Christie’s Now Auctioning CryptoPunks; Bids & Payment to be Accepted in Ether

Christie’s Now Auctioning CryptoPunks; Bids & Payment to be Accepted in Ether

Traditional auction house Christie’s is now auctioning CryptoPunks after getting involved with non-fungible tokens through Beeple’s $69 million digital artwork, the third most expensive work by a living artist. And much like the last time, Christie’s will accept bids and payment in Ether (ETH). Christie’s noted,

“For the first time, 5,184 pixels’ worth of a revolutionary NFT project will go up for auction at a traditional auction house, courtesy of the project creators and pioneers themselves.”

Nine rare CryptoPunks from Larva Labs will be sold on 13 May at Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale. Trader CL of eGirl Capital commented,

“Crypto culture going mainstream, all digital collectibles that are first of its kinds will do extremely well digital world repricing.”

The oldest NFT project on Ethereum blockchain, CryptoPunks, was created by New York-based software company Larva Labs, founded by Matt Hall and John Watkinson in 2017.

CryptoPunks are a limited collection of 24×24, 8-bit-style pixel art. While anyone can see it and save a copy of the image from Larva Labs’ website, there will only ever be one rightful owner, verifiable by the blockchain technology.

As of early this month, over 8,000 sales had been recorded in the previous 12 months, with an average sale price of 15.45 Ether (about $30,400). The total value of all sales is 127,360 Ether (more than $250 million).

However, while the involvement of such a big and old auction house is all good for getting mainstream attraction with others like Sotheby’s also coming in, given the high markup these auction house charges, the crypto industry needs to do it in-house.

While Mark Cuban argues that these auction houses bring in customers with big bags, the biggest bid on Beeple was made by the crypto market participants.

Given that Bitcoin is just over a decade old only and NFTs only exploded into the scene just this year, the market may need a bit of time and more players to expand the NFT sector and make it economical.

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Author: AnTy

Traditional Auction House Now Accepts Bitcoin and Ether on ‘Demand from Consumers’

Traditional Auction House Now Accepts Bitcoin and Ether on ‘Demand from Consumers’

Goldin Auctions partnered with crypto exchange Gemini to facilitate crypto payments.

Goldin Auctions, the trading card, and sports memorabilia auction house announced this week that it would now accept cryptocurrency. The traditional auction house hopped on the crypto bandwagon following the success of auction house Christie’s.

“We now accept Bitcoin as payment,” tweeted Goldin Auctions which is known for high-value items.

In a separate tweet, the auction house said, in addition to standard payment and payout methods, they allow the same in both BTC and Ether. This decision is made on “demand from consumers,” said Ross Hoffman, Goldin’s chief executive officer.

“Look, we think a big macro theme that we’re seeing is folks that are hedging,” he told Bloomberg. “One, against inflation, and two, there’s interest in alternative investing.”

Cryptocurrency and sports collectibles, according to him, have “a pretty large overlap.”

They have already accepted two payments in crypto a couple of weeks back, the most notable one for a Jay-Z card that was sold for $103,200.

“It’s pretty amazing how easy the tech is to integrate,” Hoffman says. “We had the idea [to accept crypto] two weeks ago, did the integration, and accepted our first payment in Bitcoin last week.”

This isn’t the first time Goldin has forayed into the blockchain industry. Earlier this year, the auction house partnered with YouTuber Logan Paul to auction a box of Pokemon cards.

Goldin also announced a partnership with crypto exchange Gemini on Tuesday following a $40 million investment in the auction house from The Chernin Group (TCG) and several prominent individuals and firms, including Dwyane Wade, Mark Cuban, Kevin Durant, Mark Wahlberg, and many more.

“We are excited to team up with Goldin Auctions and help them facilitate crypto payments for collectors and sellers on their platform,” said Tyler Winklevoss, CEO of Gemini.

Commenting on “some volatility” involved with crypto assets, Hoffman said, “whatever risk there is [will] be offset by the benefit of bringing in more members.”

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Author: AnTy

Auction House Christie’s Is Accepting Ethereum for the First Time for Digital Art Sale

Auction House Christie’s Is Accepting Ethereum for the First Time for Digital Art Sale

Christie’s, the world’s leading auction house established in 1766, will start accepting the cryptocurrency Ethereum (ETH) as payment.

This decision came following the announcement that it will auction a work by Beeple, “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” in a standalone sale that will run from Feb. 25 to March 11.

“Christie’s is excited to announce that, for the first time, it will accept Ether as a payment option for the sale of beeple’s ‘First 5000 Days.’ We are grateful to beeple +makersplace for its partnership on this monumental sale,” shared the auction house on Twitter.

