Ripple Reportedly Considering Insolvent Celsius Buyout

Key Insights:

  • Blockchain payment Ripple has expressed “interest” in acquiring bankrupt crypto lender Celsius.
  • Ripple is actively looking for merges and acquisitions to “strategically scale the company.”
  • Celsius is facing multiple difficulties – it froze withdrawals in June, filed for bankruptcy in July, facing regulatory scrutiny from SEC.

The now bankrupt crypto lender Celsius Holding, with native token CEL, has been the talk of the town this week. For instance, the Canadian regulators are reportedly working with US counterparts to investigate the company’s insolvency. In yet another separate instance this week, Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky has been selling his CEL tokens, given its recent surge.

Amid a slew of difficulties, the cryptocurrency lender faces, Celsius and its assets have been of great interest to blockchain behemoth Ripple Labs (XRP).

Is XRP Eyeing CEL Acquisition?

Per a Reuters report on Wednesday, Ripple is “interested” in studying Celsius and assets for its business before considering a possible merge. A spokesperson from the firm told the publication,

“We are interested in learning about Celsius and its assets and whether any could be relevant to our business.”

However, the representative did not clarify whether the company would officially acquire Celsius. Additionally, the latter has not commented on this matter.

The news left various crypto speculators wondering why the San Francisco-based Ripple would buy something that has been facing bankruptcy and lawsuits.

Crypto user and a Youtuber who has been highly vocal on XRP said that the possible interest could be a part of Ripple’s “buyback scenario.”

Another user Tweeted, questioning what kind of liquidity the integration could bring to Ripple’s on-demand liquidity (ODL).

Ripple is Looking to Scale

Ripple’s spokesperson continued stating that the blockchain firm is actively looking” for potential opportunities for acquisitions.

“Ripple has continued to grow exponentially and is actively looking for M&A opportunities to strategically scale the company.”

This is so true as the company, despite its current challenges and charges with the SEC, foresees its growth across the crypto world. In a recent tweet, the CEO of the company, Brad Garlinghouse, shared XRP’s strategy for surviving the bear market.

The XRP token has been rising slightly by 5.19% to 0.3811 at press time.

On the other hand, Celsius has had a hard blow in the crypto market. Starting from freezing its users’ assets in June, citing “extreme market conditions,” and filing for bankruptcy a month later.

Per the filings, the company’s assets included cash, cryptos, CEL tokens, other digital currencies, and bitcoin (BTC) mining businesses.

China Slams Illegal Websites and Accounts for Exaggerating BTC Returns

Key Insights:

  • The Cyberspace Administration of China has ousted 12,000 accounts and 105 websites for hyping crypto returns.
  • More than 51,000 posts promoting crypto investments were deleted.
  • The cyber arm will work with other departments to continue the illegal crypto information clean-up campaign.

China is on a clampdown spree on illegal cryptocurrency promotions by social media accounts and websites.

In a Tuesday announcement, the country’s central internet regulator – Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) – said that it has stepped into a clean-up campaign to deal with illegal bitcoin (BTC) promotions that exaggerate high investment returns.

“Since the beginning of this year, the Cyberspace Administration of China has implemented the decisions and deployments of the CPC Central Committee and took various measures to clean up and deal with a batch of illegal information, accounts, and websites that promote and hype virtual currency.”

The CAC has come up with a notice on “Further Preventing and Handling Hype Risks in Virtual Currency Transactions,” urging website platforms to increase efforts to slam illegal crypto promotions.

Weibo and Baidu Shut 12,000 Illegal User Accounts

In what the central cyber arm calls a “high-pressure crackdown on virtual currency transaction speculation,” social media behemoths Weibo and Baidu have closed 12,000 user accounts that were deemed “illegal.”

The expelled accounts include that of the founder of @ICE Blizzard and @Coin Circle Baoye, the translation from the official release noted.

The CAC has also cleaned up over 51,000 illegal and misleading messages that implied – “Easy to make money by investing in Bitcoin.”

The department closed a total of 989 Sina Weibo accounts, Baidu Tieba accounts, and WeChat public accounts in accordance with the law.

Additionally, the central cyberspace has instructed the local information department to inspect over 500 business entities like “chain nodes” and “venture capital circles” involved in such crypto promotions.

“The Cyberspace Administration of China, together with relevant departments, will shut down 105 website platforms such as “Bi Toutiao,” which specifically advocates for virtual currency marketing and publishes tutorials explaining cross-border currency speculation and virtual currency mining.”

The Cyberspace Administration of China said it would work with relevant departments as the next step in curbing illegal and misleading financial information related to cryptos.

However, CAC did not reveal which departments it would be collaborating with.

China has been tougher on crypto regulations in recent years, including announcing a blanket ban on crypto mining in 2021.

Crypto.com Calls South Korea an “Important Market,” Gets Regulatory Nod

Key Insights:

  • Crypto.com has secured digital assets service provider license from South Korea.
  • The crypto platform announced acquisitions of PnLink Co. and OK-BIT Co.
  • South Korea is one of the most crypto-active countries, with users of around 5.58 million or 10% of the population.

Crypto.com has announced the completion of two key registrations in South Korea, a move it believes could recover the crypto market’s nosedive.

The cryptocurrency platform has secured the country’s Electronic Financial Transaction Act and Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) registration in what it calls an “important market.”

The Electronic Financial Transaction Act aims to ensure the safety and reliability of all e-financial transactions. It sets a high regulatory bar, and the approval reflects the nation’s stringent anti-money laundering rules.

Additionally, in December 2021, the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KFIU) made it mandatory for all VASPs to register their business to provide crypto services targeting Koreans.

Two Significant Acquisitions

The registration comes after Crypto.com, with the native token Cronos (CRO), announced securing two Korean-based firms – payment service provider ‘PnLink Co. Ltd.’ and virtual asset service provider ‘OK-BIT Co. Ltd.

The company noted the acquisition as “another key regulatory milestone,” following its recent in-principle approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore and virtual asset license (provisional approval) from the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA).

Announced during the Korea Blockchain Week 2022, which kickstarted Sunday in the capital city of Seoul, Eric Anziani, the COO of Crypto.com, discussed the company’s plans for South Korea after securing payment and crypto registrations.

According to Kris Marszalek, co-founder, and CEO of Crypto.com, this is a critical move in an “important market” like South Korea, one of the most crypto-active countries in Asia.

“We are committed to working with regulators to continue to bring our products and services to market, particularly in countries like South Korea where consumers have shown strong interest and adoption of digital currencies.”

The company is also eyeing to further its Web3 ecosystem and advance blockchain technology, Patrick Yoon, general manager for the South Korean arm of Crypto.com, noted.

Furthermore, Anziani told Bloomberg that the company is working with partners in South Korea who are at the forefront of gaming and entertainment.

South Korea Recovers After Terra’s Blow

The algorithmic stablecoin Terra (LUNA) ecosystem’s rise and fall has taken a toll on the entire crypto space globally, particularly in South Korea, the birthplace of its creator – Do Kwon.

Kwon faced legal troubles in South Korea, following which the country’s ruling party announced the launch of a new Digital Asset Committee to oversee the crypto industry in the country.

The nation has thus joined jurisdictions worldwide in pushing for more crypto oversight following TerraUSD (UST) collapse.

