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Artmarket.com: Artprice looks at 2023’s NFT auction market, and the 50 most successful digital artists, a promising future with the record for cryptocurrencies in ETFs on Wall Street

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artmarket.com:-artprice-looks-at-2023’s-nft-auction-market,-and-the-50-most-successful-digital-artists,-a-promising-future-with-the-record-for-cryptocurrencies-in-etfs-on-wall-street

PARIS, March 12, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The year 2023 started with the first acquisitions of NFTs by museums and ended with another bull run on the stock markets and the main cryptocurrencies.

The major event in cryptocurrencies is notably BlackRock’s (the largest asset manager in the world) and Fidelity’s introduction of ETFs directly invested in Bitcoin (Bitcoin spot ETFs) authorized by the SEC on 11 January 2024. This is a real consecration for Bitcoin which on 11 March 2024 was quoted at around 72,000 dollars, while Ethereum was at $4,000 (ETH ETFs are expected very soon).

BlackRock and Fidelity have achieved the best ETF launches in 30 years thanks to Bitcoin. In their first month of trading, the “IBIT” and “FBTC” funds raised $6.5 billion, which is more than any of the 5,500 other index funds launched before them (according to Les Échos of 10 January 2024: “Bitcoin ETF: the SEC opens the doors of Wall Street wide to Bitcoin”.

This is a new record for Bitcoin. Of the 5,535 ETFs launched over the last thirty years, none have gotten off to such a strong start as BlackRock’s ‘IBIT’ and Fidelity’s ‘FBTC’, said Bloomberg expert Eric Balchunas.

This Monday, March 11, 2024, a Bloomberg report (by Tom Metcalf & Emily Nicolle) announces “The London Stock Exchange said it will start accepting applications for the admission of exchange traded notes backed by Bitcoin and Ether” in the second quarter, confirming London as the capital of cryptocurrencies on the European continent.

This allows retail and professional investors to gain exposure to the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, without having to directly hold the asset.

Via cryptocurrencies, new collectors and art enthusiasts have been attracted to the art market, often younger than their predecessors. Not averse to speculation and the excitement of taking risks, these art enthusiasts and collectors solidly welded to their crypto-universe of Web 3.0.

The near future of Artprice by Artmarket is the meeting place between Web 3.0. (Metaverse and NFT) and Artprice’s artificial intelligence, its Intuitive Artmarket ® AI.

The 2023 period in NFT auctions, significantly less speculative than the two previous years, allowed Digital Art to finally settle peacefully in the international cultural and economic environment. As the NFT market consolidates, Artprice draws up a summary of the transactions on NFTs hammered in auction rooms in 2023, dominated by Sotheby’s, but which finished with Christie’s “Next Wave” sale on the sidelines of the Art Basel Miami Beach fair.

 Monthly evolution of proceeds from public NFT auctions

Infographic – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2360542/NFT_auctions_1_Infographic.jpg

[https://imgpublic.artprice.com/img/wp/sites/11/2024/03/image1-monthly-evolution-of-proceeds-from-public-nft-auctions.png]

Artprice by Artmarket.com recognizes in Digital Art – whether via NFTs or Artificial Intelligence – a revolution that it would be infinitely better to support and accompany than to reject or denigrate“, affirms thierry Ehrmann, CEO of Artmarket.com and Founder of Artprice.

Artprice subscriptions will soon be able to be paid in ETH and BTC, and our databases have already been adapted to accommodate these two cryptocurrencies. We are very proud to support digital artists with the opening of our Standardized Marketplace to NFTs. Furthermore, we acquired and presented the works Flow (2023) by digital artist Josh Pierce on the cover of our latest Annual Report of the Contemporary Art Market in 2023 and the NFT work Chaos under the pure light by artist 1dontknows for our Annual 2023 Art Market report published in 2024.”

