Bitcoin miner to go public on Nasdaq after $4B SPAC merger

Bitdeer Technologies Holding Company, a Singapore-based Bitcoin (BTC) mining corporation, has announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Blue Safari Group Acquisition Corp. for a business combination of Blue Safari and the miner.

According to the announcement, the two firms are expected to merge and be renamed Bitdeer Technologies Group, retaining their NASDAQ stock market listing.

Bitdeer is a Singapore-based company that focuses on the cryptocurrency mining industry. The Bitcoin mining company currently has five proprietary mining data centers in the United States and Norway.

According to the announcement, the transaction positions Bitdeer as a potential disruptor in the cryptocurrency mining sector. As chairman and creator of Bitdeer, Jihan Wu will continue to lead the combined organization following the conclusion of the transaction. While commenting on the transaction, Wu expressed his excitement about the two organizations coming together. He further added:

“As a leader in crypto mining, we will continue to solidify our leading position in the crypto mining space. Today marks a significant milestone for Bitdeer, and we strive to create value for our broader group of stakeholders in the future, including our clients, employees and shareholders.”

The announcement claims that following the transaction, Bitdeer has an implied corporate value of around $4 billion. The proposed merger has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, and it is anticipated to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, subject to regulatory clearances, shareholder approval for the transaction, and other customary closing conditions being met.

Related: Industrial Bitcoin mining breathes new life into tiny Texan town

The transaction is yet another instance of a large corporation entering the Bitcoin mining space since Greenidge announced its agreement to merge with customer and technical support solutions provider Support.com on Sept. 13.

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Time Magazine will hold ETH as part of Galaxy Digital partnership to support metaverse newsletter

Time Magazine, the media company that has been an American institution for almost a century, is partnering with Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital in an effort for its readers to explore the metaverse.

In a Thursday announcement, Time said the partnership with the investment management firm was aimed at educating its readers about the metaverse. The long-running magazine will be releasing a weekly newsletter on the metaverse, hosting educational resources on its website, and including the virtual space as a category in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Novogratz said the partnership was part of a move to “bring readers, creators, and the curious into the metaverse and demystify the tremendous amount of transformation happening within.” Galaxy Digital is already seemingly focusing on expanding into the metaverse, having raised $325 million in an October fundraising round aimed at virtual endeavors.

In addition, Time said the partnership with Galaxy Digital was conducted using Ether (ETH), which the media firm plans to hold on its balance sheet — the magazine has been holding Bitcoin (BTC) since April as part of a partnership with Grayscale. Time also previously announced it would be allowing readers to pay for digital subscriptions using cryptocurrency, and has also been delving into nonfungible tokens with the auction of three tokenized magazine covers.

Related: Crypto kids fight Facebook for the soul of the Metaverse

Since Facebook announced in October it would be rebranding to Meta and focusing on expanding into the metaverse, the space has drawn significant attention from media outlets. Crypto firms and other companies including KuCoin have already purchased virtual space in the decentralized metaverse Bloktopia.

“Our first objective is to create a shared lexicon and understanding of the idea and the opportunities that are emerging as we become an increasingly digital species and continue (and accelerate) our ongoing journey from the physical to the virtual world,” said Galaxy Interactive managing partner Sam Englebard.

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Bank of Russia plans to take fees for CBDC transactions: Report

The Russian central bank continues disclosing more details about its upcoming digital currency, now reportedly planning to take commissions for the digital ruble transactions.

The fees for Russia’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) transactions will be lower than those of wire transfers, Bank of Russia’s director of financial technologies department Kirill Pronin reportedly said.

Pronin elaborated that the CBDC transactions’ commissions will not be higher than those implemented within Russia’s Faster Payments System (FPS), a service that lets individuals make instant interbank transfers, the local publication Prime reported Wednesday.

The FPS system was launched in 2019, allowing users to transfer up to 100,000 rubles ($1,360) with zero commissions. For transfers beyond this amount, the system charges a 0.5% fee of the transfer amount, but no more than 1,500 rubles ($20) per one transfer.

As previously reported, the Russian central bank plans to launch the first pilot tests for a digital ruble in early 2022. The digital currency is planned to act as the third form of money alongside cash and non-cash, with one of its key touted benefits being a potential reduction in the cost of payment services.

