Fintech Digest

NFT Is Losing Ground

FINTECH WEEKLY | 03.10-09.10

Fintech stories in weekly summary: NFT is losing ground, Mastercard has taken up the fight against crypto fraud,  Elon Musk goes back on the deal and shares his plans for Twitter, and much more. Stay up to date with the juiciest fintech news 

Top News | 03.10-09.10
  • NFT Is Losing Ground
  • Mastercard Has Taken Up the Fight Against Crypto Fraud
  • Elon Musk Is Changing His Mind About Twitter & Shares His Plans 
  • The World’s Fastest Rising Bitcoin Markets Are Named
  • The New Crypto Exchange Is Coming
  • The EU Council Reached an Agreement on Cryptocurrency Regulation
  • NFTs Might Revolutionize the Book Industry
  • McDonald’s Started Accepting Crypto
  • Swift Is Establishing Itself as a Worldwide Center for CBDCs and Tokenized Assets
  • A Bank Has Opened in the Metaverse
  • The First Global Cryptocurrency Card Will Be Revealed

NFT Is Losing Ground

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) took the world by storm in 2021, but since then, interest in them has begun to gradually decline, and their sales volumes continue to decline. In particular, in the third quarter, NFT sales fell by 60%.

NFT sales totaled $3.4 billion in Q3 of 2022, down from $8.4 billion the previous quarter and from $12.5 billion at its peak in Q1 of the year.

In 2021, the embryonic NFT market profited from soaring cryptocurrency prices and investor appetite for risk, but in 2022, these conditions changed dramatically as central bank rates hiked, prompting investors to abandon risky assets.

Editor's note: Sales on the largest NFT platform, OpenSea, fell for the sixth month in a row in September. At the same time, the weekly number of NFT purchases has more than halved since its high in late January.

Mastercard Has Taken Up the Fight Against Crypto Fraud

In the face of rising fraud activity in the expanding digital asset market, Mastercard is introducing Crypto Secure, a new tool designed to assist banks in assessing the risk of crime linked with cryptocurrency trading on their network.

The Crypto Secure system employs AI algorithms to predict the possibility of committing a crime related to cryptocurrency exchange on the Mastercard payment network. The tool is based on blockchain data, publicly available records of cryptocurrency transactions, and other sources.

The platform for banks and other card issuers will feature a color-coded dashboard indicating the danger of suspicious activity, where red is the highest risk and green is the lowest.

It is worth emphasizing that Microsoft's tool doesn't decide whether a specific cryptocurrency seller should be refused service; this decision belongs to card issuers.

Elon Musk Is Changing His Mind About Twitter. Again

Although denying the offer earlier, Elon Musk offered the management of Twitter Corporation to complete the deal on the social network purchase. The initial price for the microblogging service proposed in April is $44 billion ($54.2 per share).  

According to Reuters, the news about the likely reopening of the sale came before the corporation's lawsuit against the billionaire, in which Twitter demands the completion of the purchase procedure. The hearing is scheduled for October 17.

Amid news of a possible renewal of the agreement, the value of Twitter shares rose by 18%, after which trading on the New York Stock Exchange was suspended.

The businessman and Twitter representatives have not yet commented on the possible resumption of the deal.

Background info: Elon Musk changed his mind about buying Twitter due to the large number of fake accounts. Their actual quantity, however, is uncertain. Musk declared his unwillingness to finish the deal in early July. The billionaire claimed that the corporation didn't furnish him with the data he sought. Twitter rejected Musk's decision and asked the court to require him to finish the transaction. The businessman brought a counterclaim.

… And Shares His Plans 

After Musk publicly initiated the closing of the deal, the Tesla leader published another tweet in which he talked about plans to create a mysterious app X "for all occasions." 

Based on prior claims by the billionaire, this new service might be influenced by and extremely similar to the popular Chinese super app WeChat.

There is currently no information available about the mystery super-application X "for everything." The billionaire simply mentioned that purchasing Twitter would accelerate its production by 3-5 years, with the proviso that he may be mistaken.

Is it just me or Elon is really becoming more cautious in his statements and assessments of the timing of various projects?

The World’s Fastest Rising Bitcoin Markets Are Named

According to Chainalysis, the cryptocurrency market in the Middle East and North Africa is growing faster than any other market. The volume of cryptocurrencies received in this region increased by 48% per year.

The 2nd place was taken by Latin America (40% growth), the 3rd place — by North America with an increase of 36%. This is followed by Central and South Asia and Oceania (35%).

Turkey is ranked 12th, Egypt is ranked 14th, and Morocco is ranked 24th on Chainalysis' 2022 Global Cryptocurrency Adoption Index.

The New Crypto Exchange Is Coming

NASDAQ Stock Exchange will launch a crypto exchange after the emergence of a clear regulatory framework.

