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Coinbase NFT launches beta, AMC Theatres rolls out SHIB and DOGE payments, and Blockchain.com eyes IPO: Hodler’s Digest, April 17-23

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Coinbase NFT launches beta, AMC Theatres rolls out SHIB and DOGE payments, and Blockchain.com eyes IPO: Hodler’s Digest, April 17-23

Coming every Saturday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

AMC Theatres mobile app accepts Dogecoin, Shiba Inu and more

Retail traders’ favorite cinema chain, AMC Theatres, updated its mobile app to support Dogecoin and Shiba Inu payments. United States-based customers using Apple or Android phones can both download the app and spend their highly volatile memecoins on movie tickets. 

The firm first teased the idea back in January, after rolling out payment support for Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin in November. 

AMC is able to accept crypto payments via a partnership with BitPay, a Bitcoin payment service provider. It should be noted that merchants using BitPay don’t receive crypto payments outright. Instead, BitPay converts crypto payments into fiat before depositing it into the merchant’s account.

Crypto startup Blockchain​.com planning 2022 IPO

It was reported on Tuesday that $14 billion crypto exchange Blockchain.com is holding talks with banks regarding the launch of a potential initial public offering (IPO) this year. 

Bloomberg’s unnamed sources stated that the talks were highly tentative and could change at any time (especially if those unnamed sources have been instructed by Blockchain.com to leak information to get a sense of public sentiment before revealing anything concrete). 

If the firm manages to get through all the regulatory hurdles and go public via an IPO, it would join Coinbase as the only other U.S. crypto exchange to do so. Binance.US is also looking at a potential similar route in the future.

Coinbase announces beta of NFT marketplace with social engagement

Speaking of the only U.S. crypto exchange to go public, Coinbase rolled out an early beta of its NFT marketplace for a select number of testers this week. At this stage, the early adopters of Coinbase NFT can create online profiles as well as buy and sell NFTs.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Coinbase vice president of product and ecosystem Sanchan Saxena hinted that Coinbase NFT would be a hybrid platform that takes elements from social media services and marketplaces such as OpenSea.  

“While it is true that buying and selling NFTs is a big part of the ecosystem today, what we have learned by talking to many customers and creators is that there is more to it than just buying and selling,” said Saxena. “There is the community aspect of it.”

German banking giant Commerzbank applies for crypto license

One of Germany’s banking giants, Commerzbank, revealed this week that it had applied for a crypto license, making it the first traditional financial institution in the country to do so. 

A spokesperson told local media outlet Börsen-Zeitung that it had “applied for the crypto custody license in the first quarter of 2022.” The move would go a long way to mainstreaming crypto in the country, as the bank serves over 18 million customers and 70,000 institutional clients. 

Any business looking to roll out crypto services in Germany must first seek approval from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, also known as BaFin.

Goldman Sachs reportedly eyes FTX alliance with regulatory and public listing assistance

Goldman Sachs is reportedly looking to secure an alliance with top derivatives exchange FTX, offering a strong show of faith in crypto in the banking sector. 

According to the Financial Times, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon and FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried met behind closed doors in March to discuss how a potential partnership could work for both firms. 

The key areas of discussion were said to involve compliance in the U.S., with Goldman Sachs offering to help FTX navigate the murky waters of regulation, in addition to assisting with future funding rounds.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $39,628, Ether (ETH) at $2,957 and XRP at $0.71. The total market cap is at $1.85 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are STEPN (GMT) at 40.66%, 0x (ZRX) at 22.40% and Decred (DCR) at 18.98%. 

The top three altcoin losers of the week are Helium (HNT) at -12.74%, Convex Finance (CVX) at -10.82% and Maker (MKR) at -10.81%.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“I see Ethereum remaining as the dominant L1 for years to come, while Bitcoin retains its status as the primary store of value on the blockchain.”

Lynn Liss, co-founder and chief operating officer of Akoin 

“It’s early days, but we are encouraged by what we’re seeing and confident that blockchain games will continue to gain traction if they are interesting and fun to play.”

Chris DeWolfe, co-founder of Myspace, CEO and co-founder of Jam City

“Crypto is dead. Long live Crypto.”

