Meta ‘ruined’ the term metaverse, but now it’s evolving: Yuga Labs CEO

Big Tech player Meta gave the metaverse a bad name when it pushed its janky vision to the masses. Luckily, open online virtual worlds have continued to evolve, says Yuga Labs CEO Daniel Alegre.

Speaking to Cointelegraph at Token 2049 in Singapore, Alegre said the problem with the metaverse is that Meta “ruined the term because it said: ‘This is something brand new’” — despite other metaverse platforms already existing.

“I was at Activision Blizzard, we had World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft is a metaverse, Fortnite is a metaverse — so the metaverse is evolving, I think, in very, very positive ways.”

Alegre said the low userbase is a core issue of Meta’s Horizon Worlds — but it’s otherwise only useful “if there was a reason to be there.”

“[Users] go in and say ‘Hey, Mark, so cool to see you…So now what?’ It just flopped, there’s a huge echo in the room.”

He added unlike Horizon Worlds, Yuga’s upcoming Otherside metaverse — in development since at least March 2022 with no official launch date — came from a need by their community of nonfungible tokenholders to have a digital space to connect.

“The digital connection is what they’ve asked us to do,” Alegre said. “At its core, [Otherside] a way for our community to connect digitally in one location.”

So far, Otherside has only been glimpsed through a handful of early access demos and a “vibe check” by a focus group in July. Alegre said Yuga recently conducted another limited experience of Otherside with “core members.”

Otherside’s up-and-running peer The Sandbox has also sought to bring culture online, with its co-founder Sebastien Borget telling Cointelegraph that it’s creating neighborhoods on its platform that mirror countries such as Singapore and Türkiye.

NFTs diverging down “two avenues”

Alegre said he’s also seeing a divergence in how NFTs are being viewed. On one hand, NFTs are being valued purely for their art and history. On the other, they’re valued for their community and intellectual property rights.

“Those are two avenues that this is all going down,” he opined.

He compared the use cases between the NFT projects CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) — both Yuga-owned properties where holders own the commercial IP — to highlight how holders use them.

CryptoPunks — an early NFT collection — are being exposed to “top museums and collectors” who are starting to see the value of owning the original, according to Alegre.

Related: Shrapnel Web3 shooter won’t let US users cash out, thanks to Gensler

Meanwhile, BAYC holders have created a community and Alegre claims “more than 900 holders of Apes are building businesses on top of the Apes.”

Alegre shows a coffee pack emblazoned with a Bored Ape given to him by the owner of the BAYC #9472 NFT. Source: Andrew Fenton/Cointelegraph

He said Yuga was in a similar position to YouTube where its user-generated content (UGC) model allowed businesses to be built around sharing videos on the platform.

“You have media companies based on UGC and creative agencies and advertising. You’re starting to see the same thing evolve with the Bored Ape community.”

“It shows you that NFTs, and NFT ownership if you give it to the community they take it in ways that you can never imagine,” Alegre said. “Both in the offline space as well as the online space.”

Magazine: NFT Collector: Creative AI art, Tomorrowland sells tomorrow’s future

Singapore’s central bank slugs Three Arrows founders with 9-year ban

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued a nine-year prohibition order to Three Arrows Capital (3AC) founders Kyle Davies and Zhu Su over alleged violations of the country’s securities laws.

In a Sept. 14 statement, MAS said Su and Davies will be banned from regulated activities and won’t be permitted to manage, act as a director, or be a substantial shareholder of any capital market services business during the prohibition period that started Sept. 13.

In its decision to bar the pair, MAS said Su and Davies failed to notify the central bank that 3AC employed a new business representative, gave false information to the regulator and failed to have an appropriate risk management framework in place.

This is a developing story, and further information will be added as it becomes available.

Binance.US cuts third of staff as CEO Brian Shroder leaves

Binance.US, the United States arm of the crypto exchange has reportedly cut around a third of its staff — or 100 positions — with its president and CEO Brian Shroder also departing the firm.

On Sep. 13, Bloomberg reported, citing a Binance.US spokesperson, that Shroder was replaced on an interim basis by chief legal officer Norman Reed.

Shroder joined Binance.US in September 2021 and his departure comes amid a slew of regulatory actions taken against the firm in recent months.

Related: Binance’s Richard Teng denies FTX comparisons: ‘We welcome the scrutiny’

Earlier this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Binance, Binance.US, and its co-founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao alleging it operated an illegal exchange, sold unregistered securities, violated commodities laws and mishandled customer funds.

Binance.US did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This is a developing story, and further information will be added as it becomes available.

Magazine: Deposit risk: What do crypto exchanges really do with your money?

DeFi group petitions to stop ‘patent troll’ targeting DeFi protocols

A decentralized finance (DeFi) advocacy body has petitioned the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to review a patent owned by a company it has accused of being a a “patent troll” — a firm that aims to profit from patent lawsuits.

In a Sep. 11 blog post the DeFi Education Fund (DEF) said on Sep. 7 it filed an over 90 page petition to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in a bid to cancel a patent owned by True Return Systems.

Granted in 2018, the patent lays claim to a process for “linking off-chain data to a blockchain,” DEF legal chief Amanda Tuminelli said in a Sep.11 X (Twitter) post.

Tuminelli claimed True Return tried to sell its patent as a nonfungible token (NFT). After no buyer it filed suit against the DeFi protocols MakerDAO and Compound Finance in October.

“Clearly [True Return’s] goal was to name defendants who could not answer the complaint so [it] could get a default judgement,” Tuminelli said.

She claimed True Return would try to enforce the court’s ruling against token holders and repeat the process with other protocols “that either can’t challenge them in court or don’t have the resources to do so.”

DEF claimed True Return’s tech in the patent isn’t new at the time it was granted and claims to highlight similar existing tech such as the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) along with the decentralized storage platforms Sia, Storj and Swarm.

True Return Systems acknowledged Cointelegraph’s request for comment but did not immediately provide a comment.

Related: SEC’s Gary Gensler to hold firm on crypto enforcement in Senate hearing

DEF said it launched the petition with USPTO to defend the ability to use and develop open source software, to stop any potential plans by True Return to sue crypto projects and help MakerDAO and Compound’s legal defence.

True Return has three months to optionally respond to the petition, after six months the USPTO must make a decision if it will move forward with reviewing the patent where it has 12 months to decide if the patent should be cancelled.

Magazine: Hall of Flame: Crypto lawyer Irina Heaver on death threats, lawsuit predictions

BIP-300 biff: Debate reignites over years-old Bitcoin Drivechain proposal

A debate has reignited among Bitcoiners over a six-year-old Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) to add “sidechains” on top of the network, with some warning it could increase scams on the Bitcoin network and others saying it will bring new users of the cryptocurrency.

Meanwhile, one developer claims to have found a way to achieve the proposal’s goal without a soft fork of the blockchain.

The proposal in question, BIP-300 — also known as Bitcoin (BTC) Drivechains — was first introduced in 2017, which proposed introducing “sidechains” that are separate blockchains on top of the Bitcoin network.

Paul Sztorc, the proposal’s author and founder of the Drivechain development firm LayerTwo Labs which raised $3 million in December, has explained the blockchains would allow for BTC to move onto them and create altcoins.

However, the debate over the proposal was kicked up again when a Bitcoin core developer known as Luke Dashjr rewrote the proposal’s code and requested to add it to Bitcoin’s codebase on Aug. 22.

BIP-300 would require a soft fork of Bitcoin that would be activated by miners — not unlike the Taproot soft fork in November 2021 that paved the way for the equally controversial nonfungible token (NFT) emulating Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens that launched earlier this year.

On Sep. 10, Maxim Orlovsky, the CEO of blockchain scaling solutions project Pandora, posted on X (Twitter) claiming he was able to create a two-way peg on Bitcoin without a soft fork of the blockchain which BIP-300 requires.

