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A League of Our OWn.

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Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch is more popular than ever. The Overwatch League, a collection of professional teams from across the globe, has completed its very first season with the London Spitfire taking the championship over the Philadelphia Fusion. The All-Star Weekend was a blast; the Overwatch World Cup 2018 was extremely successful, and the upcoming BlizzCon 2018 is highly anticipated. Take into account the hundreds of thousands of people watching tournaments and matches on Twitch and ESPN, it’s easy to see that people are clamoring for more Overwatch.

However, with a buy-in of $20 million or more for a professional team, an Overwatch League team is out of the price range of many investors. Due to this, the Overwatch Contender’s League and the Open Division were created to put a spotlight on up-and-coming players who are hoping to advance to the Overwatch League.

The Overwatch Contender’s League and the Open Division

The Open Division is open to all amateur players and teams. Season 3 had five hundred seventy-eight teams enter from across the globe, with some of Las Vegas’ very own competing. The Contender’s League is a semi-professional league that is a showcase of talent for the Overwatch League. If a player wants to be in the Overwatch League, chances are they will shine in the Contender’s League first. That’s all well and good, but in order to keep a team’s skill sharp…and to be ready to compete in the next Open Division season, teams need to practice at peak performance. They need to replicate the high-tension play and tournament settings.

How Local Venues in Las Vegas are Facilitating Overwatch Team Creation

Overwatch Open Division at Wolf & Lamb PC in Las Vegas That’s where Wolf & Lamb PC hit upon something for the Las Vegas Overwatch scene. After supporting the Wolf & Lamb PC team in Season 3 of the Open Division, they decided that they wanted to do more for the Las Vegas Overwatch community. Wolf & Lamb wanted to facilitate in the creation of teams, to help existing teams train, and, to “level up” the local Overwatch community through a series of local tournaments that mimic the Open Division format.

How do I Get Involved?

Overwatch Open Division at Wolf & Lamb PC in Las VegasThe new series will run for ten weeks from October 5th, 2018 – February 8th, 2019 with a Grand Finals TBD later in February.  The tournaments will be hosted and ran by Wolf & Lamb two Fridays a month from 7PM – until complete.

Any number of teams may enter. Also, there isn’t an SR requirement or limit so you can be Bronze or Grandmaster and still compete. The only requirement is that you have six or seven people who are committed to showing up and having a good time.

In fact, Wolf & Lamb PC are making this extremely easy by offering free practice time and the ability to enter as a solo player. If a solo player enters, they will be grouped up with a team of solo players with similar SR rankings—that takes off some pressure from a player trying to wrangle a team together.

The tournament will be based on Open Division rules with Swiss Seeding and will be a point-based system. If a team has to miss a Friday or two, they’ll still be in the running for the finals. The entry fee per tournament/per team is only $30. Wolf & Lamb PC will take $5 from that for fees; the rest will go toward the weekly tournament payout.

Why Wolf & Lamb Continue to Support the Community

Overwatch Open Division at Wolf & Lamb PC in Las VegasI was invited to learn about the tournament series and observe a scrimmage between Wolf & Lamb PC team and another Open Division team by Levi “GalaxyWolf” Lamers, the owner of Wolf & Lamb. I immediately wanted to know the reason behind creating tournament series and his own Las Vegas Overwatch team. Levi said that he really just got “a good feeling from supporting the community.” His biggest joy “would be to get some talented young player from Las Vegas to advance to the Contender’s League, and hopefully, the Overwatch League itself.”

If I’m honest, Levi will probably lose money on the venture, but he didn’t seem bothered. He was so passionate about promoting the Overwatch community that I kind of got swept up as well. Who knows…maybe, I’ll form my own team. From what I’ve seen already, we have more than a handful of very good Open Division teams eager to kick off this local series.

More to come…

I’ll be following up this article with an overview of local Overwatch teams and players. If you have a team and want to be highlighted, feel free to reach out to me on the www.BeyondBetaPodcast.com website or on Twitter at @SteveJShockey.

If you’re eager to start a team of your own, want to compete as a solo, or just want to watch the tournament, check out all the details on Wolf & Lamb PC’s Facebook page here — @WolfandLambPC.

Steve “ShockSmash” Shockey

steve shockey of beyond beta podcastYou can listen to Beyond Beta Podcast interviews with video game developers and eSports professionals on iTunes, Google Play, iHeartRADIO, or Spotify, check out Steve’s Smash Bros. YouTube show called The Cross UP, or check out Beyond Beta Podcast for more info.

