Crypto News Headlines (12-April-2022)

The Biden administration is in a damage control mode ahead of the latest inflation data, which is likely to show the cost of living soared in March and bolster recession fears.

“We expect March CPI headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated due to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s price hike,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday. “We expect a large difference between the core and the headline inflation, reflecting the global disruptions in energy and food markets [caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine].”

The data due on Tuesday at 12:30 UTC is forecast to reveal the consumer price index (CPI), which is defined as the change in the prices of a basket of goods and services typically purchased by specific groups of households, increased 8.3% year-on-year in March following February’s 7% rise, according to data source FXStreet. The above-8% figure would be the first in at least four decades.

The core inflation, which strips out the volatile food and energy component, is expected to have risen 6.6% year-on-year versus 6.4% in February.

A new report by the cryptocurrency exchange Kucoin has found that 35% of Nigerian adults, or 33.4 million people aged between 18 and 60, are holders of cryptocurrencies or have traded the same in the past six months. The report also says about 52% of Nigerian cryptocurrency investors “allocate over half of their assets to cryptocurrencies.”

As noted in the crypto exchange’s report, about 65% of Nigerian crypto investors are known to convert from fiat to cryptocurrency via peer-to-peer (P2P) trading platforms. The increased use of peer-to-peer platforms by Nigerian crypto investors suggests many financial institutions are adhering to the requirements of a directive that was issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in February 2021.

In this directive, the CBN told financial institutions to block or freeze bank accounts that are associated with crypto entities. As shown by a recent News report, financial institutions caught facilitating transactions on behalf of known cryptocurrency entities will be penalized by the CBN. In addition to the directive, central bank officials including the governor, Godwin Emefiele, have warned Nigerians against dealing in cryptocurrencies.

Naira Depreciation

Despite the warnings by the governor and others, however, the study findings suggest Nigerians are in fact planning to increase their investments in crypto. The report states:

Another important finding is that 70% of Nigerian crypto investors intend to increase their cryptocurrency investments over the next 6 months.

Bitcoin dropped 15% in 24 hours today, falling below $40,000 for the first time since March 15. Meanwhile, Ethereum dipped 14%, finding itself beneath the $3,000 mark for the first time since March 23.

It’s part of a larger trend, with crypto markets tumbling 8.5% in the span of 24 hours to hit a market cap of $1.84 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.

If you’re looking for plausible answers as to why, it’s worth checking out the equities markets. The S&P 500, an index of 500 top publicly traded companies in the U.S., closed down 1.7%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended Monday 1.2% lower, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost a full 2.2% of its value.

Bitcoin, which is historically fairly correlated to other cryptocurrency prices is, of late, increasingly correlated with stock prices. In March, BTC’s price correlation with the S&P 500 hit 0.49, with -1 meaning they move exactly opposite and 1 meaning they move in perfect tandem. It was the highest rate since October 2020, per Arcane Research.

Meta Platforms’ digital economy got rolling Monday with new tools for hawking virtual goods in the social media giant’s virtual reality game, Horizon Worlds.

A “handful” of creators will be able to sell “virtual items and effects” in their respective worlds, Meta said. Only Americans and Canadians above the age of 18 will be able to purchase those items.

Meta separately said it would reward creators whose virtual worlds prove especially popular among users with monthly bonus payouts. That program will not be subject to fees; the virtual items marketplace could see Meta take anywhere from 25% to 70%, according to The Verge.

The twin efforts showcase Meta’s early buildout of the infrastructure underpinning a digital economy. Yet more monetization and incentivization features are on the way, it promised.

“These types of tools are steps toward our long-term vision for the metaverse where creators can earn a living and people can purchase digital goods, services, and experiences,” a Meta blog post read.

“Clearly the ability to sell virtual goods and be able to take them with you from one world to another is going to be an important part” of the future metaverse, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a video published alongside the reveal.

That language mimics the promise of user-owned non-fungible tokens (NFTs). But Meta’s monetization tools don’t have any crypto element to them – at least not yet.

Voyager Innovations, the firm behind the Philippines’ top digital payments app Paymaya, has announced it has achieved unicorn status after a recent round of funding, surpassing a $1 billion valuation.

Voyager Innovation announced Tuesday that the new $210 million capital boosted its valuation to $1.4 billion. The company highlighted that the new funds will be used to develop crypto offerings that it recently added to its flagship digital payments app PayMaya.

According to the news release, the recent financing round was led by SIG Venture Capital. It included well-known firms such as KKR, First Pacific Co., Tencent Holdings Limited and PLDT Inc., the Philippines’ largest telecom provider.

