Happened in Crypto: Binance to add Bitcoin NFTs to its marketplace, and more

Ondřej Koraba

Will metaverse generate up to 2.4% of the US GDP in 12 years? How is PayPal approaching cryptocurrencies, and what's Sam Bankman-Fried up to these days? Read on in our regular crypto news roundup!

PayPal's Cryptocurrency Holdings Surge by 56% in Q1 2023, Totaling Nearly $1 Billion

PayPal's cryptocurrency holdings have seen a significant surge of 56% in Q1 2023, amounting to nearly $1 billion, as revealed in a recent report to the US SEC.

Predominantly held in Bitcoin and Ethereum, these assets represent 77.9% of PayPal's total financial liabilities for the quarter. PayPal considers its crypto assets as a "safeguarding liability," despite the unregulated nature and risks associated with cryptocurrencies.

Notably, the company doesn't directly hold these assets; they're managed by third-party firms, creating potential customer liability. PayPal's profitability has also seen a rise in Q1 2023, indicating a strong financial performance.

Source: Cointelegraph

FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Fights Back: Seeks Dismissal of Majority of Criminal Charges

FTX's founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, is seeking to dismiss the majority of the criminal charges filed against him, which include allegations of wire, securities, and commodities fraud, and bribery.

These charges are tied to his former position as CEO of the Bahamas-based crypto exchange, FTX, which filed for bankruptcy last year. Bankman-Fried's defense argues that the prosecution has failed to substantiate several charges, including wire and bank fraud conspiracy.

Interestingly, the defense did not move to dismiss allegations related to securities fraud and money laundering. The defense also claims that some charges were not agreed upon during extradition and that certain U.S. laws do not apply due to FTX's overseas location.

Source: CoinDesk

Ireland's Central Bank Issues Crypto Warning, Eyes Regulation

The Central Bank of Ireland Governor, Gabriel Makhlouf, has issued a stern warning likening cryptocurrencies to "Ponzi schemes", urging investors to exercise caution.

He compares cryptocurrency investment to buying a lottery ticket, emphasizing the risks involved and the lack of regulation in the rapidly developing crypto market.

Despite this, the Bank recently granted VASP authorization to Payward Europe Solutions, a Kraken affiliate, following Binance and Coinbase's expansion into Ireland. Still, the regulation of cryptocurrencies in Ireland is case-by-case, making oversight difficult.

Makhlouf welcomes the recent approval of the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulations by the European Parliament, setting a common standard for supervising crypto firms. He suggests crypto firms will eventually be held to the same standards as mainstream financial institutions.

Source: CoinGape

Binance Expands its Marketplace to Include Bitcoin NFTs

Leading cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, has revealed plans to introduce trading for Bitcoin-based Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), also known as Ordinals, to its NFT marketplace. While an exact launch date has not been specified, this move is aimed at expanding the reach of the emerging Ordinals ecosystem and complementing the NFTs already supported on Ethereum, Polygon, and BNB Chain.

Binance's new addition will allow collectors to buy and sell inscriptions created on the Bitcoin network. Further, the exchange plans to simplify the process by enabling users to purchase Bitcoin-based NFTs directly from their Binance accounts, eliminating the current need for a taproot-compatible Bitcoin wallet.

Expressing enthusiasm for the expansion, Mayur Kamat, Binance’s Head of Product, sees Bitcoin as an increasingly attractive choice for NFT collectors and a significant growth opportunity for the platform. This comes despite recent network congestion issues that led to temporary pauses in Bitcoin withdrawals on Binance.

With the Bitcoin NFT market demonstrating substantial demand, as shown by the three million Ordinals inscriptions achieved last week, other marketplaces like Magic Eden are also embracing Bitcoin NFTs, suggesting a promising future for this burgeoning sector.

Source: Crypto News BTC

Digital Transformation: Turkey Debuts Its First Office in the Metaverse

Turkey has officially entered the Metaverse with the launch of its first virtual office, according to the country's Communications Director, Fahrettin Altun. Announcing the development during a launch ceremony, Altun emphasized the Communications Directorate's commitment to embracing digital transformation and expanding its presence on emerging platforms.

Altun proudly stated that the Communications Directorate is the first public institution in the Metaverse to lead the way in adopting next-generation technologies. The launch of the Metaverse office, accessible via mobile devices from anywhere globally, marks the first step in the directorate's strategy for Web3 transformation and Metaverse integration.

Altun expressed optimism that leading the emerging Web3 and Metaverse ecosystem would provide significant opportunities for Turkey's ambition to become a global powerhouse. He emphasized that truth and humanity would continue to be their guiding principles in both the real and digital worlds.

Altun concluded with a call for efforts towards creating a fair, human-centric, and safe world, extending this commitment to new digital universes. After the announcement, he personally inspected the new Metaverse location of the Presidency Communications Directorate.

Metaverse Poised to Boost US GDP by 2.4% by 2035, Study Reveals

A recent study suggests that by 2035, the metaverse could contribute as much as $760 billion or about 2.4% to the annual U.S. GDP. This study, commissioned by Meta Platforms, Facebook's parent company, highlights the increasing economic significance of the metaverse, a concept encompassing augmented and virtual reality technologies.

The report by consulting firm Deloitte proposes that these economic gains could emerge from various sectors, including defense, medical, manufacturing, and entertainment, such as video games and communication.

Meta, which shifted its focus to developing metaverse technologies in 2021, anticipates the tech to eventually supersede mobile as the primary computing platform. Despite skepticism surrounding Meta's substantial investments in its metaverse project, the potential returns could be significant, especially considering the current downturn in the advertising sector affecting the company's revenue growth.

Moreover, Meta's separate report suggests that the European Union could witness an increased economic opportunity of up to 489 billion euros ($538.29 billion) in annual GDP by 2035, equivalent to 1.3%-2.4% of its total GDP. Deloitte also predicts that the metaverse could contribute between C$45.3 billion ($33.88 billion) and C$85.5 billion to Canada's annual GDP by 2035.

These regional projections are in line with a global economic impact report commissioned to Analysis Group last year, estimating that metaverse adoption would contribute $3.01 trillion by 2031.

Source: MarketScreener

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