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Chinese municipal bank issues first-ever digital yuan loan using intellectual property as collateral

The unnamed recipient of the loan said the e-CNY transaction was fast and efficient; they received an equivalent of 500,000 CNY, which was $74,020 at the…

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The unnamed recipient of the loan said the e-CNY transaction was fast and efficient; they received an equivalent of 500,000 CNY, which was $74,020 at the time of publication.

As reported by local news outlet Sohu, on Wednesday, the Agricultural Commerce Bank of Zhangjiagang, located in China's Suzhou province, announced that it had issued a 500,000 digital yuan (e-CNY) loan with intellectual property backing it as collateral. The loan was issued via unanimous approval by the city's consumer markets regulator, financial markets regulator, and municipal officials. 

Unnamed in the report, the recipient of the loan is an entity manufacturing environmental protection equipment for steel factories in Suzhou province. As told by the entity, due to an uptick in the number of client invoices, it decided to experiment with the new borrowing method, where the loan was directly released into its e-CNY digital wallet. Meanwhile, the Agricultural Commerce Bank of Zhangjiagang said this was yet another experiment in the country's e-CNY trial program.

Two days prior, the People's Bank of China said it wants to expand further the number of e-CNY testing sites, which are currently in 15 provinces. In its most recent data update on May 31, the central bank tallied 264 million e-CNY transactions totaling 83 billion CNY ($12.29 billion) since inception. Over 4.567 million merchant terminals across China accept e-CNY as payment.

Related: More than 2.6 million users signed up for the City of Shenzhen's digital yuan airdrop

Additionally, 64 companies with a total market cap of 560 billion CNY ($82.9 billion) listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges are exploring blockchain technology. In recent months, China has seemingly increased its focus on developing its central bank digital currency, citing benefits in stimulating consumer spending after COVID-19 lockdowns hampered the economy. Various e-CNY airdrops are currently ongoing for participants to claim rewards and use them at various merchant platforms.

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Spotify starts selling live music tickets to fans directly

Spotify has launched a new site to sell fans tickets to live gigs directly from its platform instead of redirecting users to partners like Ticketmaster…

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Spotify has launched a new site to sell fans tickets to live gigs directly from its platform instead of redirecting users to partners like Ticketmaster and Eventbrite. The company’s new website lists upcoming concerts and lets users purchase tickets to these shows through debit or credit card; users need to have a Spotify account to buy tickets, though.

The company hasn’t officially announced the launch of its ticketing platform, but Chris Messina first noted about the site being available for the public to book tickets earlier today.

The site lists gigs that are available to book on the home page, and under the My Events section, users can see their past and upcoming ticket bookings. Currently, the Spotify Tickets site lists gigs for artists like Limbeck, Crow, Annie DiRusso, Four Years Strong, and TOKiMONSTA that are performing in the U.S. in the coming months.

The Spotify Tickets home page Image Credits: Spotify

The company revamped its in-app live event discovery page in June with better gig discovery for events around the user’s local area. Until now, Spotify used its ticketing partners like Ticketmaster, AXS, DICE, Eventbrite, and See Tickets to list these events; for ticket booking, it used to link out to these partners from the event page. With the launch of its ticketing platform, this may change. While currently, events listed on the Spotify Tickets site are not available on the Live events page, the company’s support page says: “Some tickets listed there [on the Live Events page] are available for purchase directly from Spotify.” Tickets directly sold through Spotify are also not currently listed on the artist page. We have asked the firm if it plans to list directly ticketed events on the Live Events page and artists’ pages.

Spotify ticketing site’s legal section says that the company only acts as a ticketing agent and takes a booking fee. It also mentions that it can be selling tickets on behalf of “third parties which can include venues, event promoters, fan clubs, and artists, as their disclosed ticketing agent”. We have asked the company for more details about its cut and how it defers from its affiliate fees, and we’ll update the story if we hear back.

Notably, some venues listed on the Spotify Ticket page come under the “National Independent Venue Association,” a U.S.-based organization representing independent venues. So the company might be currently avoiding venues that are under Ticketmaster owner Live Nation’s distribution. Live Nation has been accused of monopolistic practices regarding ticket distribution with lawmakers asking President Joe Biden to launch an investigation into the ticket distribution firm last year.

In a blog published in June, Spotify’s product manager for Live Events Discovery Sam Sheridan said that while people were engaging with artists on the app, they left the platform to find events for their live performances. With the revamped live events feed and the ticketing platform, the company is trying to solve the discovery problem and earn some money through ticket booking directly or as an affiliate partner. Last year, the company also experimented with selling tickets to virtual pre-recorded concerts due to the pandemic. The company has been under constant scrutiny for not paying artists enough from its streaming avenue, so with this new initiative, Spotify could argue that it will drive more ticket sales for artists.

Spotify’s ticketing platform launch comes days after TikTok partnered with Ticketmaster to let users discover events ranging from a OneRepublic concert to a WWE event and book tickets for them. In February, Snap struck a similar partnership with the ticket booking platform to power event discovery through Snap Minis — third-party party programs on Snapchat.

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German crypto bank Nuri with 500K users files for insolvency

Nuri stated that it has been facing a “lasting strain” on its business liquidity in 2022 due to “significant macroeconomic headwinds and the cooling…

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Nuri stated that it has been facing a “lasting strain” on its business liquidity in 2022 due to “significant macroeconomic headwinds and the cooling down of public and private capital markets.”

