Crypto News Headlines (04-April-2022)

Bitcoin miner Riot Blockchain (RIOT) filed a prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the sale of up to $500 million in shares from time to time, otherwise known as an “at-the-market” (ATM) offering.

The underwriters are Cantor Fitzgerald, B. Riley Securities, BTIG, Roth Capital Partners, D.A. Davidson, Macquarie Capital (USA) and Northland Securities.

The company currently has about 116.7 shares outstanding, according to the filing, and if the entire $500 million was offered at the current stock price, the share count would increase by about 20% to almost 140 million.

That being said, the prospectus is a “shelf” registration, meaning there is no present intention to immediately sell all the securities being registered.

Riot mainly hodls, or holds, the bitcoins it mines, meaning the company issues equity for occasional capital raises to fund its operations and expansion.

In a recent presentation, Riot said it held 5,783 bitcoins on its balance sheet as of March 1. That would be worth more than $267 million at the current bitcoin price of $46,200.

Riot is underperforming most of its crypto mining peers on Friday afternoon, down 2% as the stocks of Marathon Digital (MARA) and Hut 8 (HUT) are posting moderate gains.

The total addressable market (TAM) for the metaverse economy could be between $8 trillion to $13 trillion by 2030, with up to five billion users, but getting to that market level is going to require sizable infrastructure investment, Citi said in a report on Thursday.

The metaverse is an immersive digital world created by the combination of virtual reality, augmented reality and the internet.

The content streaming environment of the metaverse will likely need a “computational efficiency improvement over 1000 times today’s levels,” the bank said, and investment will be required in areas such as storage, network infrastructure, consumer hardware, and game development platforms.

The metaverse concept is not new, the bank’s analysts noted. However, interest in the metaverse really began to snowball at the end of 2021 due to a rise in sales of non-fungible-tokens (NFTs) and big technology companies announcing their interest in the space.

NFTs are digital assets on a blockchain that represent ownership of virtual or physical items, and can be sold or traded.

Currently the most popular way to experience the metaverse is by playing a video game on a virtual reality (VR) headset, Citi said, but it is possible that the “metaverse is moving towards becoming the next generation of the internet or Web 3.”

“This ‘open metaverse’ would be community-owned, community-governed, and a freely interoperable version that ensures privacy by design,” the report said. Its use case include commerce, art, media, advertising, healthcare and social collaboration, it added.

Nearly half of the surveyed crypto owners made their first crypto purchase last year, according to a survey commissioned by crypto exchange Gemini.

Specifically, some 50% of cryptoasset owners from the US, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific region bought their very first crypto in 2021, the report found.

The opinion poll was carried out between November 2021 and last February, collecting answers from close to 30,000 persons from some 20 countries, per Reuters.

In terms of crypto adoption, Brazil and Indonesia took the two top spots in the world last year, with as many as 41% of the surveyed in each country declaring they owned crypto. The two states demonstrated a crypto adoption rate more than twice as high as the ones reported for the populations in the UK and US, with 18% and 20%, respectively.

Regarding European respondents, 17% said they owned cryptoassets last year, but only 7% of those who do not currently hold crypto declared they aimed to purchase such assets at some point.

Coinbase Ventures, an investment arm of American crypto exchange Coinbase, shared a plan to invest $1 million in various Indian cryptocurrency and Web3 initiatives via an in-person pitching event.

In a blog post drafted while he was in India, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong revealed that the venture firm intends to tap into India’s software talent with the crypto and Web3 technologies and help accelerate India’s economic and financial inclusion goals.

On Apr. 8, the in-person pitch day will be hosted in Bengaluru in partnership with Buidlers Tribe, which will be further supported by Belief DAO to provide bonus grants up to $25,000. The rising interest of foreign investors in India’s crypto space can be attributed to the recent regulatory clarity brought forward by the controversial crypto tax law.

India’s crypto tax law requires — which has been effective since Apr. 1 — requires all Indian citizens to pay 30% of unrealized crypto gains as tax. Additionally, the investors will not be allowed to offset any crypto losses to compensate for the taxation.

When asked about the general notion about Web3 as a disruptor, Buidlers Tribe co-founder Pareen Lathia told Cointelegraph that Indian entrepreneurs are excited to take their firms global. Speaking about the impact of new tax law in attracting foreign investments, Lathia revealed that:

“Tax law is just one positive step. This is a paradigm shift and regulations will catch up.”

Digital wealth manager Moneybox has announced a successful Series D funding round from asset manager Fidelity. The 35 million GBP (around $US46 million) will enable the London-based firm to scale its operations and launch new crypto investment products.

Fidelity International Strategic Ventures has previously backed the firm with investments in its 2018 Series B round. Polar Capital also joined the current round for Moneybox, which has almost reached $3.9 billion (3 billion GPB) in assets under management, according to reports.

Crypto Investment, Not Speculation

Moneybox was launched in 2016 to help people invest with their small change. The app has grown substantially, offering retirement planning, property buying, and stock investments, and now has more than 800,000 users.

Co-founder and co-CEO Ben Stanway is confident that crypto is the next direction for the company. Speaking to Altfi, he said that the firm can now deliver on the “societal need for the mass market to have wealth planning, savings, and services made available to them.” He explained that the app will not offer crypto trading but will focus on portfolio diversification.

