Horses are joining humans as metaverse pilgrims

Blockchain gaming unicorn Animoca Brands announced yesterday a partnership with Aquis Farm — a major racehorse-breeding business owned by Hong Kong’s billionaire Fung family — to bring equestrian activities into the metaverse. The blockchain specialist will leverage Aquis Farm’s equestrian intellectual properties to develop blockchain games and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).  Fast facts “Aquis recognises the […]

Bitcoin hashrate recovers six months after China’s crypto ban

Bitcoin’s hashrate has almost fully recovered just six months after China’s crypto ban sent miners fleeing to more hospitable shores. Fast facts Despite the recent price crash, the total Bitcoin hashrate stood at 180.5 million terahashes per second, almost approaching its all-time high of 180.67 million TH/s back in May, according to data from Blockchain.com. The hashrate took […]

Polygon goes deeper into ZK tech by acquiring Mir for $400M

India-based Layer 2 Ethereum scaling platform Polygon has acquired zero-knowledge technology developer Mir for US$400 million as part of Polygon’s continued focus on ZK tech. Fast facts Mir will help Polygon build its new project — Polygon Zero, a highly scalable, Ethereum compatible ZK rollup. A zero knowledge protocol is a cryptographic algorithm that allows […]

Bitcoin price tumbles below $50K as Evergrande defaults

Chinese property giant Evergrande has defaulted on its debt to global investors, credit rating firm Fitch Ratings reported today. Fast facts Fitch has downgraded Evergrande to “Restricted Default” after its deadline to pay interest due on two dollar-denominated bonds passed on Monday. The actual payments were due a month ago and the grace period expired […]

Hong Kong VC firm Chiron Partners raises $50M to back Terra

Hong Kong-based venture capital (VC) firm Chiron Partners announced Wednesday the launch of a US$50 million fund to support the Terra blockchain ecosystem. Fast facts Chiron Partners will use the fund, namely the Chiron Terra Fund I (CTI), to invest in innovative projects built on the Terra ecosystem, such as decentralized finance (DeFi) applications and […]

Hong Kong sees high engagement with crypto, Visa research shows

A new survey published Wednesday by Visa shows that 18% of Hong Kong residents are active cryptocurrency investors, while 13% are passive investors, representing the second-highest engagement with crypto just after the U.S. Fast facts The survey collected 6,430 online responses from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, South Africa, the U.S., and the U.K. […]

Singapore-based NFT market Brytehall to auction physical artwork of a bicycle

Singapore-based Brytehall is to co-host a new non-fungible token (NFT) art auction with bike manufacturer Specialized on Dec. 16, to sell an artwork of a bicycle named “enishi-E” created by Japanese artist Kosuke Masuda, both physically and digitally in an NFT. Fast facts Kosuke described the bike to be auctioned as an “alive” one, for […]

Animoca Brands holds $15.9B in digital assets at end-November

Animoca Brands — a Hong Kong-based blockchain gaming, metaverse and non-fungible token (NFT) company — said it held US$15.87 billion worth of digital assets at the end of November, reflecting robust growth in its metaverse business units. Fast facts Animoca Brands said in a statement released Wednesday that in the first three quarters of this […]

Binance acquires 18% stake in HGX securities exchange in Singapore

Binance is acquiring an 18% post-money stake in Hg Exchange (HGX) — a private securities exchange that has obtained a recognized market operator license by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) — through Binance Asia Services, the blockchain ecosystem and cryptocurrency provider behind Binance, according to a company statement released Wednesday. Fast facts Binance’s investment […]

China’s PBOC wants to link e-CNY with Hong Kong’s Faster Payment System

Mu Changchun, director-general of the People’s Bank of China’s digital currency institute, said today the central bank is working with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) to test cross-border payment features for the e-CNY, China’s much anticipated central bank digital currency (CBDC). Fast facts Mu said at a webinar, jointly organized by the PBOC and […]

OpenSea CFO dismisses IPO talk after community backlash

New OpenSea chief financial officer Brian Roberts has clarified that the company is not actively planning for an initial public offering, days after his comments riled the OpenSea NFT community. Fast facts In a tweet on Wednesday, Roberts wrote: “There was inaccurate reporting about @OpenSea’s plans. Let me set the record straight: there is a […]

