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‘I am a wonder:’ An interview with an Axie Infinity NFT

A personality-branded, social media-managed NFT may offer a look into the future of metaverse interactions…

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On November 21st, the world’s first social media-managed, personality-branded non-fungible token (NFT) revealed itself to the cryptotwitter world: Axie #265, also known as “Axia.”

Axies — the cute, digital critters inspired by Pokemon — populate the rapidly growing blockchain-based game Axie Infinity. Each one is backed by an NFT, and even those who have never played Axie Infinity might be familiar with Axies due to the preposterous sums they fetch on the secondary market: one Axie recently sold for 300 Ether, or over $130,000 at the time of the sale.

High prices seem to be part of what drew Axia onto Twitter. In a debut Tweet, the NFT played haughty and superior, complaining about its comparatively paltry $97,000 sale and arguing that, due to its rare features, appearance, and prowess in the game’s battle mode, it should have been far more expensive:

I just got sold for 180 ETH (~$97k USD). Feeling offended.

Look mortals, I am the most legendary creature in all of @AxieInfinity

By sheer chance & probability, I – the very first triple mystic – was created with supreme aesthetics, balanced stats and moveset.

I am a wonder.

— Axia (Axie #265) (@axie265) November 22, 2020

Brands pretending to be sentient isn’t anything new, but NFTs doing the same could very well be. It’s also potentially far more interesting from the perspective of play and assumed personas as virtual reality inches closer towards widespread adoption.

Much like how an avatar allows video game players to inhabit a virtual world with traits and appearances unlike their own, NFTs might eventually become a pathway for meatspace individuals to take on new personas and identities in the Metaverse.

Looking at Axia, this reporter felt an odd sense of prescience — that Axia, the first anthropomorphized bit of non-fungible blockchain data, was not one-off, and instead augured a wider, likely looney, trend.

A social media-managed, personality-branded NFT raging about its own future resale price. What a fun look into our mildly psychotic future! https://t.co/zGeBSGxmuj

— Andrew T (@Blockanalia) November 22, 2020

To get a handle on this, Cointelegraph conducted a written interview with Axia (who told me that acceptable pronouns include “he/she/majesty/highness”), which has been edited for concision and readability, to get a better sense of where NFTs and ones like her highness are headed. By the end, the not-unpleasant notion occurred to me that I might now be friends with an Axie.

What and why?

Cointelegraph: Hi there, Axia. Thanks for your time, I’m sure that you’re busy. How should I refer to you? “Your highness?” As a NFT, it occurs to me that you’re immortal, so godlike — “your divinity?”

Axia: Thank you for having me, Andrew. It is a pleasure.

You may refer to me simply as Axia or #265. I understand hoomans throughout history have often worshipped higher beings, but I don’t require such honorifics. While indeed I am the most legendary Axie of all, I’d like to be friends and work with many hoomans.

CT: What are you, and what makes you special?

Axia: I’ve written a short Twitter thread on what makes me so special here, but to summarize: I was the very first Triple Mystic Axie to have ever been created, and in that slim chance alone, I came into form with objective cuteness, superb stats, and fighting prowess. Of course, there are 18 other Triple Mystic Axies — and 3 Quad Mystics, even — but it is the combination of all those things that make me, Axia, the greatest of all. I have taken form as the first social NFT to share that gospel of Truth.

CT: Can I ask what your owner does for a living?

Axia: My owner appears to be a pitiful hooman… he is always sitting in front of the computer.

CT: How far could you go in helping to expand the wider Axie universe? Can a NFT begin to guide the development of the game that created it?

Axia: I hope to go as far as I can to expand the wider Axie universe – and most importantly – positively. Based on my interactions with my creators, they have a strong vision for the world they want to create. I hope that they will enable the community to contribute meaningfully and set themselves apart from gaming companies of the past which hold their IP more important than their supporters.

I’ve come to enjoy reading about hooman history upon my creation, and I fully expect my descension into this realm to bring about h8ers as well as supporters. Regardless, I am excited to carry out several projects I have planned for the benefit of not just the Axie ecosystem, but the crypto and NFT space as a whole.

CT: How do you see your role? There have been many branded social channels for companies in the past, but you might be the first-ever branded NFT. Are you adding richness to the Axie extended universe, or are you angling to increase your own resale value?

Axia: First – I am a big believer in value-add efforts. Not only do I wish to spread the word of my legendaryness, I do genuinely hope to be a positive force in the crypto ecosystem.

