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Nifty News: Square Enix invests into NFT gaming firm, Beeple speaks on NFT art future and more…

Pokémon Company International has taken an Australian company to court over advertising an unlicensed NFT-based Pokémon game and HSBC has filed for a host of NFT and Metaverse trademarks.

NFT-friendly Japanese gaming giant Square Enix has invested 7 billion yen ($52.7 million) into game developer Gumi to create “high-quality” mobile games, blockchain games and a Metaverse initiative, among other things.

Gumi mobile games: Gumi

According to a translation of the press release, the partnership will help Gumi tap certain intellectual property from Square Enix, while it has also teased that the duo could be teaming up for a game-NFT-focused marketplace.

“We are already considering the establishment of a platform dedicated to blockchain games and an NFT marketplace, etc. Through collaboration between the two companies, we will provide a one-stop service from the development and distribution of blockchain games to the sale and distribution of tokens and NFTs.”

The company also outlined plans to work on a host of NFT games that will likely have Metaverse integrations. The Japanese company has outlined a quirky new term called “Wow and Earn” which essentially refers to games built off of world-famous IP that is integrated with blockchain-based Play-to-Earn (P2E) features.

“In the future, while considering the use of powerful content that everyone recognizes, we will break away from the highly speculative blockchain games of the past and create value while enjoying fun and excitement. We strongly recognize that it is necessary for game users all over the world to create a blockchain game that realizes ‘Wow and Earn,'" the release reads.

Gumi also stated that its “working day and night” to develop its Metaverse-focused arm of the business, as it looks to add another source of revenue outside of mobile games.

Gumi has previously worked with Square Enix on a couple of mobile games as part of the Final Fantasy Brave Exvius series, and both firms are partners of the Oasys blockchain-gaming project, which is building its own network designed purely for P2E gaming.

Beeple outlines future of NFTs and art

Michael Winkelmann, the widely successful digital artist also known as Beeple, believes that all physical art in the future will one day have an NFT attached to it.

Speaking with the Wall Street Journal on Dec. 23, Beeple suggested that NFTs will massively help the art industry by providing superior methods for tracking provenance and storing verifiably authentic data.

“I think all paintings will eventually have NFTs attached just because again, it's a better system than just handing you a piece of paper,” he said, adding that:

“If you had a standardization around ‘this is a painting,’ you could have all the provenance in the metadata of that NFT. You could have [that data on] where that painting was shown. So it’s all there and it's searchable in a database.”

As such, he thinks that NFTs will eventually help build a standardized art database that “everyone relies on.”

Beeple: Wall Street Journal

Pokemon takes NFT company to court

Pokémon Company International has taken an Australian company to court over advertising an unlicensed NFT-based Pokémon game, according to documents lodged with the Federal Court of Australia.

The company in question is called “Pokémon Pty Ltd” and it has been advertising an unlicensed “metauniverse” P2E game on Ethereum called Pokeworld.

Pokeworld: Pokémon Pty Ltd

On its website, it also claims to work on a host of official Pokemon games in the past, while it also claims to have an official partnership with Pokémon Company International.

However in the court documents, the Pokemon IP holders are seeking to restrain Pokémon Pty Ltd from representing that they hold any license, partnership or rights to sell Pokemon NFTs.

It has also called for the company to halt the launch of the game, promote it using Pokemon trademarks on its website and social media.

HSBC trademarks

British multinational mega bank HSBC has filed virtual trademarks for its name and logo, outlining potential plans for a host of NFT, blockchain and Metaverse products.

In its filing, highlighted by licensed trademark attorney, Mike Kondoudis via Twitter on Dec. 23, the HSBC lists a host of products and services including downloadable NFT virtual goods and files, virtual world friendly debit cards, NFT music and video content files.

The Metaverse appears to be a keen focus in the filing, as it also states that it is looking at providing financial advisory and entertainment services in the Metaverse and other virtual worlds.

Other Nifty News:

Hackers linked to North Korea’s Lazarus Group are reportedly behind a massive phishing campaign targeting NFT investors — utilizing nearly 500 phishing domains to dupe victims.

NFT marketplace OpenSea has been banning artists and collectors from Cuba, citing United States sanctions as the key reason behind its action.

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Nifty News: Celebs lose big on BAYC, Meghan and Harry building a metaverse, and more.

Celebrities are facing huge losses on their Bored Apes bought during the NFT peak, but big names like Sony and Adidas are pushing further into the industry.

