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Nifty News: NFT restaurant crumbles, Binance NFT ends Polygon support and more

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Bold plans for a nonfungible token (NFT)-based restaurant and private members lounge in San Francisco have ended abruptly after the company behind the project halted construction due to challenging macroeconomic factors.

The two venues were being built on Salesforce Park and were going to be dubbed the “Sho Restaurant” and “Sho Club Sky Lounge.”

The latter would only be accessible to holders of the Sho Club NFTs, which cost anywhere from $7,500 to $300,000, and offered access to other future Sho Group hospitality offerings.

Speaking with San Francisco-focused news website SFGATE on Sept. 7, Sho Group CEO Joshua Sigel stated that it was no longer possible to build the project and confirmed that the company ended its lease agreement in July.

Early rendition of the restaurant and members lounge. Source: Sho Group.

The CEO added: “Despite a strong demand for the concept with millions of dollars in both pre-sold and reserved memberships […] we ultimately could not address the many concerns brought about by potential investors, most of which have been around the future of SF and the rising costs of constructing the restaurant.”

Sigel went on to highlight difficult macro factors that ended up making construction costs too expensive, such as “labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, geopolitical uncertainty, and inflation.”

Sigel says Sho Group has refunded everyone who bought the NFTs.

Binance NFT ends support for Polygon

Binance’s NFT marketplace suddenly announced that it would soon wind down support for Polygon-based NFTs but did not provide a clear explanation as to why.

In a Sept. 8 blog post, Binance NFT stated that it will discontinue its The Sandbox NFT Staking Program later this month, citing a decision to streamline product offerings on the platform.

The program allows users to stake their Polygon-based Land NFTs from The Sandbox to earn SAND token rewards; however, it will officially shut down on Sept. 26.

Users will have their NFTs automatically unstaked and returned to the spot wallets.

As part of the closure of the program, Binance NFT also stated that support for the Polygon network will come to an end on the same day, with users being given until Dec. 31 to withdraw all their Polygon NFTs from the marketplace.

Explaining the move, all Binance NFT stated was that “more details will be provided to impacted users at a later date.”

Announcement. Source: Binance NFT.

Reddit launches NFL NFTs

To celebrate the new NFL season that kicked off this week, NFT-friendly social media platform Reddit launched NFL-themed NFT avatar collectibles.

The collection was launched on Sept. 7 and covers all 32 teams. The NFTs are being sold for $25 a pop, and the artwork depicts the Reddit Snoo mascot wearing various uniforms.

There are 500 tokens available per team; however, at the time of writing, it appears that many of the sets have more than 400 NFTs still available, suggesting there hasn’t been any rush to snap them up yet.

Reaction to the announcement on r/CollectibleAvatars. Source: Reddit

Rumble Kong League x Stance

As part of a partnership with NBA star Paul George and popular sock, underwear and T-shirt brand Stance, NFT project Rumble Kong League has dropped phygital basketball socks.

The drop is part of a broader collaborative project dubbed Hyper Socks, which will eventually see the launch of a 3v3 basketball game with play-to-earn features.

Related: NFT startup Rario loses founders after $120M funding last year: Report

The first stage of the project saw the sale of tokenized socks that can be used in the upcoming game.

In a Sept. 8 announcement, the Rumble Kong League team kicked off stage two by opening up the sale of 250 boxes of physical Stance Sox, that are themed with the cartoon gorilla avatars from the project.

The partnership marks a significant mainstream partnership for the project, considering Stance’s ties to the NBA and other pro sports leagues. 

Other Nifty News:

The team behind NFT project OnChainMonkey is shifting its entire collection of 10,000 NFTs from Ethereum to Bitcoin in a massive undertaking expected to take several months.

The Base network’s “Onchain Summer” promotion in August resulted in over 700,000 NFTs minted by over 268,000 unique wallets, according to a Sept. 6 announcement from the team.

