FTX Buyout Chatter Drives Robinhood Market (HOOD) Shares Up 14%

Key Insights:

  • On Monday, news hit the wires of crypto exchange FTX exploring a buyout of Robinhood Markets (HOOD).
  • While numerous exchanges have been forced into staffing cuts and more to manage fees, cash-rich platforms are in buyout mode.
  • The market reaction to the news was positive, with Robinhood’s share price jumping by 14%, while the NASDAQ 100 slipped by 0.74%.

The crypto winter has taken its toll on numerous crypto-related companies. Some of the largest crypto platforms have cut headcounts and started exploring other avenues to cut expenses, including marketing costs.

In some instances, the extended crypto winter has led to defaults, with talk of bankruptcies hitting the news.

Last week, TSX-listed Voyager Digital (VOYG) saw its shares tumble by 52.5% on news of a possible Three Arrows Capital loan default. There is no smoke without fire, with the news wires reporting of the crypto hedge fund defaulting on Monday.

Celsius Network is another victim of market conditions, with the platform having to freeze withdrawals earlier this month. The DeFi lender cited “Extreme market conditions” as the reason behind the freeze.

However, amidst the doom and gloom, several cash-rich names see the extreme market conditions as a buying opportunity.

FTX Holds Internal Talks on a Possible Robinhood Markets Buyout

On Monday, Bloomberg reported crypto exchange FTX is considering the possible acquisition of Robinhood Markets (Hood).

According to the Bloomberg report,

“Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto exchange is exploring whether it might be able to acquire Robinhood Markets Inc., according to people with knowledge of the matter.”

The report went on to say,

“FTX is deliberating internally how to buy the app-based brokerage.”

According to the report, FTX has not approached Robinhood with a formal offer and could decide against a takeover bid.

FTX founder and CEO Bankman-Fried reportedly said in an email statement,

“We are excited about Robinhood’s business prospects and potential ways we could partner with them.”

The statement went on to say,

“That being said, there are no active M&A conversations with Robinhood.”

Investor Sensitivity to Crypto News Spills into the Equity Markets

Market reaction to the possible FTX buyout of Robinhood was upbeat.

On Monday, NASDAQ-listed Robinhood rallied by 14% to end the day at $9.12 per share. By contrast, the NASDAQ 100 ended the day with a 0.72% loss.

For June, Robinhood was down 20% to a Friday close of $8.00 per share and down 56% year-to-date. Monday’s breakout session may have reduced the deficit but is unlikely to deter FTX from further exploring Robinhood as a target.

While Robinhood benefitted from the talk of an FTX buyout, Coinbase (COIN) took a hit.

On Monday, FX Empire reported Goldman Sachs (GS) downgrading Coinbase to a sell rating.

According to the report, the decision to downgrade came in response to the stock price falling by more than 75% this year.

Coinbase shares slumped by 10.76% in response to the downgrade. To Friday’s close, Coinbase was down 30% for the current month and 78% year-to-date.

Bitcoin (BTC) has outperformed Coinbase despite the crypto winter. Year-to-date, BTC was down 54% June 24.

With buyout talks and downgrades hitting the US markets, more crypto-related firms are likely to become buyout targets.

Last week, Binance CEO CZ told Yahoo! Finance that Binance is looking at 50 to 100 deals.

Crypto Market Daily Highlights – June 25 – BTC and ETH Make Ground

  • It was a mixed session for the crypto to ten, with bitcoin (BTC) extending its winning streak while Binance Coin (BNB) saw red.
  • There were no major news stories to provide direction on Saturday, allowing momentum from Friday to spill over to the weekend.
  • After adding $24 billion on Friday, the total crypto market cap rose by a modest $11.5 billion.

It was a mixed session for the crypto market on Saturday. Bitcoin (BTC) logged a second 3-day winning streak of the week, while Binance Coin (BNB) saw red to buck the top ten trend.

There was no major news to derail the latest uptrend, with the crypto market needing to make it four in a row to convince investors of a possible shift from the extended bearish sell-off.

The week ahead will likely be another choppy one with inflation back in focus.

The Total Crypto Market Cap Inches Nearer to $1,000bn

Following a $27 billion rise on Friday, the total crypto market cap increased by $11.5 billion on Saturday. A day high of $954 billion saw the market cap near $1,000 billion, last visited on June 13.

Crypto market cap rises.
Total Market Cap 260622 Daily Chart

Investors continued to put aside downside risks, including fears of a recession, with momentum from Thursday and Friday continuing into the weekend.

For the week, the total market cap is currently up by $58 billion, reducing the June deficit to $354 billion.

On Saturday, DOGE led the way, rising by 2.35%, with BTC (+1.15%) and ETH (+1.38%) close behind.

However, SOL (+0.76%) and XRP (+0.23%) saw modest gains, with ADA ending the day flat.

BNB bucked the trend, falling by 0.21%.

From the CoinMarketCap top 100, The Sandbox (SAND) led the broader market, rallying by 16.3%.

The market speculation of a possible investor buyout of The Sandbox delivered the breakout session on Saturday.

This week, tech companies, including Epic Games, Meta, Microsoft, and Sony, partnered to form the Metaverse Standards Forum.

Decentraland (MANA) also found strong support, gaining 9.0%.

Total Crypto Liquidations Eased, Reflective of Saturday’s Moves

The recent downward trend in total crypto liquidations resumed on Saturday, reflective of market movements.

Going into Sunday, total liquidations stood at $130 million, down from a Saturday morning of $192 million. 54,137 traders were liquidated over the past 24 hours.

One-hour liquidations were also steady. According to Coinglass, one-hour liquidations stood at $5.68 million.

Crypto liquidations ease
Total Crypto Liquidations 260622

Daily News Highlights

  • The Sandbox (SAND) and Decentraland (MANA) enjoyed breakout sessions supported by the formation of the Metaverse Standards Forum.
  • DeFi tokens continued their uptrend as investors began to dip back into the space following the collapse of TerraUSD (UST) and Terra LUNA.
  • Binance CEO CZ told Yahoo! Finance that the company is looking at 50 to 100 deals.
  • News hit the crypto wires of FTX planning to buy a stake in BlockFi.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported Goldman Sachs eying a possible acquisition of Celsius.

Voyager Digital Shares Slump on Possible 3AC Loan Default

Key Insights:

  • On Wednesday, Voyager Digital Ltd (“VOYG”), listed on the TSX, slumped by 52.5%.
  • News of a possible Three Arrows Capital $650 million loan default hit VOYG shares.
  • Market conditions have increased calls for a more regimen crypto regulatory framework. The Lummis and Gillibrand bill may kick start the process.

In recent weeks, crypto-related companies have frequented the news wires, with the media reporting on the effects of the extended crypto winter.

Numerous companies have made announcements of plans to tighten the purse strings.

While it has been a bleak winter, leading exchanges don’t envisage market conditions improving anytime soon.

Prevailing market headwinds include inflation, central bank monetary policy, and the threat of a global recession.

On top of these more broad-based headwinds impacting the global financial markets, the collapse of TerraUSD (UST) and Terra LUNA has added to the crypto market woes. Regulators have found a new impetus to roll out more restrictive rules that could prove punitive to the crypto market.

Market share prices of publicly listed crypto exchanges have reflected investor sentiment towards the crypto market outlook.

Voyager Digital Shares Tumble 52.5% on News of a Possible Loan Default

On Wednesday, Voyager Digital Ltd. (VOYG), listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), tumbled by 52.5%.

The extended sell-off saw VOYG slide to a new current-year low of C$0.55 before a partial recovery to close the day at C$0.76.

