Walmart prepares for the Metaverse, plans its own cryptocurrency and NFT collection

Walmart said that it is exploring how new technologies are shaping up the shopping experience.
A number of big brands have recently jumped the NFT bandwagon after Facebook’s rebranding to Meta.

On Sunday, January 16, American retail giant Walmart announced its plans to enter the much-hyped world of Metaverse. As per CNBC, the retailer has filed for several new trademarks last month.

Walmart is also planning for its own native cryptocurrency as well as having a collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). One of Walmart’s possible trademark applications talks about “physical fitness training services” and “classes in the field of health and nutrition” happening completely in a VR/AR environment.

Besides, the retailer has also shown their intent to make and sell virtual goods. This includes home decorations, toys, electronics, sporting goods, and other personal care products.

As per the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Walmart submitted its application last month on December 30. Commenting on this development, Walmart noted that it is “continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences”. the company further added:

Walmart is continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences. We are testing new ideas all the time. Some ideas become products or services that make it to customers. And some we test, iterate, and learn from.

However, Walmart has refrained from commenting on the specifics of any trademark filing.

Businesses have been rushing into the Metaverse

Ever since social media giant Facebook announced its rebranding to Meta, businesses have been rushing to take a slice of the Metaverse world. We have also seen the Ripple effect across the crypto projects wherein several Metaverse-related projects posted good rallies. Speaking on WallMart’s recent entry, a trademark attorney Josh Gerben said:

They’re super intense. There’s a lot of language in these, which shows that there’s a lot of planning going on behind the scenes about how they’re going to address cryptocurrency, how they’re going to address the metaverse and the virtual world that appears to be coming or that’s already here.

Also, the buzz for Metaverse and NFTs isn’t limited to any particular sector. For e.g. footwear and apparel giant Nike announced a slew of applications in November 2021 for selling virtual branded sneakers and apparel. Furthermore, it also joined hands with Roblox for creating an online Metaverse world aka the Nikeland. Later in December, Nike purchased virtual sneaker company RTFKT.

Other brands in the similar industry like Gap, Adidas, and Under Armour have witnessed a solid response in selling their NFTs on the OpenSea marketplace.

CB Insights recently published their research into why big brands are jumping into NFTs. It noted that NFTs allow businesses to tokenize physical products while reducing online transaction costs. Furthermore, for luxury brands, NFTs can serve as a form of authentication for tangible and more expensive groups.

Related: Disney gets patent approval for theme park metaverse

Der Beitrag Walmart prepares for the Metaverse, plans its own cryptocurrency and NFT collection erschien zuerst auf Crypto News Flash.

The Mysterious Ape Man of Kent, England

Big, hairy, ape-like creatures like Bigfoot have been seen all over the world, known by many names and eluding all attempts to capture them or to even truly understand them. Sightings have happened in numerous far-flung places, but sometimes they seem to appear in places they have no business being. There have been creatures like this reported from the most unlikely of places, including Japan, Hawaii, and the United Kingdom as well, defying all apparent reason or logic. In England especially, hairy hominids have been sighted surprisingly frequently, in all areas of the region, including Britain, Ireland, and Scotland, and one area that has a history of such sightings going way back is the county of Kent, in South East England. There is no reason at all for why a giant apeman would have any business being here at all, yet if sightings are to be believed, the anomalous beast has been lurking around here for quite a while.

Kent is a county that borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west, and Essex to the north across the estuary of the River Thames, and reports of large, hairy ape-like beasts have been going on here for some time, with one of the earliest such reports coming from all the way back in 1858, from the area of Great Chart Ashford. The witness was apparently a worker at a wheat field called Bucks Farm, where he was toiling away one day when he saw a rather strange sight when he saw “a large baboon type creature” just sitting there out in the field. A report in the Kentish Gazette at the time said of the weird incident and what followed:

