Inside South Korea’s wild plan to dominate the metaverse

“Many years ago, it was AI. Now, it’s metaverse,” he says. “From the government’s perspective, […] as long as you don’t have a coin itself, they’re willing to support a lot of these new technologies” — Doo Wan Nam from StableNode

South Korea: The land of the metaverse

If you had to pick the one country that’s most primed to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the metaverse, South Korea would be high on the list. 

It’s a technology-obsessed country that eagerly adopts new products, where 98% of people own a smart device and more than 10% of the population own at least some cryptocurrency. Despite being the 13th-largest economy in the world by GDP — and the 27th by population — it’s the fourth-largest gaming market in the world, with its 33 million gamers generating $8.3 billion in revenue for the sector in 2021.

Gaming is already a metaverse-style social activity. The most popular games are either cooperative or competitive, and the country dominates esports, with thousands packing stadiums to watch professional players battle it out. 

The Seoul Metaverse. (Source: Seoul Metropolitan Government)

“For [Australians], our entertainment on a day-to-day basis would be watching TV or watching a movie or whatever,” says Melbourne-based Zerocap analyst Nathan Lenga, who has researched South Korea’s metaverse plans.

“But 50% of people in Korea actually reported that their daily dose of entertainment was gaming. So, it’s really, really immersed and just integrated into their culture,” he says.

The metaverse and South Korea’s Digital New Deal

The South Korean government has an ambitious 58.2 trillion won ($44.6 billion) plan to transform its economy to embrace new technologies, called the “Digital New Deal.” Part of this package includes 223.7 billion won ($171.6 million) earmarked to help South Korea become ranked No. 5 among the most metaverse-adopted countries in the world by 2026 — up from its current place at No. 12. According to the Korea Herald, experts believe the domestic metaverse will be worth 400 trillion won ($306.5 billion) by then.

The money is being handed out as grants to universities and corporations working on metaverse technology and platforms — but they barely need any encouragement, as the country already accounts for almost one out of every five metaverse patent applications filed globally since 2016, second only to the United States. Local tech giants LG Electronics and Samsung lead in the number of filings.

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And the metaverse sector is already well established. A report from the innovation advisory firm Mind the Bridge estimates that as of June 2022, South Korea’s metaverse sector had 109 “scaleups” — a fast-growing business with a profitable product — and up to 300 more metaverse startups. “Their scaleup density ratio is 3-4 times higher than the Silicon Valley and the UK (3% of total), Europe and Israel (2%) ones,” the report says, noting that scaleups had raised $10.6 billion toward building metaverse platforms.

The country’s metaverse plans were developed under the previous government, and current President Yoon Suk-Yeol cited 10 metaverse-related ambitions among his 110 “national tasks.”

Why is South Korea so keen on the sector? Because they see a big opportunity if they can get in early, with the government estimating it could create 1.5 million virtual jobs in the sector in the future. To get the ball rolling, it will train 40,000 students on the metaverse through higher education courses.

“That’s obviously going to have a significant impact on the wealth of the country and really stimulate their economy,” says Lenga on the target of 1.5 million jobs. “They’re trying to produce experts that will push the country to the top of the metaverse market and bring new developers into the country because of these programs and initiatives.”

How South Korea is leading in metaverse technology

Sangmin “Sam” Seo is a representative director of the Klaytn Foundation, the blockchain and metaverse offshoot of Korean internet giant Kakao.

He says there was a sea change in views on the metaverse after everybody was forced to work from home due to COVID-19 and interact in virtual worlds on Zoom and Google Meet.

“Just seeing other faces on your screen is not that fun, right?” he says. 

“So, we were trying to find a more interesting platform that can help people work and also provide fun and entertainment. And I think that’s why people were more excited about the metaverse, and why the metaverse became a new area for Koreans and the Korean government.”

To mark its third anniversary this year, Klaytn unveiled its “metaverse blockchain for all” plan to help develop AAA blockchain and play-to-earn games, NFTs, and DeFi services for metaverse businesses. It announced a $500 million grant scheme and is fine-tuning its blockchain for high scalability and low latency for a better metaverse experience. It also offers “metaverse as a service,” allowing other companies, publishers, creators and users to seamlessly plug into the metaverse.

In case you missed Magazine’s previous article on South Korea: South Korea’s unique and amazing crypto universe

Seonik Jeon, founder of Korean Blockchain Week, says that Klaytn’s internet giant parent company, Kakao, is giving 100% support to its metaverse offshoot.

