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Bored Ape to Sell $5bn Shares to Investors

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Home company to popular Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Yuga Labs is reportedly in talks with tech investors to sell $5 billion of its company stake in a new funding round.

Sources for the Financial Times disclosed that the NFT start-up is currently negotiating with one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms, Andreessen Horowitz (A16z), which seeks to expand its investments into crypto projects and become a major cryptocurrency investment company.

The A16z firm is known to invest in both early-stage start-ups and established growth companies. Its investments span the mobile, cryptocurrency, gaming, social, e-commerce, education and enterprise IT (including cloud computing, security, and software as a service) industries. The company was previously an early investor in Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and Skype. It presently owns 41 crypto firms in its portfolio, including Autograph, Cryptokitties and OpenSea.

The investments with BAYC, valued at $5 billion would potentially become the first institutional investment in Yuga Labs company, run by pseudonymous founders — Gordon Goner, Emperor Tomato Ketchup, No Sass and Gargamel.

The terms of the share transactions, according to the sources close to Yuga Labs, have not been finalised. The Bored Ape NFT creators and A16z are yet to put out official comments on the transaction.

Yuga’s creations, under BAYC, are the second most traded NFTs on OpenSea, (OpenSea is a peer-to-peer marketplace where NFTs, rare digital items and crypto-collectibles are purchased).

Since it launched in 2021, the price of the Bored Ape NFT has soared upwards, raising the value of each piece of the digital token to $250,000.  Yuga in April last year, had “minted” 10,000 of the collectibles for about $300 a piece.

The digital tokens are used by owners to signal stature on social networks,s as Twitter where they exist as hexagonal profile pictures, rather than the normal circular pictures. When bought, Bored Ape holders also retain full commercial usage rights of the unique art on the blockchain.

This means that while Yuga created the NFT collection, the company no longer controls the intellectual property for the individual works of art. Bored Apes also grant owners access to exclusive events and sought-after merchandise. However, the parent company receives a cut from resales of the digital art.

Among popular holders of the digital token which launched in February last year are top music acts, Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg and Eminem. Other top Hollywood celebrities like wrestler and actor, John Cena, Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey, socialite, Paris Hilton and actress, Lindsay Lohan all own unique pieces of the Bored Ape NFT.

 

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Nigeria Imposes Record $10 Billion Fine on Binance Over Forex Impact

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The Nigerian government has levied a historic $10 billion fine against the cryptocurrency trading platform, Binance, citing its alleged role in the nation’s forex crisis.

The fine, which stands as the largest ever imposed by Nigeria on a single entity, comes amidst mounting concerns over the stability of the country’s currency and economy.

According to Bayo Onanuga, the special adviser on information and strategy to President Bola Tinubu, Binance stands accused of engaging in illegal transactions that have significantly impacted Nigeria’s foreign exchange market.

Onanuga asserted that Binance, despite lacking a physical presence or registration in Nigeria, facilitated illicit activities that led to substantial profits for the platform while causing immense losses for the nation.

The crux of the government’s allegations revolves around Binance’s alleged manipulation of exchange rates between the US dollar and the Nigerian naira.

Onanuga claimed that users on the platform were able to arbitrarily set exchange rates, a practice that contravenes Nigerian law and undermines the authority of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in regulating currency exchange.

The repercussions of Binance’s actions, as outlined by Onanuga, have been dire. The unregulated fixing of exchange rates purportedly contributed to a staggering 70% devaluation of the naira in recent months, exacerbating Nigeria’s already precarious economic situation.

In response to mounting pressure, Binance has ceased naira-related transactions on its platform and pledged cooperation with Nigerian authorities.

However, the government remains steadfast in its determination to hold the platform accountable for its alleged transgressions.

The imposition of the $10 billion fine underscores the severity of the situation and sends a clear message that Nigeria will not tolerate actions that jeopardize its economic stability.

The government’s move reflects its commitment to safeguarding the integrity of the nation’s financial systems and protecting the interests of its citizens.

