Blockchain This Week – Ether, Dogecoin to the Moon, WallStreetBets, Internet Computer

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It is a 50!!!! Today’s newsletter is the 50th in the series. It feels as if I just started writing this newsletter, and a year has just passed by. 

It has been yet another exciting week in the world of Blockchain and crypto. Let us go over the salient developments of this week.

Ether Shoots Past $3,600

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, has scaled unprecedented heights this week. After breaching the $3K mark on Monday, Ether swiftly climbed up to 3.5K by mid-week. On Thursday, it shot up further and reached a new all-time high of $3,607.76. At the time of writing, one Ether was worth $3,548.09.

The growing acceptance of Ethereum Blockchain, the technology underpinning Ether, is believed to be the reason for this spike in value. Ethereum’s popularity is swelling due to the increased interest in Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and NFTs, and the proliferation of Dapps.

Meanwhile, people are also mysteriously rushing to buy the original version of Ether, Ether Classic, which drove its price by over 300 percent in a week. 

Billionaire Buterin

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is now a billionaire following the meteoric rise in the price of Ether. His Ether address holds 333,521.000000911 Ether that is today worth $1,165,932,717.43. The value of his holdings has increased 4X since January 2021.

Ether Options Volume Surpasses That of Bitcoin

The trading volume of Ether options in several crypto exchanges, including Deribit, performed an unprecedented feat. For the first time, the Ether options trading volumes surpassed that of Bitcoin this week. A cumulative $1.32 billion worth of Ether options was traded, while the total trading volume of Bitcoin options was $879.5 million.

Gemini and eToro List “No Joke” Dogecoin

While calling Dogecoin a “No Joke” coin, Tyler Winklevoss, the co-founder and CEO of Gemini exchange, announced that the crypto exchange is now supporting Dogecoin (DOGE). Customers can trade DOGE for USD, GBP, EURO, CAD, AUD, HKD, and SGD pairs. Much Wow!!

Similarly, the crypto trading platform eToro said it would add Dogecoin to its exchange, yielding to the demands of its customers.

DOGE Leaps New Fences

Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency that started as a meme-coin, is demanding to be taken seriously. Earlier this week, its price shot up to $0.696 after Gemini announced its listing on the platform. As a result, Dogecoin’s market capitalization rose to $86 billion, making it the fourth-largest cryptocurrency. The year-on-year growth of this “people’s cryptocurrency” is a whopping 12,456.89 percent. Furthermore, Dogecoin is now worth more than its self-proclaimed Dogefather, Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Oakland A’s Sells Baseball Tickets for DOGE

Oakland A’s, a Major League Baseball team who earlier sold box seats for Bitcoin, is now backing everyone’s favorite, Dogecoin. It announced earlier this week that it was selling two-seat pods for 100 DOGE for its series with the Toronto Blue Jays. Later, Dave Kaval, the President of the A’s, tweeted that A’s have “processed the first Dogecoin transaction in 

@mlb  history!”

Grayscale and New York Giants Team Up

The cryptocurrency asset manager Grayscale Investments and the American NFL team, New York Giants, announced their exclusive partnership this week. Grayscale is now the Official Digital Currency Asset Management Partner of the New York Giants

Nokia Launches Blockchain-Driven Data Marketplace

Nokia has launched a data marketplace that allows trusted exchange and monetization of data on a private Blockchain network. According to Nokia, such a platform would accelerate AI and machine learning initiatives. Additionally, it offers secure multi-party transactions covering a wide range of industries.

Dfinity Launches the Internet Computer

This week, Dfinity Foundation launched its ambitious Internet Computer, a Blockchain platform that runs at web speed with unlimited capacity. Its developers and promoters claim that the new network can be the basis of a new internet that is truly decentralized, secure, and scalable. Dfinity also has an “algorithmic governance system” that will run on independent data centers with specially designed “node machines.” Today, this network is supported by 48 data centers running 1,300 nodes across North America.

Filecoin’s Decentralized Digital Asset Storage

The crypto platform, Filecoin, introduced a new decentralized storage service aimed to protect the digital content associated with the NFTs. NFT.Storage is a free service that allows users to store their NFT related information off-chain.

Kraken Exchange Asked to Divulge Its User Transactions

A federal court in California has granted permission to the US Internal Revenue Service to serve a “John Doe Summons” to the Kraken crypto exchange. As per the summons, Kraken would have to provide details of the users who executed more than $20,000 worth of crypto transactions in any year between 2016 and 2020 to the IRS. Additionally, the IRS will verify if Kraken is compliant with the regulatory requirements, such as following the KYC rules.

Coinbase Lists Tether

The crypto exchange, Coinbase, announced this week that its customers could buy, sell, send, receive, trade, or store USD backed Tether (USDT) stablecoin on its platform. USDT trading is available across all regions covered by the exchange, except for New York State.

Galaxy Digital Buys BitGo

Galaxy Digital, a digital asset merchant bank, has bought BitGo, a regulated crypto custody service provider, for $1.2 billion. As a result, BitGo shareholders will get 33.8 million newly issued Galaxy Digital’s shares and close to $265 million in cash.

WallStreetBets to Combat Market Manipulation With Blockchain

WallStreetBets, the Reddit group that gained the world’s attention recently due to its role in bringing down some powerful hedge funds, is now working on another product to combat market manipulation. This time, it has chosen an Exchange Traded Product (ETP) run on a Blockchain network. Because of the decentralized nature of the platform, ETPs offer transparency and accountability while preventing any manipulations by interested parties.

Digital Dollar Project to Launch Five Pilots

The US Digital Dollar Project announced earlier this week that it would launch five pilots over the next 12 months to test the potential of a United States Central Bank Digital Currency. These pilots would be funded by Accenture. Digital Dollar Project plans to collaborate with several entities, including financial institutions, retailers, and NGOs.

