“I am a huge believer in this technology. The efficiency benefits in the financial system and otherwise from tokenization are immense.” — Jay Clayton, the former SEC chair
Weekly News Report:
1. Step Finance, the “front page of Solana blockchain,” has launched a $5 million fund utilized for rewarding users who will successfully create data critical tools to bolster Solana’s ecosystem. The fund launched will encourage users to contribute their skills in developing useful critical tools that will strengthen the Solana ecosystem and will enable users to stay updated on the latest price changes and analytics.
2. French mobile game maker Voodoo, which is backed by Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Chinese tech giant Tencent (0700. HK), said on Thursday it will invest $200 million in 2022 on studios that develop blockchain-based mobile video games. Voodoo, whose mobile games include Helix Jump and Balls VS Blocks, said the $200 million will be used to fund early-stage gaming studios and create 20 internal studios.
3. One of the world’s top crypto investors, Katie Haun, is splitting with venture firm Andreessen Horowitz next year to launch her own crypto fund with a focus on cryptocurrency and blockchain start-ups. She said she will keep her board seats at Andreessen’s portfolio companies, including OpenSea and Coinbase.
4. Gita Gopinath, the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has called for a global policy to be put in place that will regulate cryptocurrency, instead of banning it. “There are challenges to banning it whether you can end up with truly banning crypto because many exchanges are offshore and they are not subject to regulations of a particular country,” Gopinath said.
5. The Golden State Warriors and FTX US announced a first-of-its-kind cryptocurrency partnership in professional sports. As the Warriors’ Official Cryptocurrency Platform and NFT Marketplace, the franchise will drop NFTs on FTX.us, beginning in early 2022. The partnership between the Warriors and FTX marks the first international rights partner for the Warriors, meaning the team and FTX will have a visible market presence, inclusive of logo and likeness, internationally.
6. The Russian central bank wants to ban investments in cryptocurrencies in Russia, seeing risks to financial stability in the rising number of crypto transactions. Meanwhile, the Bank of Russia is planning to issue its own digital rouble, joining the global trend to develop digital currencies to modernize financial systems, speed up payments and counter a potential threat from other cryptocurrencies.
7. Gala Games, the blockchain gaming platform, announced the launch of a $100 million blockchain gaming fund in partnership with C² Ventures. The joint fund will invest in game developers and emerging projects building with blockchain technology, including but not limited to play-to-earn, GameFi, metaverses, and other decentralized gaming solutions.
8. Solana Ventures, a unit of technology company Solana Labs, on Tuesday announced the launch of a US$150 million investment initiative focused on blockchain gaming, in collaboration with Forte and Griffin Gaming Partners, two major players in the sector. Griffin, meanwhile, has invested more than US$400 million in gaming and Web 3.0 gaming-related companies over the past two years. Nick Tuosto, Griffin co-founder, said the company will continue to partner with Forte and Solana to help move the blockchain gaming ecosystem forward.
9. A Dogecoin developer has minted the cryptocurrency’s first-ever NFT on its blockchain, confirming the transaction on Twitter. The developer confirmed the mint only cost 0.1 DOGE (or $0.0018), a stark contrast to NFT minting fees on blockchains such as Ethereum that at times can set you back hundreds of dollars. The fanfare of its first NFT could mark a more permanent venture in that space.
10. The Senate of Paraguay passed a bill on Thursday that regulates the mining and trading of cryptocurrencies. Paraguay’s Chamber of Deputies will discuss the bill in 2022. Miners will need to request authorization for industrial electricity consumption and then apply for a license, the bill notes. Paraguay’s Industry and Commerce Secretariat will enable and supervise crypto mining within the country, according to the bill, with the country’s National Securities Commission, Anti-Money Laundering Office and National Electricity Administration also regulating the activity.
11. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s venture capital firm Seven Seven Six and Polygon Network have created a $200 million initiative to invest in social media and Web 3-based projects. The initiative will back projects that explore better ways for humans to connect online, Polygon announced Friday.
12. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is pushing out its review of proposals by Grayscale and Bitwise for their spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by 45 days, according to filings around both products. The decision on the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust will be pushed to Feb. 6, 2022, while that for the Bitwise Bitcoin ETP Trust will move to Feb. 1, 2022, the separate dockets noted.
13. NFT mania may have cooled, but the industry is still booming. Melania Trump, Whitney Houston and Applebee’s made NFT-inspired headlines this week. Catch up on nonfungible token (NFT)-related news this week from restaurants to movies and music.
14. Bitwise Asset Management launched its new index fund on Thursday. As per the announcement, the Bitwise Blue-Chip NFT Index Fund is designed to allow accredited investors to invest in major nonfungible tokens and art collections. It is now available to qualified investors for private placement subscriptions.
15. A new CNBC survey has revealed that a majority of millennial millionaires have invested a significant chunk of their portfolio in crypto and plan to continue their crypto investments in 2022. The survey polled investors with assets of $1 million or more, and 83% of the polled millennial millionaires revealed they had made crypto investments.
16. After celebrating its 20th anniversary in January, the free internet encyclopedia Wikipedia continues making history by selling its first nonfungible token (NFT) via auction giant Christie’s. On Wednesday, Christie’s completed an auction of two Wikipedia-related objects directly from Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales. Titled “The Birth of Wikipedia,” the online sale included two lots, an NFT of Wikipedia’s first edit, which sold for $750,000, and a Strawberry iMac used by Wales to create Wikipedia, which sold for $187,500.
17. On Thursday, HSBC and IBM announced the successful test of an advanced token and digital wallet settlement between two central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, in a cloud environment. The experiment consisted of transactions between CBDCs, eBonds, and forex. IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric and enterprise technology provider R3’s Corda served as the basis of the distributed ledger facilitating the transactions.