Soccer Giants Barcelona and Real Madrid Team Up on a Metaverse Trademark

The two most successful soccer teams in Spain – FC Barcelona and Real Madrid – filed for a joint Metaverse trademark application. The clubs plan to provide their fans with products like virtual reality gaming and cryptocurrency transaction management software.

The Spanish colossuses are not the only ones to make such a move in the soccer world. In June, the English Crystal Palace requested to launch non-fungible tokens (NFTs), virtual clothing, and crypto marketplaces.

The Enemies Shook Hands

Despite being fierce rivals on the soccer pitch, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid decided to make a mutual jump into the world of crypto. The clubs filed for a Metaverse trademark application nearly a week ago, but the news was confirmed recently by attorney Mike Kondoudis.

Some of the offerings they seek to provide include virtual reality, cryptographic software for managing cryptocurrency transactions, and downloadable software for using as an e-wallet.

The joint endeavor could be considered a surprise since the teams represent totally different values. FC Barcelona is a symbol of the Catalan region, while Real Madrid is linked to the royal family and stands for traditional Spanish culture. The derby between the clubs is known as “El Clasico” and is one of the top events in the soccer world.

Not long ago, the British Premier League member – Crystal Palace – also hopped on the metaverse bandwagon. It submitted crypto and Metaverse trademarks, asking to launch NFT-authenticated media, digital trading cards, virtual footwear and clothing, online marketplaces for digital collectibles, and other products.

FC Barcelona’s Previous Interaction With Crypto

The Catalan soccer team – commonly referred to as Barça – decided to enter the crypto universe in November last year. Back then, it partnered with the NFT marketplace Ownix aiming to release iconic moments from its history as digital collectibles.

Joan Laporta – President of the club – outlined that the endeavor will give fans a chance to own a piece of their favorite team’s legacy.

Shortly after, though, Barça withdrew the deal with Ownix after its executive Moshe Hogeg was accused of falsifying documentation and sexual assault.

At the beginning of 2022, the club was looking for a new official jersey sponsor. The options were narrowed between the blockchain protocol Polkadot and the digital music streaming service provider Spotify. After evaluating the pros and cons for a few months, Barça inked an agreement with the latter.

Featured image courtesy of Sporting News

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CryptoPunks Trading Volume Soars 25% Overnight

CryptoPunks is arguably one of the most iconic collections of NFTs – the one that ignited the niche’s bull market in 2021 and throughout the first few months of 2022.

It appears that users are showing renewed interest in the non-fungible tokens as data reveals a soaring trading volume over the past 24 hours.

  • Data from popular DApp resource DappRadar reveals that the interest in the CryptoPunks NFT collection is soaring over the past couple of days.
  • The total trading volume for the collection soared by about 25% over the past 24 hours, representing a solid $1.7 million of NFTs traded.
  • This culminated in a total of 10 trades. Even though the number might not sound significant, it’s worth noting that the floor price for CryptoPunks at the time of this writing is about 75 ETH.
  • The average price of each trade was about 100 ETH at the time of this writing.
  • The most expensive punk sold over the past 24 hours was worth $340,000 or about 200 ETH. It was punk #8576:
CryptoPunk #8576. Source: DappRadar

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a16z Crypto Leads $50 Million Funding Round for VeeFriends NFTs

a16z crypto – the crypto-focused arm of VC firm Andreesen Horowitz – is leading a $50 million funding round for the VeeFriends Non-Fungible Token (NFT) Project. The funding will help VeeFriends expand its “creative, technical, and experiential operations” to support the growth of the Web 3 ecosystem. 

Understanding VeeFriends

A16z general partner Chris Lyons explained the firm’s interest in VeeFriends in an announcement thread on Thursday.

VeeFriends is an NFT collection launched by Gary Vaynerchuck – a highly popular social media entrepreneur and CEO of VaynerMedia. He regularly produces motivational and business-oriented content for his YouTube audience.

Vaynerchuck has taken a strong interest in web 3 over the past year, creating a stream of educational content about blockchain, NFTs, and why they matter. His VeeFriends collection is meant to leverage web 3 via “meaningful intellectual property and an extraordinary community,” the VeeFriends website

The collection is comprised of childlike hand-drawn animal cartoons based on “meaningful attributes” like tolerance, patience, and authenticity. These are traits that Vaynerhcuk frequently advocates for in his regular content. 

