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Non-fungible tokens and the ever-changing value of digital assets

“It’s only now that the appropriate gallery for my work finally exists”

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Andy Baker
A hand holding a bitcoin

“It’s only now that the appropriate gallery for my work finally exists”

M.I.A.

The pop artist auctioned off a moving image titled ‘ KIZHI COYN ‘ in a 24-hour online auction this month through Foundation . The NFT was sold for a whopping $174,013.59 (77.777 ETH) and is part of a larger series which she describes as “…a living, breathing, psycho-spectral canvas that crystalizes this moment in time for me.”

https://gph.is/g/4oyMz7P

And perhaps no other visual asset sums up this moment more than the NFT.

NFT stands for non-fungible token.

These are one-of-a-kind’’ digital assets that can be bought and sold with cryptocurrency. Like Bitcoin they aren’t tangible but, unlike the cryptocurrency, they can’t be replaced either.

Think of a rare trading card, with its own imperfect signature; completely unique.

But similar to other collector’s items, they’ve been knocking around in one form or another for a while.

Alongside artist Kevin McCoy, Anil Dash, the CEO of Glitch, prototyped the idea of the NFT back in 2014 when the pair gave a live demonstration at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City. McCoy used a blockchain called Namecoin to register a video clip that his wife had made and then Dash bought it with four dollars he had in his wallet.

It wasn’t a bit with the crowd.

Even the mention of the words “monetised graphics” caused giggles in the audience and they had limited success in popularising the idea over the coming years.

Dash argues that one of the major issues then and now is how NFTs rely on blockchain technology for authentication. Something that, he says, provides absolutely no value for the typical user.

“More than a decade after blockchains first caught tech geeks’ eye, not a single smartphone app that you use with friends or co-workers relies on that technology. By contrast, when the web was the same age that bitcoin is today, it had half a billion users around the world, he argues in ‘ NFTs Weren’t Supposed to End Like This ‘ for The Atlantic.

But our infatuation with collecting is much older than the internet. And where there’s a finite amount of room for worldly possessions, the virtual vault at least feels limitless in its capacity.

Launched way back in July 2016, Pokemon Go is still a big deal. In fact, game developer Niantic’s recent Spring into Spring event saw the release of Shiny Bunnelby and other rare, costumed Pokemon.

https://gph.is/g/4oyMz7P

But how are there still over 60 million active monthly players interested in chasing pixelated Pokemon?

Yep, FOMO.

According to Jamie Madigan at Forbes , it’s this perceived feeling of scarcity and worry about missing out that makes virtual items feel real. Using methodology by market researchers Rebecca Mardon and Russel Belk, he reckons our desire to collect the intangible comes down to two factors:

Elusiveness — essentially, how hard it is to obtain or unlock an item. Game developers like Niantic have made an art out of gamifying the virtual “thrill of the chase”. And for NFTs? It’s all about the online auctioning process.

Authenticity — this is the extent to which a virtual object is seen as “the real thing”. In Pokemon Go this might be where in reality you found it; for NFTs it’s a certificate of “ownership”. Sure, it could be copied and shared but there’s the personal knowledge that you’ve got that stamp of authenticity.

As it stands, NFTs remain solely in the high-end collector’s sphere.

And whether or not they’ll find a purpose for the likes of you and me is up for debate. Especially, when you consider the hidden “gas fees” which users have to shell out for; this is the computing energy required to process and validate transactions on the blockchain. And the problem is that these fees can fluctuate depending on the time of day.

But there’s another cost.

NFTs themselves may not be interchangeable, but cryptocurrencies are. And different sites will charge variable rates to convert them.

Robert Martin, senior content strategist at Kapwing, attempted buying and selling NFTs and ended up losing over $200 in the process.

Hidden fees pose risks to new users, Martin told Insider . Sites like Rarible charge buyers 2.5% for purchasing an NFT — but other marketplaces can charge even more.

“There needs to be a lot more education out there. It seems like most of the resources are catered to people who are already involved in the crypto world,” he said.

But this medium does offer visual artists something they’ve been missing ever since the dawn of file sharing: control.

Alejandro Medellin at Shutterstock believes that whether you’re a photographer, videographer, or illustrator, you’ll have more control over your works with NFTs.

But these assets still have to “live” somewhere. And there’s an invisible price far greater than the cost of cryptocurrency that buyers and sellers should consider.

But if that does end up being the case, you can’t help wondering: what’s the point?