Not knowing, indeed, whether it might not be certain unmentionable personage in bodily shape [i.e. Satan], its appearance had the effect utterly scattering his senses, in when he collected enough of them to make up his mind to a speedy retreat, fear had so unnerved his limbs that he was at first unable to get over a stile which led out of the field. He, however, at last did so, and we may suppose reached his home with his hair standing on end, and related the tale of the awful ‘summat’ he had seen; but the shock was so great it has made him ill. On the affair becoming known, it is reported, several of the stout men of Great Chart, well armed, made a search in the fields, but did not succeed in catching the animal, whatever it might be; while one party, probably inclining to the supposition of ‘the thing’ being his satanic majesty harboured thereabouts, took a horse and cart and went to Ashford in order to bring back aid from the police in taking him into custody. Since then it is reported that the animal (which is set down as a baboon escaped from some show) has been seen in several adjacent parishes; but we have not heard of its capture, or of any damage done by it, except indirectly, through persons trampling down the wheat in Mr Greenhill’s field while in search of it. This mysterious creature is said to have turned up here again, a little girl having seen it on Tuesday near Newgate wood, and although greatly frightened, retained sufficient self-possession to be enabled afterwards to describe it. Since then more than one burly individual in the parish has acknowledged to having been startled from his propriety by a glimpse of it, one who was going to count some sheep having left his job made the best of his way homewards. The children of the National School had a holiday, and with a number of the inhabitants joined in general hunt of the woods but when wanted the creature is not to be seen, and no traces of it could be discovered, although it was considered that the thick undergrowth prevented such careful search as was desirable.

Image by Steve Baxter

Was this just an escaped baboon or something else? Moving along in years to 1942, there was an account given by an elderly lady and dug up by Bigfoot researcher Neil Arnold. According to him, the woman had her experience during those dark days of World War II, when one day she was sitting enjoying a quiet day with her husband in a 200-acre wooded park called the Tunbridge Wells Common, in Royal Tunbridge Wells, located around 40 miles from London. As they sat there enjoying the serenity of the quiet park, they heard something behind them and their day would get very weird indeed. The report reads:   

One particular day she went to the Common with her husband and was sitting on a bench when they became aware of a shuffling noise behind them. Upon turning around both her husband and herself saw what she described as a tall, hairy ape like creature with eyes that were burning a reddish colour and it was moving towards them at a slow pace. They observed this creature for some time until they became afraid and they both fled – terrified. She went on to say that they told the police and members of their family, thinking that a gorilla had escaped from a zoo, but were laughed at and were not believed.

From 1987 we have a report from the town of Sevenoaks. The witness, known only as J. Smith, claims that he had gone out to a pub with some friends, after which they had gone off to chat and a BBQ at a hill called One Tree Hill. The location is described as being full of thick scrub and trees. They arrived and began putting together a fire, gathering wood near the top of the hill. That was when their evening would get quite strange, and the witness says:   

My friend started gathering wood from the left side and I started from the right. About 10 minutes in, I heard a deep very deep growl I dismissed it as cows or sheep from the valley below. But then a couple of minutes later i heard it again this time deeper and more defined whatever it was was on my side and coming my way. It had real depth to it, that gave the impression it was of a significant size. I placed my firewood on the fire and at the same time my friend joined me. Just as we did so the grunt sounded again, this time it was a matter of yards away and very loud. I looked at my friend my friend looked at me and we both said RUN!! As I ran I caught a glimpse of bipedal figure illuminated from the treeline it was huge. Now the next day less than 1 and half miles from the area a lorry driver driving through a remote road said he had nearly hit an “orangutan” at 630 in the morning. Driver stated that it was a “orangey red” in colour. This was on the road from Ide Hill to Sevenoaks south. This made the local newspapers the same week. I didn’t tell anyone.

What did these people see? Just a few years later there would be some weird sightings made in the vicinity of a park called Blue Bell Hill, which is already a spooky place known for ghosts and phantom black cats, but it seems it can also add Bigfoot to its list of strangeness. In 1990, there came in several reports of a bipedal, ape-like creature lurking about the area, and in one case a group of five Territorial Army members claimed to have shouted at it and thrown stones at it to scare it away. At the time it was written off as an escaped gorilla from a zoo, but no zoos had reported such an animal missing. Was this just a big hoax or something else? Most recently of all there was a series of sightings of massive Bigfoot-like creature lurking about the Tunbridge Wells Common. The creature was first seen in 2012 by a walker who claimed that it was 8 feet tall and had “red demonic eyes, long arms, and was covered in hair.” The creature apparently roared at him, after which the unnamed witness fled in terror. What seems to be the same creature also hit the news again as recently as 2021, when a woman out walking her dog in the very same area also claims to have seen it. She would say of her encounter:   

It was wintertime, there were no bushes and no leaves on the trees. I was walking the dog and out the corner of my eye, I saw somebody walking. It was big, I looked and as I looked at it, it ducked behind a big bush. It ducked behind the bush and disappeared. My dog gave chase and chased it all along the train track. It had very big long strides with swinging arms.