“VeeFriends NFTs are brought to life through motivational storytelling and creative on-chain character development,” said Lyons.

An NFT is a unique digital blockchain token without any equal. Though NFTs are often marketed in collections of hundreds or thousands at a time, each token typically contains attributes that make them slightly different from all others. 

Thus, such tokens can be used for creating digital collectibles, or for representing other non-fungible assets. VeeFriends in particular offers holders various utilities, such as providing access to in-person events like VeeCon. 

Web 3 Over Bitcoin

A common thread shared between a16z and Vaynerchuck is their relative disinterest in Bitcoin, versus the broader world of blockchain, NFTs, and decentralized apps. 

“I kind of dismissed it as because I don’t love finance, I don’t love financial arbitrage. I don’t really understand basic financial concepts,” Vaynerchuck told Yahoo Finance about Bitcoin in November. 

By contrast, the value of Ethereum was an immediate click for the entrepreneur. “I was aware that something had happened where people collected something digital,” he said.

Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum allows for the creation of tokens and other financial assets on-chain, like NFTs. Bitcoin NFTs only exist on sidechains. 

In a similar fashion, a16z released a lengthy report in May concerning the adoption of web 3 in 2022, which contained no mention of Bitcoin, yet frequent mention of Ethereum. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has slammed the VC firm for taking this approach, preferring to build atop Bitcoin instead. 


BAYC Creators Could Face a Class Actions Lawsuit

Yuga Labs – the American company that created the popular NFT collection Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) – faces a possible class action lawsuit. A group of individual investors claimed that the firm inappropriately advertised its tokens and thus deceived people into buying them.

Yuga Labs and its Unhappy Investors

Yuga Labs seems to be another organization in the crypto space that will have to cope with certain issues during the ongoing bear market. Individual investors complained that some of the company’s products (including ApeCoin) were misleadingly promoted by celebrities, and thus their prices were unnaturally inflated.

As a result, some traders lost big once the valuation of the tokens plunged. Trying to seek some kind of justice, they have even turned to the US-based law firm Scott+Scott attempting to launch a legal battle against Yuga Labs.

“After selling off millions of dollars of fraudulently promoted NFTs, Yuga Labs launched the ApeCoin to further fleece investors,” the attorneys stated.

It is worth noting that ApeCoin (the native token of Bored Ape Yacht Club) surged to an all-time high only a month after its launch. At the end of April, APE hit nearly $27. Currently, though, it trades far away from that peak, hovering around $6.

“If you suffered losses in association with the purchase of Yuga Labs tokens or NFTs between April 2022 and June 2022, you are encouraged to reach out to Scott+Scott to learn more about your legal rights,” the company informed.

2022 Saw Ups and Downs

Earlier this year, Yuga Labs secured a $450 million fundraise to develop its NFT Metaverse operations. The financing was led by the venture capital firm in Silicon Valley – Andreessen Horowitz – and boosted the company’s valuation to $4 billion.

In the following months, though, the firm’s NFT trading volume started tumbling significantly. The Otherdeed NFTs transaction volume, in particular, slipped more than 95% from the all-time high. Otherdeeds are digital collectibles used in claiming virtual land in Otherside (the Metaverse space created by Yuga Labs).

Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) – one of the most popular NFT collections – also became less attractive to investors compared to last year’s peak levels. The interest was slightly boosted last month when Eminem and Snoop Dogg released their newest song, which features their personal Bored Apes in the video clip.

The renowned rappers are two of the many celebrities who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase NFTs from the collection. Others include tennis champion Serena Williams, the Canadian singer Justin Bieber, and the soccer star Neymar.


Minecraft Creators Will Stop Supporting In-Game NFTs

It doesn’t matter that the world’s largest video game companies like Activision or Tencent are making inroads into the world of NFTs; the developers of Minecraft want those tokens as far as possible from their blockbuster game.

On July 20, Mojang Studios, the team behind Minecraft, said that it will not support or allow the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the game.

Mojang Studios argued that the use of NFTs in the game could privilege some users and undermine others, as the NFT usage model can create scarcity and exclusion within the player community. This scenario is a risk they are unwilling to take, as they say on an update to their community guidelines:

“NFTs, can create models of scarcity and exclusion that conflict with our Guidelines and the spirit of Minecraft,[…] NFTs are not inclusive of all our communities and create a scenario of the haves and the have-nots.”

