SpongeBob, Star Trek, and South Park digital tokens may soon be available as ViacomCBS enters the NFT market

spongebob squarepants imagination
Spongebob Squarepants.

  • ViacomCBS is teaming up with NFT startup RECUR to sell digital tokens based on its shows.
  • The media company owns franchises such as SpongeBob SquarePants and South Park, among others.
  • Its NFT platform will be “chain-agnostic,” meaning royalties can continue to be collected on resales.

ViacomCBS – the owner of Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and MTV – is getting into the NFT space.

The media company is teaming up with NFT startup RECUR to build a platform where fans can buy, collect and resell digital assets centered on “cherished” franchises.

That could include SpongeBob SquarePants, South Park, and Star Trek, for example, although the company did not specify what characters or shows it would put on the platform.

The new platform, to be available in the spring of 2022, will be “chain-agnostic,” according to the Wednesday press release. That means royalties granted to the original owners can be minted on any cryptocurrency, allowing the creators to continue receiving their share of sales and resales, wrote TechCrunch, which first reported the news.

“Fueled by beloved characters and iconic properties with multi-generational appeal, we are thrilled to accelerate our consumer products presence even further into the growing metaverse,” ViacomCBS President Pam Kaufman said.

ViacomCBS’ partner RECUR launched six months ago and is dedicated to creating branded experiences for fans to exchange NFTs, aka non-fungible tokens.

The startup recently completed a $50 million funding round, valuing the company at $333 million. In a statement about the funding, the co-chiefs said, “The Metaverse is the next frontier, and community and culture will be the driving force.”

The market for digital collectibles has boomed in 2021 with more than $10 billion in sales in the third quarter alone, Insider previously reported. Celebrities and even professional sports leagues and athletes have jumped into the space, with more marketplaces, from companies such as Coinbase and FTX, becoming available.

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Visa is looking to roll out a universal payment channel that could manage transfers of stablecoins, or central bank digital currencies

In this photo illustration, Visa logo is seen displayed on a smartphone screen in front of cryptocurrency signs.
  • Visa’s research team is looking into creating a universal payment channel to support global transfers of digital currencies.
  • The payment channel would connect different blockchains, the company said in a blog post on Thursday.
  • Central banks around the world are picking up their efforts to develop their own digital currencies.
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Visa, the world’s largest payment processing company, said on Thursday it was looking into creating what it called a universal payment channel (UPC) to support central bank digital currency and stablecoin transfers across the globe.

The channel would act as a hub to connect multiple blockchains to enable secure transfers of digital currencies, the report said.

Many central banks including those of the UK, US and the eurozone have been looking into launching their own digital currencies, known as CBDCs, and have questioned whether these could be used in cross-border transfers.

“While digital currencies may not be a part of your daily financial life today, it’s likely that they will play an important role in the future,” Visa said.

“The UPC solution aims to serve as a network of blockchain(s)- adding value to multiple forms of money movement, whether they originate on the Visa network, or beyond,” the company said.

Visa said it had considered using the channel for transfers of stablecoins, such as USDC, because their value is tied to an existing currency like the dollar and, as such, they can be linked to CBDCs.

The UPC will be able to process billions of transactions with reduced fees, Visa said.

It would connect different blockchain networks by creating dedicated payment channels between them. This could mean connecting CBDC networks between countries, or connecting CBDC networks with vetted private stablecoin networks Visa said.

“How about sending $500 in USDC to a friend in London, and having those funds automatically converted to digital British pounds before they arrive in her CBDC wallet. Now imagine all this happening in real-time, across multiple networks, and compatible with multiple digital wallets,” the report by Visa’s research team said.

Visa has not wasted any time engaging with the growing crypto landscape. In July it partnered with 50 crypto companies to allow clients to spend their digital currencies. The company even bought a $150,000 CryptoPunk non-fungible token which is unique, digital and tied to art in August.

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Anonymous Bitcoin founder commemorated in Budapest with bronze featureless statue

bitcoin founder statue hungary
The statue of Bitcoin’s founder is unveiled in Budapest, Hungary.

  • A statue of the unknown founder of Bitcoin was unveiled in Hungary to honor blockchain and cryptocurrency.
  • The faceless statue is the first honoring the bitcoin creator and was funded entirely from cryptocurrency donations.
  • The real name of Bitcoin’s founder is still unknown, though many have speculated on the identity of the crypto pioneer.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Members of a cryptocurrency community in Hungary unveiled a statue on Thursday honoring the anonymous founder of the Bitcoin digital currency.

