SEC Sues Dragonchain for Unregistered Initial Coin Offering

Key Insights:

  • The SEC claims that three entities failed to register more than $16 million in crypto asset securities offerings.
  • The regulator alleges that the Securities Act of 1933 was violated.
  • Dragonchain maintains that DRGN is not a financial security.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a complaint against Dragonchain’s founder for allegedly raising millions in unregistered crypto asset securities offerings.

More specifically, the SEC is suing John Joseph Roets and the three entities he controls, Dragonchain, the Dragonchain Foundation and The Dragon Company, for failing to register more than $16 million in crypto asset securities offerings over the course of five years.

Unregistered Crypto Asset Securities Offerings

According to a filing in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Roets, Dragonchain and the Foundation conducted an unregistered offering of Dragon tokens (DRGN) through a discounted presale to members of a crypto investment club.

In addition, the SEC alleges that Roets, along with the three Dragonchain entities, violated the Securities Act by raising millions of dollars from the sale of Dragon tokens in an initial coin offering (ICO) predominantly marketed to crypto investors in 2017.

The SEC claims that Seattle-based Dragonchain, which is an enterprise blockchain start-up that was originally developed at Disney’s tech-focused Seattle office in 2014, funnelled the money into its marketing and development campaigns.

Overall, the SEC alleges that between 2019 and 2022, Dragonchain, the Dragonchain Foundation and The Dragon Company offered and sold $2.5 million worth of DRGNs to cover business expenditures and to market Dragonchain.

Initial Coin Offering

A crucial element of the filing is that the SEC claims both the 2017 presale and the initial coin offering of Dragon tokens were unregistered crypto asset securities offerings that allegedly raised approximately $14 million from over 5,000 investors.

During the Bitcoin (BTC) market boom at the end of 2017, a number of crypto start-ups delved into ICOs as a means of raising money for their tokens. In fact, at their peak in 2017, initial coin offerings overtook venture capital as the main fundraising method for blockchain start-ups.

An ICO is a method of fundraising capital for early-stage cryptocurrency projects whereby a blockchain-based start-up will mint a certain quantity of its own native digital token in order to offer them to early investors, normally in exchange for other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum (ETH).

However, the SEC contends that token sale securities should be subject to federal securities law and information disclosure. A 2021 court filing by the State of Washington also called the DRGN token a security and due to Dragonchain not being registered to sell its securities, the company was fined $50,000 and issued a cease and desist order.

However, the company maintains that DRGN is not a financial security. The SEC, which says it seeks permanent injunctions, has now demanded disgorgement of the proceeds with prejudgment interest and a civil monetary penalty.

FTX to Integrate Reddit’s Community Points With New Partnership

Key Insights:

  • Reddit will integrate with FTX Pay in order to unlock new crypto-enabled perks for Community Points.
  • Users will be able to purchase ETH from supported Reddit apps via FTX Pay.
  • Community Points were introduced in May 2020 as a measure of reputation in communities or subreddits. 

Reddit users will be able to purchase Ethereum (ETH) directly through the FTX Pay app thanks to a new partnership with the FTX cryptocurrency exchange.

After a decision to stop accepting Bitcoin (BTC) payments on its platform in 2018, online forum Reddit now seems to be inching closer to adopting cryptocurrency payments.

Blockchain-powered Community Points System

In a joint statement with Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX, Reddit has confirmed an integration with FTX Pay as a payment and crypto exchange solution to unlock new crypto-enabled perks for Reddit Community Points.

Community Points, which were introduced in May 2020 as a measure of reputation in communities or subreddits, will be integrated throughout different markets in the United States, European Union and Australia.

This means that users will be able to purchase ETH from supported Reddit apps via FTX’s payment and exchange infrastructure platform FTX Pay. The cryptocurrency can also be used to pay for network fees related to Community Points transactions on-chain.

Community Points will be based on the Ethereum scaling solution Arbitrum and as a unit of ownership, they can be spent on premium features. The points appear next to a username so the score is visible to everyone, allowing for customisation and improved content.

Reddit’s new move mirrors social media platform Twitter’s decision to integrate a blockchain rewards system with the introduction of a Bitcoin tipping feature earlier this year. The tool allows users to receive tips via third-party payment channels including Bitcoin wallets and Lightning Network services. Users can also add their Ethereum wallets to Twitter and send ETH as well.

Company Strides

Last month, Reddit launched a new non-fungible token (NFT) avatar marketplace that allows users to purchase blockchain-based profile pictures for a fixed rate. In the early-access phase, 90 different designs were released and in order to mint these avatars on-chain, Reddit partnered with Ethereum-compatible blockchain Polygon.

The NFTs can be stored and managed using Reddit’s own blockchain wallet Vault which is available on the company’s native app.

The company emphasised that owners of its limited-edition NFTs will have licensing rights to use them on and off Reddit as an avatar. An avatar builder also enables users to mix and match different looks or add glow-like effects.

Despite Reddit removing the option that allowed users to pay for their premium membership in Bitcoin many years ago, the company boasts a crypto-positive co-founder who has been widely involved in the sector. Alexis Ohanian launched a $100 million Web3 investment fund last year, followed by another $200 million Web3 and social media fund in collaboration with Polygon.