Bank of Russia’s governor Elvira Nabiullina believes that adopting CBDCs should serve as a good option for governments to replace private cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC). The official reportedly argued that a “responsible government should not drive the adoption” of crypto, speaking before the Russian State Duma on Thursday.

Nabiullina blasted crypto for allegedly being anonymous and not being backed by anyone, stating:

“We maintain an extremely negative stance on cryptocurrencies as private currencies that claim to be money. But as people need alternatives, we should work on this with the help of our projects. We should develop the digital ruble as I have already said.”

Related: Major Russian bank explores crypto investment amid strong demand

While the Bank of Russia has continued taking a hard stance on crypto, a number of ministries and government-linked organizations have been exploring the industry, with the Duma creating a working group to regulate Russia’s growing crypto mining market. Despite Russia’s ban on crypto payments, the Russian State Hermitage Museum raised over $400,000 in a nonfungible tokens auction on Binance crypto exchange in September.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that private cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin “can act as a unit of account,” but they are “very unstable.”

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Nym Technologies raises $13M to develop surveillance-evasion platform

European security startup Nym Technologies has announced a $13 million funding round coordinated by renowned crypto investor Andreessen Horowitz, or a16z, and further participated by a venture capital firms Digital Currency Group, Tayssir Capital, Huobi Ventures, Hashkey and Fenbush.

This third funding round represented their highest raise to date, following seed funding of $2,5 million in May 2019 and Series A raise of $6 million in July 2021 — Polychain Capital led the latter of which — according to financial data from Crunchbase. 

Nym Technologies is an open-source, decentralized infrastructure that aims to surpass the typical third-party privacy services offered on virtual private networks (VPNs) or Tor networks, by utilizing mix network protocols to obscure individuals’ metadata footprint, and in turn, evade the burgeoning influence of mass surveillance on the web.

Developers can also utilize the infrastructure to build applications with an inherent focus on anonymity and privacy-centric online experiences. 

The Nym team has outlined plans to allocate the funding to expand their community and their product workforce. The team expects the launch of their decentralized mixnet mainnet, as well as a tokenomic model for the NYM asset, in the near future.

Related: DPN vs. VPN: The dawn of decentralized web privacy

Head of Platform at Digital Currency Group, Samantha Bohbot, shared some insight into why DCG identified this firm as one to invest in:

“NYM has built a first-of-its-kind privacy layer, capable of protecting against even the fiercest adversaries, and powered by a crypto-economic incentive structure. We envision its technology setting a new standard in user privacy across the internet.”

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Futurist film maker Ian Khan on tomorrow’s AI and blockchain

Ian Khan is a futurist who expects that blockchain, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things will merge together to create an entirely new type of world. 

He’s the inventor of the Future Readiness Score, the author of eight books and the chairperson of the Money 20/20 fintech conference.

His first film, Blockchain City, is far from an underground production. The 42-minute film, which is available on Youtube and Amazon Prime, is a businessy, optimistic and somewhat sanitized take on the industry. It focuses decisively on piercing the nebulous concept of “blockchain technology” while largely dodging the sometimes controversial phenomenon of cryptocurrency, promoting blockchain as an efficient tracking mechanism furthering the interests of “the establishment.”

Khan’s positioning in the industry is therefore very much in contrast to the cypherpunk movement — the old guard of the blockchain revolution.

These original torchbearers of the industry were not eager to see the technology used to improve governance systems but to circumvent and effectively overthrow them by turning their outdated systems and processes against them. Such an imagined technological overthrow is, however, unlikely to succeed with the likes of Khan advising governments on how to prevent disruption by way of future readiness.

At a fundamental level, Khan considers blockchain-based systems as “a way to do things in a better way.” The main reasons for this are the efficiency benefits derived from a network that confirms its own accuracy, and the trust that no unauthorized user has been able to manipulate records. 

Notably, he does not give central praise to commonly lauded themes like decentralization [away from governments] or the perceived benefits of online anonymity. Instead, he emphasizes how blockchains can be used by governments to better secure private information and prevent things like identity theft.

When it comes to “the last 100 years off, how we’ve been doing business,” for Khan, blockchain is “something that does things better in 1,000 different ways.” On the part of improving government processes, “the efficiency part will come up as a result of the exchange of data between government entities — incredible government services will happen as a result of that.”

