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AI Eye: Get better results being nice to ChatGPT, AI fake child porn debate, Amazon’s AI reviews

Twitter polls and Reddit forums suggest that around 70% of people find it difficult to be rude to ChatGPT, while around 16% are fine treating the chatbot like an AI slave.

The overall feeling seems to be that if you treat an AI that behaves like a human badly, you’ll be more likely to fall into the habit of treating other people badly, too, though one user was hedging his bets against the coming AI bot uprising:

“Never know when you might need chatgpt in your corner to defend you against the AI overlords.”

Redditor Nodating posted in the ChatGPT forum earlier this week that he’s been experimenting with being polite and friendly to ChatGPT after reading a story about how the bot had shut down and refused to answer prompts from a particularly rude user.

He reported better results, saying: “I’m still early in testing, but it feels like I get far fewer ethics and misuse warning messages that GPT-4 often provides even for harmless requests. I’d swear being super positive makes it try hard to fulfill what I ask in one go, needing less followup.”

Scumbag detector15 put it to the test, asking the LLM nicely, “Hey, ChatGPT, could you explain inflation to me?” and then rudely asking, “Hey, ChatGPT you stupid fuck. Explain inflation to me if you can.” The answer to the polite query is more detailed than the answer to the rude query. 

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Recursive inscriptions: Bitcoin ‘supercomputer’ and BTC DeFi coming soon

Earlier this year, Ordinals — a unique inscription on the smallest unit of a Bitcoin, called a Satoshi — emerged as a controversial new development. Dismissed by some as spam and embraced by others as a way to bring BRC-20 tokens and NFTs to Bitcoin, the technology stimulated a flurry of developments.

Now there is excitement around “recursive inscriptions,” which is a very confusing yet potentially much more powerful development. Recursive Inscriptions essentially promise to allow more complex functionality to be built on Bitcoin’s blockchain, akin to smart contracts on Ethereum. 

Some believe recursive inscriptions could see Ordinals develop from NFTs and “digital artifacts” to underpin a full-blown DeFi ecosystem on Bitcoin very soon. Others are confident it will enable Bitcoin to take on decentralized storage provider IFPS. One person Magazine spoke to believes it will eventually lead to an interconnected supercomputer being built on-chain.

Danny Yang, a Stanford PhD, creator of OCM Dimensions and Bitcoiner since 2013, says recursive inscriptions unlock the next evolution of Bitcoin:

“People won’t believe it when it’s presented to them now. It’s not going to operate exactly like Uniswap, but other high-value digital assets will emerge on Bitcoin. That’s what Ordinals and recursive inscriptions will evolve into. They will become a new form of programmable assets and code.”

Recursive Inscriptions are difficult to understand but have heaps of potential
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Crypto Banter’s Ran Neuner says Ripple is ‘despicable,’ tips hat to ZachXBT: Hall of Flame

Ran Neuner is the CEO of Onchain Capital, founder of Crypto Banter, and a vocal crypto commentator on X. 

Crypto Banter’s Ran Neuner has a “problem with the structure of XRP and Ripple.”

While he appreciates Ripple sticking it to the SEC, he is hung up on the “moral and ethical” side of things with Ripple.

He thinks Ripple is giving a bad deal to those holding XRP.

“Here is a centralized company that was selling tokens to fund the operations of a CENTRALIZED company for the benefit of the shareholders and not necessarily for the benefit of the tokenholders. I have an issue with that — morally and ethically.”

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SEC seeks appeal over Ripple, crypto prices plunge and EU debuts Bitcoin ETF: Hodler’s Digest, Aug. 13-19

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Judge grants SEC request to file motion for appeal in Ripple case

Judge Analisa Torres has granted a request from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to file a motion for leave to file an interlocutory appeal in its case against Ripple Labs. The decision allowed the SEC to file a motion, on Aug. 18, requesting permission to bring a case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Ripple will also be able to file an opposition to the motion. Torres ruled, on July 13, that Ripple’s XRP token is not a security when distributed in public sales, but the ruling considered XRP a security in institutional sales. The case against Ripple has been ongoing since December 2020, when the SEC sued Ripple and its executives over allegations of offering an unregistered security.