Image by Steve Baxter

The area supposedly had several other sightings that same year and gained itself the nickname of “The Kentish Apeman.” As weird as the notion of a creature like Bigfoot lurking about the countryside of England may seem, Kent is not even the only place to have such reports, and accounts of these beasts have come from all over the United Kingdom. British Bigfoot Researcher Deborah Hatswell has spent decades compiling such reports and has even meticulously compiled a sort of Bigfoot map of the UK, and she says of it:   

Where do you go to report seeing something 7ft tall, completely covered in hair that looks like the ‘Bigfoot Creature’ reported in North America, Canada and Russia? I have collected these reports in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and England. Over the years as I have collected and saved the reports made by other people nationwide, and I not only saved them, I plotted them on a map. My witnesses range from army personnel, police officers, game wardens, wild campers and hundreds of people out walking the dog or taking a leisurely hike. As you can see from the map provided there are no sweet spots, the reports happen all across the UK. There are clusters in areas like Cannock Chase, the Medway, Thetford Forest and Co Durham and the Highlands where the reports are all together in one area, stretching back decades, and there are lone reports in some areas.

It is hard to know what to make of such reports from Kent and beyond. There is absolutely no reason for such creatures to be here, and it seems highly unlikely that even if this was some sort of undiscovered animal that it would remain hidden in England of all places. This is not exactly the darkest reaches of the uncharted, so what is going on here? One idea is that these creatures could represent some seeping over from another  dimension, perhaps through the various ley lines, or earth energy lines, that supposedly run through the UK. This could possibly explain why they are only seen sporadically and are able to remain mostly undetected, leaving no evidence behind, because they are basically phasing in and out of this reality. Another idea is that they could be what are called “tulpas,” which are basically thought form entities conjured up into our reality by sheer will and belief alone. Or maybe it is all just overactive imaginations and hoaxes. Whatever the case may be, England certainly has its share of Bigfoot sightings, and it occupies one very strange corner of the world of the weird.

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Second Huge Supermoon Discovered Outside Our Solar System

The largest moon in our solar system is Jupiter’s Ganymede, which has a radius of 1,636.8 miles or about four-tenths of the planet Earth, and is twice as massive as our Moon. That makes it a supermoon in our solar system … but a puny satellite when compared to an exomoon discovered recently by astronomers that measures 2.5 times the size of Earth while orbiting a planet the size of Jupiter. Do planets and moons suffer from size anxieties?

Jupiter

“Astronomers have found more than 10,000 exoplanet candidates so far, but exomoons are far more challenging. They are terra incognita.”

Columbia University astronomer David Kipping is a superstar in the land of supermoons – he’s discovered the only two known to orbit exoplanets. As explained in the journal Nature Astronomy, using the Keplar space telescope, he first found a Neptune-sized exomoon orbiting the Jupiter-sized planet Kepler 1625b in 2017. Proving that exomoons really are terra incognita (a great name for a band – it means ‘unknown land’), he just now located a second one orbiting planet Kepler 1708b 5,500 light-years from Earth. These should correctly be called ‘potential exomoons’ because confirming them involves peer review and scientific consensus amongst the astronomical community, according to Kipping.

“It’s a stubborn signal. We threw the kitchen sink at this thing but it just won’t go away.”

However, Kipping is pretty certain Kepler 1708b’s exomoon will be confirmed. His Cool Worlds Lab was studying a subset of the more than 10,000 know exoplanet candidates –– 70 cool, giant transiting exoplanet candidates. They were looking for transmit signals seen when a moon passes in front of a planet, causing it to dim. Only one survived Kipping’s “kitchen sink” testing – the gas giant Kepler-1708 b. He believes its exomoon is also a gas giant which, according to another study, may have once been a planet that was captured by Kepler-1708 b. This planet and moon swapping seem to be common the closer a planet is to its star, so Kipping’s team focused on exoplanets with far-out orbits like our Jupiter and Saturn – which have the biggest and the most satellites in our solar system.

Imagine a moon the size of Neptune.

“Together then, the formation and properties of a moon such as this certainly challenge conventional thinking, but plausible mechanisms have been previously proposed. Ultimately, the reality of supermoons such as Kepler-1708 b-i and Kepler-1625 b-i will require follow-up transit photometry, as both their nature and supporting evidence demand appropriate scepticism at this time.”

While you would think discovering a second giant supermoon would be a big deal, not all astronomers are buying it. Some think it was just an errant signal and want more before they are convinced. Others doubt the existence of exomoons at all – the same was true of exoplanets before stronger telescopes and different discovery techniques proved otherwise.

