Be[in]Crypto has collated all the leading stories in the crypto space during the last week ranging from BlockFi’s suspension of free withdrawals, Elon Musk’s decision to keep buying Dogecoin, rising non-fungible token (NFT) adoption, innovations in the ecosystem and China’s grouse with crypto.
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Crypto gasping for air
Cryptocurrencies are going through the pangs of a long, cold winter characterized by low prices and turbulence in the largest firms in the industry. This week, troubled BlockFi announced that it will be increasing deposit rates and removing the perks of one free withdrawal a month that users enjoyed.
America’s largest exchange, Coinbase, revealed its intention to phase out Coinbase Pro, an exchange for experienced traders with advanced features. The move is coming on the heels of both firms reducing their workforce by as much as 20%. There are also also suggestions that FTX plans to acquire a stake in the beleaguered BlockFi.
The recent happenings in the space have led to heated discussions on the future of the industry. Google Trends, an analytical tool noted that Google searches for the phrase “crypto is dead” has reached a new all-time high as investors scan the horizon for answers.
Crypto is not dead
Despite the carnage the markets have faced in the last few weeks, some industry leaders are rippling with optimism that a big break is around the corner for the industry. Elon Musk, the world’s richest man has stated that he remains unfazed by current asset prices and will continue to buy Dogecoin.
For Vitalik Buterin and his father, the rough patch faced by the industry is normal because crypto is inherently cyclical. Buterin noted that the winter is often where the most meaningful projects get nurtured and built.”
Optimists can point to the recent bullish funding waves that are sweeping through the entire industry. The FalconX and Magic Eden are the latest firms to have completed funding rounds bringing their valuations to $8 billion and $1.6 billion respectively. Binance and Andresseen Horowitz are industry leaders that have launched funds to back crypto firms that are building for the future.
NFTs welcome new brands and clear the air
Luxury brands are not left behind in the NFT craze that has taken the world by storm. French luxury fashion brand, Balmain has turned to NFTs to drive awareness for its new Unicorn sneakers collection with impressive designs from the legendary Jeff Cole.
Away from fashion, Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, struck an exclusive partnership with football star Cristiano Ronaldo to create several NFT collections. Binance’s CEO stated that the purpose of the historic partnership was to spread the message of NFTs to a wider audience with the first collection launching later in the year.
Yuga Labs, makers of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection responded to scathing allegations that the NFTs have racist undertones. One of the creators vehemently denies that BAYC has any links with Nazi ideology and threatened to take legal actions against the propagators of the rumors.
Another week, another crypto scam
Harmony Horizon bridge fell victim to a security exploit that led to losses of over $100 million. The team issued a statement that the platform had engaged “national authorities and forensic specialists to identify the culprit and retrieve the stolen funds.”
Apart from security breaches of blockchain platforms, the entire cryptocurrency industry has been accused with playing a major role in drug trafficking, according to a Chinese government report. The report noted that drug money has expanded its reach away from online banking transfers to virtual currencies and game coins.
The report also claimed that crypto is beginning to play an important role in money laundering and warned investors of the threat of bitcoin “heading to zero.” The Financial Regulatory Bureau of Shenzhen warned in a separate report that the speculative trading of cryptocurrencies encourages illegal activities and harms property activities.
The builders in the winter
Polygon, an Ethereum Layer-2 platform, says it has reached carbon neutrality after collaborating with KlimaDAO. The scaling platform wrote in a press release that the next step in the journey to being carbon negative is to retire $400,000 in carbon credit using blockchain technology to ensure transparency.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta has launched Meta Pay to replace Facebook Pay as the new wallet of the metaverse. Zuckerberg’s post was illustrative of the features of the new wallet and hinted to the introduction of NFTs. Users of MetaPay will be able to buy art, music and digital clothing in the metaverse.
Russia is turning to blockchain technology as a way around the SWIFT ban imposed early in the year. The country’s Rostec Group stated that the recently developed blockchain platform will be a worthy alternative to SWIFT in terms of settlements.
Despite the downturn of crypto fortunes, miners are braving the storms to create environmentally sustainable mining processes. Mining companies are banding together under the Merkle Standard in an attempt to take the network closer to achieving a “green status”.
In Russia, there are reports of miners using flared gas to mine Bitcoin while El Salvador has turned to geothermal energy as a green energy source.