Magic Eden’s venture arm invests in 11 web3 gaming projects 

https://crypto.news/magic-edens-venture-arm-invests-in-11-web3-gaming-projects/

Magic Eden Ventures has invested in 11 web3 gaming startups including MatchDay, Blockstars, Epic League, and others, as part of its commitment to accelerating the growth of the blockchain gaming ecosystem.

Magic Eden Ventures, the VC arm of cross-chain NFT marketplace Magic Eden, has invested in 11 blockchain gaming studios, as part of its commitment to promoting the growth of the Web3 gaming industry.

The blockchain gaming projects backed by Magic Eden Ventures include Intella, X, Blockstars, Epic League, and several others from traditional gaming backgrounds. 

“Experienced game studios building Web3-enabled games are pioneering something special – fun games with digital asset ownership and powerful economics that enable communities and creators to deepen their connection with the games they love.”

Chris Akhavan, Chief Gaming Officer at Magic Eden

While Magic Eden recently downsized its workforce due to the prolonged crypto winter, the project has continued to hold its own in the Web3 gaming space.

Magic Eden claims its web3 launchpad platform has helped in boosting the visibility of over 60 gaming projects so far and it’s working with these projects to orchestrate token reward programs that will foster engagement between game developers and gamers.

Despite its successes, the Solana-powered NFT marketplace has been embroiled in controversies in recent times. Last month, Magic Eden came under fire for selling unverified NFTs on its platform.


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Sotheby’s to auction Snow Crash manuscript that first mentioned metaverse

https://crypto.news/sothebys-to-auction-snow-crash-manuscript-that-first-mentioned-metaverse/

Sotheby’s has announced that it will be auctioning Neil Stephenson’s original Snow Crash novel manuscript where the metaverse term was first used. The auction is part of a series dubbed Infocalypse that features six physical and six digital items which will be auctioned as NFTs on Feb. 27.

Sotheby’s one of the world’s largest brokers of art, jewelry, and collectibles, will be auctioning the original version of Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash novel manuscript where the metaverse term was first coined over 30 years ago.

Per a tweet by Sotheby’s, the auction is part of a series called “Infocalypse,” an open edition collection of digital art created in commemoration of Snow Crash’s 30th anniversary. The auction will go live on Feb. 27.

The auctioneers expect to attract between $100,00 to $200,000 for the manuscript.

Sotheby’s will also be auctioning NFT images of Dioxin Posse, a graphic novel that preceded Snow Crash. Other items to be auctioned include the original cover art for the 1993 mass-market paperback edition of Snow Crash, a sword modeled after that used by the protagonist in the story, and more.

Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash novel has sold more than one million copies across North America so far.

Blockchain-based metaverses have continued to attract innovators from all sectors of the global economy, with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) playing a vital role in them. Researchers expect the digital collectibles market to hit the $1 trillion mark by 2032, fueled by NFTs.


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US DoJ indicts Forsage founders in $340m Ponzi scheme

https://crypto.news/us-doj-indicts-forsage-founders-in-340m-ponzi-scheme/

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged four founders of Forsage for orchestrating the multi-million dollar global DeFi Ponzi and pyramid scheme. If convicted, the defendants could spend up to 20 years in prison.

DoJ indicts Forsage founders 

A federal grand jury in the District of Oregon has charged four founders of Forsage: Vladimir Okhotnikov, Olena Oblamska, Mikhail Sergeev, and Sergey Maslkov, all Russian citizens for their involvement in the global Ponzi scheme that generated around $340 million from investors.

Per a statement released by the DoJ, the defendants promoted the now-defunct Forsage as a decentralized matrix investment program powered by ethereum smart contracts and other blockchains. The defendants operated Forsage as a complete Ponzi and pyramid scheme.

