Here's Who's Behind CBDCs and Digital ID… 🕵️

For most of us, it probably seems as though digitisation has permeated almost every aspect of our lives. For some though, most notably UN secretary-general António Guterres, there’s still a long way to go and no time to lose. The world must be digitised as quickly as possible, ideally no later than 2030.

If that 2030 date seems ubiquitous these days, that’s because it’s the deadline for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be met. A big part of the SDGs involves the implementation of technologies like central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and digital IDs - technologies which will give governments more oversight and control over their people. This is the reason why digitisation is such a popular cause for those in power.

António himself has set out his hopes and dreams for this digital future in a recent UN report, which is the subject of today’s video. The report talks of a ‘global digital compact’ (sustainable, of course), which will help eradicate inequality and make us all happier, healthier and easier to monitor. In the video, we’ll talk you through what António wants to achieve, how he plans to achieve it and what we can do to resist.

You can watch that video here.

📈 Crypto Market Forecast 📈

It looks like we’re in for some serious volatility, which may or may not affect the crypto market. That’s because it’s looking like this volatility could come as a result of a macro rather than a crypto-specific catalyst. There’s a long list of macro catalysts to choose from, and the first is the launch of FedNow.

If you watched yesterday’s video about FedNow, you’ll know that there doesn’t seem to be a limit on the number of transactions that individuals can send in a day (though there is a limit of $500k per transaction). If this is the case, then it could make the US banking system more sensitive to bank runs. That would conveniently set the stage for a very big crisis.

As it so happens, US banks recently passed a stress test, wherein unemployment would rise to 10% and housing prices would crash by 40%. Given how much authorities love to ‘simulate’ things before they happen, it’s led to speculation that some sort of significant volatility event is on the horizon. The scary thing is that the charts suggest that this event is imminent.

As pointed out by Financelot on Twitter, the volatility index or VIX is at its lowest level since February 2020, just before the COVID crash in March 2020. For context, the VIX is termed the “fear index” and it is a measure of expected volatility in the stock market, specifically the S&P 500 index. Abnormally low volatility is sometimes considered to be a sign that high volatility is coming, often to the downside.

All that we’re missing is the actual catalyst that would cause the markets to crash. It’s anyone’s guess as to what this catalyst could be, and one of those guesses could be something to do with geopolitics. Some of you may have heard that the US is considering banning the export of advanced AI chips to China. This is a pretty big deal, given the global AI race.

Case in point, China subsequently told the US that it would resume high-level military talks if the US lifted its existing sanctions (and presumably didn’t apply more sanctions). For reference, China had halted such talks with the US last August after then speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, which China claims is part of its territory.

Here’s where things get intense. A couple of weeks ago, US secretary of State Anthony Blinken visited China to try and improve the relationship between both countries. Following his trip, he stated that “we (the US) do not support Taiwan independence.” This was seen by many as a green light to China to invade Taiwan - go ahead and take the island, the US won’t stop you.

(In fact, it’s believed that the US would actually bomb Taiwan - yes, bomb Taiwan - to ensure that the advanced microchips TSMC is making for the US military don’t end up in the hands of the CCP. Taiwanese officials recently said they would defend TSMC from these US attacks. While the plans are not official, they have been floated by US military officials and politicians alike.)

Obviously, an imminent invasion of Taiwan is something that many (including us) have been wary of since tensions between China and the US started increasing last summer. Even so, it appears that the situation has deteriorated even more since then, and not just geopolitically. The Chinese economy isn’t heating up as much as many expected, and the yuan is falling fast.

The yuan’s weakness is reportedly due to China’s economic weakness, but it could also be evidence that something big is coming from the East. It could be economic. It could be geopolitical. It could also be nothing: let’s hope so.

🤦‍♂️ Azuki Kamikaze 🤦‍♂️

What happens when you’re a blue chip PFP NFT project in a bear market, with employees on payroll and basically no way of enforcing royalties anymore?

Well, if you’re Chiru Labs - the company behind the popular Azuki NFT collection - you host a party in Vegas and release a high-budget anime trailer to announce the launch of a fresh 20K NFT collection called ‘Elementals.’

If you’ve seen the trailer (I know you have), you’d know the hype was surreal. Some speculate the trailer itself cost somewhere between $380K and $450K.

That seems like a fair price considering how Chiru Labs was able to raise $38 million by successfully minting out its new collection in under 15 minutes.

Seems like the perfect solution, until you realise that the floor price of the original Azuki NFT collection nose-dived by almost 40% (12.5 ETH → 8.5 ETH) shortly after the mint. Holders were FURIOUS. Why?