Annual Report of the Contemporary Art Market in 2023:

https://imgpublic.artprice.com/pdf/le-marche-de-lart-contemporain-2023.pdf

https://imgpublic.artprice.com/pdf/the-contemporary-art-market-report-2023.pdf

Annual 2023 Art Market report published in 2024:

https://imgpublic.artprice.com/pdf/le-marche-de-lart-en-2023.pdf

https://imgpublic.artprice.com/pdf/the-art-market-in-2023.pdf

This NFT paradigm shift is well explained in the ARTE documentary, recently released in 5 languages: “NFT, Chaos in the art world”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_08d_1oY-Lo 

Throughout this documentary, thierry Ehrmann, visual artist, NFT artist and Founding CEO of Artprice.com, delivers his analysis accompanied by other artists, experts and international players in the world of Art NFTs.

Any attempt to understand the significance of NFTs in Art History requires an appreciation of the digital and cultural revolution that they represent and some kind of prediction regarding their role and impact over the short and medium term.

According to thierry Ehrmann “In its various annual reports on the Art Market and the regulated information it publishes as a listed company, Artprice by Artmarket.com has always said with regard to NFTs that it is impossible to apprehend this new market without a true understanding of Blockchain, crypto-currencies and their cultural origins among the Cypherpunks (period of PGP-type data encryption at the beginning of the 1990s).”

Bearing in mind all the underlying parameters and data required, Artprice by Artmarket is the only organization on the global art market to be able to truly respond to the certification of primary issues of Art NFTs in an environment of cryptocurrencies and major international currencies.

In 2024, Artprice will be uniquely positioned in its capacity as a certifier of primary issues of Art NFTs  based on the fact that Artprice by Artmarket has been the Global Leader in Art Market Information for more than 27 years and is the creator and owner of its globally recognized databases. It also has the world’s largest documentary collection of art market notes, manuscripts, codices and annotated sales catalogs from 1700 to the present day, which act as a guarantee of the authenticity and historical veracity of its databases.

1. Auctions of NFTs in 2023: key figures

– 350 lots sold

– 53 unsold lots (13% of lots)

– 32 sales sessions dedicated to or including NFTs

– 259 distinct artists

$22.7 million in turnover (including fees)

– +65% growth compared with 2022

– 0.2% of global fine art turnover

$1.9 million worth of NFTs sold per month on average

– 6 active auction houses

– 82% of the turnover generated by Sotheby’s ($18.4 million)

$10.9 million total from “Grails: Property from an Iconic Digital Art Collection Part II” sale at Sotheby’s on 15 June 2023

– Minimum price: $126 for Ghost Sphynx (2023) by Asa Jarju

– Average price: $64,800

– Maximum price: $6.2 million for Ringers #879 (The Goose) (2021) by Dmitri Cherniak

https://www.artprice.com/artist/1091079/asa-jarju/nft/31233678/ghost-sphynx

https://www.artprice.com/artist/1023654/dmitri-cherniak/nft/30581409/ringers-879-the-goose

Distribution of public auctions of NFT by price range and by auction house

Distribution of public auctions of NFT by price range and by auction house

Infographic – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2360541/NFT_auctions_2_Infographic.jpg

[https://imgpublic.artprice.com/img/wp/sites/11/2024/03/image2-distribution-of-public-auctions-of-nft-by-price-range-and-by-auction-house.png]

2. Seven-digit auction results and other exceptional sales

In 2023, the seven best results of the year in the NFT category were hammered for Generative Art. This self-generating and random artistic approach is at the heart of the history of NFTs, notably with the controversial Profile Pictures (PFP) series such as the Bored Apes and the CryptoKitties. However, these series have now left their place at the forefront of the Generative scene to the abstract works created by artists like Dmitri Cherniak and Tyler Hobbs. Indeed, the series Autoglyph by Larva Labs now fetches higher prices than their CryptoPunks which made the artist duo famous.