Source: http://www.esportsinlasvegas.com/a-league-of-our-own/

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‘Overlooked’ Part of Senate Infrastructure Bill Renews Worries From Crypto Lobby

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The $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which passed in the Senate in early August and is expected to be approved by the House, is the gift that keeps on giving.

At first, it was about roads, bridges, and clean water. Then a pay-for provision promised to give American crypto users new tax reporting requirements. And now there’s a new twist.

A report published today by the Proof of Stake Alliance (POSA), an advocacy group that counts Coinbase Custody and Solana as members, details an “overlooked” amendment to the tax code within the 2,700-page bill that will make it a felony to incorrectly report receiving cryptocurrencies, NFTs, or other digital assets.

Writing in his role as an advisor to the POSA, law professor Abraham Sutherland details how the infrastructure bill amends Section 6050I of the tax code. The amended section 6045 that caused so much consternation when it made it through the Senate changed the definition of “broker” to cover those handling cryptocurrencies. 

Industry lobbyists and cryptocurrency advocates such as the think tank Coin Center argued that the bill as written would force Bitcoin miners and validators on other networks to file 1099 forms for the people whose transactions they were processing—even though they lacked the personal information needed to do so.   

Section 6050I, on the other hand, deals with the tax reporting requirements of those who ultimately receive the cryptocurrencies. While Americans must already report their crypto gains to the IRS just as they would with other investments, Sutherland says the amended provision goes much further: They must tell the government who sent it, including reporting social security numbers, when the value of the digital assets is more than $10,000. Not doing so within 15 days constitutes a felony.

This raises at least two issues. First, as Sutherland notes, it’s just as unwieldy as the section 6045 amendment: “This provision demands the impossible because the digital assets might not be ‘received’ from a person whose personally identifiable information can be verified and reported—including cases where the digital assets are not ‘received’ from a person or entity with a tax ID number, period.”

Second, as Sutherland alludes to and as Coin Center Research Director Peter Van Valkenburgh hammered home in a blog post, it might just be unconstitutional. The tax code currently mandates that people report such information to the IRS when they receive $10,000 in cash. That passes Constitutional muster because the bank acts as a third party; otherwise, authorities would need a warrant under the Fourth Amendment. But in cryptocurrency, a peer-to-peer transaction doesn’t have a third party

Writes Van Valkenburgh: “One person to a two person transaction is obligated to collect a load of sensitive information from her counterparty and hand that to government officials without any warrant or reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.”

Though he writes that Coin Center usually doesn’t “object to equal treatment of cash and cryptocurrencies,” in this case the “provision is a draconian surveillance rule that should have been ruled unconstitutional long ago. Extending it to cryptocurrency transactions would further erode the privacy of law-abiding Americans.”

Sutherland also calls into question the process by which the amended IRS code will become law—via a bill on completely unrelated topics. “A statute creating felony crimes for users of digital assets should be debated openly, not quietly inserted into a spending bill,” he wrote.

Source: https://decrypt.co/81236/overlooked-part-senate-infrastructure-bill-renews-worries-crypto-lobby

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Avalanche (AVAX) bumps to near $70 after reveal of $230 million fundraise

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High-speed blockchain Avalanche jumped to highs of $68.30 today after several influential crypto investors revealed the close of a private funding round involving $230 million worth of AVAX tokens in June, CryptoSlate learned in a release.

The Avalanche Foundation, a non-profit that oversees the development of the Avalanche blockchain, disclosed participants in the multimillion-dollar funding round were led by PolyChain Capital and Three Arrows Capital, and included R/Crypto Fund, Dragonfly, CMS Holdings, Collab+Currency, and Lvna Capital.

What happens to Avalanche now?

Proceeds from the private sale will be used to support the burgeoning Avalanche ecosystem—one that has been positioned as a top contender against Ethereum for its high speed and low fees. 

Part of the funds will be funneled to support DeFi (decentralized finance) projects on Avalanche as well as enterprise applications through grants, token purchases, and other forms of investments.

Avalanche’s smart contract is able to execute Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) contracts, making it possible for developers to ‘reuse’ their codebase if they have a working/testnet product on the Ethereum blockchain.

