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Consensys Raises $200 Million From HSBC and Third Point as Metamask Gets 21M Users

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Consensys just received 200 hundred million dollars in funding – including from a major US hedge fund, and Europe’s largest bank.

Consensys – a blockchain technology company – announced that it has recently raised hundreds of millions of dollars from businesses, including HSBC and Third Point. HSBC is Europe’s largest bank, while Third Point is a US-based hedge fund with $17 billion in assets under management.

Major Funding For Consensys

Consensys announced the results of their latest funding round in a blog post on Wednesday. The latest close brings the company’s valuation to $3.2 billion, including new investors and partners like Marshall Wace, Spartan Group, Coinbase Ventures, HSBC, and Third Point.

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Consensys is dedicated to building infrastructure around the Ethereum network, creating better access to what they call “Web 3” – the world of decentralized, internet native organizations. One of their most popular products includes the MetaMask wallet, which has skyrocketed in popularity and now boasts 21 million monthly active users.

Daniel S. Loeb – CEO and Founder of Third Point LLC – said he sees potential in the developing Web 3 ecosystem:

“ConsenSys’ MetaMask wallet and other tools offer a unique platform for consumers, enterprises, and developers to engage, build, and create on the decentralized web.  We are pleased to partner with ConsenSys to help unlock the unlimited potential of Web 3.0.”

Meanwhile, Marshall Wace CEO Amit Rajpal has also shown faith, stating that he believes in the exponential growth potential of Defi and NFTs. Alongside decentralized finance, Consensys is working on driving NFT adoption for content creators, game publishers, and artists.

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HSBC’s contribution to blockchain development is especially intriguing. The bank asserted that it had no plans to offer a cryptocurrency trading desk to its customers earlier this year and has even banned accounts sending funds to crypto exchanges in the past. Others like Goldman Sachs, however, are already trading Bitcoin derivative products.

Funding The Crypto Industry

An unprecedented amount of capital has flown into the crypto-centric institutions this year, besides Consensys. For example, FTX – one of the most popular exchanges – recently raised a massive and meme-worthy $420.69 million and is now valued at $25 billion.

Billionaire investor Orlando Bravo’s investment firm was a contributor to FTX and said he will be investing in other blockchain tech companies.

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Regulation Is Coming, These Blockchain Projects Are Ready

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Over the last couple of years, blockchain technology and the DeFi applications that it supports have spread far and wide.

From collateralized lending to yield farming, liquidity pools to fractional ownerships via NFTs (non-fungible tokens), the DeFi ecosystem offers way better returns than traditional finance (TradFi). 

The expansion of the DeFi sector has been so rapid that most governments and regulators worldwide found themselves unprepared.

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Until recently, financial regulators have primarily been trying to catch up to the evolving technology.

Ever since the US SEC issued its investigative report on “The DAO” in 2017, concluding that “investment contracts” offered via DAOs or self-executing smart contracts should be treated similarly to traditional financial instruments, progress towards a more permanent DeFi framework has been limited.

Enter, Caroline A. Crenshaw, Commissioner of the United States Securities & Exchanges Commission (SEC). Through her latest opinion piece, “DeFi Risks, Regulations, and Opportunities,” the SEC Commissioner urged decentralized finance (DeFi) participants to comply with all applicable securities law regulations voluntarily. 

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Acknowledging the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the new regulatory framework for DeFi, Crenshaw reaffirmed SEC’s previous announcements, highlighting that “old and existing” laws that apply to securities can and will be applied to blockchain-based financial products and solutions.

The SEC Commissioner also touted dApps (decentralized apps) and DeFi protocols, calling them a “disruptive and beneficial financial innovation” while pointing out the transparency problems in DeFi due to on-chain pseudonymity. 

The article goes on to clarify that within the US, multiple federal authorities, including the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Justice (DoJ), and the SEC, can exert jurisdiction over different aspects of the DeFi ecosystem. 

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Commenting on the problems of on-chain pseudonymity as pointed out in the article, JD Gagnon, CEO of BENQI, notes, “It’s a really tough one, but I do generally agree that some form of market gatekeeping to protect less educated individuals might be a good thing.

It’s probably why we’re seeing a strong push to get all Centralized Exchanges to perform strict KYC checks as most of these exchanges are usually fiat off-ramps for exploits or hacks.”

He continues, “But it should also be noted that overregulation may potentially hurt innovation, which has been a key driver for growth in most countries. It’ll be interesting to see how pseudonymity is handled as most honest pseudonymous individuals choose to go that direction because of regulatory implications towards them for being involved in crypto/DeFi.”

With the SEC Commissioner urging DeFi participants to collaborate with regulators and help come up with a more refined regulatory framework that works for all.

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Let’s take a closer look at some blockchain projects that offer better security within DeFi while ensuring compliance with regulatory policies.

KYC-Compliant DeFi Pools For CeFi Institutions

Founded in 2018, Alkemi Network bridges centralized finance (CeFi) to decentralized finance (DeFi). The platform has developed an institutional-grade liquidity solution for financial institutions and investors, allowing them to access “professional” DeFi and earn yields on a range of Ethereum-based assets.

