Can Blockchain Drive the Gaming Industry to Full Decentralization?

The gaming industry has been around for many years. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to grow year after year. It is safe to say that blockchain technology and gaming are two industries that have yet to unlock their full potential.

While both industries hold great promise, they are also in the early stages of development. But what if there was a way to combine these two promising spaces and unlock even more potential? According to some experts, Blockchain may be able to do just that – drive the gaming industry into a state of complete Decentralization.

The Gaming Industry Pre-Blockchain Technology

Since the days of initial console gaming, the industry has evolved considerably. Video games were formerly enjoyed in the comfort of your own home on consoles, and there was little to no interplay with other gamers. The game business was far more centralized before the Blockchain.

The game publishers were in command of which games are published and which ones gamers may play, as opposed to today, when they have a significant role. In addition, gamers were at the mercy of game publishers regarding how much they had to pay for games.

Games were previously hosted on centralized servers, which meant that players could only interact with people who lived in the exact geographical location. This restriction was due to data centers renting or buying server space from game developers to host their games.

The Gaming Industry Operations on Blockchain Technology

The invention of blockchain technology has revolutionized the gaming industry. This new technology allows for the creation of Decentralized Games, which can be played by anybody worldwide. As a result, new genres of games have emerged, such as Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) and First-Person Shooters (FPSs).

Gamers are now in command due to the emergence of decentralized application platforms. These blockchain-based solutions go beyond virtual reality games that allow players to get lost in different realities. Gamers use trustless systems to purchase and trade items without going through a central entity.

Blockchain technology enabled the creation of decentralized games, which eliminated the need for central servers. This new technology also allowed game developers to create games that utilized cryptocurrencies as in-game money. CryptoKitties was the first decentralized game to use cryptocurrency as an in-game currency.

Benefits for the Gaming Industry under Blockchain Technology

Because of its liquidity and the fact that gamers are accustomed to tokenization, integrating Blockchain into gaming is a piece of cake. Blockchain technology has a beneficial interaction between cryptocurrency and video games. This is because Blockchain attempts to address several long-standing issues in the gaming industry.

Blockchain technology provides a slew of advantages to the gaming industry. The following are some examples:

  • Increased Security 

Blockchain technology is known for its security. This is because data stored on a blockchain is decentralized and immutable. Because hackers cannot break into the system, it becomes more difficult for them to steal information. As a consequence, the gaming business can benefit from increased data security.

  • Better Game Development

Game developers are no longer restricted to traditional distribution platforms like Steam and the iOS app store with the advent of blockchain technology. Blockchain technology enables them to establish peer-to-peer gaming platforms in which gamers may directly contribute to game development.

  • Increased Transparency

Blockchain technology helps to improve transparency in the gaming sector. Blockchain can enhance and optimize the interaction between gamers and game developers. It also assists with in-game asset ownership by making the gaming business more transparent and requiring legislation. All transactions are handled via smart contracts in a blockchain-based game. Smart contracts are programmed to follow particular rules and are unchangeable.

  • Reduced Costs

Blockchain technology helps reduce costs for the gaming sector by automating procedures and eliminating intermediaries. This may save the gaming business a lot of money. The combination of cryptocurrency and entertaining video games is sure to result in an influx of investment.

  • Access to New Markets

Blockchain technology creates new opportunities for the gaming industry. It’s conceivable to utilize blockchain technology to create decentralized in-game economies in which gamers may trade virtual items with one another utilizing smart contracts. Consequently, this might open up new markets where game developers can profit handsomely.

The latest trends in the Decentralized Gaming Industry

The video gaming business is one of the world’s multi-billion-dollar fast-growing industries. Over the last few years, it has witnessed many changes, and it appears that this pattern will continue in the future. Companies are now using blockchain technology to transform the gaming industry. Some of the emerging decentralized trends include NFTs and play-to-earn (P2E).

In the video game industry, NFTs are frequently depicted in-game assets like weapons, armor, and property. NFTs may also be utilized to represent digital ownership of physical things, such as art or real estate. They’re also traded on decentralized marketplaces, which is a big deal. This enables gamers to trade virtual assets with each other, increasing the value of those items.

One of the most significant benefits of decentralized gaming is that it allows players to earn rewards for playing games. These tokens may then be spent on in-game goods or exchanged for other cryptocurrencies. This type of reward system is not only more lucrative than those employed by existing centralized gaming platforms, but it also lets gamers learn what kinds of games they enjoy.

The Drive to Full Decentralization

Can Blockchain drive the gaming industry to full Decentralization? Yes. Blockchain technology has the potential to solve issues that game centralized organizations confront. With blockchain technology, games can be completely decentralized, with no need for a central server or data control. This addresses the security concerns and establishes a more equitable voting mechanism.

Blockchain technology also makes it easier to provide a more engaging gaming environment. Decentraland and the metaverse are poised to revolutionize the gaming industry by resolving its most serious issues. Some platforms such as Jedstar are set to revolutionize crypto DeFi and GameFi.

Jedstar’s games and NFT marketplace are designed to encourage players and creators first and foremost. It is a Decentralized Ecosystem (DECO) that revolutionizes DeFi, GameFi, and NFTs by providing new possibilities for finance. It aims to empower gamers and artists through actual ownership.

Conclusion

Blockchain technology is propelling the gaming industry to complete Decentralization. The advantages of Blockchain for gamers are significant, but certain obstacles must first be overcome before it can become entirely decentralized.

Blockchain has enhanced game designers’ and publishers’ possibilities to connect with their audiences with less fraud and censorship. Decentralized games might be one future trend that provides gamers a better experience than ever before. It also opens up some intriguing possibilities for online marketers interested in connecting with these consumers online.

Here’s Why Gaming is the Top Passive Earner in the Metaverse World

The internet continues to provide unimaginable possibilities to users worldwide. Through it, the gaming economy has become more popular and worth more than $100B as of 2020. Blockchains and cryptocurrencies are further enhancing the gaming experience with a decentralized financial structure.

Coming into the limelight is the metaverse concept which allows users to interact in virtual environments. Basically, a metaverse ecosystem blends blockchains, augmented, and virtual realities. The innovative idea makes it possible to move to various locations, purchase, and maintain assets. Besides the entertainment experience, metaverse enables users to generate fortunes from playing games.

In that regard, this article sets out to discover why gaming is the top passive earner in the metaverse world.

Impacts of Metaverse Gaming

Data reveals that the overall market cap for metaverse coins is almost hitting the $100B mark. The reading suggests that for some reason, numerous users find metaverse gaming as a worthwhile activity.

As such, some of the reasons that make metaverse gaming an appropriate source of securing passive incomes include:

Fast transactional services

Blockchain technology empowers metaverse games with quicker financial services. The technology supports local and cross-border trades which use minimal execution periods.

Compared to traditional systems, blockchains help reduce transactional delays. Furthermore, players can mint and distribute digital assets such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and in-game assets in a fast manner.

Transparency

The digital asset economy advocates for transparency through blockchains. Before, there were limited options for earning rewards and trading in-game assets. The current metaverse gaming system is promoting several earning opportunities to players.

Hence, it encourages the growth of a financial system where users can trade their assets. At this point, blockchains provide a better solution to support and manage all trading details.

What’s more, publishing the transaction information encourages transparency since users can view every record.

Decentralization

Metaverse games help promote the idea of adopting a decentralized structure. Decentralization gives users the power to make several decisions related to the gaming platform.

Transaction verification processes are also done by ordinary members of the community. In the end, users can accumulate adequate rewards for performing these tasks.

