Author: Cointelegraph By Brian Quarmby

Nifty News: Playboy unveils 11,953 bunny avatars, Martha Stewart cooks up NFTs…

Nifty News: Playboy unveils 11,953 bunny avatars, Martha Stewart cooks up NFTs…

Playboy to release tokenized bunnies into the wildPLBY Group, Inc, the owners of the raunchy lifestyle magazine Playboy unveiled a new NFT project consisting of 11,953 unique 3D animated bunny avatars.According to an Oct. 20 announcement, the number of NFTs pays homage to Playboy’s founding year of 1953 and the tokens will serve as “keys to a reimagined Playboy Club,” which gives the owners access to exclusive events, content and merchandise. Playboy Rabbitar NFT: PLBY Group, Inc,The launch of the Ethereum-based NFTs begins on Oct. 24, with a pre-sale for whitelisted investors until Oct. 26. Two public sales launch the following day, one for USD customers, and the other for those paying with ETH. The sales are being hosted on an official “Playboy Rabbitar” website, and the NFTs will be priced at 0.1953 ETH each or the fiat equivalent (currently $814). Jamal Dauda the Vice-president of Blockchain Innovation at PLBY Group said:“The Rabbitars mark the beginning of true blockchain-based membership for Playboy. Just as Playboy Club keys gave millions of members a chance to step into the sophisticated lifestyle that the Playboy brand represents, NFTs today can do the same and so much more.”One CryptoPunk is not for saleThe owner of CryptoPunk #6046 recently turned down a bid of 2500 Ether (ETH) for their tokenized punk avatar. That’s about $10.5 million which would have represented the largest CryptoPunk sale to date if accepted. According to Larva Labs, CryptoPunk 3100 holds the record, after it sold for $7.58 million in March. The CryptoPunk #6046 NFT depicts a person wearing 3D shades and smoking a cigarette and was initially purchased for $83,209 by current owner, Twitter user “Richerd.”Richerd recounted the bid came about after they’d publicly claimed that they would not sell their CryptoPunk, no matter what anyone offered. A startup dubbed “Poap” decided to test that theory, with Etherscan showing a bid of 2500 ETH. “Come on Richerd. Don’t you want to go down in history as the top CryptoPunk sale to date?” Poap teased. While admitting that their “mid-tier punk” is most likely not worth 2500 ETH, Richerd promptly declined the bid and went on to claim that they wouldn’t even accept a bid of $1 billion as the NFT holds sentimental value. “My identity along with the identity of other iconic Punks and apes have value beyond the NFT itself. We have our own brands similar to any other brand and that has value. Because I value my personal brand and identity, this was an easy rejection for me.”Over past 6 months I have used 6046 as my identity and have built up a significant brand around it.Most of you know, for:- co-founder of @manifoldxyz- smART contract artist- Crypto security- NFT insights – 3D glasses connoisseur – Namesake of @richerd3DAO- NFT Degen— richerd (@richerd) October 16, 2021If Martha Stewart launched NFTs and no one bid …Martha Stewart, the famous TV personality and lifestyle entrepreneur, has taken the plunge into NFTs by launching her own platform/collection dubbed “Fresh Mint.”While Fresh Mint hosts a collection of NFTs that were minted on Ethereum, it appears the platform is essentially a gallery, as the auctions and sales are hosted on the OpenSea marketplace. Stewart’s first NFT drop consists of two Halloween-themed collections depicting “high resolution” JPEG files such as a set of pre-carved and custom carved pumpkins, and Stewart wearing a bunch of spooky Halloween costumes.Martha Stewart NFTs: Fresh MintThe starting price for the tokenized pumpkins is a hefty 2 ETH ($8400) for the pre-carved ones, and 3 ETH ($12,600) for custom carved pumpkins. The highest bidder of the custom pumpkin NFTs can send in a photo and have it carved into a pumpkin and then tokenized into an additional NFT, along with having the physical pumpkin shipped to their door. At the time of writing, not a single NFT has had a bid placed on them. Coinbase’s first NFT collectionsCoinbase has announced the first round of NFT creators it’s partnered with ahead of the launch of its upcoming NFT marketplace later this year. BIG NEWSStarting today, we’ll begin introducing NFT creators we’ve teamed up with for drops on @Coinbase_NFT. We’re excited to highlight the first four creators below. And stay tuned. We’re just getting started!An appreciation thread … — Coinbase NFT (@Coinbase_NFT) October 19, 2021