Beanstalk’s Stablecoin Protocol Relaunches 4 Months After $182 Million Exploit

Key Insights:

  • The credit-based stablecoin protocol lost $182 million during a governance exploit in April this year. 
  • The project’s protocol governance has since moved to a community-run multi-signature wallet.
  • Beanstalk launched a fundraiser dubbed the ‘Barn Raise’ to restore stolen funds.

Earlier this year, an attacker exploited the decentralised finance (DeFi) protocol Beanstalk Farms by buying a controlling stake of tokens and then using that position to exploit the governance structure.

Notably, it was not considered to be a hack, as the smart contracts and governance procedures used to carry out the transfer had functioned as designed, but the governance exploit did drain $182 million from the credit-based stablecoin protocol project.

Replant

As the project works towards reclaiming the $100 million market capitalisation it had prior to its stablecoin attack in April, Beanstalk has relaunched its protocol just under four months after going offline. Users holding more than 99% of the project’s stalk token backed the relaunch in a vote that closed on August 5.

The relaunch event, labelled the ‘Replant’, has seen the project’s protocol governance moved to a community-run multi-signature wallet until “a secure on-chain governance mechanism can be implemented”. Enhanced multi-signature security means that five out of nine validators chosen by Beanstalk developers must now validate governance decisions.

New application development on the network is currently underway, with the Root Protocol announcing a $9 million seed round to develop financial, commerce and sports betting marketplaces on Beanstalk. The equity round was led by Road Capital, with participation from Nima Capital, Soma Capital and Manifest Crypto.

The team also confirmed that it has completed two protocol audits from leading smart contract auditing firms Trail of Bits and Halborn.

Flash Loan Attack

The Beanstalk team began the process to resurrect its stablecoin back in May, when it proposed raising $77 million from private investors. This was after the project experienced one of the largest-ever flash loan exploits which temporarily gave a malicious user enough funds to control the protocol’s governance.

Beanstalk works by using loans to support the value of its native stablecoin and investors buy Beanstalk debt assets that function like time-vested bonds, paying out an annual interest rate. Overall, the project relies on a decentralised credit facility, decentralised price oracle and governance community to operate and hover around its intended $1 peg.

While preparing a strategy to re-launch, the project announced a fundraiser dubbed the ‘Barn Raise’ to restore stolen funds. Beanstalk will sell 77 million fertilizer tokens for 1 USDC each and will borrow that $77 million in exchange for debt at up to 500% interest.

The latest data from Chainalysis shows that hackers stole $1.3 billion from exchanges, platforms and private entities during the first half of this year. Almost 97% of all cryptocurrency stolen has been taken from DeFi protocols, up from 72% in 2021.

Blockchain Transaction Fees Could go Down to $0.02, Says Vitalik Buterin

Key Insights:

  • Buterin believes that transaction costs could go down to $0.05 or even as low as $0.02.
  • He attributes this to the “solid work happening” with rollups such as Optimism’s Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum. 
  • Buterin highlighted how scalability can enable and unlock entirely new classes of applications. 

While attending Korea Blockchain Week (KBW), the co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin has made comments indicating that the final hurdle to getting transactions down to fractions of a cent at scale is blockchain data compression.

Earlier this year, Buterin had stated that all Layer 2 transaction fees need to be under $0.05 to be “truly acceptable”, emphasising the importance of affordability.

Layer 2 Scaling Solutions

Buterin, who believes that the long-awaited Ethereum software Merge upgrade will make cryptocurrency payments more mainstream and accessible for a broader user base, has expressed that transaction costs “could go down to $0.05, or even maybe as low as $0.02”.

He attributes this to the “solid work happening” with rollups such as Optimism’s Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum (ETH), where transactions are bundled and compressed off-chain before being verified on the consensus layer. More specifically, Optimism helps users save on gas fees by rolling up batches of transactions and settling them on another blockchain using advanced data compression techniques – with receipts fed back to the main Ethereum blockchain. 

Overall, introducing zero byte compression can get the size and cost of data in blockchain transactions down since the number of possible transactions that can be executed increases.

According to Buterin, rollups today generally charge “somewhere between $0.25 and sometimes $0.10” and in the future, rollups which offer improved efficiencies will lead to “cheaper and much more affordable” transaction fees.

Crypto Payment Use Cases

Buterin also touched upon Bitcoin (BTC), stating that its original use case was to provide a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system” that was cheaper than traditional payment methods. However, this was no longer the case in 2018, as he believes this is when adoption accelerated and blockchain transactions became too expensive.

In the co-founder’s view, BTC and other assets will soon be able to provide this use case once again as scaling solutions gradually bring down the costs to fractions of a cent.

According to Buterin, there are several different areas that will benefit from cheap crypto transaction rates. These include “lower income countries or places” where the existing financial system is “not very effective”, domain name system (DNS) servers and Web3 account management services.

Notably, more affordable transaction fees could improve financial mobility since it gives people access to vital payments structure over the internet. Buterin added:

“You need to actually send a transaction to create a DNS name, you need to actually send the transaction to recover your account, you need to actually send a transaction to meet some of these adaptations. If doing each of those operations costs like $11, then people are not going into it”.

Ultimately, scalability is at the forefront of blockchain research and development and Buterin highlighted how it can enable and unlock entirely new classes of applications, while still maintaining on-chain composability between smart contracts.

This comes as new data shows that Ethereum gas fees have recorded their lowest rates since 2020. In fact, Ethereum network fees dropped to 0.00086 ETH recently or $1.46 per transfer, a low not seen since December 2020.