As the James Web Space Telescope chugs its way to becoming operational, it’s nice to salute the Kepler telescope, which spent a decade successfully looking for exoplanets and whose data continues to be beneficial three years after it retired.

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East Africa’s Oldest Human Remains Date Back at Least 233,000 Years

The oldest human remains ever found in the eastern part of Africa are at least 233,000 years old – more than 30,000 years older than previous studies had indicated.

Partial Homo sapiens remains (these remains are referred to as Omo 1) that include part of a skull were discovered back in 1967 at the Kibish rock formation that is located along Ethiopia’s Omo River. New analysis has revealed that the individual is at least 36,000 years older than previously thought.

Researchers led by the University of Cambridge were able to calculate this latest date by analyzing volcanic ash left behind from an eruption that occurred approximately 230,000 years ago. The eruption left an ash layer over the sediment where the fossils were found. This meant that the fossils were older than the eruption – about 233,000 years old.

In a statement provided to IFLScience, Dr. Aurélien Mounier from the Musée de l’Homme in Paris, noted, “The new date estimate, de facto, makes it the oldest unchallenged Homo sapiens in Africa,” adding, “Unlike other Middle Pleistocene fossils which are thought to belong to the early stages of the Homo sapiens lineage, Omo I possesses unequivocal modern human characteristics, such as a tall and globular cranial vault and a chin.”

This also pushes back the timeline of when Homo sapiens first evolved throughout Africa to around 300,000 years ago. “Our forensic approach provides a new minimum age for Homo sapiens in eastern Africa, but the challenge still remains to provide a cap, a maximum age, for their emergence, which is widely believed to have taken place in this region,” explained Professor Christine Lane who is the head of the Cambridge Tephra Laboratory. “It’s possible that new finds and new studies may extend the age of our species even further back in time.”

(Not the remains mentioned in this article.)

More research needs to be conducted in order to narrow down a more precise date of the fossils by analyzing the layer to sediment underneath the bones that may have been from an even earlier volcanic eruption. “If successful, we might be able to bracket Omo 1 with a maximum age,” stated volcanologist Céline Vidal from the University of Cambridge. (An image of the reconstruction of the individual’s skull can be viewed here.)

The study was published in the journal Nature where it can be read in full.

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Ethereum Q4 report: Revenue grew 1,777%, staked ETH up 471% and DeFi shot up 770%

Ethereum has seen massive growth in the fourth quarter of 2021 with Y-o-Y revenue growing a staggering 1,777 percent as staked ETH shot up nearly fivefold.
Value locked on Ethereum DeFi platforms is up eightfold, but transaction fees have also shot up by 557 percent to average $26, up from $4.

2021 was a massive year for Ethereum as the project recorded growth in almost every other sector, from projects building on its infrastructure to revenue and daily active addresses. In the fourth quarter, this growth was at its highest and as ETH set a new record price at $4,860, its revenue shot up 17 times year-over-year.

In its State of Ethereum: Q4 Report, cryptocurrency media outlet Bankless documented this growth, looking at some of the key metrics such as revenue, inflation, transaction fees, staking and DeFi.

Companies issue quarterly reports. Protocols don’t. So we did instead.

The State of Ethereum | Q4 Report @BenGiove compares Q4’20 to Q4’21. The numbers are telling!

We’re bullish on protocol & ecosystem growth. And we have the numbers to prove it.https://t.co/QWC1YSg1e3

— Bankless (@BanklessHQ) January 13, 2022

Compared to Q4 2020, network revenue on Ethereum shot up a staggering 1,777 percent to $4.34 billion, up from just $231.4 million. For Ethereum, revenue refers to the transaction fees that users pay to use the platform. Most significantly, 87 percent of this, or $3.78 billion, was burned and removed from the circulating supply as a result of the EIP-1559’s deflationary mechanism.

Ethereum was also able to attract more users in Q4 last year, with the number of daily active addresses shooting up by 35 percent from 425,636 to 572,700. This is quite significant, perhaps even more than the revenue. Daily active addresses show the number of people who turn to Ethereum daily, be it for DeFi, NFTs, or simply exchange value. This number excludes people who buy and hodl as these are unlikely to access their wallets every day.

Ether holders also showed much more belief in the future of the network, with the amount of staked ETH up by 471 percent. In Q4 2020, there was 1,545,486 ETH staked, worth $5.1 billion at press time. The network ended the fourth quarter of 2021 with 8,818,933 ETH staked, worth $29.2 billion. This represents 7.3 percent of the total market cap which stands at $395 billion.

