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Avalanche Is The New Destination For Sports Illustrated Tickets
Avalanche has acquired a stake in Sports Illustrated Tickets and has become the blockchain provider for its NFT-enabled ticketing service, Box Office, which is a blockchain-based ticketing service, allows individuals to organize paid or free events. The Super Tickets NFT tickets offered by Box Office include features such as NFT videos, exclusive offers, and loyalty benefits, according to a press release by SI Tickets.
Sports Illustrated Tickets operates as a secondary market ticketing platform under the Sports Illustrated brand umbrella. While it leases the Sports Illustrated brand through a brand management firm, it is a distinct entity compared to the troubled magazine, emphasized SI Tickets CEO David Lane in an interview.
An Inevitable Move
Since its launch in May 2023, Box Office has issued approximately 300,000 tickets, according to SI Tickets. Initially, Box Office was launched on Polygon with support by Consensys. Ava Labs, the company behind Avalanche, had discussions with SI Tickets to support the platform at that time, explained John Nahas, Ava Labs Senior Vice President of business development. Less than a year later, SI Tickets transitioned to Avalanche.
According to John, Polygon had its moment, and then SI Tickets returned and indicated that many of the things which had been promised for assistance purposes, particularly on the tech side, seemed to be true and then the switch over to Avalanche seemed inevitable.
The Rise Of NFT Ticketing
Ava Labs appears to have high hopes for NFT ticketing. It has invested in another Web3 ticketing platform called tixbase, and the South Korean concert ticket platform Dreamus has integrated with Avalanche. However, when it comes to NFT tickets, Box Office is considered the primary component of a multi-faceted strategy, according to Nahas.
Lane of SI Tickets expressed optimism about the potential of Web3 for the ticketing industry, highlighting that traditional barcode scans are comparatively ineffective compared to NFT tickets, which facilitate easier verification and can serve as keepsakes after events.
Ethereum Finds Hope Via Verkle Trees Implementation
Ethereum solo stakers and network nodes stand to gain rewards with the integration of Verkle trees, as stated by Vitalik Buterin. The Ethereum co-founder recently praised the benefits of this technological upgrade to the Ethereum protocol. This followed the much-anticipated activation of the Beacon Chain, marking the transition of Ethereum to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus in September 2022.
Verkle trees are set to enable stateless validator clients, with Buterin emphasizing their ability to empower staking nodes to function with minimal hard disk space and achieve nearly instant synchronization. Buterin had previously outlined a step-by-step process aimed at guiding the smart contract blockchain towards what he termed the endgame of development for Ethereum.
Verkle Trees Part Of Roadmap
Five keywords summarized the successive development phases, The Merge, Surge, Verge, Purge, and Splurge detail the technical complexities of various developmental milestones. Verkle trees fall within the Verge category, representing the third phase of the development path for Ethereum.
This phase includes the introduction of Verkle trees, which are poised to enhance data storage efficiency and reduce node size. Buterin explained the technical details of Verkle trees in the Ethereum Improvement Proposal documentation published in 2022.
Verkle trees serve a similar function to Merkle trees, which consolidate all transactions within a block and generate proof of the entire dataset for a user seeking verification. The key advantage that Verkle trees offer, however, is their significantly smaller proof size. While Verkle trees employ structures similar to Merkle trees, a key difference lies in nodes using a specific hash type called a vector commitment, which is transmitted to sub-nodes. Vector commitments are also expected to provide significant long-term benefits to the Ethereum network.
The primary advantage of Verkle trees is a move towards statelessness for Ethereum, where nodes verifying blocks would no longer be needed for storage. Verkle trees enable smaller proof sizes, which can fit within each block of the Ethereum blockchain. As a result, nodes can verify any block using the contained data.
The implementation of Verkle trees is expected to introduce a variety of new functionalities, including reduced hardware requirements for operating Ethereum nodes, thus improving network decentralization. Additionally, new nodes can quickly join the network and synchronize with it promptly.
The development of Verkle trees is ongoing, and integrating them into the Ethereum protocol will require several adjustments. These adjustments include a new data structure to maintain the state of the network, a revised gas accounting model, a plan for migrating to Verkle trees, new cryptographic primitives, and new block-level fields.
Worldcoin Rally Continues As Daily User Milestone Gets Surpassed
The remarkable surge exhibited by Worldcoin continues to persist, marked by the revelation that its World App achieved over 1 million daily users in the past week. The project disclosed this milestone via a tweet on February 17th, illustrating a consistent uptrend in daily user numbers since November.
