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    04:03 April 21,2022

    Just-In: This Sports NFT Platform Just Raised $120 Mln In Funding

    Rario, an NFT platform dedicated to cricket, said on Thursday it had raised $120 million in series A funding. The round was led by the venture capital arm of Indian fantasy sports firm Dream Sports. With the new funding, and a partnership with Dream, the firm will now offer cricket-themed NFTs to Dream Sports’ 140 million users in India. Given regulatory scrutiny towards cryptocurrencies in India, the platform will only accept fiat, not crypto, it said in a blog post. Previous investors in Rario include venture capital firms Presight and Kingsway, as well as blockchain gaming major Animoca Brands. Rario corners the cricket NFT market The Singapore-based company claims to have the largest share of cricket NFT rights globally. It recently signed a multi-year, exclusive partnership with Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association. The firm also has exclusive partnerships with 6 international cricket leagues, along with the rights to over 900 cricketers. Rario said it has sold over 50,000 tokens since its launch, with the United States, UK, Australia and India being its top-four markets. Ankit Wadhwa, co-founder of Rario, said that cricket is the second-largest sport in the world, with over 1.5 billion fans. Cricket an untapped market? While sports tokens are not a novel concept, the space has been largely dominated by basketball or football. The National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the largest players in the sports NFT market, with its Top Shot NFT marketplace seeing sales of nearly $1 billion since its 2021 launch. The NBA has also ventured into creating dynamic NFTs, although the project has met its own set of problems.  Several European football clubs also capitalized on the growing popularity of NFTs. English Liverpool recently launched a collection of hero-themed NFTs. But cricket has not seen similar forays, despite the sport having massive followings across Asia, Australia and Africa. Rario could be poised to capitalize on this untapped market by offering cricket-themed collectibles. …
    11:05 February 25,2022

    Breaking: Vladimir Putin Says Ready To Negotiate With Ukraine

    Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies extended a recovery on Friday on reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin was willing to hold high-level negotiations with Ukraine. Crypto market shows signs of recovery The Independent said Chinese state broadcaster CCTV had reported that Putin discussed the potential negotiations in a call with his Chinese counterpart Xi JinPing. The news could herald a potential de-escalation in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has roiled financial markets this month. Bitcoin rose 10% to near $40,000, while altcoins including Ethereum and XRP logged double-digit gains. Markets had rallied overnight after sanctions against Russia, imposed by Washington, stopped shy of blocking the country from the global financial system. “The United States and NATO  have long ignored Russia’s reasonable security concerns, repeatedly reneged on their commitments, and continued to advance military deployment eastward, challenging Russia’s strategic bottom line,” Putin told Xi. “Russia is willing to conduct high-level negotiations with Ukraine.” Any dialogue between Moscow and Kyiv is likely to be welcomed by financial markets. Russia’s invasion had rattled crypto, knocking as much as $500 billion from market capitalization this month. Sentiment had also been battered into “extreme fear.” Russian troops had come as close as Ukraine’s capital on Thursday amid constant fighting with Ukraine forces. Russia’s move was widely condemned by global leaders, and had also invited economic sanctions from Japan, Canada and the European Union. Still, analysts had seen minimal economic impact from restrictions against Moscow. The country was still allowed to trade on SWIFT, a global transaction system, which provided some relief to markets fearing widespread economic repercussions. Crypto markets had surged in line with equities overnight. But safe-haven stablecoins accounted for more than half of overall volumes, indicating that sentiment was still cautious. Tether had the largest volumes among its peers in the past 24 hours, at about $62 billion. Conventional safe-havens including gold and the dollar slightly retreated, while oil prices, which had shot up on the prospect of Russian supply disruptions, fell below $100 a barrel. …
    10:57 February 25,2022

    Bitcoin (BTC) Plays Game Stop Alike Rally, $172 Short Liquidations In Last 24 hours.

