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GameStop And FTX Exchange Announce Partnership
According to a recent press release, GameStop has announced a new collaboration with FTX US aimed at introducing its customers to FTXs community and marketplaces for digital assets. Following the announcement of this partnership, GameStops stock rose by about 10%.
As a result, certain GameStop retail locations will sell FTX gift cards, as it is FTXs preferred retail partner within the United States. The financial details of the partnership were not disclosed in the press release.
The retailer has attempted to diversify its business into the Web3 space by trying to introduce a digital asset wallet which enables users to receive as well as send crypto and NFTs. On July 11th, the company had even launched its very own NFT marketplace project.
Like so many other companies, GameStop was also impacted by the current global economic situation, as it laid off employees in order to save the company. Coinbase, another notable company in the crypto sector, had similarly laid off a substantial number of employees not too long ago.
Nigeria And Binance Discussing Digital Economy Growth Projects
NEPZA, the Nigerian government agency responsible for export processing zones, announced that discussions are happening with Binance in order to hopefully establish a digital free zone fully dedicated to blockchain technology and the overall digital economy.
The National Economic and Production Zones Authority has therefore anticipated that, if successful, the talks will result in a similar outcome to Dubais online free zone.
Binance committed to assisting Dubai in creating an industrial hub for global digital assets last December, with the goal of fostering sustainable economic growth and attracting a diverse range of crypto-based enterprises to become licensed in the region.
As such, the Nigerian government is reportedly in advanced talks with the cryptocurrency exchange about similarly establishing a digital zone in the country in order to help the growth of the fintech sector in Africa.
The idea of accessing a country with great potential like Nigeria via this collaboration project is certainly appealing to Binance. The exchange hopes to eventually expand its operations throughout Africa, so working alongside NEPZA should be a no-brainer.
Crypto.com Backs Out Of UEFA Sponsorship Deal
Singapore-based Crypto.com has backed out of a $495 million sponsorship deal with the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) Champions League, citing legal issues in some European countries.
The cryptocurrency company, which provides trading, DeFi, and wallet services, was set to replace Russian oil major Gazprom as the sponsor for the next five seasons, until 2027. This was due to UEFA terminating its contract with Gazprom in March following Russias invasion of Ukraine.
The deal, worth £428 million over the aforementioned five seasons, is believed to have fallen through at the last minute due to concerns about increased cryptocurrency regulation, which may very well be related to potential legal trading restrictions.
In recent years, digital assets have moved from the periphery of the economy to the center, with a rising number of football sponsorship deals being announced.
Chelsea F.C. and Atletico Madrid F.C. both signed deals with trading platform WhaleFin, and Manchester City F.C. has OKX as a training kit partner. Apart from this, other notable clubs like PSG F.C. and Barcelona F.C. also have their own fan tokens.
Crypto.com laid off nearly 5% of its workforce, or about 260 people, in June. Despite losing the UEFA deal, it is still nevertheless the official sponsor of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
MicroStrategy Accused Of Conspiracy As Former CEO Gets Sued For Tax Fraud
Michael Saylor, the former CEO of MicroStrategy and a long time Bitcoin (BTC) enthusiast, has recently been sued for reportedly failing to pay over $25 million in taxes. Saylor says that he is a resident of Florida, where he claims to have lived for more than half the year, voted, and even reported for jury duty, but the Districts case contends that he is also a resident of Washington D.C.
According to the Attorney Generals office, Saylor, whose net worth is estimated to exceed $1 billion, has resided in a 7,000 square foot waterfront penthouse in Washington D.C.'s Georgetown neighborhood since around 2015. Additionally, he also has at least two luxury yachts docked in the area, thereby further indicating that this is his true abode rather than what Michael claims which is Florida.
Whats going on?
The lawsuit, announced this past Wednesday by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, claims that MicroStrategy knew Saylor resided in Washington for more than half the year as it retained access to personal information regarding his whereabouts in addition to allegedly conspiring to assist him evade taxes.
Any individual is subject to District tax liability if they are domiciled in the District or establish statutory residency in the District, according to the law. Saylor has been a statutory resident of the District, or domiciled, in each year from 2013 to 2020, according to the complaint.
As such, a person can be a statutory resident of D.C. if they have a place of abode in the district. It also states that Saylor spent less than three months in Florida from 2013 to 2020 and always returned to Washington, D.C. This round trip, so it has been said, demonstrates that his true home is in the District, not Florida.
As per the lawsuit, Saylors reported address was therefore that of his house in Florida rather than his true place of abode, which is a clear tax violation. Moreover, as was ascertained through voter records, despite registering to vote in Florida, Saylor has never actually voted in person in the state, according to the complaint.
