Dubai Seeks to Become Hub of Metaverse

Dubai has set the ball rolling to improve people’s lives and render creative solutions by positioning itself as the global capital of Web3 through its new blockchain and metaverse technology, according to local media outlet Gulf Today. 

Launched its Metaverse Strategy Plan in July, Dubai sees it as a stepping stone toward attracting new projects and firms to the city as well as boosting global and regional economies. 

The metaverse plan also seeks to propel contributions from the digital currency ecosystem to $4 billion from the present $500 million.

Pratik Rawal, the managing partner at Ascent Partners, pointed out:

“From retail shopping to healthcare and manufacturing, the metaverse is becoming pervasive in countless industries. It is transforming industries by expediting virtual operations seamlessly and offering business opportunities for investors.” 

To bring the world to people’s fingertips, the metaverse seeks to offer blended experience through spatial computing, virtual reality (VR), sensorial tech, and augmented reality (AR). 

Helal Saeed Almarri, the chairman of the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), noted:

“Dubai Metaverse Assembly is a flagship launch that signals Dubai’s readiness to move forward with its metaverse strategy – and industry engagement is at the core of its success.”

The Dubai Metaverse Assembly is an event that is expected to cement the city’s quest to be a major player in Web3 technologies and the metaverse. It is anticipated to hold at least 40 global organizations and 300 delegates.

A recent CNBC report pointed out that Dubai was reaping the dividends of new tech investments because it had laid the grounds for a post-pandemic boom through a business-friendly and low-tax environment.

As a result, Dubai has become a global tech hub with a major catalyst of crypto.

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Global Blockchain Technology Market in BFSI Sector Expected to Hit $4.02B by 2026

The global blockchain technology market in the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector is expected to hit $4.02 billion by 2026, thanks to a surge in FinTech spending, according to ReportLinker. 

The market is expected to record a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.6% during the 2022-2026 forecast period. 

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) is anticipated to be a key driver of the blockchain technology market in the BFSI sector. 

Moreover, the growth of blockchain as a service and quantum computing will prompt notable demand in the market. The report added:

“The market is driven by the increase in FinTech spending, easier access to technology, and disintermediation of banking services.”

The report seeks to offer insights companies need when positioning themselves in the market by scrutinizing vital parameters such as promotions, competition, pricing, and profit. 

Some key players in the blockchain technology market in the BFSI sector include Ripple Labs Inc., Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, Oracle Corp, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., Microsoft Corp, and Coinbase Global Inc., among others.

The report segmented the market into a consortium, private, and public blockchains by type for enhanced insights.

Meanwhile, heightened demand for the worldwide blockchain in the retail market is expected to drive its value past the $3.27 billion mark by 2028, according to a recent report by market research organization Facts and Factors. 

Since blockchain plays an instrumental role in showing the precise location of different products and their safety and reliability, retailers were anticipated to continue embracing this technology. 

The urge for enhanced transaction transparency-based solutions was expected to spur more growth in the worldwide blockchain in the retail market, Facts and Factors added. 

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European Central Bank Considers Rolling Out Blockchain-Powered Bank Transactions

The European Central Bank (ECB) seeks to be ahead of the game by studying how blockchain-based bank transactions will enable more money control even if lenders change to distributed ledgers.

Fabio Panetta, an ECB board member, pointed out that it was fundamental to avert a situation where liquidity and trading would become fragmented if banks were allowed to settle amongst themselves or utilize stablecoins. 

Panetta added:

“Despite the uncertainties surrounding DLT’s potential, we want to be prepared for a scenario where market players adopt DLT for wholesale payments and securities settlement.”

Market participants can use distributed ledger technology (DLT) to verify transactions since a copy of them is kept rather than depending on a trusted party like a central bank. Per the report:

“On top of a digital euro for consumers, the ECB is looking at how it could let banks settle wholesale transactions between them on a distributed ledger, rather than the central bank’s own.”

Based on the popularity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and the underlying blockchain technology, the ECB is one of the global central banks eyeing digital currencies.

For instance, the ECB launched a public consultation on the proposed Digital Euro, Blockchain.News reported. 

On the part of stablecoins, Panetta disclosed that they could jeopardize monetary supremacy. He said:

“Giving stablecoins the ECB’s backing would outsource the provision of central bank money to private entities, endangering monetary sovereignty.”

Panetta added that the ECB sought solutions to bridge the gap between its Target 2 settlement system and private blockchains

Meanwhile, the ECB raised interest rates by 50 basis points (bps), which brought its deposit rates back to zero from -0.5% in July. The hike was a surprise move as economists had anticipated a smaller hike of 25bps.

