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Monthly crypto round-up for May 2022

From to Yuga Labs' eye-popping $300 million land drop to Terra's devastating $60 billion implosion, May was certainly memorable for the crypto space.

May was nothing short of crazy for the crypto space, with multiple signs indicating that this crypto winter will be long, cold and harsh. But amid the red, news happened and new deals were made. Let us take a look at some of the biggest stories this month.

Quick take

  • Coinbase ranked 437th on Fortune 500, the first crypto company to be included in the prestigious list.
  • Yuga Labs generated $561 million from its Otherside (Otherdeed) virtual land sale within 24 hours.
  • Binance gains regulatory approval in several countries, including France, Italy and Bahrain.
  • Terra’s multi-billion network plummeted into the abyss amid the UST de-pegging fiasco.
  • Elon Musk puts Twitter acquisition bid on hold, taking Wall Street on a wild ride as investors grapple with the billionaire’s antics.
  • Gaming giant NVIDIA fined $5.5 million for failing to report on GPU crypto mining sales.

Key happenings

We’ve handpicked some of the most relevant emerging stories in the crypto space to help you stay ahead of the curve.
Government announcements and regulator views and

Crypto regulatory developments

  • 3 May: Top EU official calls for global crypto agreement to address crypto market risks
  • 4 May: Hawaii State Senate approved bill to establish a blockchain and cryptocurrency task force
  • 5 May: California governor signed an executive order to “create a transparent regulatory and business environment for Web3 companies” in the state
  • 6 May: Argentina’s Central Bank prohibits banks from offering services for any digital assets outside its regulation
  • 10 May: El Salvador acquires 500 BTC at an average price of $30,744 amid dip
  • 11 May: China’s Tianjin Municipal Finance Bureau urged government employees to set up digital yuan wallets in preparation for a further expansion of the digital payment system
  • 12 May: Germany declares that the sale of crypto assets is tax-free after 1 year
  • 13 May: South Korea’s new administration aims to establish crypto framework by 2024
  • 20 May: Panama postpones legalisation of digital assets over fears of money laundering
  • 20 May: Legalisation of cryptocurrencies for payments in Russia is only a matter of time, according to minister Denis Manturov
  • 25 May: US senators Lummis and Gillibrand set to propose crypto oversight bill at Consensus 2022 in June
  • 26 May: Brazil’s Federal Reserve to impose tax on like-kind crypto conversions and trades
Crypto fundings

Fundings and acquisitions

  • 4 May: Decrypt raised $10 million and spins out from ConsenSys Mesh as an independent Web3 media company
  • 6 May: NFT platform Zora’s valuation reached $600 million following a $50 million fundraise led by prominent venture capital firms
  • 7 May: Alborz, a joint venture between Cipher Mining and WindHQ, received a 2-year $46.9 million loan from BlockFi to invest in crypto mining rigs
  • 10 May: Flow launches $725 million ecological fund to drive innovation and growth across its blockchain ecosystem
  • 13 May: Crypto security startup Solidus Labs raised $45 million in a series B funding round led by Liberty City Ventures
  • 13 May: Soluna receives $35 million from Spring Lane Capital to build green data centres for clean computing services, which includes Bitcoin mining and artificial intelligence
  • 14 May: Aurora, an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), launches $90 million fund to finance dApps built on the Near Protocol
  • 18 May: Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) has launched its first gaming-focused fund with plans to invest $600 million across game studios, consumer apps and infrastructure
  • 19 May: Singapore-based crypto wallet BitKeep hits $100 million valuation after raising $15 million in a Dragonfly Capital-led series A funding round
  • 19 May: a16z debuts $600 million Web3 gaming-focus fund, citing that “games infrastructure and technologies will be key building blocks of the metaverse”
  • 25 May: a16z establishes $4.5 billion fund for cryptocurrency and Web3 startups
Exchanges