“Kakao’s founder, Brian Kim, personally strongly believes that blockchain is the future of Kakao, and he’s putting most of his manpower — all the elite manpower — to Klaytn these days,” he tells Magazine.

A promotional picture for Ifland. (Source: SK Telecom)

“Right now, they are having some issues because they are changing a lot of stuff. But once the settlement is done, I think they will grow fast,” he says.

Local telecom company SK Telecom launched its own “social metaverse” platform called Ifland in mid-2021, and it already has 12.8 million users. It has plans for world domination, having launched in 49 more countries as of the end of November. 

What is the Seoul metaverse?

Even municipal governments are on board with the City of Seoul creating the first virtual public administration platform in the metaverse with its “Metaverse Seoul,” which is slated to open by the end of the year. Around 3,000 residents have already played around on the beta, visiting the virtual City Hall and playing games in Seoul Plaza.

The five-year plan will see residents able to attend a virtual campus of Seoul Open City University, lodge official complaints and apply for licenses. Visitors can take a virtual stroll through specific tourism content.

Time magazine named it one of the Best Inventions of 2022, and other Korean cities like Changwon and Seongnam have announced plans to replicate themselves virtually too. 

In September, the Israeli Embassy in South Korea opened a diplomatic mission in the metaverse that you can visit via an Android and iPhone app. When Magazine visited it recently, it was totally empty of people and content-free — a good reminder that unless metaverse platforms serve a purpose and can attract users, they are simply expensive 3D games that aren’t much fun.

Why did South Korea ban blockchain and play-to-earn games?

Korea has a very complicated relationship with gambling, and a study from the Korean Center on Gambling Problems suggests that the average South Korean is two to three times more likely to suffer from gambling addiction than someone of another other nationality (though it’s unclear why). Gambling, apart from lotteries and horse racing, has been banned.

So, while South Korea is big on the metaverse, it’s not that keen on incorporating cryptocurrencies. In December 2021, South Korea’s previous government banned the most obvious forerunner of the metaverse — play-to-earn blockchain games.

Time Magazine named Seoul Metaverse as one of the best inventions of the year. (Source: Seoul Metropolitan Government)

This threw a wrench into the works for local companies working on blockchain games and recalls previous concerns over video game addiction, which from 2011 to 2021 saw teenagers banned from playing online PC games after midnight as part of the Shutdown Law.  

Doo Wan Nam, co-founder of research and advisory firm StableNode, believes the P2E game ban is a sign of the power of the big traditional gaming companies, which lobbied to have the games outlawed.

“They saw their competitors going into play-to-earn, and they were able to gain literally millions of users. So, for them, it was like, ‘Is this fair?’ They have a lot of lobbying power because it’s a big industry.”He notes that while lobbying is illegal, “people know there is lobbying, directly or indirectly.”

The future of the metaverse in South Korea

However, Jeon disagrees, saying that the top game companies in South Korea are already exploring blockchain-based games.

“All the major top-tier gaming companies are adopting blockchain right now and figuring out how they can make better play-to-earn games,” he says. “I think these gaming companies are preparing for the future.”

P2E games released or in development by Korean developers. (Xangle)

Companies developing P2E games include Com2uS, Kakao Games, Neopin, Nexon and Krafton. Mobile gaming giant Netmarble, which earned $2.2 billion in 2021, has more than a dozen blockchain and metaverse titles, including Golden Bros, A3: Still Alive, Yokai Dual, Meta Football, Seven Deadly Sins: Origin, and many more. It launched its own MarbleX blockchain ecosystem on Klaytn and has a currency called Inetrium. One of its biggest titles is Everybody’s Marble: Metaworld, part of a franchise with a user base of 200 million. It’s a real-estate investing game where players buy land and develop properties in a metaverse world based on the real world.

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Will South Korea lift the ban on blockchain games and P2E?

Arguably the most successful South Korean game company utilizing blockchain technology is WeMade. When Magazine catches up with its CEO, Henry Chang, in Seoul, he says he believes the ban will soon be lifted thanks to a more favorable approach from President Yoon. “I think the new government, the current government, will modify the laws according to the current situation,” he says.

“I expect it will be next year.”

Klaytn’s Seo agrees: “I believe that once they have enough use cases and enough good stories, […] the Korean government will think about their previous plan differently, and they might change their declaration.”

This has yet to happen, and the collapse of Terra, Celsius and FTX hasn’t really helped the case to ease regulations on anything related to crypto. However, officials from the Ministry of Science and ICT have indicated that they’re working on laws to regulate the metaverse that are separate from video game regulations. 

The Israel Korea metaverse was totally empty when Magazine visited. (Source: Andrew Fenton)

WeMade created the popular Legend of Mir series and claims that Mir 4, released in 2021, is the most successful blockchain game in the world. It enables players who’ve gotten far enough in the game to head down a virtual mine to gather metal to smelt into the cryptocurrency Draco.

“It became insanely popular,” says Lenga. “Since February of this year, they’ve had 650,000 average users.”

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At the time of writing, there were 61,000 players online, with 5.4 million over the month. Sure, that’s small beer compared with the 253 million monthly users of Fortnite or the 172 million people playing Minecraft, but it’s very good for a blockchain game. Some of those users, however, are in Korea, where they’re playing a version without blockchain.

“I believe that blockchain games are games, and to make a blockchain game successful is very similar to a regular game,” Chang says of his approach with Mir 4.

“Games with blockchain can be more enjoyable than games without cryptocurrency. So, I believe that in three years, almost all games, conventional games, can be transformed into blockchain games.”

In June, WeMade launched Wemix3.0, a gaming platform it hopes will become the Steam of blockchain gaming, with DeFi services and its own stablecoin, WEMIX. Net profit grew 72% this year compared with 2021, and the future was looking bright. 

However, in late November, South Korea’s biggest exchanges delisted the WEMIX token over concerns about the accuracy of its supply figures, instantly wiping 70% off its market capitalization. The company is taking legal action, but this once again demonstrates that blockchain developers face significant risk.

Can the metaverse exist without cryptocurrency in South Korea?

Nam believes the metaverse is so appealing to the South Korean government because it harnesses the power of blockchain while being a few steps removed from cryptocurrency itself.

“Many years ago, it was AI. Now, it’s metaverse,” he says. “From the government’s perspective, […] as long as you don’t have a coin itself, they’re willing to support a lot of these new technologies.”

Shinamon Bank’s Metaverse platform. (Source: Shinhan Financial Group)

Unfortunately, that’s precisely the direction many of the South Korean metaverse platforms have taken so far.Ifland, Metaverse Seoul, the Israel–Korea Embassy — these are just 3D-world versions of the existing internet (although Ifland 2.0 will have cash-like points). You can tell how non-disruptive the metaverse is to the existing order because even the big Korean banks KEB Hana Bank and Shinhan Bank have metaverse branches.

Until users themselves are the ones building the metaverse, incentivized by digital ownership provided by NFTs, the current generation of metaverse platforms is really just a new lick of paint on the same old Big Tech-dominated Web2.

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Andrew Fenton
Based in Melbourne, Andrew Fenton is a journalist and editor covering cryptocurrency and blockchain. He has worked as a national entertainment writer for News Corp Australia, on SA Weekend as a film journalist, and at The Melbourne Weekly.

Follow the author @andrewfenton

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The all-in-one approach at the foundation of next gen crypto investment platforms