The first four are Ponderware, creators of the popular MoonCats NFT project, Forgotten Runes Wizard’s Cult, the developers of Forgotten Runes, popular crypto-friendly DJ 3Lau and digital artist “GxngYxng.” Coinbase also posted an update on Oct. 21 to address rumors of other partnered creators that are “floating around,” noting that if you don’t hear it directly from them, it’s “probably not true.”Yesterday we announced our first creator partners for Coinbase NFT. We’ll be announcing many more soon, but we want to flag that we’re already seeing some rumors floating around. This is just a quick note to let you know that if you don’t read it here, it’s probably not true.— Coinbase NFT (@Coinbase_NFT) October 21, 2021

The launch of Coinbase’s NFT marketplace appears to be a highly anticipated one, with Cointelegraph reporting on Oct. 14 nearly 1.1 million people signed up for the waitlist within 48 hours of it going live. It’s difficult to determine what the waitlist is now up to, as Coinbase no longer shows the number to new sign ups. RoundupOn Oct. 20 NFT-game and virtual property developer Animoca Brands announced that it had doubled its valuation to $2.2 billion, after closing a new $65 million funding round that included participation from Ubisoft Entertainment. Cointelegraph also reported on Oct. 21 that Chinese online retail giant JD.com is diving into the NFT sector by introducing a special NFT series for its annual JD Discovery conference. Using its proprietary blockchain platform, JD.com will be distributing commemorative NFT certificates to attendees of the JDD 2021 event in Beijing.

Animoca Brands doubles valuation to $2.2B with new $65M funding round

Animoca Brands doubles valuation to $2.2B with new $65M funding round

NFT-game and virtual property developer Animoca Brands has doubled its valuation to $2.2 billion after closing a new funding round that fetched $65 million. The latest funding round was conducted at a pre-money valuation of $2.2 billion, and included backing from gaming giants Ubisoft Entertainment along with Liberty City Ventures, Sequoia China, Dragonfly Capital to name a few.It’s more vindication for a company that was kicked off the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in March 2020, in part for its involvement in cryptocurrencies. According to the Oct. 20 announcement from the firm, more than 43.8 million newly issued shares will be distributed to investors at a price of AUD $2 per share, or USD $1.51. We have closed a capital raise for US$65 million conducted at a pre-money valuation of US$2.2 billion! Investors in the round included Ubisoft, Sequoia China, Dragonfly Capital, and more.https://t.co/Au7ioVycGy#fundraising #unicorn #OpenMetaverse #DigitalPropertyRights— Animoca Brands (@animocabrands) October 20, 2021Animoca has now raised a total of $203.88 million in 2021, with the firm becoming a crypto unicorn in June when it raised $138.88 million as part of two tranches of a capital raise at a valuation of $1 billion. The brand-focused metaverse and interactive content company said the latest funding will go towards funding “strategic investments and acquisitions, product development, and licenses for popular intellectual properties.” Animoca co-founder Yat Siu outlined the company’s vision around digital ownership and NFTs moving forward:“In 2018 we laid out a strategy based on our assessment that in the future digital property rights would revolutionize industries by expanding financial inclusion, and that this significant change would start with NFT adoption in games. That future is already here.”“With the backing of our new strategic investors, Animoca Brands will continue to advance blockchain in gaming — and beyond — to introduce billions of gamers and Internet users to true digital ownership,” he added. Related: NFT gaming proposition in question as regulators and traditional gaming pullbackThis is another sign of big money pouring into NFT gaming and virtual property-focused firms.Oct. 19, Galaxy Interactive, a venture capital firm focused on next-generation interactive technology, announced that it had raised $325 million from 70 different investors for its second fund focused on virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence and NFT gaming.

