Noma, a Japanese film studio, has announced that it is producing three feature films that are based on the world of cryptocurrencies. The first film, titled The Rhetoric Star, is already in production and will be released in 2024.
In an announcement sent to Cointelegraph on Tuesday, Taichi Ito, the founder of Noma and a producer of the series, said that the trilogy aims to impart knowledge about the crypto industry through creative storytelling. Additionally, Ito proudly shared that their team is working with Bitcoin (BTC) experts and the award-winning sound designer Sefi Carmel. He also expressed confidence that The Rhetoric Star will “change the way” audiences learn about crypto.
The film series is also produced by Mai Fujimoto, the CEO of Tokyo-based blockchain firm Gracone, and Ryo Nakatsuji, an executive at Japanese publisher CoinPost. Meanwhile, Japanese animator Haruna Gohzu, who has worked in popular anime like Pokémon, Fairy Tail and Demon Slayer will be taking the lead in the films’ animations.
Sefi Carmel, who is designing the sounds for the films, mentioned that the team wants to create a series that relays insights from the world’s crypto experts to the masses in a “creative and accessible” way. He said that he’s honored to join the team and excited as the world steers towards “a virtual future dependent on blockchain, cryptocurrency, NFTs and the like.”
Back in February, blockchain gaming firm Animoca brands launched a subsidiary based in Japan to turn Japanese content into nonfungible tokens (NFTs). These include content from anime like Dragon Ball and My Hero Academia. Apart from anime, the firm will also explore content from games, art and sports.
In April, Japan's largest social messaging application, Line, launched an NFT marketplace in partnership with Japanese entertainment company Yoshimoto Kogyo. The social platform noted that it will offer up to 40,000 NFTs to its userbase.
Distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchains including Bitcoin and Ethereum may be more vulnerable to centralization risks than initially thought, according to Trail of Bits.
The security firm on Tuesday released its report titled “Are Blockchains Decentralized?” which was commissioned by the United States government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
The report aims to investigate whether blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum are truly decentralized, though the report appeared to focus largely on Bitcoin.
Among its key findings, the security firm found that outdated Bitcoin nodes, unencrypted blockchain mining pools and a majority of unencrypted Bitcoin network traffic traversing over only a limited number of ISPs could leave room for various actors to garner excessive and centralized control over the network.
The report stated that a subnetwork of Bitcoin nodes is largely responsible for reaching consensus and communicating with miners and that a “vast majority of nodes do not meaningfully contribute to the health of the network.”
It also found that 21% of Bitcoin nodes are running an older version of the Bitcoin Core client, which is known to have vulnerability concerns such as consensus errors. It states that “it is vital that all DLT nodes operate on the same latest version of software, otherwise, consensus errors can occur and lead to a blockchain fork.”
A Bitcoin node is any computer that stores and verifies blocks in the blockchain. Nodes are used to monitor the health and security of the Bitcoin blockchain and validate the accuracy of transactions. The current version all nodes should run is Bitcoin Core 22.0.
Another takeaway from the report found that Bitcoin’s mining pool protocol Stratum is unencrypted and essentially unauthenticated.
This means that malicious attacks can be made to “estimate the hashrate and payouts of a miner in the pool” and “manipulate Stratum messages to steal CPU cycles and payouts from mining pool participants.”
Funneling through ISPs
The authors also found vulnerabilities in the infrastructure, based on the fact that Bitcoin protocol traffic is unencrypted and 60% of the network traffic traverses only three ISPs.
This is a problem because “ISPs and hosting providers have the ability to arbitrarily degrade or deny service to any node.”
Twenty-six pages of detailed information, data and infographics are contained within the report. DARPA started in 1958 and is responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the agency of the United States Department of Defense and the U.S. military. Trail of Bits is a cybersecurity research and consulting firm that was engaged by DARPA to develop the report.
The report comes at interesting timing, after centralization concerns were highlighted on Solana.
On Sunday, Solana-based decentralized finance (DeFi) lending protocol Solend put together a spur-of-the-moment governance proposal aimed at taking over a whale’s wallet that was facing liquidation which was threatening to put a strain on Solend and its users.
Major Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com received in-principle approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for its Major Payment Institution License. The license will let the platform provide a range of payment services in the country.
On Wednesday, June 22, Crypto.com announced the approval from MAS, which is necessary for offering the Digital Payment Token services within the framework of Singapore’s Payment Services Act.
In the announcement, Kris Marszalek, co-founder and CEO of Crypto.com, confirmed the company’s commitment to collaborating with the MAS:
“The Monetary Authority of Singapore sets a high regulatory bar that cultivates innovation while protecting consumers, and their in-principle approval of our application reflects the trusted and secure platform we have worked diligently to build. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the MAS and deepening our roots in Singapore — a flourishing market for fintech innovation, renowned for its well-regulated business environment.”
The Payment Service Act came into force in 2019, introducing the categories of small and major payment institutions. To obtain the following licenses, the enterprises are obliged to comply with a number of legal demands as well as act in accordance with Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism legislation.
In June, Crypto.com reported the provisional approval of its virtual asset license by the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority. Back in 2021, the exchange became the first cryptocurrency company to receive Malta’s Class 3 Virtual Financial Assets License.
Recently the company saw a launch of a $100 million accelerator program to fast-track decentralized finance, Web3 and metaverse projects by its blockchain ecosystem, Cronos. Some of the prominent investment partners backing the Cronos Accelerator Program include Mechanism Capital, Spartan Labs, IOSG Ventures, OK Blockchain Capital, AP Capital, Altcoin Buzz and Dorahacks.
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