Back to the Futuracy

This talk of efficiency and the future does not come from a vacuum, as Khan runs a Toronto-based company future-readiness business called Futuracy, which he describes as “an emerging technology educator” that has worked with corporations and governments around the world. The prolific author is also a key figure in the Dubai GITEX technology conference — such a key figure, that he was serving as the stage manager as I arrived to deliver a keynote on the history of the blockchain movement at the event in mid-October. While I was looking to the past, his head was (and is) firmly in the future.

A still from the film Blockchain City

The firm creates a Future Readiness Strategy for each client. These strategies are tailored based on the answers to 200 questions put to the clients which are designed to reveal weak systems and processes which may be disrupted by advancing technology. Depending on the scale of the organization, minor weaknesses can have outsize impacts.

“If there’s an inefficiency in government, common people will suffer,” he explains, noting the need for future-readiness analysis in preventing disruptions to important functions such as medical care and education — both of which have been impacted by the pandemic.

Khan is also looking at other phenomena that promises to shape the future of his clients, namely the Future of Work and Artificial Intelligence The Next Frontier, both of them also titles of his two upcoming films. For him, ideas such as digitization, the Internet of Things, blockchain and artificial intelligence are not standalone innovations. Instead, they are connected and it is only a matter of time until they combine and integrate to form an entirely new tomorrow for the way governments, companies and institutions function. 

“It’s very easy to paint the picture where we can talk about the world that is powered by AI that has blockchain in it,” Khan mentions casually as if the idea is in no way terrifying. It’s about efficiency, as AI-blockchain integration will be “saving lots of time, energy and effort,” and information will be less likely to be stolen, according to Khan.

Thoughts from the future

Much of Khan’s recent work has been in Dubai, a city he says “is always trying to do things in a different way.” An early patron of the blockchain movement, “Dubai was one of the first countries with a blockchain strategy at the government level,” Khan says.

Khan believes that the best way for governments, large companies and institutions to ease into the blockchain age is for them to provide all employees with an understanding of the technology “whether they are decision makers or not,” because if an organization is to survive in a changing environment, it has to “become a learning entity.” 

The effective way to learn about new paradigm-shifting technologies like blockchain, according to Khan, is to start with examples of successful technical implementation with the goal to “massively simplify the understanding of these big giant buzzwords, so that people can relate” to what the technology is actually capable of and useful for. In practice, this could mean investing in education courses — perhaps beginning with watching his film. 

Despite his emphasis on learning the basics, Khan concedes there is no need for everyone to have more than a surface-level knowledge. After all, blockchains are horribly complex, but the way we interact with them could be made a lot simpler. Just as not all car users need to understand exactly how a combustion or electric engine works, in the future it will be the “blockchain that is taking care of things underneath the hood,” he says.

“Everybody needs to be at the basic minimum level of understanding of technology — it doesn’t matter if they don’t work in the same department. I think education of basic technology concepts and the value it creates is important.”

Another way in which organizations, especially governments, can harness the benefits of blockchain is to open up the ideation process by giving as much creative freedom to their people as possible, in order “to come up with ideas that can really change the way they do things.”

On this virtue, Khan gives special praise to Estonia, a small European country of only 1.3 million, where he says “there’s a lot of freedom to express” one’s ideas to the highest levels of decision making. As a small country with a huge emphasis on technology, as evidenced by the eResidency program making it easy for digital nomads to operate businesses from the country, Estonia has forged a reputation as a digital hub.

The third way, Khan says, is for organizations to continuously run small experiments and pilot projects “that prove a point,” even if there is no obvious short-term benefit or return on investment. As a prime example, Khan brings up Zug, a Swiss city of 30,000 which in 2016, adopted Bitcoin as an option for paying city permits. Due to the success of the experiment, Zug soon became known as “crypto valley” as blockchain companies from around the world opened offices there.

Blockchain City

Kashmir to Canada

Instead of being a blockchain native, Khan is future-native. “I just love learning these things and understanding them and helping others understand them,” he proclaims.