In an accompanying note Orlovsky explained an old project proposal could work as a BIP-300 alternative with an oracle working to validate a sidechain and “the protocol will reach consensus on whether the state reported by the oracle is correct.”

Details, so far, are sparse. Orlovsky said he would work on a paper describing the setup “in [an] understandable way.”

Meanwhile, BIP-300 proponents including Sztorc argue Drivechains will allow users to choose a blockchain security model they agree with and how they want their Bitcoin to work. Sztorc also claimed the proposal has “enormous upside” with “literally zero downside.”

Related: No, Bitcoin withdrawals from exchanges are not inherently bullish for crypto

Others, including Cory Klippsten, the chief of the BTC-only exchange Swan Bitcoin, rejected the proposal — with Klippsten claiming Drivechains would increase the amount of scams on Bitcoin which may catch the ire of regulators.

Pierre Rochard, the VP of research at Bitcoin miner Riot Platforms said the proposal’s messaging relies on “speculative economic arguments rather than substantive engineering ones” and added it was “pure hopium.”

Others that lent their voice to support BIP-300 included educator Dan Held who claimed that Bitcoin is better off with more speculative assets as they “introduce new audiences to Bitcoin.”

Meanwhile, Bitcoin wallet provider Casa co-founder Jameson Lopp said he’s yet to see a “convincing concern” of how sidechains could be dangerous to the main Bitcoin blockchain.

He added if a sidechain becomes more valuable it could signal that the base chain “should implement that sidechain’s features.”

Magazine: Recursive inscriptions — Bitcoin ‘supercomputer’ and BTC DeFi coming soon

Is 2023 the year genuine cross-chain interoperability takes off?

The future of blockchain will be an interoperable one — with the death of “chain tribalism,” the proliferation of “hundreds of chains” along with an end to cross-chain bridge hacks, according to executives at Korea Blockchain Week.

Backing up the claims are several products slated for release before the end of the year that could see blockchain interoperability efforts move away from current solutions which execs say don’t make sense and are a “honeypot” for hackers.

Vance Spencer, the co-founder of the crypto-focused venture firm Framework Ventures told Cointelegraph at KBW that he thinks with many solutions on the horizon including Chainlink’s Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol (CCIP) — it soon won’t matter what blockchain a project uses.

He said most startups begin on layer-2 solutions such as Optimism or Arbitrum but soon begin to want their own roll-up. “It’s like everyone’s trying to create the standard,” he said.

In a cross-chain interoperable future, the paradigm will shift and “it’s really not gonna matter which roll-up you’re on,” Spencer said.

“In the future, it’s probably just going to be: ‘Can your contract talk to my contract?’”

Spencer gave the example of CCIP which, he explained, allows a user to have assets on one chain and interact with contracts on another that uses cross-chain messages instead of a blockchain bridge.

ZetaChain core contributor Brandon Truong told Cointelegraph it operates in a similar way to CCIP — the main difference being it’s sent from ZetaChain’s network.

Truong added it sees interoperability becoming standard with new app builders and there will be less “chain tribalism” and more focus on utility.

He added that many older blockchain bridge solutions are “fragmented and often insecure.”

Another product is the upcoming MetaMask Snaps which will allow developers to launch functionality-expanding apps for the crypto wallet — allowing use with other blockchains including Bitcoin, Solana, Avalanche and Starknet.

Hundreds of chains

Speaking on a panel at KBW, cross-chain protocol Axelar co-founder Georgios Vlachos believes, at some point, there will be “hundreds of chains” all processing “significant economic activity.”

“At this point, I think it’s indisputable given how many people and important companies in this space are building cross-chain and are incentivized to launch their own Layer 1s.”

Vlachos added multiple blockchains are needed as he believes a single blockchain won’t be capable of more than 10 million transactions per day — far below the nearly 530 million daily average transactions payments giant Visa processed in 2022.

“If we want to become foundational architecture for Web2 we need to scale this by an order of magnitude and this is really, really hard,” he said.

“The answer is to scale horizontally and create many, many different blockchains.”

Cross-chain bridges: Removing the hackers “honeypot”

Currently, users wanting to send assets between networks largely use blockchain bridges which Router Protocol founder and CEO Ramani “Ram” Ramachandran thinks are prone to hacks and will soon be replaced by other cross-chain solutions — including one by his protocol.

Ramachandran explained to Cointelegraph at KBW that cross-chain bridges rely on locking up value for it to be represented on another blockchain making them an attractive target and the reason why “so many bridges have been hacked.”

“It’s highly inefficient and a big honeypot risk because then you have a billion dollars locked up in the bridge and hackers around the world are literally salivating, licking their chops, trying to hack in and take a piece out.”

Ramachandran said one workaround to negate the issue is to source liquidity from multiple wallets — a solution Router plans to launch in the coming weeks.

It would see those wanting to move funds between chains use a tool more akin to a peer-to-peer transfer with a middleman taking on the role of fulfilling orders for cross-chain swaps for a fee.

“This middleman acts as a courier. [They] fulfill the destination side and then submit a proof saying ‘Okay, I’ve done this. Now give me my money,’” Ramachandran explained.

“There’s no locked, steady liquidity on a bridge or semi-centralized bridge, this all stays in the intermediary wallets.”

Adapt or perish

However, the need for immediate cross-chain interoperability isn’t only for the benefit of users but is needed for the industry to cement its legitimacy by providing real-world use cases, Chainlink co-founder Sergey Nazarov said in a keynote at KBW.

He believed successful Web3 apps must be able to connect to all blockchains easily and users can seamlessly use apps across chains “without any concern.”

He said the idea of choosing one blockchain and being “stuck” there with its market and infrastructure “really doesn’t make sense because that’s not how the internet works.”

“Our industry is going to be based on [the] ability to provide reliable use of systems that don’t exist today,” Nazarov said. He added if a user puts value into an app it should be safe and reliably accessible to them when it moves somewhere else.

“If we don’t meet that minimum standard then we will remain in a place where this will look like a toy to people or would look like a confused idea.”

Nazarov opined the banking system would bring in the next level of Web3 usage and adoption due to their value.

“Frankly, our industry needs to find a way to take the value in banks and get that value into blockchains.”

He said banks and the global financial system see a lot of value in blockchain and digital assets and Chainlink is working on how to connect banks both to each other and to public blockchains so the bank’s value “flows into the public blockchain world.”

Related: ‘Pure’ DeFi has little chance for real-world use because of need for oracles: BIS

The issue Nazarov sees is the technical and legal barrier between the banks and blockchains and both are wanting to come together.

“It’s, at least to me, completely obvious that the banking and the public blockchain world want to connect, but they can’t for two reasons: There isn’t legal clarity on how they connect and the technical process of connecting doesn’t exist.”

“Frankly,” he added, “the more value flows into our industry the more we all benefit.”

Magazine: ZK-rollups are ‘the endgame’ for scaling blockchains, Polygon Miden founder

FTX seeks to reverse payments made to Shaq, Naomi Osaka and Miami Heat

Bankrupt crypto exchange FTX is probing if it can reclaim the millions of dollars paid to celebrity athletes and sports teams that promoted the exchange before it filed for bankruptcy last November.

In an over 180 page Aug. 31 court filing, FTX’s financial advisors laid out a detailed list of high-profile figures and businesses it paid in its marketing efforts to see if they’re under rules allowing bankrupt companies to reverse the payments.

The list includes $750,000 made to former basketball pro Shaquille O’Neal, over $300,000 to Tennis pro Naomi Osaka, over $270,000 to former baseball star David Ortiz and over $200,000 to American football quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Highlighted excerpt of payments FTX said its made to various athletes and professional sports teams. Source: Kroll

Also included are nearly $420,000 made to pro basketball team the Golden State Warriors and over $250,000 in various payments to Miami Heat.

