Russian President Vladimir Putin does a backflip on his cryptocurrency stance, announcing plans to legalize its use in international trade.
“it is impossible to do without cross-border settlements in cryptocurrency” (Russian Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Russia)
In a further sign of the increasingly political nature of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, The Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported that both the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) and the Russian Ministry of Finance (MinFin) have u-turned on their previous positions regarding the banning of cryptocurrencies as a form of payment.
“When it comes to our ‘friendly’ countries, like China or Turkey … If they want bitcoin, we will trade in bitcoin” (Pavel Zavalny, Russian Congressional Energy Committee)
The move has most likely been motivated by Russia’s realization that its attempted insistence on international trade partners paying in rubles has not had the desired effect and realizing the benefits of blockchain-enabled payments via currencies such as Bitcoin to the Russian economy in an economic climate of Western sanctions.
This latest announcement comes soon after news that Russia is already testing out its own central bank digital currency (CBDC) with plans to connect banks and credit institutions operating in Russia with the digital ruble.
Critics of CBDC’s have long warned that under a technocratic administration there is a real danger of the invasive state surveillance of citizen and business financial transactions infringing evermore upon any remaining privacy of its population. Data on spending habits could expose previously private information such as those of a religious, lifestyle and political nature and increase a State’s ability to impose restrictions and penalties wherever it deems an unlawful transaction has taken place.
Earlier this year the majority state-owned energy company Gazprom demanded that payment be made with rubles, with EU member states refusing, citing breach of contract and the unlawfulness of unilateral amendments to pre-existing agreements. Since then, Russia had already conceded to continue accepting payments from trade partners in euros and yuan for example.
With China also testing its own CBDC in the digital yuan in its own closed and centralized network, it remains to be seen whether Russia will follow suit in its own implementation.
“We are currently working with a number of countries to create bilateral platforms in order not to use dollars and euros” (Alexey Moiseyev, Russian Deputy Finance Minister)
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Trademark applications relating to the Metaverse and virtual goods hit a new record high, more than doubling the total number filed in 2021, a strong sign that brands are taking their metaverse business increasingly more seriously.
Despite a general slump in the crypto markets, data shared by trademark attorney Michael Kondoudis shows 4,150 trademark applications have been filed in the US to date, which amounts to 500 a month, compared with a total of 1866 in all of 2021 with an average of 155 monthly.
Such trademark filings often reveal impending products, platforms and services being launched, or a desire to control the value generated by a brand’s intellectual property (IP) in the current space.
“Owners who fail to secure their metaverse trademark rights may find it difficult to combat infringement and effectively enforce their rights in the metaverse. Even brands that do not plan to establish a presence in the metaverse still need to protect their trademarks from counterfeiting and other inappropriate use.” (Gerben IP Attorneys)
For example, Nike filed trademark applications shortly before releasing their first metaverse-wear digital collectibles, while Hermes files a trademark claim against digital artist Mason Rothschild in response to his MetaBirkins NFT collection.
A list of notable Metaverse trademark filings (those that referenced virtual stores or virtual goods) provided by Gerben IP Trademark Attorneys makes for some telling reading, with household names such as Amazon, BTS, DC Comics and Google amongst the brands named. See the full list here.
Kondoudis cites Hermes, Ford and Formula One as notable brands that have filed trademark applications related to the metaverse in the past few weeks.
“Businesses are preparing their brands to enter into the metaverse in the next few years” (Michael Kondoudis)
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Ticketmaster and FIFA announce plans to extend their NFT offerings in a further sign of the accelerating mainstream adoption of digital collectibles enabled by Web3 technologies.
“Event organizers who choose to offer fans an NFT with their ticket have a real opportunity to make this new technology relevant and relatable at scale. This is why we are partnering with Flow, because their blockchain is custom-built for fan engagement and frictionless consumer experiences” (Brendan Lynch, EVP of Enterprise and Revenue at Ticketmaster)
Ticketmaster, the global leader in live event ticketing with official partnerships with the NHL, NFL, NBA, USTA and PGA among others, has announced plans to create event NFTs using the eco-friendly proof-of-stake Flow blockchain by Dapper Labs. Ticketmaster sells roughly half a billion tickets a year.
Organizers of events will have the flexibility to be able to mint the NFT digital collectibles for attendees both before and after events and offer special experiences or rewards via the technology.
”Our partnership with Ticketmaster will enable millions of live event fans to immortalize, share and enhance their IRL experiences through digital collectibles” (Mick Maher, SVP of Partnerships at Dapper Labs)
FIFA, the international governing association of football and futsal with 211 national associations under its federation, has announced plans to launch its own platform for fans to own and collect FIFA World Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup ‘moments’ on the Algorand blockchain, which like Flow uses the energy-efficient proof-of-stake consensus model.
“Fandom is changing and football fans around the world engage with the game in new and exciting ways … Just like sports memorabilia and stickers, this is an accessible opportunity for fans around the world to engage with their favourite players, moments and more” (Romy Gai, Chief Business Officer at FIFA)
The platform, to be called FIFA+ Collect, aims to provide an affordable, inclusive and accessible way for all football fans to purchase and trade exclusive and limited-edition official collections of digital collectibles such as art and imagery “democratising the ability to own a part of the FIFA World Cup”.
The first collections are due for release later this month, with the new features to be accessible via the free FIFA+ mobile app that has over 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store alone.