Nuri, a German start-up crypto bank with 500,000 customers filed for insolvency on Aug. 9, citing major crypto sell-offs, insolvency of Celsius and other crypto funds earlier this year as a reason for the move. 

The crypto bank said the move will “ensure the safest path forward” for all its customers, but also stressed that the insolvency will not affect its services, customer funds, investments, or the ability for customers to withdraw their assets from the platform. 

Some customers have reported difficulties withdrawing their assets through Nuri's mobile app, however, Nuri on Twitter said this has been the result of high traffic and usage, and again stressed that "funds are safe." 

Notably, the firm itself doesn’t actually handle customer’s fiat and crypto funds due to a partnership Solarisbank AG. According to the Solaris Group website, Nuri partnered with the bank and its crypto subsidiary Solaris Digital Assets to outsource banking and crypto custody licensing.

This enabled Nuri to scale its operations and services by utilizing Solaris’ banking and crypto asset infrastructure/licensing. With Solaris not facing any liquidity issues, Nuri is essentially able to carry on its services while the company undergoes restructuring, unlike other firms that have run into the same issues.

“Let us reiterate the most important information for you: All funds in your Nuri accounts are safe due to our partnership with Solarisbank AG. The temporary insolvency proceedings do not affect your deposits, cryptocurrency funds and Nuri Pot investments which have been done with us.”

“You have guaranteed access and will be able to deposit and withdraw all funds freely at any time. For the time being, nothing will change and Nuri’s app, product, and services will continue to run,” Nuri added.

Nuri stated that it has been facing a “lasting strain” on it’s business liquidity in 2022 due to “significant macroeconomic headwinds and the cooling down of public and private capital markets” such as the global pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Additionally, various negative developments in the crypto markets earlier this year, including major cryptocurrency sell-offs, the implosion of the Luna/Terra protocol, the insolvency of Celsius and other major Crypto funds have led to a crypto bear market,” Nuri wrote.

Related: Crypto lending platform Hodlnaut suspends services due to liquidity crisis

Berlin-based Nuri, formerly named Bitwala, was founded in 2015 and offers crypto savings accounts, portfolio investment baskets dubbed “Nuri Pots” and crypto trading services which it charges 1% trading fees on.

"We are confident that the temporary insolvency proceedings offer the best basis for developing a viable long-term restructuring concept in the company's current situation," it added. 

Nuri joins a host of crypto firms that have run into liquidity issues during the bear market of 2022, with the most notable names being Voyager Digital, Celsius and Three Arrows Capital.

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Ready Player One gave us the misconception that the Metaverse is VR — Everyrealm CEO, KBW 2022

Steven Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’ presents an unrealistic glimpse into life in the metaverse, Everyrealm CEO Janine Yorio told an audience in…

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Steven Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’ presents an unrealistic glimpse into life in the metaverse, Everyrealm CEO Janine Yorio told an audience in Seoul.

Everyrealm CEO Janine Yorio has dispelled misconceptions that the Metaverse can only be presented “exclusively in VR.” 

Speaking on Aug. 9 during Korean Blockchain Week 2022, Yorio told an audience in Seoul that Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One had given us a glimpse into what life could be like if we were living in the Metaverse.

However, the movie gives us this misconception about the Metaverse because “the protagonist is wearing a VR headset”, she argues, despite most developments in the Metaverse currently being “developed for your desktop” according to Janine Yorio.

Yorio highlighted that consumer preferences has been the reason behind this, as the way humans like to “interact with technology” is “18 inches from your face, not three inches from your face” adding that “way more people have computers than have VR headsets.”

Yorio highlighted that the idea of the Metaverse being exclusively in VR is unrealistic, saying that while Ready Player One showed us that this “immersive photo real environment” was an exciting concept, it isn’t going to happen in the “near term future” as it isn’t how humans are used to interacting with technology.

The Everyrealm executive suggested that the Metaverse being “exclusively in VR '' contradicts how humans are used to using technology, which is generally multi-tasking or used to “procrastinate”, whereas “when you’re using VR you have to check out of life entirely.”

We can expect the next “12 to 36 months” to be the most exciting time for the Metaverse, said Yorio, noting this will be the time “when a lot of the triple A gaming studios…are actually going to start building and delivering the kind of Metaverse” that people are looking forward to.

After this major shift in development happens this is when we can expect “mainstream adoption [...] the moment we’re all waiting for” she explained.

Everyrealm is a company that invests, manages, and develops digital assets such as NFTs, Metaverse platforms, gaming, and infrastructure. The company currently has holdings in 25 Metaverse platforms as well as owning over 3000 NFTs and managing more than 100 real estate developments.

Related: Experts clash on where virtual reality sits in the Metaverse

During the presentation, Yorio also shared Everyrealm’s project plans in the near future with a focus on fashion as it is “one of the private primary driving drivers of commerce.”

"Metaverse users will be able to look forward to having a look-alike avatar that they can dress with clothing from different designers [...] as we strongly believe that fashion will move the Metaverse forward.”

Yorio also noted that they were not prioritizing building music concerts in the Metaverse, calling the idea of concerts in the Metaverse “terrible.”

"We go to live shows to get the 'bass' feeling in our feet and being with friends and actually dancing and you can’t do any of that […] but the pandemic made us a little bit more forgiving of what a concert can be.”

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