MyEtherWallet allows users to mint Ethereum blocks as NFTs

CEO Kosala Hemachandra discussed MyEtherWallet’s first NFT drop and its dedication to “making history.”

MyEtherWallet, or MEW, launched its first nonfungible token (NFT) collection called ETH Blocks on Thursday, which tokenizes individual blocks on the Ethereum blockchain. Unique images associated with ETH Blocks are generated based on the block’s data. These NFTs are available exclusively to MEW users via the MyEtherWallet website.

A number of blocks have already been claimed, according to the company. Ethereum’s founders called first dibs on blocks one through 10. There are also 13 ETH Blocks representing the history of Ethereum — such as major milestones, forks and updates to the blockchain — that have been put up for a month-long auction, the proceeds of which will be donated to organizations such as The Skid Row Housing Trust, Wikipedia, Girls Who Code and NPR, among others.

Cointelegraph spoke with Kosala Hemachandra, CEO of MEW, to learn more about the original Ethereum wallet’s decision to embrace NFTs and innovate on the Ethereum blockchain:

“MEW is dedicated to making history by bringing NFTs to help newcomers and experienced users explore a new way of Ethereum in a trusted environment.”

He went on to explain that the project aims to provide complete access to all the Ethereum blockchain has to offer. Since most NFT markets are currently built on the Ethereum blockchain, he told us that it “makes sense” to involve Ethereum users at all skill levels by allowing them to mint and own unique pieces of the blockchain itself.

When asked what he considers to be the value driver behind owning an ETH Block, Hemachandra told Cointelegraph:

“The amazing thing about ETH Blocks is that they can be sentimental and meaningful or an educational tool. Users [can] take control of the ETH Blocks in the way they want to and be as creative as they can be with how they share them and which moment on the blockchain they mint.”

As much as ETH Blocks may be sentimental for users, Ethereum’s history and “every individual fork and upgrade hold a special place” in the MEW team’s hearts as well, added Hemachandra. Since both the Ethereum blockchain and MyEtherWallet were founded in 2015, Hemachandra noted that MEW has made it a priority to be at the forefront of innovation for the Ethereum community:

“We believe that [Ethereum] can grow into the indisputable best blockchain for Web3. And now, with ETH Blocks, we all can remember how we got there when we arrive!”

Earlier this year, Hemachandra wrote an article for Cointelegraph about the value beyond the hype of NFTs. And with the announcement of ETH Blocks, he and the MEW team hope to demonstrate their conviction in the potential of Ethereum and the staying power of NFTs.

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ESG oriented blockchain wants on-chain ‘nutrition labels’ for every commodity exchanged

Representatives from the Watr Foundation said that they seek to bring ESG transparency to commodities industry.

The Watr Foundation, in partnership with blockchain platform Algorand, recently launched a project to provide ESG scoring for different commodities with a special focus on climate change. While the project has a clear environmental focus, the platform will also include labeling for everything from how a company treats its workers to the number of people participating in an asset’s ecosystem by gender. 

Watr Foundation council president Maryam Ayati said in a statement:

“We believe this next iteration on resource models should be co-created in mutually-owned profit models. It is a privilege and comfort to be collaborating with the pioneers of decentralized technology, blockchain, industry, and environmental products in bringing this blockchain ecosystem to life.”

Algorand COO Sean Ford said “Watr’s vision to enable a commodities market that is grounded in transparency, environmental responsibility and activism by all participants is aligned with Algorand’s leadership as a carbon-negative network.”

In September Algorand released a protocol upgrade to improve their smart contracts and unveiled a $300 million fund aimed at DeFi projects.

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Risk monitoring firm Solidus Labs completes $15M strategic round

In total, the market surveillance company has raised $35M in the last six months.

Market surveillance firm Solidus Labs completed a $15 million strategic round led by Liberty City Ventures on Friday. GSR and Exor Seeds also participated in the financing. This follows the company’s $20 million Series A that concluded in May. Solidus’ investors also include former CFTC Chair Christopher Giancarlo and former SEC commissioner Troy Paredes. 

