Coming every Saturday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
Top Stories This Week
Axie Infinity virtual land slot sells out for 550 ETH
A plot of virtual land in the widely popular monster-battling NFT game Axie Infinity sold for 550 Ether (ETH) this week, with the sum worth more than $2.2 million at the time of writing.
The piece of virtual land was purchased on Thursday and is classified as Genesis, the rarest form of virtual real estate available in the Axie Infinity ecosystem. The game enables players to use Pokémon-like Axie monster NFTs to battle other players or complete challenges to earn blockchain rewards. Users can also buy, sell or rent land to other players.
The game’s developers said on Thursday that they believed it was “the largest sum ever paid for a single plot of digital land.” However, a quick Google search shows that a piece of virtual real estate in Decentraland sold for 618,000 MANA ($2.9 million at current prices) the previous day.
eToro to delist Cardano by 2022 for US users due to regulatory concerns
Retail trading platform eToro announced on Tuesday that it will be delisting Cardano (ADA) and Tron (TRX) for U.S. customers by the end of the year due to regulatory concerns.
By the start of 2022, users will no longer be able to open new positions in the tokens or stake them. Additionally, wallets holding the assets will effectively be in withdrawal-only mode until the first quarter of 2022, when the selling will also become limited.
In the case of ADA, many onlookers were puzzled by the move, as the asset has never had any notable regulatory troubles or legal issues. Cardano has also worked to ramp up its regulatory compliance this year, partnering with blockchain analytics provider Confirm as part of a push to meet financial regulations.
Celsius expands funding round to $750M, tips $7B to $10B valuation in 2022
Celsius Network expanded its $400-million Series B funding round, undertaken in October, to $750 million earlier this week as a result of oversubscription in the firm’s capital raise.
CEO Alex Mashinsky told Cointelegraph that the firm’s valuation stands at $3.5 billion following the Series B, and bullishly predicted that Celsius will be worth “double or triple” that in 2022.
Mashinsky pointed to the firm’s ability to provide services in almost every sector of crypto when highlighting the growth potential of the business. The company currently offers lending and DeFi services along with yields from its crypto mining business, and the CEO said it has plans to enter NFTs soon.
Shiba Inu team issues scam alert to SHIB investors
The team behind beloved memecoin Shiba Inu (SHIB) issued a public warning on Sunday against online scams that primarily target SHIB-curious altcoin investors.
The scammers are said to be circling on Twitter and Telegram, waiting for any chance to pounce on unwary investors by impersonating official accounts and targeting hashtags such as #shib, #shibarmy, #leash, #shibaswap and #bone.
Shiba Inu’s scam alert wanted users to be careful in fake Telegram groups in particular and noted that the official community is not offering any kind of promotions, including airdrops, bonuses, giveaways or gifts, and will not ask for any wallet keys and credentials.
1 million ETH has been burned since the implementation of EIP-1559 in August
Blockchain research firm CryptoRank highlighted on Wednesday that over 1 million Ether, worth around $4 billion, had been burned since the London hard fork went live in August. The upgrade to the network saw the introduction of a burning mechanism as part of Ethereum’s fee structure.
According to CryptoRank, the platform responsible for wiping the most Ether out of existence was NFT marketplace OpenSea with 110,237 ETH ($439 million) burned, while decentralized exchange Uniswap V2 accounted for 97,583 ETH ($388 million).
Data from Ultrasound Money shows that the current burn rate for Ethereum is 10,451 ETH per day, equating to 7.26 ETH per minute. While many onlookers said that the London hard fork would see ETH promptly become a deflationary asset, it appears there is much more room to burn. The current yearly burn rate is 3.8 million ETH compared to the 5.4 million ETH that is issued every 12 months.
Winners and Losers
At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $54,292, Ether (ETH) at $4,020 and XRP is at $0.94. The total market cap is at $2.43 trillion.
Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Gala (GALA) at 173.91%, Zcash (ZEC) at 58.07% and The Sandbox (SAND) at 57.88%.
The top three altcoin losers of the week are Nexo (NEXO) at 22.53%, WAX (WAXP) at 21.17% and ICON (ICX) at 20.83%.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Most Memorable Quotations
[An NFT is] a chunk of digital data that records who a piece of digital work belongs to. […] What’s really captured the public’s imagination around NFTs is the use of this technology to sell art.
We thought that CME futures were going to be a very effective element of the portfolio. We never thought they would be effective when they would be 100% of the product.
Anna Paglia, global head of ETFs and indexed strategies at Invesco
I’m actually not convinced, somewhat controversially I guess, that Dogecoin is good for the crypto market. […] Dogecoin has some inflationary dynamics itself that would make me reluctant to hold it.
Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple
India is home to the highest number of crypto owners in the world, and the onus lies on the government to protect the interest of a large number of crypto investors in the country.