Since then, South Korea has made efforts to ensure that investors in cryptos and stablecoins are better protected.

According to a study in March by the Financial Service Commission, South Korea’s crypto assets market has grown multifold – to 55.2 trillion won ($45.9 billion) as of end-2021, and the number of Korean users amounting to nearly 5.58 million or 10% of the population.

This is why crypto firms and service providers flock to South Korea, which has high crypto-friendly rules. Additionally, the country has postponed its plans to tax crypto earnings to 2025, making the environment more conducive to crypto players.

Nomad Bridge Hackers Return $9M in USDT, USDC After $190M Exploit

Key Insights:

  • Hackers returned $9 million to Nomad after attackers abused a “chaotic” security exploit to steal $190.38 million.
  • Blockchain firm PeckShield reported that most recouped were stablecoins – USDT and USDC.
  • The funds came back after Nomad requested white hat hackers and ethical researchers to return.

In what is called one of the most extensive hacks, the cross-chain messaging bridge Nomad fell victim to a security exploit on Monday. Hackers drained $190.38 million in digital assets, including Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) and the USD Coin stablecoin (USDC).

As a result, the token bridge said that investigations are going “round the clock,”  with law enforcement teams. In line with it, the firm Tweeted Wednesday that it is seeking “white hat hackers” and “ethical researchers” to return funds.

The tweet read that Nomad has partnered with crypto custodian Anchorage Digital, which will accept and safeguard the returned funds. The note read,

“If you are a white hat hacker/ethical security researcher who took ETH/ERC-20 tokens with the intention of returning them, we now have a process for you to do so.”

$9 Million Returned So Far

In recent data shared by blockchain security firm PeckShield, hackers have returned $9 million of the total lost funds. This accounts to around 5% of crypto assets stolen, after Nomad revealed the fund recovery address.

 

Per PeckShield’s stats, most of the funds sent back were stablecoins, notably $3.78 million USDC and $2 million USDT. This is followed by $1.38 million in Covalent (CQT) and $1.2 million in Frax (FRAX). Multiple crypto addresses sent the stolen funds.

Nomad Bridge allows users to send and receive tokens from Ethereum (ETH) blockchain to others such as Avalanche (AVAX), Evmos (EVMOS), and Moonbeam (GLMR).

Per news reports, the Nomad blamed “impersonators posing as Nomad and providing fraudulent addresses to collect funds.”

The exploit follows the theft of blockchain bridge Harmony, which lost around $100 million in an attack in June. Majority hackers target these token bridges, given their relative new coming and inevitable bugs.

According to Nikos Andrikogiannopoulos, CEO of Metrika, an operational intelligence source for blockchain, Cross-chain bridges are “complicated” and more frequent software updates of the bridge could introduce bugs and enable exploits. He told FX Empire,

“The high rate of innovation in the crypto world and the frequent software upgrades of the multi-chain world will inevitably introduce more vulnerabilities. We need to have real-time monitoring infrastructure in place to prevent and quickly react to exploits.”

Luxe Brand Tiffany Launches 250 CryptoPunk NFT Necklaces for 30ETH

Key Insights:

  • Tiffany unveiled a bespoke pendant collection for owners of CryptoPunk NFTs.
  • The company will launch the NFTiff collection of 250 NFTs on Aug.5, each priced at 30ETH ($50,000).
  • Chains NFTs Tweeted that soon there would be a digital memory pendant for Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT holders.

CryptoPunks NFT holders have good news from the luxury jewelry brand Tiffany & Co.

The company announced that it would sell a series of 250 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) dubbed “NFTiff” exclusively for CryptoPunk holders. For a hefty price of 30 ether (ETH) each (around $50,000), these NFTiffs represent bespoke bejeweled pendant necklaces featuring their valuable avatar.

Per the company’s NFT FAQ page, each CryptoPunk owner is entitled to purchase a max of 3 NFTiffs, which will allow them to mint a customized pendant. The sale will be live from August 5.

The company said each piece of the pendant would have at least 30 stones, including gemstones and/or diamonds. The base of the charm “will be in 18k rose or yellow gold based on the color palette of the NFT,” it added.

Alexandre Arnault, the vice president of products and communications at Tiffany& Co, first promoted the pendant in April, which reflected the features of CryptoPunk #3167, which he owns.

Arnault said in a Tweet that the pendant was made of rose gold encrusted with sapphire, Mozambique ruby glasses, and yellow diamond.

NFT Community Isn’t Happy With the Price

Following the announcement, the NFT community had mixed reactions on social media, mostly criticizing the enormous price of NFTiffs. However, many CryptoPunk holders were largely excited about the offering from a luxe jewel brand.

One user criticized, saying, “I don’t need Tiffany’s to immortalize my CryptoPunk.”

The co-founder of Blocktones wrote that he isn’t happy with the exorbitant price of each NFT that Tiffany is yet to launch. He said Tiffany would make around 12.7 million on the sale of all NFTs, which is “hilarious.”

While, other users had a bullish stance on the launch, despite their prices. One user questioned the controversy saying, what else do you expect from a luxury jewelry brand?

Founder and CEO of Zen Academy said the launch was an “excellent way to enter the NFT space.”

However, this isn’t the first time Tiffany has entered the world of NFTs. In March 2022, the company purchased an Okapi NFT from contemporary artist Tom Sachs for $380,000.

The NFTiffs are a collaboration with the blockchain-based tech firm Chain.

BAYC Holders Next

In a similar announcement on Sunday, Chains NFT, a collection of 10,000 fully producible fine jewelry assets, announced that Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT holders, which dominated the NFT space, will get a chance to purchase physical and digital memory pendants.

The blockchain firm said this would be a shoutout to Tiffany “for entering the space and bringing millions of new eyes on NFT digital and physical jewelry!”

It also called for collaborations from other NFT communities on the upcoming BAYC pendant sale.

Will the Crypto Winter Thaw in the Second Half of 2022?

Key Insights:

  • The collapse of Terra, 3AC, and insolvency crisis across crypto institutions has created severe bear conditions in Q2.
  • Experts predict prolonged crypto winter in the second half of 2022.
  • Bitcoin saw a quarter-to-quarter loss of over 57%, and ether lost over 67%.

The cryptocurrency market has had a roller coaster ride this year, with signs of liquidity crunch and even insolvency. After raising phenomenally in 2021, bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), and other significant cryptos started to plummet.

The $2 trillion crypto market crash wiped out investor gains and obliterated once staple cryptocurrencies. For instance, Terra’s (LUNA) collapse is one of the primary drivers of the crypto market dive. The algorithmic stablecoin lost all of its value following TerraUSD (UST) collapse in May.

Another major driver is the centralized-finance lender Celsius, which offered users yields of more than 18% for depositing their cryptos. The firm paused withdrawals for customers in June.

Market participants are calling the current turmoil a “crypto winter.” To start with, crypto winter is the term used when there is a rapid and prolonged decrease in crypto values. Prices can remain depressed for many months, falling as much as 50-90%. It has been a difficult phase for crypto investors, who are anxious to know how long this uncomfortable period can last and how to survive the frosty crypto markets.

“If Winter Comes, Can Spring Be Far Behind?”

The current phase could be challenging for holders; nonetheless, this is not the first time the market is witnessing such high volatility. Between 2018 and 2020, bitcoin lost nearly half its market value but came back stronger in November 2021, reaching its all-time high.

