eBay Drops First NFT Collection of NHL Star Wayne Gretsky
eBay has officially announced its first NFT drop via a series of tokenized items depicting National Hockey League (NHL) star Wayne Gretsky, which went live on May 23rd, 2022.
The NFT collection features animated Gretsky variants based on Sports Illustrated magazine covers. They are available in four distinct rarity levels: Green (299 tokens), Gold (199), Platinum (99), and Diamond (15 tokens).
The collection is currently available for purchase on eBay's marketplace, but the limited edition Gold, Platinum and Diamond tiers valued at $25, $100 and $1,500, respectively, have since been sold out.
The collection was reportedly created in collaboration with environmentally conscious NFT platform OneOf, which enables several energy-efficient blockchains to deliver sustainable NFT collections.
eBay's VP of Collectibles, Electronics, and Home Dawn Block remarked that NFTs are transforming the collectibles industry and that the company is actively working towards introducing non-fungible tokens to mainstream collectors worldwide.
Portugal Rejects Crypto Taxation
Portugals Assembleia da República recently rejected two bills which aimed to tax Bitcoin (BTC) and various other cryptocurrencies. Sapo, a local news outlet, revealed that the bills were introduced by Livre and Bloco, two left-wing parties with limited presence in the Portuguese Congress.
Portugals ruling Socialist Party, which controls the parliamentary assembly, has yet to introduce any legislation in the country despite the fact that Portuguese Finance Minister Fernando Medina made a statement not too long ago according to which crypto would reportedly be taxed in the near future.
Now though, the Portuguese Parliament ultimately rejected the idea to tax BTC and other altcoins. Lastly, in comparison to the existing capital gains tax rate of 28% on financial investments, the country has an effective capital gains rate of 0% regarding cryptocurrencies for the time being.
Could Coinbase’s New Web 3.0 Initiatives Help The Exchange Get Out Of Its Slump
The world is fast approaching what is quickly becoming known as the Web 3.0 era, which has since led to numerous businesses and companies across a variety of fields scrambling to implement new software and features which can help facilitate their customers with the eventual transition. One name in particular is looking to get a headstart on the whole thing, namely Coinbase.
Coinbase announces new Web 3.0 features
In May, Coinbase steadily extended its product offerings as certain handpicked users were given permission to access DeFi and other Ethereum-based decentralized applications (dApps) via the Coinbase app. As such, America's biggest cryptocurrency exchange has made some Web 3.0 application capabilities available, including a hot wallet and a new browser, to a small focus group of its mobile app customers.
These users shall reportedly be able to access dApps on the Ethereum network, such as OpenSea and Uniswap, through the exchange's official app. Being able to borrow and lend funds, use NFT marketplaces, DEXs, and DeFi lending protocols are among the new features added by Coinbase.
Moreover, a co-custodial solution will be used for the Coinbase hot wallet. This implies that the exchange shall be responsible for storing the private key for the wallet, which the corresponding user can also keep.  Additionally, the wallet and dApp capabilities are powered by MPC (Multi-Party Computation) technology, which protects senders' and recipients' privacy while maintaining transaction accuracy.
A new era, a new Coinbase?
Although the exchange has had its fair share of issues in the past, Coinbase is nevertheless taking certain steps to ensure that it can keep up with the aforementioned global transition to Web 3.0. Coinbase's improved wallet capability therefore bodes well for Web 3.0 developers who may struggle to enroll new customers to showcase their work. As per Statista, the exchange has around 90 million registered users as of this time.
Nevertheless, according to Coinbase's Q1 financial report, the exchange is struggling amid the ongoing bear market, having posted its first net loss since going public in 2021. Since last year, the exchange's revenue has also plummeted to $1.1 billion from $1.6 billion year on year, and monthly users have similarly declined from over 11 million to just above 9 million since the final quarter of the previous year as well.
Still, Coinbase remains hopeful that things will improve via the new Web 3.0 functionalities and as the market eventually stabilizes, however only time will tell if this turns out to be the case.
CBDC Development Continues As SWIFT Investigates Potential Of Central Bank Digital Currencies
The interest in CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies) has been steadily increasing, with nine out of ten of the worlds central banks now actively exploring them. According to a recent report by SWIFT detailing their trials with the Bank for International Settlements, these CBDCs include economies which account for more than 90% of global GDP.
CBDC development continues
A growing number of the aforementioned central banks are investigating the potential use of central bank digital currencies in a practical, real-world setting, which many have argued could be an alternative to cryptocurrencies if done correctly. Among the most noteworthy of these central banks are those of The Bahamas and Nigeria.
CBDCs, or digital versions of real central bank issued fiat currencies, are attracting a lot of interest right now, with most of the development focused on how they may help achieve domestic policy goals. However, there is one potential weakness, namely the use of CBDCs on a global scale.
What is SWIFT doing about it?
Presently, SWIFT is investigating how it might connect the several domestic-oriented CBDC networks which are expanding internationally in order to make cross-border payments more accessible, instantaneous and efficient while adhering to the laws and regulations of each country.