He was born on the Indian side of Kashmir, a region whose other half lies in Pakistan. There, Khan recalls that he became interested in emerging technology at the age of six when he saw a computer at school. “It was a BBC Micro hooked on to a black and white screen that had Pac Man on, and my mind was completely blown,” he recalls.

He studied engineering at Kuvempu University in southern India between 1995 and 1999, obtaining a diploma in software at the same time. Soon after graduation, he moved to Bahrain where he worked in a sales and marketing role in the energy industry, while also working towards a diploma in journalism from the London School of Journalism which he received in 2003. In 2007, Khan moved to Canada, where he lives today.

In Canada, Khan tried his hand at a number of side hustles, upon which he founded Agnitio Solutions. He tried his hand at numerous projects and startups over four years, until “I got into the publishing industry and started a healthcare magazine,” he recalls. In his free time, he continued to study, earning a project management professional certificate from Humber College in 2009 and a certificate in public relations from the University of Toronto the following year.

Blockchain documentary

Khan had the idea to make a documentary about the blockchain revolution in 2018, around the time that he attended the first Future Blockchain Summit in Dubai, part of the larger GITEX technology convention for which Khan serves as Smart Cities Conference Chair. He saw that, in addition to blockchain being incredibly confusing to most people, “there’s lots of hype around it and there’s lots of misinformation around it,” he notes.

“The story needs to be told that clarifies things, brings some light to the situation and helps business decision makers, governments leaders and individuals understand this technology better”

Blockchain City – The Future of Cities Driven by Blockchain tells a “story of cities around the world and their shift towards being technologically powered through Blockchain.” In the 2019 film, he interviews representatives of various governments who speak on the wonders of blockchain technology and the opportunities it holds for making societal functions more efficient. 

The opening credits of Blockchain City

In line with his mantra of teaching from real-life cases, blockchain use cases that were brought up include preventing over-fishing and child trafficking. These examples of the next level of the digitization of governance infrastructure can help global institutions “join hands and take the next steps together.”

While Blockchain Cities largely avoids cryptocurrency, he has made a separate documentary titled The Bitcoin Dilemma on that subject. It is technologically agnostic and neutral of any politics or ideology, which is known to permeate the cryptocurrency industry.

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US city sets up Bitcoin ATM in airport after crypto payment adoption

The North Dakota’s City of Williston continues exploring and adopting the cryptocurrency industry by elevating a crypto automated teller machine (ATM) in its international airport.

The city’s administration officially announced the installation of the “government-hosted cryptocurrency kiosk” at the Williston Basin International Airport, allowing passengers and non-travelers to buy and sell 40 digital currencies. The list of supported coins includes Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB).

For the initiative, the City of Williston partnered with the crypto service Coin Cloud, which provided its digital currency machines (DCM) to the city. According to the firm, a DCM is “more than just a Bitcoin ATM” as it allows users to buy and sell not only Bitcoin but also 40 other digital assets with cash. “Old school Bitcoin ATMs can’t do all that,” Coin Cloud says.

Hercules Cummings, finance director for the City of Williston, told Cointelegraph that the effort “may be the first case of an airport and government-hosted crypto ATM” in the United States. He also now anticipates the city’s crypto payment volumes to increase, stating:

“By the government accepting cryptocurrencies for utility payments now coupled with hosting cryptocurrency ATMs, a government is a key player providing exposure to the public and accelerating adoption of cryptocurrency.”

The City of Williston’s next step would be to place a crypto ATM in the City Hall upon higher demand in the airport, the official noted. “As part of our roadmap, we will eventually cross these payment corridors over to licenses, permits, and other fees within the city,” he added.

Hercules Cummings completing a transaction with a DCM. Source: the City of Williston

While the City of Williston advocates crypto adoption, its administration does not act as the fund custodian or manage any crypto transactions. The DCM operator, Coin Cloud, handles purchases and withdrawals.

The main goal behind the DCM is to “bridge public curiosity to acceptance and portfolio adoption of a growing asset class,” Cummings said. “We firmly believe simple but large moves like this will achieve that. We desire to continue making a transformational impact and position ourselves as a key player in this technology initiative,” he added.

Related: Venezuelan international airport to accept Bitcoin payments: Report

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the City of Williston partnered with major crypto payment firm BitPay in May 2021 to start accepting cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as payment for utility bills.