DeFi explosion boosts Ethereum in Q4

In 2021, the sector that gave Ethereum the biggest boost was DeFi. In Q4, the total value locked (TVL) shot up to $154.2 billion, up from $17.73 billion at a similar period a year prior, a 770 percent rise. Curve, with over $20 billion in TVL still holds on to the top rank in the DeFi ecosystem.

And it wasn’t just the TVL that grew. DeFi users were trading daily on these platforms. In Q4, trading volumes on decentralized exchanges such as Uniswap and Curve stood at $291.53 billion, up by 495 percent from $48.97 billion a year prior.

Bitcoin also continued to flood into the Ethereum ecosystem, with over 320,000 BTC now on the network as wrapped BTC (wBTC) renBTC, and tBTC.

NFTs also recorded a parabolic rise, with sales on OpenSea, one of the most popular NFT marketplaces, shooting up 50,000 percent.

There were drawbacks as well. One of them was the transaction fees charged to users which averaged $26.89, up from $4.09 a year prior, a 557 percent rise. However, Vitalik may have a plan to solve this challenge with his lastest proposal.

Read More: Vitalik Buterin proposes “Multi-Dimensional EIP-1559” to solve sub-optimal gas fees on Ethereum

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“We want Cardano” – ADA wins Vitalik Buterin’s Twitter poll for the best Ether alternative

ADA got 42 percent of 600,000+ votes in an online poll conducted by Vitalik Buterin on what would be the best currency to use in 2035 aside from Ethereum.
TRON also beat out Binance Coin and NEO in a second poll, amid claims of bot voting.

The year is 2035. You probably have a robot butler and a visit to Mars with Elon Musk’s rockets has become the go-to holiday destination. Uber has debuted flying taxis and for those that choose to drive, the days of using the steering wheel are behind as self-driving cars take over. For some reason, Ethereum failed along the way as a currency. So, which currency do you fancy using – Bitcoin, Cardano (ADA), or the U.S dollar?

This was the poll that Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum posed to his 3.1 million followers on Twitter (minus the robot butlers and flying taxis, of course).

The poll saw 600,000 Twitter users cast a vote, and to many people’s surprise, it wasn’t Bitcoin or even the U.S dollar that was getting the love – it was ADA.

Poll for Ethereum community. You wake up in 2035, and 80% of all transactions + savings in the world are in one currency that is not ETH. Which would you prefer it to be?

— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) January 13, 2022

The result was somewhat a surprise. Cardano has its fair share of fans and a strong community. However, the BTC maximalists would have been expected to be the biggest in the sector. But in a way, it reflects the challenge that BTC has always had – an inability to act as a medium of exchange since its fees are sky-high and its settlement time is much longer than the likes of Cardano.

The poll victory by ADA comes despite Cardano not having the best year in 2021, relative to some of its rivals. While it hit a new record high at $3.09 in September last year, its gains were dwarfed in 2021 by the likes of Solana, Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, Terra and Avalanche.

Cardano also lost its position in the top five, with Solana and USD Coin overtaking it. It now ranks seventh, just above XRP, yet another project that had a very unimpressive year, being the only token in the top ten that didn’t hit a new high in 2021.

At press time, ADA is trading at $1.27, with a slight gain over the past day. It’s trading 58 percent below its all-time high, the biggest dropoff in the top ten except for XRP which is down 80 percent.

Cardano’s market cap now stands at $42 billion. While it’s a big dropoff from its previous highs, it’s still bigger than PC maker HP, e-commerce giant eBay and Spotify.

Despite the lack of major movement in its price, Cardano still tops the list for developer activity.

Read More: Cardano tops list in development activity, Is ADA set up for an explosive 2022?

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After Cardano smart contract deployment; the team takes focus on scaling and optimization

The team behind the Cardano project is gearing up to improve the network by focusing on scaling and optimization.
On-chain solutions such as increasing the block size will be deployed simultaneously to off-chain like connecting separate blockchains (Sidechains).

Last year, Cardano celebrated a major milestone with the deployment of smart contracts on its mainnet. Since then, the network has enjoyed massive adoption as it strives to take down its immediate rival, Ethereum. In its efforts to achieve this, Input-Output Hong Kong (IOHK), the developer behind Cardano blockchain is taking a keen interest in scaling and optimization of the Cardano project. In a recent blog post, the team has shared its insights and how it plans to achieve this.

Ethereum- Cardano’s main rival- is years after its deployment struggling with scaling and optimization. Already, Cardano boasts of higher speeds and lower speeds owing to its adoption of the Proof of Stake mechanism as opposed to Ethereum’s Proof of Work.

