MARCH 18, 2023
Issue No. 46
Welcome to this week's AtherXplorer, covering the latest in gaming, blockchain, and everything in between.
This week’s top picks include:
- Blockchain & Defi: Arbitrum to Airdrop New Token and Transition to DAO
- Gaming: Nexon Announces MapleStory U and Plans for Web3
- Web3 & Metaverse: KPMG Tech Leaders Interested in Metaverse's Future, Not the Present
- NFTs: Yuga Labs' New Collection Mints Over $10M
- Legal Landscape: Financial Chair Calls for Stablecoin Regulation as USDC Depegs
Blockchain & DeFi Developments
Metamask Addresses Privacy Concerns With New Features for Enhanced Control
MetaMask, the web3 wallet app, has introduced a number of new features aimed at enhancing privacy and giving users more control, according to a blog post by the developer on March 14. The new features come after MetaMask had previously been criticized for allegedly intruding on users' privacy.
Previously, MetaMask used its Infura RPC node to connect to Ethereum automatically, whenever a user first set up the wallet. Under the new version of the MetaMask extension, labeled "10.25.0," users are prompted with the option to use an "advanced configuration" during setup. Choosing this option reveals a number of settings that can be configured, including one that allows the user to choose a different RPC node than the default Infura one.
In addition, the "advanced configuration" dialogue box also allows users to turn off incoming transactions, phishing detection, and enhanced token detection. These features require data to be sent to third parties, such as Etherscan and jsDeliver, according to the app's UI. Users concerned about privacy can now turn off these features during setup if they want to.
The new mobile version of MetaMask also includes privacy enhancements. Previously, the app did not allow users to connect one account to a Web3 app while leaving another account disconnected. However, the new version allows users to select which particular accounts they want to connect to an app, without disclosing the other addresses they control.
According to the post, MetaMask has always intended to preserve privacy for users and believes these new features align with these values. The developer stated that it believes in equipping its community with the founding principles that guide its development, which include true ownership and privacy.
Overall, the new features introduced by MetaMask aim to enhance privacy and give users more control over their data. Users can now choose different RPC nodes during setup, turn off certain features that require data to be sent to third parties and select which accounts they want to connect to Web3 apps. MetaMask has stated that it's committed to protecting the privacy of its users and will continue to develop features that align with this value.
Arbitrum to Airdrop New Token and Transition to DAO
Arbitrum, a popular Ethereum layer 2 scaling solution, is launching a new token called ARB, according to a statement from the Arbitrum Foundation. ARB will mark Arbitrum's official transition into a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), meaning ARB holders will be able to vote on key decisions governing Arbitrum One and Arbitrum Nova, networks that allow users to transact on the Ethereum blockchain with greater speeds and lower fees. The move is aimed at making the Arbitrum ecosystem more decentralized than alternative scaling chains.
Arbitrum worked with crypto analytics firm Nansen to "snapshot" user activity in February to determine who should be eligible for ARB tokens. The airdrop will grant 11.5% of the total supply to eligible Arbitrum users, and 1.1% to DAOs that operate in the Arbitrum ecosystem. The remaining community tokens will go to a treasury controlled by the new Arbitrum DAO, which will allow ARB holders to vote on how to disburse the funds.
Unlike ether (ETH), which is used to pay out fees on Ethereum and Arbitrum, the ARB token will only be used for protocol governance. Arbitrum DAO's governance process will be self-executing, meaning votes can be used to directly alter Arbitrum's core code. Code changes will be subject to a time delay, but a 12-person security council governed by the Arbitrum DAO will have the ability to make quicker bug fixes.
The introduction of ARB has been timed to coincide with the launch of Arbitrum Obit, which will allow third-party apps and protocols to build new "layer 3" blockchains based atop Arbitrum's low-fee infrastructure. Arbitrum is the market leader in a highly competitive field of Ethereum layer 2 scaling solutions, with $3.69 billion locked into its Ethereum rollup network, Aribtrum One, according to L2 Beat, a layer 2 analytics site. Arbitrum holds 55% of the Ethereum Layer 2 market share.