Among the most anticipated pieces last year at auction, five digital creations created by Keith Haring at the end of the 1980s were put on sale at Christie’s in September 2023 by the Keith Haring Foundation. In the form of five unique NFTs (#1/1), these experiments were carried out on the first computers equipped with digital creation software a few years after those conducted by Andy Warhol. All the works found buyers at prices between $250,000 and $350,000.

https://onlineonly.christies.com/s/keith-haring-pixel-pioneer/lots/3479?sc_lang=en

Top 20 results for NFT works sold at auction in 2023

1. Dmitri Cherniak (b. 1988) – Ringers #879 (The Goose) (2021): $6,215,100

2. Tyler Hobbs (b. 1987) – fidenza #725 (2021): $1,016,000

3. Snowfro (XX-XXI) – Chromie Squiggle #1780 (2021): $635,000

4. Tyler Hobbs (b. 1987) – Fidenza #479 (2021): $622,300

5. Tyler Hobbs (b. 1987) – fidenza #216 (2021): $609,600

6. Larva Labs (b. 2005) – Autoglyph #187 (2019): $571,500

7. Tyler Hobbs (b. 1987) – fidenza #724 (2021): $442,170

8. Keith Haring (1958-1990) – Untitled (April 14, 1987) (1987): $352,800

9. Keith Haring (1958-1990) – Untitled #1 (April 16, 1987) (1987): $352,800

10. Keith Haring (1958-1990) – untitled #2 (April 16, 1987) (1987): $352,800

11. Kjetil Golid (b. 1991) – Archetype #397 (2021): $330,200

12. Larva Labs (b. 2005) – autoglyph #218 (2019): $330,200

13. Tyler Hobbs (b. 1987) – Fidenza #290 (2021): $279,400

14. Tyler Hobbs (b. 1987) – Fidenza #871 (2021): $279,400

15. Keith Haring (1958-1990) – untitled (feb 2, 1987) (1987): $277,200

16. XCOPY (b. 1981) – Loading New Conflict… Redux 6 (2018): $254,000

17. Larva Labs (b. 2005) – CryptoPunk#4153 (2017): $254,000

18. Keith Haring (1958-1990) – untitled (Feb 3, 1987) (1987): $252,000

19. Tyler Hobbs (b. 1987) – Fidenza #370 (2021): $241,300

20. Tyler Hobbs (b. 1987) – Fidenza #861 (2021): $241,300

3. Both in auction rooms and on the Metaverse

Sotheby’s now stands out as the most active auction house on the NFT market, regularly hosting sessions dedicated to this new medium. On 15 June 2023, Part II of its sale Grails: Property from an Iconic Digital Art Collection totaled $10.9 million in New York. But apart from these sales dedicated to NFTs, Sotheby’s now also includes NFTs in general sessions: at its day sale of Contemporary Art on 19 May 2023 in New York, Tyler Hobbs’ Fidenza #725 (2021) fetched over a million dollars (including fees), against an estimated range of $120,000$180,000.

https://www.artprice.com/artist/1062390/tyler-hobbs/nft/30222588/fidenza-725

Under Patrick Drahi’s leadership, Sotheby’s has also deployed a brand new platform called Metaverse, entirely dedicated to Web3: https://metaverse.sothebys.com. In 2023, it hosted the sale of 5,000 photographs by Sebastião Salgado in the form of NFTs, then a session entitled Snow Crash curated by artist Tony Sheeder, and lastly, a sale of 500 unique works generated by the pioneer Vera Molnar (who sadly passed away shortly after on 7 December 2023).

The projects carried out by Sotheby’s on its Metaverse platform, however, deviate somewhat from public sales in terms of transparency and communication of results and are undoubtedly more similar to private sales. Several important NFT works are still visible today on the sothebys-grails.eth wallet and are – according to Michael Bouhanna (VP, Contemporary Art Specialist & Head of Digital Art and NFTs at Sotheby’s) – available for private sale:

CryptoPunk #6669:

https://opensea.io/assets/ethereum/0xb47e3cd837ddf8e4c57f05d70ab865de6e193bbb/6669 

Fidenza #526:

https://opensea.io/assets/ethereum/0xa7d8d9ef8d8ce8992df33d8b8cf4aebabd5bd270/78000526 

Bored Ape #8552:

https://opensea.io/assets/ethereum/0xbc4ca0eda7647a8ab7c2061c2e118a18a936f13d/8552

4. ‘On-chain’ versus ‘off-chain’ transactions

The majority of NFT artworks publicly auctioned by Sotheby’s have so far gone through its main website, not through its Metaverse, and the transactions have therefore taken place outside the Blockchain. In other words, they were concluded “off-chain”; the hammer prices do not appear in the history of the NFT, where only a double transfer of ownership of the work is visible: from the seller’s portfolio (of the artist or collector) to that of Sotheby’s, and then from Sotheby’s to the buyer’s wallet, once payment is complete.

