Blockchain This Week – Tiffany CryptoPunks, Saylor Steps Down, Starbucks Web3 Rewards, Solana and Other Hacks, BlackRock Crypto

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Image Credits: Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany Takes CryptoPunks to the Next Level

Luxury jewelry brand Tiffany & Co. launched NFTiff, exclusively for the CryptoPunks holders. The owners of CryptoPunks can “transform their NFT” into a diamond encrusted pendant and also receive an additional NFT for the piece of jewelry. Tiffany sold 250 NFTs worth about 30 ether.

MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin Impairment Charge

Business analytics firm MicroStrategy, known for its CEO’s penchant for bitcoin, took a digital asset impairment charge of $917.8 million on its bitcoin holdings in the second quarter, up from $170.1 million in the first quarter, according to its latest earnings report. 

Meanwhile, the company announced that its president, Phuong Le, would replace Michael Saylor as its CEO. Saylor would continue to serve as chairman of the board and will take on the new role as the executive chairman.

Starbucks to Launch Web3 Rewards Program

The popular coffee chain Starbucks will unveil its new digital initiative, which includes coffee themed NFTs, on September 13, during its annual Investor Day event in Seattle. It was announced during the Q3 2022 earning call by CEO Howard Schultz.

Solana Suffers a Hack

This week, the Solana ecosystem was the target of a hack with attackers draining somewhere between $5 million to $8 million from 8000 unique hot wallets, including those on Phantom, Slope, and TrustWallet. Solana developers say that the root cause of the attack was compromised private keys used in Slope mobile wallet applications.

Nomad Exploit

Crypto bridge Nomad suffered a loss of $190 million due to a security exploit this week. It has offered the hackers an incentive of up to 10%  on any funds returned. Nomad says it has so far been able to recoup over $22.4 million of the lost money.

“World’s Most Secure” Crypto Exchange Hacked

The self proclaimed “world’s most secure” crypto exchange, ZB Exchange, has lost over $4.8 million in a suspected hack. The exchange’s hot wallet was drained of tether, polygon, and other tokens. The crypto firm paused user withdrawals, likely in response to the hack.

BlackRock Offers Crypto Via Coinbase

Asset management giant BlackRock has partnered with crypto exchange Coinbase to provide its institutional investors access to crypto. Mutual customers of Coinbase and Aladdin, the investment management platform of BlackRock, would get crypto trading, custody, and brokerage services.

Robinhood Fined

The New York Department of Financial Services fined the crypto unit of the investment firm Robinhood $30 million. Robinhood Crypto is accused of violating the state’s AML and cybersecurity regulations.

Gucci Accepts ApeCoin

Luxury brand Gucci is now accepting ApeCoin as payments in select boutiques in the US. It has teamed up with crypto payments provider BitPay to facilitate ApeCoin for in store purchases.

Chiliz Invests in Barca Studio

Web3 rewards platform Socias.com’s owner Chiliz has acquired a 24.5% stake in Barca Studios, soccer giant FC Barcelona’s digital content creation arm. Chiliz has invested $100 million in Barca Studios’ NFT and metaverse initiatives.

Bank of Thailand Plans to Advance CBDC Pilot

The Bank of Thailand has confirmed that it plans to advance its development of a retail CBDC to the pilot phase by the end of the year. It does not, however, yet have the plans to issue a retail CBDC. Meanwhile, it has also opened applications for a hackathon, inviting submissions by September 12.

UK FCA’s Crypto Policy

In the policy document published this week, the UK FCA has stated that investment in crypto assets should be capped. It also emphasized that consumers have to be warned of the risks of investing in crypto. Furthermore, it also imposes a ban on offering bonuses to clients referring their friends to crypto investments.

Colombia Puts Land on Blockchain

The government of Colombia has partnered with Ripple Labs to put land titles on XRPL, Ripple’s public blockchain. This project aims to overhaul the current land distribution system mired by decades of conflicts by authenticating property titles with blockchain.

MUFG Launches Utility Tokens

Japan’s largest bank MUFG is launching its first utility token on Progmat blockchain in collaboration with Tokyo Dome City, the amusement park next to Tokyo Dome stadium. These tokens would provide rewards such as discounts for hotel stays.  

Pension Fund Invests in Crypto Funds

Fairfax County Retirement Systems, the $6.8 billion pension fund of Fairfax Country, Virginia, US, has received approval to invest $70 million across two crypto yield farming funds. It has invested $35 million each in Parataxis Capital’s digital yield fund and VanEck’s new finance income fund.

Messari Buys Dove Metrics

Crypto intelligence firm Messari has bought Dove Metrics, a company that offers fundraising data and intelligence for the crypto industry. Messari plans to integrate the Dove Metrics dashboard into its client platform and provide new datasets and tools to enhance customer experience.

Luno Wins Regulator Approval in France

Crypto exchange Luno has won the approval of Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), the financial regulator in France. As a result, Luno would be able to offer crypto custody, trading, sale, and exchange services in the country.

Riot Earns $9.5M for Shutting Down

In a press release, crypto miner Riot Blockchain revealed that it produced 318 bitcoin in July, 28% lesser than the previous month, due to paused operations during the heatwave in Texas. But, Texas has handsomely rewarded Riot in the form of power credits worth $9.5 million.

Dtravel Completes Booking Using Smart Contracts

Rental platform Dtravel successfully completed its first booking where a smart contract was used. A customer booked a stay at a London property for $2,000 paid in USDC.

Tinder Kills Web3 Plans

Amid the dismal earnings in the second quarter, Match Group announced a series of changes to the dating app Tinder. Match Group is ending Tinder’s plans to add digital currencies and metaverse dating. Also, Tinder CEO Renate Nyborg will be departing from the company.

Cyber Criminals Impersonate To Join Crypto Firms

According to a report, North Korean cyber criminals are vying for crypto jobs listed on LinkedIn and Indeed. They copy the resumes and profiles of others to land remote work at crypto firms. Their goal is to gain knowledge of these companies’ internal operations and upcoming trends.

ENS Registrations at All Time High

The number of domain registrations on the Ethereum Name Service hit an all time high in July, with 378,000 new .eth registrations in July alone. ENS Domains reportedly has 1.8 million names registered so far, earned 5,400 ether in revenue, and over 99% of domain sales volume on OpenSea last month.

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