Animoca Brands refutes claims of scaling back metaverse fund target and plummeting valuation

Animoca Brands, a venture capital firm and Web3 game developer, has refuted recent claims that it has scaled back its metaverse fund target by $200 million, or 20%, amid volatility in the crypto market and instability in the banking sector. The firm also downplayed suggestions that its valuation has plummeted from $6 billion as of July 2022 to roughly $2 billion in March 2023.

The claims were reported by Reuters on March 24, citing anonymous “people familiar with the matter,” who alleged that Animoca initially halved its $2 billion metaverse fund target in January and recently cut it another 20% to $800 million. The fund was announced in November 2022 to allocate capital to mid-to-late-stage startups with a metaverse focus, and Animoca co-founder and chairman Yat Siu outlined at the time that the fund target was between $1 billion and $2 billion, depending on how much capital was raised.

While Animoca acknowledged that the banking collapses in the United States have had an impact on available venture capital, the firm stressed that the final amount raised for the fund has yet to be determined. “When the raise is concluded, we will inform the market with the appropriate details, including the final size of this fund,” the firm stated.

Regarding the company’s valuation, Animoca asserted that the figures reported by Reuters and “two other” unnamed sources were inaccurate. The firm argues that its total market cap is not fully represented by the data from PrimaryMarkets, where its shares have traded since being delisted from the Australian Stock Exchange in March 2020.

Animoca terminated its arrangement with PrimaryMarkets in the second half of 2020, but the platform continued to trade its shares. The firm stated that “trading volume is far too low to provide the price accuracy you would find on an actual primary market.”

While the claims made in the Reuters report remain unverified, they highlight the impact of recent events on the crypto market and fundraising efforts. Animoca’s stance suggests that the firm is still confident in its ability to raise capital for its metaverse fund and that its valuation is higher than what has been reported. However, it remains to be seen how successful the fundraising efforts will be and whether Animoca will meet its original target for the fund.


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CryptoPunk NFT Accidentally Sent to Burn Address

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have taken the world by storm in recent years. These unique digital assets, which are stored on the blockchain, have opened up new possibilities for artists, collectors, and investors alike. NFTs can represent anything from artwork to music, and their ownership is recorded on the blockchain, making them easy to buy, sell, and trade.

One of the most popular types of NFTs are CryptoPunks, which are a collection of 10,000 unique 8-bit characters that were released in 2017. Each CryptoPunk has its own distinct attributes, and some are more rare and valuable than others. CryptoPunks have become highly sought-after by collectors and investors, with some selling for millions of dollars.

Brandon Riley, an NFT collector and investor, recently acquired CryptoPunk #685 for 77 ETH (approximately $135,000 USD) with the intention of holding onto it for the long term. However, as an experienced investor, Riley also recognized the importance of procuring new NFTs before the crypto market takes off into a new bull market. He wanted to use his CryptoPunk as collateral to borrow money and invest in new NFTs.

To do this, Riley attempted to wrap his CryptoPunk using a technique known as tokenization. Tokenization involves locking an NFT in a smart contract and creating a new token that represents the value of the NFT. This token can then be used as collateral for loans or other financial transactions.

However, in the process of tokenizing his CryptoPunk, Riley made a fatal mistake. Instead of sending the NFT to the smart contract, he accidentally sent it to a burn address, which is a wallet that permanently deletes any assets sent to it. The CryptoPunk was gone, forever erased from circulation.

Riley was devastated by his mistake. He had not intended to sell or trade the CryptoPunk, and he had lost a valuable asset in the process. However, he also recognized the importance of using the incident as a learning opportunity for others in the NFT community. In an interview with CoinDesk, Riley stated, “I want people to learn from my mistake, to be more careful when dealing with NFTs, and to think twice before taking any action.”

The accidental destruction of CryptoPunk #685 serves as a cautionary tale for anyone involved in the NFT market. While these digital assets can be lucrative and exciting to collect and invest in, they also come with significant risks. Managing NFTs requires attention to detail, technical knowledge, and an understanding of the potential consequences of any action taken. As the NFT market continues to grow and evolve, it is crucial for collectors and investors to approach it with caution and care.