According to Tal Cohen, executive vice president of NASDAQ, the company would likely wait for established clear regulatory rules and institutional adoption of cryptocurrency exchanges before opening its cryptocurrency exchange.

The Stock Exchange intends to concentrate on custody services for crypto asset storage, which are especially in demand among customers. According to the NASDAQ representative, if companies can securely store people's assets, they will trust them to do everything else later.

The EU Council Reached an Agreement on Cryptocurrency Regulation

Without further debate, EU Council members signed the draft law on the regulation of cryptocurrencies MiCA.

MiCA contains guidelines for unsecured crypto asset issuers, stablecoin issuers, and trading and custody platforms.

To safeguard customers, crypto asset service providers (CASPs) must adhere to stringent regulations. They may be held accountable if investor funds are lost.

There will be a need for trading platforms to submit a white paper, as well as consequences for the use of deceptive material.

Consumers are supplied with disclaimers indicating the dangers of loss linked with crypto assets, while businesses are furnished with marketing communication restrictions.

To operate in the EU, CASPs will need a permission. The major crypto asset service providers will be under the authority of ESMA.

The draft law also includes a clause limiting stablecoin transactions with non-euro collateral to €200 million per day.

The European Parliament must formally approve the document's content. It is planned to be published in the official journal of the EU before entering into effect in 2024.

NFTs Might Revolutionize the Book Industry

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and a millionaire, thinks non-fungible tokens represent a fantastic prospect for the book industry.

Cuban said that NFT could replace some books, mainly textbooks; all we need to do now is persuade college textbook publishers to replace them.

The NFT marketplace, he says, allows students to get money back for the sold book. It also allows authors and publishers to get royalties repeatedly.

The billionaire also believes that the cryptocurrency platforms could help the insurance business. According to Cuban, a decentralized blockchain ecosystem might significantly improve the efficiency and transparency of health insurance.

McDonald’s Started Accepting Crypto

McDonald's in Lugano's Swiss city began accepting cryptocurrency payments. This decision madeя the first restaurant in Europe where you can pay with cryptocurrency.

The city's mayor initiated this experiment; later, it was also approved by the local restaurant management. Finally, the news was spread globally thanks to a social media post by Bitcoin Magazine. The magazine posted a one-minute video in which order at a fast-food restaurant is paid for with a mobile app using cryptocurrency. 

Tether's (USDT) logo and other digital assets are also spotted in the video.

Earlier this year, local authorities in Lugano announced their intention to make Bitcoin, Tether, and LVGA legal tender in the city.

Swift Is Establishing Itself as a Worldwide Center for CBDCs and Tokenized Assets

Following an eight-month trial with several technologies and currencies, SWIFT has put forth its idea for a worldwide central bank digital currency network (CBDC).

The purpose of the study, which included the national central banks of France and Germany as well as multinational institutions like HSBC, Standard Chartered, and UBS, was to investigate how CBDC might be utilized worldwide and converted into paper money if necessary.

The notion is that as they expand, banks may only require one large worldwide link rather than thousands if they connect to each partner separately.

During the study several underlying CBDC technologies, known as distributed ledger technologies were also put to the test. Several technologies were also mentioned as a possible hurdle to their widespread worldwide adoption.

Background info: About 90% of the world's central banks are currently using, testing, or examining the use of digital currencies. Most people don't want to lag behind bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, but many are befuddled by technological intricacies.

Some nations, including the Bahamas and Nigeria, have already established and are collaborating with CBDCs. China has made significant progress in electronic yuan testing, and the central bank's organization, the Bank for International Settlements, is also performing cross-border tests.

A Bank Has Opened in the Metaverse

PKO Bank Polski is opening a virtual branch in Decentraland. The bank will launch in the metaverse a virtual version of PKO Rotunda, one of the most recognizable buildings in Warsaw.

The virtual branch will serve as a laboratory for testing new technological solutions, a tool for business development, and a place for employees to learn and train.

PKO Bank Polski intends to use the virtual branch to obtain information and expertise that will be useful in the future development of its company. The bank also wants to observe firsthand what opportunities exist for banks by becoming present in the metaverses.

The First Global Cryptocurrency Card Will Be Revealed

Visa and FTX launch the first global cryptocurrency card. The card made by crypto exchange FTX, Visa and Evolve Bank & Trust will be available for users from 40 countries.

The cards enable users to pay for products and services using crypto in their FTX wallets at 80 million Visa-accepting shops globally. Cryptocurrency will be converted to fiat automatically at the time of payment. There will be no transaction fees.

Currently, the cards are only accessible in the United States. Later, residents of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries will get a chance to use a card too. By the end of the year, the card will appear in Europe and only then in Asia. 

Visa also approved the issuance of its cards for Binance, Bakkt, BlockFi, CryptoSpend, Ledger and bitcoinblack.