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NFTs

Internet Computer to release 10,000 free NFTs in debut drop

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Dfinity’s Internet Computer has announced the release of 10,000 non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Users are eligible to claim their free token Wednesday at 8pm UTC .

Conceptualised by brothers Przemek and Tomasz Chojecki, alongside Adam Stępnik, the trio were inspired to create the avatars following acronym comparisons to the 90’s hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse, and the overwhelming success of the legendary Cryptopunk NFTs.

Following a series of exclusive early releases, it is expected that only 3,000 punks will be available to claim, one per user, at the time of release.

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Cointelegraph spoke to co-founder of the project, Przemek Chojecki about his expectations for the NFT drop:

“We’re incredibly excited for the launch of ICPunks on the Internet Computer. The NFT space is moving at such a rapid pace, it is amazing to be part of it. We have a lot of plans for ICPunks, including an NFT Marketplace, this is the first step towards that.”

Internet Computer is a cryptocurrency token (ICP) which allows users to build applications, websites and digital services.

Alternatives to popular social media networks including Linkedin, Medium, Whatsapp, as well as community-driven sites such as Reddit have already been created by community members.

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According to a recent tweet, the ICPunk drop has garnered notable attention from the crypto community, with analytical data reporting 89,000 visitors to the NFT’s website since it went live.

We also spoke to Chojecki about the recent Dfinity partnership:

“We have been following DFINITY’s work since 2017. We believe the Internet Computer is the best solution for NFTs. One of the benefits of the Internet Computer is that all information is stored on-chain. There is no need to use IPFS or dedicated web servers to host images. It’s truly a decentralized NFT solution.”

The NFT market has recorded exceptional growth over the past year following an illustrious list of reputable brands, celebrities, and public figures contributing to the space.

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Last week, we reported that credit card giant Visa made a statement NFT purchase of a $150,000 Cryptopunk.

This week, Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka announced a collection of NFT tokens in the lead up to the US Open championships.

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Bitcoin

NFTs ‘on Bitcoin’: Yes, That’s a Thing!

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Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are all the rage right now. From CryptoPunks to Bored Apes, millions in crypto are exchanging hands for pixel art, tokenized memes, and crypto collectibles. 

For the most part, the action takes place on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, which has made some hardcore bitcoiners skeptical of this new crypto market segment. However, there is also a market of NFTs secured by the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain.

Read on to learn about what’s happening with Bitcoin-secured NFTs. 

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NFTs are moving beyond Ethereum

Until recently, Ethereum has been the go-to blockchain for minting and trading NFTs. That is changing quickly, however, as Ethereum high gas fees have pushed out many would-be market participants, making NFTs on other chains more attractive. 

The Bitcoin blockchain has also a role to play here.  

While NFTs “on Bitcoin” don’t exist purely on the Bitcoin blockchain (in a way that ERC721 tokens exist on Ethereum), they are secured by the Bitcoin blockchain. The additional tech stack that powers the ability to issue and secure NFTs with Bitcoin is provided by the likes of CounterpartyStacks, and the Liquid Network

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Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the most prolific NFT projects secured by Bitcoin.

Rare Pepes & crypto art on Scarce City

Scarce City is a Bitcoin-secured art auction platform that enables artists to sell their artwork for BTC. 

The Scarce City team claims that “Bitcoin’s finest goods should be sold according to the network’s properties of pseudonymous, borderless, permissionless, trust minimized, and verifiable authenticity and supply.” 

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On the auction platform, art is sold via Lightning-powered auctions to “keep auction participants accountable by collateralizing their bids through instant, anonymous, low-fee Lightning Network payments,” the team explains on its website.

In addition to giving artists the ability to sell their physical art in exchange for BTC, the marketplace also sells an NFT series based on the Pepe The Frog internet meme, called the Rare Pepe collection. 

Rare Pepe NFTs are powered by Counterparty – an open-source protocol built on top of the Bitcoin network – that uses the Bitcoin blockchain to record data. 

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By securing NFTs on Bitcoin, these digital collectible cards arguably have a chance of lasting longer than NFTs secured by newer chains that may end up disappearing (or forking) in a few years’ time. For NFT holders, that is something to consider. 

