- Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard for $75 billion in cash
Microsoft Corp. agreed to buy Activision Blizzard Inc. in an all-cash deal valued at about $75 billion. It is the largest acquisition for Microsoft so far. The deal aims to expand Microsoft's video game business, adding popular game franchises Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush. Microsoft said the transaction would make it the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Japan’s Sony Group Corp. CEO Satya Nadella wants his gaming empire to be big enough that gamers will come to it directly, bypassing Apple.
Gaming is one of Microsoft’s two big metaverse plays (the other is Office and conference software). The acquisition will offer even more massive and devoted game communities to create their own metaverses.
- Meta reportedly plans to integrate NFTs on Facebook and Instagram profiles
Meta Platforms Inc., formerly Facebook Inc., is reportedly jumping onto the non-fungible token bandwagon and will allow users of its social media platforms Facebook and Instagram to mint, sell and trade the digital assets.
According to the Financial Times, unnamed sources said that Meta is already working on features that will allow users to display NFTs on social media profiles on Facebook and Instagram. There is also a prototype in the works that will assist users in the minting, or creation, of the tokens.
NFTs are a type of virtual asset secured by peer-to-peer blockchain technology that represents ownership of digital items such as artwork, music, collectibles, video game items and more. The technology has made it possible for digital items to be collectibles because once minted, an NFT can be traded between parties, and the transaction is recorded.
In 2021 the NFT market reached $41 billion in value, according to a new report from blockchain analytics company Chainalysis Inc. This value rivals the $100 million in digital collectible sales from 2020 tracked by DappRadar.
Last week, Twitter also announced a new feature that allows Twitter Blue users to verify their avatar NFTs. When users choose to use an NFT for their profile picture, it is displayed as a hexagonal-shaped image rather than the round-shaped one as normal and will be viewable across all platforms to all Twitter users.
- Surging Burn Rate Drives First Deflationary Week for ETH Issuance
Ethereum has posted its first consecutive week of deflationary issuance, meaning more ETH was destroyed than created over the past seven days. It is the first time that ETH’s issuance rate is lower than that of BTC. Now that Ether has a lower annual supply increase than Bitcoin (0.9% vs. 1.4%).
The historic inflation rate of BTC and ETH. Source: Glassnode
Once the Merger happens in July, ETH’s issuance is expected to reduce by 90% and ETH’s issuance is fully turned into deflationary. Lower supply would mean a higher price for ETH. For investors, a higher ETH price is better, however, for users, a higher ETH price is not necessarily better.
The main cause for ETH burn is the surge in OpenSea and DeFi activities. According to data from Ultrasound Money, OpenSea was the single-largest source of burnt Ether with 15,556 ETH burnt in the last 7 days. Followed by Uniswap with 7,166 ETH (V2+V3).
ETH burn by protocol. Source: Ultrasound.money
In addition, Polygon deployed EIP-1559 Upgrades on its mainnet. EIP-1559 changes do not lower the fees paid for transactions, since gas prices are determined by supply and demand. They do allow users to better estimate costs since the base fee is the minimum price for inclusion in the next block. This will result in fewer users overpaying.
- Mastercard strikes NFT payments deal with Coinbase amid a wave of recent crypto partnerships
Coinbase is partnering with Mastercard to allow card payments on its upcoming NFT marketplace. This means you’ll be able to directly purchase an NFT with fiat currency (also known as a government-issued currency, such as the USD) using your Mastercard credit or debit card, all without having to buy cryptocurrency first.
The cryptocurrency exchange says it’s working with Mastercard to “classify NFTs as ‘digital goods,’” which will make NFTs more accessible to someone who might be uncomfortable purchasing and storing cryptocurrency. Most NFT marketplaces require that you purchase cryptocurrency first, add it to a secure wallet, and then connect that wallet to the marketplace, a process that obviously isn’t as simple as your typical online purchase.
“Expanding the audience for NFTs allows this burgeoning market to support more creators and could spark the next evolution of digital commerce,” says Raj Dhamodharan, Mastercard’s executive vice president of digital asset and blockchain products, in an announcement on Mastercard’s site. “Getting more people involved safely and securely is perhaps the best way to help the NFT market thrive.” Dhamodharan also notes that Mastercard will use its acquisition of CipherTrace, a cryptocurrency intelligence company, to help bolster the safety of NFT purchases.
- Walmart is quietly preparing to enter the metaverse
According to CNBC, Walmart appears to be venturing into the metaverse with plans to create its own cryptocurrency and collection of non-fungible tokens or NFTs.
The big-box retailer filed several new trademarks late last month that indicates its intent to make and sell virtual goods, including electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods and personal care products. In a separate filing, Walmart said it would offer users virtual currency, as well as NFTs.
Previously, Walmart released a VR shopping video that supposedly shows “how Walmart envisions Shopping in the #Metaverse.” The video received mixed reactions from the Twitter community.
- Google Forms New Group To Focus On Blockchain And Distributed Data Storage
Google is forming a group dedicated to the blockchain and related technologies under a newly appointed executive, Shivakumar Venkataraman, who has spent more than a decade on the company’s core business of search advertising.
The group focus on “blockchain and other next-gen distributed computing and data storage technologies,”. Mr. Venkataraman will become a “founding leader” of Labs, a business division in which Google houses its various virtual and augmented reality efforts.