• Ethereum’s highly-anticipated Merge will be later than June. The comment helps to establish a possible timeline for the completion after Ethereum passed another major test on Monday. The network’s developers had launched a mainnet shadow fork to stress test the new upcoming software. There's no firm date yet, but we’re definitely in the final chapter of PoW on Ethereum, says Tim Beiko, a computer scientist who coordinates Ethereum developers. Read more here.

  • Ava Labs raises funds at a $5 billion valuation. The lead developer of the Avalanche blockchain, is in the process of raising a new round of funding, according to people familiar with the discussions. Its new valuation would make it one of the world’s most highly valued crypto startups. The company is raising $350 million at a $5.25 billion valuation.

  • ‘World First’ crypto-backed payment card, launched by Nexo and Mastercard. It signals the latest move by crypto and incumbent financial networks to join forces as digital assets become more mainstream. Nexo said the card, available in selected European countries initially, allows users to spend without having to sell their digital assets such as bitcoin, which are used as collateral to back the credit granted.

  • Tether to further reduce holdings of commercial debt in stablecoin reserves. Tether holds short-term corporate debt but does not disclose from which companies, which has raised transparency concerns. The crypto firm will cut its holdings of commercial paper further than the current 30% of total reserves. Over time they plan to keep reducing the commercial paper and aren’t finished yet with the reduction.

  • Celebrities toss $87 million to crypto-payments company MoonPay. More than 60 musicians, actors, and other personalities collectively offered about $87 million in the firm’s latest round of funding. Celebrities on the investor roster include Ashton Kutcher, Justin Bieber, Steve Aoki, Gwyneth Paltrow, Maria Sharapova, Diplo, Post Malone, Drake, Matthew McConaughey, Bruce Willis, Mindy Kaling, and Paris Hilton. Read more here.

  • Circle will apply for U.S. Crypto Bank Charter in the near future. The issuer of the second-largest stablecoin disclosed its intention to become a crypto bank in August and has held ongoing discussions with regulators since then, Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Allaire said in an interview. He declined to say when the company would submit the application, saying only that it would be hopefully in the near future.
    Read more here.

  • BlackRock, Fidelity back stablecoin firm Circle in a $400M funding round. The latest investment underscores how Wall Street’s biggest players are preparing for the wider adoption of cryptocurrencies and associated technologies. Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire said in a statement that Dollar digital currencies like USDC are fueling a global economic transformation.

  • Emirates to launch its own NFTs. Emirates’ NFTs are set to be both collectible and utility-based, according to a statement on Thursday. The airline also plans to turn its pavilion at Dubai’s Expo into an innovation center that focuses on “future-focused projects,” including those related to the Metaverse, NFTs and Web3. Read more here.

  • Uniswap code will let websites embed its trading capabilities. It is launching a computer code that can embed its capabilities into any website, a step that could expand its growth. The so-called Swap widget, which can be added by pasting in a line of code, will let OpenSea users swap various tokens without leaving the website that runs it. The widget will also be initially available on the site's Oasis. app and Friends With Benefits.

  • Robinhood adds Shiba Inu, Solana, Polygon, and Compound. It takes the number of cryptos people can buy and sell on the platform to 11 and adds some depth to Robinhood's selection. For now, users can only buy and sell the four new cryptos listed above. Robinhood promises that it will soon also offer the ability to withdraw and deposit them from its wallet. Read more here.

  • Auction of Jack Dorsey’s tweet NFT comes in millions below target. Crypto entrepreneur Sina Estavi bought Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet as an NFT for $2.9 million last year. He listed the NFT for sale again at $48 million last week. The top bid was $280 (or 0.09 ETH). BowTied Bull says that if the NFT has no community or no message, it has no value. Jack Dorsey’s first tweet is now pretty much worth -99%. Read more here.

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