These “off-chain” transactions allow the auction house to maintain greater control over the transactions, in particular to collect payment before transferring the work to its new owner. This allows Sotheby’s to collect a commission by adding the usual fees. For its part, Christie’s, which carries out “on-chain” transactions via its Christie’s 3.0 platform https://nft.christies.com, does without a commission. Its FAQ specifies that “ Christie’s 3.0 does not add Buyer’s Premium to the hammer price” and that “You will need to pay a gas fee when you place a bid and, if applicable, when you pay sales tax and collect your NFT, Gas fees are not included in the final purchase price”. But these gas fees only concern the operating costs of the Blockchain and are not collected by the auction house.

5. The entry of NFTs into museum collections

The year 2023 saw the first acquisitions of NFTs by several museums, starting with the most prestigious, the LACMA, the MoMA, the Pompidou Center, and the Granet Museum in Aix-en-Provence. Unlike the ambiguous situation of 2021 which saw several institutions put digital duplicates of their masterpieces on sale, it is now a matter of acquisitions of NFTs by museums, directly from artists or via their collectors.

  • CryptoPunks #110 acquired by the Center Pompidou and
  • CryptoPunks #3831 acquired by LACMA

The reluctance of auction houses regarding “on-chain” transactions is shared by museums, which are subject to strict regulations regarding the acquisition of works. The procedures they must follow sometimes conflict with the principles of transparency and decentralization of Web3. Public institutions therefore prefer for the moment to acquire “off-chain” works and avoid placing all their NFT artworks in a single wallet.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which received a donation of 22 NFTs in February 2023 from anonymous collector Cozomo de’ Medici, has only 8 pieces on its e-wallet. Several NFTs, like Fragments of an Infinite Field #972 by Monica Rizzolli, have not yet been delivered and are still on the Cozomo de’ Medici wallet. As for the famous CryptoPunk #3831, the work has been placed in an independent portfolio.

Official announcement of the 22 NFTs acquired by LACMA:

https://unframed.lacma.org/2023/02/24/new-acquisition-cozomo-de-medici-collection

LACMA Collection on Opensea:

https://opensea.io/0x9482B7FEF251Ebb81CeF01108c5512C27520003D

Fragments of an Infinite Field #972 de Monica Rizzolli :

https://opensea.io/assets/ethereum/0xa7d8d9ef8d8ce8992df33d8b8cf4aebabd5bd270/159000972

CryptoPunk #3831 by Larva Labs :

https://opensea.io/0x0f7f63BA74681EfC4eab9777a463E2aF45916EDf

Marcella Lista, Head Curator at the Centre Pompidou explains the procedure followed by the French museum to make its first NFT acquisitions:

The Center Pompidou has opened a digital wallet exclusively dedicated to the reception and conservation of tokens, knowing that the files of the works have been uploaded in parallel to be stored on the conservation servers of the Pompidou Center  as is the case with any digital work in the collection. The works were acquired via a classic acquisition and distribution authorization contract, following the museum’s usual practice, and were paid in euros.

“The various states of visibility of these works on NFT platforms and on the Pompidou Center database can be explained by the long contractualization procedure, their registration on our inventory, and their entry into the database. Works that have not yet appeared are being processed in this administrative, accounting and technical chain.”

The Centre Pompidou NFT collection on Opensea:

https://opensea.io/Centre_Pompidou_MNAM

CryptoPunk #110 from the Centre Pompidou:

https://cryptopunks.app/cryptopunks/details/110

6. A reassuring start to 2024

Auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s have started 2024 with one and two sales respectively dedicated to NFTs. Patrick Drahi’s company has already taken the lead this year, generating 92% of the segment’s turnover.