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Sony Files Patent for NFT Transfer Framework

Through the years, Sony Interactive Entertainment, the company that owns the PlayStation brand, has shown that it is interested in virtual currencies such as bitcoin and ethereum by entering into a number of agreements and registering trademarks in connection with these cryptocurrencies. These actions demonstrate that Sony Interactive Entertainment is interested in virtual currencies. Bitcoin and ethereum are two examples of virtual currencies. The signing of agreements and the application for registration of trademarks are examples of this kind of action. The industry behemoth that focuses on video games has taken a number of steps recently, the most recent of which was to submit a patent application for a non-fungible token (NFT) architecture. This activity was the most recent phase that the firm completed in its process. By using this framework, the transfer and exploitation of digital assets across a broad range of gaming platforms would be simplified. This would be a beneficial outcome. In the application for a patent, the invention that is being suggested is referred to as a “NFT framework for transferring and using digital assets between game platforms.” Its name originates from the in-depth technical explanation provided for the innovation. If the infrastructure that is outlined in the application for the patent were to be put into place, users would be able to move and use their digital assets in a manner that is not only streamlined but also secure. This would be possible if the infrastructure were to be put into place. The patent application includes a comprehensive description of the system’s architecture. The creation and maintenance of NFTs would become achievable on a variety of different gaming platforms if this architecture were to be used. In light of the proliferation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the gaming industry, Sony’s efforts to create a framework for the transfer of NFTs might put the corporation in a position where it can become a market leader in this particular sector. This is due to the fact that the gaming industry has seen an increase in the number of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). This would be a response to the fact that non-traditional bets are getting more and more popularity in the gaming industry. In other words, this would be a reaction.


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Arbitrum Discord Server Hacked for Phishing Attack

Arbitrum, a blockchain platform that aims to provide fast and low-cost transactions, recently experienced a security breach on its official Discord server. On March 25, security firm CetriK warned the crypto community about a possible phishing attack being circulated through the server. According to reports, a hacked Discord account belonging to one of Arbitrum’s developers was used to share a fake announcement with a phishing link.

The phishing message on Discord offered users “the opportunity to re-claim an additional stake in Arbitrum DAO Governance,” citing issues during the initial token claim drive. However, the URL supporting the announcement contained a misspelling of Arbitrum as “Arbtirum,” which is a common tactic used by hackers in phishing attacks. Clicking on the link typically leads unsuspecting users to a fake website that prompts them to enter sensitive information, such as their wallet’s private key.

As of now, Arbitrum has not released an official statement regarding the incident. Investors are advised to avoid interacting with the announcement until further clarification is provided. It is essential to remain vigilant against unrealistic claims and deceptions as hackers continue to exploit the hype surrounding cryptocurrency.

Meanwhile, two airdrop hunters were able to take advantage of the situation and collect approximately $3.3 million worth of ARB tokens. Airdrops are promotional events where crypto projects distribute free tokens to users who complete certain tasks, such as sharing a post on social media or joining a Telegram group. However, it is crucial to exercise caution when participating in airdrops, as scammers often impersonate legitimate projects to steal users’ personal information or funds.

In recent years, the crypto community has seen an increase in phishing attacks and other types of cybercrime. As the value of cryptocurrencies continues to rise, so does the incentive for hackers to target investors and platforms. It is crucial to follow best security practices, such as using strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and avoiding suspicious links and emails. By remaining vigilant and informed, users can protect themselves from potential threats and enjoy the benefits of the crypto revolution.


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Venezuela Shuts Down Crypto Mining Operations

Venezuela, a country known for its volatile political climate, has recently made headlines for shutting down several crypto mining facilities throughout the country. According to reports from local media outlets and tweets from Venezuela’s National Association of Cryptocurrencies, mining operations were ceased in the states of Lara, Carabobo, and Bolívar in the past few days. Although it is unclear how many crypto firms were affected by the shutdown, several crypto exchanges were also ordered to cease their operations.

The closure of crypto mining facilities is believed to be part of an ongoing investigation into corruption involving Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), and the country’s national crypto department. The Venezuelan government has been grappling with the financial crisis and hyperinflation, leading many to turn to cryptocurrencies as a more stable investment option. However, the mining of cryptocurrencies requires a significant amount of energy, which is often subsidized by the government. As a result, the shutdown of crypto mining facilities could be seen as a way to conserve energy and resources amidst Venezuela’s financial struggles.

Additionally, the corruption investigation involving PDVSA and the national crypto department has been ongoing for several years. PDVSA has been accused of embezzlement and money laundering, with the country’s former oil minister, Rafael Ramirez, at the center of the investigation. The national crypto department, which was created in 2018 to oversee the country’s cryptocurrency operations, has also been under scrutiny for alleged corruption and mismanagement of funds.

The shutdown of crypto mining operations in Venezuela has raised concerns among crypto investors and traders, who are now questioning the government’s stance on cryptocurrencies. While some experts believe that the shutdown is simply a way to conserve energy and resources, others believe that it is part of a larger crackdown on cryptocurrencies in the country. The Venezuelan government has been known to take drastic measures to control the country’s economy, including imposing strict capital controls and devaluing the country’s currency.

In conclusion, the shutdown of crypto mining operations in Venezuela is just one of many challenges facing the country’s cryptocurrency industry. The ongoing corruption investigation involving PDVSA and the national crypto department, coupled with the country’s economic struggles, has created an uncertain future for cryptocurrencies in Venezuela. It remains to be seen how the government will navigate these challenges and what impact they will have on the country’s crypto industry.