NFTs and Crypto Don’t Have a Place in Minecraft Lands.

According to the company’s statement, the use of blockchain technology and NFTs do not fit Minecraft’s values of creative inclusion and co-play, as they allow players to earn rewards through other actions outside of the game.

In addition, Mojang Studios argues that the use of in-game NFTs will change the focus on the fun that the game offers, as users would be more concerned with the speculative price of their NFTs rather than enjoying themselves as they have been doing for the 12 years that the game has been around.

They also mentioned that they are against NFT implementation due to the problems of hacking and scams by the companies that manage these assets, which creates the danger of those tokens being prone to “disappear without notice.” This has happened with many crypto games that use blockchain technology and NFTs to attract users through play-to-earn mode.

The Door Is Not Close Forever

Although Minecraft developers are currently adamantly against integrating blockchain technology into the game, they said they will study its evolution over time to see if a future implementation turns out to be interesting or beneficial. However, they have no intention of doing so in the short term.

Mojang Studios’ unexpected decision is already wreaking havoc on other projects built around the Minecraft ecosystem. NFTWorld is one of them: Until today, the project didn’t have any problems with the developers and maintained good communication with them.

A few hours after Minecraft’s announcement, NFTWorld’s native token dropped more than 58%, causing uncertainty among players who now do not know what the future will hold for them in that game.

NFTWorld Price. Source: Tradingview
NFTWorld token Price. Source: Tradingview

Latin Americans Most Bullish on Crypto, Ripple Study Found

According to a research conducted by the blockchain firm Ripple, residents of Latin America are the most inclined toward the digital asset industry. 50% of the surveyed think the sector will cause a significant impact on the financial system, while 74% prefer to transact with businesses that accept cryptocurrencies. Europeans, on the other hand, are more interested in experiences than in digital and physical assets.

Crypto Thrives in Less-Developed Areas

Ripple’s study proved some previous suggestions that residents of regions with troubled economies find cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology much more intriguing than well-developed countries. According to the analysis, Latin America and the Middle East are the two zones where the industry enjoys the most interest.

Two-thirds of the polled Latinos said they are more likely to transact with entities that accept crypto payments, while 50% believe the sector will have a “massive impact on finance and society.”

Citizens of Middle Eastern nations responded similarly. 67% said they would prefer to transact with businesses that embrace digital assets as a means of payment. Those residents were also among the most inclined to personally invest in bitcoin or altcoins. Interestingly, they displayed huge trust in their local banking institutions, and 65% of the respondents would buy crypto from there instead of exchanges.

Europeans, on the other hand, seem the least intrigued. Only 35% think digital assets will positively affect the future monetary network, while 41% would transact with enterprises that accept crypto payments.

“Generally speaking, Latin America (LATAM) is the most optimistic about the value of blockchain and its tokens, with the Middle East and Africa (MEA) and North America somewhat less so, and Europe the most conservative.”

Ripple’s survey touched upon non-fungible tokens (NFTs), too. Despite the massive interest last year and the fact that numerous celebrities, sportsmen, and musicians entered the space, many consumers still find the matter confusing. The majority of those who wish to buy NFTs would do it for functional reasons rather than emotional ones.

Many Latinos Know How to Conduct Crypto Transactions

Another recent study carried out by the payment giant Mastercard revealed that 51% of Latin American consumers had conducted at least one transaction with digital assets. In addition, 33% have employed stablecoins for everyday purchases.

More than half of the polled Latinos said they see cryptocurrencies as a successful investment instrument and two-thirds want to possess a hybrid settlement option that enables both crypto and traditional payment methods for daily operations.


Content Creators Will Be Able To Display Their NFT Creations on Facebook

On June 29, Navdeep Singh, Meta’s technical program manager, showed on his social media channels a glimpse of Facebook’s new NFT PFP feature, which will be initially available to a select group of content creators. PFP is an acronym widely used in the NFT subculture that means either acronym that means “picture for proof” or “profile picture.”

As shown in Singh’s post, users will be able to display their PFP tokens as if they were in a photo gallery. Clicking on them will be enough to display all their details.