The latest monetary policy decision from the Fed on Wednesday has had little impact on the bitcoin price. As the Federal Reserve continues to curb stubborn inflation, the central bank raised interest rates by 0.75%, the fourth consecutive increase this year alone.

Soon after the announcement, experts largely predicted that investors should expect new volatility this week. At the start, sentiment in the crypto market appeared slightly bearish, though prices showed signs of going uphill.

Bitcoin was trading above $23,000, and ethereum was trading above $1,700 as of Thursday, both up by over 10%.

Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at Oanda, told the Time publication,

“The FOMC decision provided optimism that the end of tightening is in sight, and that triggered a nice rally for risky assets that helped elevate cryptos.”

Q3 & Q4, 2022: A Ray of Hope for Crypto Investors?

According to Moya, crypto investors are keeping a close eye on the price of bitcoin, ethereum, and other cryptos to see if there is any “possible retest of the June lows.”

However, despite the positive momentum last week, it is no where close to the highs it reached last year. Looking into the crypto’s history of volatility, it is not clear when the market turbulence will settle.

Few market experts predict that there could be more pain in the second half of this year as crypto companies struggle to pay their debts and process customer withdrawals.

For instance, Tom Loverro, a former Coinbase Board member, has shared his predictions on crypto winter in his series of Twitter threads. According to him, the present phase could fall even lower in 2022.

He noted that the pandemic largely drove the 2020 bear market, and the current crypto winter isn’t similar to the 2020 fall. He further said,

“So, these investors will suffer until rates stabilize.”

Loverro advises investors to have enough cash to get through the next 30–36 months. He said, “crypto will come back bigger than ever.”

In an interview with FX Empire, Dora Yue, founder of crypto firm OKEx, said that after this “aggressive round of forced selling and deleveraging,” there are many reasons for investors to remain optimistic, such as:

  • The market has deleveraged, and stablecoin debt utilization has returned to a relatively reasonable level.
  • Asset prices have started to rebound from their lows, especially for Defi.
  • Valuations in the primary market are slowly returning to sanity.
  • Business models and startups will mature more as they go through the market cycle again.

As Q3 of 2022 begins, it wouldn’t be pleasant for bitcoin, given the baby steps that cryptos take to recover. As reported by FXEmpire, bitcoin saw a quarter-to-quarter loss of over 57%, while ether dropped by more than 67% over the same time.

Per Nomura, a Japanese financial services behemoth, major economies could see a recession “‘in the next 12 months amid tightening government policies and higher costs.” The words sent a chill down investors’ spines, expecting hard times in the near future.

Top 3 NFTs on July 28: Impostors Prepares for Its First Beta

Key Insights: 

  • Impostors Genesis NFTs is preparing for its first community Beta test.
  • Dysto Apez has also decided on a collection of robot companions, which the team is yet to determine a name.
  • Moon Runners was launched without a roadmap or its official Discord.

The biggest NFT collections of the day include Impostors Genesis Aliens with a floor price of 0.8439 ETH. This is followed by Dysto Apez Official with 0.2 ETH and Moonrunners Official with 0.11 ETH. 

However, the worst performing NFTs of the 24-hour floor price include Casual Sloths Official, trading at a volume of -43.3%, followed by YOLO Bunny with a volume of -22.5% at press time. 

Impostors Genesis Aliens

 What is it?

The Impostors Genesis Aliens project consists of 10,420 little alien characters. Apart from an interactive social gaming environment, Impostors Genesis Aliens NFT promises to offer an incentive system with continuous earning opportunities.

The project’s roadmap outlines its plan every two weeks. This means that if the user wants something new to happen to the project, the minimum waiting time is two weeks.

Impostors have features like fun and engaging gameplay and calculated in-game economics.

Today, impostors Genesis Aliens’ floor price is $1,443.65, with a 24-hour sales volume of 27.24 ETH. As of today, there is a total of 10420 NFTs minted, held by 4946 owners, and a total market cap of $15,042,841.97. 

What drives the performance?

 The Impostors said in a tweet that the firm is preparing for its first community Beta test. Also, early this month, the Alien Galaxy Reveal took place. 

 Dysto Apez Official

 What is it?

Dysto Apez is a metaverse brand driven by its community. After pushing the limits of pixel art with a fully animated NFT collection, the team is starting to make their stamp on the digital world.

The Dysto NFT’s long-term vision is to broaden its ecosystem and breach the physical world by way of brand partnerships and innovative media approaches. The company is planning to hold IRL events, physical Dysto Apez merch, and a plethora of other products.

Dysto’s floor price today is $324.24, with a 24-hour sales volume of 15.22 ETH. Till today, there is a total of 4444 NFTs minted, and the token is held by 1296 owners and has a total market cap of $1,440,915.31.

The floor price of Dysto Apez Official shot up from 0.122 ETH to 0.389 ETH today at 2.00 pm Asia time before tumbling to 0.2 at press time.

What drives the performance?

Dyson aims to bring as much value as possible to its holders while also maintaining a laid-back and enjoyable Discord community. Some of the utilities that the community currently provides are alpha calls, which include not only Ethereum NFT calls but also altcoins and even Solana (SOL) projects.

On top of that, the team is currently in the process of developing more projects, such as the Elder Council, an extremely limited collection of 1/1 NFTs for its most loyal members.

The firm has also decided to release a collection of robot companions, which the team is yet to decide a name. Soon the members would be able to send their Apez and their companions on weekly missions and receive more rewards.

“The future of Dysto Apez is looking very bright,” the gitbook.io description on Dysto Apez said.

Moonrunners Official

What is it?

Moonrunners NFTs are 10,000 unique NFT characters that are taking the internet by storm. The NFTs depict pixelated wolf-like characters.

The project has been launched without a roadmap or its official Discord.

Moonrunners’ Official floor price today is $184.55, with a 24-hour sales volume of 18.65 ETH. 

Till today, there is a total of 9473 NFTs minted, held by 3864 unique owners, and has a total market cap of $1,748,242.90. 

Top 3 NFTs on July 27: ShitBeast Gets Whale Holders, Giveaway Awaits

Key Insights: 

  • Each VOX NFTs are programmatically generated and unique.
  • ShitBeast NFTs attracted more whale holders recently.
  • God Hates NFTees has announced a giveaway of 2 God Hates NFTees

The biggest movers of the day include VOX collectibles with a 24-hour floor price of 0.635 ETH. This is followed by ShitBeast with 0.087 ETH, and God Hates NFTees with 0.369 ETH.

Here are the top three best-performing NFT collections for the day:

VOX Collectibles: Mirandus

What is it?

A VOX is a unique avatar with randomly generated traits. VOX are collectible ERC-721 NFTs. Each VOX is programmatically generated and provably unique, which means that no two VOX non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are the same. 

VOX floor price today is $804.85, with a 24-hour sales volume of 23.71 ETH. As of today, there is a total of 8449 NFTs minted, held by 3643 owners.

The token has a total market cap of $6,800,156.46.

Mirandus VOX NFTs are inspired by the creatures and heroes of Mirandus. They will offer in-game boosts when paired with Exemplar avatars and are playable for play-to-earn rewards.

ShitBeast

What is it?