Andre Cronje, founder of Yearn.finance

“NO! There are already digital means of payment! So what is CBDC for? […] Even more surveillance, prevention of bank runs, addiction and the consequent enslavement of mankind? This does not prevent money laundering; this already exists on a large scale for the top 10,000 in many tax havens, e.g., [the] Cayman Islands, Macau, Dubai, etc.”

Anonymous

“One of the guiding principles of the blockchain is that it is a public ledger that’s shared and everyone with a little bit of computing power has access to it, [including] law enforcement. So the secret service hasn’t been doing anything that wasn’t the original intent of the blockchain. We’re just using the same tracking and tracing mechanisms that were intended.”

David Smith, assistant director of investigations for the United States Secret Service

“NFTs represent an opportunity for game developers to create games with player-owned economies; where the community of holders are both the early supporters of the game but also the main actors of its development and true stakeholders of its success.”

Sebastian Borget, co-founder of The Sandbox

“It’s very improbable that all the countries would ban noncustodial wallets, or any other aspect of Bitcoin’s peer-to-peer network for that matter.”

Stepan Uherik, chief financial officer for SatoshiLabs

“My worldview pre-Bitcoin was pretty narrow. Life looked like school, work, retirement, death. Nowadays, I think slightly differently. The ultimate goal [now] might be better described as entrepreneurship and self-sovereignty.”

Mr. ERB, blogger

“The point of DeFi cannot just be to trade DeFi tokens.”

Arthur Breitman, co-founder of Tezos

Prediction of the Week 

BTC could drop to $30K in 2 weeks, trader warns as gold goes for $2K high

Bitcoin’s price took a dive below $40,000 on April 17, according to Cointelegraph’s BTC price index. The asset then proceeded to dip down to almost $38,500 the following day, followed by a subsequent move up past $41,000 during the same session. By Thursday, the asset had made its way up to around $43,000, although downward action followed on the same day, with the asset then falling down below $40,000. 

Pseudonymous trader “Crypto Ed” posted a YouTube video on Monday talking about BTC price action. Looking back now, his expectations for the asset have proven pretty accurate. He expected $37,500 to serve as a bouncing point for BTC, followed by a potential run to $43,000 if the asset surpassed $40,000. He noted $43,000 as possibly just a local high, with the asset facing downward price pressure after that. The past week shows BTC moving pretty much in line with Crypto Ed’s comments.

He did, however, also mention that the next two weeks (from the date of his Monday video), approximately, could ultimately see BTC arrive at the $30,000 price level.

FUD of the Week 

Beanstalk Farms offers plea deal to perpetrators of $76M exploit

After credit-based stablecoin protocol Beanstalk Farms was hacked for around $76 million earlier this week, the team offered a bounty of 10% if the hacker returned the funds. 

Bounty offerings to blackhat hackers are becoming a common method for DeFi platforms of late, as they seem to be the most viable way of getting the project’s funds back and up and running as fast as possible. 

Notably, the project’s founders Benjamin Weintraub, Brendan Sanderson and Michael Montoya admitted during a podcast interview on Monday that the flaws in Beanstalk’s design “ultimately led to its undoing.”

MetaMask warns Apple users over iCloud phishing attacks

Crypto wallet provider MetaMask warned the community of potential Apple iCloud phishing attacks that could become very costly. 

The security issue is related to default device settings on Apple devices that see a user’s seed phrase or “password-encrypted MetaMask vault” stored on iCloud if the user has enabled automatic backups for their MetaMask application data.

MetaMask’s warning came in response to reports from an NFT collector who goes by “revive_dom” on Twitter, who stated that their entire wallet containing $650,000 worth of digital assets and NFTs was wiped via this specific security issue.

FBI and CISA issue alert over North Korean cyberattacks on crypto targets

On Monday, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sent out an alert regarding North Korean state-sponsored cyber attacks. 

The warning was made in response to the Ronin Bridge hack last month, which is believed to have been conducted by North Korean hackers. The FBI and CISA highlighted that hackers are specifically targeting DeFi protocols and play-to-earn games in particular, with spearphishing and malware being the methods of choice.  

“These actors will likely continue exploiting vulnerabilities of cryptocurrency technology firms, gaming companies, and exchanges to generate and launder funds to support the North Korean regime,” the CISA wrote.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Basic and weird: What the Metaverse is like right now

Your travel guide to what the Metaverse is like right now — in pictures.