Although the Arbitrum Foundation plans to grant a relatively high number of tokens to investors and core contributors (44%), Arbitrum's creator, Offchain Labs, boasts that the ARB token will make the Arbitrum ecosystem more decentralized than alternative scaling chains. The remaining 56% of ARB's circulation will be controlled by the Arbitrum community, with the airdrop granting 11.5% of the total supply to eligible Arbitrum users and 1.1% to DAOs that operate in the Arbitrum ecosystem. The remaining community tokens will go to a treasury controlled by the new Arbitrum DAO, which will allow ARB holders to vote on how to disburse the funds.
Users can check their eligibility for the airdrop and claim tokens by visiting arbitrum.foundation. Users are encouraged to use caution while claiming their tokens, as scammers frequently use the occasion of airdrops to phish people via spoof websites and other schemes.
Web3 Service Unstoppable Domains and Polygon Labs Roll Out Polygon Domains
Unstoppable Domains, a Web3 domain provider, is teaming up with Polygon Labs to launch the .polygon domain, which can be used across decentralized applications on the Ethereum sidechain. With the new domain, Unstoppable users can expand their Polygon-based Web3 identity. Owners of .polygon domains can use them to send crypto and non-fungible tokens (NFT), build Polygon-based websites, and access over 750 decentralized applications, games, and metaverses.
The move is aimed at expanding both ecosystems. Sandy Carter, COO and head of business development at Unstoppable Domains, said that people can create a digital identity that they fully own, interact with hundreds of integrated apps, and signal their support for Polygon. Sanket Shah, VP and head of growth at Polygon Labs, noted that the partnership will help community members more easily interact with Polygon-based products and services.
AllianceBlock Partners With ABO Digital for Tokenized Structured Products
Blockchain infrastructure provider AllianceBlock has partnered with digital investment firm ABO Digital to offer a compliant way for institutional and retail investors to back crypto projects through tokenization. The structured products under the partnership will offer alternative fundraising options for crypto projects, such as issuing tokens to market makers or venture capitalists. Projects can also access liquidity from institutional investors.
ABO Digital, the digital-asset investment arm of ABO Group, will help negotiate and structure the financial instruments based on a project's capital and liquidity goals. AllianceBlock will tokenize the assets and turn them into compliant "actively managed certificates," which is a type of structured product that lets an investor track and benefit from an underlying asset without having direct ownership.
The partnership comes as tokenized assets continue to gain steam in the investment space. Earlier this year, investment firm Hamilton Lane offered tokenized exposure to one of its funds. The tie-in between AllianceBlock and ABO Digital aims to bring a fresh perspective to the world of decentralized and traditional finance and attract more institutional capital providers, according to ABO Digital CEO Amine Nedjai.
Games & Blockchain Gaming
Nexon Announces MapleStory U and Plans for Web3
Nexon, the creator of the popular game MapleStory, is betting its biggest IP on web3.
According to Nexon, blockchain technology is still in its early stages, and should not be judged for its early failures and fragmented results. The company believes that blockchain enables an evolution in virtual worlds by opening closed economies, which further expands virtual worlds. Nexon saw this initially with PC games, then online games, and finally mobile games. The company plans to be a pioneer in the future of gaming.
Nexon is designing MapleStory U, a gaming ecosystem based on the MapleStory IP that integrates blockchain. MapleStory U will be based on three pillars: transparency, store of value, and openness.
Nexon plans to release four games or categories within MapleStory U: MapleStory N — an MMORPG that combines NFTs and blockchain; MOD N — a sandbox platform for players to create games based on MapleStory NFTs and external NFTs; Maple Story N Mobile — a mobile RPG with limitless gameplay; and MapleStory N SDK — allows others to build their own games based on the MapleStory IP.