And according to Beeple in conversation with The Verge , it takes about $5,000 to offset the emissions from just one of his collections.

Currently, the cost to the climate far outweighs the value of any crypto-collection — and only a few artists are shouting about it.

London-based artist and creative technologist, Memo Akten, has spent months investigating the carbon impact of NFTs. And although his work was mostly ignored, a crypto artist called Joanie Lemercier followed suit.

And to alarming results.

So, why do NFTs carry such a hefty footprint compared to other forms of digital entertainment?

Cryptocurrency.

However, John Crain, CEO of the leading NFT Marketplace SuperRare, argues this sort of thinking is unfair. Comparing Ethereum to an airplane that’ll take off regardless of how many crypto artists are on board, he told Wired .

“There is a whole ecosystem of people who are creating emissions, so I don’t think it’s fair to the artists to say that you created this amount of CO2.”

Maybe he’s got a point.

After all, if you stopped using Facebook, that would still only be one less out of 2.6 billion monthly users — and that’s still an awful lot of boiling teapots.

What’s more, Ethereum has revealed plans to move towards a less carbon-intensive model — reducing their emissions by 99% .

But, unfortunately, this has been in the pipeline for years. So, whether or not it will see the light of day before NFTs go the way of the Cryptocat remains to be seen.

Watch this digital space.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://baker-copy.medium.com/non-fungible-tokens-and-the-ever-changing-value-of-digital-assets-efff726cf2f3?source=rss——-8—————–cryptocurrency

Blockchain

QAN Raises $2.1 Million in Venture Capital to Build DeFi Ecosystem

QANPlatform has successfully closed a $2.1 million funding round and it looks to build a quantum-resistant DeFi infrastructure.

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QANPlatform – a project that is on a mission of building a quantum-resistant hybrid blockchain protocol, secured investment from various venture capital funds to build a DeFi ecosystem.

QAN Successfully Closes a Funding Round of $2.1 Million

The question of whether or not existing blockchain-based PoW networks would stand the test of a quantum computer is one that’s been discussed for quite some time. To this date, many believe that a quantum computer is the most serious threat to Bitcoin as it would be able to solve math problems a lot quicker compared to traditional mining machines.

In any case, in an attempt to tackle these issues, along with others, QANplatform has raised $2.1 million to fund the development of an ecosystem where developers would be capable of building various software applications within DeFi quicker.

Leading the round were the likes of DeltaHub Capital, BlackDragon, Insignius Capital, Fairum Ventures, and so forth.

Speaking on the matter was Johann Polecsak, co-founder and Chief Technical Officer at QANplatform, who said:

“Our key mission is to lower the entry barriers for developers so startups and enterprises can build their Proofs-of-Concept (PoC) and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as fast as possible to reach mass adoption. We stick to this view and let only community-driven VCs invest in this strategic pool”

Quantum Computing and its Threats

According to a well-known report from one of the largest auditing and security service companies in the world – Deloitte, quantum computing does pose a threat to Bitcoin.

Of course, it’s important to factor in the possibility of such a computer being created and used for this particular purpose, but, in theory, it could cause damage, according to the experts.

For instance, there are around 4 million bitcoins that are potentially vulnerable to a quantum attack. Yet, there are plenty of things to keep in mind when thinking about this. For instance, it’s important to note that these are mostly p2pkh addresses, and only those which have never been used to spend bitcoins are safe because their public keys are not yet public. In other words – if one transfers their BTC to a new address, they should not be vulnerable to a quantum attack.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/qan-raises-1-8-million-in-venture-capital-to-build-defi-ecosystem/

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Blockchain

Balancer V2 is Live Promising Lower Fees and Improved Experience

Balancer V2 goes live today and it promises users lower fees and substantially improved user experience.

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The automatic market maker (AMM) running on top of Ethereum, Balancer, announced that Version 2 of its platform is already live. It promises lower gas costs, a redesigned interface, and an enhanced user experience.

Balancer V2 Arrives

Built on Ethereum, Balancer is a DeFi protocol enabling users to trade ether and ERC-20 tokens in a trustless, permissionless environment. By providing liquidity to a Balancer pool, they can also earn a portion of the trading fees paid to the network for the use of their funds in the form of the native token BAL.

The team behind Balancer announced the arrival of its long-anticipated Version 2 platform in a press release shared with CryptoPotato. It comes with a new user interface, indicating that the user experience has been simplified.