NFT skins for Bitcoin gamers

Bitcoin-secured NFTs are not only limited to artworks and dank memes. They also have applications in the gaming world. For instance, Lightnite, a play-to-earn online game powered by Lightning payments, utilizes Blockstream’s Liquid Network to enable players to purchase and earn in-game items in the form of NFTs. 

The Liquid Network is a Bitcoin sidechain that can facilitate the trading of these and other Bitcoin NFTs. While it was created by Blockstream, it’s currently governed by a federation of parties and operated on an open-source blockchain platform called Elements. 

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In a blog post, Blockstream explains that Lightnite players receive a unique Liquid token in their account every time they purchase or earn a skin. These tokens can then be withdrawn to a personal Blockstream wallet for safekeeping or to trade with other Lightnite players. Should a Lightnite player receive a skin outside of the game, they can deposit the Liquid token in their Lightnite account to receive the skin and deploy it in the game. 

Lightnite skins are not the only NFTs floating around on the Liquid Network. Another notable NFT project on Liquid is Raretoshi. 

Raretoshi is an NFT marketplace that enables artists to sell rare digital art for L-BTC (pegged bitcoin on Liquid), benefiting from lower transaction costs and the ability to get paid in bitcoin. 

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NFTs on Stacks: Web 3.0, built on Bitcoin

Stacks says it is a decentralized, open-source network built on Bitcoin that aims to unleash Bitcoin’s potential as a programmable base layer to build “a better Internet.” That means that developers can mint NFTs and build NFT marketplaces that are secured by the power of the Bitcoin network. 

The Stacks team says that “Bitcoin has all the properties that decentralized apps and smart contracts need: the security, the settlement assurances, the capital, and the network effects.” 

In light of Stacks’ Bitcoin-powered technology stack and the rising popularity of NFTs, it comes as little surprise that the first NFT ventures have already started to emerge on Stacks. 

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StacksArtSTXNFT, and Boom are examples of up-and-coming NFT platforms operating on the Stacks chain. 

Interestingly, Satoshibles – an NFT collection by bitcoiners for bitcoiners that launched on Ethereum – announced that it plans to move to Stacks via an NFT bridge between Ethereum and the Stacks blockchain. 

“Using Satoshi as our mascot, we have always felt that we are the NFT for Bitcoin enthusiasts, however, it’s a pretty hard sell when your project is on Ethereum,” the Satoshibles team admitted. 

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To bring its series of 5,000 algorithmically generated, Satoshi-themed NFTs close to the Bitcoin community, Satoshibles holders will be able to port their NFTs to Bitcoin via Stacks.

As the NFT market continues to grow and more NFTs “powered by Bitcoin” emerge, we could see even more money flowing into non-fungible tokens, especially when collectors can trust that their NFTs are secured by Bitcoin. 

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In a blog post, Blockstream explains that Lightnite players receive a unique Liquid token in their account every time they purchase or earn a skin. These tokens can then be withdrawn to a personal Blockstream wallet for safekeeping or to trade with other Lightnite players. Should a Lightnite player receive a skin outside of the game, they can deposit the Liquid token in their Lightnite account to receive the skin and deploy it in the game. 

Lightnite skins are not the only NFTs floating around on the Liquid Network. Another notable NFT project on Liquid is Raretoshi. 

Raretoshi is an NFT marketplace that enables artists to sell rare digital art for L-BTC (pegged bitcoin on Liquid), benefiting from lower transaction costs and the ability to get paid in bitcoin. 

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NFTs on Stacks: Web 3.0, built on Bitcoin

Stacks says it is a decentralized, open-source network built on Bitcoin that aims to unleash Bitcoin’s potential as a programmable base layer to build “a better Internet.” That means that developers can mint NFTs and build NFT marketplaces that are secured by the power of the Bitcoin network. 

The Stacks team says that “Bitcoin has all the properties that decentralized apps and smart contracts need: the security, the settlement assurances, the capital, and the network effects.” 

In light of Stacks’ Bitcoin-powered technology stack and the rising popularity of NFTs, it comes as little surprise that the first NFT ventures have already started to emerge on Stacks. 