Sotheby’s sessions GRAILS: Starry Night and Natively Digital: An Ordinals Curated Sale totaled over $1 million each, with 19 and 18 lots sold respectively, and no unsold lots. One of the best results was hammered for Genesis Cat, for Taproot Wizards (2024) by digital artist FAR. It was generally believed that the NFT market was now focused on more ‘serious’ creations, but this off-beat work – reminiscent of CryptoKitties – fetched the best NFT result at the start of 2024: $254,000 versus an estimated range of $15,000 to $20,000 (January 22 at Sotheby’s in New York).

https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2024/natively-digital-an-ordinals-curated-sale/genesis-cat?locale=fr

Auction results exceeding $100,000 for Satoshi Nakamoto, Xcopy, Beeple and Des Lucréce continue to show that the success of these digital artists is not just anecdotal. In 2024 we will probably see a consolidation of the prices of works by these key signatures on the NFT market. And the rising values of Bitcoin and Ethereum will no doubt contribute to this progression.

7. Top 50 Artists by NFT public auction turnover in 2023

1. Dmitri Cherniak (b. 1988): $7,880,898 (14 lots sold)

2. Tyler Hobbs (b. 1987): $4,919,950 (15 lots sold)

3. Larva Labs (b. 2005): $1,811,675 (9 lots sold)

4. Keith Haring (1958-1990): $1,587,600 (5 lots sold)

5. Snowfro (XX-XXI): $743,529 (3 lots sold)

6. Kjetil Golid (b. 1991): $453,390 (7 lots sold)

7. Refik Anadol (b.1985-): $386,796 (4 lots sold)

8. Shroomtoshi (XX-XXI): $342,900 (2 lots sold)

9. 0xDEAFBEEF (XX-XXI): $325,120 (3 lots sold)

10. Des Lucréce (xx-xxi): $289,599 (10 lots sold)

11. Xcopy (b. 1981): $254,000 (1 lot sold)

12. Six N. Five (b. 1985): $210,321 (1 lot sold)

13. Seerlight (b. 1993): $165,100 (2 lots sold)

14. Andrea Bonaceto (b. 1989): $157,947 (1 lot sold)

15. Jack Butcher (xx-xxi): $144,534 (4 lots sold)

16. Ripcache (XX-XXI): $121,611 (2 lots sold)

17. Deekay Kwon (b. 1989): $115,597 (1 lot sold)

18. Grant Riven Yun (xx-xxi): $107,100 (1 lot sold)

19. Beeple & Madonna (XX-XXI): $100,800 (1 lot sold)

20. luxpris (xx-xxi): $90,170 (4 lots sold)

21. Pindar Van Arman (b. 1974): $82,786 (3 lots sold)

22. Ryan Koopmans (b. 1986): $78,315 (2 lots sold)

23. Matt Deslauriers (XX-XXI): $62,611 (6 lots sold)

24. Hideki Tsukamoto (b. 1973): $62,230 (4 lots sold)

25. Helena Sarin (XX-XXI)$61,355 (3 lots sold)

26. Anyma (b. 1988): $54,658 (1 lot sold)

27. Terrell Jones (b. 1997): $54,052 (3 lots sold)

28. Jack Kaido (xx-xxi): $49,638 (2 lots sold)

29. Mad Dog Jones (b. 1985): $48,165 (1 lot sold)

30. Sam Spratt (XX-XXI): $48,165 (1 lot sold)

31. Alpha Centauri Kid (b. 1986): $45,139 (2 lots sold)

32. Elman Mansimov (XX-XXI): $41,314 (1 lot sold)

33. GMUNK (b. 1975): $38,559 (1 lot sold)

34. Sofia Crespo (b. 1991): $36,915 (2 lots sold)

35. Laura El (b. 1991): $35,645 (2 lots sold)

36. William Mapan (b. 1988): $34,984 (1 lot sold)

37. Pop Wonder (b. 1982): $34,925 (2 lots sold)

38. 0xdgb (XX-XXI)$33,020 (1 lot sold)

39. neurocolor (XX-XXI): $30,480 (2 lots sold)

40. omentejovem (XX-XXI): $30,462 (1 lot sold)