The filing warned, however, that the final amount FTX may recover from the efforts “may vary materially from the amount reported.”

Related: Apple secures rights to book on Sam Bankman-Fried for $5M: Report

Many of the celebrities named in FTX’s recent filing have faced class action lawsuits from FTX users seeking damages.

O’Neal, Osaka and the Golden State Warriors have been sued by groups of FTX customers over allegedly promoting the exchange — which they claim sold unregistered securities.

The exchange has launched a series of lawsuits to try recover funds with the most recent on Sep. 9 against cross-chain protocol LayerZero Labs in a bid to claw back $21 million that FTX alleged was illegally withdrawn prior to the exchange’s bankruptcy in November last year.

In July it sued co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried and other former top executives to try to recover more than $1 billion in funds they allegedly misappropriated.

Magazine: How to protect your crypto in a volatile market — Bitcoin OGs and experts weigh in

Coinbase signals EU, Canada, Brazil, Singapore and Australia as priorities

Coinbase has flagged several countries outside the United States where it intends to focus its operations in the near term, citing their comparatively clearer crypto laws.

In a Sep. 6 blog post, Coinbase’s international business VP, Nana Murugesan and international policy VP, Tom Duff Gordon, marked the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Singapore and Australia as “near-term priority markets.”

The pair said the countries are “enacting clear rules” and Coinbase would focus on “acquiring licenses, registering, and establishing and strengthening operations” in them.

“Every part of the world is seeing progress on crypto-forward regulation — except for the U.S., which is opting for a ‘strategy’ of enforcement of existing rules and new regulations through the courts,” the pair wrote.

They added the country is “sidelining itself” on crypto regulations which puts at risk its influence over the space.

“We’re committed to helping to update the global financial system and providing more economic freedom and opportunity, and won’t stand idle just because the U.S. is,” they wrote.

The crypto exchange faces regulatory action in its native U.S. — with a lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission accusing it of selling unregistered securities and operating illegally.

‘Go Broad, Go Deep’ goes phase 2

Coinbase’s new priority markets are part of the second phase of its expansion plans — which it dubbed “Go Broad, Go Deep.”

It outlined its plans to establish partnerships with global and local banks and payment providers to expand its fiat ramps along with assuring its governance systems are compliant.

Related: Aave, Circle, Base become founding members of Tokenized Asset Coalition

Its lobbying and visibility efforts will also intensify ahead of the EU elections next June.

It flagged plans to engage with the G20 aiming to create global crypto standards and will keep a “scorecard” on each country’s crypto regulatory progress.

Coinbase is seemingly focusing its G20 lobbying efforts on Brazil — set to take the G20 chair in 2024.

In March, Coinbase expanded its offering in Brazil and according to the blog post co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong will visit the country later this year “to engage with key decision-makers and stakeholders.”

Magazine: Asia Express: Thailand’s national airdrop, Delio users screwed, Vietnam top crypto country

Ripple Labs chair slams Biden, Gensler for having ‘screwed up’ on crypto

The United States’ legal system is set to bring the crypto industry “back in the game” after the Biden administration “screwed up” its crypto policy, says Ripple Labs chair and co-founder Chris Larsen.

Speaking to Bloomberg on Sep. 7 about his firm’s July partial win against the Securities and Exchange Commission, Larsen argued the regulator lost on “everything that was important to [it] and important in the regulation of the industry.”

“The U.S. screwed up here on crypto and blockchain policy. This is the beginning now through the courts, unfortunately instead of through regulators, to get that clarity and get us back in the game.”

Larsen also commented on the latest court judgment in favor of Grayscale over its application to convert its Bitcoin (BTC) trust into a spot Bitcoin ETF, noting it “really admonished the SEC […] in a way that you don’t really see very often.”

Larsen argued the ruling was proof that SEC chair Gary Gensler knows crypto laws aren’t clear and simply likes the lack of clarity so “he can go after anybody and make up the rules as he goes along through bullying.”

“That’s not the American way. We should have clear rules from the legislatures, not through these unelected, power-hungry and really misplaced decision-makers that you see in Gary Gensler.”

Gensler has however previously claimed that the crypto market is full of “fraudsters” and “Ponzi schemes” and that the SEC’s securities laws would help to clean it up.

Biden ‘killed’ San Fran blockchain hub

In another part of the interview, Larsen claimed Biden’s crypto policies “pretty much killed” San Francisco from being the “blockchain capital of the world” despite Silicon Valley’s tech hub reputation.

Related: Grayscale asks SEC to meet on ‘way forward’ for Bitcoin ETF conversion

“We owned it and we don’t anymore because the Biden administration, for whatever reason, decided they wanted to push this industry offshore,” Larsen added.

“That was a missed opportunity. It’s really unfortunate. Hurt the city.”

He pointed to London, Singapore and Dubai as global blockchain capitals for their “clear rules that protect consumers and also celebrate innovation.”

“Why isn’t America leading that call?” Larsen asked. “That’s what we’ve always been, and we’ve got to get back to it.”

Magazine: Opinion: GOP crypto maxis almost as bad as Dems’ ‘anti-crypto army’

BTC bull market began in March, more will realize in a year: Arthur Hayes

Bitcoin (BTC) has been on a bull run for the past six months or so and the market is yet to respond — but it will in around six to 12 months, according to BitMEX co-founder and former CEO Arthur Hayes.

In a Sept. 5 keynote speech at Korea Blockchain Week, Hayes argued Bitcoin’s bull run began on March 10, the day Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Two days before SVB’s takeover on March 8, Silvergate Bank had gone into liquidation. Two days later on March 12, Signature Bank was forced to close by New York regulators.

In response, and in a bid to stop further possible collapses, the Federal Reserve created the Bank Term Funding Program (BTFP) — offering banking loans of up to a year in return for them posting “qualifying assets” as collateral.

Hayes speaking at Korea Blockchain Week in Seoul. Source: Andrew Fenton/Cointelegraph

“Essentially, what [the Fed] did was backstop the entire banking system by saying: ‘Please give me your underwater dogshit bonds and I’ll give you fresh dollars,’” Hayes said.

“Me and the rest of the market rightly saw through this as basically them admitting that they caused this problem — the structure of the banking system — and this is one of the ways you can fix it which is: Print more money.”

He said since then, Bitcoin’s price has been up — currently around 26% — which is why he claims the bull market started that day.

“We basically ditched this whole facade that we care about the value of the dollar and the value of any fiat currency.”

This pushed traders to consider fixed-supply assets such as Bitcoin, Hayes claimed.

Related: Why is Jerome Powell gaslighting us about the odds of recession?

However, the rest of the market market hasn’t yet responded, but he gave a timeline of between six to 12 months for that to occur.

Hayes said even if the Fed and other central banks continued interest rate hikes to enable economic tightening or if they “print more money” then Bitcoin would still perform well.

“On both scenarios, whether the Fed raises or cuts, we are in a good position as the cryptocurrency industry,” he said.

Magazine: How to protect your crypto in a volatile market — Bitcoin OGs and experts weigh in

Solana YTD inflows suggest it’s the ‘most loved altcoin’ — CoinShares

Solana (SOL) investment products clocked $26 million worth of inflows since the start of 2023, outpacing all other altcoins including Ethereum, suggesting its the “most loved altcoin amongst investors” according to CoinShares.

In a Sep. 4 Digital Asset Fund Flows weekly report, CoinShares’ head of research James Butterfill noted that trading volumes for crypto investment products for the week ending Sep. 1 were 90% above the year-to-date average — with crypto product outflows dropping to $11.2 million.

It marks a seven-week run of negative sentiment that’s seen $342 million leave crypto products over that time but YTD, investment products remain net inflow positive at $165 million.