MapleStory N is expected to have a transparent virtual world, where players truly own their NFTs, and there would be no cash shop or in-game purchases. All items would be acquired through gameplay, and there would be a free market economy. Nexon would earn a fair share of the economy and bring in more contributors, which would grow the pie larger.
MOD N is a sandbox experience for players to create experiences across PC and mobile devices. Players can create games based on MapleStory NFTs and external NFTs, and player-created games will be solely owned by the creator.
MapleStory N SDK allows users to build non-gameplay-related experiences, such as an NFT merch store or a health monitoring app with a MapleStory avatar. The aim of MapleStory N SDK is to add sustainability, utility, and diversity to the ecosystem.
Finally, MapleStory N Mobile allows players to access the MapleStory universe anywhere and anytime, with all the features of the PC version.
@thecoreloop created a Twitter thread to further explain their thoughts on Nexon’s latest announcement. Check out the link below to learn more 👇
Google Play Games for PC to Roll Out to Europe and Japan, Add New Titles Including Garena Free Fire
Google Play Games for PC will roll out to Japan and several European markets and gain new titles and tools for game developers, according to a keynote address at the annual Google for Game Developers Summit. The service, which brings Android games to Windows users, will add several popular games, including Garena Free Fire, Ludo King, and MapleStory M. Meanwhile, Google Play is introducing early access to Machine Translation in the Play Console that will allow game developers to translate their game in more than eight languages within minutes for free.
Google Play Games is designed to expand the reach of Android gaming by allowing consumers to play mobile titles on their Windows computers, in addition to supported platforms like Android mobile and tablet and ChromeOS. With the service, gamers can pick up where they left off on one device when switching to another. Initially available in overseas markets, the service expanded into the US and other countries in November and is now live in 13 markets. Google says the service will come to Japan and several European countries over the next couple of months.
Google is also introducing several features aimed at game developers, including an emulator offering a developer-focused build of Google Play Games that are designed for the debug and build process. This tool allows developers to deploy games directly and lets them use Android Studio to adjust graphics and hardware settings to validate different player configurations. Google's partnership with Intel enables it to make it easier for developers to join Google Play Games on PC with their existing mobile builds.
The company is publishing a new release checklist to help game developers verify that they've completed all the necessary steps before submitting their build for approval, and it added more metrics for games in Android vitals. The latter includes recently launched frame rate metrics in Play Console that allow developers to check if their games offer at least 30 frames per second. Other technical upgrades aimed at performance and user acquisition were also rolled out, in addition to the new Machine Translation feature.
Google teased the coming release of Next Generation Player IDs, which will keep a user's Player ID consistent across platforms for any given game, while still allowing them to be unique across different games. This feature, powered by Play Games Services, will arrive later this year. Google Play Games on PC requires users to run Windows 10 on a PC with 10 GB of available storage on a solid-state drive, with an Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU or comparable, 4 CPU physical cores, and 8 GB of RAM. The company has not yet shared an official release date for a public launch.
Raid: Shadow Legends is Set to Become an Animated Series
Mobile RPG Raid: Shadow Legends is set to become an animated series entitled Raid: Call of the Arbiter. The series will debut on YouTube with ten five-minute episodes in May 2023. Publisher Pixel United and developer Plarium have partnered with Eric Rollman, CEO of Rollman Entertainment, as a producer on the series, and will partner with others such as animation studio TeamTO and composer Jesper Kyd.
The decision to create an animated series based around Raid: Shadow Legends is an interesting demonstration of the importance of cross-media promotion. The team at Plarium is likely thinking of major adaptations such as League of Legends’ Arcane, or The Last of Us, which not only saw critical success but massively boosted game sales.