41. Casey Reas (b. 1972): $28,669 (3 lots sold)

42. Samantha Cavet (b. 1997): $28,389 (2 lots sold)

43. Bryan Brinkman (b. 1985): $28,236 (3 lots sold)

44. Luke Shannon (b. 2000): $27,988 (1 lot sold)

45. Isaac Wright (xx-xxi): $27,940 (1 lot sold)

46. Yatreda ያጥሬዳ (XXI): $27,543 (1 lot sold)

47. Ryan Talbot (b. 1997): $27,329 (1 lot sold)

48. Guido Di Salle (b. 1979): $26,308 (1 lot sold)

49. Tyler Hobbs & Dandelios Wist (xx-xxi): $25,400 (1 lot sold)

50. Carlos Marcial (b. 1984): $24,596 (1 lot sold)

Images:

[https://imgpublic.artprice.com/img/wp/sites/11/2024/03/image1-monthly-evolution-of-proceeds-from-public-nft-auctions.png]

[https://imgpublic.artprice.com/img/wp/sites/11/2024/03/image2-distribution-of-public-auctions-of-nft-by-price-range-and-by-auction-house.png]

Copyright 1987-2024 thierry Ehrmann www.artprice.com – www.artmarket.com

About Artmarket:

Artmarket.com is listed on Eurolist by Euronext Paris, and Euroclear: 7478 – Bloomberg: PRC – Reuters: ARTF.

Discover Artmarket and its Artprice department on video: www.artprice.com/video

Artmarket and its Artprice department was founded in 1997 by its CEO, thierry Ehrmann. Artmarket and its Artprice department is controlled by Groupe Serveur, created in 1987.

See certified biography in Who’s who ©:

https://imgpublic.artprice.com/img/wp/sites/11/2024/02/2024_Biographie_thierry_Ehrmann_WhosWhoInFrance.pdf

Artmarket is a global player in the Art Market with, among other structures, its Artprice department, world leader in the accumulation, management and exploitation of historical and current art market information (the original documentary archives, codex manuscripts, annotated books and auction catalogs acquired over the years ) in databanks containing over 30 million indices and auction results, covering more than 835,800 artists.

Artprice by Artmarket, the world leader in information on the art market, has set itself the ambition through its Global Standardized Marketplace to be the world’s leading Fine Art NFT platform.

Artprice Images® allows unlimited access to the largest Art Market image bank in the world: no less than 180 million digital images of photographs or engraved reproductions of artworks from 1700 to the present day, commented by our art historians.

Artmarket with its Artprice department accumulates data on a permanent basis from 7200 Auction Houses and produces key Art Market information for the main press and media agencies (7,200 publications). Its 7.2 million (‘members log in’+social media) users have access to ads posted by other members, a network that today represents the leading Global Standardized Marketplace® to buy and sell artworks at a fixed or bid price (auctions regulated by paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article L 321.3 of France’s Commercial Code).

The Art Market’s future is now brighter than ever with Artprice’s Artmarket® Intuitive AI

Artmarket, with its Artprice department, has twice been awarded the State label “Innovative Company” by the Public Investment Bank (BPI), which has supported the company in its project to consolidate its position as a global player in the art market.

Artprice by Artmarket’s Global Art Market Report, “The Art Market in 2023”, published in March 2024:
https://www.artprice.com/artprice-reports/the-art-market-in-2023

Artprice by Artmarket publishes its 2023 Contemporary Art Market Report:
https://www.artprice.com/artprice-reports/the-contemporary-art-market-report-2023

Index of press releases posted by Artmarket with its Artprice department:
https://serveur.serveur.com/artmarket/press-release/en/

Follow all the Art Market news in real time with Artmarket and its Artprice department on Facebook and Twitter:

www.facebook.com/artpricedotcom/ (over 6.5 million followers)

twitter.com/artmarketdotcom

twitter.com/artpricedotcom

Discover the alchemy and universe of Artmarket and its artprice department https://www.artprice.com/video headquartered at the famous Organe Contemporary Art Museum “The Abode of Chaos” (dixit The New York Times): https://issuu.com/demeureduchaos/docs/demeureduchaos-abodeofchaos-opus-ix-1999-2013

