Blockchain This Week – Crypto’s House of Cards, Nat Geo NFTs, FTX Reboot?

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Genesis Joins the Long List of Crypto Failures

Genesis Global Holdco LLC, the parent company of crypto lender Genesis, and its subsidiaries Genesis Asia Pacific Pte Ltd and Genesis Global Capital, LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week. The collapse of hedge fund 3AC and crypto exchange FTX last year inflicted a severe blow to the troubled lender. Genesis owes over $3.5 billion to its top 50 creditors, including crypto exchange Gemini, whose CEO Cameron Winklevoss has threatened to sue Genesis’ umbrella company Digital Currency Group and its CEO Barry Silbert.

3AC Founders Back with New Pitch

Su Zhu and Kyle Davies, the founders of defunct crypto hedge fund Three Arrow Capital (3AC), are back with a pitch to raise $25 million for kickstarting a claims trading platform, GTX. GTX aims to enable customers to transfer their FTX claims to GTX and a token USDG as an immediate credit.

Nat Geo NFT Launch Mired by Backlash and Tech Issues

National Geographic released its first NFT collection, “GM: Daybreak around the World,” on Polygon and was supported by the NFT platform, Snowcrash. The launch was welcomed by severe backlash on Nat Geo’s social media pages, with some people calling NFTs a “bubble,” “an extinct species,” and “another way to launder.” Furthermore, those who wanted to mint tokens initially seemed to have faced some technical challenges, which were resolved within an hour.

Could FTX Restart?

In an interview with Wall Street Journal, FTX’s CEO, John Ray III, said he has set up a task force to look into the possibility of restarting FTX.com. The CEO is exploring if reviving FTX’s international exchange would recover more value for the customers than they could get by liquidating the company’s assets. FTX’s native token jumped nearly 30% after the report.

700M Seized in FTX Case

A court filing revealed that the federal prosecutors had seized $700 million in cash and assets connected to the SBF and FTX case. It consists primarily of the 55 million+ Robinhood shares. Three of the seized accounts were held at Silvergate, $50 million in Moonstone bank, and undisclosed funds and assets in one Binance account and two Binance.US accounts.

L’Oréal’s NYX in Web3

L’Oréal’s NYX professional makeup brand is opening “GORJS,” a DAO that serves as an online beauty incubator. It also plans to launch “FKWME Pass,” a collection of 1,000 Ethereum based NFTs, in February.

Nexo Vs Regulators

In one instance, the crypto lender Nexo sued the Cayman Islands regulator for rejecting its application for a virtual asset license in December. The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority ruled that Nexo’s business model did not meet the required risk profile. Meanwhile, Nexo has agreed to settle the charges brought forth by the US SEC regarding its failure to register its crypto lending product, Earn Interest Product. Nexo will pay a sum of $45 million to the SEC and state authorities and cease selling the product to US customers.

Speed Up Crypto Solutions for Climate Change

A new non profit, Blockchain x Climate Leadership Network, was formed this week at World Economic Forum under the auspices of Solana Foundation, Ripple, GBBC, blockchain climate collective BXCi, and Eqo Networks. The aim of this organization is to be the “single largest common gathering of climate action innovators, leaders, and builders under one global umbrella.”

Cross Chain Solutions

Decentralized cross chain liquidity protocol, Swing, launched a new widget and SDK to simplify cross chain crypto deployments across 21 EVM compatible chains, including Ethereum, BNB, Arbitrum, and Optimism. Meanwhile, Polkadot released the third version of its cross chain messaging format, Cross Consensus Messaging (XCM), to enhance interoperability among various blockchains.

Global Collaboration Village

The World Economic Forum launched the Global Collaboration Village, a prototype of its metaverse. The WEF wants it to be a space where organizations can collaborate to take action on the world’s pressing issues.

News Shorts

Fidelity International backed digital assets platform OSL has again trimmed down its headcount in an attempt to cut down costs by about 30%. The exact number of employees affected was not disclosed.

Coinbase is winding down its Japanese business, supposedly due to the “current market conditions.” It has advised customers to withdraw their assets before Feb 16.

Ahead of the upcoming Shanghai upgrade, the number of validators of the Ethereum network has hit 500,000.

Crypto bank Silvergate posted a $1 billion net loss in Q4, for which it cited the “transformational shift” in the crypto landscape. 

Singapore High Court gave a further extension to crypto lender Vauld extending its legal protection from its creditors until Feb 28.

The EU’s ambitious crypto regulation MiCA has been delayed until April due to troubles in translating the rules into the EU’s 24 official languages.

A South Korean court had overturned its ruling and ordered crypto exchange Bithumb to pay over $200,000 in damages to 132 investors who were affected when Bithumb went down for close to 12 hours during bitcoin’s rally to $20,000 in 2017.

Crypto tax and accounting platform TaxBit has acquired its competitor, Tactic, for an undisclosed amount.

Web3 Investments

Web3 infra provider Parfin raised $15 million in the seed round led by Framework Ventures and intends to use the money to provide web3 infra services to Latam.

Diva closed a $3.5 million seed round led by A&T Capital to build a decentralized liquidity protocol.

Metahood secured $3 million in a seed round led by VC firm 1confirmation to build a Zilliow like property scoping solution in the metaverse.

DeFi focused  KYC & AML solutions provider Blue garnered $3.2 million in funding in a seed round co-led by Blockchange Ventures and Fenbushi Capital.

DeFi protocol Elixir raised $2.1 million in a seed round from investors, including FalconX, Commonwealth, and OP Crypto, with the aim to increase transparency in crypto markets.

With a goal to make the PoS blockchains more secure, Obol Labs raised $12.5 million in a Series A round co-led by Pantera Capital and Archetype.

Polygon based web3 gaming platform Intella X secured $12 million in funding from investors that include Polygon, Animoca Brands, and Magic Eden.

HashKey Capital raised $500 million for its third crypto fund and plans to deploy the money to back blockchain projects that could achieve mass adoption in emerging markets.Former FTX US president Brett Harrison has raised $5 million for his own crypto infra startup, Architect, in a pre-product financing round from investors, including Coinbase Ventures and Circle Ventures.

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