Bored Ape Yacht Club wins legal battle, Mandala Metaverse selects Polkadot, Square Enix partners with Elixir Games, and Cricket Stars launches on Tezos

Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) creators Yuga Labs have scored a key win in their long-running court battle with Ryder Ripps, the co-creator of copycat NFT project RR/BAYC. Yuga Labs initially filed a complaint against Ryder Ripps and co-founder Jeremy Cahen back in July 2022, alleging that the duo had engaged in trademark infringement, false advertising, and unfair competition, among other things. In a pre-trial summary judgment ruling on April 21, a U.S. district court in central California found that Ripps and Cahen had infringed Yuga Lab’s trademarks with their RR/BAYC NFT collection. The Court further ruled that Yuga Labs is entitled to an injunction and damages, the latter of which will be determined at trial. The case highlights the importance of protecting intellectual property rights in the burgeoning NFT market.

In other news, Mandala Metaverse has chosen Polkadot to host its first major NFT drop on April 28. Mandala Metaverse is a story-based project that has content spanning across TV, graphic novels, gaming, and AR. Its gaming elements have been developed in Epic Game’s Triple-A quality Unreal Engine. The drop, called the “Cryptonauts,” features different avatars that will serve as playable characters in the game. The artwork was illustrated by comic artist Bruce Zick, who has worked on projects for giants such as Disney and Marvel. The decision to take the Cryptonauts NFTs to Polkadot is a significant development for the platform, which is not traditionally known for hosting gaming and NFT projects. The move underscores the potential of Polkadot’s future-proof NFT applications and its ability to offer innovative ways to use NFT assets.

In addition, Square Enix has partnered with Web3 infrastructure firm Elixir Games to bring blockchain gaming to the mainstream. The move was announced on April 19, but specific details on the partnership are sparse at this stage. Elixir Games hosts both traditional and Web3 games on its platform, and also offers Web3 distribution features for its partnered games, such as NFT sales and marketplaces. As such, Square Enix will likely take advantage of those features when launching games via Elixir. This partnership is a significant development for the blockchain gaming industry, as it brings the mainstream gaming industry closer to the world of Web3.

Finally, a free-to-play multiplayer NFT cricket strategy game called “Cricket Stars” has been launched on the Tezos blockchain. The game is being led by Tezos India, an organization that focuses on developing projects on Tezos, in partnership with esports game publisher GoLive Games. The game offers player cards that can be used to affect the game or traded on the marketplace. It also offers player vs player modes, knockout tournaments, and esports tournaments. Despite the name, no licensing deals with actual cricket stars appear to be in place. The launch of Cricket Stars on the Tezos blockchain is a positive development for the platform, as it highlights the versatility of the technology in the gaming industry.

Overall, the developments in the NFT and blockchain gaming space are indicative of a growing interest in Web3 technologies. The Bored Ape Yacht Club legal victory is a significant win for the NFT market, as it reinforces the need for creators to protect their intellectual property rights. The launch of the Cryptonauts NFT drop on Polkadot highlights the platform’s potential for future-proof NFT applications. The Square Enix and Elixir Games partnership brings blockchain gaming closer to mainstream gaming. Finally, the launch of Cricket Stars on Tezos highlights the versatility of blockchain technology in the gaming industry and its potential for broader adoption.

As Web3 technologies continue to evolve and mature, it is likely that we will see more significant developments in the NFT and blockchain gaming space. The integration of these technologies into mainstream industries, such as gaming and entertainment, is an exciting development that could have far-reaching implications for the future of digital content creation and distribution. As more creators and developers experiment with these technologies, it is likely that we will see new and innovative use cases emerge that push the boundaries of what is possible with NFTs and blockchain gaming.


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European Union Introduces Comprehensive Crypto Law

The European Union (EU) has made history by introducing the world’s first comprehensive crypto law. Lawmakers in the EU voted 517-38 in favor of the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) licensing regime, with 18 abstentions. The new law requires crypto wallet providers and exchanges to seek a license to operate across the bloc, and issuers of stablecoins tied to the value of other assets to maintain sufficient reserves. The EU also voted in favor of a separate law known as the Transfer of Funds regulation, which requires crypto operators to identify their customers in a bid to halt money laundering.

The new regulations have been introduced to protect consumers and safeguard financial stability and market integrity. They are expected to apply from next year. In a tweet, the European Commission’s Mairead McGuinness hailed the vote as a “world first” for crypto rules.

According to Stefan Berger, the lawmaker who led negotiations on the law, the EU’s crypto-asset industry now has regulatory clarity that does not exist in countries like the US. “The sector that was damaged by the FTX collapse can regain trust,” Berger said in a statement released by the European Parliament.