A particular problem that may arise regarding these digital currencies is that, if left unchecked, CBDC fragmentation might result in the formation of digital islands. Nick Kerigan, Head of Innovation at SWIFT, stated that although CBDCs could be useful, this fragmentation may result in increased isolation around the world which would seriously hamper the ability of CBDCs to compete with cryptocurrencies and as a global medium of exchange.
He went on to say that different systems and CBDCs must therefore be able to operate together smoothly, otherwise companies and consumers would be unable to conduct seamless cross-border payments utilizing CBDCs and would instead choose to rely on alternatives such as cryptocurrencies. Whatever the case may be, traditional financial institutions will have to take the initiative going forward if there is to be any hope of keeping up with the burgeoning crypto and blockchain sector.
Instagram Enabling NFTs
Following months of speculation, Instagram has finally incorporated sharing NFTs into its platform, beginning with a small group of American creators.
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri stated last week that Instagram has began testing its NFT integration with a restricted group of creators in the United States, with plans of eventually branching out to other countries if things go well.
NFTs can now be shown on the profiles of a limited number of users who will be able to see which non-fungible tokens their favorite influencer, musician, or politician holds thanks to this connection.
Instagram is taking it slow because, as a centralized organization, it wants to learn from the community before releasing additional features. This means that users, collectors, and creators may only see, share, and interact with the NFTs for now.
Bad To Worse For Tether (USDT)
Things are going from bad to worse for Tether (USDT) as the companys plea to New Yorks Supreme Court for permission to exclude the public from examining papers which describe the nature of Tethers reserves over the previous few years has now been denied.
According to Twitter user CryptoWhale, the New York Supreme Court recently denied Tether's petition to prevent the public from getting records outlining the composition of Tethers reserves much to the chagrin of the company. The decision was mostly based on the idea that Tether had shown a lack of transparency and honesty in the past.
In fact, about a year ago, the stablecoin issuer reportedly paid $18 and a half million for its involvement in Bitfinexs attempt to cover up a $850 million hole in the finances of its payment processor, Crypto Capital Corp.
According to New York Attorney General Letitia James, Bitfinex and Tether unlawfully covered up huge financial losses in order to keep their seemingly fraudulent operation running and ultimately safeguard their bottom lines.
Nations Gather To Discuss Bitcoins Inclusion And Adoption
El Salvador President Nayib Bukele recently tweeted that 32 central banks and 12 financial authorities from 44 nations will meet today to discuss financial inclusion, the digital economy, banking for the unbanked, El Salvadors Bitcoin (BTC) rollout, and finally the various benefits that the flagship crypto can provide.
In subsequent tweets, the El Salvador President announced that the Central Bank of So Tomé and Prncipe, the Central Bank of Paraguay, the National Bank of Angola, the Bank of Ghana, the Bank of Namibia, the Bank of Uganda, the Central Bank of the Republic of Guinea, the Central Bank of Madagascar, the Bank of the Republic of Haiti, the Bank of the Republic of Burundi, the Central Bank of Eswatini and its Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Jordan, and the State Bank of Pakistan shall all be attending.
The world turns its attention to El Salvador as representatives from nations across the world are gathering in the country to talk about financial inclusion and how Bitcoin adoption might help their own countries in the near future.
Germany And China Make Important Announcements To Give Crypto Industry A Boost
Although the current state of the crypto market is not the best, with the recent Terra (LUNA) and UST debacle resulting in drastic price drops for numerous cryptocurrencies, there may still yet be a light at the end of the tunnel. Not only has Germany announced that there shall be no taxes whatsoever for selling Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) if held over a year, but the Chinese high court also recently declared that the flagship crypto has economic value and should be legally protected.
No crypto taxes in Germany
Private citizens in Germany will not have to pay taxes when selling BTC or ETH if they have kept the assets for over a year, according to the German Finance Ministry. Certain changes have been made to the local cryptocurrency policies as of late. The government said that the sale of acquired BTC and ETH will not be taxed if the assets are held for a period longer than the aforementioned amount.
Interestingly, this policy will be applicable even if the crypto assets were used for lending and staking. In the past, virtual assets utilized in such operations had to be retained for ten years before they could be considered as tax-exempt.
According to the Finance Ministry, this is the first time that crypto as a whole has been covered with a countrywide administrative order. The local authorities pledged to continue engaging with the virtual asset taxation policy and to resolve any concerns that arise. They will do so in close collaboration with federal tax authorities and government agencies.
Chinese high court makes historic decision
The turbulent crypto situation in China has taken a new turn when the Shanghai High Peoples Court determined that Bitcoin does in fact have economic worth and is a virtual asset protected by Chinese law.
According to a court notification filed on the messaging network WeChat, BTC reportedly has economic value and the appropriate property features deemed necessary by the local laws and regulations. The decision is historic in light of earlier prohibitions on cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, claiming that they are a danger to financial stability. Regardless of the decision though, it remains uncertain as to whether other higher courts would take a similar stance on Bitcoin in the foreseeable future.
Whatever the case may be, the crypto industry definitely needs a big win right now and hopefully both Germany and China can help push the sector in the right direction.
