Cointelegraph By Andrew Thurman
Mike Shinoda, the musician and co-founder of rap-rock band Linkin Park, launched an auction on Rarible last night for “Zora,” a nonfungible token (NFT) music clip from a forthcoming song. In doing so, Shinoda joins an ever-growing throng of celebrities and influencers who are dipping their toes into NFT tech — and bringing their considerable fanbases along for the ride.
Late last night Shinoda revealed the drop with a short Tweet:
— Mike Shinoda (@mikeshinoda) February 6, 2021
In a follow-up thread Shinoda described the auction as an “experiment,” and seemed to be impressed with the value proposition of provable scarcity and ownership:
“Here’s the crazy thing. Even if I upload the full version of the contained song to DSPs worldwide (which I can still do), i would never get even close to $10k, after fees by DSPs, label, marketing, etc,” he wrote.
He ended the thread with a link to a “beginner’s guide” explainer on NFTs, inviting his followers to learn more.
More celebrities than a gossip mag
Shinoda isn’t the only celebrity who has been toying with NFTs.
Yesterday, YouTuber Logan Paul released a set of 44 NFTs styled as pokemon cards to promote his upcoming celebrity boxing match. Likewise, billionaire investor Mark Cuban released some halfhearted animations on Rarible, and today is releasing another set where buyers can request personalized videos from the Shark Tank host.
Polyient games co-founder Craig Russo says that the celebrity activity is an inevitable byproduct of a wild bull market overtaking the NFT space, but also a natural product-market fit that better links famous individuals to their communities:
“After a relatively slow period over the past few months, the NFT market is again heating up,” said Russo. “Given that the current use cases for NFTs are approachable and very social in nature, we’re beginning to see an influx of mainstream interest. This has ultimately resulted in a few notable celebrities entering the space.”
Notable celebrities… and a few less-than-notable ones as well. Rounding out the big names trying to pawn some tokens is one-hit wonder Soulja Boy, who has been selling collectibles on Rarible throughout the last week. He currently has 30 ETH worth of animations for sale, and is experimenting with other non-blockchain content platforms, having recently set up an OnlyFans account.
Direct to consumer
While some efforts have been more of a blatant money-grab than others, there are plenty of examples of projects and people who appear genuinely interested in using the technology to better connect with their fans. Openlaw co-founder and NFT investment group Flamingo DAO member Aaron Wright says it’s a natural fit, and a perfect use case for blockchain.
“One of the visions of Ethereum has always been Web3 and the creation of an ownership economy. With the growth of NFTs we’re seeing that play out,” said Wright. “Celebrities are recognizing that instead of relying with ad-based models, they can interact directly with their community and tribe online by selling their creative works.”
Pranksy, the collector-whale who has recently been proselytizing NFTs to the masses on the nightly news, likewise thinks that celebrities using NFTs to monetize their content and connect with fans might be here to stay.
“Mark Cuban is not the first, nor will he be the last celebrity to monetise NFTs. More eyes on the space can only be a good thing, and the hope is they continue to embrace and support the community beyond a quick cash grab,” the collector said.
It’s a notion that Shinoda himself seems to have latched onto. After critics uninitiated in the tenets of NFTs criticized him for selling content users can see for free, Shinoda gave a short lesson on value and NFTs to his followers:
The thing that’s throwing everyone off is the idea that “something I’d post on Instagram doesn’t have value.”
That is incorrect.
It’s very valuable to IG. User activity=they make money. Here, the exact same item (the post) has real, public value—to *you*#nft
— Mike Shinoda (@mikeshinoda) February 6, 2021
Price analysis 2/26: BTC, ETH, ADA, BNB, DOT, XRP, LTC, LINK, BCH, XLM
One of Switzerland’s leading banks now offers crypto trading
Cointelegraph By Brian Quarmby
Bordier & Cie, a Swiss financial institution operating for more than 170 years, has announced a partnership with digital asset bank Sygnum to allow its customers to purchase crypto assets.
The integration with Sygnum’s business-to-business banking platform allows Bordier’s clients to purchase Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Tezos (XTZ).
