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Namaste India 🙏 🇮🇳
India's crypto ride has more twists than a Bollywood drama. Grachev and pals are serving some serious Twitter tea. Gaming's going gaga over crypto. Microsoft and Google serve AI's latest hits.
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Okay, watch this India kaleidoscope first👇🏻
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Name the country that ranks number 1 in crypto adoption?
I.N.D.I.A. » 😱
Check out Chainalysis 2023 Global Crypto Adoption Index.
What’s this report about?
Chainalysis Global Crypto Adoption Index combines on-chain data and real-world data to measure which countries are leading the world in grassroots crypto adoption.
What’s Grassroots crypto adoption? Identify countries where everyday people are embracing cryptocurrency by investing a significant portion of their wealth. The aim is to highlight grassroots adoption, as against transaction volumes — which the biggest, wealthiest countries score big.
What more do we learn?
Central & Southern Asia lead in grassroots crypto adoption.
Top 20 Countries in the 2023 Index: India tops the list, followed by Nigeria, Vietnam, the United States, and Ukraine.
The Central & Southern Asia and Oceania region dominates the top 10, having six countries in this group.
Despite a high 30% tax on crypto gains and a 1% transaction tax (TDS), the market thrives. However, many international exchanges aren't collecting the 1% TDS, leading Indian users to favour them over local platforms.
Blockchain boom on the mainland
While many global governments are side-eyeing crypto, they're embracing blockchain.
Oh, it's jumped on the blockchain bandwagon with gusto, with several state and local projects now having blockchain at their core.
For Indian organisations, blockchain isn't just a fad—it's seen as the solution to boost transparency, traceability, and trust.
In a chat with Cointelegraph, Ankur Rakhi Sinha of Airchain spilled the beans on India's growing hunger for blockchain.
Government agencies are actively exploring various avenues and seeking improved regulations.
They are open to the idea and are diligently working toward creating a conducive environment for cryptocurrency adoption.
Blockchain technology is poised to play a huge role in India’s future growth, propelling the nation to a prominent position on the global stage.
The increasing number of developers, enterprises and institutional use cases emerging in India underscores the significant growth potential of blockchain in the country.
According to a 2022 NASSCOM Indian Web3 Landscape Analysis report.
India has 450+ Web3 startups and has received over $1.5 billion in investments between 2021 and 2022.
WazirX, a major cryptocurrency exchange in India, predicts that the country may keep its doors shut on crypto for the next two years. Indian officials have imposed a 1% tax on crypto transactions, leading to a significant decline in trading volumes at exchanges.
The tax, known as TDS, has caused market makers and high-frequency investors to withdraw due to increased costs. WazirX's competitor has reported a 97% collapse in volumes at domestic exchanges within 10 months, attributing it to the tax.
Crypto scams on Indian shore
Now that’s one problem everyone is trying to deal with.
India is no different.
Scams have swiped over $10 billion from its citizens' wallets.
And guess what's salt to the wound?
Influencers (yes, even Bollywood bigwigs).
Remember when trusting an influencer meant trying out a new face mask?
Oh, simpler times.
India's solution to this messy situation? A new tech tool called the Cryptocurrency Intelligence and Analysis Tool (CIAT).
Who's Behind It? The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, under MHA, is responsible for this initiative. Their mission encompasses everything from research and forensics to training and investigation of cybercrimes.
CIAT's Functionality 🛠️
Darknet Monitoring: CIAT will continuously monitor the darknet for suspicious activities, especially focusing on cryptocurrency transactions.
Data Compilation: The tool will gather detailed records of these transactions, including relevant information such as involved wallet addresses, timestamps, exchanges used, and service nature.
Alert System: A key feature of CIAT is its ability to flag unusual or irregular crypto activities automatically.
Database Creation: CIAT will maintain a comprehensive list of all cryptocurrency exchanges globally, complete with contact details.
Why CIAT? 🤔
Cyber Frauds: India has witnessed a spike in cybercrimes involving cryptocurrencies. Over Rs 953 crore has been reportedly lost due to crypto-related scams.
Narcotics and Crypto: The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has identified 38 instances in the past three years where cryptocurrencies were used in drug-related activities.
Bollywood star Govinda's recent cameo. Nope, not in a movie.
He was the face of Solar Techno Alliance, a company that apparently had a taste for Ponzi schemes instead of legitimate business.
The plot twist? They bagged over $320 million, only for the execs to play Monopoly with it.
Another story would make you wanna swipe left: An Indian techie, thinking he's found both love and a sweet investment deal online, lost over $120,500. He got wooed into investing in something called Banocoin. Sure, there were initial fireworks, but soon enough, he couldn't access his funds. Classic heartbreak (and wallet bust).
DWF’s Andrei Grachev
‘You Can Do Nothing’
The crypto big leagues are at it again, and this time they're dishing out drama and shade right in the public eye on X (Twitter).
The Drama Begins
Andrei Grachev of DWF Labs, whose rise to crypto fame has been fast and furious (and not without its controversies), posted what seemed like an innocent enough photo of himself chilling with some competitors on a panel discussion. But, boy, did things spiral from there.
Cristian Gil from the market-making titan GSR, who didn't mince words: Grachev “had absolutely no business to be on that panel.”
Things got spicier when Wintermute's CEO, Evgeny Gaevoy, hit the "like" button on Gil’s snarky post.
Grachev fired back with a zinger:
One directed at the Wintermute executive:
Sure, this public spat might be viewed by some as a wee bit childish. After all, these aren't kids on a playground but big names in the crypto sphere.
Lars Seier Christensen, founder of Concordium, believes that the next crypto bull run will be different from the last one and investors should not expect a sudden surge in crypto prices👇🏻
TTD Gaming 🎮
A Gaming Giant in the Making?
