Binance Gains Bahrain Approval to Become Crypto Asset Service Provider

The “in principle” approval still requires the crypto exchange to complete the application process for a license from Bahrain’s central bank.

Bahrain has become the first Middle East-North Africa country to give Binance approval in principle to establish itself as a crypto-asset service provider.

Anchorage Raises $350M to Expand Crypto Offerings

Anchorage Digital has raised $350 million in a funding round led by KKR.

U.S.-based digital assets firm Anchorage Digital has raised $350 million in a Series D funding round.

The firm shared details of the raise in a Wednesday blog post . It was led by investment company KKR, while Goldman Sachs, Alameda Research, Andreessen Horowitz, Apollo, and others also participated. The raise gives the firm a valuation of over $3 billion and follows a GIC-led $80 million Series C round, which took place in February 2021.

Diogo Mónica, the President and co-founder of Anchorage Digital, said of the raise:

“As more and more institutions look to add crypto services into their offerings, we find ourselves at an inflection point. This funding positions Anchorage Digital to meet the unprecedented institutional demand for this rapidly evolving market.”

Anchorage lets institutional players gain crypto exposure. It offers a range of services including custody, trading, and staking for crypto assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Per the announcement, the firm plans to deploy the capital to expand its solutions catering to global financial and fintech companies. The freshly-raised capital will also be used to expand its team.

In January 2021, Anchorage made headlines when it became the first crypto firm to receive a banking charter from the Office of the Comptroller. It also helped Visa acquire its CryptoPunk NFT in August.

Anchorage’s funding news comes as vast sums of capital flood into the crypto space. Yesterday, NYDIG, another crypto firm targeting the institutional market, announced it had raised $1 billion in a funding round led by WestCap. The firm said it would use the funds to develop institutional-grade Bitcoin products.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH and other cryptocurrencies.

Elon Musk is Time’s 2021 person of the year

TIME, one of the most prestigious magazines and news media in the world, chose Elon Musk as its face of 2021. In an interview with the magazine, he said he was not sure that  cryptocurrencies would one day replace Fiat currencies.

According to Coin Desk , Yesterday Time magazine chose Elon Musk as its man of 2021 . “It is doubtful that cryptocurrencies can one day replace Fiat currencies,” the world’s richest man told the magazine.

Time magazine referred to 2021 as “Elon’s Without Borders Year” and The reason for this nomination was the comments, activities and remarkable achievements of Mask, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, in 2021.

Musk told Time that he thought cryptocurrency was an attractive field and that he could talk a lot about the nature of money as “an information system for the distribution of resources.” However, Musk said he doubted cryptocurrencies would one day replace Fiat currencies.

Elon Musk

Musk was recently named one of the most influential figures of Coin Desk due to its profound positive and negative effects on cryptocurrencies, especially the price of Bitcoin and Dogecoin, and was chosen as the face of the year in 2021.

Musk told the Time about his effective actions are often criticized :

Markets are always in motion, and I can say that [these movements] have no basis. So are my comments fundamentally different from the market movements that may occur anyway? I do not think so.

Big Brands Are Chasing Crypto and Metaverse Hype

Multi-billion dollar brands are rushing into the Metaverse by purchasing NFTs, buying ENS domains, and adopting crypto-speak.

In August, during the peak of so-called “NFT Summer,” Budweiser became one of the first household names to get involved with crypto. It bought the Ethereum Name Service domain “beer.eth” and a space rocket NFT and used both in its Twitter profile.

Budweiser continued the trend on Nov. 30 by announcing its own series of NFTs, which will feature 1,900 digital collectibles. These tokens will grant owners access to the so-called “Budverse,” a platform for yet-to-be-announced benefits and rewards.

Budweiser is not the only beverage company making forays into this space. Pepsi announced its own NFT collection called “Pepsi Mic Drop,” which will feature 1,893 Ethereum NFTs.

Today, a waitlist on the company’s website opened, allowing users to register their wallets for the upcoming drop set for Dec. 14.

VaynerNFT, headed by Gary Vaynerchuck, is helping Pepsi create those tokens. Vaynerchuck congratulated Pepsi for “embracing one of the most significant technology shifts of our lifetime,” adding that NFTs can “change the culture of value creation forever.”