In Georgia, crypto is a crucial tool for refugees escaping the war

Crypto, like most other new tech praised upon its creation as apolitical or neutral, becomes political in the hands of the people who use it and regulate it.

Brain drain: India’s crypto tax forces budding crypto projects to move

Several Indian cryptocurrency projects are planning to move their bases to more crypto-friendly jurisdictions.

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Korean Police Ask Crypto Exchanges to Freeze Luna Foundation Guard’s Assets

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Korean Police Ask Crypto Exchanges to Freeze Luna Foundation Guard’s Assets

Korean Police Ask Crypto Exchanges to Freeze Luna Foundation Guard's Assets

The South Korean police have reportedly launched an investigation into possible embezzlement involving an employee of Terraform Labs. To prevent fund transfers, the police have requested crypto exchanges to freeze the Luna Foundation Guard’s accounts.

Embezzlement Investigation and Asset Freeze

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s Cybercrime ​​Investigation Unit announced Monday that it has launched an investigation into possible embezzlement by an employee of Terraform Labs, local media reported.

An official from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency was quoted by Chosun as saying:

We have received information that there is a person suspected of embezzling corporate funds who is believed to be an employee of Terraform Labs.

The police received reports of the alleged embezzlement in the middle of this month and have been looking into the case. As part of the investigation, the police plan to check the details of cash and crypto transactions of Terraform Labs and the Luna Foundation Guard (LFG).

The police explained that there is evidence that embezzled funds had flowed into the Luna Foundation Guard’s accounts. The cybercrime unit has therefore requested major domestic cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Upbit and Bithumb, to “urgently” freeze the accounts belonging to the Luna Foundation Guard to prevent withdrawals of funds held at crypto exchanges.

However, the police’s freeze request is not a compulsory matter according to Korean laws and regulations but a matter that needs to be arbitrarily performed by each crypto exchange. Therefore, it has not been confirmed whether the freeze requests have been carried out, the publication conveyed.

Cryptocurrency terra (LUNA) and stablecoin terrausd (UST) collapsed earlier this month after UST lost its peg to the U.S. dollar.

Following the collapse, the Korean government launched an emergency investigation into the two coins and met with representatives of the country’s top crypto exchanges to discuss measures to prevent similar incidents from happening.

Last week, a number of victims filed a lawsuit against Terraform Labs CEO Kwon Do-hyung (aka Do Kwon) with the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors Office on charges of violating the Act on the Aggravated Punishment of Specific Economic Crimes (fraud) and the Act on the Regulation of Similar Receipts.

In addition, Do Kwon dissolved Terraform Labs Korea days before the collapse of LUNA and UST. While many suspected foul play, Kwon claimed that the timing was just “coincidental.” He also claims that his company does not owe the Korean government any taxes.

What do you think about this case? Let us know in the comments section below.

Kevin Helms

A student of Austrian Economics, Kevin found Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in Bitcoin security, open-source systems, network effects and the intersection between economics and cryptography.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Registration For The Upcoming VERSE Token By Bitcoin․com Is Now Open

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Registration For The Upcoming VERSE Token By Bitcoin․com Is Now Open

press release

Registrations are now open for the VERSE token sale, which will begin in the later part of June 2022. Interested parties who register can participate in the token sale immediately upon launch.

Miami, Florida – May 23rd, 2022 – VERSE is the rewards and utility token distributed to holders who participate in the Bitcoin.com ecosystem. Bitcoin.com is a global leader in introducing newcomers to cryptocurrency and is the go-to platform for educational resources, news, and more. Bitcoin.com’s ecosystem includes 30 million wallets and more than five million monthly active users across various products and services.

The VERSE token will reward users who engage in buying, selling, spending, swapping, and staying informed about cryptocurrency. Rewards will be allocated by interacting with the Verse DEX, staking VERSE, cashback paid in VERSE, and using VERSE as collateral in various lending pools. Additionally, token holders will receive access to exclusive products and services.

VERSE is a cross-chain token using the ERC-20 token standard on the Ethereum blockchain. The Verse team will actively explore opportunities to expand the token into low-fee Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible networks to provide an optimal user experience.

