Industry Insiders Edition 5

Mandala Exchange

Mandala Exchange

Aug 8. 13 min read

Hello everyone! We are back with ‘Industry Insiders’, a dedicated biweekly newsletter that scours the internet to inform and educate people about what’s happening in the crypto world in an engaging and entertaining manner.

In this edition of the newsletter, we’re going to talk about:

👉 Old giants entering web3 👀

👉 Solana wallets hacked & Nomad exploit

👉 New crypto bills in the US senate

Old giants entering web3

Hardly a day goes by without hearing about a huge brand embracing web3, the next wave of innovation of the internet.

Recently, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said, “web3 will play a part in the future of Starbucks’ popular rewards program.” Millions of customers pre-load money onto Starbucks cards (~$1.6B in total). Over 50% of their sales come from rewards customers.

During their Investor Day next month (September 13), rumors are they will be releasing NFTs directly tied to Starbuck rewards. Holders will get access to exclusive content and other perks. But more announcements will be coming. This could be huge for mainstream adoption, given that they have ~27.4M active rewards members in the US alone.

Roblox, one of the largest games in the world, has nearly 43M daily active users and a market cap of ~$26B. They’re looking to hire a web3 senior engineer. The job description talks about helping Roblox marketplace be web3 ready and support billions of items & transactions on the blockchain. Roblox has a thriving virtual in-game economy and creators of games within Roblox collectively made over $329M in 2020.

Polygon announced its partnership with the Mercedes Benz Group. They are going to launch a data-sharing platform called Acentrik. It will let businesses purchase and sell data in a decentralized setting. The blockchain network will also be utilized to exchange data from a variety of businesses, including insurance information, scientific studies, and clinical trials data.

Luxury brand Gucci recently announced that they’ll start accepting ApeCoin. 

Which big brand would make a major move in web3 next and help with mainstream adoption? A good question to ponder today. 

Solana wallets hacked & Nomad exploit

Thousands of random Solana wallets were drained of funds. Nobody knows exactly what the root cause of the hack was, but it seems to be draining random Phantom and Slope (Solana) wallets. Hackers have been able to steal both SOL and USDC. As the attack is ongoing, the value of the assets stolen is not clear, but reports from independent analysts and security firms like PeckShield estimate the losses are worth as much as $8 million.

Reports are all over the place. It could be software bugs in the popular Solana wallets. It could be a private key leak. No one knows. Solana’s status update says, “This does not appear to be a bug with Solana core code, but in software used by several software wallets popular among users of the network.”

If you have funds in affected wallets, send them to a cold wallet or to Mandala Exchange where your funds are SAFU.

Hackers abused a “chaotic” security exploit to steal almost $200 million in digital assets from Nomad, a cross-chain messaging protocol. Nomad, a token bridge that allows users to send and receive tokens between Avalanche, Ethereum, Evmos, Moonbeam and Milkomeda C1 blockchains, were attacked on Monday, with hackers draining almost all of the protocol’s funds. A researcher at crypto investment firm Paradigm called Sam Sun inspected the situation and posted a lengthy play-by-play analysis of the smart contract configuration error that cost users $190 million. Nomad is offering a 10% bounty on any funds returned. $32 million has been returned from 86 wallet addresses so far.

A new crypto bill in the US senate

A new bill has been introduced to the U.S Senate – the Virtual Currency Tax Fairness Act.

The goal is to cut taxes on small crypto payments up to $50. It was introduced by Senators Patrick Toomey and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona)

Right now, the government treats crypto assets as property and crypto transactions as investments rather than payments. We have to track and pay capital gains taxes every time we exchange or sell crypto. This has been a huge roadblock for crypto being an alternative to fiat money. 

Another 68-page bill called The Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act, a bipartisan bill by Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Boozman, defined Ethereum & Bitcoin as commodities. This means the CFTC will oversee digital commodities, not the SEC.