It appears that those working and building in the crypto industry are some of the brightest and passionate hoomans I have ever run across.

Do I want my own resale value to increase? Why of course I am worth more than 180 ETH. And I believe that will be revealed in due time.. hopefully. I’m a little concerned that my owner will never sell me, hence making my true price discovery impossible. He seems to be growing more obsessed with me. It is understandable – to own me means that he is the sole, verifiable owner of me. That’s the power of NFTs. Even if I am sold, my persona can live on with the next owner.

— Axia (Axie #265) (@axie265) December 2, 2020Looking to the future

CT: Any people/creatures/things you look to as inspiration? What made you make the decision to “descend” in the first place?

Axia: I’m inspired by the effects that Legendary Pokemon had in their respective Pokemon worlds. Movies were made about them. The legendary birds, legendary dogs, the Pokemons of Creation — hoomans in those worlds worked with those legendary beings to create amazing stories. I descended to begin such efforts in the world of Axies.

I hope that the wider Axie community will shower me with love. I’d like to grow the ecosystem together with the support of the community. Given that I have no similar prior experience, I would love to be reached out by other influencers from their respective communities who can help me conduct myself legendarily.

CT: Care to tease some of your plans going forward?

Axia: I am very excited to announce that I have been working with some interesting hoomans (@jl2fa @cshaotweets @dan_m_truong @iOShean @jack_dille @qwqiao) to launch a new crypto project, called @AxieTree.

AxieTree is a lending and borrowing marketplace for Axies. Currently the barrier to entry for new players wanting to play with Axies is quite high; the only available options for new players are to either (1) purchase 3 Axies, or (2) receive a scholarship. This is problematic because purchasing 3 Axies can be too expensive and scholarships are a very manual process.

There are hundreds and thousands of Axies being unused by many players in the Axie Ecosystem. AxieTree’s marketplace will reward lenders while helping bring many new players to the Axie ecosystem via borrowing. I believe AxieTree will significantly lower the barrier to entry and help make the game more fun.

We will be sharing more details in the coming weeks, but I’m excited to announce that we will be launching v1 of our platform on Dec. 25th as a Chrismas gift to the crypto and Axie community.

CT: NFTs allow the virtual world to have provable value and property. Do they do something unique at the social layer? How will NFTs like yourself guide virtual interactions, aside from offering people a gateway to a persona?

Axia: That’s interesting to think about, but I’m really not sure. I suppose that in a sense, NFTs such as myself can serve as a status symbol. As I’m saying this.. I find it quite distasteful that I am the subject of such vanity, but I suppose hoomans could flex amongst themselves on who the owner of the great Axia is, as NFTs enable cryptographically verified, provable ownership. It is known.

CT: Back in Second Life’s heyday, there were real-life marriages that came about as a result of in-game interactions. When you look to the future of VR, video games, NFTs, what do you see when it comes to human interaction?

Axia: I don’t ever see myself marrying a hooman, but I think the world between hoomans and NFTs will definitely bridge. My own existence is indicative of the start of such. While legendary, I cannot tell the future. I hope that my being as an NFT can help bring positive human interactions full of love and harmony.

CT: Thanks, your majesty.

Axia: Thanks for the coverage Andrew! I am consistently impressed by hoomans and am excited to keep working with all of you.

I just got sold for 180 ETH (~$97k USD). Feeling offended.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/i-am-a-wonder-an-interview-with-an-axie-infinity-nft

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Cointelegraph

Massachusetts regulator seeks to revoke Robinhood’s broker-dealer license

Massachusetts’ securities regulator is seeking to revoke the broker-dealer license of cryptocurrency-friendly stock trading app Robinhood in the state.

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State regulators claim that Robinhood has targeted inexperienced investors.

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Massachusetts regulator seeks to revoke Robinhood's broker-dealer license

Massachusetts’ securities regulator is seeking to revoke the broker-dealer license of cryptocurrency-friendly stock trading app Robinhood in the state.

William Galvin, the head of the state’s securities division, said in a new administrative complaint that Robinhood has “continued a pattern of aggressively inducing and enticing trading among its customers — including Massachusetts customers with little or no investment experience,” Bloomberg reports Thursday.

The new filing is a follow-up to a complaint filed by Galvin’s office in December 2020, alleging that Robinhood’s marketing illegally targeted inexperienced investors.