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Nomura-Backed Digital Asset Firm Komainu Hires Nicolas Bertrand As CEO

Komainu, a regulated digital asset custodian for institutions, on Monday appointed former Italian stock exchange executive Nicolas Bertrand its new CEO. Bertrand’s appointment starts immediately, and he will be based in London.

Bertrand formerly served for more than 10 years at the Italian stock exchange Borsa Italia’s head of derivatives markets and commodities.

As a new CEO at Komainu, Bertrand is expected to drive growth at the company. While the executive has no plans to raise additional funds, he said he will focus on reducing spending, and promoting innovation, according to the report. Bertrand further revealed that Koimanu has provisional approval to operate in Dubai and will seek to get similar licensing for the UK.

Komainu appears trying to hire executives from the traditional finance exchange ecosystem. In April, the firm attempted to recruit the CEO of the London Metal Exchange, Matthew Chamberlain, who eventually opted to remain in the leadership of the metal marketplace amid a nickel crisis associated with a reduced supply of nickel in the market.

Komainu, which was founded in 2022, is a joint venture between Japanese investment bank Nomura, digital asset manager CoinShares, and digital asset security company Ledger. In March last year, Komainu raised $25 million in Series A funding led by hedge fund manager Alan Howard.

In July, Komainu obtained provisional approval to operate in Dubai. The license from the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) enabled the company to provide crypto products and services to institutional clients in Dubai. Komainu, which has already established a strong presence in the Asia-Pacific region, is seeking to expand its business in the Middle East.

Dubai is emerging as a key player in the crypto world. In March, the city established VARA and since then has awarded licenses to crypto exchanges such as FTX Europe, Binance,, and Bybit, among others.  Dubai’s emergence as a crypto hub has been accelerated by tougher regulations in key crypto centres like Singapore, where the city-state’s central bank and financial regulators have heightened crackdown on some crypto activity.

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Controversial Entrepreneur Sifu is Back with New DeFi Lending Protocol Forked from Aave

DefiLlama- a DeFi TVL aggregator, announced on Monday that Sifu, the pseudonymous co-founder of failed Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX, has launched a new decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol called UwU Lend.

UwU Lend is forked from lending giant Aave, a liquidity market that offers depositing and borrowing, DefiLlama stated. Users can borrow against the platform’s native token, UWU and an algorithmic stablecoin named Magic Internet Money (MIM). In other words, users earn interest on deposits and pay interest to borrow.

The project went live on Sep. 21 and has already secured $57.5 million in total value locked (TVL). UwU is different from other lending protocols. The DeFi platform accepts collateral not available on other lending protocols like Aave and Compound — users can borrow against tokens like Sifu’s own SIFU and the over-collateralized stablecoin MIM.

Why the public finds it difficult to accept Sifu

What makes this report interesting is that Sifu’s reappearance comes after a few difficult years following the collapse of QuadrigaCX.

In January, Sifu, whose real name is Michael Patryn, was revealed to be one of the co-founders of a notorious Canadian crypto exchange that defrauded investors of more than $190 million in 2019.

During that time, the pseudonymous treasury manager for decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol, Wonderland, was revealed as Michael Patryn. Wonderland felt the heat after its users revealed its Treasury Head, Michael Patryn, also known as Sifu or 0xSifu.

Wonderland founder Daniele Sestagalli responded to the criticism, stating he was aware of the situation. But he chose to overlook it based on believing that an individual’s past does not determine their future. However, his view was not received well by investors, who remained sceptical of Patryn’s involvement with the project, especially as his role relates to funding management.

Despite Sestagalli’s initial support for Patryn, upon reflection, he later asked Patryn to step down until a community vote determined whether he could stay on. But in early February, Wonderland launched a vote and unanimously passed a decision to remove Sifu from his position as treasurer.

Patryn co-founded Canadian exchange QuadrigaCX, which went bankrupt in 2019 amid suspicious circumstances, including the death of its CEO, Gerald Cotten. QuadrigaCX was founded by Gerald Cotten and Patryn in 2013 and quickly became one of the largest crypto exchanges by trading volumes in Canada. But in 2019, the exchange turned out to be a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors’ crypto funds worth over 190 million in connection to the death of its CEO, Gerald Cotten.

Patryn has changed his name on several occasions to conceal his identity. He has been previously convicted of credit card fraud and pleaded guilty to several related offences in the early 2000s.

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Hacker Steals $950,000 from Crypto Vanity Address as Exploits Continue

According to PeckShield, a blockchain security firm, a hacker has stolen $950,000 in Ether (ETH) from an Ethereum “vanity address” generated with a tool known as Profanity. The matter was reported on Monday.

