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Firefox dev Mozilla goes all-in on metaverse, acquires Active Replica

The legacy web developer and internet browser Mozilla announced its acquisition of Active Replica as part of its Hubs creator ecosystem to enhance digital experiences.

The web developer Mozilla, mainly known for its internet browser Firefox, has joined the rush of legacy internet platforms jumping into the Web3 and metaverse development space.

In a blog post announcement on Nov. 30, the company revealed its acquisition of Active Replica, an immersive experience developer.

Active Replica is joining Mozilla’s Hubs creator platform to help create virtual events. Already the virtual experience developer has worked with Mozilla during its multi-day arts and tech festival Mozfest earlier this year.

According to Mozilla the acquisition will also be important to accelerate in demand work, personalized subscription tiers, on-boarding improvements and adding new features to the Hubs engines.

In the official announcement released on Hubs, Mozilla said both companies will benefit from another either through one’s scale or the other’s development capacity.

“Together, we see this as a key opportunity to bring even more innovation and creativity to Hubs than we could alone.”

In Active Replica’s official statement it reiterated that it will continue to work with existing partners, but the Mozilla acquisition will help expand on their long term goals.

The following day, the company made another announcement that has also acquired Pulse, a machine learning developer, signaling Mozilla’s pivot to focusing on the future of the internet.

Related: Opera browser integrates Elrond blockchain services to bolster Web3 adoption

This development from Mozilla to build out its metaverse plans comes as the metaverse continues to draw attention both inside and out of the Web3 space.

After major monetary and staff losses in its metaverse development division, Meta, the Facebook and Instagram parent company, says its ‘powering through’ with metaverse plans.

Meanwhile, as activity is pouring into digital reality, global leaders like the World Economic Forum have begun to think about a universal metaverse policy. Currently there is no overarching policy which dictates digital reality. 

However new reports reveal that as activity increases so will the chances of exploitation, which signals the need for attention to policy and ethical standards. 

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T. Rexes in the News: A Pregnant One, A Horned One and a Wannabe One

The Tyrannosaurus rex is having a moment … 66 million years after it last roamed the Earth. The news this week has more T. rex stories than it has on the “Rex” of England. One is a newly discovered ancestor of everyone’s favorite dinosaur – and this frightening version had horns around its eyes. Another newly discovered dinosaur is being called the “T. rex of its time” … could it have held its own against the real one? Finally, the rare skeleton of an extremely pregnant T. rex went on display this week for the first time. What could be more frightening than a T. rex in labor? Who held its tiny hand and said, “Breathe”?

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Bigfoot & the Skunk Ape are America’s Most Famous Unknown Apes: But What if There are Even More Kinds?

If you’re into the phenomenon of Cryptozoology, you’ll know about the United States’ most famous, mysterious apes: Bigfoot and the Skunk Ape. But, what if there are even more strange apes hiding in the United States? Is it possible? It’s possible, as you’ll see right now. “Dear Sir, My name is James Meacham, I read the article that you wrote for True Magazine,” began Meacham in a 1960 letter to Bigfoot investigator, Ivan T. Sanderson. “I have been planning on going to California in the same area that your article was about. I was a little surprised to read about such a creature as an abominable Snowman living so close to where I intended to visit. I have always liked to explore places that other people care little about.  I would like to know all you can tell me about this creature if you can tell anything more than you did in the article. I am sure a man of your standing must have more information about this subject than was in those few pages. I will gladly pay the postage on the information you can send. I cannot offer more because I am not working at the present. “I have met a few strange things in my life; as I am still young, there are many more I will probably see. I would like to know if you can tell me anything about a creature that looks like a small ape or a large monkey that has hair the color of fur a reddish orange color. I saw such a creature when I was 15. A friend was with me but did not see it. Whatever it was did not have a tail like a monkey but it did swing like one by its arms.”

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Hong Kong working on investor protection regulations, says central bank exec

Hong Kong central bank executive looked optimistic about the future of decentralized tech, while the Korean central bank governor has his doubts in the wake of the recent crypto contagion.