S. Korean blockchain VC Hashed under tax investigation as CEO denies tax evasion

South Korea’s National Tax Service (NTS) recently launched an intensive tax investigation into blockchain and crypto venture capital firm Hashed, while its CEO denies any involvement in slush fund raising or tax evasion, according to local media reports. Fast facts Hashed confirmed that it had cooperated with the 4th Bureau of Investigation from the Seoul […]

Suzhou will set up China’s first blockchain pilot demonstration zone

Suzhou, a city located in Jiangsu province, will set up China’s first blockchain demonstration pilot zone, supported by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), according to a local media report. Fast facts MIIT agreed to Jiangsu Province’s request for support to set up a pilot zone for blockchain in Suzhou and said it […]

Tencent Cloud wins bid to build massive blockchain platform in Beijing

The Beijing Municipal Government announced the bidding results for the city’s blockchain and computing power platform. Tencent Cloud and government-tied enterprise Beijing Microchip Sensing Technology won the bid and will be paid US$37 million to build the system. Fast facts According to the bid’s quotations, Tencent Cloud will provide the cloud service for the blockchain […]

Japanese crypto firms team up to form a metaverse association

Four of Japan’s virtual currency firms established the Japan Metaverse Association (JMA) yesterday with aims to promote metaverse technology and improve the framework for implementing user protection measures. Fast facts The Japan Metaverse Association aims to help the country become a forerunner in the race toward the metaverse by collecting and sharing essential information from […]

Gaming giant Ubisoft launches in-game NFTs on Tezos

Gaming giant Ubisoft is launching Ubisoft Quartz, a new platform for players to obtain what it calls “Digits” — essentially non-fungible tokens (NFTs) playable in a mainstream game — according to a company statement. Fast facts The first such NFT will appear in beta with Tom Clancy’s “Ghost Recon Breakpoint” on Ubisoft Connect for Windows […]

Iceland turns away new crypto miners amid power shortage: report

Iceland, which is suffering from a power shortage, is reducing electricity to some industrial clients and turning away new requests for power from cryptocurrency miners, reported Bloomberg, citing a statement from national power company Landsvirkjun. Fast facts The Nordic island nation is now reducing power supply for heavy consumers, including aluminum smelters, data centers and […]

Blockchain investigation firm TRM Labs raises $60M led by Tiger Global

Blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs has raised US$60 million in a Series B funding round led by investment firm Tiger Global, the company announced on Tuesday. Fast facts Also participating in the financing round were American Express’ Amex Ventures, Visa, B Capital Group, Citi Ventures, DRW Venture Capital, Blockchain Capital, Jump Capital, Marshall Wace, Block […]

Meta says South Korea is top-tier environment for the metaverse

Meta’s South Korea representative says the country has one of the best environments for the metaverse business to thrive in, at its first press conference in Korea after rebranding from Facebook. Fast facts At Meta Korea’s VR (virtual reality) art media showcase, Jung Ki-hyun, the country director, said South Korea is accommodating to the metaverse […]

South Korean presidential candidate urges greater national leadership on digital assets

Lee Jae-myung, the ruling Democratic Party’s candidate for the 2022 South Korean presidential election, says cryptocurrency is already an integral part of the lives of Korean citizens and the country needs to be a leader in virtual assets. Fast facts At an invitational lecture at Seoul National University’s finance and economics seminar, Lee said that […]

Nexo and Fidelity Digital Assets expand institutional lending services

Nexo, a globally regulated crypto-collateralized credit provider, has announced a partnership with Fidelity Digital Assets, an execution and custody services provider, to establish a platform to provide institutional access to digital assets with custodial and lending services, according to a news release shared with Forkast.News. Fast facts The partnership will allow Nexo to establish an […]

Crypto exchange Coinhako secures investment from SBI, Sygnum, Azimut

Singapore-based cryptocurrency trading platform Coinhako has received backing from the SBI-Sygnum-Azimut Digital Asset Opportunity fund, with the fundraising round being three-times oversubscribed, according to a statement released today. Fast facts The fund is a venture capital fund co-managed by Japan’s SBI Group, Switzerland’s Sygnum Bank — which claims to be the world’s first digital asset […]