Korean Largest Bank to Be Crypto Custodians

KB Kookmin, the largest bank in South Korea, has launched its digital asset custody service for institutional investors this week. The bank has partnered with the Blockchain firms Haechi Labs and Hashed to develop this KODA platform. KODA will also support transactions with selected crypto exchanges.

Thailand Mandates In-Person KYC for Crypto Account Creation

Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) announced this week of tighter KYC requirements to open accounts in the local crypto exchanges. These exchanges are required to verify the identities of their potential customers using a “dip-chip” machine, which requires the clients to be physically present at the location. As per Poramin Insom, the co-founder and director of crypto platform Satang Corp, this mandate comes into effect in September this year.

Tajikistan to Leverage Blockchain for E-Government Infrastructure

The Tajik Ministry of Industry of New Technologies has inked a partnership with the Blockchain firm Fantom Foundation. They will collaborate on a range of Blockchain-based solutions for nationwide IT infrastructure. 

Spartan Project Exploited

The Spartan Protocol, built on Binance Smart Chain, was exploited earlier this week. As per PeckShield, a security startup, a flawed logic in liquidity share calculation at the time of asset withdrawal after pool token burning is the cause of the issue. The hack inflated the asset balance of the pool that resulted in a higher than required amount of assets to be claimed at the time of token burning. As a result, the impacted liquidity pool lost over $30 million.

WallStreetBets Members Targeted

Members of the WallStreetBets (WSB) Reddit forum were targeted by a likely crypto scam that could have led to losses of over $2 million. As per reports, members were spurred to buy a new token called WSB Finance on a Telegram account called “WallStreetBets – Crypto Pumps.” Users were asked to send either Binance Coins or Ether to a crypto wallet and contact Crypto Pumps’ token bot to receive WSB Finance tokens. But, these digital coins were never delivered.

MetaMask Warns About a Phishing Bot

The crypto wallet provider MetaMask alerted its users of a new phishing exploit. As per the tweet, users reportedly will be prompted to enter their information, including seed recovery phrases, into a Google Docs form of a spurious instant support portal. The perpetrators would then be able to gain access to the users’ crypto wallets using the seed phrase. 

Square’s Quarterly Earnings Exceeds Expectations, Thanks to Bitcoin

Square Inc, the US based fintech firm, reported its quarterly earnings this week. Its $5.06 billion quarterly revenue was almost double the expectations of the analysts. Bitcoin, alone, contributed to over $3.5 billion of the revenue.

Salary in Bitcoin

Ifunanyachi Achara, a Nigeria-born soccer player for Toronto FC, revealed this week that he takes close to half of his Major League Soccer (MLS) salary in Bitcoin. Earlier, he used to self-purchase Bitcoin from Binance but now has switched to crypto firm Bitwage.

NFTs In Action

NBA Top Shot NFT Auction

House of Kibaa, an NFT studio specialized in the creation of NFTs, announced an auction of three NBA Top Shot NFTs this week. The NFTs depict the slam dunks from a renowned basketball player LeBron James. The auction will run from May 6 to May 20.

Sotheby’s to Accept Crypto for Banksy’s Work

In a first for the close to three centuries old auction house, Sotheby’s will accept crypto payments for artist Banksy’s “Love is in the Air” artwork. Patrons can pay in Bitcoin and Ether. 

Furthermore, Sotheby’s will also auction the commonly agreed-upon first NFT that was ever minted – Kevin McCoy’s “Quantum”. Quantum that was created on 05-03-2014 09:27:34 will be sold at an online auction from June 3-10.

Star Wars NFT Auction

StarColl, an NFT marketplace exclusively dedicated to one of the largest private Star Wars collections, is set to list NFTs of the most iconic Star Wars memorabilia in its catalog. The early registration for the auction began on May 4, dubbed Star Wars Day. This collection would feature close to 800 limited edition memorabilia of the movie franchise.

Auto Insurance Firm to Deal in Bitcoin

San Francisco-based Metromile, Inc., a leading digital insurance platform and pay-per-mile auto insurer made an announcement this week that furthers crypto adoption in the mainstream. Metromile announced that it would soon allow policyholders to pay for insurance and receive payment for eligible and approved insured claims in bitcoin. It would also buy $10 million worth of bitcoin in Q2 2021 to facilitate crypto claim settlements.

Blockchain to Create Sustainable Supply Chain

The US Cotton Trust Protocol, a consortium of over 300 brands, retailers, mills, and manufacturers in the textile industry, has partnered with the Blockchain firm TextileGenesis. Cotton Trust will use the TextileGenesis Blockchain platform to trace cotton fiber across its entire lifecycle. The goal is to inspire sustainable practices across the cotton supply chain and provide trustworthy information to the customers

Tala Partners With Visa to Drive Crypto Adoption in Underbanked Populace

Tala, the fintech startup, is partnering with Visa along with Circle and the Stellar Development Foundation. Together, they will explore opportunities to make it easier for the underserved people to access crypto, starting with USDC – a stablecoin governed by the Center Consortium. 

And Finally, Crypto Donations to Combat Autism

Late last month, a virtual live-streamed benefit event raised over $3 million in donations to support NEXT for AUTISM, a charity working for autistic people and their families across the United States. The event organizers had also teamed up with crypto platforms Nexo and The Giving Block to facilitate donations in crypto. Bitcoin, Ether, Dai, Litecoin were among the cryptocurrencies accepted. The event raised over $440,000 in crypto contributions from close to 100 donors. Even though the event is complete, the donors can still contribute funds to the charity using Nexo’s donations portal.

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