Aside from the most iconic brands, the most visible avenue for series adaptations of mobile games has been in anime. With titles such as Fate: Grand Order, Azur Lane, and more either originating in or utilizing anime series to boost the profile of their games and thus revenue. However, Raid: Call of the Arbiter may be the first to go for a more mature audience in the West, rather than the youth-focused animations and movies from titles such as Angry Birds.
Michael Lang, CEO of Pixel United, commented on the new series. "RAID: Shadow Legends is an incredibly valuable part of the Pixel United portfolio and our team at Plarium spearheaded this vision that has brought the game’s IP to life in a way that also opens an entirely new franchise pathway for the brand. We’re excited that this project spotlights our incredibly talented Pixel United global team in collaboration with some of the best creative minds in Hollywood, and we are looking forward to the future opportunities that lie ahead."
The series will “elevate RAID’s core characters with deeper, more immersive storylines while delivering cinematic-quality animation.” This could translate to higher revenue and greater user acquisition, leading to a shift in strategy that mirrors what has been taking place for youth audiences and in the East for decades now.
Web3 & Metaverse
KPMG Tech Leaders Interested in Metaverse's Future, Not the Present
A report released by KPMG this week suggests that tech, media, and telecom (TMT) industry leaders are interested in the metaverse, but not as it exists now. Six in ten TMT leaders believe that the metaverse will have an impact after more development, and nearly 75% of those surveyed report their companies are putting 5% or less of their budgets towards metaverse initiatives. Additionally, most respondents feel that metaverse use cases won't go mainstream for at least another four years.
Despite this cautious approach, about 50% of those surveyed plan to increase their investment in the metaverse, while 43% plan to do so within the next two-to-four years. The post-pandemic period may also free up funds for companies to do more exploratory investing in the metaverse.
Mark Gibson, KPMG's global and U.S. TMT leader, said in a statement that while the ultimate vision of the metaverse may not be here today or tomorrow, it is poised to have a profound impact on the TMT sector. He added that there's a price for investing heavily in an unknown future and a price for doing nothing. The survey identifies plenty of gaps that could leave metaverse laggards trailing their more ambitious competitors as the metaverse market evolves and matures.
The report contrasts with KPMG's survey of investors, who believe that the early investment period in the metaverse may already have passed. It remains to be seen how the metaverse will evolve and what impact it will ultimately have on the TMT sector, but the cautious approach of TMT leaders suggests that it may be some time before the metaverse becomes a mainstream technology.
Neal Stephenson's Lamina1 Unveils Early Access Program for Open Metaverse Ecosystem
Lamina1, a blockchain optimized for the open metaverse, has announced its first partners in its early access program. HTC, Dubit, 0.xyz, and Neon Media are among the partners who will receive early access to features and support in onboarding to Lamina1 while providing feedback and test cases to improve the blockchain's design and functionality. Following the launch of the Lamina1 Testnet in January, the Lamina1 Early Access Program seeks to offer a limited number of partners and developers support, documentation, and a tight feedback loop as they leverage blockchain and tooling.
Started by Snow Crash author Neal Stephenson, Lamina1 is looking to enable ambitious builders and storytellers to conceive and construct the open metaverse. The initial cohort of partners for the Lamina1 Early Access Program was selected for their impressive work in the immersive, gaming, and XR spaces, each with a proven track record of building engaging, high-fidelity experiences.
Partners will be invited to bring a fresh perspective to improve design, features, and operations on Lamina1, with specialties ranging from content creation to infrastructure development, hardware, and tool building. The Lamina1 Early Access Program will provide Lamina1 builders the access and support they need to jumpstart the development of an ecosystem populated with experiences that will draw the masses and tools that can truly level the playing field of the Metaverse for all creators.
Lamina1's initial partners include Dubit, Immuse.xyz, Mystic Moose, Neon Media, Patch XR, Rensa Games, Sons of a Bit, Walker Labs, Wevr, and 0.xyz. Andrew Douthwaite, chief commercial officer at Dubit, said, "Our mission is to work together with Lamina1 and its partners to develop groundbreaking, reliable possibilities for immersive games and experiences –– leveraging its blockchain to ensure our entire ecosystem of builders will be able to monetize their creations."