The ongoing FTX saga has injected more uncertainty into an already shaken market. If it was not clear already, even the biggest centralized exchanges can fail. The problem is multi-faceted. On the one hand, just like in traditional finance, centralized institutions are only as good as the people who run them. When investors use services like FTX, they are putting their trust in the people that run the service. Unfortunately, history is rife with examples of powerful people taking advantage of that trust.On the other hand, cryptocurrency is still very new. The vast majority of crypto users are not well-versed in all of the technical underpinnings of how things work. For most, digital assets are simply an alternative means of investing and therefore the most convenient solutions are often the most popular ones.However, considering how young the industry is, it is going through a number of growing pains, which even the most well-established platforms are subject to. The key to righting the ship and protecting users as they navigate these new waters may be educating them and providing them with as many tools as possible.Everything a user needs in one placeCombining convenient, centralized services with streamlined DeFi offerings gives users access to the best of both worlds. What is more, supplementing the financial products a platform offers with a varied and through educational element is also important.The cryptocurrency space offers a wide variety of investment opportunities, however, users need a certain level of onboarding before they can take advantage of these tools. This is why more and more financial service providers in the space are launching academies and educational arms to help their customers make smarter investments.Understanding what the tools in front of you can help you achieve is the first step to building a strong crypto portfolio. And especially in volatile times like the ones the industry is experiencing at the moment, having the knowledge to navigate the space of utmost importance.Pioneering the all-in-one approachThe all-in-one approach in crypto is a sure way to give users access to all types of financial tools and resources they need to create a strong portfolio of assets. That is the approach taken by ClearCryptos, an all-in-one cryptocurrency platform that aims to cater to all of its’ users investment needs – from a varied portfolio of investment tools, through an educational and analytics platform to support sound investment logic.In terms of financial services, ClearCryptos has pooled together 50 different platforms that all perform various functions. Each platform has been thoroughly vetted before getting integrated into the service and offered to users. By curating projects that are worthy of its user base and bringing unique value to the service, ClearCrypto has been able to kill two birds with one stone, by giving users convenience without forcing them to sacrifice security. These integrations also bring the full suite of products ClearCrpyots offers, including a token swap and fiat on and off-ramps.But ClearCryptos has not made a name for itself just on the strength of the financial services it offers. The key to success for the project has been building a comprehensive educational platform so that its users not only have a wide array of options available to them, but they are able to understand fully what they are engaged in and make decisions that protect and benefit themselves. With a rich library of educational videos, tutorials and breakdowns of recent events in crypto, ClearCryptos offers a comprehensive overview of the whole space for investors who are just starting out.On the convenience end, the service has a number of fiat on-ramps that allow its user to easily deposit funds in their native currencies to the platform as well as withdraw them back into their bank accounts. These fiat on-ramps are connected to the ClearCryptos Swap, a decentralized aggregated swap mechanism which also sports reduced transaction fees for anyone who holds CCX, the native token of the ClearCryptos platform. ClearCryptos is the only service of its kind to offer decentralized fiat on-ramps and fiat off-ramps to residents of the US. This has been made possible thanks to a groundbreaking partnership the project has forged with Plaid, Silia KYC and Evolve Bank.🤔Need more tools to navigate the decentralized markets and evaluate token prices?✨ClearCryptos Analytics✨😉By integrating blockchain data into one unified UI, CCA offers you a comprehensive view of the current state of the cryptomarket.#clearcryptos #ccx $ccx #crypto pic.twitter.com/rb4BM9VJR2— ClearCryptos (@ClearCryptos) November 29, 2022The importance of education and analyticsOn the analytical side of things, ClearCryptos has developed its own in-house platform. ClearCryptos Analytics is billed as “the Google of crypto,” and provides a wealth of information that is easily digestible and applicable for users of varying expertise levels. The platform was able to launch thanks to a strategic partnership with TradingView, a leader in market trend and price movement analysis.All of these tools and services are complemented by a library of comprehensive educational material that includes over 400 videos and numerous FAQs and walkthroughs. With this wealth of resources, ClearCryptos has attempted to make good on its mission to make sure that its users not only have all the tools they need, but they know how to use them safely and to their own advantage.Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you with all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor can this article be considered as investment advice.

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GBTC ‘elevator to hell’ sees Bitcoin spot price approach 100% premium