Ownership

Engaging with metaverse games encourages digital ownership of items/assets. It therefore means that players can possess digital assets the same way they can own physical items.

Endless Possibilities

Anything is possible in the metaverse gaming world. Players get to take part in unique quests, own digital items, or even develop their own universe.

Therefore, the entertainment aspect of metaverse worlds enhances the growth of a virtual economy. Users get to play, interact, and receive an income from a digital universe.

Security

Despite facing several cyber-related threats, metaverse games apply several security features for their users. Auditing is an example of the steps that gaming projects take to maintain security.

Metaverse game developers can eliminate bugs found in the platform’s code all thanks to the existing security firms. Blockchains also provide another layer of security considering they are spread across various computers. Thus, it may be difficult to hack every user maintaining the blockchain network.

Most metaverse games let users remain in custody of their assets and earnings. Such advantages boosts security and financial freedom since players are in control of their holdings.

Privacy

Maintaining an anonymous environment is one of the core principles of blockchains. It removes the need for submitting confidential data which may fall into the wrong hands. In that case, players only work with their gaming usernames and wallet addresses to conduct transactions.

Applying privacy in metaverse games makes it easier to counter identity theft cases.

Cheaper Transactions

Traditional financial services mostly charge higher fees to process transactions. Shifting to metaverse gaming allows users to carry out their transactions at an affordable charge.

Trading fees are cheaper due to the application of blockchain technology. Players can therefore trade, buy, or sell their assets at an affordable fee.

Play-to-Earn: the Emerging Concept in the Metaverse Gaming World

Play-to-earn mechanisms work as a rewarding system whereby users can earn NFTs. On top of that, the system allows players to secure digital tokens that may have real-world utility.

While the concept may not be relatively new, metaverse games are taking up this idea to attract more participants. Axes Metaverse presents a similar P2E system where users can earn tokenized assets or NFTs.

As mentioned earlier, users are sometimes unable to access rewards or trade in-game assets. Through Axes Metaverse and NFTs, players can earn real money while playing mobile games.

Final Word

The evolution of technology is paving the way for several life-changing innovations- such as the metaverse world. Gaming companies are taking advantage of metaverse worlds to create limitless virtual realities. Blockchains and digital currencies further empower the digital universe with a financial structure to enhance the players’ experience.

Other than entertainment, players can come across income-generating opportunities in the virtual world. The games offer several prizes which could range from digital tokens to gaming items/characters.

More importantly, every user has control over their digital assets. Such benefits fuel the growth of metaverse games even as the number of internet users increases.

Integration of the Blockchain is a Game Changer in the Cloud Computing Sector

Cloud computing and blockchain industries may very well have one property in common; both are growing rapidly while having the potential to revolutionize their respective fields. However, up until now, pioneers within the two industries have not yet found a common interest. That could soon change as projects have started embracing the idea of integrating the blockchain into the cloud computing sector, and we could soon see a future of endless possibilities.

The game-changing development could mean big things for both industries. The development of the cloud computing sector has been aided by several elements, including the increasing use of mobile devices and data storage and processing capability. However, the integration of blockchain technology into the cloud computing industry could turn out to be one of the most significant drivers of the age of cloud computing.

Decentralized Cloud Computing

Decentralized Cloud Computing is a decentralized network of nodes to provide cloud services. It is a type of cloud computing that relies on a distributed network of computers to provide services. This type of cloud computing is different from traditional cloud computing, which relies on a centralized network of computers.

There are several types of decentralized cloud computing. The first is one in which each node stores a certain amount of encrypted data pieces, and the second is one in which all nodes store the same data chunks, but they are separated into distinct parts (shards). The third approach to decentralized cloud computing is for one node (or a group of nodes) to collect the data and send it back to the user.

Blockchain Technology in Cloud Computing

Blockchain technology is a novel data storage created for Bitcoin, a digital currency. Blockchain technology differs from traditional databases in that it is decentralized. There is no central database, as there would be in a traditional database. Instead, the data is kept on a network of nodes.

The majority must approve any modifications to the data of nodes, and blockchain technology is extremely safe. There’s also no single point of failure because if one node goes down, it doesn’t impact the rest.

Blockchain technology is utilized in cloud computing, allowing users to outsource their computing needs. The Blockchain can alter how we do cloud computing because of its decentralized nature. Hence users access the Internet and compute peer-to-peer without relying on servers or other infrastructure.

It’s also beneficial for cloud storage because it helps to keep data secure and tamper-proof. Companies may trust that their data is safe and secure. Cloud Computing became a necessity during the Covid-19 pandemic due to social distancing and working from home.

With its emphasis on decentralization, transparency, and security, Blockchain has become a highly significant and innovative technology for cloud storage in the current era of decentralized clouds.

Blockchain and IoT are already being used in many industries. This is referred to as BCoT in Cloud of Things. It’s being investigated as a potentially massive field for various industrial applications. Because the standard CoT infrastructures are based on centralized communication methods, they encounter problems of ineffectiveness.

The second major issue is that most current CoT systems must rely on any third party for trust. The network structure’s challenge is the last one: it raises communication latency. It necessitates greater power consumption for IoT devices due to significant data transmission, making large-scale CoT installations in practice difficult.

In light of the difficulties CoT is facing and the characteristics of Blockchain, integrating blockchain functions with CoT appears to be a good idea to overcome CoT’s drawbacks.

Decentralized Cloud Computing Solutions

One thing that many of the options presented as alternatives to conventional cloud computing solutions have in common: their choice to operate using a decentralized or peer-to-peer architecture. Cudos, Ankr, StorX Network and Akash are just a few of the most well-known decentralized cloud computing systems.

Cudos took a huge gamble when using an innovative architecture that approaches interoperability and security. The platform’s consensus is achieved using the Byzantine Fault Tolerant Proof of Staking (DPoS) algorithm and Tendermint core. This creates a hybrid system that eliminates scalability issues while retaining high decentralization and security.

Ankr has a secure ecosystem that offers cloud computing resources to connect to web3 and use blockchain node hosting services. This solution now provides developing and staking capabilities for nearly 40 blockchain protocols. Cosmos, Polkadot, Bitcoin, Compound, Elrond, and other platforms are supported.

Akash Network is working on a Supercloud in which anybody with a computer can operate as a cloud services provider. To improve scalability and provide inherent interoperability, Akash uses Tendermint and Cosmos SDK. There is also the benefit of reduced transaction costs and compatibility with all cloud-based applications.

StorX Network is a cloud storage platform that uses blockchain technology to guarantee safe and transparent storage. It’s a peer-to-peer decentralized Storage Network. The XinFin Blockchain Network powers it as Distributed Cloud Storage. The StorX Network Mainnet is based on the XRC-20 utility token, which runs the StorX Network data storage marketplace.

Benefits of Integrating Blockchain to Cloud Computing

It’s no surprise that cloud computing has permeated all business processes and operations. Cloud computing is fundamental to everything from watching Netflix to daily email communications. Blockchain applications, alone or in combination with other technologies, provide a plethora of benefits.

When cloud computing is integrated with blockchain technology, the main problem, security, and privacy, get addressed. Blockchain also aids in providing more transparency by creating a decentralized and distributed trust model.

Data deletion from one computer does not erase data stored on other devices on a blockchain network. As a result, there is no danger of data loss or alteration. Data on a blockchain is irremovable. It allows for clear documentation of data usage, including where, when, and how it is being used and by whom.

Blockchains are governed by codes, eliminating the need for third-party rules, making them a more secure alternative.

