JPMorgan enters the Metaverse, Marshall Islands legalizes DAOs, Feb. 10–16



Last week’s Crypto Biz newsletter explained how Wall Street is essentially marketing Bitcoin (BTC) for us after Wells Fargo said digital assets could “soon hit a hyper-inflection point” in terms of adoption. This week, JPMorgan Chase issued its own bullish outlook when it labeled the Metaverse a $1 trillion a year opportunity. 

In addition to JPMorgan, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) this week sent out a strong signal that nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and the Metaverse are part of its long-term plans. On the regulatory front, the Republic of the Marshall Islands took a bold step in becoming a leader in the blockchain arena.

The latest Crypto Biz newsletter explores these stories in greater depth. For a full breakdown of the top business stories in crypto, register for the full newsletter at the bottom of the page.

Related: Circle’s valuation doubles to $9B following revised merger agreement with Concord

JPMorgan becomes first major bank to enter the metaverse

JPMorgan’s foray into the Metaverse became official this week after the financial giant opened a virtual lounge on Decentraland. Visitors to the lounge are greeted by a digital portrait of CEO Jamie Dimon, an outspoken Bitcoin critic who lambasted cryptocurrencies for lacking “intrinsic value.” Isn’t it ironic that his bank is adopting the very technology spawned by Bitcoin? Nevertheless, JPMorgan believes the Metaverse represents a trillion-dollar opportunity that could impact virtually every sector of the economy.

Marshall Islands opens up DAO registrations

The Republic of the Marshall Islands, a tiny island state near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, has formally recognized decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) as legal entities — potentially opening the door to new registrations from projects all over the world. DAOs were granted legal recognition in the recently amended Non-Profit Entities Act 2021 and new incorporations will be supported by MIDAO Directory Services Inc., a domestic organization that was established to help projects get set up. It’s clear that the Marshall Islands is looking to become a global hub for DAO registration and is actively marketing its low service fees and supportive government.

Fireblocks acquires First Digital for $100M

Blockchain unicorn Fireblocks has acquired stablecoin payment platform First Digital in a deal reportedly worth $100 million. The acquisition gives Fireblocks additional resources to improve payment onramps to the cryptocurrency sector. Through First Digital, Fireblocks is planning to support business-to-business and business-to-consumer payments via stablecoins such as USD Coin (USDC) and Celo (CELO). Although most of us are into cryptocurrency for its investment potential, it’s clear that the next phase of the market’s evolution will center around payments.

Related: Mark Zuckerberg’s stablecoin project, Diem, officially shuts down

NYSE files trademark application for NFT trading

On Feb. 10, the New York Stock Exchange filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to register its name for several crypto-focused products, a strong indicator that the world’s largest stock exchange was planning to enter the Metaverse. The application states that NYSE wants to provide “downloadable virtual goods,” including nonfungible tokens and digital collectibles, as well as “authentication and certification of data relating to cryptocurrency and [NFTs].” NYSE is one of several big names to signal its intention to join the Metaverse economy. Recently, McDonald’s and Disney submitted trademark applications for various virtual product offerings.