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    Coinbase Opens Beta Version of its NFT Marketplace

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    Coinbase has opened the beta version of its non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace.

    The company is starting with a small set of beta testers who’ll be invited based on their position on their waitlist.

    In April, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase invited a select number of users to the new NFT platform, nearly seven months after announcing the service in October.

    Coinbase has not disclosed the number of users that had early access to the marketplace, but the platform generated 73 ETH ($210,000) in 900 transactions during the first week of its beta.

    For a limited time, the new platform will have zero transaction fees, according to Sanchan Saxena, the company’s vice president of product.

    Coinbase will eventually add fees, which will be in-line with Web3 industry standards and will provide notice before anything changes.

    You can create a profile that represents you by curating it with the NFTs that tell your story. Connect any self-custody wallet to select the NFTs you want to highlight, or hide, on your profile.

    “The rise of NFT communities have shown us that online conversation extends far beyond the moments around transactions,” stated Coinbase.

    “We’re building a place that’s for more than just buying and selling. We want Coinbase NFT to be a place that helps creators and collectors build and engage their communities.”

    SEC Nearly Doubles Size of Enforcement’s Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit

    The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the allocation of 20 additional positions to the unit responsible for protecting investors in crypto markets and from cyber-related threats.

    The newly renamed Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit (formerly known as the Cyber Unit) in the Division of Enforcement will grow to 50 dedicated positions.

    “The U.S. has the greatest capital markets because investors have faith in them, and as more investors access the crypto markets, it is increasingly important to dedicate more resources to protecting them,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. “The Division of Enforcement’s Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit has successfully brought dozens of cases against those seeking to take advantage of investors in crypto markets. By nearly doubling the size of this key unit, the SEC will be better equipped to police wrongdoing in the crypto markets while continuing to identify disclosure and controls issues with respect to cybersecurity.”

    Since its creation in 2017, the unit has brought more than 80 enforcement actions related to fraudulent and unregistered crypto asset offerings and platforms, resulting in monetary relief totaling more than $2 billion. The expanded Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit will leverage the agency’s expertise to ensure investors are protected in the crypto markets, with a focus on investigating securities law violations related to:

    • Crypto asset offerings;
    • Crypto asset exchanges;
    • Crypto asset lending and staking products;
    • Decentralized finance (“DeFi”) platforms;
    • Non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”); and
    • Stablecoins.

    In addition, the unit has brought numerous actions against SEC registrants and public companies for failing to maintain adequate cybersecurity controls and for failing to appropriately disclose cyber-related risks and incidents. The Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit will continue to tackle the omnipresent cyber-related threats to the nation’s markets.

    “Crypto markets have exploded in recent years, with retail investors bearing the brunt of abuses in this space. Meanwhile, cyber-related threats continue to pose existential risks to our financial markets and participants,” said Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “The bolstered Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit will be at the forefront of protecting investors and ensuring fair and orderly markets in the face of these critical challenges.”

    The infusion of 20 additional positions into the Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit will bolster the ranks of its supervisors, investigative staff attorneys, trial counsels, and fraud analysts in the agency’s headquarters in Washington, DC, as well as several regional offices.

    Panama Exempts Crypto From Capital Gains Tax

    Panama has passed a new cryptocurrency bill making the technology exempt from capital gains tax.

    Panamanian Congressman Gabriel Silva introduced the cryptocurrency regulation bill that passed on Thursday.

    However, the new law does not make bitcoin legal tender in Panama.

    “We can’t just establish bitcoin because that will be unconstitutional and if it’s unconstitutional, then the project won’t happen,” said Silva.

    Officially, Panama uses the U.S. dollar for more than a century but has no currency per its constitution.

    Prior to the recent legislation, it was illegal for cryptocurrency companies to operate in Panama.

    Furthermore, the law makes crypto assets foreign-source income, which means it will not be taxed on capital gains.

    “The idea is to just respect the tradition that Panama has already had for many years, where the country taxes what happens inside of its borders, and the internet is obviously not in any country’s borders,” said Felipe Echandi, a crypto entrepreneur who helped Silva in drafting the bill.

    President Laurentino Cortizo has not officially signed the bill yet, but the legislation was passed unanimously in a 40-0 vote, insinuating the law will be signed.

    Central African Republic Adopts Bitcoin as Legal Tender

    The Central African Republic has approved Bitcoin as legal tender, becoming the second country to do so.

    Despite the Central African Republic’s vast deposits of uranium, gold, and diamonds, the nation remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

    In September, El Salvador became the first nation to recognize bitcoin as legal tender, a move criticized by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), stating that the move increases financial instability.

    Other critics worry cryptocurrency could make money laundering easier for criminals.

    Only 4% of the population in the Central African Republic currently has access to the internet, according to the WorldData website.

    At the moment, the Central African Republic uses the French-backed CFA franc as its currency. This is common among most former French colonies in Africa.

    The adoption bitcoin will make life easier, as it’s easy to convert crypto into other currencies and the transactions can be made with a smartphone.

    Many in the capital city of Bangui believe the CFA is a relic of the French control over the Central African Republic.

    Ongoing conflict between Muslim rebels has ravaged the Central African Republic since it gained its independence in 1960.

    In 2013, self-defense militias were established, leading to extensive massacres along religious lines.

    After President Faustin-Archange Touadéra came to office in 2016, the country started shifting its strategic alliance from France towards Russia.

    The NFL Releases 2022 Draft NFT Collection on Polygon

    The NFL has announced they will be launching an NFT collection of card-themed collectibles tied to the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday.

    The new collection is now available on the NFL’s Polygon-based marketplace, which it announced in November 2021.

    Since the marketplace’s release, the NFL has given out more than 500,000 NFTs associated with ticket purchases.

    Many of the NFTs the NFL has released have sold out within 24 hours of their release, according to Sam Rubinroit, the NFL’s director of club business development.

    The project is still in its “test and learn phase,” according to Rubinroit, with more project lined up for the regular season.

    The NFL’s initial “Regular Season Clubs” NFT collection is currently trading in the $300-600 range.

    The league’s players association (NFLPA) has a few crypto-related partnerships of its own, including an NFT tie-up with sports betting giant DraftKings and a partnership with the metaverse game Upland.