Conclusion

Blockchain is changing industries for the better, including healthcare, agriculture, finance, banking, and more. Cloud has become so essential to today’s business environment that its excessive dependency and associated dangers can be hazardous. The cloud’s security, compliance, and centralized architecture might be a significant business risk.

However, Blockchain has a significant impact on storage, transactions, and business processes. As a result, combining Blockchain with the cloud to get more security and decentralization while getting better authorization, privacy, and efficiency is the way forward.

What Are Staking Tokens? How It Differ From Other Tokens?

Investors may think staking as less profitable option to mining. Although its the other way around.  A cryptocurrency wallet is used to keep money safe and secure for a blockchain network. Staking is just locking up cryptocurrency in order to reap the benefits.

Proof of Stake (PoS) is an important concept to learn before diving into the world of staking. It is possible to run a blockchain more efficiently while retaining a reasonable degree of decentralisation by using PoS, a consensus method. Let’s take a look at what Proof of Stake (PoS) is and how it works.

What is Staking?

Staking cryptocurrency implies committing crypto assets to a blockchain network to facilitate and validate transactions. Proof-of-stake (POS) allows cryptocurrency owners to verify block transactions based on staked currencies. As an alternative to Proof-of-work (POW), which is used to verify blockchains and add new blocks, POS was made. POS is considered less dangerous since it arranges payments in a manner that makes an attack less effective.

At the end of the day, staking is a way to earn rewards for holding cryptocurrencies.

How Staking Tokens Differ From Other Tokens?

Trust Wallet is an example of a crypto wallet that allows one to stake their coins straight from their account. On the other side, staking is available on several exchanges.  All one has to do is keep their coins in the exchange’s custody.

Play-to-win gaming platforms like Decentraland, Sandbox, and Axie Infinity are where most of the NFT staking opportunities are found, among others. All one needs to stake is a cryptocurrency wallet that has NFTs in it, and that’s all. Although, it should be noted that not all NFTs can be staked.

Staking in NFTs is a new approach to generate cryptocurrency passively. In order to get incentives, NFT holders may store their assets on DeFi platforms. They can all keep their NFT collections without having to sell them. Investors may profit from less overall supply by using NFT staking. For the most part, however, NFT stakes open the door to new applications for NFTs outside of digital art collection, but not all NFT’s can be staked unlike tokens.

The 4 Best Crypto Staking Tokens of 2022 are as follows:

Terra (LUNA)

Terra (LUNA) hit a new record of $20.05 billion in total value locked (TVL) across its 13 product lines, according to industry figures. Terra’s TVL was $11.9 billion on Dec. 1, up 68% in less than a month.

Luna is presently trading around $90, a gain of almost 12,000% from its price of $0.7 in January 2021. The coin is now valued at $34.8 billion on the market. LUNA has an annual staking payout of roughly 12.10 percent, making it one of the finest cryptos to stake.

PancakeSwap (CAKE)

PancakeSwap (CAKE) is a popular and enjoyable staking platform that allows users to stake any CAKE tokens they earn. When users stake CAKE coins, they have the option of earning extra CAKE or other currencies. Transaction costs on Binance Smart Chain are much cheaper than compared to Ethereum.

The owner may either collect their rewards or reinvest them into PancakeSwap after earning them. The CAKE coin’s yearly returns vary from 31 to 42 percent, making it one of the greatest crypto staking currencies available.

Shiba Inu (SHIB)

Shiba Inu (SHIB), also known as Shiba Token, has been more popular in recent years. With a 9.4 billion dollar market cap, it is now the 9th biggest cryptocurrency. Many investors regard SHIB as an asset to acquire and retain in their cryptocurrency portfolio. With the ShibaSwap exchange launch, SHIB holders may now stake and farm their tokens.

While Shiba Inu operates on Ethereum (now PoW), the initial quantity of SHIB was minted upon launch; therefore, it cannot be mined. SHIB holders may stake their Shiba coins on the ShibaSwap exchange for BONE tokens and 0.03 percent of the ETH swap transaction costs.

Solana (SOL)

SOL is a great staking currency due to its cheap transaction fees and fast transfers. On the Solana network, users may stake their coins with over 640 validators, but one cannot operate their own node.

It’s possible for the owner to share in the rewards that validators get on Solana if the owner gives them the stake. When the owner stakes the SOL coins, they may expect to obtain yearly returns ranging from 7–11 percent. SOL coins have soared in value in recent months, hitting an all-time high of $210.

Conclusion

Proof of Stake and staking opened the crypto market to more people who weren’t able to mine or trade cryptocurrency. Crypto staking is open to anyone wishing to contribute to blockchain consensus and governance. As the entry barriers to the blockchain ecosystem drop, staking becomes more comfortable, simpler, and more economical. With cryptocurrencies paying high interest rates, staking could be a brilliant method to earn passive income.

Accounts on The TRON Network Surpass the 70M+ Mark

The TRON network ecosystem hosts multiple kinds of products, including public chain, wallet client, and dApps, among others. TRON also boasts being the fastest growing public chain in the world with 2.7 billion transactions, millions of DAU, and continuous daily new accounts.

Recent Price Action TRON(TRX)

TRON (TRX) is a virtual currency that was established to fuel the shift away from the centralised web to a more decentralised internet by removing intermediary control over entertainment enjoyed by corporations such as iTunes and Facebook.

Unlike conventional cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, TRX was not created to be an alternative to fiat currencies but to deliver a payment system and platform for creators who publish and store their works on the TRON blockchain. There exist a finite number of TRX coins, amounting to 100 billion, which were released at the launch of TRON.

TRX hit an all-time high of $0.3004 on the 5th January 2018 at a time of a strong rally in cryptocurrency prices, although it ended the year at around $0.01 as a result of market collapse. TRX price bottomed out again in March 2020 but burst to a peak of $0.1799 on 17th April during another cryptocurrency market rally. TRX subsequently fell sharply over the next week before reaching a peak of $0.15 in May.

A series of fluctuations from June to August saw the price of TRX drop to lows of $0.04917 in July prior to a rally which saw it peak at $0.0951 on 15th August. Another longer rally saw TRX peak in September at $0.12, with November 15 recording a high of $0.1291 after a dip and slight recovery.

An announcement on 23rd November by eToro, one of the leading brokerage firms globally, that it would be de-listing TRX and ADA (Cardano) from its platform by the end of the year due to regulatory concerns led to a 5% dip in TRX prices within 24hours.

At the moment, the TRX/USD chart is bearish since the cryptocurrency is trading in the red zone. By 29th December 2020, TRX had been trading below its 50-day moving average of $0.0933 and had been below that level for three weeks. The MACD line currently sits in the red region while TRX’s RSI could dip further into the oversold territory.

Can the price of TRX return to All-Time Highs?

TRX is on the decline this week, trading at $0.07, having lost 3.7% of its value in the past 7 days. The coin also shows a decline of 16% in the last month, although there is a 150% gain over the past year. TRON’s current price is also 74% below its all-time high of $0.3 in 2018.

At the moment, TRX is on a bearish trend and risks slipping below the current price of $0.07. However, some like Wallet Investors are predicting a bullish trend, forecasting the price will rise to $0.164 at the end of 2022 and that it will more than double to $0.41 by the end of 2026.

Others like DigitalCoin are also bullish but expect the price rise to rise at a slower rate, predicting an average price of $0.123 in 2022 which rises to $0.15 in 2025.