Diem tells Senators on the warpath over Novi: We're not actually Facebook

Diem tells Senators on the warpath over Novi: We're not actually Facebook

Stablecoin project Diem has distanced itself from its Facebook in response to Democrat Senators calling for the immediate cessation of the firm’s Novi crypto wallet.Diem also claimed senior regulators had called it “the best-designed stablecoin project that the U.S. government had seen.”In an Oct. 19 letter sent to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the Senators including crypto critic Elizabeth Warren, voiced their “strongest opposition to Facebook’s revived effort to launch a cryptocurrency and digital wallet.” Earlier that day the Novi wallet was launched in partnership with Coinbase, with a pilot in the U.S. and Guatemala to enable users to buy, send and receive Pax Dollars (USDP) through their Novi account. Diem’s response to the letter stated the Senators had misunderstood the “relationship between Diem and Facebook,” while also distancing itself from the Novi wallet pilot: “Diem is not Facebook. We are an independent organization, and Facebook’s Novi is just one of more than two dozen members of the Diem Association. Novi’s pilot with Paxos is unrelated to Diem.”While technically true, the argument may not be enough to squash the concerns of the U.S. Senators. Diem was formerly known as Libra and has strong ties to the social media giant, as the stablecoin project was initially proposed by Facebook in 2017, and Facebook’s Financial Head David Marcus is also the co-founder and a board member of Diem. In their letter, the Senators asserted that Facebook “cannot be trusted” as the firm has made several moves that ultimately “harmed its users and the broader society.” It also said there has not been “a satisfactory explanation for how Diem will prevent illicit financial flows and other criminal activity.”Related: Top engineers working on Facebook’s wallet jump ship to A16z’s crypto fundDiem defended itself by claiming it has the “most robust controls in the industry.”“Beyond financial crime compliance, we engaged extensively with an inter-agency regulatory team about the design of the project. As part of that review, we made adjustments to reflect feedback we received, and we were informed by a senior regulator that Diem is the best-designed stablecoin project that the U.S. government had seen,” Diem said. Diem concluded by saying that when the stablecoin project finally launches, it will do so with “confidence that Diem’s payment system is secure, will protect consumers, and will combat financial crime.”

Mashinsky says USDT is minted for crypto as $1M bounty offered to unpick reserves

Mashinsky says USDT is minted for crypto as $1M bounty offered to unpick reserves

A bounty of up to $1 million has been offered up to anyone who can cast light on the precise backing of Tether’s reserves. That backing just got a little bit murker, after Celsius Network CEO Alex Mashinsky reportedly said that Tether mints new USDT in exchange for crypto assets — which appears to conflict with Tether’s own terms and conditions.”Forensic financial research” firm Hindenburg Research tweeted on Oct. 20 to its 171K followers that it holds “doubts about the legitimacy of Tether,” and offered a reward of up to $1 million for important details on Tether’s reserves which it claims could pose a threat to investors on a “systemic” scale. “Tether is a key underpinning of the multi-trillion-dollar crypto market. Yet despite its repeated claims of transparency, its disclosures around its holdings have been opaque.”“The company claims to hold a significant portion of its reserves in commercial paper yet has disclosed virtually nothing about its counterparties,” Hindenburg Research added.But, as more than a few observers noted, $1 million isn’t a lot of money to dish the dirt on a token with a $70 billion market cap.Tether will gladly pay you 10 times this in Tethers to keep your mouth shut, I’d bet https://t.co/CSgei3yWIx— Cas “Mildly Interesting” Piancey (@CasPiancey) October 19, 2021Tether has been the subject of intense scrutiny, with regulators taking action against the firm on multiple occasions over the composition of its reserves. In May Tether published a loose reserve breakdown in May which showed a large amount of unspecified commercial paper, along with minimal cash or bank deposits. On Oct. 15 Tether and its sister company Bitfinex reached a settlement to pay $42.5 million to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which claimed Tether did not have sufficient cash reserves for two thirds of the period between 2016 and 2018. Tether settled but it denied the claims noting there was “no finding that Tether tokens were not fully backed at all times—simply that the reserves were not all in cash and all in a bank account titled in Tether’s name, at all times.” It went on to say: “As Tether represented in the Order, it has always maintained adequate reserves and has never failed to satisfy a redemption request.” Related: Crypto lending firm Celsius Network raises $400MMeanwhile Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky is facing his own regulatory issues after the New York Attorney General’s office began looking into his firm and another stablecoin lending platform this week.In a subsequent interview, Mashinsky told the Financial Times on Oct. 19 that as part of a lending agreement, Tether minted new USDT tokens in exchange for digital assets:“If you give them enough collateral, liquid collateral, Bitcoin, Ethereum and so on . . . they will mint Tether against it.”“New USDT is issued for such loans,” he added, stating that the new USDT is later destroyed after the loan is closed in order to not “permanently increase USDT in circulation”.Such a lending structure on the face of it would appear in violation of Tether’s terms of service which state:“Tether will not issue Tether Tokens for consideration consisting of the Digital Tokens (for example, Bitcoin); only money will be accepted upon issuance.”

