NYSE Files Trademark Application to Trade NFTs

The world’s largest public bourse, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), said it filed a trade NFT trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on February 10, aiming to enter the world of the NFT market.

According to the official announcement, the application submitted by the NYSE involves virtual reality and augmented reality software, non-fungible tokens or online markets.

The NYSE hopes it will offer “downloadable virtual goods” for NFTs and digital collectables, using blockchain technology for authentication.

“Many more NYSE NFTs to come as we continue to welcome new, innovative companies to our community,” NYSE added.

This trademark application implies NYSE’s determination and plans to launch the NFT market and explore the blockchain and NFT market.

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a special encrypted token representing unique collectables. An NFT is used in specific applications that require unique digital items, such as encrypted art, digital collectables, and online games.

As NFTs cannot be copied or divided between different holders. Therefore, the authentication of identity is crucial.

In April of last year, the NYSE launched its “first-class of NYSE NFTs” to celebrate the “First Trades of these notable listings: Spotify, which executed the first-ever Direct Listing, Snowflake, Unity, DoorDash, Roblox and Coupang, the largest US IPO so far this year.”

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Coinbase Allows Crypto Investors to Cash Out in Pesos in Mexico

Coinbase, the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, said on Tuesday it launched a pilot program in Mexico, allowing crypto traders in Mexico to cash out cryptocurrencies in Pesos, Reuters reported.

According to the official coinbase blog, crypto recipients in Mexico can now opt to cash out their balance by generating an exchange code on the Coinbase app that can be used to receive cash at 37,000 retail and convenience stores across Mexico.

For cryptocurrency recipients in Mexico, they can deposit funds in the coinbase app to invest in various cryptocurrencies, a total of more than 100 digital assets including Bitcoin (BTC-USD), Ethereum (ETH-USD) and other current mainstream cryptocurrencies

The service is free of charge for Coinbase customers until March 31, after which a nominal fee of 25-50%, claiming “cheaper than traditional international payment methods” will be charged.

Coinbase wrote that:

“Over time we’ll consider other regions where customers face similar challenges.”

As reported by blockchain.News on January 13, Coinbase is launching a cryptocurrency derivatives service for its clients, announcing the acquisition of derivatives exchange FairX.

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Belarus President Signs Free Flow Crypto Decree

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has signed a decree that will allow the free circulation of cryptocurrencies. 

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The Council of Ministers will implement the order within three months of its publication. However, the move will also give the national cryptocurrency regulator Hi-Tech Park (HTP) authority to create a register for crypto wallet addresses that are or can be used for illicit purposes.

Lukashenko signed the order with an aim to “protect participants in the digital asset market from loss of property and prevent unintentional involvement in activities prohibited by law,” the president’s press service announced.

The official announcement also said that “Belarus is consistently developing the legal field for regulating activities related to digital assets, and, unlike many other states, allows the free circulation of digital currencies. At the same time, this requires constant monitoring of the situation and, if necessary, supplementing and clarifying regulatory norms, including to exclude cases of shadow financing of prohibited activities.”

The document also specifies the procedure and standards for the government’s seizure of cryptocurrencies from offenders.

According to the document, wallet addresses will be added to the register if law enforcement agencies obtain data suggesting illegal operations or transactions related to extremism and terrorism.

Lukashenko has been a proponent of cryptocurrencies and has been reinforcing the country’s focus on cryptocurrency development, including cryptocurrency mining and trade.

In September 2021, Lukashenko called on his fellow citizens to mine cryptocurrency using unused electricity infrastructure.

Crypto activities in Belarus were legalised in 2017 after a presidential decree was signed and it was enforced in May of the following year. Tax breaks and other incentives for crypto businesses were also introduced accordingly.

Belarus ranks third in Eastern Europe in terms of crypto adoption even though cryptocurrencies cannot be used as legal tender, according to the Crypto Adoption Index by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. 

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Swindlers are Using OTP Bots to Wipe Clean Crypto Accounts

Fraudsters are becoming sophisticated by the day, with their latest tool being one-time password (OTP) bots used to wipe out cryptocurrency accounts, as reported by CNBC.

The bots are being sold on Telegram, and they are designed in such a way that investors are tricked into disclosing their two-factor authentication, prompting the loss of funds from crypto accounts.  

