Are you a fan of NFTs, or you've just started your NFT journey? Then you need to stay up-to-date with the latest news from the industry. From new projects, events, ideas, and legal news, this article covers everything that happened last week.
Let's start below.
📈 Macro - We are preparing NFT Cluj;
🗞️ Last week's news - UK & French Governments, Disney, Flybondi, Magic Eden, Beeple, Tommy Hilfiger, Freeport;
💰 Investments/Financing - Ledger, Homebase;
📣 Projects news/Updates - Otherside, Mason Rothschild, Cool Cats, 9dcc, DeGodz, y00ts;
⚖️ Legal - The lawsuit filed by US authorities against Binance;
⚒️Tools - ENS.tools;
🐈 Veefriends - Gift Goat#10;
📚 Dictionary - Monkey with laser eyes;
💸 Sale of the week - How (not) to sell a Punk for free;
NFT Cluj. We’ve told you it's not a promise and we'll come back with details if it materializes. We've had dozens of behind-the-scenes calls again and we can tell you not only that we're doing it but that we plan to make you proud again. Not of us, but of our country and the quality of events that can be made. NFT Cluj is the first pilot project outside Bucharest. If it works out (and we will do our best to make it work out), more pit-stops will follow. All in preparation for the NFT Bucharest main event in the autumn. In a nutshell, the math goes like this: if we prepare an event with 1000 people in the fall, it wouldn't be terrible, but we won't put ourselves on the map as something big either. If we set up something big and it doesn’t come out as planned, we won't be able to gain momentum. NFT Bucharest won't be about anyone individually. It's a country project and it's the most ambitious Romania has ever had in the Web3 space. For every project and the NFTs ecosystem in Romania to grow internationally, other people need to know about us. And they can only find out if we bring them here. To see us. That we are many, smart, committed and brave! But for that we need the involvement of each and every one of you. It's important to talk to every friend. If you know smart people you'd like to see in some form at the event, let us know. If you personally know of a great project (from Metamask to Bored Ape to Beeple to Nike), don't be shy. Let's bring them here. Drop us a line and tell us who you know.
But until then, come to NFT Cluj. Fill in the form, get your invitation and bring other cool frens with you!
🗞️ News from last week
UK government cancels plans to launch its own NFT. The original plan came in the wake of a Royal Mint proposal made in the spring of 2022 in a bid to make the UK a more attractive hub for crypto innovation. Still, the Romanian Post Office is bolder and more assertive.
Disney has announced that it will cut its Metaverse division as part of layoffs that began this week. The company has created a unit set up by former CEO Bob Chapek to focus on Metaverse strategy. Tomorrow sees them focusing on robots and AI. Or have they already started!?
A Wassie-themed hotel has opened in Singapore. A stay costs $129 per night, and the hotel has 55 rooms and many amenities. By creating a popular brand among the general public, Wassie NFT owners are expanding their IP into the real world. Prices for the Wassie NFT collection have risen 20% in recent days, reaching 0.5 ETH.
The Economic Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly has adopted Bill 790 which bans influencers from advertising unauthorized products and projects related to cryptocurrency projects/companies. The law can lead to up to two years in prison and €30,000 in fines, and influencers found guilty will not be able to continue their activity on social media.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) plans to tax NFTs as collectibles, such as jewelry or art, at a higher rate than the current rate. However, the IRS has also announced its intention to seek public input on the implementation of these new taxes. The IRS will take public comment by June 19.
Ready for a revolution in gaming? Asia is leading the Web3 games sector and has the potential to become the main driver of the global adoption of blockchain gaming. With over 700 million players in China alone, the future of gaming looks promising in Asia.
Argentinian airline Flybondi enters Web3 and expands its partnership with ticketing company NFT TravelX to issue all travel tickets as NFTs on the Algorand blockchain. The new way of issuing tickets called Ticket 3.0 allows passengers to change their name, transfer, or sell their #NFTickets independently. Another 60 airlines are also exploring the use of NFTs for airline tickets.
The Magic Eden platform announced the launch of its ETH marketplace beta on April 6, extending its NFT platform to support the fourth major blockchain. The platform aims to help creators grow their audience by providing support for multiple blockchains and respecting copyright for all creators.
Beeple has released "S.2122," a new work that debuted at Art Basel Hong Kong and was acquired by the Deji Art Museum. It's a detailed 3D sculpture, similar to HUMAN ONE, that tells a different story about a possible future where climate change forces us to live on these giant clusters in the middle of the ocean.
