Industry Insiders Edition 7

Mandala Exchange

Mandala Exchange

Sep 5. 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:

👉 Update on the Ethereum Merge 👀

👉 Ticketmaster’s move into web3 💪

Update on the Ethereum Merge

The Merge, Ethereum’s move to proof of stake from its current proof of work model, will kick off with the Bellatrix update tomorrow (September 6). This will begin a 14-day period to the mainnet Merge, which is expected to occur on September 20. 

The Merge is set to be finalized around September 15th. But, the process has begun. The first mainnet software update, Bellatrix, has been released. It’s an important update and without it, there will be configuration errors. All Ethereum validator nodes will need to make the update before tomorrow.

There were a few hiccups and a bug that was causing some errors. Luckily, the team figured it out and fixed the bug within a few hours. Everything looks like it’s working again. 

“The Merge” intends to shift the Ethereum blockchain from its current proof-of-work  (PoW) mechanism to a proof-of-stake (PoS) model, a faster, more energy-efficient, more secure way to scale projects. Ethereum has completed a series of work to convert the testnet to PoS, and will eventually move the mainnet to PoS.

The Ethereum mainnet merge will happen in two steps, the “Bellatrix” and “Paris” upgrades. The Bellatrix upgrade brings Ethereum’s consensus layer – the Beacon Chain that introduces the PoS mechanism to Ethereum – into a state ready to merge.

The Bellatrix upgrade will occur at epoch 144896, which means a real-world time of 11:34:47 UTC on Sept. 6. Epoch is the time unit that is used on Ethereum.

The Paris upgrade will come after the Bellatrix upgrade, which will switch the Ethereum network from PoW to PoS.

The Paris upgrade will be triggered when the “Total Terminal Difficulty” (TTD) reaches 58,750,000,000,000,000,000,000. TTD is a threshold difficulty of the final block mined in Ethereum before the merge; after TTD is achieved or exceeded, the next block will be produced by PoS.

TTD achievement is expected between September 10-20. The first mainnet block produced under the PoS mechanism will occur approximately 13 minutes after the Paris upgrade.

You can find more information here.

Ticketmaster’s move into web3 💪

Many people think NFT tickets would be a huge use case for the blockchain. 

Well, event ticketing behemoth Ticketmaster will adopt the Flow blockchain from Dapper Labs for minting tickets as NFTs for select events. Ticketmaster has built a new wallet & marketplace. Event organisers can give drop NFTs tied to tickets. They will mainly be used as collectibles and “proof of attendance” for future rewards. Users can view & trade their NFTs on the marketplace

The feature has been tested out for the last 6 months and has minted more than 5 million NFTs. Ticketmaster automatically issued ticket NFTs as memorabilia to attendees of specific events like the Super Bowl LVI this year. 

Ticketmaster sells close to 500 million tickets every year, so this could be big. What are your thoughts?

