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In a push for ‘Pro’ users, OpenSea acquires the Ethereum NFT Aggregator Gem

Gem allows customers to acquire NFTs in bulk from several platforms to save money on fees, and OpenSea wants to incorporate it.

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OpenSea, the top NFT marketplace by trade volume, has acquired Gem, an Ethereum NFT marketplace aggregator that allows collectors to buy assets in bulk across several platforms.

The change was revealed this morning by OpenSea’s CEO and co-founder Devin Finzer, who wrote in a blog post that the addition of Gem is part of a push to serve more experienced NFT buyers.

“As the NFT community grows, we’ve seen a need to better serve more experienced, ‘pro’ users, as well as provide greater freedom and choice to people at all levels of experience,” Finzer stated.

Gem is a single platform that connects to a variety of NFT marketplaces, including as OpenSea, LooksRare, and Rarible, and allows users to buy assets from all of them in one transaction. This could result in significant charge savings. Gem also incorporates rarity rankings for NFT collections, such as in profile photo collections with traits (like the Bored Ape Yacht Club).

NFTs are commonly utilized for things like profile image collections, digital artwork, sports memorabilia, and video game items since they serve as a blockchain-backed evidence of ownership for a digital asset. In 2021, the total market reached a trading volume of $25 billion.

Gem will continue to operate independently as it extends its platform and adds more capabilities, according to Finzer’s piece, and some of that capability will eventually be extended to OpenSea’s own platform.

Finzer also accepted claims against a co-founder of Gem named Neso, which BuzzFeed just claimed was an alias used by Josh Thompson, formerly known as MethodJosh, a popular video game streamer. Thompson was accused of rape and sexual harassment in 2020, and then he vanished from the internet. Earlier this month, he was removed from Gem.

“We discovered about, and quickly surfaced, some profoundly serious claims about a now-former member of Gem’s leadership team who operated under the alias Neso during the course of our diligence,” Finzer said. “After conducting an investigation into the claims, the employee was terminated prior to the closing of this transaction.” This person has never been, and will never be, a part of OpenSea.”

What exactly is Gem?

Gem is similar to Genie, another NFT marketplace aggregator that specializes on bulk purchases, notably “floor sweeps,” or when someone purchases a large number of the lowest-priced NFTs in a given NFT collection. In January, Decrypt highlighted Genie and the growing buzz surrounding the service.

However, Gem, which only launched in January, appears to have recently taken the lead. Gem was processing approximately 10 times the number of transactions and total trading volume as Genie, according to analytics platform DappRadar earlier this month. Gem supports LooksRare and allows users to receive LOOKS reward tokens for trading using Gem, according to the article. Genie has also enabled the opportunity to claim LOOKS tokens through purchases made on its marketplace since the publication of that article.

LooksRare is an NFT marketplace that compensates users for listing, trading, and staking their tokens. However, this method has resulted in billions of dollars in “wash trading,” or selling NFTs back and forth between the same wallets at vastly inflated prices.

Users manipulated nearly 95 percent of LooksRare trading activity, worth around $18 billion at the time, according to analytics firm CryptoSlam earlier this month.

Genie, not to mention its new parent firm, may be crafting its own distinctive response to Gem’s recent climb. Following the OpenSea announcement, Genie founder Scott Gray teased “$GENIE,” implying that the platform would soon introduce a token.

The decision by OpenSea comes at a time when the NFT market is becoming increasingly competitive. It’s still by far the biggest participant in the market, generating billions of dollars in organic trading volume, but noteworthy competitors like Coinbase NFT, forthcoming NFT.com, and the ever-expanding Rarible are attempting to undercut its first-mover advantage.

ART & COLLECTABLES

NHL Opens Hockey Collectibles NFT Marketplace

The NHL, along with its Alumni Association and Players’ Association, said on Thursday that it has joined with NFT platform Sweet to build a distinctive NFT marketplace and libraries of NFTs—individual blockchain tokens that denote ownership.

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The NHL’s market will fall between a full-fledged NFT trading platform and a website that enables momentary NFT drops, according to David Lehanski, the league’s executive vice president of business development and innovation.

By creating an NFT marketplace with exclusive releases, the NHL hopes to give fans a little bit of both. In preparation for the commencement of the 2022–2023 season, the NHL’s Sweet marketplace is anticipated to launch in October.

The NHL aims to gamify NFTs with “questing and collecting” components so that fans will interact and can be rewarded with benefits like other NFTs, according to Lehanski, who spoke to Decrypt.

Depending on a player’s performance, some of the NFTs will also be dynamic and alter over time. According to a statement, NFTs will also include “cinematic game highlights from past and present NHL seasons” or surprise packs of NFTs that may be seen in “3D interactive trophy rooms.”

Lehanski claimed that the NHL wasn’t yet ready to reveal which blockchain it would be constructing on. Though it might be on Polygon or Tezos if Sweet’s offerings are any indicator.