Tweet showing Facebook's new NFT feature.
Tweet showing Facebook’s new NFT feature.. Source: Navdeep Singh via Twitter

Facebook Dips Its Toes Into The Web3

A Facebook spokesperson told news outlet Techcrunch that the NFT support service will take time to achieve full integration. Also, the service will initially launch as a US-only feature available to a small group of content creators.

In addition, the spokesperson said that Meta is now working on implementing NFT in other social media. This would make Whatsapp, Facebook, and Instagram NFT-friendly —or at least with features similar to those already provided by Twitter.

Twitter's NFT feature
NFT PFP  feature introduced by Twitter. Image: Twitter

Less than two weeks ago, META’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company was working on more NFT compatibility tests on Instagram so that content creators could share their collections with their followers.

At the time, he noted that Meta was focused on developing support for NFTs running on Ethereum and Polygon. However, he did signal plans to support other blockchains, including Flow and Solana, once the integration with Facebook is in place.

Meta And Zuckerberg Bet On NFTs Despite The  Bear Market

As Cryptopotato recently reported, Meta made its entry into the NFT world in early May, when it first introduced compatibility for non-fungible tokens within Instagram’s platform.

At the time, the company aimed to bridge the digital art scene into the physical world through Spark AR augmented reality technology. This would allow for the projection of the artwork in physical spaces. In addition, content creators will not be charged any fees for uploading their NFTs onto Facebook’s platform.

Zuckerberg has made it clear on several occasions that despite being a centralized company, Facebook—now Meta— wants to accelerate the whole process of Web3 adoption. The young entrepreneur believes NFTs are the best way to start the path towards achieving his vision, e specially considering how popular the technology has become among mainstream users.

So even though cryptocurrencies and NFTs are currently in bearish territory, Meta is all about the future of social networking and the metaverse. And in that future digital world, non-fungible tokens will play a key role.


Snoop Dogg: Crypto Winter ‘Weeded out’ Unnecessary Market Participants

The American rapper Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. (better known as Snoop Dogg) believes the ongoing crypto bear market eliminated those individuals who were “abusing the opportunities” in the space. He also opined that the digital asset niche is a “great” sector, which will sooner or later get back on its feet.

Crypto Winter Could Clean the Space

The drawback of the cryptocurrency industry is evident, and it has caused significant uncertainty among investors. However, the famous musician and entrepreneur – Snoop Dogg – thinks the market decline has its benefits, too. In a recent interview for CNBC, he claimed it “weeded out all the people who weren’t supposed to be in the space and who were abusing the opportunities that were there.”

Earlier this month, the Canadian businessman and TV personality – Kevin O’Leary – displayed a similar stance. He opined that the turbulence in the digital asset universe could eliminate small and meaningless projects and leave only the purposeful ones.

Snoop Dogg further reminded that every industry had endured tough times throughout the years, including the alcohol, tobacco, clothing, and food sectors. Similar to those, the crypto market will recover in the future, he predicted:

“It’s going to bring on great business, and moving forward, when the market comes back, there will only be great things to pick and choose from.”

Subsequently, the rapper touched upon non-fungible tokens. In his view, Web3 and NFTs will create huge opportunities for music studios:

“Sooner or later, the labels are going to have to come on in. They’re going to have to come on home and sit at the table and understand that catalogs and things they hold onto are better served on the blockchain than sitting in the catalog collecting cobwebs.”

Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg, Source: BBC

Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and Their Bored Apes

Last week, two of America’s most prolific rappers – Snoop Dogg and Eminem – produced a new song that featured multiple references to non-fungible tokens and, more specifically, the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) collection. It gained massive interest, considering that over 12 million people have watched it in just five days.

The video is half-animated, and in it, both musicians are displayed with NFTs from the BAYC collection, which they purchased several months ago. Eminem bought his collectible in January as he spent 123 ETH (worth about $462,000 at that time).

Snoop Dogg acquired his at the end of 2021, as his profile picture on Twitter still represents his possession.


Bored Ape Yacht Club Founder Criticizes Capaign That Says The BAYC Has Nazi Symbolism

On June 24, Wylie Aronow, better known online as Gordon Goner, co-founder of Yuga Labs, the startup behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club ( BAYC ) collection, took to Twitter to address the “misinformation campaign” that claims he and his team are “super-secret Nazis.”