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Euler Finance Hacker Returns Majority of Stolen Funds

In a dramatic turn of events, the hacker behind the $196 million exploit on the lending protocol Euler Finance has returned the majority of the stolen assets. According to on-chain data, on March 25th, the exploiter returned 51,000 ETH and 7,737 ETH worth over $101 million at the time of writing. The hacker had previously sent 3,000 ETH to the protocol on March 18th, worth nearly $5.4 million at the time. However, the exploiter still controls some of the stolen assets.

The Euler Finance hack took place on March 13th, when the hacker carried out multiple transactions, stealing nearly $196 million from the protocol in a flash loan attack. This attack is considered the largest decentralized finance (DeFi) hack of 2023. The stolen assets included 8.8 million Dai (DAI), 849,000 Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), 85 million Staked Ether (stETH), and 34 million USD Coin (USDC).

After a few days, the hacker sent an on-chain message to Euler Finance, calling for an agreement with the protocol. In the message, they stated that they had “no intention of keeping what is not ours” and that they wanted to make things easy on those affected. The protocol had previously tried to negotiate with the exploiter, requesting that they return 90% of the stolen funds within 24 hours or face legal action. However, no response was received, and Euler Finance offered a $1 million bounty reward for any information leading to the capture of the exploiter.

The hacker has made other transactions, including a transfer of 1,000 ETH Smart Staking (NETH) worth approximately $1.65 million at the time, through sanctioned crypto mixer Tornado Cash. However, blockchain analytics firm PeckShield reported that around 100 ETH was sent to a wallet address likely owned by one of the victims. An on-chain message sent by the wallet address had earlier pleaded for the attacker to return their “life savings.”

The return of the majority of the stolen funds is good news for Euler Finance and its users, but the incident highlights the need for better security measures in the DeFi space. Despite the growing popularity of DeFi, the industry remains vulnerable to hacks and exploits. The Euler Finance hack is just the latest in a series of high-profile attacks on DeFi protocols, and it is a stark reminder that investors must remain vigilant and cautious when participating in DeFi.


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US authorities consider expanding credit line for banks

In an effort to provide First Republic Bank with a time buffer to address balance sheet concerns, US authorities are reportedly deliberating on expanding an emergency credit line for banks, according to sources familiar with the matter. This option is one of several being explored by officials, who are assessing what support, “if any,” can be provided to the bank.

According to a Bloomberg report released on March 26, First Republic Bank has been deemed “stable enough to operate” by regulators without the need for immediate intervention. However, efforts are being made by the bank to shore up its balance sheet while authorities determine what additional support can be provided.

The sources further claimed that while the expansion of the Federal Reserve’s liquidity offerings would be done in accordance with banking laws, which require that it be “broadly based” and not aimed at benefiting a specific bank, they also warned that the adjustment could be made in a way that ensures First Republic Bank benefits.

The current situation is a result of First Republic Bank facing concerns about its balance sheet, which has led US authorities to consider what assistance can be provided. As of March 26, no decision had been made by US authorities about whether to expand the emergency credit line for banks.

First Republic Bank is a San Francisco-based bank that was founded in 1985 and specializes in private banking, business banking, and wealth management. With over 100 locations throughout the US, the bank has assets of approximately $203 billion, as of December 31, 2021.

It is worth noting that the expansion of the Federal Reserve’s liquidity offerings would not be the first time that such action has been taken. In 2020, the Fed expanded its emergency lending program to support the US economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In conclusion, US authorities are reportedly exploring the expansion of an emergency credit line for banks to provide First Republic Bank with a time buffer to address balance sheet concerns. While the bank is deemed stable enough to operate without immediate intervention, efforts are being made to shore up its balance sheet, and authorities are assessing what additional support can be provided. The expansion of the Federal Reserve’s liquidity offerings is one option being explored, and no decision has been made as of March 26.


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“Tim Draper’s Bitcoin Diversification Advice”

American venture capitalist and entrepreneur Tim Draper has advised business founders to diversify their cash holdings in the wake of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). In a report directed at business founders, Draper suggests that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can serve as a hedge against a “domino run” on banks and overbearing government intervention. He notes that businesses can no longer rely on a single bank or governing body to manage their cash, and that diversification is essential.

To that end, Draper recommends that business founders keep at least six months of short-term cash in two separate bank accounts: one with a local bank and another with an international bank. In addition, he advises keeping at least two payrolls worth of cash in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Draper believes that these preventative steps are necessary because, for the “first time in many years,” governments are seizing control of banks, and governments themselves are “at risk of becoming insolvent.”

