will assist and cooperate with law enforcement agencies to take temporary risk control measures in accordance with complaints and reports, user agreements and Seychelles laws.”

In addition, the exchange told Cointelegraph that if community members encounter any suspicious behavior, they must report it to the police and submit the relevant materials to their team. Lyu added that they would be pleased to cooperate after receiving the required documents.

Related: KuCoin Wallet spins off from KuCoin exchange, rebrands as Halo Wallet

The KuCoin exchange has constantly been facing various challenges just in the past week. On April 24, the platform’s official Twitter account was compromised and posted a fake activity, resulting in some of its followers losing their assets. After identifying the breach, the exchange worked with Twitter to recover the social media account and promised to reimburse the victims affected by the hack.

Magazine: US enforcement agencies are turning up the heat on crypto-related crime

Celsius creditors demand transparency on ‘suspicious’ FTX transactions

Celsius creditors claim that some FTX users have engaged in suspicious trades that may have manipulated the price of the Celsius (CEL) token in 2022. The creditors are seeking the help of a bankruptcy judge to unmask the users in question.

Represented by a committee, creditors of Celsius Network have requested permission from a bankruptcy judge to issue subpoenas to FTX, seeking information on users associated with ten cryptocurrency wallets that were allegedly involved in suspicious trades of Celsius’ CEL coin between April and August.

The creditors believe that the information from FTX will help them determine whether the trades were legitimate or constituted market manipulation, such as wash trading. The request for subpoenas was made in court papers filed on April 26.

According to the committee, it employed the help of blockchain consultant Elementus to identify transactions that were suspicious. The filing wrote:

“Elementus identified 947 transactions involving a near one-to-one relationship of CEL Token deposits and withdrawals over three-day periods between ten private wallets and ten FTX-operated wallets.”

The committee representing Celsius Network’s creditors has stated that the information they are seeking from FTX is crucial in determining whether the trades involving CEL were intended to inflate its price artificially.

Related: Celsius auction has Gemini and Coinbase as new bidders: Report

In addition, the committee is requesting information regarding any short positions taken on CEL. This could have also had a negative impact on its price, according to the court filing. The creditors believe that it’s important to determine whether the trades were legitimate, as it could be critical to resolving a dispute related to Celsius’ bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, collapsed crypto exchange FTX has entered into a purchase agreement with an affiliate of Miami International Holdings to sell LedgerX, its futures and options exchange and clearinghouse, for approximately $50 million. The deal is pending approval from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, with a hearing scheduled for May 4.

Magazine: 4 out of 10 NFT sales are fake: Learn to spot the signs of wash trading

Romania to launch national NFT marketplace: Nifty Newsletter, April 19–25

In this week’s newsletter, read about how Romania plans to drive Web3 adoption in the country using NFTs. Check out how Sotheby’s will auction off some NFTs of the collapsed crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital. In other news, find out how games and tokenization are driving the maturation of the NFT space and how a second batch of Trump NFTs sold out a day after launch. And don’t forget this week’s Nifty News featuring Yuga Labs’ victory in court.

Romania plugs into Web3 with national NFT marketplace

Romania’s National Institute for Research and Development in Informatics, known as ICI Bucharest, has announced that it will launch an institutional NFT platform to drive Web3 adoption in the country.

According to Paul Niculescu-Mizil Gheorghe, ICI Bucharest’s blockchain laboratory coordinator, NFTs have become valuable assets for institutions due to their innate capability of creating unique and scarce assets. Gheorghe said this can be applied to numerous use cases.

Continue reading…

Sotheby’s will auction off part of 3AC’s digital art collection

Fine art broker Sotheby’s announced it will auction some NFT artworks assembled as part of collapsed hedge fund Three Arrows Capital’s (3AC) digital portfolio. The company will begin the auction with seven NFTs Sotheby’s executive Michael Bouhanna described as “some of the highest quality and rarest works.”

The auction includes a zombie CryptoPunk, an Autoglyph and “The Golden Goose,” which was bought by 3AC’s founders for around $5.8 million in Ether (ETH).

Continue reading…

NFT.NYC: Games and tokenization are driving NFT industry maturation

At the recent 2023 NFT.NYC conference, Cointelegraph’s ground team spoke with companies and developers to find out how NFT-powered gaming projects are coming online and driving the industry’s maturation.

Immutable co-founder Alex Connolly said that there’s increased competition within Web3 gaming as new projects aim to address challenges like interoperability.

Continue reading…

New Trump NFTs sell out on day one

A second collection of NFTs that licensed the name and image of Donald Trump sold out on April 19. The collection netted over $4.6 million and featured 47,000 Trump NFTs worth $99 each.

Despite Trump’s image being the center of the NFTs, the collection is neither owned nor managed by Trump or The Trump Organization. Instead, it uses the former United States president’s name and image under a paid license.

Continue reading…

Nifty News: Yuga Labs scores court battle win, Mandala Metaverse to drop on Polkadot and more

Cross-chain augmented reality (AR) game Mandala Metaverse will drop an NFT hosted by Polkadot parachain Astar Network. Dubbed “Cryptonauts,” the drop features avatars that will become playable characters in the game. Meanwhile, Yuga Labs scored a key win in its court battle with the creator of the Bored Ape Yacht Club copycat collection RR/BAYC.

Continue reading…


Thanks for reading this digest of the week’s most notable developments in the NFT space. Come again next Wednesday for more reports and insights into this actively evolving space.