Lehanski stated, “We’re looking at everything,” and that the NHL’s top priorities in its search for a blockchain include “cheap gas expenses” and “environmental sustainability.”

The NHL is one of the most recent major professional sports leagues to enter the NFT market, following the NBA’s Top Shot NFTs, the NFL’s “play and own” NFT game, and MLB’s impending NFT contest.

Lehanski commented on the NHL’s approach to NFTs, saying, “There was clearly a lot of temptation to potentially moving very rapidly […] but we thought that was a little shortsighted.” He added that, in his opinion, spending the time to investigate indicators like fan behavior was worthwhile. Especially in relation to digital collectibles and gaming, NFTs have a long-term future as relevant and meaningful items for enthusiasts.

But according to Sweet CEO Tom Mizzone, the NHL’s NFTs won’t simply be targeted at hockey fans who are unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies; seasoned NFT collectors will also be able to participate in a way that feels natural to them.

It will undoubtedly appeal to that degen culture, he continued, but not to the extent that it excludes fancier consumer bases.

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NFT

MoonPay has officially launched HyperMint, a utility NFT minting service

MoonPay, a cryptocurrency payments company, announced Tuesday the debut of HyperMint, a new service that allows businesses to mint up to 100 million non-fungible tokens (NFTs) at once.

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Creators and companies can use the new service to attach photos, music, video, and other metadata to a token on their own platform.

MoonPay had been expanding its service since April, according to The Block. Its official debut is another step in the company’s strategy to build a full suite for businesses looking to release their own digital assets, which it previously referred to as “Amazon Web Services for NFTs.”

“Why take your intellectual property and list it on a secondary platform first, whether you’re Dolce & Gabbana, Selfridges, or Death Row Records?” In an interview with The Block, MoonPay CEO Ivan Soto-Wright said, “You might want to oversee that issuance yourself.”

Fox Corporation, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Universal Pictures, Death Row Records, the United Kingdom-based luxury store Selfridges, lifestyle and gaming platform FaZe Clan, and music artist Timbaland’s Beatclub are among the companies that have already signed up.

Proof of attendance tokens, for capturing how many individuals attended an event, is one possible use case, according to Soto-Wright.

These digital assets would be utility tokens, as opposed to security tokens, according to MoonPay. Security tokens must be registered with regulatory organizations such the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States.

MoonPay’s product portfolio already includes a fiat onramp infrastructure that allows people to buy NFTs using a debit or credit card, as well as a concierge service that educates high-net-worth individuals about cryptocurrency. MoonPay has also been rumored to be working on its own wallet in the future.

The introduction of HyperMint comes at a time when many of the most popular NFT projects have seen significant price declines due to the crypto bear market.

Because of their use cases, Soto-Wright believes NFTs will become shielded from broader market situations.

“I believe NFTs will be unpaired [because to crypto market conditions].” But I believe that will be unpaired in part due to the innovation that will accompany this asset class – you’ll see a slew of various NFTs that aren’t solely focused on the price movement of these assets.”

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Crypto and NFT-related accounts are prohibited on WeChat in China

Secondary NFT trading is also included by the policy, as the firm adds that “accounts that provide services or material connected to the secondary transaction of digital collections shall be dealt with.”

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WeChat, China’s most popular social media platform, has revised its policy to prohibit accounts from providing access to crypto or nonfungible token (NFT)-related services.

Accounts involved in the issue, trading, and financing of crypto and NFTs will be restricted or prohibited under the new standards and will fall under the “illegal business” category.

The corporation notes that “accounts that supply services or material relevant to the secondary transaction of digital collections will likewise be handled in accordance with this rule.”

On Monday, Hong Kong-based crypto news writer Wu Blockchain (Colin Wu) noted the move, pointing out the significance of the move given WeChat’s 1.1 billion daily users in China.

“Once such breaches are identified, the WeChat public platform will depending on the severity of the violations, instruct the violating official accounts to rectify within a time limit and restrict some features of the account until the permanent account is banned,” according to the new policy.

Between May and September of last year, the Chinese government implemented a phased ban on the local crypto sector. Given the time of the most recent WeChat policy amendment, it’s possible that the platform has been allowing some crypto activity to go undiscovered since then.

Furthermore, because the assets can be purchased in fiat, there is still a regulatory gray area in the country when it comes to NFTs. Nonetheless, to prevent potential regulatory difficulties related to the financialization of technology, most organizations and platforms prohibit secondary trading.

In April, the China Banking Association, the China Internet Finance Association, and the Securities Association of China issued a joint statement warning the public about the “hidden hazards” of investing in the assets.

Since March, popular platforms such as WeChat and the Ant group-owned WhaleTalk have been distanced from the technology, purportedly eliminating or banning NFT services from their networks due to a lack of regulatory clarity and fear of a Beijing crackdown.

Despite this, a local media report published on Thursday highlighted data revealing that the number of digital collectable platforms in China has increased by fivefold since February 2022, to over 500.

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