Magazine: NFT Collector: Giant Swan’s gothic VR dreamscapes… royalty nightmare on OpenSea


Coinbase holds 5% of all Bitcoin in existence: Data

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Blockchain intelligence platform Arkham recently identified that crypto exchange Coinbase holds almost 1 million Bitcoin (BTC) in its wallets. The coins are worth more than $25 billion at current market prices for BTC. 

According to Arkham, the exchange’s holdings amount to almost 5% of all existing Bitcoin. Arkham said that Coinbase holds a total of 947,755 BTC. At the moment, Bitcoin’s circulating supply is around 19,493,537, according to coin information website CoinGecko.

Furthermore, Arkham also noted that it tagged and identified 36 million Bitcoin deposit and holding addresses used by the exchange. According to Arkham, Coinbase’s largest cold wallet holds around 10,000 BTC. Based on the exchange’s financial reports, the intelligence company believes that Coinbase has more Bitcoin that are not yet labeled and could not be identified. 

While Coinbase holds over $25 billion in BTC in its wallets, the exchange only owns around 10,000 of all the Bitcoin it holds, which is worth roughly $200 million, according to recent data.

Related: Bitcoin mining can help reduce up to 8% of global emissions: Report

Meanwhile, community members expressed varying reactions to the news about the amount of Bitcoin the centralized exchange holds. Some believe it’s a sign to withdraw their BTC from exchanges, warning holders not to wait until exchanges start to halt withdrawals. Others say that since there are legitimate concerns over cold wallets, there’s no good way to store their assets.

When it comes to Bitcoin ownership by companies, business intelligence firm MicroStrategy still owns the most BTC. In earnings results posted on Aug. 1, the firm’s co-founder Michael Saylor declared that the company owns 152,800 BTC, worth over $4 billion at the time of writing.

Magazine: How to protect your crypto in a volatile market: Bitcoin OGs and experts weigh in

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Coinbase CEO warns against AI regulation, calls for decentralization

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Brian Armstrong, the CEO of crypto exchange Coinbase, expressed his stance on artificial intelligence (AI) regulation in a recent post on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter). 

On Sept. 23, Armstrong explained that he believes that AI should not be regulated. According to the Coinbase CEO, the AI space needs to develop as soon as possible because of reasons such as national security. In addition, Armstrong also noted that despite the best intentions of regulators, regulation “has unintended consequences,” arguing that it kills innovation and competition.

The Coinbase executive cited the internet as an example. Armstrong believes there was a “golden age of innovation” on the internet and software because it was not regulated. The Coinbase CEO suggested the same should be applied to AI technology. 

Furthermore, Armstrong also presented an alternative to regulation in terms of protecting the AI space. According to the executive, it would be better to “decentralize it and open source it to let the cat out of the bag.”

Related: Tether acquires stake in Bitcoin miner Northern Data, hinting at AI collaboration

Meanwhile, various jurisdictions across the globe have either started to regulate AI or express concerns about its potential effects. On Aug. 15, China’s provisional guidelines for AI activity and management came into effect. The regulations were published on July 10 and were a joint effort between six of the country’s government agencies. This is the first set of AI rules implemented within the country amid the recent AI boom.

In the United Kingdom, the competition regulator studied AI in order to identify its potential impact on competition and consumers. On Sept. 18, the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority concluded that while AI has the potential to change people’s work and lives, the changes may happen too fast and could have a significant impact on competition.

Magazine: ‘AI has killed the industry’: EasyTranslate boss on adapting to change

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Bitcoin miners double down on efficiency and renewable energy at the World Digital Mining Summit

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Bitmain rolled out its next-generation Antminer S21 and S21 Hydro ASIC miners at the World Digital Mining Summit (WDMS) in Hong Kong on Sept. 22, revealing the crucial performance stats the entire industry has been waiting for. The S21 has a hash rate of 200 terahashes per second (TH/s) and an efficiency of 17.5 joules per terahash (J/T), while the S21 hydro hashes at 335 TH/s and 16 J/T, which is notable given that until recently, most Bitcoin ASICS were operating above the 20 J/T level.