Crypto investment products have mostly seen outflows over the past seven weeks. Source: CoinShares

The outflows haven’t affected Solana products however, which saw weekly inflows of $700,000 — the ninth straight week in a row with inflows of $14.1 million over that time and YTD inflows of $26 million.

Weekly fund flows show positive inflows to Bitcoin and Solana for the week ending Friday, Sep. 1. Source: CoinShares

Bitcoin (BTC) products were the only other asset to see weekly inflows, totaling $3.8 million, while Short BTC, Polygon (MATIC) and Ether (ETH) products all recorded weekly outflows.

SOL’s price since Jan. 1 has traded mostly sideways. Source: Cointelegraph

Solana’s inflows come amid a streak of recent positive developments related to the network.

On Sep. 1, MakerDAO co-founder Rune Christensen submitted a proposal to build the project’s upcoming native chain off a fork of Solana’s codebase, despite its long-held ties to Ethereum.

On Aug. 23 it was reported that Shopify added the Solana-based payment network Solana Pay to its payment options — starting with the stablecoin USD Coin (USDC). 

The Solana network has also seen some performance and reliability improvements, with only oe outage in 2023 so far.

Related: Bitcoin ETF applications: Who is filing and when the SEC may decide

SOL’s price is up around 95.5% YTD but has traded mostly sideways around $20 to $25 since mid-January. It was trading at around $19.5 as of 12 am UTC Sep. 5 according to Cointelegraph data.

However, SOL is down 92.5% from its November 2021 all-time high of nearly $260.

Magazine: BitCulture: Fine art on Solana, AI music, podcast + book reviews

Artbitrum founder says Stylus is a game changer for EVMs

A recently released tool for Arbitrum developers could onboard more devs to Ethereum Virtual Machines (EVM) and improve its code, says Offchain Labs co-founder Ed Felten.

Speaking to Cointelegraph at Korea Blockchain Week, Felten spoke on Arbitrum Stylus which Offchain released on a testnet on Aug. 31 — allowing developers to use languages including Rust, C, and C++ to build Arbitrum apps.

Felten said Stylus would allow non-Web3 native devs to “use the languages and the development tools that they’re used to.”

He added it would onboard “a lot more developers” to building EVMs with more mature tools and cited the larger number of devs that program in Rust over Solidity — the latter being the programming language for building Ethereum smart contracts.

“One of the things that comes from those much more mature tools is it’s much faster. So it’s 10 to 15 times faster for typical computations than EVM.”

According to Felten, the benefit of supporting legacy languages is the amount of code that already exists written in languages such as Rust which is already “battle-tested and audited.”

Felten identified Rust as a language that was designed to help catch development errors with its tools being “really good at reducing the odds that you’ll introduce a bug in your code.”

“You can just use it. Now you can use that directly on-chain. You’re gonna build less from scratch and you’re gonna be able to take better advantage of things that other people have done.”

Felten also highlighted the gas cost was 10 to 15 times lower which allows for “more complex stuff [to be] done in the same transaction” and opens up the possibility of being able to perform iPhone-compatible cryptography.

Related: Decentralized asset management system launches for Arbitrum, Optimism

Felten explained iPhones use a different digital signature standard than Ethereum, which is not supported well, so “cryptography on Ethereum that’s compatible with the iPhone has an extremely high gas cost.”

“But in Stylus you can drive that down so it becomes really feasible. It’s not prohibitively expensive.”

This could give way to having a crypto wallet integrated on an iPhone — unlocking the ability to use Apple’s FaceID to verify wallet transactions similar to bank card purchases.

Other use cases Felten saw with the lower gas fees were higher levels of realism in blockchain-based games and the on-chain evaluation of machine learning models against live application data.

Ultimately, Felten thought Stylus could help burgeoning projects ship faster as allowing for mature programming languages means they may be better protected against bugs, and errors along with having extra performance.

“You don’t have to squeeze out every last tiny bit of performance in your code and that also reduces a lot of friction for developing protocols.”

Magazine: How to protect your crypto in a volatile market — Bitcoin OGs and experts weigh in

Additional reporting by Andrew Fenton.

Gala Games founders biff over $130M theft, corporate waste allegations

The co-founders of blockchain gaming platform Gala Games have locked horns in court over two separate lawsuits, one alleging the theft of $130 million worth of Gala (GALA) and the other, alleging corporate waste.

On Aug. 31 Gala co-founders Wright Thurston and Eric Schiermeyer, also the firm’s CEO, filed lawsuits against one another in a Utah District Court.

On behalf of Gala, Schiermeyer alleged that in early 2021 Thurston and his investment firm True North United Investments stole around $130 million worth of GALA — a token tied to the Gala Games ecosystem.

Schiermeyer’s suit claims GALA tokens were moved to a wallet under the company’s control but were later moved into 43 other wallets by Thurston who, when confronted about the movements, said he was holding the tokens in secure wallets for Gala.

He later moved the tokens from the wallets and exchanged or sold them in a “complex web of obfuscatory transactions” between September 2022 and May 2023, the suit alleged.

Excerpt from Schiermeyer’s suit against Thurston regarding the allegedly stolen GALA. Source: PACER

The suit claimed Thurston later feined knowledge of the alleged token sales but now claims the sold GALA belonged to him — which Schiermeyer’s suit rejected.

Thurston is also alleged to have stolen licenses to run Gala ecosystem nodes which can earn GALA tokens — selling the licenses and keeping the proceeds.

The same day, Thurston’s True North filed a lawsuit against Schiermeyer — similarly on behalf of Gala — claiming he caused Gala to “sell off and waste millions of dollars in company assets” and lent millions of Gala’s funds to himself for personal purchases.

Highlighted excerpt from Thurston’s suit against Schiermeyer’s claiming the latter used Gala’s assets for personal gain. Source: PACER

Schiermeyer also allegedly created Gala entities in Switzerland and Dubai and made himself the controlling shareholder to pursue business opportunities, according to the lawsuit.

True North claims Schiermeyer operated Gala without input from Thurston — a Gala director — and gave incomplete or incorrect information and corporate records to Thurston “despite repeated requests.”

Related: SEC vs. Coinbase: New lawyer Patrick Kennedy joins fight

Schiermeyer’s suit requested Thurston be removed as a Gala director and seeks various relief and damages payments including the return of the allegedly stolen GALA.

Thurston similarly requested that Schiermeyer be removed from Gala and sought at least $750 million in various damages and relief.

In March, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission sued Thurston, True North and another company he founded called Green United for selling investments in an allegedly fake crypto mining scheme.

Magazine: Web3 Gamer: GTA owner joins Web3, Bitcoin casino, Sunflower Land review

Ronaldinho denies part in alleged $61M crypto scam at congressional hearing

Retired pro soccer star Ronaldinho Gaúcho has testified at a congressional hearing in Brazil, denying his involvement in an alleged $61 million crypto pyramid scheme that bore his name.

On Aug. 31 Ronaldinho appeared before a parliamentary committee inquiry where he refuted any role in the scheme called “18kRonaldinho” that promised 2% daily returns on crypto. A lawsuit was filed against the firm seeking $61 million in damages.

Ronaldinho claimed he was never partnered with th company and it used his name and image without his authorization, arguing he was also a victim of the purported scheme.

During the hearing, images were shown of 18kRonaldinho’s marketing that depicted Ronaldinho.

The inquiry showed an image of Ronaldinho with the text “Your money yielding up to 2% a day” (translated). Source: YouTube

He said the pictures were taken as part of a contract he signed in July 2019 with a subsidiary of the company that sells watches but that contract was terminated later that year in October and was never executed.

The inquiry’s president Aureo Ribeiro asked Ronaldinho if he intended to reimburse those who invested in the company to which Ronaldinho said he would remain silent.

