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Blockchain This Week – India’s Mixed Signals, NFTs Craze and Crimes on the Rise, Technoking Elon Musk

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Indian Officials’ Conflicting Take on Crypto

This week, there were two seemingly mutually exclusive reports about India’s stand on cryptocurrencies’ legality and their ban. On Monday, Reuters reported that the Indian government would shortly introduce a bill in its parliament that recommends imposing a blanket ban on trading, mining, issuance, and possession of cryptocurrencies. On the same day, another report emerged from a local outlet that stated that Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will not completely shut off the crypto operations but instead is proposing a “window” for experimenting with Bitcoin, Crypto, and Blockchain.

Bitcoin Reaches Over US $60K

Earlier this week, Bitcoin rallied past US $60K reaching an all time high of US $61,556.59. The price, however, slumped back to 55K shortly. This dip is attributed to strengthening United States treasury yields that touched a 13 month high this week. 

Meanwhile, a new research note from Deutsche Bank ranks Bitcoin in the top three world currencies by market cap of its circulation. According to the report, Bitcoin has surpassed the Japanese Yen and Indian Rupee and now is behind only the US Dollar and European Euro.

NFT Craze Continues

Sotheby’s Gets Into the NFT Game

After Christie’s, another famous auction house, Sotheby’s has entered the NFT space. This week Charles Stewart, its CEO, announced in an interview a partnership with anonymous artist Pak. Accordingly, Sotheby’s will hold a sale of Pak’s tokenized digital art. Moreover, it will be accepting crypto as payment for the artworks.

Robot Set to Auction NFTs

On Monday, Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics announced that Sophia, its humanoid robot, will hold an NFT auction on the NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway on Mar 23. Sophia’s NFTs are linked to the works of artist Andrea Bonaceto and curated by Los Angeles-based IV Gallery.

Celebrities and NFTs

Rapper Post Malone and his manager Dre London are teaming with the NFT platform Fyooz. The rapper’s concert streaming service, AUX Live, will mint the NFTs that give the fans several perks. Token holders can visit him backstage, fly with him to the concert, or play virtual beer pong with him.

Meanwhile, the American actress Lindsay Lohan is partnering with Justin Sun to release her NFTs on Tron Blockchain. She is expected to auction her exclusive NFT on the network today.

NFT of the Iconic Brooklyn Bridge on Sale

George.C.Parker was a famous con artist of the nineteenth century who made a living by illegally selling properties he did not own, especially New York’s public landmarks. He is renowned for repeatedly and successfully selling New York’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge. 

Now, an anonymous seller is paying homage to Parker with an NFT representing this sale. The seller, who calls themselves gcp-nyc, has listed what seems to be a Google Maps view of the Brooklyn Bridge on the OpenSea NFT marketplace.

Crypto Firm Adds NFT Business

The crypto exchange crypto.com is working on an NFT platform that will launch shortly. 

As per their announcement, it would be an invite-only platform that will feature the world’s top artists, athletes, and sports leagues. It has appointed Joe Conyers III, a music industry veteran, to drive the initiative.

Nifty Gateway and Hostile Account Takeovers

Over the last weekend, several users of the NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway claimed several anomalies on the platform. Some of them had their NFTs stolen, while some stated that their credit cards were misused to purchase and then trade NFTs. Nifty Gateway issued a statement earlier this week that some users who did not have a two-factor authentication enabled experienced “account takeovers.” It claims that the platform was not breached in the process. Meanwhile, one of the victims tweeted that Nifty was able to return the stolen NFTs, raising more questions than answers about the internal workings of the marketplace.

Elon Musk Now Endorses NFTs Alongside Bit- and Doge- Coin

Elon Musk is now selling his tweet about — selling a song about NFT as an NFT — as an NFT. It is listed on the Valuables platform, and at the time of writing, the highest bid was US 1.121 million.

Meanwhile, he is also taking his love for crypto to the next level. In an 8-K form filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, he has announced that starting this week, the titles of his and CFO of Tesla will change. He will carry the title of “Technoking of Tesla,” while the CFO, Zack Kirkhorn, will be the “Master of Coin” at Tesla.