As reported by Cointelegraph, PayMaya recently introduced crypto services into the app, allowing consumers to buy, sell, and earn crypto using it. The money will be used to develop the crypto offerings further. PayMaya also recently obtained a Virtual Asset Services Provider (VASP) license from the Philippine Central Bank. The firm will also invest the cash in PayMaya-branded digital bank services, such as savings and credit.

According to Voyager, most of the Philippine population is “underserved” in terms of internet and digital finance. It aims to take advantage of this by extending its market reach. As of March 31, PayMaya has over 47 million users.

MIAMI — Marathon Digital (MARA), one of the largest publicly traded bitcoin (BTC) miners, with a market cap of about $2.5 billion, isn’t interested in a sale and its stock is undervalued at current levels, said CEO Fred Thiel.

A key theme from the Bitcoin 2022 Conference in Miami: There are lots of deals – including potential mergers and acquisitions (M&A) – to be made. One participant called the conference “a real deal center.”

With some speculation swirling around Marathon Digital as a possible target, CoinDesk caught up with company CEO Fred Thiel, who played down the chatter. “We are not interested in selling today,” Thiel said. “Especially given where the stock is, today, we’re way undervalued, compared to where we were towards the end of last year.”

Epic Games, the developer behind Fortnite, and Lego, the famous toy building block company, have inked a partnership to produce a joint metaverse. The metaverse initiative will be designed from the ground up to be suitable for kids of all ages who, according to the press release issued on the Epic Games website, will be able to create their own experiences.

The press release detailed:

The family-friendly digital experience will give kids access to tools that will empower them to become confident creators and deliver amazing play opportunities in a safe and positive space.

Neither of the companies indicated the theme or characters that the metaverse will include. However, the two companies already have experience in building metaverse-inspired worlds, with Fortnite being one of the most popular online games. Lego was also behind an online game called Lego Worlds, which was launched in 2015 as a direct competitor to Minecraft.

Bitcoin has rallied to reclaim the $40,000 mark following a crash that saw it drop 15% in 24 hours. At time of going to press, the leading cryptocurrency by market cap stands at $40,119, down 4.7% on the day, according to CoinMarketCap.

Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has similarly reclaimed the psychological level of $3,000 after dropping below it overnight. It currently stands at just over $3,000, down 4.2% on the day.

The cryptocurrency market remains emphatically in the red, with the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies dropping to $1.86 trillion, a drop of 3.76% in the last 24 hours. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum are down over 13% in the last seven days.

Of the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap, Solana and Cardano have been hit the hardest, falling by 6.4% and 5.9% respectively in the last 24 hours.

Speculation has focused on Bitcoin’s increasing correlation with stock prices as a possible explanation for the crash, with Bitcoin’s price correlation with the S&P 500 hitting 0.49 in March. With all three major U.S. stock indexes ending Monday in negative territory, the crypto market has fallen in lockstep.

As it is becoming a trend in the Web3.0 ecosystem nowadays, Fabric Ventures, a London-based venture capital firm, is on track to close two new Web3.0 funds that will focus exclusively on the “Open Economy.”

As confirmed by Richard Muirhead, the company’s Managing Partner, the two funds will be worth as much as €225 million ($245 million), The Block reports.

Muirhead noted that the first of the funds was largely oversubscribed by its investors, and in a bid to accommodate more backers, the venture capital firm had to expand its hard cap to €125 million. The first fund will support early-stage startups, and the yet-to-be-completed second fund will focus on innovative projects at the Series B stage and above.

Fabric Ventures has a very robust profile as an investor in the digital currency ecosystem. Since its inception, the company has invested in Open Zeppelin, Ocean Protocol, Ramp, NTropy Network, Orchid, Aurora, and Trailblazer Games. The robust profile of Fabric Ventures also extends beyond crypto startups and as a European Investment Fund (EIF) firm, it has holdings in such protocols including PayPal, MySQL, and Block (former Square).

The IOST Foundation is looking to entice Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) developers to its ecosystem with a $100 million incentive fund.

The $100 million is split into two separate funds: the New Ecosystem Fund, used to expand IOST’s applications and mainnet infrastructure, and the Accelerator Fund, intended to provide capital and incentive bonuses to development teams.

EVM is a software platform that developers can use to create decentralized applications on the Ethereum network. They can be accessed from anywhere in the world through participating Ethereum nodes.

The IOST Foundation is funding this venture through its institutional investment partners, with Big Candle Capital (BCC) leading the raise. BCC’s focus is on supporting projects in decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), GameFi, Web 3 and the metaverse.

The fund forms part of IOST’s broader Project Entroverse – unveiled at the end of March – which aims to build a build a rapidly growing, interoperable, and interconnected blockchain network,” IOST Foundation said on Tuesday.