Related: Cardano tops list in development activity, Is ADA set up for an explosive 2022?

With Ethereum already working on optimization and scaling with the much-awaited Ethereum 2.0 launch, Cardano is aiming to stay ahead and has outlined a number of ways in which it plans to employ to improve the network. Some these include;

Block size increase

As widely known, the bigger the block, the more transactions can be achieved. With this in mind, the IOHK is working to increase the block size. Recently, the team notes that the block size was increased by 8KB to bring the total block size up to 72KB (a 12.5% increase) since the overall health has improved.

Memory & CPU usage

Plutus- the smart contract language used on the Cardano project- is actively being improved with the most recent improvement coming in the form of “memory improvements in Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) handling, stake distribution, live stake distribution and pools, and hash representation.”

Script enhancement

On the same, the team plans to ensure more effective usage of the powerful EUTXO model. This will be achieved through reference inputs (CIP-0031), Plutus Datums (CIP-0032), and Script sharing (CIP-0033).

Node enhancement and On-disk storage

Two of the other On-chain improvements IOHK is looking into are enhancing the node to help distribution of stake and reward computations across the epochs, as well as storing portions of the protocol state on disk. Both will significantly improve the blockchain leading to a more optimal and scalable network.

Cardano Off-chain solutions

Other than the On-chain solutions listed above that the platform plans to employ, there are several Off-chain solutions in play to mitigate the issue. Actions such as deploying Sidechains will allow “tokens and other digital assets from one chain to be used in another”. This is through a two-way system known as “the bridge”.

Hydra which aids in processing transactions off-chain more efficiently, and Mithril which helps with the issue of scalability are also part of the project. Furthermore, Off-chain computing will be employed to improve networks efficiency by offloading some computations which will ultimately make the transaction much faster and cheaper.

Cardano (ADA) price update

After a stellar performance in the first half of 2021 culminating in making it to the top three coins by market cap, Cardano’s native token ADA has slowed right down. ADA has lost nearly 60 percent of its value from its September all-time high of $3.00. This weekend, the altcoin is in the green and is exchanging around $1.30 after adding just under 5 percent in the last 7 days.

Despite the slow start into the year, the altcoin is a favorite option for many investors and analysts. One of these is Lark Davis who has named it among his top ten picks for 2022.

Top 5 #crypto coins end of 2022 will be
1 #Bitcoin
2 #ethereum
3 #polygon
4 #solana
5 #Cardano
and just for fun $shib in 6th place

Do you agree?

— Lark Davis (@TheCryptoLark) January 7, 2022

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Could Bitcoin be on its way back to $60,000? These analysts think so

After a torrid start to the new year, Bitcoin has stabilized slightly and is once again on the green, gaining 2% in the past day.
A number of analysts say that this stabilizing is critical for Bitcoin and some believe that it will set up the crypto to regain its former glory and head towards $60,000.

After one of its worst starts to a new year, Bitcoin seems to be stabilizing once again. The top cryptocurrency is trading above $43,000 and has gained over 2 percent in the past 24 hours. While it has yet to recover much of the ground it lost recently, analysts claim that this is a good starting point and could set BTC up for a comeback. Some even predict that it won’t be long before it starts testing the $60,000 price again.

At press time, BTC is trading at $43,140, up by 2.01 percent in the past day.

Ever since it dipped below $40,000 on Monday for the first time since August last year, BTC has staged a comeback that analysts now believe will be the catalyst that sees it fight its way back to previous highs.

According to Craig Erlam, a senior market analyst at Oanda, all that Bitcoin needs is momentum. In his daily newsletter, he stated:

If bitcoin can break $45,500, we could see another sharp move higher as belief starts to grow that the worst of the rout is behind it.

The tailwinds for Bitcoin include the rising economic uncertainty, high inflation, and a drop in the U.S Dollar Index which is down by close to 1 percent in the past week. A drop in this index usually bodes well for assets that are considered risky, and Bitcoin has been falling squarely into this category in recent months.

Lennard Neo, the head of research at Stack Funds, a cryptocurrency investment company, stated:

Bitcoin has been behaving more as a risk asset recently amidst market uncertainties. The markets are still split if BTC is an inflationary hedge or risk asset, and with the current macro climate, expect more volatility in the short term.

Neo’s comments revive a debate that has raged on in the BTC community – is Bitcoin a hedge against inflation or is it a risk-on asset. Over the years, the narrative has been that BTC is digital gold, a solace from the market condition. Many companies have bought millions of dollars worth of BTC predicated on this narrative, including the ever-bullish Microstrategy.