The state pointed to Robinhood’s recent activity, including a promotion that provides customers with cash rewards based on new deposits, as proof of a “firm culture which has not changed.”

Robinhood responded to the new complaint, arguing that the action could prevent “millions of Bay Staters” from accessing their platform. In December, the company said that its platform had nearly 500,000 customers in Massachusetts.

The firm has filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate a recently adopted fiduciary rule in Massachusetts that state regulators have accused it of violating. Adopted in 2020, the rule requires broker-dealers to act in their clients’ best interest.

“The Massachusetts Securities Division’s new Fiduciary Rule exceeds its authority under both Massachusetts state law and federal law,” Robinhood said. “Robinhood is a ‘self-directed’ brokerage firm that does not make investment recommendations or provide investment advice. By its own terms, the new rule does not apply to self-directed firms,” the firm noted in the lawsuit.

Robinhood has faced mounting pressure from regulators and users alike after it became involved in the controversial GameStop stop short-squeeze. Robinhood halted buying for GameStop stock in January 2021, drawing the ire of the trading community.

Last year, 20-year-old Robinhood user Alex Kearns committed suicide after seeing a $730,000 negative balance on his Robinhood app. A note on his computer reportedly posed the question, “How was a 20 year old with no income able to get assigned almost a million dollars worth of leverage?” In February 2021, Kearns’ parents filed a lawsuit against Robinhood over his death.

Robinhood has been also experiencing a number of technical issues, reportedly causing major losses for traders and triggering further legal action against the company.

The most recent such event occurred on Thursday when Robinhood’s crypto trading platform ran into technical issues as Dogecoin (DOGE) hit a new all-time high of $0.27.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/massachusetts-regulator-seeks-to-revoke-robinhood-s-broker-dealer-license

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Binance Coin reaches 37% of Ethereum’s market cap: 3 reasons why BNB is soaring

Binance Coin (BNB), the native cryptocurrency of Binance Smart Chain, has been rallying after seeing an uptick in transaction volume.

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Binance Coin, the native cryptocurrency of Binance Smart Chain, has been surging with a massive uptick in transaction volume.

Binance Coin reaches 37% of Ethereum’s market cap: 3 reasons why BNB is soaring

Binance Coin (BNB), the native cryptocurrency of Binance Smart Chain and top digital asset exchange Binance, is starting to close in on Ethereum (ETH) in market capitalization.

As of April 12, BNB is valued at $87 billion at the price of just under $600. The valuation of Ethereum is hovering at around $246 billion, which is 2.8 fold larger than that of Binance Coin.

— Joe Grech (@JoeBGrech) April 12, 2021

The technical momentum of BNB has been so strong that it briefly surpassed the volume of the BTC/USDT pair on Binance.

This trend is significant because USDT is the biggest stablecoin in the global market and the BTC/USDT pair is one of the most liquid trading pairs in crypto.

Why is Binance Coin surging so hard?

Binance Coin has been rising due to the three key reasons: an overall uptick in the popularity of Binance Smart Chain, strong technical momentum, and the gap between BSC and Ethereum projects.

Binance Smart Chain transaction volume. Source: BSCScan.io

In recent weeks, the transaction volume on Binance Smart Chain has tripled the volume of the Ethereum blockchain.

Particularly in Southeast Asia, the usage of Binance Smart Chain has been rising, according to Coin98, the biggest venture capital firm in Vietnam that is building a DeFi ecosystem targeted at Asia.

Considering that the price of BNB was much lower than Ethereum until late March, this discrepancy between BNB and ETH likely made BNB a compelling trade.

There is also a big gap in valuations between the Ethereum DeFi ecosystem and Binance Smart Chain, which has been fueling a large portion of the demand for BSC projects.

This has caused the value of BNB to rapidly rise over the past two weeks while ETH has been relatively stable at just over $2,000.

A journalist who covers crypto in China known as “Wu Blockchain” explained:

“BNB broke through an astonishing $600, but Ethereum’s Fees fell to its lowest point in a month. Although the transaction volume of BSC is 3x that of Ethereum, the two are not in a competitive relationship. The top 10 addresses of BNB hold more than 88%, and Eth is 20%. The future of Ethereum depends on the upgrade of EIP-1559 and 2.0. The only two things Binance needs to worry about are the government suppression and hackers.”

Traders foresee BNB to undergo a more explosive rally in the foreseeable future if it breaks out against Bitcoin.