Celebrities facing huge losses from BAYC NFTs

The hype behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) over the last year resulted in many celebrities investing in the Ethereum-based nonfungible token (NFT) collection with many, such as singer Justin Bieber, paying top dollar.

Bieber paid 500 Ether (ETH) for BAYC #3001 on Jan. 29, which at the time was valued at around $1.28 million, while the current top offer on the NFT cracks just over $69,500.

According to data from NFT Price Floor, the floor price for the collection has fallen considerably since it peaked at 144.9 ETH on May. 1 this year, which at the time was worth around $396,760, to a current low of 48 ETH, valued at $58,589 at the time of writing.

Many other celebs also rode the wave of hype that saw the Yuga Labs made NFTs become a “blue chip” collection, such as entrepreneur Gary Vee who still has a number of Bored Apes in his 2,400-strong NFT collection, and television host Jimmy Fallon, who bought BAYC #599 for $224,191 on Nov. 8 which has a current top offer of $70,264.

It's not all bad news for Bored Apes though, with BAYC #8633 having been bought from digital art collector Pransky for nearly $747,500 on Nov. 17 showing that there is still a huge demand for Bored Apes with some rare attributes.

The Sussexes in talks for a ‘virtual world’

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are “in advanced talks” with pax.world — a platform allowing users to create their own metaverse, according to a Nov. 15 Mirror article.

Sources allege that Markle is the driving force behind the plan, as a result, the Metaverse has cleverly been dubbed the “Meg-averse.”

The former working royals are thought to be looking for new ways to connect with their fans and see their purported Metaverse as a way “to take their brand fully global.”.

According to pax.world founder Frank Fitzgerald, the Metaverse is perfect for the “progressive, tech-savvy” audience the pair are looking to connect with as they build upon their brand, saying the platform is offering the couple “a plot of prime pax.world land.”

Adidas Originals unveil ‘virtual gear’ collection

Adidas released an Ethereum based NFT collection called the “Genesis collection,” on Nov. 16 featuring a set of wearables designed to be worn by virtual avatars.

Calling the new product “Virtual Gear,” the sportswear giant has labeled the collection as a “new, interoperable product category,” adding:

“[It] accelerates our collective drive towards strengthening web3, and the adidas community-based, member-first, open metaverse pledge”

Building on Adidas’ partnership with BAYC, Mutant Ape Yacht Club and Inhabitants, the 16-piece collection will also allow users who own a wearable Adidas NFT and a participating partner's NFT to “dress up” that NFT with their Adidas virtual wearable.

Owners of the Adidas Originals: Capsule NFT Collection, which launched in May will be able to burn their capsule NFT and have it replaced with a random NFT from the new collection.

Commenting on the collection, the Senior VP of Creative Direction for Adidas Originals Nic Galway said Web3 offers new opportunities for its designers and collaborators and adds a “level of utility that can be explored and even discovered as worlds and avatars take new forms.”

Sony’s NFT gaming patent

In a patent applied for in May 2021 and made public on Nov. 10, technology conglomerate Sony has revealed its intent to incorporate blockchain technology into its games.

The patent shows the company aims to track in-game assets using blockchain technology and NFTs,  including a series of diagrams showing how it would do this.

One of the diagrams showing how Sony envisages its tracking system to work. Image: WIPO

While the filing is just a patent at this time, it may indicate the entertainment behemoth is interested in joining the growing NFT gaming market.

Sony has already dipped its foot into NFTs, after partnering with Theta Labs in May to launch a collection of 3D NFTs viewable on its Spatial Reality Display, that allows visualization of 3D models.

More Nifty News:

Crypto has been front and center at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Red Bull Racing featuring NFTs on both the cars of the Red Bull Racing’s driving team following a deal struck with crypto exchange Bybit.

The creator of the BAYC, Yuga Labs, acquired Beeple’s browser-based NFT game on Nov. 15. The game allows players to outfit heroes with crafted loadouts and items to complete missions, and Yuga Labs have hinted that it could be merged into their Otherside metaverse ecosystem.

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Bored Apes founders propose new model for NFT creator royalties

The BAYC founders want an NFT creator royalties model that ensures transferring NFTs between wallets remains free and encourages creators to remain within the NFT ecosystem.

The founder of Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) has weighed in on the ongoing non-fungible token (NFT) creator royalties debate and shared a potential path forward that they believe best deals with the issue.

A Nov. 8 blog post from BAYC co-founder Wylie Aronow — co-signed by co-founders Greg Solano and Kerem Atalay — shared that they regard creator royalties as “the single most important factor that brought them [creators and artists] into the ecosystem.”