    Bitcoin’s meteoric rally liquidated about $172 million in short positions in the last 24 hours, data from coinglass.com shows. The currency led a crypto market recovery from one-month lows as U.S. President Joe Biden held off on completely blocking Russia from the global financial system. ADVERTISEMENT Bitcoin price jumps 10% in last 24 hrs The world’s largest cryptocurrency jumped 10% in the last 24 hours, coming close to $40,000 after concerns over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine knocked it below key support levels. Most altcoins logged double-digit gains. The growth dynamics were relatively modest, which indicates the caution of buyers. It is likely that these are long-term holders rather than short-term speculators, as markets generally remain wary. -Alex Kuptsikevich, a senior financial analyst at FxPro. Data showed overall positioning on BTC was largely short this month. Sentiment towards BTC has been negative OKX had the highest ratio of short positions, at about 90% with $35 million worth of shorts. Binance had the second-highest number of shorts, while 59% of positions on FTX were long over the past 24 hours. The single largest liquidation order happened on Bitmex, and was worth nearly $8 million. Overall, traders who were short against the crypto market lost a whopping $402 million over the past 24 hours. The move harkens back to the GameStop short squeeze last year, where increased retail and social media interest drove the company’s highly-shorted share price from single digits to nearly $500 in a few days. The spike had cost short positions on the stock as much as $20 billion. Cryptocurrencies had tracked a broader rally in financial markets. U.S. stocks had surged more than 1% on hopes that the latest bout of U.S. sanctions would not be as economically damaging as feared. But in crypto, safe-haven trades still dominated volumes. Stablecoin Tether accounted for more than half of the market’s volumes in the last 24 hours, at nearly $63 billion- more than those of Bitcoin and Ethereum combined. …
    10:56 February 25,2022

    Russia-Ukraine Conflict May Hit Bitcoin Mining; Here’s Why

    The crypto mining industry faces renewed disruption as the Russia-Ukraine conflict threatens to upset the supply of materials crucial to semiconductor manufacturing. The industry is still reeling from a severe, near two-year chip shortage that ramped up the prices of graphics cards, which are crucial towards minting tokens.                                                                                     ADVERTISEMENT Ukraine And Russia Key Suppliers of Chip Components Ukraine supplies about 90% of the United States’ semiconductor-grade neon, a gas integral to the lasers used in the chip-making process, advisory firm Techcet says in a report. Russia accounts for 35% of the country’s palladium supply, a rare metal used in creating some types of semiconductors. Any disruptions are likely to have a broad impact on chip supply, which in turn could see processor prices skyrocket once again. This in turn could crimp potential expansion in the mining industry, which is heavily dependent on chip supply. The White House had warned chipmakers to diversify their supply in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported earlier this month. With a full-blown conflict now underway, the possibility of supply disruptions is high in the coming months. Dutch firm ASML recently said it was exploring alternatives to its current supply of neon. Other executives in the chipmaking industry have also flagged potential hinderances to production if supply were to be disrupted. Chipmaking giants Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) recently announced plans to ramp up semiconductor manufacturing, amid increasing demand. TSMC, the world’s largest chip supplier, announced a $44 billion investment to boost supply earlier this year. With Bitcoin’s hash rate, ie the computational power required to mint new tokes, recently touching record highs, the mining industry is expected to rely heavily on steady chip supply. China-Taiwan tensions another threat? The recent Ukraine conflict has drawn comparisons to tensions between Taiwan and China. Any military incursions by China are likely to rattle global chip supply. Through TSMC, Taiwan is the largest semiconductor exporter in the world. …
    10:54 February 25,2022

    Breaking: Chinese Supreme Court Classifies Crypto Trading As Illegal

    China’s supreme court on Thursday classified crypto transactions as illegal, and said violators could face hefty fines and up to 10 years in prison. While top-level Chinese government bodies had already outlawed crypto in 2021, the move now makes crypto trading formally illegal, and allows the government to take legal action against traders. The country had cracked down on crypto mining and trade in September last year, in the wake of a severe energy shortage. The move prompted several firms to either shift base to the nearby Singapore, or outright shut operations. Until that point, China had been the world’s biggest crypto miner. A corresponding ban in Kazakhstan has now seen markets consider Russia as a major, upcoming force in crypto mining. The court’s recent ruling now outlines prison time between three and 10 years and fines between  50,000 yuan ($7918.28) and  500,000 yuan for large transactions. Lesser transactions can face up to 20,000 yuan to 200,000 yuan in fines. The new law comes into effect from March 1. The supreme court’s ruling also quells speculation that crypto may not be completely outlawed in the country. The Eastern Zhejiang province had recently hiked electricity tariffs specifically for cryptocurrency miners, indicating that the government was trying to curb crypto mining with high bills, rather than legal action. Still, the move had little impact on the crypto market, as focus remains on Russia-Ukraine tensions. Markets had rebounded overnight, as sentiment towards equities improved. Chinese crypto exposure still exists However, the country is still not completely divorced from the crypto world. China had introduced its own digital yuan, at the Winter Olympics. NFTs are also a legal gray area in the country, albeit with some restrictions. Last year, the state-run Xinhua News Agency had released “digital collectibles” minted from a blockchain on Tencent Cloud. Alibaba and Tencent, China’s two largest technology firms, have been seen investing in the NFT space. Last year, the e-commerce giant opened its own NFT market place. …
    10:52 February 25,2022

