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NFT​.NYC — How the Web3 space is validating the work of digital artists

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NFT​.NYC — How the Web3 space is validating the work of digital artists

Following the conclusion of the fourth annual NFT.NYC conference, attendees took the opportunity to reflect upon a week of artistic inspiration, community networking and developer innovation from within the nonfungible token (NFT) space.

A sequel to last year’s popular debut, The Digital Diaspora event on June 19 served as a dedicated exhibition, panel discussion, and fundraiser to amplify the voices and creative talents of artists of color in the NFT space. 

The event was a collaboration between the renowned skyscraper photographer DrifterShoots and youthful rising-star artist Diana Sinclair, in partnership with sponsors MetaMask and Samsung, and was hosted at the Samsung 837 hub in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan, New York on Father’s Day and Juneteenth. 

Hosted by Community Manager at MetaMask, Faith Love, panelists included Diana Sinclair, Emonee LaRussa, Andre O’Shea, Elise Swopes, Cory Van Lew and a cameo stage appearance from DrifterShoots.

June 19, known commonly as Juneteenth, is one of the most culturally significant days of the American calendar, marking the historic moment in 1865 when the last African Americans were emancipated from slavery in Galveston, Texas. 

Nowadays, the federal holiday of Juneteenth serves as a poignant reminder to consciously reflect on the atrocities of the past, but it’s also an opportunity to amplify the societal narrative around cultural diversity and representation, as well as celebrate the modern accomplishments of people of color. 

The Digital Diaspora — with “diaspora” referring to the global migration and displacement of people of similar culture or origins — was a celebration of Black culture, aiming to bring “awareness to issues of racism and inequality, while highlighting the beauty of the art birthed from these ever-present struggles,” according to the website. 

“The Digital Diaspora is an art show that celebrates Black culture and the people who design it, elevating voices that often go unheard and giving a platform to those less seen. By displaying and celebrating the artists chosen and through the charity selected, we push forward to design and build a future that truly welcomes Black art in its truest form.” 

The Digital Diaspora event was attended in person by Cointelegraph’s NFT reporter, Tom Farren, as a part of his week-long reporting duties at the NFT.NYC conference.

Honoured to be listening to this conversation at the Digital Diaspora event w/ @DrifterShoots @dianaesinclair @Em0n33y + more. pic.twitter.com/3SAEmD2Tm1

— Tom Farren (@tomfarrencrypto) June 19, 2022

Pictured Left to Right: Faith Love, Diana Sinclair, Emonee LaRussa, Andre O’Shea, Elise Swopes, Cory Van Lew.

Sinclair shared insights into the inspiration and origin story of a recent piece of work titled “You Cant Smooth A Crumpled Paper Or A Wrinkled Heart” in collaboration with musician and producer Reuel Williams. 

“It was a very intense art piece that took a lot of time to make. This piece was a lot about the process of it, actually, rather than exactly the end artwork,” Sinclair stated before continuing: 

“I created a video collage of this friend of mine [where] she’s breathing and moving. I printed out each frame of the video, crumpled it up with my brother and flattened out each one, so now it’s like a wrinkled piece of paper. Then, I scanned and turned it into a stop motion video, and my mother created a poem to go with it.” 

Williams was instrumental in evolving the piece to a “whole other level,” said Sinclair. The cascading sonics of the musical soundtrack provide a structural intensity to the visual imagery, complementing the narrative of progression in the face of adversity. 

“You Cant Smooth A Crumpled Paper Or A Wrinkled Heart”

On auction till Monday afternoon as part of the Digital Diaspora pic.twitter.com/oNBkw2MgJE

— Diana Sinclair (@dianaesinclair) June 25, 2022

“This piece is about persistence and how even though we — meaning Black people in this country — have been wrinkled, have been flattened, have gone through so much struggle, that we still persist, and we still continue. So, it’s a looping video,” said Sinclair. 

An accompanying poem was written for the piece by Sinclair’s mother, Leia which can be viewed here. The final four lines read: “We lift wrinkled hearts to the sun for healing / While we show beautiful shades / Of smooth unbothered shea butter skin / To the world.” 

The Sinclair and Williams collaborative piece is one of nine that was displayed at the event and is currently under auction. Others include Yacht Lounge by Cory Van Lew, Bask in the Glow by Elise Swopes, and One Decision Away by Andre O’Shea, among others. 

Related: Crypto secures a place in the African American saga

Andre O’Shea spoke with eloquence on the subject of Black representation within the NFT space, sharing his belief that progress exists in the form of an infinite symbol where when one circle — depicting an artist’s career or creative contribution — ends, the next circle continues the cycle for the next generation.