Bored Ape NFT Frenzy Prompts OpenSea NFT Trade Volume Surge

Recent analysis shows OpenSea’s non-fungible token (NFT) trading volumes have surged past $700M. The rise in trading activity comes amid a renewed craze for Yuga Labs’ “Bored Ape Yacht Club” (BAYC) and “Mutant Ape Yacht Club” (MAYC).

OpenSea NFT Market Growth

According to data posted by Rchen8 on Dune Analytics, since the start of 2022, OpenSea has generated more than $700 million in trading volume. The year starts well on Monday, January 3, with a record-breaking $255.8 million worth of volume over the course of 24 hours.

Over the last year, OpenSea dominated NFT transactions. The largest NFT market had an astounding trading volume of $14 billion in 2021, dwarfing its previous year’s $21.7 million trade volume.

According to public blockchain data curated by Dune Analytics, on January 2, OpenSea recorded more than $243 million in Ethereum trading volume. That’s a significant increase from just over $170 million on January 1 and nearly $124 million on December 31, 2021.

In 2021, the Bored Ape Yacht Club earned the most money on OpenSea. Since its inception, Bored Apes have amassed a trading volume of about $1.06 billion on OpenSea. This accounts for 6.3% of the platform’s total trade volume.

OpenSea experienced a new high on Monday, according to analysts, such as Wu Blockchain. However, according to data from Rchen8 on Dune Analytics, the previous all-time peak (ATH) of $322 million was recorded on August 29.

In December, OpenSea’s monthly trade volume topped $3.24 billion, falling just 5.3% short of the platform’s ATH of $3.42 billion in August. Within the first four days of January, the NFT market has already seen more than $700 million in trading volume. If the momentum continues throughout this month, the record highs stand to be broken.

Bored Ape Mania

The recent craze surrounding the BAYC and MAYC NFTs may be a factor in OpenSea’s increasing volumes. The increase is also attributed to other projects by Yuga Labs. The Bored Ape Yacht Club is a 10,000-collection NFT depicting an ape with various characteristics and visual features designed by Yuga Labs.

The MAYC is presently the most popular NFT project, according to CryptoSlam data, with a seven-day volume of $93.2 million on secondary markets. The BAYC NFTs came next in second place with $88.4 million.

Over the last 30 days, MAYC and BAYC have generated $189.7 million and $182.6 million, respectively. According to rankings, they are presently the third- and fourth-most successful NFT collections.

In terms of daily trading volume, the MAYC has gained $18.7 million in additional secondary volume, while the BAYC has seen $14 million in volume. According to OpenSea, the floor price for BAYC NFTs presently stands at 67 Ether (ETH), or roughly $250,000. The MAYC NFTs are currently selling for 15.87 ETH, or $59,300.

PBOC Develops Pilot Version e-CNY Wallet Applications for Android and IOS

The Peoples Bank of China has announced the rollout of a ‘pilot phase’ for the e-CNY digital wallet applications both on Android and iOS. The wallet is available for testing on select institutions including major financial institutions.

PBoC Develops Digital Yuan Wallet Applications for Android and IOS

The Central bank of China has rolled out trial runs for the digital wallets that will hold digital Yuan or e-CNY. The wallet will be available as a mobile application for Android and iPhones. The launch, which occurred earlier today in Shanghai, is now available for download on Chinese mobile stores.

The central bank gave a notice that the Digital Yuan wallets were only available for select institutions, specifically those that provide e-CNY services. They also explained that the wallet was still in the research and development phase.

In November 2021, the PBoC Governor Yi Gang said that the country would continue to push forward with the development of the CBDC. Gang explained that the CBDC would have an improved design, usage and would be interoperable with the available payment tools.

The Development of the Digital Yuan

China has been against digital currencies for a long time now, and their fight climaxed in September 2021 after introducing a blanket ban on these assets.

The research for the e-CNY began in 2014. However, its pilot testing started in 2020 where the bank collaborated with firms like JD.com and DiDi Chuxing, among others. In August 2020, the bank revealed its plans of starting a pilot test for the coin. It also said it was already testing the currency in four major cities and more big cities would join in shortly.

In 2021, the PBoC officially debuted the digital Yuan. It started with introducing it as a salary payment means in the Xiong’an New Area in June of 2021.

The bank announced that an airdrop worth $3 million would be given to 350,000 citizens in a lottery-style in the same month. Following this news, people started applying to be among the first citizens to test the coin.

By November 2021, The PBoC Governor announced that citizens had already opened over 140 million accounts to use the coin.

The governor also revealed that over 10 million institutional accounts were open for trading using the digital Yuan. The announcement also explained that over  62 billion Digital Yuan had been transacted by the end of October 2021.

The digital Yuan is still in its test phase, and the country has been relentless in its development despite mixed feedback on its efficiency. The tests are ongoing with today’s wallet pilot phase launch, and the bank plans to launch the coin this year before the winter Olympics.

Coinbase CPO Chatterjee Believes Ethereum Scalability Advancements are Imminent

The CPO offered his predictions in a corporate blog post on January 4. He stated that while Ethereum’s scalability would increase, other layer-1 networks would also gain popularity.

He mentioned that he is enthusiastic about Eth’s scalability improving. The reason is due to the introduction of Eth2 and several L2 rollups.

In addition, he predicted that new layer 1 networks centered on gaming and social media, such as the upcoming Coreum blockchain, would emerge. According to Chatterjee, breakthroughs in layer 1 to layer 2 bridges will significantly increase scalability.

Predicted Growth in the Usability of L1-L2 Bridges

The industry will constantly seek advancements in the speed and functionality of cross-L1 and L1-L2 bridges. These bridges allow tokens to be transferred between layer 1 networks like Ethereum and layer 2 networks like Arbitrum and vice versa.

Surojit Chatterjee also predicted increased industry-wide regulation and institutional investment in DeFi. He also mentioned the emergence of DeFi insurance and increased brand engagement in Metaverse and NFTs. Finally, he talked about Web2 firms rushing to enter Web3.

How Scaling is Benefiting the Industry

While discussing scaling solutions, the CPO specifically mentioned ZK-rollups. He said they would “draw both investor and user interest.” Scaling on a zero-knowledge basis “rolls up” transaction data in batches for more efficient processing on Ethereum’s layer 1.

Matter Labs, for example, made significant strides in 2021 with the development and implementation of their rollup-based zkSync layer 2 technology.

The layer 2 ecosystem grew dramatically in 2021, increasing acceptance across all major platforms. According to L2beat, which tracks the L2 ecosystem, the total value locked has increased by approximately 11,000 percent in the last year. It rose from around $50 million in January 2021 to $5.5 billion by the end of the year.

Effects on Solana, Polkadot, and Cardano

Ethereum’s competitors, such as Solana, Polkadot, and Cardano, are hot on its tail. “Ethereum killers,” as they brand themselves, are vying for a larger share of decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible token (NFT), and smart-contract markets. They aim to address one or more of Ethereum’s significant flaws, such as slow network speeds and high gas fees.

Up to 100,000 transactions per second are promised by Ethereum 2.0. Ethereum will use the implementation of shard chains to achieve this increase. Ethereum’s widespread adoption and first-mover advantage, on the other hand, keep the network at the forefront of the smart contract industry.

To overtake Ether as the second-largest cryptocurrency, Binance Coin (BNB), which is Ether’s closest competitor in terms of market capitalization, would have to increase its value 11 times.

Hence, all factors considered, “Ethereum killers” will have to do more to counter the competition posed by Ethereum, especially now that it is finally upgrading.

Vitalik Buterin Reviews His Past Crypto Predictions and How He Views Them In 2022

On Jan 2, 2022, The Ethereum co-founder and developer Vitalik Buterin took to Twitter to discuss his predictions and future expectations of the crypto market.