Coinbase-backed Nomad Bridge Drained of $190 Million in Security Exploit

Key Insights:

  • A security exploit has led to the Nomad Bridge loosing virtually all of its funds. 
  • The Nomad team is currently working with law enforcement to address the situation. 
  • Earlier this year, Nomad raised $22.4 million in its seed round, which valued the project at $225 million. 

A heist targeting U.S. crypto firm Nomad has resulted in a security exploit that allowed hackers to systematically drain a large portion of the blockchain bridge’s funds.

Through a long series of transactions, $190.7 million worth of users’ cryptocurrencies was stolen, including Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) and the stablecoin USDC. However, some blockchain researchers have put the figure at over $150 million.

Token Bridge Exploit

According to decentralised finance (DeFi) tracking platform DefiLlama, $190.7 million in crypto has been removed from the Nomad bridge, with only $651.54 left remaining in the wallet.

The Nomad Token Bridge is a cross-chain messaging protocol that aims to enable interoperability across blockchains by allowing users to move tokens back and forth between different chains. Other use cases for Nomad include developers building cross-chain applications, asset issuers deploying tokens and decentralised autonomous organisations (DAO) executing cross-chain governance.

The San Francisco-based project witnessed its first suspicious transaction at 9:32pm UTC when an unknown individual removed 100 Wrapped Bitcoin tokens from the bridge, worth around $2.3 million.

The incident has seen WBTC, USD Coin (USDC), Covalent Query Token (CQT), Hummingbird Governance Token (HBOT), IAGON (IAG), Dai (DAI), GeroWallet (GERO), Card Starter (CARDS), Saddle DAO (SDL) and Charli3 (C3) tokens taken from the bridge.

Ongoing Investigation

The Nomad team has confirmed that it is currently investigating the exploit and working with law enforcement “around the clock” to address the situation and provide timely updates. The project added that its goal is to “identify the accounts involved and to trace and recover” the stolen crypto.

They also highlighted how there are impersonators posing as Nomad and providing fraudulent addresses to collect funds even though the project has not yet provided instructions to return bridge funds.

This security exploit is somewhat unique in the sense that each token was removed in nearly equivalent denominations. For example, transactions with exactly 202,440.725413 USDC were executed over 200 times.

Part of the reason that the hacker was able to drain the protocol of virtually all its funds is because Nomad’s smart contracts made it relatively easy for users to spoof transactions, in the sense that they were able to withdraw money that didn’t actually belong to them.

More specifically, bridges usually work by locking up tokens in a smart contract on one chain and then reissuing those tokens in a wrapped form on another chain. However, if the smart contract is compromised, some or all of those funds can be stolen.

In April this year, Nomad raised $22.4 million in its seed round involving major players such as Coinbase Ventures, OpenSea and Crypto.com Capital, which landed the company a $225 million valuation.

Cybersecurity Firm Halborn Warns of New Active MetaMask Phishing Campaign

Key Insights:

  • The new phishing campaign is focused on passphrases and features a MetaMask header and logo. 
  • The company has encouraged users to spot red flags in emails such as spelling errors.
  • Halborn researchers recently disclosed a wallet vulnerability that affected a segment of users across many browser-based wallets. 

Halborn, a cybersecurity company that protects blockchain organisations from online attacks, has raised the alarm about a new phishing campaign that is targeting users of the popular crypto wallet MetaMask.

Although there are a myriad of phishing techniques that scammers use, this one in particular relies on passphrases.

Active Phishing Campaign

According to Halborn, which has worked with over 150 blockchain organisations including THORChain (RUNE) and Avalanche (AVAX), the scam email that is circulating features a fraudulent MetaMask header and logo.

The email purports to be from MetaMask and directs users to a clickable button with a time-sensitive “verify your wallet” prompt. The subject line references an open support ticket and asks users to comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines.

KYC compliance is a standard in the industry referring to the mandatory collection and use of information about a customer beyond just obtaining basic evidence of identity. The procedure is critical in verifying a customer’s risk and financial profile in accordance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws.

In addition, the phishing campaign includes a fake domain called metamaks.auction. Users who open other properties of the email will notice that the server used to deliver the message (unicarpentry.onmicrosoft.com) is not related to the real service.

Warning

Halborn has encouraged users to spot red flags in emails such as spelling errors and a lack of personalisation – both of which are prevalent in these emails. For example, the blockchain security firm notes that if this was indeed a real email from a financial institution or a well-known crypto wallet service like MetaMask, the email will contain the real name of the recipient, some other ID information, and more clear instructions.

The company added that users should avoid clicking on any button or link that they receive by email, SMS or WhatsApp and to always verify the URL by moving a pointer over the button or link before clicking on it.

In June, Halborn researchers disclosed a wallet vulnerability that affected a segment of users across many browser-based wallets, including MetaMask. More specifically, they brought to light a case where a user’s private keys could be found unencrypted on a disk in a compromised computer.

In response, MetaMask, which boasts over 30 million monthly active users as of March this year, implemented mitigations for these issues and patched its extension versions 10.11.3.

Last week, crypto lender Celsius announced that some of its customer information had been leaked in a third-party data breach. According to the company, the list of client email addresses was leaked by an engineer at the Customer.io messaging platform.