Jay Hao, CEO of crypto exchange OKEx
We see risks in participating [in the crypto sector], but we see bigger risks in not participating.
Matt Comyn, CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia
I can tell you that being in a licensed jurisdiction is much better than being in an unlicensed jurisdiction. And this is because it really changes the conversations that we have with the partners that we get to work with.
Adrian Przelozny, CEO of Independent Reserve, speaking on incoming regulation in Australia
I don’t know what the solution is. But I do know for the millions of new users coming, they should not be shamed for going to other ecosystems. Neither should devs be shamed for building on them.
Su Zhu, CEO and co-founder of Three Arrows Capital, commenting on the Ethereum network
Finding a way to balance regulation that protects investors and innovation is hard, especially in a space where new financial offerings appear every few months.
Yuriy Kovalev, CEO of Zenfuse
Prediction of the Week
The Metaverse is a $1T opportunity after users increase 10x: Grayscale report
Crypto investment giant Grayscale published a bullish report on metaverses this week, predicting that the sector could become worth more than $1 trillion in the next few years once the tech becomes mainstream.
The report argues that open metaverse platforms backed by an “interconnected crypto-economy,” such as native tokens, DeFi services, NFTs and decentralized governance, have “created a new online experience” that’s rapidly attracting new users.
Analyzing “global all-time active metaverse wallets” data since the start of 2020, Grayscale found the user base has grown by ten times to reach roughly 50,000 as of June 2021.
“Compared to other Web 3.0 and Web 2.0 segments, Metaverse virtual world users are still in their early innings, but if current growth rates remain on their current trajectory, this emerging segment has the potential to become mainstream in the coming years,” the report read.
FUD of the Week
You shall not pass: Tolkien estate blocks ‘The Lord of the Rings’ JRR Token
A The Lord of the Rings-themed “JRR Token” project was forced to close down this week following legal action from the family and estate of the famed series’ late author J. R. R. Tolkien.
The project heavily borrowed intellectual property from the beloved series, such as images of mythical rings, Hobbit holes, and a wizard looking eerily similar to Gandalf the Grey. The estate’s lawyer, Steve Maier, described the case as a “particularly flagrant case of infringement,” adding that the estate is “pleased that it has been concluded on satisfactory terms.”
According to the settlement, developer Matthew Jensen promised to shut down the token and delete any content that infringes the estate’s trademark rights to the J. R. R. Tolkien name and intellectual property relating to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
Indian parliament’s agenda for winter session includes bill on banning ‘private cryptocurrencies’
According to reports from local media outlets, the Indian government will look at “The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill” as part of a group of 26 bills this coming Monday.
The bill proposes the prohibition of “all private cryptocurrencies” except for assets “to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses,” and is said to be part of a move to pave the way for the creation of an official digital currency from the government.
In March 2020, India’s supreme court overturned a blanket ban on crypto imposed by the central bank two years prior, but local media states the government is now looking at alternative ways to regulate the sector as opposed to an outright ban.
Spanish regulator raises alarm on Binance promo by soccer star Iniesta
Andrés Iniesta, the legendary Spanish football player and former FC Barcelona star, was sent a warning this week from Spain’s financial watchdog, the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV), over his promotion of the Binance crypto exchange.
On Wednesday, Iniesta posted some pictures of himself on Twitter pretending to use a laptop that featured the Binance homepage with the caption, “I’m learning how to get started with crypto with Binance.”
In response, the CNMV wrote: “Hi Andres Iniesta, cryptoassets carry some significant risks due to being unregulated products.” It is unclear how bothered Iniesta was by this message, as it was most likely a paid promo for Binance.
Best Cointelegraph Features
Deterring adoption? Balancing security and innovation in crypto
Security is necessary to protect crypto users but regulators may force companies to adopt processes that stifle innovation.
Just buy it: Nike wants to bring sneakerheads into the Metaverse
Nike intends to sell you digital products in the Metaverse, and you will buy them because Nike knows how to make you want them.
Powers On… Why aren’t more law schools teaching blockchain, DeFi and NFTs?
To counsel clients involved in the DeFi space, wouldn’t you want a lawyer with the technological literacy to understand blockchain and the legal issues surrounding it?
Powers On… Why US officials ignore ethics and STOCK Act by trading stocks?
Sam Bankman-Fried: The crypto whale who wants to give billions away
Silicon Valley Bank down, USDC depegged, FTX billed $34M in Jan.: Hodler’s Digest, March 5-11
‘Account abstraction’ supercharges Ethereum wallets: Dummies guide
SBF to enter plea deal, Mango’s exploiter arrested, and Celsius news: Hodler’s Digest, Dec. 25-31
Kraken’s staking down, FTX post-bankruptcy hell and Binance news: Hodler’s Digest, Feb. 5-11