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S. Preston, a Digital Artist, Makes his NFT Debut

Last month, Candy Digital worked with a well-known sports fan to create MLB Stadium Series.

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S. Preston, a digital artist, had been selling his prints for a decade. But, as the non-fungible token market has grown, he now has his name on a series of non-fungible tokens created by Major League Baseball.

In an interview with Blockworks, Preston said he first learned about NFTs in 2020, during the coronavirus epidemic. However, the artist began making calls to explore how he might enter the space earlier this year, as the digital collectable platform NBA Top Shot, which began its public beta testing phase last October, grew in popularity.

In March, Dapper Labs, a Canadian blockchain technology company, raised $305 million in private finance, including Michael Jordan, to scale NBA Top Shot. Since going public, the trading card site was said to have made $500 million in sales.

“I believe that’s when every league’s ears perked up in the sports world,” Preston added. “… I saw this double world of memorabilia collectors and then the NFT OpenSea world of NFT collectors, and I felt like I belonged somewhere in the middle.”

Morphing prints to NFTs

Preston informed his more than 21,000 Twitter followers on March 2 that he had minted his first NFT. Wendy Peffercorn, a lifeguard in the baseball film The Sandlot, was combined with Taylor Swift’s 1989 album cover to create the black ink and copic marker image. The NFT is still available for 0.2 Ether.

But he saw Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, for which he has been a licensed artist for years, as a better way to break into the NFT market. Preston has also worked with the NFL and NBA, Looney Tunes, and LucasFilm and is well-known among Disney fans for his drawings of Disney princesses in sporting attire.

On July 4, Candy teamed up with Major League Baseball to produce an NFT of Lou Gehrig’s legendary “Luckiest Man” speech, which he gave after being diagnosed with ALS on July 4, 1939. The digital collectible company will reveal other products in the coming weeks, including S. Preston’s MLB Stadium Series.

He told Blockworks that the stadium artwork, which he first made roughly ten years ago, was the catalyst for his career. The collection was preserved at the Baseball Hall of Fame’s permanent archives in Cooperstown, New York.

He stated that the art, which has been marketed as prints for years, is focused on evoking an emotion or connection to the squad rather than being extremely intricate.

The first two stadium NFTs, which depicted Preston’s interpretations of Fenway Park’s green monster and Citi Field’s home run apple, debuted on Aug. 9. The others will be released monthly through the end of September.

The NFT, a ceremonial first pitch, two tickets, a stadium tour, a meet-and-greet, and a S. Preston print are all included in the one-of-a-kind “Gold Edition,” which goes to the highest bidder. During the designated auction period, anyone can purchase additional “Steel Edition” NFTs for $100.

“Through his unique minimalist approach at the crossroads of sports branding and graphic arts, S. Preston has established himself with sports fans and art lovers alike,” Candy Digital CEO Scott Lawin told Blockworks in an email. “Connecting and connecting with the next generation of fans and collectors through new digital realizations of his work is fascinating to behold and represents the future of fandom,” says the artist.

According to a Candy Digital spokeswoman, his Yankee Stadium NFT sold for $33,000, the highest auction price so far. According to the spokesperson, as of Sept. 2, more than 4,000 Steel Editions had been sold, with nine of the 30 ballpark NFT sets auctioned off.

Physical art versus NFTs

Preston, a graphic artist, said that he had never before been able to offer collectors a one-of-a-kind creation, but NFTs have altered that.

“People always wanted the most collectible version of my paintings, therefore that was always a gap in my career. These are one-of-a-kind pieces for me. These are my own creations. This is the end.”

In recent months, the NFT market has exploded. Following the public sale of its Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) collection, OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, reached $3 billion in monthly volume in August, or 925,000 ETH.

Despite the space’s growing popularity, Preston claims that many collectors only want to acquire art that they can exhibit, making NFTs a difficult notion for them to grasp. But, he continued, “The next stage of growth for NFTs comes when that thinking evolves.”

Preston stated, “Art is not its functional value on the wall. You won’t want to put a Mickey Mantle rookie card on the wall if you buy one. The more money you pay, the more you want to save it in a shoebox or a vault. So it’s both an investment and a collection. It’s the worth of possession.”

What can we expect?

Preston predicts that his work on NFTs will earn him a lot more money in three to five years, when some of the skepticism and animosity surrounding the field will have dissipated. Still, he enjoys being an early contributor to the field.

“I believe the boom will come when the Fanatics, Amazons, and eBays of the world decide which chain to use and build those massive marketplaces,” he said. “At this point, it’s just exposure. We’re aware of its existence, usefulness, and other features, but once the marketing machine gets behind it, I believe that’s when everyone will get on board.”

Preston intends to continue working with Candy Digital to turn some of his previous artwork into NFTs with accompanying video, similar to Lou Gehrig’s release. He also hopes to produce NFTs to sell alongside some of his original artwork, mentioning that he is currently working on images for the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes.

The 49-year-old artist stated that he intends to prioritize his work as a physical artist.