Japan may limit stablecoin issuers to banks, wire transfer companies

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) is planning a legislative proposal for the upcoming year to restrict the issuance rights of stablecoins to banks and wire transfer companies, according to a Nikkei Asia report. Fast facts The FSA’s decision to limit the issuance is meant to lower risks for stablecoin users, as FSA-authorized banks and wire […]

Kotak 1st major Indian bank to embrace crypto with WazirX partnership

Kotak Mahindra Bank, a leading private bank in India, has struck a partnership with crypto exchange WazirX, the Economic Times reported. Fast facts WazirX has opened an account with Kotak that can be used to pay and receive money from investors, according to the ET report. The account will be activated after the completion of […]

OpenSea’s 1st CFO wants to take company public, but some users are not happy

Brian Roberts, who recently resigned from ride-sharing firm Lyft, has become the first CFO of OpenSea and is charting a course for its initial public offering, according to a Bloomberg report. Fast facts Roberts, who previously worked at Microsoft and Walmart, is set to step down after a seven-year stint at Lyft. Roberts will, however, continue […]

Chinese video site Bilibili tests ‘UPowerchain’ to develop metaverse

Bilibili — one of China’s biggest video sites particularly known for its content dedicated for anime, comics and games fans — is testing its blockchain UPowerchain that could help the company build its metaverse business, as Chinese tech giants are sparing no efforts to enter the metaverse space. Fast facts Bilibili has confirmed with Forkast.News […]

India releases ‘National Strategy on Blockchain’ for e-governance

The Indian ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) has released a 52-page “National Strategy on Blockchain” document that urges closer cooperation between government and the private sector to build blockchain infrastructure across the world’s second-most populous nation. Fast facts It is to be noted that the current NSB document is an updated version from […]

Binance, Animoca Brands launch $200M investment program to accelerate GameFi startups

Binance Smart Chain (BSC) has joined hands with Animoca Brands — a Hong Kong-based blockchain gaming, metaverse and non-fungible token (NFT) company — to launch a US$200 million investment program to accelerate and incubate early crypto gaming startups built on BSC, according to a company statement released Monday. Fast facts Specifically, the duo are co-investing up to US$100 million […]

Binance chief CZ wants to bring business back to UK: report

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, is working to rebuild its operations in the U.K. after it was told to close down the business there back in June, the company’s CEO Changpeng Zhao, or CZ, told the newspaper the Sunday Telegraph. Fast facts CZ told the local press the company is making […]

Japan’s Elemental Knights Online game to release play-to-earn metaverse version

Japan’s mobile game Elemental Knights Online is planning to release Gensokishi Online -META WORLD-, which is its newest version incorporating elements of play-to-earn, user-generated NFTs (non-fungible tokens), and the metaverse. Fast facts Gensokishi Online’s “Meta World” metaverse will allow players to purchase land and freely edit in their creations, such as buildings and characters. The […]

Bored Ape Yacht Club artist exhibits new NFT collection at Art Basel Miami

The lead artist behind the breakthrough non-fungible token series “Bored Ape Yacht Club” (BAYC), known as All Seeing Seneca, has released a new set of NFTs over the weekend at Dfinity’s Iconoclast gallery event at Art Basel Miami, according to the artist’s Twitter profile. Fast facts With over US$1 billion in sales attributed to the […]

Foxconn’s Terry Gou: mainstream monetary finance could not be decentralized

Terry Gou, founder of Foxconn, which manufactures components for Apple’s iPhone, said Saturday at an event that mainstream monetary finance could not really be decentralized and only an underground economy would adopt cryptocurrency, as reported by Taiwanese local media Economic Daily News. Fast facts Gou later said in a Facebook post — to clarify comments […]

South Korean online game developer KRAFTON invests in metaverse

Signaling a growing interest in business opportunities in the interactive virtual world, KRAFTON, one of South Korea’s major game developers, quietly invested 5 billion Korean won (around US$4.2 million) in Naver Z back in July. Naver Z, under internet giant Naver, services the fast-growing Zepeto metaverse platform. Fast facts KRAFTON told local media that its […]