VOYG had slumped by 58% before the partial recovery. More significantly, VOYG was down 97% year-to-date.

While the crypto winter has taken a bite, the latest sell-off was in response to news of a possible loan default.

On Wednesday, Voyager Digital Ltd., owner of crypto exchange Voyager Digital issued a press release relating to its subsidiary Voyager Digital LLC.

According to the press release,

“Voyager Digital Holdings, Inc. (“VHD”) has entered into a definitive agreement with Alameda Ventures Ltd. (“Alameda”) related to the previously disclosed credit facility, which is intended to help Voyager meet customer liquidity needs during this dynamic period.”

The press release went on to say,

“VDH entered into a definitive agreement with Alameda for a US$200 million cash and USDC revolver and a 15,000 BTC revolver (the “Loan”).

In addition, the press release announced,

“Concurrently, Voyager announced that its operating subsidiary, Voyager Digital, LLC, may issue a notice of default to Three Arrows Capital (“3AC”) for failure to repay its loan.”

The press release added,

“Voyager exposure to 3AC consists of 15,250 BTC and $350 million USDC.”

Voyager Digital, LLC has requested payment of $25 million USDC by June 24 and repayment of the entire balance by June 27.

Founded in 2018, Voyager is a US cryptocurrency platform that supports the trading of more than 100 crypto assets. Its subsidiary, Coinify ApS enables Voyager to also offer crypto payment solutions for consumers and merchants globally.

Voyager Digital LLC Puts the Regulatory Spotlight Back on Cryptos

Wednesday’s sell-off and the Voyager press release put the spotlight back on the crypto market.

The press release highlights a lack of controls. Voyager was able to issue a loan more than four times in size than its very own cash and crypto equivalent on hand, which reportedly stood at $152 million.

With Coinbase, Gemini, and FTX having to tighten the purse strings and lawsuits filed in their droves, a regulatory overhaul could be a positive rather than a negative.

The collapse of TerraUSD and Terra LUNA and contagion across the broader market calls for a more rigid framework.

However, it remains to be seen whether the Lummis and Gillibrand bill will make its way through Congress unscathed to give the CFTC overall responsibility.

Crypto Casino Stake.com Unfazed by Crypto Winter with Everton FC Deal

Key Insights:

  • This week, Australian crypto casino Stake.com signed a new deal with English Premier League side Everton Football Club.
  • Stake.com was unfazed by the adverse effects of the crypto winter on the broader crypto market, which has led to numerous exchanges cutting costs.
  • Several crypto exchanges are looking beyond cutting headcounts, with some revisiting sponsorship plans to reduce costs further.

The crypto market and sport have forged a strong partnership in recent years. At the forefront of evolution into sports is Dapper Labs (FLOW).

Behind the Flow blockchain, Dapper Labs has been a leading name in linking US sports franchises with digital assets.

In 2020, Dapper Labs partnered with the US National Basketball Association to launch the NBA NFT marketplace Top Shot. The launch followed a partnership with the National Football League (NFL) that culminated in the launch of the NFT marketplace NFLALLDAY.

Since then, crypto exchanges have also embraced the world of sport. Sports gives crypto platforms access to an untapped customer base in more prosperous regions, including North America and Europe.

In recent months, however, the crypto winter has impacted the cash flow of several prominent exchanges. Reports of reducing workforces have added to the gloomy mood.

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom, with several crypto-linked companies seeing the crypto winter as an opportunity.

Stake.com Expands Its Bandwidth with Everton FC Sponsorship Deal

This week, the Sydney Morning Herald reported news of Australia-founded crypto casino Stake.com signing a new sponsorship deal with Everton FC.

According to reports, Stake.com signed a multi-year deal with the English Premier League side, who lost its previous shirt sponsor due to Russian sanctions.

The deal is reportedly the “highest value front-of-shirt deal in the Club’s 144-year history.”

It is not the casino’s first foray into English football.

Stake.com is also the main sponsor of Watford Football Club. The platform committed to its second year as the official sponsor despite relegation to the Championship.

Stake.com also has sponsorship deals with individuals, including hip-hop star Drake and other sporting franchises. Franchises include Boxing Japan and Rugby League Brazil.

Established in 2017, Stake.com has become one of the leading casino and sports betting platforms for cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin (BTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), EOS (EOS), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), and Tron (TRX).

The latest sponsorship deal, however, comes at a tumultuous time for crypto exchanges.

In recent weeks, numerous crypto exchanges announced workforce reductions, with some looking beyond payrolls to reduce costs.

Crypto Platforms Drop Sports Sponsorship Deals As Crypto Winter Bites

While some platforms are ever-expanding into the world of sport, others are tightening their belts.

According to the New York Post, leading crypto exchange FTX reportedly pulled out of a multi-million dollar deal with the Major Baseball League’s Los Angeles Angels.

FTX had been particularly active in the sports world before hitting the brakes.

In February, FTX joined the leading crypto exchanges in the Superbowl LVI half-time show. FTX reportedly paid $6.5 million for a 30-second ad, with Crypto.com, eToro, and Coinbase also paying for airtime at the half-time show.

Another unnamed exchange recently pulled out of a deal with the NBA’s Washington Wizards.

The marked shift in the landscape places an even greater emphasis on Stake.com and its unwavering appetite to access an untapped customer base through sport.

Shiba Inu Becomes Ethereum Whales Largest Holding Surpassing USDT

Key Insights:

  • Shiba Inu is the second biggest asset by allocation amongst the Ethereum whales.
  • Trading at $0.00000803, SHIB has slipped below Avalanche in terms of market cap.
  • USD Coin still remains the first priority for the whales.

Despite its absurdity, the meme coin, which managed to attract millions of investors towards itself, has now also managed to attract Ethereum’s whales.

The top 100 whales on the network are basically wallets that hold an average of $14 million in value.

And by the looks of it, Shiba Inu has made itself prominent in their holdings.

Shiba Inu Has the Upper Hand

Although Shiba Inu is not even in the top 10 cryptocurrencies in the global crypto market, among the whales, the altcoin certainly has a lot of demand.

Occupying 13.9% dominance on the top 100 wallets, almost $400 million worth of Shiba Inu currently sits with these whales.

The first position still belongs to the USD Coin, which over the last few weeks has managed to outperform the biggest stablecoin in the world, Tether, significantly.

The former has an 18% dominance in these wallets, whereas the latter only has a 12.42% dominance in these wallets. 

Among the other tokens that the whales prefer to hold include the FTX token, Polygon’s MATIC, Chainlink’s LINK, and Decentraland’s MANA, among others. 

Shiba Inu on the Charts

However, despite finding significant demand, SHIB still has not exhibited a single sign of recovery in more than two months now. Since mid-April, the meme coin has been declining and has managed to wipe out 70.72% of its value.

But trading at $0.00000803, SHIB might be healing onto a path of recovery, with price indicators showing the possibility of an uptrend initiating soon.

The Parabolic SAR’s white dots currently indicate a downtrend, but their proximity to the candlesticks is bound to trigger an uptrend.

This is also backed by the fact that the MACD has officially shifted into a bullish crossover, with the appearance of green bars confirming the change in trend. 

Should SHIB sustain this momentum, it will be able to recover at least some of the losses it has incurred since May.

SEC Writes to Crypto Exchanges About “Insider Trading Safeguards”

Key Insights:

  • Several US crypto exchanges received an inquiry from SEC regarding protection against insider trading.
  • The move signals that the SEC is concerned about regulatory violations amid the crypto market meltdown.
  • Last month, an Argus report noted that many prime suspects for insider trading came to light.

How cryptocurrency exchanges prevent the leaking of market-sensitive information has become a growing topic of concern. Regulators across the globe have been raising questions about market integrity for retail consumers.