Bitcoin (BTC) investment vehicle, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), is trading close to 50% below the BTC price on spot markets.Data from on-chain analytics platform Coinglass confirms that on Dec. 8, GBTC shares hit a new record low of -47.2% against BTC/USD.GBTC troubles pile up post-FTXIn the latest bout of nerves to hit the Bitcoin industry since the fall of FTX, GBTC is nearing half-price versus the price of Bitcoin.The largest institutional Bitcoin investment vehicle, with assets worth around $10 billion, GBTC has faced numerous challenges in recent years. The price of its shares previously traded higher than BTC/USD, resulting in what was called the “GBTC premium.” Since 2021, however, that premium has turned negative, but the resulting “discount” has done little to lure additional institutional interest.As Cointelegraph reported, beyond a few key exceptions such as ARK Invest, GBTC is languishing as operator Grayscale, part of Digital Currency Group (DCG), attempts to convert it to an exchange-traded fund (ETF) — suing United States regulators standing in its way.Amid the legal battle, FTX has sparked liquidity problems elsewhere in the DCG empire, and this has led to doubts over Grayscale and GBTC. Grayscale declining to show proof of its BTC reserves last month, despite custodian Coinbase confirming its assets were secure, added to the tensions.“Grayscale is in some real trouble if they have to reveal where all the Bitcoins are that back the GBTC,” popular commented Bitfinex’ed wrote in part of a Twitter discussion on the topic this week.This week, things became even worse, as Grayscale faced a lawsuit from investor Fir Tree over what it calls “shareholder-unfriendly actions.”GBTC premium vs. asset holdings vs. BTC/USD chart. Source: CoinglassMeanwhile, overall interest in crypto ETFs has plummeted this year, separate data suggests.Woo: Problems “partly bullish” for BitcoinWith that, the GBTC premium, having barely recovered from previous record lows, sank even further versus Bitcoin, known as its relationship to net asset value (NAV).Related: Why is Bitcoin price down today?“$GBTC discount to bitcoin NAV is on the express elevator to hell. = > sentiment = bearish,” Timothy Peterson, investment manager at Cane Island Alternative Advisors, summarized.Others lamented the slow pace of change in the U.S. as fueling the fire.“Quite a lot of the pain this year would have been avoided if GBTC had been made into an ETF SEC keeping everyone safe!” investor and entrepreneur Alistair Milne reacted, echoing popular sentiment from recent weeks.Willy Woo, creator of statistics resource Woobull, meanwhile argued that the impact of fading GBTC exposure was not necessarily a straight negative for BTC price strength.“The GBTC / DCG / Genesis fears is a bearish cloud hanging over the market. But counterintuitively part of the impact has been bullish for BTC price,” he tweeted on Dec. 5. “37.5% of people who sold GBTC bought spot BTC to take custody. Selling GBTC does not impact BTC price, buying spot does.”An additional Twitter survey quizzed the platform’s users who notionally own GBTC over their motives to sell.Willy Woo Twitter survey (screenshot). Source: Willy Woo/ TwitterThe views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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Australian CBDC receives unexpected interest but could hurt banks: RBA

A Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot program in Australia has received more than 140 use case proposals from the finance industry, but the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) warns that it could displace the Australian dollar and result in people avoiding commercial banks entirely.The RBA released a speech on Dec. 8 to be given by Assistant Governor Brad Jones at a central bank conference held from Dec. 8 to Dec. 9 local time, in which Jones speaks at length about what effect a CBDC could have on the Australian economy. Jones notes that the RBA has been surprised by the industry interest they have received since releasing a white paper on Aug. 9, with over 80 financial entities proposing use-cases covering many areas such as e-commerce, offline, and government payments.The team working on the pilot “eAUD” program is working out which of the proposed use-cases to take into its pilot phase early next year, and is expecting to publish a report on the project around the middle of 2023.Jones also discusses the potential risks that are associated with an Australian CBDC, and points to liquidity issues and other issues the banks could face if a CBDC becomes the preferred source of holdings.For example, with deposits of Australian residents such as savings accounts now making up over 60% of total funding for their banks, enough Australians choosing a CBDC over the Australian dollar could result in banks not having sufficient capital to lend to consumers, which in turn would make it harder for the RBA to transmit monetary policy, he said. Funding composition of banks in Australia. Source: RBAJones also notes that Australians preferring to hold their funds in a “risk-free” CBDC could lead to bank runs, with Australians withdrawing deposits en masse.Related: Report outlines reasons why stakeholders are against CBDCHowever, the Assistant Governor suggests CBDCs could also provide Australians with many benefits, such as privacy benefits — arguing that the central bank has no incentive to use personal data which can be exploited by private organizations — and could help safeguard monetary sovereignty that may be lost if a stablecoin or foreign CBDC fills a domestic vacuum.He also points to the potential for offline transactions to increase the resilience of existing payment systems, in addition to increased efficiency and cost reductions for end-users.Jones finished the speech by adding that Australians should be confident the Reserve Bank will continue to issue banknotes “for as long as they place value on them as a public good.” Critics are often concerned that the introduction of CBDCs will end with banknotes being phased out however, a fear which is given credence by Nigeria’s move to further limit cash withdrawals on Dec. 6 following the issuance of the eNaira.

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Telegram to allow no-sim accounts via anon-blockchain-numbers

