Blockchain This Week – Web3 Funds, Merge’s Official Date, FTX’s Stellar Growth, Hackers Lose Money

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Please Note: There will be no newsletter next Saturday as I will be on a short break next week.

Invesco’s $30M Metaverse Fund

Asset management firm Invesco has launched a $30 million fund to invest in large, medium, and small cap companies in the Metaverse value chain. The fund, registered in Luxembourg,  covers sectors that create and also benefit from the growth of the metaverse.

Polygon Founder’s $50M Web3 Fund

A new venture capital firm that lists Polygon’s Sandeep Nailwal among its founders has raised $50 million from a number of crypto industry members – VCs, auditing firms, and exchanges. This fund will invest in early stage  web3 companies.

Ethereum Merge Has an Official Kick-Off Date

The Ethereum Foundation has announced the process and timeframe of the much anticipated transition to the proof of state network. It starts with the Bellatrix upgrade on the Beacon Chain slated for Sep 6 at epoch 144896 on the chain. It sets the merge process in motion and Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD) for the merge would be 58,750,000,000,000,000,000,000. This TTD is expected to be reached sometime between Sep 10 and 20, thereby completing the merge.

VMware Enterprise Blockchain

VMware has launched the beta version of its Enterprise Blockchain for Ethereum. VMware states that its blockchain is unique because of its use of a combination of ZKP and MPC, its scalability, its governance, and the support it offers. VMware also revealed Infosys and the Central Bank of Israel as the early adopters of its blockchain.

DTCC’s Blockchain Powered Trading

Wall Street giant Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. (DTCC) has commenced live testing of a private blockchain to clear and settle transactions in the equities market. The platform of Project Ion is now processing over 100,000 trades per day on average.

FTX Revenue Grew 1000% in 2021

Crypto exchange FTX posted revenue of $1 billion in 2021, a growth of 1,000% from $89 million in 2020. It also posted a net income of $388 million last year, up from $17 million in 2020. FTX had revenue of $270 million in the first quarter of 2022 and is on track to achieve $1.1 billion in revenue by the end of the year.

FTX Denies Merger Rumors

It was reported this week that crypto exchange FTX was absorbing the crypto VC business of its sister company Alameda Research. The move reportedly was in response to the protracted decline in crypto prices. But Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of both companies, and Amy Wu, chief of FTX Ventures, denied it, calling this report inaccurate.

Hackers Lose 5 Ether

Hackers ended up losing five ether while trying to exploit Near Protocol’s Rainbow bridge over the weekend. The bridge’s automated security processes kicked in and thwarted the threat in under 31 seconds. As a result, the attackers were the only ones losing money.

Telegram’s Web3 Marketplace

In a message on his Telegram channel, Pavel Durov, the founder and CEO of the popular messaging service, proposed a blockchain based marketplace to auction usernames and addresses. He says this idea was inspired by the success of a similar auction conducted on the TON network.

Australia Plans to Have Unique Crypto Regulations

The treasury department of Australia announced a plan to establish thorough and well informed crypto regulatory framework that it claims to be better than anywhere else in the world. It will use a form of market research that it calls “token mapping” that will allow authorities to evaluate and identify how crypto assets and services should be regulated.

Afghanistan Shuts Down 16 Crypto Exchanges

Afghan authorities have forced shut down 16 crypto exchanges in one week and arrested their staff. It follows the announcement by the country’s central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank, which emphasized that digital asset trading has to be stopped due to scams and other problems.

Powell’s Speech Brings Down Crypto

Bitcoin and other crypto declined late Friday in reaction to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech at the Jackson Hole economic summit. Powell remarked that the Fed would continue to tighten policy to bring down inflation. Bitcoin fell 4.5% to $20,660. 

Samsung’s Crypto Exchange

Electronics giant Samsung’s investment arm is working on launching its own crypto exchange in 2023. Talks to secure an operating license from local authorities are supposedly in advanced stages.

Reddit’s Airdrop

Reddit has started the airdrop of four collections – “The Singularity,” “Aww Friends,” “Drip Squad,” and “Meme Team.” These polygon based collectible avatars are listed on NFT marketplace OpenSea.

Sudorare Rug Pull

NFT platform Sudorare stole users’ funds and vanished within days of its launch. Sudorare, which offered a yield farm to users for a week, swapped over 1 million LOOKS tokens for 154 ether and 60,000 USDC in one transaction. The developers behind this project have also deleted Sudorare’s social media channels and its website.

Binance CCO Impersonated By AI

A bunch of hackers managed to impersonate Binance Chief Communications Officer (CCO) Patrick Hilmann with an AI hologram. They used this deepfake to trick several operatives of crypto projects, making them think Hilmann was helping them get listed on Binance.

Coinbase Faces Class Action Suit

A class action lawsuit has been filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against crypto exchange Coinbase. The complaint accuses Coinbase of failing to secure users’ accounts against theft and hacks, locking users out of their accounts, and listing securities on its platform. The lawsuit seeks damages upwards of $5 million.

Coinbase Launches Tools Before US Elections

Coinbase has launched a voter registration tool ahead of the upcoming November elections in the US. It has also started a crypto policy education initiative that will provide users with resources to educate themselves on crypto issues and their representatives’ positions on crypto.

Tornado Cash Saga

In an open letter tweeted by US Congressman Tom Emmer, Emmer has asked the Treasury Department’s OFAC to explain its sanctioning of privacy mixer Tornado Cash. Meanwhile, a judge in the Netherlands court has ruled that arrested Tornado developer Alexey Pertsev must stay in jail for at least 90 days. Pertsev was arrested under suspicion of facilitating money laundering to Russian espionage via Tornado Cash. Pertsev’s wife has denied these allegations.

Now You Can Eat “BAYC Flavored” M&M

Candy brand Mars has signed a deal with Universal Music Group (UMG) label 10:22PM. Consequently, Mars will release limited edition M&M candies with embossed BAYC NFT images of Kingship, UMG’s virtual band made up of BAYC and MAYC avatars.


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