ShitBeast is a meme NFT project stored on the Ethereum blockchain. Within the collection are seven Shit Legendary NFTs: Darken, Demon, Fly, Golden Shit Rod, Oak, Skeleton, and Wolf King.

The website displays a canvas that tells users to drag a Shitbeast from their inventory and pick up one of three different cleaners to clean their NFT.

ShitBeast floor price today is $129.63, with a 24-hour sales volume of 8.08 ETH.

As of today, there is a total of 10000 NFTs minted, held by 2959 owners, and the token has a total market cap of $1,296,320.79.

What drives the performance?

As of June 8, 2022, ShitBeast NFT ranked 8th in 7-day trading volume on OpenSea.

ShitBeast has been attracting more whale holders recently. Currently, there are 317 blue chip holders, of which 224 are Otherdeed holders, accounting for 6.04% of the total.

On the other hand, the tokens officially launched the second-generation NFT ShitBeast. This had more blue-chip holders than the first-generation ill poop it NFT project.

God Hates NFTees

What is it?

God Hates NFTees is a collection of 5022 “NFTees” for the culture. It is a community governed by a DAO, where each member has a say in how the project operates and proceeds. The collection is founded and created by a self-proclaimed 67-year-old man named Mr. Peters.

God Hates NFTees boasts about having no official roadmap and a Discord solely for trolling purposes.

Today’s floor price is $555.94, with a 24-hour sales volume of 61.5 ETH. Currently, there is a total of 5022 NFTs minted, and over 2340 owners own the NFTs. The token has a total market cap of $2,791,958.60.

The floor price of God Hates NFTees had an ascending day, with prices surging from 0.240 ETH to 0.369 ETH since Wednesday morning.

What drives the performance? 

God Hates NFTees has announced a giveaway of 2 God Hates NFTees, which has few criteria for eligibility. Meanwhile, the company’s Twitter page announced the giveaway of 2x Ape Hater Club NFTs and 02x God Hates NFTees. The winners will be notified by Friday.

Hackers Target NFT Projects: Over $22M Lost Since May 2022

Key Insights:

  • TRM Labs report unveiled that hackers have targeted NFT projects on Discord.
  • The NFT community has lost about $22 million in the scam since May 2022.
  • In June alone, there was a 55% increase in phishing attacks linked to NFT minting through Discord accounts.

After stealing more than $1 billion in cryptocurrencies this year alone, hackers and cybercriminals have now turned to the burgeoning non-fungible token (NFT) projects.

In a fresh investigation, a group of NFT hackers targeting Discord social media channels have increased rapidly in the recent past. For instance, data show that cases of NFT scams jumped 55% in the month of June alone.

Most Scams Linked to “Wider Group” of Hackers

According to a recent report from a Web3 security firm TRM Labs, the NFT community has fallen prey to hackers, losing over $22 million in the process since the month of May.

Chainabuse, a scam reporting platform run by TRM, has filed over 100 scam reports in the past two months. The report said some notable projects, such as BAYC, were hacked twice.

The TRM analysis noted that hackers used sophisticated social engineering like phishing and fake accounts claiming to be an administrator in order to scam Discord users.

They had also used an “array of tactics” such as bots, which allow admins to automatically send messages to the community without the user’s knowledge. The release noted,

“The hackers purposefully targeted users who were already holders of valuable NFTs, advertising a “BAYC, MAYC, and Otherside EXCLUSIVE Giveaway,” and providing a fraudulent link that prompted users to send a minting fee in ETH.0.”

After gaining control of the victims’ wallets, NFTs from each compromised account was moved into a single wallet tied to the phishing link, the findings added.

The examination revealed that hackers’ movements of stolen NFTs were linked to a “wider” network. However, the number of groups involved remains unknown.

Yuga Labs, the company best known for creating the world’s largest and most profitable NFT project to date, the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), warned its users to be vigilant of malicious attacks.

NFTs Are a Hotbed for Hackers

With the continuous increase in the number of NFT users, phishers, hackers, and other cybercriminals have also targeted this market, further threatening the security of the NFT community.

For instance, a project named MoonManNFT stole nearly 400 NFTs under the name of free mint.

Experts have suggested a few ways to avoid falling victim to NFT scams. The key cause of NFT hacking is due to user visits to unofficial websites. It is important that users download the Web3 app or wallet from the official website.

Another way to secure digital currencies or collectibles is to check the domain name. one of the hackers’ tactics is to create knock-off sites whose domain names are similar to the original site.

It is best not to share login credentials and private keys with anyone who claims to be from the company or the administrator, experts noted.

Kraken Faces Investigation for Letting Users in Iran Buy and Sell Crypto

Key Insights:

  • The US Treasury is probing whether Kraken allowed users in Iran to trade cryptos.
  • The exchange has been under investigation since 2019 and is likely to be fined, reports noted.
  • Crypto payment platforms BitGo and BitPay faced hefty fines for apparent sanctions violations.

Crypto exchange Kraken (KRAK) would face a probe from the US Treasury for reportedly allowing users from sanctioned nations to trade cryptocurrencies.

According to a New York Times report, the Department of Treasury has suspected Kraken of violating US sanctions, a powerful tool in dealing with countries that defy US foreign policy interests.

The exchange has allegedly permitted users from Iran to buy and sell cryptos from its platform.

According to five unnamed persons familiar with the matter, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has been involved in probing the Kraken exchange since 2019. It is expected to slap the crypto behemoth with a hefty fine in the near future.

A spokesperson from the Treasury noted,

“The Treasury does not confirm or comment on potential or ongoing investigations. We remain committed to using all of our tools and authorities to enforce the sanctions that protect US national security.”

Per the US sanctions against Iran, exports to the mid-east nation are prohibited. If investigations find Kraken guilty, the exchange would be the largest US crypto firm to face an Office of Foreign Assets Control enforcement action related to sanctions against Iran.

Kraken has been mum when asked about the investigation and pending fine. In an email to the Times, Marco Santori, Kraken’s chief legal officer, said that the company does not comment on specific discussions with regulators. He added,

“Kraken closely monitors compliance with sanctions laws and, as a general matter, reports to regulators even potential issues.”

Uncle Sam Cracks Down on Crypto Companies

The federal government has scrutinized several crypto firms as the market multiplies.

For instance, California-based crypto wallet service BitGo was booked for 183 apparent US sanctions violations and was fined more than $98,000 in 2020. This was followed by BitPay, which paid over $500,000 for 2,102 violations.

Jesse Powell, the co-founder of Kraken, shared a spreadsheet last month on a company Slack channel that showed where the company’s customers are located. The data noted 1,522 users with residences in Iran, 149 in Syria, and 83 in Cuba, all of which are sanctioned nations, the Times reported.

However, this isn’t the first time the $11 billion value Kraken has been under the lens of the Department of Treasury. In 2019, a former employee from the company’s finance department, Nathan Peter Runyon, accused the startup of generating revenue from accounts based in sanctioned nations. The lawsuit was settled last year.

The Treasury noted last year that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), and litecoin (LTC) “potentially reduce the efficacy of American sanctions.” The department suggested crypto firms in the US use geolocation tools to cut out customers from those nations.

Top 3 NFTs on July 26: Driven by Rags to Richie and Kingship NFT Sale

Key Insights: 

  • Town Star NFT collections were seen at the top of the OpenSea charts.
  • Rags to Richie launched the public sale of its NFTs on Monday.
  • The Kingship group sold its entire collection of 5,000 NFT “key cards,” generating $1.4million.

