Yuga Labs fetches $450M in funding, spot BTC ETFs potentially incoming and other news

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A week in review: March 20–26

We've selected the hottest materials of the past week for you to stay up to date with the latest crypto news:

#1. NFT creator Yuga Labs raises $450M, bringing company valuation to $4B

The creators of the wildly popular Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, Yuga Labs, raised $450 million in seed funding at a $4 billion valuation. Unsurprisingly, top venture capital firm and cash cow Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) led the round.
Yuga Labs, which also recently launched ApeCoin and announced an upcoming metaverse platform, intends to use the funds to increase its employee base, attract more creative, engineering and operations talent, as well as support joint ventures and partnerships.
Yuga Labs has been stacking wins over the past 12 months, with CEO Nicole Muniz emphasizing that "there's a lot to come" given the "new economy" of intellectual properties in the company's roster. Yuga Labs recently bought the IP of CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs and plans to give full commercial rights to NFT holders.
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#2. SEC could approve spot Bitcoin ETFs as early as 2023 — Bloomberg analysts

Bloomberg's highly clued-in ETF analysts Eric Balchunas and James Seyffart have suggested that a proposed rule change within the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) could result in the regulator approving a BTC spot ETF by mid-2023.
Balchunas stated on Thursday that crypto platforms could fall under the SEC's regulatory framework if the commission were to approve the amendment to the Exchange Act proposed in January, which would change the definition of "exchange." The move would enable crypto platforms "trading any type of security" to be included under the act.
"Once crypto exchanges are compliant, the SEC's primary reason for denying spot Bitcoin ETFs would no longer be valid, likely clearing the way for approval," said the analysts in a joint statement.
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#3. Crypto users in Africa grew by 2,500% in 2021: Report

Crypto use in Africa surged a mammoth 2,500% in 2021, according to a report from crypto exchange KuCoin.
The report cited interesting data, such as "more than 88.5% of cryptocurrency transactions made by Africans" being cross-border transfers. It argued that the low fees mean that "users pay less than 0.01% of the overall amount of the transaction transferred in cryptocurrencies."
Johnny Lyu, CEO of KuCoin, told Cointelegraph that "the adoption of digital assets in Africa will continue to grow exponentially," adding that "African countries have the highest crypto adoption rate in the world, outperforming even the biggest regions, such as the United States, Europe and Asia."
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#4. Prediction of the week. Internet Computer eyes 50% move as ICP enters 'falling wedge' breakout territory

With the price of Internet Computer (ICP) on a surge of late, Cointelegraph's Yashu Gola has read the charts and outlined a bullish scenario in which ICP reaches the $27 region by next month. The move would mark a hefty 50% gain since it was priced at around $17.75 on Tuesday.
Gola pointed to a "convincing falling wedge breakout in action" backed by an increase in trading volumes and continual price inclines.
"In a 'perfect' scenario, breaking out of a falling wedge pattern — to the upside — can see a subsequent price rally by as much as the maximum distance between the wedge's upper and lower trendline. That may put ICP en route to over $27 — by almost 50% — sometime by April," Gola said.
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#5. FUD of the week. Thailand SEC bans crypto payments, seeks disclosure of system failure from exchanges

Thailand's Securities and Exchange Commission has banned crypto payments after discussing its implications with the Bank of Thailand (BOT) via a joint study. Some of the risks highlighted by the SEC include a lot of common critiques of crypto, including price volatility, cyber theft, money laundering and personal data leakage.
Businesses found in non-compliance with the new crypto laws will be subject to legal actions including temporary suspension or cancellation of the services.
"[Crypto payments] may affect the stability of the financial system and overall economic system including risks to people and businesses," the joint study conducted by the BOT and SEC concluded.
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#6. FUD of the week. Li Finance protocol loses $600,000 in latest DeFi exploit

The Li Finance swap aggregator protocol was the victim of a smart contract exploit that resulted in the loss of $600,000 worth of tokens, including USD Coin (USDC), Polygon (MATIC), Rocket Pool (RPL), and Gnosis (GNO), to name a few.
During the early hours of the morning of March 20, the hacker was able to extract varying amounts of 10 different tokens from wallets that had given "infinite approval" to the Li Finance protocol. The team found out about the hack an eye-watering 12 hours later and shut down all swapping functions on the platform in order to prevent any further losses.
The team said that the attacker swapped the stolen tokens for a total of about 205 Ether (ETH) valued at roughly $600,000.
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