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  • Witnessing the Return Of The Bull at NBX – WoW by Ludo #04

Witnessing the Return Of The Bull at NBX – WoW by Ludo #04

Your recent digest of all things Web3, NFTs, and the Metaverse

GM from the Ludo Team! 🚀✨

As the year draws to a close, we're thrilled to share our latest World of Web3 newsletter, a perfect wrap-up to an eventful year! The crypto and NFT markets are ending 2023 with a new, positive energy, and we've gathered all the exciting details for you. In this special year-end edition, we reflect on the market's growth and evolution, bringing you stories of innovation and progress that defined the year. Plus, we've got exclusive insights from the Next Block Expo Web3 Conference in Berlin, where our team captured all the significant news and cool updates from the blockchain and digital assets realm.

Join us in exploring the dynamic world of crypto as we bid farewell to 2023. Don't miss out on this fun, informative, and reflective read! 🌐📰🎉🎆

🎉 Ludo @ Next Block Expo in Berlin 🇩🇪

The Next Block Expo in Berlin was an absolute highlight for Ludo. Over two days, we immersed ourselves in the latest in blockchain, rubbing shoulders with top brands and startups. The event was packed with workshops, talks, and the chance to mingle with crypto enthusiasts, from traders to developers. The buzz in the air was real — you could feel the excitement for a new bull market.

With the talk of gaming and NFTs, we're looking at the dawn of an exciting phase in crypto. For more details on the event and its offerings, you can visit Next Block Expo and already get tickets for the next event in Poland, May 15-16.

 NBX Panel NFTs & Metaverse 📢

Our CMO Shahab Ganji, brought important insights to a panel about NFTs, sparking conversations on their comeback.

Overview: The expert panel critically examined the current state and future prospects of NFTs and the Metaverse, backed by recent statistics and emerging trends.

Key Points Discussed:

  1. NFT Market Trends:

    • Significant drop in NFT trading value, with an 80% decrease from January 2022 to January 2023.

    • However, there's a 44% increase in the number of unique active wallets year-over-year, indicating growing adoption.

  2. Metaverse Investments:

    • Stark contrasts with a 99% drop in venture capital investment for Metaverse projects in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

  3. Brand Engagement with NFTs:

    • Over 320 of the top 500 global brands are engaging with NFTs and Web3 technologies, demonstrating significant corporate interest.

  4. Innovative Use Case Example:

    • Alfa Romeo’s adoption of NFTs for digital certificates for the Alfa Romeo Tonale SUV, enhances vehicle data and maintenance tracking.

  5. Public Perception and Challenges:

    • Waning interest is evidenced by decreasing Google searches for 'NFT'.

    • Ongoing challenges in public trust and understanding, particularly in the American market.

Conclusion: The experts on our panel believe that even though NFTs and the Metaverse are going through a tough time, they're definitely not finished. There's a growing number of people using NFTs and more big companies are starting to use them in new ways, like how Alfa Romeo is using them for car information. This shows that NFTs and the Metaverse are changing and adapting, not dying. They might become more stable and useful in the days to come.

🚀 Web3 & NFT Pulse Check! 🎨 📊

Are we at the beginning of a new bull market?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Refer Us to Your Friends 🤝

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Ludo’s Industry Digest 🗞

We've combed through the myriad of Web3 news from November and December so you don't have to. In this edition we mostly focused on regulatory and legal developments in the crypto space.

NFTs 👛

NFT Collection: FIFA has launched its own NFT collection in conjunction with the 2023 World Cup. This collection offers a unique way for fans to connect with the global soccer event through digital collectibles. The NFTs feature memorable moments and highlights from World Cup history, allowing fans to own a piece of soccer legacy. This initiative represents the merging of sports and digital asset trends. For more details, visit the full article on Cointelegraph.

Market Shift in NFTs: Blur has significantly overtaken OpenSea by commanding 80% of the NFT market share. This marks a major shift, indicating changing preferences and the emergence of new competitors in the digital asset trading landscape. Blur's rapid ascent reshapes market dynamics, posing challenges for established platforms like OpenSea. For an in-depth analysis, read the full article on CryptoPotato.

Megadeth's NFT Venture: Thrash metal band Megadeth has launched a 5,000-piece NFT collection featuring their digital mascot, Vic Rattlehead. This initiative aims to deepen connections with fans by offering exclusive access to content and experiences, both physically and in the metaverse. The move signifies the band's innovative approach in engaging with their community and marks another significant entry of mainstream music artists into the Web3 space. For more insights, read the full article on Cointelegraph.