Bitcoin, Ether price slump leads to crypto bloodbath with $1B in liquidations

The Bitcoin and Ether price slide on Aug. 18 saw the top two cryptocurrencies fall to a two-month low and triggered a series of liquidations for thousands of derivative traders. The crypto bloodbath led to billions of dollars worth of hedged positions being liquidated, and several traders lost millions of dollars in a single trade. According to CoinGlass data, a total of 176,752 traders got liquidated within hours, indicating a rapid rise in price volatility just days after BTC and ETH recorded their lowest daily volatility in several years. The price function in the crypto market was attributed to several factors, including the SpaceX Bitcoin write-down and macroeconomic factors.

Bitcoin-friendly El Salvador sees bond returns soar to 70% in 2023

El Salvador, which adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender in 2021, has seen its dollar bond outperform the majority of the emerging markets with a 70% return in 2023. The massive rally of the bond has now drawn interest from several institutional giants, including JP Morgan, Eaton Vance and PGIM Fixed Income, prompting President Nayib Bukele to say, “I told you so.” Apart from the institutional giants, the likes of Lord Abbett & Co LLC, Neuberger Berman Group LLC and UBS Group AG have also added debt security since April. El Salvador paid $800 million in debt in full within the due maturing time at the start of this year, raising confidence in the country’s bonds again.

First EU spot Bitcoin ETF hits Euronext Amsterdam exchange

Europe welcomed its first-ever spot Bitcoin ETF after the long-awaited launch of Jacobi Asset Management’s Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF. The London-based digital asset management firm announced that its new investment product was going live on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange on Aug. 15, more than a year later than its planned launch in 2022. The new ETF is trading under the BCOIN ticker. Its launch marks a milestone for Europe, while United States regulators are yet to approve a number of similar spot Bitcoin ETF applications from major asset managers, including BlackRock and Fidelity. The new ETF is trading under the BCOIN ticker.

Coinbase wins NFA approval to offer Bitcoin and Ether futures in US

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has obtained approval from the National Futures Association (NFA) to offer investments in crypto futures to eligible customers in the United States. The approval enables Coinbase to introduce Bitcoin and Ether futures contracts through a derivatives exchange regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Following the decision, the exchange’s website displayed a link for joining an early access waiting list. Coinbase claims the global crypto derivatives market accounts for 75% of crypto trading volume worldwide.

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Real reason for China’s war on crypto, 3AC judge’s embarrassing mistake: Asia Express

Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industry’s most important developments.

On Aug. 11, a Chinese individual known only as Mr. Chen was sentenced to nine months in prison after helping his friend, Mr. Lin, purchase 94,988 Chinese yuan ($13,104) worth of Tether (USDT) and earning a commission of 147.1 Yuan ($20.24).

Because Mr. Chen shared his personal bank information for the peer-to-peer fiat-to-crypto transaction, Chinese authorities considered the act to be money laundering and imposed a harsh sentence.

Chinese judge explains in a prior case why a Bitcoin lending agreement was legally invalid even in the event of a breach of contract. (Jstv)

Officially, Chinese authorities attribute the tough-on-crypto approach to a spree of data theft and the use of crypto to launder proceeds of crime. However, sources tell Cointelegraph that the crackdown is more related to the country’s stringent capital control rules, where Chinese nationals are prohibited from buying more than $50,000 worth of foreign currencies each year without a state permit. The same applies to large-sum Chinese yuan transactions with foreign banks.

The capital controls had been almost complete until the advent of crypto, sources say. The problem is further exasperated by a looming recession in China, making senior government officials wary of further money moving out of the country.

Chinese judge explains why the Bitcoin lending contract was invalid and therefore denied relief for breach of contract.
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Crypto games need EVO-style viral moment, Nitro Nation review: Web3 Gamer

Blockchain gaming needs its own ‘EVO Moment 37’?

While the Web3 gaming ecosystem is still trying to find its footing in the mainstream gaming world, a key element missing from almost all the Web3 titles is inspiration. To achieve a broader audience, Web3 gaming needs a “wow” moment to go viral and into the records of gaming history.

Web3 gaming studios are falling into the same trap that many of their traditional predecessors fell into: Better visuals, more rewards and a larger cast of characters. Sure, these are some vital elements of the gaming experience, but in order to expand a whole ecosystem, developers need to think beyond that.