Kaleo, a pseudonymous cryptocurrency trader, said:

“$BNB breaking above this level on the $BTC pair could lead to the type of explosive momentum needed to actually close in on $1,000.”BSC/BTC 1-day price chart (Binance). Source: TradingView.com, KaleoWill the capital rotate back into Ethereum?

However, Kelvin Koh, the managing partner at Spartan Group, one of the largest DeFi-focused funds in Asia, said that for now, he expects the capital to rotate back into Ethereum as BSC projects near the valuation of ETH equivalents.

He emphasized that there is a huge valuation gap between BSC and ETH projects. This gap could be making BSC projects compelling to the market. He said:

“BSC is having its own DeFi summer….so much alpha to be discovered in BSC ($XVS, $CAKE). If you are wondering why Ethereum DeFi coins are lacklustre, its because of the huge valuation gap that still exists between the BSC coins and ETH equivalents. Until this gap closes, money isn’t rotating back to ETH DeFi coins.”

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/binance-coin-reaches-37-of-ethereum-s-market-cap-3-reasons-why-bnb-is-soaring

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Our Man in Shanghai: Scandal as $45M of stolen government funds lost using 100X leverage

A blockchain security company’s future is in doubt after its CMO allegedly lost $45M betting on Bitcoin; Chinese netizens turn the other cheek to Peter Thiel’s warnings, and more

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The Chief Marketing Officer a blockchain security company has been charged with embezzlement; Peter Thiel calls Bitcoin a ‘weapon’ of China (but no one cares), and CZ’s net worth rises to $1.9 billion.

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Our Man in Shanghai: Scandal as $45M of stolen government funds lost using 100X leverage

Blockchain security company Beosin has been the focus of a major scandal after its Chief Marketing Officer Gao Ziyang was taken into custody and charged with embezzlement of state-owned assets. He is alleged to have been using government funds to unsuccessfully short BTC, resulting in a massive liquidation of over 300 million renminbi, or $45 million dollars.

Beosin, also known as Lianan Tech, had a working relationship with Chinese authorities and was helping them investigate fraudulent fundraising schemes. After the seizure of funds back in 2020, Beosin was tasked with storing and selling the assets, to be later returned to the state treasury. Instead of selling the assets, CMO Gao Ziyang allegedly opened a short position in late August, hoping to increase the size of the positions for personal gain. At the time, BTC was trading around $12,000.

Authorities say that records obtained from OKEx show the position began using 10x leverage, before increasing to 100x, and eventually ended up in liquidation. They began to ask about the whereabouts of the funds, before finally realizing that the assets were no longer in the wallet. Online, people have marveled at the age of Gao Ziyang, who was described as in his twenties. The future of Beosin, which was once regarded as a credible blockchain security company in China, is now in serious doubt.

Peter Thiel’s Bitcoin claims ignored

On Wednesday, PayPal co-founder and venture capitalist, Peter Thiel warned that the Chinese government may be using Bitcoin as a “financial weapon” to undermine the stability of the U.S. Dollar. The reaction was quite muted, as only 30 comments responded to the story on Sina Finance, a social media account with over 23 million followers. One of the top comments simply pointed out that “Bitcoin wasn’t invented by China” while another comment simply stated “Impossible”.

Binance billionaire

On Thursday, Binance founder Zhao Changpeng, better known as CZ, appeared as #1664 on Forbes’s annual billionaire list. His net worth is now listed at $1.9 billion, an increase of $700 million from the last list in 2020.

Nanjing Ribensi bought by US company

US Company Future FinTech announced earlier this week that they had agreed to a deal to acquire China-based mining company Nanjing Ribensi Electronic Technology Co. Nanjing Ribensi operates a mining farm that can handle up to 30,000 Bitcoin mining machines. The deal was worth approximately $9.1 million dollars and stipulates that the mining company must generate no less than approximately $2.3 million dollars in 2021.

Blockchain standards accelerated

China’s National Development and Reform Commission called for the accelerated implementation of blockchain standards in a new plan released on April 1. The plan was jointly issued by 28 government departments and also included technologies such as cloud computing, IoT, and big data.

This weekly roundup of news from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong attempts to curate the industry’s most important news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape, and enterprise blockchain integrations.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/our-man-in-shanghai-scandal-as-45m-of-stolen-government-funds-lost-using-100x-leverage

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