The life-sized bronze bust sits atop a stone plinth at Graphisoft business park in Budapest, engraved with the name “Satoshi Nakamoto,” a pseudonym used by the unidentified developer of Bitcoin.

“We think of Satoshi as the founding father of the whole cryptocurrency industry,”Andras Gyorfi, a Bitcoin journalist and head of the project, told the Associated Press. “He created Bitcoin, he created the blockchain technology, he’s the god of our market.”

The sculpture has no discernible features and is instead a mirrored surface that allows visitors to see their own reflections in the face of Nakamoto’s, alluding to Bitcoin enthusiasts’ long-held belief that “We are all Satoshi,” and Bitcoin belongs to everyone who uses it. The faceless bust is also dressed in a hoodie with the Bitcoin logo on its chest.

Sculptors Réka Gergely and Tamás Gilly were commissioned to make the statue. It was funded with $10,000 in cryptocurrency from the community and announced at a Budapest Blockchain conference in May, according to the AP.

Gyorfi told the news organization that he invited Nakamoto to the unveiling ceremony in the hopes of learning the creator’s true identity, but it is unknown if he was present.

The search for Nakamoto’s identity is as old as the Bitcoin currency itself and remains shrouded in mystery and speculation.

A paper titled ‘Bitcoin: a Peer-to-Peer Electronic cash System,’ now known as the “Bitcoin white paper,” was published in 2008 and circulated within cryptography circles. The paper is authored by the Satoshi Nakamoto, marking the first-ever mention linking the name to Bitcoin.

In 2009, 30,000 lines of code appeared, marking the beginnings of the open-sourced Bitcoin. The year after that, Nakamoto completely disappeared from the web, saying in an email to a Bitcoin Core developer he had “moved on to other things.”

Several people were theorized to be the anonymous Nakamoto, like the early Bitcoin miner Hal Finney, Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright, engineer Dorian S. Nakamoto, and even Tesla CEO Elon Musk. These connections have never been verified, and the men have either categorically denied or retracted claims that they are the Bitcoin founder.

Renewed interest in the Bitcoin founder’s identity spiked again when crypto exchange platform Coinbase filed an IPO in February and symbolically sent a copy of its filing to Nakamoto. The company said in the filing that revealing Nakamoto’s identity could severely compromise the value of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin was instrumental in ushering in the era of decentralized finance, removing banks and government institutions from transactions, and paving the way for other forms of crypto, like Ethereum and Dogecoin. Most recently, El Salvador became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender.

Bitcoin was trading at $47,804.98 on Thursday when the statue went up.

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Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson says the crypto world needs ‘that wi-fi moment’ – where users can work with any blockchain seamlessly – more than it needs a dominant network

Cardano ada
Cardano ada

  • Cardano’s Charles Hoskinson said there would be no dominant blockchain, much as there is no dominant wi-fi router.
  • He believes there will be an “internet of blockchains” that are fully interoperable.
  • Cardano is one of a breed of “ethereum killers” – smaller, faster networks with DeFi capabilities.
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The cardano network took a step closer this past weekend to competing more fiercely with the larger ethereum network, after a key upgrade meant it could host decentralized finance applications.

But founder Charles Hoskinson doesn’t believe any blockchain will be dominant in the years to come, even the so-called “ethereum killers” like cardano. Much like when the internet became a part of daily life, consumers ceased to question which manufacturer made some of the key pieces of hardware that made connectivity possible.

“You’re not asking – ‘is this a Samsung router? Is this an Apple router?’ and my hope is, that’s what’s going to happen in the industry, where cardano is infrastructure, ethereum is infrastructure, bitcoin is infrastructure,” Hoskinson told Insider in a recent interview.

“Of course we compete under the hood, and businesses, governments and people who care about these things will care about them. But at the end of the day, if it’s going to work for everybody, we have to have that ‘wi-fi moment’ where it’s consumer friendly, and it just works on your phone and you can just set a transaction, you can seamlessly move between things,” he said.

The last in the cardano network’s series of “alonzo” upgrades on Sunday means it’s now possible for the blockchain to run applications such as smart contracts, or host digital collectible tokens – known as non-fungible tokens, for example.

Ethereum, the network that Hoskinson co-founded along with Vitalik Buterin and several others a few years ago, is the largest network with those capabilities, known in the industry as a layer one protocol.

Cardano, solana and avalanche have all seen their respective native tokens surge in price in recent weeks as they roll out upgrades that improve their chances at chipping away at ethereum’s lead.

But Hoskinson said it was less about competition and dominance and more about blockchains working together.

“What’s probably going to happen is we’re going to live on an internet of blockchains,” Hoskinson said.