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StacksArtSTXNFT, and Boom are examples of up-and-coming NFT platforms operating on the Stacks chain. 

Interestingly, Satoshibles – an NFT collection by bitcoiners for bitcoiners that launched on Ethereum – announced that it plans to move to Stacks via an NFT bridge between Ethereum and the Stacks blockchain. 

“Using Satoshi as our mascot, we have always felt that we are the NFT for Bitcoin enthusiasts, however, it’s a pretty hard sell when your project is on Ethereum,” the Satoshibles team admitted. 

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To bring its series of 5,000 algorithmically generated, Satoshi-themed NFTs close to the Bitcoin community, Satoshibles holders will be able to port their NFTs to Bitcoin via Stacks.

As the NFT market continues to grow and more NFTs “powered by Bitcoin” emerge, we could see even more money flowing into non-fungible tokens, especially when collectors can trust that their NFTs are secured by Bitcoin. 

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China Sort of Bans NFTs, But Local Internet Giants Keep Entering This Field

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Chinese authorities are prohibiting NFTs but allow digital collectibles instead; however, Internet giants keep entering the NFT space

According to the Chinese crypto blogger Colin Wu, Chinese regulators are in talks with major Internet companies about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) use.

He has reported exclusively that NFTs are not allowed to be used any more. However, instead digital collectibles are permitted.

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Still, local Internet giants and other major companies are still entering the NFT space actively. Recently, U.Today reported that McDonald’s in China has released a set of 188 NFTs to present to its staffers and customers in honor of the 31 anniversary of the company’s presence in China. These NFTs are called “Big Mac Rubik’s Cube”.

Tencent and Alibaba have also launched their NFTs platforms and DHL has released its NFTs too, Wu reminds.

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In late September, China also banned cryptocurrency transactions, marking them as illegal. However, Chinese citizens are still allowed to own Bitcoin legally as digital property.

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NFTs

Whales hoarding NFTs? 80% of Ethereum NFTs bought by only 17% of Addresses

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  • Around 16 percent of addresses snatched up 80.98 percent of all NFTs on Ethereum between April and September.
  • Moostream argues that there is still room in the NFT space for ‘small investors.’ 

Moonstream, the open-source blockchain analytics platform, has revealed that about 80 percent of all non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Ethereum blockchain between April 1 and September 25 were owned by a minority of wallets. According to the October 21 report, four-fifths of NFTs in that time period was owned by 17 percent of wallets.

The reported analysed data from 7,020,950 million NFT transactions on Ethereum in a period of close to six months. It revealed that a significant number (80.98 percent) of NFTs on the blockchain were owned by whales, NFT platforms and exchanges which make up 16.71 percent of all wallets. The rest were distributed amongst the remaining 83.29 percent. This trend seems to follow the Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule as pointed out by one Reddit user. This is a principle that asserts that 80 percent of consequences are as a result of 20 percent of the causes.

It is worth noting that the data used in the report is based exclusively on the Ethereum blockchain and not Layer 2 networks or centralised Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). The report explains this in it’s ‘Caveats’ section.

The Ethereum NFTs dataset is constructed purely from events on the Ethereum blockchain. It does not include any data from Layer 2 networks like Polygon. Nor does it include any data from centralized APIs like the OpenSea API. It does not account for events or data from any non-ERC721 smart contracts associated with these platforms on the Ethereum blockchain. This means that two parties could exchange a positive amount of funds for a transfer off-chain and conduct the transfer on-chain and we would not be able to distinguish the transfer from a gift. It is also possible for a single transaction to involve multiple NFT transfers.

Still early for ‘small-time’ investors and individuals?

While the unevenness in NFT distribution is glaringly obvious, Moonstream insists that there is still room for participation from small investors.

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What this data shows us is that the Ethereum NFT market is open in the sense the vast majority of its participants are small-time purchasers who likely make their purchases manually. There are few barriers to entry for those who wish to participate in this market.

Contrary to what many may believe, purchasing and holding NFTs is relatively easy. Individuals can open a wallet on an NFT marketplace and fund it. After this, they can easily bid on available NFTs. Some popular NFT marketplaces are OpenSea, Rarible and Foundation.

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