“I believe that in 10 or 15 years, when NFTs truly become the MP3s of the art world,” he said, “the younger artists who grew up with an iPad and an Apple Pencil will gain the most from the expansion of the NFTs.”

NFT

Users’ email addresses are massively exposed due to an OpenSea data breach

The NFT marketplace stated that it has informed law enforcement of the occurrence and that an investigation is in progress.

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The largest nonfungible tokens (NFT) marketplace in the world, OpenSea, has issued a warning to users after learning that a Customer.io employee may have sent the list of OpenSea users’ email addresses to a third party while working on the platform for managing email newsletters and campaigns.

All users who have provided their email addresses to the marketplace, whether it be for the platform or its newsletter, have been impacted by the incident. OpenSea warned consumers about potential phishing attempts after the hack.

On Thursday, the NFT market reported that it had spoken to law enforcement about the incident and that a probe was ongoing.

The most recent data breach is far from the only significant attack this year on OpenSea and its subscribers. The popular NFT marketplace’s Discord server was compromised in May, which sparked a flood of phishing attacks. Numerous user wallets were in fact abused. The platform experienced one of its most severe attacks to date in January, during which a vulnerability allowed attackers to sell NFTs without authorization. The market covered losses of $1.8 million.

Customer.io rival Hubspot was breached in March, exposing users’ usernames, contact information, and email addresses on BlockFi, Swan Bitcoin, NYDIG, and Circle. Names, phone numbers, and email addresses of users of various platforms were disclosed to an unidentified entity.

Hackers may try to contact OpenSea clients by sending emails from domains that resemble OpenSea.io or OpenSea.xyz, according to a warning from OpenSea. Spam calls, texts, and emails have all increased, according to Twitter users.

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The Future of NFT Gaming Doesn’t Rely on Big Capital Expenditures

Large game publishers typically oppose your ability to trade freely. The economic model used in popular games, where players purchase in-game cash or points in order to unlock more content and improve their experience, is at existential risk from NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

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If it were possible to regulate the flow of NFTs in a closed market, this would be a different story. Interoperability will be key in the future, according to industry upstarts, and digital assets represented by NFTs will be portable from one platform to another.

Large gaming companies generate billions of dollars from microtransactions, and a key factor in their success is their ability to retain players willing to pay money for in-game items. These businesses have developed systems that entirely exclude any legitimate third-party access to certain material or digital assets because they want their player base to invest a lot of money in the game.

NFTs have the potential to be revolutionary since they open the door for broad lending of these assets in addition to allowing speculators to profit. It’s no longer necessary for a player to put a significant number of money into the game in order to fully enjoy it by enabling investors to purchase an NFT and then loan it out to someone – either for a fee or a profit-split arrangement.

How play-to-earn is implemented

A fully developed gaming ecosystem will see the emergence of two different types of stakeholders. Investors who have a sizable portfolio of in-game NFTs are less likely to play the game in exchange for a daily return of $50. Then there are gamers from all over the world, who in certain circumstances would make significantly more money than the minimum wage under a profit-sharing system for lending.

The second category, who can have less money, is more worried about the short-term volatility and low liquidity of digital assets. They are unable to take the risk of accumulating NFTs in the hopes that they will be steadily profitable and hold or increase in value.

In the gaming industry, tradeable digital assets already exist. However, the practice of putting these assets on the blockchain is expanding; this was a general trend in 2021, when NFTs earned $8.4 billion in revenue. The logical next step for this sector is video games, and since more and more of these sales are shifting to blockchain gaming, there may soon be a noticeable increase in established companies moving in-game objects, characters, and skins on-chain.

As opposed to nominally belonging to the investor or player but really being at the mercy of a centralized gaming platform that can ban the user at any time, on-chain assets are designated as unique and belonging to one true owner. It’s more decentralized and provides users a lot more room to choose their own routes, especially when it comes to lending in-game items and lowering entrance barriers.

creating the framework for play-to-earn players to borrow If NFTs result in a rapid expansion of the player base in new markets, they can be extremely advantageous for game producers. Even before one considers how digital assets might be coded to meet cross-platform use cases or be employed in metaverses, making the industry more accessible irrevocably alters the entire landscape.

The compatibility of digital resources

The idea of full cross-metaverse employment of NFTs on a single digital identity raises a host of hitherto unimagined benefits. As a result, potential value is unlocked and speculation may be brought under control in a less erratic and more stable market.

The restrictions must be adjusted and will be based on the rarity of particular assets and what you may do with them. Can they be upgraded? Can you construct on NFT land to increase its value? Should players be able to own an entire mountain, or can they only purchase plots? It will be entirely community-driven if gamers own everything, but creators should have some voice and may feel the need to impose restrictions.