Central bank governors from around the globe are currently in Thailand to discuss the role of central banks amid evolving financial technology. The conference is jointly hosted by the Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

A panel discussion on digitalized monetary systems saw Eddie Yue, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Changyong Rhee, governor of the Bank of Korea, Adrian Orr, governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and Cecilia Skingsley from Bank for International Settlements discuss the rise of digital assets and central bank digital currencies (CBDC) and the risks associated with the new technology.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief discussed the innovations and benefits of blockchain technology and its probable impact on central banks. Yue said that in the long term CBDCs and stablecoins can offer a more efficient and cost-effective way of transactions. However, he noted that with any new technology there are certain risks associated with it be it innovation or operational risks.

Yue noted that blockchain is a decentralized technology by nature, thus it is far more complicated to mitigate on-chain risks. This is the reason regulators should focus on off-chain activities. He explained:

“We can start with regulating off-chain activities like regulating virtual asset exchanges. Hong Kong will soon introduce not just AML (anti-money laundering) aspect but also investor protection.”

He also revealed that the Hong Kong government is working on separate regulations aligning with international consensus on regulating the stablecoin industry.

Related: FTX was the ‘fastest’ corporate failure in US history — Trustee calls for probe

Changyong Rhee, governor of the Bank of Korea, was not so optimistic about the future of blockchain technology, especially in the monetary sector, in light of the recent crypto contagions. He said that he was not so sure whether “we are seeing the benefit of this technological development recently,”

“I was more positive before, but after seeing the Luna, Terra, and now the FTX issues. I don’t know [if] we will see the real benefit of this new technology, at least for monetary policy,” said Rhee.

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Magic Eden follows OpenSea with NFT royalty enforcement tool

The open-source Open Creator Protocol of the NFT marketplace will enforce NFT creator royalties for new collections that opt-in to the tool.

Magic Eden, a Solana-based nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace, has become the latest platform to release a tool allowing creators to enforce royalties on their collections.

It follows the announcement of a similar tool from rival NFT marketplace OpenSea in early November.

According to a Dec. 1 statement, the open-source royalty enforcement tool is built on top of Solana’s SPL token standard and is called the Open Creator Protocol (OCP). This will allow royalty enforcement for new collections that opt-in to the standard starting Dec. 2.

Lu previously floated the idea of NFTs designed to enforce royalties at Solana’s Breakpoint 2022 conference on Nov. 5, citing the need for NFT creators to have a “sustained revenue model.”

Creators who use OCP will also be able to ban marketplaces that have not enforced royalties on their collections. Magic Eden will still maintain optional royalties on its platform for collections that do not adopt OCP.

2/ Solana’s community has been waiting for a resolution on royalties.

When we went to optional royalties mid Oct, we said we hoped to soon return to a royalty respecting world. However, royalties needed protection at the protocol level to be truly defensible.

— Magic Eden (@MagicEden) December 1, 2022

In a Dec. 1 Twitter thread, Magic Eden said it “can’t retroactively apply OCP to existing collections,” telling creators they will have to conduct “burn [and] re-mints” where the NFTs are sent to an unrecoverable wallet address and re-issued by the collection.

“We have been in active conversations with multiple ecosystem partners to identify solutions for creators in a timely manner,” Lu said in the statement. He added the marketplace’s intention with OCP was to “immediately support royalties” for new collections while it coordinates with other partners for more solutions.

Related: Coinbase claims Apple blocked wallet app release over gas fees

An additional feature of the protocol touted by Magic Eden is the ability for creators to introduce dynamic royalties — that could reduce the value of royalties of buyers who pay higher prices — and customizable token transferability which could see, for example, NFTs limited to a number of trades or be subject to a trade freeze for a set period of time.

Magic Eden moved to an optional royalties model in October allowing buyers the option to set the royalties they wish to contribute to projects, which split opinions in Twitter’s NFT community.

The OCP tool follows a similar on-chain tool launched in early November by OpenSea that restricted NFT sales to only marketplaces enforcing royalties.

Magic Eden created a similar royalty enforcement tool, MetaShield, in partnership with peer marketplace and aggregator Coral Cube in September before its move to optional royalties.

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Mike Novogratz: Bankman-Fried is ‘delusional’ and headed to jail

The Galaxy Digital CEO alleges Sam Bankman-Fried and his cohorts perpetuated fraud and suggested they should be in jail.