He also did not answer when asked about the $61 million lawsuit.

Related: Breaking victim ‘trust’ in scammer is key to beat crypto scams, exchanges say

Ronaldinho had failed to appear before two previous hearings related to the inquiry, most recently on Aug. 24 in which he blamed weather conditions for not being able to attend.

The latest Aug. 31 hearing was his last chance to appear before Congress — if he didn’t he faced possible fines or arrest in which authorities would’ve forcibly taken him to appear at the hearing.

The inquiry was launched in June to investigate purported crypto pyramid schemes and is being carried out by Brazil’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies.

It’s investigating a total of 11 companies alleged by the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission to have falsely promised high returns using crypto.

Magazine: Tornado Cash 2.0 — The race to build safe and legal coin mixers

Bitcoin traders wipe Grayscale gains after SEC delays spot ETF decisions

In less than a day, Bitcoin (BTC) has shed nearly all the gains it made from Grayscale Investment’s court victory against the United States Securities regulator.

On Aug. 29 Bitcoin popped to a two-week high after a judge ruled that the Securities and Exchange Commission was “arbitrary and capricious” when it rejected Grayscale’s spot Bitcoin ETF application.

However, the SEC’s recent delay to seven pending spot Bitcoin ETF applications has sent Bitcoin’s price downwards, falling nearly 5% in the last 24 hours.

Cointelegraph Markets Pro data shows Bitcoin’s price is currently around $26,000, falling steeply from around the $27,300 level it had been sustaining since the Grayscale win.

BTC’s seven-day price chart shows its gains erased. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

BlackRock, WisdomTree, VanEck, Bitwise, Valkyrie and Fidelity along with the joint fund by Invesco and Galaxy were all delayed on Aug. 31 by the SEC.

The price decline came even though some were expecting the delays to take place including Bloomberg ETF analysts Eric Balchunas and James Seyffart.

The SEC’s delay allows it another 45 days to approve, deny or again delay the applications.

Related: When will it be too late to invest in Bitcoin?

The next decision deadlines for the ETF applications are between Oct. 16 and Oct. 19, though the SEC can also choose to delay to decision up to around mid-March next year when it will be forced to make a decision.

However, Balchunas said on Aug. 30 that the probability of the SEC approving a spot Bitcoin ETF this year was 75% — up from an earlier prediction of 65%.

He pinned the probability hike on Grayscale’s court win saying the judge’s unanimous rejection of the SEC’s arguments means it “will struggle to justify further denials as it faces deadlines.”

Magazine: How to protect your crypto in a volatile market — Bitcoin OGs and experts weigh in

Binance pushes new stablecoin as it confirms plan to cease BUSD support

Crypto exchange Binance has encouraged users to start converting their Binance USD (BUSD) stablecoin holdings into a newly listed stablecoin amid plans to wind down support for BUSD. 

In an Aug. 31 statement from Binance, the crypto exchange confirmed prior speculation that it will gradually stop support for BUSD by February 2024 — a decision in line with Paxos’ plans to end BUSD redemption at that time. 

The official statement is the first time Binance has addressed the subject after several users shared screenshots of a pop-up on their mobile app about the planned support halt.

In its statement, Binance said it is encouraging users to trade or convert their BUSD balances for First Digital USD (FDUSD) — a stablecoin launched in June by the Hong Kong-based trust company First Digital Group which had its debut listing on Binance in late July.

The exchange added BUSD to FDUSD trades and conversions are fee-free, and on Aug. 30 delisted eight BUSD pairs. The exchange has previously incentivized users to use the stablecoin with zero-fee trading pairs for FDUSD with Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).

Related: Binance sold USDC for another stablecoin — Coinbase CEO

Binance’s decision to halt BUSD support appears to follow the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 13 alleged BUSD was an unregistered security in a wells notice it issued to Paxos.

The same day, the New York Department of Financial Services ordered Paxos to halt the issuance of BUSD.

Magazine: Unstablecoins: Depegging, bank runs and other risks loom

Crypto may see second wind in the US as courts ‘rein in the SEC’ — Lawyer

There are hopes that the United States could see a new crypto resurgence after several rulings this year have seen court judges “rein in the SEC,” according to a digital asset lawyer from K&L Gates.

On Aug. 31, Jeremy McLaughlin, a partner at the global law firm, noted that multiple U.S. court cases have stomped on arguments from Securities and Exchange Commission chair Gary Gensler — who has said that almost all digital assets are securities.

McLaughlin was speaking on a panel at Intersekt23 in Melbourne alongside payment services firm Novatti chief Effie Dimitropoulos and Invest Hong Kong fintech head King Leung.

He said early crypto regulation happened at the state level and was “pretty clear what you needed to do” but after the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission got involved “a lot of the market started to close up.”

“People delisted tokens, some companies pulled out of the U.S. because they saw how aggressive the SEC was being, and continues to be,” McLaughlin said.

“Now that the courts are starting to rein in the SEC a bit, I think there’s some hope that the industry is kind of igniting again in the U.S.”

In recent months the SEC has been handed a loss in a suit it brought against a crypto firm and also lost a suit a crypto firm brought against it.

On Aug. 29 a U.S. District Court judge ruled against the SEC over Grayscale Investments being denied its application to convert its flagship Bitcoin (BTC) fund into an exchange-traded fund.

Dimitropoulos (center-left), McLaughlin (center-right) and Leung (right) speaking on a panel regarding crypto regulation. Source: Tom Mitchelhill/Cointelegraph

In July, the SEC also took a partial loss in its case against Ripple Labs over XRP (XRP) sales when a judge ruled it wasn’t a security when sold to retail traders.

“To be a lawyer in the space, it’s quite difficult to advise clients,” McLaughlin remarked. He added he it was also frustrating that he couldn’t give clients clear answers.

He does see hope, however, that crypto regulations are emerging from the “pit of chaos.”

“Finally, there are cases that are being filed and the decisions have been going strongly in the favor of the digital asset industry,” McLaughlin added.

Aussies ‘lagging’ while others gain

In another part of the discussion, the panelists were asked about their thoughts on the state of Australia’s crypto legislation, compared to others. Novatti’s Dimitropoulos had one word: “Lagging.”

Dimitropoulos pointed to new regulatory frameworks in Hong Kong and the European Union as proof Australia’s crypto regulations were falling behind.

“It’s very clear to say that Australia is lagging. What that means […] Is how that affects on-the-ground businesses that are operating with digital assets.”

She highlighted the overhead needed for local crypto firms to get legal advice “that could be defunct in three minutes’ time.”

Related: Coinbase stock surges after favorable federal ruling for Grayscale

“We hear the Treasurer is going to come out with regulation, [the Australian Securities and Investments Commisson] is going to do something, Senator Bragg’s bill in play,” she said.

“There are so many pieces that are still in play with no clear resolution as to when it’s going to happen. So that supports my word: ‘Lagging.’”

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

Uniswap lawsuit judge calls Ether a commodity in dismissal order

A United States District Court judge has called Ether (ETH) a commodity in her dismissal of a class action lawsuit against the decentralized exchange Uniswap.

In an Aug. 30 dismissal order of the case brought by Uniswap users who claimed they lost money due to scam tokens on the exchange — Judge Katherine Polk Failla wrote ETH and Bitcoin (BTC) were “crypto commodities.”

The distinction was also part of her reasoning for dismissing the case — Failla said she wasn’t convinced by an argument that Uniswap’s token sales were subject to the Exchange Act.

Interestingly, Failla is also the judge overseeing the SEC lawsuit against Coinbase. She has also had previous experience in overseeing other crypto cases in the past, including one involving Tether and Bitfinex. 

While her comment is not a distinct ruling on Ether’s legal classification in the U.S., it comes as other judges have made decisions on cryptocurrencies such as a July ruling classing XRP (XRP) as a security when sold through programmatic sales on exchanges.