While the principal price would be accepted in Ether, the premium, which is their fees, will be paid in dollars.

“We’re at this precipice where crypto is going to be such a more established and mainstream mode of conducting business,” Noah Davis, the Christie’s specialist who’s organized the auction, told Bloomberg.

“With this [sale], I think it’s the perfect way to dip our toes in and give this a shot.”

According to analyst Mati Greenspan, it isn’t about the top auction house accepting crypto for art, “In fact, you might call it a revolution.”

Digital artist Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann and has 1.8 million Instagram followers, put out a digital artwork last October. Each of the 100 editions cost $1, and they were sold out in less than a second. Beeple said about this mania,

“The rabbit hole of possibilities that this is going to bring to the art world—I don’t think people are fully recognizing that this is going to be a massive, massive shift.”

Non-fungible tokens (NFT) have exploded in popularity over the last few months, some pieces being sold for as much as millions of dollars.

“NFTs are now going mainstream, and the innovative gameplay is worth learning,” noted Jau Hao, CEO of crypto exchange OKEx, who said, “we need more liquid NFT markets for mass adoption.” Hao added,

“Leveraging the VR and the open-world gaming market to build a digital realm during the pandemic is another way we can bring NFTs to the masses.”

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Author: AnTy

Zurich-based Crypto Broker AG Receives Securities License from FINMA

Crypto Broker AG has obtained a securities house license from Swiss financial regulator, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) that will allow the company to offer services to institutional investors — “a significant milestone (that) caps a successful previous year,” the broker said in a statement Monday.

The firm is based in Switzerland, which has crypto favorable regulations, while major banks still stayed largely away from offering blockchain-based services.

Moreover, the securities license has been granted to a handful of companies that includes Sygnum and SEBA. Calling this a “pivotal moment,” Jan Brzezek, founder and CEO of the Crypto Finance Group, said, with this license,

“We will be able to offer our professional – and regulated – services to even more financial institutions, enabling them to enter this new asset class.”

Receiving the license means the broker can now hold funds on behalf of its clients as well, a feature which is “highly relevant for institutional clients, as many do not have their own capability.”

AG’s clients traded more than $1 billion in assets last year, with its digital operations growing “exponentially.” The company expects to further expand its business in 2021.

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Author: AnTy

US House Lawmakers Pass Two Key Blockchain Legislation; Bills Headed To Senate

Following a two-week debate in the U.S. Congressional House, the Consumer Technology Act, which covers the Digital Taxonomy Act and the Blockchain Innovation Act, passed on Tuesday. The Act will now head to the Senate for debate.

The Digital Taxonomy Act and the Blockchain Innovation Act were introduced to the House by the Congressional Blockchain Caucus chairperson, Rep. Darren Soto. The two were then rolled into the broader Consumer Technology Act (HR. 8128), a program that mandates the Consumer Product Safety Commission to research and develops artificial intelligence solutions to enhance consumer protection and product safety.

The Soto-backed acts will work under the same goals of consumer protection. The latter aims at using blockchain technologies to fight fraud while the former will protect consumers from cryptocurrency and digital asset scams and fraud. Both bills introduced by Soto aim at enhancing U.S.’ blockchain research and development while keeping consumers safe. Soto wrote in a statement,

“The bill [Digital Taxonomy Act] directs the Federal Trade Commission to produce a report that would detail how the FTC protects consumers from unfair and deceptive acts or practices and provide further recommendations.”

Additionally, the Digital Taxonomy Act, if passed, will authorize additional power to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to “prevent unfair or deceptive acts or practices relating to digital tokens and transactions relating to digital tokens.”

The Blockchain Innovation Act, on its part, directs the Department of Commerce (DOC) to carry out a study on how blockchain technologies can be used to enhance trade and commerce – and how to reduce fraud across the commerce industry. The report, conducted in consultation with the FTC, will be submitted to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

The statement on the passing of the blockchain bills further praised the potential that blockchain offers to commerce and trade in the U.S. Soto said,

“The study mandated by the Blockchain Innovation Act is a starting point meant to give government agencies a chance to make recommendations before any bills pass with a regulatory effect.”

“These recommendations will perform an educational function to Members of Congress and will pave the way for more actionable blockchain-focused legislation.”