The day’s biggest movers include Town Star, with a 24-hour volume of 195.1%. They were followed by Rags to Richie with 112.6% and Kingship with 39.7%.

However, the worst performing NFTs of the day include Casual Sloths official, with a volume of -49.1%, and Isekai Meta volume of -45.4%. Let us have a look at the top three best-performing NFT collections for today.

Town Star

What is it?

Town Star is the first play-to-earn game by Gala Games, a blockchain gaming company. Players build their Town to produce resources that can earn Town Coin, the game’s cryptocurrency. Players need to own at least one in-game NFT to earn Town Coin.

Today’s Town Star floor price is $7.83 (0.0055 ETH), with a 24-hour sales volume of 9.48 ETH

As of today, there is a total of 256 NFTs minted, held by 37773 unique owners, and the token has a total market cap of $2,006.93.

The floor price of Town Star surged from 0.0017 ETH to 0.0055 ETH around 1:30 pm Asia time this afternoon.

What drives the performance?

Town Star NFT collections, along with Gala’s Mirandus collections were seen at the top of the OpenSea charts at release.

A professional game developer also tweeted that their games aren’t targeting AAA high-fidelity graphics. Instead, they focused on mobile and PC titles with simple game mechanics and low-poly art.

The tweet read, “This could be a winning strategy since mobile is 60% of the video game market.”

Another recent tweet said that the “play-to-earn model catches the eye” of NFT users.

Rags to Richie by Alec Monopoly

What is it?

Rags to Richie is a collection of 6500 unique NFTs designed and hand-drawn by Alec Monopoly. Holders will have the possibility to participate in a winnable NFT game, a metaverse club, and a digital art gallery.

Rags to Richie by Alec Monopoly (RR) floor price today is $1,179.14, with a 24-hour sales volume of 153.99 ETH. Currently, there is a total of 3333 NFTs minted, and around 1471 owners hold them, and the token has a total market cap of $3,930,073.17 (2,833.05 ETH).

The NFT prices have been rising since Tuesday morning Asia time from the low of 0.400 ETH to the peak of 1.15 ETH in the evening.

What drives the performance? 

Rags to Richie launched the public sale of its NFTs on Monday after selling out NFTs in a private sale to Whitelist winners. The public sale was open to everyone, and the NFTs were sold out on Tuesday, according to its Twitter update.

Alec Monopoly, the creator of the NFTs, said in a video before the NFT mint that he is emotional after months of being in this project.

“I am so excited for the mint and emotional being just hours away from minting. I have learned so much from the Web3 community, and I want to say how grateful I am to the whole community.”

Kingship

What is it?

Kingship, the NFT group signed to the universal music group at 10:22 PM, launched its first NFT collection early this month and has already completely sold out.

Kingship’s NFT collection consisted of 5,000 access-enabled Key Cards that will provide owners access to the group’s virtual world and unlock other perks such as products and a token-gated community.

The NFTs floor price today is $154.10, with a 24-hour sales volume of 13.12 ETH. As of today, there is a total of 5000 NFTs minted, held by 2099 owners. The token has a market cap of $770,487.32.

The world of Kingship consists of three rare Bored Apes and a rare Mutant Ape.

What drives the performance?

The Kingship group announced that it had sold its entire collection of 5,000 NFT “key cards,” generating $1.4million!

“I am grateful to our team, partners, and community for this sold out,” says Celine Joshua, founder, and creator of KINGSHIP. Joshua further noted,

“The depleted genesis key card is just the beginning of our new journey together.”

The collectible key cards feature different members of the gang and contain unique attributes. Kingship is also building four Towers on its island, one for each gang member.

US SEC Investigates Coinbase Over Unregistered Securities Listings

Key Insights:

  • Coinbase is facing an SEC probe for reportedly listing unregistered securities.
  • The regulator is looking into an alleged insider trading scheme revealed last week.
  • SEC’s scrutiny has increased since Coinbase expanded the number of trading tokens.

Crypto trading platform Coinbase (COIN) is facing a fresh probe from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over allegedly listing unregistered securities.

Per a Bloomberg report, the largest U.S.-based cryptocurrency trading platform, Coinbase, has boosted its token offerings in the recent past. This has triggered SEC to investigate whether the exchange has prompted Americans to trade tokens that should have been registered as securities, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Probe predates insider trading lawsuit

The recent probe by the SEC’s enforcement unit predates last week’s investigation into insider trading charges against a former Coinbase product manager and two others.

The accused perpetrated a scheme to trade ahead of multiple announcements regarding certain crypto assets that would be made available for trading on the Coinbase platform, SEC’s announcement read.

“[The perpetrators] allegedly purchased at least 25 crypto assets, at least nine of which were securities, and then typically sold them shortly after the announcements for a profit.”

However, Coinbase firmly stated that the company “does not list securities. Period.”

Paul Grewal, Chief Legal Officer at Coinbase, noted last week that seven of the nine digital assets claimed by the SEC are listed on Coinbase. He continued,

“None of these assets are securities. Coinbase has a rigorous process to analyze and review each digital asset before making it available on our exchange — a process that the SEC itself has reviewed.”

Coinbase also questioned SEC by filing a petition to state a workable regulatory framework for digital asset securities clearly.

Coinbase has been facing scrutiny from the regulator, and the firm noted in its first-quarter earnings report that it had received “investigative subpoenas from the SEC.”

The regulator had demanded “information about certain of our customer programs, operations, and intended future products, including our stablecoin and yield-generating products,” it noted.

Securities – as opposed to other assets like commodities – are strictly regulated and require detailed disclosures to inform investors of potential risks.

In 2017, the then SEC Chair Jay Clayton warned crypto exchanges that many of their digital assets qualified as securities and therefore require registration under federal securities laws. However, in 2018, Clayton clarified in an interview with CNBC that cryptos are “commodities rather than securities.” This includes digital assets such as bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), and litecoin (LTC).

However, the SEC has not clarified which coins fall under securities, and crypto platform operators are looking for a clear digital-asset rule to avoid listing unregulated assets.

Top 3 Best Performing NFTs on July 25: YOLOpass Release, HALO Staking

Key Insights:

  • YOLO Holiday NFTs recently announced the pre-sale of its YOLOpass.
  • HALO NFTs announced the launch of the staking system on Friday.
  • The Quirklings NFT has plans to build their metaverse.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) remain a key cryptocurrency trend in 2022. We round up the top 3 best-performing NFT collections of the day based on the last 24-hour performance.

YOLO Holiday

What is it?

YOLO Holiday is an NFT artwork jointly created by female artists worldwide. Each NFT artwork is a collection of works by different female artists, all of which can present their artistic styles and ideas.

YOLO is a collection of NFTs, minted on Jul 01, 2022, at the price of 0.8 SOL. Today’s floor price is $74.27 (0.049 ETH), with a 24-hour sales volume of 155.95 ETH.

As of today, a total of 10000 NFTs are minted, and the token has a total market cap of $742,658.13 at press time.

The floor price of YOLO shot up from 0.030 ETH to 0.054 ETH around 6:00 am Asia time this morning.

Source: CoinGecko

What drives the performance?

