Mila Kunis is back with a new animated NFT series. Also today, bad news if you use a Bitcoin ATM in the U.K.
The NFT industry has just seen one of the biggest and most significant deals in its history. Yuga Labs, the creators of Bored Ape Yacht Club, have acquired the intellectual property of the CryptoPunks NFT collection. In a statement, they've also unveiled plans to hand over full commercial rights to collectors — meaning they'll have the freedom to use their Punks however they wish. Yuga Labs has stressed that they will be "thoughtful stewards" when it comes to this "historical collection," and any big changes will be run past the CryptoPunk community first. Larva Labs, which created Punks as an experiment five years ago, said the deal is in the best interests of collectors as its business wasn't built for what this space has become.
Fears are growing that major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether could be banned in Europe. A vote is taking place on Monday on Markets in Crypto Assets — a legislative framework for regulating digital coins. It contains a provision that would subject Proof-of-Work blockchains to "minimum environmental sustainability standards" — and there are fears that Bitcoin's decentralized nature would make compliance impossible. Ledger, the hardware wallet brand founded in France, has warned this would have "serious consequences" for Europe — and crypto exchanges would be forced to close. The company also fears this could harm European consumers, and force them to use foreign platforms where they would enjoy fewer protections.
Crypto ATMs are set to vanish from the United Kingdom after operators were told to "shut their machines down or face enforcement action." The Financial Conduct said no current operators of Bitcoin ATMs had received the necessary approval to do so. "Any of them operating in the U.K. are doing so illegally and consumers should not be using them," the City watchdog said. There are fears that these machines could be used for money laundering — as crypto ATMs tend to have fewer background checks than centralized exchanges. Some critics have warned that the FCA's heavy-handed approach to regulation is stymying innovation and causing the U.K. to fall behind. In other news, the Bank of England has started advertising for full stack developers to work on its proposed central bank digital currency... which has informally been referred to as "Britcoin."
The Ukrainian government has given an insight into how it is spending millions of dollars in crypto donations. Alex Bornyakov, the deputy minister for digital transformation, said soldiers have been provided with 5,550 bulletproof vests, 500 ballistic plates, 3,125 thermal imagers, 500 helmets, 60 walkie-talkies, and 410,000 packed lunches. Digital assets have also been used to acquire medicine for troops as they defend the country from Russian forces. Funds have also been used to support civilians who remain in the country — giving them access to food, water, gas and other essentials. The latest estimates from the UN suggest that more than 2.5 million people have fled the country.
Mila Kunis is collaborating with a Web3 animation studio to launch a new adult series powered by NFTs. The Gimmicks has been described as "South Park meets WWE" — and it's about washed-up wrestlers battling to regain their status. At the end of each show, viewers with NFTs will get to influence future episodes and character arcs by voting. Last year, the A-lister launched Stoner Cats, which told the surreal story of five cats who get high after their owner’s medical marijuana falls into a fireplace. The collection sold out in 35 minutes and "broke" the Ethereum blockchain in the process.
A man who led a "highly sophisticated drug trafficking operation" has been jailed for eight years and ordered to forfeit 59 BTC — worth $2.3 million at current rates. Binh Thanh Le received wholesale quantities of MDMA, ketamine and Xanax from around the world and turned them into pills in an office space in Massachusetts. He accepted orders and payment on the Dark Web using Bitcoin and shipped drugs to customers throughout the U.S. Le was busted after meeting with undercover officers at a hotel to exchange $200,000 worth of Bitcoin for cash — and was arrested as soon as the transfer was made.