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Top Headlines for 25 April, 2022

Nike Releases Metaverse Sneakers

Fashion giant Nike’s newly acquired NFT studio RTFKT has released its first Ethereum-based sneakers in April 2022. The NFT sneaker is inspired by Nike Dunk, customizable digital wearables designed to be used in metaverse environments.

In January 2022, the company launched a sneak preview of an NFT called MNLTH, a silvery cube with the famous Nike logo. Later on, RTFKT asked users to complete puzzles to find out what’s inside the mysterious cube. After 3 months of anticipation, the cube was opened, revealing a pair of digital sneakers called Nike CryptoKicks.

Those holding RTFKT’s previously released NFTs can unlock Nike’s new metaverse shoes with the MNLTH NFTs airdropped for free. Predictably, new owners of these sneakers are attempting to resell them on NFT marketplaces. The minimum trading price for a single Nike Digital Sneaker is 5 ETH $14800 on OpenSea as of 24 April, 2022.

Seized Silk Road BTC To Pay Ross Ulbricht’s Fines

The United States government has struck a deal with Ross Ulbricht, the alleged founder of the infamous darknet website Silk Road. Ulbricht, who was given a double life sentence plus forty years and fined $184 million by a U.S.

District Judge in 2015, can use a portion of BTC seized by the government from an unnamed hacker in order to cover his fines. As of April 2022 the confiscated bitcoins which were connected to transactions on the illegal marketplace have an estimated value of about $3 billion.

Ulbricht forfeited his claims to the seized funds in a February 2021 court filing with the government. The United States government could not allow an unregulated market to function, and had aggressively hunted down its operators. Within two years of creating SilkRoad, Ross Ulbricht was arrested and charged in 2013 with narcotics distribution, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and five other violations.

Stripe Unveils Crypto Payouts on Twitter

Digital payments giant Stripe and Twitter are releasing a pilot of cryptocurrency payouts for select users of the social media site’s content monetization products.

The initiative is part of Stripe’s expansion strategy for its ‘Connect’ service, allowing merchants to use its payment APIs on their respective platforms. Stripe Connect is available in more than 70 countries and supports multiple currencies and payment methods.

The payments giant is exploring ways to use cryptocurrencies to unlock greater financial access worldwide. The company said, “While the store of value narrative of cryptocurrencies typically receives the most attention. We view the prospect of open access financial rails as being at least equally compelling”.

The new Twitter service will enable a select group of content creators on the platform to get paid in crypto assets. Initially, the payout program will only support USDC stablecoins and use the Ethereum scaling solution to process the payments. The company will gradually add more networks to the program. Twitter’s existing monetization services like Superfollows and Ticketed spaces will make use of the new service.

Aku NFT Ended with $34M Locked in Flawed Smart Contract

The highly anticipated Akutars non-fungible token (NFT) collection launch on 22 April, 2022 turned out to be a disaster as a flaw in the project’s code permanently locked up $34 million worth of ETH tokens. According to several developers, it’s nearly impossible to retrieve these tokens.

Akutars is a 3d avatar NFT series based on the popular character created by major league baseball player Micah Johnson. The featured character is a young black boy who dreams of becoming an astronaut in the series. Micah’s nephew reportedly inspired the theme.

The collection featured 15000 NFTs with random traits. Holders of previous Aku NFT drops were given free tokens, while the remaining 5500 NFTs were auctioned in a Dutch format with bids starting from 3.5 ETH or $10000.

Soon after the launch, a Twitter user named Hasan pointed out some issues with the project’s smart contracts. A pseudonymous hacker, USER221, later triggered the reported exploit, which stopped Ethereum withdrawals and refunds on the project’s contract. The hacker also attached a message on the blockchain for the developers, saying, ‘please do bug bounty on your contracts or have them audited at least.’ The hacker claimed he had no intention of looting the project and would remove the block as soon as the team had acknowledged the exploit publicly.

After USER221 removed the block, the project again began working, but another vulnerability effectively locked up 11539 ETH worth $34 million as of April 2022.