Top-Notch Backing: Proof of Play, led by Farmville's co-creator Amitt Mahajan, has managed to bag $33 million in funding.
Who's on Board: The roster includes big names like Chris Dixon (Andreessen Horowitz), Neil Mehta (Greenoaks), founders of Twitch, and leading Web3 firms such as Anchorage Digital and Alchemy.
First Off the Blocks: Their first game, Pirate Nation, introduced its beta version in December 2022.
The Promise: They aim to simplify Web3 gaming for players, minimising the technical barriers of blockchain while fully embracing decentralisation.
Team Dynamics: With experts hailing from industry behemoths like Epic Games, Zynga, and Google, they are well-poised to make a significant splash.
NHN's Blockchain Gambit 🎲
Legacy Player: NHN, renowned for popular games like "Hangame Poker" and "Crusader's Quest," which boast a 37 million user base, is setting its sights on the world of crypto gaming.
Innovative Ideas: NHN is keen on fusing digital board games with NFTs, paving the way for in-game item exchanges and potential crypto rewards.
Forward-Thinking: Jine Lee, NHN's Head of Business Development, sees crypto gaming as the industry's next major evolution.
Why Sui?: NHN's decision to build on the Sui blockchain meshes with Mysten Labs' vision of making Web3 more user-centric.
Asian Dominance: With major South Korean companies like Krafton entering the blockchain gaming arena, Asia is projected to soon control a whopping 80% of the crypto gaming market.
Gamers' Skepticism Towards NFTs
Many gamers are wary of NFTs.
Ryan Wyatt, president of Polygon Labs, believes the antidote to this skepticism is producing high-quality games that integrate blockchain seamlessly.
“But at the end of the day,” he says, “it’s not actually that complicated. You just make a really great game. Gamers will start to play it and they’ll just start to interact.”
With billions invested in blockchain gaming, Wyatt questions how many will pivot back to traditional gaming. Furthermore, blockchain games face user experience challenges like creating wallets and avoiding scams.
Wyatt suggests a shift from "pay-to-win" models. Instead, he sees potential in games with open economies and user-generated content, where digital ownership enhances the gaming ecosystem.
Microsoft has introduced Microsoft Copilot, an AI-powered feature for Windows 11 that combines interfaces with language models. The solution can be accessed as an app or by right-clicking and will be integrated into popular apps like Paint, Photos, and Clipchamp.
Bing, Microsoft's search engine, will be supported by OpenAI's DALL-E 3 model, and Microsoft 365 Copilot will include a chat assistant for enterprise solutions. This move demonstrates Microsoft's continued efforts to incorporate AI technology into its products and enhance user experiences.
Google Ups Its Game on YouTube
Google has introduced new AI-powered features on YouTube to enhance and simplify video creation. These features are aimed at both Shorts, which are short-form videos, and long-form clips.
The AI tools include automated video chapters, which allow creators to easily divide their videos into sections for better navigation. Another feature is the video editor, which uses AI to automatically enhance video quality, adjust brightness, and apply filters. Additionally, YouTube has introduced a feature called "Smart Reply" that suggests automated replies to comments, making it easier for creators to engage with their audience.
Anil Kapoor and AI
Indian actor Anil Kapoor has won a court case against the unauthorised use of his name, image, voice, and personality in deepfake videos. Kapoor, known for his roles in "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," expressed his satisfaction with the verdict, stating that every actor has the right to protect themselves and their rights. The judgment was made in the Delhi high court, highlighting the growing concern over the misuse of artificial intelligence technology in creating deepfake content.
TTD Binance 🟡
What has Binance been up to?
Wallet's High Ethereum Gas Fees
Binance, a popular cryptocurrency trading platform, saw its wallet spend nearly $1 million in Ethereum gas fees in just one day. The wallet, known as "Binance 14," spent 530 Ether, equivalent to around $843,797, on gas fees within a 24-hour period.
This surge in gas prices on the Ethereum network, ranging from 6 gwei to 332 gwei per transaction, was primarily caused by the Binance wallet. The high gas fees have raised concerns about the scalability and cost-effectiveness of the Ethereum network for users and businesses.
Fights SEC Accusations
Lawyers representing Binance.US have requested a D.C. district court to dismiss a case filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC had accused Binance.US of engaging in wash trading and making false claims about preventing market manipulation.
Binance.US's lawyers argue that the allegations are baseless and lack supporting evidence. The SEC had claimed that Binance.US allowed wash trading through Sigma Chain, a trading firm owned by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao. Binance.US is seeking to have the case dismissed.
Discusses Stablecoin Regulation with EBA
Crypto exchange Binance participated in a discussion with the European Banking Authority (EBA) regarding stablecoin regulations under the European Union's MiCA legislation. One of the main topics of conversation was whether stablecoin operators can receive a grace period when applying for Electric Money Institution (EMI) licenses.
Binance expressed confidence in finding a constructive solution before the mid-2024 deadline, as failure to do so could impact the European crypto market and the competitiveness of European exchanges globally. Binance emphasised the importance of these discussions to ensure that MiCA achieves its goals and minimises any unintended consequences.
TTD Surfer 🏄
Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic is considering using artificial intelligence (AI) to complete old demo songs from the band.
Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) suggests that applying Machiavellian principles to decentralised governance in web3 can address current shortcomings.
SBF will remain in jail until the start of his trial. The appeals court rejected his attorneys' attempt to secure his release.
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The Token Dispatch is a daily newsletter that takes you on a 4-5 minute drive through the wild west of the Crypto World. Daily in your email inbox @13:00 GMT. Almost always.