“Becoming an artist in the Web3 space, I see how validated we are as digital artists now [because it] gives us this platform. But also, speaking to the new opportunities that it gives us is much kind of like what Diane is doing now — creating more spaces for us, create bigger spaces for us, actually laying down that path.”

The everlasting ability to expand the branches of opportunity and uplift new creators and voices is a significant benefit in the Web3 space compared to its predecessor, claimed O’Shea. 

Emonee LaRussa, a two-time Emmy award-winning motion graphics artist, and founder of the nonprofit project, Jumpstart Designers, utilized her time portion of the panel to publicly announce her curation of an upcoming event on Nov. 5 in Los Angeles at SuperChief Gallery.

She also shared her philosophy behind Jumpstart Designers, and the ways in which the educational program is supporting young creators from underserved communities develop their digital skills on Adobe Creative Cloud, and gain access to necessary computing equipment. 

“This has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I didn’t grow up with a whole lot of money, and being in digital art, I had realized that […] me experiencing not having access really made me realize how reliant my dreams were on money.” 

“And so, I wanted to change the future of digital art. So that is our motto: change the future of digital art. Because we really believe that by bringing these kids on, you’ll see new experiences, new stories that you’ve never seen before, and they won’t be limited to what they can create.” 

In 2021, 25-year-old LaRussa mentored six emerging artists as a part of the Voice NFT Residency to create and auction their own NFT artworks. All of the $38,742 raised to-date has been donated to low-income children seeking to increase their digital literacy and animation skills. 

“We all know, digital art is very expensive. And how many kids out there are just so talented, so creative and don’t even have the opportunity? NFTs have changed our life and how many opportunities NFTs brings for us, they’re just not even in question for that. And so, we want to change that.” 

Invited onto the stage from his seat in the audience, DrifterShoots, commonly referred to as Drift, shared his gratitude for the approximate 1,000 people in physical attendance.

“This means the world to us,” he stated. “You know, the space can be a lot of smoke and mirrors at times — people playing with ‘pretend money’ and things like that. But I think at the end of the day as artists, especially as Black artists, with purposes and real intentions, we want our art, our lives, our stories to make a clear impact in the world.” 

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Alchemy and Infura block access to Tornado Cash as Vitalik Buterin weighs in on debate

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Alchemy and Infura block access to Tornado Cash as Vitalik Buterin weighs in on debate

U.S. persons and entities must comply with the Treasury’s sanctions or face possible criminal consequences.

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Alchemy and Infura block access to Tornado Cash as Vitalik Buterin weighs in on debate

According to Twitter user @0xdev0, on Monday, Web3 development platform Alchemy and Infura.io blocked remote procedure call (RPC) requests to cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash, preventing users from accessing the applications. The day prior, the U.S. Treasury placed 44 smart contract addresses linked to Tornado Cash in the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list. U.S. persons and entities are prohibited from blockchain or business interactions with Tornado Cash under t sanctions, with the possibility of criminal liabilities for violations.

The move came after the U.S. Treasury alleged individuals and groups had used the privacy protocol to launder more than $7 billion worth of crypto since 2019, including the $455 million stolen by the North Korea-affiliated Lazarus Group. Almost immediately after the announcement, stablecoin issuer Circle froze USD Coin funds held within Tornado Cash’s smart contracts. Meanwhile, programming repository GitHub took down the project’s main page and blocked developer access.

Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, claimed that he used Tornado Cash to donate to Ukraine. The intent, as told by Buterin, was to protect the financial privacy of the recipients so that their enemy, the Russian government, would not have full details of the transaction.

I’ll out myself as someone who has used TC to donate to this exact cause.

— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) August 9, 2022

Others have also pointed out the mixer’s privacy applications, such as for an individual getting paid in crypto who doesn’t want an employer to see their financial details, or paying for a service in crypto who doesn’t want the service provider to see the past transactions from their wallet. On the other hand, the tool has, in part, acted as a hotspot for enabling anonymous hackers to launder stolen funds from protocol exploits particularly cross-chain bridges. More than $2 billion worth of funds has been stolen from such applications year to date.

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Reddit partners with FTX to enable ETH gas fees for community points

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Reddit partners with FTX to enable ETH gas fees for community points

With the new integration, Reddit users will be able to purchase Ether from supported Reddit apps via FTX’s payment and exchange infrastructure platform FTX Pay.

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Reddit partners with FTX to enable ETH gas fees for community points

After moving away from Bitcoin (BTC) payments years ago, online forum Reddit now seems to be inching closer to embracing cryptocurrency payments via a new partnership with the FTX exchange.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto exchange FTX and Reddit announced in a joint statement on Tuesday that the platform intends to integrate Reddit’s Community Points in the United States, the European Union, Australia and other markets.

