USDC Expands to 10 New Blockchains, Crypto Payment Initiatives Launch
The Centre Consortium recently announced that USDC, a stablecoin that is backed 1:1 by U.S. dollars, will soon be added to 10 additional blockchain networks. In related news, Circle, “the principal operator” of USDC, has announced that it will go public through a business combination with a publicly traded special purpose acquisition corporation. According to a press release, the transaction values Circle at $4.5 billion.
As part of a recent deal between an enterprise payment company and digital-asset management firm NYDIG, 650 U.S. banks, including major community banks and credit unions, will soon be able to offer bitcoin purchases to an estimated 24 million customers. Rather than undertaking regulatory requirements related to having custody of cryptocurrencies, financial institutions choosing to make the bitcoin service available will rely on NYDIG’s custody services. Separately, the world’s largest interdealer broker recently announced that it intends to launch a cryptocurrency trading platform with two major U.S. financial services corporations in the second half of the year, with the goal of making cryptocurrency trading similar to the trading of traditional financial assets.
According to a recent press release, an international hotel chain has become the first international hotel group to accept cryptocurrencies. The growth in cryptocurrency payments was recently noted by a major U.S. credit card corporation, which said that its customers spent more than $1 billion using its cryptocurrency-linked cards in the first half of 2021.
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NFT Sales Continue Across Sports and Art Markets
The market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) reached new highs during the second quarter of 2021, resulting in year-to-date sales of $2.5 billion as compared with sales of $13.7 million during the same period a year ago, according to a report this week. While the numbers vary depending on which types of NFT transactions are included, the included transactions are “on-chain” transactions, with sports and collectible NFTs leading in popularity among buyers.
Major League Baseball (MLB) recently closed its first NFT auction, which featured a clip of Lou Gehrig’s famous “luckiest man” speech, according to recent reports. MLB reportedly plans to auction an NFT that also includes as a package a physical 2020 Los Angeles Dodger World Series Ring and the chance to throw the first pitch at a Dodgers home game.
A major art auction house recently held several NFT-related auctions, including an NFT of an artwork celebrating rap artist Jay-Z’s debut album. A report discussing the sale notes that the NFT includes smart contract provisions enforcing royalties on secondary sales. Another auction by the house reportedly combines the sale of an actual painting by Pablo Picasso, along with an NFT of the painting created with a special scanner that can be used to confirm the painting’s authenticity. A third recent auction by the house involved an NFT of the source code for the creation of the World Wide Web by British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. The NFT reportedly sold to an anonymous buyer for $5.4 million.
According to a recent report, the digital artist known as Beeple has helped launch a platform that will sell moments in sports, politics, fashion and art as NFTs, including NFTs with tangible assets and opportunities, such as meetings with athletes. Separately, actor Anthony Hopkins is set to have his most recent film sold on an NFT marketplace for movies, according to a report this week, and the related NFT’s will include extras based on which token is purchased. And a popular social media forum has reportedly jumped on the NFT bandwagon by creating NFTs that take the form of cartoon avatars based on the company’s logo.