The Consumer Technology Act was introduced to the house by Congressman Jerry McEnery (D-CA), referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Also Read: ‌Financial Firms & Law Enforcement Find Crypto More Risky Than Opportunistic

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Author: Lujan Odera

US Congress Adds Two Blockchain Proposals to the Consumer Protection Safety Act

The U.S House of Representatives has approved two blockchain-affiliated Acts through its Committee on Energy and Commerce; this marks the furthest a blockchain bill has come in the 116th Congress. The two Acts which will now be debated on the House as part of the larger Consumer Technology Act include the Blockchain Innovation Act and a section of the Digital Taxonomy Act.

Blockchain joins the list of emerging tech that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Commerce (DoC) will be tasked with consumer threat identification if the bill goes through. Rep Darren Soto (D-Fla) who is one of the bill’s sponsors noted that blockchain tech is excellent and could go a long way with the right regulatory support,

“I believe our government needs to support that growth, establish light-touch regulations to ensure certainty, protect innovation, stop fraud and enable its appropriate use for government, business and consumers.”

As it stands, the unregulated nature of blockchain has provided adequate grounds for scammers to engage in fraudulent activity and get away with the same in a blink. This was one of the issues cited by the bill’s sponsors and, in particular Congressman Jerry McEnery (D-CA); he highlighted that the incorporation of parts of the Digital Taxonomy Act would play a major role in protecting consumers from the scammers.

Better Late than Never!

Although a little late to the party, the U.S is gradually catching up with pioneers like Japan which enacted regulatory frameworks for the blockchain and crypto industry as early as April 2017. Politicians in the country have also started to accept donations in Bitcoin; Rep Soto, who sponsored this bill told the Chamber PAC that his campaign would be accepting BTC donations. The Democrat Congressman is not the only one that has gone this road; former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and MN-06 Rep Tom Emmer are the other candidates that have since accepted Bitcoin.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Coinbase & Circle’s USDC Stablecoin Now Available on Algorand Blockchain; Up to 1000 TPS

  • Algorand (ALGO) becomes the latest blockchain to house Circle’s USDC stablecoin.
  • The blockchain promises 1000 transactions per second, providing massive scaling to USDC.

Center Consortium, a blockchain group led by payments firm Circle, and the largest crypto exchange in North America Coinbase, announced the addition of Algorand (ALGO) as the latest blockchain to host its USDC stablecoin. The blockchain becomes the second blockchain, after Ethereum (ETH), to add USDC in a bid to scale and speed up transactions using the token.

In a Medium blog post released on Sept. 9, Center Consortium stated the Algorand blockchain would help ease off transactions on Ethereum presenting a highly scalable and practically costless platform for USDC transfers. Algorand is one of the fastest layer one blockchains in the market today, providing over 1000 transactions per second (TPS) and transaction fees averaging less than a 1/20 of a cent – COSTLESS!

Algorand is a layer one blockchain that leverages blockchain technology allowing developers and users to build instant, seamless and decentralized applications on a scalable and costless platform.

Center Consortium parent company, Coinbase, listed Algorand’s native token, ALGO, in July this year due to customer demand causing a 30% price surge in a day. Algorand will now provide massive scaling to both retail and institutional USDC investors on the platform, Alesia Haas, Chief Financial Officer at Coinbase stated.

The expanding decentralized finance (DeFi) is also making a case for USDC’s addition of Algorand’s blockchain platform. Ethereum’s slow and expensive transactions on its blockchain are sending developers, users, and projects in search of a more scalable platform.

“Expanding USDC from Ethereum to additional blockchains like Algorand will ensure USDC has the flexibility to support everything from emerging DeFi projects to large-scale financial institutions”

“Today’s launch represents a significant improvement to USDC’s scalability, improving its utility and making it a significantly more useful protocol for solving real-world financial problems.”

The USDC stablecoin is available on the Algorand Mainnet starting 9th Sept. The statement also announced payments platform, Circle’s support of Algorand in its ecosystem. Algorand will now be integrated into platforms and APIs, including “Circle Payments, Wallets, Marketplaces and Business Account APIs”.

Jeremy Allaire, CEO and Co-founder of Circle, hopes for a happier future on Algorand’s “scalable and secure blockchain infrastructure.” In a statement to BEG, Allaire praised Algorand as the blockchain of the future as USDC moves to its next growth phase – web-scale infrastructure for global consumer payments applications.

In June, USDC, backed by dollars, announced its launch on Algorand is a debut of its multi-chain framework. The move opened up a gateway for users to transfer their assets from traditional finance systems to Algorand blockchain. Center Consortium plans to add USDC on other blockchains following Algorand’s partnership.

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Author: Lujan Odera

US Fed Balance Sheet Jumps $7 Trillion & Congress Passes $3 Trillion Relief Package

On Friday, House Democrats passed a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package.