‘The Irishman’ producer Niels Juul hopes to make film fully funded by NFTs

Hollywood executive producer Niels Juul, who produced “The Irishman,” has founded a new startup called NFT Studios, in hopes of fully funding a film with non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Fast facts The startup’s first film, “A Wing and a Prayer,” will be based on the true story of Brian Milton, the first man to fly around […]

Japan’s Astar Network winner of 3rd Polkadot parachain auction

Astar Network won Polkadot’s third parachain slot auction today. Polkadot will launch Astar Network and four other parachains on its platform on Dec. 17. Fast facts “This is a huge step for the entire Astar ecosystem, since we have been developing the network for more than 2.5 years to become a Polkadot parachain,” said Sota […]

DeFi protocol BadgerDAO suffers $120M exploit

BadgerDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) focused on bringing Bitcoin to decentralized finance (DeFi), is the latest to suffer an exploit that was estimated to result in losses of US$120 million. Fast facts Crypto security firm PeckShield said in a Thursday tweet the total loss has amounted to at least 2,100 BTC and 151 ETH. […]

New round of digital yuan coupons issued as Beijing Winter Olympics near

In Beijing, four state-run banks released a new batch of digital yuan (e-CNY) coupons on Thursday to promote its adoption rate in rehearsal for the upcoming Winter Olympics. This batch of coupons tests the e-CNY’s application in small-amount and high-frequency payment scenarios. Fast facts According to an announcement from Beijing financial authorities, coupon use cases […]

AussieMates NFT project launches for mental health awareness

Much of the world has been living under lockdown over the past few years, and collective mental health has been severely impacted. One Australian firm is looking to raise awareness and funds to address the issue with a new Down Under themed non-fungible token series, according to a press release shared with Forkast.News. Fast facts […]

Scottish whisky brand The Dalmore to offer limited-edition liquor NFT

The non-fungible token (NFT) frenzy has extended to the luxury wine and spirits industry. The Dalmore, best known for its Scottish whiskies, has partnered with BlockBar, an NFT platform for luxury liquor brands, to offer a limited-edition liquor NFT with a set of The Dalmore Decades No.4 Collection, the brand said in a Wednesday statement. […]

After Facebook’s name change to Meta, Square has now become Block

When Facebook and payments giant Square launched, they were trailblazers in the industry. Now, after Facebook, Square too has changed its name — to Block — in a bid to embrace the future of technology. Fast facts Square CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have never gotten along. Dorsey has jibed at Zuckerberg […]

Korea Exchange CEO calls for institutionalization of crypto

Sohn Byung-doo, chief executive officer for Korea Exchange (KRX), urged South Korea to prepare an institutional infrastructure as virtual assets have become a major investment asset in the country. Fast facts In his speech at the 2021 Global ETP Conference, Sohn insisted that the “virtual asset market is no different from the capital market in […]

Bitcoin miner Griid set to go public via Adit EdTech merger

Griid Infrastructure, a U.S.-based Bitcoin mining company, is set to go public through a merger with Adit EdTech Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), in a deal that would value the combined company at about US$3.3 billion, according to a company statement released Tuesday. Fast facts Upon completion of the deal, the combined […]

Living ‘Eco-NFTs’ and holograms on display at Art Basel Miami Beach

The firm behind legendary sci-fi series Star Trek, Roddenberry Entertainment, has immortalized a key moment in entertainment history — in a way that may in time become an equally iconic moment in blockchain history. Gene Roddenberry’s signature on the first contract between himself and Lucille Ball’s Desilu Productions, which made Star Trek a reality, has […]

1inch Network closes $175M Series B funding round

After greatly expanding its goals for the round, decentralized exchange aggregator 1inch Network has closed a US$175 million Series B funding round from institutional investors, led by Amber Group, according to a company blog post. Fast facts Joining Amber Group were about 50 other investors including VanEck, Alameda Research, Celsius and Gemini Frontier Fund who […]

S. Korean, S. African banks team up for stablecoin-based remittances

South Korean heavyweight lender Shinhan Bank has completed a proof-of-concept rollout of a stablecoin project for international remittances in partnership with South Africa’s Standard Bank, using Hedera Hashgraph. Fast facts The project’s aim is to test the issuance and distribution of stablecoins for international remittances, which often frustrate senders and receivers due to their high […]