Buterin reviewed his past visions and explained what he thinks about his predictions’ influence on the market in the recently commenced financial year 2022.

Buterin on Crypto Adoption and Regulation

Before Buterin launched his ETH network in 2015, he had publicly announced his bullish predictions on BTC. The Ethereum founder published an article in July 2013, dubbed the ‘Internationality and censorship resistance of BTC.’

The article explained how the premiere cryptocurrency could safeguard the purchasing power of people from countries like China, Africa, Iran, and Argentina.

Buterin toured Argentina last week to check how crypto adoption is going in the country. According to Vitalik, crypto adoption there is high, but Stablecoins are preferable since most businesses use coins like USDT.

He also reflected on his past prediction of the negative impact of BTC regarding regulation. He said BTC would resist regulation since it falls in an undefined legal category.

Buterin also believes that the coin’s decentralization allows it to survive but not thrive in a harsh regulatory environment. He added that for a successful censorship resistance strategy to work, such a project must be technologically robust and have public legitimacy.

Vitalik Reviews His Past Predictions and How They Age In 2022

Commonly, the start of a new year provides the chance to reflect on past events to find the best way forward. While other crypto influencers and stakeholders predict a bullish year, Ether’s founder Vitalik Buterin has revisited some of his previous predictions.

He shared this information on Twitter yesterday, including what he has learned so far and what he thinks about the market.

One of the most impressive attributes of Vitalik Buterin is his openness and speed of accepting when he is wrong. In his thread, he has highlighted many predictions that he made and pointed out that he admits that some were correct while others were wrong. He also accepted that he did not predict everything, and some developments surprised him.

Vitalik highlighted how he was an apologist for the overwhelming power consumption of PoW in 2012. However, he revealed that he was glad to learn about PoS as an alternative in 2013 and fully incorporated the idea in 2014. He tagged this transition as a broader intellectual evolution that makes ETH unique.

Regarding PoS and Sharding, he said that he accepts that he made a wrong timing of when these innovations could be live on ETH’s network.

He revealed that the main reason he missed the timeline was underestimating the complexity of the underlying software development task. He also said that if developers want stablecoins to remain strong amid the collapse of the USD, they must have good governance.

Vitalik also talked about his vision of the Internet of Money. According to him, this innovation should have transaction fees not exceeding 5 cents for every transaction. ETH is experiencing scalability difficulties, but he explained that his DEV team works around the clock to make solutions.

Buterin also acknowledged that his whitepaper predicted DeFi but wholly missed seeing the development of NFTs. He also described himself as naive for not considering the social and political hindrances of BTC, but now he has learned a lot.

Bank of Jamaica Successfully Concludes it’s first CBDC Trial Run

Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has announced the completion of its central bank digital currency (CBDC) trial. The country is ready to roll out the CBDC soon. Earlier last year, the Jamaican central bank announced testing a prototype CBDC in its financial regulatory sandbox.

Other central banks globally are still preparing for a CBDC pilot. The Bank of Jamaica is on track to achieve its CBDC rollout target at the beginning of this new year. The bank worked with eCurrency Mint, a technology solutions provider, on the sandbox project. They have given an outline of the progress of the CBDC pilot.

Testing Phase

The scope of the pilot was just for wallet providers who have shown they can work within the timeframe. According to the announcement, The National Commercial Bank (NCB) tested the range of services that can use the CBDC solution.

NCB was the only payment service or wallet provider willing to take up the task of trying the digital payment system.

NCB performed the tests using its Lynk payment platform. TFOB Limited, The Future of Business. TFOB is the bank’s newest vehicle that provides the rollout of various non-traditional and effective financial services utilizing modern instruments.

The positive outcome of the pilot project relied on whether a CBDC and the attendant technology solution could be successfully implemented in Jamaica. Various activities were targeted and achieved during the pilot.

The Bank of Jamaica

Mid last year, BOJ minted over $220 million worth of digital currency. These were to be issued to deposit-taking firms. During the same period, the bank issued nearly $1 million worth of CBDC to its banking department.

The first CBDC issuance to a deposit institution was worth $5 million, made to NCB. The NCB involved around 60 customers who conducted transactions through almost 40 accounts.

According to BOJ, transactions with small merchants such as fashion and clothes boutiques, local craft jewelers, and shoe designers are included.

The rollout will allow two more wallet providers to onboarding existing and new customers. The providers are presently conducting testing to distribute CBDCs. Moreover, they are also testing transactions between customers of various participating wallet providers.

Though crypto- specific legislations are absent in Jamaica, the assets act by Jamaica’s present banking and securities regulations.

CBDC Hype

Central banks globally are at the peak of developing CBDCs in the respective jurisdictions. CBDCs have acquired full support from relevant authorities. Still, governments worldwide try to bring forth strict regulations around private cryptocurrencies.

The issuance of CBDCs is stalling due to the nature of digital currencies and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). Late last year, G7 finance leaders outlined CBDC guidelines.

Indian Authorities Crack Down on Six Crypto Exchanges on Suspicion of Tax Evasion

Up to six cryptocurrency exchanges have come under the spotlight of India’s Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence (DGGI) on the suspicion of tax evasion.

According to sources privy to the investigations, the DGGI is looking into the operations of some of the country’s biggest crypto service providers, including BTC and ETH trading exchanges like Coinswitch Kuber, BuyUCoin, CoinDCX, and UnoCoin.

The sources also revealed that the crackdown on the crypto traders has so far uncovered tax evasion to the tune of about Rs 70 crore, which is equivalent to $6.2 million.

WazirX First to be Investigated

Late last year, the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Mumbai Zone, revealed in a tweet that its officers had detected massive Goods and Services Tax (GST) evasion perpetrated by one of India’s premier crypto service providers, WazirX.

In the tweet, CGST revealed that it had recovered Rs 49.2 crore, which is about $4.3 million, in cash, as GST, interest, and penalties, from Zanmai Labs, the parent company of WazirX

Authorities also stated that WazirX, which records almost $43B in trading volume annually, had also launched its own digital currency, the WRX, which can be used alongside the Rupee to carry out transactions on the platform but had failed to pay any GST on it.

WazirX collects commissions on every crypto transaction on its platform from both the buyer and the seller. Transactions using WRX, attract a commission of 0.1%, while transactions carried out using the rupee attract a commission of 0.2%.

However, DGGI investigators claim that the platform only paid out GST on commissions earned from rupee transactions but not from WRX transactions. Both the rupee and WRX transactions attract a GST of 18%.

But reacting to the raid on their offices, a representative of Zanmai Labs blamed India’s ambiguous tax regime for the ensuing confusion.

In a press release, the crypto exchange said:

We voluntarily paid additional GST in order to be cooperative and compliant. There was and is no intention to evade tax. That being said, we strongly believe that regulatory clarity is the need of the hour for the Indian crypto industry.

DGGI Warns of Further Action Against Crypto Service Providers

Chainanalysis’ Global Crypto Adoption Index puts India second in a list of 154 countries where crypto use is most prevalent, and the DGGI has hinted that it is not done with investigations into India’s booming crypto space, alluding that more raids were in the offing. Officials say that future crackdowns will include Non-Fungible Token (NFT) platforms and coin launches.

Speaking to the ANI news agency, a DGGI official said:

They are providing facilitation intermediary services for buying and selling of crypto coins. These services attract a GST rate of duty of 18% which all of them have been evading.

