META-MARRIAGE: DECENTRALAND HOSTS FIRST METAVERSE WEDDING
Phoenix couple, Ryan and Candice Hurley, tied the knot with their digital identities over the weekend, in the first wedding to take place in the metaverse.
The ceremony was attended by virtual crowds of 2,000 guests, officiated by Supreme Court Justice officiant Clint Bolick, and organised by Rose Law Group.
Jordan Rose, founder and president of Rose Law Group, stated that: “Unlike the real world, the metaverse isn’t limited by physical constraints that restrict your perfect wedding. Only in the Metaverse can your wildest, most imaginative dream wedding be a reality”.
ANON CRYPTOPUNK OWNER LAUNCHES NFT FUND, BETTING ON ABILITY OVER IDENTITY
An anonymous CryptoPunk NFT owner with an influential Twitter following has launched a fund that invests in NFTs on behalf of institutional investors.
Punk 6529, the owner of a slew of other rare, valuable NFTs, has more than 240,000 followers on Twitter, where they expound on everything from the future of the metaverse to regulation by the SEC to wealth inequality.
CONGRESS INTRODUCES A RADICAL CRYPTO BILL TO ‘UNLEASH INNOVATION’ AS THE PRICE OF BITCOIN AND ETHEREUM SUDDENLY SOAR
The U.S. House of Representatives has reintroduced a bill that would exempt people from paying taxes on bitcoin and crypto payments under $200, called “an important step forward” by one congressman.
“Virtual currency is reshaping our everyday lives, and the United States needs to recognise this and work to treat these currencies fairly in our tax code. This legislation is an important step forward, and it lays the groundwork for growing the digital economy,” congressman David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) said in a statement.
Designed to simplify tax burdens on daily crypto users who must now report even the smallest capital gains, the Virtual Currency Tax Fairness Act was announced this week and would retroactively apply to all qualifying transactions from 31st December 2021 if the legislation becomes law.
Super Bowl LVI will take place on 13th February in LA and will see the Cincinnati Bengals face off against the Los Angeles Rams.
It will also see more crypto ads than ever before.
FTX and Crypto.com, who have both embarked upon similar sports marketing spending sprees in the past six months, have both purchased a Super Bowl ad, which costs $6.5 million and lasts just 30 seconds.
“Going into different sports just allows me to reach everybody where they are. Super Bowl is just one more step into that, where it’s as mass as you get,” said Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek.
INDIA’S CRYPTO TAX MAY CURB EXCESSIVE SPECULATION, BRING INSTITUTIONAL DEMAND
Last week, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that profits from the sale of virtual assets would be taxed at a flat rate of 30% without any deductions or exemptions. The rate is on par with the highest income tax band, which applies to individuals earning more than 1.5 million rupees ($20,000) a year. The government also introduced a 1% tax, deducted at source (TDS), on cryptocurrency trading.
Observers said the steep tax rate might deter the gambling and excess speculation seen during the bull market frenzy of April, October and early November last year.
While several publicly listed companies in the U.S. have added bitcoin to their balance sheets, the Indian corporate world has stayed on the sidelines, perhaps due to regulatory uncertainty. That might change now.
“After clarity on taxation, we note that a lot of Indian institutions would look favourably at investing balance sheet money in the crypto markets”, Suraj Ramakrishnan, a chartered accountant and member of the founding team at Mumbai-based crypto asset management firm MintingM, said.
BUZZFEED OUTS BORED APE YACHT CLUB FOUNDERS: DOXXING OR JOURNALISM?
Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), the collection of 10,000 ape avatars, have become the most prestigious and expensive NFT collection out there. But the identity of the people behind them was unknown to most, until last week.
BuzzFeed published an investigation revealing the identity of two of the four BAYC co-founders, who until now have been known simply by their ape personas, Gordon Goner and Gorgamel. It turns out these apes are two fairly ordinary 30-somethings from Florida named Wylie Aronow and Greg Solano, who once had literary aspirations but then got into crypto.