Right now, the various blockchains can’t yet connect to one another. But thanks to so-called layer zero protocols like polkadot this interoperability will become reality.

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Cardano’s big alonzo upgrade will bring ‘programmability’ to the blockchain, according to founder Charles Hoskinson – he’s going to wear a Ghostbusters costume to mark the occasion

cardano
cardano

  • The alonzo upgrade will mean the cardano network will be able to support applications like smart contracts.
  • Cardano will gain a bigger foothold in the world of decentralized finance, competing with ethereum.
  • Founder Charles Hoskinson says he will wear a “Ghostbusters” costume to mark the launch.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Cardano’s big “alonzo” upgrade rolls out on Sunday and will usher in the network’s ability to run a range of crypto applications, from smart contracts to non-fungible tokens and aims to bring what founder Charles Hoskinson calls “programmability” to the blockchain.

Sunday marks the final, and most important stage of the alonzo series of upgrades that will help the network compete with the likes of ethereum – currently the biggest blockchain that can run applications other than a native cryptocurrency token. Smart contracts will enable the network to run decentralized finance applications, for example.

“One of the magical superpowers of cardano is that we built it with upgradability in mind,” Hoskinson told Insider in an interview.

“It means that cardano now supports programmability. That’s like when JavaScript came to the web browser. So, you go from static boring web pages, to Facebook and Google and YouTube,” he said.

Investors of all sizes have been buying into cryptocurrencies on a vast scale this year, partly out of a desire to diversify away from traditional assets like stocks or fiat currencies, but also because of the potential some of the various blockchains hold to revolutionize finance, trading and even art and entertainment.

For example, NFTs, which are essentially like digital collectors’ items that represent real-world assets like artwork, video and even virtual real estate, have been booming, endorsed by celebrities, sports stars and luxury brands.

Accessing these digital assets often requires a cryptocurrency. The prospect of having to use a blockchain’s native currency to buy an NFT, take part in an online game, or make a payment has been a big driver in some of the tokens whose networks offer, or will offer, these capabilities – cardano being one of them.

Since cardano announced in a video on August 13 that it would release the final alonzo “purple” update on September 12, the network’s native ada cryptocurrency has gained around 33% and is now the third largest digital coin by market value, with a capitalization of $82 billion, according to coinmarketcap.com.

Bitcoin, the biggest crypto that boasts a market value of around $884 billion, has gained around 4% in that time.

Another application that will run on the cardano network once the upgrade is complete are smart contracts – a piece of code that allows two or more parties to transact with one another without a central force like a commercial bank, or broker. Smart contracts are one of the cornerstones of decentralized finance and any network that can run them will be in demand.

This is a big step forward for a network that for years since it launched in 2017, was widely pilloried as a “ghost chain” – crypto-slang to describe a blockchain worth billions that ultimately has very little in the way of actual utilization.

“It’ll be a fun day. Everybody used to call us ‘the ghost chain’, and I bought the Ghostbusters uniform, so come September 12, I’ll be wearing it and we’ll have some fun,” Hoskinson said.

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Solana’s sol rockets by as much as 37% to a new all-time high, as the coin’s DeFi capabilities pull in record investment, analysts say

Solana
Solana

  • Altcoin sol rose by almost 40% in 24 hours to a record $195.70 on Tuesday.
  • The solana token’s popularity, which has seen it treble in value in a month, is a result of its DeFi capabilities and NFT adoption.
  • But some analysts are sceptical. JPMorgan recently said “cryptocurrency markets look frothy again.”
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Solana’s sol token rose by as much as 37% to a new all-time high on Tuesday, driven by an ongoing boom in demand for assets with strong decentralized finance capabilities.

Sol hit a record $195.70 earlier in the day, marking a rise of around 37% in a 24-hour period, according to data from Coinbase. It was last at $185.62, up around 13% in the 24 hours to 07:06 ET.

Sol has one of the best-performing cryptocurrencies in the last month, having risen by over 350%, compared with an 84% gain in cardano’s ada, a 64% rise in polkadot’s dot and increases of just 24% in ether and 16% in bitcoin.

Behind sol’s success is the growing popularity of the solana blockchain that underpins it. Much like rival ethereum, the blockchain can host decentralized finance applications such as smart contracts, and non-fungible tokens.

“It is a known fact that every cryptocurrency has its season, and we can notably say that this is solana’s reign to outpace the rest of the market,” Greg Waisman, co-founder and COO at the global payment network Mercuryo said.