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GESAMTKUNSTWERK & SINGULAR ARCHITECTURE
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Contact Artmarket.com and its Artprice department – Contact:  Thierry Ehrmann, [email protected]

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Web3 Startups Raise Nearly $1.9B in Q1 2024 Despite Overall Downtrend in Crypto VC Interest

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web3-startups-raise-nearly-$1.9b-in-q1-2024-despite-overall-downtrend-in-crypto-vc-interest

Venture capital funding for cryptocurrency and blockchain projects has seen a notable resurgence in the first quarter of 2024, marking its first quarterly rise since 2021. Crunchbase data released today indicates that Web3 startups secured nearly $1.9 billion in funding across 346 deals during this period. This represents a substantial 58% increase from the previous quarter, offering a glimmer of hope amidst the ongoing downward trend in overall crypto VC interest.

The recent surge in funding can be attributed to investors adopting a more long-term perspective on Web3, as opposed to the hype-driven “tourist investors” predominant in recent years. Chris Metinko, the author of the report, notes that investors are shifting their focus to the AI sector, indicating a change in investment strategy. There is a growing interest in supporting the foundational infrastructure of the decentralized internet, rather than solely concentrating on crypto wallets and lending platforms, which attracted significant investments during the peak period of 2021 to 2022.

While large funding rounds were relatively uncommon in Q1, several notable investments stood out. Exohood Labs, a company integrating AI, quantum computing, and blockchain, secured a remarkable $112 million seed round at a valuation of $1.4 billion. EigenLabs, an Ether token “restaking” platform, raised $100 million in a Series B round led by a16z crypto. Additionally, Freechat, a decentralized social network leveraging blockchain technology, secured $80 million in a Series A round. These investments, among others, contributed to the increase in valuations and the emergence of four new Web3 unicorns in Q1.

Despite the recent progress, the future trajectory of Web3 remains uncertain. Metinko suggests that the next few quarters will be pivotal in determining the industry’s direction. While investors anticipate a rebound in investment as the decentralized internet evolves, it may take another year for venture capital activity to stabilize after the exuberance of 2021. Factors such as the approval of U.S. spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds and the upcoming Bitcoin halving could also influence the market, given the rising prices of Bitcoin and Ether.

A noteworthy example of significant funding in the Web3 space is Monad Labs’ recent successful funding round, which secured $225 million led by Paradigm. Monad Labs is a layer-1 blockchain compatible with Ethereum, offering faster transaction processing. This funding round harkens back to the golden era of crypto funding in 2021-2022, when L1 solutions attracted substantial investments.

Earlier this year, Balance, a digital asset custodian based in Canada, announced that it had once again reached $2 billion in assets under custody (AUC) amidst the recent market recovery. Similarly, Korea Digital Asset (KODA), the largest institutional crypto custody service in South Korea, has experienced remarkable growth in crypto assets under its custody, expanding by nearly 248% in the second half of 2023.

Analysts at Bernstein Research project that crypto funds could reach an impressive $500 billion to $650 billion within the next five years, representing a significant leap from the current valuation of approximately $50 billion. This forecast underscores the growing optimism and potential for substantial growth within the crypto industry in the coming years.

Source: cryptonews.com

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ASIC cracks down on blockchain mining firms

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Three blockchain mining companies – NGS Crypto, NGS Digital, and NGS Group – along with their directors, Brett Mendham, Ryan Brown, and Mark Ten Caten, are facing legal action from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for allegedly operating without a license, in violation of Australia’s Corporations Act. ASIC initiated legal proceedings against these entities on April 9, citing concerns about their non-compliance with financial regulations and their solicitation of Australian investors.

According to ASIC, the NGS companies promoted blockchain mining packages with fixed-rate returns to Australian investors, encouraging the transfer of funds from regulated superannuation funds to self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) for conversion into cryptocurrency. Approximately 450 Australians invested a total of around USD 41 million in these packages, raising concerns about potential financial losses.

The legal action filed by ASIC alleges that the companies violated section 911A of the Corporations Act, which prohibits companies from providing financial services without a valid Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). ASIC is seeking interim and final court orders to prohibit the NGS companies from offering financial services in Australia without an AFSL.