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has been lambasted this week following a series of controversial public appearances, with Galaxy Digital’s Mike Novogratz one of the latest to dish out a lashing to the former kingpin of crypto.

On Dec. 1, Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz unleashed a tirade of criticism towards SBF concerning his interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times annual DealBook Summit on Nov. 30.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Novogratz characterized SBF as “delusional” following his declaration in the live interview that he never tried to commit fraud.

“It’s kind of surprising that his lawyers are letting him speak,” Novogratz said before adding “having watched two interviews, the word delusional kept coming to mind.”

The lambasting didn’t stop there with Novogratz echoing the sentiment from many prominent figures in the crypto community that jail time is necessary for the former FTX CEO.

“The reality is that Sam and his cohorts perpetuated a fraud. He stole money from people, people should go to jail.”

Galaxy Digital is among the victims of the FTX collapse having disclosed a $76.8 million exposure to the bankrupt firm.

The former FTX CEO also appears to be taking part in a spree of media appearances over the last few days.

During an interview on Good Morning America on Dec. 1, SBF insisted that FTX was not a “Ponzi scheme” but was “a real business” and denied knowledge of FTX customer deposits being used to pay Alameda’s creditors.

In a recent Twitter Spaces interview with IBC Group founder and CEO, Mario Nawfal, SBF again pleaded ignorance to what was occurring with his companies. When asked about what actually happened, his responses were very vague.

“I, you know, basically, and I should caveat this by saying that I, unfortunately, don’t have access to most of the data right now,” he said.

The reaction was equally vociferous with many suggesting that SBF was trying to paint a picture of his unfamiliarity and ignorance of what was going on.

Kraken co-founder Jesse Powell also called SBF out for misunderstanding how margin trading works.

SBF is completely full of shit about how margin trading works. He’s saying that the whole exchange operated on a net account equity model and anybody could borrow anything (in any amount?) from client funds or from nowhere. That’s not how it should work.https://t.co/3k7PkbAHVM

— Jesse Powell (@jespow) December 1, 2022

The creator of BitBoy Crypto, Ben Armstrong is understood to have arranged his own Twitter Spaces event with SBF, set for Dec. 3.

Related: ‘I never opened the code for FTX:’ SBF has long, candid talk with vlogger

Meanwhile, the crypto community has roasted SBF this week over his incoherent responses and lack of accountability.

On Dec. 1, Reflexivity Research cofounder Will Clemente said the NYT interview was painful to watch, adding, “SBF is clearly talking straight out of his ass. Can’t give a straight answer or even look at the camera. He’s just digging himself a deeper hole …”

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U.S. Trustee: FTX was the ‘fastest’ corporate failure in American history, calls for probe

The Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee overseeing FTX’s bankruptcy case has moved for the court to appoint an independent examiner.

The United States Trustee handling FTX’s bankruptcy proceedings has referred to the now-defunct exchange as the “fastest big corporate failure in American history,” and is calling for an independent probe to look into its downfall. 

In a Dec. 1 motion, U.S. Trustee Andrew Vara noted that over the course of eight days in November, debtors “suffered a virtually unprecedented decline in value” from a market high of $32 billion earlier in the year to a severe liquidity crisis after a “proverbial ‘run on the bank.'”

“The result is what is likely the fastest big corporate failure in American history, resulting in these “free fall” bankruptcy cases.”

Vara has called for an independent examination of FTX, stating it was “especially important because of the wider implications that FTX’s collapse may have for the crypto industry.”

Independent examiners are typically brought into bankruptcy cases when it is in the interest of creditors, or when unsecured debts exceed $5 million.

This type of examiner has been called in other high-profile bankruptcy cases such as Lehman Brothers, and more recently to look into allegations of mismanagement by Celsius as part of its ongoing chapter 11 case.

“Like the bankruptcy cases of Lehman, Washington Mutual Bank, and New Century Financial before them, these cases are exactly the kind of cases that require the appointment of an independent fiduciary to investigate and to report on the Debtors’ extraordinary collapse,” the Trustee said.

Vara added that in regards to FTX’s collapse, “the questions at stake here are simply too large and too important to be left to an internal investigation.”