It is evident that the surge in YOLO NFTs comes after the company recently announced the pre-sale of its YOLO pass. 

A company Tweet said on Friday that only 200 whitelists left to get YOLO pass, which has a deadline until 15:00 (UTC) on July 25, 2022. Additionally, YOLO Holiday has been announcing contests for the NFT holders. The contest allowed holders to post a photo with YOLO and win a signed manuscript.

YOLO roadmap and holder rights said that NFT holders would get huge benefits/profits from the YOLO Holiday’s ecosystem, including the opportunity to communicate with the artist individually, participate in the YOLO holiday club, and discount on the purchase of artist member works, and so on.

HALO Official

What is it?

HALO NFTs are presented in high-definition 3D avatars, created by the HALO label with the Decentralized 3D Artist Community. The movement and expressions of the HALO virtual character model can be easily controlled by owners on social media platforms like Discord, YouTube, and TikTok or online meetings.

HALO’s floor price today is $1,859.65, with a 24-hour sales volume of 18.15 ETH. Currently, there is a total of 662 NFTs minted, and around 531 owners hold the token. It has a market cap of $1,231,090 at press time.

At 22:00 pm Asia time on Monday, the price showed bullish signals, increasing from 0.75 ETH to 1.21 ETH.

Source: CoinGecko

What drives the performance?

HALO on Friday announced the launch of the staking system, which means in exchange for this action, the user receives staking rewards. In this way, holders can earn extra while they remain the owner of the NFT.

Last week, HALO also got the top 1 position of the Binance (BNB) NFT with a total trade volume of $327,954.

Quirklings

Quirklings is a collection of 8,032 unique characters minted on the Ethereum Blockchain. On July 3, 2022, Quirklings released its marketplace, according to a recent tweet.

Holders of Quirklings can list their NFTs for sale on the website, while non-holders can also use the platform to make purchases from the Quirkies ecosystem, send bulk offers, and purchase multiple NFTs at the same time.

Quirklings floor price today is $273.68, with a 24-hour sales volume of 17.22 ETH. There is a total of 9583 NFTs minted, held by 3844 owners as of today. The token has a total market cap of $2,622,639.14 at press time.

Quirklings price has seen a double increase in its floor price. The first surge was at 2:00 am Asia time, valuing 0.167 ETH from 0.150 ETH. According to Coingecko data, the price again surged from 0.167 ETH to 0.180 ETH.

Source: CoinGecko

What drives the performance?

The Quirkies team has plans to build their own metaverse where the Quirkies NFTs can flex their rules. The team also revealed that it would work towards bringing the creatures into existing metaverses.

Furthermore, the upward market trend is due to Quirklings’ series of plans such as its merchandise, IRL memberships for holders that grants access to exclusive events, etc. 

The NFT markets continue to be hampered by this ETH volatility in the near term and an overall lack of liquidity. This trend will likely continue until ETH stabilizes a bit from the current price of $1528.

Controllable Anonymity Is an Important Feature of CBDC – PBoC Official

Key Insights:

  • Digital yuan guarantees privacy and personal information protection needs.
  • The CBDC can be exchanged 1:1 with physical yuan and used to purchase anything that is bought by banknotes and coins.
  • Only a few authorities can use the data when it is necessary to investigate suspicious transactions.

China’s digital yuan, the central bank digital currency (CBDC), has raised more concern about user privacy in the recent past. Experts argued that the digital yuan could give the jurisdiction significant access to data on citizens, further enabling state surveillance.

A senior official from the central bank called it a “misunderstanding” and clarified that the country fully respects privacy and personal information protection needs.

e-CNY collects less user information

Mu Changchun, head of the Digital Currency Institute at the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), responded to questions on the privacy concerns of the digital yuan during a forum in Fujian, China, on Sunday.

He emphasized that complete anonymity has never been considered for CBDC and that China would protect data related to digital yuan use, a local media report said. He noted,

“First of all, controllable anonymity is an important feature of digital RMB [e-CNY]. on the other hand, it also prevents and combats money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion, and other illegal activities.”

His remarks come as the country is moving steadily with pilot tests of the digital currency.

According to a Bloomberg report, the access to the limited information collected from people when using digital yuan is restricted. Furthermore, neither the central bank nor platforms that operate CBDC transactions would get all the trading information. Mu said,

“Authorities should only ask to use the data when it’s necessary to investigate transactions that are suspected of violating laws.”

Additionally, Mu stressed the “two-tier operation” system of digital yuan that ensures personal information cannot be inquired or used without legal authorization.

“Based on the design of the two-tier operation system and wallet matrix, digital RMB follows the principles of autonomy, transparency, and minimization, and collects necessary personal information directly related to the purpose of processing according to the wishes of users.”

However, users have the right to close these permissions anytime, and the digital yuan application would immediately stop the process of extracting personal information.

CBDC could purchase anything that banknotes do

Mu also denied the claim that e-CNY cannot be used to buy gold (XAU). He said digital yuan is legal tender in digital form, can be exchanged 1:1 with fiat currency, and can purchase anything that banknotes could buy.

“Banknotes and coins can buy gold and exchange foreign currency, so does digital yuan.”

A complete launch of he digital version of the yuan remains elusive as most of the population is already using mobile payment apps such as WeChat Pay and Alipay.

The PBoC’s CBDC pilot program has been expanded to 23 cities, covering almost one-fifth of the mass population. In March, the central bank expanded its pilot program to further cities, allowing residents to shop and travel in public transportation using digital yuan.

Mu emphasized that the “controllable anonymity” of the e-CNY would play a positive role in providing the public with better and more secure payment services.

Bank of Russia: Digital Ruble Is the Only Alternative to Private Stablecoins

Key Insights:

  • The Central Bank of Russia sees the digital ruble as the only alternative for private stablecoins.
  • The bank has noted elevated risks of private stablecoins, including the lack of guarantee of redemption at par.
  • Lack of regulation of cryptocurrencies might lead to destabilization of the industry.

Russia has been opposing private cryptocurrencies for years, stating that they would be vulnerable to money laundering or terrorism financing.

Although Russia gave them legal status in the year 2020, it banned their use as a means of payment.

An active discussion on regulating these asset classes and their circulation in Russia has been going on since last year. The country’s Ministry of Finance is now preparing its own version of a framework for “regulating the mechanisms of digital currencies circulation.” On the other hand, the central bank has criticized the Finance Ministry’s proposal of supporting stablecoins.

Digital ruble is the only alternative

The press service of the regulator, told local news TASS that private stablecoins that are backed by traditional assets such as oil and gold (XAU) are “characterized by higher risks.”

According to the unnamed representative from the bank, the digital ruble or a central bank digital currency (CBDC) is the only preferred alternative to private stablecoins. The spokesperson noted,

“The Russian ruble is the only legal payment means in Russia. The Bank of Russia considers digital ruble a preferred alternative to private stablecoins having all advantages of the digital payment means and the reliability of a full-fledged currency.”

In a fresh round of debate on Monday, the bank laid out elevated risks of stablecoins. Per the central bank, the underlying assets of these private stablecoins are “not held by the owner.” Additionally, there is no guarantee of redemption at par by the issuer, and the price of these stablecoins is also highly volatile.

The Ministry of Finance’s director of financial policy department Ivan Chebeskov said last week that the ministry had overall supported the possibility of stablecoin circulation in the country.