In recent years, two U.S. financial regulators, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have tussled over jurisdiction concerning cryptocurrencies.

SEC chair Gary Gensler had once claimed “everything other than Bitcoin” is a security under his agency’s remit.

Meanwhile, the CFTC has laid claim to ETH and other cryptocurrencies as commodities — per a suit it filed against Binance in March for alleged Commodities Exchange Act violations.

Related: SEC’s first deadlines to approve 7 Bitcoin ETFs coming over the next week

However, U.S. lawmakers are yet to decide how the SEC or CFTC will be handed authority over crypto.

Multiple bills to provide digital asset regulatory clarity are inching their way through Congress which vary in how to divvy authority between the two regulators.

Some, such as the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act, aim to create a process for categorizing cryptocurrencies into either securities or commodities.

Others explicitly hand power to a regulator such as the Digital Commodity Exchange Act which sees crypto spot exchanges registered and regulated under the CFTC.

The Digital Asset Market Structure Bill, meanwhile, would see cryptocurrencies undergo SEC certification to prove adequate decentralization before being given commodity status.

Magazine: DeFi Dad, Hall of Flame: Ethereum is ‘woefully undervalued’ but growing more

SEBA Bank secures in-principle nod for crypto services in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong arm of crypto-friendly Swiss bank SEBA Bank has received in-principle approval from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) allowing it to deal in virtual assets.

On Aug. 30, SEBA Hong Kong said its in-principle approved license would allow it to operate with crypto products such as over-the-counter derivatives, advise on virtual assets and conduct asset management for discretionary accounts in virtual assets.

Speaking to Cointelegraph the Asia-Pacific CEO of SEBA Hong Kong Amy Yu said Hong Kong provides enormous potential due to the SFC’s virtual asset regulatory framework and the city’s legal system.

Yu added while China has a crypto trading ban, Hong Kong is “well-positioned to tap into the Chinese market when it opens up” as its in a strategic location in being close to the mainland, while also being a Special Administrative Region of China.

“Hong Kong may once again serve as a gateway to China, delivering the significant potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.”

On its decision to pursue a local license, Yu said SEBA received inquiries from crypto companies who had “difficulty in accessing and managing their digital assets holdings via traditional providers” along with interest from private wealth and family offices.

In Switzerland, SEBA Bank offers both traditional banking and crypto services such as trading, staking, lending and custody.

Related: ‘Breakthrough growth’ will be driven by Web3: Hong Kong financial secretary

SEBA’s approval in principle comes amid a flurry of regulated crypto activity in Hong Kong.

Crypto exchange HashKey — the first exchange in Hong Kong to get regulatory clearance — was reported to begin offering retail trading in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) on Aug. 28.

Its peer trading platform OSL also received the SFC’s approval to offer retail trading. HashKey and OSL are currently the only two fully licensed exchanges in Hong Kong.

That may soon change as on Aug. 11 the Hong Kong Virtual Asset Exchange (HKVAX) was given in-principle approval from the SFC to operate a crypto trading platform.

Magazine: Asia Express: China’s risky Bitcoin court decision, is Huobi in trouble or not?

Consumer surveys show a growing distrust of AI and firms that use it

Consumers are developing a widening “trust gap” with companies using artificial intelligence, with many airing concerns about the potential unethical use of the technology, according to a new Salesforce survey.

On Aug. 28 the customer relationship software firm released survey results from over 14,000 consumers and firms in 25 countries that suggested nearly three-quarters of customers are concerned about the unethical use of AI.

Over 40% of surveyed customers do not trust companies to use AI ethically and nearly 70% said it’s more important for companies to be trustworthy as AI tech advances.

Salesforce highlighted that respondents have become less open to using AI since last year.

In its 2022 survey, over 80% of business buyers and 65% of consumers were open to using AI to improve experiences — both have dropped respectively to 73% and 51%.

More problems than it solves

Meanwhile, a separate survey of nearly 1,500 Australians released Aug. 28 by market research firm Roy Morgan found nearly 60% of those surveyed agreed AI “creates more problems than it solves.”

One in five also believed the tech would risk human extinction by 2043 — echoing fears from AI pundits who signed a letter in May agreeing that mitigating human extinction risks from AI should be a global priority.

Roy Morgan’s survey was conducted alongside the newly formed lobby group Campaign for AI Safety. Source: Roy Morgan

However, despite the two recent showing a growing distrust of AI, another shows a majority in the United States haven’t heard of — let alone even used — what’s arguably the most widely-known AI chatbot.

Related: OpenAI debuts ChatGPT Enterprise — 4 times the power of consumer version

An Aug. 28 Pew Research report of over 5,000 Americans found that 18% had actually used OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Around a quarter overall had heard of the chatbot and of the ChatGPT-aware cohort it was mostly those under 30 years old — around 40% — who had used the bot at least once.

Men, those under 30 and those with a postgraduate education were the most likely to have ever used ChatGPT. Source: Pew Research

As a global debate on how to regulate AI takes place — both sides of the U.S. political aisle that are aware of ChatGPT, nearly 70% overall, cited a greater concern about the government not going far enough in regulating AI chatbot use.

Magazine: How to control the AIs and incentivize the humans with crypto

Solana-based Clockwork to shutter citing ‘limited commercial upside’

The developers behind Solana-based smart contract automation project Clockwork is set to turn off key infrastructure for the protocol at the end of October, citing “limited commercial upside.”

In a series of X (Twitter) posts on Aug. 27, Clockwork founder Nick Garfield Garfield said he and the team will stop active development of the protocol and on Oct. 31 will turn off its nodes on devnet and mainnet.

Garfield cited “simple opportunity cost” as the reason for the team stepping back from Clockwork, admitting there were limited commercial benefits to continuing its development and the team had a growing interest in exploring other opportunities.

Clockwork is a protocol that allows users to schedule transactions on the Solana network and create smart contracts automated to run applications when triggered by an event.

Garfield said Clockwork’s code will remain open-source and freely available online and gave his “full endorsement to fork and ship” to anyone looking to continue work on the protocol.

According to Crunchbase data, last August Clockwork raised $4 million in a seed round co-led by venture firms Multicoin Capital and Asymmetric along with participation from Solana Ventures.

Related: Cypher announces recovery plan, says it will ‘socialize’ losses in initial stage

Asked by one X user whether the seed money would be returned to investors, Garfield responded it still has a meaningful portion of the funds but he will take time “before deciding one way or the other.”

Clockwork’s closure follows the shuttering of other Solana protocols such as the decentralized finance (DeFi) platform Friktion in January and its peer Everlend Finance a month later.

In late June the Solana-based nonfungible token (NFT) protocol Cardinal also said it was winding down due to economic conditions after raising $4.4 million around a year earlier.

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Crypto bull run: Traders share their plans for the ‘tornado’ to come

With as much as 130 million people introduced to cryptocurrencies since the end of 2021, millions of investors could soon be looking at their first crypto bull run, with some suggesting it could come as early as 2024.

However, unlike the current bear market, a bull market is “unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced” according to Ben Simpson, founder of education platform Collective Shift.

“It’s complete and utter chaos. It’s just a tornado.”

In August, Cointelegraph spoke to hedge fund managers, heads of research at digital asset companies, and other crypto traders to understand how they’re preparing for the upcoming bull market and some of the learnings they could pass onto newcomers.

Get in, get out

Simpson said one of the biggest mistakes that new crypto traders make is holding onto their crypto bags too long — most often caused by getting caught up in the euphoria that they could make more.

“My first cycle, I didn’t have a plan. I rode it up and rode it all the way down back in 2017.”

Instead, Simpson said it could be helpful for investors and traders to write down a clear investment goal and understand what assets are in their portfolios — with a hard-set sell price for each one.

