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Thailand Outlawing Crypto Payments. This Week’s Top Bitcoin and Crypto News

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Here’s what happened this week in the crypto world.


Eoneren/iStock/Getty Images

Welcome to Nonfungible Tidbits, a weekly roundup of news in crypto, NFTs and their related realms.

Our lead story this week is Thailand’s upcoming ban on crypto payments for goods and services. We’ll also cover Jerome Powell’s remarks on crypto laws, a new debit card from Robinhood, NFL blockchain sponsorships and recent trademarks filed by Meta regarding crypto. 

Stay tuned for more next week.


Thailand bans crypto payments for goods and services

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Getty/Lambert

Thailand’s securities regulator announced that crypto payments for goods and services will be outlawed starting April 1. The ban is intended to fend off financial instability, according to the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission. The risk of cyber theft was cited as another concern.

The barring of crypto payments comes when cryptocurrency ownership in Thailand is high. Over 20% of the population ages 16 to 64 owns cryptocurrency, according to the Bangkok Post. Though crypto payments will be illegal, cryptocurrency investments are still allowed. 


Fed Reserve Chairman says crypto needs new rules

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During a banking panel on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell raised concerns about the risks associated with cryptocurrency, noting more US regulation will likely be required. “Our existing regulatory frameworks were not built with a digital world in mind. Stablecoins, central bank digital currencies, and digital finance more generally, will require changes to existing laws and regulation or even entirely new rules and frameworks,” Powell said.

Powell’s remarks come after President Biden’s executive order earlier this month, which directed federal agencies to come up with policy ideas for the cryptocurrency industry and look into the possibility of a US central bank digital currency


Robinhood unveils new debit card with crypto rewards

Robinhood

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Robinhood announced the launch of a new debit card that allows users to earn crypto and stock rewards. Cardholders can round up purchases and invest the difference, aka “spare change,” in crypto or stock, and Robinhood will offer a 10% to 100% bonus on rewards earned at the end of each week (this bonus is capped at $10 per week). This card will replace its existing crypto debit card and currently has a waitlist.

Robinhood made headlines last year during the GameStop stock frenzy, which created steep dips and rises in the stock price, and cost hedge funds billions. You can read about the GameStop stock saga here.

Read more about Robinhood’s debit card here


NFL says limited blockchain sponsorships OK for teams 

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Getty

The National Football League issued a memo this week allowing NFL teams to accept limited blockchain sponsorships. The sponsorships, which are subject to NFL approval, may last no longer than three years and stadium signage is prohibited. Restrictions for cryptocurrency and fan tokens will remain in place. The memo also noted that teams may accept NFT-related sponsorships, also subject to NFL approval. 


Meta (Facebook) files trademarks for crypto exchanges, tokens and wallets

Meta and Facebook

James Martin/CNET

This week Meta, the recently renamed parent company of Facebook, filed trademarks covering cryptocurrency exchanges, tokens and wallets. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that NFTs would be coming to Instagram, another social media platform owned by the multinational technology conglomerate. 

Meta has held digital currency aspirations for some time. The company attempted to launch its own stablecoin cryptocurrency called diem, but abandoned its plans and sold off the remaining assets earlier this year. The new trademarks suggest Meta may be taking another shot at creating cryptocurrency products.


Thanks for reading. We’ll be back with plenty more next week. In the meantime, check out this story from Queenie Wong on shopping in the Metaverse. 



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Overwatch 2 Beta Begins Tomorrow: Start Time and What to Expect

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Overwatch 2 starts its second beta on Tuesday, June 28, for PC and console players. The beta begins at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT and runs through Monday, July 18. Sign-ups are still open for a chance to participate, and you can still get guaranteed access if you’re willing to spend some cash.  

The next beta will be our first look at Junker Queen, a new tank hero who first appeared in posters on the Junkertown map that was released in 2017. Fans have been hoping to play her ever since, and five years later, we’re finally getting the chance. The new beta also adds a new hybrid map, Paraiso. The developers have laid out their goals for the beta, which include testing server capacity and hero balance. 

Overwatch 2 is the sequel to Blizzard’s class-based shooter, featuring two teams of five players fighting over objectives. Overwatch devs announced in June that the game will be free to play and will launch in early access on Oct. 4. The first beta injected a frantic pace into the game, which was a welcome change from the slower, more grinding pacing that’s plagued Overwatch in recent years. The free-to-play PvP element will bring the game more in line with other competitive shooters, like Valorant and Apex Legends.