Goner said that even though he paid attention in the past to what he called “incredibly unbalanced” accusations, he did not provide as detailed a response as he did today after a YouTuber posted an hour-long video of an alleged 6-month investigation documenting what he thinks is a link between the BAYC corporate image and the nazi symbolism.

“We’ve not responded in further detail to these allegations because frankly they are insanely far-fetched. That said, we woke up this morning to a podcaster we respect talking about this conspiracy theory and that was pretty surreal.”

So far, the video has nearly 900,000 views and has caused quite a debate among those who watched it.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club Has Jews, Turks, Pakistanis And Cubans

Goner began his thread by explaining that the founders of BAYC are a group of Jewish, Turkish, Pakistani, and Cuban friends. Even Goner’s wife is Mexican-American. Because of this, he argues it would be ridiculous to think that the Bored Ape yacht Club or its members have anything to do with the Nazi movement.

Goner said that all these accusations were a “lie” promoted by an anti-BAYC activist named Ryder Ripps, who created a copy of his NFT collection under another name and sold almost $3.5 million on OpenSea before his account was suspended for violating intellectual property laws.

Ryder Ripps currently has 29K followers on Twitter and defines himself as an artis, satirist and phunk. A thread with his accusations on Goner is pinned on his account.

Yuga Labs Was Created By A Group Of Light-Hearted Gamers

Goner noted that Yuga Labs was named after a villain from the video game Zelda who can transform himself and his friends into 2D art, which made sense considering the NFT collection they wanted to create, and that he and his friends were a group of nerds who love MMORPG video games like Warcraft.

As for the BAYC logo, he explained that they never intended to take the logo so seriously, and that’s why the look itself is “ramshackle and dive-y,” assuring that everything about BAYC was created in a spirit “of irreverence and absurdity.” Which is a far cry from Ripps’ views.

Goner even posted the email sent to the logo designer, saying that the club’s inspirations referenced his tastes in punk, skateboarding, navy flags, etc. There was never any mention of something Nazi-related.

Controversial or not, BAYC remains the collection of choice for celebrities and socialites, so much so that today Eminem and Snoop Dog released a video where they become two of the boring overalls they have in their collections as they begin to sing.


Eminem and Snoop Dogg Included Their Personal Bored Apes in New Music Video

Two of the greatest hip hop artists – Eminem and Snoop Dogg – produced a new video that, aside from marijuana, has multiple references to NFTs and BAYC, in particular. Both have experience in the field, owning several digital collectibles.

Shady, Snoopy, Bored Apey

Marshall Mathers III, as is Eminem’s real name, teased the new song and video in a tweet yesterday, referencing the duo’s previous issues with each other. This happened after Snoop Dogg said Eminem would not find a place in his top 10 greatest rappers of all time.

Staying true to his nature, the Detroit-based hip-hop artist responded in a song called Zeus. But the two seem to have put the past behind them as they appeared in the 2022 Super Bowl halftime show, alongside Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J. Blige.

Further confirmation about their reconciliation came with the new song, in which Eminem opens his verse with “this probably should have happened a while ago.”

The video itself is half-animated, and that’s when the two rappers are displayed with NFTs from the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club collection. In Eminem’s case, that’s the one he purchased last year for 123 ETH (worth approximately $462,000 at the time) and is still displayed as his profile picture on Twitter.

Snoop Dogg is also portrayed by one of the BAYC NFTs he bought at the end of last year.

Both’s Other NFT/Crypto Engagements

Aside from buying Bored Ape #9055 last year, as mentioned above, Eminem also has several other digital collectibles related to his OpenSea account – Shady Holdings. Additionally, the legendary rapper, also an Oscar winner, launched an NFT collection of his own called Shady Con (named after his hip hop alter ego – Slim Shady).

Snoop Dogg, on the other hand, has been even more involved with the crypto and NFT industry. He promoted Dogecoin last year, but his engagement with non-fungible tokens shot up after he revealed to be Cozomo de’ Medici – an anonymous NFT collector that held such assets worth almost $20 million at the time.

He has also announced plans to have a collection on Cardano, participated in an investment round in crypto company MoonPay, had other Bored Ape-themed music releases, owns digital real estate in The Sandbox, and wants to bring digital weed farms to the Metaverse.

Featured Image Courtesy of OkayPlayer