Huge Crypto Crash As All Fingers Point To Terra And Unreliable Stablecoin
One of the biggest risks associated with the crypto industry is volatility, a fact which numerous regulators have pointed out could be the downfall of the entire sector.
As such, a popular token has lost over 95% of its value, taking down a so-called stablecoin with it. This past Thursday, the LUNA token plummeted from a high of $118 last month to below $1 in one of the biggest market crashes in crypto history.
The fall had an impact on TerraUSD (UST), a linked token and stablecoin. Normally, stablecoins would always retain their value of around $1 as they are pegged to the United States Dollar (USD), however UST has also crashed and lost its value by more than 50%. Because of this, panic has since gripped the market and investors are increasingly exiting major cryptocurrencies, sending prices tumbling throughout the market with even top projects such as Ethereum (ETH) and Cardano (ADA) feeling the effects.
Aside from basic economic causes, researchers believe the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin and its possible contagion impact was the primary cause of the recent cryptocurrency sell-off. Do Kwon, the CEO of Terraform Labs, largely remained silent on the whole issue, only vaguely stating that everything was under control, but his backers were understandably not convinced.
From bad to worse
To make matters worse, Binance is actively attempting to get rid of the currency due to its abrupt and quick collapse. Terra has also recently stated that they have ceased all operations on the blockchain, essentially rendering it defunct for the time being. LUNA withdrawals were suspended at first, however Binance has since announced that deposits and withdrawals will resume along with LUNA/BUSD and LUNA/UST spot trading pairs. The Binance team has however stated that extreme caution must nonetheless be exercised.
The exchange declared that it shall discontinue cross and isolated margin pairings, as well as spot trading pairs and BUSD margined perpetual contracts on the token, thereby officially discarding the once hugely popular cryptocurrency. It also changed the leverage and margin levels for LUNA-linked contracts, with the maximum leverage for holdings less than 50,000 set at 8 times. If the largest crypto exchange has to do this much to abandon a cryptocurrency, chances are that it just might be dead in the water.
What is next for Terra?
Do Kwon recently discussed a plan for  the recovery of UST and LUNA. The CEO proposed significant UST burning (1 billion in total) to lower the amount of the algorithmic stablecoin and sustain its $1 anchor. In theory, the massive UST burn would take the stablecoin out of circulation, thereby reducing selling pressure of the stablecoin.
Concurrently, as this unfolded, Bybit delisted LUNA/BTC, and eToro, which does not provide crypto futures trading or leverage, also removed LUNA/USD. Additionally, Crypto.com has reportedly delisted LUNA and suspended withdrawals as well. Needless to say, Terra needs a miracle at this point if the project wants to have any hopes of surviving now.
Institutional & Retail Acceptance Of Crypto Payments Accelerates
The global acceptance of digital resources and currencies is changing dramatically. State-run administrations and foundations across the globe are actively considering adopting Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies for payment purposes, including a small private institution outside Boston.
Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts, will thus be among the first educational institutions in the U.S to accept tuition payments made in Bitcoin, Ethereum (ETH), and also the stablecoin USD Coin (USDC).
The college will accept these payments through its partnership with Coinbase, one of the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchanges (and the largest in the United States). It also intends to accept gifts and donations in crypto.
Elsewhere, a school in Dubai, UAE, recently talked about potentially accepting tuition payments in both Bitcoin and Ethereum via a computerized process which automatically converts crypto into AED, the country's official currency. Emirates Airlines also recently announced that they shall be accepting payments in BTC as well, in addition to taking part in both the metaverse and NFT sectors too.
Crypto Is Forever, And Can Now Buy Diamonds
Continental Diamond, a jewelry business in St. Louis Park, will now be accepting Bitcoin, Shiba Inu and other cryptocurrencies as payment.
As such, Continental Diamond has become the inaugural diamond store in Minnesota to accept crypto payments, further opening the door for other stores to do the same in the future. The jewelry company, which was founded in 1981, will reportedly use cryptocurrency payment processor BitPay for merchant services.
Other premium apparel companies and businesses have begun accepting crypto payments as well. Gucci, a well-known fashion company, recently announced that it would start taking Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, and other cryptocurrencies at certain stores in North America.
Elsewhere, Camper & Nicholsons, a premium yacht charter and brokerage firm, also accepts Shiba Inu and other crypto assets as payment.
Luna Foundation Guard Unable To Collateralize UST Stablecoin
As if being in a bear market wasn't bad enough, the collapse of the world's third-biggest stablecoin ecosystem has surely made matters even worse.
The Luna Foundation Guard (LFG), a Singapore-based non-profit which maintains the Terra network, has reportedly been reaching out to investors in the hopes of obtaining funding to shore up the troubled stablecoin.
The LFG hopes to generate over $1 billion in order to collateralize the UST stablecoin. Do Kwon, the founder and CEO of Terraform Labs, has mostly remained silent about the whole thing, and the aforementioned funding has yet to be confirmed.
Although the CEO has promised to make things right, it may infact be too late as numerous investors have already lost faith in Terra and UST and even Binance has stated that LUNA and UST withdrawals have since been suspended due to network congestion.
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