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Cryptocurrency Market Update on January 31st

📉Market Stats

💸Market capitalization: $1,042,3 billion

📈Index Value: 51

💱Sentiment: Neutral

💰Volume 24h: $56,6 billion

📰News update
1. Mastercard, Binance launching prepaid card in Brazil
SAO PAULO, Jan 30 (Reuters) — Mastercard Inc (MA.N) and Binance said on Monday they are lauching a prepaid card in Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, as part of the crypto giant’s efforts to “broaden the connection between traditional finance and crypto”.

According to a statement, the so-called Binance Card is currently in beta testing and should be widely available in the next few weeks, making Brazil the second country in Latin America to receive it after Argentina.
Brazil is one of Binance’s ten-largest markets, the crypto said, adding that the prepaid card will all new and existing Binance users in the country to shop and pay bills with cryptocurrencies at Mastercard merchants.

2. South Korea to deploy cryptocurrency tracking system in 2023
The “Virtual Currency Tracking System” will be used to monitor transaction history, extract information related to transactions and check the source of funds before and after remittance.
The Ministry of Justice in South Korea announced plans to introduce a crypto-tracking system to counter money laundering initiatives and recover funds linked to criminal activities.

The “Virtual Currency Tracking System” will be used to monitor transaction history, extract information related to transactions and check the source of funds before and after remittance, according to local media outlet khgames.
While the system is slated to be deployed in the first half of 2023, the South Korean ministry shared plans to develop an independent tracking and analysis system in the second half of the year. A rough translation of the ministry’s statement reads
The South Korean police previously established an agreement with five local crypto exchanges to cooperate in criminal investigations and ultimately create a safe trading environment for crypto investors.

3. Haun Ventures backs ZK-startup Sovereign Labs in $7.4 million raise
Sovereign Labs raised $7.4 million in a round led by Haun Ventures to enable developers to easily deploy zero-knowledge (ZK) rollups.

The seed round, which closed in November 2022, also sees participation from investors including 1kx, Robot Ventures, Maven 11, according to a company release. Ekram Ahmed, head of communications at blockchain developer Celestia Labs, is a strategic advisor.
A ZK proof is a cryptographic technique that confirms whether a statement is true or false without revealing that statement’s contents. ZK rollups leverage this technology for blockchain scaling, which makes blockchains run cheaper and faster, by bundling transactions together, verifying them off-chain and returning a proof to show they are all legitimate.

For developers trying to implement ZK rollups it can be an involved and complicated process, said Preston Evans, co-founder and chief technology officer at Sovereign Labs.

“It’s pretty obvious to people in the space that rollups are the future of scalability but there’s no way for an average developer to go out there and meaningfully try to build one of them,” Evans said. “It’s the purview of PhDs in cryptography and people with very, very well-funded teams and that means we’re just never gonna get the diversity of applications that you need to actually build the products that you would want.”

Sovereign Labs is trying to solve this challenge by building a software development kit (SDK) that enables developers to create new ZK rollups through using open-source reusable components that developers can leverage, making it easy to deploy on a variety of blockchains.

Building a framework for ZK rollups

“In the web2 world, people are super used to building on frameworks, back-end frameworks like Node and front-end frameworks like React, nobody really fully understands the stack,” said Cem Ozer, CEO and co-founder at Sovereign Labs. “And that’s the beauty of building these systems rapidly comes from not understanding every component and that’s what we are trying to do with ZK rollups.”

“There is no framework yet or a de facto standard that enables regular developers to be able to leverage them,” he added.

The SDK is currently in the research and development phase but aims to support a range of blockchains. It will provide all the boilerplate information enabling developers to focus on the business logic. The current prototype integrates Celestia for data availability and Risc Zero for proving.

Ozer and Evans have been responsible for building out the SDK so far. They plan to use the funds from the current raise for hiring and scaling the team to around seven.

Sovereign Labs is just one of several startups seeking to optimize the developer experience of using ZK technology. Ulvetanna, a startup that builds hardware to increase the efficiency of ZK proofs, raised $15 million from investors. Similarly, Nil Foundation raised $22 million to develop a protocol enabling Layer 1 and Layer 2 blockchains and protocols to generate zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs on demand.

4. Oh Baby Games comes out of stealth, announcing $6 million funding round
Crypto gaming platform Oh Baby Games came out of its stealth mode today by announcing a $6 million seed fundraising round.

The round was co-led by eGirl Capital and Synergis Capital and included participation from crypto gaming DAO, Merit Circle. A few notable angels also participated in the funding round, including Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin and several popular crypto Twitter figures, such as cl207 and inversebrah.

The first game to be released is called What The Kart and is a spin on a traditional racing cart game. This release will be followed by Rugpull Guys and a platform fighting game. Oh Baby Games plans to launch cross-game collectibles as part of its rollout strategy and launch these games in 2023.

“The Kart genre hasn’t innovated for decades. Equipment should matter. Custom garages to personalize and show off. Ghost battles against others. Player made bounties. The tracks should tell a story, not just be a continuous 3 lap loop all the time,” said Pas Tran, founder of Oh Baby Games.

Oh Baby Games has been quiet about what it has been working on, but has released teasers of the game leading up to this announcement. Tran tweeted a trailer video in December of its first game.

The Oh Baby Games team said it has worked on games such as the Call of Duty franchise, League of Legends, and Magic: The Gathering.

“We have all shipped games before, we’ve shipped games that have failed but also ones that have hit viral success. This raise allows us to move even faster,” said Tran.
Oh Baby Games emphasized one of its core focuses as a gaming platform is integrating the lore, community and stories of crypto Twitter. This is showcased in their in-game usage of the profile picture characters from some of their seed investors. Games are a great way to tell stories, and this aspect of its gaming platform will play a role in their user growth strategy, the company said.

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