The VERSE supply is fixed at 210 billion tokens, distributed over seven years through a block-to-block approach. A further breakdown looks as follows:

  • 10% sold during Sale A (completed in May 2022)
  • 6% being sold during Sale B (coming in June 2022)
  • 15% allocated to the team
  • 35% set aside for ecosystem incentives
  • 34% will be used for funding future development of Verse and its ecosystem

The first token sale raised $33.6 million last month from notable market participants such as Blockchain.com, KuCoin, and Digital Strategies along with thought leaders like Roger Ver, Jihan Wu, and David Wachsman.

“We were honored to see such outspoken support during our first token sale round. Furthermore, we could not be more excited about bringing our second token sale to the public and providing more people with access to VERSE. This new utility token marks a crucial milestone for the Bitcoin.com ecosystem. It will enable us to enhance the mainstream appeal of cryptocurrency and blockchain through our buy/sell services, news coverage, and educational tools” said Dennis Jarvis, CEO Bitcoin.com.

To participate in the upcoming VERSE token sale, interested parties need to register on the Verse website. They will be the first to know when the VERSE token sale is live.

Registrants need an Ethereum wallet – such as the Bitcoin.com Wallet – to receive the VERSE tokens. Payment for the token sale is possible with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, USDT, and USDC.

The Verse community already counts over twenty-five thousand participants combined across Telegram and Discord. VERSE tokens will be minted following the conclusion of the Verse public sale in July.

The VERSE token sale is not available to U.S. purchasers.

Bitcoin.com

Bitcoin.com is your premier source for everything Bitcoin-related. We can help you buy bitcoins and choose a bitcoin wallet. You can also read the latest news, or engage with the community on our Bitcoin Forum. Please keep in mind that this is a commercial website that lists wallets, exchanges and other Bitcoin-related companies.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Popular Radio Presenter Suspended for Alleged Ties to Bitcoin Scam

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Popular Radio Presenter Suspended for Alleged Ties to Bitcoin Scam

South Africa’s national broadcaster has suspended one of its employees that is accused of convincing unsuspecting people, including pensioners, to invest in a cryptocurrency scam. More than 100 people are believed to have fallen victim to promises of very high returns to investors in the bitcoin investment scheme.

300% Return on Investment

The South African state broadcaster recently suspended one of its radio presenters, Sebasa Mogale, after a media exposé suggested he may have been part of a cryptocurrency scam outfit that reportedly promised a 300% return on investment.

The decision to suspend the popular broadcaster, who also plays a role in South Africa’s popular television series Skeem Saam, was made after an investigative report by the media outlet Carte Blanche identified him as one of the masterminds behind the scam that allegedly fleeced more than 100 people.

Reports of Mogale’s suspension were confirmed by Gugu Ntuli, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) group executive responsible for corporate affairs and marketing. In a statement, the executive said:

Thobela FM has taken a decision to unschedule Sebasa Mogale, (Ntshirogele) Afternoon Drive presenter, following the Carte Blanche exposé. Mr Mogale is being afforded an opportunity to resolve the issues raised in the recent broadcast which pertain to his personal business dealings involving cryptocurrency.

Ntuli added that the SABC will “leave no stone unturned” in its own probe into Mogale’s role in the scam.

A Confidence Trickster

According to an exposé by Carte Blanche, Mogale had used his celebrity status to lure some listeners of his radio show to invest. The media outlet’s report said investors with no training in personal finance management had “cashed in their pensions and savings policies.” However, in the end, Mogale’s promises turned out to be empty.

“But for at least 140 people the man they trusted to guide them through the crypto maze appears to have been little more than a confidence trickster,” reads part of Carte Blanche’s summary of the exposé.

Following news of Mogale’s suspension, some of the victims of the scam have come forward to reveal their losses. Sello Bonoko is quoted in another report explaining he became a victim after he listened to Mogale’s bitcoin investment pitch that “sounded convincing.” He also said he trusted Mogale’s promises primarily because these were made on national radio. Bonoko said he lost more than $14,500 (R230,000).

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the South African police is quoted in the report telling Mogale’s victims to file reports with law enforcement. He said the police can only act after formally receiving the complaints.

What are your thoughts on this story? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Terence Zimwara

Terence Zimwara is a Zimbabwe award-winning journalist, author and writer. He has written extensively about the economic troubles of some African countries as well as how digital currencies can provide Africans with an escape route.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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