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After the NBA Top Shot, Dapper Labs Reveals Plans For The Next NFT Marketplace

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Dapper Labs, a $2.6 billion Vancouver-based startup best known for creating NBA Top Shot and CryptoKitties, famous marketplaces for tokenized digital collectibles, announced a collaboration with Genies, a celebrity-driven avatar technology company, to create a new marketplace on Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain.

The new platform, dubbed “Genies Marketplace,” aims to be the “Amazon of Digital Wearable NFTs,” allowing celebrities and, eventually, all platform users to build and sell digital wearable NFT collections for their avatars, or digital alter-egos. Users will be able to unlock exclusive wearables by completing tasks on a regular basis in Genies. The beta version is expected to be released in the third quarter by Dapper Labs and Genies. The deal’s financial details were kept under wraps.

Genies collaborated with celebrities such as Rihanna, Shawn Mendes, and Cardi B to take on Snapchat-owned Bitmoji, which has popularized sticker-like cartoon avatars, or customized emojis, commonly used through social media channels. These celebrities have used their personalized avatars as alternate ways to communicate with their fans, revealing new song drops or collaborations. Justin Bieber, for example, used a Genies avatar version of himself to support his relationship with Amazon Music. Genies claims to have a market share of 99 percent for celebrity avatars.

“It was awesome to see how much hype there was around the digital avatar experience,” Shawn Mendes, whose avatar digital wearable NFTs hit the market earlier this year, said in a joint statement with his manager Andrew Gertler. The Genies marketplace will now make the experience “available to all of Shawn’s fans by enabling them to connect with and customize their Genies as well as trade in digital products and wearables in a completely unique way.” Mendes was also an early believer in Genies.

The California-based startup, which was founded in 2017, has raised nearly $50 million in funding from investors such as Alexis Ohanian’s Initialized Capital Management and Andreessen Horowitz, and is now valued at $120 million, according to data platform PitchBook. Genies revealed in October that its avatar-creation technology had been integrated into Gucci and Giphy’s digital platforms through an updated software development kit (SDK), allowing users to build their own digital avatars on those platforms.

While this may seem to be a niche application, the market potential is important. Giphy, which is owned by Facebook, has over 700 million regular users who use animated GIFs on social media sites including Instagram, WhatsApp, and TikTok.

According to Genies CEO and co-founder Akash Nigam, many Gen Z and millennial followers want to “accessorise their online credibility.” In the immersive virtual universe of the internet known as the metaverse, he sees avatars as a way to express and highlight various facets of one’s personality.

“I believe most people consider the metaverse to be the final destination. We talk about the metaverse as a mentality in which you’re completely absorbed by the Internet and care more about what other people think about you and who you are online than you do about your physical self,” Nigam explains. “We believe that in the metaverse, everybody would need a digital identity. We want to be the go-to source of information.”

Nigam, a long-time developer, admits to suffering from depression and anxiety, but that the concept of avatars has helped him resolve it, at least in part. “I fell in love with the idea of visual identity because it allowed me to be myself and harness emotions, thoughts, and feelings through an avatar that was not constrained by my physical self or the fears of being in the real world,” Nigam says.

Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs, says he is as optimistic in the project as he is in the NBA Top Shot. The sector, which is primarily responsible for the growth of NFTs, has set a high bar, with revenues exceeding $500 million in less than a year.

However, despite its widespread acceptance, it is now experiencing a drop in revenue and trading volume, which may be due to the overall cooling of the NFT boom as well as technical problems related to platform congestion and testing, as the platform is still technically in beta mode.

“We used to have a lot of downtime, but now we’re pretty much down to scheduled maintenance,” Gharegozlou says. “At this pace, I think we’ll be in very good shape and ready for Genies to stress out our servers in two months.”

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The NFT Sale of the ‘Kia Sedona’ Goes Sour as the Contractor Allegedly Steals $3 Million

A sale of tokens that could be swapped for “Kia Sedona” NFTs raised $3.1 million. But a contractor for the token sale platform Miso allegedly disappeared with all of the funds.

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In the fast-growing market for NFTs, there have been several swindles, frauds, and rug pulls. However, this one strikes out as a little odd.

To begin with, the NFT sale itself was unusual. The entire concept was inspired by a recent meme on crypto Twitter about the Kia Sedona automobile brand (the joke being that the Kia Sedona is a type of hard money). As a result, ten unknown persons built a funky website called “Jay Pegs Auto Mart.” (It was unrelated to the automobile maker in any way.)

DONA reservation tokens were available for purchase. These could be acquired on SushiSwap’s Miso token sale platform, which is run by a decentralized exchange. Out of 10,000 DONA tokens available, each could be exchanged for one 2007 Kia Sedona NFT.

