The city of Jackson is shaping up to be Tennessee’s cryptocurrency hub
the-city-of-jackson-is-shaping-up-to-be-tennessees-cryptocurrency-hub

The city of Jackson is shaping up to be Tennessee’s cryptocurrency hub. In the coming weeks, Mayor Scott Conger will form a blockchain task force to explore how to adapt the novel asset class.

Following Miami’s example, Jackson mayor Scott Conger plans to integrate cryptocurrencies into his city

Conger told that his plan is to encourage the use of cryptocurrency by incorporating it into the city:

“The plans are very simple right now. We want to encourage the use of cryptocurrency. I want to get people with a much greater knowledge of blockchain, than myself, in the room to discuss how we can incorporate cryptocurrency into our city.”

In 2020, Tennessee state representative Dennis Powers introduced a bill that calls for an in-depth study of blockchain technology, focusing on its use cases in banking, payments, lending, and other industries.

Jackson is the eighth largest city in Tennessee, but the rest of the state might be tempted to follow its lead due to exploding cryptocurrency adoption. Last week, the Bobby Hotel, one of the most popular hotels in Nashville, added cryptocurrency payments, a first for the state capital.

Conger says that he is taking pointers from Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who is determined to refashion the South Florida city as the world’s biggest Bitcoin hub.

In February, city commissioners voted to explore Suarez’s proposal to pay municipal employees in Bitcoin and invest a portion of the treasury into the cryptocurrency. Should they proceed with the audacious plan, Miami would easily become the most crypto-forward city in the U.S.

In a March interview, Suarez also mentioned that he wanted to turn Miami into a Bitcoin mining hub, offsetting China’s dominance in the industry. Meanwhile, crypto exchange FTX recently scored a deal to rename Miami Heat’s AmericanAirlines Arena to FTX Arena.

This Spanish AR NFT Campaign Will Give You Pokémon Go Flashbacks
This Spanish AR NFT Campaign Will Give You Pokémon Go Flashbacks 101
Source: Adobe/Savvapanf Photo ©

If you thought you’d read all there was to possibly read about non-fungible tokens (NFTs), think again, because a Spanish platform giving out hundreds of USD worth of crypto to Pokémon Go-style augmented reality (AR) hunters – as part of a plan to sell NFTs.

Per La Voz de Galicia, residents of Viga, a city on the northwest coast of Spain, the project is part of a promotional campaign from a firm named OVR, which calls itself an “open-source, decentralized augmented reality platform.”

To drum up interest in the token, the media outlet reports, the firm has placed NFT “treasure chests” containing varying amounts of its Ethereum blockchain-based OVR tokens at strategic points of the city. Would-be participants are obliged to make use of a designated app, and must also connect via their social media profiles.

And just as was the case with Pokémon Go around a decade ago, “treasure hunters” armed with the OVR app on their smartphones can roam around the city in pursuit of the chests.

A local blockchain business leader named Antonino Comesaña was quoted as stating,

“I went hunting with my six-year-old son. We found chests full of 100 tokens and we made two or three dollars a day. But the price has risen and we managed to get up to […] USD 475 euros one morning. I have given them to my son so he can save them.”

“Veteran” hunters, however “only get one award per day” as “they want to encourage new people to play to promote the use of their cryptocurrency,” Comesaña added.

But it appears that gaining attention for the token is not OVR’s only goal. The media outlet added that the app divides the city up into 22 quadrants, and offers advertisers the chance to place AR ads at points around the city, in a further bid to catch treasure hunters’ eyes. This, it said, can be done by buying OVR-issued NFTs.

One advertiser paid “between and USD 1,783 and USD 4,753 for 22 AR NFT “billboards” at and around the 29,000-capacity Balaídos Stadium, the home of Celta Vigo, the city’s La Liga football club. Other popular spots for treasure hunters include the Alameda de Bouzas park, the Príncipe commercial district and the Vigo Maritime Station.

Atari Ventures Into NFTs, Blockchain To Boost Its Revenues
Atari Ventures Into NFTs, Blockchain To Boost Its Revenues 101
Source: A screenshot, Instagram/atari

Legendary video game maker Atari has announced it is launching a blockchain division and exploring new opportunities in non-fungible tokens (NFTs), among others. The company plans to use blockchain technology to develop games and a cryptocurrency that players could spend on virtual items.

