Onchain: Apple rumours, crypto’s biggest hack, the UK’s NFT play

Onchain: Apple rumours, crypto’s biggest hack, the UK’s NFT play

Story One

More rumours about Apple’s entry into the crypto space

In what’s becoming the Groundhog Day of crypto rumours, we’re once again seeing chatter that Apple is going to announce something crypto-related in the near future – and perhaps even this week.

The proximate cause for the rumours is a tweet from Jack Mallers, CEO of Strike, a Bitcoin payments app, who gained notoriety for dropping the bombshell about El Salvador adopting Bitcoin at last year’s Bitcoin Miami conference.

Mallers is due to make an unspecified announcement at this year’s conference, but he keeps posting Apple related content on his Twitter, so, I dunno, it’s not exactly the riddles of the Sphinx here.

While I struggle to believe that the biggest company in the world would choose a man like Mallers at a conference like Bitcoin Miami – AKA where crypto bros go to spawn – to announce a fundamental change to their business, Apple’s move into crypto also wouldn’t be entirely unexpected.

For one, Tim Cook owns crypto and has spoken of its place in a “diversified portfolio”. In addition, Apple are working on their own digital wallets, are famously suspicious of credit card companies and the company’s VP has said in the past that they’re “watching” cryptocurrency”.

Is this news? Maybe? Anyway, please do it Timmy. Our bags, they are heavy.

Story Two

Ronin Network hacked for US$625 million

There is every chance you’ve never heard of the Ronin Network before. I barely had and it’s my job to be across this stuff.

The short version is that it’s an Ethereum sidechain that allows transactions in the blockchain game Axie Infinity to proceed without having to move through the primary Ethereum network.

Ronin was ostensibly secured by nine validators, meaning you required five of them to make any changes to the wallet. Unfortunately, five of those validators were controlled by Axie Infinity itself, so a hacker was able to gain access, waltz in and send themselves 173,600 ether and 25.5 million USDC.

While a good cautionary tale about the general security of these shiny new “distributed” protocols, the story has two bizarre footnotes.

First, it took six full days for anyone to realise that something untoward had happened. SIX. DAYS. These people shouldn’t be allowed to drive, let alone operate a multibillion dollar company.

Second, Binance just led a US$150m funding round to partly compensate the losses/keep the network afloat, showing that, if nothing else, crypto has fully adopted the tradfi approach to bailing out total incompetence.


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Story Three

The UK government gets in the crypto game

Up until now, the UK’s approach to cryptocurrency could best be described as ‘skeptical’, interspersed with bouts of outright hostility.

So it was rather a surprise to see Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer (i.e. the Treasurer), declaring that now they wanted the UK to become “a global cryptoasset technology hub”.

While it’s still all in the realm of vague policy pronouncement, they suggested this would involve changes to both business and personal crypto taxation rules, regulation of stablecoins and DAOs and a working group to bring together regulators and industry participants.

In reality, the only concrete thing they actually announced was that the Royal Mint was going to release an NFT series in Q3. Which I guess is a thing that people will buy? Can’t wait to flip my King Charles commemorative coin NFT for them big bucks.

Luke from CoinJar​​

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