The biggest retail bank in Russia is reportedly gearing up to launch its own proprietary stablecoin.
According to the Russian news outlet Interfax, Sberbank has filed an application with the Central Bank of Russia to launch a blockchain-based digital asset that’s pegged to the Russian ruble.
“Sberbank filed an application with the Bank of Russia to register its blockchain platform in early January, since digital financial assets in accordance with the law can be issued on a registered platform.
Technologically, the bank is ready to work with such fiat currency, we have tested it inside and saw that this solution works.”
The bank is aiming to launch the digital asset the coming months, once potential issues with taxation are sorted out.
“There is a high probability that this project will be launched in the spring. There is one more issue that has not yet been fully resolved – the issue of taxation of digital financial assets, but we hope that it will become clearer.”
Russia’s Central Bank is also exploring the launch of its own digital currency, along with many other central banks around the world, including the US.
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Featured Image: Shutterstock/Nik Waller Productions
Ubisoft Gets Behind a New Free-to-Play Crypto Game
The free-to-play game based on Belgium’s Jupiler Pro League ties into the Ethereum-driven Sorare, which recently raised $50 million.
- Game publisher Ubisoft has developed One Shot League, a free-to-play crypto game.
- It was created in partnership with crypto fantasy soccer platform Sorare and uses its Ethereum-based digital cards.
- Ubisoft has made many moves in the crypto scene, and Sorare just announced a $50M Series A funding round.
Ethereum-based fantasy soccer game Sorare finished February by announcing a $50 million Series A funding round, and has now started March with another major move: the launch of One Shot League, a free-to-play spinoff created in collaboration with gaming giant Ubisoft.
One Shot League, which is available to play starting today, serves as an on-ramp to the core Sorare experience, which counts more than 100 officially licensed teams and leagues from around the world. Players must use a Sorare account, and can bring in some of their premium digital Sorare cards—which are non-fungible tokens, or NFTs—from participating leagues to receive a special boost in One Shot League.
Like the core Sorare game, One Shot League is a fantasy soccer experience in which players use digital cards based on professional players. The game is launching initially with only the official Jupiler Pro League license out of Belgium, which has five match weeks left in the current season.
Players who sign up for One Shot League now will receive 25 free Sorare common cards and can use five cards per week, earning points from each pro’s respective real-life performance to scale the online leaderboards. Should players sign up following the next match week, they will receive only 20 cards for the four remaining weeks (or five cards per match week), and so on and so forth until the season ends. At the end of the season, the top players will earn prizes including rare Sorare cards.
Interestingly, One Shot League’s development was led by Ubisoft, the global publisher behind such best-selling game franchises as Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six. According to Sorare’s announcement today, “Ubisoft has been working these past few months” to develop the game.
One Shot League comes from Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovation Lab division, which leads the firm’s Entrepreneurs Lab program for supporting myriad startups, including many in the blockchain space. Sorare is just one of many crypto startups that have participated in the Entrepreneurs Lab initiative, along with other projects such as Splinterlands and Nine Chronicles developer Planetarium.
This isn’t the first crypto game experience that Ubisoft has published, but it is another big step for a company that is by far the most involved traditional game publisher in the crypto space. Last June, Ubisoft published Rabbids Token, a CryptoKitties-inspired collectibles game built to benefit UNICEF. Ubisoft had also previously teased a Minecraft-inspired crypto game prototype called HashCraft, but it was never released.
Ubisoft has its fingers in other crypto initiatives, as well, including supporting games such as Axie Infinity and the aforementioned Nine Chronicles, as well as serving as a validator for the EOS blockchain-driven digital gaming store, Ultra. Nicolas Pouard, Ubisoft’s Blockchain Initiative Director, spoke with Decrypt last year about the potential he sees in crypto gaming. On the advent of NFTs in gaming, Pouard said at the time that Ubisoft sees it “as a way to allow players to become stakeholders of the games they love, at an unprecedented level.”
Last week, Sorare announced that it raised a $50 million Series A round led by Benchmark, with participation from Accel as well as heavyweight investors such as Alexis Ohanian and Gary Vaynerchuk. Sorare had previously raised a $4 million seed round in July 2020. The French firm plans to use the funding to expand its team, bring on additional soccer leagues, and create a native Sorare mobile app.
Top Shot, in fact, pulled in a staggering $225 million in sales last month, according to a new report from DappRadar. That’s nearly as much as all NFT sales throughout the entire year in 2020.
Sorare likewise had a good month. According to Bloomberg, Sorare saw some $6.5 million worth of card sales in February, and its most valuable cards can command significant sums of money: a Sorare card based on Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé sold for approximately $65,000 in December.