With electricity costs continuing to rise year-over-year and the Bitcoin halving projected to occur in April 2024, ASIC efficiency is quickly becoming the paramount focus of miners, and many are also pivoting toward folding in renewable energy sources as a core component of their operations.

Bitcoin miners focus on efficiency and renewable energy

Sustainable development in the mining industry was a core theme discussed in a majority of the panels at the WDMS. In the opening roundtable, team members from Terrawulf, Core Scientific, CleanSpark and Iris Energy shared their perspectives on how further integration of renewable energy sources will become a critical strategy to implement for many miners after the April 2024 Bitcoin supply halving.

Bitmain World Digital Mining Summit. Source: Cointelegraph

According to Nazar Khan, Terrawulf’s chief operating officer:

“There’s a significant transition going on in the supply side of the generation process; there’s a concerted effort to decarbonize the entire supply stack, and so when we talk about Bitcoin miners consuming more renewable energy, that’s part of a broader theme that’s happening across the United States without Bitcoin mining as well. The role that we play is locating our Bitcoin mining loads in places where that’s happening and how do we facilitate that decarbonization process.“

One impact of the upcoming supply halving is that miners will maintain the same capital and operational costs, plus the need to pay down any revolving debts, while essentially seeing their block reward distribution cut in half.

For this reason, miners will either need to increase the percentage of their hash rate derived from sustainable energy sources or make efficiency adjustments to their ASIC fleet to maintain or increase their profitability.

Regarding the rollout of the Antminer XP 21 and its potential impact on the mining industry, BMC founder Justin Kramer said:

“The S21, if reliable, fairly priced and readily available — and yes, that’s a lot of ifs with Bitmain’s history — could revolutionize the crypto mining landscape with its efficiency. It is basically packing the power of two S19 100T miners into one unit. Despite this, the burgeoning aftermarket firmware market, coupled with hydro/immersion systems, give miners more tools to keep older generation miners, such as the S19, profitable also. Thus, while the S21 represents a notable advancement, it may not render sub 110 TH/s miners entirely obsolete.”

When asked about the more exciting aspects of the new S19 XP, Kramer noted that:

“I like that Bitmain is rewarding environmentally friendly mining farms with better pricing and advanced delivery with their new Carbon Neutral Certificate. But, I’ll add that, it was a little surprising when I noticed that both new S21 models offer 33% more hash rate (S21 200T versus 151T on S19j XP; S21 hydro is 335T versus the S19 XP Hydro at 257T). Is this a coincidence? I’m doubtful, and it likely signals more of the same systematic model releases from Bitmain where a slight tweak to the firmware and maybe a few other items that are adjusted results in a moderate increase in hash rate and a brand-new miner.”

Bitcoin is en route to becoming an ESG asset

A theme of the past few years has been an increase in Bitcoin miners and BTC advocates pushing back against the assertion that Bitcoin mining is bad for the environment, and that the industry’s reliance on carbon-based energy production accelerates emissions.

Countering this perspective, Hong Kong Sustaintech Foundation professor in accounting and finance, Haitian Lu, bluntly announced that:

“Bitcoin mining is promoting renewable energy adoption in many areas.”

Lu explained that “over the years, Bitcoin mining has become more efficient and is also using cleaner energy. History tells us that human development from an agricultural society to industrialization to the future of a digitalized economy goes with every increasing energy consumption per capita. What makes the difference is human’s ability to use renewable energy increases, thus achieving sustainable development.”

Like the perspectives shared by other panelists, Lu said that Bitcoin miners’ participation in demand response agreements with power producers and distributors leads to energy grid efficiency, and they “provide an economic incentive for the development of renewable energy “promotion and development of renewable energy projects.”

In addition to Bitcoin mining tapping into stranded energy, encouraging the development of renewable energy projects and helping to balance electric grids, the efficiency advancements of next-generation ASICs like the Antminer S21 reduce miners’ energy consumption while also allowing them to boost their profits.

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