Related: “Sell all $10 trillion of gold and buy Bitcoin,” advises MicroStrategy CEO Michel Saylor

But data from recent days paints a different picture. Bitcoin has been strongly linked to risky assets, with its price movements correlating with the normal macroeconomic conditions. For instance, when recently the U.S Federal Reserve revealed it was winding down its cash injection into the economy, riskier assets faced a sell-off and Bitcoin was not exempted. In fact, this was a key factor for the dip below $40,000 earlier in the week.

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Top Secret Bases That Might, or Might Not, Really Exist

Any references to “top secret bases” instantly provokes imagery and thoughts of Nevada’s most famous place: Area 51. Utah has the Dugway Proving Ground. It’s a place that, for years, has been tied to rumors concerning UFOs and dead aliens. The U.K. has Porton Down, a highly protected base that also has UFO links attached to it. But, what about the bases that we’re not sure about? Do they really exist? That’s what today’s theme is all about. Let’s begin with the Dulce Base, an underground facility said to be buried deep below the town of Dulce, New Mexico. Back in the 1970s, Paul Bennewitz – who died in 2003, in Albuquerque, New Mexico – had his own company that stood adjacent to Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. Its name was Thunder Scientific. On occasion, Bennewitz had seen – late at night and in the early hours of the morning – strange, unidentified objects flying over Kirtland Air Force Base and the nearby, huge Manzano Mountains. They could have been early drone-like craft. But, for Bennewitz they were alien craft. In ingenious fashion – but from the perspective of Bennewitz, in terrible fashion – a plot was initiated to, in essence, give Bennewitz exactly what he wanted to hear.

(Nick Redfern) At the grave of Paul Bennewitz

So, with that in mind, well-placed government agents, intelligence operatives, and experts in the fields of counterintelligence and disinformation, all fed Bennewitz fictitious tales of dangerous ETs, of thousands of people abducted and mind-controlled in slave-like fashion by the aliens, of terrible experiments undertaken on people held below the Dulce base, and of a looming confrontation between the human race and the deadly creatures from another galaxy. In other words, the Dulce Base probably does not really exist. On the other hand, UFOs, cattle mutilations, and black helicopters have all played “roles” in the story. Even the FBI took note of what was going on at Dulce. Moving on: how about what we might call a “little brother” to Area 51? Time and again, you’ll hear that whistleblower Bob Lazar briefly worked on retrieved UFOs at Area 51. We know Area 51 exists. We’re not sure about S-4 though. As for S-4, according to Lazar it was a massive facility; however, one would not know that if one were to fly over it. In fact, you would scarcely know if you were on the ground, either. Lazar explained that S-4 was actually built within the surrounding mountains, which had been carefully and massively hollowed out. It was within these reinforced, hollow areas that all of the work on the alien craft was undertaken. Nothing could be seen from the sky. Practically nothing could be seen on the ground. And, the whole facility was hidden in the mountains. We still don’t have the proof , though, that S-4 is the real deal.

Area 51 site map, as depicted in declassified CIA documents released via its CREST program (Credit: CIA.gov/Wikimedia Commons).

How about a room that’s all blue? Well, that’s not quite correct. But, we are talking of something that is said to be called the Blue Room. So the story goes, it’s an underground building – possibly deep below Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. And what’s said to be stored in the Blue Room? Nothing less than the remains of dead aliens retrieved from crashed UFOs. One person who heard of the Blue Room was the late Senator Barry Goldwater. He had a fascination for the UFO issue, and, throughout his life and career, made more than a few notable comments and observations on the subject. The bulk of them revolved around his attempts to determine the truth about longstanding rumors that something of a UFO nature (and something of deep significance, too) was secretly held at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio. On March 28, 1975, Goldwater wrote the following, highly thought-provoking, words to a UFO researcher named Shlomo Arnon: “The subject of UFOs is one that has interested me for some long time. About ten or twelve years ago I made an effort to find out what was in the building at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base where the information is stored that has been collected by the Air Force, and I was understandably denied this request. It is still classified above Top Secret.”