“Solana is now an attractive asset to both retail and institutional investors as the DeFi and NFT marketplaces built on the network cater to the needs of both classes of investors,” Waisman continued.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unique tokens on the blockchain that are tied to assets like artwork, videos, documents and more that cannot be exchanged like-for-like, as a cryptocurrency is. Smart contracts are key to DeFi. Their code allows two parties to exchange money or goods without a centralized player like a commercial bank or broker.

“These projects place a huge demand on sol tokens, and also drive corresponding price growth,” Waisman said.

Last week, sol overtook dogecoin to become the seventh biggest coin by market capitalization, according to CoinMarketCap, with a market value of around $54 billion.

Investors piled a record $13.2 million into solana-backed investment products last week, bringing total assets under management to $44 million and marking a rise of 193% in one week, according to data from digital asset manager CoinShares on Tuesday.

“Solana remains the favorite with weekly inflows totalling $13.2 million last week, doubling its total inflows year-to-date,” CoinShares said in a weekly flows report.

“Sol is potentially a $500 digital coin, and the price growth of sol in recent times points to the capacity of the token to receive enough boost to hit this mark before the end of the second half of 2021,” Waisman said.

Investors have been frenziedly buying into altcoins in recent weeks, resulting in the likes of link, dot and xrp climbing to multi-month highs on Monday.

But JPMorgan has warned the huge gains in some of these smaller rivals to bitcoin and ethereum’s ether token could be a sign of overheating in the crypto market.

“Retail investors propelled “altcoins” in August making cryptocurrency markets look frothy again,” Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, a cross asset research analyst from JPMorgan said in a note last week.

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Link, dot and XRP lead another altcoin rally as investors opt for cheaper coins with smart-contract capabilities

Crypto coins circle
crypto coins circle

  • Chainlink’s link climbed 18% to reach a high of $36.35, the highest since May 19.
  • XRP, dot and litecoin also posted gains.
  • Investors have been piling into altcoins because they are cheap and have smart contract capabilities.

Link, bitcoin cash, XRP, dogecoin, dot and litecoin soared to new multi-month highs on Monday as investors opted for cheaper alternatives to bitcoin whose networks can support decentralized finance applications and smart contracts, analysts said.

A smart contract is a piece of code that allows people to enter into financial agreements without the need for a centralized player like a commercial bank or broker.

Thanks to their ability to run smart contracts, blockchain networks like ethereum have been able to do more than just host cryptocurrencies. They can include different layers of software, host non-fungible tokens and more. The bitcoin network is slower, more expensive to use and generally does not handle this type of application.

Bitcoin is still the largest cryptocurrency by market value by a long way. But it’s lagged behind some of the smaller tokens in recent weeks.

“What makes bitcoin less popular is its high cost and its enclosed nature when compared with that of ethereum and other smart contract-enabled altcoins,” Yuriy Mazur, head of data analytics department, CEX.IO broker, said.

“The crypto community believes altcoins can go up 5x or even 10x over the next several months, while Bitcoin will slowly grind higher,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA said.

Link climbed the most by as much as 18% over the previous 24 hours to reach a session high of $36.35 – its strongest since May 19 – and was last up 6.8% at $35.79, compared with a gain of 1.65% in bitcoin, according to Coinmarketcap. The coin has rallied 45% in the last month, compared with a 15% rise in bitcoin.

“At this pace, we can see the digital token rise to $50 in approximately 14-21 days. We can face correction along the way, but the growth surge is more likely at this time,” Mazur said.

Chainlink underpins the link token and offers smart contracts much like the ethereum network. The company said in a tweet last week that a record 76 new integrations took place on the network in August, bringing the total to 755. on any blockchain like ethereum.

“It seems that the demand for chainlink is growing, as well as its utility,” Mazur said.

“Additionally, the growth recorded in the past month has highlighted the relevance the token has continued to print, extending its lead as the first network to allow the integration of off-chain data into smart contracts,” he added.

Ether was last up around 0.6% at $3943, while other coins like XRP rose almost 8% to $1.37, and polkadot’s dot was up about 2.0% at $34.25.

Cardano’s ada hit record highs last week ahead of this month’s “alonzo” network upgrade, but lagged the rest of the crypto complex, easing by 0.4% to around $2.856.

“Now amongst the favorites of crypto enthusiasts are ethereum and cardano, which have shown impressive results lately and are going through the era of hard forks. Ethereum has already had an update, and a cardano update is coming,” Mazur said.

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Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood touts Tesla and Zoom, dismisses bubble fears, and responds to John Paulson’s bitcoin critique in a new interview. Here are the 8 best quotes.

Cathie Wood
Cathie Wood.