Using Web3 technology, Alkemi removes the hurdles for CeFi institutions to enter the world of DeFi. Alkemi Earn (Earn), the platform’s KYC-permissioned digital asset pools, guarantees institutions with compliant access to participate in a trusted-counterparty environment of allow-listed users.

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Alkemi Network also offers “institutional-grade” reporting, advanced risk management features, and multi-sig wallet functionality to support institutional adoption further.

With the SEC concerned about on-chain pseudonymity, Alkemi emerges as a possible solution that follows KYC and AML guidelines and ensures that CeFi institutions can seamlessly portal into the DeFi ecosystem. The platform has already made a name for itself, closing a $4.6 million funding round with over $32 million TVL (total value locked) in its network. 

Alkemi Network is working together with a consortium of industry leaders, including Shift Markets, LedgerPrime, JST Capital, Autonomy Capital, Validation Capital, Kronos Research, and many more. 

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Military-Grade Secure Crypto Vaults For Institutions

With the total value locked (TVL) in DeFi inching closer to $300 billion, there has been an increasing number of targeted cyberattacks on several DeFi platforms. As such, the need for robust security solutions is at its peak.

While several promising Web3 projects aim to secure the DeFi ecosystem, Prosegur Crypto, the digital asset custody solution of Prosegur group, has introduced an end-to-end security solution for the safekeeping of digital assets, especially for institutions. 

Prosegur is one of the most prominent names within the International Security industry.

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The platform has operated for more than four decades across 26+ countries, managing upwards of $400 billion in assets in the traditional financial (TradFi) world.

Owing to the legacy of Prosegur, its latest crypto-security product, Crypto Bunker, is said to be the most secure and advanced crypto asset custody solution for the institutional market.

By design, the Crypto Bunker offers a multi-layered asset protection model based on the 360-degree inaccessibility concept.

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This means that Prosegur has implemented more than a hundred security measures in six integrated security layers while considering all possible risks revolving around the custody chain. 

Crypto Bunker makes use of two unreachable environments, with the custody mechanism’s core being completely offline storage.

At the same time, it uses an air-gapped HSM (Hardware Security Module) to store the private keys. Furthermore, the platform ensures no single point of failure by using a secure multiparty computation (MPC).

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Play-to-earn blockchain game token fires 400%; understand

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With the growing wave of blockchain games in the play-to-earn mode, that is, ‘play to win’, several platforms are emerging on the tail of the success Axie Infinity, whose token used in the purchase of the NFTs, the AXS, has already valued 100,000% since its listing on Coinmarketcap just over a year ago.

New similar projects are born every day, both created in the Ethereum network and in the Binance Smart Chain and in other decentralized networks. But most can’t even shift into first gear and many are also hits or used to pump and dump.

In this fashion, however, a platform emerges that has gained prominence, at least in the valorization of its cryptocurrency, lately. The GALA, for example, Gala Games’ native token — created on the Ethereum network — has tripled in price in recent days — was 400% appreciated at its highest peak.

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But what is Gala Games? Doing a brief search on Youtube is a fact that many people have been playing their modalities for at least six months. According to the company, Gala Games, which was also listed on Coinmarketcap just over a year ago, is a decentralized platform where games can be created in NFT. “The simple game mechanics that even those who are not very familiar with blockchain technology can enjoy”, says an excerpt explained on the website.

About one of the Gala Games-specific NFTs, the site explains: “A CraneBot is a completely separate ERC (Ethereum) token from Gala Games, which does not have the ability to take it off the player. This means that if a player is banned from playing Town Star, they still have any items they bought and don’t have to worry about losing anything.”

First Gala Games game

According to Gala Games, the first game produced in its ecosystem is called Town Star, whose structure rewards the top 100 players with GALA. But there are already other games created in space.

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The project’s goal is also to own at least 50,000 nodes over time, a group that says yes or no to the projects. At the time of the text, there are 16,000 of them, according to the company, which bears the name of the American Eric Schiermeyer, already known in the gaming business.

‘GALA’ is understood as “a non-refundable utility token that will be used as a means of exchange between participants in the Gala Games ecosystem”, says the site, meaning it is not an asset that can be exchanged for cash, but which can be sent and traded on an exchange.

Other numbers shown on the site refer to player growth and NFT sales. According to the platform, there are already 1.3 million users and around 26 thousand NFTs sold, with the highest value traded at US$ 3 million.

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playing town star

To explain a little of the game, let’s take Town Star as an example, which allows you to either play to win or not, just choose one of the modes. It’s a farm simulation where you start with no investment.

In videos on Youtube, the report saw many players say that it is better to practice in the modality without play-to-earn and then go on to competition. Right after creating an account in the game, a map will appear that reveals where each player is in the world. Then choose a location, name it and start the game. Earn rewards in GALA who complete daily tasks.

In play-to-earn mode, the player needs to collect virtual money while building their space and developing it, buying or earning items. He’ll need to start producing fuel so he can drive into town to buy supplies. He can also earn income by selling wood or even a cake.