This bill includes a second round of $1,200 direct payments to individuals, up to $6,000 per household. Almost $1 trillion are for cash-strapped local and state governments while $200 billion for essential workers’ hazard pay.

It further involves $600 per week for federal unemployment insurance benefit, $175 billion in rent, mortgage and utility assistance, and $10 billion in emergency small business disaster assistance grants.

The repeal of the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions for tax years would be most beneficial to higher-income taxpayers.

Economy facing “significant” vulnerabilities

Elsewhere, the US Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has reached $7 trillion, growing by $213 billion in the week ended May 13 which equals a record 32.2% of US GDP.

Before the Fed started its bold emergency action on March 15, the assets stood at $4.31 trillion.

The Fed also warned this week that the financial sector faces “significant” vulnerabilities due to this pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreck the country with the US having more than 1.48 million cases and more than 88,000 lost their lives to this virus.

Already, over 36 million people have filed for jobless claims since the crisis started.

Deflation not inflation the bigger risk

Fed and Congress injecting trillions of dollars into the economy might feel like preparing for inflation with easy money floating in the economy. But Bank of America is expecting deflation.

Core CPI prices that have historically fallen both during and after recession dropped 0.45% in April, the weakest point since first created in 1957.

A drop in producer prices, another indicator of near-term deflation has also fallen 1.5% over the last two months. BofA wrote,

“Items that are most in demand due to the shutdown – groceries, cleaning products, PPE etc. have risen in prices. Less visible [to consumers] are the numerous falling prices.”

As such, the COVID crisis and policy response to it are “deflationary” — a bigger risk in the next couple of years than inflation.

Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya shares the same opinion as he said, Fed’s stimulus policies risk “accelerate a really bad deflationary supercycle.”

Central-bank liquidity prime catalyst to relaunch bull markets

The risk of deflation is why the likes of macro investor Paul Tudor Jones are looking at bitcoin, which is an uncorrelated asset. Currently trading around $9,400, BTC has risen 144% since its bottom and is up over 28% YTD.

According to Mike McGlone, Senior Commodity Strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence bitcoin would also be the one to sustain its higher prices given that it has a supply shock recently while continuing to see an increase in demand.

Meanwhile, the likes of Billionaire hedge fund investor David Tepper believes the stock market is overpriced, the most since 1999.

And although the bottom might be in, they can still “fall significantly” from their current levels.

“The market is too damn high,” tweeted Palihapitiya earlier this week. Since their bottom on March 23, both Dow Jones and S&P 500 are up nearly 28%.

Some meanwhile also believe stocks are “absolutely on the brink of an epic meltdown.”

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Author: AnTy

US Congress Members Reintroduce ‘Digital Dollar’ in Automatic Boost to Communities Act

  • In the wake of the devastating effect that COVID-19 has had in the past few months across the U.S, the House of Representatives are set to discuss a digital dollar bill in the coming weeks.
  • Could the said $2000 monthly stimulus package be distributed to Americans directly into their digital wallets?

The U.S government has begun distributing the COVID-19 stimulus checks in a bid to boost the economy. In a new development in the Lower House, Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is looking to introduce a digital wallet in the new bill titled, ‘Automatic Boost to Communities Act (ABC)” to which the $2000 extended monthly payment will be distributed to. The Act reads:

“No later than January 1, 2021, the Secretary shall offer all recipients of BOOST payments the option to receive their payments in digital dollar wallets.”

The ABC Act was introduced to the Lower House on Thursday with several members supporting the bill including;

  • Jesús García (D-Ill.)
  • Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)
  • Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)
  • Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)
  • Bobby Rush (D-Ill.)
  • Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)
  • Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
  • Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).

The bill aims to improve access of financial services to Americans connecting the Federal Reserve directly to the citizens. The short term $1200 stimulus is currently underway but some Americans are yet to receive the check as the system faces some challenges with third parties.

The initial stimulus bill included a “digital dollar” payment system to allow seamless disbursement of the funds but was later removed without explanation.

The ABC Act aims to transform the digital payments field during this pandemic and beyond looking into various forms of payments including digital wallets, debit and credit cards, online payment systems and access to mobile payment systems.

Direct Competition to Libra?

The current news comes just hours after the Libra Association announced its plans to develop a multi-currency and single-currency backed stablecoin in its updated whitepaper.

Libra platform aims to offer unbanked and underbanked users a digital wallet account that holds the tokens backed by dollars, euros, pounds, and yen. The development of a digital dollar may prove to cause direct competition to the Facebook-led project.

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Author: Lujan Odera