    China-Taiwan Conflict: A New Threat To Crypto Markets?

    With cryptocurrency markets having dropped sharply as the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalates, traders have identified a new possible source of strife- China and Taiwan. Reports that Chinese aircraft had entered Taiwan airspace fueled speculation whether the country could be the “next Ukraine”. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen had also called for the island to increase security in light of the Ukraine crisis. What does it mean for crypto? Crypto, like most financial markets, is vulnerable to geopolitical tensions, as evidenced by its response to the Ukraine crisis. War-induced volatility had erased as much as $400 billion from the market this month. Taiwan is also the biggest player in the global semiconductor market. Any disruptions to supply from the country would have far-reaching consequences for the crypto mining industry. For instance, a chip shortage that began in 2020 had drastically pushed up the prices of graphics cards, a key component in crypto mining. U.S. Help Critical To Avoid China-Taiwan Conflict The rising threats of war between China and Taiwan are posing a threat to global markets currently suffering from Russia-Ukraine war. As per reports Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu recently said our strategy is to make certain,  “China will understand it will pay a very heavy price if it initiates conflict against Taiwan,”.  Speaking with U.S. Secretary of defense, Wu argued for United States continues support to Taiwan so that the public can defend themselves. Meanwhile, U.S. in no way is committed to assist Taiwan in a war situation other than a pledge under 1979 Taiwan relations act to help Taiwan defend itself. Source: Google Maps Ukraine could set a dangerous precedent Many Twitter users said a lukewarm response from the West towards Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could embolden China to carry out a similar move against Taiwan. Indeed, while the West has imposed sanctions against Russia, they have avoided blocking the country from the global financial system. Russia’s major oil exports to Europe also remain untouched. Last week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had warned that a lack of Western support for Ukraine could set a dangerous  precedent and pose a potential threat to Taiwan. China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, recently said the country was “not Ukraine”, and has always been an inalienable part of China. Taiwan has strongly opposed the claim.   …
    10:50 February 25,2022

    Can Russia Use Crypto To Bypass U.S. Sanctions? Canada’s Freedom Convoy Proves So