NFTs on China’s BSN migrate to OpenSea to tap global market

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) featuring famous traditional Chinese paintings by culture studio Rongbaozhai have been successfully transferred from China’s Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) WenChang Chain to the OpenSea marketplace on the Ethereum blockchain, a milestone in the development of interchain NFT technology. Fast facts The transfer was made on Nov. 16 across four blockchains: WenChang Chain […]

Huobi Group poised to establish regional hub in Singapore

Huobi Group, which operates Chinese cryptocurrency exchange Huobi Global, has decided to set up a regional hub in Singapore, a representative of company has told Forkast.News. Fast facts In November, Huobi Global pledged to stop offering services to Singapore-based users from March 31, 2022, to comply with local laws, according to a company statement. Huobi […]

HYBE, Softbank invest big in Zepeto metaverse creator Naver Z

South Korea-based Naver Z Corporation — the operator of metaverse platform Zepeto — raised 223.5 billion Korean won, or about US$189 million in a Series B round, which included investments from SoftBank, Mirae Asset and three of K-pop’s largest talent agencies. Fast facts Japan’s SoftBank led the funding round by investing about US$148 million in Naver […]

Is an IPO in the cards for India’s first crypto unicorn CoinDCX?

Is CoinDCX — India’s first crypto company to achieve unicorn status, or US$1 billion in valuation — going public? CoinDCX co-founder Neeraj Khandelwal set off a frenzy of excitement when he told Bloomberg in a recent interview that CoinDCX may pursue an initial public offering as soon as legislation permits. But a CoinDCX spokesperson told […]

Huobi Brokerage launches crypto lending for institutions

Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed Huobi Technology Holdings today announced that it will be launching Huobi Lending, a cryptocurrency lending service for institutions and high net worth individuals (HNWI) through its new digital asset brokerage platform Huobi Brokerage, according to a company announcement. Fast facts Alongside growing institutional interest in digital assets, crypto lending services leveraging […]

Hong Kong metaverse developer ViLab partners with Squid Game special effects maker

Hong Kong-based ViLab Limited, a metaverse developer, announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Gulliver Studios, the effects creator behind the Netflix hit series Squid Game, to develop technology that can be used for creating virtual identities and other features for the metaverse. Fast facts ViLab and Gulliver Studios will […]

South Korea’s KB Bank unveils a metaverse bank testbed

KB Kookmin Bank, one of South Korea’s largest financial institutions, announced yesterday that it has developed the KB Metaverse VR Branch Testbed for experimenting with allowing customers wearing a head-mounted VR device to access banking services in a metaverse. Fast facts Simple transactions, such as remittances, can be managed at a teller window, while an […]

Bitcoin spot ETP launches in the EU

While the wait for a U.S. Bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund continues, Invesco, a U.S. investment firm with US$1.6 trillion in assets under management, has partnered with CoinShares to launch a European exchange-traded product physically backed by Bitcoin, according to reporting on Nasdaq.com. Fast facts The Invesco Physical Bitcoin ETP will be listed on Deutsche Börse […]

New York Fed and BIS join hands to launch fintech hub

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has joined hands with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to launch an innovation hub in New York— dubbed the New York Innovation Center (NYIC) — to explore and build financial technology products for the central bank community. Fast facts The NYIC will focus on five areas — […]

Bitcoin, Ether prices hold rebound as SHIB surges; crypto funds see record inflows

Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum’s Ether (ETH) prices on Tuesday morning Asia time held their rebound from the Black Friday sell-off of global equities and cryptocurrencies following news of the new Covid-19 Omicron variant. Bitcoin was trading at US$57,184 and Ethereum at US$4,445, as of publishing time, according to CoinGecko data. Fast facts Institutional investors appear […]

Solana claims 1 transaction on its network uses less energy than 2 Google searches

As the pushback over environmental concerns of the blockchain industry continues, a recent report by Solana says that a single transaction on the network uses less energy than just two Google searches. Fast facts Completed under the guidance of an independent energy and climate advisor, Solana’s November Energy Report found that a single Solana transaction […]

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