Welcome to the latest edition of our Market Roundup, where we cover the highlights of the past week in the rapidly-evolving world of blockchain and decentralized technologies. Despite the recent collapse of some major banking institutions, the Web3 ecosystem continues to march forward, with innovative new projects and applications emerging on a regular basis.
(as of 1:30 AM UTC, Apr 6, 2023)
Yet this week’s big mover was DOGE, the token based on the famed meme of a Shibu Inu. DOGE has long been a favorite of Tesla Technoking and Twitter Chief Twit Elon Musk, whose tweets about the token can move its price in wild upswings.
When Twitter’s blue bird logo was replaced with the meme that spawned DOGE on twitter.com, the token was sent soaring from US$0.077 to above US$0.10 on April 3, its highest in around four months.
DOGE’s movements are a reminder that crypto is still a space where fun and memes can translate into real financial value. But it’s also important to keep an eye on more serious developments, like Ethereum’s upcoming Shapella upgrade — which enables unstaking and the payout of staking rewards — on April 12 and how it might impact the price of ETH.
At the same time, governments around the globe are beginning to take notice of the potential of Web3, and are ramping up their efforts to implement new rules for the space. From new partnerships and major investment announcements to regulatory updates and industry insights, we’ve got you covered on all the latest developments in the exciting world of Web3. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive in!
- A report by Immunefi shows that the number of attacks in the crypto industry has increased by 192% year-over-year, but the total amount of money lost has decreased by 64.4%, likely due to market conditions. BNB Chain was the primary target for exploits and scams, with 73.3% of all rug pulls occurring on this chain. Hacks were the predominant cause of losses at 95.7%, compared to fraud, scams, and rug pulls, which amounted to only 4.3%.
- Crypto companies in the United Kingdom are facing challenges in accessing banking services, with banks requesting more documentation and information about how they monitor clients’ transactions. Venture capital investment in digital asset companies in the UK has reportedly dropped 94% to US$55 million in 2023, while other countries in Europe saw a 31% increase.
- According to a recent Citi report, the potential of blockchain technology is set to become a reality, and its impact could be measured in billions of users and trillions of dollars in value. The report suggests that the tokenization of financial and real-world assets could be the “killer use case” that the technology needs to achieve widespread adoption. The report forecasts that by 2030, there could be up to US$5 trillion worth of tokenized digital securities and US$1 trillion worth of trade finance volumes on platforms that utilize distributed ledger (DLT) technology.
- CertiK, a provider of blockchain security solutions, has launched Skynet for Community, a platform that offers users a set of tools for research, analysis, and monitoring of Web3 projects. The platform aggregates a vast amount of data into Web3’s most accessible due diligence tool, providing rich data-driven insights to help users discover new projects and keep up-to-date on developments in the Web3 space. Skynet for Community also includes tools such as Exchange Analyzer, Skynet Alerts, and Wallet Analyzer. The platform evaluates the security of Web3 projects through both manual and automated measures and covers the majority of all Web3 projects using transparent metrics.
- Microsoft has partnered with Web3 infrastructure service Ankr to create a node hosting service in its Azure cloud marketplace for enterprises that require access to blockchain data. The new service will feature customized memory and bandwidth specifications designed for blockchain nodes, and will allow Web3 projects or developers to deploy smart contracts, transmit transactions, and read or write blockchain data. The partnership will enable developers and organizations to access blockchain data in a secure and reliable way, according to Rashmi Misra, Microsoft’s general manager for AI and emerging technologies.
- Australian fintech company BGL Corporate Solutions has teamed up with Syla to automate crypto transaction data. This partnership will help accountants save time by automating journal entry processes for every crypto purchase and sale. In Australia, cryptocurrencies are taxed as property and investors are subject to capital gains tax upon disposal of assets.
- Gucci has partnered with Yuga Labs, the company behind Bored Ape Yacht Club, to launch a limited-edition series of physical products and associated NFTs tied into the lore of Yuga’s ape-themed metaverse, Otherside. 3,333 KodaPendants will be available for purchase exclusively with ApeCoin, Yuga’s native cryptocurrency, and will cost 450 $APE, or approximately US$1,876 at time of writing. The physical pendants will only be sent to residents of select countries.
