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Crypto Biz: Gucci ‘apes’ into crypto

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Crypto Biz: Gucci ‘apes’ into crypto

What comes to mind when you think of Gucci? Designer handbags, fashion jewelry, elegant Swiss watches? What about payment integration with an ERC-20 governance and utility token that wants to power Web3? Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? The iconic Italian fashion brand announced this week it would expand its payment options to include the Bored Ape Yacht Club-affiliated ApeCoin (APE) — but only through BitPay. In other words, Gucci will let you liquidate your APE for United States dollars and spend the proceeds at its stores. 

If you’re surprised by the news, you should read on to learn more about Gucci’s broadening crypto ambitions. While you’re at it, stick around for this week’s Crypto Biz, where we dissect the latest news surrounding Michael Saylor and Robinhood. We leave you with a sobering analysis of the Terra-induced crypto market collapse from a top Kraken executive.

Gucci becomes first major brand to accept ApeCoin payments

If you missed it, Gucci officially became the first major brand to accept APE payments via Bitpay. The move came months after Gucci announced that it would accept 12 crypto assets as payment across more than 100 North American stores. Holders of Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE) and other crypto are now able to convert their digital assets into a $5,000 GUCCI tote bag. Beyond crypto payments, Gucci launched a pair of nonfungible token (NFT) collections this year, including the SUPERGUCCI NFT lineup in February.

Michael Saylor will step down as MicroStrategy CEO but remain as executive chair

Bitcoin’s chief evangelist Michael Saylor is clearing his calendar to focus almost entirely on promoting the digital asset. This week, Saylor announced he was stepping down as CEO of MicroStrategy in favor of a new executive chair position. Effective Aug. 8, Saylor’s new role will focus on MicroStrategy’s “Bitcoin acquisition strategy and related Bitcoin advocacy initiatives.” A day after the announcement, MicroStrategy’s stock price surged to three-month highs. It looks like investors are pleased with Saylor’s position. We’ll see how they feel if crypto winter lasts another year.

In my next job, I intend to focus more on #Bitcoin.

— Michael Saylor⚡️ (@saylor) August 3, 2022

‘This is on me’ — Robinhood CEO to lay off 23% of staff after Q2 loss

Robinhood’s foray into crypto looked great over a year ago when we were riding the bull market. Now, with crypto, stocks and the economy in the dumps, the discount brokerage has been forced to lay off nearly a quarter of its staff. Vlad Tenev, Robinhood’s CEO, delivered the bad news shortly after the company reported dismal second-quarter earnings results, which included a 44% decline in year-over-year net revenues. Crypto-focused companies have seen sweeping layoffs this year as asset prices plunged and trade volumes dried up.

“Departing Robinhoodies will be offered the opportunity to remain employed with Robinhood through October 1, 2022 and receive their regular pay and benefits. They will also be offered job search assistance (including an opt in Robinhood Alumni Talent Directory).”

— zerohedge (@zerohedge) August 2, 2022

Contagion only hit firms with ‘poor balance sheet management’ — Kraken Aus boss

The epic collapse of Terra (Luna) — now renamed Terra Classic (LUNC) — sparked industry-wide contagion in crypto, eventually leading to several bankruptcies and trillions of dollars in lost market cap. But, the only companies and protocols that went under were those with “poor balance sheet management” and a complete lack of understanding of how blockchain works. That sober analysis was provided by Kraken Australia managing director Jonathon Miller. He also explained why Ethereum proved resilient in the face of chaos and why his parent company, Kraken, is poised to continue growing.

Don’t miss it! What’s next for Bitcoin and Ether?

Bitcoin’s performance over the past week has taken both the bulls and the bears by surprise. Meanwhile, Ether has bounced strongly off its lows as the hype surrounding its upcoming Merge intensifies. But, the outlook on both assets is as clear as mud. In this week’s Market Report, I sat down with fellow analysts Marcel Pechman and Benton Yaun to debate an important topic: Have BTC and ETH bottomed yet? You can catch a full replay of the show below.

Crypto Biz is your weekly pulse of the business behind blockchain and crypto delivered directly to your inbox every Thursday.

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Crypto Exchange Zipmex Moves to Release Some BTC, ETH Holdings This Week

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Crypto Exchange Zipmex Moves to Release Some BTC, ETH Holdings This Week

Shortly after resuming withdrawals for some altcoins, Asian crypto exchange Zipmex announced that it will be easing withdrawal amounts of Bitcoin and Ether later this week.

The statement comes after the platform had assured its users on August 4 that it is “committed to resuming all services on the Zipmex platform ASAP and to rebuild confidence and alleviate customer concerns.”

August 11, 16 earmarked for release

Zipmex, a cryptocurrency exchange with offices in Singapore and Thailand, announced a temporary halt to client withdrawals from the platform back on July 20. While the exchange blamed falling crypto asset prices and loan defaults by industry heavyweights for the decision, it said it will resume withdrawals less than 24 hours after suspending operations.

Now, despite the exchange’s battle with Babel and Celsius, it intends to release a specific amount of ETH and BTC on August 11 and 16, respectively.

Zipmex is planning to release a specific amount of ETH and BTC on 11 and 16 August respectively. We’re working hard to release the balance of Z Wallet holdings ASAP.

Thank you for your ongoing patience and support.

Zipmex Team

#Zipmex pic.twitter.com/moywJffXau

— ZIPMEX (@zipmex) August 8, 2022

Previously on August 2, 100% of users’ SOL was released, 100% of XRP was announced for release on August 4, and Zipmex said it will make 100% of ADA available on August 9, 2022. Stablecoins, on the other hand, will remain inaccessible for the time being.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, Zipmex has requested bankruptcy protection to address its financial concerns by way of a moratorium for five of its businesses. While the hearing is to take place on August 15, it is crucial to reiterate that Zipmex has raised a total of $62.9 million in investment over the course of 6 rounds. As per Crunchbase, Coinbase and B Capital Group were the most recent investors.

