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Sushi CTO quits, crypto CEOs meet Congress, and WhatsApp tests USDP payments

2021.12.11 Hunain Naseer

Meanwhile, Ubisoft explores NFTs on Tezos and Larva Labs records $10.26M CryptoPunk sale.

With the year coming to an end, crypto markets have been volatile despite the typically bullish expectations attached with December. While BTC’s flash crash last week stole the spotlight, we saw some notable events unfold this week, ranging from a C-level resignation at SushiSwap to a congressional hearing with crypto CEOs, to gaming giant Ubisoft exploring NFTs and to WhatApp’s crypto pilot. 

Here’s everything you need to know about these stories, and more, in this week’s edition of OKEx Insights’ News of the Week. 

SushiSwap CTO quits after criticism and infighting

Joseph Delong, the now-former CTO of SushiSwap, confirmed his resignation on Dec. 9 after an initial threat to leave in light of the community’s unending criticism.

Delong came under pressure when a screenshot surfaced, showing him calling a vote to remove cofounder Maki from the core team. This, coupled with reservations around spending and a general lack of transparency, saw the CTO posting a thread with his responses.

Ultimately, however, Delong decided to leave with the following parting words:

“I wish Sushi the best and am saddened that Sushi is so imperiled within and without. The chaos that is occurring now is unlikely to result in a resolution that will leave the DAO as much more of a shadow than it once was without a radical structural transformation.”

Following Delong’s announcement, the price of SUSHI, the protocol’s native token, surged briefly but is currently trading around $5.50 — down significantly from its peak of around $23.44.

Key takeaway

  • As Delong’s resignation appears certain, the project’s new initiatives — such as an NFT and metaverse platform— remain in limbo.

Larva Labs’ marketplace records highest CryptoPunk sale

CryptoPunks have continued to maintain their rare status, often going for millions of dollars worth of ETH. On Dec. 9, Punk 4156 sold for a record 2,500 ETH ($10.26 million, at the time of sale). While this wasn’t the highest price ever fetched by a Punk, it is the highest recorded on Larva Labs’ native marketplace.

Interestingly, the same CryptoPunk appears to have a new offer of 4,160 ETH. If accepted by the new owner, this would make it the biggest sale of a CryptoPunk ever, with the value of the offer currently around $17.06 million.

Key takeaways

  • Punk 4156 is one of only 24 Apes in the total collection of 10,000 unique avatars.
  • A rarer CryptoPunk, Alien 7523 — only one of nine such extraterrestrials — still holds the all-time highest sale after it was auctioned at Sotheby’s for $11.8 million.

Top gaming company Ubisoft explores NFTs with Tezos 

One of the most popular and largest video game companies, Ubisoft, announced Ubisoft Quartz this week — the company’s foray into the nonfungible token space.

The company chose to build its in-game NFTs on the Tezos blockchain, a decision that saw the price of XTZ surging around 40% on Dec. 7 before correcting down to around $4.80 at the time of writing.

Interestingly, Ubisoft has received mixed responses from the community. While members of the crypto space have lauded the initiative, it appears that non-crypto Ubisoft community members have been critical of what they believe is another move by established gaming companies to maximize revenue by selling digital items.

Key takeaways 

  • Ubisoft, with a market capitalization of over $6 billion, is one of the largest gaming companies in the world.
  • The company’s new NFT platform is built on Tezos, cited as an energy-efficient blockchain.

Crypto CEOs ask Congress for bespoke rules to govern the space

CEOs of several top crypto companies faced a congressional hearing this week, titled “Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Understanding the Challenges and Benefits of Financial Innovation in the United States.” 

The hearing went over several concerns from both lawmakers and crypto executives, but the sentiment generally remained positive. 

While lawmakers brought up the speculative nature of crypto markets, the executives stressed the need for clearer, bespoke regulations — without which, they claimed, innovation would be forced to move overseas.

Key takeaways

  • Crypto CEOs urged U.S. lawmakers to come up with bespoke rules for the innovative space.
  • Lawmakers used the hearing to understand the nature of the space, but specific regulations may be farther down the road.

WhatsApp to test crypto payments in a limited trial

Announced by Stephane Kasriel — the head of Meta’s cryptocurrency wallet, Novi — a limited number of WhatsApp users will be able to send and receive payments via the popular messaging app.

The payments are made with USDP, or the Pax Dollar, which is a regulated stablecoin issued by Paxos.

Kasriel shared that these payments will be sent instantly and will not cost any fees. He also specified that this feature does not, in any way, affect the privacy of WhatsApp messages and/or calls.

No timeline was given for this feature to be available publicly.

Key takeaway

  • Meta is the newly rebranded name of the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

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