Most recently, Atari made ETH 47.582 (USD 95,000) through an auction of NFTs that are 3D models of the Centipede game cartridge once offered for the company’s Atari 2600 console. The Atari Capsule Collection was created in partnership with blockchain gaming business Animoca Brands and its digital collectibles offshoot Quidd.

Atari said in a statement it has seen “a tremendous amount of success in licensing the Atari-related brands for the use in NFTs” and it anticipates the trend will play an increasing role in its licensing strategy in the upcoming years.

With this in mind, all Atari products and services related to the blockchain business will be grouped into the division “to focus on the immense possibilities of crypto and blockchain-enabled games,” the company said. The company is also opening a second division, Atari Gaming.

Atari rose to prominence on the turn of the 1970s and 1980s, securing popularity among gamers with titles such as Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Asteroids, and Missile Command, among others. The so-called video game crash of 1983 triggered the sale of the company’s home console and computer divisions. However, after years of financial woes, the last years have allowed Atari to benefit from the video game nostalgia which brought some of its retro properties back into the spotlight.

“The Atari brand is alive, more than ever, and this organization in two divisions will help us adapt to the changes in our business line,” said Frédéric Chesnais, CEO and a major shareholder in Atari.

Spain Seeks Public Comments on Potential Cryptocurrency Regulations

Cryptocurrency regulations across different countries continue to be a hot topic, and Spain is the latest to join in. The nation’s watchdog has asked industry participants, investors, and consumers for their opinion, and they have until April 16th to respond.

Spain’s Regulator Looks for Crypto Legislation

According to a report from La Informacion, The National Securities Market Commission (CNMV), Spain’s watchdog overseeing the securities markets, has initiated the first steps of nationwide crypto regulations.

The process has started by sending emails to representatives of the cryptocurrency industry, investors, and customers. They have less than two weeks to prepare statements with their comments on the proposals and send them back to the agency.

The coverage outlined that the potential regulations could affect almost all areas of the cryptocurrency industry. However, the legislation could exempt some professional activities, assets that are exclusively used as means of payment, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Interestingly, the US also hinted at new rules regarding NFTs recently, but they seemed significantly more strict. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may implement taxes on NFT purchases made with profits of digital assets, as CryptoPotatoreported recently.

Apart from the aforementioned potential regulations on crypto assets, Spain has also explored developing a central bank digital currency. The country’s central bank said in late 2020 that releasing a CBDC is among the priorities in the next three years.

Regulations in Other Countries

The exponential growth of the entire crypto space in the past year or so has caught the attention of global regulators. Consequently, numerous countries have started looking into inserting legislative frameworks.

Spain’s northern neighbor, France, called for a new and robust approach towards crypto regulations in February this year. The chairman of the nation’s financial regulatory body (AMF) believes that the current legal structures are insufficient when it comes down to new asset classes such as digital currencies.

Continuing north on the map and Britain’s Finance Minister, John Glen, urged the country to firstly focus on regulating stablecoins rather than the entire market, while the FCA has repeatedly issued warnings.

In some countries, such as South Korea, the implemented regulations have caused troubles for some of the firms operating within their borders. The East Asian nation introduced new AML legislation last month, and several cryptocurrency exchanges announced closing doors for their respective South Korean branches in response.

Signal Turns Into Noise With MobileCoin Integration
Signal Turns Into Noise With MobileCoin Integration 101
Source: Adobe/natanaelginting

Private messaging app Signal, which is also popular among crypto users, announced they’re launching payments using MobileCoin (MOB). But then things turned sour.

Per the April 6 announcement, this is a beta feature in Signal Beta, available to the United Kingdom folks for testing and feedback purposes. They plan to expand the beta following more feedback.

Privacy-focused payments network MobileCoin, which uses the Stellar (XLM) Consensus Protocol (SCP) to synchronize a ledger, is the first payments protocol for which Signal added support, enabling a MobileCoin wallet to be linked to the messaging app in order to send/receive funds, monitor balance, and review transaction history. It’s currently possible to convert to/from the MOB token on crypto derivatives exchange FTX, with other exchanges coming soon, they added.