Nuggets from the cryptoverse📊

  • Japan is considering a tax reform for 2023 that would exempt crypto startups that issue their own tokens from paying taxes on unrealized gains. Investors in Japan are taxed up to 55% on capital gains, making it very expensive for crypto startups to operate in the country.
  • Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s venture capital firm Seven Seven Six raised $177.60 million for a new crypto-focused fund called Kryptós. The fund will be focused on investing in crypto tokens.
  • MakerDAO officially made a $10 million loan to Huntingdon Valley Bank. It’s the 1st integration between DeFi & TradFi.
  • Mastercard announced a partnership with Binance that will let people use crypto to pay for stuff at 90 million+ stores around the world. It’s being tested out in Argentina but there are plans to expand globally.
  • Ethermine, the world’s largest Ethereum mining pool, announced the launch of a staking pool service for users. The service, Ethermine Staking, will permit users to contribute funds as low as 0.1 ETH to a massive pool of user contributions that will be collectively staked to create and earn new ETH, once the much-anticipated merge transitions Ethereum to a proof-of-stake model. This service will not be available in the US. 
  • Developers at Input Output and the Cardano Foundation today announced that Cardano’s Vasil hard fork will occur on September 22, just a week after the Ethereum Merge’s anticipated date of September 15. Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson said the Vasil hard fork was “the hardest update we’ve ever had to do.”
  • Cryptocurrency miners in Texas have applied to use up to 33 gigawatts of electricity, a third more than what officials were preparing to handle over the next decade, and enough to power all of New York State.
  • The Taliban started a widespread crackdown on crypto, detaining 13 people who were using crypto to shield their assets from the government and shutting down 20 crypto-related businesses.
  • Tornado cash developer Alexey Pertsev has been ordered to remain in jail for at least another 90 days. The developer was arrested in relation to the US Treasury Department sanctioning Tornado Cash but it is still unknown the exact charges and/or details of Pertsev’s arrest.
  • US Representative Tom Emmer wrote a public letter to Janet Yellen asking why Tornado Cash, a service that runs on smart contracts, was being sanctioned. “The sanctioning of neutral, open-source, decentralised technology presents a series of new questions which impact not only our national security but the right to privacy of every American citizen.” 
  • Blockchain indexing platform The Graph is adding support for Gnosis Chain on its decentralised Graph Network, making it the first chain outside of Ethereum the platform supports. Graph Network is a decentralised version of The Graph’s centralised hosted service.
  • Chip giant Nvidia saw its cryptocurrency mining processor (CMP) sales fall 66% from $266 in Q2-21 to $140 million in Q2-22.
  • Unstoppable Domains partnered with Skiff to launch Skiff Mail, an encrypted email service. Users will be able to send & receive end-to-end encrypted messages.
  • Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin will release a book on proof-of-stake consensus on September 27, compiling various writings over the last 10 years.
  • Hetzner, which hosts roughly 10% of Ethereum nodes, says it does not allow mining or anything “even remotely related,” including staking. Due to this, Ethereum appears at risk of getting kicked off the cloud-networking provider.
  • NearPay, a crypto finance protocol, is launching a new virtual crypto card and wallet. It will be available on iOS and Android and lets people use a virtual debit card to make online buys using crypto.
  • American cloud computing & virtualization technology company VMWare launched a new blockchain to help bring more enterprises into crypto.
  • You can now bet on Bitcoin and Ether with Euro-denominated futures. CME Group unveiled futures contracts tied to the value of bitcoin and ether denominated in euros rather than dollars. 
  • California Assembly passed a crypto regulation bill that requires bank-issued Stablecoins. California Gov. Gavin Newsom is set to sign a recently passed bill requiring digital asset exchanges and other crypto companies to obtain a license to operate in the state.
  • The KlimaDAO announced that it is collaborating with politicians to provide a legal framework for DAOs in the Lummis-Gillibrand Responsible Financial Innovation Act.
  • The Province of Mendoza in Argentina now supports stablecoins as an option for tax payments. In an 11-page document outlining the new crypto payment process, Tether’s USDT and MakerDAO’s DAI stablecoins are shown as two cryptocurrency payment options.
  • Former MicroStrategy CEO & Bitcoin evangelist Michael Saylor was sued for tax fraud by DC Attorney General. According to the Attorney General, Saylor has avoided paying taxes in DC for years. 
  • Unstoppable Domains has integrated with Skiff Mail to enable users to send and receive end-to-end encrypted messages.
  • The Paraguayan president rejected a crypto mining bill saying the energy costs outweigh any employment benefits.
  • Crypto-fueled wireless network Helium is considering a move from its own custom blockchain to Solana. Helium’s core developers have proposed the migration, which will be voted on beginning September 12.
  • SEC chair Gary Gensler wrote an op-ed in the WSJ discussing the SEC’s role in enforcing securities laws and said the agency would not treat the crypto markets any differently.
  • Some fear that the technical difficulties with Ethereum’s upcoming Merge and move to proof of stake consensus mechanism could lead to network downtimes for DeFi protocols that could affect stablecoin values and shrink DeFi lending pools. 
  • The Senate is preparing a mid-September hearing on a bill that would name the CFTC as the primary regulator for crypto exchanges. The bill has received widespread support from the crypto community.
  • Tether announced it was not freezing sanctioned wallets with ties to Tornado Cash until being advised to do so by the US government. Tether said it is in near-daily contact with the US government and has not been explicitly told to do anything in response to the sanctions.