The introduction of MiCA puts the EU “at the forefront of the token economy,” said Berger. The EU’s move towards regulating the crypto industry is seen as a positive step in preventing fraudulent activities such as money laundering, which has been a growing concern in the industry. The Transfer of Funds regulation requires crypto operators to identify their customers, which should help to prevent the use of crypto assets for illicit purposes.

However, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) warned that investing in crypto assets is still a risky endeavor with limited safeguards at this stage. The EU agency added that it would announce its timetable for drafting secondary legislation under MiCA in due time.

The introduction of comprehensive crypto regulations by the EU is likely to have implications beyond Europe. Other major jurisdictions may also follow suit, as governments around the world grapple with the challenge of regulating the fast-evolving crypto industry.

In conclusion, the introduction of the Markets in Crypto-Assets licensing regime and the Transfer of Funds regulation by the European Union represents a significant milestone in the regulation of the crypto industry. The move is expected to provide greater regulatory clarity and protection for consumers, while also safeguarding financial stability and market integrity. The EU’s decision to introduce comprehensive crypto regulations is likely to be closely watched by other major jurisdictions around the world.


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Turkish Crypto Exchange Founder Arrested

The founder of Turkish cryptocurrency exchange, Thodex, Faruk Fatih Ozer, has finally been arrested after two years on the run. Ozer was detained by the Istanbul Airport Police Department on April 20, following his arrival at Istanbul Airport from the Albanian capital of Tirana. The 27-year-old is facing charges of fraud and money laundering relating to allegations of an exit scam involving at least $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency stolen from Thodex.

The saga of the Thodex exchange began on April 22, 2021, when the platform abruptly halted trading and withdrawals amid reports of police raids at its offices. Local publications speculated that the suspension was part of an exit scam involving Ozer, who was alleged to have fled Turkey with the stolen cryptocurrency. Interpol subsequently issued a red notice for Ozer, who reportedly ran to Albania.

About a year after Thodex collapsed, Ozer was arrested in Albania in August 2022, and Turkish authorities issued a warrant for his extradition. After several months of legal proceedings, Ozer was finally extradited to Turkey to face charges. The detained founder is expected to undergo health check-ups and then will be taken to the Istanbul Police Department for questioning.

Following the collapse of Thodex, Turkish police detained 62 people over alleged involvement in the exit scam, including some of the then-missing CEO’s siblings. The detainees were charged with fraud, money laundering, and membership of a criminal organization. Turkish authorities have been working with international law enforcement agencies to track down the missing funds, which have been reported to be in various cryptocurrency accounts and exchanges.

The Thodex saga highlights the risks associated with investing in unregulated cryptocurrencies, particularly in countries where the legal and regulatory framework is still evolving. The collapse of Thodex and the subsequent arrest of Ozer has sparked a debate in Turkey about the need for greater oversight and regulation of the cryptocurrency industry. The Turkish government is reportedly working on a new regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, which is expected to be unveiled later this year.

In conclusion, the arrest of Thodex founder Faruk Fatih Ozer marks a significant development in the ongoing investigation into the alleged exit scam involving the Turkish cryptocurrency exchange. While the recovery of the stolen funds remains a challenging task, the arrest of Ozer sends a strong message to other would-be cryptocurrency fraudsters that they cannot evade justice indefinitely.


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Bitget Registers as a Service Provider in Lithuania

The digital currency trading platform Bitget has made public the news that it has been officially registered as a service provider in Lithuania. Because the company in Seychelles has satisfied the compliance criteria set out by the local rules and regulations, it is now authorized to do business in the European nation. The digital asset market in Lithuania is only beginning to develop, and the country has quickly become a refuge for blockchain and cryptocurrency enterprises.

In late 2021, as part of Estonia’s ongoing effort to clamp down on cryptocurrency businesses inside the nation, the authorities cancelled hundreds of operational licenses. As a direct consequence of this, Lithuania has seen a boom in the registration of cryptocurrency companies, with a recent article from Bloomberg stating that this number is expected to climb by a factor of five until the year 2022. As a result, Lithuania’s status as an attractive location for businesses providing services related to cryptocurrencies has been strengthened.

The decision made by Bitget to register as a service provider in Lithuania enables the platform to meet the rising demand for services linked to cryptocurrencies in that nation. The marketplace allows users to engage in a variety of trade activities using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Bitget is able to extend its operations into the European market and deliver its services to a larger client base as a result of the company’s registration in Lithuania.