Just weeks ago, Nathaniel Chastain, a former product manager of Ozone Network, otherwise known as OpenSea, was charged with insider trading in non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The investigation involved the FBI and the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.

SEC wants to double-check on insider trading safeguards

Now, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has involved itself in ensuring that crypto exchanges comply with anti-insider trading rules and have enough protection.

According to Fox Business, an unnamed source familiar with SEC’s moves in this regard said that the watchdog has sent letters to crypto exchanges inquiring whether they have proper safeguards to curb insider trading incidents.

Put simply, insider trading means when someone uses non-public insider information of a company to buy or sell financial assets that aren’t listed yet. 

For instance, in April, an Ethereum (ETH) wallet allegedly bought roughly $400,000 worth of tokens that were not yet listed on Coinbase (COIN) at the time.

In this case, the purchases took place three minutes before Coinbase’s official announcement, raising the question among speculators whether this was luck. However, the exchange did not list the tokens, raising suspicion among the community. 

Such incidents have called regulators to scrutinize acts of insider trading in crypto exchanges.

Per the source, the letter has supposedly been sent to multiple exchanges. However, the SEC did not mention which exchanges were involved. Fox Business had contacted top crypto exchanges – Binance, Coinbase, FTX, and Crypto.com – all declined to comment. 

The SEC too, failed to confirm the probe when asked. Although the news comes unofficially through a source, the probe aligns with SEC chair Gary Gensler’s comments in May. In an interview, he noted, 

“Crypto’s got a lot of those challenges – of platforms trading ahead of their customers. In fact, they’re trading against their customers often because they’re market-marking against their customers.”

It is also unknown which division of the SEC is involved in the probe, the Fox news report noted.

The act comes at a time when the crypto market is facing increased pressure. Bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, plunged to below $23K, bringing down the value of the entire crypto market to lower than $1 Trillion.

What do exchanges say?

An analysis performed by Argus Inc., suspected several anonymous crypto investors of insider trading. They allegedly got to know when tokens would be listed on exchanges.

A recent Wall Street Journal report found 46 wallets that purchased a combined $17.3 million worth of tokens listed shortly after on Coinbase, Binance (BNB), and FTX (FTT).

Coinbase noted that they had a compliance policy prohibiting employees from trading on privileged information. Additionally, it also conducts regular analyses to ensure fairness in trading.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong recently wrote in a blog post,

“There is always the possibility that someone inside Coinbase could, wittingly or unwittingly, leak information to outsiders engaging in illegal activity. We have zero-tolerance for this and monitor for it, conducting investigations where appropriate with outside law firms.”

A Binance spokeswoman told WSJ that employees have 90 days to hold on to investments, which security leaders monitor. She noted,

“There is a longstanding process in place, including internal systems, that our security team follows to investigate and hold those accountable that have engaged in this type of behavior, immediate termination being minimal repercussion.”

FTX, too acts immediately over such violations and has explicitly banned its employees from trading on upcoming tokens listings. The company CEO Sam Bankman-Fried noted in a mail that FTX has relevant policies in place to prevent such acts.

Crypto Market Daily Highlights – June 12 – BNB, BTC, and ETH Stumble

Key Insights:

  • Crypto market conditions worsened on Sunday, with the broader market seeing red for a sixth consecutive day.
  • Apprehension ahead of the Fed monetary policy decision on Wednesday left the bears fully in control.
  • The total crypto market cap saw another $64 billion wiped out, with the total market cap falling to a current-year low of $1,048 billion.

It was a bearish end to a bad week for the crypto on Sunday, with the broader market seeing red for a sixth consecutive day.

US inflation figures from Friday delivered the telling blow, with the crypto market at the mercy of sentiment towards the global economic outlook and Fed monetary policy.

The extended sell-off led bitcoin (BTC) to sub-$27,000 for the first time since May 12. Market favorites Chainlink (LINK) and Cardano (ADA) saw particularly heavy losses despite favorable network news updates.

Crypto Market Cap Gives Up $159 Billion in Extended Sell-Off

The bearish Sunday session saw the total crypto market cap slide by $71 billion to a current-year low of $1,048 billion before steadying.

By the day’s end, $64 billion came off the table. The sixth daily loss left the market cap down by $159 billion for the week.

Crypto market cap falls to new current-year low.
Total Market Cap 130622 Daily Chart

With the market focus now firmly on the Fed, heavier losses could be on the cards should the Fed interest rate projections shift higher.

Another curveball for the crypto market is the likely change in the regulatory landscape. The collapse of TerraUSD Classic (USTC) and Terra LUNA expedited efforts to implement more stringent regulatory measures to protect retail investors.

From the top ten cryptos, ADA led the way down, sliding by 11.39%, with DOGE (-9.11%) and SOL (-9.85%) close behind.

Things were no better for the rest of the largest cryptos by market cap.

BNB (-5.53%), BTC (-6.35%),  ETH (-6.39%), and XRP (-4.55%).

The effect of the crypto winter is evident in the crypto rankings. Three stablecoins make up the top six digital currencies by market cap.

Looking beyond the top ten, FTX Token (FTT) (+1.90%), NEO (NEO) (+6.83%), Symbol (XYM) (+2.46%), and Tron (TRX) (+0.41%) avoided losses.

Of the top 100, Fantom (FTM) and STEPN (GMT) were the worst performers, tumbling by 19.41% and 16.81%, respectively.

Total Crypto Liquidations Remain Elevated

Following a spike on Saturday, total crypto liquidation remained elevated going into the Monday session.

According to Coinglass, 24-hour liquidations stood at $359.7 million, up from $352.2 million on Sunday. More significantly, liquidations over 1 hour stood at $17.5 million, suggesting market conditions remain testy.

Crypto liquidations remain elevated.
Total Crypto Liquidations 130622

Crypto Daily News Highlights

  • Ethereum took a hit on news of a possible delay to the anticipated August Merge.
  • Allegations of Terra CEO Do Kwon withdrawing more than $2bn from the Terra ecosystem surfaced. Do Kwon publicly denied the allegations.
  • Gordon Goner, the co-founder of Yugo Labs, prewarned of a possible attack on the social media accounts, saying, “there are no surprise mints. Ever.”

Crypto Market Daily Highlights – June 9 – BTC, BNB, GMT and SOL

Key Insights:

  • A bitcoin (BTC) fell back to sub-$30,000 for a ninth consecutive session before wrapping up the day at $30,000 levels.
  • On Thursday, inflation jitters and a NASDAQ sell-off weighed on the broader market.
  • From the crypto top 10, Solana (SOL) found strong support, with Chainlink (LINK) on the move following this week’s staking news.

It was yet another mixed Thursday session for the crypto market. Market reaction to network news updates provided modest support.

Bitcoin (BTC) saw red for a third consecutive day and revisited sub-$30,000 for the ninth day in a row.

A 2.75% slide in the NASDAQ contributed to the bearish sentiment, though the correlation weakened through the US session. Bitcoin managed to avert a late dive in the US session.

Late in the Thursday session, the inverse correlation between bitcoin and WTI crude oil remained evident, however.

BTC inverse correlation with WTI
NASDAQ BTC WTI 100622 5-Minute Chart

Crypto Market Cap Avoided sub-$2,000 Billion for a Second Day

Modest losses across the crypto majors ensured that the total crypto market cap avoided sub-$2,000 billion for a second consecutive day.

After falling to a day low of $1,202 billion on Wednesday, the total market cap declined to a day low of $1,205 billion before returning to $1,210 billion levels.