Meta Will End Support for NFTs on Instagram & Facebook
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has shut down its Digital Collectibles feature, which allowed select platform users to display their NFTs. Stephane Kasriel, Meta's head of commerce and financial services, wrote in a Twitter thread on Monday that the shutdown will allow the company "to focus on other ways to support creators, people, and businesses." Meta won't give up on its mission to help creators connect with their fans, and will pivot focus on other products such as Reels for messaging and monetization.
Meta began testing its Digital Collectibles feature in May 2022 and opened up support for the feature in September. By November, it allowed a small group of U.S. creators to mint and sell NFTs on the Polygon blockchain directly from its platforms. While the feature gained some traction, it appears Meta is shifting its strategy to explore other areas, including decentralized social media platforms.
Kasriel specified that Meta will continue to work with NFT and Web3 content creators who leverage its suite of tools to help them grow their community. The company will also apply the lessons learned from its Digital Collectibles feature to products it's continuing to build to support creators, people, and businesses on its apps, both today and in the metaverse.
Meta's decision to shut down its Digital Collectibles feature comes as the company is reportedly planning multiple rounds of layoffs in the coming months. The Wall Street Journal reported that people familiar with the matter said the company was also expected to "shut down some projects and teams." It remains to be seen how Meta's pivot away from its Digital Collectibles feature and other projects will impact the company's overall strategy and future plans.
NounsDAO Approves Proposal for Feature-Length NFT Movie
NounsDAO, a Web3 community that deals in non-fungible tokens (NFTs), has passed a proposal to create a feature-length animated film featuring its popular NFT characters. The proposal links up with Atrium, a network of independent Web3 artists and creators, to "continually produce a series of episodic content via consecutive proposals." The budget for the first installment has been set at $125,000, and the pilot will be revealed in 90 days, after which the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) will decide whether to continue funding the project.
Atrium creatives William Yu, HKJay, Zen Doubt, 3DPrint Guy, and Meta Ent will help write, produce, and animate the film. According to Atrium, "Nouns: A Movie" will be created across multiple story-acts that can be pieced together to "form the first feature-length cinematic content introducing Nouns to the world." Atrium notes that this is a first for the NFT space and that "we are yet to see any other truly decentralized organizations make this level of commitment to quality, feature-length film production."
The NounsDAO community has also recently approved other creative endeavors to expand its ecosystem. Last month, the group voted to build out a comic book series with book publisher Titan Comics and NFT community ComicsDAO. In December, the Australian Open tennis tournament announced that it was teaming up with NounsDAO, OnCyber, and Vayner Sports Pass to release its second ArtBall NFT collection.
Atrium's 3DPrintGuy recently created a short film funded by a previous NounsDAO proposal. All significant characters from the short were released as collectible NFTs. Nouns members will be allowed to submit story arcs and ideas for future installments.
Doodles 'No Longer an NFT Project' and Won’t Cater to Speculators, Co-Founder Says
Tension is growing between the holders of NFT project Doodles and the collection's founders as the project attempts to build out a brand in the competitive Web3 space. Doodles co-founder Jordan “poopie” Castro shared a post to the project's official Discord server on Wednesday defending the team's approach to building new features and products away from the spotlight. Castro wrote that they are trying to go from a startup to a leading media franchise and that they are no longer an "NFT project." Some see Castro's comments as ambitious, suggesting that Doodles is no longer just an NFT project because it's aiming higher. Others see it as a rejection of Web3 principles, and a sign that Doodles is pushing back on the scene that helped the project find prominence in the first place.
Castro's comments have garnered mixed reactions across social media. Some see them as a rejection of the Web3 ethos, while others view them as ambitious. One Web3 project founder tweeted in response that "the quicker we get rid of the term ‘NFT project’ the better." Nevertheless, some Doodles holders have expressed concern that the project's focus on building out a media franchise could dilute the value of their holdings.