Draper’s advice comes at a time when the collapse of SVB has caused significant uncertainty in the tech industry. SVB, which was once known for its support of startup companies, has recently faced a number of challenges, including a significant data breach and an investigation into its lending practices. This has left many startups scrambling to find alternative sources of funding and cash management solutions.

According to Draper, many startups have already sought emergency relief from him after SVB and other banks shut down. He believes that the collapse of SVB serves as a warning to businesses that they need to be prepared for any eventuality. By diversifying their cash holdings and embracing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, businesses can ensure that they are not overly reliant on any one institution or government.

Draper has long been an advocate for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, and his recent advice to business founders reflects his belief that these digital assets are the future of finance. He has previously predicted that the price of Bitcoin could reach $250,000 by 2023, and he has invested heavily in a number of Bitcoin-related startups.

Overall, Draper’s advice serves as a reminder to businesses that they need to be proactive in managing their cash holdings and prepared for any eventuality. By diversifying their cash holdings and embracing cryptocurrencies, businesses can protect themselves against the uncertainty and volatility of the current financial landscape.


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Fujitsu Files Trademark for Crypto Brokerage Services

Japanese multinational tech company Fujitsu has filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a new branding that intends to offer a range of financial services, including cryptocurrency brokerage services. According to the official document filed on March 16, the proposed mark consists of the stylized word “FUJITSU” with a sideways s-shaped swirl over the “J” and “I.” The new branding would support various financial facilities, such as accepting deposits, financing loans, financial management, and the exchange of crypto assets.

Fujitsu has been increasingly interested in the Web3 technology space, with the launch of its Web3 acceleration platform in February 2023. The platform aims to support startups and partner companies in creating a diverse ecosystem of Web3 applications that span a range of use cases, including digital content rights management, business transactions, contracts, and processes. The move demonstrates Fujitsu’s commitment to driving innovation in the emerging Web3 industry.

The company’s decision to offer cryptocurrency brokerage services comes as financial regulators in Japan call for stricter banking rules for the crypto sector. In January 2023, the Deputy Director General of the Financial Services Agency’s Strategy Development and Management Bureau, Mamoru Yanase, urged global regulators to introduce tighter banking rules to improve the crypto industry’s governance and internal controls. He acknowledged that the issue wasn’t with crypto technology itself but with the “loose governance, lax internal controls, and the absence of regulation and supervision” that led to recent scandals in the sector.

Fujitsu’s move into the crypto brokerage services market signals its recognition of the growing importance of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in the financial industry. The new branding could help Fujitsu establish itself as a leading provider of crypto-related financial services, leveraging its extensive expertise and resources in the technology sector.

In conclusion, Fujitsu’s trademark application for cryptocurrency brokerage services and other financial facilities demonstrates the company’s commitment to the emerging Web3 industry and its growing interest in cryptocurrencies. The move could also help Fujitsu establish itself as a leading provider of crypto-related financial services and position itself at the forefront of innovation in the financial technology sector.


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Terraform Labs Co-Founder Do Kwon Appeals Extended Detention

Do Kwon, the co-founder of Terraform Labs, was recently arrested at Podgorica airport in Montenegro for attempting to fly to Dubai using fake documents. Following his arrest, the Montenegrin court approved a 30-day extension to Kwon’s detention period, which is longer than the usual 72-hour period allotted by authorities.

Kwon’s legal representative has confirmed that they will be appealing the court’s decision to extend his detention time. The decision was made due to the high possibility of Kwon attempting to escape, as he is a foreign national whose identity was not clearly identified.

This is not the first time that Kwon has been suspected of moving between countries. Since the collapse of the Terra ecosystem, South Korean authorities have been investigating Kwon’s movements between Singapore, Dubai, and Serbia. On March 23, just a few hours after Kwon’s arrest in Montenegro, United States prosecutors in New York charged the entrepreneur with fraud.

Terraform Labs is a blockchain company that focuses on building decentralized financial infrastructure. The company’s native cryptocurrency, LUNA, has experienced significant growth in the past year, with a market capitalization of over $12 billion. Kwon’s arrest has raised concerns about the impact on the company and the cryptocurrency market as a whole.

The arrest has also shed light on the issue of using fake documents to travel. This is not the first time that a high-profile individual has been caught using fake documents, and it highlights the need for stricter regulations and checks at airports. Kwon’s case also underscores the importance of verifying the identity of individuals, particularly foreign nationals, to prevent potential security threats.

As Kwon’s case unfolds, it remains to be seen how it will impact the cryptocurrency market and Terraform Labs as a company. The company has not yet released an official statement regarding Kwon’s arrest and charges. However, the situation will likely have significant implications for the company and its stakeholders. It also highlights the need for increased scrutiny and due diligence in the cryptocurrency industry, as it continues to grow and evolve.


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