For the broader market, avoiding another heavy sell-off is essential. Steering clear of sub-$2,000 billion levels will be the key. However, headwinds remain that could force another sell-off and revisit the May 12 low of $1,082 billion.

crypto market cap avoids sub-$2,000 bn
Total Market Cap 100622 Daily Chart

These include US inflation and Fed monetary policy, market sentiment towards the economy, and crypto regulatory news updates. Later today, US inflation figures for May will draw plenty of attention ahead of the Fed monetary policy decision and forward guidance on Wednesday.

Progress of the Lummis and Gillibrand bill on Capitol Hill would ease some of the regulatory uncertainty that plagues the market.

On Thursday, Chainlink (LINK) rallied by 6.40%, with STEPN (GMT) and Solana (SOL) rising by 2.47% and by 2.93%, respectively.

Chainlink network news and the announcement of LINK staking continued to provide LINK support.

From the top 100, Polkadot (DOT), Polygon (MATIC), UNUS SED LEO (LEO), FTX Token (FTT), Uniswap (UNI), VeChain (VET), Tezos (XTZ), Theta Network (THETA), Helium (HNT) and OMG Network (OMG) also found support.

However, for most of the crypto top ten, Thursday was a bearish session.

ADA saw a five-day winning streak come to an end, with a 1.40% decline.

BTC (-0.38%), with ETH (-0.18%), and XRP (-0.10%) also seeing red.

BNB (+0.45%) and DOGE (+0.07%) ended the day relatively flat.

Total Crypto Liquidations Ease Back from Thursday Levels

Over 24 hours, total liquidations continued to fall back from levels seen earlier in the week.

According to Coinglass, 24-hour liquidations stood at $103.5 million, down from $158.58 million on Wednesday. Earlier in the week, 24-hour liquidations had stood at $300 million levels.

1-hour liquidations suggested stable market conditions

At the time of writing, total liquidations over one hour stood at $2.93 million.

Total liquidations steady.
Total Crypto Liquidations 100622

Crypto Daily News Highlights

  • Tether announced the launch of USDT on Tezos, making it the thirteenth blockchain.
  • Fidelity and Charles Schwab plan to offer cryptocurrency services.
  • SEC got a win, with the courts upholding the Terraform Lab subpoenas.
  • CFTC Commissioner Summer Mersinger sees the CFTC as the lead regulator for the crypto sector.

Crypto Market Daily Highlights – June 1 – Investors Hit with US Stats

Key Insights:

  • It was a bearish start to the month for the crypto market, with the top ten cryptos seeing heavy losses.
  • A pickup in US manufacturing sector activity led investors to bet on a more aggressive Fed interest rate path to curb inflation.
  • Wednesday’s sell-off led the total market cap down by $100 billion to $1,196 billion before support kicked in.

It was a bearish Wednesday session for the crypto market, with the top ten starting June with heavy losses.

The sell-off continued on from a bearish month of May, driven by the collapse of TerraUSD (UST) and Terra LUNA.

The bearish session also ended a four-day winning streak for a number of the crypto majors, including bitcoin (BTC).

Market reaction to economic data from the US did the damage, with bitcoin and the broader market tracking the NASDAQ 100 into the red.

Crypto Market Cap Slumps by $100 Billion in the Bearish Session

On Wednesday, the total crypto market cap tumbled by $100 billion to a day low of $1,196 billion before support kicked in.

Crypto market cap sinks by $100 billion.
Total Market Cap Daily Chart 020622

24-hour crypto liquidation numbers for Wednesday reflected the market angst.

According to Coinglass, 24-hour total liquidations stood at $593.19 million this morning, up from a Wednesday morning $229.73 million. However, liquidations stood at $5.91 million over the hour, reflecting improved market conditions at the turn of the day.

Crypto liquidations spike.
Total Liquidations 020622

From the crypto top ten, SOL slumped by 12.39% to lead the way down, with  ADA sliding by 11.98%.

BNB (-6.33% ), BTC (-6.27%), ETH (-6.42%), DOGE (-5.68%) and XRP (-5.60%) also struggled.

Looking at the top 100, Waves (WAVES) bucked the broader market trend, with a modest 2.61% gain.

Bitcoin Tracked the NASDAQ 100 Response to US Economic Data

After a range-bound morning session, economic data from the US hit the US equity and the crypto markets.

The preferred US ISM Manufacturing PMI increased from 55.4 to 56.1 in May. From a Fed monetary policy perspective, the numbers supported the more hawkish outlook on Fed monetary policy to curb inflation.

After decoupling from the NASDAQ last week, a recoupling was evident at the turn of the month.

At the time of writing, the NASDAQ 100 mini was up 6.25 points, with bitcoin down 0.19% to $29,734.

BTC and cryptos track the NASDAQ 100
BTC-NASDAQ 020622 5 Minute Chart

Away from the Crypto Moves,

  • The SEC claims of attorney-client privilege for the Hinman speech-related documents are to be discussed at a scheduled June 7 conference.
  • Tech experts and academics sent a letter to US lawmakers to counter crypto industry lobbying.
  • The Sandbox (SAND) and People of Crypto Lab (POC) take Pride Month to the metaverse.
  • FTX seeks a derivatives brokerage license in a Goldman Sachs tie-up.
  • BNB and TRX were the best crypto performers in May amidst a broader market reversal.

FTX U.S. Seeking Derivatives Brokerage License in Goldman Sachs Tie-up

Key Insights:

  • FTX wants to become a “futures commission merchant” to handle derivatives in-house.
  • Goldman is considering integrating some of the crypto exchange’s products.
  • U.S. regulators are highly skeptical about the deal and anything crypto-related.

Goldman Sachs is in talks with the U.S. branch of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange to onboard some of its derivatives products.

Citing a ‘person familiar with the matter’ on June 1, Barron’s reported that FTX is seeking a license modification from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The upgraded license will allow the exchange to act as an intermediary for leveraged derivatives trading, it added.

The exchange will handle the collateral and margin requirements internally when borrowed money is used for trading. Currently, brokerages acting as “futures commission merchants” (FCMs) fulfill this role.

FCM Ambitions

Derivatives are financial contracts between two or more parties deriving their value from an underlying asset, cryptocurrency, in the case of FTX (FTT). They can consist of futures, options, forwards, and swaps.

Goldman (GS) is one of the FCMs in talks with FTX as they are warming to what the exchange offers, according to FTX US president Brett Harrison, who told the outlet:

“We have multiple FCMs already committed to integrating technologically with the exchange. There are several large ones you can probably name.”

Goldman’s integration with FTX could introduce several additional services, another person familiar with the matter said. These could include “trading futures directly, introducing clients and acting as an on-ramp to the exchange, or providing capital top-ups for clients,” they added.

There could be regulatory pushback, however. Major U.S. financial regulators, the CFTC and the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) are very skeptical of digital assets and any exchanges that deal with them.

The CFTC has previously said that FTX’s ambitions to become a FCM warrant scrutiny. The firm’s proposal to integrate derivatives trading in-house threatens a market dominated by large investment banks such as Goldman.

Market Volatility Concerns

The Futures Industry Association, which represents derivatives brokerages, said the FTX proposal could “exacerbate financial instability in a time of heightened market volatility.”

Highly leveraged traders have been blamed for the huge price swings and volatility in crypto markets. Significant events can cause a cascade of leveraged trades being liquidated, which dumps the underlying asset’s price very quickly.

FTX argues that the proposed integrated derivatives model would improve market stability. It holds customer collateral, calculates margin requirements every 30 seconds, and automatically liquidates positions rather than waiting overnight.

It claims that the system has been “battle-tested” on its international exchange, which has much higher volumes and liquidity than the U.S. version.