The Finance Ministry also called for regulations, noting that the complete lack of regulation of cryptocurrencies would lead to the destabilization of the industry.

Solana Hit With Lawsuit for Selling Unregistered Securities Tokens

Key Insights:

  • Solana Labs has been hit with a class-action lawsuit filed with a California court.
  • The plaintiff accused SOL of promoting an unregistered security.
  • Multicoin Capital and its co-founder Kyle Samani had allegedly flogged SOL securities, inflating its market price.

It has been tough times for Solana (SOL) labs in the recent past since the blockchain faced repercussions from the crypto community for halting its operations in May and couldn’t process any transactions for eight hours.

Solana is now facing another hard hit after being accused of drawing illegal profits from its native token SOL and being an unregistered security.

Class-action lawsuit filed

A California resident and a Solana investor Mark Young, the lead plaintiff, has filed a lawsuit with a local court, alleging that Solana Labs and its key parties were making misleading statements and selling unregistered securities.

Per the case filed on July 1, Solana Foundation, Solana CEO Anatoly Yakovenko, crypto investment firm Multicoin Capital and its co-founder Kyle Samani, and trading platform FalconX were bashed.

The individual investor Young, on behalf of investors who purchased SOL tokens from March 2020 till the date of filing, wrote,

“Defendants made enormous profits through the sale of Solana (SOL) securities to retail investors in the United States, in violation of the registration provisions of federal and state securities laws, and the investors have suffered enormous losses.”

Solana Labs founder Anatoly Yakovenko and Kyle Samani of Multicoin “had the power and influence and exercised the same to cause the unlawful offer and sale of SOL securities,” the suit noted.

The defendants have spent enormous sums to promote the native token in the United States since April 2020, which spiked SOL price to $258 and market value to $77 billion as of Nov. 5, 2021, the plaintiff claims.

Young also said that the owners made misleading statements regarding the supply and the decentralized nature of SOL. They claimed that both company insiders held some percentage of tokens.

Solana Price Analysis

solana

Solana’s price has spiked to $37.82 at press time, after solid bullish signs. The token is up by 3.25% in the past 24 hours, with a trading volume of $1,268,616,214 and a live market cap of $ 13,015,291,467. SOL currently ranks at #9 in the cryptocurrency rankings.

The price of Solana crashed on Wednesday to the $33 mark but spiked soon after to $36, and the market continues a positive movement.

SOL price analysis has experienced a fluctuating movement in the past few days. However, with volatility closing, the value of Solana is less volatile to change. Per the SOL analysis, the cryptocurrency is expected to have a good time, with bulls taking the lead.

Meta Is Ambitious Despite Crypto Market Plunge, Plans NFT Launch

Key Insights:

  • Meta is pushing ahead to roll out digital collectibles at a time when the market is witnessing a steep fall.
  • Meta’s fintech chief said that the company would not adjust NFT plans “in any way.”
  • Meta debuted NFT support on Instagram in May.

Non-fungible token (NFT) creators celebrating the launch of NFT support on the Instagram app have good news. Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is planning to launch access to digital collectibles, despite the current crypto market turmoil.

Facebook’s sister firm Instagram made its foray into NFTs, supporting blockchains including – Ethereum (ETH) and Polygon (MATIC) – with plans to include Flow and Solana (SOL) soon.

Meta proceeds with NFT ambitions

The recent sharp fall in the overall cryptocurrency market doesn’t seem to affect Meta’s plans around rolling out digital collectibles to its users.

In a recent interview with the Financial Times, the newly appointed head of fintech, Stephane Kasriel, noted that Meta would not adjust its NFT ambitions “in any way.” He said,

“The opportunity [Meta] sees is for the hundreds of millions or billions of people that are using our apps today to be able to collect digital collectibles, and for the millions of creators out there that could potentially create virtual and digital goods to be able to sell them through our platforms.”

The company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in May that the firm would soon be testing NFT support on Facebook.

In a bid to attract creators, teens, and young adults, who might otherwise turn towards Chinese-owned TokTok, Meta has been building means to monetize their art or services, Kasriel told FT.

Additionally, earlier this year, an internal document report stated that Meta is not planning to charge creators for their NFTs. Instead, it would allow them to monetize through “fees and/or ads” in the future.

Kasriel added that the blockchain industry had performed a “hype cycle,” where the initial enthusiasm dripped from its peak last year to a “pit of despair” during a bear market. He said,

“There’s a lot of things that are not going to survive.”

Testing NFTs with selected US creators

According to a Meta spokesperson, the company has started slowly rolling out the digital collectibles feature on Facebook to a select group of creators in the United States.

Navdeep Singh, a product manager at Meta, recently shared screenshots of NFTs in the testing phase, which are available to the confined group. The screenshots revealed that NFTs could be posted on the user’s timeline, showing the details about the digital collectible and its creator.

In addition to that, users will have the option to connect their cryptocurrency wallets to their Facebook profiles.

Responding to Singh’s tweet, Martin SFP Bryant, founder of PreSeed Now and a media consultant, wrote that Facebook Groups look “more like Discord.”

Kasriel did not specify what blockchain Facebook NFTs would support. Instead, he noted,

“Technically, this doesn’t have to be on a blockchain — we could build some open developer platform like we’ve done historically. But do you really trust us? If we change the rules of the game, are you going to be upset at us?”

Furthermore, Facebook’s NFTs would be cheaper and easy to buy, unlike other digital collectibles on existing marketplaces that are on the expensive end, Kasriel said.

He said that meta is “proceeding with caution,” and it is still “super early” before going mainstream.

Indian Crypto Exchanges Succumb to New Tax Rules, Volumes Fall

Key insights:

  • Three Indian crypto exchanges – ZebPay, WazirX, and CoinDCX – witnessed volume falling over 60%.
  • The drop follows the announcement of a 1% TDS per transaction, imposed on July 1.
  • The slump is slowly recovering on Tuesday since hitting lows but is still struggling at 56% on average.

Trading volumes from Indian crypto exchanges have evaporated as much as 63% since Friday, following the imposition of a 1% tax deducted at source (TDS).

Cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unregulated in India, and the digital assets were subject to 30% income tax from April. On top of that, the government has announced a 1% TDS for trading cryptos, effective July 1.

Per a detailed guideline on crypto-assets issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on June 22, the TDS would be levied on crypto transfers exceeding the value of Rs 10,000 ($126) in a year.

Trading volumes plummet

Notably, crypto trading volumes at Indian exchanges – ZebPay, WazirX, and CoinDCX – have plunged to the new tax tune. Since Friday, the three exchanges has suffered slumps of between 60% and 87%, according to CoinGecko data.

CoinDCX had a sharp fall from $9.9 million to as low as $817,593 on Sunday, while Binance (BNB)-backed crypto exchange WazirX (WRX) saw a decline of more than 63% post the July 1 announcement.

Speaking to Bloomberg, WazirX Vice President Rajagopal Menon said,

“While long-term crypto holders are still buying and selling, market makers and high-frequency traders are gone.”

He also noted that traders are migrating to decentralized exchanges. This is mainly because transacting on decentralized exchanges can avoid tax implications due to their business model. However, it could not be legally tenable.

Additionally, the exchange revenues seem shocking due to the low trading levels. A crypto YouTube Chanel in India tweeted “tough times ahead” due to the appalling situation.