Other examples abound in a rather different sector: sportswear, where Adidas and Nike have taken part in the trend.

Adidas bought a Bored Ape Yacht Club token this month for 46 ETH (currently worth $180,000), a move that mirrored Visa’s earlier decision to buy a CryptoPunks NFT in August.

In addition to that purchase, Adidas is working with two other NFT leaders: the crypto influencer gmoney.eth and the digital comic series PUNKS Comic. Details of those collaborations are still unknown.

Meanwhile, competitor Nike filed several patents for crypto-related virtual goods in November. Much earlier, the company patented CryptoKicks, physical shoes paired with a digital NFT.

The company has also created Nikeland in the sandbox game Roblox, though this effort does not seem to make use of NFTs.

The trend of digital goods was taken into overdrive in October when Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook changed its name to Meta with the intent of focusing on VR rather than its social network.

NFTs were specifically given a boost earlier in the year as popular companies like Twitter, TikTok, and Time Magazine minted their own NFT lineups, and as major auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s handled high-value NFT auctions.

However, not everyone is happy about brands cozying up to crypto. A prime example of pushback was seen this week, as Pepsi and Budweiser attempted a cringe-worthy conversation on Twitter.

The companies’ social media managers used the crypto investor term WAGMI (short for “We’re all gonna make it”) and addressed each other as “fren.” Solana , in turn, derided Pepsi’s attempts to engage with crypto by telling it to “stick to sugar water.”

Other companies have seen more significant pushback. Discord scrapped its recent NFT plans following backlash around the environmental costs of cryptocurrency mining. Other companies with NFT plans such as Sega, Ubisoft, and Artstation have faced similar criticism. Even Kickstarter has been criticized for this reason even though it chose to use a carbon-negative blockchain.

Despite those controversies, widespread crypto adoption in the real world may result in some of the most recognizable global brands getting more involved in the space.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing, the author held BTC, ETH, and other cryptocurrencies.
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Croatia’s Largest Food Retailer Konzum Accepts Crypto in Online Shops

The biggest food producer and retailer in the Western Balkan region – Konzum – became the first retail chain in Croatia where customers can pay with digital assets. Currently, such transactions are available only in the online store, but the company plans to introduce the service across its supermarkets in the near future.

In addition, the leading tech-focused North American e-retailer – Newegg – announced it will accept Shiba Inu (SHIB) as a form of payment on its platform during the Christmas holidays. Nothing – a London-based consumer technology company – will also allow cryptocurrency settlements for its newest product.

Crypto Invades The Balkan Peninsula

Konzum – Croatia’s largest supermarket chain with more than 10,000 employees – revealed it will enter the cryptocurrency industry by accepting several digital assets as a means of payment. These include Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ripple (XRP), Stellar (XLM), Dai (DAI), EOS (EOS), Tether (USDT), and USD Coin (USDC).

To enable such payments, Konzum cooperated with the domestic fintech company Electrocoin and its PayCek system, known as Croatia’s first cryptocurrency payment processor. Given the volatility of most digital tokens, the latter will guarantee the buyer a fixed exchange rate at the start of the transaction and provide enough time for successful execution.

Uroš Kalinić – Member of the Management Board of Konzum for Finance and IT – noted that Konzum is constantly monitoring global trends hinting that the cryptocurrency industry is one of them.

“As the largest retail chain in Croatia, which in its almost 65-year history is a continuous leader in the domestic market in terms of business results and technological achievements, we are proud to be leaders in another area that is rapidly developing and dictating the future,” he summarized.

Konzum is not only the leading supermarket chain in Croatia but also the biggest in the Western Balkan area. Apart from its homeland, it stretches to two other countries – Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The retail giant serves over 650,000 customers each day in its more than 700 stores, as the cryptocurrency option will be available in some of them in the upcoming months.

Newegg And Nothing Follow The Trend

Another major e-commerce company that embraced additional digital asset settlements recently is Newegg. The California-based firm, which accepted bitcoin as a payment method in 2014, now added the popular meme coin Shiba Inu (SHIB) to its list of supported digital assets. Interestingly, it made the news official by displaying it on The Reef – North America’s largest DOOH billboard located in downtown Los Angeles.

