Crypto update: JP Morgan and Man City foray into the Metaverse as Ukraine legalises crypto

Temitope Akintade

The past seven days in the crypto market has seen a handful of significant developments. The tension and unrest between Russia and Ukraine, Twitter adding Ethereum as a tip option, JP Morgan became the first bank in the Metaverse, it has indeed been an eventful week.

JP Morgan’s foray into the metaverse

JP Morgan, one of the leading banks in the United States became the first bank to establish a presence in the metaverse, opening its Onyx lounge in the popular blockchain-based world, Decentraland – one of the most popular metaverses on February 17. This marks the banking giant’s entry into the metaverse, as it eyes the potential financial gains.

JP Morgan announced that it is looking for new opportunities in the metaverse, with the bank believing that the metaverse has the potential to bring in revenue of $1 trillion per year. The Decentraland lounge is named after the bank’s suite of permissioned Ethereum services while also releasing a detailed paper describing opportunities in the metaverse.

Man City plans to build stadium in the metaverse

According to a report by ipaper on February 21, Manchester City, the Premier League champions, have started the process of building the world’s first football stadium inside the metaverse, with the involvement of virtual reality pioneers, Sony. The club’s Etihad Stadium will be built in the virtual world.

The club officials believe that the ultimate goal is to be able to fill up the virtual stadium’s capacity, to ensure City fans, that may never travel to Manchester, watch live matches within the comfort of their own homes.

It has been claimed that the Sony’s experts have already visited the Etihad Stadium to digitally map it to recreate it in the virtual space.

It is certainly encouraging from global supporters to see Manchester City being ahead of the curve once again, by diving deep into the metaverse space to enhance the overall experience of the club’s dedicated fanbase.

Amidst tension, Ukraine moves to legalise crypto

On February 17, despite the escalating border tensions with Russia, the Ukraine parliament voted to legalise cryptocurrencies, making it easier to use them. The Ukrainian parliament approved the passage of the Law of Ukraine on digital assets with 272 votes. The passage of the bill was Ukraine’s second attempt to legalise bitcoin.

A similar move was made by the Ukrainian parliament in October 2021 when the government floated a bill in the parliament for the creation of a new independent regulatory body to oversee crypto exchanges. The bill was sent back to the members by president Volodymyr Zelensky who proposed some changes and also cited a lack of funding in the budget for not approving the bill at that time.

Following its passage on Thursday, the Ukrainian deputy prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted, “Ukraine is already in the top-5 countries on cryptocurrency usage. Today, we made one more step forward: Parliament adopted a law on virtual assets! This will legalise crypto exchanges and cryptocurrencies, and Ukrainians could protect their assets from possible abuse or fraud”.

Chainalysis report on crypto-ransomware

According to Chainalysis, a blockchain data platform, increasing levels of Ransomware scams. Ransomware scams have siphoned off nearly $1.3 billion worth of cryptocurrency over the past couple of years. The report states that in 2020 alone, ransomware attacks were responsible for almost $692 million worth of crypto being stolen, while 2021 has seen a further $602 million stolen, with the amount set to increase as more information becomes available. The statistics indicate a clear increase in ransomware scams and attacks.

Major figures in the traditional finance space like the US Treasury Secretary – Janet Yellen have accused cryptocurrency of being a haven for criminals and how “the absence of appropriate oversight presents risks to users and the broader [cryptocurrency] system”.

Twitter adds ETH as ‘tip’ option

The highlight of the past week in the crypto world was Twitter announcing the addition of several payment options for its tip jar, including Ethereum, allowing users send ETH as tips. Ethereum’s inclusion in Twitter’s pit jar feature is in line with Twitter’s initiative to take payments options to a more inclusive stage.

With the addition of ETH as a payment option, smartphone users will be able to add Ethereum addresses to their list of options. Along with ETH, Twitter will also support payment services such as Paytm, Paga, and Barter by Flutterwave.

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