ProBit Bits — ProBit Global’s Weekly Blockchain Bits Vol. 77

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 Worldcoin Claims Milestone of 1 Million Active Users on Iris-Scanning App

The developer behind Worldcoin claims its iris-scanning app has reached major adoption milestones despite privacy concerns. In a tweet, Tools For Humanity said the Worldcoin app now exceeds 4 million downloads and 1 million monthly active users - double its userbase from 6 months ago.

Worldcoin issues users digital currency after scanning their irises to prove "humanness." But critics argue the biometric data collection raises privacy issues, and Kenya recently banned Worldcoin over these concerns. Nonetheless, Worldcoin says its app has seen tremendous growth, with over 22 million transactions executed. The reported 4 million downloads would make it one of the most popular crypto wallets.

While touting the metrics, Worldcoin concedes its mission to bank the unbanked faces challenges. The app must provide enough utility and value to consistently engage users beyond sign-up bonuses. But the claimed userbase demonstrates Worldcoin's potential despite backlash over centralized iris data control.

 Guilty Verdict: Jury Convicts Sam Bankman-Fried for FTX Fraud After 5-Week Trial

A jury has convicted former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried on all counts related to fraud and conspiracy in the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange. The unanimous guilty verdict was handed down on Thursday after a 5-week trial in New York.

Bankman-Fried was found guilty on charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, commodities fraud and conspiracy. Prosecutors accused him of stealing billions in FTX customer funds. Though Bankman-Fried testified he didn't commit intentional fraud, the jury ultimately sided with the prosecution after deliberating for a single day.

The verdict comes nearly a year after FTX's swift implosion shook the crypto industry. Bankman-Fried, once hailed as a savior of crypto firms, could now face over 100 years in prison at his sentencing next year. Key former FTX executives like Caroline Ellison testified against Bankman-Fried after pleading guilty themselves.

 Floki Inu Accuses Exchange Bitget of $10M Short in TOKEN Listing Row

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitget has become embroiled in a dispute with memecoin Floki Inu over the listing and sudden delisting of the TokenFi TOKEN token. Bitget announced it was delisting TOKEN over suspected manipulation, just days after enabling trading.

In response, Floki Inu accused Bitget of listing a fake version of TOKEN minutes before the official launch. Floki also alleged that Bitget facilitated millions in trading volume without holding any tokens, effectively opening a $10 million short position.

Floki advised users to immediately withdraw funds from Bitget over liquidity concerns stemming from the $10 million deficit. Bitget maintains it is buying back TOKEN from users at the highest closing price in late October. Neither party has provided evidence supporting their claims over the unauthorized listing and subsequent delisting. The row highlights the risks posed by exchanges with inadequate collateral when listing speculative tokens.

 PayPal Secures Long-Awaited Crypto Registration in UK From Financial Authority

Global payments firm PayPal has received registration from the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to provide cryptocurrency services in the country. The approval comes after PayPal briefly halted crypto buying for UK customers in October while working to comply with new regulations. The FCA registration allows PayPal to market crypto trading and services to British users. Under UK rules enacted in 2020, crypto companies must register with the FCA before promoting cryptocurrency investments to citizens.

PayPal is now listed on the FCA's cryptoasset register along with restrictions, including not expanding offerings beyond current capabilities. The registration follows PayPal's push into crypto services like checkout for merchants and a new stablecoin launched this year. While licensed to provide basic crypto services, PayPal still faces limitations imposed by the FCA. The approval represents a major milestone in PayPal's crypto adoption after having to pause trading last month for UK customers amid the new regulatory environment.

 Mercedes, Lufthansa Use NFTs to Connect with Customers in New Ways

Major German companies across industries are turning to NFTs for innovative marketing, customer engagement, and brand-building. Deutsche Post will release digitally enhanced stamps with NFT artwork, while Lufthansa's loyalty app mints flight NFTs for rewards. Mercedes-Benz launched collectible NFTs reimagining iconic car designs from its 130-year history.

Other German brands embracing NFTs include Adidas, which released limited digital sneakers and started a collaborative NFT artist residency program. Fashion company Hugo Boss collaborated on exclusive digital clothing for avatars. Confectioners like Ritter Sport, Haribo, and Katjes have also created NFT art collections or filed trademarks covering NFT items.

The German firms are using NFTs in diverse ways to connect with younger, tech-savvy audiences. Experts say the adoption shows NFTs moving into the mainstream as marketing tools, not just niche crypto assets. The brands view NFTs as an opportunity to build communities and loyalty through virtual experiences and digital ownership. More German companies are expected to unveil NFT campaigns targeting customers interested in the intersection of physical and digital.

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