Digestible news about the latest developments across the fields of NFT, blockchain and metaverse in China, delivered to you every week.
This week: Bilibili launches first NFT series “Dovthe,” e-CNY will enter WeChat Pay, GameStop shares surge on plan to enter NFTs, and more.
Bilibili Launches First NFT Series “Dovthe”
Chinese user-generated content (UGC) video platform Bilibili announced on Chinese microblogging site Weibo this week that it will roll out its first batch of “digital avatars” on the website’s native blockchain “Upowerchain” for select users.
- The digital avatars, named “Dovthe” (or Ge De in Chinese), are computer-generated, anthromorphised pigeons numbered from 1 to 2233. Dovthes No.101 to 2100 will be distributed randomly to users, while the rest will be reserved by the website for special purposes.
- “Dovthes” are not open for sale, and can only be acquired via application by Bilibili‘s Level 6 (highest level) users, who also need to be above 14 years old, and have logged onto the site every single day in the past year.
- The criteria are set up so that the avatars are only accessible to Bilibili‘s core users.
- Bilibili users are on average 21 years old, according to CEO Chen Rui.
- Similar to other Chinese tech companies who made their forays into NFTs in 2021, Bilibili steers clear of the term “NFT” or any references to crypto in order to avoid regulatory scrutiny.
- While Dovethes cannot be purchased or traded (and therefore do not bear the qualities of crypto currencies), they also differ from China’s mainstream digital collectibles in that they can be repurposed and commercialized by its owners.
- This, according to an official statement on the website, is not only made possible, but also necessitated by Bilibili‘s unique UGC ecosystem.
- However, owners are not allowed to patent their avatars or register for copyrights. (Jiemian News)
Sequoia China Leads $25M Equity Round for DeFi Wallet DeBank
DeBank, a cryptocurrency wallet focused on decentralized finance (DeFi) solutions, has closed new funding led by major venture capital firm Sequoia China.
- The Shanghai-based firm announced Tuesday on Twitter that it has raised $25 million, bringing DeBank’s total valuation to $200 million.
- Apart from Sequoia China, the funding round featured major crypto investment firms like Dragonfly, Hash Global and Youbi.
- The raise also included strategic funding from Coinbase Ventures, Crypto.com exchange, stablecoin provider Circle and hardware wallet maker Ledger.
- DeBank is a cryptocurrency wallet designed to track DeFi data, including decentralized applications or exchanges (DEX) and DeFi interest rates. It also lets users navigate and manage various DeFi assets and projects. The platform provides analytics tools for decentralized lending protocols, stablecoins, margin trading platforms and others.
- DeBank was co-founded in 2018 by Chinese research and development expert Tang Hongbo. (Cointelegraph)
DOGAMÍ Secures Pre-Seed Funding From Animoca Brands and Others to Build Petaverse on Tezos Blockchain
The Paris-based firm secures $6 million in funding from Animoca Brands, Ubisoft and The Sandbox co-founders. The proceeds will be used to develop the DOGAMÍ petaverse and explore the use of blockchain technology in digital pet ownership.
- DOGAMÍ is a mass-market play-to-earn NFT AR mobile game where players can adopt, breed and train their virtual puppies to complete various tasks and earn DOGA, DOGAMÍ’s native token.
- The DOGA tokens can be used to purchase wearables and tickets to virtual events, build digital wardrobes, as well as breed new DOGAMÍ.
- DOGAMÍ is built on Tezos, a decentralized open-source blockchain known for its scalibility, security, and energy efficiency, according to its website. In addition, DOGA can also be traded in centralized and decentralized exchanges on the secondary market.
- DOGAMÍ was co-founded in 2021 by ex-management consultant Max Stoeckl, blockchain entrepreneur Bilal El Alamy, and branding specialist Kristofer Dayne Penseyres, who also holds a Performing Arts Degree from the Stella Adler Academy of Acting. (Cointelegraph)
E-CNY to Enter WeChat Pay
Tencent-owned WeChat, one of China’s biggest messaging apps and payment services, will begin supporting the country’s sovereign digital currency.
- The People’s Bank of China, which issues the digital yuan or e-CNY, is looking to expand the number of citizens using its digital money by collaborating with WeChat Pay.
- China has been working on the digital yuan since 2014 and is yet to roll it out nationwide. Teaming up with WeChat means that more than 1 billion users could have access to the digital currency, providing a potential boost for the e-CNY.
- Earlier this year, WeChat Pay’s rival payment app Alipay also rolled out its own e-CNY wallet.
- The potential expansion of e-CNY usage comes ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics this year. The PBOC has been aiming to have the digital yuan ready for the event in the Chinese capital. (CNBC)
GameStop Shares Surge on Plan to Enter NFT and Crypto Markets
GameStop Corp is launching a division to develop a marketplace for NFTs and establish cryptocurrency partnerships, according to sources familiar with the plan, boosting the video game retailer’s shares 27% in extended trading.
- The retailer has hired more than 20 people to run the unit, which is building an online hub for buying, selling and trading NFTs of virtual video game goods, such as avatar outfits and weapons. The company is asking select game developers and publishers to list NFTs on its marketplace when it launches later this year.
- GameStop also plans to sign partnerships with two crypto companies to share technology and co-invest in the development of games that use blockchain and NFT technology, as well as other NFT-related projects. The retailer expects to enter into similar agreements with a dozen or more crypto companies and invest tens of millions of dollars in them this year.
- GameStop, based in Grapevine, Texas, has been working to reset its business after years of losses. The company was at the center of a stock-trading frenzy last year that boosted its share price, which rode a surge in interest and optimism from individual investors.
- Last year, GameStop overhauled its executive team and board of directors, naming activist investor Ryan Cohen as chairman. Mr. Cohen, who founded online pet-products retailer Chewy Inc., has been pushing to make GameStop more tech centric.
- The turnaround effort has yet to show significant results in GameStop’s financial performance. In the quarter through October, the company said revenues grew, but its loss widened compared with the same period a year earlier. The revenue growth came from sales of hardware and accessories, while revenue from game software slipped 2%. (The Wall Street Journal, Reuters)
More cat facts – parasites living in cat stools might do weird things to our brains
- Research shows that cats have the strange ability to make mammals close to them behave strangely. This has been attributed to protozan, or a single-celled organism, that lives in cats’ stool, called Taxoplasma gondii.
- In one classic story, T. gondii can travel into a rat’s brain and cause the rat to no longer avoid areas where cats live. In other words, it reprograms the rodent’s brain to make it more likely to be eaten by cats.
- Scientists think T. Gondii alters brain functioning by forming cysts in regions that process fear and decision-making. The cysts may also affect behavior by ramping up levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in rewards and risk-taking.
- Humans can also be infected with T. gondii. Most don’t show any symptoms, but those with compromised immune systems can suffer from deadly brain inflammation, dementia and psychosis.
That’s it for this week’s newsletter – thanks for reading! As always, I welcome any feedback on how to make this newsletter better. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great weekend, and see you next week!