It is likely that a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) operated system, in which the entire globe is owned by members and NFT holders, is now being developed. However, it is unclear whether this will be sustainable without a rigid set of regulations.

establishing NFT financing

When you attempt to transfer an actual NFT to another user’s digital wallet, problems happen. You would want the loanee to post collateral to secure the loan because there is a danger of the loanee defaulting. This creates a capital cost that acts as a barrier to entry for a sizable number of potential players.

A preferable approach would be one in which the NFT’s utility, or “wrapped,” is the sole thing rented out. An NFT holder can put the asset in a smart contract, specify the loan terms, post it for rent on the market, and let the free market function as it should.

The wrapped NFT is a newly created copy that has the same metadata, URLs, and other characteristics as the original and can be programmed to expire after a specific date. By doing so, the human-trust layer is removed, and the remarkable security that blockchains offer is provided. In essence, this wrapped NFT is only useful and cannot be spent.

It expires, returns to the smart contract at the maturity date, and is burnt as the result of a frictionless, risk-free, and collateral-free NFT lending system. Additionally, if the loanee improves a piece of land or gives a character a lot more playtime, the original NFT might appreciate as a result of the loan.

The blockchain will be updated with these changes as a direct result of the wrapped NFT’s experience. Most NFT projects and protocols are moving in the direction of this methodology in the wake of the infamous Axie Infinity hack, which cost $600 million.

The rumor about large developers

Popular game producers will find it more difficult to avoid presenting some sort of product if current trends continue and the NFT lending sector experiences significant expansion over the following few years.

Ubisoft and Epic Games are already testing, and it’s feasible that NFTs may follow the same trajectory as the idea of cryptocurrencies in general, where everyone will eventually use elements of distributed ledger technology. The notion is that this will become too alluring for businesses to ignore, or they may employ private chains or something similar.

The play-to-earn buzz is not something that traditional gamers like, and they frequently have a point. The overall quality of the market is now relatively low, and players just play these games to earn cryptocurrency, so there isn’t much to get excited about. This has a detrimental effect because it was once hailed as the new paradigm.

The problem of people quitting a project because the value of the rewards has declined due to a token price fall is still there.

Some time may pass before those seeking a better future in NFT gaming. The profitability of large developers’ existing strategies won’t be simply abandoned in favor of a more decentralized NFT-based economy because doing so would undermine their economic model. However, seasoned creators may begin experimenting with already-existing in-game assets as NFTs, and they may profit greatly in this fashion.

Unless their bottom line is in danger or a highly lucrative opportunity arises, multibillion-dollar corporations often adapt slowly. Maybe both of these elements will be crucial in bringing about a change in how we handle digital assets.

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How Axie Infinity Recovers From $600M Hack and Relaunches New Ronin Bridge?

The popular non-fungible token (NFT) game Axie Infinity’s developer, Sky Mavis, celebrated the Ronin Bridge’s re-launch.

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Users may deposit, stake, withdraw money from the game, and access additional functions thanks to this cross-chain platform. In March 2022, the bridge’s remaining $600 million was drained.

Sku Mavis and the Axie Infinity team have been collaborating with law enforcement since the incident to retrieve the 173,600 ETH and $25.5 million in USDC. In this way, they have re-deployed the Ronin Bridge and compensated any users who lost money as a result of the attack.

All users have been fully compensated, as indicated in the release. Two outside firms, Verichains and Certik, have audited the new Ronin (RON) network. These businesses investigated the Ronin Bridge Smart Contracts and its components, then made their security findings public. Verichains reported

The audit team found certain weak points in the application during the audit process and made some recommendations as a result. The Sky Mavis team addressed and updated the smart contract code in accordance with our suggestions. There were no issues of Medium, High, or Critical severity with the Ronin Bridge Smart Contracts.

The updated architecture of the Ronin Bridge has added a new “circuit-breaker” feature in addition to the two independent audits of its smart contracts. This was specifically included to stop malicious actors from repeating the prior attack or making use of any potential new attack vector.

The corporation will reportedly make an effort to find the stolen monies, according to the notification. As previously announced, all users will be able to withdraw their funds in the interim:

As promised, all wETH and USDC that Ronin Network members own are now completely backed 1:1 by ETH and USDC on Ethereum. The entire user base has been restored.

This prevented the Axie Infinity DAO’s 56,000 ETH from being used. The condition of these assets will depend on how well law enforcement efforts go. The Axie DAO will “vote on next moves for the treasury” if this plan doesn’t produce any results after two years.

How Users Will Be Protected By Axie Infinity From Potential Attacks
The circuit-breaker system will function using a withdrawal restriction depending on total value. Large withdrawals will require the approval of over 70% of the node or, if they exceed $1 million, the signatures of 90% of the validators.

Withdrawals of more above $10 million require the approval of a manual review process that takes up to 7 days and requires the signatures of 90% of the validators. The daily maximum withdrawal amount on the new Ronin Network will be $50 million.

This limit must be manually reset by a Ronin administrator if network transactions exceed it. The project’s leadership stated:

We are more determined than ever to see Ronin establish itself as the de facto standard for consumer and gaming blockchain applications.

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