Laundering NFTs, Circling Crypto Ads, Cardano Gets Extra Space, Euro Inflation Heats Up + More News
Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
- Analytics company Chainalysis said it detected wash trading and some money laundering in the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) asset class. They found that 110 profitable wash traders have made nearly USD 8.9m in profit, while the value sent to NFT marketplaces from illicit addresses reached USD 1.4m in Q4 2022.
- The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, set to return this April after a two-year hiatus, announced a series of NFTs offering on-site perks and VIP access to the event in partnership with crypto exchange FTX.
- 68-year-old magazine Sports Illustrated announced an alliance with NFT startup OneOf to launch a sports NFT series on Polygon (MATIC), with an initial lineup of nine sports icons including Muhammad Ali, Wayne Gretzky, and Mia Hamm. The NFTs will offer reimagined versions of classic magazine cover photos for each of its initial partnered athletes, all designed by artist Jonathan Winbush.
- Global internet finance firm Circle announced it is running full-page ads in print and homepage takeover ads in several major news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Washington Post, in order to make the case for “How the US Can Win the Digital Currency Space Race”? They claim that the “free market alternative” to a central bank digital currency (CBDC) would be using the Circle-issued stablecoin USD coin (USDC).
- Peer-to-peer platform Paxful announced the launch of a new education and training center in El Salvador providing free learning opportunities around Bitcoin (BTC) to build financial inclusion called “La Casa del Bitcoin”. The center aims to drive the next wave of bitcoin mass adoption and equip growing segments, such as small merchants and local businesses, with tools to connect to a global community of users.
- Crypto donations to privacy-focused non-profit The Tor Project surged 841% in 2021 compared to the previous year – of the USD 940,000 raised, 58% of the donations were in crypto. For comparison, in 2020, donors sent USD 58,000 in crypto.
- Cardano (ADA) will improve its network capacity and performance by increasing its block size by 11% on February 4, according to Charles Hoskinson-led Input Output (IOHK), the developer of the 6th largest blockchain platform by market capitalization. The block size will increase from 72KB to 80KB, they said. Per the company, this planned update will also allow Cardano-powered decentralized apps (dapps) to have a smoother experience.
- Eurozone inflation unexpectedly accelerated to an annual record of 5.1% compared to last January, up from 5% in December, per Bloomberg. The median estimate in a Bloomberg poll of 44 economists saw a reading of 4.4% and none predicted inflation gaining pace.
- South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) warned the public to be cautious when dealing with crypto exchange FTX, as the platform may be offering derivatives trading to South African residents, where they are not licensed to do so. They added that the watchdog has unsuccessfully attempted to contact the exchange.
- Botswana’s lawmakers passed a bill to regulate trading in cryptoassets as part of efforts to tighten anti-money laundering measures, Finance Minister Peggy Serame said, per Bloomberg.
- Enterprise software maker MicroStrategy posted a fourth-quarter loss after taking a USD 146.6m impairment charge to write down the value of its BTC holdings, per Bloomberg. The net loss was USD 90m, or USD 8.43 per share on a diluted basis.
- Blockchain data analytics firm Dune Analytics raised USD 69.42m in a Series B round led by Coatue. The funds should be used to educate, reward, and empower a new generation of Web 3 data analysts whom they call Dune Wizards.
- The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asked asset manager Bitwise how it intends to prevent share manipulation, fraud, and other potential issues in its proposed spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). The agency also flagged its concerns about the Bitwise Bitcoin ETP Trust’s liquidity and transparency and requested more color on the “suitability” of bitcoin as the underlying asset for the fund.
- Reddit co-founder-led venture capital firm 776 Management plans to focus on crypto in the coming year, having raised USD 500m across two new funds. The newly launched Funds II include an early stage-focused USD 300m vehicle and a USD 200m fund that will invest in Series A and B funding rounds.
- Banking-as-a-Service platform Fiat Republic announced it has secured USD 3.5m in seed funding from technology investors Speedinvest, Seedcamp, and Credo. The startup is looking to reduce the time and cost of processing fiat currencies for crypto platforms, both at the individual consumer and corporate treasury levels.