The team behind the design of NBA Houston Rockets player John Wall’s non-fungible token may have ripped off one of the backgrounds directly from the popular online game Fortnite.
Wall first announced he planned to release a line of “Baby Baller” non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, on Sept. 21 to raise $100,000 for charity and the “Ballers community.” However, once he posted a preview of the tokenized artwork on Twitter, social media users were quick to notice that the background appeared to be lifted from Fortnite.
The image, available on season 5 of Fortnite from Epic Games, shows a basketball court adjacent to a building near coconut trees. Though Wall’s preview included one of the Baby Ballers on the court spinning a basketball on his finger, many commented that the artwork was a seemingly lazy attempt to get into the NFT game.
“If you’re putting a 600 ETH ($1.7 million) valuation on your project, you might want to make sure all your art is unique,” said Twitter user hotlneblng_.
Others pointed out that there could be legal issues if Wall’s team didn’t secure Epic Game’s permission to use the images. The company website says it allows users to create fan art and other content with “no commercial objective,” but most other uses are prohibited.
Crypto Twitter user 0x_fxnction, an NFT creator and collector, defended the artists behind other more reputable digital creations:
If you have tons of money yet you still steal your NFT’s background from Fortnite, you really NGMI lmao— fxnction (@0x_fxnction) September 22, 2021
“Celebrity cash-grabs like this John Wall NFT coming out show that these celebs think they can take from the community,” said 0x_fxnction. “Celebs really think they can come into an industry they know nothing about, never interact with the community, then launch a scam project they’ll abandon in 3 months?”
Wall’s NFT creation is not the first allegation of copying art in the crypto space. Earlier this month, Dan Hindes, the creator of an indie game named Wildfire, accused the team behind Epic Hero Battles — “10K animated NFTs fighting in a never-ending battle” — of stealing his artwork. After getting significant attention online, Hindes later reported the game had removed its creation, with the team blaming a “web dev” for the alleged mistake.
The copycat practice isn’t limited to individual creators, either. Many have criticized Solana and Polygon for cloning CryptoPunks — rebranded as SolPunks and PolygonPunks. Some NFT marketplaces have removed the NFT artwork seemingly in response to a campaign claiming users might be confused as to the authenticity of the punks.
Cointelegraph reached out to Epic Games but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
Fidelity to Launch Spot Bitcoin ETF This Week
Fidelity is aiming to launch its first spot Bitcoin ETF
Fidelity, an American multinational financial services corporation, is set to launch its first spot Bitcoin ETF in Canada this week, according to Bloomberg senior ETF analysts.
Fidelity is a multinational financial services corporation that was established in 1946, and it remains one of the largest asset management companies in the world with $4.9 trillion AUM with a total AVN of $8.3 trillion.
SEMI-SHOCK: Fidelity launching a spot bitcoin ETF in Canada this week. Didn't know about this. Will easily be the biggest asset manager to date with a bitcoin ETF. pic.twitter.com/H2XJRBY3O6— Eric Balchunas (@EricBalchunas) November 30, 2021
According to Bloomberg analysts, the fund with FBTC CN is currently pending listing on the Canadian exchange and will be trading under the name Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin. Balchunas also notes that the new fund might possibly become the biggest asset management company that includes Bitcoin products.
Spot ETF as main advantage
While futures-backed Bitcoin ETFs are not something new for the market, the physically-backed exchange-traded fund would actually be a more convenient solution for Canadian investors who are willing to receive exposure to the cryptocurrency market and Bitcoin specifically.
Compared to futures-backed funds, physical settlement Bitcoin products allow investors to receive direct exposure to the cryptocurrency market without facing high roll costs. Since Bitcoin-tracking funds utilize short-term one-month futures, they have to renew their contracts every month, which puts investors in an unfavorable position.
Due to funds operating with large volumes, the futures market faces significant buying power that puts futures contracts prices higher than the actual underlying asset. Such a market condition is called contango bleed when investors have to overpay for opening new positions on the market, which puts them at around a 20% annual loss.