Setting hard market exits may reduce the possibility of losing on an investment as “once the music stops in a bull market it stops really quickly,” said Simpson.

On the same note, CoinShares head of research James Butterfill told Cointelegraph that dollar-cost averaging — periodic small asset purchases or holdings sales — could mitigate the volatility of cryptocurrencies, whether it’s a bull or bear market. 

“Implementing dollar-cost averaging can help lower the average purchase cost and diminish the influence of volatility on one’s portfolio,” Butterfill said.

Avoid memecoins

CK Zheng, co-founder and CIO of hedge fund manager ZX Squared Capital recommends investors to look into the more well-established and recognized cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).

Butterfill argued Bitcoin behaves similarly to other alternative assets and has “remarkable diversification benefits, surpassing assets like gold, commodities or real estate.”

Meanwhile, Deryck Graham, founder of crypto hedge fund Portal AM said to consider balancing investments between speculative and mature cryptocurrencies.

Graham added to break down investment sectors — such as Layer 2’s or the Metaverse — and choose related tokens while avoiding those with “little or no practical use,” namely memecoins.

“Consider tokenomics, dev team track record, whale investors coming in and leaving, community size, market momentum and liquidity,” he added.

Find the theme

Matrixport head of research and Crypto Titans author Markus Thielen told Cointelegraph that Bitcoin has “always hit a new high” in a booming market but added new themes drive new bull markets — supporting the idea of investing in new cryptocurrencies instead of those from the previous bull run.

Related: 2024 could be very bullish for crypto — Here’s why

At the same timeSimpson said having high-conviction investments will help with staying on goal as most will have “no chance” of keeping up with a portfolio of altcoins.

“I spoke to a guy the other day that has 80 altcoins in his portfolio. There’s no way an individual investor can stay across and know exactly what 80 different coins are doing at any one time.”

Simpson, Zheng and Graham all warned against overexposure to crypto through taking loans to invest in the market, investing more than a person can afford to lose or trading using leverage.

“A leveraged position can result in a total wipeout of capital when one is least prepared,” Zheng said. “It’s important to have the mindset of investment, not speculation.”

Simpson added it’s important to have time away from crypto and watching markets. He advised both trading veterans and newcomers to safeguard their mental health.

“Go for regular walks. Go for a run. Go to the gym. Be a human.”

Magazine: How smart people invest in dumb memecoins — 3-point plan for success

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision. pronounced ‘dead’ after activity and fees tank

Less than three weeks after its launch, the decentralized social network has already been declared “dead” by critics,  following a recent drop in key metrics such as activity, inflows and volume. had a buzzy beta version launch on Coinbase’s layer-2 Base on Aug. 11. A week later, its fees surpassed $1 million in 24 hours on Aug. 19 outshining Uniswap and the Bitcoin network.

However, its fees have since cratered. Daily fees peaked at $1.7 million on Aug. 21, but dropped over 87% to around $215,000 on Aug. 26 according to DefiLlama.

Transactions on also declined over 90% from the nearly 525,000 peak on Aug. 21 with just over 51,000 transactions on Aug. 27, Dune Analytics data complied by Crypto Koryo shows, leading many on X (Twitter) post condolences for the network. is centered on buying and selling “keys” that enable the buyer to send private messages to the seller, with the platform reportedly taking a 5% cut.

It’s attracted crypto and non-crypto influencers including UpOnly podcast host Cobie, YouTuber Faze Banks and Russian protest group Pussy Riot.

In an Aug. 27 X post, Coinbase payments risk manager Lisandro Rodriguez opined that the platform is “dead,” due mainly to “greed and poor execution.”

Alongside the fee decline, buyers and sellers have also tanked, with Aug. 27 seeing around 10,000 buyers and 7,800 sellers compared to the Aug. 21 peak of over 58,000 buyers and 27,000 sellers, per Dune data. buyers (green) and sellers (orange) have both steadily declined since the peak on Aug. 21. Source: Dune

Dune shows inflows have also taken a dive from the Aug. 21 high of $16.8 million with seeing around $1.6 million on Aug. 27 — a nearly 90.5% decrease.

Protocol inflows peaked on Aug. 21 but have since trended down. Source: Dune

Before the decline over the past week, some community members had already shared their bearish predictions for the platform.

Related: Pepecoin — Insider trading claims surface amid token theft

Last week, crypto commentator Yazan told Cointelegraph of factors that led him to believe had between six to eight weeks before it would see a decline in user key prices and activity.

Yazan said the user key price increases were unsustainable and questioned why so many would pay upwards of 1 Ether (ETH) “to be able to see a private chat.”

The platform has drawn parallels to the 2021 DeSo app BitCloud with pseudonymous Web3 marketer Legendary saying he believes “will collapse as BitClout did.”

Magazine: Journeys: Hervé Larren on Bitcoin, Apes and the psychology of ‘blue-chip’ NFTs

A third of US investors are open to trusting AI financial advice: Survey

Around 1 in 3 United States investors would be open to following AI-generated financial advice without verifying it with another source, according to a recent survey.

On Aug. 22 the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards released the results of a poll that surveyed over 1,100 adults in early July. 

Only 31% of the respondents had actually received financial planning advice from AI, with 80% recorded some level of satisfaction with the experience. Older respondents were more likely to be satisfied with the experience compared to those under 45 years of age.

However, nearly a third of all surveyed respondents, whether they have tried it or not, indicated they’d be comfortable taking advice without verifying it.

Before the wave of AI chatbots such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, it had been noted that more investors were beginning to rely on friends, influencers, and social media for investment advice.

Interestingly, the most recent survey found generative AI tools have beat out social media across all ages, with investors surveyed saying they were comparatively more comfortable using AI financial advice without verifying the information, compared to social media.

26% cited comfort in using unverified financial advice from social media, compared to 31% citing the same from a generative AI tool. Source: CFP Board

The CFP Board claimed, however, that investors of all ages cited being more comfortable with AI-generated and social media-derived financial advice if it was verified by a financial advisor.

Related: OpenAI gets lukewarm response to customized AI offering

Experience using AI for financial advice was low but was largely satisfying for those who had. Source: CFP Board

The findings however found that only 52% of the respondents were interested in receiving AI-created financial advice in the future. 

Magazine: How to control the AIs and incentivize the humans with crypto

Dropbox ditches unlimited storage offering, blaming crypto cloud miners

The online storage platform Dropbox has binned its unlimited storage plan after discovering some of its users were using the service for resource-intensive purposes like mining crypto.

In an Aug. 24 blog post, Dropbox said its unlimited Advanced plan has instead moved to a metered storage plan with new users getting 15 terabytes of storage — apparently enough to house 100 million documents.

It added it knew its “all the space you need” plan would result in uneven usage levels but in recent months it had seen a surge in some users consuming “thousands of times more storage than our genuine business customers.”

“A growing number of customers were buying Advanced subscriptions not to run a business or organization, but instead for purposes like crypto and Chia mining.”

Dropbox said other high-resource uses included some reselling its storage or multiple individuals pooling storage for personal use.

Screenshot of previous plan showing storage as “As much space as needed.” Source: CBackup

Dropbox cited the increased unintended usage growth following “other services making similar policy changes.” Microsoft and Google have also scrapped their unlimited storage plans in recent months.

The company said it understands the move is “disappointing” but added it would be unsustainable and difficult to enforce a list of unacceptable use cases.

Related: The future of BTC mining and the Bitcoin halving

In the past, hackers have used cryptojacking malware that’s inserted into a victim’s internet-connected device or cloud-storage account.

The malicious program uses the resources of the device or cloud service to create a virtual machine that mines cryptocurrencies.

In 2021, Google said some attackers targeting its storage platform users could compromise an account and install mining software within 22 seconds.