The CBDT’s guidelines mention four primary virtual digital assets (VDAs) or cryptocurrencies – bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), USD Tether (USDT), and USD Coin (USDC) – for the purpose of tax deductions on lesser-known cryptocurrencies.

The tax would be in effect for three months as a testing phase in order to determine how it impacts the crypto market.

Part Two: Crypto Goes Green, Eco-Friendly Nano Network Explained

Key Insights:

  • Around 15.5 million nano transactions use the same energy as a single bitcoin transaction.
  • Nano blockchain network uses an Open Representative Voting as a consensus mechanism, a variant of Delegated Proof of Stake.
  • Nano is launching its asset-settlement network, designed specifically for CBDCs.

A recent report published by Allied Market Research noted that the global cryptomarket size is projected to reach $4.94 billion by 2030. The report said it would be a critical year for crypto and also for the planet earth.

By 2030, the planet needs a net-zero carbon global energy transition, which is a challenge to achieve with global warming levels beyond 1.5°C, per the IPCC climate change report. However, reducing fossil fuel use, improved energy efficiency, and the use of alternative renewable fuels could possibly change this.

There has been comprehensive reporting on its heavy energy consumption when it comes to cryptos like bitcoin (BTC). But this technology has the potential to decarbonize unreliable power grids and be a driver to meet climate goals faster.

As previously reported by FXEmpire, the energy consumption of proof-of-work (PoW)  -based cryptocurrencies like bitcoin remains high compared to the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. The report also stressed how central bank digital currencies (CBDC) could adhere to sustainability.

For instance, the Nano network, a feeless sustainable digital currency, uses the same energy output as a single wind turbine.

FXEmpire spoke to George Coxon, Director of the Nano Foundation, on how Nano prioritizes energy efficiency.

Why are sustainability and efficiency integral to Nano, and what are its environmental goals?

I personally think we should all be concerned about environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) and make appropriate decisions, whether on an individual or corporate level, to tackle the climate crisis we are now in.

Our goal with Nano is to provide the world with a global, decentralized digital currency that empowers those most marginalized without fees while remaining eco-friendly. In 6 years since launch, over $42 Billion have been processed through Nano without a single fee.

The argument around the energy usage of bitcoin in the cryptocurrency space is not about who is right or wrong; it is fundamentally about progress. If a better solution comes along, you use it – that has always been the case with technological progress through the ages. Arguments around the energy consumed for the bitcoin network revolve around statements such as, ‘it uses renewable energy, so it’s fine’ or ‘It’s fine because the energy being used has already been created’ – this is the creation of a positive feedback loop of support and misguidances.

The defense statements may not be factually incorrect; it doesn’t really matter. My point is that if there is a technology that has burst onto the scene, whether cryptocurrency or not – that is not looking towards a sustainable energy future for the world, then more innovation needs to happen to make it so.

Nano has an energy footprint for one transaction being 0.00012kWh (and is about to be further reduced with a novel new consensus algorithm which is in testing). At the same time, the whole nano network uses the same energy output as a single wind turbine – to put this into perspective, that is 15.5million nano transactions using the same energy as a single bitcoin transaction.

Could you please explain the low-energy consensus mechanism that the Nano network uses?

The Open Representative Voting (ORV) consensus mechanism expands on other designs by providing security with extreme efficiency using delegated, weight-based voting and minimal resource usage.

These improvements result in low costs for handling transactions at volume and thus remove the need to incentivize participation with on-chain rewards. No on-chain rewards equal no transaction fees. On the other hand, participants on the nano network are driven by external incentives, such as helping maintain an instant payment network they can use without fees.

This combination of design decisions – providing lightweight consensus and removing on-chain incentives – avoids other networks’ competitive, energy-intensive activities. The end result is a fast and energy-efficient nano network. Unlike both PoW and PoS centralizing over time, Nano does not.

Colin LeMahieu, Nano’s founder, has spent the last two years writing a new distributed consensus algorithm that is entirely generic, applicable to any use case, written as a pluggable reusable software library (rather than a SaaS platform), and designed for scalability in large, open networks. We look forward to implementing it. It is currently in testing, and this will reduce the network energy footprint even more.

How can central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) be eco-friendly, and what could be the benefits of designing a low-energy CBDC?

It depends on the underlying technology that central authorities choose to utilize, which, as we know, is up in the air.

We happen to be launching our own asset-settlement network, which has been designed specifically for CBDCs (and more). This not only allows for network isolation to geographic areas but also commodity and currency interoperability with a focus on the end-user. At the same time, we are using incredibly low energy, as Nano’s technology is the network’s backbone.

As said before, any new technology, whether financial or not, must be eco-friendly to have a place in the global future.

SEC Boots Grayscale’s Spot Bitcoin ETF Again, Legal Challenge Filed

Key Insights:

  • The US SEC has rejected Grayscale’s proposal to convert its flagship Bitcoin Trust to an ETF.
  • Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein noted that the firm is “deeply disappointed” with the regulator’s decision.
  • The company has launched a legal challenge against the SEC.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) long-delayed rejection of bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) comes as no surprise as Chairman Gary Gensler has been fairly clear that he opposes spot BTC ETFs.

The regulator on Wednesday, rejected a spot bitcoin ETF by Grayscale Investments. SEC cited that the proposal did not meet the standard designed to prevent fraud and market manipulation.

Grayscale had applied to convert its $13.5 billion Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a spot bitcoin ETF. The SEC denial comes as a blow for the broader crypto industry even after proving that the ETF product meets all investor protections.

According to the SEC filing on June 29, the application was rejected “to protect investors and the public interest” as the proposal failed to demonstrate its “design to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices.”

This decision has arrived a week ahead of the actual deadline – July 6 – to decide whether to reject or approve bitcoin ETFs. The SEC also disapproved Bitwise’s Bitcoin exchange-traded product (ETP).

Graycsale faced repeated rejections from SEC

To date, SEC  has given  green signal to only a handful of bitcoin futures ETFs to trade. Grayscale filed its initial application in October 2021, just after SEC cleared the way for ProShares bitcoin futures ETF to trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

However, the securities regulator delayed the decision to approve or disapprove a bitcoin ETF multiple times. The SEC had also asked for additional information and comments from the public.

In December last year, Grayscale wrote a letter to the SEC stating that the commission could be breaking a law and violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by rejecting a BTC spot ETF.

Grayscale Sues SEC

Michael Sonnenshein, CEO of Grayscale Investments said that the firm is “deeply disappointed” with the regulator’s decision. He also noted that the company “vehemently disagree” with SEC over continuous denial of spot bitcoin ETFs. Sonnenshein said in a press release,

“Through the ETF application review process, we believe American investors overwhelmingly voiced a desire to see GBTC convert to a spot Bitcoin ETF, which would unlock billions of dollars of investor capital while bringing the world’s largest Bitcoin fund further into the U.S. regulatory perimeter.”

 Additionally, the company has filed a lawsuit against the SEC. On June 29, the company noted that its Senior Legal Strategist and former U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. has challenged the SEC by filing a petition for review.

According to Verrelli, the SEC is “acting arbitrarily and capriciously” in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act and Securities Exchange Act. He said,

“There is a compelling, common-sense argument here, and we look forward to resolving this matter productively and expeditiously.”