The hacker stole 732 Ethereum on September 25 and sent it to the authorized digital currency blending administration Cyclone Money, as indicated by on-chain data from PeckShield. Here the funds were blended in with other cryptocurrencies and removed to the programmer’s own wallet.

The hack was done through weaknesses associated with the popular Profanity vanity address generator. While vanity addresses are made through an instrument called Obscenity, this strategy for generating such addresses makes them simpler to penetrate through a beast force assault. The penetration requires a ton of processing power and may be counterbalanced by how much cryptographic money is in the wallet.

In the aftermath of the attacks, the developers’ team behind Profanity took steps to ensure that no one continued using the tool.

The exploit was done in a similar way Wintermute was exploited last week. On Tuesday, September 20, the U.K.-based algorithmic crypto market maker Wintermute was hacked and lost $162.2 million in DeFi operations. A vulnerable private key generated by the Profanity app was attacked in the Wintermute hack.

The Profanity vulnerability has been known since January. Still, the decentralized exchange 1inch Network disclosed the apparent risk on September 13 and warned Twitter crypto community members about the risks facing the Profanity wallets.

Last week on September 18, attackers executed a similar hack that saw $3.3 million worth of cryptocurrencies stolen from users of a vanity Ethereum wallet. The hacker managed to steal the tokens from a number of Ethereum addresses that were generated with the Profanity tool.

According to Certik blockchain cybersecurity company, about $273.9 million has been lost this year because of compromised private keys, making the method one of the largest attack vectors.

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FTX Wins Bid to Take Over Bankrupt Voyager’s Assets

Digital-asset exchange FTX will now acquire the assets of bankrupt crypto brokerage Voyager Digital Ltd.

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FTX took over the assets after winning an auction with a bid of about $50 million, the information was shared by people familiar with the matter.

The digital-asset exchange is controlled by billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried.

The purchase has come after several earlier attempts by the FTX to bail out or acquire Voyager, according to Bloomberg. 

New York-based Voyager had about 3.5 million users at the end of March, and 1.19 million funded accounts.

Former Wall Street Journal reporter Liz Hoffman broke the news on Twitter about FTX winning the auction and the acquisition of Voyager. She also shared price details, citing people she did not identify.

“Crypto exchange FTX is the winning bidder for bankrupt crypto lender Voyager, ppl familiar said. Purchase price of ~$50m but could eventually be twice that if AUM and other milestones are hit,” she tweeted.

Voyager filed for bankruptcy protection in July. It did so after a failed attempt by Alameda Research to bail it out with a revolving line of credit. Alameda Research is a trading house affiliated with FTX.

Soon after that attempt, FTX and Alameda disclosed a joint bid for Voyager. However, Voyager called it a “low-ball” offer and declined the attempt. While in September, Alameda said it will return about $200 million worth of Bitcoin and Ether it had borrowed from Voyager by the end of the month.

Besides Voyager, Bankman-Fried has bought several distressed crypto firms, through which he has scooped of customers and valuable technologies at a cheaper price.

Bankman-Fried is estimated to own more than 50% off FTX, 70% of FTX US, and almost all of Alameda.

Crypto platform BlockFi was also under FTX’s acquisition radar earlier this year, along with a potential takeover of Robinhood Markets Inc., where Bankman-Fried owns a stake. 

According to a source, FTX is in the process of raising a $1 billion funding round. The deal has not closed yet or been made public, the source familiar with the deal added.

Reportedly, negotiations are ongoing and confidential, and the company will raise as much as $1 billion in order to keep the previous valuation of $32 billion, but conditions could be changed, according to sources.

As reported by Blockchain.News on Feb 1, FTX Derivatives Exchange has concluded its Series C funding round, which raised $400 million to increase its valuation to $32 billion. Current existing investors include Singapore’s Temasek, SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, and Tiger Global.

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Binance Assists in Recouping Fund for Vicitims of Contra Tech Fraud

Binance exchange has announced it is heavily involved in helping the victims of Contract Tech fraud from back in 2017/18 to recoup their lost funds.


For the past couple of years, the digital currency ecosystem has been experiencing quite a lot of cybercrime activities, with most victims left to count their losses despite government intervention in some cases. In the case of Contra Tech, the United States government has helped recoup as many as 100,000 ETH tokens belonging to as many as 170,000 victims. 

As planned by the government, the money will be used to fund a remission pool from which these victims will be compensated. With the plans all set, a major drawback is in identifying the true victims that should be entitled to repayment.

Herein is where Binance said it is helping the government to identify these victims, thus increasing the likelihood of assisting them to recover their lost assets. 