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DEA gets duped: Agency loses $55K in address poisoning scam

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — the agency tasked with enforcing the country’s drug laws — lost $55,000 in seized Tether (USDT) earlier this year at the hands of a scammer.

Forbes reported on Aug. 24 that in May, the agency seized over $500,000 worth of USDT from two Binance accounts it suspected of laundering money from drug sales as part of a multi-year investigation.

The funds were put in DEA-controlled Trezor crypto wallets and stored securely, according to a search warrant seen by Forbes. As part of standard forfeiture processing the DEA sent a test amount of just over $45 worth of USDT to the U.S. Marshals Service.

An on-chain sleuth picked up on the transaction and then quickly set up a crypto wallet with the same first five and last four characters of the Marshals account — a scam tactic known as “address poisoning.”

The scammer airdropped a token to the DEA’s wallet so that the spoofed address will appear as a recent transaction, and thus tricking the owner into accidentally transferring funds to the wrong address.

The tactic worked against the DEA agent, who sent over $55,000 to the scammer.

By the time the Marshals noticed and alerted the DEA who in turn asked Tether to freeze the funds it was too late.

The USDT had already been swapped for Ether (ETH) and Bitcoin (BTC) and then shifted to different crypto wallets.

Related: SEC charges former corrections officer with role in bizarre crypto scam

The DEA alongside the FBI is investigating the incident and is yet to find whose behind the attack. All they’ve found so far are two Binance accounts that paid for the attacker wallet gas fees which used two Gmail email addresses to sign up.

It’s hoped Google has some information that can be used to nab the owner of the Gmail accounts.

The DEA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

​​NFT marketplace Rarible sees uptick after commitment to royalties

Nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace Rarible has seen a substantial uptick in trading volume over 24 hours following a public statement in support of maintaining NFT creator royalties.

It comes as competitor NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea have rewound support for royalties and royalty enforcement — prompting other NFT projects to also begin rewinding support for OpenSea.

Data from the analytics platform DappRadar shows that 24-hour fiat trading volume on Rarible reached $1,500 across 38 sales for Aug. 23, clocking a 653% increase from the day before.

While the figures are small relative to its competitors over the same period, Rarible’s 653% volume increase beat out OpenSea — which saw a 15% trading volume drop over 24 hours — and LooksRare and X2Y2 with respective 24-hour volume increases of 5.8% and 14%.

Rarible’s volume rise follows co-founder Alex Salnikov stating on Aug. 22 that it “will no longer support marketplaces that neglect royalties” and by Sep. 30 it won’t aggregate orders from OpenSea, LooksRare or X2Y2.

“This space is about redefining the paradigm in which creativity is valued and compensated,” Salnikov said. “We cannot continue to standby as that promise is taken away.”

Related: Bitcoin Ordinals NFT trading volume tanks 98% since May — DappRadar

In February, OpenSea scrapped enforcing NFT creator royalties — admitting it lost ground to Blur, another popular NFT marketplace that doesn’t enforce creator royalties.

On Aug. 17, OpenSea announced it would shutter its royalty enforcement tool allowing creators to blacklist non-royalty enforcing marketplaces due to a lack of adoption.

Meanwhile, royalties earned by Ethereum-based NFT projects hit a two-year low according to July data from analytics firm Nansen.

Magazine: NFT Collector: Grails’ lucky dip of famous NFT artists, new hope for PFP holders

FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried prosecutors submit proposed jury instructions for trial

United States prosecutors have put forward their proposed instructions to the jury ahead of the October trial for FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

The lengthy 100-page Aug. 21 filing breaks down how prosecutors would like presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan to instruct the jury in Bankman-Fried’s case based on previous jury instructions the New York District judge has given in other cases.

Each of the seven charges Bankman-Fried faces — relating to fraud and money laundering conspiracy along with wire, commodities and securities fraud — were broken down.

For each charge, prosecutors suggested how Judge Kaplan should present the allegations, the burden of proof or elements the jury needs to find Bankman-Fried guilty, and the evidence relating to each charge.

In total, prosecutors had 69 requests for instructing the jury in Bankman-Fried’s trial. Source: CourtListener

Also included were proposed instructions for detailing how the jury should examine the evidence, deliberate and come to a conclusion on whether or not to find Bankman-Fried guilty on each count.

Such proposals are typical in criminal trials but ultimately Judge Kaplan will decide how he will instruct the jury.

Related: Sam Bankman-Fried will get one day in court to meet with lawyers

The former FTX chief has been jailed ahead of his trial set to begin on Oct. 2 and faces another trial in March 2024 on five other counts — he has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Bankman-Fried is being held at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center after Judge Kaplan revoked his bail on Aug. 11 after prosecutors alleged he leaked diary entries from former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison to The New York Times.

BitCulture: Fine art on Solana, AI music, podcast + book reviews

Thailand threatens Facebook over crypto scams and other fraudulent ads

Thailand is planning to seek a court-issued shutdown order against Facebook unless it takes steps to deal with alleged investment and crypto scam ads on its platform.

On Aug. 21, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) stated over 200,000 people had been duped by Facebook ads that touted crypto scams, investing in fake businesses and faked government agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Popular tactics used by the scammers included crypto investment and trading scams, MDES claimed. Some ads also allegedly used images of celebrities and well-known financial figures along with promises of up to 30% daily returns to lure people into the schemes.

MDES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn said the ministry had been in talks with and sent a letter to the Meta-owned platform over the issue but claimed it’s failing to screen advertisers.

Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn at an Aug. 21 press conference regarding the ministry’s planned court action against Facebook. Source: MDES

The ministry is currently gathering evidence of the scam ads which it said numbered over 5,300 — at the end of the month, it’s ready to ask a court to shut down Facebook within seven days.

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The ministry warned on how such scams typically operate saying consumers should be wary of promises of high and guaranteed returns along with ads using images of well-known figures.

Investments that pressure or give incentives to quickly invest with limited offers should also be approached with caution as well as businesses or platforms with no verifiable information.

Cointelegraph contacted Meta but did not immediately receive a response.

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China proposes to bring its social credit system to the metaverse: Report

China is reportedly looking to implement a system akin to its social credit system, but in the Metaverse and other online virtual worlds.

Proposals viewed by POLITICO and reported on Aug. 20 show the state-owned telco China Mobile proposed a digital ID for all metaverse and online virtual world users that work with “natural characteristics” and “social characteristics.”

The proposals say “to keep the order and safety of the virtual world” the ID would harbor a slew of personal information and identifiable signs including a person’s job and suggested such data be permanently stored and shared with authorities.

An example of the benefits of the system was provided with a problem user that “spreads rumors and makes chaos in the metaverse” — with the digital ID allowing police to quickly find and punish the person.

The proposal mirrors China’s social credit system — an in-development infrastructure designed to improve behavior that scores and ranks citizens across various metrics which has also been an enforcement tool.

In 2019, the Associated Press reported that authorities blocked social offenders from purchasing plane tickets 17.5 million times in 2018. Other social offenders were punished by being barred from purchasing train tickets 5.5 million times.

On July 5, China Mobile put forward the proposals as part of discussions with a focus group on the Metaverse put together by the United Nations’ communications technology agency the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The Metaverse focus group meets again in October where the proposals could be voted on.

If passed they could majorly influence telcos and tech firms as the ITU’s Metaverse group is aiming to develop new standards for metaverse services.

Chinese firms taking part in the focus group are purportedly firing off many more metaverse proposals compared to those from the United States and Europe according to one group contributor that spoke to POLITICO.

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They said China is “trying to play the long game” so that its proposals are the standard for the metaverse if its use becomes widespread.

“Imagine a metaverse where your identity protocols are set and monitored by Chinese authorities. Every government must ask themselves: ‘Is that the kind of immersive world we want to live in?’” the person said.

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