According to the motion, the appointment of an examiner — which requires the approval of the judge — would be in the interest of customers and other interested parties as they would be able to “investigate the substantial and serious allegations of fraud, dishonesty, incompetence, misconduct, and mismanagement” by FTX.

Additionally, the motion suggests an examiner could look into the circumstances surrounding FTX’s collapse, customers’ funds being moved off the exchange, and whether entities that have lost money on FTX are able to claim back losses.

Related: Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried denies “improper use” of customer funds

FTX’s CEO John J. Ray III, who replaced Sam Bankman-Fried on Nov. 11, has been highly critical of the firm’s operations since taking control, noting on the first day in court that there was a use of “software to conceal the misuse of customer funds” and “a complete absence of trustworthy financial information,” with control concentrated “in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals.”

While the Trustee acknowledges interested parties will be concerned that the appointment of an examiner will have costs and may intersect with FTX’s internal investigation, he suggests that these concerns don’t negate the need for an examiner.

In related news, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have reportedly sent a number of requests to investors and firms that worked closely with FTX, asking for information on the company and its key figures.

So far, the authorities are yet to make any charges but appear to be closely investigating the defunct exchange.

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Front-running scams rampant on YouTube with 500% surge in 2022: CertiK

The scam lures victims to download fake front-running bot software that swipes their assets once they try to initiate a transaction.

Front-running scam bots are significantly gaining traction on YouTube, with the number of dubious videos increasing six-fold in 2022 according to a new report from blockchain security firm CertiK.

In the firm’s Dec. 1 report, CertiK explores how a wave of front-running bot scams are promising free returns as high as 10X a day, but ultimately end up swiping people’s funds.

Notably, CertiK’s analysis found 84% of videos on YouTube mentioning “front running bot” were scams, with the number increasing 500% from 28 videos in 2021 to 168 videos in 2022:

“There are common themes in all of these videos: free code and huge returns. Successful runners won’t give away free code on a social media site, they will sell it for a large amount on underground forums.”

The scam itself generally sees victims being guided to downloaded fake bot software, which is designed to swipe their assets once they try to initiate a front-running transaction.

Even when they are not scams, front-running bots cause problems as they can give the deployer a distinct advantage over other crypto traders in certain circumstances.

The bots generally scan blockchains for unconfirmed transactions and then pay a greater gas fee to squeeze in ahead of said transactions, “essentially beating it to the punch and taking all the profit on offer” from a trade.

The report identified videos using dubious titles such as “$15,000 Front Running Crypto Bot Leak! – 50X HUGE RETURNS!” and “Uniswap Front Running Bot 2022 – EASY TUTORIAL (Huge profits)” in which scammers give fake tutorials on downloading and using the bots.

The videos’ comment sections are of course swarmed with countless bot comments praising the content so that real comments sounding alarm bells are buried under the noise.

An example of the typical comments found on front-running bot scam videos. Source: CertiK

Scam reports have been rife of late, as Cointelegraph reported on Nov. 22 that deepfake videos using Sam Bankman-Fried’s likeness were circulating online aiming to dupe people impacted by FTX’s bankruptcy.

Related: Metaverse exploitation and abuse to rise in 2023: Kaspersky

CertiK released a separate report on Nov. 17 outlining that crypto scammers have been using identities bought on the black market to put their names and faces on fraudulent projects. Described as “Professional KYC actors,” CertiK found that their identities could be purchased for as low as $8.00.

On Reddit on Dec. 1, members of the r/Metallica community were also sending out warnings over fake Metallica live streams featuring all the band members that linked to crypto giveaway scams.

Some members even claimed that the YouTube algorithm had been recommending the videos to them in their top recommendations.

Comment on r/Metallica: Reddit

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Breaking: Ankr confirms exploit, asks for immediate trading halt

The decentralized-finance protocol said it is already working with exchanges to immediately halt trading of aBNBc.

The BNB Chain-based decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol Ankr has confirmed it has been hit by a multi-million dollar exploit on Dec. 1.