The post was in response to OpenSea’s Nov. 6 announcement that it would follow other NFT marketplaces on royalty enforcement which Aronow said shows its intent “to move with the rest of the herd and remove creator royalties for legacy collections from their platform,” and opined this move was “not great,” adding:

”For as much as NFTs have been about users truly owning their digital assets, they’ve also been about empowering creators.”

In response, the BAYC founders proposed a model for NFT royalties that uses “allow lists” coded into an NFT collections smart contract which permits NFT trading between regular wallets but only allows NFT trading for “marketplaces that respect royalties.”

A basic version of how this would work was explained, with the first step being to check if the wallet is a regular wallet or a smart contract making the transfer request.

Regular wallets would have transfer requests allowed, while transfers initiated by smart contracts are checked against “an oracle of contracts that are known to respect royalties,” with the requests approved if a match is found.

This model would allow free wallet-to-wallet transfers, which the BAYC founders emphasize is a must to ensure one of the core benefits of NFTs — asset ownership — is acknowledged with owners able to move assets between wallets without fees.

Related: NFTs are the key to turning passive fandom into an active community

The BAYC founders acknowledge that this model does still carry trade-offs, citing allowlist maintenance and an increased barrier to entry for new marketplaces, but said that for now, this allowlist is relatively small, noting:

“To start with, there are only a handful of known good actors today. Starting the allowlist is easy–just add those couple marketplaces that pay creator fees. Done.”

Allowlist maintenance is what they see as the more challenging issue, particularly the make-up of the governing body, adding:

“The real work is just in figuring out what this governing body looks like. But I think that’s a solvable problem for the NFT ecosystem to take on.”

In a Nov. 8 tweet, popular NFT artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, applauded the post as a great way to protect creator royalties as many NFT marketplaces move away from them.

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Beeple’s Discord URL ‘hijacked,’ directing users to wallet drainer

Other users in the crypto Twitter Community believe lax security management is to blame for the latest phishing scam aimed at Beeple's fans and followers.

Non fungible token (NFT) artist Mike "Beeple" Winkelmann has found himself the target of phishing scammers yet again, warning users that the URL link to his official Discord server was “hacked” — sending unaware new members to a wallet draining Discord channel if they follow the link. 

In an Oct. 3 post, the NFT artist warned users not to go into the "fraudulent" Discord channel and verify as it will “drain your wallet.”

However, Beeple wasn’t the first to notice the URL slight-of-hand, with Twitter user maxnaut.eth noting in a post hours earlier that the Discord link connected to the Beeple: Everydays - 2020 Collection on NFT marketplace OpenSea marketplace may have been “hijacked.”

The screenshot shared by maxnaut.eth suggests that the URL points to a “CollabLand wallet drainer,” showing a Collab.Land Bot on Discord which directs members to verify account ownership — instead it works to drain their wallets, noting:

"Your Discord URL probably got hijacked and your team didn't update it on OS. You need to change that ASAP or people going to get rekd."

While Beeple claims the URLs were hacked and that Discord is to blame, other crypto Twitter community members are arguing that lax security measures are truly to blame.

NFT analyst and blockchain detective "OKHotshot" replied to the artist's announcement, stating the URLs were not hacked but instead alleging: "Mismanagement of discord URLs allows this happen, probably just like it happened to CryptoBatz."

While cybersecurity firm Black Alchemy Solutions Group commented their belief that it was not "a Discord problem."

"This is a problem with a mismanagement of the Beeple Information Security apparatus. If you haven't already, hire a vCISO (Security Officer), web3 doesn't = Natively Secure."

It appears that the misdirecting Discord URLs have been fixed by the artist, according to maxnaut.eth, noting that it “Seems Beep Man picked it up and has fixed it now."

At the time of writing, the Discord link in the affected Opensea listing also appears to be gone.

Related: 8 sneaky crypto scams on Twitter right now

Beeple's social media and messaging platforms appear to be a popular target for scammers and hackers, having sold some of the most expensive NFTs on record, including the First 5,000 Days, a compilation of 5000 pieces of artwork that sold for $69.3 million.

Elon Musk's spacecraft manufacturer Space X, tech giant Apple, luxury brand Louis Vuitton and other high-profile companies and individuals are all listed as clients on Beeple's website.

In May, a phishing scam netted $438,000 in crypto and NFTs through a hijacking of his Twitter account, linking to a raffle purporting to be related to a Louis Vuitton NFT collaboration. 

