The world of NFTs continues to evolve and surprise us with its rapid growth and exciting developments. In this week's article, we'll delve into the latest updates, news, and investment highlights from the NFT space. From major announcements by influential figures to the emergence of new collaborations and funding rounds, the NFT market is buzzing with activity.
📈 Macro - NFT Cluj showed that the warm-up in Bucharest was a success by design not by chance;
🗞️ Last week's news - Amazon, Sandbox, Pentagon, Altava Group and Cardano;
💰 Investments/Financing - Aether Games, Artifact, Pudgy Penguins, TABOO;
📣 Projects news/Updates - Pudgy Penguins, Moonbirds, RTFKT, DeGods, OnChainMonkey, Cool Cats;
⚖️ Legal - Metaverse Attorney writes about the 2-year prison sentence of a former Coinbase manager in the first cryptocurrency insider trading case;
⚒️Tools - Manifold.xyz;
🐈 Veefriends - VeeFriends badges and toy vending machines;
⚙️NFTility, by Mtk - 77 Years Back;
📚 Dictionary - ATL, Bear Market;
💸 Sale of the week - $1 million monkey;
In last week's edition, referring to NFT Cluj, we wrote this: "We tell you this: under promise over deliver. You will be proud to have been part of a piece of history." Those of you who were in the room confirmed that this was the case. We had "on stage", virtually, one of the most appreciated ministers of the last 10+ years. It was Sebastian Burduja, Minister in charge of the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitisation who announced the date of the NFT Bucharest main event, to the applause of all. You didn't even get to see the end of the applause. We're back with the video today publicly on social, where we haven't officially announced the date yet. We promised 200 people in the hall in Cluj. There were 300+ of us (even about 330 at the top). That's what we mean by under promise, over deliver.
We could have put the Minister for Digitalisation on a poster, even if we knew he would only be present through a recording. We chose not to. Likewise, we could have put Cristian Onețiu, who had a videotaped moment, or Cristina Dumitru, director of Agerpres, the national news agency that launched a collection of NFTs. We chose not to put them on the posters!
There were many people who told us they came skeptical but couldn't believe what they saw there and kept asking us how we did it. People thought (and told us this) that it was not possible in Cluj. That there are different people there and it won't turn out like in Bucharest. Even if we had semi-confirmations (Emil Boc included) and the planets didn't align this time, through NFT Cluj we showed that the warm-up in Bucharest was not at all a fluke but that you can build things by design if you go on the road with the right mentality: NFT Bucharest will be the biggest Web3 event our country will ever host and we will do our best to make it happen.
But it won't be enough. We will need all of you to tell us your stories, to tell us who you know from big international projects and who you can bring to Bucharest. From Vitalik to Elon Musk to Coinbase or CZ. Don't shy away from anyone. We know it may sound like a joke, but we need to dream big. We can. Together!
🗞️ News from last week
We already knew that Amazon will soon launch its own marketplace, which will run on a private blockchain controlled by the company. Now we learn that it will feature collections from top creators like Beeple and Pudgy Penguins.
ALTAVA Group, the luxury fashion brand bringing culture brands to the Metaverse, has announced a licensing partnership with Animoca Brands to use Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFTs from the Animoca Brands portfolio.
The Sandbox has announced a new collaboration with Affyn, a Singapore-based company that develops games and Metaverse with integrated geolocation and augmented reality capabilities.
The Pentagon’s attempt to serve SpartacusDAO through an NFT took an unexpected turn. A legal battle is now taking place, with possible implications for NFT technology.
Cardano took over the NFT market from Ethereum and Solana, recording $8.9 million in volume in the first week of May.
💰 Investments / Financing
Aether Games announced that it has raised $4.5 million in token and equity funding from a group of investors including Mystenlabs, Polygon, Magic Eden, and Polkastarter among others.
Artifact has received $3.25 million in funding from Blue Pool Capital and Animoca Ventures.
Pudgy Penguins has announced the completion of its $9 million funding round. The round was led by 1kx.
Entertainment and media platform TABOO raised $10 million in funding at a $250 million valuation.
📣 Projects news / Updates
Pudgy Penguins has announced that WME will be the official talent agency representing the project.
Spotify and Moonbirds are partnering to offer restricted playlists based on tokens/NFTs.
RTFKT extends the deadline for creating custom NFT footwear, giving those caught in the memecoin storm the opportunity to take a break.
Blur has announced that DeGods is the latest collection of NFTs to join the Blend program.
OnChainMonkey has outlined how to increase your chances of getting on the !RISE list to buy one of the top 300 CMO Dimensions.
Cool Cats distributed via airdrop "Aurorium" NFT to Journey 6 participants, a symbolic token with "transformative potential".
A former Coinbase manager has been sentenced to 2 years in prison, in the first case of cryptocurrency insider trading!
Ishan Wahi, a former product manager at Coinbase Global Inc (COIN.O), was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison in what U.S. prosecutors called the first insider trading case involving cryptocurrencies.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska sentenced 32-year-old Ishan Wahi in Manhattan federal court after the defendant pleaded guilty in February to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The scheme involved a "massive abuse" of trust on the part of Coinbase, Preska said during the sentencing hearing, adding that the cover-up attempts showed that Wahi and his co-defendants knew their actions were wrong.
Prosecutors said Wahi shared confidential information with his brother Nikhil and their friend Sameer Ramani about digital assets to be listed on Coinbase, one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges.
The information allowed the three men to earn $1.5 million by trading 55 digital assets ahead of the listing announcements between June 2021 and April 2022, according to prosecutors.
