NYDIG ACQUIRES BOTTLEPAY TO EXPAND CRYPTO FOCUS. Every day there are fresh signs that traditional finance is working overtime to catch up and move with haste into the cryptosphere.
Case in point: the New York based NYDIG crypto investing firm just bought British payments startup Bottlepay for an estimated 300 million dollars.
NYDIG was created with heavyweight financial backing, to focus on providing crypto custody and trading capabilities to institutions. Morgan Stanley, New York Life, and Soros Fund Management were among the startup’s funders.
Those firms, as well as Chase and Wells Fargo have all joined with NYDIG to provide their own bitcoin investment products to customers.
According to outlet theblockcrypto.com, their deal for Bottlepay was completed last week.
Bottlepay, founded in 2019, allows users to make rapid payments in a variety of currencies, including bitcoin. The Lightning Network is used to facilitate bitcoin payments on the site.
NYDIG has made other moves earlier this year. It bought Arctos Capital, a commercial lender that offers financial solutions to bitcoin owners, investors, and miners, in April. And before that, it acquired Digital Assets Data, an analytics startup.
Bottlepay’s major stakeholder is British millionaire Alan Howard. In February 2021, he spearheaded a £11 million investment in Bottlepay with NYDIG and FinTech Collective, a venture capital organization. The firm was valued at £51 million in that round.
According to theblockcrypto.com, Howard has been putting a lot of money into crypto infrastructure businesses. Copper and Komainu, two crypto custodians; CoinShares, an asset management; and Ledn, a crypto lender, are among his holdings.
ARWEAVE OFFERS “FOREVER” WEB STORAGE. Blockchain databases don’t typically hold much actual storage data, including image and video files, NFT graphic objects, etc.
Instead the blocks written to the chain contain pointers to urls where data is found.
Arweave is a token-powered peer-to-peer network of distributed storage that promises to offer “forever storage” for a one-time fee. The fee is currently 34 dollars per gigabyte.
The project allows users to accrue tokens in a wallet, and pay for storage that can be accessed via an “ArDrive”, sort of like a cloud google drive or dropbox.
But the storage purchased for an ArDrive is permanently owned, without further fees.
According to Motley Fool, which recently reviewed the service for potential investors, miners on the Arweave network are rewarded for continually replicating the stored material by a single charge paid in AR up front. Network fees are more akin to endowments than fees. Because the cost of data storage is decreasing as technology progresses, the interest gained on the original payment is more than enough to cover the Arweave ecosystem’s running expenses.
Users can opt to earn tokens by running a node, and sharing excess storage space.
ArDrive is actually only one of over 300 dApps (decentralized apps) running on the Arweave blockchain. Some other dApps include ArGo, a website archiving app, and an app called Pianity, for musicians to create NFTs to sell on an associated marketplace.
The Motley Fool noted that by 2025, the worldwide data storage sector would have grown by 22.3 percent per year to $137.3 billion. Its exposure to NFTs is also a major development driver. Arweave, which does more than just represent a storage currency like Filecoin, has seen major gains over the past 12 months, from trading around two dollars in November 2020 to about 55 dollars currently.
METAVERSE AND NFTS ONLY GETTING HOTTER. Facebook’s “Meta” morph to a new name and focus, no matter how much the company is reviled by many, does signal that the sector is only beginning a growth phase.
At this point, gaming companies are selling $175 billion of virtual products per year, and NFT creators have sold $10.7 billion worth of tokens over the past few months.
Traditional gaming companies are paying full attention, as Trends Journal noted in “METAVERSE GAMING HITS BILLION DOLLAR PAYDIRT WITH AXIE INFINITY” (5 Oct 2021) and “ONE OF A KIND: THE WORLD OF NFTs” (10 Aug 2021).
As big as it already is, it’s the ground floor, and everything from gaming universes to mixed reality, to e-learning and remote business collaboration, and on to everyday existence, will likely be affected by metaverse and mixed reality apps and products.
Zuckerberg’s announcement sent NFT gaming and metaverse related tokens like $MANA, $SAND and $AXS upward.
Among blockchain gamers, other projects like The Sandbox and Sorare are getting a lot of buzz.
Sorare is an Ethereum blockchain-based NFT football game. More than 180 football teams are currently licensed on the gaming network, with new clubs joining every week.
The Sandbox, which also runs on the Ethereum blockchain, is a virtual environment where users can create, control, and monetise their game experiences.
The gaming model challenges traditional games like Minecraft and Roblox by giving participants actual property in the form of non-consumable tokens (NFTs) and paying them for their contributions to the ecosystem.
Many users have compared The Sandbox favorably to Decentraland.
Of course, Ethereum is hardly the only blockchain in town for the exploding metaverse. Solana, Algorand, Hedera and other networks all have significant projects and initiatives.
Polkadot has skyrocketed with parachain features and an ecosystem that has a lot of tokenized projects—with attendendance high risk and high reward potentials—being developed.
Efinity and their Enjin platform is also being touted as a prime blockchain that may benefit from the coming growth of NFTs that will span gaming and many other uses, including funding and owning real world assets like real estate, intellectual property like music and movies, and much more.