US Attorney Natalie Wight for the District of Oregon commented:

“Today’s indictment is the result of a rigorous investigation that spent months piecing together the systematic theft of hundreds of millions of dollars. Bringing charges against foreign actors who used new technology to commit fraud in an emerging financial market is a complicated endeavor only possible with the full and complete coordination of multiple law enforcement agencies.”

Defendants could spend up to 20 years in prison 

According to the indictment, while the defendants advertised Forsage to the public as a low-risk, legitimate, and lucrative investment opportunity, blockchain data show that over 80% of investors got back fewer ETH than the amount initially invested, and more than 50% of users never received any payout before the Ponzi scheme collapsed.

Furthermore, court documents revealed that the defendants created a backdoor in at least one of Forsage’s accounts (known as xGold smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain) and diverted users’ deposits from the account to crypto wallets under their control.

Okhotnikov, Oblamska, Sergeev, and Maslakov have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

In related news, the SEC also charged 11 individuals involved in the Forsage pyramid scheme last Aug., seeking injunctive relief, disgorgement, and civil penalties.

Last December, crypto.news reported that Karl Sebastian Greenwood, the co-founder of the OneCoin crypto Ponzi scheme, had pleaded guilty to all charges of fraud and circuit money laundering leveled against him.

In the same vein, reports emerged earlier this month that Ruja “Crypto Queen” Ignatova, the founder of the OneCoin pyramid scheme whose whereabouts have been a mystery to law enforcement agents, was murdered in 2018. 


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Google joins forces with Tezos for web3 solutions development

https://crypto.news/google-joins-forces-with-tezos-for-web3-solutions-development/

Tezos Foundation and Google Cloud have inked a partnership deal to make it easier for corporations and startups to build Web3 applications on the Tezos blockchain. 

In another significant event for the web3 space, the Tezos Foundation, the organization dedicated to promoting the Tezos protocol, has announced that it has partnered with tech giants Google to accelerate blockchain adoption.

Per a press release by the team, through the partnership, Google Cloud will now become a Tezos network validator – one of the thousands of ‘bakers’ dedicated to ensuring Tezos blocks are always valid – while Tezos, on the other hand, will assist the former’s corporate customers to set up Tezos nodes for Web3 innovation.

“At Google Cloud, we’re providing secure and reliable infrastructure for Web3 founders and developers to innovate and scale their applications. We look forward to bringing the dependability and scalability of Google Cloud to power Web3 applications on Tezos.”

James Tromans, Engineering Director, web3 at Google Cloud

Through the partnership, businesses and developers will be able to take advantage of the scalability of Tezos and the resilience of Google Cloud to host and deploy RPC nodes for Web3 solutions development.

Last November, the Tezos Foundation joined forces with Unity, a leading game engine developer for Web3 game development efforts. 

More recently, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) revealed plans to adopt the Tezos blockchain for car title digitization.

Google joins forces with Tezos for web3 solutions development - 1
$XTZ chart by Coingecko

At press time, the price of Tezos’ native XTZ token is trading at around $1.42, representing a 12.9% increase in the past 24 hours, according to Coingecko.


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ConsenSys acquires HAL for enhanced blockchain data automation on Infura

https://crypto.news/consensys-acquires-hal-for-enhanced-blockchain-data-automation-on-infura/

ConsenSys has announced the acquisition of HAL, a no-code Web3 development tooling platform for enhanced blockchain data queries and automation. The addition of HAL will extend ConsenSys’ Infura capabilities. 

ConsenSys acquires HAL

ConsenSys, a leading ethereum software development company, has announced the acquisition of HAL, a no-code blockchain data listening and automation system that features automated workflow tools for real-time notifications related to digital assets trading, decentralized governance, and more, across email, Discord, Telegram, and other channels.

Per a press release by ConsenSys, the acquisition of HAL will see the ten employees of the latter join its workforce and use their experience in low-code/no-code blockchain solutions development to strengthen the Infura product suite while also offering Metamask users better experiences. 