The Republic of Lithuania’s Central Bank issued rules for cryptocurrency market participants in 2018, demonstrating the country’s proactive approach to the development of its digital asset market. The rules provide light on the legal position of cryptocurrencies and lay out the responsibilities of market participants in a clear and concise manner. This has contributed to the creation of a regulatory framework that is advantageous for cryptocurrency firms who are interested in operating inside the nation.

The registration of Bitget in Lithuania is a good development for the cryptocurrency sector since it reflects the rising interest and demand for digital assets in the European market. This is why the registration of Bitget in Lithuania is considered to be a positive development. It is possible that other cryptocurrency firms will follow Bitget’s example and register as service providers in Lithuania as a result of the favorable legal environment and expanding digital asset industry in the nation of Lithuania.


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AI Companies Respond to Copyright Infringement Claims

On April 18, Stability AI, Midjourney, and DeviantArt issued a response to a lawsuit brought by artists who accused the companies of extensive copyright infringement. The artists claimed that their work was used without permission to train generative AI systems, and that the resulting AI-generated images, created in their styles, were also infringing. The companies filed motions seeking the dismissal of the proposed class-action lawsuit, arguing that the AI-generated images were dissimilar to the artists’ work and that the lawsuit lacked specific information about the allegedly misused photos.

Stability AI, a deep learning, text-to-image model AI company, argued in their filing that the artists “fail to identify a single allegedly infringing output image, let alone one that is substantially similar to any of their copyrighted works.” Midjourney, an AI company that generates images from natural language descriptions, similarly argued that the lawsuit did not “identify a single work by any plaintiff” that it “supposedly used as training data.” DeviantArt, an online community for artists that offers a service enabling users to generate images using Stability AI’s Stable Diffusion system, supported the same arguments as Stability AI, and claimed that it was not responsible for any alleged wrongdoing by the AI companies.

The artists, Sarah Andersen, Kelly McKernan, and Karla Ortiz, filed the lawsuit in January, claiming that their rights had been violated. In accordance with United States case law, copyright holders can establish that the outputs produced by an AI program infringe upon their copyright if the program had access to their works and the resulting outputs are deemed “substantially similar.” The artists alleged that their works were used without permission to train the AI systems, and that the resulting outputs were infringing.

Recent innovations in AI are raising new questions about how copyright law principles such as authorship, infringement, and fair use will apply to content created or used by AI. Generative AI computer programs such as Stability AI’s Stable Diffusion program and Midjourney’s self-titled program are able to generate new images, texts, and other content or outputs in response to a user’s textual prompts or inputs. These generative AI programs are trained to generate such works partly by exposing them to large quantities of existing works such as writings, photos, paintings, and other artworks.

While the use of AI to generate new content offers exciting possibilities, it also raises important legal questions. As AI systems become more sophisticated and capable of generating outputs that resemble existing works, copyright holders may face new challenges in protecting their intellectual property rights. At the same time, AI companies will need to navigate complex legal terrain in order to avoid infringing upon existing copyrights. As the legal landscape evolves, it will be important for artists, AI developers, and legal professionals to work together to establish clear guidelines for the use of AI in creative endeavors.


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Ethereum Network’s Gas Fees Skyrocket Amid Memecoin Frenzy

The Ethereum network has been experiencing a surge in gas fees due to the ongoing memecoin frenzy. As a result, the network’s daily revenue has skyrocketed and has even surpassed that of Bitcoin. However, while some Ethereum proponents celebrate the growing revenue, many others are concerned about the network’s growing congestion and the difficulty in processing transactions.

According to recent reports, there has been an unusual shift in the top 10 gas-burning altcoins. Instead of the usual suspects like ETH, WETH, and USDT, memecoins such as TROLL, APED, and BOBO have become the top 10 spenders. The average gas price for Ethereum transactions as of April 20 was 81.94 gwei, which is a significant increase from 60.82 gwei on April 19 and 44.42 gwei last year.

Independent Ethereum educator Anthony Sassano noted the surge in daily fee revenue of the Ethereum network and pointed out that the network had brought in 28 times the revenue of Bitcoin. He also mentioned Ethereum layer-2 platforms like Arbitrum One that have outperformed the BTC network in terms of daily revenue due to the ongoing meme frenzy.

Ethereum proponents argue that the high gas fee and subsequent higher revenue highlight the network’s growing usability. However, many on Crypto Twitter were quick to point out that the extensive usage they are referring to is just a few thousand users gambling on memecoins. Some users have even paid gas fees as high as a few hundred dollars, while others complained about having to pay a higher gas fee than the actual transaction.