Ethereum Gas Fee Spike: The release of the Buterin Cards NFT collection, a tribute to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, led to a 13% increase in Ethereum gas fees. Within 24 hours, transactions linked to this collection amounted to 318.31 ETH, valued at about $665,670. This surge underlines the high demand and impact of notable NFT projects on Ethereum's network, showcasing the network's ongoing scalability challenges. For a detailed overview, read the full article on Crypto.News.

Security Flaw in NFT Library: A vulnerability in a widely-used open-source library has put several NFT collections, including those on Coinbase, at risk. The flaw affects pre-built smart contracts and was disclosed by Web3 development platform Thirdweb. The company has taken steps to mitigate the issue and advised NFT owners to lock vulnerable contracts, migrate to newer versions, and apply for retroactive gas grants. This incident highlights the security challenges in the NFT ecosystem. For further details, read the complete article on BleepingComputer.

Ronaldo's NFT Lawsuit: Cristiano Ronaldo is facing a $1 billion lawsuit over his NFT collection launched with Binance. The collection, released before the World Cup, featured animated statues of significant moments in his life. Plaintiffs allege that Ronaldo's endorsement led to unsafe and costly investments. This lawsuit comes amidst a broader decline in NFT demand and follows Binance's own legal troubles, highlighting the growing legal complexities in the crypto and NFT sectors. For more details, visit the full article on Sky News.

Bitcoin's TVL and NFT Impact: Bitcoin has reached a new all-time high in Total Value Locked (TVL), hitting around $315 million. This increase is notable given Bitcoin's non-traditional role in Decentralized Finance (DeFi). Additionally, Bitcoin's NFT volume has surged, placing it as the third-largest network in NFT trade volume, with sales reaching approximately $10 million in 24 hours. These milestones underscore Bitcoin's expanding influence in both the DeFi and NFT sectors. For a detailed report, read the full article on AMBCrypto.

Pudgy Penguins' Resilience: Amidst the 2023 NFT market downturn, Pudgy Penguins, led by CEO Luca Netz, has successfully navigated the challenging landscape. Netz's approach, focusing on emotional attachment and physical product integration, has been pivotal. Pudgy Penguins collaborated with major retailers to offer physical toys linked to their NFTs, expanding its reach beyond the crypto community. This strategy, differing from other major NFT projects, exemplifies a successful blend of digital and physical consumer engagement. For more details, visit the full article on CoinDesk.

Solana's NFT Surge: Solana briefly surpassed Ethereum in NFT sales volume, highlighting its rising presence in the market. This occurred amidst a wider crypto resurgence, with Solana's price increasing significantly since mid-October. The success of collections like Tensorians on Solana contributed to this achievement. The market saw a global NFT trading volume of $994 million in November, a 125% increase from October. This event marks a potential shift in the NFT space, challenging Ethereum's long-standing dominance. For more details, read the full article on CCN.

South Korea's Crypto Interest Policy: The Financial Services Commission (FSC) of South Korea has announced that from July 2024, cryptocurrency investors will earn interest on their deposits at local exchanges. However, this policy excludes non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) due to their unique nature and regulatory differences. NFTs are primarily viewed as collectibles rather than investment assets, while CBDCs, issued by central banks, fall under different regulations. For more information, visit the full article on CryptoTimes.

Solana's NFT Market Growth: Solana has recently surpassed Ethereum in NFT sales volume, achieving nearly $16 million after a 2.78% increase. This shift comes despite a general downturn in the market, with Ethereum's sales dropping by 22.70% to $11.4 million. The blockchain landscape for NFT sales is showing interesting trends, as Bitcoin also records significant NFT sales. Solana's NFT marketplace, led by platforms like Tensor, is gaining traction, indicating a potential shift in the NFT space. For more details, read the full article on U.Today.

Market 🤑

Record Mentions: In November, the term "bitcoin" hit a record high in SEC filings, appearing 1,074 times. This surge, a 35.1% increase from last year, reflects growing interest and recognition of cryptocurrency in the financial sector. The filings include earnings reports from crypto-related companies and indicate heightened attention towards potential regulatory changes, such as the approval of a spot bitcoin ETF. For more insights, read the full article on The Block.

Layer 2 Decline: Ethereum's mainnet is regaining dominance over its Layer 2 networks. Layer 2 throughput dropped 32% in the past six weeks, with Ethereum maintaining a steady transaction rate. The decline in Layer 2 activity is attributed to the fading initial excitement over new networks like Coinbase's Base and ZkSync Era. Despite this, Layer 2 networks continue to process significantly more activity than Ethereum's base layer, highlighting their importance in the ecosystem. For more insights, read the full article on The Defiant.