The attacker was purportedly able to mint 20 trillion Ankr Reward Bearing Staked BNB (aBNBc), a reward-bearing token for BNB (BNB) staked on the protocol. The exploiter has since used services such as Uniswap, Tornado Cash, and various bridges to swap and obfuscate the funds and has successfully gained around 5 million USD Coin (USDC)

Seems that @ankr got hacked an hour ago!

The exploiter minted 20T aBNBc and dumped it on #PancakeSwap.

At present, the exploiter have successfully exchanged more than 5 million $USDC.https://t.co/hF1tgNYw0t pic.twitter.com/XIPjBi6wvs

— Lookonchain (@lookonchain) December 2, 2022

It’s believed either a vulnerability in the protocol’s smart contract or a compromise of private keys is to blame for the exploit.

Ankr only made a quick statement on its Twitter page that its “aBNB token has been exploited” and that it is currently working with exchanges to immediately halt trading of the compromised token.

Our aBNB token has been exploited, and we are currently working with exchanges to immediately halt trading.

— Ankr (@ankr) December 2, 2022

Cointelegraph contacted Ankr but did not receive an immediate response.

This is a developing story and more information will be added as it becomes available.

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Trader Joe takes its first step into the Ethereum ecosystem

Despite the new multi-chain vision, the Trader Joe team confirmed that its “true home” and “top priority for all growth efforts” will continue to be on Avalanche.

Decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol Trader Joe has announced its very first expansion from Avalanche and onto the Ethereum ecosystem, as part of its plans to access new markets and drive up user activity.

The decentralized trading platform announced its “multi-chain” expansion into Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution Arbitrum One on Dec. 1 and follows around a month after it stated its intention to expand to additional markets and ink new partnerships amid falling TVL and user activity in the third quarter.

We’re extremely excited to announce that @traderjoe_xyz has expanded into the Ethereum ecosystem with Arbitrum One as its destination! ‍ https://t.co/pjnoirxkVi

— Arbitrum (,) (@arbitrum) December 1, 2022

The team stated that they’re working closely with Offchain Labs — the team behind Arbitrum One — to launch a testnet “within the coming days,” before officially deploying it onto the Arbitrum One mainnet in January 2023:

“Deployment to Arbitrum One is the next step in this global expansion effort and we look forward to introducing the innovative AMM built on Avalanche, and also working with new partners to benefit the collective DeFi ecosystems of Arbitrum and Avalanche.”

The deployment comes as Trader Joe has also expanded its ecosystem through partnerships and integrations with wallets, data clients and other vectors” since the second quarter as a means to spread the exposure of Avalanche and the Trader Joe itself.

Among the most notable recent partnerships include that of Trust Wallet and Crypto.com.

Trader Joe added that the protocol’s original AMM — Joe V1 AMM — would also move onto Arbitrum One in addition to the Liquidity Book AMM, which will bring “zero slippage trades and discretized liquidity provisioning to all Arbinauts.”

As for why Trader Joe chose to deploy its AMMs on Arbitrum One, the team said they were impressed by Offchain Labs’ efforts in building an ecosystem of DeFi protocols on the network, which is indicative of its 53.4% market share in total value locked (TVL) across all Ethereum layer-2 scaling solutions.

“Deploying (the) Liquidity Book will be a great addition to the vibrant ecosystem,” the team added.

Image shared by Trader Joe regarding its recent Arbitrum expansion. Source: Joe Content.

Despite announcing that it was “time to go global” on Crypto Twitter, the Trader Joe team confirmed that its “true home” and “top priority for all growth efforts” will continue to be on Avalanche.

Trader Joe also also clarified that its token, JOE, in addition to lending platform Banker Joe, nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace JoePegs and its staking platform would not join Liquidity Book AMM and Joe V1 AMM on Arbitrum “in this initial phase.”

Related: New fix for curse of impermanent loss proposed on Avalanche

The announcement appears to have a positive impact on the price of JOE, which increased 13.35% from $0.163 to $0.185 over an eight hour period before cooling off to $0.179, according to data from CoinGecko.

Trader Joe is currently the top-ranked decentralized exchange (DEX) and third-ranked DeFi protocol on Avalanche with $94.13 million in TVL, trailing only Ethereum-native lending platform AAVE and Avalanche-based liquid staking provider Benqi, according to data from DeFi aggregator DefiLlama.

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