“We’re going to be expanding [into crypto] through the lens of diversification, not through the lens of speculation,”

He added an example of suggesting holding “a couple of percent” in Bitcoin [BTC] as part of a more extensive portfolio, reiterating that “We will not be a good place for people to speculate on cryptocurrencies.”

Stanway said that the crypto investment plans were still in the early stages of development, adding that there was likely to be “just Bitcoin, or maybe Bitcoin and perhaps one or two others,” to begin with.

The company’s long-term goal is to offer financial planning services to as many as 15 to 20 million Brits who would benefit from such planning.

Cryptocurrency exchange Bybit announced on Monday that it’s shifting its headquarters from Singapore to Dubai on the same day that said it would establish a regional hub office there. The announcements come as Dubai has rolled out new legislation that’s aimed at making the emirate a global center for crypto assets and related industries like the metaverse.

Bybit has received an in-principle approval to conduct a “full spectrum” of virtual asset businesses in Dubai, the company said in a statement. Its new head office is expected to begin operating as early as April.

“Bybit looks forward to contributing to the virtual assets innovations of the emirate’s vibrant economy and having our global headquarters in Dubai,” said Ben Zhou, cofounder and CEO of Bybit. “This in-principle approval is an extraordinary opportunity for Bybit to support the United Arab Emirates and the wider region’s ambition to become a global virtual assets technology hub.”

Against stiff headwinds of distrust, one project is building a town square for gaming NFTs – with a bevy of big-name backers.

Fractal, the platform for game-related non-fungible tokens (NFT), has raised $35 million in a seed round led by Paradigm and Multicoin Capital. Other investors include Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Solana Labs, Animoca Brands, Coinbase Ventures and Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon, among others.

The platform, launched in December by Twitch co-founder Justin Kan, functions as a marketplace for players to buy Solana-based NFTs directly from game companies as well as a secondary marketplace for peer-to-peer trading.

Kan told CoinDesk that since the platform’s launch, every game to partner with Fractal’s new “Launchpad” has sold out its NFT drop, with one collection reaching 33,000 unique buyers. Tiny Colony clocked in with the platform’s largest raise, selling $2 million of its NFTs at launch.

“There’s always been lots of hype around NFTs, but what investors are now seeing is that it’s actually durable,” Kan told CoinDesk in an interview. “Even if it’s a bear market, even if the prices might go down, the idea that people want to collect digital assets on the internet, that’s going to stay. Digital items in gaming, it’s like a new category of e-commerce basically.”

Nicholas Merten, also known as DataDash, found Bitcoin (BTC) when it was $3. But, like many people at the time, Merten was very skeptical about crypto and found it crazy for people to be buying what he thought was “fake internet money.”

Merten’s story started with a hint of inspiration from a conversation with his teacher back in 2011. At the time, he believed that he had no passion. But one day, a spark lit up through his social studies class when the teacher encouraged him to watch presidential debates. As he watched, he saw politician Ron Paul share different takes on the debate’s topics.

“This event sparked a dopamine rush in my head,” said Merten. He was inspired and started to become interested in foreign policy, economics and finance and studied the topics. From there, he went on to learn about the 2008 global financial crisis and learned how inflation works. He knew that with the way things were going, there is a need for a way to hedge against inflation.

As he went through his journey, he opened a brokerage account with the help of his dad and was able to buy his first stock. Eventually, he dived further into finance buying marijuana penny stocks to solar companies stocks. He then a video explaining BTC, and found it interesting at first, but wasn’t able to fully understand it. He skipped on buying BTC at $3 dollars and couldn’t understand why people would buy it.

Ethereum (ETH) has launched Kiln, the final testnet its development community will use prior to the blockchain network’s long-awaited transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. Now that Kiln has gone live, it should be more or less only a matter of time before Ethereum will complete its ‘merge’ with the PoS beacon chain, which is due in Q2 2022.

This merge — which will see Ethereum’s original execution/settlement layer integrate with the beacon chain’s new consensus layer — is likely to be one of the biggest events in the crypto sector in 2022. However, as exciting as it will be for the Ethereum and wider crypto communities, it won’t be without its controversies and misconceptions, while there’s also a good chance that it could reignite the ongoing rivalry between Bitcoin (BTC)/proof-of-work (PoW) and Ethereum/PoS maximalists. has asked Ethereum developers and community members, as well as industry players outside of the Ethereum community what to expect, and what not to expect, from the transition.

Axie Infinity developer Sky Mavis is delaying the launch of its highly anticipated “Origin” upgrade from March 30 to April 7 after hackers stole $625 million from the underlying Ronin blockchain earlier in the week.

“While the game is ready for soft launch, we’ve decided to give the engineering and security team an additional window of time to deeply investigate all implications of the breach, before asking for their full attention to support Origin’s release,” Sky Mavis wrote on its Substack.

Sky Mavis has pledged to reimburse players who lost funds in the exploit. The attacker found a backdoor in a Ronin node and then used hacked private keys to create withdrawals. The losses included 173,600 ether (ETH) and $25.5 million in USDC.

The exploit was one of the largest in decentralized finance history.