Crypto Daily News from ZBG Exchange
1. Mastercard Is Integrating Crypto Payments Through a New Partnership With Bakkt
The tie-up will allow merchants and banks to build cryptocurrency into their offerings.
Mastercard and Bakkt are partnering to allow merchants and banks to build cryptocurrency into their offerings, the firms announced Monday. The two plan to also shake up the way consumers can collect loyalty rewards.
Mastercard said in a statement that consumers can buy, sell and hold digital assets through custodial wallets offered by Bakkt, and customers can collect and spend loyalty rewards through cryptocurrency.
The move brings the universe of cryptocurrency one step closer to bridging the gap with the traditional credit card payment industry. Bakkt is also appealing to younger consumers, according to its executive vice president of loyalty rewards and payments.
“As brands and merchants look to appeal to younger consumers and their transaction preferences, these new offerings represent a unique opportunity to satisfy increasing demand for crypto, payment and rewards flexibility,” Bakkt’s Nancy Gordon said in a statement.
2. NEAR Protocol Offers $800M in Grants in Bid for DeFi Mindshare
Amid a spree of mammoth layer 1 incentive programs, NEAR has raised the bar in sheer size.
While Fantom, Harmony, Avalanche and Celo have all launched nine-figure ecosystem development funds, NEAR may be setting a new high water mark with the launch of a mammoth $800 million grants fund.
Announced Monday, the high-speed and self-styled “climate neutral” chain has established the fund with major tranches earmarked for specific purposes, including:
$250 million in ecosystem grants that will be distributed over four years
A regional fund of $100 million
$100 million specifically for startups
Additionally, decentralized finance (DeFi) is a major focus of the program, with a devoted $350 million fund from Proximity Labs. A newly-formed “DeFi DAO” will govern how those funds are spent, and protocols will be able to apply for liquidity mining programs via the DAO. Proximity is a group of early NEAR contributors that spun out of the parent company as an independent entity with funding from the NEAR Foundation.
3. As the CME’s Volume Gets Pumped, the Bitcoin ETF’s Quirky Structure Could Explain Some of It
If one wants exposure to bitcoin, the purest play is buying bitcoin itself. Everything else comes with its own idiosyncrasies.
Last week’s launch of the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) was a smash hit by any measure. Yet it may be that at least part of its success could in part be the result of how the instrument is structured rather than pure demand from buyers hoping for bitcoin exposure.
In just a few hours, the exchange-traded fund (ETF) amassed $570 million in assets under management (AUM), making it one of the most successful debuts of an ETF in history. Within a few more hours, that number just about doubled.
BITO’s assets are mostly invested on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), which saw an expected increase in both open interest and volume for bitcoin futures. One question is whether some of that volume could be the result of traders positioning for profit from the way this particular ETF is structured.
Currently, for every dollar it takes in, ProShares allocates 40.2% to buying CME bitcoin futures contracts that settle in October and 31.2% for futures that settle in November. The remaining 28% or so is put in U.S. Treasury bills. Reminder: On the CME, bitcoin futures are settled in cash, meaning no actual bitcoin changes hands. It’s basically a side bet on the price of the asset.
So if by Wednesday there were $1.108 billion in AUM, $791 million of it was bitcoin futures on the CME. That’s the equivalent of 13.8% of the CME’s bitcoin open interest of $5.745 billion.
4. BlockFi to Develop Crypto Asset Management Products With Neuberger Berman
The new products will be housed in a separate entity called BlockFi nb.
Crypto lender BlockFi has partnered with private investment manager Neuberger Berman to develop new crypto asset management products.
The new products will be housed in a separate entity called BlockFi nb, according to an announcement Monday.
BlockFi nb said exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are likely to be among the products it develops.
“We think this combination will help us to improve on products currently in the market so that we can give investors cost-effective and convenient access to the performance of digital assets from their brokerage accounts,” Greg Collett, president of the new entity, said.
Neuberger Berman — a $400 billion asset manager — recently tweaked the strategy of its $164 million commodities fund, allowing up to 5% of its assets to be held in bitcoin futures and funds.
5. A16z Leads $7.5M Funding Round in NFT Toy Firm OnChain Studios
The company will soon launch Cryptoys, NFT-based interactive digital toys that consumers can buy, play with, collect and sell.
OnChain Studios has raised $7.5 million in a seed funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) to develop Cryptoys: a new non-fungible token (NFT) platform that combines digital toys and gaming.
Cryptoys are interactive digital toys that consumers can buy, play with, collect and sell. They will launch soon on Flow, a blockchain designed for NFT collectibles and crypto games. Flow was developed by Dapper Labs, which also participated in the funding round alongside Draper & Associates, CoinFund, Sound Ventures, Collab + Currency and WndrCo.
Cryptoys can “respond to you in a variety of ways, grow smarter and can acquire more skills the longer you interact with them,” according to the official website. Consumers can personalize Cryptoys with NFT clothing and accessories, which can be bought or sold, as well as “Gems” that award new talents and capabilities. Consumers can play with Cryptoys within games, applications and experiences inside the Cryptoverse, a blockchain-based virtual world.
Launched earlier this year, OnChain Studios co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Will Weinraub created the company as a side project for his daughter, who was interested in the blind bag and surprise unboxing trends in the physical toy industry. The other founders are Emilio Cueto, Alfonso Martinez, Freddy Oropeza and Jhonathan Torres, who also fill out OnChain’s executive team.
“Cryptoys is a perfect example of the compelling new NFT gaming and entertainment experiences that are now possible with the advent of Web 3 — a fully-interactive 3D universe with custom toys for each participant,” said a16z General Partner Arianna Simpson in the press release. “We’re thrilled to partner with the world-class team at OnChain Studios to bring Cryptoys to life and introduce the joys of NFT gaming to mainstream audiences.”
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October 25, 2021