NFT GROWTH HITS ALL-TIME HIGH IN JANUARY. While the crypto space overall wallowed in the doldrums, extending a downturn that encompassed the whole holiday season, there have been bright spots.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), which can convey unique ownership of digital and real-world assets, experienced their best month to date in terms of trade volume.
According to crypto outlet, volume hit a new high of $6.13 billion.
That constituted a 129 percent increase compared to December. LookRare, the newest player on the NFT marketplace scene, contributed to the considerable gains. The marketplace has generated around $2 billion in volume since its January 10 inception.
With its LOOKS token, LooksRare presents a competitive challenge to OpenSea, the leading NFT marketplace, which boasts some 90 percent of overall NFT trading activity. 
Users gain LOOKS tokens when they purchase or trade NFTs on the LooksRare, and they can earn even more rewards by staking tokens.
However, LooksRare is not without flaws, noted. “Wash trading,” a practice where users exchange products to artificially push up volume and prices, accounts for a significant portion of LooksRare’s trading activity.
The Solana blockchain network, whose native token has taken a beating during the prolonged crypto sell-off, also marked some good NFT related news.
Solana has been plagued by several outages, something against which decentralized blockchains are supposed to offer resilience. The network and its software development still operates in an official “Beta” status. 
Overall NFT sales on Solana topped $1 billion in all-time volume, surpassing Ethereum-based NFT markets.
The Trends Journal has been covering the rapid rise of NFTs in articles including:

CHINA TWISTS TRYING TO HAVE NFT CAKE WITHOUT CRYPTO TOO. China, which has essentially banned crypto to foster its digital Yuan surveillance and control coin, knows its missing out on the blockchain revolution.
What to do? Try to direct and control the “innovation,” top-down.
To that end, the communist country is attempting to separate cryptocurrencies and Non-Fungible Tokens.
The regime is pushing for development of a Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN), to let enterprises and people create platforms and applications to administer NFTs.
The news was reported by the South China Morning Post
The project intends to enable the implementation of non-crypto NFTs by providing application programming interfaces for the building of user portals and applications that accept fiat money as the only form of payment.
Of course, the blockchains involved will be permissioned only, and controlled and surveilled by the State.
Yifan He, CEO of BSN’s tech support provider Red Date Technology, emphasized that NFTs are legal in China as long as they are not used with Bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptocurrencies.
Red Date intends to establish a compliant NFT platform that is totally segregated from the ordinary profile of crypto by allowing a single authority, ie., the Chinese government, to oversee the infrastructure and intervene in the case of “illicit conduct.”
“We will provide services to NFT companies in Hong Kong, which means if there is any international business involving issuing NFTs inside China, they definitely can choose to use the BSN-DDC network via our Hong Kong gateway,” Yifan He told
BSN’s NFT infrastructure is supported by state-owned China Mobile, China UnionPay, and the State Information Centre. According to Yifan He, the BSN-DDC will support ten blockchains, including an adapted version of Ethereum and Corda, as well as WeBank’s Fisco Bcos.
The Trends Journal has previously examined how China’s system cannot allow the sorts of innovations that the crypto techno revolution are fast creating (see “THE GEOPOLITICS OF BITCOIN,” 27 Jun 2021 and “A PERVERSION OF CRYPTOCURRENCY,” 12 Oct 2021).
All they can do is follow and try to mimic and construct “state versions” which effectively silo them off from a wider and more productive ecosystem that is already flourishing around the world.
One way China is trying to win the game is by making other countries more like China. If the West can avoid that trap, the crypto revolution could help turn the tide on the current economic dynamic, and prove disastrous for a walled off Beijing.
IMF TRIES TO KICK EL SALVADOR WHILE BITCOIN IS DOWN. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is trying to use the current crypto downturn to pressure El Salvador to stop using Bitcoin as legal tender.
But Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele isn’t having it. He took to Twitter on Monday to predict Bitcoin will be seeing better days:
“There are more than 50 million millionaires in the world. Imagine when each one of them decides they should own at least ONE #Bitcoin
“But there will ever be only 21 million #Bitcoin. Not enough for even half of them. A gigantic price increase is just a matter of time.
The IMF cited risks related to financial stability and “consumer protection,” and pointed out that BTC had lost some 20 percent of its value so far in 2022, or about 10 thousand dollars.
Of course, the IMF failed to note how many fiat currencies around the world are experiencing double-digit annual inflation. 
The woes of the world’s reserve currency, the U.S. dollar, is fast sinking Joe Biden’s Presidency.
Unlike fiat, bitcoin can’t be inflated by governments to pay their debts, devaluing the stored savings of average citizen fiat currency holders.
The IMF is used to orchestrating and manipulating world currencies, and cryptos are a clear danger to their power.
Little wonder that the IMF has tried to smother the sector, ever since it showed signs of moving from a tech nerd phenomenon, to a world game changer.
The Trends Journal has covered issues related to this write-up in:

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