FTX.US currently has around $200 million in daily spot trade volume, whereas the international exchange has closer to $2 billion according to CoinGecko.

Harrison believes that the FTX model would free up capital for brokerages acting as FCMs, leading to more significant revenues.

Crypto Exchange FTX’s US Arm Set To Introduce Stock Trading

Key Insights:

  • FTX. US is set to launch the stock trading feature over the next few months.
  • Binance, after an attempt in 2021, failed to continue its operations, citing regulatory concerns.
  • FTT has been stuck in the bearish zone for more than a month now.

In a press release today, cryptocurrency exchange FTX announced its newest venture, one that has been uncharted territory for its competitors.

Bringing regulated stock trading onto its platform, FTX will be deploying the feature for the users of the crypto exchange’s US arm FTX.US.

Stocks X Crypto

Combining crypto and stock trading is not a new attempt, as last year, Binance pioneered this field in its own unique way.

Instead of directly bringing US equities onto the exchange, Binance introduced crypto assets that were tied to the value of shares of stocks such as Tesla, Apple, and Coinbase.

However, after the exchange began facing pressure from regulatory authorities from all around the world, Binance stopped offering this facility to investors.

But unlike Binance, FTX will not be offering crypto tokens tracking stock prices, instead, it will directly provide regulated US equities.

Being an affiliated broker-dealer registered with the SEC and a member of FINRA/SIPC, FTX will be offering these services through FTX Capital Markets.

Commenting on the launch, FTX US’ president Brett Harrison stated,

“Our goal is to offer a holistic investing service for our customers across all asset classes. With the launch of FTX Stocks, we have created a single integrated platform for retail investors to easily trade crypto, NFTs, and traditional stock offerings through a transparent and intuitive user interface.”

Expected to be available within the next few months, stock trading on the exchange will be completely commission fees-free.

Furthermore, FTX US will also allow its clients to fund their accounts with the stablecoin USD Coin (USDC),

This will be a huge opportunity for the exchange to arise as a prominent player in the crypto as well as potentially the equity trading space.

FTT on the Charts

While the exchange is making strides in its own ways, its native token, FTT, has not been particularly impressive over the last few days.

After declining by 25.27% during the week-long crash of May 5, FTT managed to make a 10.46% recovery, but the same was invalidated yesterday after the price fell by 7.63%.

As a result, FTT has not been able to come out of the bearish zone that it has been stuck in since the first week of April, and neither has it been able to mark a bullish crossover at the same time period despite repeated attempts.

FTT is still recovering from its 25% fall in prices during the crash

Thus as FTX expands its operations, it could potentially positively affect the price of FTT as well.

Best Performing Altcoins of Last Week: BNB, TRX, MANA, MKR

Key Insights:

  • Bitcoin’s price faced strong resistance at the $31,000, while altcoins made attempts to recover. 
  • BTC’s recovery above the $27,000 mark pushed certain altcoins towards a short-term recovery.
  • BNB, TRX, MANA, and MKR were among the coins that got a decent upswing.

Bitcoin’s price attempted recovery above the $30,000 resistance level, but after facing rejection ahead of the $31,000 mark, its price oscillated close to $28,983 at the time of writing. BTC’s price jumped by almost 7% in a day, cutting its weekly losses to less than 18%, in tandem altcoins saw a short-term price push.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market cap was still down by over 50% from its all-time high made in November 2021 at around $69,000. After BTC’s recent short-term uptrend, most of the major altcoins faced the uphill task of recovering above their key support/resistance levels.

Altcoins short-term price surge

Certain altcoins that performed well over the last week in tandem with BTC’s recovery above the $27,000 mark were binance coin (BNB), Tron (TRX), Decentraland (MANA), and Maker (MKR).

In addition to that, two ethereum (ETH)-based altcoins called Chain’s XCN and FLEX Coin’s FLEX token charted notable weekly gains despite the widespread crypto meltdown.

The native token of the blockchain technology company chain, XCN, rose by more than 30% in price over the last seven days from a low of $0.071 to a high of $0.091.

On the other hand, Hong Kong-based futures exchange platform’s native token FLEX jumped by over 33% in the last week from a low of $3.72 to a high of $4.95.

Furthermore, many altcoins like DOT, AVAX, SHIB, MATIC, FTT, FTM, and APE were briefly in the green zone. Apecoin’s APE token rallied by 46%, breaking above the $9.00 level, while FTM, MANA, and GALA saw close to 50% gains over the last week.

BNB, TRX, MANA, and MKR see short-term price gains

Binance Coin’s BNB saw a bounce from the $200 support zone, rising to as high as $300 on May 13. However, the fifth-ranked coin by mark cap faced considerable resistance at the $315 mark and after making a high of $313 on May 13, it made its way back to the $250 level.

FXempire, BNB, Crypto
BNB Price Action | Source: FXEmpire

If bulls fail to ride the sell-side pressure, the price might correct lower, but dips could be limited below the $250 level. At the time of writing, BTC’s price pullback to the $28,900 mark brought BNB’s price down to the $279.36 level.

BNB’s price was down by 9.35% in the last 24-hours and almost 25.62% over the previous week.

Apart from BNB, Tron’s TRX token maintained its price above the key $0.067 mark despite the market-wide sell-off. TRX’s price made it close to the $0.084 mark but faced resistance at the higher level, which led to a pullback towards the $0.067 mark.

FXempire, TRX, Crypto
TRX Price Action | Source: FXEmpire

While TRX’s price maintained its rangebound movement between the $0.067 and $0.084 mark, its price didn’t fall below the key support zone at the $0.065 mark which was noteworthy.

Defi token MKR was another coin that performed well amid high sell pressure in the larger market. On the other hand, Decentraland’s MANA gained up to 50% as the market saw a short-term recovery.

Maker Protocol’s MKR token recovered from the last week’s losses as the price pushed above the $1500 mark. At press time, MKR traded at $1,456.29, noting 1.71% daily and 9.55% weekly gains.

On a weekly chart, MKR’s price made a higher high for the last four days.

FXempire, MKR, Crypto
MKR Price Action | Source: FXEmpire

At the time of writing, data from CoinMarketCap highlighted that MANA was the top gainer in the top 100 assets by market cap.

FXempire, BTC, Crypto, Altcoins
Source: Coin Market Cap

The 33rd ranked coin by market cap traded at $1.14, noting 4.19% daily gains. Over the last two days, MANA’s price recovery above the $1.13 mark has instilled positive momentum for the coin.

FXempire, MANA, Crypto
MANA Price Action | Source: FXEmpire

If bulls push MANA above the $1.15 mark, further gains could be expected in the near term for the alt.

So, what do altcoins need to recover?

Most of the top altcoins have a high BTC correlation during bear markets. The top coin’s price movement and volatility provide ample opportunities for alts to rally.

Crypto analyst Rekt Capital notes that BTC would need a monthly close above the $35,000 mark for a bullish higher timeframe close and to keep losses at bay. While a monthly close above the $35,000 mark may seem unachievable, if volatility and buying pressure takes on the same could pan out in favor of the bulls.

BTC’s monthly close above the key resistance at $35,000 could aid positive momentum to altcoin trajectories. In the last week, BTC’s price has made some decent progress recovering above the range low of around $28,600, but a push from bulls above the $30,000 mark would be needed for altcoins to move upwards.

Analyst Rekt Capital also highlighted that for ‘BTC to develop some semblance of bullish momentum, it needs to keep $28600 as support for price to challenge $32000.’ However, a BTC weekly close below the $28600 mark would be bearish.