  • Cathie Wood trumpeted Tesla’s growth prospects and predicted Zoom will usurp Cisco.
  • The Ark invest chief also praised Robinhood and brushed off concerns of a market bubble.
  • Wood responded to John Paulson’s dismissal of crypto, arguing bitcoin is more than digital gold.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Cathie Wood predicted Tesla’s stock price will quadruple in about four years, suggested Zoom could replace legacy companies like Cisco in enterprise communications, and praised Robinhood for attracting young people to investing in a Yahoo Finance interview this week.

The Ark Invest chief and popular stock picker also responded to billionaire investor John Paulson’s recent dismissal of cryptocurrencies, brushed off concerns about market bubbles, and reiterated her view that a technological revolution is coming.

Here are Wood’s 8 best quotes from the interview, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

1. “Our base case for Tesla is $3,000.” – Wood expects Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle company to quadruple its market capitalization to nearly $3 trillion by 2025, partly because its global market share has increased “fairly dramatically” in the past five years.

2. “Many people think of Zoom as nothing more than these video sessions. We think it’s going to start taking more share of the communications stack in technology. Zoom is on its way to usurping the role of players like Cisco. It’s not just about video and stay-at-home or even hybrid, it’s much bigger than that.”

3. “Robinhood has introduced a whole new generation to investing, thinking about their future, and learning the hard way. Some have experimented with options – it doesn’t take long to lose a lot of money with options, and they learn quickly. I actually think Robinhood has done a great service to the investment community.”

4. “John Paulson made an incredible call during the mortgage crisis. What we think he’s missing about cryptocurrencies is they’re much more than a store of value or digital gold. Bitcoin is a new, global monetary system that is completely decentralized and not subject to the whims of policymakers.”

5. “If regulators get together and agree what exactly these cryptocurrencies are, how to define them, that will be a good thing. Certainty will be a good thing for this ecosystem.”

6. “This is the echo of the baby boom. I lived through the baby-boom years and that equity-market move, it was magnificent. I do feel we are in the same place now.” – predicting the bull market will continue for another decade.

7. “We have never been in a period in history where we’ve had five major innovation platforms, involving 14 different technologies, all moving into “S” curves, the curves feeding one another. We’re in a period of explosive innovation. “

8. “Are we in a bubble? We couldn’t be further from it. The average investor doesn’t understand how provocative these next five to 15 years are going to be, as these S curves feed one another and enter exponential growth trajectories that we have never seen before.”

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2 siblings, ages 14 and 9, say they make more than $30,000 a month mining bitcoin, ether, and ravencoin

Bitcoin logo mural
A bitcoin artwork by Stacey Coon, Anastasia Sultzer, and Nanu Berk at the Bitcoin 2021 convention.

  • Ishaan Thakur, 14, and his sister Aanya, 9, mine bitcoin, ether, and ravencoin, CNBC reported.
  • The pair claim to earn more than $30,000 a month and their dad helped them set up their own company.
  • The siblings mine from their home and a rented-out data center in Dallas, Texas.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Two siblings have started their own cryptocurrency mining company after making thousands over the summer, and hope their profits will help pay for their college fees, CNBC reported Tuesday.

Ishaan Thakur, 14, and his sister, Aanya, 9, set up Flifer Technologies in April with the help of their father, Manish Raj, per CNBC.

“We started because we wanted to learn something new about technology – and also make some money along the way,” Ishaan told CNBC.

The pair, based in Frisco, Texas, told CNBC that they make more than $30,000 a month mining bitcoin, ether, and ravencoin – an altcoin with a $897 million market cap, according to Coinbase.com.

Read more: A top market technician who got bullish on Cardano before it surged 92% explains how it could ‘double or triple’ from current levels – and reveals why Solana might have the most bullish crypto chart of all

The brother and sister started mining ether, and on their first day made $3, Ishaan told CNBC. As their earnings grew, their father invested in specialist mining hardware and graphic cards in July, so that they could mine bitcoin and ravencoin, per CNBC.

They mine from their home and data center in Dallas, which the family rents, Ishaan told CNBC.

Ishaan told CNBC that his children only use “100% renewable energy” for their mining.

Mining Bitcoin, the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency, requires miners to use large amounts of computing power to solve complex math problems.

Each time a miner solves a problem, they earn a bitcoin in return, although the practice has faced criticism for the environmental impact of its energy use.

Mining and investing in cryptocurrency has offered an avenue for many people to earn thousands, and even millions, in relatively short spaces of time.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the 29-year-old founder of crypto-trading exchange FTX who started trading crypto in 2017, has a net worth of almost $8.7 billion, according to Forbes.

However, volatile swings in the value of some cryptocurrencies has made investing in certain coins a riskier bet than many other types of investment.

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