The team expects HAL to bring improved and unique technical expertise for designing and implementing effective blockchain automation and notification systems.

Eleazar Galano, co-founder of Infura commented:

“Offering developers a seamless end-to-end experience is a key goal. One of the most important trends is low code/ no code solutions. Hal is a great fit for Infura, as it gives users access to over 40 higher level APIs for blockchain/ on-chain listening and signals.”

Despite slashing its workforce significantly due to the crypto winter, ConsenSys has clarified that it will continue to seek strong acquisition opposition and is currently eyeing projects in wallet security, account abstraction, layer-2 scalability, and other sectors of Web3.

ConsenSys contributing its bit to ethereum development 

Ethereum (ETH) has continued to maintain its place as the world’s largest altcoin, thanks to the dedication of its development teams and the contribution of companies like Joe Lubin’s ConsenSys through the creation of robust Ethereum-powered solutions like Infura, which allows developers to seamlessly connect to the blockchain.

In a Twitter thread on Feb. 21, ConsenSys urged the public to participate in the KZG ceremony, an essential key to the next phase in Ethereum’s roadmap, proto-danksharding (EIP-4844), which is expected to reduce gas fees by increasing the amount of data carried by each block on the blockchain.

Last month, ConsenSys announced the go-live of the highly anticipated zkEVM beta testing, which aims to further scale the ethereum network without sacrificing network security.

At the time of filing this report, the price of ethereum (ETH) is hovering around $1,632, with a market cap of $199.72 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.


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Composable Finance’s CTO resigns over alleged illicit operations by its CEO

https://crypto.news/composable-finances-cto-resigns-over-alleged-illicit-operations-by-its-ceo/

Karel Kubat the chief technical officer (CTO) of Composable Finance, has resigned from the project, citing several illegal practices by the company’s CEO Omar Zaki.

Karel Kubat has resigned from the cross-chain interoperability-focused DeFi project, leveling several allegations of illicit practices against the project’s CEO Omar Zaki.

In a Feb. 20 tweet, Kubat alleged that Zaki, who was slapped with a cease-and-desist order by the US SEC earlier in 2019 for operating as an unregistered investment adviser and hedge fund, is executing suspicious transactions and possibly misusing company funds.

Kubat also alleged that the company is not making use of its multi-signature wallet, adding that he suspects Omar Zaki has flouted an SEC’s cease-and-desist order and is the brains behind the project’s Series A funding, through which the project has raised millions of dollars. Composable Finance also reportedly conducted crowdloan auctions on polkadot (DOT) and kusama (KSM).

Furthermore, Kubat has hinted that Zaki may be the creator of Bribe, a rug-pull scam that succeeded in ripping off several investors.

Omar Zaki denies all allegations

In an ask me anything (AMA) session on Twitter, Zaki denied all allegations of fraudulent practices leveled against him by Kubat.

The abrupt collapse of FTX, whose CEO Sam Bankman-Fried once assured customers that all was well with the company, has already brought huge regulatory burdens upon the crypto space, with authorities now waging war against Web3 projects.

In 2022, it was reported that the Web3 industry lost well over $3 billion to scam projects and these dark events have continued in 2023.

On Feb. 17, crypto exchange Binance proposed a new transparency framework for Web3 projects to enable the industry to rebuild the already shattered consumer confidence and trust.


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Illinois lawmaker floats ‘weird’ digital property protection bill

https://crypto.news/illinois-lawmaker-floats-weird-digital-property-protection-bill/

Illinois’ Sen. Rebert Peters has introduced the digital property protection act, which aims to mandate blockchain projects in the state to reverse already executed on-chain transactions when ordered by a court. 

The digital property protection bill

Illinois Democratic party Sen. Robert .J. Peters has introduced a crypto regulation bill that aims to immunize the state’s cryptocurrency investors from hacks and digital asset loss by sacrificing blockchain immutability.