Well, the art was near-identical and the mint process was frustrating. Undoubtedly, the artwork is pretty important when it comes to a PFP collection.

So, it should come as no surprise that holders of the original Azuki collection were somewhat disappointed that a lot of the NFTs in the new collection looked exactly like the original Azukis.

No point flexing the more expensive Azuki on your Twitter if no one could tell the difference between you and an Elemental holder. Brand dilution instead of ecosystem expansion.

But other projects have launched follow-up collections in the past, in fact, they’re a great way to engage the community - when done right, that is. So, why did Azuki’s Elementals fumble? Was it really just the art?

Well, the identical art certainly played a big role, but it wasn’t everything. To be precise, there are two other factors at play.

Firstly, Chiru Labs failed to retain value for early investors (those holders of the original Azukis). Specifically, Chiru failed to differentiate between its various projects. Its lack of details regarding utility and brand positioning, and over-emphasis on ‘mystery’, coupled with the similar art style, played a huge part in making existing holders feel like the mint was an attempt at a quick cash grab.

Secondly, the new project was a horrible failure of “fair” brand expansion. Chiru Labs’ mint price and process for the Elementals had enough FOMO to ensure that existing Azuki and BEANZ holders were the only ones with a decent shot at minting out the new collection. This meant that as much as Chiru Labs said it wanted to “onboard new people”, it really didn’t.

Azuki, in its own words, had missed the mark. Thankfully, it seems like the project is looking for a way to fix things.

In a Discord stage hosted on Friday, founder Azuki founder Zagabond addressed community concerns by revealing more details about the Elementals and communicating a clear plan for each of the three projects by ranking them in terms of utility and IP valuation, along with differentiating holder utilities. He also hinted at an incoming anime series and revealed a possible artwork change to differentiate the Elementals from the Azukis.

To give a complete perspective, this isn’t the first time the project has faced a serious setback. Just over a year ago, Zagabond revealed that he had been involved with three failed projects (some call them rug pulls) in the past.

Then, as now, the floor price crashed and the community was up in arms. But, the unwavering loyalty and trust of Azuki holders helped the project recover.
I wonder if we’ll see a similar story play out this time around.

📊 Personal Portfolio 📊

BTC 37.82% | ETH 31.39% | USDC 16.71% | USDT 6.68% | USD 3.38% | ATOM 2.83% | DOT 1.20%

🔥 Deal of The Week 🔥

Things have been getting increasingly harder for folks to convert their fiat into crypto. Thanks to punitive regulatory actions, exchanges are losing their access to key banking relationships.

That’s why finding a reliable and efficient fiat to crypto exchange is so important.

If you are living somewhere like the EU then one of the top hassle free ways of doing this is by using the Swissborg app. Many members of the team at Coin Bureau HQ have used Swissborg for that very purpose. On the withdrawal side of things, we’ve seen funds hit our bank accounts in a matter of minutes!

So, if that sounds interesting to you, then why not try out Swissborg? On top of that, you’ll get up to €100 for FREE if you deposit €50!

👉 Give Swissborg a try!

🔮 Video Pipeline 🔮

  • World Bank, Bill Gates, and CBDC’s: What is the verdict?
  • Institutional Adoption is HERE! What it Means for Bitcoin
  • Larry Fink: The Man Behind The ESG Religion
  • Global CBDC System Report: What the BIS Has Planned
  • Ethereum Update: What next for ETH?
  • Central Banker Summit Summary: what are they planning?

🏆 What's New At This Week? 🏆

Mastering the Market: A Guide to Crypto Trading Psychology
Ethereum’s Success: 3 Vital Hurdles According to Vitalik Buterin
Ransomware & Cybercrime: Security Concerns In Crypto

📖 Quote of the Week 📖
Are you uncertain of the next move you should make? Are you struggling to formulate an investing or trading strategy at the moment? Well sometimes, the best course of action is to take no action at all.

“If most traders would learn to sit on their hands 50 percent of the time, they would make a lot more money.” - Bill Lipschutz

Team Coin Bureau

Disclosure: Authors may own cryptoassets named in this newsletter. These are unqualified opinions, and a Coin Bureau newsletter, is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to serve as investment advice. Please consult with your investment, tax, or legal advisor.

Guy Turner

Guy is one of the founding members and face of the Coin Bureau. Like many of us, he is just an average joe who became “crypto curious” back in 2013. After recognising the potential of blockchain technology, Guy set off on a mission to create crypto educational content, working with others to start the Coin Bureau website and released our first video on YouTube in 2019. You can learn more about him in his Who is Guy? blogpost.

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