Blockchain This Week – Yuga Labs’ Chaotic Land Sale, Wikipedia Abandons Crypto Donations, Gucci and Starbucks in Web3

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BAYC Team’s Land Sale Clogs Ethereum

Yuga Labs, known for the apes NFT collection BAYC,  held the much anticipated virtual land sale of its “Otherside” metaverse project. The limited supply of 55,000 “Otherdeeds” NFTs worth $7000 each generated close to $285 million. But the rush to grab land plots also led to exorbitant gas prices on the Ethereum network, resulting in traders collectively spending over $176 million in 24 hours to mint their title deeds and making it very expensive for anyone using the Ethereum network. 

Yuga Labs Refunds Fees for Failed Mints

During the chaotic Otherdeed sale, some traders paid more than double the sale price, while some were charged for gas though their transactions failed. Following the resulting backlash, Yuga Labs decided to refund those who were unable to mint their deeds despite paying a high amount on gas. It has given back 90.57 Ether worth close to $265,500, with the highest refund being 2.6 Ether (approximately $7,500).

Wikipedia Discontinues Crypto Donations

The Wikimedia Foundation, the parent entity of Wikipedia, announced that it would no longer accept donations sent in bitcoin, ether, or bitcoin cash. The foundation that has been accepting crypto since 2014 recently conducted a poll where more than 70% of respondents voted to discontinue all crypto donations.

NFT in 3D

Theta Labs is partnering with Sony to launch two types of NFTs specially designed to be viewed in 3D on the Sony Spatial Reality Display (SRD). Of the two, “The Tiki Guy” NFT collection will be a limited edition with only ten NFTs created. Additionally, the NFT owners with US addresses will receive $5,000 Sony SRD for free. The NFTs will be available on the ThetaDrop marketplace.

Freedom Square NFTs for Ukraine

Freedom Squares, a project inspired by Ukraine’s President Zelenky’s words, is releasing an NFT collection of 6,468 NFTs, showcasing the parks and memorials at 1,617 city squares of Ukraine. The proceeds will go to Sean Penn’s CORE and Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen.

Ukrainian Soccer Club Launch NFTs for Relief

Shakhtar Donetsk, a top soccer club in Ukraine, will auction an NFT collection to support Ukrainian children impacted by the military atrocities in the country. The sale, which will happen on Binance’s NFT marketplace, will commence today and last for a week.

First African Emissions Reduction Platform

Tamuwa, Kenya’s biomass company, unveiled Africa’s first verifiable emissions reduction platform, CYNK, which runs on Hedera Hashgraph. It would help Tamuwa and other companies to track, reduce, and offset their emissions.

Uzbekistan Allows Solar Powered Mining

Uzbekistan has approved crypto mining using solar energy, and those mining companies which power their operations with their own solar panels would be exempt from income tax. On the contrary, the firms that are connected to the national power grid have to pay double the usual price.

Gucci To Accept Crypto

The fashion brand Gucci plans to accept crypto, including bitcoin, ether, and dogecoin, in some of its US locations later this month. While in the store, customers can scan the QR code with their crypto wallets to make payments.

Starbucks Digs Into Web3

During the Q2 fiscal earnings call, Starbucks executives, including CEO Howard Schultz, touted the coffee chain’s plans for augmenting the brand image with the new community based membership models in the web3 space. Starbucks plans to create branded NFTs that provide the owners membership and access to exclusive benefits.

Sports Sponsorships

The international football federation (FIFA) has chosen Algorand to be its official blockchain sponsor for this year’s Men’s World Cup in Europe and North America and next year’s Women’s World Cup.

Similarly, crypto exchange OKX has become the official partner for the McLaren F1 and Shadow esports teams and will have its branding and logos on McLaren cars and drivers’ suits.

Solana Network Crash

Early this week, the Solana network went down for nearly seven hours supposedly because of bots flooding Candy Machine, an NFT minting tool on Solana. These bots reportedly programmatically submitted more than four million transactions per second, causing over 100 Gbps traffic that crashed the network.

Web3 Exploits

OpenSea NFT marketplace suffered a phishing attack with scammers promoting phony YouTube NFTs on OpenSea’s discord channel. Meanwhile, MM.Finance, the DeFi exchange on Cronos blockchain, suffered an exploit of over $2 million in CRO tokens due to a DNS vulnerability. Also, hackers managed to drain $80 million in crypto from DeFi platform Rari Capital through a reentrance attack.

Crypto Slide Continues

Bitcoin and other major digital currencies continued to stumble this week, with bitcoin down by 18% over the last month. The US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike that brought down the stock market seemingly has taken down the crypto market along with it. 

Twitter Backed Bluesky Releases First Code

While Elon Musk is amassing funds to take over the control of Twitter, Bluesky, a Twitter backed “open and decentralized standard for social media,” has released its first piece of code. The code, named “Authenticated Data eXperiment (ADX),” has an SDK, server implementation, and commands to run basic operations on a social network.

BitMEX Founders Fined

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has slapped a fine of $30 million on the three founders of crypto exchange BitMEX, Arthur Hayes, Benjamin Delo, and Samuel Reed, with each of them liable to pay $10 million. The CFTC had accused BitMEX of operating in the US without any license.

Argentinian Bank To Offer Crypto Services

Argentina’s largest private bank, Banco Galicia, is offering crypto buy, sell, and custody services to its customers. It is supporting bitcoin, ether, USD Coin, and XRP at the moment.

US and Crypto

The US SEC has renamed its Cyber Unit to “Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit” and will add 20 additional personnel to enhance its crypto monitoring. Meanwhile, in the US Senate, Republican Senators Roger Wickers and Cynthia Lummis have introduced a new bill that seeks to formulate a national strategy and framework for blockchain research.

Binance Wins Approval

France’s banking regulator ACPR and markets regulator AMF have approved the registration of Binance as a digital assets service provider. Now Binance can operate as a regulated crypto exchange in the country.

LGT Bank Offers Crypto Services

LGT Bank, the financial institution owned by the princely House of Liechtenstein, will offer crypto custody and brokerage services to private clients, starting in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Swiss based SEBA Bank will deliver crypto services to LGT group that will initially provide bitcoin and ether investment services to its wealthy patrons.

MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin Impairment Charge

As per its Q1 earnings report, the business intelligence firm MicroStrategy has reported $170 million of the impairment charge, up from $146.6 million disclosed in the Q4 of last year. MicroStrategy owns 129,218 bitcoins valued at close to $5 billion.

Bentley Accepts Crypto for Tuitions

Massachusetts based private school of accounting and finance, Bentley University, announced that it is now accepting digital currency for tuition payments. It is partnering with crypto exchange Coinbase to enable its students to pay in bitcoin, ether, or USDC.

Samsung Group To Launch Blockchain ETF

Samsung Group’s investment arm is planning to list a blockchain focused ETF on the Hong Kong exchange in the next few months. This ETF, a first for Asia, would track companies in the crypto and blockchain space.

WGC Invests in aXedras

aXedras Group AG, a company that uses DLT to implement a secure digital supply chain for the precious metal industry, has secured its Series B funding. Most notable among the investors was the World Gold Council whose CEO David Tait will join the board of aXedras.

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