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NFT micro-philanthropy gives a new voice to the opera – Cointelegraph

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An opera-centric DAO is using NFTs to open up new funding avenues to classical musicians outside of the limiting legacy institutions.
The music industry has been a major adopter of Web3 integration, with use cases ranging from song rights to blockchain-based streaming to new forms of digital releases. 
Genres like pop, EDM and hip hop have represented nonfungible tokens (NFTs) in the music industry so far. However, classical music, and specifically opera, just found its entrance.
Living Opera, a Web3 community that combines classical music with blockchain innovation, is turning to the emerging technology to give a new voice to the prestigious art and the artists who perform it.
Soula Parassidis, CEO of Living Opera, told Cointelegraph in an interview that the premiere Magic Mozart NFT collection is a way of introducing the innovative world of fintech to the traditional one of classical music and vice versa.
Parassidis explains that these NFTs pay tribute to the concept of the “musikalisches würfelspiele,” a dice game to randomly generate music from precomposed options. This is one of the earliest examples of generative art and is allegedly attributed to Mozart.
Musicians have used NFTs for extra revenues and fan incentives, like Grimes’ $5.8 million digital asset project. For classical music, this could mean a completely new life and a step into relevancy for the next generation.
A survey from the National Endowment for the Arts found that the percentage of adults in the United States who attend at least one opera a year dropped from an already low 3.2% in 2002 to 2.2% in 2017.
The pandemic escalated this by shuttering classical venues and opera houses all over the world. One of the world’s premiere opera houses, the Metropolitan Opera, reported that in July 2021 it was down $25 million in revenue from the previous year.
Related: Experts explain how music NFTs will enhance the connection between creators and fans
Christos Makridis, chief operating off of Living Opera, told Cointelegraph that NFTs open a new way for classical artists and opera singers to bypass the traditional proposal process for grants and endowments.
Makridis says that NFTs give artists in this genre access to “short-term liquidity” that had no existed before.
Some classical artists have dabbled in personal NFTs, such as New Zealand composer Matthew Thomas Soong or American composer poser Cristina Spinei.
In 2021, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra was one of the earliest pioneers of classical music NFTs. The orchestra released an NFT as a fundraiser for musicians affected by the Met Opera’s pandemic-related paycheck suspension.
The DAO-like structure of Living Opera opens up micro-philanthropy for artists involved and their projects. Parassidis highlighted the rarity of such innovation in a very traditional industry and called NFTs a catalyst for socio-cultural change.
Both Parassidis and Makridis say this technology can help excite young people to engage with the art form and allow long-term fans new engagement possibilities.

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Tyler Hobbs' Fidenza NFT Project Gets $1M Pump Over 48 hours – CoinDesk

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DOJ Asks Congress for Tools to Limit NFT Money-Laundering Risk – PYMNTS.com

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Down at the very bottom of the crypto crime report the Justice Department issued last week was a request that could make it a lot harder to buy and sell NFTs.
Citing examples of criminals using the sale of the popular nonfungible tokens that hold art, video, music and collectibles to launder funds, the Justice Department asked Congress to define some of all NFTs as “value that substitutes for currency” under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).
Doing so, it said in “The Role of Law Enforcement in Detecting, Investigating, and Prosecuting Criminal Activity Related to Digital Assets,” would “make clear that its key [anti-money-laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terror (CFT)] provisions — including the obligations to have customer identification programs and report suspicious transactions to regulators — apply to NFT platforms, including online auction houses and digital art galleries.”
See also: DOJ Seeks to Double Jail Time for Money Transmission Crimes
The impetus, the department said, is the “explosive growth in the demand and corresponding markets for NFTs, perhaps most notably in the area of digital art.”
Substantial Risk
This “presents substantial money-laundering risks,” it said, citing a February Treasury Department study on money laundering in the broader art market.
“NFTs can be used to conduct self-laundering, a sequence in which criminals purchase an NFT with illicit funds and then resell to a purchaser who pays for it with clean funds unconnected to a prior crime,” that report noted.
It also found that in most cases, “digital assets that are unique, rather than interchangeable, and that are used in practice as collectibles rather than as payment or investment instruments … are generally not considered to be virtual assets under [international regulations].”
The “nonfungible” part of NFT means that each is unique and cannot substitute for any other, as opposed to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin which all have the same uses and value.
NFT marketplaces “may take the view that this definition [of a ‘value that substitutes for currency’] does not apply to their activities — and that they are thus not subject to the BSA’s anti money-laundering and anti-terrorism laws, the department said.
Justice is asking Congress to amend the BSA “to make clear that its key AML/CFT provisions — including the obligations to have customer identification programs and report suspicious transactions to regulators — apply to NFT platforms, including online auction houses and digital art galleries.”
Already There
Redefining NFTs as “value that substitutes for currency” would allow the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit (FinCEN) to “potentially seek to regulate such activity under its money transmission regime,” a trio of lawyers at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom wrote in an April blog post.
That, according to Jamie Boucher, Eytan Fisch and Javier Urbina, would require NFT marketplaces to register as money services businesses (MSB) with FinCEN.
Some types of NFTs — notably those used to fractionalize tangible assets like physical artworks and real estate, but also other valuable art or collectible tokens — are likely securities, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said.
See more: How Did NFTs Become SEC’s Newest Crypto Target?
In FinCEN’s view, the trio noted, those can be repurposed to fit the definition of “value that substitutes for currency” and thus may already require MSB licenses.
 
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FTX Talking With Investors for $1B Fundraising at $32 Billion Valuation – NFTgators

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Quick take:
Although Binance maintains its number one spot in terms of crypto transaction volume, FTX is catching up quick after rising to third, behind Coinbase. This could change soon given the steps FTX is taking in web3.
According to reports, Sam Bankman-Fried’s company is seeking $1 billion in a new round of funding at a valuation of about $32 billion. That values FTX twice the value of Coinbase— whose market cap stands at just over $14 billion, and at least 7-fold Binance’s most recent valuation of $4.5 billion.
And there is a good reason for the disparity in market share (volume-wise) and overall valuation. FTX is more than just a crypto exchange platform. 
The company has expanded its ecosystem to include stock trading, NFTs, crypto lending services and more, all forming significant operational synergies for the rapidly growing web3 company.
It explains why investors are placing such value on FTX. According to sources close to the $1 billion fundraising talks, the figure could change by the time the round is closed, CNBC reported, citing people who did not want to be named.
FTX has been one of the most active investors in the web3 space during the crypto winter. The company is in the process of acquiring the crypto lending platform Blockfi for a reported amount of $240 million.
Last year, it acquired crypto derivatives platform LedgerX allowing it to offer derivatives trading alongside traditional crypto exchange services.
Earlier this year, the company purchased Good Luck Games, the developer of the card battle game Storybook Brawl for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition added another perspective to FTX’s business pouncing on the rapidly growing web3 gaming sector.
The company also recently announced a partnership with online game retailer Gamestop to onboard the gaming community to web3.
In July, Bankman-Fried refuted claims that FTX was planning to buy retail stock brokerage platform Robinhood after Bloomberg published a report suggesting discussions were underway.
News about the new fundraising come hot on the heels of the company’s $900 million raise announced in July. FTX also raised $420 million in October 2021.
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