Two Romanian AI artists won the Tommy Hilfiger AI Design Challenge at Metaverse Fashion Week 2023. Congratulations @IrinaRaicu and @alexa_nft for their Tommy-inspired designs! See their creations below (left - Alexandra, right - Irina).
- Blockchain platform Freeport will offer an exclusive collection of four works by pop artist Andy Warhol as NFTs on Ethereum. Warhol's four famous works will be available as shares, limited to 1,000 NFTs each, and the initial price will range from $250 to $860. The collection is expected to launch in May.
💰 Investments / Financing
- Ledger, raised another $106 million in a funding round, keeping the company's valuation at $1.4 billion. This round of funding saw investments from 10T, CapHorn Invest, Morgan Creek Capital and Cathay Innovation, as well as new investors True Global Ventures and Digital Finance Group.
- In Texas, a residential property was tokenized and sold as an NFT on the Solana blockchain for $246,800 by crypto start-up Homebase. The property, valued at $235k, was sold using a smart-contract and the NFT "Homebase 1 [The Cardinal]". The tokenization process took 7 months and the offering involved both accredited and non-accredited investors. Homebase also considered Ethereum & Polygon blockchains, but Solana was the final choice. Rationale here.
- Kafcrypto introduces us to the world's most expensive NFTs via BanklessPub. They have transformed the way we collect and value art.
📣 Projects news / Updates
Otherside has released Legends of the Mara, an exclusive game for Otherdeed owners. LOTM offers an immersive experience where players can claim an NFT Vessel and interact with Koda, Mara and Kodamara collections.
Speaking of the Yuga Labs ecosystem, Daniel Alegre has completed his activity as President of Activision Blizzard and as of April 1 joins Yuga as CEO. After Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo or Candy Crush, we will see what Alegre's role will be in the Metaverse proposed by Yuga Labs.
NFT artist Mason Rothschild, creator of the MetaBirkins project that became the subject of a legal dispute with fashion house Hermes, has launched a new NFT collection titled "This Artwork Is Subject to Change" through his Web3 branding agency, Gasoline. The NFT collection quickly attracted interest on secondary markets and has a trading volume of ETH 931 (approximately $1.7 million).
At the latest Town Hall, Cool Cats announced new updates. Beginning in September, Cool Cats will partner with Macy's to bring exclusive collections of products to Macy's flagship stores. Cool Cats has also received approval to participate in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which will increase NFTs visibility and influence in mainstream culture.
9dcc has launched "Network Points", a program designed to reward the most loyal members and develop meaningful IRL connections. Members who use 9dcc products will have the opportunity to earn exclusive rewards and perks, as well as get into the top most active members.
Frank Degods has acquired over 100 NFTs, including Azuki, BEANZ, We are Illiquid, Wumbo Labs, Memeland, Valhalla and BoredApeYC, for over ETH 100. It aims to integrate strongly into the ETH community ahead of the @DeGodsNFT launch on ETH which took place on March 31. What would you do with 100 ETH?
- And speaking of Frank, one of Solana's most successful NFT projects, y00ts, moved his collection of 15,000 NFTs to Polygon and received a $3 million payout for the decision.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced on March 27 that it had filed a civil action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois charging Changpeng Zhao and three entities operating the Binance platform with numerous violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations(seven violations, to be exact). The complaint also charges Samuel Lim, Binance's former chief compliance officer, with aiding and abetting Binance's violations.
The CFTC accused Binance of intentionally evading federal law and operating an illegal digital asset derivatives exchange, as well as prioritizing trading success over regulatory compliance. _No sh*t, Sherlock! Bad guy Binance, chasing profit, not compliance, I've never heard that _🙄.
You can read at length about the violations in the complaint, which is 74 pages long, but worth reading for its allegations about the highly unconventional way Binance operates, its attitude to regulation, and its customers - which senior people have allegedly suggested include terrorists 🤯 - and how its senior operators were apparently willing to put it all in writing. You can also read more about the case here.
What I found interesting in the complaint is the following excerpt (you'll see why below): "Zhao, Lim and other Binance management failed to adequately supervise Binance's activities and, indeed, actively facilitated violations of U.S. law, including by assisting and instructing customers located in the United States to evade compliance controls that Binance claimed to implement to prevent and detect violations of U.S. law. Binance and its officers, employees, and agents instructed U.S.-based customers to use virtual private networks ("VPNs") to hide their location; they allowed customers who failed to provide proof of their identity and location to continue trading on the platform long after they had announced that such conduct was prohibited; and directed VIP customers with beneficial owners, key employees who control trading decisions, trading algorithms, and other assets, all located in the United States, to open Binance accounts under the names of newly formed shell companies to evade Binance's compliance controls.". Now that's some serious accusations...
