NFTs Causing U.S. Treasury To Raise Alarm Over Money Laundering In Art Industry

The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday issued a set of recommendations to combat illicit finance in the high-value art market and warned that the emerging digital art market, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), may present new risks.

In a study published on Friday, the Treasury found that there is some evidence of money laundering risk in the high-value art market, but limited evidence of terrorist financing risk, the Treasury said in a statement.

It said that those most vulnerable in the market are businesses offering financial services that are not subject to anti-money laundering or countering terrorism financing obligations, warning that asset-based lending “can be used to disguise the original source of funds and provide liquidity to criminals.”

A senior Treasury official told reporters next steps include engaging stakeholders such as those in Congress or in the industry to get their feedback, adding that the Treasury hopes the study will encourage industries to take additional steps to make it harder to launder illicit proceeds through the art market. The Treasury will give further thought as to whether additional regulatory steps are needed in this market, the official said.

The study also said that depending on the structure and market incentives, the digital art market, such as NFTs, may present new risks, as the characteristics of digital art make it vulnerable to money laundering.

NFTs are a form of crypto asset which exploded in popularity last year. All kinds of digital objects – from art to videos and even tweets – can be bought and sold as NFTs, which use unique digital signatures to ensure they are one-of-a-kind.

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Luxury Brand Prada To Launch First NFT

Prada is releasing its first NFT in partnership with Adidas: a crowd-sourced digital artwork in a Beeple-style collage, in luxury’s newest iteration in the metaverse.

From 24 January, anyone can register to submit a photograph using a specially-designed filter, that will be manipulated, scrambled up, and 40 per cent of the image removed, so as to be anonymised. Three thousand of the individual photographs will be selected by raffle, and minted by Adidas as unique NFTs for free. The individual who submitted the artwork will remain the owner, able to sell their NFT on the secondary market. The selected images will then be combined as tiles into one mass patchwork NFT, designed by digital artist and creative coder Zach Lieberman. That one-of-one NFT will be auctioned online on digital art marketplace SuperRare, and displayed as a large-scale installation in Prada and Adidas flagship stores. The patchwork style is similar to Beeple’s $69 million “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” which set a record for a digital artwork at Christie’s auction.

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RadioShacks Epic Return Aims To Connect Older Generations To DeFi

American retailer RadioShack is shifting its focus from electronics to crypto, claiming that it will be able to bridge the gap with older generations and bring blockchain technology closer to mass adoption.

“It is our hypothesis that the best way for crypto to be more mainstream is for an established brand name in the tech space to lead the way,” RadioShack writes in its proposal.

“The older generation simply doesn’t trust the new-fangled ideas of the Bitcoin youth,” it adds.

The 100-year old franchise recently laid out its plans, announcing the launch of a RADIO token as part of RadioShack DeFi (decentralized finance). Decentralized finance describes blockchain-based protocols that allow people to exchange funds without the need for an intermediary, like a bank.

RadioShack’s DeFi plans will help users trade tokens with each other without having to go through a traditional broker. The project is made possible through the Atlas USV (short for Universal Store of Value) protocol, which allows other applications to be built on it. 

RadioShack filed for bankruptcy in 2015 and again in 2017. The legacy retailer was bought by Retail Ecommerce Ventures in 2020, run by Alex Mehr and Tai Lopez, who are also the minds behind Atlas USV. Retail Ecommerce Ventures has a holding company portfolio of a number of established-but-struggling retailers, including Pier 1 Imports, Steinmart, and Dressbarn. 

 ”RadioShack has one objective: Distribution and usage by millions of individuals but possibly more important, by hundreds of blue-chip, large corporations as their gateway into becoming blockchain companies,” the company writes.

RadioShack goes on to say that the crypto industry has thus far missed the mark by focusing on “speculation and not enough on making the ‘old-school’ customer feel comfortable.” It notes that there is a “real generational gap” between the average crypto user and a corporate CEO.

“This demographic difference creates a substantial psychological barrier to crypto adoption,” the company says.

While it’s unclear when the RADIO token plans to launch, you can sign up for the waitlist via the company’s website. ”RadioShack, and RadioShack alone, can bridge the gap and ‘cross the chasm’ of mainstream usage for cryptocurrency,” the company claims. 

Article Via Rosie Perper @ Hypebeast.com

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Crowdfunding Platform Kickstarter Moving To Blockchain

For more than a decade, Kickstarter PBC has convinced the public to pay people to follow through on their ideas to build a gadget, make a film or create a piece of art. It was, in some ways, a harbinger of today’s digital economy built around cryptocurrencies, decentralized organizations and NFT art.

On Wednesday, Kickstarter plans to unveil a project that will merge the two worlds. It’s hatching a standalone company to build a crowdfunding system much like Kickstarter’s but based on blockchain technology. When it’s ready, Kickstarter will switch its own website to the new infrastructure, and the new company will make the tools available for anyone to create a competing crowdfunding site.

The new company does not yet have a name. Development is slated to begin in the first quarter of next year, and Kickstarter expects to transition its site to the new protocol sometime in 2022. The change will take place entirely behind the scenes and shouldn’t affect how people use the site, the New York-based company said.

It’s a large, technical undertaking. Embarking on the project was a “big decision,” said co-founder Perry Chen, but it was ultimately an easy one to make because it fits with Kickstarter’s mission, which is “to help bring creative projects to life.”

Chen started Kickstarter with a pair of art-loving friends in 2009, and it was a near-instant hit with cash-strapped go-getters and eventually with celebrities and big companies looking to test consumer demand. The Peloton stationary bike started with a Kickstarter campaign ($307,332 raised), and so did the Oculus VR headset ($2.4 million). Kickstarter helped finance new records from Amanda Palmer ($1.2 million) and the pop group TLC ($430,000) and revived cult classic TV shows like Mystery Science Theater 3000 ($5.8 million) and Veronica Mars ($5.7 million).

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Crypto Explained: The Entrepreneur’s Guide To Succeeding In The New World Of Cryptocurrency

Decentralized finance (commonly referred to as DeFi) is a blockchain- based form of finance that does not rely on central financial intermediaries such as brokerages or banks to offer traditional financial instruments. LEARN MORE WITH THIS E-BOOK

Instead, it utilizes smart contracts on blockchains, the most common being Ethereum.

With this report you will learn how to utilize this new technology in your business.

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  • DeFi Explained
  • The Rise of DeFi
  • DeFi’s Top Applications
  • The True Power of DeFi
  • The Downsides to DeFi
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