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‘Digital archeology’: long-dormant MoonCats project rides NFT mania to the moon

What other treasures are waiting to be found on-chain?

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As the profusion of new algorithmically-generated nonfungible token projects drives down the premium on digital rarity, digital history and being among the “firsts” has become a more reliable source of value. As a result, long-forgotten projects are being unearthed by on-chain sleuths, and yesterday they might have struck gold on their biggest find yet.

At 7 AM UTC March 12, Twitter user and NFT collector “ETHoard” posted a short thread on what may be the second-ever nonfungible collectibles project launched on Ethereum, MoonCats.

While maybe not as eye pleasing as the recent #CryptoCats discovery, after that rush happened I started digging around and came across #MoonCatRescue. Inspired by Cryptopunks as well, and actually predates CryptoCats. /1

— ETHoard (@ETHoard) March 12, 2021

According to Etherscan, the MoonCatsRescue contract is 1310 days old, first written to Ethereum on Aug 09 2017. That would mean MoonCats predates CryptoKitties, the NFT project widely credited with popularizing NFTs, by three months, and likewise is just a touch younger than CryptoPunks, the OG NFT project on Ethereum.

Users quickly set to figuring out how to interact with the contracts manually via Etherscan, as the website’s fronted had long gone defunct. The first MoonCat minted in 992 days came to digital life at 2:52 PM UTC.

How to wrap your MoonCats to sell on @opensea
Do this at your own risk and always confirm contract addresses.

Thread

— RyanJK (@RJ_Kunz) March 12, 2021

At the time users reported that the cost of interacting with the contract to “rescue” the cats was between $50 to $200 (some speculate that gas prices rose due to MoonCat mining demand), and the cost to wrap them so they could be listed on NFT marketplace Opensea ran upwards of $200. All 25,600 cats were minted within a few hours.

The floor price for cats on Opensea has risen as high as .8 ETH at the time of publication — netting cat resucers roughly $1000 profit per cat. There’s been 715 ETH worth of activity, pushing the project to the top of various volume leaderboards, and new community-built frontends have already emerged.

The remarkable story has been likened by some as a form of digital archeology, in which treasure hunters found long-lost history:

they are the first digital archaeological dig. the context is anything but lame imo. https://t.co/ciDmeOjpbb

— mewny (@mewn21) March 13, 2021

“In my opinion, what we witnessed yesterday was the digital equivalent of discovering historical artifacts,” said MoonCat collector Elmo. “While that may sound hyperbolic right now, I think history will look back on these seemingly rudimentary pieces of art as the first steps in pioneering the growth in digital arts.”

Elmo has been posting quaint statistics and records of MoonCatRescue’s digital footprint, including one Reddit thread where users said the cost of minting a Cat was 50 cents. He also notes that the project is a rare example of a truly “fair launch” they contract was available and open to the public for years before the community caught wind and it exploded in popularity.

>bummed he missed getting in on cryptopunks
>posted 3 years ago
>RIP pic.twitter.com/hCf2Kmw3Hx

— Elmo’s Short Volatility Fund (@jrob1564) March 12, 2021

MoonCats aren’t the only digit goldmine historians and prospectors have stumbled on in recent days. There have been efforts to resuscitate other projects that the community has found underappreciated. Collector and developer Nate Hart saw a sudden bid in his Chainfaces project, one of the earliest NFT projects to have all relevant metadata on-chain earlier this month, after months of relative stagnation.

The question now turns to what other long-lost contracts are gathering cobwebs on Ethereum?

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/digital-archeology-long-dormant-mooncats-project-rides-nft-mania-to-the-moon

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Investment product issuer 21Shares will list Bitcoin ETP on Aquis Exchange

Exchange-traded product issuer 21Shares said it will make its Bitcoin ETP available to U.K. professional investors through the Aquis Exchange.

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The announcement comes the same day as ETC Group’s Bitcoin ETP began trading on the same exchange.

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Investment product issuer 21Shares will list Bitcoin ETP on Aquis Exchange

Switzerland-based 21Shares, formerly known as Amun, has said it will make its Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded product available to traders in the United Kingdom through the Aquis Exchange.

According to an announcement from 21Shares, its Bitcoin exchange-traded product (ETP) will be available to professional investors on the Aquis Exchange this summer. U.K.-based firm GHCO will be acting as the crypto ETP’s liquidity provider, with 21Shares saying the product would be “engineered like an [exchange-traded fund].”