French Lawmaker Calls for a New Committee to Probe Crypto Assets

Key Insights:

  • Senator Nathalie Goulet is pushing for a new committee to regulate cryptocurrency usage in France. 
  • She has stated that blockchain may support crime because it “permits anonymity and favours opaque trading”. 
  • Data shows that 8% of French citizens have invested in digital assets. 

According to lawmaker Nathalie Goulet, the French Senate should set up a new committee to probe crypto assets due to the risk of “opaque markets” being linked to crime and financial instability.

Goulet, who sits on the Senate’s third-largest Centrist Union political group, further highlighted how Senators don’t have the technological know-how to navigate the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) legislation recently agreed upon by the European Union.

French Senate

In a letter posted on the Senate’s website, the French lawmaker pushed for a committee to regulate cryptocurrency usage in the nation.

With the growing popularity of cryptocurrency, Goulet highlighted the potential negative impact of its technology, stating that blockchain may support crime because it “permits anonymity and favours opaque trading”. There were also parallels drawn between cryptocurrencies and the subprime mortgages that caused the 2008 financial crisis.

The letter read: “Crypto assets, thanks to the blockchain, pursue a simple objective: to make encoded, anonymous, secure, transparent exchanges possible for users and above all opaque for the authorities. The complete absence of regulation by a central authority allows users to completely escape the supervision of governments”.

According to Goulet, there are many people who still don’t understand the cryptocurrency sector and thus cannot adequately confront topics like the Markets in Crypto Assets legislation. She stated: “I’m not sure that today there are 10 senators who are capable of understanding” crypto policy issues.

In addition, Goulet also touched on how crypto assets facilitate the financing of terrorism as well as many other illegal activities. Notably, the senator has a long history as France’s leading security expert and recently penned a book on funding mechanisms used by terrorists which noted that cryptocurrencies are being increasingly used for money laundering activities.

Rising Adoption

In terms of adoption, a joint survey by ADAN, KPMG and pollsters IPSOS found that 8% of French citizens have invested in digital assets, while 30% are open to entering the crypto market.

In fact, the proportion of French people holding cryptos surpassed the percentage of citizens holding treasury stocks (6.7%) and IPSOS estimates that at least 12% of the population will own crypto by the end of this year.

Last month, French lawmaker Pierre Person called on the government to recognise decentralised autonomous organisations (DAO) and non-fungible tokens (NFT) in its legal system.

In May this year, cryptocurrency exchange Binance registered with the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) as part of efforts to make Paris its European base. As well as being registered as a digital asset service provider (DASP) by France’s market regulator, the company is also seeking a formal licence to open regional headquarters in the country.

Solana Set to Unveil Retail Store in New York as its ‘Cultural Centre’

Key Insights:

  • The Solana Spaces store features an interactive art installation and Solana-themed merchandise. 
  • The shop also offers customers tutorials for the Phantom wallet. 
  • Solana reached a total sales volume of around $2.35 billion last month. 

Solana, one of the world’s largest blockchains by market capitalisation, is opening a permanent physical store in Manhattan, New York which will act as a “cultural centre” for the project.

A standout element of the Solana Spaces store is that it will feature an interactive art installation, as well as offering users the chance to checkout using Solana Pay.

The World of Web3

The new store, which is located in the Hudson Yards neighbourhood, boasts a non-fungible token (NFT) gallery featuring the Degenerate Ape Academy collection. The Solana-based collection is comprised of 10,000 algorithmically-generated 3D apes.

At Solana Spaces, the interactive art installation displays real-time visualisations based on what is occurring on the Solana blockchain in terms of transactions and minted NFTs.

The one-of-a-kind shop is littered with Solana-branded merchandise for sale, including limited edition Blanksoles sneakers. Earlier this year, the decentralised sneaker company Blanksoles announced a partnership with former NBA champion Metta Sandiford-Artest to launch a series of Solana-based NFTs and physical sneakers.

In addition, Solana Spaces accepts cryptocurrency as a payment method, with Solana Pay facilitating transactions for customers. Beyond this, the store also offers tutorials for the Phantom wallet and Magic Eden. Notably, Phantom is a popular non-custodial crypto wallet designed for Solana which has over one million users.

Solana’s Success

There is no doubt that Solana is one of the world’s most popular blockchains when it comes to non-fungible tokens and decentralised finance (DeFi), with its native cryptocurrency SOL ranking as the ninth largest globally.

In May this year, the project made headlines when its NFT sales generated more money than Ethereum’s during a 24-hour period.

Indeed, Solana has become an alternative to the more costly Ethereum (ETH) blockchain to trade NFTs considering that the project claims to ensure transactions will always remain less than $0.01 for both developers and users. In contrast, the average transaction fee on Ethereum is $3.71 at the time of writing.

In addition, Solanart is a fully-fledged NFT marketplace based on the network that allows anyone to acquire or sell NFTs, with the overarching goal of helping to promote artists and creators.

Overall, the project has managed to reach a total sales volume of around $2.35 billion as of June, with average monthly NFT sales totalling $150 million this year.

This surge can be attributed to a large amount of buyers entering the market and by January this year, there were 153,602 unique buyers carrying out 1,014,963 transactions on Solana. In fact, the project recorded its all-time high monthly sales volume that same month at $298.69 million.