Earlier this year, Newegg was one of the first firms globally to accept SHIB’s biggest rival – Dogecoin (DOGE). Later on, it also added Litecoin (LTC).

Andrew Choi – Director of Brand Marketing at the company – admitted that customers are highly interested in cryptocurrencies. Giving them options to use bitcoin and the alternative coins as a payment method provides “greater flexibility.”

Subsequently, Nothing – a technology company founded by Carl Pei (OnePlus’s Co-Founder) – dived in the cryptocurrency bandwagon by accepting digital asset payments for its Nothing ear (1) black edition wireless earbuds. Those coins are Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), USD Coin (USDC), and Dogecoin (DOGE).

The payment option is available in Nothing’s online stores in the following countries: the UK, the USA, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Japan.

Bitmart Hacked With Losses Estimated at $196 Million

The latest centralized exchange hack may be among the most devastating to date as Bitmart has lost $196 million in various cryptocurrencies.
A tweet from security analysis firm Peckshield first called attention to the alleged hack Saturday night. One of Bitmart’s addresses currently shows steady outflows of entire token balances, some worth tens of millions of dollars, to an address currently labeled by Etherscan as the “Bitmart Hacker”

In a follow-up tweet, Peckshield estimated the losses to be $100 million in various cryptocurrencies on the Ethereum chain, and $96 million on Binance Smart Chain.
The hacker has been systematically using decentralized exchange aggregator 1inch to swap the stolen assets for the cryptocurrency ether (ETH), and using a secondary address to deposit the ETH into privacy mixer Tornado Cash thus making the hacked funds harder to track.
In an official Telegram channel, Bitmart representatives initially claimed that the outflows were routine withdrawals, referring to the reports of the hack as “fake news.”

Paris Hilton Supports $20 Million Strategic Investment

The non-fungible token (NFT) project the Origyn Foundation announced on Tuesday the team received a strategic investment of $20 million from a myriad of investors. Hilton hotel heiress Paris Hilton participated in the funding round alongside firms like Polychain Capital and Table Management.

Origyn Foundation Secures $20 Million

NFT marketplaces and web platforms have seen a lot of investments over the last year as venture capitalists and venture financing companies have poured millions into these projects. On November 23, the Switzerland-based non-profit NFT project Origyn Foundation revealed it has secured $20 million from strategic investors. According to the announcement, after the financing Origyn Foundation has a valuation of around $300 million.
The private funding round was financed by Bill Ackman’s Table Management, Polychain Capital, Coinko, Vectr Ventures, Carter Reum, Div Turakhia, and GD10 Ventures. Additionally, the popular socialite and entrepreneur, Paris Hilton, also joined in on the funding round. Origyn says the financing will help the team launch “verticals to market in the art, collectibles, digital media, and luxury sectors.”
Origyn leverages Dfinity’s Internet Computer protocol and the project is led by the founding partners and council members Gian Bochsler, Vincent Perriard and Mike Schwartz, and its CEO Daniel Haudenschild. Additionally, the capital raise will bolster new industry partners and research and development as well. The project operates industry verticals such as Origyn Art, Origyn Collectibles, Origyn Digital Media and Origyn Luxury.
“We’re incredibly fortunate and excited to include so many influential names in this funding round,” Daniel Haudenschild the CEO of Origyn Entreprise SA said in a statement. Origyn is unique in what it brings to this world. It’s a sign of support for what Origyn is trying to achieve—using technology to solve for identity, authenticity, and proof of ownership. Our partners have seen the opportunity we provide to unlock value for owners and creators,” the Origyn executive added.
Origyn esteemed backer, Paris Hilton, has been into cryptocurrencies and non-fungible token (NFT) assets for quite some time. During the first week of April, Hilton said she was excited about the future of bitcoin and confirmed she was long on crypto. At the end of October, Hilton listed a few of her NFTs to sell on the new Sotheby’s Metaverse Marketplace.
Source of News:

Famous football player converts 50% of his salary into Bitcoin

The Inter-Miami CF (IMCF) Major League Soccer (MLS) star Kieran Gibbs has announced the player plans to convert half of his salary into bitcoin. Gibbs will leverage the crypto finance firm XBTO in order to convert his salary and avoid heavy fees.