Messaging app Telegram has rolled out a new update enabling users to create accounts using blockchain-based anonymous numbers, as opposed to cell phone numbers. Telegram already hides people’s private phone numbers from non-added users on the app, however, users will now be able to hide numbers from everyone, which is likely to please people who value privacy-focused features.The messaging platform has become a popular app for crypto enthusiasts. The move is part of a 9.2 update launched on Dec. 6, which also enables users to auto-delete timers on messages in new chats.Ultimate Privacy: No-SIM Signup, Auto-Delete All Chats, Temporary QR Codes, Topics 2.0 and More https://t.co/NtpPjNnf9q— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) December 7, 2022To use the feature, users will need to purchase “blockchain-powered anonymous numbers” from Fragment, a decentralized auction platform founded by Telegram creator Pavel Durov. Fragment sells user names and anonymous numbers that are only compatible with Telegram. Purchases are made on the platform via Telegram’s affiliated token The Open Network (TON). Unfortunately for U.S. users however, Fragment does not offer its services to citizens located there. blockchain-based anonymous numbers: FragmentUpon purchasing a number, people can then use these private numbers to receive verification code texts after signing in to Telegram. People can purchase a random number on Fragment for 9 TON ($16) or they can buy and sell ones via auction. It appears that some specific numbers are attracting a lot of demand, as “+888 8 888” currently has the highest bid of 33,075 TON ($60,527) at the time of writing. Related: WhatsApp crash: Are decentralized blockchain messengers a real alternative?Following the FTX debacle last month, Durov revealed via his Telegram channel on Nov. 30 that the company is building a suite of decentralized tools in response to yet another occurrence of malfeasance by a centralized crypto entity. Adding to Fragment, Durov indicated that Telegram is looking to roll out noncustodial wallets and decentralized exchanges among other apps. “The solution is clear: blockchain-based projects should go back to their roots – decentralization. Cryptocurrency users should switch to trustless transactions and self-hosted wallets that don’t rely on any single third party,” he wrote.

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Vanguard Drops Out of Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative

Vanguard, one of the largest investment managers in the world, announced today that it is withdrawing from the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative (NZAM), a major multi-trillion dollar group of investment managers committed to supporting the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In a statement announcing the withdrawal, Vanguard said that the […]

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Price analysis 12/7: BTC, ETH, BNB, XRP, ADA, DOGE, MATIC, DOT, LTC, UNI

