Re-sharing below the latest edition of #Web3 Weekly, my regular newsletter about decentralization. This installment covers July 18–24, 2021. If you’d like to get #Web3 Weekly in your inbox every Sunday, subscribe here.
Wowza, it was a crazy week. Some specifics to share:
- FTX closed the largest crypto startup funding round ever. The exchange provider raised $900 million from a who’s who of more than 60 venture investors, placing the company’s total valuation at $18 billion.
- DraftKings and Autograph announced a new partnership to offer sports collectibles as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Autograph, a startup co-founded by football star Tom Brady, also announced it was adding as advisors several high-profile athletes who presumably will now lend their likenesses to NFTs on the new platform. The new advisors are Derek Jeter, Tiger Woods, Naomi Osaka, Tony Hawk, and Wayne Gretzky,
- Aave plans to release an Ethereum-based Twitter alternative later this year, Decrypt reports.
- Bitcoin got a boost from several welcome developments. Speaking at an online conference, Elon Musk revealed for the first time that SpaceEx owns some bitcoin. He also said environmental concerns around the token are receding to a point that his electric-car company, Tesla, will soon resume accepting bitcoin payments. Separately, bitcoin mining got measurably easier for the fourth week in a row as companies formerly based in China relaunched in friendlier jurisdictions. The string of bullish news pushed bitcoin above $34,000, up 8% for the week through Saturday evening. The token also won over a new high-profile fan — rapper Busta Rhymes.
- Grayscale and CoinDesk are partnering to launch a new decentralized finance index and an investment fund pegged to it.
- Wall Street continues to add crypto on-ramps for old-school investors. JP Morgan will now allow its advisors to buy and sell crypto products on behalf of wealth-management clients. Bank of America approved bitcoin futures trading for some clients. MasterCard is testing the USDC stablecoin as a potential bridge between traditional and blockchain-based payment accounts. And Circle, the company that leads USDC development, released new details about reserves backing the token.
- Meanwhile, regulators are building speed bumps and roadblocks. State regulators in New Jersey, Texas, and Alabama took action against BlockFi, alleging its crypto offerings constitute uregistered securities. Robinhood’s crypto division said it expects to pay a $30 million settlement to New York regulators following their investigation of its cybersecurity and anti-money laundering controls. In Washington, the new chairman of the federal Securities and Exchange Commission said some stablecoins may legally qualify as securities. The chief U.S. regulator of credit unions requested information from its regulated entities about how they might interact with blockchain networks, especially decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms. Oversease, Turkey has a new crypto law in the works that includes minimum capital requirements among its provisions.
- Thorchain suffered a $5 million hack. Leaders of the community-based DeFi platform said they’ll pay victims back out of the project’s treasury holdings.
- The New York Times published an op-ed by Cornell University economics professor Eswar Prasad arguing that the U.S. should adopt a digital dollar.
- Podcaster Laura Shin did a solid episode on how ransomware became a business model for some unscrupulous hackers.
- Israel’s NSO Group cracked the iPhone’s security protections. The company’s Pegasus spyware has been used to hack the cellphones of thousands of journalists, activists, and dignitaries around the world, The Washington Post reports.
- Some fun at Jeff Bezos’s expense. Slate asked the obvious but uncomfortable question about the rocket he recently rode into space. Let’s just say the ship drew comparisons to a similar one flown by the fictional Austin Powers nemesis Dr. Evil. Meanwhile, there’s a cheeky cover letter waiting on the Amazon founder’s desk for the company’s new senior blockchain opening.
That’s it for now. As ever, a quick disclaimer: This newsletter is intended for informational purposes only, not as investment advice. For the latter, please DYOR and consult appropriate financial professionals to make the most suitable choices for your particular needs.
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