Apart from Bitcoin, citizens can now also pay their utility bills with Bitcoin Cash, Ether, Wrapped Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, and five USD-pegged stablecoins like the Gemini dollar (GUSD), the USD Coin (USDC) and the Binance USD (BUSD), Cummings said.

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Bitso and Circle work on crypto payments between Mexico and US

Bitso, a major Latin American cryptocurrency exchange, is collaborating with the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin operator Circle to launch a new cross-border payment tool between Mexico and the United States.

The company announced on Thursday that the integration with payment solutions from Circle aims to provide Mexican people with a new option to send and receive payments to or from the U.S.

Called Bitso Shift, the new tool uses cryptocurrency to enable low-cost and instant cross-border payments available 24/7, allowing users to instantly exchange between Mexican pesos and the United States dollar (USD)-backed stablecoins.

The new offering intends to unlock easier and more affordable access to the USD for individuals in Mexico, also aiming to increase the transparency of USD transactions in the country.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, Mexican citizens who are non-account holders are allowed to deposit up to $300 daily, but no more than $1,500 per month. Account holders can deposit no more than $4,000 monthly. At the same time, there are reportedly no regulations on the transfer of U.S. dollars into or out of Mexico.

“Wire transfers to Bitso Shift are processed in twenty-four to forty-eight hours through fully regulated institutions,” Bitso said in the announcement. The firm did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

“The opportunity for Circle and USDC to be part of making cross-border exchanges seamless between the U.S. and Mexico — the world’s largest exchange corridor — is tremendous,” Circle co-founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire said.

Related: Latin America stands to benefit most from crypto, says Uphold exec

Bitso co-founder and CEO Daniel Vogel noted that the new offering aims to support Mexican freelancers and businesses by addressing some of the “financial sector’s most pressing problems.”

Founded in 2014, Bitso is one of the biggest cryptocurrency platforms in Latin America, backed by large crypto companies like the U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase and Ripple. Bitso is known as the core crypto service provider for El Salvador’s official Bitcoin (BTC) wallet, known as Chivo. The exchange’s user base almost tripled from 1 million in July 2020 to nearly 3 million users by September 2021.

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CRO price hits new high after Crypto.com wins Los Angeles’ Staples Center naming rights

Crypto.com’s native cryptocurrency, CRO, hit an all-time high of $0.593 on Nov. 18 after the company won the naming rights to Los Angeles’ Staples Center.

The cryptocurrency trading platform announced Tuesday night that it had paid $700 million to the Anschutz Entertainment Group to rename Staples Center to Crypto.com for the next 20 years. In doing so, it gained links with the downtown arena’s native sports franchises, including the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, and the National Hockey League’s Kings franchise.

The deal should boost Crypto.coms public awareness, and this prompted traders to raise their bids for CRO, an intermediary settlement token across various assets inside the Crypto.com ecosystem.

CRO faces interim sell-off risks at peak

CRO surged by almost 27.50% a day after Crypto.com’s marketing deal and by up to another 20% the next day to reach a record high of $0.627, putting its market capitalization near $13.15 billion.

The Crypto.com token’s upside boom also had it close above its upward sloping resistance level, constituting a broad ascending channel pattern. Bears later returned to confirm the channel’s upper trendline as resistance, but bulls overpowered their attempts, causing the price to rebound higher.

CRO/USD 3-day price chart featuring ascending channel pattern. Source: TradingView

As a result, CRO entered price discovery, underscoring traders’ anticipation that its name on a popular sporting arena would boost its adoption and prices in tandem.

However, sell-off risks were there as its relative strength index entered overbought territory.

CRO/USD daily price chart. Source: TradingView

As a result, CRO showed signs of correction after peaking out on Thursday, suggesting that many traders decided to lock their profits in anticipation that the CRO price rally would not extend any further.

Based on the CRO’s historical price actions, its next leg lower is eyeing the 20-day exponential moving average (20-day EMA; the green wave) — at near $0.37 — as its next downside target. The wave has previously acted as an accumulation zone for CRO bulls after price dips.

Crypto meets sports

Founded in 2016, Crypto.com currently ranks as the world’s ninth-largest crypto spot exchange. In the previous 24 hours, its volumes came out to be $1.82 billion, compared to Binance’s — the top crypto exchange — $31 billion.