The FTX crisis kept Bitcoin’s (BTC) price under pressure in November, but data from Bitstamp exchange shows institutional investors may have viewed the dip as a buying opportunity. The exchange told Cointelegraph that compared to October, its revenue from institutions increased by 34% in November.In another positive sign, Goldman Sachs executive Mathew McDermott told Reuters that the bank was doing some due diligence on crypto companies since they were “priced more sensibly” after the FTX crash.Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360ARK Invest said in the latest edition of its monthly “The Bitcoin Monthly” newsletter, that the FTX implosion “could be the most damaging event in crypto history,” but added that decentralized blockchains were “as strong as ever.”Could lower levels attract buyers in Bitcoin and altcoins? Let’s study the charts of the top-10 cryptocurrencies to spot the levels where buyers may step in.BTC/USDTAfter trading near the 20-day exponential moving average ($16,966) for the past few days, Bitcoin is threatening to dip below the immediate support at $16,787. BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf that happens, the short-term advantage could tilt in favor of the bears and the BTC/USDT pair may drop to $16,000. Such a move will suggest that the pair could remain stuck between $15,476 and $17,622 for a few more days. The longer the time spent inside the range, the stronger will be the breakout from it.On the upside, bulls will have to push and sustain the price above the 50-day simple moving average ($18,122) to gain the upper hand. The pair could then pick up momentum and rally to $20,000. ETH/USDTAfter trading between the moving averages for the past few days, Ether (ETH) broke below the 20-day EMA ($1,250) on Dec. 7. This suggests that the bears have overpowered the bulls.ETH/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf the price sustains below the 20-day EMA, the ETH/USDT pair could dive to $1,151 and then to the important support at $1,073. On the contrary, if the price turns up quickly and climbs back above the 20-day EMA, it will suggest strong buying on dips. That could increase the likelihood of a break above the 50-day SMA ($1,331). Above this level, there is no significant resistance until the pair reaches the downtrend line of the descending channel.BNB/USDTThe bulls tried to push BNB (BNB) above the overhead resistance at $300 on Dec. 5 but the bears held their ground. The sellers strengthened their position on Dec. 7 by pulling the price below the immediate support at $285. BNB/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf the price sustains below $285, the BNB/USDT pair could slump to $275. This level may act as a minor support but if it breaks down, the selling could pick up and the pair may plunge to the crucial support at $250. If bulls want to prevent the fall, they will have to push and sustain the price above $300. That could trap the aggressive bears on the wrong foot and push the price toward the overhead resistance at $338. This level may again witness a tough battle between the bulls and the bears.XRP/USDTThe bears successfully defended the 20-day EMA ($0.39) in the past few days and pulled XRP (XRP) below the uptrend line on Dec. 7. This invalidates the developing ascending triangle pattern.XRP/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewBuyers will try to salvage the situation by defending the strong support at $0.37. If the price rebounds off this level and rises above the 20-day EMA, the XRP/USDT pair may consolidate between $0.37 and $0.41 for some time. A break and close above $0.41 will suggest the start of a new up-move.The bears are likely to have other plans. They will try to break the support at $0.37 and pull the price to $0.34. That could keep the pair range-bound between $0.30 and $0.41 for a few more days.ADA/USDT Cardano (ADA) failed to sustain above the 20-day EMA ($0.32) on Dec. 5 which may have tempted short-term buyers to close their longs and the bears to establish fresh short positions.ADA/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe sellers will try to pull the price below the crucial support at $0.29 but they may face strong resistance from the bulls because if the level gives way, the ADA/USDT pair could signal the resumption of the downtrend.Although the trend is down, the relative strength index (RSI) is maintaining its bullish divergence. This suggests that lower levels may attract buyers. The first sign of sustainable recovery could be on a break and close above $0.33. The pair could then rise to the downtrend line.DOGE/USDTThe long wick on Dogecoin’s (DOGE) Dec. 5 candlestick shows that bears are defending the 50% Fibonacci retracement level at $0.11.DOGE/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe DOGE/USDT pair turned down and broke below the 20-day EMA ($0.09) on Dec. 7 but a minor positive is that the bulls are buying the dips to the 50-day SMA ($0.09). If the price rebounds off the current level, the pair could again rise to $0.11. The RSI has dropped close to the center which suggests that the bullish momentum could be waning. The bears may try to tug the price below the 50-day SMA and gain the upper hand. If they succeed, the pair could gradually slip toward $0.07.MATIC/USDTBuyers tried to thrust Polygon (MATIC) above $0.95 on Dec. 5 but the bears vigorously defended the level. The price turned down and broke below the 20-day EMA ($0.90) on Dec. 7. This indicates that efforts by the bulls to flip the 20-day EMA into support have failed.MATIC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe bears will try to build upon this opportunity and drag the price to the uptrend line. This is an important level to keep an eye on as the bulls have successfully defended it on three previous occasions. If this support collapses, the MATIC/USDT pair could slide to the crucial support at $0.69.This negative view will invalidate in the near term if the price turns up and breaks above the overhead resistance at $0.97. That could clear the path for a possible rally to $1.05.Related: Why is Bitcoin price down today?DOT/USDTPolkadot (DOT) repeatedly broke above the 20-day EMA ($5.50) from Dec. 2 to 5 but the bulls could not build upon this strength. This shows that demand dries up at higher levels.DOT/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe bears will try to resume the downtrend by pulling the price below the strong support at $5. If they do that, the DOT/USDT pair could plummet to $4.32.Another possibility is that the price rebounds off $5. That will indicate strong buying at lower levels. The bulls will then try to drive the price above $5.73. If they can pull it off, it could signal a double bottom pattern. The pair could then rise to $6.18 and later to the pattern target of $6.46, which is near the downtrend line.LTC/USDTLitecoin (LTC) broke above the $84 resistance on Dec. 5 but the long wick on the day’s candlestick shows selling at higher levels. This may have tempted short-term traders to book profits, which has pulled the price to the breakout level of $75.LTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe moving averages are sloping up but the RSI has formed a bearish divergence, indicating that the buying pressure may be reducing. A break and close below the 20-day EMA ($74) could enhance the prospects of a drop to the 50-day SMA ($64).Contrarily, if the price rebounds off the 20-day EMA ($74), it will suggest that the trend remains positive and traders are buying the dips. The bulls will then make one more attempt to clear the overhead hurdle at $85 and push the LTC/USDT pair toward $104.UNI/USDTUniswap (UNI) climbed above the 50-day SMA ($6.16) on Dec. 2 but the bulls could not sustain the buying pressure and push the price to the resistance line of the symmetrical triangle pattern.UNI/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe price turned down on Dec. 7 and the bears are trying to sink the price back below the 20-day EMA ($5.92). If this level fails to hold, the selling momentum could pick up and the UNI/USDT pair could decline to the support line of the triangle. Alternatively, if the price turns up and breaks above $6.55, it will tilt the short-term advantage in favor of the buyers. The pair could then rise to the resistance line where the bulls may again encounter strong selling by the bears. The next trending move could begin on a break above or below the triangle. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

