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A Squid Game crypto scam plus Ubisoft backs blockchain-based gaming – Financial Post

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Crypto roundup: Also, U.S. launches crypto enforcement team and CoinSmart gets regulatory approval from OSC
A recently launched meme cryptocurrency named after Netflix’s popular capitalist satire Squid Game surged as high as US$2,861 on Monday before its hopeful holders had the rug pulled out from under them.
SQUID was marketed as a “play-to-earn” cryptocurrency, which ostensibly could be used for a new online game inspired by the television series, itself about people forced to play deadly games for cash.
The online game was set to launch in November, with investors promising buyers that they would be rewarded with more SQUID tokens upon launch.
After surging to a market cap of just over $2 million, according to CoinMarketCap, the price plunged to zero on Monday when the creators abandoned the project and took off with an estimated $3.38 million in investor funds.
While so-called “rug-pulls” have plagued the crypto space, as Gizmodo reported there were in this case numerous red flags. The token’s three-week-old website, now gone, was filled with spelling mistakes. Their Twitter account, which has also disappeared, did not allow replies. The biggest tell, however, was that investors were only able to buy, not sell, the token.
The media may have fanned the flames as well — numerous outlets reported on the cryptocurrency’s 83,000 per cent rise over the past several days.
CoinMarketCap itself warned customers to “please do your own due diligence and exercise caution while trading” should they buy the token.

Recent months have seen increased interest from the U.S. federal government regarding crypto regulation, including plenty of brow-furrowing over whether or not stablecoins should be registered as securities. So it wasn’t exactly a huge shock to see the Department of Justice’s posting seeking a director for their newly announced National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.
The application, posted on USAJobs , which is the federal government’s job board, is looking for someone who will lead “a team of experienced prosecutors investigating and prosecuting cryptocurrency cases as a central part of a nationwide enforcement effort to combat the use of cryptocurrency as an illicit tool.”
The team itself was announced last Wednesday by U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, who said it would be comprised of anti-money laundering and cybersecurity experts, according to Reuters .
“Cryptocurrency exchanges want to be the banks of the future, well we need to make sure that folks can have confidence when they’re using these systems and we need to be poised to root out abuse,” Monaco said. “The point is to protect consumers.”
The director will have to work with agencies like the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as intelligence agencies and the private sector. As well, they’ll need to focus on “building and enhancing relationships” with cryptocurrency-focused Assistant United States Attorneys and prosecutors with other Departments.
The ideal director must have a law doctorate, at least five years post-doctorate experience, five years experience as a prosecutor handling criminal matters, knowledge on white collar and money laundering statutes and of course knowledge on blockchain tech and crypto.
All that will net the successful candidate between US$144,128 and US$172,500 per year, plus benefits.
The Toronto-based crypto exchange CoinSmart Financial Inc. has become the latest Canadian platform to be cleared to operate as a restricted dealer through the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).
Wealthsimple was the first in August 2020, followed this year by Coinberry Limited and Netcoins.
CoinSmart, founded in 2018, allows for the trade of tokens such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin. It also claims to be the first Canadian exchange to be regulated by the Financial Transactions and Report Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).
“With the digital asset industry growing at such rapid rates, this registration allows CoinSmart to continue expanding our operations in Canada and offering Canadians the best trading platform service in the country,” said CEO Justin Hartzman. “As one of the first crypto companies in Canada to be registered under securities laws, CoinSmart is now strongly positioned to continue to grow alongside the broader industry.”
CoinSmart claims this exemption will help the company further a number of objectives, among them a listing on the NEO Exchange, a mobile app, adding more crypto to its platform and a future listing on a European exchange. As well, there are plans to expand operations to as-yet unnamed jurisdictions.
Currently, the exchange accepts customers from over 40 countries.