FTX Exchange CEO Takes a Stake in Robinhood Trading Platform

Key Insights:

  • Sam Bankman-Fried has spent $648 million on Robinhood stock.
  • The millennial trading platform aims to expand internationally.
  • HOOD prices jumped more than 20%, but the FTX exchange token has been battered in the crypto market rout.

The big share purchase has granted Bankman-Fried a 7.6% stake in Robinhood. He labeled it an “attractive investment” and settled on a cool $648 million in company shares at an average price of $11.52.

The crypto billionaire said that he has “no intention of taking any action toward changing or influencing the control” of Robinhood and bought the stake just as an investment.

There is a possibility that he may offer the company “strategic alternatives or operational or management initiatives,” according to reports.

According to a securities filing, Bankman-Fried began making the purchases in mid-March and continued into this week buying the stock through Emergent Fidelity Technologies, an investment vehicle he controls. Crypto industry investor Anthony Pompliano was quick to offer a comment:

Robinhood Branching Out

Robinhood went public in July 2021 as one of the most highly anticipated IPOs of the year. The firm offers stock and crypto trading targeting a largely millennial customer base. The company saw revenues soar during the 2021 crypto boom when new traders flocked to the platform; however, trading activity was lackluster in 2022 with the market meltdown.

Robinhood has ambitions to compete with Coinbase [COIN] and expand internationally, purchasing a UK crypto firm in April. FTX also has plans for expansion, having opened a waitlist for a new stock trading platform earlier this year.

Bankman-Fried is one of the wealthiest people in the crypto industry. In April, Forbes estimated his net worth to be $24 billion, making the 30-year-old the second richest person in the industry behind Binance boss Changpeng Zhao. However, the estimate has been reduced to $21 billion due to the recent market rout.

Bankman-Fried has been a proponent of Robinhood, having previously complimented the company and its brand.

“Robinhood barely even needs to advertise; their name conveys their brand and message without the need for any additional colour.”

Robinhood Stock up, FTX Token Down

Shares in the company have been boosted by the move having surged almost 24% in after-hours trading. HOOD prices are currently $10.60, having jumped from around $8.50 on Thursday.

However, the stock has been on a downward slide for the past ten months. HOOD hit an all-time high of around $55 in August but has dropped 80% from that level to current prices.

The FTX token FTT has made a marginal 2% gain on the day, but it has also been battered in the broader crypto market crash. FTT was trading at $30.89 at the time of writing, having dumped 23% over the past fortnight. The exchange token is currently down 64% from its September 2021 all-time high of $84.

Crypto.com Drives Fan Engagement at Miami Grand Prix Through NFTs

Key Insights:

  • Crypto.com delivers fans an F1 experience at the Miami circuit.
  • Sports continues to be a key focus area for Crypto.com, which is looking to become a top-20 brand name.
  • Mercedes-AMG Petronas and Crypto Exchange FTX also partnered with an NFT drop at the Miami Grand Prix.

This year, crypto exchanges have ramped up activity across a number of sporting disciplines, with Crypto.com among the most active. Other exchanges targeting sport to build brand awareness and gain access to a wider customer base include Binance, Coinbase, and FTX.

With the 2022 Formula 1 season in full swing, the glitz and glamour of F1 reached the shores of Miami over the weekend. Amidst the glitz and glamour, there was also no shortage of crypto presence.

Crypto.com drives fan engagement at the Miami Grand Prix circuit

On Sunday, the inaugural Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix took place, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen taking the chequered flag.

As the official title partner, Crypto.com delivered on fan engagement. The crypto platform provided a number of opportunities for fans to walk away with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and more.

Crypto.com offered F1 fans a commemorative Miami race-day NFT via Crypto.com/Miami by signing up to Crypto.com NFT. For those who signed up, there was also “a chance to win a limited-edition NFT of one of the 52 laps from the race.”

Crypto.com announced the chance to win a limited-edition NFT on Twitter.

For fans unable to attend the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, Crypto.com also offered a pair of Paddock Club tickets to F1 Aramco United States Grand Prix 2022 in Austin, Texas.

Crypto.com didn’t stop there, however. There was a Crypto.com #MiamiGP AR filter on Instagram and for fans attending the race, Kinetica.

Crypto.com described Kinetica on Twitter as:

“Kinetica, the world’s first NFT gallery powered by the energy unleashed during the race.”

In February, Miami Grand Prix announced Crypto.com as the official title partner in a nine-year deal.

While Crypto.com enjoyed the first year of its nine-year relationship with the Miami Grand Prix, other crypto platforms were also present on race day.

Crypto exchange FTX partnered with Mercedes-AMG Petronas to deliver Web3 to the Miami Grand Prix.

Despite the success of the Miami Grand Prix, Crypto.com’s native token, Cronos (CRO), faces the prospect of a fifth consecutive day in the red.

CRO price action

At the time of writing, CRO was down 1.76% to $0.2517. A mixed start to the day saw CRO rise to an early morning high of $0.2582, before sliding to a low of $0.2494.

CRO tested the First Major Support Level at $0.2499 early on.

Crypto.com Daily 090522
Daily Chart shows a bearish trend embedded.

Technical indicators

CRO will need to move through the $0.2608 pivot to target the First Major Resistance Level at $0.2670.

Broader market sentiment would need to improve to support a return to $0.26.

In the event of an extended rally, CRO should test the Second Major Resistance Level at $0.2779 and resistance at $0.28. The Third Major Resistance Level sits at $0.2950.

Failure to move through the pivot would bring the First Major Support Level at $0.2499 back into play. Barring another extended sell-off throughout the day, CRO should avoid sub-$0.24. The Second Major Support Level at $0.2437 should limit the downside.

CRO 090522 Hourly
Failure to move through the pivot will leave CRO under pressure.

The EMAs and the 4-hourly candlestick chart (below) send a bearish signal. CRO sits below the 50-day EMA, currently at $0.2517. This morning, the 50-day EMA pulled back from the 100-day EMA. The 100-day EMA also fell from the 200-day EMA, CRO negative.

A move through the 50-day EMA would shift market sentiment and support a near-term return to $0.35 levels.

CRO 090522 4-Hourly
EMAs send bearish signals, with CRO sitting well below the 50-day EMA.

Indian Crypto Exchanges Mandated to Store User Info for 5 Years

Key Insights:

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has issued a new directive.
  • All crypto-related businesses have been told to keep user details stored for at least five years.
  • The decentralization aspect of crypto is losing touch with the worldwide governments’ interference.

As much as crypto has been cheered, its rapidly increasing adoption has also raised concern from authoritative bodies. As a result, crypto is losing one of its biggest USPs of being decentralized and private.

Indian government interferes

As per a new directive issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) will be responsible for handling all the aspects related to cybersecurity, inducing the following particulars:

  • Collection, analysis, and dissemination of information on cyber incidents.
  • Forecast and alerts of cybersecurity incidents.
  • Emergency measures for handling cybersecurity incidents.
  • Coordination of cyber incident response activities.
  • Issue guidelines, advisories, vulnerability notes, and whitepapers relating to information security practices, procedures, prevention, response, and
    reporting of cyber incidents.
  • Such other functions relating to cybersecurity may be prescribed.

But beyond these responsibilities, the ministry has also focused specifically on the crypto-related business since crypto crime has grown immensely over the years.

Just this year, the crypto space witnessed the biggest hack ever when Axie Infinity’s Ronin Bridge was exploited for $625 million.

However, in doing so, the IT ministry has asked all virtual asset service providers, exchanges, and custodian wallet providers to maintain all information of the users, as well as the records of financial transactions for a period of five years.

Explaining the reason further, the new directive read,

“[…] so as to ensure cybersecurity in the area of payments and financial markets for citizens while protecting their data, fundamental rights and economic freedom in view of the growth of virtual assets.”