Samsung Set to Integrate NFTs into its TV Technology in 2022

Days before the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022, the South Korean tech giant has officially announced its NFT aggregation platform. The platform will be supported by its exclusive smart TV launch. This platform will allow users to browse NFTs for sales, with the option of purchasing them via television.

Support for Digital Artwork on MICRO LED, Neo QLED, and The Frame

On Samsung smart TVs, the NFT aggregation platform fetches NFTs from various marketplaces, and users will be able to preview these NFTs, read about its creator, and learn about the digital art tokens. According to the company, users can browse and trade NFTs through Samsung’s MicroLed, Neo QLED, and The Frame models.

According to a company’s press release, with demand for NFTs on the rise, companies have never been more crucial to offer customers a solution to the fragmented landscape of viewing and purchasing.

Samsung is introducing the world’s first TV screen-based NFT explorer and marketplace aggregator in 2022. The platform is a game-changing platform that allows users to browse, buy, and display their favorite artists all in one place.

In the cryptocurrency world, NFTs are setting new records. So far, people have spent more than $9 billion on NFT sales. According to the Chainalysis 2021 NFT market report, approximately $26.9 billion in NFTs were traded across all NFT marketplaces, indicating the market’s growing dominance.

Creators Will Now Share Their Art with the World

NFTs are digital assets that have been around for a long time, but crypto and crypto art has gotten a new lease on life in recent months.

NFTs enable people to buy and sell ownership of one-of-a-kind digital items in cryptocurrencies while keeping track of who owns them on the blockchain. Technically, these can contain anything digital, such as drawings, artworks, tweets, or even video games.

Creators will share their work with the rest of the world via the Samsung NFT platform. They will allow potential buyers to view and learn about an NFT’s history and blockchain metadata before purchasing it. The company will release more information about the NFT platform in the coming months.

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022

A note should be made that the announcement comes ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022 that will take place in Las Vegas from January 5. The company will also introduce its newest TV models at Consumer Electronics Show 2022 to the world.

They promise an improved picture and sound quality, a more comprehensive range of screen sizes, customizable accessories, and an enhanced interface.

However, due to the increasing cases of coronavirus variant Omicron, several tech giants such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Lenovo will not be physically present at the CES 2022.

Polkadot (DOT) Price Prediction

Polkadot is a crypto project launched in 2020 to provide many solutions for the financial space. This protocol provides opportunities for cross-chain transfers of data while offering Defi and parachain solutions.

Natively, this platform has a coin named DOT, which has benefited many investors since its launch. Launched at an ICO price of merely $0.29, Polkadot has grown with over 9900% in value. The excellent performance of the token in markets has always brought more investors.

As 2021 ends and 2022 starts, some investors may have questions about the DOT performance in 2022. This analysis summarizes 2021 DOT prices and what to expect come 2022.

Polkadot Gaines Over 240% in 2021

Polkadot is one of the crypto assets that performed well in 2021. The growth is due to several factors that affect the crypto market and the coin.

At the start of 2022, DOT was trading at $8.3, an immense increase from its value when listing in Coinmarketcap. On 1st January, the coin was already on an uptrend that began in December 2020. The uptrend continued leading DOT to a peak value of $ about $47.9 in May. However, things turned bad when DOT lost its value to $11.

A chart showing the price performance of Dot in 2021

A few months later, DOT was in another bull run going to its ATH at $53.88 on 4th November. When writing this report at the end of December, DOT was trading at  $28. Statistical analysis indicates that DOT gained a massive 240% in 2021. So, what contributed to DOT’s growth?

One of the primary reasons for the surge in DOT values is the BTC price patterns. At the start of 2021, BTC was in a bullish streak triggered by several factors, including the halving. Ethereum and other cryptos like DOT, with the latter increasing sixfold. When crypto took a bearish course, DOT also lost its value. It’s clear that the crypto market price fluctuations also affected DOT.

Another factor is its native developments. One development is the expansion of Polkadots Defi space. Several projects have been using Polkadot as their base of operations. Some projects based on the Polkadots development tool (Substrate) have raised millions.

The Polkadot parachain growth has been a major driver of the network’s growth. According to multiple sources, Polkadots parachains solve issues seen in Ethereum, including fees and transactions throughout. In fact, Polkadot has over 1000TPS.

Some reports indicate that there were already over 350 platforms built on the Polkadot network by August. One of those projects, Kusama, has performed quite well and proven massive potential. The success of the Polkadot development sector has been a serious driver to Defi’s growth.

Polkadot in 2022

There are a lot of questions from the DOT community, especially concerning the upcoming developments. So, what does 2022 hold for the Polkadot Ecosystem?

Of course, one of the major things to expect from Polkadot come 2022 is the growth of its Defi. Since the network ended 2021 with nearly 400 projects, investors can expect more new projects in 2022. Polkadot may get dozens or even hundreds of new projects.

Projects already live like Moonbeam, Acala, Kilt Protocol, Ocean Protocol, Darwinia, and Kusama also have high prospects in 2022. Due to their use cases, they can gain massive TVL in 2021 and grow further.

More expectations come from the project’s social media growth. Today, Polkadot has over 1 million Twitter followers. As the number of Polkadot-based Defi projects increases, expect to see more followers and a larger community.

Polkadot is one of those projects termed Ethereum Killers. There are other projects like Solana and Cardano, also termed Ethereum killers. So, which of the projects will stand out at the end of 2022.

While Polkadot is trying to kill Ethereum, the latter solve its issues. Ethereum will be merging its beacon chain in mid-2022, according to various reports. When Etherum provides the solution, won’t it kill the likes of Polkadot? Indeed, the crypto world is growing, and there will be space for all those projects, but it will be interesting to see which of those will top.

The developments highlighted above will affect the Polkadot ecosystem. But, how will those developments impact prices?

Polkadot Technical Analysis and 2022 Price Prediction

When writing this report, DOT traded in the markets at merely $28. It was actually in a short downtrend, having dropped from its 24 hour high of about $29. Some experts do not anticipate large changes in DOT prices. Some set their price prediction at merely $30 at the end of 2022. On the other hand, FX Streets experts believe that Dot will rally to $82 in mid-2022, opening it to further gains towards the end of 2022.

However, the trading view technical analysis indicates the possibility of an excellent 2022. The prices have been recently dropping since some investors may have lost confidence. Tradingview indicates an intense sell situation in the markets. Also, when writing this, the DOT value was close to its 200 day moving averages, but things might be better come 2022.

A chart showing Dot trade below the 200 day Simple moving average 

Walletinvestor, one of the popular analysis networks, set their predictions on Dot prices. According to their algorithmic models, this coin could go to $55.19 by the end of 2022. Due to many different opinions, it’s good to wait and see where 2022 takes Dot.

Investors Lose Over $1 Million in Fake Metamask Token

On 27th December, some crypto enthusiasts lost about $1 million through investing in a bogus Metamask token. The scam occurred after Metamask recently announced plans to airdrop their native tokens. While investigations are still underway, Dextools has been criticized for misinforming the public on the token. The scam is one of the several crypto scams that occurred during this holiday period.

Some assume that the token successfully lured investors by capitalizing on Metamask’s plan. After creating the token contract, investors purchased it using their Ethereum on the Uniswap exchange. This scam took the honey pot style, where the investors buy the token, but the smart contract prevents them from selling. Once a person invested in the Mask scam token, their money was gone for good. In fact, after investing, some tried to send their funds with no success.

Immediately after hitting $1 million, the token creators withdrew the entire amount to Tornado Cash, a crypto mixer. The exact amount of ETH withdrawn was $475, according to Etherscan.