The friction between Doodles holders and the project's founders has been brewing for some time. Holders and other observers have complained in the past about a lack of communication from the founders. Additionally, an NFT NYC party last year felt like a corporate presentation, which rubbed some collectors the wrong way.
Castro has since doubled down on his comments, saying that NFTs will continue to be the "connective tissue" across Doodles' future plans. He also pledged to help start a trend of Web3 users "being nicer" in their interactions. Despite this, the floor price of Doodles NFTs has dropped significantly in the wake of the controversy.
Doodles is just one of many NFT projects vying for attention in the Web3 space. As the market becomes more crowded, projects will be forced to differentiate themselves and find ways to stand out. However, it remains to be seen whether Doodles' focus on building out a media franchise will pay off in the long run, or whether it will alienate its core supporters.
Yuga Labs' New Collection Mints Over $10M
NFT conglomerate Yuga Labs has made millions on a new NFT collection it minted in the next step of its "Dookey Dash" web game. Those who minted a "Sewer Pass" NFT which was originally needed to play Dookey Dash were invited to "The Summoning" to burn their passes to mint a new NFT from a collection titled HV-MTL, or Heavy Metal. The collection features 30,000 NFTs that resemble robotic-like cubes which will later reveal a "Mech" according to the collection's OpenSea description.
The collection has rocketed on the secondary market since it dropped, with the current floor price sitting at 2.3 ETH, around $4,000, and the total trading volume hitting over 6,050 ETH, an equivalent of around $10.3 million. With Yuga's creator earnings set to 5%, the project has earned the firm over $500,000.
Some early minters of the new NFTs reported issues with so-called "companion traits" not appearing on their HV-MTL initially, but Yuga Labs identified and fixed the problem within a few hours by updating the collection. Despite the issue, the collection has been highly successful, following in the footsteps of previous Yuga Labs NFT collections that have generated millions in sales.
As the NFT market continues to grow, Yuga Labs and other NFT projects are looking for ways to stand out and attract buyers. Collections like HV-MTL that tie into larger projects, such as the Dookey Dash game, are one way to do so. With the success of HV-MTL, it's likely that Yuga Labs and other NFT projects will continue to experiment with new ways to engage buyers and create unique, valuable NFT collections.
FormFunction to Shutter Marketplace Amid Solana NFT Slump
Solana-based NFT marketplace Formfunction has announced it will shut down after only 13 months of operation due to a slump in Solana NFT prices and trading volumes. The exact reason for the platform's closure was not disclosed. Formfunction conducted $5 million in sales despite a "brutal bear market" and raised a $4.7 million seed round in March 2022 led by Variant Fund and contributions from other VC firms.
Since Formfunction's launch, the wider Solana NFT space has plummeted in volume and floor prices alongside a drawdown in the price of SOL. SolanaFloor's index of the "blue chip" NFTs on the blockchain saw a 75% price drawdown in dollar terms since early February 2022. The daily number of buyers of Solana NFTs has also seen a slowdown over the past 12 months, with daily unique buyers currently hovering around 7,000, almost half the amount seen on average at the start of 2022.
SOL's price has also tanked since Formfunction's launch, falling over 80% from around $100 at the start of 2022 to trading around $19 at the time of writing. The price of SOL took a significant hit in the November 2022 collapse of FTX and has struggled to regain traction since. FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was an early investor in the Solana blockchain.
Formfunction's head of community and marketing, known by their pseudonym "Magellan," tweeted that the co-founders and the team will "pivot to a new direction, likely outside of the crypto [and the] SOL space," but did not provide further details. Cointelegraph contacted Formfunction's co-founders for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
National Policies & Legal Updates
India and UAE to Collaborate on CBDC Development
The Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the interoperability between the CBDCs of the two countries. The banks will jointly conduct proof-of-concept and pilot programs of bilateral CBDC bridges to facilitate cross-border CBDC transactions of remittances and trade.
