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Wash Trading and Money Laundering in the NFT Market: Chainalysis

Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics startup, has discovered extensive wash trading and money laundering in the NFT market.



#nft #nfthours #chainalysis #tradewashing

In the developing NFT industry, Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics platform, discovered “strong” evidence of wash trading and money laundering.

“As with any new technology, NFTs have the potential to be abused. So as our industry explores all of the ways this new asset class can transform how we connect the blockchain to the physical world, it’s critical that we also design products that make an NFT investment as safe and secure as possible,” Chainalysis wrote in research.

An NFT holder can “sell” their NFT to another wallet they control, making the NFT appear more valuable than it would otherwise be.

Wash trading and NFT

Chainalysis tracked wash trading by looking at NFT sales to addresses that were “self-financed”—that is, sales that were funded either by the selling address or by the address that initially funded the selling address.

Hundreds of wash trades were discovered using this strategy. One user, who Chainalysis identified as the most active wash dealer, was found to have made 830 sales to addresses that they had self-financed.

“We found 262 users who have sold an NFT to a self-financed address more than 25 times,” according to Chainalysis.

A total of 110 of these users have profited from this activity to the tune of roughly $8.9 million.

“Most likely originated from sales to naïve purchasers who believe the NFT they’re purchasing has been increasing in value, sold from one distinct collector to another,” according to Chainalysis.

While the blockchain analytics firm concedes it can’t be “100% confident” that all NFT sales to self-funded wallets are for wash trading, the “25-transaction threshold provides us a high degree of confidence that these users are habitual wash traders.”

Furthermore, Chainalysis’ data only includes Ethereum and Wrapped Ethereum trades (an ERC-20 token that mirrors the price of Ethereum). “We’re probably overlooking wash trade activity,” Chainalysis stated.

Money laundering concerns

According to Chainalysis, the value supplied to markets by illicit addresses “jumped dramatically” in Q3 2021, then increased to about $1.4 million in Q4 2021.

In Q4 2021, roughly $284,000 worth of cryptocurrencies was transmitted to NFT marketplaces from addresses at risk of sanctions.

This, according to Chainalysis, was due to transfers from crypto exchange Chatex, which is on the Specially Designated Nationals list of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control.

These discoveries come in the wake of $8.6 billion in cryptocurrency-based money laundering that Chainalysis identified in 2021.

“Money laundering, particularly transfers from sanctioned cryptocurrency enterprises, poses a significant risk to the development of confidence in NFTs and should be actively monitored by marketplaces, regulators, and law enforcement,” according to Chainalysis.

Other NFT concerns

This isn’t the first time the booming industry has been linked to illegal conduct.

LooksRare, an Ethereum-based NFT site, has become a popular wash trading destination.

Although LooksRare had better trading numbers than OpenSea—the industry’s most popular NFT marketplace—earlier this month, the platform has witnessed multiple NFT trades between the same two wallets.

AT THE TIME, the NFT marketplace didn’t seem to mind retweeting a discussion in which a collector claimed that wash trading occurs “by design…probably,” calling it “brilliant.”

It retweeted the same thread again, this time with the word “talk” added.

Art and illicit activity

Illicit conduct, particularly money laundering, has long been a problem in the traditional art market, and some experts have long warned that NFTs could compound the problem.

“The lack of client KYC on various NFT marketplaces creates paths to circumvent identification,” stated Gabriel Hidalgo, managing director of K2 Integrity.

The Arts and Antiques Unit of the London Metropolitan Police has previously stated that they were “very well aware” of the risks associated with NFTs.

“We know that blockchains’ anonymity allows ultimate beneficial owners to hide their identities,” one member of the Art and Antiques Unit explained.

“It’s also feasible that the exchange of NFTs between users, in the form of layering or integration, may be used to launder money.”


To Be Sold for $70 Million, with Proceeds Used to Support NFT Purchases at MoMA

The auction of works by Renoir, Picasso, Bacon, and Rousseau will help the museum increase its online presence and maybe buy NFTs.



This fall, the William S. Paley Foundation will hold an auction featuring works of art valued at at least $70 million in order to increase the digital presence of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and possibly acquire the institution’s first NFTs.

Since the passing of the co-founder of CBS in 1990, William S. Paley’s collection has been maintained by MoMA. Sotheby’s has been hired by Paley’s namesake organization, which includes endowment funds for museums and educational and cultural activities, to auction off 29 of the 81 items in the MoMA collection.

The sale proceeds will go toward growing the museum’s online presence. MoMA’s director Glenn Lowry stated in the Wall Street Journal that the museum had suggested several potential uses for the funds.

MoMA may start its streaming service, organize online exhibitions and video discussions with artists, or work with colleges and training organizations to offer online courses. More importantly for cryptocurrency enthusiasts, MoMA might also buy its first NFTs.

According to Lowry, the museum has a dedicated team monitoring the digital art scene to hunt for suitable artists to collaborate with or buy from.

In the interview, he added of NFTs, “We’re aware that we lend an imprimatur when we acquire things, but that doesn’t mean we should shun the domain.

What’s on offer?
The William S. Paley Foundation and MoMA have an agreement that gives MoMA the final say in how the collection is used. Other humanitarian endeavors championed by the late Paley will receive a tiny share of the proceeds from the autumn auction.

Most of the collection’s most famous works, such as Picasso’s “Boy Leading a Horse” from 1905–06 and Matisse’s “Woman with a Veil,” are not for sale. Rousseau and a Renoir, on the other hand, will be sold at auction, according to Lowry.

