Blockchain This Week – Samsung Immerses Into NFT and Metaverse, Energy Crisis and Crypto Mining, WonderFi Buys Bitbuy

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Samsung Saunters Into NFT Space

The South Korean electronics giant Samsung’s 2022 TV lineup will include NFT enablers, including an on-screen explorer and an NFT marketplace aggregator. Samsung’s 2022 MICRO LED, Neo QLED, and The Frame TV would have support for NFTs.

Samsung Employs Blockchain for Reforestation Project

Samsung’s America division aims to plant over two million trees in Madagascar by the first quarter of 2022. It has joined hands with Blockchain company Veritree and will employ its blockchain to track the reforestation project that attempts to fight climate change by sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere.

Samsung Sets up Shop in Metaverse

At the Consumer Electronics expo(CES2022), Samsung inaugurated a digital replica of its physical 837 store located in New York. Dubbed 837X, this virtual replica that resides in Decentraland is open for a limited time and will allow users to explore an “experiential playground” and earn NFT rewards.

Nvidia Gives Metaverse Tools for Free

At the same Consumer Electronics Show (CES2022) in Las Vegas, Nvidia made Omniverse, its real-time 3D design collaboration and virtual world simulation platform, available free to individual creators and artists. The company calls Omniverse the “metaverse for engineers.”

GameStop’s NFT Division

The struggling video game retailer, GameStop, is reportedly considering a new NFT and crypto unit. This division intends to develop an NFT marketplace and focus on establishing crypto partnerships. Following this announcement, its stock surged over 31%.

WonderFi Buys Bitbuy

Vancouver based DeFi platform WonderFi Technologies will buy Canadian crypto exchange Bitbuy for $162 million in cash and shares. The deal allows WonderFi to bring crypto and access to DeFi under one roof.

El Salvador is introducing 20 bills that propose a legal framework for its forthcoming bitcoin bonds. The money raised will be leveraged to construct the ambitious Bitcoin City and purchase more bitcoin.

Bukele’s 2022 Bitcoin Predictions

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele tweeted his six predictions for bitcoin for the year 2022. According to Bukele, bitcoin will reach $100K, and two more countries will accept bitcoin as a sovereign currency. He also surmises bitcoin to become a contentious issue in the upcoming US elections.

Buterin’s Tweetstorm

Meanwhile, Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, took to Twitter to revisit some of his earlier opinions and beliefs. He discussed topics, including the rise of crypto and stablecoins in Argentina and Ethereum network scaling.

A Bearish First Week of the Year

Though the bitcoin hash rate hit a new all-time high entering into 2022, the premier crypto itself crashed to $41K levels. Other currencies, including Ether and Solana, also saw their prices plummeting. Overall, the crypto market lost over $900 million. The US Federal Reserve’s possible interest rate hike and Kazakhstan’s internet outage that brought crypto mining to a halt are the probable causes for this dismal week.

Power Outages in Russia, Crypto Mining Suspected

The Irkutsk region in Russia is battling frequent power outages. The city that offers the lowest electricity rates in Russia is also a convenient home for in-home crypto miners. Hence, the burgeoning mining activities are suspected as the cause of the electricity deficit.

Argentina Seeks Crypto Power Usage Run Down

Similar issues have surfaced in Argentina, where some provinces have suffered recurrent power cuts. To analyze the problem, Cammesa, the state-owned power supplier, has sent a memo enquiring the customers consuming high amounts of electricity on whether they are mining crypto

Kosovo to Ban Crypto Mining

In a move to tackle the worsening energy crisis, the Republic of Kosovo will ban crypto mining. The decision comes from Artane Rizvanolli, the country’s economy minister, who was acting on the advice of the Technical Committee for Emergency Measures in Energy Supply.

Mozilla Backs Out From Crypto

Mozilla, the company behind ubiquitous web browser Firefox, which has been accepting crypto donations since 2014, announced its decision to stop it. The move follows an uproar in the open source community after Mozilla’s tweet last week that was supposed to be an innocuous reminder that the firm takes cryptocurrencies. It caused a severe pushback from the previously unaware users who criticized the dire environmental impact of crypto.