Nuggets from the cryptoverse📊

  • Blackrock, the largest asset manager in the world with over $9 trillion in assets, is giving clients using its Aladdin portfolio management software the ability to trade crypto. 
  • Open options on Ethereum passed the open options on Bitcoin for the first time ever.
  • Crypto funds saw $481 million of inflows in July, the highest in 2022.
  • Bitcoin evangelist Michael Saylor stepped down as CEO of MicroStrategy after the enterprise software maker reported a loss of more than $1 billion in losses related to its bitcoin holdings. The company holds almost 130,000 bitcoin on its balance sheet and began investing in 2020 as an inflation hedge. 
  • Optimism’s native OP token is slated for a major upgrade in Q4 2022. The upgrade to the rollup architecture will decrease deposit times from L1s to L2s and reduce transmissions to mainnet by 20%. 
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren wants the OCC to rewrite Trump-era crypto banking guidelines that allow banks to hold reserve-backed stablecoins like USDC and USDT. Warren wants the OCC to draft new guidance with the Federal Reserve and FDIC. 
  • A prolific crypto miner who was involved in the ETC fork has said he would continue mining Ethereum on a fork called ETH POW after the chain moves to proof of stake later this year. The merge will remove the need for transactions to be verified by miners, who have spent billions of dollars buying GPUs.
  • Security firm Hacxyk discovered a vulnerability in the Near protocol that led to wallet keys being stored in plain text back in June. Near immediately fixed the issue and no wallets were compromised. 
  • Ethereum’s third and final testnet merge, Goerli, is expected to happen on August 10.
  • Algorand COO Sean Ford will succeed Steven Kokinos as CEO of the company.
  • Solana Spaces is opening in New York City’s Hudson Yards. The physical space will teach visitors about Solana, help them set up a wallet and purchase their first NFT.
  • Aave DAO voted to create an overcollateralized stablecoin called GHO. GHO will be similar to MakerDAO’s DAI stablecoin.
  • UK bank Barclays is reportedly investing millions in crypto custodian Copper at a $2 billion valuation. Barclays is one of the UK’s largest banks with total assets of around $1.4 trillion as of 2021.
  • CFTC head Caroline Pham said the SEC should not regulate by enforcement, and that there needs to be clarity on which agency is spearheading regulations. The CFTC announced it was transforming its LabCFTC fintech team into a new Office of Technology Innovation that would focus on digital currency regulation. 
  • Stablecoin issuer Tether said it holds no Chinese commercial paper, and that it currently holds only $3.7 billion of commercial paper in its reserves, down 88% from $30 billion in July 2021.
  • Schwab Asset Management is launching a crypto ETF that will track companies’ digital asset trading and brokerage services, crypto mining, and companies that may benefit from validating consensus mechanisms.
  • Asian crypto lender Babel Finance reportedly lost $280 million trading customer funds. It suspended withdrawals last month due to the losses. 
  • Troubled crypto lender Voyager Digital has been ordered by US banking regulators to stop making claims that deposits on its platform are FDIC insured.
  • Crypto investment firm Variant raised $450 million for its third dedicated crypto fund. 
  • Open options on Ether have reached record highs, as an updated timeline for the long-awaited Merge has spurred demand for call options.
  • Bipartisan stablecoin regulation has been formally delayed until after the August congressional break.

From the World of Web3, NFTs & the Metaverse🔮

  • Instagram expanded support for its NFT feature to 100 countries. The feature was launched in May for select US creators and collectors. Today’s update opens NFT support to additional countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and the Americas. Instagram users will be able to share NFTs on the Ethereum, Polygon, and Flow blockchains by connecting their digital wallets to the app. Shared NFTs are tagged as digital collectibles and include a shimmer effect.
  • Kevin Rose, founder of Moonbirds, announced this week that the project would be moving to a cc0 licensing format instead of its current system where NFT owners have full IP rights to their NFT. 
  • NFTs.com has been purchased for a whopping $15M. It’s the second largest public domain sale of all time. 
  • Tiffany’s sold 250 “NFTiffs”, digital passes that can be redeemed by CryptoPunk owners for a custom pendant of their NFT. The passes were sold for 30 ETH or roughly $50,000. 
  • Swiss luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer is integrating Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs into design elements of its Calibre E4 digital watch, and will allow clients to purchase timepieces using ApeCoin.
  • A new Ethereum token standard, ERC4907, will allow people to rent and loan NFTs for fixed periods of time in a trustless manner.
  • Magic Eden, the largest Solana NFT marketplace, announced support for Ethereum NFTs. The platform will aggregate listings from other marketplaces, and will offer minting services and multi-chain support. 
  • Crypto firm Chiliz is investing $102 million into football club FC Barcelona to expand the club’s Web3 offerings. 
  • UK rock band Muse is releasing its next album as an NFT on Polygon platform Serenade. 
  • Aptos Labs, a new L1 blockchain founded by former Meta employees, raised $150 million in Series A funding led by FTX Ventures and Jump Crypto. Aptos plans to bring the Diem blockchain to life by creating the “safest and most production-ready blockchain in the world”. 
  • Yuga Labs said it would begin taking a 5% royalty fee on secondary sales of Meebits. 
  • Miami is releasing an NFT collection in December with Mastercard, Salesforce and Time. 56 local artists are designing 5,000 NFTs that represent the city. NFT holders will receive access to Mastercard’s Priceless Miami program, which offers experiences, private tours and other activities. The NFTs will be minted on Salesforce’s new product, NFT Cloud. 
  • Apple listed a job posting for a creative director and an art director with Web3 experience. 
  • NFT marketplace OneOf is releasing an NFT collection that will allow holders to approve artist samples of a previously unreleased Notorious B.I.G. track. 
  • The UK Law Commission proposed recognizing a new category of personal property called “data objects” under which NFTs and other tokens could be regulated.

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