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5 Essential Things Employees Can Teach Leaders About Growth, Success and Happiness

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. In the era of entrepreneurship and business ownership, many aspiring leaders focus on collecting as much knowledge as possible in terms of running a company or maintaining dazzling team performance. Everyone wants to be the best version of themselves when it comes to professional growth and development. […]

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Bitcoin options data shows bulls aiming for $17K BTC price by Friday’s expiry

Bitcoin (BTC) price crashed to $15,500 on Nov. 21, driving the price to its lowest level in two years. The 2-day-long correction totaled an 8% downtrend and wiped out $230 million worth of leverage long (buy) futures contracts. The price move gave the false impression to bears that a sub-$15,500 expiry on the Dec. 9 options expiry was feasible, but those bets are unlikely to pay off as the deadline approaches.Year-to-date, Bitcoin price is 65% down for 2022, but the leading cryptocurrency remains a top 30 global tradable asset class ahead of tech giants like Meta Platforms (META), Samsung (005930.KS), and Coca-Cola (KO). Investors’ main concern is still the possibility of a recession if the U.S. Federal Reserve raises rates for longer than expected. Proof of this comes from Dec. 2 data which showed that 263,000 jobs were created in November, signaling the Fed’s effort to slow the economy and bring down inflation remains a work in progress.On Dec. 7, Wells Fargo director Azhar Iqbal wrote in a note to clients that “all told, financial indicators point to a recession on the horizon.” Iqbal added, “taken together with the inverted yield curve, markets are clearly braced for a recession in 2023.”Bears were overly pessimistic and will suffer the consequencesThe open interest for the Dec. 9 options expiry is $320 million, but the actual figure will be lower since bears were expecting sub-$15,500 price levels. These traders became overconfident after Bitcoin traded below $16,000 on Nov. 22.Bitcoin options aggregate open interest for Dec. 9. Source: CoinGlassThe 1.19 call-to-put ratio reflects the imbalance between the $175 million call (buy) open interest and the $145 million put (sell) options. Currently, Bitcoin stands at $16,900, meaning most bearish bets will likely become worthless.If Bitcoin’s price remains near $17,000 at 8:00 am UTC on Dec. 9, only $16 million worth of these put (sell) options will be available. This difference happens because the right to sell Bitcoin at $16,500 or $15,500 is useless if BTC trades above that level on expiry.Bulls aim for $18k to secure a $130 million profitBelow are the four most likely scenarios based on the current price action. The number of options contracts available on Dec. 9 for call (bull) and put (bear) instruments varies, depending on the expiry price. The imbalance favoring each side constitutes the theoretical profit:Between $15,500 and $16,500: 200 calls vs. 2,100 puts. The net result favors the put (bear) instruments by $30 million.Between $16,500 and $17,000: 1,700 calls vs. 1,500 puts. The net result is balanced between bears and bulls.Between $17,000 and $18,000: 5,500 calls vs. 100 puts. The net result favors the call (bull) instruments by $100 million.Between $18,000 and $18,500: 7,300 calls vs. 0 puts. Bulls completely dominate the expiry by profiting $130 million.This crude estimate considers the put options used in bearish bets and the call options exclusively in neutral-to-bullish trades. Even so, this oversimplification disregards more complex investment strategies.For example, a trader could have sold a put option, effectively gaining positive exposure to Bitcoin above a specific price, but unfortunately, there’s no easy way to estimate this effect.Related: Institutional investors still eye crypto despite the FTX collapseBulls probably have less margin to support the priceBitcoin bulls need to push the price above $18,000 on Friday to secure a potential $130 million profit. On the other hand, the bears’ best-case scenario requires a slight push below $16,500 to maximize their gains.Bitcoin bulls just had $230 million leverage long positions liquidated in two days, so they might have less margin required to support the price. Considering the negative pressure from traditional markets due to recession concerns and raising interest rates, bears will likely avoid a loss by keeping Bitcoin below $17,000 on Dec 9.The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

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Wells Fargo Broker Recruiting Rebound Has Finally Arrived: CEO Scharf

Wells Fargo & Co. Chief Executive Charles Scharf delivered another vote of confidence for the bank’s wealth management unit on Tuesday, touting recent wins in broker recruiting. The parent bank’s scandals and bad press had long stifled such growth, Scharf acknowledged with retrospective frankness. “If you were to talk to our advisors, they would feel […]

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