Aptos Labs Raises $150 Million in Series A Round Led by FTX Ventures

Key Insights:

  • The Series A round was co-led by FTX Ventures and Jump Crypto, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz. 
  • Aptos Labs was launched by former Meta employees Mo Shaikh and Avery Ching. 
  • The funds will be used to accelerate the firm’s ventures into the Web3 space. 

Aptos Labs, a Layer 1 blockchain start-up made up of former Meta employees, has raised $150 million in a new funding round led by Jump Crypto and the venture capital arm of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, FTX Ventures.

The Series A round has more than doubled the start-up’s previous valuation, which was over $1 billion in March this year. However, the company has declined to specify its new valuation.

Series A Round

The funding round was co-led by FTX Ventures and Jump Crypto, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Apollo, Griffin Gaming Partners, Franklin Templeton, Circle Ventures and Superscrypt. Aptos Labs also continues to receive backing from a16z and Multicoin.

The funds will be used to accelerate the firm’s ventures into the Web3 space as it seeks to determine the demands of the market through collaboration with strategic partners.

The round highlights venture capital’s appetite for budding crypto-focused start-ups despite a downturn in the market. In fact, as of July 14, year-to-date venture capital investments in the crypto and blockchain industries amounts to $17.9 billion, according to JP Morgan.

While the $7.9 billion that global VCs invested in crypto start-ups in the second quarter of this year fell from $9.8 billion in the first quarter, it still represents more than the investments in all of 2020, when crypto start-ups saw $6.5 billion flow in.

Corresponding research from Cointelegraph suggests that venture firms invested $14.67 billion into the sector in the second quarter of this year, matching first-quarter commitments.

All in all, it seems that big money VCs remain bullish on crypto and blockchain start-ups, with this latest funding round being an indicator of such a sentiment.

A Crypto Unicorn

Aptos Labs, which is building a Layer 1 blockchain using Diem’s Move programming language, has stated that its goal is to offer a reliable foundation for Web3 in order to usher in users from “all around the world to experience the benefits of decentralisation”.

The company itself was launched by former Meta employees Mo Shaikh and Avery Ching, who were involved in Mark Zuckerberg’s failed Diem project.

At the start of this year, the Diem Association, formerly known as Libra, officially shut down its stablecoin project amid intense regulatory scrutiny. Diem later announced that it will be selling its intellectual property and other assets to Silvergate for $200 million. The California bank, which serves blockchain companies, had partnered with Diem last year to launch a U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoin.

Overall, Aptos Labs has raised a total of $350 million in funding this year over two rounds.

Investment Bank Moelis Ventures into Blockchain Despite Crypto Bear Market

Key Insights:

  • The billionaire-founded firm will act as an advisory to crypto and blockchain companies.
  • Executives do not fear market volatility and see it as an opportunity.
  • Moelis was hired as an advisory by the embattled crypto broker Voyager Digital.

The New York-based investment bank founded by billionaire Ken Moelis is setting up a division to focus on deals with global blockchain and crypto companies.

The new venture will be headed by global head of media investment banking and Moelis (MC) co-founder John Momtazee. Moelis joins several prominent venture funding firms that continue to pour millions into the fledgling industry despite a 70% crash in digital asset markets this year.

According to the announcement on July 25, longtime venture investor Lou Kerner is joining the firm as a senior adviser to the new division.

No Fear of Crypto Bears

John Momtazee, who previously headed Broadcasting Investment Banking at UBS Investment Bank, said, “We love the timing. We think that to pile in on good days and say, ‘Here we are, ready to help,’ feels less genuine than when there’s a challenge,” before adding “any disruptive technology is going to have volatility.”

Moelis is no stranger to the crypto industry. The firm was hired as an advisory to embattled crypto broker Voyager Digital which suspended withdrawals and filed for bankruptcy earlier this month. The investment bank has also worked with San Francisco-based fintech firm Ripple Labs and blockchain security and intelligence company CipherTrace.

Momtazee added that with more than 50 unicorns and nearly $20 billion of capital raised for crypto and blockchain firms last year, “blockchain technology is poised to be as transformative to the global business landscape as the Internet was in the late 90s.” He added that the company saw strong long-term prospects for its application despite current market volatility.

He said there was substantial interest from within the firm as more than 30% of managing directors already had crypto wallets. “I suspect that the junior bankers and mid-level bankers actually are more active,” he added, “This is a young person’s world.”

Ken Moelis is also bullish on digital assets, likening the crypto sector to the “gold rush of 1848” in an interview with Bloomberg last year. The billionaire also invested in stablecoin issuer Paxos in 2020.

Moelis & Co. assists its clients in achieving strategic goals by offering comprehensive, integrated financial advisory services. It operates from 21 locations across the globe and has advised on more than $3.5 trillion of transactions since inception.

Crypto Markets in Retreat

As expected, a volatile week for crypto markets is unraveling, with a 5.1% decline in total market capitalization over the past 24 hours. The total cap is now back at $1 trillion, having lost $100 billion since the end of last week.

Bitcoin (BTC) has dropped 4.6% in a fall to $21,097, while Ethereum (ETH) has dumped 7.1% to $1,422 at the time of writing.

A Federal Reserve rate hike on Thursday followed by gloomy GDP news in the U.S. could send markets tumbling even further by the end of the week.

A Complete Guide to the Plant vs. Undead Play2Earn Blockchain Game

Key Insights:

  • Users can generate PVU tokens in farm mode to defend Mother Trees from zombies. 
  • The PVU token fuels the ecosystem and allows players to purchase plants in order to build a farm.
  • Players must first acquire five PVU tokens before they can start their farming journey.