Signal does not have access to a user’s balance, full transaction history, or funds, they claimed, while users can transfer their funds “at any time” if they want to change services. Per Business of Apps data, Signal had 40m users in January this year.

But the reaction to this rollout wasn’t entirely positive. Some claimed that Signal is “dabbling in shitcoin pump,” and others added that Signal “has alienated all Bitcoiners” with this move.

just setting up my twttr

— jack (@jack)

Other criticism includes comments that Signal creator Moxie Marlinspike is using Signal to pump his MOB bag. Marlinspike has also been a technical adviser for MobileCoin.

However, he told WIRED that neither he nor Signal own any MOB tokens.

In 2018, the project announced a fundraising round led by Binance Labs for USD 30m denominated in ethereum and bitcoin. Per TechChrunch, the payments network recently raised USD 11.35m in funding across two rounds from Future Ventures and General Catalyst.

Furthermore, Marlinspike is listed as Chief Technology Officer in the MobileCoin whitepaper.

And speaking of the whitepaper, developer Tadge Dryja said that he found a MobileCoin whitepaper, which is reportedly just a copy of the ‘Zero to Monero’ paper with a few changes.

Others made similar allegations, such as Riccardo Spagni, the former lead maintainer of Monero.

just setting up my twttr

— jack (@jack)

BlockTower Capital founder Ari Paul, however, commented that MobileCoin is not a fork of Monero, and that Spagni’s claims can’t be used as proof to the contrary as he’s “an altcoin [developer] criticizing competition.”

This was a part of a longer technical discussion and disagreement over the project’s specifics.

Per Marlinspike himself, “Signal chose to integrate MobileCoin because it has the most seamless user experience on mobile devices, requiring little storage space on the phone and needing only seconds for transactions to be confirmed.”

The market situation caught the eye of analysts and traders, including Eric Wall, the Chief Investment Officer of the crypto hedge fund outfit Arcane Assets, who likened MobileCoin to an inedible footlong sandwich filled with a bunch of random ingredients.

just setting up my twttr

— jack (@jack)

At 14:32 UTC, MOB trades at USD 40 and is down by 38% in a day, erasing almost all its weekly gains. The price is still up by 648% in a month.

Swedish Central Bank Wants ‘Market Actors’ to Join Next Stage of CBDC Pilot
Swedish Central Bank Wants ‘Market Actors’ to Join Next Stage of CBDC Pilot 101
Source: Adobe/romaset

Sweden’s central Riksbank is forging ahead with its e-krona pilot project, and has outlined the next steps it wants to take – putting it on track to become the first European nation to roll out a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The Riksbank has been bullish about issuance, but will still have to convince politicians in the country to grant it the legal powers to proceed with its plans. However, in a new “phase one” report from the bank, described by Bloomberg as “essentially the most advanced exploration of a post-cash era to be undertaken by a major, western economy,” the Riksbank spoke of how it was making use of R3’s Corda blockchain platform and distributed ledger technology innovations.

Now the Riksbank says it will spend at least another year exploring technical solutions after extending its existing contract with Accenture.

During that time, it will seek to do the following:

  • Involve “market actors” – presumably private sector firms and commercial banks – which will be invited to take part to see if their internal systems can be successfully integrated with the prototype CBDC
  • Develop offline functionality, a feature already being built into the Chinese digital yuan, and a key point for accessibility
  • Develop more storage solutions, which could involve third-party CBDC wallet providers, such as commercial banks
  • Develop a more efficient payments infrastructure and integrate with existing point of sale (PoS) terminals
  • Boost performance and scalability
  • Evaluate and analyze its CBDC’s performance and network infrastructure progress, a step that will involve the “division of responsibility among participants”

Bloomberg quoted Mithra Sundberg, the head of the Riksbank unit charged with conducting the pilot, as stating that the bank has “looked at the technical possibilities of being able to charge interest,” although possible “monetary policy ramifications” have not yet been examined.

The Riksbank CBDC model is a two-tier approach whereby it would issue, redeem and destroy tokens as it sees fit, with intermediaries (namely commercial banks and payments providers) distributing the CBDC to both businesses and individuals.