Market Dip: Bitcoin and Ethereum experienced a 7% drop mid December as crypto markets cooled after a two-month rally. Bitcoin fell below $41,000, and Ethereum dropped below $2,200. The global crypto market capitalization decreased by 6%, indicating a broader market trend. This fluctuation in major cryptocurrencies points to the dynamic and volatile nature of the crypto market. For more details, read the full article on Decrypt.

Asset Sale Approval: FTX has received court approval to sell its holdings in Grayscale Bitcoin and Ethereum Trusts, valued at approximately $744 million. This sale is part of FTX's broader efforts to liquidate assets following its bankruptcy filing. The move is aimed at maximizing the value of FTX's estate for its creditors. This decision is a significant step in the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings of the crypto exchange. For more information, read the full article on Bloomberg.

Valuation Jump: Wormhole, a prominent crypto firm, has raised $225 million in funding, boosting its valuation to $2.5 billion. This significant increase in valuation comes amidst a split in the crypto industry, indicating investor confidence in Wormhole's potential. The fundraising underscores the continued interest and investment in the cryptocurrency sector despite market volatility. For more details, read the full article on Fortune.

Fund Flow Report: The "Digital Asset Fund Flows Weekly Report" presents insights into investment trends in the cryptocurrency market. It analyzes fund inflows and outflows across various digital assets, offering a comprehensive view of investor sentiment and market dynamics. This report is crucial for understanding the changing investment patterns in the digital asset space. For a detailed analysis, visit the full report on Medium.

Institutional Adoption 💵

Coinbase's New Payment Service: Coinbase introduces a service enabling money transfers via platforms like WhatsApp, TikTok, and Instagram, using the Coinbase Wallet for free, instant transactions. This innovation simplifies digital payments globally. More on The Block.

Raiffeisen Bank's Crypto Trading Initiative: Raiffeisen Bank in Austria, collaborating with Bitpanda, plans to offer crypto trading services to retail customers in Vienna from January 2024. This move reflects the growing adoption of cryptocurrencies in regulated markets. Details on CoinDesk.

South Korea's NPS Invests in Coinbase: South Korea's National Pension Service invests $19.9 million in Coinbase shares, marking its first foray into crypto-related securities. This investment highlights institutional interest in the crypto market. Read more on The Block.

BlackRock's Ethereum ETF Filing: BlackRock files with the SEC for an Ethereum ETF, following its Bitcoin ETF application, signaling its expanding focus on crypto assets. Full story on The Block.

Cboe Digital's Futures Trading Launch: Cboe Digital plans to launch margined Bitcoin and Ether futures in January 2024, becoming the first U.S. regulated exchange offering both spot and derivative trading. More details on Cboe Global Markets.

JPMorgan's Blockchain Payment System: JPMorgan Chase launches a blockchain-based programmable payment system, enhancing transaction security and efficiency. Read on Bloomberg.

dtcpay's Retail Crypto Payment System: Singapore's dtcpay, in collaboration with PlatON and Allinpay, introduces a retail crypto payment system supporting various currencies for diverse payment options. Details on Cointelegraph.

USDC's Entry into Japan: USDC stablecoin is set to enter the Japanese market through a partnership with SBI Digital Asset Holdings, aiming to enhance cross-border transactions. More on Nikkei Asia.

Circle's Potential IPO in 2024: Circle, the issuer of USDC, contemplates a 2024 IPO, potentially marking a significant evolution in the digital currency market. Read the full story on Bloomberg.

Extradition Plan: Montenegro is planning to extradite Do Kwon, a well-known figure in the cryptocurrency industry, to the United States. Kwon, associated with the failed crypto token TerraUSD, has been a subject of international legal interest. This extradition move signifies a significant development in the ongoing legal proceedings related to the collapse of TerraUSD and its impact on the crypto market. For more information, visit the full article on The Wall Street Journal.

Settlement Agreement: Digital Currency Group (DCG) has reached a settlement with its bankrupt subsidiary Genesis. This deal aims to resolve a legal dispute and is a key step towards Genesis' restructuring. The agreement demonstrates DCG's commitment to navigate through the bankruptcy proceedings and manage the fallout within its business network. This development marks a significant phase in addressing the challenges faced by DCG and Genesis in the volatile crypto market. For more details, read the full article on Bloomberg.