Simultaneously, the price of WLD is soaring, hitting a new peak of nearly $8 not too long ago, before retracting to $6.75. WLD emerged as the top-performing crypto asset in the past week among the top 100, with a remarkable surge of 155% over the past seven days, as per CoinGecko.
A New Era In AI
This surge is largely attributed to the impending launch of Sora, an innovative text-to-video AI model by OpenAI, spearheaded by Worldcoin co-founder, Sam Altman. Sora was unveiled on February 15th, a development which further fueled momentum for WLD.
The allure that Worldcoin has when it comes to free tokens unsurprisingly garnered plenty of popularity, particularly in emerging countries last year, with millions of World IDs reportedly issued. Nonetheless, regulatory hurdles emerged, with investigations by the Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner into potential violations of the Privacy Ordinance and Worldcoin halting World ID verification in Kenya under pressure by local regulators.
The Controversy Continues
While the rally boosted early investor portfolios significantly, including contentious entities within the Web3 sector, such as Teneo and Alameda Research, it has also raised eyebrows. Worldcoin has stirred controversy since its mainnet launch in July, aiming to address the deepfake issue by introducing a digital identity protocol atop Ethereum. Users obtain a World ID post retina scan verification, ensuring uniqueness and a lack of prior World ID issuance.
Each World ID recipient received 25 WLD tokens, with Worldcoin Orb operators, who conduct iris scans, also receiving WLD tokens. Initially valued at around $60, the 25 WLD tokens surged in value to around $170 at current rates.
Lastly, although the use of retina-scanning technology raises suspicion, Worldcoin assures the deletion of retina images once an iris code is generated, by default. Moreover, users have the option to join a data custody program to avoid re-verification via iris scans. Still, many remain unconvinced that the data is in fact deleted, as other platforms like Discord made similar promises but those turned out to be false.
New Legislative Policy Could Enable Japanese Investment Funds To Hold Crypto
In a notable development indicating a shift in the Japanese approach to cryptocurrencies, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his administration recently took steps to enable venture capital firms and investment funds to directly hold crypto assets. The objective is to modify the local Industrial Competitiveness Enhancement Act to include digital assets as acceptable investments for investment limited partnerships commonly used by venture capital firms.
This change highlights renewed intentions to embrace the potential advantages of digital assets within the Japanese investment framework. The main points of focus will therefore be on legislative approval, Web3 firms, and gradual regulatory relaxation.
The cabinet led by Prime Minister Kishida approved the bill on February 16th, marking a crucial stage before its submission to the Japanese Parliament, for discussion. The proposed adjustment seeks to grant venture capital firms and investment funds more freedom to interact with cryptocurrencies, aligning with the broader goal of promoting local innovation and economic development.
Prime Minister Kishida also emphasized support for Web3 firms, indicating strategic alignment with emerging technologies and digital advancements. Lastly, while Japan has been known for its strict regulations in the digital asset domain, recent initiatives show a gradual relaxation of certain crypto regulations concerning token listings and taxation. The proposed bill marks a significant departure compared to the previous conservative regulatory stance, acknowledging the evolving nature of digital assets and their potential impact on investments.
As Japan moves towards integrating digital assets into its investment landscape, stakeholders will closely watch what happens next. The outcome of the forthcoming debate could significantly shape domestic regulatory direction and influence the position of Japan within the global blockchain and digital arena.
If the proposed amendment is approved, it could open doors for increased exposure to cryptocurrencies within the local investment sector, fostering innovation and potentially attracting new capital into the market.
FTX Drama Continues As Hidden Deal Uncovered In Lawsuit
According to a report on February 17th, a lawsuit alleges that FTX orchestrated a confidential deal with Deltec Bank. Caroline Ellison, previously the CEO of Alameda Research, disclosed that Alameda had the ability to generate USDT through credit and subsequently sell it for profit via an unofficial credit line with Deltec, deferring immediate payment.
This setup enabled Alameda to mint billions in USDT during 2020 and 2021, selling the cryptocurrency at a profit before settling debts. This approach provided Alameda with considerable financial leverage, facilitating transactions with funds not yet paid for, described as a short-term credit facility.
A Substantial Scam
The lawsuit contends that Deltec facilitated the movement of funds between FTX and Alameda, including transferring FTX customer deposits to Alameda, contrary to standard protocols. It further alleges that Deltec favored the transactions of Alameda, particularly during cryptocurrency market downturns.
Connections between Deltec, FTX, and Moonstone Bank are also highlighted, with Moonstone Bank receiving substantial sums by Alameda and an FTX affiliate. Following scrutiny by the Federal Reserve in August 2023, Moonstone Bank ceased operations this February.
