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Top Headlines for 18 May, 2022

UMG To Release Music NFTs on LimeWire

Music giant Universal Music Group (UMG) has signed a deal to let its affiliated artists and record labels release songs, albums, and NFTs via the upcoming music platform LimeWire.

Some popular imprint labels under UMG’s banner include Interscope Records, Republic Records, Virgin Music, EMI, and Motown Records. The company also has an impressive roster of some of the most prominent artists, such as Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, The Rolling Stones, and The Weeknd. Although UMG’s deal with LimeWire doesn’t compel these musicians to drop their music on its platform, it does give them an avenue to enter the NFT market.

LimeWire was a popular music-sharing platform from the early 2000s that had faded with the rise of music streaming services. The peer-to-peer music sharing company was acquired by entrepreneurs Paul and Julian Zehetmayr, who wanted to revive the platform with Web 3.0 upgrades. LimeWire will be relaunched as an Algorand-based NFT marketplace for music NFTs. In April 2022, the firm revealed that it had raised $10.4 million in capital through a token sale.

Music sharing services from the past are being revived with the help of Web 3.0 tech. In May 2022, Napster announced its return as an Algorand-based NFT marketplace.

Chinese Miners Secretly Contribute 21% of BTC Hash Rate

According to Cambridge Digital Assets Programme (CDAP) research, China is re-emerging as a major Bitcoin mining market.

The CDAP found that covert mining operations from the region accounted for 21% or one-fifth of the total BTC mining hash rate. Hashrate is a metric used for calculating the total amount of computing power needed to secure a proof of work-based blockchain network.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) banned all crypto-related activities, including mining, in July 2021. Before the government crackdown, Chinese miners accounted for an estimated 67% of Bitcoin’s global hash rate. The sudden prohibition against Chinese miners resulted in the hash rate plummeting to a record low of 57 exahashes per second.

After the miners had successfully reestablished their operations in more crypto-friendly jurisdictions, the network hash rate recovered to the same levels it had by December 2021, setting an all-time high of 248.11 eh/s in February 2022.

As of 17 May 2022, China’s stealthy miners directly contributed almost a quarter of Bitcoin’s total hash rate. The returning activity ranks China in second place among the world’s miners, putting the country behind only the United States, whose miners contribute 38% of the global hash rate

Ethereum Demand Unrivaled

VC firm a16z’s “State of Crypto” report for 2022 investigates Ethereum’s dominance over some of its closest competitors.

The report notes that development on Ethereum is “unmatched” by its rivals, despite the network’s high transaction costs: as of May, 2022 Ethereum had 4,000 active developers experimenting and building on the network, while runner-up Solana only had about 1,000.

Ethereum’s popularity with developers is a “double-edged sword”, according to a16z, as the network prioritizes decentralization over scaling. This limitation allows other networks to bite into Ethereum’s market share with promises of faster transactions at a significantly reduced cost.

Ethereum’s remarkable grip on developer interest can be attributed to its early start and healthy community. This strength can be partially measured by the high fees developers and users are willing to pay to interact with it. A16z researchers found that Ethereum users spend an average total of $15 million in weekly transaction fees, while in the same period competitors BNB Chain, Avalanche, Fantom, and Polygon only generate $2.5 million combined.

The a16z report further explains that Ethereum’s dominance over other networks might soon end if it doesn’t resolve long-standing issues such as network congestion and high fees. Ethereum evangelists believe these issues will be fixed with the long-awaited 2.0 upgrade. However, active addresses on competing networks are growing at breakneck speed, and many of them are observing a significantly higher daily transaction count than Ethereum.