In Nov. 2021, his Discord was part of another scam, where an admin account was compromised and a fake NFT drop was advertised, netting the scammers an estimated 38 Ether (ETH) worth roughly $176,378.14 at the time.

Beeple did not disclose how many users may have been impacted by the current malicious Discord links.

Cointelegraph has reached out to Beeple but has not received an immediate response at the time of publication.

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Christie’s moves on-chain with NFT auction platform on Ethereum

The new marketplace allows the prestigious auction house to carry out auctions and sales on the Ethereum blockchain “from start to finish.”

After a series of successful high-priced nonfungible token (NFT) sales, Christie’s has launched its own dedicated NFT "on-chain auction platform," allowing auctions to be carried out fully on-chain on the Ethereum network.

The 256-year-old British auction giant, which is also the second-largest auction house in the world by fine-art auction revenue, said its “Christie’s 3.0” allows for NFT auctions to be conducted entirely on the ETH network “from start to finish.”

“All transactions, including post-sale, will be automatically recorded on the blockchain.”

In its past NFT auctions, the payments from the winning bidder were not always conducted on a blockchain, but the creation of Christie’s marketplace allows transactions to occur in a fashion much like the popular marketplace OpenSea, allowing for payments to be made in Ether (ETH). 

Christie’s said the new marketplace was developed in partnership with NFT smart contract development startup Manifold, metaverse development firm Spatial and blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis.

The announcement was paired with an inaugural launch of only one project exclusive to the new marketplace by artist Diana Sinclair, featuring just nine NFTs which can be viewed in an online virtual gallery built by Spatial.

Christie’s has seen major success with NFT auctions in the past, such as Beeple’s “Everydays - The First 5000 Days,” which was minted exclusively for the auction house selling for a record $69.3 million in Mar. 2021, becoming one of the most expensive NFTs ever sold.

At the time, the sale of the NFT was conducted in partnership with NFT marketplace MakersPlace.

The firm also facilitated the auction of nine CryptoPunks in May 2021 with the winning bid coming in at almost $17 million.

Related: Beyond the NFT hype: The need for reimagining digital art’s value proposition

Christie’s Web3 interest has moved outside of NFT auctions, in July it launched a venture fund aimed at supporting “art-related financial products and solutions” in Web3 with its initial investment going to LayerZero Labs, a company building decentralized applications compatible with multiple blockchains.

Rival auction house Sotheby’s has taken a similar interest in Web3 and NFTs, launching its own metaverse in Oct. 2021 and having its share of high-priced NFT sales also.

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Targeted phishing scam nets $438K in crypto and NFTs from hacked Beeple account

Links posted to a fake Louis Vuitton non-fungible token (NFT) raffle were made to capitalize on a recent real collaboration between Beeple and the luxury fashion brand.

Digital artist and popular non-fungible token (NFT) creator Mike Winkelmann, more commonly known as Beeple, had his Twitter account hacked on Sunday, May 22 as part of a phishing scam.

Harry Denley, a Security Analyst at MetaMask, alerted users that Beeple’s tweets at the time containing a link to a raffle of a Louis Vuitton NFT collaboration were in fact a phishing scam that would drain the crypto out of users' wallets if clicked.

The scammers were likely looking to capitalize on a real recent collaboration between Beeple and Louis Vuitton. Earlier in May, Beeple designed 30 NFTs for the luxury fashion brand’s “Louis The Game” mobile game which were embedded as rewards to players.

The scammer continued to post phishing links from Beeple’s Twitter account leading to fake Beeple collections, luring in unsuspecting users with the promise of a free mint for unique NFTs.

The phishing links were up on Beeple’s Twitter for around five hours and on-chain analysis of one of the scammers' wallets shows the first phishing link scored them 36 Ethereum (ETH) worth roughly $73,000 at the time.

The second link netted the scammers around $365,000 worth of ETH and NFTs from high-value collections such as the Mutant Ape Yacht Club, VeeFriends, and Otherdeeds amongst others bringing the grand total value stolen from the scam to around $438,000.

On-chain data shows the scammer selling the NFTs on OpenSea and putting their stolen ETH into a crypto mixer in an attempt to launder the gains.

Beeple later tweeted that he had regained control of his account and added to remind his followers that “anything too good to be true IS A F*CKING SCAM.”

Related: Needed: A massive education project to fight hacks and scams

Beeple has created three of the top ten most expensive NFTs sold to date including one which sold for $69.3 million, the most expensive ever sold to a sole owner. This attention has made him a target for hacks.

In November 2021, an admin account on Beeple’s Discord was hacked with scammers there also promoting a similarly fake NFT drop which resulted in users losing around 38 ETH.