The reaction on Crypto Twitter to the investigation has been ferocious. Numerous members of the crypto community lashed out at the online publication, accusing it of invading the men’s privacy through “doxxing”—a term that typically refers to publishing personal details about a person in order to subject them to harassment or punishment.
Outside of the crypto world, however, people offered a very different perspective.
Gabe Rivera, founder of the popular Silicon Valley site Techmeme, described the BuzzFeed piece as standard business journalism, and asked why only a handful of insiders should get to know who is behind a company that is worth billions of dollars.
SOUTH KOREA’S LARGEST MOBILE GAMING COMPANY MAKES METAVERSE PLAY
South Korea’s largest mobile game developer, Netmarble, said it was developing a sequel to its monopoly-styled board game titled “Everybody’s Marble: Metaworld” under its subsidiary Netmarble F&C. The new game is part of the company’s broader pivot into the virtual world.
Netmarble’s metaverse game will feature all the trimmings of what game enthusiasts have come to expect from a title based on the virtual world including NFTs and digital avatars, as well as the capability to buy and sell virtual land plots.
The international version is expected to be set up under a “play-to-earn” model, allowing users to earn virtual currency for real money, per the report. Play-to-earn games are currently banned in South Korea, and, as such, Netmarble’s domestic version will only feature NFTs.
BANK OF ENGLAND IS ‘HIGHLY UNLIKELY’ TO DEVELOP A RETAIL WALLET FOR CBDC, SAYS OFFICIAL
A senior manager at the Bank of England has said that it is “highly unlikely” that the institution will develop a retail-facing wallet that could be used to store and spend digital currency.
The Bank still plans to publish a consultation paper setting out its assessment of the merits of what some have dubbed the ‘Britcoin’ later this year, but while CBDC issuance remains an open question, the launch of an accompanying wallet appears to have been ruled out.
“I think it’s safe to say it’s highly unlikely that the Bank would issue a retail wallet,” said Katie Fortune, a senior manager in the central bank’s CBDC unit. Fortune said it is more likely that wallets that could support a British digital currency will be produced by the private sector.
$320 MILLION CRYPTO HACK IS NO BIG DEAL FOR THE TRADING FIRM BEHIND WORMHOLE – IT REFUNDED CUSTOMER LOSSES IN A DAY
This week’s $320 million blockchain hack gives a tantalising hint at just how huge a presence Jump Trading Group has become in cryptocurrencies. Its quick decision to fully refund all the losses from Wednesday’s hack suggests quite a lot.
The firm’s Jump Crypto division is a leading force behind the development of Wormhole, which acts as a bridge between crypto ecosystems like Ethereum and Solana. On 2nd February, someone took advantage of a software bug in Wormhole to steal 120,000 Ether worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Jump took action almost immediately, fully refunding the losses.
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and MIT researchers investigating the technicalities of a CBDC have designed a system capable of handling 1.7 million transactions a second, without using distributed ledger technology.
The partners have published research describing a theoretical high-performance and resilient transaction processor for a CBDC that was developed using open-source research software.
Last month, the Federal Reserve published its long-anticipated discussion paper on the risks and benefits of a digital dollar and invited public comment – but has studiously avoided giving any hints on its plans.
While it inches ahead with policy questions, the Boston Fed and MIT researchers will continue their technical work, moving onto phase two exploring new functionality and alternative technical designs.
PROTESTERS MIGRATE TO CRYPTO FUNDRAISING PLATFORM FOLLOWING GOFUNDME BAN
Truckers protesting the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in Canada have turned to Bitcoin-based crowdfunding platform Tallycoin, following a barrage of mounting political pressure from all sides that culminated in GoFundMe axing their “Freedom Convoy Campaign.”
“Legacy financial infrastructure can sometimes be politicised and clamped down upon, whereas Bitcoin is a truly censorship resistant method of communicating value,” stated the new fundraising page.
WEBINAR: BATTLING FINANCIAL CRIME IN THE METAVERSE
On 16th February, our Transaction Monitoring Officer, Kamran Choudhary, will take part in an expert panel to discuss the intricacies of financial crime in the metaverse, and what financial institutions can do to combat it effectively.