And the token sale went off without a hitch. It raised $3.1 million in ether (ETH), worth 864.8. When the mysterious team of shadowy super coders (another joke) decided to use Miso, they didn’t expect all of their finances to be taken away.

An unidentified contractor placed malicious code into the Miso platform, according to SushiSwap CTO Joseph Delong, changing the destination address for all incoming monies in the token sale to their address. According to Delong, the Jay Pegs Auto Mart sale was the only one affected, and all of the cash raised was stolen.

SushiSwap has urged Binance and FTX to identify the hacker by revealing their KYC information, but they have not done so, according to Delong. He added the platform had directed Stephen Palley, a partner at law firm Anderson Kill, to file a complaint with the FBI if the funds aren’t recovered by 8 a.m. ET.

On the good side, the Jay Pegs Auto Mart Twitter account promised consumers that the Kia Sedona NFTs would still be distributed despite the lack of funds.

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SLAM, a Basketball Brand, Joins the NFT Platform Autograph

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Autograph has taken over the world of sports NFTs. Autograph, co-founded by future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, has signed deals with renowned athletes from various sports. In addition, the platform is teaming up with SLAM this week on the hardwood.

SLAM has streamlined its company into a new digital era and is known for its classic vintage magazine covers dating to 1994. Basketball enthusiasts may get news, unique features, digital material, and apparel through the portal. Without dipping into NFTs, it wouldn’t be complete.

Autograph and Its High-End Partners

Autograph has signed deals with Naomi Osaka, Derek Jeter, Simone Biles, and Tony Hawk in a short period. Top-tier athletes from many sports verticals make up the increasing advisory board. Additionally, autograph just partnered with DraftKings to give the sports betting platform access to NFTs.

According to a press statement issued this week, autograph will be a launch partner for SLAM’s NFT collection of classic magazine covers. Additionally, this will be Autograph’s first foray into basketball, with SLAM serving as a cornerstone for the platform’s introduction into the sport.

SLAM archives of the 300-plus covers that graced the front of SLAM for decades will be featured at NFTs. In addition, the NFTs will be available for purchase on the DraftKings Marketplace, which Autograph powers.

Blockchain Technology Meets Sports Media

Sports and technology are becoming increasingly entwined.

“We’ve been building a portfolio of companies focused on the convergence of sports media and blockchain technology, and this deal sits firmly at that crossroads,” said Matt Aronson, President of SLAM parent company JDS Sports. SLAM’s digital presence has grown to include over twenty social media channels with over 16 million followers. JDS Sports was also an early supporter of Autograph.

Through established partners, Autograph continues to push the fold on sports NFTs. The two have already issued NFTs for Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Simone Biles, and others through DraftKings Marketplace. Autograph, on the other hand, isn’t content to stop at sports. The platform also announced a relationship with Lionsgate in July. In addition, Autograph will develop digital collectibles for the new flagship movie series later this year due to the agreement.

It appears that SLAM isn’t starting or stopping here, either. In April, SLAM teamed up with rising basketball phenom Zion Williamson. This collaboration resulted in four limited-edition NFTs based on two of Zion’s SLAM cover appearances.

As brands, companies, teams, leagues, and individuals from practically every sport imaginable get involved, the convergence of sports and crypto continues to increase.

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Following Allegations of NFT Insider Trading, OpenSea’s Head of Product has Resigned

After being accused of NFT flipping using insider knowledge, Nate Chastain, Head of Product at prominent NFT marketplace OpenSea, appears to have left the company.

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The Product Manager has resigned

Chastain’s Twitter profile has been altered to add the term “Past: @opensea” since he was called out two days ago, implying that the marketplace no longer employs him.

Though there isn’t proof that he was fired from OpenSea because of the allegations, it’s a strong possibility.

OpenSea CEO Devin Finzer has already updated his previous blog post about the event with the news that one of their employees “asked and accepted” his resignation just yesterday for violating their “duty to the community.”

According to the CEO’s update, OpenSea promptly commissioned a third-party investigation after learning of the event and is aggressively adopting its recommendations while the inquiry is ongoing.

Despite growing evidence against him, Nate Chastain has yet to issue a public statement. Meanwhile, the general belief on Twitter seems to be that he is guilty, with some even ‘celebrating his death’ with a fresh CryptoPhunk giveaway. However, despite Chastain’s misconduct, others express gratitude for his work for the NFT community and wish him the best in the future.

The Allegations and the Proof

Nate Chastain was accused of buying OpenSea NFTs with insider information before they were released on the platform’s site, then selling them for a much higher profit.

Chastain purchased the NFTs using burner accounts to conceal his identity; nevertheless, he was detected utilizing blockchain data, which proved that all of his winnings were being transmitted to his public address. Later, OpenSea published a blog post indicating that this “insider trade” had occurred.

Chastain made a profit of 19 ETH, which is worth more than $65k at press time.

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