Plant vs Undead is a multiplayer garden farming and tower defence game where players earn cryptocurrency rewards by engaging in zombie-fighting quests to protect their Mother Trees.

While the play-to-earn (P2E) game may sound like a derivative of the popular Plant vs Zombie franchise, there are key differences in the sense that Plant vs Undead incorporates non-fungible tokens (NFT).

A crucial element of the P2E game is that it enables users from all over the world to generate PVU tokens in farming mode for the overarching purpose of  defending Mother Trees from zombies that arrive when a meteorite strikes the planet.

How Does Plant vs Undead Work?

To participate in the game, users must own NFT plants that can be purchased from the marketplace in order to protect the Mother Tree. A total of eight plant categories are on offer and those who successfully build plots of land in farming mode will be able to avoid undead attacks.

As part of the farm mode, players can strategically position their plants to defend the Mother tree and receive Light Energy (LE) points in return for this.

Another option is to purchase tools to upgrade a plot of land, but all tools and seeds in farm mode require LE rather than PVU for purchase.

Light Energy tokens also enable people to expand their plants and after a while, plants reward players with more LE tokens as they grow. Those who visit other players’ gardens and perform quests can earn even more LE.

Importantly, each NFT plant rewards players with a specific amount of LE tokens after 120 hours.

In order to build a farm in their gardens, users can plant seeds, water the farm and collect Light Energy tokens. LE, which is earned by harvesting seeds or performing daily quests, can be converted into the game’s native PVU token and traded on decentralised exchanges (DEX).

What is the PVU Token?

To become a gardener, users must first acquire five PVU tokens before they can start their farming journey.

To get started, players also need a small amount of Binance Coin (BNB) in their wallets to cover any transaction fees, owing to the fact that Plant vs Undead is a Binance Smart Chain (BSC) based game.

The PVU token fuels the ecosystem in the sense that players need to purchase plants in order to build a farm, with the additional element of watering them — all of which requires PVU to be purchased from the NFT marketplace.

The PVU tokens must then be converted to LE and since the objective of the game revolves around seeds and farms, players can use the game’s native tokens to plant and water sunflowers. Each sunflower requires one small pot and one container of water, which can be used a maximum of 100 times.

Notably, all new players will be able to claim a land plot for free when they first start playing the game. However, PVU will be needed to purchase the plants and mother tree.

It only costs a few PVU tokens to start playing and assets such as plants can then be traded on the NFT marketplace.

There is a maximum cap of 300 million PVU tokens in the ecosystem.

NFT Marketplace

The game is currently focused on two modes which both require different assets and users are unable to switch assets between PVP mode (on Factory Chain) and PVE mode (on BSC).

Participants can fill their farms with saplings or sunflowers, but it is not possible to start a farming journey without purchasing at least one NFT plant. Having at least one NFT also allows users to convert LE tokens back to PVU tokens.

After a user purchases an NFT from the marketplace, it will appear in their inventory. As more players join the game, the prices of these tokens are likely to increase as demand goes up.

Overall, the NFT-oriented game has gained traction worldwide, particularly in the Philippines, mostly due to the fact that in-game rewards can be used not only within the built-in marketplace but also traded on multiple exchanges for fiat currency.

The Rise of Axie Infinity and the P2E Phenomenon

Key Insights:

  • Axie Infinity has become the highest-grossing non-fungible token game on the market. 
  • Last week, the project generated $1.3 million worth of sales from a total of 23,100 buyers.
  • Collective technology adoption coupled with an uptake of smart phones has fuelled an organic rise for Axie Infinity. 

It’s the chart-topping game that took the world by storm, reaching a market capitalisation of nearly $3 billion at the start of this year – Axie Infinity is the play-to-earn (P2E) phenomenon that has become the highest-grossing non-fungible token (NFT) game on the market.

Indeed, NFT-centric games have been around since 2017, with CryptoKitties being a pioneer in the field. Yet, P2E did not start gaining traction until much later when NFT games finally entered the mainstream.

In particular, the coronavirus pandemic introduced several economic, market and technological shifts, with the most pivotal being that consumers have changed the way they approach investing and asset ownership.

Collective technology adoption coupled with an uptake of smart phones has fuelled an organic rise for Axie Infinity and the play-to-earn phenomenon at large, where the amalgamation of blockchain, NFTs and digital currencies has led to complete ecosystems where assets are bought, traded, leveraged, and even borrowed against.

A New Virtual Labour Force

At its core, the P2E model enables participants to earn money by playing games but the underlying element to this is that such a framework opens up a new monetisation model that can change the way games generate revenue.

For instance, players can trade Axies for real money on the game’s marketplace and generate profit, while the project’s virtual economy is dominated by two cryptocurrencies; Smooth Love Potion (SLP) and Axie Infinity Shard (AXS). Notably, Axie quality increases in rarity with one rare mystic Angel selling for 300 Ethereum (ETH) or $130,000 in 2020 –  the most expensive Axie ever sold.

Where P2E games really excel at is in providing opportunities to low-income workers who lack financial mobility. As such, P2E has exploded in the Southeast Asia market where some Filipino or Vietnamese residents, for example, were making more money each month through blockchain-based games than they were in their pre-pandemic jobs.