The country’s stance on crypto continues to lean in an unfavorable direction ever since the government came up with the 30% crypto tax. The tax has already been criticized by citizens since it is intended to push people away from using crypto.

But India isn’t the only country to interfere in crypto operations.

America and Japan were the first to do so

After Russia invaded Ukraine, countries across the globe began slapping sanctions on the Russian government and oligarchs. But in order to ensure that they are blocked off financially, with no means of escape, many countries started suspending their access to crypto.

The US began the trend, after the White House asked most of the top cryptocurrency exchanges to block Russian sanctioned accounts. While at first there was some back and forth, the exchanges such as Binance, Coinbase, and FTX caved and ended up blocking the accounts.

Japan took a step further, and the country’s Financial Services Agency warned its crypto exchanges that the government would impose penalties if crypto exchanges failed to comply with sanction rules.

Thus, while, on the one hand, crypto makes an advancement, it is forced to take a step back with such incidents.

F1 Team Mercedes-AMG Petronas Partners with FTX for Miami Grand Prix

Key Insights:

  • Mercedes-AMG Petronas and Crypto Exchange FTX Partner for new NFT drop at the Miami Grand Prix.
  • Mercedes follows F1 team McLaren, which dropped NFTs in 2021 and in January 2022.
  • Crypto platforms continue to forge stronger bonds with sports to build brand awareness.

It has been a busy 2022 for crypto exchanges that have forged strong bonds with sporting franchises to build brand awareness.

In February, FTX bought airtime at Super Bowl LVI featuring Larry David. Binance (BNB) and Crypto.com (CRO) have also been active in the sports world through advertising and sponsorships.

FTX is in the spotlight this month, partnering with F1 racing team Mercedes-AMG Petronas.

FTX and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Partner at Miami GP

On Friday, crypto exchange FTX announced a partnership for the Miami Beach race weekend.

From May 6 to May 8, 2022, FTX and Mercedes-AMG Petronas will take “the thrill of racing onto the beach with all-day entertainment and a soundtrack to match, including epic headline acts closing the show each day.”

In addition to getting up close and personal with a Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 car, there will also be an NFT gallery, where attendees can buy and create their own NFTs before enjoying game experiences and more.

Via the FTX Off The Grid website, F1 fans and NFT enthusiasts can claim their free NFT ticket to upgrade their experience.

FTX also took to Twitter to announce the three-day event.

 

Mercedes-AMG Petronas announced the launch of the first in a series of NFT drops powered by FTX.

According to the announcement, eleven digital artwork NFTs will feature Mercedes-AMG Petronas cars. Mad Dog Jones exclusively designed and created each NFT.

Several NFTs be available for auction on the FTX platform during the Miami Race Weekend. The remaining NFTs will go to auction later in the F1 season.

For F1 fans, the “NFTs will each be bundled with a physical item.”

The announcement goes on to say,

“Two are bundled with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 rear wings wrapped in the artwork from the NFT, that were driven on track in Miami. The third NFT is bundled with a full size 2022 Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 replica car, wrapped in the NFT artwork.”

The auction for all three NFTs starts on Sunday, May 9. The proceeds from the auction will go to Ignite, “a joint charitable initiative from Mercedes-AMG Petronas and Mission 44, to support greater diversity and inclusion in motorsport.”

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Follows F1 Team McLaren into the NFT Space

In January, FX Empire reported F1 team McLaren and Sweet partnered to drop the McLaren Racing Collective.

On the Sweet NFT marketplace, collectors and F1 fans could trade digital car components and build an MCL35.

The 2022 NFT drop followed a summer 2021 drop where McLaren Racing gave fans the chance to collect 22 digital images to build an MCL35M 2021 F1 car.

One avid McLaren fan procured all 22 digital components to build a Gulf X McLaren Livery MCL35M 2021 collectible. The McLaren Race Collective is on the Tezos (XTZ) blockchain.

David Beckham Files for NFT and Metaverse-Related Trademarks

Key Insights:

  • Football icon turned businessman David Beckham filed for NFT and Metaverse-related trademarks.
  • Last month, Beckham joined other sporting icons to become a global brand ambassador for a digital asset platform.
  • The filings suggest plans for NFTs, digital tokens, virtual clothing, and virtual events.

NFT and Metaverse-related trademark filings continue to roll in as mainstream players look to Web3 and the future.

In recent months, big names from the world of fashion, fast food, finance, healthcare, music, and sport have filed trademark applications to target NFTs and the Metaverse.

The sheer number of trademark applications in the US alone suggests a seismic shift in sentiment towards towards NFTs and the Metaverse.

Football icon turned businessman; David Beckham is following in the footsteps of the corporate world into Web3.

David Beckham’s DB Ventures Limited Files for NFT and Metaverse Trademarks

Last week, David Beckham filed three trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis shared the filing on Twitter, announcing,

“The international football star has filed 3 trademark applications hinting at plans for

  • NFTS + digital tokens
  • Virtual clothing + footwear + headgear
  • Virtual performances + entertainment events

DB Ventures is David Beckham’s global brand management company. This year, David Beckham sold 55% of DB Ventures to Authentic Brands Group (ABG), a retail and entertainment conglomerate.

Authentic Brands Group owns Forever 21 and Barneys New York and also the rights to Elvis Presley and Shaquille O’Neal.

The latest link with Web3 follows David Beckham’s entrance into the digital world in March.

David Beckham Follows Other Sporting Icons into the Digital World

In March, David Beckham became the brand ambassador of DigitalBits, a layer-one blockchain protocol enabling the tokenization of assets, including NFTs.

According to DigitalBits,

“Beckham will embark on a series of exciting projects that will demonstrate the power and potential of DigitalBits blockchain technology, which is fast and eco-friendly compared to many other platforms.”

At the time, DigitalBits added,

“As DigitalBits is the Blockchain for Brands, Beckham will utilize his extensive experience and relationships working with global brands including Adidas, Maserati, Tudor, Sands, Diageo, and EA.”

Via Twitter, DigitalBits released a short video to commemorate Beckham’s dip into the Metaverse.

David Beckham is not alone in entering the digital space as a brand ambassador.

Last month’s news coincided with tennis grand slam champion Naomi Osaka becoming a brand ambassador for FTX.

From the world of football, the link with the digital world has also been fast-growing.

In 2021, FX Empire reported that football legend Lionel Messi would receive a part of his welcome bonus to Paris St Germain in the club’s fan token.

Sponsorship deals have also been on the rise, with Binance becoming the sponsor of Argentina’s national soccer team and Crypto.com sponsoring US professional women’s soccer team Angel FC.

Crypto.com has been particularly active in the soccer world, sponsoring South America’s Conmebol, French football team Paris Saint Germain, and the Coppa Italia.

Binance and Crypto.com are leading crypto exchanges supporting the trading of cryptos such as Bitcoin (BTC), and more.

Kraken Receives Full Financial License in UAE, Sets Up Middle East HQ

Key Insights:

  • Kraken enters Dubai’s fast-growing crypto community after receiving a full financial license.
  • Kraken has established its Middle East HQ in Abu Dhabi.
  • The exchange will soon allow investors to trade crypto directly in UAE dirhams.

Following Binance and FTX, the veteran US cryptocurrency exchange Kraken gets a green signal to operate in Abu Dhabi, but this time, a full financial license.

Emirates has been continuously evolving as a virtual asset community by embracing a slew of global crypto exchanges and services in recent times. Kraken, being the latest, has received a Financial Services Permission (FSP) license from the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

Whereas the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, only holds an in-principle license – a preliminary approval – to operate in the UAE.

