Welcome back to our bi-weekly edition of Web3 News Updates.
This keeps you in the loop with the blockchain industry’s happenings and whatnot, ranging from startups, funding, adoption, and partnerships.
Here’s a rundown of events and news over the last two weeks:
TL/DR (QUICK TAKE)
- Vitalik Buterin Donates 99 Ether to Earthquake Support
- Oldest Brazilian Bank Accepts Cryptocurrency for Taxes
- Ark Invest Adds Coinbase and Robinhood Shares to Portfolio
- Spotify Tests Integration of Web3 Wallets
- Alchemy Pay adds Google Pay for Fiat-Crypto Purchases
- Mitsubishi and Fujitsu plan to establish the Japanese ‘Metaverse Economic Zone’
- Blockchain Founders Fund raises $75M for Web3 Mass Adoption
Oldest Bank In Brazil Now Accepting Cryptocurrency For Tax Payments
A recent development in Brazil has recognised cryptocurrency as a valid payment option, leading the way for a promising future for digital assets in the country.
Banco do Brasil, one of the oldest banks in the nation, established in 1808, has partnered with blockchain FinTech firm Bitfy to allow citizens to pay taxes using cryptocurrencies.
This collaboration will enable financial institutions and other partners to offer payment solutions for tax bills, fees, and obligations to their customers, utilising agreements signed by Banco do Brasil with entities and public service concessionaires.
This move is expected to increase accessibility and usage of the digital asset ecosystem in Brazil while providing national coverage, security, and reliability.
Vitalik Buterin Donates 99 Ether To Ahbap Earthquake Support
Vitalik Buterin, one of the co-founders of Ethereum, has contributed roughly $150,000 worth of ether to Ahbap Earthquake Support to aid in the recent crisis affecting Turkey and Syria.
According to transaction records on Etherscan, 99 ether was transferred from Buterin’s wallet address, vitalik. eth, to a wallet designated “Ahbap Yardım / Earthquake Support” (0xe1935271D1993434A1a59fE08f24891Dc5F398Cd).
Currently, the recipient wallet holds approximately 393 ether, worth almost $600,000 at present market rates. Its total assets exceed $1.55 million.
Ahbap’s official website indicates that crypto donations amounting to $4,207,562 have been gathered.
Ark Invest Buys Coinbase Stock Amid Price Drop
Ark Invest made headlines on Friday when it added many Coinbase and Robinhood shares to its portfolio.
The trade notification email revealed that the Cathie Wood-led firm purchased 162,325 shares of Coinbase, valued at $9,267,134.25, and 263,504 shares of Robinhood, worth $2,629,769.92.
It is no secret that Ark Invest has been a long-time supporter of Coinbase, frequently adding shares to its portfolio. However, the firm has been relatively quiet recently, and this massive purchase surprised many in the investment community.
Despite its recent silence, the recent drop in Coinbase’s stock price was too enticing to pass up for Ark Invest.
The crypto exchange’s stock price fell amid market anxiety driven by concerns that US regulators would restrict crypto staking.
As a well-documented purchaser (and sometimes seller) of Coinbase stock, Ark Invest likely saw the price drop as an opportunity to scoop up shares at a discounted price.
Although Ark Invest has been a darling of the pandemic-era investment surge, it has struggled in the post-Covid era. Many of its stocks have hit lows recently, with investments in Coinbase and the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust weighing heavily on its portfolio.
Despite these challenges, the firm remains a top-performing investment firm with a loyal following in the investment community.
Spotify Tests Integration Of Web3 Wallets
Spotify is expanding its Web3 efforts and testing token-enabled playlists in critical markets.
Users can access these playlists through their NFT wallets from Overlord, Fluf, Moonbirds, and Kingship.
On February 22, Overlord announced its partnership with Spotify. As a result, the token-enabled community-curated playlist from Overlord can be accessed via Web3 wallets by users who hold Creepz NFTs on Spotify.
However, this feature is only available to Android users in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.
In addition to Overlord, other metaverse communities such as Fluf, Moonbirds, and Kingship also participate in the three-month pilot.
While Fluf and Moonbirds have not disclosed details about their partnership with Spotify, Kingship confirmed its involvement in the pilot via Twitter.
To access the tracklist, which includes popular songs by artists such as Queen, Missy Elliott, Snoop Dogg, and Led Zeppelin, users must possess a Kingship Key Card NFT.
Magic Eden Lays Off 22 Employees, 15% Of The Workforce
Magic Eden, a cryptocurrency company, has recently laid off 22 employees, representing about 15% of its workforce. This move was made as part of a company-wide restructuring effort that followed similar actions by other major players in the crypto industry.