Ledger’s New Digital Assets Custody Division

The crypto hardware wallet producer, Ledger, announced a new division that will focus on digital assets custody. The new unit, created around Ledger Vault platform, will also provide consulting to the customers.

eToro to Go Public

The crypto trading platform eToro announced that it has merged with FinTech Acquisition Corp. V, a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC.) As a result, its shares will soon be publicly traded.

Kentucky Approves Crypto Mining

The state legislature of Kentucky, US, has approved two bills that introduce energy incentives and tax breaks for the crypto mining operations. The Senate bill focuses on energy perks. The House bill proposes the removal of the sales tax on the electricity purchased for crypto mining. Both are now in front of Governor Andy Beshear, and on his signing will become laws.

South Korea Hardens Stand on Crypto

South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) has reportedly amended its financial reporting rules to include crypto. The amendment requires all crypto businesses to file records of their transactions with the Financial Intelligence Unit. Those who fail to report are at the risk of facing five years of jail.

Crypto Firm Denied Banking License

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has denied the crypto trading platform, Bitcoin Suisse AG, the license to operate as a bank. As per FINMA, there were several shortcomings in the firm’s application, such as weaknesses in money-laundering defense mechanisms.

Socially Irresponsible Bitcoin Ad

The UK’s advertising standards authority has banned an ad from the crypto exchange Coinfloor, calling it “socially irresponsible.” In the ad, an elderly woman encourages others to build a Bitcoin savings portfolio. The standards body denounced it as it suggested Bitcoin was a secure way to invest one’s pension.

Texas Takes on Binance Impersonator

The securities commission of Texas, US, has issued a cease and desist order against a crypto platform Delta Crypt. Delta Crypt was allegedly posing as crypto firm Binance. As per the securities agency, Delta Crypt was accused last year of illegally offering securities. After which, the firm took down their website but supposedly continued to operate under new names, including Binance Assets and BinanceAssets Ltd.

Social Token Platform Suffers a Wallet Breach

A hot wallet breach on the social token platform resulted in hackers running away with several tokens and close to 3,000 Ether. According to the digital assets platform, MyCrypto, the attackers seem to have gotten the private keys of the hot wallet, thereby accessing the users’ funds in their accounts. The platform suspended all withdrawals in light of the attack.

South African Crypto Exchange Halts Bitcoin and Litecoin Withdrawals

The South African crypto exchange iCE3 has stopped all Bitcoin and Litecoin withdrawals from its platform. It has also asked its users to withdraw their other cryptocurrencies. It reportedly found discrepancies in its balances. iCE3 has suspended deposits and trading of Bitcoin and Litecoin as per the guidance of its legal and audit teams.

Nvidia Unwittingly Removes Hashrate Limiter

In Feb, Nvidia updated their GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card to reduce the hash rate when the card was used to mine Ether. It aimed to prevent a “demand-induced shortage” caused by the crypto miners. This feature, however, was inadvertently bypassed by Nvidia’s latest software update. As per the GPU manufacturer, this driver update, intended only for its developers, was mistakenly released, thereby creating a backdoor for anyone wanting to circumvent the limitation.

Oakland A’s Throw a Bitcoin Pitch

Major League Baseball (MLB) team Oakland Athletics a.k.a Oakland A’s, is allowing its fans to pay in Bitcoin for accessing private suites in their stadium. The fans can pay US $64,800 or one Bitcoin for these private luxury boxes that seat up to six people.

Fiat Gets on to The Crypto Bandwagon

Stellantis, the parent company of car manufacturer Fiat, has partnered with Kiri Technologies to reward drivers in crypto. People using the latest model of Fiat 500 electric vehicles will receive 1 KiriCoin for every kilometer driven. Additionally, efficient drivers will receive more rewards.

And Finally, Tweet to Send Crypto

Bottlepay, the UK-based payments network, has launched a platform that allows users to send Bitcoin on Twitter. People have to just tweet a message to Bottlepay with the amount and the Twitter username of the recipient for instantly sending the crypto from one wallet to another.

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