Crypto News Dec 20, 2021

  1. NFTs: much hyped, but how do they work?

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. Cryptocurrencies, which use a digital public record of transactions called a blockchain, are fungible. Some have sold for millions, including an NFT by digital artist Beeple which went under the hammer at Christie’s in March for an eye-watering $69.3 million. Like cryptocurrencies, NFTs are bought and sold on specialised platforms. OpenSea is the best-known NFT marketplace. To purchase an NFT, the wallet must contain enough of the relevant cryptocurrency — for example, ether (ETH) if the person is buying a token on the Ethereum blockchain. With a little technical know-how, it is also possible to make, or “mint”, your own NFT.

The cryptocurrency market doesn’t sleep and investors were bidding up a number of altcoins on Saturday. This comes only a week after the weekend left altcoin holders looking at losses early in the weekend. The biggest news out of this group is that investment manager VanEck is launching exchange-traded notes (ETNs) in Europe for Avalanche and Polygon. The firm already has ETNs for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polkadot, and Solana, so this move puts these cryptocurrencies in exclusive company. One unique aspect of these ETNs is that they will hold actual cryptocurrency, as opposed to futures contracts.

Bala Sharma​ is like many 13-year-olds. He likes reading, cricket and hanging out with his mates. But unlike most kids his age, Sharma​ has an investment portfolio of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, worth about $219,600. Sharma​ has a collection of 15 NFTs worth a combined total of 36 ethereum, a type of cryptocurrency where a single coin is valued at $6100. Which makes Sharma’s overall investment worth about $219,600. Most of Sharma’s​ NFTs are crude drawings of cartoon dolphins and beetles. Sharma​, a year nine student at Auckland Grammar, initially invested $6000 he borrowed from his older brother Roney and his father Sandeep Sharma​, an Uber driver.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is an exclusive community for holders of the ape and mutant themed NFT collections on Ethereum’s blockchain. Commonly referred to as the Bored Apes, only 10,000 generative art pieces will ever be in existence. Bored Ape #6260 just sold for 70.00 ETH (CRYPTO: ETH) ($275,959 USD). The value of Bored Apes is typically determined by the Ape’s attributes, with the laser eyes, crown, and golden fur traits being the most coveted.

Bored Apes are the ultimate store of culture for NFT collectors. The NFT collection has gained huge influence in 2021, with an ever growing list of top tier celebrities making apes their profile pictures on Twitter.

On December 15, FINMA-licensed Swiss bank, Seba, announced the launch of a gold token that can be delivered in physical form, on-demand, at any time from the firm’s partner refineries. Switzerland-based crypto bank Seba has introduced a number of new crypto products this year, like adding decentralized finance (defi) tokens to the company’s product lineup. In October, the Swiss bank revealed that customers can earn a yield on crypto holdings in an “institutional-grade” fashion. According to Seba, the bank worked with a service provider in the precious metal (PM) industry called Argor-Heraeus. The blockchain-based PM platform was developed by Axedras, the Swiss bank’s announcement reveals.

The director of global macroeconomics of the investment fund Fidelity, Jurrien Timmer, spoke about the performance that Ethereum has registered during the season. Considering the rise that cryptocurrencies have registered in the last year, Timmer gave his opinion regarding the valuation of ETH. He believes that this cryptocurrency has had somewhat undervalued growth, taking into account the benefits it offers. He referred to this as a boost which is helping ETH gain ground against the leading cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. Jurrien Timmer expresses that the main altcoin in the crypto world registered a considerable rise due to the sectors that emanate from it. 

Coinbase has 139 tradable assets. The exchange added a whopping 83 assets to its trading list in 2021, nearly double the number of assets it had accumulated in the eight years since its founding. Coinbase started out with a small booth at a conference “just trying to make something that customers wanted,” pitching T-shirts and a hosted Bitcoin (BTC) wallet. Now, Coinbase is the second-largest crypto exchange in the world. Coinbase acknowledges and accepts its leadership role in shepherding in new regulation that is beneficial to the new economy. The exchange really does seem to be aware of its leadership role in the crypto space, and works hard on compliance.

British telco giant Vodafone has reportedly plans to auction the world’s first Short Message Service (SMS) in the form of a nonfungible token (NFT) on Dec. 21. The SMS, that reads “Merry Christmas”, was sent 29 years ago over the Vodafone network on Dec 3, 1992, and was received by Richard Jarvis, an employee at the time. 15 character-long SMS will be auctioned off as an NFT in a one-off sale conducted by the Aguttes Auction House in France, according to Romanian news outlet Ziarul Financiar.

Non-Fungible-Tokens were first to win 2017 with the famous CryptoKitties. NFTs are digital tokens that represent unique assets and give data real value. That popularity has grown even more in 2021 and now the industry processes billions of dollars in transactions every month. Percentages of these transactions flow back to the creators of the NFTs being sold and this serves as a stream of income for these artists. The Covid-19 pandemic has led creatively to look for better ways to get their arts across to their audiences and generate revenue for themselves. Lockdown and quarantines have restricted musical acts from showcasing themselves and their latest songs/albums live and this has led to major financial issues.

  1. Crypto becoming ‘impossible to ignore,’ as it ropes in more Wall Street investors 

The cryptocurrency industry is steadily roping in Wall Streets giants. In its year-end letter, LionTree’s Chairman and CEO Aryeh Bourkoff highlighted the exponential growth and potential of the budding sector. He also argued that cryptocurrencies could fulfill the internet’s goal of empowering individuals. According to him, the crypto sector has now become “impossible to ignore” with the industry’s market cap sitting at over $2 trillion. Notably, he also mentioned the need to adopt friendly user interfaces by crypto platforms so that their user base can expand further from a predominantly male and tech-savvy population.