Last week during video game giant Ubisoft’s Q2 earnings, CEO Yves Guillemot revealed that the company intends to introduce blockchain-centric gaming. While they’ve given no timeline for this development, the French firm had previously joined the Blockchain Game Alliance in July.
The company has been investigating blockchain use via its Strategic Innovation Lab since 2018. In October, the company also backed Animoca Brands, the owner of the Ethereum-based metaverse game The Sandbox, in a US$65 million round of funding. This led to a US$2.2 billion valuation for Animoca.
“Blockchain will enable more play-to-earn that will enable more players to actually earn content, own content, and we think it’s going to grow the industry quite a lot. We’ve been working with lots of small companies going on blockchain and we’re starting to have a good know-how on how it can impact the industry, and we want to be one of the key players here,” said Frédérick Duguet, Ubisoft’s CFO.
Games like Axie Infinity have made over US$1 billion in sales since incorporating NFTs, but this would be a first for a mainstream gaming company to make such a move into the blockchain.
“This long-range exploration ties in with Ubisoft’s constant search for innovation and new ways to empower players as true stakeholders of its worlds,” the company said.
This move stands in stark opposition to Valve’s October decision to ban any games built on blockchain technology or that allow crypto or NFT exchange from Steam, its video game distribution service.

Paraguay is emerging as a potential destination for crypto miners in the wake of China’s crackdown on mining earlier this year, and the country’s massive ITAIPU Hydroelectric Dam is a big part of the appeal.
Last week, Chinese-headquartered Future Fintech, a blockchain-based e-commerce business and fintech service provider, became the latest to indicate interest in setting up operations there.
In a statement , the company has received official invitations from Paraguay’s Minister of Social Development Mario Varela and the mayor of the city of Coronel Oviedo to discuss building a crypto farm there.
“We plan to carefully assess this development opportunity in Paraguay,” chief executive Shanchun Huang said in a statement. “We will work with our local consultant to review Paraguay’s hydroelectric power and clean energy resources, locations for developing a mining farm and the preferential policy treatment that we might receive for our capital investment.”
A big draw for crypto miners is Paraguay’s ITAIPU Hydroelectric Dam. It’s one of the largest dams in the world, with an installed generation capacity of 14 gigawatts.
In July, Juanjo Benítez, the CEO of the Bitcoin mining company Digital Assets said that there were at least eight Chinese groups interested in Paraguay, although he declined to identify them.
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Ubisoft NFTs, called 'Digits', launch for in-game items – BBC News

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Game titan Ubisoft has announced its new system to bring NFTs to its in-game items, starting this week.
Non-fungible tokens have exploded in popularity, and are widely used for digital art collectibles.
Ubisoft's system – called "Digits" – will be offered as in-game digital items with one-of-a-kind serial numbers, which can be bought and sold.
Critics argue NFTs are bad for the environment, while offering little benefit over traditional systems.
Ubisoft – famous for games such as the Assassin's Creed, Far Cry and Rainbow Six series – is the most significant game developer and publisher to launch an NFT project yet.
The company claims it has addressed the environmental problems associated with blockchain technology.
Its in-game NFTs will be stored on the Tezos blockchain, which it claims is far more energy-efficient than other options.
But the use of NFTs in gaming remains controversial, with many players and designers believing they are only considered as a way to make money, rather than providing players with any benefit.
Ubisoft's first batch of Digits will launch with "limited editions" – of a fixed number of in-game digital items – for the company's game Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint, on Thursday. They can be paid for with crypto-currency, but only in the launch countries of USA, Canada, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Australia and Brazil.
Many games – especially free-to-play ones such as the popular Fortnite or Warzone titles – make a large chunk of their money through selling in-game cosmetic items or "skins" that change the look of characters or items.
Ubisoft is applying the NFT technology to this game mechanic, and calling its overall ecosystem "Quartz".
NFTs are always unique in some way, but in-game cosmetics are identical for every player who gets a copy. Ubisoft's solution is to put a unique serial number on these digital items.
In one example shown by the company, a digital helmet worn by a character appears to have a serial number "stamped in" to the metal in its appearance – a number Ubisoft says will be different for every owner.
That serial number will be visible in-game to other players, and each player can only own one of each "Digit" NFT, Ubisoft said.
These Digits can then be bought and sold with crypto-currency like any other token on the blockchain – even for those who do not own or play Ubisoft's games. The items will also list previous owners in-game, it said.
"With Digits, items are no longer bound to a player's game inventory since they can be put on sale for other eligible players to acquire on third-party platforms outside of the Ubisoft ecosystem," it said.
But it is unlikely the items would ever be able to be used in non-Ubisoft games.
Some NFTs give the original creator a "cut" of the sale every time it changes hands. Ubisoft has not said if it has set up the system in that way.
The company is characterising the entire release as a "large-scale experiment" and says it has been exploring blockchain technology for four years.
Ubisoft says it is using the Tezos blockchain because it requires "exceedingly less energy" than other systems used to mine Bitcoin or Ethereum crypto-currencies.
Traditional crypto-systems use what's called "proof of work" which involves powerful computers doing extremely intense calculations to verify transactions. Tezos uses a different system, called "proof of stake".
But the whole idea of including NFTs in games is controversial in itself, despite interest from another large gaming firm, EA.
Steam, the largest PC gaming platform, has banned NFT and blockchain games from being listed on its store – which resulted in the removal of some early NFT-based games.
One popular Twitter thread from a game designer on the topic, arguing that NFTs "are harmful to games" and that things are not "made any easier or better by building them with NFTs and blockchain tech", has been retweeted thousands of times.
The trading of cosmetic items for real money has also been proven to work without blockchain technology – by Steam, which released a system for buying and selling in-game skins in 2012.
But Ubisoft said its NFT system is a first step towards "developing a true metaverse". The metaverse concept sometimes includes the idea of digitally-owned items transferring between different digital worlds. Some enthusiasts believe NFTs offer a clear mechanic for doing so.
"Our long-term efforts led us to understand how blockchain's decentralised approach could genuinely make players stakeholders of our games, in a way that is also sustainable for our industry, placing back into their hands the value they generate through the time they spend, the items they buy or the content they create online," argued Nicolas Pouard from Ubisoft's innovation team.
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This Custom Miles Morales PS5 Controller Looks Incredible – GLITCHED