From the World of Web3, NFTs & the Metaverse🔮

  • Reddit is airdropping Polygon NFTs to users above a certain karma threshold. The NFTs will also be available for sale to the general public and is the latest Web3 initiative after the platform announced it’s working with Ethereum L2 Arbitrum to tokenize community points. 
  • With the 2022 World Cup just months away, FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, has announced it will launch an NFT platform for soccer-themed digital collectibles. The platform that will be launched on the Algorand blockchain is called FIFA+ Collect.
  • Web3 startup Proof raised $50 million in Series A funding, led by Andreessen Horowitz. The firm also revealed plans for a token and a new Moonbirds NFT project, along with other new initiatives.
  • Meta added the ability to cross-post NFTs across Facebook and Instagram for select users in the USA. It added support for Ethereum, Polygon & Flow NFTs. 
  • A16Z dropped “Can’t Be Evil” NFT licenses for projects to use to minimize confusion around IP rights. 
  • DeGods entered the Top 5 NFT collections by market cap. It’s the first Solana NFT that sits on the top with the likes of BAYC, MAYC, Punks, and Moonbirds.
  • Will Wright, the creator of Sims, raised $6 million to build simulation games using blockchain and NFTs.
  • NFT collection Pudgy Penguins, which first launched in June 2021, saw its floor price rise after it announced a new advisory board that includes Nansen’s CEO, Saks Fifth Avenue’s COO, and Hasbro’s Head of Licensing. A rare Penguin sold for $630,000 shortly after the advisory board announcement.
  • Sotheby’s hired NFT specialist Arthemort to join its digital art team
  • OrangeDAO has raised $80 million to back web3 startups. The group will leverage over 1,000 YC alumni to crowdsource crypto investment opportunities.
  • OpenSea’s former Head of Product, Nathaniel Chastain, filed a motion to dismiss wire fraud charges on the basis that NFTs are neither commodities nor securities and hence can not be used as evidence of wire fraud.
  • Bored Ape Yacht Club made its worldwide television debut at the MTV Video Music Awards in a virtual, metaverse-hosted performance by rap icons Eminem and Snoop Dogg of their song, “From the D 2 the LBC.”
  • Candy brand Mars signed a deal with UMG label 10:22PM to create limited edition M&M’s based on Kingship, its virtual band made up of Bored Ape Yacht Club & Mutant Ape Yacht Club avatars.
  • Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic reported that $100 million worth of NFTs were stolen in the last year. The three most popular collections for theft were Bored Ape Yacht Club, Mutant Ape Yacht Club, and Azuki, with thefts peaking over the past 3 months.
  • ReadyPlayerMe raised $56m for their avatar-building system. They got backing from a16z, Kevin Hart, Punk6529, and more.
  • ConsenSys is launching ‘Sustainable’ NFTs celebrating the Ethereum Merge. ConsenSys partnered with artist Chris Skinner and animation firm Keithcity Group to design the collection.
  • Decentralized NFT marketplace Sudoswap announced the launch of a native governance token, SUDO, with the majority earmarked for XMON token holders. An initial supply of 60 million Ethereum-based SUDO tokens would be distributed to various members of the project.
  • Actor and comedian Bill Murray’s Ethereum wallet, which is controlled by his business partners, was hacked. About $175k worth of Wrapped Ethereum was stolen—nearly all of the funds raised through Murray’s recent NFT charity auction.

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