Anders Apgar, an American Coinbase customer, fell victim to these bots last month, and his account with $106,000 mainly in Bitcoin was drained.

As Apgar was out for dinner with his family, a nagging robocall became hard to ignore after his wife’s phone also started ringing. A notification that stated “Your account’s in jeopardy” emerged upon picking it up.

This prompted Apgar to pick up his phone, and that’s when all hell broke loose. A female voice stated:

“Hello, welcome to Coinbase security prevention line. We have detected unauthorized activity due to a failed log-in attempt on your account. If this (is) not you, please press 1, to complete precautions for recovering your account.”

Alarmed about what had transpired, Apgar pressed one, and his account had been locked in less than two minutes. However, he couldn’t recall whether he entered the two-factor authentication code manually or it popped out automatically.

Feeling devastated about the 19-seconds call that led to his crypto loss, Apgar said:

“It was just dread and an emptiness of just, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t get this back.’”

Fraudsters exploit the 2FA code

This type of fraud takes advantage of the two-factor authentication (2FA) code by inflicting fear that people’s accounts are under attack. Once the suggested action is taken, investors expose themselves to fraudsters. 

The report stated:

“The bot calls are crafted in a very skillful manner, creating a sense of urgency and trust over the phone. The calls rely on fear, convincing the victims to act to ‘avoid’ fraud in their account.”

Jessica Kelley, a Q6 cyber analyst, delved deeper into the issue and noted that she had identified more than six Telegram channels with at least 10,000 subscribers selling the bots.

She added:

“Before these OTP bots, a cybercriminal would have to make that call himself. And now, with these bots, that whole system is just automated and the scalability is that much larger.”

Previously, the US Department of Justice recently announced that it had recovered 90,000 Bitcoins worth $3.6 billion at the time of seizure from a Manhattan-based couple suspected to be part of the masterminds behind the 2016 Bitfinex exchange hack, which saw 119,754 BTC swindled.

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Ethereum wallet Rainbow Raises $18M in Series A Funding

Ethereum wallet Rainbow has raised $18 million in Series A funding.

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This investment follows the VC firm announcing a $500 million crypto fund at the beginning of this month.

Rainbow’s funding was led by Seven Seven Six, the VC fund set up by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and the mobile-first wallet claims that its emphasis on user experience design has made it stand out of the group.

“There’s still a lot of unnecessary complexity in the web3 user experience. Rainbow’s been focused on chipping away at that, simplifying where it’s possible to and educating where it’s not. There’s a lot of work to do, but Rainbow is headed far beyond where wallets are now,” said co-founder and CEO Christian Baroni.

It has been reported that similar to other wallets, Rainbow will allow users to buy crypto with fiat, connect to decentralized applications (dApps) and invest in tokens.

Rainbow’s focus on design was the key factor that convinced Seven Seven Six’s Ohanian to make the investment. Ohanian called it the “best designed” compared to other wallets available.

Among the various other investors, a few famous names included Thirty-Five Ventures, founded by Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman; Vine founder Dom Hofmann’s Bloom Investment Holdings and Nikita Bier.

Following the funding, Rainbow has planned to upgrade its functionality, including integrating a swap aggregator and Ethereum profiles through the Ethereum Name Service.

According to December 19, 2021, report by Blockchain.News citing Bloomberg, more funds have been invested in the cryptocurrency industry in 2021 than in the last decade combined.

Venture capital funds invested about $30 billion into the cryptocurrency industry, which is almost four times the 2018 high, according to a report by PitchBook Data.

The report also added that the crazy skyrocketing price of digital assets in 2021 has led to the popularity of crypto-related projects, such as blockchain game development, NFT projects, and several other experimental projects that are seeking funds.

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S2F Creator PlanB Projects Bitcoin to Touch $100k in 2023

PlanB, the anonymous creator of the popular price prediction tool, Stock-2-Flow (S2F) model is highly optimistic that his model that projects Bitcoin’s price at $100,000 will come true latest by 2023.

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Taking to Twitter, PlanB said that “Both S2F and logarithmic regression point to $100K in 2023,” a declaration that has stirred a number of positive and negative reactions alike.

PlanB is a famous analyst in the digital currency and stock market ecosystem, as most of his projections have a high level of accuracy until last year. The analyst who has had a stint of successes in the past years proclaimed, based on the same S2F model that Bitcoin’s price will top $100,000 in 2021. However, the coin ended the year way below the average of the projected price.