India has been testing a retail CBDC in 15 cities reaching more than 50,000 customers and 10,000 merchants. The country hopes to launch a digital currency by the end of the year. The pilot programs with the UAE's central bank will be a significant step toward testing the interoperability of various CBDCs across the globe.
India is amongst the few countries globally that have been actively exploring CBDCs. The country has been working on a digital currency project for several years, and the recent announcement from the Central Bank of the UAE is expected to accelerate its efforts.
The UAE has also been exploring the use of CBDCs, and the collaboration with India's central bank will provide an opportunity to test the interoperability of both countries' digital currencies. CBDCs have the potential to revolutionize cross-border payments, making them faster, cheaper, and more efficient. The collaboration between the two central banks is expected to pave the way for more such partnerships in the future as countries work towards creating a global CBDC ecosystem.
Financial Chair Calls for Stablecoin Regulation as USDC Depegs
House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters has said she will prioritize a new stablecoin bill after the recent banking collapse that saw USDC fall from its dollar peg. Waters said the passage of a stablecoin bill had been delayed by an expected change in the House majority to Republicans but affirmed that she and Senate Banking Committee Chair Patrick McHenry were focused on new stablecoin legislation supported by Democrats and Republicans.
The draft legislation asks for a two-year moratorium on algorithmic stablecoins. It allows nonbank stablecoin issuers that obtain state approval to register with the Federal Reserve within 180 days. The legislation requires the Fed to determine a method for processing applications from nonbank issuers. On the other hand, bank issuers would need to obtain approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
The politicians' comments come amid fresh scrutiny of the stablecoin industry after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, which held a portion of reserves used to back Circle's USDC stablecoin. USDC lost its peg to the US dollar amid $1 billion in redemptions after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took control of the bank on March 10, 2023. Circle later tweeted that attempts to withdraw $3 billion from the bank had failed.
Coinbase suspended USDC redemptions even as the token's price plummeted, reaching $0.92 on Kraken at about 10.40 p.m. ET. Rep. French Hill, chair of the banking committee's digital assets subcommittee, emphasized the importance of the draft legislation in keeping crypto companies in the US, saying, "By not developing that framework, where everybody knows the rules of the road and we can encourage digital asset innovation, we’re going to disable that market here, and it’s going to move offshore."
Circle's Chief Strategy Officer pointed to laws in Singapore and Japan that would, if applied in the US, give the Federal Reserve oversight of stablecoins and allow them to keep reserves in the central bank rather than a retail bank. While Hill doesn't endorse the Asian rules, he did acknowledge that the bipartisan bill would be a good starting point, admonishing, however, that regulations would not replace the due diligence that stablecoin firms should perform.
Crypto Assets to Become a Separate Category in the UK Tax Forms
The UK's Treasury is introducing a separate category for crypto assets in tax return forms as the country gradually develops its own comprehensive crypto framework. The particular line should appear in tax forms in 2024-25. The Treasury published a report paper on the national budget for Spring 2023, which announces the amendment of the self-assessment forms for crypto assets.
The changes were welcomed by the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), the leading professional body that analyzes national tax policies. Gary Ashford, the deputy president of the CIOT, stated that highlighting the need to declare crypto asset transactions in the tax return will help raise awareness of people's obligations in this area. However, Ashford highlighted the need for additional measures to counter "widespread ignorance of tax payment and reporting requirements for crypto."
Currently, the UK Treasury doesn't provide any specific numbers of anticipated budget revenues from this tax category. The numbers in the table stand at the nominal mark of £10 million ($12 million). The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reported to the Treasury that it is "midway through a quite ambitious reset" as the Financial Services and Markets bill passes through Parliament. When passed, the bill would give the FCA new regulatory powers over the cryptocurrency industry.
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