Bitcoin futures ETF debuts with highest ever first day 'natural' volume of $1B

Bitcoin futures ETF debuts with highest ever first day 'natural' volume of $1B

ProShares’ Bitcoin Strategy exchange-traded fund (BITO) saw the highest ever first day “natural” volume for an ETF, with the figure reaching a little over $1 billion by the end of the opening day.It is second overall, tailing just behind the Blackrock US Carbon Transition Readiness ETF which booked $1.16B in volume on its debut in April. The ProShare’s Bitcoin futures-based ETF launched on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on October 19 with an opening price of $40.88. According to data from TradingView, BITO closed the day at $41.94 with a total of 24.313 million shares changing hands, equating to a first-day volume of just over $1 billion.Commenting on the BITO’s opening day performance, Bloomberg’s senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas tweeted that ProShares’ ETF was arguably the largest in terms of “natural” or “grassroots interest.” If we don’t exclude ETFs where their Day One volume was literally one pre-planned giant investor or BYOA (not natural), it still ranks #2 overall. Here’s that list. The reason some of these shouldn’t be included IMO is they don’t really represent grassroots interest. pic.twitter.com/wmZiHnpFrS— Eric Balchunas (@EricBalchunas) October 19, 2021Balchunas said Blackrock’s US Carbon Transition Readiness ETF (LCTU) April launch volume was “unnatural” as it was driven by “one pre-planned giant investor.” LCTU’s daily volume also fell off a cliff to between $2 million to $6 million in the days after launch.There were reportedly $570 million worth of inflows for BITO on the first day, suggesting that ProShares’ ETF could rank itself as an industry heavyweight in terms of year-one net flows for a first-to-market single commodity ETF in 12 months.According to data from FactSet, the top two single commodity ETFs leading the pack are Gold and Silver, with year-one flows of $3 billion and $1.7 billion respectively. Outside of commodities, the largest year- one flow for an ETP of $5.351 billion was for the Invesco QQQ Trust.Wondering how big the new bitcoin futures ETFs might get?The white papers we submitted to the SEC last week have some context. For instance, here’s a table of the first year net flows into every first-to-market single commodity ETF (FactSet data).https://t.co/3UnIel6sfX pic.twitter.com/h5Jg6RdgWd— Matt Hougan (@Matt_Hougan) October 18, 2021

While the bullish performance marks a significant milestone for ProShares and the crypto sector, Balchunas warned that it could have consequences for the other firm’s next in line to launch their own Bitcoin (BTC) futures ETFs:“The other result of today is it makes life that much harder for the next in line ETFs to succeed. Time is of the essence. Every day counts because once an ETF gets known as ‘the one’ and has tons of liquidity, it’s virtually impossible to steal.”Related: Buy the rumor… buy the news? BTC price passes $63K as US Bitcoin ETF launchesFollowing ProShares’ ETF launch on Tuesday, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Gary Gensler outlined in an interview why he, and the SEC, favor ETFs backed by Bitcoin futures as opposed to the spot price of BTC. “BTC futures have been overseen by the SEC’s sister agency, The Commodities Futures Trading Commission, for the past four years. You have something that’s been overseen for the past four years by a federal regulator and it’s also been wrapped up in the SEC’s jurisdiction through the Investment Company Act of 1940,” he said. Valkyrie’s Bitcoin futures-based ETF is set to be the second product to join BITO on the NYSE this week. It cheekily changed its ticker to BTFD, which is slang for Buy The F–ing Dip.