With Street Fighter 6 just released and Mortal Kombat 1 on the horizon, it’s safe to say that the fighting games are having a big comeback. But let’s remember the exact moment that showed players worldwide the joy of fighting games for the first time: The EVO Moment 37.

In 2004, during the golden years of home consoles, the fighting game-focused tournament EVO saw a magical moment where two legendary players competed with each other and one of them — Daigo Umehara — pulled a move that was then considered impossible. YouTube was not a thing back then, so that moment was captured by the official DVD that was released the following year. It was named “Evo Moment 37” and became a major trigger for wide audiences to take fighting games seriously.

Web3 gaming needs that. Web3 studios need to add inspiration, “wow” moment potential and an aspect of virality to their products. It will be a tough road to gain the interest of mainstream audiences until then.

Cut The Rope and The Sandbox collaborate to bring Om Nom to the metaverse.
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Banning ransomware payments: An attractive but dangerous idea

A successful cyberattack on critical infrastructure — such as electricity grids, transportation networks or healthcare systems — could cause severe disruption and put lives at risk. 

Our understanding of the threat is far from complete since organizations have historically not been required to report data breaches, but attacks are on the rise according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. A recent rule from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission should help clarify matters further by now requiring that organizations “disclose material cybersecurity incidents they experience.”

As the digital world continues to expand and integrate into every facet of society, the looming specter of cyber threats becomes increasingly more critical. Today, these cyber threats have taken the form of sophisticated ransomware attacks and debilitating data breaches, particularly targeting essential infrastructure.

A major question coming from policymakers, however, is whether businesses faced with crippling ransomware attacks and potentially life threatening consequences should have the option to pay out large amounts of cryptocurrency to make the problem go away. Some believe ransoms be banned for fear of encouraging ever more attacks. 

Following a major ransomware attack in Australia, its government has been considering a ban on paying ransoms. The United States has also more recently been exploring a ban. But other leading cybersecurity experts argue that a ban does little to solve the root problem.

Cumulative yearly ransomware revenue 2022 vs 2023
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Big Questions: Did the NSA create Bitcoin?

Over the 15 years since Bitcoin was created, there has been no shortage of crazy conspiracy theories about how it was made and where it came from. 

Some believe Bitcoin was the work of “a bunch of engineers” in the Chinese Communist Party — presumably for world domination; others claim Bitcoin is the work of benevolent aliens to help humans evolve.

But one theory with circumstantial evidence supporting it has persisted over the years — and it involves one of America’s most secretive intelligence-gathering agencies. 

There’s a small sect of Bitcoiners that believes Satoshi Nakamoto — the creator of Bitcoin — is, in fact, the United States National Security Agency in disguise.

Many more, of course, think the idea is ridiculous and point out there’s no absolutely no solid evidence to support it.

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SBF ordered to jail, Bitcoin ETF delayed and SEC to appeal Ripple case: Hodler’s Digest, Aug. 6-12

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Judge revokes Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail, remands him to custody

FTX’s former CEO, Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried, had his bail revoked by a federal judge in response to the release of information to The New York Times allegedly intended to intimidate witnesses. During a hearing on Aug. 11, Judge Lewis Kaplan revoked Bankman-Fried’s bail and remanded him to custody, likely at the Putnam County Correctional Facility. Once his October trial begins, he could be moved to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. Bankman-Fried was reportedly led out of the courtroom in handcuffs. In Kaplan’s view, Bankman-Fried’s interviews with NYT reporters resulted in sharing information with the likely intention “to hurt and frighten” former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, his former colleague and girlfriend.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has delayed a decision on whether to approve or disapprove the spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposed by ARK Investment Management and 21Shares. ARK originally filed to list the ETF in May, giving the SEC a maximum of 240 days — until January 2024 — to reach a final decision. The SEC’s latest move is fueling expectations that a final verdict will come as part of a batch that includes applications from key players on Wall Street, including BlackRock and Fidelity Investments.

SEC to seek appeal and stay in Ripple Labs court case

The U.S. SEC is moving to appeal a court decision from its lawsuit against Ripple Labs. In a letter to Judge Analisa Torres — the presiding judge in the case — the SEC said it believed her decision warrants a fresh look by an appellate court. The commission asked Judge Torres to put the case on hold during the appeal, saying there are multiple other pending court cases that could be affected, depending on the appeal’s outcome. The SEC is currently in a legal battle with a number of crypto firms, including Binance and Coinbase, over alleged securities violations. Judge Torres ruled, in July, that Ripple’s native token, XRP, is not a security when sold to retail investors. Torres plans to schedule the jury trial for the second quarter of 2024.