The extraordinary uptake of Axie Infinity coincides with the ease of accessibility offered – all you need is a smartphone or computer with internet connection to enter into the metaverse and earn in-game rewards or engage with virtual communities that span continents.

This widespread inclusion means that even workers in low-income areas can participate in the democratisation of labour and finance. Some may even call it a new virtual manufacturer labour force.

Exponential Growth

While its virtual financial ecosystem has demonstrated demand, capability, and utility outside of traditional investing methods, Axie’s statistics speak even greater volumes. Last week, the project generated $1.3 million worth of sales from a total of 23,100 buyers – a 205% leap.

Yet, this is a small fraction of what Axie Infinity was selling last summer when it regularly topped $100 million in weekly sales.

The project launched staking support this month which would explain the recent heightened appetite for Axie Infinity Land NFTs. The staking feature enables Land owners to earn weekly rewards in the game’s native AXS token and roughly 91% of the 16,794 circulating supply has already been staked.

Another contributing factor is that the Ronin bridge relaunched on June 28. The bridge is a sidechain built for Axie Infinity which enables users to transfer assets between the game and the Ethereum mainnet.

In June 2021, the game generated nearly $780 million in sales within 30 days and the following month, it generated more fees than Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum during a seven day period.

In fact, further growth is expected since the project has launched its second phase of upgrades to its new game mode dubbed Origin, which boasted 600,000 sign-ups as of June. Origin is in early access mode ahead of an eventual global launch and implements a new battle system, visual upgrades, as well as other enhancements.

Origin, which enables users to collect, trade and battle each other with their playable Axie monster NFTs, has seen increased downloads with 90% of Axie Land owners having staked their NFTs to earn AXS tokens.

Overall, this model where players earn unique NFTs or cryptocurrency for participating in a game, as well as turning these rewards into real money and generating revenue, has transformed the gaming landscape. It has even given birth to the play-to-trade model where gamers earn a token and either sell or trade it for real money.

No longer can critics label P2E as a fad technology. If NFT sales figures are anything to go buy, Axie Infinity is only set to rise further. The game has opened doors to a new world of financial inclusion that did not exist a few years ago and as its metaverse ecosystem continues to expand with a transition to Origin, Axie Infinity will leave its imprint on the gaming industry, with P2E to thank for such a feat.

DappRadar and LayerZero Launch Industry’s First Cross-chain Token Staking

Key Insights:

  • RADAR enables cross-chain staking across multiple blockchains and Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible networks. 
  • The new mechanism is expected to minimize fees. 
  • The functionality for the RADAR token is provided through a set of smart contracts.

The decentralized application exploration platform DappRadar has launched a new RADAR token to enable cross-chain staking across multiple blockchains and Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible networks in partnership with LayerZero.

This is expected to minimise fees drastically and increase access to staking opportunities.

RADAR Token

A standout feature of the new token is that it ensures the community won’t be limited to only EVM-compatible chains since cross-chain staking will be enabled for every blockchain that RADAR launches on.

A by-product of this is that it will streamline user experience across all chains.

The functionality for the RADAR token is provided through a set of smart contracts. It works as such; one of the contracts is known as the controller and the other as a proxy, with both working together to enable the new staking mechanism.

A smart contract is a term used to describe computer code that automatically executes all or parts of an agreement and is stored on a blockchain-based platform.

Notably, requests made to withdraw or claim rewards are sent to the proxy smart contract which determines, through communication with the controller, if the request is valid. Once a request is approved as valid, the controller instructs the proxy to release the tokens. According to DappRadar, this type of cross-chain staking is an industry first.

Eradication of High Fees

The primary purpose of cross-chain token staking is to remove barriers to entry for cost-conscious users by eradicating high fees. This is achieved by enabling users to earn the same APR for their staked assets across all blockchains so they won’t have to bridge assets themselves.

In addition, users won’t be obliged to pay high Ethereum (ETH) gas fees. Gas fees are payments made by users to compensate for the computing energy required to process and validate transactions on the Ethereum blockchain.

An instructive document provided by DappRadar also proves helpful to participants looking to make use of this new functionality. It details how users can stake their RADAR tokens on the Ethereum blockchain and then claim the rewards on the BNB Chain. These two chains are the first to be supported, with a rollout for Polygon (MATIC) expected in the future.

Overall, the new functionality will improve cross-chain user experience and this is particularly the case for margin-sensitive users in emerging economies.

DappRadar recently published a report showing that macro indicators for games signal bullish momentum in the blockchain gaming ecosystem, as game decentralized applications (dApps) now account for 52% of the total dApp industry activity.

In May, the company, which hosts more than 10,000 dApps from over 30 protocols, debuted a $725 million ecosystem fund raised to expand the Flow ecosystem through boosting gaming, infrastructure and decentralized finance (DeFi).

The fund is backed by investors with large holdings of the network’s native token, FLOW, as well as equity in Dapper Labs itself. They include Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Coatue, Union Square Ventures, Greenfield One, Liberty City Ventures and CoinFund.

Farmville Creator Zynga To Introduce a “Dedicated” NFT Game in 2022

Blockchain and NFT based games have been noticing an increase in attention and user base ever since Axie Infinity’s success. Following in the footsteps mainstream media companies are aiming to develop similar games which can establish them in the blockchain industry as well.