- The Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office has seized US$160 million worth of assets from eight individuals, including co-founder Daniel Shin, in connection to the collapse of Terraform Labs. The authorities confiscated mainly real estate properties to prevent former Terra employees from disposing of assets that could be part of potential criminal proceedings.
- The French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR) has released new regulatory guidance for DeFi, proposing that DeFi “interfaces” be treated as intermediaries and subject to compliance rules, such as KYC policies. The ACPR is primarily concerned with protecting investors and consumers, particularly newcomers to the industry. Industry advocates have expressed concerns that the requirements would be onerous for interface operators. US lawmakers have also classified certain actors in the crypto space as “brokers,” leading to pushback from opponents who claim the requirements are unachievable.
- Australian banks have been requested to report and provide updates on transactions involving crypto assets by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), following previous bank sector failures. APRA has begun asking banks to disclose their exposures to startups and businesses engaged in the cryptocurrency industry and to give daily updates to learn more about banking exposures to cryptocurrencies and related risks.
- El Salvador has begun offering tax exemptions to tech developers in app coding, AI development, software programming, communication hardware manufacturing, and computing. President Nayib Bukele aims to make the country a leader in advanced technology manufacturing in Latin America and boost education and training in this field. The country has established the National Bitcoin Office to support this move.
- FIFA has launched an open beta version of a soccer strategy game called World Cup AI League, which features cartoonish characters controlled by AI. The game is currently available on Android, with an iOS launch planned for the future. While the game is free-to-play, an NFT marketplace for the game is expected to launch soon. The game’s characters will be represented via NFTs going forward. FIFA has partnered with Web3 game studios for World Cup-themed integrations and enlisted a crypto sponsor for the 2022 World Cup.
- Sweat Economy is offering a prize draw for the position of “Chief Walking Officer,” where the winner will be paid US$2,000/month for 12 months just for walking and taking photos. The requirements include walking 5,000 steps per day, taking and sharing 12 photos (one per month), and being open to interviews. To enter, users must download the Sweat Wallet app, create a new jar, stake at least 25 SWEAT tokens, and enter the Chief Walking Officer prize draw by clicking the banner. The winner will be drawn on a livestream on April 17, 2023.
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- Digital asset managers such as trusts and exchange-traded products (ETP) have increased their Bitcoin holdings by about 4,000 BTC (just over US$111.7 million at time of writing) since March 14, according to data from crypto analytics firm CryptoQuant. This follows a sharp fall in holdings in March, which coincided with a number of bank failures. An analyst from CryptoQuant believes the rebound in holdings suggests trust has returned to the market, with investors adopting a wait-and-see approach amid uncertainty over interest rate hikes and the effectiveness of the United States Federal Reserve’s bailout program.
- The NFT market saw a surge in February, reaching over US$2 billion in total trading volume, with the majority of trading volume coming from Blur. The trend continued into March, with just over US$1.95 billion worth of trading volume, down about 4% from February. OpenSea, the leading NFT marketplace, logged about US$424 million worth of trading volume in March. However, there were fewer NFTs sold in March compared to February, and the surge in trading volume has raised questions over whether the activity is manipulated or even wash trading. The surge is tied to Blur’s rewards scheme, dominated by a small number of whale traders, making it debatable whether the recent rise in NFT market sales is sustainable.
- The use of cryptocurrency donations in the non-profit sector has been successful, with donations expected to surpass US$10 billion in the next decade. Despite turbulence in the market, cryptocurrency donations have been a reliable source of major gifts for non-profit organizations. The most popular cryptocurrencies used in donations are USDC, ETH, and BTC. The tax incentives for donors in the US and other countries have contributed to the trend of crypto philanthropy.
- S&P Global is seeking a DeFi director to help build and implement the firm’s strategies in the space, working with their chief DeFi officer Chuck Mounts. The DeFi team plays a critical role in identifying and navigating future disruption risks, as well as identifying new investment and partnership opportunities. S&P Global’s interest in DeFi reflects the growing mainstream interest in crypto and blockchain technology.
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