It is revealed in this regard that in February 2019, Lim allegedly sat down with Zhao and told him that _"a huge number of Binance's 'TIER 1' customers [i.e. customers trading less than two BTC with no KYC] might actually be US citizens. They need to be smarter and use VPN through a non-US IP". _And Zhao said during a June 2019 management meeting that these customers _"represent a very large part of our volume, so we don't want to lose that" _🤦.
At length about how Binance directed customers in the United States to evade compliance controls through the use of VPNs and other creative means (🤦) on p. 37 of the complaint.
Why is it interesting? Because it's already the second time I've read about the criminalization of VPN use. On 7 March 2023, the RESTRICT Act (explained here was introduced in the US Senate. That's Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act.
The stated purpose of the proposed legislation is to limit risks to national security by allowing the Department of Commerce to review, block and mitigate transactions involving foreign information and communications technology (ICT) that pose an undue risk. It's really about TikTok and China. "Anyone" who uses a VPN to access an application controlled (e.g., TikTok) by a "foreign adversary" (e.g., China) or its alleged subordinates is subject to the wrath of the Secretary of Commerce - specifically, they would be subject to fines of up to $1 million, 20 years in prison, or both. Not cool, bro.
Media articles reported that a spokesman for Mark Warner, one of the leaders behind the bill, explicitly stated that "the punishments in the bill will not be used against ordinary citizens._" _Super reassuring! Not.
The RESTRICT Act is currently under consideration by Congress. I hope it doesn't pass.
⚒️ Tools: ENS.tools
ENS.Tools is an excellent tool for finding ENS domains with potential that are about to expire or have already expired. We'll leave you with a list of a few steps for tracking and finding good ENS names:
Step 1: On the ENS.tools website go to the "Expired" menu
This page will display a list of all ENS names that are currently available for registration but have recently expired. This is a good starting point as you can find names that were previously registered but have now become available.
Step 2: Set length filters
Set length filters to narrow the list of available names. You can do this from the "Filters" area by selecting the minimum and maximum number of characters you want to see. I recommend a range of 3-9 characters.
Step 3: Select letters only
Once you have set the length filters, select "Letters" -> "Only Letters". This will filter out any names that contain numbers or emoticons and helps avoid any confusion with numbers or symbols.
Once you have applied the filters, you will have a list of available ENS names that match your criteria. This is where it gets subjective, as the best way to find a good name is to visually browse the list and look for names that catch your eye.
The eruptions on Burn Island seem to go on and on! Yesterday saw the end of edition #3, this time 406 Book Games were burned, eligible being the Caviar framed ones, and for every 2 NFTs burned you received 2 sets of Compete & Collect cards. Edition #4 is expected to start on April 4, and this time there will be Series 2 NFTs involved. Will Series 1 NFTs ever get burned? 👀
Gift Goat holders, received gift number #10. This time it consisted of a luxury custom chair from Anthros, with a revolutionary concept based on 70 years of experience. In addition, they also received an NFT - a collectible digital card featuring Bugha, the 2019 Fortnite World Champion.
If you're thinking of buying an NFT from the VeeFriends family, or any other project, periodically log on to the sales platforms, monitor prices, and when they hit the price zone you're after, wait a little longer until one comes along that catches your eye, it did for me last night while I was researching VeeFriends, so as of today I'm the happy owner of a Noble Numbat!
Diamond hands, refers to a person who has a high-risk tolerance for crypto, especially for NFTs. It all started on the Reddit forum, the term has been in use since 2018. Diamond Hands don't panic to sell its assets, regardless of whether their value goes down or up. Of course, it's just a step up from a stubborn "investor" (let's not make him an idiot) who simply doesn't make rational decisions. The author of this example minted 2 Mekaverse NFT, for 0.2 ETH/pc, and legend has it he not only didn't sell any when floor price was 8 ETH but neither to this day.
Paper hands - Paper hands, are obviously the polar opposite of diamond hands. Panics at any breeze and sells everything, especially at a loss. Like anything important in life, balance makes the difference. Neither stubborn diamond hands nor desperate paper hands. Take profits from time to time but also long-term mindset, especially with some assets you believe in.
💸 Sale of the week
Dust in the eyes? Not really, more laser. With the direction to the moon, at least land on the stars. Worth 240 ETH. That's how much the monkey sold for. And bored and money gone. Or taken, depending on which side of the story we're looking at.