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It’s important to build a place close to rivers, and even more important to be as close to a city as possible so you don’t have to travel too far in search of supplies. To maintain the space, it is necessary to pay the local labor force. A farmer, for example, can charge R$10 per hour of work and a woodcutter R$50. Everything needs to be conquered, grain by grain.

Example of a farm at an early stage of development (Image: Reproduction)

Token Gala (GALA)

The GALA, the token that powers Gala Games, gained 400% in value in a week before undergoing a major correction. To give you an idea, according to Coinmarketcap data, the market value of GALA a week ago was just over US$ 867 million and now it is US$ 2.5 billion.

At the time of writing, the cryptocurrency has appreciated around 10% in the last 24 hours, trading at an average of US$ 0.43. The accumulated gain since last week is still approximately 300%.

Be careful not to be careful

Games in NFT open up great possibilities for gains, but also for irrecoverable losses, as it is often not known who is behind the decentralized projects. Another point is that many of them are pump and dump schemes or simply created to fool the unwary.

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This Monday on Twitter, for example, the CEO of Binance Changpeng Zhao (CZ), when asking “what to list?” on the platform, received a flurry of recommendations, most of them projects linked to decentralized NFT gaming platforms.

Therefore, when choosing a blockchain game it’s important to read up on the project and do research to see if the platform is up, is it resilient, it’s stable, and if the rewards are true.

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Blockchain Gaming Is Here To Stay, But, Is The Industry Facing Talent Scarcity?

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Some say that blockchain gaming will inspire the next wave of cryptocurrency adoption. Play-to-earn games are certainly ever-present in headlines and conversations around the world. Are they close to mainstream adoption? Not in the slightest. The industry is just beginning and there’s a long way to go. The companies producing the games are well funded and make incredible amounts of money. However, they don’t seem to have that many employees.

Besides being a nascent industry, blockchain gaming production requires a special set of talents that are not commonly found. This presents an immense opportunity for young students and people looking to pivot and make a career change. Since monetization is built in the ecosystem, chances are blockchain gaming is here to stay. And you can be a part of it. Let’s look at the numbers and you’ll see what we mean. 

How Big Is The Blockchain Gaming Market?

In his report titled “Blockchain Gaming Beginnings: From Crypto Craze To Decentralized Fun,” author Joost Van Dreunen offers concrete numbers: 

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  • How many people are playing? “Total addressable audience for blockchain gaming is still in its infancy. Mobile, PC, and console total 1.49 billion monthly actives.”
  • What devices are they using? “The platform of choice is PC, which includes browser-based (40% of total titles), local clients for Windows (16%) and Mac (6%), and Linux (3%)”
  • What blockchains are they interacting with? “The most popular blockchain is WAX (36%), based on an aggregation of top titles organized by protocol. Ethereum (10%) is much less prominent.”
  • However, “The success of Alien Worlds, which counted 1 million users in August, 2021, almost single-handedly accounts for the success for WAX.”
  • “There is a massive difference in popularity among the top titles: Alien Worlds has 59x more players than the #15, Zoo – Crypto World.”
WAXUSD price chart - TradingView
WAX price chart on Bitfinex | Source: WAX/USD on TradingView.com

What Else Do We Know About The Blockchain Gaming Market?

We found even more data for you, let’s dive into the Unique Active Wallets, courtesy of Naavik’s Blockchain Games report:

  • Believe it or not, “DappRadar notes that games accounted for over half of blockchain wallet activity in the third quarter.”
  • Not only that, “blockchain gaming daily unique active wallets (UAWs) averaged 1.2 million in October 2021 or up 44% compared to September.”
  • Let’s dive deeper into those numbers. “The growth in UAW over the past month has mostly been driven by growth in Axie Infinity and Splinterlands wallet activity, which have increased 24% and 57%, respectively.”
  • This one mirrors the previous report. “The top title by monthly UAWs, Alien Worlds, has 10x the activity as the number ten title, Jelly Squish.”
  • September 2021 saw a decline in blockchain gaming, but the numbers are once again looking impressive. “Trading volumes grew 762% quarter-over-quarter in Q3 2021 to $2.32 billion.”

What’s All That Noise About A Talent Shortage?

The wildest stat in Van Dreunen’s report is the number of employees the most successful firms in the space function with. Dapper Labs employs 242, Mythical Games 123, The Sandbox 94. Projects that are on the news all the time suffer the same fate, Decentraland has 52 employees and Open Sea 43. Compare that to, “to 9,500 f/t employees at Activision Blizzard, 11,000 at Electronic Arts, 6,495 at Take-Two Interactive, and 960 at Roblox.”

While we could interpret that the data reveals we’re dealing with efficient companies, Van Dreunen thinks otherwise. “A year-over-year increase of +102% in headcount across top blockchain game devs indicates that talent is likely to become a major bottleneck in search of the killer app.“ It may be so, but, that was until NewsBTC published this article. Young people reading this will realize the immense opportunity it represents and will take the appropriate measures.

Remember that, besides in-game monetization, these companies raise money for new projects constantly and with ease. That means, “Abundant investment money will force firms to compete on hiring experienced developers, engineers, and producers in the short term.” They’re dying to hire you. Go and get the necessary knowledge, this story is just starting.

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