The report’s authors appeared to be aware of the potentially thorny user data-related issues likely to lie ahead. Critics of CBDCs in other countries say they are worried too much of their spending anonymity will be compromised by such projects.

The authors wrote,

“The Riksbank is currently analyzing to what extent the information stored in the transaction history can be regarded as information covered by banking secrecy and whether it comprises personal data.”

Crypto Market Sentiment Jumps Back Into Positive Zone; Litecoin Takes Top
Crypto Market Sentiment Jumps Back Into Positive Zone; Litecoin Takes Top 101
Source: iStock/honglouwawa

While its two-week-long undecidedness had then been followed by a drop, over the course of the past week the market sentiment jumped up and back into the positive zone. The average 7-day moving crypto market sentiment score (sentscore) for ten major coins took a relatively large step up from 5.69 recorded a week ago to 6.03 seen today – just over the line marking the positive zone – as seen in the data provided by crypto market sentiment analysis site Omenics.

Improvements over the week prior can be seen across the board. For one, only two coins are now red, which is the exact opposite of the last week’s situation. These two coins are uniswap (UNI) and tether (USDT), which dropped 5.3% and 2.2%, respectively.

Though a relatively minor drop, the latter still pushed tether back below the score of 5 and back to being the only coin in the 4-4.9 score zone. This comes after it finally reached the grade of 5 last week, being one of only two green coins at the time.

The other was XRP, but this one remained green this week too, though its score rise is the lowest among the eight: 1%. The honor of the highest rise belongs to litecoin (LTC) this time around, and after it saw the largest drop among its peers last week. LTC went up 14.6%, regaining what it had lost and gaining some. It’s followed by binance coin (BNB)‘s 11.6% and chainlink (LINK)‘s 9.3%.

Whereas both were in danger of dropping a grade lower, bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH) are now up 8.6% each, reclaiming their scores of high 7 and high 6, respectively. Polkadot (DOT) and cardano (ADA) are nearby, with increases to their scores of 8.3% and 7.7%, respectively.

Half of the list – five coins – are in the positive zone now, up from only two last week, these being BTC, ETH, DOT, ADA, and BNB. Besides USDT, other four coins are somewhat near to this area as well, with scores between 5.5 and 5.7.

Sentiment change among the top 10 coins*:

Interpreting the sentscore’s scale:

– 0 to 2.5: very negative

– 2 to 3.9: somewhat negative zone

– 4 to 5.9: neutral zone

– 6 to 7.49: somewhat positive zone

– 7.5 to 10: very positive zone.

Crypto Market Sentiment Jumps Back Into Positive Zone; Litecoin Takes Top 102
Source: Omenics, 11:51 UTC

The 24-hour sentscore has went up as well, compared to last Monday. It jumped from 5.66 to the positive 6.25. That said, only four coins are green today, with UNI going up the most (1.8%) and DOT the least (0.3%). On the other side are the largest and smallest drops, these being ADA’s 5.5% on the one hand, and ETH’s and LTC’s 0.1% on the other. Meanwhile, a notable number of six coins are in the positive zone, these being: BTC, ETH, DOT, UNI, ADA, and LINK. Bitcoin is at the verge of the score of 8, ETH stands at 7, while DOT is just below 7. USDT is still the only one just below 5. The remaining three coins – BNB, LTC, and XRP – have scores between 5.6 and 5.9.

Daily Bitcoin sentscore change in the past month:

Crypto Market Sentiment Jumps Back Into Positive Zone; Litecoin Takes Top 103
Source: Omenics

Over the course of the past week, the situation has notably changed among the 25 coins outside the top 10 list as well, which are also rated by Omenics. Out of these, the scores of only six have dropped, the highest decrease being 4.2% seen by ontology (ONT). Meanwhile, AAVE saw the highest increase to its score, that of 17.3%, followed by stellar (XLM)‘s 13.3%. While stellar is on the verge of the positive zone, AAVE is already there, along with tron (TRX), EOS, monero (XMR), and algorand (ALGO). While, like USDT, NEM (XEM) has the score of 4.9, all the remaining coins sit between 5.3 and 5.9.

Meanwhile, in the past month, only 7 out of the 35 coins are green, and none in the top 10.