The partnership features the integration of FTX Pay as a payment and crypto exchange solution to unlock new crypto-enabled perks for Reddit Community Points. Introduced in May 2020, Reddit Community Points are a measure of reputation in communities or subreddits, allowing users to own a piece of their favorite communities.

“As a unit of ownership, points capture some of the value of their community. They can be spent on premium features and are used as a measure of reputation in the community,” Reddit said when launching the Community Points two years ago. Reddit Community Points are based on Arbitrum, one of the most Ethereum scaling solutions.

With the new integration, users will be able to purchase Ether (ETH) from supported Reddit apps via FTX’s payment and exchange infrastructure platform FTX Pay. The cryptocurrency can be used to pay blockchain gas fees, or network fees for their Community Points transactions on-chain.

“We’re always working to empower communities and introduce new ways to use Reddit, and decentralized, self-sustaining blockchain technology allows us to do that. By working with FTX, we’re able to do this at scale,” Reddit staff software engineer Niraj Sheth said.

Bankman-Fried noted that the partnership with Reddit marks FTX s commitment to empower online communities to harness the power of blockchain. “FTX Pay’s payment and exchange infrastructure integrates with Reddit Community Points, making the customer experience a more seamless process,” he added.

The news comes amid Arbitrum developer Offchain Labs launching the Arbitrum Nova chain on Tuesday. Arbitrum Nova, the second chain launched in the Arbitrum ecosystem, is designed to serve as the premier solution for Web3 gaming and social applications. Apart from Reddit and FTX, other firms like Google Cloud, Consensys, P2P and QuickNode participated in the launch by becoming inaugural members of Nova’s “Data Availability Committee.”

Related: Reddit announces new blockchain-backed ‘Collectible Avatars’

One of the most popular websites in the United States, Reddit has been largely involved in the crypto and blockchain industry for many years. The discussion platform is known for once allowing users to pay for their premium membership in Bitcoin but removing the opportunity in 2018.

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian has been widely involved in crypto, launching a $100 million Web3 investment fund last year. Ohanian subsequently launched another $200 million Web3 and social media fund in collaboration with the Ethereum scaling solution Polygon.

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Is your SOL safe? What we know about the Solana hack | Find out now on The Market Report

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Is your SOL safe? What we know about the Solana hack | Find out now on The Market Report

On this week’s episode of “The Market Report,” Cointelegraph’s resident experts discuss whether your SOL is safe or not.

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Is your SOL safe? What we know about the Solana hack | Find out now on The Market Report

On this week’s episode of “The Market Report,” Cointelegraph’s resident experts discuss the latest updates concerning the recent Solana (SOL) hack.

To kick things off, we broke down the latest news in the markets this week:

Bitcoin realized price bands form key resistance as bulls lose $24K, significant whale activity between $22,000 and $24,800 adds to the complexity of the current spot market setup. Bitcoin (BTC) consolidated lower on Aug. 9 after familiar resistance preserved a multi-month trading range. When will we finally break out of this price range and make the move towards $30K?

Institutions flocking to Ethereum for 7 straight weeks as Merge nears: Report, “Greater clarity” around the Merge has driven institutional inflows into Ethereum products, according to a CoinShares report. Is the ETH merge finally around the corner and will it bring new all time highs to ETH or has the price already been factored into the current price?

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. Could this mark the end for Tornado Cash or is there a way they can redeem themselves?

Next up is a new segment called “Quick Crypto Tips,” which aims to give newcomers to the crypto industry quick and easy tips to get the most out of their experience. This week’s tip: Have some funds ready to buy further downturns.

Market expert Marcel Pechman then carefully examines the Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) markets. Are the current market conditions bullish or bearish? What is the outlook for the next few months? Pechman is here to break it down. The experts also go over some markets news to bring you up to date on the latest regarding the top two cryptocurrencies.

After Marcel’s market analysis, our resident experts discuss whether your SOL is safe and the latest updates on the Solana hack. We also discuss why the network has been victim to so many hacks and downtimes. What exactly do these exploits mean for the Solana platform and if you should be worried.

Lastly, we’ve got insights from Cointelegraph Markets Pro, a platform for crypto traders who want to stay one step ahead of the market. The analysts use Cointelegraph Markets Pro to identify two altcoins that stood out this week: Radicle’s RAD and DigiByte’s DGB.

Do you have a question about a coin or topic not covered here? Don’t worry. Join the YouTube chat room, and write your questions there. The person with the most interesting comment or question will be given a 1 month free subscription to markets Pro worth $100!

The Market Report streams live every Tuesday at 12:00 pm ET (4:00 pm UTC), so be sure to head on over to Cointelegraph’s YouTube page and smash those like and subscribe buttons for all our future videos and updates.

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