Blockchain This Week – Crypto Support For Ukraine, FTX Gaming Unit, Intel Into Bitcoin Mining, OpenSea Phishing

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People Sending Crypto to Aid Ukraine

A report from blockchain analytics firm Elliptic suggests a sharp influx of cryptocurrency donations to Ukrainian NGOs supporting a vast range of assistance to the country at this time of duress. Among these are organizations such as Come Back Alive, which provides training and medical equipment, and hacktivist groups Ukrainian Cyber Alliance and Belarusian Cyber-Partisans. 

A bitcoin wallet belonging to a charity group claiming to support the Ukrainian military has received more than 19 bitcoins amounting to $700,000 since August 2021- $400,000 worth of crypto received in the last 48 hours. Furthermore, another bitcoin wallet, set up by the Ukrainian English-language news publication Kyiv Independent, which plans to continue reporting amid the conflict, has received around $5,500 in donations. 

UkraineDAO

Nadya Tolokonnikova, a political activist, a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin, and founding members of the Moscow based feminist protest punk rock and performance art group, announced the launch of UkraineDAO. The goal of this DAO is to raise donations to the civilian organizations in Ukraine to help people suffering from war brought upon them by Putin.

FTX US Rolls Out Gaming Unit

FTX.US, the US subsidiary of crypto exchange FTX, has launched a gaming unit – FTX Gaming. FTX sees games as an “exciting use case for crypto” and aims to encourage game publishers to adopt crypto. FTX Gaming’s “crypto-as-a-service” platform will allow publishers to launch gaming tokens and support NFTs.

DAO Trying to Buy NFL Franchise

A decentralized organization named BuyTheBroncosDAO is attempting to raise $4 billion in a bid to buy the American football team, Denver Broncos. According to Sean O’Brien, who is leading the effort, the purpose is to set up the infrastructure to enable fans to cherish owning part of their favorite team.

UK Police Indemnify Crypto Scam Victims

The Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has returned £4 million to the 23 verified victims of an international crypto scam, solved six months ago. They are also investigating the claims of 127 more people from various countries in conjunction with their international law enforcement counterparts.

OpenSea Phishing Attack

Earlier this week, 17 users of the NFT marketplace OpenSea, found themselves missing their NFTs, cumulatively worth over $1.7 million. As per OpenSea and security firm PeckShield, the exploit was likely a phishing attack. The perpetrators managed to get 32 users to sign a false payload in the pretext of authorizing the migration of their NFTs to a new smart contract. Seventeen of them have supposedly lost their NFTs.

Fast forward, the team from the rival NFT marketplace Mintable managed to track down three of the stolen Azuki NFTs on another marketplace, LooksRare. They have bought Azukis #1178, #4176, and #1180 and are now seeking to return them to the original owners.

AP Retracts NFT Sale

The Associated Press (AP) had earlier announced an NFT drop featuring a video of migrants drifting through the Mediterranean Sea in an overcrowded boat. This news was met with fierce criticism, with people accusing AP of profiting from human suffering and calling the action a “grotesque way to earn a profit.” Shortly after, AP pulled down the auction.

Indian Authorities Crack Crypto Scam

Indian authorities have arrested 11 people who allegedly scammed over 170 investors out of $5.36 million (₹400 million). As per the officials, this gang lured their potential investors to buy Ether from ZebPay and send them to the perpetrator’s Ether Trade Asia website, promising them notional benefits. They, however, siphoned off the Ether to support their lavish lifestyle.

Canadian Regulator Flags Crypto Influencers’ Tweets

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has reported the tweets by crypto exchange Coinbase and Kraken CEOs to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The said tweets purportedly criticize the Canadian government’s decision to impose the Emergencies Act while promoting using self-custodial wallets to prevent authorities from freezing the funds.

China To Penalize Crypto Transactions

This week, China’s Supreme Court ruled crypto transactions as illegal, calling it a form of “illegal fundraising.” According to China’s apex court, the penalty involves a minimum of 10 years in prison and a fine of close to $79,000.

Intel Launches Mining Enablers

At the International Solid State Circuits Conference 2022, Intel revealed information about its first generation Bonanza Mine (BMZ1) blockchain accelerator chip. Furthermore, it also unveiled a new 3,600 watt mining rig comprising 300 BMZ1 chips.

London Stock Exchange Buys TORA

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) disclosed that it is acquiring TORA, the technology provider for digital assets trading, for $325 million. LSEG stated that TORA’s acquisition would enhance its position in the virtual assets space.

BME Tests Carbon Offsets

The Spanish stock exchange BME completed a proof of concept to test the end to end solution that enables companies to offset their carbon footprint using the Voluntary Registry for carbon and biodiversity inventories. Its central securities depository unit Iberclear collaborated with blockchain platform ClimateTrade for the trial.

BNY Mellon Teams up With Chainalysis

The world’s largest custodian bank and securities services company, BNY Mellon, which also offers crypto custody services to its clients, has partnered with blockchain transaction traceability platform Chainalysis. The bank announced that it was integrating with Chainalysis’ compliance software to help with risk management.

DLT Consortium for Alternative Investment

Fintech platform iCapital announced a consortium that aims to use blockchain technology for alternative investment processing and digital solutions. Several prominent names, including BNY Mellon, UBS, Morgan Stanley, have joined this initiative.

Coinbase Adds Ledger Support

Crypto exchange Coinbase announced that it would support crypto hardware wallet, Ledger. At the moment, this integration is available through the Coinbase wallet browser extension and is intended to provide the users with an additional security layer.

Phantom Integrates With 1Password

Solana based Phantom wallet is partnering with the password management platform, 1Password. As a result, users can instantly save their Phantom wallet credentials and private keys to 1Password.

Sling TV Accepts Crypto

The American streaming service Sling TV is accepting crypto payments for monthly subscriptions from its users. Sling TV is using BitPay’s crypto platform to receive seven cryptocurrencies and five stablecoins as payments.

Wrangler’s NFT Drop

​​The denim brand Wrangler is celebrating 75 years in business with NFTs and in partnership with musician Leon Bridges. Wrangler will auction 75 animated NFTs, each capturing one of the Bridges’ dance moves. The owners of these NFTs will get access to several goodies, including virtual wearables on Decentraland and a VIP pass to Bridges’ performance in September.

MUFG Shuts Down GO-NET

Japan’s biggest bank MUFG is shutting down the blockchain based payment network GO-NET that it has set up in early 2019, along with Akamai Technologies. According to MUFG, the business failed to find a market due to COVID, and as a result, dashed any hopes of profitability.

A Prank on Sotheby’s

Two weeks after announcing a partnership with auction house Sotheby’s to sell 104 CryptoPunks, a collector whose Twitter name and handle 0x650d, pulled out hours before the auction. Instead, the seller took to Twitter to troll Sotheby’s by posting a meme suggesting success with “taking punks mainstream by rugging Sothebys.”

Airtel Invests in Blockchain Startup Aqilliz

This week, Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel announced a strategic investment in Aqulliz. Aqilliz is a blockchain solutions provider that enables marketers to efficiently optimize campaigns and track results by sharing data in a privacy preserving manner. Airtel plans to use Aquilliz’s solution to serve its customers better.

And Finally, Ex-Meta Coders Want To Resurrect Diem

A new team called Aptos, composed of people with intimate knowledge of Facebook led Libra stablecoin, is looking to bring Diem blockchain back to life. Aptos is raising close to $200 million from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and other crypto venture capitalists.

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