____

* – Methodology:

Omenics measures the market sentiment by calculating the sentscore, which aggregates the sentiment from news, social media, technical analysis, viral trends, and coin fundamentals-based upon their proprietary algorithms.

As their website explains, “Omenics aggregates trending news articles and viral social media posts into an all-in-one data platform, where you can also analyze content sentiment,” later adding, “Omenics combines the 2 sentiment indicators from news and social media with 3 additional verticals for technical analysis, coin fundamentals, and buzz, resulting in the sentscore which reports a general outlook for each coin.” For now, they are rating 35 cryptocurrencies.

Grayscale Still ‘Commited’ To Converting Its Bitcoin Trust into ETF
Grayscale Still 'Commited' To Converting Its Bitcoin Trust into ETF 101
Source: Adobe/Ascannio

Major US-based crypto investments company Grayscale Investments said they’re “100% committed” to converting their Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into an exchange-traded fund (ETF). However, according to them, the timing will be driven by the regulatory environment.

“Each Grayscale product is at various stages of this lifecycle and our intention has always been to convert these products into an ETF when permissible,” they said, adding that they’re confident in their current positioning and engagement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Per the company, now only GBTC and Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE) are currently SEC-reporting companies, meaning that both these trust are closest to becoming an ETF.

The investment giant said that they withdrew their earlier Bitcoin ETF application, submitted in 2016, because “the regulatory environment for digital assets had not advanced to the point where such a product could successfully be brought to market.”

Meanwhile, last month, the company had at least nine ETF-related positions to LinkedIn, signaling it is anticipating a green light from the SEC for a crypto ETF. “It signifies, one, that they are planning to file for an ETF and that they hope the approval process would be potentially quick and thus don’t want to miss out on hitting the ground running,” Todd Rosenbluth, Director of ETF research for CFRA Research, told Bloomberg back then.

According to the company, when GBTC converts to an ETF, shareholders of publicly-traded GBTC shares will not need to take action and the management fee will be reduced accordingly.

GBTC, which is now closed for investments, has USD 38.8bn in assets under management. ETHE (also closed) – USD 6.4bn.

While other trusts, such as Bitwise, BlockFi, Osprey Bitcoin Trust, and Canadian Bitcoin ETFs are emerging, the Grayscale trusts have so far been a dominant way for institutional investors to enter the cryptoverse.

The trusts are structured to hold the underlying crypto, while the value of each share is dependent on the amount of crypto under management. They also provide a familiar structure for accounting and taxation. However, there is no way to redeem the underlying crypto.

Meanwhile, many believe that approval of a Bitcoin ETF in the United States would be a watershed moment for BTC adoption. Multiple surveys has indicated that financial advisors in the US would be keen to put their clients’ money into BTC ETFs. Moreover, the time is now nigh for the SEC, particularly as crypto ETFs have become almost commonplace north of the border in Canada – as well as Europe.

At 13:24 UTC, BTC trades at USD 57,965 and is almost unchanged in a day. The price increased by 4% in a week and 18% in a month.

___

Learn more:

Grayscale Launches Chainlink, Filecoin, BAT Trusts As Bitcoin Trust Closed

Grayscale Scores Another Record, Buys 194% More Bitcoin Than Miners Generated

US SEC Now ‘On the Clock’ for Key Bitcoin ETF Decision

Not Only Institutional Investors Focus On Bitcoin Now – Goldman Sachs

Opinions Divided on Bitcoin ETF in US as Experts Say 2021 Launch Is Possible

Most US Financial Advisors Want to up Crypto Holdings in 2021 – Survey

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(Updated at 13:26 UTC: updates throughout the entire text. Updated at 14:05 UTC with a paragraph about job postings.)

See how a creative Instagrammer turned some old pallets into an Ibiza-style daybed
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • Lockdown has given many people the time and motivation to flex their creative skills, and no more so than Instagrammer Daniela Tasca York from Essex who took the time to build her very own DIY daybed out of pallets.

    Related: Brilliant budget garden ideas – boost your outdoor space without breaking the bank!

    ‘Last summer marked our first lockdown, and being trapped at home with no holiday in sight, I decided to bring the holiday vibes to our garden by building my own cabana day bed,’ says interior designer Daniela, a keen DIYer.

