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Summary of Past Week Articles August 05, 2022

Sales of virtual land decline amid a broader crypto downturn:

As land costs in numerous metaverses have dropped to their lowest levels in months, virtual real estate is currently facing a crash. The fall is happening amid a broader crypto downturn that has seen about USD 2 trillion erased from the market capitalization of cryptocurrencies.

According to a dashboard, Dune Analytics, an open-source data provider that tracks metaverse sales, the sales volumes and average prices of virtual land have significantly decreased for almost all projects.

Three of the most significant projects, Decentraland, The Sandbox, and NFT Worlds, had their worst month in July.

In the last month, the average cost of virtual land in Decentraland plunged to about USD 4,006, its lowest level in the previous 24 months.

The decline follows a significant increase in virtual land values that began in late 2020 and lasted until early this year.

Ex-Coinbase Manager Pleads Not Guilty To Wire Fraud Charges:

A former product manager of significant exchange Coinbase and his brother have pleaded not guilty to wire fraud charges in what is referred to as the first insider trading case involving cryptocurrency in the US.

The defense is predicated on the idea that crypto assets are not securities or commodities. As a result, the case may affect American legal doctrine about the legal standing of cryptocurrencies.

Ishan Wahi, 32, was detained in Seattle last month after prosecutors determined that he likely communicated private information with his brother Nikhil and their mutual friend Sameer Ramani.

According to Reuters, officials connected their actions to upcoming announcements of new crypto assets that Coinbase would make possible for its users to trade.

Their friend is still at large, and US law enforcement is attempting to track him down.

Pension Fund to Invest $6.8 billion in Crypto Lending Market:

The Fairfax County Retirement Systems, a US pension fund whose assets total USD 6.8 billion, has revealed it is looking to invest in crypto lending markets. The fund aims to increase its returns. 

It is speculated that the action shows that major financial players have not been scared away from crypto assets by the ongoing market downturn.

The pension fund recently invested USD 35 million in the digital yield fund of Parataxis Capital and the new finance income fund of VanEck, respectively, to produce income for investors through short-term lending agreements with crypto asset businesses.

The fund has invested in blockchain-related companies before, notwithstanding the most recent advancement.

Despite the current market instability, according to a June 2022 research by the global consulting firm PwC, several US hedge funds invest in cryptocurrency assets.

Compared to 21% a year prior, 38 percent of traditional hedge funds polled made investments in digital assets that month.

Banks in Portugal stop providing services to cryptocurrency exchanges, citing “risk” as justification:

Due to “risk management” concerns, several Portuguese banks have started canceling accounts associated with cryptocurrency exchanges. The nation’s central bank appears to have granted the financial institutions its approval.

The central bank of Portugal, which regulates local cryptocurrency trading platforms, has registered all exchanges.

Mário Centeno, the governor of the Bank of Portugal, was cited as saying that financial institutions were free to act as they saw fit but adding that he was watching the problem.

A spokeswoman for Santander clarified the company’s behavior according to its sense of risk and that choice regarding whether to close, open, or preserve accounts depends on many criteria.

CriptoLoja was cited as saying that firm had always followed the necessary money laundering procedures and added that to operate the exchange, they must now rely on accounts outside of Portugal.

Tax lawyers in Spain reported as recently as April this year that Spaniards with cryptocurrency holdings fled to Portugal to avoid taxes on their token-related income.

In May, two initiatives that called for the impending implementation of cryptocurrency-related taxes were rejected in parliament; nevertheless, both bills came from minor opposition groups.

Developers Continue Making Contributions to Web3 Communities Despite the Crypto Downturn:

According to a new VC investment company, Telstra Ventures analysis, blockchain engineers have contributed to Web3 communities despite the most recent market collapse, with Ethereum (ETH) leading the pack as the most substantial and significant community.

The paper claims that despite the current market collapse, involvement by blockchain developers in Web3 groups has largely remained unaffected.

Since mid-2021, the ecosystem has continuously had more than 2,200 monthly active contributors, maintaining its reputation as having the largest and most robust development community.

The contributor community for Ethereum has expanded at a compound annual growth rate of 24.9 percent over the past four years.

Since its peak in November 2021, the number of monthly active Ethereum contributors has decreased by about 9%.

By last year, just 350 active monthly contributors were left in Bitcoin (BTC), down from over 400 in mid-2021.

For the First Time Since 2018, Bitcoin ATMs are Returning to Tokyo and Osaka:

Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs are returning to Japan for the first time since the crypto winter of 2018, allowing residents of Tokyo and Osaka to trade cryptocurrency from machines other than their phones and computers.

Crypto ATMs, also known as BTMs in Japan and elsewhere, were once common in major commercial areas but fell out of favor after the Coincheck hack in early 2018 brought the Japanese crypto industry to its knees.

As a result, in the months following the Coincheck incident, Japan, once the center of gravity for the crypto markets, saw BTMs shuttered and decommissioned.

As reported by Mainichi and Nikkei, a BTM has not been used in Japan in four years. However, that is no longer the case today, with machines now installed in Tokyo and Osaka.

According to media reports, this would be a first for the Japanese crypto industry, as no regulator-recognized Japanese firm has ever operated BTMs in the country, with all previous devices being the brainchild of overseas firms or unregistered domestic outfits.

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