Converting assets on-chain using a ‘bridge’—a way for two separate blockchain to communicate with and transfer value between each other—are also simple as applications querying the Ethereum network can be adapted to support Avalanche by changing API endpoints and adding support for a new network. 

Meanwhile, the news caused a surge in AVAX prices last night. The token jumped 30% to over $68.30 to set a new all-time high, reaching a $14 billion marketcap and becoming the 12th-most-valuable cryptocurrency by that metric.

At press time, AVAX continues to trade above its 34-period exponential moving average, a metric used by traders that determines asset trends using historic prices. It has been been in a gradual uptrend since breaking the $15 mark in late-July, and has returned several multiples to investors in the past three months alone.

Image: AVAX/USD via TradingView.

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Source: https://cryptoslate.com/avalanche-avax-bumps-to-near-70-after-reveal-of-230-million-fundraise/

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Can NFTs impact the economic livelihood of artists in developing nations?

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TL;DR Breakdown

  • Aversano deployed the first NFT portrait photography.
  • The total sales volume of NFTs in the art segment rose from $64 million to $774 million.
  • NFTs ensure an artist is paid royalty whenever their art is used.

As of July 2021, the NFT industry had garnered an estimated $2.5 billion worth of sales compared to only $13.7 million during Q1 and Q2 of 2020. 

Aversano, an artist known for deploying the first-ever NFT portrait photography, says he sold more than 100 NFT portraits between February and June. He said the sales earned approximately $130,000 within five months. The Twin collection in which he sold the 100 portraits are photographs of twins, which he says are in memory of his fraternal twin.

What are NFTs?

NFTs are non-fungible tokens which are real-life assets that are sold on digital platforms. The viability of NFTs depends on the uniqueness and the utility of possession. This means that tokens can only be relevant to an owner if he can prove ownership of the token. The tokens can range from unique pieces of art from artists to current assets like cars. The digital platform gives an easy and availed proof of ownership.

Non-fugitive assets are made more desirable by the fact that they are unique and one of a kind. This makes them very valuable.

According to Statista, the total sales volume of NFTs in the art segment rose from $64 million to $774 million within a record period of 30-days (August 15 – September 15, 2021). The chart below shows the fluctuation of NFT sales per 30-days period between April and August. 

NFTs sales
NFT sales volume between Apr-Sept by Statista

How can NFTs make artists’ lives better?

As the digital world takes significant steps ahead, more investors try to get a niche to explore the same fruits. When Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet at $2.9m, it started a buzz on and around NFTs. Not only for the amount of money fetched but the ‘absurdity’ of buying a tweet when there are millions of them already. However, there is much more to it. It brought about the concept of owning a one-of-a-kind piece of art which for sure is an advantage to artists.

First, NFTs guarantee immutability to the artist. There is uniqueness where the artist has complete copyrights on his art. This is enabled by the ID or metadata issued to an artist to prove possession of the art. It is offered to give essential data about the piece of art. 

Second, there are no intermediaries during the trading of art on cryptocurrency platforms. Once there is an interested party, they are connected to the individual artist who lays out the asset’s guidelines to change possession. This is advantageous to the artist since transactions are done on his terms. It also keeps in place his profile and reputation as an artist. The artist also cuts the marketing cost and the issue of art brokers.

Next, there is exposure for the artist. When trading NFTs, artists are at ease to do collaborations with other artists. This is a guarantee as the platform is a haven where artists can interact and flourish while teaming up with even more significant expertise in different fields. Apart from collaborations, there is a world market availed. Geographical borders or any particular divisions do not limit the crypto platforms. Once an artist avails art on a digital platform, the piece is available for everybody.

One other factor pulling artists to NFTs is smart contracts. This is a feature that keeps a contract in code form. It works best for decentralized platforms. Smart contracts are programmed to suit an investor’s interest in trade.

For example, smart contracts can be used by artists dealing with NFTs to store data or be used to get royalties each time the piece of art changes possession. This means that the artist keeps reaping from the art long after the sale. A smart contract can be programmed to work without involving a party to set it up time and again.

On the other hand, since the buzz around NFTs began, more people are trying to get into the trade in an attempt of minting. This is leading to flooding in the market and the uniqueness of NFTs diluting. However, this is not a guarantee for the near future failure of NFTs. Artists can reap much from the NFTs.

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Source: https://api.follow.it/track-rss-story-click/v3/tHfgumto13BJ4uqGEejhiVyOSYGFl6uu

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