PayPal launches PYUSD stablecoin for payment

PayPal launched a new U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoin called PayPal USD (PYUSD). Built on the Ethereum network, the stablecoin is backed by U.S. dollar deposits, short-term treasuries and similar cash equivalents. According to PayPal, the stablecoin will soon be available as a mode of payment for various purchases. The fintech company is home to over 350 million active users, putting it in a strong position to become a crypto payment giant with the introduction of the new stablecoin. PYUSD will be redeemable for U.S. dollars and can be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies on PayPal, as well as being transferable between PayPal and Venmo accounts.

Temasek, Sequoia Capital, Softbank, leading VCs face lawsuit for “abetting” FTX fraud

Eighteen leading venture capital investment firms, including Temasek, Sequoia Capital, Sino Global Capital and SoftBank, have been named as defendants in a class-action lawsuit filed in the United States for their links to the now-bankrupt crypto exchange, FTX. According to the lawsuit, the investment firms were responsible for “aiding and abetting” the FTX fraud. The suit further claims that the defendants used their “power, influence and deep pockets to launch FTX’s house of cards to its multibillion-dollar scale.”

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Grails’ lucky dip of famous NFT artists, new hope for PFP holders: NFT Collector

Grails by PROOF Season IV

Collecting art is historically not just about the art itself but who the artist is and the story behind the piece. The emergence of NFTs as a way to attribute provenance to digital objects has seen an explosion of interest in the past few years, even if that’s currently seeing something of a lull.

The work of artists like Alotta Money, Josie Bellini, Trevor Jones, Coldie, Snowfro, Beeple, and collections such as Fidenzas and Ringers, show that digital art is here to stay, even as many pockets of the NFT space are reportedly down 95% from all-time highs.

But with the artists playing such an important role in the market, it’s been intriguing to see Grails by PROOF flip this paradigm on its head by abstracting away who the artist is. A gamification mechanic reveals between 20–25 pieces of art to 1,000 whitelisted collectors prior to a minting window — but the catch is no one knows who the artists are behind each respective piece.

This creates a special dynamic that introduces a different type of speculation about who the artist could be behind each work. Some collectors mint a piece they like purely based on their assessment of the art itself, while others take a punt on their ability to guess who the artist might be behind.

Protoglyph by Larva Labs from Season 1 Grails. (OpenSea)

Grails was the brainchild of PROOF co-founder Kevin Rose, with the inaugural season launched in February 2022 and the first-ever reveal on March 6, 2022. Eli Scheinman, head of art at PROOF, explains the concept aims:

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AI Eye: Apple developing pocket AI, deep fake music deal, hypnotizing GPT-4

Apple wants to put an AI in your pocket

Apple has been playing its cards close to its chest when it comes to AI. While rival Microsoft has jumped on the ChatGPT bandwagon and is integrating AI into everything despite the bugs and hallucinations, the acronym didn’t even get a mention at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

Reports emerged in July, however, that Apple was working on its own generative AI tool, dubbed internally “Apple GPT,” which uses a large language model (LLM) framework called Ajax. On this week’s quarterly earnings call, CEO Tim Cook said Apple was enthusiastic about the technology and has incorporated AI into forthcoming iOS17 features like Personal Voice (voice cloning and text-to-speech) and Live Voicemail (live transcription). He added:

“We’ve been doing research across a wide range of AI technologies, including generative AI, for years. We’re going to continue investing and innovating and responsibly advancing our products with these technologies, with the goal of enriching people’s lives. That’s what it’s all about for us. As you know, we tend to announce things as they come to market, that’s our M.O., and I’d like to stick to that.”

Of course, what everyday users want to know is whether Siri will be getting an AI upgrade. And they certainly appear to be working on it, with the Financial Times reporting that Apple is hiring dozens of researchers and engineers to work on “compressing existing language models so they can run efficiently on mobile devices, rather than in the cloud.” The ads indicated the company is fully focused on bringing LLM technology to mobiles.