Related: Angelenos push back on new Crypto.com arena: ‘It will always be the Staples Center’

Cypto.com also has existing sponsorship deals with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, French football club Paris Saint-Germain, and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. The deals align with similar sponsorships between crypto companies and sports clubs, including BitMEX’s and Binance’s partnership with Italian Serie A clubs AC Milan and Lazio, respectively.

Meanwhile, FTX, whose native token, FTT, has surged by more than 750% this year, became the official crypto exchange brand for Major League Baseball following an announcement this year. The company also bought the naming rights for Miami Heat’s FTX Arena

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Bitcoin price seesaws beneath $60K as anticipation builds for fresh BTC ‘short squeeze’

Bitcoin (BTC) chopped and changed on Nov. 18 but held a critical support level to preserve the chance of new all-time highs.

BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView

$90,000 remains on the table

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView followed BTC/USD as it ranged between $59,000 and $60,000 Thursday, seeing $1,000 swings in minutes.

With the pair’s overall range becoming ever narrower, talk turned to a potential “short squeeze” entering to push spot price to new, higher levels.

“Based on the Futures Markt structure, the funding rate and OI momentum trends are forming a perfect setting for a ‘Short-Squeeze’ scenario,” one contributor to on-chain analytics firm CryptoQuant argued Wednesday.

“Then the question is, what price range would act as a support level?”

A similar event occurred at the end of September when Bitcoin suddenly surged into a week of almost unchecked gains which topped out at $55,000.

For popular trader Crypto Ed, the chances were there that the $58,400 lows of recent days may be a more definitive floor.

“Maybe a bit early to post as the bottom might not be in yet, but I’m getting excited when checking next targets which don’t seem to be that far away!” he ventured Wednesday.

“In case I’m right with bottom in already or around $57k, the target is more or less the same….. $90.000 and a little bit.”

BTC/USD scenario. Source: Crypto Ed/ Twitter

Analyst warns of investor complacency

Such price targets have become increasingly controversial as Bitcoin’s bull run stalls below $70,000, with less than two weeks left to hit PlanB’s “worst case scenario” November close of $98,000.

Related: Bitcoin holders who bought at $20K refuse to sell BTC at all-time highs — Latest data

This week, PlanB reiterated the difference between that prediction and his stock-to-flow Bitcoin price models, with a failure to hit it leaving the latter intact.

For the short term, however, some considered the market still unprepared to support a fresh BTC price run-up.

Highlighting a lack of “fear” in sentiment, trader and analyst Rekt Capital was sober on the likelihood of a full-on trend reversal.

“Doesn’t seem that BTC investors are fearful enough towards price for this retrace to be over just yet,” he warned.

“It is Extreme Fear that precedes maximum financial opportunity, not neutrality.”

The Crypto Fear & Greed Index stood at 54/100 Thursday — “neutral” territory — having reached local highs of 84/100 on Nov. 9.

Crypto Fear & Greed Index. Source: Alternative.me

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Cointelegraph Consulting: Is OpenSea an undervalued NFT marketplace?

Without a doubt, 2021 has been a momentous year for nonfungible tokens (NFT). The nascent market has seen unprecedented growth as sales volume from January to date nears $10 billion — a 14,500% surge from 2020. The NFT marketplace OpenSea is responsible for processing a great chunk of that. 

OpenSea controls a majority of NFT sales and has processed more than $10 billion worth of transactions since launching in December 2017. Its 2021 volume alone even topped the revenue earned by Etsy and is comparable to the revenue generated by eBay. But despite this, it appears as though OpenSea and the entire NFT space are just getting started.

In the past 30 days, OpenSea processed more than $1.6 billion in transactions, leading all other marketplaces by a wide margin. NFT game Axie Infinity comes in at a distant second, with $675 million, and CryptoPunks, whose average price per sale is 447 times higher than OpenSea, comes in at third with $165 million. Surprisingly, Rarible, which in 2020 rivaled OpenSea in sales and even headlined a funding round of its own this year, pales in comparison to the transaction volume OpenSea has been posting recently.