According to the digital property protection and law enforcement act, which was quietly introduced on Feb. 9, blockchain projects in the state will now be required to implement transaction rollback measures in their networks to enable the reversal of any transaction when ordered to carry out such unethical operations by a court, even without a private key of the asset.

A section of the bill reads:

“A blockchain network that processes a blockchain transaction originating in the State at any time after the Act’s effective date shall process a court-ordered blockchain transaction without the need for the private key associated with the digital property or smart contract.”

Senate bill SB1887 criticized 

The bill stipulates that blockchain projects who default will be liable to pay a civil penalty between $5,000 to $10,000 for each day they fail to comply with a court order to roll back a disputed transaction.

As expected, Sen. Peter’s bill is currently a subject of serious debate on crypto Twitter, with several industry players and observers, including lawyer Drew Hinkes outrightly condemning it.

Bad actors often capitalize on the fact that blockchain transactions are immutable by default to orchestrate attacks on various decentralized projects and steal millions of dollars. In 2022 alone, the crypto industry lost over $3.7 billion to hackers. Despite this, introducing bills to make blockchain databases ‘manually editable’ may do more harm than good in the long run.

In a related crypto regulation news just last week, Wyoming lawmakers approved bill HB0086, designed to protect its residents from the forced and unlawful disclosure of their private keys to unauthorized entities.


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KLAY price rises as Klayton Foundation reveals new tokenomics 

https://crypto.news/klay-price-rises-as-klayton-foundation-reveals-new-tokenomics/

Klaytn Foundation is launching a new governance system and tokenomics model designed to foster transparency and increase community involvement in the open block validation and decision-making processes.

As part of plans to further decentralize its platform and make it possible for the masses to participate in its decision-making processes and more, the Klatyn Foundation, the team dedicated to building the Klatyn blockchain, is introducing a revamped governance model and tokenomics structure.

Per a press release, the Klaytn Governance Council (GC) is collaborating with the Foundation to transition the metaverse-enabled blockchain to a permissionless validator system that will allow the average joe to participate in block validation, while also encouraging dapp builders to adopt Klatyn.

Moreover, the team plans to release an improved tokenomics proposal for the GC to vote on starting Feb. 22 through Feb. 28. The team will also release a new roadmap on Feb. 27, detailing its essential governance structure, tech initiatives, and more, going forward. 

To promote transparency, the Foundation will display all GC on-chain voting statuses and agendas in real time on the Klaytn Square governance portal. The Foundation will also expand its capabilities by taking over all Foundation-related operations from Krust Universe, the creator of Klaytn and parent firm of Ground X, from March 1, 2023.

Commenting on the latest development, Dr. Sangmin Seo, Representative Director of the Klaytn Foundation said:

“The new initiatives give the Klaytn blockchain an opportunity to take yet another step towards decentralization. The Foundation is committed to advancing blockchain technology, fostering community trust, and relentlessly working towards decentralization.”

KLAY token price rises

The latest news positively affects the $KLAY token price, with the digital asset posting decent gains in the last 24 hours. 

At the time of filing this report, the price of $KLAY is hovering around $0.349594, representing a 1.4% increase in the 24-hour timeframe. However, looking at the larger picture, $KLAY is up by nearly 80% in the past seven days, according to Coingecko.

KLAY price rises as Klayton Foundation reveals new tokenomics  - 1
$KLAY token price chart by Coingecko

In related Klaytn news, last September the project introduced a new solution designed to help gaming platforms significantly slash gas fees. In October 2022, Klaytn joined forces with Zetachain for a multi-chain interoperability initiative.


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Binance pushes new transparency framework for CEXs

https://crypto.news/binance-pushes-new-transparency-framework-for-cexs/

Binance has released a policy paper proposing a detailed, actionable framework of guidelines that centralized exchanges (CEXs) could follow to foster industry transparency, trust, and safety.