How to sign up for the Overwatch 2 beta

Anyone can sign up for Overwatch 2’s second beta, but it’s not technically an open beta. The game will add people gradually as it ramps up server capacity, and the first big wave of beta access will happen on July 5, according to the beta FAQ page. Even if you were in the previous beta, you’ll need to sign up again. 

Here’s how to sign up:

1. Go to the Overwatch 2 beta site.
2. In the top right corner, log in to your Blizzard Account.
3. At the bottom of the Overwatch 2 beta page, choose your platform (and region for PlayStation players).
4. Then hit Request Beta Access.

If you want guaranteed beta access on June 28, you can purchase the Watchpoint Pack ($40). In addition to beta access on day one, you’ll also get two legendary character skins, a unique player icon and enough digital currency to buy the first two battle passes.

How do I download the Overwatch 2 beta?

Blizzard hasn’t released details on downloading the second beta, but it should follow the same process as the first beta. Here’s how that worked:

1. Log in to your Battle.net account and navigate to Overwatch on the game launcher.

2. In the bottom left, click the Game Version drop-down.

3. Select Overwatch 2 Tech Beta to install.

4. When the download is complete, hit the blue Play button to start.

Junker Queen spinning her axe

Junker Queen’s ultimate ability helps her close distance and end fights quickly.


Blizzard

Junker Queen abilities

The new beta finally gives fans a chance to play as Junker Queen, a hero we’ve all been excited about and/or thirsting over since she was first teased on the Junkertown map. Here’s what we know about Junker Queen’s abilities, from the Overwatch Twitter account:

New Hybrid Map: Paraiso

The beta also adds Paraiso, a new hybrid map that explores Lucio’s home, including the DJ’s Clube Sinestesia. As with all hybrid maps, players will start by attacking or defending a control point, and if the attackers succeed, players will spend the rest of the map attacking or defending a payload. 

An underground club with light-up floor

Clube Sinestesia is where support hero Lucio found fame as a DJ.


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For more Overwatch 2 news, check out everything we learned from the Overwatch 2 reveal event.



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Icebergify: How To Create an Iceberg of Your Most Listened to Spotify Artists

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Been on social media today? Seen those bizarre musical Icebergs floating around in your feed? You’re not alone. Screenshots like this have been doing the rounds today, particularly on Twitter. 

It’s all created via the magic of a website called Icebergify.

Using the data from your Spotify listening habits, Icebergify creates an Iceberg of your most listened to artists ranked by popularity. At the tip of the iceberg? Your favourite “mainstream” artists. Your Taylor Swifts, your Beyonces, your Drakes, etc. The further down you go, the more obscure it becomes. It looks a little like this…

If you want to see your own iceberg, you can head to the website directly. Be warned: it does require your Spotify log-in. 

The Icebergify website was developed by Akshay Raj, a freshman studying Computer & Data Science at Rice University. He says he has no plans to monetize the site or use the data collected — which is limited to your username, Spotify account ID and the top 50 tracks and artists listened to over the past few years. 

How does it work? It’s fairly simple. Icebergify takes your most listened to artists and sorts them according to popularity rankings. Streams, shares, saves, likes, and followers are all taken into account. This is why Beyonce might be at the top of your iceberg, but lesser known artists are at the bottom, beneath the ocean. Also worth noting: It seems like Icebergify is being flooded due to its surprising popularity. Head back later if it doesn’t immediately work.





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Apple’s First Mixed-Reality Headset May Sport New M2 Processor

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Apple’s first mixed-reality headset could come with the company’s flagship M2 processor, just one of the “deluge” of new products the company is expected to unveil in the next year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Sunday.

The M2, unveiled in June, features redesigned central processing units and a significant memory increase, which would provide a significant boost to the much-rumored headset over the previous M1 chip.

The much-rumored headset incorporating both virtual and augmented reality environments is expected to provide a boon to the gaming industry. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier week that the headset — expected to be announced in January 2023 — would be the most complicated product Apple has designed yet.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about his excitement about AR. Earlier this week, he explained that the tech industry is still in the “very early innings” of this technology’s possibilities.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer,” Cook told China Daily.

Other products Gurman expects to debut in the next 12 months include four iPhone 14 models, three Apple Watch variations, several Macs with M2 and M3 chips, iPads, updated AirPods Pro earbuds, a fresh HomePod, and an upgraded Apple TV. 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read moreApple AR, VR Headset Rumors: WWDC, Release Rumors, M1 Chip and More



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