According to Sotheby’s, Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies for a Portrait of Henrietta Moraes” will be auctioned for at least $35 million in London in October, and Pablo Picasso’s “Guitar on a Table” will be sold for at least $20 million in New York this November.

It’s anticipated that the collection would bring in between $70 and $100 million.

Despite not yet owning a tokenized work of art on the blockchain, MoMA has already contributed to the development of NFTs. The MoMA gave all of its collection’s information in November of last year to the Unsupervised exhibition and NFT project by AI artist Refik Anadol.

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How NFT Projects Are Setting Up For Ethereum’s Network Shift to Stay Ahead of the Merge?

This week is finally predicted to see the occurrence of one of the most important occurrences in the history of cryptocurrencies. 



The blockchain network will completely switch from its existing proof-of-work consensus process to the proof-of-stake model thanks to Ethereum’s significant software upgrade, known as The Merge. Ethereum is anticipated to carry on as usual, except that PoS authentication of cryptocurrency transactions will now be used instead of PoW. states that “The Merge signifies the combining of Ethereum’s new proof-of-stake consensus layer, the Beacon Chain, with its existing execution layer (the Mainnet).” It does away with the necessity for energy-intensive mining and instead uses ETH stakes to safeguard the network.

Sustainability, scalability, and security are the three key areas of concern that The Merge seeks to solve. Researchers at the Ethereum Foundation claim that the new architecture not only paves the way for future scaling improvements like sharding but also significantly cuts Ethereum’s energy consumption by more than 99% because miners won’t have a financial incentive to run computers constantly.

Further modifications to the NFT market are anticipated due to the switch from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. The Merge may improve the tokenomics of the entire market, broaden the range of cryptocurrencies it supports, and potentially raise the price of NFT.

The bulk of NFTs are a part of the Ethereum blockchain, and many people are enthusiastic about the switchover because it is anticipated to use less energy, allowing users to mint and sell NFTs in a more environmentally friendly manner. However, other users worry that, as with every substantial technological change, there may be a chance for fraud, hacking, volatility, and confusion.

Do you have safe NFTs?
Due to duplicate NFTs existing as a result of the ETH proof-of-work chain and other future forks, it may be unclear which assets are “official” or “real.”

There is a chance that there will be two different types of NFTs when the merge is finished because Ethereum is projected to have at least one proof of work (PoW) fork that will continue to exist. Thus, NFT owners can experience a problem known as a “replay attack.” When a transaction is finished on one blockchain and then repeated on another, this occurs.

OpenSea, the largest NFT market, and well-known companies like Yuga Labs, the company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club, have officially said that they will not accept the identical NFTs that are present on these chains. In a similar vein, Proof, the startup that is in charge of the Moonbirds NFT project, has stated that it will neither acknowledge or support any forks that are made after a merging.

The Merge will quickly establish itself as the dividing point between PoW-era and PoS-era NFTs. One of the first projects to launch during Ethereum’s new phase will be Supercute World’s SELFi3STM NFT collection. The project will be powered by Web3 developer platform, Alchemy, and will showcase the company’s new full stack NFT development capabilities.

Nikil Viswanathan, cofounder and CEO of Alchemy, stated, “Our objective has always been to bring web3 to a billion people, and we see NFTs being a crucial driver of that adoption.” We’ll keep investing in our full-stack NFT development offering and supporting innovative, exciting new projects like Supercute World to help reach that aim.

The first completely inclusive NFT initiative is SELFi3STM by Supercute WorldTM, which offers male, female, and gender-neutral variants so users can develop and represent the greatest versions of themselves online. Without ever changing the rarity score, holders will be able to select the best version of themselves.

The upcoming collection of 7,777 SELFi3S from Supercute World is anticipated to debut in October. Visit the website and follow the project on Twitter to keep up with developments and learn more about Supercute WorldTM.

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Ford is getting ready to enter the Metaverse with digital cars and NFTs

A month after the company announced significant personnel reductions, it has filed a trademark application covering its future initiatives in the Metaverse and NFT space.



Ford Motor Company, an American automaker, has filed 19 trademark applications across its key automobile brands as it prepares to enter the realm of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and the Metaverse.

Mike Kondoudis, a trademark attorney licensed by the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO), disclosed in a tweet on Wednesday that the business had submitted a total of 19 trademark applications covering its car brands, including Mustang, Bronco, Lincoln, Explorer, and F-150 Lightning, among others.

The trademark applications include a projected online marketplace for NFTs and virtual versions of its businesses’ automobiles, trucks, vans, SUVs, and clothes.

Ford intends to produce digital images of its vehicles, SUVs, trucks, and vans that will be verified by NFTs, according to USPTO filings submitted by the automaker on September 2.

The business also disclosed plans for “downloadable virtual commodities,” or “computer programs,” that would include apparel, accessories, and parts for vehicles for usage in “online virtual environments,” such as virtual and augmented reality trade exhibitions.

Additionally, there are plans to develop an online marketplace for “others’ digital artwork” as well as “online retail shop services featuring non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and digital collectibles.”

Less than a month after Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and CEO Jim Farley announced significant personnel reductions from its global workforce to decrease corporate expenses; Ford has decided to enter the Web3 area.

Ford isn’t the first automaker to enter the Metaverse market.

While premium automakers like Bentley and Lamborghini have already launched NFT collections, automakers including Nissan, Toyota, and Hyundai have indicated ambitions to enter the fast-expanding Metaverse market.

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