Polkadot unveils $770M development fund ahead of parachain auctions

Polkadot unveils $770M development fund ahead of parachain auctions

Polkadot (DOT) founder Gavin Wood has unveiled a $777 million development fund ahead of the network’s parachain lease auctions. Wood tweeted on Oct. 17 that Polkadot’s treasury has allocated more than 18.9 million DOT (worth roughly $777 million at the time of writing) to a development fund that will be disbursed through community governance. Wood gave broad suggestions as to how the funds might be spent, stating the capital will be mobilized to realize the community’s vision for “building, improving, educating” Polkadot’s ecosystem, in addition to “anything else that the Polkadot governance believes valuable.According to Polkadot’s Wiki, the treasury funds can be spent if approved by the council, which votes on proposals put forward to them. The Polkadot council currently consists of 13 members, however the council plans to expand to 24 seats at some stage in the future.With many Polkadot governance votes seeing poor community participation in the past, the development fund may be intended to bolster DOT holders’ engagement with the governance process According to Polkassembly, three governance proposals put forward this past week have seen total voter turnouts of zero, six and seven votes respectively. Stakeholders wishing to put forward a proposal must reserve a deposit of at least 5% of the proposed spend, with the deposit being either slashed (a burn mechanism to deter validator misbehavior) if rejected, or returned if accepted. With funds being placed at risk in the event of an unsuccessful vote, Polkadot’s slashing mechanism may be a factor impeding governance engagement on the network. The new development fund was also revealed just weeks before Polkadot’s highly anticipated parachain auctions are scheduled to begin in early November, suggesting the funds could be intended to kickstart development targetingPolkadot’s forthcoming parachain ecosystem.Polkadot’s parachain auctions will be used to realize Polkadot’s vision for a sharded ecosystem. The auctions will see projects building on Polkadot compete to secure one of the 100 parachain slots by bidding to lock up DOT. Parachains are Polkadot’s sharded side-chains that can host decentralized applications and protocols, offer specialized computation, and communicate with Polkadot’s proof-of-stake “Relay Chain” to finalize transactions.Polkadot’s existing relay chain exclusively processes transfers, governance, staking services for the Polkadot network, with the forthcoming parchains being tasked with providing advanced features like smart contract functionality and cross-chain compatibility. As such, the new development fund may be intended to encourage developers to begin building on Polkadot in preparation of parachains going live.Related: Polkadot eyes breakout to $75 after DOT price rally sets up classic bullish reversalMany onlookers have singled out the Coinbase-backed Acala Network as a frontrunner to win the first parchain slot on Polkadot. Karura Network, Acala’s deployment on Polkadot’s siser-network Kusama, won the first parachain auction on Kusama by a significant margin in June. Karara pulled support from more than 15,000 entities to win its slot with a bid more than 500,000 KSM (worth roughly $184 million at the time of writing).

Analysts predict Valkyrie will launch Bitcoin Futures ETF this week

Analysts predict Valkyrie will launch Bitcoin Futures ETF this week

Commentators are predicting that a second futures-based Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) will go live by the end of the week following the launch of ProShares’ Bitcoin Strategy ETF later today.On Oct. 19, Bloomberg’s analyst Eric Balchunas predicted that Valkyrie’s Bitcoin (BTC) futures-based ETF is “likely” to launch in the coming days after being certified for listing on the Nasdaq exchange last week. If true, the milestone would make Valkyrie’s fund only the second Bitcoin ETF to launch in the United States, with ProShares’ futures-based ETF slated to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker $BITO on Oct. 19.Fellow Bloomberg analyst James Seyffart had initially predicted that Valkyrie’s Bitcoin Strategy ETF ($BTF) would go live on the same day as ProShares’ product. However, Balchunas tweeted earlier today that Varlkyrie’s fund will “likely” launch on Oct. 20 or Oct. 21, adding that ProShares will have the “market to itself” for the time being.Update: Valkyrie not going live tomorrow. Likely looking to launch Wed or Thu tho, but we’ll see. Anyway, $BITO will have market to itself tomorrow. https://t.co/G2Ucit6yxM— Eric Balchunas (@EricBalchunas) October 18, 2021Balchunas also noted that Valkyrie had updated its ticker from BTFD to BTF in its application.Invesco bows out of race to launch futures-based Bitcoin ETFDespite the bullish sentiment surrounding the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approving the United States’ first Bitcoin ETF, Invesco announced it had withdrawn its application for a futures-based ETF on Oct. 18.While onlookers had predicted Invesco’s futures ETF would receive a greenlight from the SEC this week, the firm revealed on Oct. 18 that it had withdrawn its application, adding its intentions to work toward launching a spot Bitcoin ETF in partnership with crypto broker-dealer Galaxy Digital. Invesco stated: “We have determined not to pursue the launch of a Bitcoin futures ETF in the immediate near-term; however we will continue to work in partnership with Galaxy Digital to offer investors a full shelf of products with exposure to this transformative asset class, including pursuing a physically-backed, digital asset ETF.”Related: SEC extends four Bitcoin ETF deadlines by 45 daysHowever, during an Oct. 19 episode of Anthony Pompliano’s “Best Business Show,” Seyffart and Balchunas argued that the approval of a spot BTC-backed ETF is unlikely to happen anytime soon.Balchunas asserted that SEC chairman Gary Gensler is much more “comfortable” with Bitcoin futures-based ETFs as they offer greater consumer protections than spot-backed funds.