Indeed the countless dark events of the past year, such as the FTX collapse and other high-profile bankruptcies, have significantly dented the image of the cryptocurrency space. Regulators across various jurisdictions, including the US SEC, are tightening the noose on the crypto market participants.

Binance, the world’s major crypto exchange by trading volume, decided to take over the initiative and proposed an actionable framework that centralized exchanges (CEXes) could follow to raise the bar on trust and safety in the industry.

Binance’s statement reads:

“2022 was a historic year for the crypto industry. This was a watershed moment where rebuilding user and regulator trust is critical for the future of the whole ecosystem. Users will demand more from centralized exchanges and the exchanges must rise to the occasion.”

According to its policy paper entitled “Building Trust In the Crypto Ecosystem,” Binance has outlined several measures centralized crypto market participants could take to promote transparency and bolster safety and customer trust.

When it comes to the handling of customer funds, Binance has urged exchanges to try as much as possible to prevent the unauthorized use of customer assets and build secure crypto custody solutions that allow for seamless, cost-efficient depositing and withdrawal of funds.

Binance has also detailed ways by which crypto companies can foster transparency, including by making it possible for customers to verify the safety of their crypto assets under custody via robust disclosure methods such as proof of reserves, adding that disclosure methods adopted must be technically adequate, updated regularly and based on reliable technology, such as zk-SNARKs which cannot be falsified.

Moreover, Binance has urged centralized crypto businesses to imbibe proper risk management by refraining from running their operations with borrowed funds, creating user protection funds that would cushion the effects of unforeseen circumstances such as a heist on customers, proper loan collateralization, and more.

While recent reports have it that Binance may pay hefty financial penalties to US regulators to settle an ongoing investigation into its operations in the country, the exchange has remained strong during these times of FUD.

As recently reported by crypto.news, Binance’s US arm transferred $400 million to Merit Peak, a British Virgin Islands-based entity managed by CEO Changpeng Zhao in 2021. However, investigators are yet to confirm whether they constituted customers’ monies.

Binance pushes new transparency framework for CEXs - 1
BNB 24-hour chart. Source: Coingecko

At press time, Binance’s native $BNB token is down by 3.5 percent in the last 24 hours, exchanging hands for $309.47, according to Coingecko.


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Avalanche’s Platypus DeFi suffers $8.5m flash loan attack

https://crypto.news/avalanches-platypus-defi-suffers-8-5m-flash-loan-attack/

Platypus DeFi has suffered a flash loan attack, losing about $8.5 million to the attacker. The unfortunate news has crashed the price of the project’s Platypus USD (USP) token by over 52 percent in the past 24 hours. 

Platypusdefi, an automated market maker (AMM) and decentralized finance protocol on the Avalanche blockchain, has been targeted in an $8.5 million flash loan attack. The incident was initially reported on Twitter by Web3 security firm Certik Alert.

However, during the early hours of Feb. 17, Platypus confirmed the ugly incident on its Twitter handle, making it clear that it has reached out to the hacker to negotiate a bounty and is also collaborating with industry players like Binance, Tether, and Circle to get the bad actor’s funds frozen and prevent further damage.

Moreover, on-chain sleuth ZachXBT’s tweet suggests he has fished out the perpetrator of the flash loan attack. 

A flash loan is an attack where a bad actor exploits a loophole to borrow a large amount of crypto asset on the platform via an uncollateralized flash loan and then uses the tokens to manipulate the prices of other crypto assets on the network.  In 2022, the DeFi space lost hundreds of millions of dollars to flash loan exploits.

Avalanche’s Platypus DeFi suffers $8.5m flash loan attack - 1
Platypus USD (USP) chart by Coingecko

As expected, the attack triggered a 52.3% crash in the price of Platypus USD (USP), with the previously stablecoin now trading at around $0.476800 instead of $1 per USP, according to Coingecko.