The soaring gas fees were also blamed on a Maximal Extractable Value (MEV) trading bot that is front-running memecoin trades on a massive scale. The bot in question, jaredfromsubway.eth, has been the top gas spender in the last 24 hours, spending 455 ETH ($950,000) and using 7% of the total gas of the network. In the last two months, it has spent more than 3,720 ETH ($7 million) in gas fees and performed more than 180,000 transactions. The Subway-themed bot is using the sandwich trading technique to pocket millions of dollars while congesting the network at the same time.

This situation highlights the need for Ethereum to address its scalability issues and find a long-term solution to address the increasing demand for memecoin trading. The current frenzy may be beneficial for short-term revenue, but it is also causing significant congestion and higher fees for users. The Ethereum network needs to find a balance between profitability and usability to ensure the long-term sustainability of the network.

In conclusion, the growing memecoin frenzy has caused Ethereum’s gas fees to skyrocket and has resulted in a surge of revenue for the network. However, it has also highlighted the growing congestion and difficulty in processing transactions. The Ethereum network needs to find a long-term solution to address its scalability issues and find a balance between profitability and usability to ensure its long-term sustainability.


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Tornado Cash Developer Set to be Released

Alex Pertsev, the developer behind the popular crypto mixing service Tornado Cash, is set to be released from prison after nearly nine months of detention. Pertsev was arrested by Dutch authorities in August last year on suspicion of being involved in money laundering through Tornado Cash, which had dozens of its addresses placed on the OFAC sanctions list by the United States Treasury Department.

The news of Pertsev’s release under surveillance was met with rejoicing in the crypto community, as it allows him to prepare his defense fully. His partner, who has been advocating for his release, expressed regret for the wasted time that he spent in prison, which had a powerful effect on both of their lives.

Pertsev’s case centers around Tornado Cash, a crypto mixing service that makes transactions anonymous and difficult to trace. Crypto mixers such as Tornado Cash are often used to obfuscate the origin of crypto transactions. These platforms mix one cryptocurrency transaction with others and send them to different wallet addresses, making it challenging for authorities to track the flow of funds.

Prosecutors argue that Pertsev acted as a central figure in Tornado Cash’s operation, making him an essential target in the investigation into money laundering. However, Pertsev’s legal team has maintained that he did not do anything wrong and that the platform was merely providing a privacy-enhancing service.

In November, a Dutch court denied Pertsev’s plea to be released under surveillance, citing concerns that he posed a flight risk. His bail was denied again in February. However, with the latest decision to release him under surveillance, Pertsev will now be able to walk around and work on his defense, which was virtually impossible while detained.

The Tornado Cash platform was one of the most popular mixing services before the sanctions were imposed, highlighting the growing trend of crypto users seeking greater privacy and anonymity in their transactions. The case involving Pertsev will be closely watched by those interested in the legal implications of crypto mixing services and their role in facilitating money laundering.

In conclusion, Pertsev’s upcoming release from prison has been welcomed by the crypto community, but his case is far from over. As the use of crypto mixing services continues to gain popularity, regulatory authorities will need to grapple with the legal implications of such platforms and their role in enabling financial crimes.


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Terra co-founder indicted for forging legal documents

Prosecutors in Montenegro have issued indictments to Do Kwon, the former co-founder and CEO of Terraform Labs, for allegedly forging legal documents. Kwon was arrested on March 23 while attempting to board a private plane at an airport in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. According to reports, he was using fake documents while attempting to board a flight to Dubai. Following Kwon’s arrest, Han Chang-jun, Terraform’s former chief financial officer, was also arrested in Podgorica and is facing similar charges.

The Prosecutor’s Office of the State of Podgorica has now indicted Kwon for his alleged involvement in the forgery of legal documents. The Korean industry-focused news agency Block Media reported on April 20 that the Montenegro prosecutors had requested an extension of the detention period for the two former Terraform executives after issuing the indictments.

Meanwhile, Shin Hyun-seung, another co-founder of Terraform, also known as Daniel Shin, is still walking free in South Korea. Local authorities have attempted to arrest Shin, but the Seoul Southern District Court denied the request. After questioning Shin, the court stated that there was little likelihood that he would flee or destroy any evidence related to the fall of Terra.

The news of Kwon’s indictment comes amid global prosecutors reaching major milestones in procedures involving some cryptocurrency executives. On April 20, the Turkish police detained Faruk Fatih Ozer, founder and former CEO of Thodex, who allegedly fled Turkey with $2 billion stolen from the exchange in 2021.

Terraform Labs is a blockchain-based platform that enables the creation of stablecoins pegged to fiat currencies. The company was founded in 2018 by Do Kwon, Daniel Shin, and Ryan John King. The platform’s native token, LUNA, has seen significant growth in recent months, reaching an all-time high of $22.41 on April 4, 2021. Terraform Labs has raised over $25 million in funding to date and has partnerships with several major companies, including Binance and Huobi.