An “amaZYNGA” Idea

Discussing their plans with Axios, the studio shared details about the future of blockchain gaming for Zynga. The company’s blockchain chief Matt Wolf said: 

“Things are really frothy right now. So we’re looking at the cycle and we’re figuring out where we want to jump in, but we definitely have feelers out.”

The discussions began taking shape recently as Zynga is planning on releasing a ground-up, dedicated NFT game this year. Last year’s news surrounding Farmville and Words with Friends, two of Zynga’s most successful games getting NFTs was picking up the heat.

But Matt made it clear that the studio does not plan on mixing incorporating NFTs with those two games as it could potentially confuse players.

Instead, they aim on developing a new blockchain team whose sole focus would be on blockchain and NFT games. Zynga is looking to expand this team from the current 15 members to up to 100 before the beginning of 2023.

In line with the same, last week the studio posted a job position for a Lead Game Systems and Economy Designer – NFT.

Creating economic models, exploring and providing guidance around decentralized governance as well as conceptualizing, designing, and preparing documentation for new features and content were among the main responsibilities of the position.

Going forward the studio intends on tapping the blockchain and NFT games familiar player base who are simply looking to make the most use of the NFT features. Adding to the same, Wolf stated:

“When they enter into one of these products, they come at it from an investor or, a whale, point of view and are interested in specific elements including yield. We don’t want to bring them something that they didn’t ask for, and we don’t want to assume that they want a super, super deep gameplay experience.”

Not the First One Though

Last year,  not only planned but also incorporated NFTs into one of their major games Ghost Recon Breakpoint by adding three NFTs into the game which could be resold through the platform “Quartz”.

Although the community’s response was not similar to what they were expecting, they did not bow out of experimenting with NFTs yet.

Besides gaming, NFTs themselves are already becoming a mainstream interest with celebrities and companies using it as a form of marketing and promotion.

Dune Analytics Raises $70M to Make Blockchain Data More Accessible

The popular crypto and blockchain analytics firm made the announcement on Feb. 2, stating that it had raised $69,420,000 in a Series B round led by Coatue.

The company declared that it has “reached unicorn status at only 16 employees,” and will use the funding to build tools and educational resources to interpret the data it provides.

Technology-focused investment management firm Coatue spearheaded the effort which follows an $8 million funding round for the firm in August.

Demand For Data

Dune Analytics offers free blockchain data and allows users to create specific data sets and charts for various on-chain metrics. It stated that while there is a lot of information available, it is often obscured unless analysts can interpret it and convert it into more easily comprehendible material.

“With this financing we’re doubling down on our mission to make crypto data accessible and are committed to bringing a million Dune Wizards to Web3.”

Dune plans to “invest heavily in educational resources” so that anyone can learn to analyze blockchain data even if they do not have a technical background.

It will also develop a toolkit so that those creating data sets, who Dune calls “Wizards”, will get rewarded accordingly. The company added that “we’re convinced that many Dune Wizards will earn more than Wall Street analysts have done previously.”

Dune also plans to revamp and upgrade its query engine speeding up execution time and adding more blockchain networks to the platform. It also plans to launch a highly requested API (application programming interface) which allows developers to integrate the data into their own apps and platforms.

“This massive new product will change the crypto data stack forever, creating a living, breathing and performant community-driven API to enable boundary-less research, building, tinkering, trading and beyond.”

Big Funding For Blockchain Data

Dune is one of several companies providing in-depth analysis and information on blockchain networks.

In August last year, crypto analytics and market intelligence firm Messari announced that it had raised $21 million in a Series A financing round led by Point72 ventures.

Coin Metrics announced a $15 million Series B financing round that was led by Goldman Sachs in May while DappRadar raised $5 million in the same month. Additionally, crypto data firm Nansen raised $10 million from investors in June highlighting the increasing demand for industry data and analysis.

South Korea’s Second-Biggest Exchange To Suspend Crypto Withdrawals From January 27

Bithumb, which currently holds a 13% domination in the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange market, followed in the footsteps of the country’s third-biggest exchange, Coinone, after it made a similar announcement a few weeks ago.

Bithumb To Stop Withdrawals

With the new Travel Rules being implemented by March 25, the Korean Financial Intelligence Unit has asked all virtual asset service providers to register with the monetary unit. 

This led Bithumb to suspend all the withdrawals until the operated accounts had been registered and reviewed. 

South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges’ domination | Source: Statista

Any unverified personal wallet will not be able to make withdrawals as they are required to perform another set of customer verification certifications (KYC) in order to verify their wallets.

For now, mostly those exchanges that have partnered with the NH Bank are enforcing these regulations as the wallets that are not whitelisted by January 27 will be directly blocked. 

As per the news agency Money Today, investors weren’t happy with the stringent rules of using the video authentication system that they were not used to.

But since the whitelist system implementation is based on the contract of providing the real-name accounts to the bank, the wallets that are not registered will not be able to conduct any virtual asset withdrawal.

The KYC regulation was also implemented for withdrawals to other foreign cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance.US, Kraken, Bitstamp, blockchain.com (UK), and Bybit (Singapore).

South Korea and Blockchain

Apart from the existing cryptocurrency exchanges, the country itself has been at the forefront of blockchain technology adoption. Just yesterday, The Bank of Korea announced that it successfully completed the first phase of its CBDC (central bank digital currency) trial.

Moving ahead, the bank aims to complete the second round of trials by June this year, during which they seek to test the more complicated procedures.

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.

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.