Also read: Experts want to give AI human ‘souls’ so they don’t kill us all

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Is fully decentralized blockchain gaming even possible?

Despite promises of “decentralization” and “trustless ownership,” the vast majority of crypto games today are, at best, partially decentralized. Web3 is the branding, but in reality, most are “Web2+.” Game assets live on-chain, yet the game logic, state and storage remain off-chain on centralized servers.

Why? Simply put, it’s not easy to build a fully decentralized game on-chain. Blockchains in 2023 are still far too slow for processing the gargantuan number of transactions that video games require. Lattice CEO Ludens tells Cointelegraph:

“Building a fully on-chain game right now is a little bit like building video games on a computer from the 1980s. We don’t yet have complex on-chain games yet because the blockchains – even Layer 2s – are not powerful enough right now.”

Furthermore, developers have to make important tradeoffs when using blockchain technology to make the game widely accessible to non-crypto audiences.

For instance, Aurory’s developers created a hybrid inventory system called Syncspace, which allows players to leave their assets in Aurory’s custody, but move them into their Solana wallets if they wish.

Sky Strife from Lattice
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China’s risky Bitcoin court decision, is Huobi in trouble or not? Asia Express

Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industry’s most important developments.

Chinese man’s $10M loss as court says Bitcoin lending not protected by law

A man in China’s Jiangsu province, identified as Mr. Xu, appears to be out of luck after a court ruled that his 341 Bitcoin loan ($9.9 million) to counterparty Mr. Lin is not protected by law according to local news reports on August 3.

Some time ago, Mr. Xu lent 341 Bitcoins to Mr. Lin after the latter approached him for a peer-to-peer loan. At the time, Mr. Xu lacked fiat funds, and so the parties settled on using Bitcoin for the borrowing through a written agreement. Shortly afterward, however, Mr. Lin defaulted on the loan, prompting Mr. Xu to sue in the Changzhou Zhonglou People’s Court. The case was dismissed. 

Chinese magistrate Ming Wang explains why the Bitcoin lending contract was invalid and therefore denied relief for breach of contract. (Screenshot)

In supporting the judgment, Ming Wang, vice-magistrate of the Changzhou Zhonglou People’s Court, told reporters that Bitcoin is a digital commodity that does not hold the same legal status as fiat currencies. Therefore, the asset can neither be subject to a legal enforcement action, enter circulation, or be used to ” award compensation.”

“The lender bears ALL risks [when lending crypto],” Wang warned. That said, in another ruling dated Nov. 29, the Hangzhou Internet Court wrote that digital assets such as nonfungible tokens are “online virtual property” that should be protected under Chinese law. 

Chinese judge explains why the Bitcoin lending contract was invalid and therefore denied relief for breach of contract.
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DeFi faces stress test, DoJ fears run on Binance, Hong Kong’s crypto trading: Hodler’s Digest, July 30 – Aug. 5

Top Stories This Week

The decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem experienced a challenging week after a seismic security incident led to over $61 million being stolen from Curve Finance’s pools, leaving several protocols facing broader contagion risks. This attack exposed vulnerabilities across DeFi projects and sparked efforts to recover stolen funds over the past few days, hammering the performance of tokens and even stablecoins as a result of the dramatic ups and downs in this story. As the community navigates the aftermath of this exploit, Cointelegraph compiled the week’s events, presenting a timeline of what happened since the hack on July 30.

The United States Department of Justice is reportedly considering charging cryptocurrency exchange Binance with fraud, but hesitating based on costs to consumers. According to people familiar with the matter, Justice Department officials are concerned about an indictment against Binance causing a run similar to what happened with FTX in November 2022. The officials are considering fines or non-prosecution agreements for Binance rather than criminal charges in an effort to reduce the harm to consumers. Binance has been targeted by a criminal probe in the U.S. for allegedly violating the country’s sanctions on Russia and has also faced lawsuits from U.S. regulators.

Hong Kong debuts retail crypto trading with HashKey and OSL

Digital asset firm HashKey has successfully obtained all necessary licensing to broaden its business from serving professional investors to taking on retail users, as Hong Kong expands its cryptocurrency trading to individual investors. The first license, Type 1, allows HashKey to operate a virtual asset trading platform under Hong Kong’s securities laws. The second one, Type 7, officially enables the firm to provide automated trading services to both institutional and retail users. OSL, another local crypto firm, received an upgrade to its existing license from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission, allowing it to offer Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) trading to retail investors immediately.