However, the company has faced significant challenges in recent months. In February 2021, the price of LUNA plummeted after the company’s Mirror Protocol was hit by a flash loan attack, resulting in a loss of $370,000. The company has also faced criticism over the high fees associated with using its platform.

Terraform Labs has been actively working to address these issues and has announced several new initiatives in recent weeks. The company is reportedly working on a new stablecoin pegged to the South Korean won, and is also exploring the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on its platform. Despite the challenges, Terraform Labs remains a major player in the cryptocurrency industry and is likely to continue to drive innovation and growth in the sector.


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Radix and LayerZero Partner to Enhance Web3 Interoperability

Radix, a layer-1 protocol, has formed a partnership with LayerZero, an interoperability protocol, with the goal of improving Web3’s compatibility with other protocols. As a result of the integration, cross-chain communication and asset transfers will be made possible inside the Radix ecosystem, which will encourage the cooperation and integration of decentralized apps. (DApps). Users and developers will have a more connected experience as a result of the integration of LayerZero into the Radix ecosystem, which will unleash omnichain potential for decentralized applications and assets.

Interoperability on Web3 has the potential to enable collaboration and integration between different decentralized applications (DApps), which would increase the range of functionalities that may be provided by DApps. Users are able to exploit their assets across several platforms as a result of this feature. Users are able to utilize their non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as loan collateral when a non-fungible token marketplace is integrated with a decentralized finance protocol, for instance. In addition, interoperability makes it possible for decentralized applications (DApps) to make use of the security functions offered by numerous blockchain networks, which in turn helps to improve the overall security posture of these applications.

Interoperability also helps increase the amount of liquidity that is shared, which ultimately results in a larger and more complete liquidity pool for the decentralized ecosystem. This reduces the likelihood of fragmentation of liquidity across the many different blockchain networks, which is to the users’ benefit.

The director of the Radix Foundation, Piers Ridyard, has voiced his excitement about the integration, adding that it would demonstrate the possibilities of cross-chain interoperability. Additionally, he underlined the significance of decentralization, which is one of the guiding ideas of Web3. Interoperability may lessen the power of a single blockchain network, which in turn can help decentralization efforts along those lines.

The integration is scheduled to be live in the second half of 2023, and it is anticipated that users of both platforms would profit from its implementation. Overall, the collaboration between Radix and LayerZero represents a major step toward the realization of Web3 interoperability. This will result in improvements to the scalability, security, and user experience of decentralized ecosystems.


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Web3 users can now register .eth domains with fiat options

Web3 users can now register decentralized .eth domains on the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) protocol using a host of fiat payment options, thanks to a new partnership with MoonPay. The ENS protocol previously only allowed domain registrations through cryptocurrency wallets with Ether (ETH), which was cited as a barrier to entry for prospective Web3 users.

The ENS protocol has launched a new fiat on-ramp for domain registrations through MoonPay on April 20, integrating MoonPay’s service into the ENS website. This will allow users to purchase .eth domains using fiat options such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, as well as debit and credit cards.

In addition to the new payment options, ENS has also launched version 3 of its user interface to streamline sign-ups. This will eliminate the need for multiple transaction approvals previously required with cryptocurrency wallets, making the registration process more user-friendly for new and less experienced users.

According to Brantly Millegan, the ENS lead:

“This allows us to reach those who are either just entering the space or who are not yet comfortable with transacting and would prefer to use the currency and payment form they understand best.”

This is a significant step forward for the ENS protocol and the Web3 ecosystem as a whole, as it removes a major barrier to entry for prospective users who may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with cryptocurrency wallets and Ether.

The upgraded ENS platform is also aimed at expanding its usability beyond its primary use-case of creating human-readable names for wallets to replace numerical addresses typically generated by wallet service providers, platforms, and blockchain protocols.

With the ability to use names to host censorship-resistant websites, ENS has positioned itself as a key player in the fight for decentralization and freedom of speech on the internet. This will allow ENS users to link their .eth domains to conventional domain name service (DNS) addresses already in use, ensuring that their websites remain accessible even in the face of censorship attempts.

Overall, the integration of MoonPay’s fiat payment gateway and the upgrade of the ENS user interface mark a significant milestone in the development of the Web3 ecosystem, making it more accessible and user-friendly for a wider audience. With the ability to use fiat options for domain registrations and host censorship-resistant websites, the ENS protocol is set to become a key infrastructure for the decentralized internet of the future.


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