The former MicroStrategy CEO insists that he has always resided in Florida for most of the year, however the crux of  the issue is that this particular case isnt about that as it has more to do with where Saylor is actually settled.
Every tax jurisdiction in the world takes this into account otherwise, the wealthy would shuttle between low-tax jurisdictions and their home base to avoid paying taxes. Washington, D.C. has a special provision for this, namely the Part-time D.C. resident classification. This category accounts for those who spend a portion of the year in the District despite not having a statutory residence.
As such, the Attorney Generals office stated that it was attempting to retrieve unpaid income taxes and penalties from Michael and MicroStrategy, which could very well be over $100 million before all is said and done. No matter what happens though, this is a wake-up call for everyone to take their taxes seriously and ensure that everything is in order, as even the slightest slip up could have disastrous consequences.
Aada Finance For Cardano Blockchain Launch Date Announced
The company behind Cardano, Input Output, has recently announced the launch date for Aada Finance, its first lending and borrowing protocol on the Cardano blockchain. Aada Finance streamlines the borrowing and lending user experience by utilizing a novel DeFi primitive known as NFT bonds.
V1 will therefore be released in mid-September of this year and shall be the first time that DeFi primitives are added to the Cardano blockchain, which is built on the Plutus smart contract platform that was first introduced in the Alonzo hard fork back in September 2021.
Aada recently formed a partnership with Minswap to assist in the liquidation of loans when the loan-to-collateral value falls below a certain threshold. The liquidity of Minswap will be utilized in the liquidation process.
Elsewhere, Input Output Global also recently partnered with Pezesha, an African fintech company that enables financial institutions to offer liquidity to small-to-medium businesses.
The Federal Reserve Rolls Out FedNow, A New Payment System
FedNow, a new payment facilitation system which might mitigate the need for a CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency), is reportedly being prepared for launch by the Federal Reserve.
FedNow is hence an instant payment method that allows for real-time transactions between U.S-based households, businesses, and financial institutions.
The service is built with cloud technology, which enables the payment system to scale without sacrificing resilience. This scalability applies to both the systems throughput and geographic coverage, ensuring continuous service even in highly remote areas.
The FedNow Service is scheduled to go live between May and July 2023, according to Lael Brainard, Federal Reserve Vice Chair. Brainard also stated that the system would begin technical testing this September.
Brainard has therefore urged financial institutions and software providers in the United States to update their systems ahead of time. He also claims that the transition to real-time payment infrastructure will require concentrated effort but is nevertheless unavoidable, and that the time is now for everyone to devote all necessary resources to make this inevitable transition both seamless and effective.
How Crypto Is Repeating History - Ryan Rasmussen
After WW1 the economy was alive the workforce was back from war, paused projects were resumed and with the scent of victory still fresh in the air, innovation and inventions were rampant.
How did the banks respond?
By dishing out loans.
And how did the people react?
By not just taking these loans, but by investing them. They didn't just want to earn an income, they wanted to double it. And this is when stocks shot through the roof. The people, however, weren the only ones dumping borrowed money into the market. Banks themselves were also borrowing customer money to gain a piece of the pie.
The excitement and promise shielded many individuals from seeing some of the early warning signs of the Great Depression. The hype of the stock market led many amatuer investors to simply, follow the crowd, instead of doing proper research - and holding companies accountable to promises. Which is why, the events of Black Thursday on October 24th 1929 were so devastating and led to a crash that would go down in history as the start of the Great Depression.
Voltaire said, History doesnt repeat itself. Man does.
Perhaps, what were seeing now in the crypto market is less a prediction of the future and more a reflection of the past.
Ryan Rasmussen understands this better than most.
As a traditional banker with a background in Finance - including work with the prestigious Cetera Financial - Rasmussen saw the structures of traditional banking and wondered if DeFi could be the solution. Up until 2020, much of the crypto conversation was evolving around Bitcoin, but when COVID arrived, so did the discussion of decentralized finance. This sparked Rasmussens curiosity on the topic.
The system of banking is 100% in crypto - from trading, lending, borrowing and staking. Its the same. But DeFi is far safer, much easier and incredibly more powerful."
As with many early investors, the incentive to get involved in cryptocurrency was motivated by the earning opportunities - much like the behavioral patterns we saw back in the roaring 20s. However, as his industry knowledge increased, Rasmussen saw the unique value blockchain technology would bring - to both the provider and the person.
Many have identified 3 consistent ethics that make DeFi the way of the future.
By moving banking to the blockchain, exchanges are made through Smart Contracts, not intermediaries, thus creating complete transparency. The precoded contract cannot be changed and both parties know exactly whats happening - and when.
While banks have introduced lengthy processes for loan approvals and geographical locations have contributed to wealth gaps, DeFi levels the playing field and makes its technology available to all.