(Nick Redfern) Looks like they had all been partying hard the night before

Could there be a secret base on the far side of the Moon? That’s right: I’m going to tell you the intriguing story of Project Horizon. It fell under the auspices of the U.S. Army, and had its origins in the latter part of the 1950s. The plan was to take the first steps towards constructing an installation on the surface of the Moon by the mid-1960s. The goal was for the base to be armed with nuclear weapons and which could be used to decimate the Soviet Union if the United States was hit by a sneak attack and the infrastructure of the nation was significantly destroyed. After much preliminary discussion, it was in late March 1959 that the ambitious program was finally put into place. Overseeing many of the plans to create the secret base was Lieutenant General Arthur G. Trudeau. At the time, Trudeau was the Army’s Chief of Research and Development. Now-declassified files on Project Horizon demonstrate that Trudeau and his team estimated it would cost approximately $6 Billion to design, build and fully equip a base on the Moon.

In a document titled “Project Horizon: A U.S. Army Study for the Establishment of a Lunar Military Post,” Trudeau wrote the following words: “There is a requirement for a manned military outpost on the Moon. The lunar outpost is required to develop and protect potential United States interests on the Moon; to develop techniques in Moon-based surveillance of the Earth and space, in communications relay, and in operations on the surface of the Moon, for further exploration into space and for military operations on the Moon if required; and to support scientific investigations on the Moon.” Although Project Horizon was scuttled, there are rumors suggesting that, yes, there are bases on the far side of our Moon. I say: show me the hard evidence and then I’ll be satisfied.

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Military Witness in Brazil’s Varginha UFO Incident Claims He Helped Capture an ET

In January of 1996, a number of people in Varginha, Brazil, claimed to have witnessed a UFO and encountered one or more extraterrestrials. As the story spread, there were reports the Brazilian military had captured two ETs and the news was picked up by the mainstream media, including The Wall Street Journal in the U.S. While the incident and the eyewitness account by three female witnesses inspired a local disc-shaped water reservoir and tourist sites catering to the story, the military and the Brazilian government have never confirmed the UFO nor the aliens. That may change after this week when a man came forward claiming he was a soldier in 1996, participated in the capture of the aliens and was in very close proximity to one of them.

A sign a city loves its ETs and UFOs

UFO researcher and reporter Edison Bonaventura interviewed Saulo José Machado and posted the video (watch it here in Portuguese) on his Enigmas e Mistérios (Riddles and Mysteries) YouTube channel. Portal Vigilia reviewed the video in Portuguese and Google provided the English translation of this interesting account by Machado – who claims he was a low-ranking junior soldier in January 1996 when his life was changed forever by a trip with other soldiers from his base in Belo Horizonte in southeastern Brazil to Varginha for an undisclosed operation. Make that an unusual operation too – the first thing they noticed was that they were carrying rifles with no ammunition in them. While sweeping the area where they were dropped off, he claims two other soldiers came out of the woods carrying a strange being.

“The first thing that caught my attention was the very large head. The head is completely disproportionate to the body. And a very big red eye. And then, in those 10 or so seconds that I had to observe it, I noticed that it was quite oily. Dark, a reddish more iron-colored, but very oily, and a weird smell that reminded me of acetone.” (Google translation)

In the video, Machado holds up his drawing of the creature and claims he was within five feet of it. His description of it sounds similar to the accounts of the three women, who estimated it to be five feet tall with a large head, large red eyes, thin body, V-shaped feet and brown skin. The mother of two of the girls went to the area and smelled a strong ammonia-like odor. There were reports of a second creature being found by soldiers two days later (Machado claims he was there a day or so after January 20th when the women saw it) as well as other accounts of a UFO crashing and being retrieved by soldiers, who ordered people in the area to say nothing. Some people claimed the two ‘aliens’ were taken to a medical clinic before being removed by the military. A detailed account of the numerous reports was made in on the 20th anniversary in 2016 by South of Minas (read it here).

Varginha without aliens and UFOs

Edison Bonaventura seems to consider Saulo José Machado to be a credible military witness to what would, if real, be Brazil’s Roswell incident. The local police response was that the young women saw “a citizen known as Mudinho, who probably has some mental disability and whose physical characteristics matched the description (…) make it likely that the hypothesis that this citizen, probably being dirty, due to the heavy rains and seen crouching by a wall, was mistaken by the three terrified girls as a space creature.” They say the military and emergency vehicles were actually there to be repaired, and the military claimed that the two ‘creatures’ were most likely an expectant local couple who were dwarfs.

A military witness to UFOs and a ‘shadow person’ at a U.S. Air Force nuclear base came forward this week. Are more military witnesses to UFOs and ETs revealing their stories now that the stigma and the consequences are diminishing? Will this encourage the Brazilian authorities to open the files on the Varginha UFO Incident?

We’ll see.

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