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Top Headlines for 4 March, 2022

UkraineDAO Raises $6.75M

UkraineDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization, sold a non-fungible token (NFT) of the Ukrainian flag for 2,258 ETH ($6.75 million at the time of the sale on 2 March 2022), with proceeds donated to ComeBackAlive, a non-profit organization providing essential supplies to Ukrainian citizens and military personnel.

The DAO placed the winning bid on behalf of 3,271 donors through a crowdsourcing service called PartyBid. For their donations, contributors will receive POAPs, crypto tokens that are given out as proof of participation badge in the crypto community. The high-profile NFT sale is but one example of crypto being used to provide essential support to Ukraine in its war with Russia.

Ukrainian activist Alona Shevchenko set up UkraineDAO along with Russian activist group PussyRiot and NFT studio Trippy Labs. Ukraine has received over $70 million in crypto donations worldwide in the days since the Russian forces invaded the country in late February 2022.

NFT Startup Rarify Raises $10M

Non-fungible token (NFT) infrastructure startup Rarify has raised $10 million at a valuation of $100 million.

The series A funding came from Pantera Capital with participation from Slow Ventures, Eniac Ventures, and Greycroft.

The startup’s application programming interface (API) enables other companies to easily create and manage NFT-based products. It is also working on a data API that can help track NFTs across multiple blockchains, gauge values of NFTs, and verify users’ NFT profile pictures.

The company aims at simplifying buying and selling NFT, similar to how Square (now Block) made it easy for businesses to accept fiat payments. Revas Tsivtsivadze, Rarify’s founder, said that platforms like OpenSea have made acquiring an NFT needlessly complex. Their checkout process has 14 steps, which can easily be cut down to three.

VC firms are still betting big on NFT-centric startups despite a significant drop in interest in the niche; the Google search volume for NFTs and related terms dropped 60-70% in February.

Lugano Makes Bitcoin and USDT Legal Tender

Swiss City Lugano will adopt BTC and USDT as legal tender and allow citizens to pay their taxes and other public service fees with Bitcoin.

The city director Pietro Poretti co-announced the decision in a live-streamed event alongside mayor Michele Foletti and Tether CTO Paolo Ardoino. The city administration of Lugano has already collaborated with 200 merchants to promote the adoption of Bitcoin and its scaling solution, the Lightning Network.

Making BTC and USDT legal tender seems to be an important part of Lugano’s Plan ₿, a city-wide initiative to attract capital, talent, and opportunities to the region. The plan also features the creation of two investment funds. One will allocate an estimated $3.26 million to promote BTC and crypto adoption in the city. The second will give over $108 million to support Bitcoin and blockchain startups that show interest in setting up their operations in the region.

The city will also create a physical venue that serves as a hub for Bitcoin and blockchain innovation. The venture will enable emerging cryptocurrency startups to set up their operations in a pro-Bitcoin jurisdiction and to create ample networking opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs.