Yuga Labs, the blockchain startup behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) Non-Fungible Token (NFT) collection has filed a lawsuit against digital artist Ryder Ripps and several associates for producing a copycat version of Bored Apes.
In the 43-page lawsuit filed in California on Friday, Yuga Labs argued that the move from Ryder and his cohorts is an attempt to devalue the economic value of the Bored Ape NFTs. The team confirmed that there are only 10,000 Bored Apes out there with many prominent celebrities proud to have them as their digital identities.
The suit noted that Ryder and his team are creating a new collection using the original copies of their flagship NFTs and calling this new collection “RR/BAYC” NFTs.” The suit is praying the court to restrain Ryder and his team from “engaging in further interference with its prospective economic relations,” as well to compel them to pay damages and attorneys’ fees.
Ryder has been on the frontlines in recent times, accusing Bored Ape of creating the NFTs with Nazi ties, a claim that Yuga Labs has denied with facts.
Yuga Labs is arguably the biggest name in the Web3.0 ecosystem, and besides its BAYC collection, it currently controls the IP to the CryptoPunks and Meebits collection following the purchase of these collections earlier this year. The startup has been introducing impressive products for its NFT holders, launching the Otherside metaverse project in an attempt to build a media empire that will feature and provide utility to all of these NFTs.
Fighting infringement on its Intellectual Properties is one of the lawsuits being fueled by the Yuga Labs team. The startup has had to be named as the defense to a number of lawsuits filed by aggrieved holders, particularly with respect to the constant breaches of its social media account that led to the loss of valuable NFTs.
Salvatore Ferragamo, the Italian luxury fashion brand has entered the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) scene in grand style.
The company set up an NFT booth in its new concept store that was opened in the Soho district of New York on Friday.
As announced, the NFT booth permitted anyone to walk in and choose from a wide array of designs from the artist Shxpir while minting their own personalized NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain network. While the booth was opened to all, only 256 NFTs were minted.
Shxpir brings class in a unique and relatable way. The artist creates psychedelic, 3D digital art with glitch and surrealist elements, and has also designed a limited-edition capsule collection of physical items for Ferragamo consisting of 200 t-shirts and 150 sweatshirts.
“Shxpir reflects the energy of New York City and Soho. He’s able to evocatively juxtapose grit with luxury in a way that not many others can,” said Daniella Vitale, North America CEO for Ferragamo, describing the decision to onboard Shxpir as the artist to bring the company’s ideas to life.
The Salvatore Ferragamo NFT booth is described as a platform that offers a “multi-sensory” experience that “blends the worlds of Web3 and in-person retail.”
“We know that the world of Web3 can be somewhat intimidating. As such, this project has been conceptualized in a way that demystifies the system,” Daniella said. “Even if you’re not experienced in NFTs or if you don’t have a wallet, we’ll guide you through the steps required.”
Ferragamo is not the only luxury fashion brand that made its debut in the NFT world this year. From Prada to Gucci, the number has continued to rise. Blockchain.News reported French Luxury brand, Lacoste’s Underwater (UNDW3) NFT collection floated earlier this month.
The massive embrace into the NFT world is becoming an encompassing one, considering that auto brands are also making a dive into the space with Bentley amongst the biggest and latest names in the space.
BitPanda, a cryptocurrency trading platform based in Austria, announced on Friday that it will cut down the number of its headcounts to ensure sustainability. The firm said it will reduce the number of employees to about 730 from the more than 1000 it is currently stated to have on LinkedIn.
BitPanda’s founders said the company will let workers go as it scales down in response to changing market conditions.
While the founders cited the current crypto winter and wider global economic crisis, they also admitted their own failures:
“We reached a point where more people joining didn’t make us more effective, but created coordination overheads instead, particularly in this new market reality. Looking back now, we realize that our hiring speed was not sustainable. That was a mistake.”
BitPanda is also withdrawing some recent job offers and has notified the affected employees.
The company said it acknowledges the responsibility it has for its employees and their families. The firm stated it has put a top priority on supporting the affected workers to make a smooth transition to the next step in their careers.
“Affected employees will get packages that ‘go beyond’ employment law as well as one-on-one coaching with talent acquisition partners, references, and mental health support”, BitPanda said.
The announcement comes less than a year after BitPanda raised $263 million in a Series C funding round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures. The funding round gave the firm a fresh valuation of $4.1 billion.
BitPanda is the latest to follow several other cryptocurrency outfits that recently announced intentions to decrease their headcounts and trim down job offers in order to survive a downturn in the crypto market and the wider global economy.
Last week, Coinbase laid off 18% of its workers and froze hiring sprees as the market crashed.
Also, more than a week ago, Singapore-based exchange Crypto.com cut off 260 jobs to ensure it stays on track with its profitability goals for the long term. Gemini exchange also recently announced a reduction of about 10% of its workforce to address the current, difficult market conditions that are likely to persist for some time.
Catheon Gaming, a major blockchain gaming, and entertainment company based in Australia, on Friday, announced the appointment of Mark Aubrey as the company’s new co-Chief Executive Officer. Aubrey will commence his new position effective July 11, 2022.
Aubrey will work alongside William Wu, the Founder, and CEO of Catheon Gaming, to set the ground to support the firm’s growth in the rapidly growing blockchain gaming industry.
Aubrey joins Catheon Gaming with over 19 years of experience in the entertainment and gaming industry in the APAC region.
In the most recent, Aubrey served as the Managing Director and Head of Asia Pacific (“APAC”) at Activision Blizzard, a major gaming developer and publisher of entertainment software, recognized for developing some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games, including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.
At Activision Blizzard, Aubrey was in charge of managing all verticals of both Activision Publishing and Blizzard Entertainment’s commercial and go-to-market operations and teams across Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, India, and Greater Asia. He managed large teams of workers across four regional offices and held full profit and loss responsibility for APAC, the most important Web3 region globally with the majority of gaming revenue and the greatest number of Web3 users.
Before joining Activision Blizzard, Aubrey worked as a Group Marketing Director at Warner Bros. Entertainment for a long period of time where he drove synergies and commercial opportunities across the company’s groups (Home Entertainment, Theatrical, Television, HBO, Games, Consumer Products, and Digital Distribution).
Mr. Wu commented about Aubrey’s hiring: ‟I am delighted with the appointment of Mark Aubrey as the CEO of Catheon Gaming and look forward to working alongside Mark to lead Catheon Gaming into its exciting next phase of growth. Mark brings deep world-class gaming expertise at the highest level, having led the highly relevant APAC division of the world’s most successful gaming developer and publisher.”
Blockchain Shaping the Future of Gaming
Founded in September 2021, Catheon Gaming has become one of the fastest-growing integrated blockchain gaming and entertainment companies in the world. With over 240 employees, the full end-to-end platform offers world-class technical, publishing, and partnership capabilities across blockchains. The firm partners with leading game developers and IP-holders to incubate and launch “best-in-class” blockchain games and bring them to audiences at the local grassroots.
With Aubrey’s appointment, Catheon Gaming is taking steps to consolidate its place in blockchain gaming in the world.
Increasing interest and investment in blockchain games in the industry have attracted the attention of many market players. The concept of ‘play-to-earn’ is recognized as the future of gaming, and the likes of Catheon Gaming are trying to be ahead of the curve to see consumers on the street playing and earning via their platforms wherever they are.
Interest rate hikes and runaway inflation has continued to engulf the investment scene, given that the global economy finds itself on rocky grounds based on factors like the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
To tame rising inflation, various governments have resorted to increasing interest rates, which have had detrimental effects on the financial markets. For example, the Federal Reserve (Fed) raised the interest rate by 75 basis points (bps) earlier this month, a scenario that was last seen in 1994.
Traditionally, institutional investors were heavily inclined toward stocks in the financial scene, but they have spread their wings to include crypto in their portfolios.
With macroeconomic factors like interest rate hikes affecting both stocks and crypto, this begs the question: are institutional investments propelling the correlation between the two markets?
What triggered institutional investors to enter the crypto scene?
With the onset of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in early 2020, global economic turmoil emerged based on massive layoffs as social distancing and travel restrictions took effect.
As a result, governments like that of the United States adopted financial initiatives like quantitative easing or printing more money to caution their citizens against the economic effects triggered by the pandemic. For instance, the American administration printed more than $6 trillion for this purpose.
As many investors faced an uncertain future, cryptocurrencies emerged as a leading alternative to fill the void as hedges against inflation in the long term, and institutional investors were not left behind. Therefore, before the onset of the pandemic, institutional investors’ presence in the crypto space was not felt as retail investors dominated the market, but this has now changed.
For instance, MicroStrategy, a Nasdaq-listed business intelligence and software firm has been setting the ball rolling in institutional investments with its Bitcoin holdings surpassing 129,000 BTC.
Institutional investors also played an instrumental role in enabling Bitcoin to breach the then all-time high (ATH) of $20K in December 2020 after trying to break this zone for at least three years.
While payments giants like PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard have already set foot in the crypto sector, institutional investments can no longer be said to be operating in oblivion in this space.
For instance, PayPal recently upgraded its crypto wallet capabilities, enabling users to send supported digital assets to other wallets.
How deep-rooted is the correlation between crypto and stocks?
A notable trend has been happening in the market whenever investors forfeit stocks based on factors like surging inflation because Bitcoin’s price has also fallen.
Last year, Santiment acknowledged that as the S&P 500 index experienced mild drops, Bitcoin followed suit. The market insight provider explained:
“Over the past month, Bitcoin and the S&P 500 have been correlating quite strongly, and that includes the mild decline over the past couple of days. Meanwhile, the inverse correlation between BTC and gold’s price has calmed down significantly.”
The S&P 500 Index, or the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, is a market-capitalization-weighted index of the 500 largest publicly-traded companies in the United States.
In April this year, the 30-day correlation between Bitcoin and tech stocks reached a 21-month high. Arcane Research acknowledged:
“Bitcoin’s 30-day correlation to tech stocks has climbed to highs not seen since July 2020. At the same time, Bitcoin’s correlation to gold has plunged to all-time lows.”
The correlation between Bitcoin and S&P 500 has had various experts weigh-in, with some stipulating that the tightened monetary policy was the root cause. For instance, Joe Dipasquale, the CEO of crypto hedge fund BitBull Capital, noted:
“The monetary policy tightening is causing investors to reduce their exposure to risk assets, and BTC’s current correlation to the S&P 500 has led it also to drop today.”
As crypto prices plummeted last month, Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at forex exchange company Oanda, opined that a decline in tech stocks triggered the sell-off. During the same time, Mati Greenspan, the CEO of Quantum Economics, stated that the correlation between BTC and S&P 500 had reached a new frustrating all-time high.
Source: Mati Greenspan
After the Fed increased the interest rate by 0.5bps on May 4, a few days later, the crypto market cap dropped by 9.83%, whereas the major stock indexes in the U.S.– the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq Composite – fell to their lowest level since 2020.
Therefore, tightened macroeconomic factors and investor sentiments have been affecting both cryptocurrencies and stocks, and the most likely answer is that institutional investors are behind the scenes.