As the controversy unfolds, questions linger regarding the broader implications for cryptocurrency regulation in Nigeria and the global fintech landscape.

With Binance facing unprecedented scrutiny and the forex crisis deepening, stakeholders await further developments that could reshape the trajectory of Nigeria’s economic future.

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Binance Disables Naira Feature to Halt Possible Capital Outflow

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Binance, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange platform, on Wednesday disabled the Naira pair on its Peer-to-Peer (P2P) platform shortly after Financial Times (FT) reported the arrest of two of the company’s executives.

The two executives reportedly flew into the country following the Federal Government’s decision to ban cryptocurrency exchanges to rein in speculation and curb currency manipulations.

However, the two were arrested by the authorities at the airport and their passports were confiscated pending investigation into Binance activities in Nigeria.

Binance which had sustained operations on its mobile application despite the ban imposed by the government on the organisation a week earlier and even released a statement to that effect suddenly disabled its Naira pair on Wednesday after FT broke the news of the arrest.

It should be recalled that Binance introduced the P2P service to beat the impact of sanctions on its operations after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) restricted all financial institutions from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions in 2021.

This means that Binance disabled its Naira pair to curb capital outflow in the aftermath of the report and it is not in compliance with the Federal Government’s position as people are insinuating.

During the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) press conference, Olayemi Cardoso, the Governor, CBN had heaped most of the woes of Nigeria’s currency on operations of Binance and other similar platforms.

According to him, a total of $26 billion was moved through Binance Nigeria in the last one year from both unknown sources and users.

He “We are concerned that certain practices go on that indicate illicit flows going through a number of these entities [crypto platforms] and suspicious flows at best. In the case of Binance, in the last one year alone, $26bn has passed through Binance Nigeria from sources and users who we cannot adequately identify”.

Therefore, the news of the arrest would have triggered an exodus outflow of capital to other cryptocurrency exchange platforms like Kucoin and dragged on Binance’s activity level at a time when activity was just picking up ahead of Bitcoin Halving and the subsequent bullish run.

Nigeria is by far the largest cryptocurrency market in Sub-Saharan Africa and between July 2022 and June 2023 received $60 billion in crypto value, according to Chainalysis.

“Nigeria is one of only six countries in the top 50 by size globally whose crypto transaction volume grew year-over-year in the time period we studied. Its growth rate of 9.0% places it third among those six.”

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Nigeria Detains Binance Executives in Crackdown on Cryptocurrency Speculation

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Nigeria has detained two senior executives of Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, over currency exchange manipulation on the company’s platform.

The crackdown comes amidst escalating concerns over the rampant devaluation of the naira, which has propelled inflation to a nearly three-decade high of 29.9%.

The detained executives flew to Nigeria in response to the government’s recent ban on several cryptocurrency trading platforms, only to find themselves detained by the office of the national security adviser, who also confiscated their passports.

While Binance has remained tight-lipped about the incident, Nigerian authorities have intensified their scrutiny of cryptocurrency exchanges as they seek to stem illicit financial flows and establish control over the nation’s monetary policy.

Nigeria’s central bank governor, Olayemi Cardoso has raised concerns over the flow of funds through crypto exchanges, citing $26 billion passing through Binance Nigeria in the past year alone from unidentifiable sources and users.

The government’s aggressive stance has prompted demands for detailed user lists from Binance since its inception, indicating a broader investigation into cryptocurrency activities within the country.

This crackdown marks a significant setback for Binance, which has been attempting to overhaul its internal operations following a $4.3 billion penalty imposed by US authorities for money laundering and sanctions violations.

The detention of its executives underscores the challenges cryptocurrency exchanges face in navigating regulatory landscapes worldwide, particularly in emerging markets like Nigeria where authorities are grappling with economic instability and currency devaluation.

As Nigeria intensifies its efforts to attract foreign investment and revitalize its struggling economy, the clash between regulatory oversight and the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies underscores the complexities and tensions inherent in the global financial system.

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