Flow integrates Filecoin storage services to make NFTs more decentralized

Flow integrates Filecoin storage services to make NFTs more decentralized

Filecoin has officially become the storage collaborator for the Flow Blockchain. Filecoin said in an Oct. 13 announcement that the move was a part of a push to ensure holders’ and issuers’ NFTs are “securely available everywhere.” The announcement follows from a previous move in August in Which Dapper Labs was working to integrate Filecoin’s storage services with the Flow Blockchain. The collaboration enables Flow users to mint NFTs, leverage InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) content addressing, and store the tokens in decentralized storage hosted by Filecoin. According to Filecoin, IPFS content addressing is a solution to location addressing which retrieves online information from specific locations on the web, such as from behind URLs. Filecoin asserts that this method has “obvious downsides” as the data relies on centralized entities who own the locations, and therefore can “control the content.” “In content-based addressing, content is no longer retrieved from single locations on the web. Rather, content is retrieved from any participating nodes on the IPFS network that have the content you’re requesting,” Filecoin outlined. As part of the collaboration, Filecoin has also opened “Next Step Grants” worth $5,000 for each eligible NFT project on Flow that integrates with IPFS or Filecoin’s network. “As the Flow ecosystem grows, Filecoin’s decentralized storage solution will allow future applications that are built on Flow to have an easy way to protect NFT media assets and metadata,” the announcement read. It’s happening! @Filecoin is the official storage collaborator #onFlow ⛓️ Immutable NFT metadata, including media assets, via @IPFS content addressing Filecoin’s provable and decentralized storage Full announcement https://t.co/iwEd1JpEVk— Flow Blockchain (@flow_blockchain) October 14, 2021Dapper launched the Flow Blockchain in late 2020, and the network is home to top NFT projects, including NBA Top Shot and CryptoKitties. September was a big month for Dapper, with the firm signing multiple partnerships with top firms, along with raising $250 million in funding. Cointelegraph reported on Sept. 14 that Google had partnered with Dapper to serve as a network operator for Flow. Google signed on to support the development of Web 3.0 products and services such as NFT projects with “scalable” and “secure infrastructure.”Related: Blockchains vie for NFT market, but Ethereum still dominates — ReportOn Sept. 30, the NFL partnered with Dapper to launch an American football equivalent of NBA Top Shot on Flow, which is slated to drop later this year. During the announcement of the $250 million funding round, Dapper outlined that the fresh capital will be used to fund further licensed NFT projects across sports, music and entertainment, along with scaling up its NBA Top Shot platform.