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A custom Spider-Man: Miles Morales PS5 DualSense controller is making the rounds online, and it looks incredible. Created by digital artist Giuseppe Spinelli in collaboration with LetsGoDigital, the striking controller is simply a concept artwork that coincidentally arrived with the launch of the first trailer for Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (Part One).
The Miles Morales-themed DualSense controller was originally created to celebrate the launch of Insomniac’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5, but only surfaced recently. Spinelli also revealed that he had been working with airbrush artist Enrico Bertagnoli (aka Berta) to create more Spider-Man themed PS5 controllers too, apart from this Miles Morales controller.
This custom Miles Morales PS5 DualSense sports a striking red and black web design around the frame of the controller, with the game’s slogan “Be Yourself” plastered on the touchpad. The lighting around the touchpad was even changed to a more thematic red instead of the usual blue. The controller was made as a showcase piece, since it’s not actually a licensed Sony product (though it would be great if PlayStation took a few hints). Check out the images below:
Custom Miles Morales PS5 DualSense Controller SpinelliCustom Miles Morales PS5 DualSense Controller Spinelli
Custom Miles Morales PS5 DualSense Controller SpinelliCustom Miles Morales PS5 DualSense Controller Spinelli
Custom Miles Morales PS5 DualSense Controller SpinelliCustom Miles Morales PS5 DualSense Controller Spinelli
Custom Miles Morales PS5 DualSense Controller SpinelliCustom Miles Morales PS5 DualSense Controller Spinelli
Unfortunately, the controller is not for sale right now. Spinelli and LetsGoDigital aren’t entirely against the idea of mass producing them in bulk, though it comes with its own set of issues. Thanks to a combination of supply chain issues and having to painstakingly paint each controller manually, it will not exactly be cheap or speedily available. Alternatively, you can DM or email Berta on his social media channels if you’re interested in getting your hands on one. It’s not entirely guaranteed, though.
The few custom Miles Morales controllers that Spinelli and Berta did create are currently being preserved as memorabilia, with one of them residing in Bonami Gaming Console Museum in The Netherlands.

Source: Giuseppe Spinelli
Writer | Geek | Aspiring Novelist | Will probably ruin your kitchen | Legend has it Sam beat Dark Souls while skydiving (he didn’t)



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Heat vs. Grizzlies: How to watch NBA online, TV channel, live stream info, game time – CBS Sports

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