Last month, Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, cut 20% of its staff, while Digital Currency Group’s Luno trimmed 35% and Genesis slashed 30%. These moves are seen as a response to the market downturn, which has resulted in reduced revenues and lower trading volumes for many crypto firms.
Despite the challenging market conditions, Magic Eden CEO Jack Lu has expressed optimism about the company’s prospects.
In a statement, Lu explained that the layoffs were necessary to establish the right structures and roles to pursue the next stage of scaling across chains.
He reassured the remaining team members that the company remains very well capitalised, even in today’s bear market, and that he is confident in Magic Eden’s trajectory in 2023 and beyond.
LinkedIn said Magic Eden had 141 employees before the recent layoffs.
The company mainly focuses on developing decentralised finance (DeFi) protocols and applications, which have become increasingly popular recently. Magic Eden is known for its work on the Clover Network.
This platform aims to bring DeFi to the masses by providing an easy-to-use, low-cost solution for accessing decentralised applications.
The crypto industry is no stranger to volatility and uncertainty, and many companies are now facing tough decisions as they try to navigate the current market conditions.
While the recent layoffs at Magic Eden are undoubtedly a setback, the company’s leadership team remains optimistic about the future. It is committed to pursuing its mission of making DeFi accessible to everyone.
UK Banking Regulator to Regulate Cryptocurrency Issuance and Custody
During a speech, Vicky Saporta, the executive director of prudential policy at the Bank of England, announced that the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) plans to propose regulations regarding issuing and holding digital assets by banks in the U.K.
The country is taking steps to solidify its stance on cryptocurrencies, such as stablecoins and other digital settlement assets that may threaten financial stability.
Upon enacting the Financial Services and Markets Bill, authorities will be empowered to regulate the industry, and the U.K. government is presently seeking input on its regulatory approach.
The PRA’s new standards for regulated firms will be consistent with those in other sectors, as noted in a footnote accompanying the speech text.
For example, in December, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the worldwide regulatory authority for the banking industry, published a standard on how banks should handle their exposure to cryptocurrencies.
Alchemy Pay Adds Google Pay for Fiat-Crypto Purchases
Alchemy Pay’s on-ramp now supports Google Pay for quick, easy, and secure purchases of cryptocurrencies using fiat currency funds.
The Singapore-based payment gateway offers direct-to-customer services through its On & Off-Ramp and NFT Checkout, integrated into various Web3 platforms since June 2022. In addition, Google Pay and Apple Pay are popular mobile wallets, making crypto purchases more convenient for users.
Google Pay and Apple Pay are popular mobile wallets gaining market share in payments, with Google Pay holding a significant portion of the market. Alchemy Pay’s integration with Google Pay enhances the convenience of buying cryptocurrencies.
Alchemy Pay offers a simple way to buy crypto using fiat payments.
Users keep custody of their purchased crypto, aligning with Web3’s decentralised principles.
Alchemy Pay accepts Mastercard and Visa in 173 countries, SEPA in Europe, and supports regional payment methods in emerging markets like GCash, OVO, Dana, and Pix. It is beneficial in Asia and Latin America.
Mitsubishi and Fujitsu Plan to Establish Japanese ‘Metaverse Economic Zone’
Japanese companies, including Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, and Mizuho, will work together to build an open metaverse infrastructure called Ryugukoku, guided by Hajime Tabata’s vision to “update Japan through the power of games.”
The project will integrate gamification and fintech and provide a new social infrastructure for information dissemination, marketing, and workstyle reform for domestic enterprises. In addition, users will experience an RPG-like experience, and the service may extend beyond Japan.
Mizuho, Mitsubishi, and Sompo Japan Insurance will collaborate to build an open metaverse infrastructure with interoperability.
Mizuho will provide infrastructure for “metaverse coins,” Mitsubishi will enable “web3-type metaverse financial functions,” and Sompo Japan Insurance will develop insurance and risk policies for the web3 era.
The Open Metaverse Alliance (OMA) and the Metaverse Standards Forum also seek to create uniform rules for the online space.
Blockchain Founders Fund Raises $75M for Web3 Mass Adoption
Blockchain Founders Fund has raised $75 million from companies, including Polygon, Ripple, and NEO Global Capital, to support the adoption of Web3 and blockchain tech.
The fund has already invested in over 100 startups and plans to invest in more than 200 within the following year.
The fund focuses on early-stage Web3 startups with solid teams and viable business plans that address real market needs.
The managing partner, Aly Madhavji, aims to invest in high-quality startups with promising signs of traction to address challenges such as regulatory uncertainty and competition for deals.
The Blockchain Founders Fund seeks to invest in early-stage Web3 startups with strong teams, viable business plans, and products that solve real market needs. To overcome industry challenges, the fund prioritises high-quality startups with solid fundamentals and indications of traction.