Deltec representatives, including lawyer Desiree Moore, asserted that neither the bank nor its Chairman were aware of any wrongdoing. They argued that the accusations rely on unverified assertions by individuals seeking to resolve legal disputes.
These claims compound the legal hurdles facing FTX, which are largely distinct compared to its bankruptcy proceedings and the criminal case involving its former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried. The intricate network of financial dealings raises concerns about regulatory oversight within the cryptocurrency sector.
Honduras Bans Crypto Due To Lack Of Precise Regulations
Honduras has implemented a prohibition on cryptocurrency trading within its financial institutions, as declared by the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBS). This action aims to safeguard the integrity of the local financial system, diverging as a result of the growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies worldwide, such as the introduction of Bitcoin ETFs in the US.
The decision arises due to the absence of precise regulations concerning crypto assets within Honduras, leaving consumers vulnerable to fraud and illicit activities like money laundering. Additionally, concerns have been raised regarding the decentralized nature of crypto enterprises, posing challenges for local regulators to oversee their operations.
A Ban To Protect Individuals
The CNBS directive explicitly forbids financial entities in Honduras when it comes to engaging with crypto assets, virtual currencies, tokens, or similar digital assets that have not received approval by the Central Bank of Honduras. This action is taken to closely monitor financial transactions and uphold the security of the domestic financial sector.
This approach contrasts with that of other nations increasingly embracing crypto trading and blockchain technology. While some countries are welcoming these digital assets, Honduras is adopting a cautious stance to mitigate potential risks.
Unsurprisingly, the ban has elicited diverse reactions, with some commending the prudence of the government in protecting consumers, while others criticize it for potentially hindering innovation and restricting the involvement of the country in the global digital economy.
Looking ahead, the ban underscores the challenges of integrating digital assets into traditional financial systems and fuels the ongoing global debate on regulating these emerging technologies. In any case, Honduras contributes to the ongoing discourse on striking a balance between innovation and regulation in the cryptocurrency domain.
Funding Deals 13th To 19th February 2024
It has been an incredible week for companies around the globe in terms of securing funding to fuel their growth and innovation. Here are some of the latest investment highlights between February 13th-19th, courtesy of CryptoWeekly:
RAI Inc - Secured $3.5M in Seed funding from Aura Investment on 02/16/2024.
Lava Network - Raised an impressive $15M in Seed funding from HashKey Capital on 02/15/2024, bolstering their journey in Iceland's thriving tech ecosystem.
Helika - Successfully closed $8M in Series A funding led by Pantera Capital on 02/15/2024, driving forward their mission in Canada's vibrant startup landscape.
Life DeFi - Secured $500K in Seed funding from MDIM Holdings on 02/15/2024, empowering their vision to revolutionize the DeFi space in the United States.
Ultiverse - Raised $4M through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) backed by IDG Capital on 02/14/2024, marking a significant milestone for the blockchain startup based in Singapore.
Architect - Closed a notable $12M in Series A funding led by BlockTower Capital on 02/14/2024, fueling their ambition to reshape the future of architecture in the United States.
FORDEFI - Secured $10M in Seed funding from Electric Capital on 02/13/2024, propelling their mission to democratize decentralized finance in the United States.
Nym Technologies SA - Received a grant of $150K from Zcash Open Major Grants on 02/13/2024, empowering their efforts to enhance privacy infrastructure from Switzerland.
IntentX - Raised $1.8M in Seed funding from Selini Capital on 02/13/2024, accelerating their journey to innovate in the global marketplace.
Thunderbirds - Secured $5.5M in Seed funding from Aura Investment on 02/13/2024, paving the way for their ambitious endeavors in the United States.
👏 Congratulations to everyone on their funding achievements! Excited to witness the remarkable impact they'll make in their respective industries. As always, stay up to date with all the latest developments with CryptoWeekly.
Inflation Concerns Continue As BTC Holds Its Ground
Despite hovering around the mark, Bitcoin maintained its position at $52,000 as Wall Street commenced trading on February 16th, while the latest macroeconomic data by the United States exceeded expectations. Other data indicated stability in BTC price as the final TradFi trading session of the week began.
Following the release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) two days prior, the Producer Price Index (PPI) figures for January raised concerns about inflation in the US Year-on-year, PPI stood at 0.9%, slightly lower than the previous month but still 0.3% higher than market forecasts. Moreover, the combination of high CPI and PPI results prompted caution in the markets regarding potential adjustments to fiscal policy by the Federal Reserve this year.