DeFi, CeFi and digital banks

  • 3 May: Argentina’s largest private bank, Banco Galicia, launches crypto trading features
  • 4 May: Binance wins regulatory approval in France, the first major European country to allow the crypto giant to operate within its jurisdiction
  • 5 May: Lido Finance briefly overtook Curve to be the leading DeFi protocol with $20 billion in total value locked (TVL)
  • 5 May: LGT Bank partners with Swiss crypto bank SEBA to offer custody and trading services for BTC and ETH
  • 6 May: MM.Finance loses $2 million in CRO tokens due to a front-end exploit
  • 9 May: DeFi protocols collectively lost 17.77% in TVL over the last 30 days
  • 12 May: Nubank, Brazil’s largest digital bank, launches BTC and ETH trading
  • 20 May: Qatar has launched its first regulated Bitcoin exchange, CoinMENA
  • 25 May: Uniswap has topped $1 trillion in lifetime trading volume since launching on Ethereum in late 2018
  • 25 May: Argentina-based cryptocurrency exchange Buenbit has laid off 45% of its staff due to market downturn
  • 27 May: Huobi acquires Bitex to expand its footprint in Latin America
  • 27 May: Binance attained Category 4 crypto-asset service provider (CASP) licence from the Central Bank of Bahrain, allowing it to offer a wider range of services in the Middle Eastern country
  • 28 May: Binance becomes the first major crypto exchange to gain regulatory approval in Italy
Otherside NFT

NFTs and metaverses

  • 1 May: Yuga Labs generates $561 million from the Otherside’s “Otherdeed” NFT sales within 24 hours, with the highly anticipated mint clogging the Ethereum mainnet and bringing gas prices to new highs
  • 1 May: Solana goes dark for 7 hours as bots swarmed “Candy Machine”, a popular the NFT minting tool, resulting in an unprecedented tsunami of inbound traffic
  • 3 May: Tangible launches mainnet of its NFT marketplace, offering tangible NFTs (TNFTs) that are tied to real-world assets such as gold, real estate and luxury watches
  • 4 May: Gatorade files trademark application for virtual beverage products in metaverse
  • 4 May: Dubai’s cryptocurrency regulator announced plans to establish virtual headquarters and acquired land in The Sandbox metaverse platform
  • 5 May: Coinbase’s NFT marketplace beta is now accessible to all
  • 8 May: Meta-owned Instagram plans to support NFTs from Ethereum, Polygon, Solana and Flow
  • 16 May: Solana’s Okay Bears tops all Ethereum NFT projects with $18 million sales on launch day
  • 18 May: LimeWire partners with Universal Music Group to launch music-focused NFTs
  • 21 May: Linktree rolls out new NFT-related features, including OpenSea integration, NFT-gated access points and an NFT gallery
  • 21 May: Spotify trials new NFT feature with a select group of artists, including Steve Aoki and The Wombats
  • 22 May: OpenSea unveiled new marketplace protocol Seaport
  • 23 May: eBay partners with green Web3 company OneOf to launch its genesis NFT collection

Top crypto news

Yuga Lab’s $300 million Otherside land sale triggered network chaos and backlash

1 May 2022

Otherside

Image: Yuga Labs

On 1 May, Yuga Labs, the creator of the famous Bored Apes Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection, launched the largest NFT mint in history. It raked in $320 million from its Otherside (Otherdeed) virtual land sale. However, the highly anticipated launch wasn’t without controversy.

55,000 land parcels were available for public purchase at 305 APE each, which means that each Otherdeed NFT cost around $5,800 given that Apecoin’s price was approximately $19 at the time of mint. Although only wallets that have gone through the Know Your Customer (KYC) process were eligible to mint, the demand far exceeded supply. This resulted in dramatic consequences across the entire Ethereum blockchain.

The proof-of-work (PoW) network was immediately clogged up as buyers cranked gas limits to over 6,000 gwei (100 to 200 times more than average) to “cut in line” and secure their NFTs before it sells out. While some claimed to only have paid a couple hundred dollars in gas fees, others reported paying over $4,000 for a single transaction.