The UAE’s international financial center said in a Monday release,

“Kraken is the first global cryptocurrency exchange to receive a Financial Services Permission (FSP) license to operate a regulated virtual asset exchange platform in the ADGM to service the needs of the Middle East and North Africa region.”

Kraken Establishes Middle East Headquarters

Kraken has set up its regional headquarters in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The new unit will be headed by an experienced senior executive to drive its UAE business and plans, the release noted. However, the supervisory board remains unknown.

This month, Kraken’s CEO Jesse Powell released a statement that the company has shut down its headquarters in San Francisco after blaming the city for not ensuring public safety.

The UAE’s FSP license will allow Kraken’s 8 million user base to invest, trade, and deposit crypto assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum directly in dirhams (AED).

Per Curtis Ting, Managing Director of EMEA at Kraken,

“We are delighted to have received full approval, and to soon launch regulated AED markets that will sit adjacent to Kraken’s industry-leading ecosystem of crypto products, including staking, spot markets across 120+ crypto assets, regulated futures, and our forthcoming NFT marketplace.”

Last December, the global crypto exchange platform considered opening a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace to attract collectors and speculators.

“Phase one was speculation, phase two is buying art and supporting artists, phase three is going to be functional uses of NFTs,” said Powell in an interview with Bloomberg News.

The push comes as larger rivals, including Binance and FTX exchange, have already launched their NFT marketplaces, while millions have signed up for Coinbase Global Inc.’s NFT waitlist.

Middle East – Most Preferred Destination for Crypto Exchanges

Curtis Ting calls the UAE one of the most “financially innovative jurisdictions in the world.” According to data compiled by Chainalysis, the country is the Middle East’s third-largest crypto market, trailing Turkey and Lebanon. It has a transaction volume of about $26 billion.

Ronit Ghose, global head of fintech and digital at Citi, told CNBC on Thursday,

“One of the reasons we see an influx of entrepreneurs, builders, operators and developers coming into Abu Dhabi and Dubai … is because there is a sense of greater regulatory clarity at ADGM, in Dubai, and at a federal level.”

He added that the region is beginning to establish itself as both crypto and a web3 hub.

That aside, the country, though being more “crypto-friendly” in the eyes of market players, has been “gray listed” by the world’s leading anti-money laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). This is because the Gulf country isn’t sufficiently stemming illegal financial activities, the regulator noted last month.

The NBA’s Playoffs NFT Drop Gets Hit with Exploit

Key Insights:

  • On Wednesday, the National Basketball Association (NBA) launched 18,000 Ethereum-based NFTs.
  • Poor coding led to users exploiting the drop by cleaning out the 18,000 NFT collection.
  • In response, the NFT has increased the collection from 18,000 to 30,000 to accommodate fans.

It has been a great 2022 for NFTs and the sports world. Team and play interest in NFTs and the metaverse have surged as sports look to capitalize on Web3 to drive fan engagement.

U.S sports franchises, including the NFL and the NBA, have been at the forefront of innovation. Both have seen success with their NFT marketplaces, providing incentives for more activity to celebrate major sporting events.

On Wednesday, the NBA launched ‘The Association,’ an 18,000 NFT drop to celebrate the NBA playoffs.

Exploit Hits the NBA’s Hyped NFT Collection ‘The Association Launch’

On Thursday, news hit the newly launched NBA Discord of an exploit. Last week, the NBA launched ‘NBAxNFT,’ a discord to provide a platform for the NBA community to engage in Web3 chatter.

With 59,592 members, the Discord has come in handy as the NBA looks to manage the situation.

On Thursday, the NBA announced the exploit on NBAxNFT,

“We recognize the issues with the smart contract which caused the Allow List supply to sell out prematurely. We apologize for this situation and are currently identifying the Allow List wallets that were not able to mint as a result.”

The Association collection was on offer to early members of NBAxNFT via an “Allow List.” Early Discord members could link an Ethereum wallet to the Discord to reserve one NFT per wallet.

A coding issue resulted in individual users minting as many as 100 NFTs and then selling them on the OpenSea marketplace.

At the time of writing, there were 17,093 NFTs from The Association collection on OpenSea, with 9,100 owners and a floor price of 0.193 ETH.

About an hour after launch, the NBA hit pause on the drop and announced that it would increase the number of NFTs in the collection to 30,000.

The Discord’s scam-alerts page, however, suggests that the NBA was still grappling with scammers overnight. The Discord provided scam website addresses that had announced the resumption of the mint.

NBA Scam Alert

The exploit has not deterred the NBA from completing The Association drop, with the U.S franchise well versed in the NFT space.

Top Shot Remains the NBA’s Flagship NFT Marketplace

The NBA and Dapper Labs launched the NBA NFT marketplace Top Shot in 2020. Since then, the NBA is looking to further drive fan engagement with NBAxNFT and The Association collection.

NBA teams have also launched playoff collections. Last week, the Golden State Warriors (GSW) launched a 2022 playoff NFT collection on the FTX NFT marketplace.

The Golden State Warriors 2022 Playoff NFT Collection is a limited collection of 2,000 NFTs, randomly assigned when minted on the Solana (SOL) blockchain via FTX.

Despite the new collections, NBA Top Shot will likely remain the flagship NFT marketplace.

It remains to be seen, whether the latest exploit will impact activity on Top Shot. A swift resolution would limit the damage.

The NBA to Launch 18,000 Ethereum-Based Playoff NFTs Today

Key Insights:

  • The National Basketball Association (NBA) plans to launch 18,000 Ethereum-based NFTs today.
  • Called The Association, there will be 75 NFTs of each player from the NBA playoffs.
  • Last week, the NBA took a bigger step into web3 with the launch of NBAxNFT, the official NBA Discord.

It’s been a strong year for NFTs and the sports world. Increased player and team interest has driven sponsorship deals and increased player adoption of crypto.

For sports, the digital asset and virtual space are ideal avenues to drive fan engagement.

While interest is across a broad range of sports disciplines, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has been particularly progressive in the digital asset space.

The NBA Is Set to Launch “The Association” NFT Collection

Later today, the NBA will launch its new Ethereum (ETH) based NFT collection, titled The Association.

The collection will consist of 75 NFTs per player for all teams in the 2022 NBA playoffs. That’s a total of 18,000 NFTs.

According to the announcement,

“The Association is a collection of dynamic NFTs that change in appearance over time based on team and player on-court performance.”

The announcement goes on to say,

“The Association NFTs are being issued in a blind-mint, meaning that nobody will know which 2022 NBA playoffs player they will receive prior to the reveal on April 22.

Players will be assigned randomly and transparently using Chainlink (LINK) VRF so everyone will have a fair and equal chance of minting any player of the 16 playoff teams.”

The Association is an innovative project, with the NFTs “connected to live data feeds and computations for each respective team and player via Chainlink Oracle.”

The link supports the automated appearance change of players based on “pre-set achievements that are written into the Galaxis smart contract.”

The NBA Top Shot NFT Marketplace Gets Strong NBA Support

In 2020, the NBA and Dapper Labs launched the NBA NFT marketplace Top Shot, built on the Flow (FLOW) blockchain.

Going into the NBA playoffs, the NBA expanded its Web3 allegiance to drive community engagement.

This week, the NBA launched NBAxNFT, an NBA Discord to engage with NBA fans on everything Web3.

The launch coincided with the playoff team, the Golden State Warriors (GSW), launching a 2022 playoff NFT collection on the FTX NFT marketplace.

The Golden State Warriors 2022 Playoff NFT Collection is a limited collection of 2,000 NFTs, randomly assigned when minted on the Solana (SOL) blockchain via FTX. Each design has a unique level of rarity with its own utility and benefits.