Dextools Misinformed the Public

As soon as investors noticed issues, rumors began to go around that the project was a scam. Dextools is one of the platforms which faced social media backlash after the scam information.

It appears that there was some misleading information on Dextools’ web page that allowed the criminals to scam people. According to some sources, a popup on the network assured investors that the coin was legitimate.

Coby.Eth, a crypto enthusiast on social media, was among the people who criticized Dextools for allowing such occurrences. He tweeted; “How did someone make a fake $MASK token and scam hundreds of ETH by exploiting DexTools?”

Coby then highlights the entire process of how the scammers took advantage of the platform. First, the scammers injected the code into the title and description on Dextools. The website executed the command and gave a verified status. He also mentioned that since Dextools coding is faulty, their site showed the coin as legitimate. The platform is yet to comment on their role in the recent honey pot scam.

Multiple Crypto Scams This Holiday Season

The bogus Metamask token is not the only scam in the crypto space. Around three scams have occurred on different networks during this holiday period. On December 26th, the MetaswapMGAS project stole 1100 BNB tokens worth over $550k through a rug pull.

On the 27th, another project called MetaDAO also stole 800ETH worth over $3.2 million using rug pulls. Like the MetaMask scam, MetaDAO also transferred the funds to Torado Cash.

It is wise for investors to be careful during the festivities to avoid any other losses as bad actors are clearly taking advantage of it. All the same, investors are waiting to see how things pan out with the Mask token.

Dodo Becomes the Preferred DEX to Launch on the NEAR Protocol

Dodo will debut as the NEAR Protocol’s selected decentralized exchange (DEX), a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain platform with sharding technology. The project will use the Aurora Network, NEAR’s Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatibility, and scaling solution to deploy their Ethereum-based app onto NEAR.

This one-of-a-kind investment partnership has significant implications for Dodo’s growth soon. According to Diane Dai, Dodo’s CMO, “We at Dodo are honored to have our Aurora deployment be selected as Proximity’s first major investment venture. With this ambitious funding and Dodo’s unique ‘blue chip’ advantage on Aurora, we are more prepared than ever to bring market-leading liquidity to as many people as possible.”

Proximity Makes Its First Major Investment

Proximity, NEAR Protocol’s Grant DAO, has made its first significant investment by funding the launch of Dodo. In collaboration with Proximity Labs, Dodo will contribute over $7.5 million in funding for incentives on Dodo Aurora through its $350 million DeFi grants DAO.

A $5 million liquidity mining campaign will reward liquidity providers with Dodo and Near tokens for specific trading pairs. There will also be trading rewards of up to 125 Dodo per day and 2 Dodo tokens per eligible trade. Finally, Proximity will contribute $2.5 million in Near token incentives to Near rewards.

The first phase of these reward programs was available for distribution from when the pools went live at 11:59 p.m. EST on December 26, 2021. It will be available until 11:59 p.m. Est on January 25, 2022.

Tether (USDT)/USD Coin (USDC) and Dodo/USDC are the pools for which liquidity mining rewards will be distributed with 0.1 Dodo tokens awarded per Aurora block.

Establishing a Strong Foundation

Dodo and Near tokens will also be allocated to the Dodo Incubator Fund, used to fund new projects on Aurora and Near. These tokens will provide liquidity mining incentives during the initial launch phases of these new projects. Emerging projects will find faster paths to independence and a stronger foundation for growth with more liquidity.

The CEO of Aurora, Alex Shevchenko, is very optimistic about the initiative, saying: “We’re excited to see big Ethereum players coming to Aurora to expand their businesses. I’m glad that in such a short timeframe we were able to satisfy all the technical requirements of Dodo: RPC methods, The Graph integration, and others. And now on Aurora we see one of the most influential decentralized trading protocols being fully operational.”

The launch will take place in stages over the coming months. Follow Dodo on Twitter to stay updated on the latest news.

Robinhood Is Launching a Beta Version of Its Crypto Wallet in 2022

The trading platform revealed the details in a blog post on Wednesday. According to the company, the Alpha testing program for its digital wallets has been finalized. Less than four months ago, it launched a new digital wallet service for its customers in the USA.

Since its first announcement in September, Robinhood has tested its digital wallet feature. The trading app finished its first alpha transfer using DOGE in November. According to Robinhood COO Christine Brown, the new feature would mainly focus on the users’ safety. Additionally, they will provide education on crypto transactions and clarity around network and gas fees.

The firm is now set to move to the beta phase accessible to 1 lakh customers. According to the company, the new feature will allow users to deposit and withdraw Bitcoin, Ether, Dogecoin, and other tokens.

Robinhood extending their wings

The feature will start around January & enable a larger group of users from the waitlist to gain access. While Alpha focused on fewer customers and 1:1 engagement, Beta will involve a larger group. Christine Brown, Robinhood’s Crypto COO, tweeted on Wednesday. It will cover tens of thousands of customers.

Brown gave information on feedback gathered from its Alpha phase users. The information included additional clarity around gas fees and tighter user security.

The company said they got feedback through their Alpha program. They sought input from a particular group of customers from their wallets waitlist. During the Alpha, Robinhood revealed that it made the first dogecoin transfer. They did this through an external wallet.

One-stop-shop service

Alpha should be considered the software testing phase, while Beta should be identified as the software development phase. Some users were allowed to access the pre-released versions of the app while receiving live feedback.

Robinhood’s Alpha program received some waitlist enrollment in less than a month. Currently, there is a total of almost 2 million. Robinhood’s users have been eager for a crypto wallet feature. Some reputable companies like Coinbase and Gemini, Robinhood’s rivals, already offer their own.

In September, Brown said that the new feature that went public earlier this year focuses on a one-stop-shop service where users can trade stocks and digital assets.

Binance Could be Pursuing France as Its Headquarters

After a year of heavy regulatory scrutiny by regulators, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, could be on the hunt for new headquarters in France. They are financing a $113 million (100 million euro) initiative together with France Fintech to support the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector in France.

The initiative called Objective Moon was announced in early November. Binance will create a development and research office in France, while nurturing start-ups and training programs.

Another French crypto hardware firm in France called Ledger and edtech company OpenClassrooms are involved in Objective Moon, developing educational programs. The growing fintech scene in France has proved a fertile ground for the initiative. Additionally, the fintech investments in the country have grown exponentially this year according to data from Dealroom, there have been great fundings for Qonto and Lydia.

Binance Considers Official Base Change

Binance has been on shaky ground all year, with regulators globally putting the exchange under intense scrutiny. Among them was an investigation by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and a ban by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority. The exchange also closed its trading platform in Singapore, further halting all trade of its digital stock tokens.

The CEO Changpeng Zhao has talked about their willingness to cooperate with regulators. Although they have roots in China, they are looking to explore other regions while leaning into decentralization associated with the crypto industry. The CEO has expressed interest in France as an official base of operations.

Binance French GM, David Princay told CNBC, ”the aim of Objective Moon is really to develop an ecosystem and to nurture and accelerate an ecosystem. You cannot do it alone. We need to be also able to capture the talent and to have more capabilities to grow bigger.” He added that opening and having an R&D office is one of the steps that they need for their next evolution.

Working with France Regulators

Binance’s move into France has been met by the watchful eye of the central bank. The governor of the Central Bank of France has said that if Binance is to set up operations in the country, they must have strong anti-money laundering checks in place. Princay said that they are ready to undergo evaluation and auditing, to be a sign of trust to the country’s regulators if they pass. He added that they have ongoing discussions with the regulators on licensing.