Travel Restriction: Changpeng Zhao, Binance founder, is currently unable to leave the U.S. due to a judge's decision. This follows Zhao's guilty plea to violating the Bank Secrecy Act. A U.S. federal judge is considering a Department of Justice motion to keep Zhao in the country until sentencing next year. Zhao's inability to return to the UAE, where his family resides, underscores the legal complexities he faces. For more details, read the full article on CoinDesk.

Regulatory Update: Singapore is planning to implement additional regulations aimed at curbing retail speculation in cryptocurrencies. These new rules are part of the country's ongoing effort to create a safer trading environment for consumers and to manage the inherent risks associated with cryptocurrency markets. This initiative represents Singapore's commitment to ensuring a balanced approach to financial innovation and consumer protection. For more details, visit the full article on Bloomberg.

Legal Dispute: Genesis Global Capital has filed a lawsuit against Gemini Trust to recover $689 million in "preferential transfers." This legal action follows Genesis' bankruptcy and is part of a broader feud between the two companies. The case, involving significant financial transactions, highlights ongoing legal challenges in the cryptocurrency industry. For more details, read the full article on CoinDesk.

Bail Granted: Changpeng Zhao, Binance's founder, has been released on a $175 million bond and awaits sentencing in February. This follows his plea agreement related to violating the Bank Secrecy Act. Zhao's release is subject to specific conditions, including restricted travel. This case is part of broader regulatory actions affecting the cryptocurrency industry. For further details, refer to the full article on CoinDesk.

Leadership Shift: Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has agreed to step down and plead guilty to charges. This significant development in the cryptocurrency industry has implications for Binance's future leadership and operations. The plea agreement follows regulatory scrutiny and legal challenges faced by Zhao and Binance. For more information, visit the full article on The Wall Street Journal.

Asset Recovery: FTX, a major cryptocurrency exchange, has filed a lawsuit against Bybit to reclaim assets worth approximately $953 million. This legal action is part of FTX's efforts to recover funds following significant financial troubles. The lawsuit underscores the ongoing challenges in the crypto industry regarding asset security and management. For more details, read the full article on Bloomberg.

Settlement Agreement: Genesis Global Capital reached a settlement with Three Arrows Capital (3AC) for $1 billion in claims. Genesis will pay $33 million to 3AC, resolving transfers made before its bankruptcy. This agreement, pending New York court approval, marks a significant development in the crypto lending and hedge fund landscape. For more information, read the full article on CoinDesk.

Legal Guilty Plea: Irina Dilkinska, the legal chief of OneCoin, pleaded guilty to money laundering and wire fraud. She faces up to 10 years in prison for her role in what is described as a crypto pyramid scheme. This guilty plea follows OneCoin founder Karl Sebastian Greenwood's 20-year sentence for similar charges. The case highlights significant legal actions against cryptocurrency fraud. For more information, visit the full article on The Block.

Regulation 🏛

Withdraw: Binance, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange, has retracted its application for a license in Abu Dhabi. This decision marks a strategic shift as Binance reassesses its global structure amid evolving regulatory environments. The move underscores the complexities of cryptocurrency regulations worldwide. For more information, refer to the full article on Reuters.

Plea Deal: A U.S. judge has approved plea agreements for two former Binance executives. These deals are part of a larger investigation by the Department of Justice into the cryptocurrency exchange's compliance with anti-money laundering laws and sanctions. The specifics of the plea deals have not been publicly disclosed. This development marks a significant turn in the ongoing scrutiny of Binance's operations by U.S. authorities. For further details, read the full article on Reuters.

Tax Changes: Japan is contemplating removing taxes on unrealized gains of corporate-held cryptocurrencies. This step is aimed at boosting innovation and investment in the digital asset sector. The initiative highlights Japan's adaptive approach towards integrating cryptocurrencies into its economic framework. For additional details, visit the full article on Nikkei Asia.

Lobbying Surge: The U.S. crypto industry is set to reach a record high in federal lobbying spending in 2023, surpassing $18.96 million in the first three quarters. This increase, driven by companies like Coinbase and Crypto.com, reflects efforts to repair reputations and advance favorable legislation amid heightened regulatory scrutiny. Key focuses include challenging SEC actions and advocating for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). This lobbying upsurge indicates the crypto sector's growing push for influence in regulatory decisions. For more details, read the full article on Reuters.

Regulatory Win: Singapore's DiGift, a digital gift card platform, has successfully obtained regulatory approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). This achievement follows its graduation from MAS's regulatory sandbox, a program designed to foster innovative financial technologies. DiGift's approval signifies a noteworthy advancement in Singapore's digital asset sector and highlights the country's supportive stance towards fintech innovation. For more information, visit the full article on CoinDesk.