Former PayPal CEO’s Cryptocurrency Exchange Goes Live for Institutional Clients
“Bullish” exchange backed by PayPal co-founder is set to launch for institutional investors.
The cryptocurrency exchange backed by Peter Thiel and Richard Li began operating for a batch of institutional investors on Tuesday. The start for institutional investors is only the first step before the full launch for private investors and traders.
The Bullish Exchange will offer Bitcoin, Ether and EOS tokens for trading against USD coins. With further development and expansion in the future, the exchange will broaden its digital assets offering for both institutional and retail investors.
Among the exchange’s first clients are firms like Virtu Financial (non-U.S. affiliate) and Hong Kong-based crypto finance firm Amber Group. The first company is an electronic market-making firm that is based in New York.
The new exchange, which is also backed by hedge fund managers Alan Howard and Louis Bacon, was established earlier in 2021. The exchange has numerous distinctive features that come from the world of decentralized finance, including automated market making, lending tools and portfolio management mechanisms that will help traders to properly handle their funds.
The chairman of Bullish exchange presented his product like a tool designed for investors who are looking for secure and efficient exposure to the digital assets market on a platform that will ensure funds safety from both the technical and legal sides.
The exchange will initially use its own assets to add more liquidity to pools that would be used by automated lending and market-making mechanisms. The backend of Bullish exchange is powered by EOSIO—open-source blockchain software developed by Block.one.
Plans for the future
Bullish exchange is planning to further broaden its offering by going public on the New York Stock Exchange by merging with SPAC company Far Peak Acquisition Crop. The transaction between the two companies will set the exchange’s value at approximately $9 billion.
‘New Blow’ as Large Crypto Exchanges Are Told to Pay British Tech Tax
Crypto exchanges operating in the United Kingdom â€“ including the likes of Coinbase â€“ will be forced to pay a recently created tech tax â€“ with the British tax body, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), declaring that cryptoassets â€œare not financial instruments.â€
The British Treasury last year announced the launch of a new 2% sales charge on online vendors, search engines and social media providers with global revenue of over USD 666.4m and domestic sales above the USD 33.3m mark.
Per the Telegraph, the tax office has informed crypto exchanges that they are subject to the levy, which was created in a bid to make sure the likes of Google and Amazon â€“ who have been criticized for finding tax workarounds in the UK â€“ contribute more to the Treasuryâ€™s coffers.
The same media outlet noted that although Coinbaseâ€™s UK operations had reported sales worth just under USD 24m, â€œthe company recently reported that global revenues had quadrupled, meaning it is likely to pass the UK threshold in 2021.â€
However, the tax may be short-lived, at least in its current form: earlier this year, the G20 agreed to create a streamlined tax essentially aimed at global tax giants. The measure will force some of the world’s biggest companies to cough up some USD 150bn in extra tax revenue each year.
Last month, the BBC reported that G20 chiefs had agreed to create a global minimum tax rate of 15% for large companies, and would enforce the measure starting in 2023.
In the meantime, however, the British â€œtech taxâ€ is still in place â€“ and Coinbase is likely to have to pay it.
HMRCâ€™s ruling that cryptoassets â€œare not financial instrumentsâ€ is key. Financial providers are exempt from the tax, but the tax bodyâ€™s insistence that tokens â€œdo not qualify as commodities or moneyâ€ means that crypto trading platforms cannot slip through the net.
The same media outlet quoted the crypto pressure group CryptoUK as claiming that it was â€œunfairâ€ to classify crypto â€œdifferently to other financial assetsâ€ â€“ particularly as the UK tax bodyâ€™s American counterparts largely consider coins to be commodities.
CryptoUK director Ian Taylor was quoted as calling the move â€œa new blowâ€ to crypto exchanges, who were already reeling from â€œarduousâ€ licensing measures announced by the regulatory Financial Conduct Authority â€“ ultimately leading to higher fees for exchange customers.