Cutting Interest Rates
According to data by the FedWatch Tool, the likelihood of a Fed interest rate reduction at its March meeting was 8.5% at the time of reporting, significantly lower than the 17.5% probability at the beginning of the week. A March interest rate cut is likely completely ruled out after this data, trading resource The Kobeissi Letter commented on X, echoing its response to CPI. Furthermore, a May rate cut has become questionable as well.
Bitcoin had reached $52,884 on Bitstamp the previous day, marking its highest level since late November 2021, but faced resistance via sellers. Analyzing four-hour timeframes, popular trader Skew highlighted the significance of the 21-period exponential moving average (EMA), currently positioned around $51,000. There has been choppy price action here with a lot of inside bar closes essentially within the same intraday balance, he observed.
Elsewhere, U.S. spot-Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) saw net inflows of nearly half a billion dollars on February 15th, contributing to a strong week where the ETF products regained attention more than a month after their initial launch. However, despite removing more BTC than adding to it daily within its circulation, the ETFs raised some concerns among market observers.
Strategists at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and MFS Investment Management are among those talking up prospects in Europe. After being out of favor with investors for so long, stock valuations look enticing compared with their pace-setting US peers. Plus, there is no threat of Magnificent Seven tech bubble popping.
Additionally, fund managers are becoming increasingly concerned about a systemic credit event as alarms sound in global property markets. According to the most recent Global Fund Manager survey, about one in six of those polled believe such a crunch is the most serious tail risk facing markets. The growing concern about US commercial real estate and Chinese property markets has pushed it to third place among respondents, trailing only higher inflation and geopolitical tensions.
BEAM Token Price Drops Dramatically Following Phishing Attack
As reported by the blockchain analytics platform Lookonchain, a phishing incident recently targeted a crypto trader, resulting in the unauthorized acquisition of over 180 million BEAM tokens on Wednesday, impacting the valuation and price of the token.
Phishing schemes stand as one of the prevalent strategies in crypto-related fraudulent activities, exploiting the inexperience of some investors and oversights of more seasoned traders to gain illicit access to funds.
Identified by users as Kirill Marinov, the victim reportedly lost 180.25 million BEAM tokens valued at around $5.14 million to an account named Fake_Phishing291038. Following the theft, the scammer promptly liquidated the stolen BEAM tokens, converting them into 1,629 ETH, valued at roughly $4.6 million.
According to the Web3 anti-scam platform Scam Sniffer, the victim initiated an increase allowance transaction, granting access to the tokens to the scammer. It was later revealed that the token spender operates through a Safe Wallet address. However, the report lacks further specifics regarding the identity of the victim as well as the precise techniques employed by the scammer and their identity.
Phishing scams usually employ various methods to deceive victims into disclosing private keys or login credentials, thereby compromising the security of their wallets. Consequently, experts emphasize the importance of vigilance and implementing necessary precautions to safeguard crypto assets.
Regarding the impact on BEAM token price, following the theft and subsequent exchange to ETH, the token experienced a decline, dropping to approximately $0.028. The BEAM token functions as the native cryptocurrency for the Beam network, a gaming network powered by the Merit Circle DAO. The ecosystem aims to foster collaboration between developers and gamers to advance the gaming industry.
Despite the negative market reaction post-scam, the BEAM price recorded a 32.9% increase over the past week. Additionally, its trust score in spot markets remains unaffected, according to data provided by CoinGecko.
Chainlink And Telefonica Shall Utilize GSMA Gateway To Improve Web3 Security
Spanish telecommunications firm Telefonica has announced a collaboration with Chainlink to establish secure connections for Web3 smart contracts. In a recent announcement, the company emphasized plans centered around GSMA Open Gateway API security, with blockchain technology taking precedence. As per the announcement, this partnership aims to ensure the security of telecommunications networks for linking any API to the Polygon network.
A Major Partnership
The partnership highlights a significant advancement in incorporating telecommunications capabilities into the blockchain sector and underscores the necessity for secure oracle networks to furnish real-world data on-chain. This interconnected environment enhances the functionality and security of Web3 applications, contributing to a more resilient and verifiable digital landscape.
Consequently, with the telecommunications industry progressing towards increased GSMA integration to enhance developer tools for deploying services across various networks, security emerges as a top priority. Amid the era of digital transformation, the Web3 ecosystem has witnessed notable changes in recent months, with efficiency and security emerging as crucial advancements.