“ETPs trade on exchanges in a similar manner to a listed stock and institutional investors in the U.K. will get exposure to Bitcoin via a regulated framework and structure which they are already accustomed to,” said 21Shares. “The ETP has been designed to provide institutional U.K. investors with secure and cost-effective exposure to Bitcoin without the associated Bitcoin custody and security challenges.”

21Shares reported more than $1.5 billion in assets under management across 14 ETPs available on European stock exchanges. One unit of the firm’s Bitcoin ETP on Aquis will reportedly represent exposure to 0.00035 BTC, or roughly $12.54 at the time of publication.

A few companies have begun expanding their crypto products to the U.K. market. Also on Monday, crypto investment manager ETC Group’s Bitcoin ETP began trading on the Aquis Exchange in London and Paris. However, the country’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, banned the sale of crypto derivatives to retail traders in January.

21Shares reported more than $1.5 billion in assets under management across 14 ETPs available on European stock exchanges. One unit of the firm’s Bitcoin ETP on Aquis will reportedly represent exposure to 0.00035 BTC, or roughly $12.54 at the time of publication.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/investment-product-issuer-21shares-will-list-bitcoin-etp-on-aquis-exchange

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We tracked down the original Bitcoin Lambo guy – Cointelegraph Magazine

After the chair of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, insisted Bitcoin couldn’t be used to buy anything of value in 2013, Jay snapped up a yellow Lamborghini to prove him wrong. We caught up with Jay in Southeast Asia.

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Jay is the Bitcoin OG who created a meme by buying a Lamborghini with the cryptocurrency. He went from a poverty-level existence to enjoying a well-off lifestyle in a gated community thanks to mining Bitcoin in the early days — but not without having to worry for his family’s safety.

As BTC first broke the $1,000 milestone in December 2013, former Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan suggested that Bitcoin could not actually be used to buy anything of value.

That’s when Jay (not his real name), then in his early 30s, and with the help of his wife who is also a Bitcoiner, used almost 217 BTC to purchase what is believed to be the original Bitcoin Lamborghini at the Lamborghini Newport Beach dealership. He then provided the evidence on the anonymous imageboard 4chan.

This proved that Bitcoin had real value — who would accept fake money for a Lamborghini? A meme was born that launched a million other memes.

“It’s kind of overwhelming as an individual — I created a meme.”

An archetypal Bitcoin OG, Jay got his start around 2010. Despite being broke and supporting a family on very low earnings in Southeast Asia, he ended up setting up 20 GPUs, resulting in electricity costs that were six times his rent.

Lambo BTCBuying a Lambo with Bitcoin in 2013.

“I was really poor — I made like $8,500 per year while supporting a family, and babies cost money. I had businesses and savings before, but going to university and starting a family got me damn close to $0,” he recalls, bewildered.

“It’s amazingly hard to HODL bitcoin when you eat pasta every day and make fuck-all, and spend what you do have on computers and miners. But I had that faith, I knew this was world changing.”

Today, Jay lives in a gated community within a small city of under 100,000 in Southeast Asia with his wife, three children, and three dogs — one of them a professionally trained and imposing guard dog whom I had no doubt was ready to rip my face off on command when I visited.

His home actually consists of two houses on two streets, discreetly connected in the middle, creating an understated facade. Whereas the front garage contains “normal” luxury vehicles, the back holds none other than Bitcoin Lamborghini 2.0.

“Sadly because I was so close to $0 and had kids, I had to sell so much BTC so early because I wanted some safety net. I could add at least one zero to my net worth if I had no family — but it’s a paradox because family is why I do it.”

Lambo conventionThe Bitcoin Lambo in Texas at a CryptoWomen meetup in 2014. Supplied.Wealth worries

Jay’s fortune is crowned by a loaded 1,000 BTC Casascius “physical Bitcoin” gold coin of which only a few exist. It is, in fact, the most valuable coin in the world, with a face value of approximately $60 million dollars and a collector premium of many millions more.

This is how we came to meet, as I act as a broker of such rarities and wrote the Encyclopedia of Physical Bitcoins and Crypto-Currencies. For Jay, owning such coins can, however, prove stressful “if someone connects me to holding tens of millions of dollars in what are effectively bearer bonds.” Such coins hold the private key to the stated amount of Bitcoins under a tamper-proof label, making them comparable to bearer bonds, gold or cash.