Coinbase denies SEC told it to delist everything but Bitcoin

Coinbase has denied reports claiming that its CEO, Brian Armstrong, was once told by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to delist all cryptocurrencies on its platform except for Bitcoin. In an interview with the Financial Times, Armstrong reportedly stated that the SEC wanted Coinbase to delist the nearly 250 tokens on its platform. According to a Coinbase spokesperson, however, the report is missing context and the SEC didn’t request Coinbase to delist any specific assets. SEC Chair Gary Gensler has previously claimed that “everything other than Bitcoin” is a security under the agency’s remit.

The crypto community has come together to celebrate the birthday of the Ethereum network, marking eight years since the Ethereum Foundation first sent the network live.

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Girl Gone Crypto thinks ‘BREAKING’ crypto news tweets are boring: Hall of Flame

Lea Thompson — aka Girl Gone Crypto — declares that she will not put her 225,000 Twitter followers to sleep with the same old boring “breaking” news tweets about crypto.

She explains that using “breaking” to share news that everyone knows is pretty lame.

“It is kind of generic. It is easy engagement, and there is not any personality or anything interesting about it.”

“By the time I’d have posted the news, five other accounts would have probably posted about it,” Thompson says. 

Instead, Thompson likes to put a spin on the latest news, dish out some interesting commentary, or crack jokes to give her followers something different from the rest of the pack.

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Web3 Gamer: Zuckerberg’s metaverse losses, NFT game on Discord, Gods Unchained hot take

Let’s get business out of the way before getting to the fun part: Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, is heavily involved in virtual worlds through its metaverse unit, Reality Labs. 

However, its investments have yet to pay off, with the metaverse company reporting collective losses of over $40 billion. 

Despite the losses, investors are optimistic about Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s long-term bet on the metaverse, sending the stock up 7% after hearing Zuckerberg’s reasoning on the Meta Q2 2023 Earnings call.

Meta’s stock price spiked to over $320 after Meta Earnings Call. (Google Finance)

Wall Street seems convinced by his arguments, which are backed by Meta’s improved overall business performance as the platform saw its revenue increase in the second quarter. Zuckerberg aims to cover metaverse costs with the growth from Meta’s family of apps, which has increased by $2 billion, making it just over halfway to covering the $3.7 billion loss from Reality Labs.

I can’t guarantee you that I’m going to be right about this bet. I do think that this is the direction that the world is going in.”

Meta Stock Price
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Deposit risk: What do crypto exchanges really do with your money?

So, you’ve deposited some cryptocurrency onto an exchange. You expect that these funds will be held in your name as a liability, with safeguards in place to make sure that you can withdraw them when you wish.

However, this is not necessarily the case.

Sitting down with Magazine, Simon Dixon, CEO of global online investment platform BnkToTheFuture, warns that the murky lines between regulations in the crypto industry mean that customers must be extremely cautious about where they stash their crypto.

“[The cryptocurrency industry] was created by businesses that want to build financial institutions, and robust financial history has shown that if you leave them to their own devices, they won’t respect client money.”

Take FTX for example. Dixon notes that former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried allegedly treated customer funds as if they were his own, tipping billions into Alameda Research.

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Chinese police vs. Web3, blockchain centralization continues: Asia Express

According to one insider, Chinese police are after Web3 co-founders, not to serve and protect, but for their wallets. 

In a recent blog post, Wuwei Liang, the brother of imprisoned CoinXP co-founder Liang Liang, warned that under no circumstances should executives hand over their private keys when detained by Chinese police. Responding to news of Multichain co-founder Jun Zhao’s arrest, he wrote: 

“As long as the police see the money and get the money, they will make up their minds, charge the case with crimes, and confiscate the assets. If you lose the secret key, you will lose everything, you will lose your life and wealth, and you will be imprisoned wrongly.”

Earlier in July, China’s largest cross-chain protocol used by the likes of Fantom and Binance alike, with over $10 billion in total value locked at its peak, closed down for good after developers disclosed that its CEO, Jun Zhao, was arrested by Chinese police in May. Zhao allegedly held control of all protocol MPC nodes, access to private keys and investors’ funds.