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Bitcoin bull market is here says Pantera Capital

https://crypto.news/bitcoin-bull-market-is-here-says-pantera-capital/

The CEO of the crypto-focused investment giant Pantera Capital predicts that 2023 will be a year for regaining the lost confidence in the web3 space.

According to a new report published by crypto investment fund, Pantera Capital, the crypto bear market is over and bitcoin (BTC) has entered its seventh bull cycle.

Pantera says crypto winter has been over for months

Pantera Capital, a crypto investment firm with over $4 billion in assets under management (AUM), has hinted that the bear market is now over and the seventh bull crypto market cycle is now upon us.

The company made this declaration in a recent publication titled “The Seventh Bull Cycle.”

Dan Morehead, the CEO, pointed out that this is bitcoin’s seventh bull cycle after six bear cycles and encouraged investors not to be deterred despite the state of the market, especially after the FTX fiasco.

Morehead also highlighted his company’s vast experience in the crypto sector, stating that Pantera has been through 10 years of BTC market cycles.

The Pantera Capital CEO explained that, “This is the only bear market to more than completely wipe out the previous bull market. In this case, giving back 136% of the previous rally.”

Is light at the end of the tunnel?

Morehead further explained that data gotten from the median downdraft suggests that the bear market is at an end according to historical context, and the market will begin to witness a surge in price very soon.

“The median downdraft has been 307 days, and the previous bear market was 376. The median drawdown has been a -73% downdraft, and the latest bear market ended at -77%,” he said. “I think we’re done with that and beginning to grind higher.”

He also stated that he expects bitcoin to rally up by at least 136% during the seventh bull cycle, which means that the price of BTC is expected to reach a new all-time high soon.

Pantera isn’t the only voice calling out an impending upturn in the market. In Jan 2023, CryptoQuant, an on-chain analytics firm revealed that the recent surge in the price of bitcoin and the market, in general, is an indicator of a more significant movement that will occur in the near future. 


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Hedera Hashgraph $HBAR keeps going up 

https://crypto.news/hedera-hashgraph-hbar-keeps-going-up/

$HBAR, the native crypto asset of the Hedera Hashgraph distributed ledger technology (DLT) project has posted an over 29% price surge in the past seven days following positive ecosystem news.

$HBAR price maintains its upward push 

Last week, crypto.news reported that Dell Technologies, an American tech giant that manufactures, sells, and repairs computers and related products, has joined the Hedera Governing Council, the consortium of highly-reputed organizations that lead the Hedera network.

Following the positive news, the price of $HBAR has maintained its bullish momentum in the past week, making the token one of the top gainers in the last seven days. 

Hedera Hashgraph $HBAR keeps going up  - 1
$HBAR Price. Source: CoinGecko.

According to data available on Coingecko, the price of $HBAR hit a high of $0.098020 on Feb. 12, with a trading volume of $273,964,244, before correcting to the $0.080 region.

However, at the time of filing this report, $HBAR is exchanging hands for $0.088, representing a 10 percent gain on the day and crypto market dominance of 0.216 percent.

With a market capitalization of $2,331,544,549, $HBAR is the world’s 30th-largest cryptocurrency. The circulating supply of HBAR currently sits at 26,051,470,158.

Despite $HBAR’s solid rally in the weekly timeframe, the asset is still down by 84.49% from its all-time high of $0.569229 in Sept. 2021, but up by 795.06% from its all-time-low of $0.00986111 in Jan. 2020.

Hedera Hashgraph ecosystem development 

Hedera is an open-source public distributed ledger technology (DLT) network powered by the hashgraph consensus algorithm. Hedera supports smart contracts, tokenization, play-to-earn gaming, decentralized applications (dApps) development, and more. 

On the adoption front, the Hedera project has attracted a good number of adopters over the years. 

Last April, the Hedera Foundation set aside $250 million to help fund hedera-powered web3 startups building metaverse-related solutions. And in Oct. 2022, the Hedera project activated $HBAR staking, bringing more decentralization and security to the network.


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