Inter-Miami CF’s Left-Back Kieran Gibbs to Get Half of His Earnings Converted to Bitcoin

The MLS player Kieran Gibbs has announced his intentions to convert half of his salary into bitcoin (BTC). Gibbs plays as a left-back for IMCF and announced his decision to play for the David Beckham-owned team at the end of March 2021. Gibbs, 31, will utilize the crypto finance firm XBTO in December 2021 in order to convert 50% of his USD salary into BTC. XBTO says Gibbs won’t be charged conversion fees and the funds will be sent to his bitcoin wallet.
XBTO says that it has a lot of experience dealing with complex crypto conversions and gaining access to liquidity. The company highlights that it also has its own ESG compliant mining operation which gives the company access to freshly mined bitcoins. In a statement sent to News, the IMCF star left-back Gibbs explained that he has been a bitcoin supporter for a while.
“I’ve been a fan of bitcoin and the crypto space for some time now, and I believe they have the ability to break down huge social and economic barriers — crypto is for everyone,” Gibbs detailed. “I hope my partnership with XBTO can further the awareness and education of cryptocurrencies and their tremendous potential to positively impact global societies,” the soccer player added.
Gibbs follows a slew of athletes turning to crypto. Many individuals such as Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Russell Okung, Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani, Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi, American professional stock car racing driver Landon Cassill, New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and many more are choosing to be paid in crypto for marketing deals or salary conversions.
Source of News:

SEC open meeting on Dec. 2 to include crypto panel discussion

The SEC is opening discussion on crypto and blockchain technology with regard to American investors. he U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, announced Wednesday the title of the upcoming crypto panel for its Dec. 2 Investor Advisory Meeting will be “Helping to Ensure Investor Protection and Market Integrity in the Face of New Technologies.” Previously, on Nov. 15, the Commission announced the meeting would be open to the public. Panelists and moderators will attend remotely.

The crypto panel discussion agenda will focus on the regulatory framework covering digital assets, market structure issues and defining risk in emerging technologies. Additional topics are expected to include blockchain technologies, crypto-based exchange-traded fundsETFs and stablecoins.
Half of the panelists are in blockchain specific roles:

  • Ali Emdad, professor and associate dean, Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management at Morgan State University, and founding director of the Center for the Study of Blockchain and Financial Technology
  • Tyrone Ross, CEO, Onramp Invest
  • Sydney Schaub, chief legal officer, general counsel and corporate secretary, Gemini
  • Kristin Smith, executive director, The Blockchain Association

The remainder of the panel is composed of luminary law professors and financial markets experts.
The portion of the meeting that is dedicated to the crypto panel discussion is slated to run from 10:45 am to 12:45 pm EST. Introductory remarks for the whole meeting begin at 10:00 am EST, and will be webcast on the SEC’s website.
Readers can likely anticipate questions on topics like the SEC’s recent decision to decline approval of Jan VanEck’s spot ETF proposal and the nature of the Commission’s engagement with crypto companies, but the exact questions to be discussed by the panel are not yet known to the public.
Source of News:

Adidas Teasing Partnership with Coinbase

German sports apparel behemoth Adidas has announced a partnership with Coinbase, America’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, on Twitter.
The crypto platform replied with the handshake emoji, seemingly confirming the deal.

In another tweet, Coinbase welcomed Adidas “to the party.”
While there are no details about the high-profile tie-up as of now, cryptocurrency enthusiasts were quick to speculate about it.

On Nov. 22, Adidas tweeted about developing “adiVerse,” a play on the term “metaverse,” together with The Sandbox, a blockchain-powered gaming platform. The tweet has bolstered the rally of the native SAND token that went ballistic after Facebook changed its name to Meta in late October.
Earlier this month, Nike filed to trademark various digital items in the U.S. In 2019, the company received a patent for “Cryptokicks,” a platform for selling non-fungible tokens that represent tokenized versions of physical shoes.
Source of News: U.Today