Multiple assets can ‘behave like ADA’ through Cardano’s Mary upgrade
IOHK recently went live with its planned Mary hardfork, a milestone upgrade to the Cardano blockchain. Through Mary, the network will now handle ‘non-native’ tokens, natively, creating a multi-asset environment on the blockchain.
According to a release shared with AMBCrypto, this solution was designed to allow any token to be represented on Cardano without the need for smart contracts or custom code.
These assets from other blockchains can behave in a similar way to ADA, Cardano’s native currency. This would allow businesses and developers to take advantage of Cardano’s speed, security, and reduced transaction costs. However, as proposed earlier, ADA will remain Cardano’s principal currency.
Product Director at IOHK, Aparna Jue, believed that native tokens are crucial in the rollout of smart contracts on Cardano. Over the next few months, IOHK team expects to see a “range of promising use cases for the utility of Cardano come to life” and added:
It’s not just native tokens this week, along with rapid expansion of Cardano’s funding mechanism, Project Catalyst, Cardano is now 88% decentralized, bringing us one step closer to not only having the world’s most advanced blockchain, but one whose future development is decided by its community.
With regard to the hard fork overall, during a preview session, founder of IOHK, Charles Hoskinson, said the transition to the Mary upgrade “should be fairly simple.” He revealed that IOHK has been testing the upgrade for almost a month and that the test “looks good, exchanges are happy.”
Amid the positive developments, ADA increased in market capitalization to over $39 million. It currently ranks as the third-largest crypto by market cap, overtaking that of Binance’s BNB token. ADA, which has hiked by 2,595% in the past year, ws trading at $1.24, at press time.
The Bitcoin to Gold Calculator
If bitcoin is “digital gold,” then we should be able to get bitcoin’s future price by looking at the total value of all gold, then dividing by the total number of bitcoins. Our downloadable bitcoin to gold calculator will show you why the future price of bitcoin may be around $433,000.
Way back in 2018 (that’s a decade in crypto years), I made ten predictions about the next ten years of bitcoin. I said bitcoin would look less like “digital money” and more like “digital gold.” Today, those predictions are looking eerily accurate.
In the spirit of transparency, I don’t always get it right: I later calculated that the price of bitcoin should be $13,333.33, based on the velocity of money equation. That assumed people would use bitcoin as “digital money,” which still hasn’t happened.
Instead, the story today is that bitcoin is like digital gold. Bitcoin is not a medium of exchange, but a store of value. This is the story that JPMorgan, Bridgewater Associates, and even The Wall Street Journal are telling investors.
Stories matter. (We wrote the book on it.) As Nobel prize-winning economist Robert Shiller said, “Big things happen if someone invents the right story and promulgates it.” The more people tell the story of “bitcoin as digital gold,” the more they act as if the story is true.
The “bitcoin is digital gold” story invites comparison to actual gold:
- Like gold, there’s a limited supply of bitcoin (only 21 million bitcoin ever).
- Like gold, new bitcoin is produced by “miners” spending a lot of energy to produce it.
- Like gold, bitcoin can be used to diversify an investment portfolio. (Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.)
Fidelity tells investors bitcoin is not correlated with other assets, i.e., it does its own thing. But very few investment houses are telling people to use bitcoin as digital money. (Given the meteoric rise in bitcoin’s price, that would be a foolish thing to do.)
If everyone starts believing bitcoin is digital gold, this matters a lot, because gold has an actual price.
What’s the Total Value of Gold?
To get the potential value of all the bitcoin in the world, let’s start with the current value of all the gold in the world. This calculation is pretty simple: total weight of all the gold in the world, multiplied by the current price per ounce.
The problem is finding the total quantity of gold. The World Gold Council estimates just over 200,000 metric tons of gold have been mined, but other estimates differ. Unlike bitcoin, gold is a physical object that can be lost, hidden, or misreported.
Let’s go with 200,000 metric tons, since it’s conservative (and easy to remember). At a current gold price of about $1,294.00 per ounce, this means all the gold in the world is worth about $9.1 trillion.
Now let’s imagine all the bitcoin (remember: 21 million) will be worth the same when they’re mined. $9.1 trillion / 21 million = $433,333 per bitcoin.
If you really believe that bitcoin is digital gold – that total bitcoin supply will eventually be worth the total gold supply – then you believe the target price of bitcoin should be $433,333.33.
Maybe you believe bitcoin should be worth 80% of gold, because it’s not as shiny. Maybe it should be worth more than gold, because it’s digital. You can adjust the assumptions and instantly calculate your own target price if “bitcoin is digital gold.”
As the meme kids might say: if you believe bitcoin is GODL, then you should probably HODL.
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