The EU’s Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation, approved by the European Council recently, is the next big challenge for Binance. The EU aims to expand the licensing and passporting for crypto firms in the bloc and introduce greater investor protection.

Hong Kong Siblings Face Jail Time for Laundering Money Through Different Platforms

Hong Kong Police arrested two siblings on the claims of money laundering. The two residents were accused of using multiple methods, including crypto platforms, for washing over HK $380 million ($ 48.7 million).

Hong Kong Police Arrests Siblings for Money Laundering

The Hong Kong police have arrested two residents for laundering money amounting to $48.7 million. The two are siblings, and they used their bank accounts and a crypto exchange platform to wash the cash.

The police force searched the residency of the siblings- a sister and a brother to ascertain their claims. The two are said to have opened bank accounts with various financial organizations in the city. They also opened accounts on an undisclosed crypto exchange platform to launder the money whose source is yet to be identified.

The defendants were later released on bail. The customs officials did not rule out more arrests regarding the money laundering case. According to Chinese law, the two are facing a maximum fine of 5 million Hong Kong dollars or $641,000. The law also states that the penalty is accompanied by 14 years of jail time and confiscation of the laundering proceeds.

It’s not the first time Hong Kong customs officials have arrested people for money laundering. In July 2021, the officials arrested four people for laundering about $113 million using crypto platforms. The group had washed the money for 15 months using shell companies and 40 different USDT wallets.

Crypto Scams and Illegal Use Cases Increase as The Year Approaches Its End

As the year approaches its final days, the cases of illegal crypto uses, scams, and cyberattacks are increasing exponentially. Since November, many people have been arrested for the same while several crypto platforms have reported cyber attacks. The regulators are also working around the clock to formulate frameworks to govern these assets and reduce such abuses.

This month alone, crypto platforms like Bitmart, Badger DAO, Mono X and AscendEx have lost millions of dollars to hackers. Bitmart lost Altcoins worth over $190 million and made an effort to refund its users using its reserve unit. Mono X also lost tokens worth about $31 million, while BadgerDAO lost about $51 million in a similar attack. Ascend Ex is also reported to have lost $80 million by exploiting their crypto wallets.

The authorities have tried to warn investors about the increasing scam rates all year long. According to reports, crypto scams are up by over 80% in 2021 alone. A total of $7.7 billion was lost to scammers and hackers throughout the year. As a result, multiple governments are currently discussing creating protective regulations for investors. These regulations will cover investors’ rights and abolish bad players like money launderers, scammers and hackers from the crypto sphere.

ProShares to Launch New Metaverse ETF Tracking Industry Heavyweights Meta, Apple, and Nvidia

ProShares, an investment firm renowned for launching the Bitcoin Futures ETF in the U.S., has now set its sights on the fast-evolving Metaverse universe.

In a December 28 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), ProShares declared its intention to launch a new metaverse-focused ETF. Dubbed the ‘ProShares Metaverse Theme ETF,’ the product will focus on tracking the Solactive Metaverse Theme Index (SOMETAV).

The index reflects the performance of multiple public companies offering metaverse-related products and services. It features some top-weighted stocks such as Apple, Meta, and Nvidia.

SOMETAV also tracks the performance of companies operating in online gaming, the creative economy, and the manufacture of metaverse-related devices such as V.R. headsets.

The ETF prospectus from ProShares highlights the growing popularity of the metaverse, an online virtual world that has become a key buzzword in recent months.

Big Companies Are Jumping on the Metaverse Train

The rapidly evolving metaverse trend has attracted some big names over the past few months. In October, social media giant Facebook rebranded to Meta, citing its ambition to create a virtual environment offering gaming and NFT trading features.

More recently, several prominent asset managers have decided to capitalize on the booming metaverse sector, which analysts from Reports and Data estimate could hit $872 billion in 2028.  Last month, metaverse appetite hit new heights as two Canadian firms launched two ETF products based on the emerging virtual world on the same day.

Meanwhile, the Roundhill Ball Metaverse has enjoyed tremendous success with the launch of its ETF, drawing in a staggering $916M from investors since June. Proshares now looks set to become the latest entity to join the metaverse sector, assuming financial regulators green light their ETF filing.

Metaverse: The Next Big Tech Platform

Per a recent Bloomberg report, the metaverse industry has reached $2.2 billion in a few months and is estimated to become an $800B industry. Some analysts view the metaverse as the next big tech platform that could propel the crypto industry to new heights.

The metaverse creates an online 3-D virtual environment that merges virtual, augmented, and physical realities into one immersive platform. The emerging world promises to transform virtual social experiences, e-commerce, gaming, NFT trading, and much more.

One expert points to recent developments in the metaverse universe as a sign that the sector is well primed to evolve and grow. Todd Rosenbluth, the director of ETF research at CFRA, told Bloomberg:

“I don’t know if the Metaverse theme has legs, but investors believe in it. Given the success of the ETF META, we are likely to see more products come to market that offer a unique twist on this long-term theme.”

Abu Dhabi Intensifies Effort to Become Middle East’s Crypto Hub

The United Arab Emirates capital, Abu Dhabi, is stepping up its efforts to attract crypto-focused businesses. It aspires to be the Middle East’s leading crypto hub.

Shorafa Al Hammadi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, stated that the government had set a deadline for this year’s end. It will ease passporting between digital cryptocurrency exchanges to ‘normal’ instruments.

Two Regulated Digital Asset Exchanges; More to Come

According to Emmanuel Givanakis, CEO of Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority, the emirates are already among the global leaders developing a crypto-friendly regulatory environment. It is after having established an initial framework in 2018.

The emirates hope to attract more regulated digital asset exchanges with a comprehensive regulatory regime. Already, two of the exchanges — Matrix Exchange and Midchains — are operational in Abu Dhabi. A third, DEX, will begin entire operations soon.

Additionally, the whole ecosystem in Abu Dhabi is working together to make it easy for all the actors in that space to shift there. It is also essential to develop a legal framework. He added that they are to find the pain points everywhere to eliminate them and develop a powerful, robust regulatory framework.

The Focus is Shifting to Technology

Abu Dhabi’s determination to become a crypto hub is part of the city-effort state’s restructuring of its economy. They are trying to shift away from reliance on oil and gas and toward a greater emphasis on technology.

Abu Dhabi provides a fintech sandbox for the private sector to test their products in a live environment. Hence, ensuring they meet the UAE’s strict anti-money-laundering (AML) and other regulatory standards.

Dubai, Abu Dhabi’s neighbour .and fellow emirate, is eager to attract digital-assets firms. It announced last week that it has enlisted Binance to assist it in developing an “international virtual asset ecosystem.”

Blockchain Development in MENA

On December 27, 2021, Binance announced that it had also received approval for a license-in-principle in Bahrain. Binance had applied to the CBB for a license as part of its plans to become a fully-regulated centralised cryptocurrency exchange.

CBB is the first regulator in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region to grant in-principle approval to a Binance entity, according to an official statement from the crypto exchange.

CBB’s in-principle approval still requires Binance to complete the entire application process, which is expected to be completed soon.

Regulation Concerns

Binance has been targeted by financial regulators all over the world this year. Some have prohibited the platform from engaging in certain activities, while others have warned consumers that it is unlicensed to operate in their jurisdictions.

According to Amy Oldenburg, head of emerging market equities at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, a challenge for regulators is ensuring they don’t stifle innovation while trying to protect investors.

The UAE and Abu Dhabi appear to be striking the right balance in regulating cryptocurrency. However, not in such a way that they stifle the growth and exploration that will continue for long.