ASIC Chair Joe Longo emphasized the importance of investors carefully considering the risks before investing in crypto-related products through their SMSFs. Longo stated that ASIC’s actions send a message to the crypto industry about the regulator’s commitment to ensuring compliance with regulations and protecting consumers.

In a separate development, the Federal Court appointed receivers for the digital currency assets associated with the NGS companies and their directors to safeguard these assets amid concerns about the risk of dissipation. Mendham was also issued a travel restriction order, preventing him from leaving Australia.

While a court date for the proceedings has not been set, ASIC’s investigation is ongoing, with the regulator continuing to gather evidence and build its case. It is worth noting that the investigated companies share a similar name with NGS Super, a legitimate Australian pensions provider, leading to potential confusion among investors. NGS Super clarified that it is not involved in selling cryptocurrency or related products and has taken legal action to protect its trademark and members’ interests.

Source: iclg.com

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Crypto and Blockchain Weave Deeper Into the Biometrics Space – Identity News Digest

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AuthID Inc. has formed a strategic partnership with the National Notarial Centralized Verification System (NNCVS) to integrate biometric identity verification into NNCVS’s online notary platform. NNCVS, a provider of nationwide online services for notaries, aims to transition from a local, in-person framework to a more secure, digital model. By leveraging AuthID’s platform, NNCVS will authenticate the identities of notarial agents and their clients using biometric checks that compare selfies with ID document photos. This enhancement ensures heightened security throughout users’ interactions with the service.

iVALT has introduced a mobile app called OnDemandID, designed to enable users to verify the identity of individuals during phone calls, video calls, or online interactions with a single click. The app employs multiple verification elements, including biometrics, device ID, and location-based parameters like geofencing and time windowing, to prevent deepfake attacks and identity fraud. OnDemandID prioritizes user privacy by storing biometric data locally on the device and refraining from tracking user movements. Additionally, iVALT offers integration into existing enterprise mobile apps, providing a solution to enhance caller verification processes within corporate environments.

Keyless, a company specializing in secure facial recognition, has partnered with EnQualify, an AI-powered Know Your Customer (KYC) verification provider, to enhance online identity verification. Keyless’s privacy-centric ZKB technology will integrate with EnQualify’s AI for initial user verification, enabling a seamless and secure authentication process. This collaboration eliminates the need for repetitive steps and data storage, offering a faster and more user-friendly verification experience while ensuring robust security measures.

Australian fintech Waave has launched its Wallet app to enhance security and convenience for online payments. Integrated with Waave’s Pay by Bank system, Wallet utilizes fingerprint or facial recognition for secure authentication, eliminating the need for passwords and card details. This approach addresses concerns about online fraud, providing a streamlined payment process for consumers and merchants alike. Additionally, Wallet will introduce expense tracking features later in 2024, further enhancing its utility for users.

BeatBit Wellness Lab has introduced the CUDIS ring, a wearable device focused on user-controlled health data management. Powered by Solana blockchain technology, CUDIS tracks biometric data and offers personalized health insights using AI algorithms. Users can contribute anonymized data to a research network and earn rewards, emphasizing data ownership and privacy. The CUDIS ring integrates securely with other Solana and Web3 products, offering users a comprehensive health monitoring solution within the decentralized ecosystem.

Worldcoin has unveiled World Chain, a new blockchain platform designed to prioritize verified human users over bots, aiming to reduce network congestion and transaction fees. Integrated with the Worldcoin protocol’s Proof of Personhood, World Chain provides verified users with priority blockspace and gas allowances. This Layer 2 solution, secured by Ethereum, offers developers access to a large pool of verified users for deploying utility applications. World Chain is set to be open source and permissionless, with plans for community-based governance in the future.

New South Wales (NSW) has launched an Australia-first trial to test digital birth certificates, involving over 18,000 children associated with specific educational institutions. Led by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in collaboration with the Department of Customer Service, the pilot explores the use of digital certificates with the same legal validity as traditional paper versions. Digital birth certificates aim to simplify administrative tasks and offer enhanced security and convenience, particularly in disaster-prone areas where paper documents could be compromised.

Source: findbiometrics.com

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