Blockchain transactions happen 24-7, 365 days a year. Users are empowered to make their own decisions without needing to schedule a time with a teller and can access and evaluate their funds whenever, wherever.
In response to the current crypto conditions, Rasmussen notes that the drag in crypto value is hugging the prices in stocks, bonds and risk assets as well. The plummet is not exclusive to crypto. As paradoxical as it might seem, the crash is a positive sign for those that understand the natural pattern of finances - and the public behavior that influences these fluctuations.
Much of the hype surrounding the blockchain was driven by fan-based consumerism with little inspection and consideration for its true potential, utility and overall value. The dip were seeing now will expose the possibilities Web3 brings into the future.
Once people understand the technology, they dont walk out. Even in a bear market.
As an Asset Manager at Bitwise (a DeFi company), Rasmusen speaks about the unique strategies that havent just enabled the company to survive the difficult bear markets, but grown 3x the size during them.
We focus on using the bull market to prepare and build for the bear market. We have to stay sustainable.
This system of preparation is similar to what weve seen with the crypto-marketing agency, Influx Group. Both companies have turned to educational material and continual support for their customers when the market slows down. While more than 2,000 Web3 workers were laid off in one of the hardest weeks in the crypto market, both Influx Group and Bitwise breezed through with ease.  We just move people from 0 to 1 when the market is slow. Thats it. The effectiveness of keeping things simple speaks for itself, as Bitwise - like Influx - has been able to show up for their clients even in rough times. These two companies understand the technology of the blockchain and recognize its advantageous resilience in comparison to traditional institutions. And while all markets appear to be in a slump, if the past holds any fortune-telling for the future, the rebound of crypto will be amongst the fastest in the market.
The consumer space is ripe.
While no one wants to be quoted for trying to predict the future, those that understand traditional financial patterns and behaviors - like Rasmussen - have an optimistic outlook for the days ahead.
For those hoping to successfully build communities, educate audiences and keep their network alive and engaged, Influx Group has prepared a unique software for guiding companies through current market conditions. You can learn more about it here.
By Savannah Holmes
Web 3.0 Startup Comm Successfully Raises $5 Million To Challenge Discord
Comm, a Web 3.0 messaging app, has successfully raised a $5 million seed round, which was led by CoinFund, in an attempt to compete with Discord. To that end, the company hopes that it can provide a revolutionary new messaging and communication experience for the Web 3.0 era.
Comm may hence best be defined as a consumer privacy startup that works on scaling E2E (End-to-End) encryption, which is currently only available for chat-based applications like Signal or Whatsapp, with the goal of eventually replacing centralized backends.
Why does this matter?
Comms founder and CEO, Ashoat Tevosyan, stated that he wanted to create an application which was truly independent, end-to-end encrypted, secure, and private. There has since been plenty of interest in what Comm is trying to achieve, with Electric Capital, Shima Capital, LongHash VC, Slow Ventures, and Eniac Ventures being among the various investors in the aforementioned seed round.
Comm is therefore being designed in such a way that community members will host their own backend servers and that only users would be allowed access to their data. Moreover, the keyserver software is open source and was designed to be forked, which means it was meant to be copied and implemented by various other compatible projects.
But is it safe?
While encrypted messaging and communication-based applications can help protect personal information, many of them have unfortunately fallen into the hands of fraudulent entities like gangs, hackers, and organized criminals.
According to Tevosyan, whether or not Comm exists, criminals will undoubtedly always find a way to access online networks. As a result, his team is developing software that puts the user in control and prioritizes safety. In any case, the CEO wants Comm to be a software which actively supports larger communities and is thus skeptical of the notion that a large-scale social platform would only attract undesirable characters.
What about future goals?
The founders long-term goal for the company is still unclear. Users will be able to log in to Comm using their cryptocurrency wallets, which will reportedly control their overall identity in the application. However, it is not yet known as to which blockchains would be supported. Despite this, Tevosyan stated that he intends to expand his team in New York City after the raise, with a few employees working remotely, and that Comm certainly has a place in Web 3.0 even if it will take some time for all of the details to be ironed out.
Former SEC Chair Jay Clayton Speaks About Crypto Regulation
Former SEC Chair Jay Clayton recently acknowledged that reaching consensus on cryptocurrency regulation within the United States would appear to presently remain elusive for all parties involved, but he has nonetheless challenged the government to take the initiative.
Clayton stated that the government should first try and fully comprehend the benefits and potential of crypto and what it can do for the countrys financial system before enacting any kind of regulatory policies.
Jay discussed certain benefits of crypto like the ability to power quick payments as well as digital asset custody and urged the SEC to issue viable guidelines for the custody of tokenized assets. He further stated that in order to truly move forward, the United States must first embrace the efficiencies provided by tokenizing well-known services like payments and asset custody in digital form.