Earlier this month, cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes released a report which highlighted a rise in phishing attempts as scammers try to cash in on NFT hype. The firm noted the use of fraudulent websites depicted as legitimate platforms is the most common tactic used by scammers.

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Nifty News: Azuki founder under fire, CryptoPunk sells for a major loss…

The founder of the Azuki NFT project has been accused of abandoning three projects and Instagram has partnered with Dapper Labs to roll out Flow NFT support.

The founder of the $723.5 million Azuki NFT project who goes by “Zagabond” online caused a sh*tstorm yesterday after revealing that they had previously worked on three noabandoned NFT projects. After facing strong backlash from the NFT community, they have since apologized for their “shortcomings.”

The three projects in question are Tendies and CryptoPunks copycats CryptoPhunks and Cryptozunks. Zagabond suggested all three had failed due to a lack of community support , and other factors such as team members leaving or high gas fees on Ethereum (ETH).

After releasing the blog via Twitter, most replies were in support of Zagabond’s honesty on the trial and error path that led to Azuki NFTs, however other sections of the NFT community weren’t as pleased.

User zachxbt didn’t mince their words when they posted: “So does Web 3.0 = rugging three projects in less than a year?” before going to recount some alleged misdeeds relating to the Cryptozunks developers pretending to be women in a bid to market the project.

Other users like dxv_eth alleged that Zagabond had agreed to build a marketplace for the Cryptozunks project and also purchase Metaverse in a bid to strengthen the ecosystem, but failed to do so before eventually ghosting the community.

After being slammed by the community and holding a Twitter Spaces chat, Zagabond issued an apology earlier today, noting that:

“I realized my shortcomings in how I handled the prior projects which I started. To the communities I walked away from, to Azuki holders, and to those who believed in me — I’m truly sorry.”

Madonna x Beeple

Iconic pop-musician Madonna and NFT heavyweight Beeple have teamed up to launch a tokenized art collection that humbly depicts the singer as the mother of creation, evolution and technology.

There are three different NFT art pieces in total, all of which depict Madonna giving birth to various either trees, butterflies or mechanical centipedes.

Beeple and Madonna

The NFTs are set to go up for auction via SuperRare on May 11 and Madonna stated that all of the proceeds will go towards three different non-profit organizations called National Bail Out, V-Day and Voices of Children.

Instagram to support flow NFTs

After Dapper Labs announced the $725 million ecosystem fund to boost growth on its Flow blockchain this week, the team has also revealed that it has signed a partnership that will see Flow-based NFTs supported on Instagram.

Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou noted on Twitter earlier today that the move will be “game-changers” for NFT projects on Flow such as NBA Top Shot, NFL All Day and UFC strike as it will offer them massive exposure to a global audience.

It also marks the one of the first major blockchain partnerships for Instagram. The social media company will also roll out support for NFTs on Ethereum and Solana.

The CEO also clarified that the $725 million worth of funding will be “mostly investment capital” and not grants handed out to projects that want to build on the ecosystem.

CryptoPunk sells for huge loss

An NFT from one of the original NFT projects CryptoPunks was sold for a whopping 86% loss on May 8.

CryptoPunk #273 sold for hefty $1.003 million in October, worth 265 ETH at the time, but has since fallen from grace amid a tumultuous time for the crypto and blockchain sector, going for a mere $139,836 on Sunday morning.

Larva Labs’ CryptoPunks boomed in popularity throughout 2021, and the project was recently acquired by Yuga Labs in March, the team behind the widely successful Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs. The move doesn’t appear to have done much for the market in the short term however.

Related: Otherside NFTs fall below mint price while cheaper ETH sees sales volume boost

Other Nifty News:

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company is starting to test digital collectibles on photo and video sharing platform Instagram this week, signaling a move toward adding NFTs.

Billionaire investor Mark Cuban has tipped commercial smart contract adoption as the next catalyst to drive the crypto and blockchain sector, as he argued that networks that only offer NFTs and DeFi for the sake of it will eventually crumble.

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Moonbirds NFT Sales Skyrocket Capturing $364 Million in 5 Days

Moonbirds NFT Sales Skyrocket Capturing 4 Million in 5 DaysA non-fungible token (NFT) collection called Moonbirds has been a topical conversation within the NFT community as the compilation’s sales have been enormous. The Moonbirds NFT project started selling five days ago on April 16, and since then statistics show the collection has seen $364.83 million in sales. Moonbirds NFT Collection Takes the Top Spot […]

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