    Now, this may sound like a project for professional DIYers, but Daniela has made it look pretty easy, with the finished result going down a storm on social media. So what inspired her to take on the project? ‘We used to live in Ibiza,’ she says, ‘and our favourite thing to do was chill at the beach on the daybeds until late at night. It was the dream life!’

    Daniela’s Ibiza-inspired daybed was constructed out of pallets and old garden benches – and all for around £200!

    DIY daybed

    Image credit: Daniela Tasca York

    You’d never believe this stylish bed was made using such simple materials, but it looks like the perfect spot for the family to relax on hot, summer days. ‘We situated the cabana underneath our willow tree and in the sunniest spot,’ Daniela says. ‘It’s in-between two large apple trees situated in what was an unused part of the garden.’

    Image credit: Daniela Tasca York

    The project began with Daniela forming the base of the daybed from pallets and an old wooden bench, which she screwed together. ‘Obviously, these looked a bit grim, to begin with, but I knew I’d be covering them with cladding and painting them,’ she says.

    ‘I based the size on a double mattress that I bought from eBay and used two layers of pallets, so the posts for the frame would have enough wood to be attached to – it made the frame stronger.’

    Buy now: Used wooden pallet, from £7.90, Associated Pallets

    Cladding the sides

    Image credit: Daniela Tasca York

    Next up, Daniela used some lengths of wood from Wickes to clad the sides and top of the pallets, leaving a 5mm gap between each strip for ventilation. She attached each one by screwing it into the pallets underneath.

    Buy now: Whitewood PSE Timber, from £2.71, Wickes

    Creating the frame

    Image credit: Daniela Tasca York

    Then it was on to building the frame. ‘We needed two people for this – and a spirit level,’ says Daniela. ‘I used three long wood screws that I put directly through the side posts and into the base. Our ground is uneven so we trimmed a bit off the back two posts to make sure they were the same height as the front two.’

    Next, measure out the length you need between the vertical posts for the top horizontal ones (Daniela did this by measuring the base of her bed). Fix the cut lengths of wood with L-brackets, using a spirit level to keep everything straight. Once all four sides are on, add a middle post for extra strength – you can use straight brackets for this.

    Buy now: Studwork CLS Timber, from £3.85, Wickes

    Adding the back panels

    Image credit: Daniela Tasca York

    Once the frame was built, Daniela added the panels at the back and top. ‘This is mainly decorative, but also so you have a “headboard” to lean cushions up against,’ she says. ‘It adds some extra strength, too.’

    Using approximately 20 wood planks, spaced evenly apart, Daniela hammered nails in both sides to secure them, before adding the same strips to the roof. ‘I made these ones slightly further apart, to accommodate the willow branches,’ she says.

    Buy now: Whitewood PSE Timber, from £2.71, Wickes

    Painting the frame

    Image credit: Daniela Tasca York

    Daniela painted the frame and all the panels white, using just one coat to keep the look more ‘weathered and beachy.’ Once the paint was dry, she hung curtains by attaching hooks to the inside of the top horizontal posts, threading cord through and then hanging the sheer white curtains onto the cord. ‘This way it’s easy to take the curtains down if they need washing in summer or storing in the winter,’ Daniela says.

    Buy now: Cuprinol White Daisy matt wood paint, £20, B&Q

    Buy now: AnnaLouisa curtains, £25, Ikea

    Dressing the bed

    Image credit: Daniela Tasca York

    To make a comfortable base, Daniela used two Terry Towelling mattress protectors on top of the foam mattress, which acts as a waterproof barrier from the rain. Finally, some linen fabric was used as a throw and lots of comfy cushions added.

    ‘It’s a really simple DIY job,’ says Daniela. ‘You need two pairs of hands, but other than that it’s really fun and straightforward to do. In the winter, I simply rolled up the mattress and put it in the loft, and took down the curtains, cushions and throws, so everything was safe from the rain.’

    ‘It was such a bargain,’ Daniela continues, ‘and we had so much use out of it last summer – I can’t wait to use it again this year. It still looks exactly like the day I made it!’

    You can see this project and more of Daniela’s home and DIY makes over at Instagram here.

    Have you been tempted to try this at home?