According to Clayton, the U.S should therefore move forward on stablecoin rules, identifying the various characteristics which distinguish stablecoins as a means of payment rather than a commodity or security.
Access To Records On Three Arrows Capital Assets
According to a recent report citing people familiar with the situation, liquidators of 3AC (Three Arrows Capital) shall reportedly be able to access records of the cryptocurrency hedge fund's assets. A petition by the advisory firm Teneo was recently granted by the Singapore High Court.
Teneo will be capable of requesting access to financial records kept locally, according to the sources, and they hope to see bank accounts, properties, cryptocurrency assets, non-fungible tokens, and stakes in other companies. Overall, they will prioritize asset preservation.
Thus far, the liquidators have control over $40 million in crypto hedge fund assets. Nevertheless, this is insufficient to meet the claims. Moreover, 3AC allegedly received a $2.36 billion loan from Genesis Trading alone.
Creditors attended a liquidating meeting on July 18th, and it was discovered that the claims totaled approximately $2.8 billion. As more creditors file claims, this figure could rise even higher. Su Zhu, 3AC Co-Founder, has also filed a million-dollar claim against his own company.
This is yet another significant development in what is turning out to be one of the most controversial cases of the year. The crypto winter has not been kind to many crypto companies and 3AC is no exception, with countless customers still scrambling to recover their lost funds.
Texas Senator Discusses Environmental Benefits Of Crypto Mining
In an attempt to try and dispel long-held concerns about the assets massive energy consumption and threat to the environment, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has indicated that Bitcoin (BTC) mining does infact have environmental and business-related benefits.
Senator Cruz suggested that crypto mining is advantageous to the environment, particularly if miners use renewable energy sources. Cruz, interestingly, proposed that Bitcoin mining could lead to the prosperity of families involved in the activity by breeding entrepreneurs and providing an alternative source of income.
He added that, in light of the criticism leveled at Bitcoin mining, the activity could coexist with various other forms of energy utilization by sharing the grid.
Moreover, as BTC mining has the ability to be switched on or off instantly, if there is a power shortage or a power crisis, whether it's a freeze or another natural disaster where power generation capacity may drastically decrease, Senator Cruz believes that this could create an opportunity to instantly redirect that energy and put it back on the grid.
Alphabet Inc. Invests Over $1.5 Billion In Blockchain Companies As Institutional Interest Continues To Skyrocket
Alphabet Inc., Googles parent company, has invested over $1.5 billion in blockchain companies so far. By doing so, it has surpassed the likes of Goldman Sachs, Samsung, Blackrock, and Morgan Stanley to become the leading organization investing in the burgeoning sector.
Institutional interest in crypto remains high
Although the cryptocurrency market has yet to reach its previous heights, the fact of the matter is that numerous institutional investors including some of the top companies, businesses and firms across the world have nevertheless repeatedly expressed an interest in crypto. This is in part due to the sheer amount of mainstream attention being given to the industry, as innovative technologies such as Web3, NFTs, blockchain, and the metaverse are quickly becoming regular topics of discussion.
Whereas Samsung is mainly relying on blockchain services, NFTs, social networks and development platforms, both Alphabet and Blackrock are adopting a slightly different approach by concentrating their efforts on a smaller group of companies like Circles and Fireblocks. Samsung even previously announced that it was creating its very own metaverse, a development which the blockchain community was only too happy to see as it meant that the underlying technologies behind DeFi were indeed finally becoming mainstream.
Banks are adopting a more proactive approach towards crypto
For the longest time, various banks around the world scoffed at the idea of decentralized digital currencies and assets and believed them to be nothing more than a trend that will dissipate over time. However, as these digital assets gradually became more popular and a rising number of big names started investing in crypto, banks had little to no choice but to adopt a more progressive perspective. Perhaps the most famous examples of this would be the introduction of CBDCs and Warren Buffet infamously calling Bitcoin rat poison years ago, only for him to later invest a billion dollars in a crypto-friendly bank.
Additionally, 40 corporations invested in blockchain and crypto companies between September 2021 and June 2022, according to a study that observed the top 100 banks with such investment behavior.
Moreover, across 71 investment rounds, 61 blockchain and crypto companies received funding, with a vast majority of these companies reportedly being involved in rapidly growing fields like arts and entertainment, gaming, and distributed ledger technology.
Sundar Pichai, Alphabets CEO, acknowledged the growth that the industry was experiencing as of late and spoke about Web3 developments in February, disclosing the companys position on revolutionary blockchain technology, monitoring developments, and investigating how Googles parent company could indeed start contributing to Web3 development going forward.