Unsurprisingly, Yuga Labs was heavily criticised for the chaotic mint that burned 55,843 Ethereum (approximately $157 million) in the process. To rectify the matter, it has since refunded a total of 90.57 ETH (around $265,000) for the failed transactions.

Read more


Google’s cloud group forms Web3 team to capitalise on crypto boom

6 May 2022

Twitter Doge Musk

Image: Getty Images

Earlier this month, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) announced its plans to form an in-house team for Web3 tools and back-end services catering to the needs of blockchain developers. This new development comes as part of the tech giant’s recognition that crypto will ultimately see mass levels of adoption.

Google Cloud vice president Amit Zavery reportedly told his team in an email on 6 May that the main idea is to make the Google Cloud Platform the first choice for developers in the field.

“While the world is still early in its embrace of Web3, it is a market that is already demonstrating tremendous potential with many customers asking us to increase our support for Web3 and crypto-related technologies,” he wrote.

Read more


How Terra flatlined in a matter of days

May 2022

Terra Luna crash

Image: Finder

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would have heard about one of the biggest failures in crypto that wiped out $60 billion in value, along with its investors’ life savings.

What is Terra?

Terra network is a blockchain-based project developed by Singapore-registered firm Terraform Labs. The aim of the Terra blockchain is to create “algorithmic stablecoins”, which are tokens designed to combine the decentralised freedom of cryptocurrencies with the stability of fiat money.

To achieve this, the blockchain utilises a dual token system – TerraUSD (UST) and LUNA. LUNA, the native token of the Terra network, serves as a variable counterweight to UST and absorbs its volatility.

But unbeknown to its supporters – and proving its critics right – the Terra ecosystem was a mere “confidence game” that was doomed to fail.

Here’s a quick overview of what went down:

  • 7 May: First major signs of capital flight from UST occurred when 85 million UST was swapped for 84.5 million USDC.
  • 8 May: UST lost its dollar peg and dropped to a low of $0.985, caused by a series of large dumps of UST on Terra’s high yield lending protocol Anchor and stablecoin exchange protocol Curve.
  • 9 May: Luna Foundation Guard (LFG) issued $1.5 billion worth of loans in an attempt to stabilise the token – 50% in BTC to market makers and another 50% in UST for BTC buyback after volatility subsides.
  • 9 May: Deposits on the Anchor protocol plunge below $9 billion from $14 billion after UST struggles to recover to $1, eventually losing its peg for a second time to as low as $0.35. LUNA, which has been minted in large volumes to absorb the shock, tanked 52% and hit its lowest point since September 2020 to around $30. LUNA’s all-time high was $119.18 on 5 April.
  • 11 May: 58% of traders place futures bets on higher LUNA prices despite shocking dip, leading to $63 million in liquidations as LUNA free fall to $2.13. Do Kwon, the founder and CEO of Terraform Labs, is also revealed to be one of the pseudonymous co-founders behind the failed algorithmic stablecoin Basis Cash.
  • 13 May: LUNA finally hit $0.01, diminishing any hopes of recovery for Terra’s ecosystem.
  • 14 May: Binance and several other exchanges pull the plug on LUNA and UST trading pairs.
  • 25 May: 65.50% of governance voters in favor of Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon’s “Terra Ecosystem Revival Plan 2” to create a new blockchain. The old network and cryptocurrency will be renamed Terra Classic and LUNA Classic (LUNC).
  • 26 May: Binance and FTX announced that they will support the new Terra 2.0 token LUNA airdrop.
  • 27 May: Just 10 hours after its debut, LUNA reboot plummets over 70% from its initial value. Talk about flogging a dead horse.

Stablecoin panic

After Terra’s spectacular collapse, retail investors were sent into a frenzy, triggering a short-lived stablecoin panic and worsened crypto markets.