Such privilege is “difficult to deal with” on the family front, Jay says. Living in a country with a huge wealth disparity, he explains that money can be metaphorically used to build either a bigger wall to separate himself from the masses, or a bigger table in order to bring them to his side. “Honestly, I have to do both, but I want to build a bigger table,” he says. He feels that he faces very real threats, including the kidnapping of family members by international criminals.

“I had issues with some Russian oligarchs in the past, but I don’t think I’m a target now.”

Casascius coinA loaded 1,000 BTC Casascius coin, which Jay bought for $5,000

Still, it’s hard to put worry or paranoia aside — states of mind that Jay considers natural to him. Late one night, as we enjoyed beer and burgers on the edge of town, Jay’s merriness suddenly turned to keen attention as he spied a vehicle loitering near his Lamborghini. “It’s been there over 30 seconds,” he said, appearing still nervous after the car drove off. “They were probably just admiring the car — but what if?” He was visibly uneasy.

Initiation

Jay describes a normal childhood in an average lower-middle-class family in the U.S. midwest. Money was sometimes tight, but basic needs were covered and school was OK. He excelled in geography, which simply came naturally to him without the need to study.

He started working at the age of 12, stapling large boxes together at a warehouse owned by a family friend. The work was repetitive and it was actually illegal to employ such a young child, but Jay was there willingly and feels that he gained a valuable perspective from socializing with business owners at such a young age.

After high school, Jay enrolled in a university close to home to study international relations and computer engineering. He, however, became disillusioned, believing that “a lot of what the university was teaching me was absolute bullshit” and mostly aimed at making him into “a good wage slave.” As he studied money, “it blew my mind that fiat money was based on nothing — it was debt.” He dropped out to run his own book-selling business, which he later sold to a firm that itself went on to be acquired by Amazon.

“The realization of the financial system and money being bullshit helped motivate me to drop out of university in the U.S.A. and do my own thing.”

Jay used the money to travel, first heading to Mongolia, which he felt might be a “missed gem” and might hold economic opportunities. Later in Kazakhstan, he spent time with a group that “trained golden eagles to hunt wolves,” and he heard high praise of Southeast Asia from other passing travelers — knowledge he filed away for later. His money ran low, and he soon returned to the U.S. where he found some success trading oil futures from home.

“When the tsunami hit Southeast Asia on Boxing Day 2004, I realized that sitting around doing the bullshit nothing I was doing was bad and jumped on a plane to help.”

Jay decided to stay and attended a local university, this time choosing to study business administration. Years after graduating and struggling financially, he came across the Bitcoin white paper in 2010 via the infamous Cypherpunks mailing list, where it was discussed in the early days of the cryptocurrency. He had read a book about cryptography before — he loved reading — and the project caught his eye. He found it brilliant, “but I thought there was a very low chance it could become worldwide money — it was too crazy.”

The biggest draw was not the money aspect, but the idea that “this breaks censorship.” He recalls someone putting Bible verses into the blockchain early on — forever indelible. With Bitcoin, anyone could write freely on the wall of eternity.

Celebrating Bitcoin breaking $100 on April 1, 2013. Supplied.The Bitcointalk Forums

The Bitcointalk forum was an interesting place in the very early 2010s, a time when Jay remembers a collection of seemingly “random people with random ideas.” Bitcoin was then a primarily intellectual pursuit, and it attracted socialists and communists in addition to the libertarians who became more associated with the movement’s history.

One idea discussed around that time included the canceling and reissuing of coins after two to five years of inactivity at an address, while others suggested that mining rewards could be adjusted based on individual need or national income. As there was no firmly established value, the Bitcoin idea was considered quite malleable and not necessarily set in stone — it could become anything.

Jay was confused by some of the discourse. “I wasn’t quite well-read in the philosophy then, so I didn’t really understand what the leftists saw in the idea,” he recalls.

The culture of the forum evolved as waves of discourse and new users followed news coverage of Bitcoin. There was a loose “core group” of enthusiasts who considered each other close to the project; “some new people would be added every now and then, and some would leave.” The culture, however, grew more toxic.