The company hired former CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger as it’s VP of Regulatory affairs in July. Solidus CEO Asaf Meir said:

“This strategic round will allow us to serve more clients sooner and address many new use-cases in the DeFi and NFT risk frontiers, which require Solidus’ unique combination of crypto know-how and expertise in traditional trading dynamics and manipulation typologies.”

According to Liberty City Ventures Partner Emil Woods, “Solidus was prescient in developing the necessary tools for market surveillance and risk monitoring that traditional financial firms and regulators require as they increase their participation in crypto asset markets.”

Solidus announced its initial $3 million raise in 2019. Giancarlo warned in June that he believes the U.S. risks becoming a backwater country without a central bank digital currency.

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Ark Invest founder Cathie Wood passed on buying the first Bitcoin Futures ETF

She cited an investigation into tax ramifications as one of Ark Invest’s reasons for withholding for now.

Ark Invest founder and CEO Cathie Wood did not invest in the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy Exchange Traded Fund, or ETF, on opening day, according to Business Insider

Wood said about the ETF’s debut:

“No, we did not [invest]. We’re looking at this very carefully […] there are some tax ramifications we’d like to understand more having to do with contango versus more normal backwardation.”

The contango of the ETF refers to when the future price of the commodity is higher than the spot price. Backwardation is when the forward price of the futures contract is lower than the spot price in a downward trend.

This past June, Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest partnered with 21 Shares to file for its own Bitcoin ETF. She is also no stranger to the equities market when it comes to investing in cryptocurrencies.

One of her fund’s, Ark Investment Management, was approved to invest in Canada’s Bitcoin ETF under the Ark Next Generation ETF. Ark Invest owns 8.3 million shares of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), with Bitcoin and Ethereum making up a good percentage in Ark Invest’s portfolio.

In the spring, Ark Invest also added Coinbase stock to three of its ETFs, Ark Innovation ETF (ARKK), Ark Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW), and Ark Fintech Innovation ETF (ARKF).

Wood said she is looking for the next FAANG investment to help her investors. FAANG is a stock market acronym describing the five biggest American tech stocks: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. The FANG term was initially coined by Jim Cramer in 2013.

The Bitcoin Strategy ETF had the highest ever first day of natural volume for an ETF, and the second highest ETF on the overall volume on its first day of trading.

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SEC Chair Gary Gensler responds to concerns about first Bitcoin-linked ETF

In the same interview, Proshares CEO Simeon Hyman opined that regulated futures traded in a 40-act ETF will open the opportunity to get BTC exposure to a lot of folks who may have been waiting on the sidelines.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler and Proshares CEO Simeon Hyman discussed the launch of the first Bitcoin-linked ETF in a CNBC breaking news segment on Tuesday.

Proshares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, also known as BITO, is based on CME Bitcoin futures contracts. CNBC commentator Bob Pisano shared concerns from some investors that BTC futures could deviate from the BTC spot price:

“The futures market is a better place for price discovery,” said Hyman. “The CME futures market trades more volume than the largest US crypto exchange. We launched a similar mutual fund on 7/28 and since we launched on Friday, the Bitcoin Reference Rate is up 52 percent, our BTC mutual fund is up 52 percent and the BTC Greyscale Trust is up 37 percent.”

The debut of BITO follows announcements that other BTC-linked funds, including Valkyrie’s Bitcoin Strategy ETF, are set to start trading on the Nasdaq. A new blockchain-industry-based fund, called the Volt Crypto Industry Revolution and Tech ETF, intends to begin trading soon as well.

Pisano asked SEC Chair Gary Gensler about earlier comments where he said he did not have the same concerns with issuing BTC futures-linked funds versus a fully-linked BTC fund. Gensler confirmed:

“What we are trying to do is bring new projects into the investor-protected perimeter. BTC futures have been overseen by the SEC’s sister agency, The Commodities Futures Trading Commission, for the past four years. You have something that’s been overseen for the past four years by a federal regulator and it’s also been wrapped up in the SEC’s jurisdiction through the Investment Company Act of 1940.”

Hyman expressed his confidence in the new fund noting the history of BTC’s price action, US securities laws, and the opportunity for a new opportunity for investors:

“There’s a lot of history here. We believe it will trade quite well. We think regulated futures traded in a 40-act ETF will open the opportunity to get BTC exposure to a lot of folks who may have been waiting on the sidelines.”

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