That said, co-founder Akalarp Yimwilai had also stated on Twitter last month that the “primary objective at this stage is to raise funds and open up Z Wallet as soon as possible.”

We reiterate that we have an audit trail and written evidence on all sequence of events. However, our primary objective at this stage is to raise funds and open up Z Wallet as soon as possible.

— Akalarp Yimwilai (@akalarp) July 29, 2022

Will the Singapore court go the Vauld way?

Just last week, the High Court of Singapore granted the troubled cryptocurrency lender Vauld a three-month moratorium period. As a result, the corporation will be effectively protected from any prospective legal action from creditors during this time. Therefore, a similar route for Zipmex will allow the platform to resolve its liquidity issues and re-enable its Z wallet.

Just to reiterate, Zipmex Asia Pte Ltd, Zipmex Pte Ltd, Thailand-based Zipmex Company Limited, PT Zipmex Exchange Indonesia, and Zipmex Australia Pty Ltd are among the businesses asking for assistance under Section 64 of Singapore’s Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act 2018. According to Singaporean legislation, these businesses must be given an automatic moratorium for 30 days or until the court issues a ruling.

What do you think about this subject? Write to us and tell us!

Disclaimer

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

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Dave Portnoy’s SafeMoon position is down 94%, claims he’s being sued by project

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Dave Portnoy’s SafeMoon position is down 94%, claims he’s being sued by project

The Barstool Sports founder panic-sold Bitcoin in 2020 and has expressed fleeting interest in digital assets ever since.

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Dave Portnoy's SafeMoon position is down 94%, claims he's being sued by project

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy has watched his investment in SafeMoon (SAFEMOON) crash by over 94%, proving to crypto enthusiasts that he is, in fact, capable of hodling during the bear market. 

The stock trader and media personality took to Twitter on Monday to lament his $40,000 investment in the memecoin, which has fallen to just $2,370.94 after he didn’t withdraw a single token. “Still holding by the way,” Portnoy said. “Diamond hands.”

I put 40k into @safemoon I haven’t withdrawn any. It’s not worth 2.3k. And I’m being sued. https://t.co/qRAyBegQMm

— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) August 8, 2022

Portnoy claimed that he’s also being sued by SafeMoon, possibly for “trashing” the project on his show, but didn’t elaborate much further. In a separate tweet, Portnoy shared a screenshot of SafeMoon’s sales manager expressing displeasure with the Barstool Sports frontman for giving the company “a bad look and unfair representation.” Portnoy “mentioned his SafeMoon losses on air but failed to mention he hasn’t upgraded his holdings to V2 yet,” the manager said.

And let’s not forget when @safemoon themselves complained about me trashing them. pic.twitter.com/1Fg2i9lijC

— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) August 8, 2022

Portnoy is no stranger to cryptocurrencies, having bought Bitcoin (BTC) in August 2020 only to sell it one week later due to volatility. He later expressed regret over his lack of conviction and went on to make several additional bets on cryptos, which included SafeMoon.

Related: Dogecoin founder speaks out against ‘meme coins’

As far as prices go, SafeMoon is down over 99% from its all-time high of $0.00001399 in April 2021, according to CoinMarketCap. The coin has a lifetime return on investment of negative 86%. 

SafeMoon was audited in May 2021 by blockchain security firm HashEx. At the time, the firm identified 12 smart contract vulnerabilities, including a “temporary ownership renounce” that made it especially prone to a rug pull.

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Circle freezes blacklisted Tornado Cash smart contract addresses

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Circle freezes blacklisted Tornado Cash smart contract addresses

Stablecoin issuers can blacklist interactions with the Tornado Cash DApp on the Ethereum smart contract level.

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Circle freezes blacklisted Tornado Cash smart contract addresses

Crypto data aggregator Dune Analytics said that, on Monday, Circle, the issuer of the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin, froze over 75,000 USDC worth of funds linked to the 44 Tornado Cash addresses sanctioned by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list. Tornado Cash is a decentralized application, or DApp, used to obfuscate the trail of previous cryptocurrency transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. 

All U.S. persons and entities are prohibited from interacting with the virtual currency mixer’s USDC and Ethereum smart contract addresses on the SDN list. Penalties for willful noncompliance can range from fines of $50,000 to $10,000,000 and 10 to 30 years imprisonment. An estimated $437 million worth of assets, consisting of stablecoins, Ethereum, and wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), are currently held in Tornado Cash’s smart contract addresses. As a result, issuers are expected to take steps to prevent the transaction or redemption of such assets. 

Both the entities behind USDC and Tether can freeze their stablecoin transfers to and from Tornado Cash on the Ethereum smart contract level. Meanwhile, Palo Alto, California-based BitGo, would also, theoretically, need to restrict access to Tornado Cash to comply with such sanctions. One possible method is suspending the redemption of Tornado Cash-linked WBTC.

As told by pseudonymous DeFi educator BowTiedIguana, the new Tornado Cash sanctions apply across the board for U.S. individuals and entities. Simple interactions such as Gitcoin donations, working for the project, running or downloading its software, visiting its website, and depositing/withdrawing from smart contracts could be interpreted as violations. 

Circle just frozen 75,000 USDC belonging to unsuspecting Tornado users, as well as 149 USDC donated to the project. pic.twitter.com/GBS41FtZvB

— banteg (@bantg) August 8, 2022

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