    Speculation grew over whether crypto transactions could help Russia bypass restrictions placed on its financial system by the United States, after President Joe Biden on Thursday announced stricter sanctions against the country. Biden announced restrictions against Russia’s two largest banks and several wealthy elites in the country. While the move effectively blocks them from the U.S. financial system, crypto could provide an alternative channel for transactions. But he  held off on blocking Russia from the SWIFT network, a major cross-border payment system. Russians have not yet lost access to the global financial system. In his speech last night, Biden also did not address whether crypto could bypass sanctions. A report from Bloomberg suggested blacklisted Russians could indeed use crypto to bypass economic sanctions by the United States. As it stands, governments have no means of blocking non-custodial crypto wallets. Crypto use could potentially lessen the impact of recent sanctions. Canada’s Freedom Convoy Crackdown The Canadian government had recently invoked emergency powers to block more than 30 wallets associated with the trucker-led “Freedom Convoy.” But those wallets were all custodial, and government regulation was only able to extend as far as crypto-to-fiat exchanges. Still, Canada’s move was widely criticized by the crypto community. It also saw crypto proponents urging users to switch to non-custodial wallets to avoid regulation. Speculation grew over whether crypto transactions could help Russia bypass restrictions placed on its financial system by the United States, after President Joe Biden on Thursday announced stricter sanctions against the country. ADVERTISEMENT Biden announced restrictions against Russia’s two largest banks and several wealthy elites in the country. While the move effectively blocks them from the U.S. financial system, crypto could provide an alternative channel for transactions. But he  held off on blocking Russia from the SWIFT network, a major cross-border payment system. Russians have not yet lost access to the global financial system. In his speech last night, Biden also did not address whether crypto could bypass sanctions. A report from Bloomberg suggested blacklisted Russians could indeed use crypto to bypass economic sanctions by the United States. As it stands, governments have no means of blocking non-custodial crypto wallets. Crypto use could potentially lessen the impact of recent sanctions. Canada’s Freedom Convoy Crackdown The Canadian government had recently invoked emergency powers to block more than 30 wallets associated with the trucker-led “Freedom Convoy.” But those wallets were all custodial, and government regulation was only able to extend as far as crypto-to-fiat exchanges. Still, Canada’s move was widely criticized by the crypto community. It also saw crypto proponents urging users to switch to non-custodial wallets to avoid regulation. In an official response to a Canadian government order, non-custodial wallet provider Nunchak said– We do not collect any user identification information beyond email addresses. We also do no hold any keys. Therefore, we cannot “freeze” our user assets. Unless the government is able to access a user’s wallet key, there is effectively no means to prevent transactions through crypto. The exchange to fiat currency, however, is another matter. Russia a crypto powerhouse? After bans on crypto mining in hubs China and Kazakhstan, traders see a lot of potential for mining in Russia. A Russian bitcoin miner, who did not wish to be named, told Coingape- The country has an abundance of electricity due to its large gas reserves. The relatively cold climate also reduces the need for cooling equipment. Crypto adoption is also rapidly rising in Russia. The government estimates that Russians hold at least $200 billion worth of crypto, or 12% of the overall market. Recently, the Finance Ministry had submitted a bill that will recognize and regulate crypto as a tradable asset in the country. But the Central Bank has largely opposed this move. …
    11:12 February 21,2022

    Ruby on Rails creator backpedals about Bitcoin: 'We need crypto'

    Ruby on Rails creator makes a U-turn on Bitcoin due to Canada’s financial crackdown on COVID-19 vaccine protesters. Canada’s move to freeze Bitcoin (BTC) wallets and bank accounts related to the COVID-19 vaccine protests is driving cryptocurrency adoption, with some crypto naysayers reconsidering their stance on Bitcoin. David Heinemeier Hansson, the Ruby on Rails web development framework creator, took to Twitter on Monday to tell his followers that he was no longer a Bitcoin skeptic. “I still can’t believe that this is the protest that would prove every Bitcoin crank a prophet. And for me to have to slice a piece of humble pie, and admit that I was wrong on crypto's fundamental necessity in Western democracies,” Hansson wrote. …
    11:12 February 21,2022

    CA lawmaker introduces legislation to accept crypto as payment for govt services

    Politicians seeking to represent California at the state or federal level have made proposals seemingly favorable to crypto adoption. California State Senator Sydney Kamlager, representing the 30th Senate District including parts of downtown Los Angeles, has introduced a bill which would amend the state’s code to allow for the acceptance of cryptocurrencies for certain payments. According to Senate Bill 1275 introduced in the California Legislature on Feb. 18, Kamlager proposed authorizing a state agency “to accept cryptocurrency as a method of payment for the provision of government services.” The modification of the current state law, which allows for the establishment of state agencies to provide services to residents which require payments, would add crypto to the list of acceptable payment methods. The adoption of crypto and blockchain seems to be a prominent issue for many candidates running for office in California in 2022. Aarika Rhodes, an elementary school teacher running to represent the state’s 30th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, is accepting Bitcoin (BTC) and other tokens for campaign contributions in her efforts to unseat anti-crypto lawmaker Brad Sherman.   The crypto bill is the latest move by lawmakers on the state level seemingly to address any potential regulatory uncertainty around digital assets. Last week, Colorado Governor Jared Polis said he expects the state to accept tax payments using cryptocurrencies by summer 2022. In addition, a Tennessee state representative introduced a bill earlier this month which would allow the state to invest in crypto and nonfungible tokens. Related: California named ‘most crypto ready’ US state Though many of the pushes for state-level regulation of crypto have been from Republican lawmakers, Kamlager and others suggesting similar legislation — as well as efforts at the federal level — seem to suggest that the space can be open to more than one political party. Patrick McHenry, a Republican representing North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives, called for “broad, bipartisan consensus” in January over issues potentially affecting the crypto industry. …

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