ASIC targets pump and dump Telegram groups

ASIC targets pump and dump Telegram groups

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is going after pump and dump groups on Telegram.On Monday an account under the name “ASIC” posted a message in the “ASX Pump Organization” on Telegram to warn around 300 members of the group that “we’re monitoring this platform and we may be investigating you.”:“Coordinated pumping of shares for profits can be illegal. We can see all trades and have access to trader identities. […] You run the risk of a criminal record, including fines of more than $1 million and prison time.”Many of the group’s members assumed the account to be fake, however ASIC confirmed the validity of the now-deleted message to The Australian newspaper.While some members of the community have laughed off the message from ASIC, others have vented their frustrations at being targeted instead of firms and corporate traders.“What ASIC needs to do is go after the corporates who inside trade and short companies all the time, and not spend valuable time here hassling 300 small investors who are doing nothing wrong by sharing stock recommendations. This has to be the biggest joke in history,” a member wrote.On Sept. 23 ASIC published a warning about a “concerning trend” of social media groups engaging in “blatant” pump and dump campaigns. It stated that “in some cases, posts on social media forums may mislead subscribers by suggesting the activity is legal,” before warning of prison sentences of up to 15 years and fines of more than $1 million.“ASIC has been working closely with market operators to identify and disrupt pump and dump campaigns, and we will continue to target actions that threaten the integrity of markets and to take enforcement action where appropriate,” said ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour as part of the release.Crypto-based pump and dumps weren’t specifically targeted by ASIC, however a spokesperson for the regulator told Cointelegraph:“The campaign is targeting listed stocks but the messaging is relevant for all financial products, including any crypto assets that may be, or involves, financial products.”Related: New Australian crypto legislation likely in 2022, Senator Bragg tells NFT Fest“Even where the activity relates to cryptocurrencies/products that may not be financial products under the Corporations Act, the pump and dump practice is concerning as it can lead to investor losses and create unnecessary price volatility,” the representative added.Pump and dump groups have grown in popularity this year after the r/wallstreetbets and Robinhood saga in January. The Reddit group —which is admittedly more about the pump than the dump — collectively worked together to pump stocks that hedge funds were shorting against such as GameStop (GME) and AMC Entertainment (AMC).

Paris Hilton and Pranksy collections featured by Sotheby's new NFT platform

Paris Hilton and Pranksy collections featured by Sotheby's new NFT platform

Prestigious auction house Sotheby’s has launched a new Metaverse themed NFT platform. The platform is dubbed “Sotheby’s Metaverse” and was announced alongside the “Natively Digital 1.2: The Collectors” (ND1.2) auction that will run between Oct. 18 and Oct. 26. The auction consists of 53 lots of tokenized art from the vaults of 19 curators. Welcome to Sotheby’s Metaverse. https://t.co/hZvYIkO3xx pic.twitter.com/9Wl9fUwibe— Sotheby’s Metaverse (@Sothebysverse) October 14, 2021The list of curators includes some top collectors in the NFT space such as PleasrDAO, Pranksy and 888 along with crypto-friendly stars such as DJ Steve Aoki and self-described “Boss-Babe” Paris Hilton. “These collectors are people with deep histories and relationships in the digital art and media space, many of whom have been collecting long before NFTs became a common term and have helped build the ecosystem from the ground up,” the exhibition notes state. Paris Hilton’s curation: Sotheby’s MetaverseThe platform is accepting payments in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and USD Coin (USDC), along with credit card payments and wire transfers. Sotheby’s Metaverse is powered by Mojito, an NFT studio and blockchain tech platform that develops and operates NFT marketplaces for brands and IP holders. The ND1.2 collection features NFTs prominent projects such as Yuga Labs (Bored Ape Yacht Club), Dapper Labs (CryptoKitties), Art Blocks (Chromie Squiggle) and Ponderware (MoonCats). NFT lots: Sotheby’s MetaverseSotheby’s was founded in London during the mid-1700s, and has since grown into a multinational giant that has expanded into 80 locations across 40 countries. The firm hosted its first NFT auction in April, partnering with the digital artist known as “Pak” to sell $16.8 million worth of tokenized art. In June the auction house sold CryptoPunk #7523 —also known as “COVID Alien” — for a record $11.8 million, and last month it hosted an auction with Yuga Labs for a collection of 101 Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs that generated $24 million. Sotheby’s is no stranger to the early iterat metaverse either. In June the firm opened a virtual gallery in Decentraland which depicted the auction house’s New Bond Street Gallery in London. Related: The Metaverse, play-to-earn and the new economic model of gamingThe structure was built in Decentraland’s Voltaire Art District, and featured Sotheby’s London Commissionaire, Hans Lomulder who greeted guests at the door, with the gallery displaying the COVID Alien CryptoPunk and Robert Alice’s intelligent NFT (iNFT). The virtual metaverse has been grabbing the headlines of late, due in part to Facebook’s recent push to establish itself in the sector. Cointelegraph reported on Sept. 28 that Facebook is allocating $50 million to a two-year fund to back the firm’s target of building its own metaverse. “The metaverse won’t be built overnight by a single company. We’ll collaborate with policymakers, experts and industry partners to bring this to life,” Facebook said as part of its funding announcement.

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