Addressing Key Issues
Telefonica highlighted Sim Swap APIs as a significant advantage of the partnership, especially as developers rely on APIs to offer a wide array of services. The Sim Swap APIs verify and validate the last instance a mobile number was used in fraudulent activities, thereby aiding in account protection.
Both companies working together will therefore enhance security across all stages of data verification. Furthermore, allowing smart contracts to access information through APIs resolves trust issues while ensuring minimal changes to SIM cards.
The collaboration with Chainlink also addresses issues with two-factor authentication (2FA) in Web3 and DeFi ecosystems. In any case, the partnership is expected to empower developers as the ecosystem expands and asset adoption increases. Developers can additionally enhance the ecosystem by implementing proper verification systems through new connectivity platforms. Ensuring security will mitigate regulatory hurdles in the sector and open developers to broader markets, according to Johann Eid, the Chief Business Officer of Chainlink Labs.
Senator Warren Surprises Everyone By Celebrating Satoshi Nakamoto
Senator Elizabeth Warren, known for her doubts and criticisms regarding Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general, publicly commemorated its 15th anniversary by acknowledging the creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. Warren took part in the Capitol Flag Program to honor the establishment of Bitcoin as a financial system.
A Change In Tone
A flag was raised over the Capitol on December 18th, 2023, a date acknowledged by the Bitcoin community as HODL Day. The acknowledgment by Warren demonstrates a noticeable shift compared to her previous stance on crypto. The event surrounding the acknowledgment of the flag is spotlighted in New York City, with a gathering organized by Bitcoin Magazine and PubKey.
Thomas Pacchia, Co-Founder of PubKey, commented on Warren supporting Bitcoin, emphasizing the significance of political advocacy through actions. This change follows her recent legislative proposals aimed at curbing the misuse of cryptocurrencies for illicit activities, addressing the challenges posed by digital currencies.
Not Everyone Is Convinced
Despite Elizabeth Warren apparently expressing her support for Bitcoin, most in the crypto community are not convinced. In fact, many believe this is yet another attempt by someone in the government to garner favor with disenfranchised citizens, with others even going as far as to claim that the Fed may be trying to backtrack on its comments linking crypto to Hamas.
There is some truth to these opinions though, as several notable individuals like Warren Buffet are now allegedly supporting crypto despite lambasting it in the past. After the United States Securities and Exchange Commission recently approved various BTC ETF applications, the notion is that the government is attempting to capitalize on the growing popularity and mainstream usage of crypto even if they do not actually support it behind the scenes.
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Coinbase And Ledger Team Up To Simplify Crypto Wallet Processes
Ledger recently revealed a strategic alliance with Coinbase, incorporating Coinbase Pay into the Ledger Live app. The goal of the partnership is to empower users to directly acquire crypto via hardware wallets provided by Ledger, simplifying the process for users to transfer crypto and conduct transactions on their desktop or mobile device.
Previously, the process of transferring crypto to Ledger Live through Coinbase was intricate and prone to errors. With this latest development, Ledger users can receive crypto purchases directly through Coinbase on their Ledger device, maintaining their preferred payment methods such as ACH, Visa, Mastercard, and Maestro, as highlighted in a recent blog post by Ledger.
Simplification Is Key
Users can now reportedly purchase crypto through their Coinbase account at the same cost as on Coinbase.com and transfer it to their Ledger device with just a few clicks, without requiring additional Know-Your-Customer (KYC) procedures for existing Coinbase users. This new feature also facilitates instant transactions.
Ian Rogers, Chief Experience Officer at Ledger, emphasized the common values shared between Ledger and Coinbase, highlighting the mutual commitment to making crypto accessible and secure for consumers. Coinbase and Ledger are among the few companies in crypto with a tenure of over ten years, and the two companies already share both values and customers, Rogers stated, before also saying that both Ledger and Coinbase are dedicated to simplifying crypto usage and ensuring consumer security.
A Mutually Beneficial Partnership
Now, Coinbase users can effortlessly purchase crypto directly within Ledger Live, and Ledger users can easily buy through Coinbase. Ledger is pleased to offer this experience to Coinbase customers and provide an option for Ledger users through this partnership.
Lauren Dowling, Head of Product at Coinbase Developer Payment Services, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, stating that at Coinbase, the focus has been on developing the most trusted, scalable, and reliable onramps and infrastructure for onchain builders, expanding access to crypto and contributing to an updated financial system. This goal ultimately led to the collaboration with Ledger to enable users to seamlessly purchase crypto with Coinbase Pay directly into their self-custody solution.
This feature is being introduced across several key markets, including the US, UK, EU, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Singapore.