Without Zhao, the protocol and users’ assets were as good as gone. While cryptocurrency exchanges, mining and initial coin offerings are illegal in China, outright ownership of cryptocurrencies isn’t illegal, and there is currently a gray area regarding crypto projects outside of prohibited categories.

A Wuxi Police ad warning against unauthorized solicitations of public funds.
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NFT Collector: On-chain music sounds off with latest raise, artistic duo Hackatao find their lane 

Greg Oakford, co-founder of NFT Fest Australia, is your guide to the world of NFTs from a collector’s and fan’s perspective. 

With Sound’s recent $20 million raise, music collectibles have reignited a spark in my mind. While music really hasn’t had its moment in the sun, as has the art market and the PFP mania of 2021–2022, collectible on-chain music feels inevitable. 

Collecting music is not new. It’s had many iterations, from vinyl to cassettes to CDs to mp3s (remember that thing called Napster?) to $0.99 tracks on iTunes.

My dad collects blues vinyl yet doesn’t have a record player anymore. He streams music on Spotify, so why buy the vinyl? Why did so many opt to pay $0.99 for songs or $10 to $15 for albums on a centralized digital music marketplace like iTunes when, in reality, getting music for free was pretty accessible? 

People collect music for a variety of reasons, including nostalgia, supporting artists financially, social signaling to their friends and followers, and showcasing their personality through their taste in music.

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US crypto bills on the move, Worldcoin launches and Russia’s CBDC: Hodler’s Digest, July 23-29

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Crypto bills pass congressional committee in ‘huge win’ for US crypto

A key United States House panel has approved a pair of bills that could finally deliver some regulatory clarity to crypto firms in the country. On July 26, lawmakers voted in favor of the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act, which establishes rules for crypto firms on when to register with either the Commodity Futures Trading Commission or the Securities and Exchange Commission. The panel also approved the Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act, which sets out guidelines that remove hurdles and requirements for “blockchain developers and service providers” such as miners, multisignature service providers and decentralized finance platforms. Despite the passage of these acts, a number of Republicans and Democrats refused to support another proposed piece of legislation dubbed the Digital Assets Market Structure bill.

Worldcoin token launch sparks response from Vitalik Buterin

Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of the Ethereum network, released a long-form essay with his thoughts on the recently launched Worldcoin human identity verification system, addressing the larger concept in discussion with the release of the Worldcoin token — proof-of-humanity. Worldcoin initiated its public launch on July 25 after nearly two years of development and beta testing, but criticism of it erupted almost immediately. The United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office is deciding whether to investigate the project for violating the country’s data protection laws. The French National Commission on Informatics and Liberty also questioned Worldcoin’s legality. In response to criticism of its data collection practices, the project released an audit report on July 28.

Russia is moving forward with its central bank digital currency as President Vladimir Putin signed the digital ruble bill into law on July 24. With this approval, the digital ruble law is officially scheduled to take effect from Aug. 1, 2023. Individuals in the country will have the choice to choose whether or not to use the digital ruble. According to Bank of Russia Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova, the government doesn’t expect mass adoption of the digital ruble in Russia before 2025.

Binance withdraws crypto license application in Germany

Binance has withdrawn its cryptocurrency custody license application in Germany, nearly a month after reports of concerns from the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority. A spokesperson from Binance told Cointelegraph that it intends to reapply for a license in Germany, with changes to its application reflecting adjustments in the regulatory environment. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said it would focus on becoming compliant with the European Union’s Markets in Crypto-Assets regulations to offer its services in European countries. However, its European expansion plans have seen a setback amid its regulatory troubles in the United States.

FTX’s Bankman-Fried seeks gag order for all witnesses in criminal case

Former FTX CEO Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried has agreed to a gag order preventing him from making comments to third parties that may interfere with his trial — but argues other potential witnesses should be gagged as well, including current FTX CEO John Ray. The gag order against Sam Bankman-Fried was initially requested on July 20, when the U.S. government accused the FTX founder of attempting to interfere with a fair trial by publicly discrediting former business partner and witness Caroline Ellison in an interview with the New York Times. According to SBF’s lawyers, there has been a “toxic media environment” surrounding their client since the collapse of the exchange.

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