Tax Implementation: Brazil plans to introduce a 15% tax on cryptocurrency earnings held in offshore exchanges. This measure aims to regulate the growing digital asset market and align with global taxation standards. This tax policy is part of Brazil's broader strategy to formalize cryptocurrency transactions within its financial system. For additional information, read the full article on CoinDesk.

Binance Innovation: Binance is trialing a banking triparty agreement to aid institutional investors in managing counterparty exposure. This initiative is designed to provide enhanced security and efficiency in handling collateralized transactions. It represents a significant development in Binance's services to institutional clients, offering a more secure and streamlined process for managing digital asset transactions. For more details, visit the article on Binance Blog.

License Alert: The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a warning that Binance is operating without a license in the country. The SEC is considering blocking access to Binance and has also advised Google and Meta to halt local Binance ads. This move could potentially lead to Binance being inaccessible in the Philippines within three months. Binance has responded, stating its commitment to aligning with local regulations. For more details, read the full article on CoinDesk.

Sanctions Expansion: The U.S. Treasury Department is seeking to extend its sanctions authority in the digital realm. This move aims to address the challenges posed by cryptocurrencies and other digital assets in enforcing economic sanctions. The proposed expansion would enhance the Treasury's ability to regulate digital transactions and combat evasion of sanctions. This initiative reflects the growing importance of digital assets in global financial systems and the need for updated regulatory mechanisms. For further details, you can read the full article on Bloomberg.

Subpoena Inquiry: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has subpoenaed Coinbase for user data, potentially related to a probe into Bybit. Coinbase notified select users about this subpoena, which seeks information on their accounts and transaction activities. This development indicates regulatory scrutiny of exchanges and their compliance with U.S. laws. The situation highlights the complex interplay between cryptocurrency exchanges and regulatory bodies. For more information, visit the full article on Protos.

License Achievement: Hong Kong's Victory Securities has secured a retail crypto trading license from the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). This milestone makes it the first licensed corporation to offer such services to retail investors in Hong Kong. This development is part of the broader shift towards regulating and legitimizing cryptocurrency services in Asian markets. For more details, read the full article on CoinDesk.

Tokenized Funds: British investment managers have received regulatory approval to create and manage tokenized funds. This advancement marks a significant step in integrating blockchain technology with traditional financial services. It allows for the digitization of assets, potentially leading to more efficient and accessible investment opportunities. This move reflects the growing acceptance of blockchain-based financial solutions in mainstream markets. For further details, visit the full article on Reuters.

Regulatory Tightening: Singapore plans to introduce stricter regulations to limit retail speculation in cryptocurrencies. These new rules aim to safeguard consumers from the high risks associated with crypto trading. This move is part of Singapore's ongoing efforts to establish a more controlled and secure environment for cryptocurrency transactions. The initiative underscores the city-state's commitment to balancing fintech innovation with consumer protection. For more details, you can read the full article on Bloomberg.

Digital Boost: The UK's finance minister announced legislation to support the nation's digital asset sector. This includes the Digital Securities Sandbox (DSS), a new initiative for expanding digital assets across financial markets. The DSS, expected to begin in Q1 2024, will allow companies to use digital asset technology in financial market infrastructures. This marks a significant step in the UK's embrace of digitalization in the financial sector. For more details, refer to the article on The Block.

Guideline Petition: India's Supreme Court declined a petition requesting the government to establish cryptocurrency guidelines. The petition, seen as an attempt to obtain bail in a pending case against the petitioner, was not entertained. This decision reflects the complexities in framing crypto regulations in India, highlighting the judiciary's stance on legislative matters. The government's position on cryptocurrencies remains a topic of interest, particularly in the context of global standards. For more information, read the full article on CoinDesk.

License Progress: XREX, an Asia-based crypto exchange, received in-principle approval for a Major Payment Institution license in Singapore. This license will enable XREX to offer digital payment token products and services in Singapore, expanding their BitCheck payment tool. The approval highlights Singapore's welcoming stance towards fintech and cryptocurrency firms. XREX anticipates acquiring the full license within six months. For more information, visit the article on The Block.

Smart-Contract Control: The EU Parliament has approved the Data Act, containing a provision for a smart-contract kill switch. This clause mandates automated data-sharing agreements be safely terminable, potentially impacting many smart contracts. This decision, aimed at ensuring data control, raises concerns among blockchain organizations. The act is pending formal approval from the European Council. For more insights, read the full article on CoinDesk.

📣 What are your takes on the recent developments in Web3? What project do you want us to look at? What breaking news did we miss?

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The most interesting Twitter post and threads we have come across recently 👇