The announcement describes the move as “lay[ing] the foundation for a broader offering of regulated digital asset products and services,” including options and tokenized asset classes. Bordier managing partner Evrard Bordier said:
“By partnering with Sygnum Bank, we are providing our clients with a one-stop, integrated solution while empowering them to invest in this new, high growth asset class with complete trust.”
Bordier noted the move was driven by increasing demand from clients looking to diversify their portfolios with new assets. The firm emphasized the lack of correlation between the cryptocurrency and mainstream financial markets, describing crypto assets as a “powerful tool to enhance diversification and achieve superior risk-adjusted returns.”
Bordier & Cie is a Geneva-based private banker founded in 1884, that has been owned and managed by the Bordier family for five generations. The bank’s introduction to crypto follows that of many other large institutions looking to adopt cryptocurrency in 2021.
Ethereum exodus continues as Binance ‘helps,’ Feb 17–24.
Cointelegraph By Andrey Shevchenko
The parabolic rise of the Binance Smart Chain has been all over the news this week, aided by a few seemingly unfriendly moves by the exchange itself.
It started on Friday, when Binance suddenly froze withdrawals of Ethereum-based assets for about one hour. Many interpreted it as a move against the blockchain and its ecosystem, given that the cited reason was “congestion issues” — something one hardly imagines is a problem for an exchange, unless they shoulder withdrawal costs for the user.
The day after, FTX started shaming Binance for excessive promotion of BSC on the exchange. Specifically, FTX was apparently “spending millions” in failed deposits that came over the Smart Chain but were meant for Ethereum. FTX’s accusation toward Binance, one of its investors, is that the exchange put BSC as the default option for withdrawing many ERC-20 assets, which caused a lot of failed deposits to FTX.
I can’t say I’ve ever noticed Binance Smart Chain being “the default option” for withdrawals. BSC is the first listed when you attempt to withdraw something like USDC, though it does not actually select the blockchain for you. Still, I can see how some newbies could get swindled by this. People overestimate the degree to which terms like “ERC-20” are known in the casual crypto community. Testing the withdrawal now, Binance forces you to go through a quiz where you confirm you know what you’re doing by selecting BSC. I have no idea when this was introduced, but it’s not impossible that it’s a response to FTX’s statements.
Overall though, there’s nothing inherently wrong with one company using its products to promote another of its products. From the official responses it seems that the Ethereum congestion incident won’t happen again because they “upgraded the systems.”
Cheap tricks would never be able to undermine Ethereum without there being an underlying fundamental weakness. And I think we’ve all had enough with Ethereum gas fees. I tried a non-Ethereum DeFi product recently, and it felt so good to pay just a few cents for a complete interaction.
Binance Smart Chain is already processing more transactions than Ethereum and has over 5 million unique wallets. Ethereum, with its much longer history, is currently sitting at 140 million wallets in total.
Ironically, Ethereum fans should secretly want the bull market to end right now. The longer it goes on, the more gas fees will remain high, and the more people will want to migrate away and seed other environments.
Second largest liquidation day in DeFi history
Speaking of the end of the bull market, a massive slide in crypto markets triggered some $24 million in liquidations on Tuesday, the second highest loss in DeFi history. It would’ve been the highest if not for that infamous day in November when Compound thought Dai was worth $1.3.
The firesale was triggered by nothing in particular, though I suspect that rising bond yields are having their effect on the riskiest of assets on Wall Street, of which Bitcoin is the quintessential representative. And then Bitcoin dragged the rest of crypto with it.
I don’t normally talk about price because I’m not a financial advisor or even a successful trader. But I am feeling a lot of fundamental and sentimental indicators of a coming correction, ranging from a wavering stock market to, well, the strength of Tuesday’s dump.
To top it all off, my non-crypto feeds are being invaded by crypto stuff, which is never a good sign. I certainly hope that I’m misinterpreting what is actually unprecedented adoption and acceptance, but let’s face it — it’s all about price for now, while fundamentals are still lagging.
With layer two platforms and new blockchains coming online, we may get something useful out of crypto and DeFi soon. But everything could happen before we get there. Be especially careful right now and, most importantly, don’t get liquidated.
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