“We don’t tolerate crime in any way, and we’re proud to work with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to reach the victims of the Centra Tech fraud,” said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao. “We are thrilled that tens of thousands of users may be getting their money back. Protecting users has always been our top focus, and we’ve greatly advanced our capabilities to do so since Centra Tech’s fraud occurred five years ago. 

We continue collaborating proactively with regulators, law enforcement, and other stakeholders to create a safe and well-regulated crypto ecosystem that brings the benefits of modern finance to everyone. The DOJ’s success, in this case, is an extremely important step forward for our quickly-maturing industry.”

Binance plays a frontline role in combating crime in the broader crypto ecosystem. The trading platform helped Ronin Bridge to recover as much as $5.8 million when it was hacked by the Lazarus Group back in May. As a member of different crime outfits in the crypto space, Binance is committed to keeping the industry as safe as possible.

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Crypto Fugitive Kwon Denies Hiding from Authorities

Terraform Labs co-founder has denied being in hiding after South Korean authorities asked Interpol to issue a red notice for his arrest.

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“Yeah, as I said, I’m making zero effort to hide. I go on walks and malls, no way none of CT hasn’t run into me the past couple weeks,” Do Kwon tweeted.

The red notice has exposed hugely risky practices in the digital assets industry.

Kwon faces South Korean charges over a $60 billion cryptocurrency wipeout. 

According to prosecutors in Seoul, law enforcement globally has been requested to locate and arrest the 31-year-old Kwon.

The red notice came after a South Korean court issued a warrant for Kwon’s arrest on Sept 14, and days later, after he claimed he was not on the run, South Korean prosecutors asked Interpol to issue a red notice against him.

Kwon moved to Singapore from South Korea earlier this and until recently, his whereabouts showed that he was still in the city-state. However, his location has become unknown after the local police on Sept 17 said that he was no longer in the city-state.

Kwon and five other Terraform Labs executives face allegations that they breached capital markets laws in South Korea. They were issued an arrest warrant on Sept 13 from the court in Seoul for allegedly violating the nation’s capital markets law.

The fall of the Terra Platform in May led to the historic collapse of the TerraUSD (UST) stablecoins, which has affected the faith of many people in the digital-asset sector. Currently, the crypto sector still remains rattled by the downfall of the stablecoin, and recovery is still under process.

The ecosystem collapsed when TerraUSD – also known as UST – crumbled from its dollar peg and brought down the ecosystem he had built, after which the prices of both tokens tumbled to near zero, a shadow of the combined $60 billion they once controlled.

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Russia Plans to Use Digital Rouble In Settlements with China, Says Lawmaker

A senior Russian lawmaker disclosed on Monday that Russia plans to use the CBDC in mutual settlements with China after the country launches a digital rouble early next year, as it seeks to reduce the US’ global financial hegemony. 

The Bank of Russia is looking to facilitate settlements in the digital Ruble in 2023.

Sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine have reduced Russia’s access to large tons of global financial market infrastructure. The Bank of Russia is already working to connect all Russian banks to the digital Ruble next year as it fast-tracks plans to circumvent sanctions.

“With that in mind, Russia is on the hunt for alternative means of carrying out transactions,” said Anatoly Aksakov, head of the financial committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament, in an interview with Russia’s parliamentary newspaper.

Aksakov further stated that the next step for the digital rouble would be to launch it for mutual settlements with China, which has already tested its digital yuan.

“If we launch this, then other countries will begin to actively use it going forward, and America’s control over the global financial system will effectively end,” Aksakov stated.

Western countries are trying to isolate Russia. As a result, cooperation with Beijing has become increasingly important for Moscow. The two countries have strengthened trade, and Russian firms have begun issuing debt in yuan.

“The topic of digital financial assets, the digital rouble and cryptocurrencies are currently intensifying in society, as Western countries are imposing sanctions and creating problems for bank transfers, including in international settlements,” Aksakov added. He further said the digital direction is key because financial flows can bypass systems controlled by unfriendly nations.

Why does Russia embrace crypto?

Early this month, Russia revealed that it is discussing with several friendly countries about launching clearing platforms for cross-border settlements in stablecoins. On September 6, Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseyev disclosed that the nation is currently working with several countries to create bilateral platforms so as not to use Dollars and Euros.

Russia has been known for its hard stance against using cryptocurrencies, while the Bank of Russia has been pushing for all crypto activities to be banned in the country. In July, President Vladimir Putin signed a law prohibiting digital payments.

But that is set to change soon as the country hopes that legislation embracing cryptocurrency will emerge this year. The Finance Ministry and the Bank of Russia recently agreed that it is impossible to do without cross-border settlements in cryptocurrency in the current environment, where the country has been sanctioned due to its invasion of Ukraine.

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