The statement outlined there will be an easy-to-follow migration procedure for users to transfer their funds from Balancer V1 to V2, and it will be released as a full tutorial later.

The team believes that V1 will continue to “provide the best price until a substantial amount of liquidity migrates to V2.” At that point, Balancer expects trades to be routed through V2’s Protocol Vault resulting in “lower gas costs and better pricing.” The project’s estimations envision the fee reduction to be up to 50%.


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Multi-Sig and Liquidity Mining

The upgrade has signified Balancer Protocol’s transition to a community multi-sig for its governance execution. As a result, the new signers include Alexander Lange (Inflection), Fabien Marino (Snapshot Labs), Kain Warwick (Synthetix), Kevin Owocki (Gitcoin), Trent McConaghy (Ocean Protocol), and Mariano Conti (Ethereum).

They will be responsible for “executing all transactions passed as Snapshot as Balancer continues to be run by those who care most – the community.”

V2 will also provide a new and “more trustless program” for BAL liquidity mining. Upon its launch, liquidity providers (LPs) will be able to stake positions in different pools and receive BAL tokens.

Each pool will be assigned to one of three different tiers, with each tier slot getting a pre-determined amount of coins per week.

The team also informed that it will release further details in the following weeks on the “changing Balancer landscape.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/balancer-v2-is-live-promising-lower-fees-and-improved-experience/

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Blockchain

Palantir Accepts Bitcoin for Payments and Considers Adding BTC to Balance Sheet

Major software and analytics company Palantir is the latest to accept BTC and even considers adding it to its balance sheet.

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Software & analytics company Palantir has announced that they will be accepting Bitcoin as a payment method. Palantir will also consider purchasing Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies to store on their balance sheet.

Thiel Bets Big on Bitcoin

Peter Thiel, the co-founder of Palantir (and, notably, PayPal), has been a long-standing cryptocurrency advocate. The company announced that it now accepts BTC for payments and even considers adding it to its balance sheet.

As early as three years ago, Thiel has been seen investing in cryptocurrency mining startups, exchanges, and more, making a bid on the come-up of Bitcoin and blockchain technology.

Earlier today, Block.one (another Thiel-backed software company) announced a bold new venture: a new cryptocurrency exchange named ‘Bullish,’ backed by a whopping $10B in funding. Thiel Capital was one of the leaders in this funding round.

A Growing Trend

The air is changing: big companies are slowly warming up to cryptocurrency. What started with a wave of small underdogs, like the Ethereum Hotel in China, has blown up this year with a flood of large new players accepting Bitcoin – even tech giants like Tesla.


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As more companies join the trend and more investors start storing portions of their wealth in cryptocurrencies, there is a very real financial opportunity cost on the horizon for archaic companies that choose not to adopt what’s coming, as they risk alienating a large section of demand.

Whereas some firms are resistant to change due to the additional hiring and costs associated with adding cryptocurrency terminals, many are of the opinion that there will soon come a point where it becomes far more expensive not to accept Bitcoin as a payment method.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/palantir-accepts-bitcoin-for-payments-and-considers-adding-btc-to-balance-sheet/

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eBay Now Allows the Sale of NFTs on its Platform

One of the largest online marketplaces, eBay, now allows the sale of NFTs.

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E-commerce giant eBay has become the first in its industry to catch the non-fungible tokens (NFT) mania, as the company is now allowing the sale of NFTs on its platform.

  • According to Reuters on Tuesday (May 11, 2021), eBay said that it would enable the sale of NFTs for digital collectibles such as video clips, images, or trading cards on its marketplace.
  • Meanwhile, the ability to list and sell NFTs would be open only to whitelisted sellers. This could mean that the platform may have an authentication protocol for listing NFTs.
  • The latest development comes on the heels of a recent statement made by eBay CEO Jamie Iannone, who said that the company was exploring the NFT sector.
  • Commenting on the company’s upcoming plans, Jordan Sweetman, eBay’s senior vice president, and General manager for the platform’s North American market, said:

“In the coming months, eBay will add new capabilities that bring blockchain-driven collectibles to our platform.”

  • The NFTs industry continues to see increased adoption across different sectors, with celebrities and sports stars tapping into the NFT industry.
  • Meanwhile, eBay’s foray into the NFT sector is another indication of the growing e-commerce crypto and blockchain adoption. From PayPal to JD.com, online merchants are increasingly interfacing with the emerging tech.
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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/ebay-now-allows-the-sale-of-nfts-on-its-platform/

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