Though he first reasons that the toxicity was due to a “Wild West culture” that naturally forms in a gold rush of sorts, Jay notes that people in the contemporary WallStreetBets community, “seem to be incredibly polite and welcoming.” He adds that while he “does not want to say anything bad about anyone,” he assigns some responsibility for the culture upon the Bitcointalk forum’s administration.

“I think that the leadership of a community helps shape it. The person running Bitcointalk was quite inexperienced and pretty much fell into the role — I wonder if it could have been different.”

By contrast, the early Ethereum community seemed friendlier at the time, possibly due to the credit of Vitalik Buterin acting as a visible community leader. Buterin reached out to Jay during the process of launching Ethereum, but Jay was unimpressed.

“I told Vitalik over Skype that Ethereum was going to fail because it was too centralized.”

Despite his concerns, Jay owns some Ethereum and is not an extreme Bitcoin maximalist like some of his peers.

“There shouldn’t be people who hold keys to the internet. It should be entirely math-based, because it can be,” he reasons, referring to what he sees as unnecessary centralization and reliance on human figures within the Ethereum community.

Future directions

Already an old-timer, little more than a decade after stumbling upon Bitcoin, Jay is cautious about newer developments, calling DeFi “definitely risky” due to the risk of the leadership of some projects having the power to unilaterally take control of your funds. He has a similar take on NFTs, saying that “99% of them will become worthless, but some might become cult classics,” a line of thinking that was especially prominent regarding ICOs in the 2017 boom.

All considered, Jay is doing well in life and is focused on his family, but there is a certain unease — a restlessness about him, even unrelated to physical safety.

As with many people who reach their goal, he has everything he could ever dream of, but it’s not exactly clear what he should do next, considering he feels that he has enough to financially cover his descendants to the 4th generation. One thing’s for sure — he’s not looking for fame. “I don’t really want this article out there, but I think overall it is fair and the story should be told,” he says.

“I have reached my goal, so now what? I have accomplished my life goals but I’m not dead yet, so I have to do something. No idea what — but something…”

“It’s kind of overwhelming as an individual — I created a meme.”

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/magazine/2021/06/04/we-tracked-down-the-original-bitcoin-lambo-guy

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Guggenheim’s new fund may seek exposure to Bitcoin, SEC filing shows

The company stated that the fund’s exposure to crypto can result in substantial losses to the fund, citing a number of risks associated with the industry.

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The new Guggenheim Active Allocation Fund will be a diversified, closed-end management investment fund that may seek investment exposure to cryptocurrencies.

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Guggenheim’s new fund may seek exposure to Bitcoin, SEC filing shows

Global investment firm Guggenheim Investments has filed with the United States Securities and Exchange for a new fund that may seek exposure to Bitcoin (BTC).

According to a Tuesday filing, the new Guggenheim Active Allocation Fund will be a diversified, closed-end management investment fund that may seek investment exposure to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin through cash-settled derivatives instruments. Such instruments include exchange-traded futures, investment tools offering exposure to BTC as well as other cryptocurrencies through direct investments or indirect exposure such as derivatives contracts, the filing notes.

The company stated that the fund’s exposure to crypto can result in substantial losses to the fund, citing a number of risks associated with the industry:

“Cryptocurrency is a new technological innovation with a limited history; it is a highly speculative asset and future regulatory actions or policies may limit, perhaps to a materially adverse extent, the value of the Fund’s indirect investment in cryptocurrency and the ability to exchange a cryptocurrency or utilize it for payments.”

According to the document, Guggenheim’s chief investment officer Scott Minerd will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the fund’s portfolio alongside assistant CIO Anne Bookwalter Walsh, managing director Steve Brown, and director Adam Bloch.

Last year, Guggenheim placed another SEC filing, stating that its Guggenheim Macro Opportunities Fund may seek investment exposure to Bitcoin indirectly through investing up to 10% of its net asset value in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.

Minerd is known for his somewhat mixed stance on crypto and Bitcoin as the executive referred to the crypto market as “Tulipmania” after Bitcoin sank to nearly $30,000 on May 19. Despite comparing the crypto industry to a financial bubble, Minerd is still bullish on Bitcoin in the long term, predicting earlier this year that BTC can potentially hit $600,000.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/guggenheim-s-new-fund-may-seek-exposure-to-bitcoin-sec-filing-shows

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