  • 13 May: Tether (USDT) dropped to $0.96 while Bitcoin (BTC) dipped to $25,000.
  • 14 May: USDT stabilises after burning 3 billion tokens from its treasury amid redemptions.
  • 15 May: SEC commissioner Hester Peirce has signaled the acceleration for stablecoin regulations following the fallout of the Terra ecosystem.
  • 20 May: Tether released a report demonstrating that its reserve has $82.4 billion in assets and they’re fully backed.
  • 22 May: Top 4 stablecoins by market capitalisation lost nearly $7 billion from their collective supplies this month as traders seek to redeem their stables for cash.

Read more


Vitalik Buterin: The “merge” is coming this summer

22 May 2022

Ethereum

Image: Getty Images

The most anticipated upgrade in blockchain history finally has a date. It’s slated for August, as revealed by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin when he spoke at a developer summit in Shanghai on 20 May.

What exactly is “The Merge”? Previously referred to as Ethereum 2.0, the merge is the long-awaited upgrade to the Ethereum blockchain that will shift the major blockchain from a proof-of-work (PoW) mechanism to proof-of-stake (PoS) model.

This change has been envisioned as a way to eliminate concerns about Ethereum’s environmental impact. It also puts an end to many of its current usability problems, such as slow transaction speeds and high gas fees.

But this transition is not without challenges. To compel validators to move over to PoS, the developers have coded a “difficulty bomb” that will be dropped into Ethereum and its testnets to intentionally slow down the network. Simply put, this increased difficulty in the mining algorithm will eventually make mining unprofitable and impossible.

Ethereum core developer Preston Van Loon said that the merge on Ropsten – one of Ethereum’s several testnets – is scheduled on 8 June. The real merge will happen on the main Ethereum chain sometime in August (but it could be delayed again as it did several times before).

If all goes well, the merge could renew faith in Ethereum and the broader crypto industry.

Read more


Robinhood to launch its own Web3 crypto wallet designed for DeFi traders and NFT buyers

23 May 2022

Robinhood Web3 Wallet

Image: Finder

Investing app Robinhood reaches for growth beyond stock trading as it announced plans to roll out non-custodial crypto wallets focused on decentralised finance (DeFi) and NFTs by the end of 2022.

CEO Vlad Tenev teased the new standalone app at the Permissionless DeFi conference in Florida on 23 May. The new product will enable users to lend, stake, yield farm, purchase NFTs and even access a wide array of tokens currently unavailable on Robinhood. These expanded features are intended for “advanced use cases” that do not exist in Robinhood’s earlier wallet launched earlier last month.

Known for its comissionless-trading, Robinhood intends to bring its trademark approach to NFTs and DeFi, adding that users of its multichain wallet will be able to enjoy zero network fees.

Robinhood says that the beta version for the new wallet is expected to drop this summer for a select group of users before being rolled out internationally. Keep your eyes peeled.

Read more


Coinbase becomes the first crypto company to enter Fortune 500, ranking 437th

25 May 2022

Nexo Card

Image: NASDAQ

Coinbase (COIN) has made history by being the first crypto firm to be ranked on Fortune 500, a prestigious list for the biggest US companies by revenue. The NASDAQ-listed crypto exchange posted revenues of over $7.8 billion in fiscal 2021, placing it 437th on the 2022 Fortune 500 list.

Apart from this impressive feat, Coinbase is also the first to take out a Bitcoin-backed loan from Goldman Sachs, paving the way for others to follow.

But amid the recent market downturn, Coinbase shares hit its lowest mark at $53.72 on 11 May, which is 80% lower than its all-time high of $342. This spurred its co-founder Fred Ehrsam to step in and buy the dip, purchasing over 1 million shares of COIN worth roughly $75 million through his venture capital firm Paradigm, where he serves as a managing partner.

At the time of writing (30 May 2022), COIN is trading at $75.32.

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