Jamaica Completes CBDC Trial

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) announced that it has successfully completed the trial of its CDBC on Dec 31, 2021. It is set to roll out the sovereign digital currency in the first quarter of 2022.

South Korea’s Presidential Hopeful To Raise Money in Crypto

South Korea’s presidential candidate, Lee Jae-myung, is planning to raise funds in crypto and issue NFTs for supporters in the upcoming elections. His campaign hopes to attract young and tech-savvy voters with this act.

SEC Delays Decision on Spot BTC ETF

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has postponed the deadline to decide on NYDIG’s proposal for a spot bitcoin ETF from the earlier date of Jan 15 to Mar 15. It states that the delay was necessary to have “sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change and any comments received.”

WeChat Adds Support to Digital Yuan

Chinese technology giant Tencent has added support for China’s CBDC to its WeChat Pay wallet. Users now get an option to pay using digital yuan via a new access point in the WeChat Pay’s payment service.

Digital Farmers Driving Polygon Network Fees Through The Roof

Sunflower Farmers, the second-largest app and a farming game on Polygon, is driving up the gas fees and significantly slowing the network in the last few days. According to DappRadar, the farming app has seen a 3,704% increase in its user base and now has over 434,000 unique users.

H&M Denies News on Its Metaverse Foray

Reports earlier this week suggested that the Swedish clothing company H&M is planning to dabble into the Metaverse space with CEEK City, a virtual world that connects players with music artists, athletes, and other digital content creators. The firm, however, categorically denied the news and clarified that it is not opening any store in the metaverse.

Tarantino Moves Ahead With NFT Plans Despite Lawsuit

Despite the lawsuit from film studio Miramax, Quentin Tarantino is going ahead with the Pulp Fiction themed NFT release later this month. The dispute is mainly attributed to the NFTs that purportedly enable its holders exclusive access to certain content, which is not available otherwise. The “Pulp Fiction” project describes the “secret content” as the film’s screenplay handwritten text with Tarantino’s voiceover and claims that there is no infringement since Tarantino owns the rights to the screenplay.

Illuvium Drains Funds From Uniswap Pool

The blockchain gaming giant Illuvium drained all the funds from a Uniswap pool to preclude attackers from capitalizing on the security flaw discovered in its staking platform. Initially, though, Illuvium paused the minting contracts while announcing that no funds had been compromised.

Drone Data on Distributed Ledger

The enterprise public distributed network Hedera has revealed this week that Neuron, a leader in aviation technology, had leveraged its network for a drone radar system trial held last year. The pilots sponsored by the UK government tested how drone movements can be safely tracked across long distances using Hedera Consensus Service.

Dot Finance Moves to Polkadot

DeFi tool Dot Finance is moving to parachains on the Polkadot and Kusama blockchain, away from its previous deployment on Binance Smart Chain. It will start by launching on Moonriver, Moonbeam’s canary network on Kusama.

India’s First Crypto Index

Mumbai-based TickerPlant’s crypto app CryptoWire has launched IC15, India’s first index to track 15 of the global cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, and Dogecoin. The index’s base value is set at 10,000, with the base date as Apr 1, 2018. As of Jan 1, 2022, its open value was 71,463.30 points. 

Drone Racing on Algorand Metaverse

Drone Racing League developer Playground Labs are creating the first play-to-earn drone game in the metaverse. Though the details of the game are sketchy at the moment, the league plans to use Algorand’s blockchain.

And Finally, NFTs Make Their Way Into Australian Open

The Australian Open tennis tournament is slated to start on Jan 17. And it is also making some news in the metaverse. It is releasing over 6,776 NFTs representing the winning shots from the real world court and will host a virtual event on Decentraland. Each NFT is accompanied by the related footage, virtual wearables, and merchandise.

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