Nikhil Wahi pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was sentenced to 10 months in prison in January. Ramani remains at large.
At the hearing, Ishan Wahi expressed remorse for his actions and their effect on his friends and family, several of whom were present in the courtroom.
"I made a huge mistake that will haunt me for the rest of my life," Wahi said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Noah Solowiejczyk said during the hearing that Wahi's behavior was "not a one-time mistake" but a string of tips over 10 months.
Wahi requested in court papers that he not be given a longer sentence than his brother, citing other insider trading cases in which he was given a short prison sentence or none at all.
Prosecutors had requested that Ishan Wahi spend more than three years in prison to discourage other cryptocurrency insiders from misusing corporate information.
Prosecutors can charge fraud in cases where deception has been used for financial gain, regardless of the type of asset involved. This gives the US Justice Department more flexibility in dealing with cryptocurrency-related crimes than its civilian counterpart, the SEC, which is limited to overseeing securities markets.
The SEC has argued in lawsuits, including the one filed against Ishan and Nikhil Wahi over their trades, that many digital assets are securities. Ishan Wahi and the SEC have reached an agreement in principle to settle the claims, while Nikhil Wahi and the SEC are also in settlement talks, court documents showed.
Coinbase said it does not list any securities.
⚒️ Tools: Manifold.xyz
Manyfold.xyz is a free tool that allows you to create NFTs without any programming knowledge. It offers a complete set of tools for creating, selling and managing NFTs. Below we briefly present what this platform can offer you:
Sell anywhere: Manyfold.xyz gives you the freedom to list your tokens for sale in any marketplace. You expand your reach by connecting to various NFT marketplaces, maximizing your chances of attracting buyers and collectors.
Create unique NFTs: With Manyfold.xyz, you can create anything from images to videos to HTML files. Your contract remains immutable, but tokens can evolve and change over time.
Custom releases: Flexibility is critical and with Manifold.xyz you can create unlimited collections and editions of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of tokens. Thanks to gas cost optimization, you'll save more than 60% on costs.
Add utility: Manyfold.xyz goes beyond simply creating tokens, offering a range of utilities to enhance the collecting experience. You can customize metadata and reward your most important and recent collectors, as well as add a Shopify integration, all to build deeper relationships with your community.
Insights about collectors: With Manyfold.xyz you always stay informed about the most important collectors and new additions to your community.
Manifold.xyz opens up a world of possibilities for NFT creators. Whether you're a digital artist or a content creator, Manifold.xyz gives you the tools and functionality to amplify your creative vision.
Surprises, surprises, is what VeeFriends has in store for us. They recently launched VeeFriends limited edition VeeFriends Badges, initially only 555 for Series 1 Gift Goat owners.
The launch of the VeeFriends collectible toy vending machines has been announced, the 2.54cm rubber toys will have different rarities and will be available to buy for 50 cents, so the VeeFriends characters will be accessible to all.
Only 2 days to go until the long-awaited VeeCon! There will be an incendiary few days ahead, where we'll keep you up to date with everything that's happening at the event. The opening will take place at Forever Fields on 18 May, starting at 14:00 local time, and VeeFriends have prepared a host of surprises for those attending. The evening will end to the beats of Busta Rymes. There will then follow 2 days of talks, discussions and endless opportunities to connect with people in the web3 industry. To avoid last year's lines at the GaryVee Selfie Station, reservations will be made through the VeeCon app. Keep an eye on our accounts: FreeFly, Mtk and Florin!
⚙️ NFTility, by MTK
I've known about Dan's journey for a year after we first met at Brand Minds. When he was announced as a speaker at NFT Cluj, I became very eager to find out what stage of production the project he is working on is at.
Dan set off on a journey with his grandfather, Victor. A journey whose role is to close a circle that has long been open. A journey of rediscovery and self-discovery. I'd tell you what it's all about, but it's best to experience the excitement firsthand...in this trailer.
What does the above story have to do with NFTs? Especially the ones with utility? "77 Years Back" is the first Romanian independent documentary to be released as an NFT project. First and foremost, the utility will reflect on the project itself, as the funds raised from the mint will support appearances at 70 of the world's biggest film festivals. But looked at in perspective, it will bring awareness to blockchain technology and the versatility of NFTs.
70 Grandpa NFTs: will give holders access to a special film screening in Bucharest, a virtual screening in the metaverse, and monthly updates on the progress of the documentary.
7 Grandpa 3.0 NFTs which, in addition to the utility contained in the above, will provide access to unreleased scenes, a personalized message from Dan, and a personalized blockchain message from his grandfather. In addition, the two are also throwing in an AMA for one hour, where they'll answer questions together and give away a 3D-printed artifact that will be inspired by the film's topic.
This is one of my favorite collections because, through it, they teach us to give more than just receive. The smile on Victor's face teaches us that we can find fulfillment, and Dan's effort teaches us that helping others find theirs reflects positively on us.
Until next time, I leave you with the closing message from the director of NFT Cluj: "If you still have grandparents alive, talk to them and hear their story."
ATL - All Time Low. If last week we were talking about bull-market (just talking), the season we're in is getting closer to ATL. In reference to the price of a token/NFT, it means the lowest price that token/NFT has ever had. Relative to parity with a stable currency, $usdt for example.
Bear market. A bear market is a period of time when investment prices in a particular financial market are falling. For example that of crypto or NFTs. Don't think we made that up. The term bull/bear has been around since at least the 18th century.
💸 Sale of the week
Monkey for almost $1 million. 530 ETH for number #4980.