OpeanSea’s growth

OpenSea didn’t start the year registering billions of dollars in sales. From January to July, the marketplace processed an average of about $106 million worth of transactions, per DappRadar. It was not until August when the billion-dollar mark was reached, which came amid a resurgence of NFT sales following a cooldown period from a prior peak in activity in May. Sales topped at $3.4 billion that month, marking a 1,025% increase from July.

Demand continuously increased despite rising gas fees that have frustrated a growing number of users. OpenSea has addressed this issue with its integration with layer-two Ethereum side chain Polygon and has provided cheaper and faster transactions since July.

While most of the transactions still take place on the Ethereum blockchain, Polygon-based volumes on OpenSea exhibit decent numbers. Data from Dune Analytics reveal that about $111.5 million worth of transactions has been processed since September — still a cut above the volume generated by other marketplaces in the past month. Active users are also well beyond 200,000.

Moreover, OpenSea has benefited immensely from being a first mover in the space and has continually refined how users navigate its platform and how NFTs are curated. Quite ostensibly, the success of OpenSea wouldn’t be without the concept of NFTs hitting off. Digital certificates of ownership for physical and digital goods alike simply provided a new avenue for collectors, creators and even traders. For instance, NFTs have become a way for artists to ascribe an element of scarcity to a digital artwork on which value can be appraised.

How does OpenSea make money?

OpenSea takes a 2.5% cut per sale. This small commission for each transaction allowed OpenSea to realize roughly $79 million in revenue at its peak in August, followed by $68 million in September and $57 million in October. In 2021, it’s estimated that OpenSea has already totaled at least $235 million in revenue, with $204 million coming from the three months starting August.

Valuing OpenSea

With all the apparent revenue that OpenSea generated, it is interesting to see how it stacks up against comparable protocols and companies. When OpenSea started in 2017, it received $2 million in startup funding. But its most recent valuation has elevated it to unicorn status after a funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz, placing a $1.5-billion price tag on OpenSea.

However, valuations should be taken with a grain of salt. For one, it can be challenging to value a startup chiefly due to a lack of historical data. One fairly simple measure is to use a multiples approach. The available sales data and market value of similar protocols and companies can be a helpful basis for comparison — i.e., how much it’s worth relative to how much it earns. And since OpenSea’s market capitalization can’t be measured because it doesn’t offer a token, its latest funding round valuation will be used as a proxy.

So, for example, Rarible charges two times more than OpenSea and yet pales in comparison to OpenSea with the revenue it earns. Therefore, Rarible’s price-to-sales ratio makes it appear significantly overvalued compared to OpenSea. Companies that may share some similarity with OpenSea, such as Amazon, Etsy and eBay, look substantially more expensive as well. Even Ethereum, with the high gas fees it generates from transactions, appears pricier than OpenSea with this valuation metric.

However, tweaking the figure to account for only the protocol revenue OpenSea earned in the last 12 months would result in a 6.4 multiple, making it just a bit more expensive than Amazon and eBay. Still, it is worth repeating that OpenSea earned the bulk of its revenue in the last three to four months. If a revenue run rate is used with the sales data of the last three months to forecast sales for a whole year, it will translate to more than $800 million in revenue. This would again make it undervalued with a 1.8 multiple in contrast to the price-to-sales ratio of these other protocols and companies.

Of course, a large part of this projection is based on the assumption that OpenSea remains the top choice for NFT transactions. NFTs are proving to be more than the hype they were initially thought of as Google searches for NFTs have even spiked to a record high in November. And with more interest coming to the space, it equates to more companies vying for a piece of the pie, which, in turn, will diversify where NFT sales take place.

Download the 35th issue of Cointelegraph Consulting Bi-weekly Newsletter in full, complete with charts, market signals, as well as news and overviews of fundraising events.

Solanart, Solana Monkey Business, and Magic Eden are just some examples of non-Ethereum NFT marketplaces that have claimed the top spots in terms of 30-day transaction volume. Coinbase exchange is set to unleash NFT capabilities on its platform, potentially leaving a mark on the NFT space. More than 1 million users have signed up for Coinbase’s upcoming NFT offering, far exceeding the 230,000 users who interacted with OpenSea in the past 30 days.

With all of that in mind, can OpenSea still maintain its commanding spot when the NFT sector matures, or is another platform taking over just plain inevitable?

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