Happy Easter! NFTs of this disturbing Easter bunny series are available on OpenSea. I was looking for more NFT bunnies but couldn’t find too many. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough.
In any case, Bitcoin is now at $58,000 and Tether has more than 42 billion tethers in circulation. Here’s the news:
Coinbase set to go public
Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the U.S., will start selling shares on Nasdaq on April 14. The company will trade under the ticker symbol “COIN” and offer 114.9 million shares as part of its direct listing. Share price will be determined by orders coming into the stock exchange.
Currently valued at $100 billion, Coinbase is going public during the biggest Bitcoin bubble yet. The event will make Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong—who owns 39.6 million of the company’s shares—a very wealthy man indeed. And the VCs backing the company will realize huge profits, as they all dump their shares on retailers.
Tether’s meaningless attestation
In its latest PR move, Tether published an attestation verifying that it had $35 billion in assets backing a similar amount of tether for a blink in time on Feb. 28. The attestation was produced by accounting firm Moore Cayman, based in the Cayman Islands.
Bitcoiners are head over heels about this, but the report is meaningless. The document explicitly states that this does not mean tethers were fully backed at any other time—or are now. And the report doesn’t fit what the NYAG required Tether to publish by mid-May, because it doesn’t break out each category of backing asset by percentage. What’s backing tethers could be mainly bitcoin and toxic assets, for all we know. (David Gerard)
Days after Tether produced the attestation, it printed 1.2 billion tethers—one of its largest issuances ever. What’s a few billion more when bitcoiners think you are legit?
The wonderful world of NFTs
Are NFT sales slipping? Average prices for NFTs have fallen almost 70% from a peak in February to about $1,400, according to Nonfungilble.com, which tracks NFT marketplaces.
The NFT bubble hit its all-time high around the time Metakovan bought Beeple’s “Everydays—The first 5000 days” for $63.9 million on Christie’s. (Bloomberg)
Cointelegraph also reports that the NFT market is experiencing a silent crash. While we can always see what the price of bitcoin is up to, tracking the movements of illiquid markets is trickier. When it comes to NFTs, buyers simply evaporate and sellers fail to move their wares.
What is causing the drop in prices? “I suspect it is because the secondary sales have evaporated, so the dream of ‘greater sucker’ has gone away in about the same timeframe as the Crypto Kitties NFT bubble,” Nicholas Weaver said.
Meanwhile, Shares of Funko, a toymaker in Washington, are rising after the company acquired a majority stake in TokenWave, a developer of TokenHead, a mobile app for showing NFT holdings. Funko plans to launch its own NFT offerings this summer. (CNBC)
Other companies are jumping into the space. NFT platform Recur announced a $5 million seed round led by the DeFi Alliance, Delphi Digital, Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin, and Gemini, among others. (Cointelegraph)
Justin Sun, the CEO of Tron, is now buying serious high art. He bought a Picasso for $20 million at Christie’s in London on March 23, where he also picked up an Andy Warhol for $2 million.
Sun, if you recall, was the second highest bidder for the Beeple “Everydays—the first 5,000 days” piece, driving up the price for Metakovan. Apparently, the Christie’s team in Asia reached out to Sun after the NFT sale to talk him into buying real physical art with all his spare change. (ArtNews)
How does OpenSea, an online market for NFTs, deal with copyright violations? They pocket the buyer’s money and tell them they should have done their own research. Buyer beware! (Vice)
John Cleese’s auction for an NFT of a speedily drawn Brooklyn Bridge ended on April fools’ day. The proud owner is now JeffBezosForeskin who paid $35,000 in ETH for it on Mintable.
SNL is selling an NFT to their NFT skit an OpenSea. The top bidder gets two tickets to a live taping of the show. This gimmick just does more to promote NFTs, imho. (Decrypt)
Other newsy bits
A DOJ investigation into Representative Matt Gaetz and Joel Greenberg—the former tax collector in Seminole County, Florida—is focused on the pair recruiting women for sex. Greenberg is a bitcoiner. At one time, he wanted to start his own blockchain company, but was accused of dipping into public funds to do so. (The Daily Beast)
Greenberg has made a lot of headlines in recent years.
Terror-linked groups in Syria’s war-torn Idlib are changing their crypto tactics to avoid detection by Western law enforcement. (Wired)
Me, quoted in the news
After I wrote my story revealing the mystery Beeple art buyer, I got a lot of calls from the media asking me for comments about NFTs.
I am featured in Voice of America: “Cryptocurrency Fuels Digital Art-Buying Frenzy”
Ben Munster quoted me in an article for The Art Newspaper: “NFT art bubble? 2017 crypto bust could spell out the future of current boom”
Kenny Schachter quoted me in an opinion piece for Artnet: “Professor Kenny Schachter Is Here to Teach You More About NFTs (and Put the Crypto Critics in Detention).” David Gerard is quoted in the same story. Kenny refers to us as “curmudgeons.”
I was also interviewed by the Verge: “NFT mania is here, and so are the scammers.”
(Updated April 4 to add info about Recur.)
Feature image: Scary bunny on OpenSea
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