The S2F model takes a reference to the asset’s stock or total supply and its demand or rate of emission or depletion which makes up the ‘Flow’ end. Based on this, PlanB predicted a worse case price target of $98,000 for BTC last year as well as a best-case scenario of $135,000 respectively, and neither of these projections was actualized.

Bitcoin was trading at $44,050.66, up 5.06% at the time of writing, according to data from CoinMarketCap. From the projection of $100,000 by 2023, PlanB is implying that the price of Bitcoin will grow by more than 120% from the point it is trading at the moment. While PlanB may trust his models, the industry is arguably losing trust in its veracity, and this also applies to a few other analysts that have at one point or the other given a very bullish prediction of the premier digital currency.

The flexibility in time is poised to favour BTC price growth this time around and coupled with the fact that more institutional investors are swarming into the ecosystem, more scarcity that can drive BTC’s price up is bound to be experienced in the mid to long term.

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Bank of Russia Commences Digital Ruble Trials

The Bank of Russia (BoR) has announced the commencement of its Digital Ruble trials, making the most ambitious push for a functional Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) for the country.


As announced by the bank, the trials became necessary following the creation of a prototype of the digital ruble platform was completed in December 2021.

Following this completion, the Bank of Russia received volunteers from 12 banks to be a part of the trial exercises for the CBDC. Of these 12, three connected their system with the Digital Ruble platform, and two successfully changed non-fiat ruble into digital ruble and transferred this same funds to other people. All of them successfully opened a wallet that supported the CBDC.

“The digital ruble platform is a new opportunity for citizens, businesses, and the state. We plan that for citizens, transfers in digital rubles will be free and available in any region of the country, and for businesses, this will reduce costs and create opportunities for the development of innovative products and services. The state will also receive a new tool for targeted payments and administration of budget payments,” said Olga Skorobogatova, First Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia.” 

In addition, Olga confirmed that the BOR “will test various scenarios and refine the digital ruble platform this year. In the next stages of platform development, we also plan to provide seamless interaction with digital platforms and digital ecosystems.”

The Digital Ruble trial comes following the highly controversial plans by the apex bank to ban Bitcoin and all related Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining activities. The approach to prohibit the premier digital currency takes close precedence to associated actions by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), which recently debuted its e-CNY CBDC at the ongoing Beijing Olympics games.

With more stages outlined for the Digital Ruble, the chances are that the BoR will introduce some sort of regulation to tame BTC for the Digital Ruble to have less competition when it finally sees the light of day.

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Mastercard Expands Consulting Services to Crypto

American multinational financial services corporation, Mastercard Inc, is expanding its consulting services and is making commitments to support several innovations in the cryptocurrencies market.


As announced by the Purchase, a New York-based firm, the expanded consulting service will also encompass Open Banking, Open Data, and Environment, Social & Governance (ESG).

Mastercard is a technology-driven firm, also known as one of the credit card payment giants, that is known to have a deep interest in digital currencies as the next big force in payments. Cryptocurrencies have showcased they are favourites in that they are typically faster and sometimes cheaper than traditional payment models. 

While Mastercard has come to terms and embraced these advances, the company said it is now ready to help businesses whether small or big that are contemplating a switch or an integration into digital currencies as a whole. Amongst the many ways it said it would drive home these consulting services and its overall reach to those who needed it. Mastercard noted it would be onboarding as many as 500 college graduates and young professionals, train them, and bolster its existing crop of data analysts.

“Payments are just the beginning,” says Raj Seshadri, Mastercard president of Data & Services. “Over the past 20 years, we’ve worked with our customers across banking, fintech, retail, travel, and other sectors, helping them understand and navigate every challenge and opportunity thrown their way. This evolution of consulting is in recognition of the changing world and of our changing business. It’s about helping customers navigate today’s challenges and anticipating what’s next.”

Mastercard’s prior work in the digital currency ecosystem encompasses helping both banks and Central Banks adopt digital assets. Notably, a number of Central Banks around the world utilise a Mastercard’s solution in the design and deployment of CBDCs, helping these apex banks explore all possible scenarios before actual deployment is done.

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Bitcoin (BTC) $ 43,865.75 0.78%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 2,354.29 0.61%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 77.74 2.87%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 254.42 2.17%