Between a 25 basis-point rate hike from the Fed and continued conflicts in Eastern Europe, the market is scattered this week. Analysts are reporting Bitcoin spikes that spur brief excitement before correcting just as quickly as they occurred. Liquidations are also on the rise, totaling around $200 million in 24 hours as of Wednesday morning. (Cryptopotato)

Choppy markets aren’t slowing down crypto projects, with a lot of involvement seen from major banking institutions. British multinational bank HSBC steps into the Metaverse through its new partnership with The Sandbox. HSBC, the first documented bank entering into metaverse real estate, purchased tokenized virtual real estate in The Sandbox metaverse, known as LAND, in hopes of providing “a host of opportunities for virtual communities across the world to engage with global financial services providers and sports communities in The Sandbox metaverse.” (Cryptopotato)

In May 2021, HSBC Chief Executive Noel Quinn told Reuters that the company would not be supporting cryptocurrencies due to volatility and lack of transparency. Now, almost a year later, this step into the Metaverse comes with a much more positive outlook. Suresh Balaji, CMO of HSBC's Asia-Pacific branch, spoke to the promise of the partnership:

"Through our partnership with The Sandbox we are making our foray into the metaverse, allowing us to create innovative brand experiences for new and existing customers," said Balaji. "We're excited to be working with our sports partners, brand ambassadors, and Animoca Brands to co-create experiences that are educational, inclusive, and accessible." (Medium)

This announcement caused an 8% spike in the SAND token. The Sandbox gained notoriety this past November from its Sandbox Alpha gaming experience, which used NFT tickets as access passes to 18 events held in their play-to-earn gaming space. This HSBC partnership is one in a string of many that the network reeled in over the last few months, including engagements with several major brands and celebrities, most recently Paris Hilton, who performed an SXSW DJ set in their virtual universe this past Tuesday. (Decrypt)

Banks and businesses alike are clamoring for collaborative opportunities in the crypto space. Considering the massive amounts of mainstream adoption, it’s become clear that their audiences can now be found on the blockchain. For evidence of this, just follow the money. Consensys, the decentralized protocols software company for the Ethereum network, just completed a $450 million Series D funding round. Among investors were Microsoft, Anthos Capital, and the SoftBank Vision Fund 2. CEO and founder of Consensys, Joseph Lubin, said this funding will allow them to “rapidly capitalize at scale on fundamental new constructs that emerge,” and enable them to execute “powerful growth strategies.” (Cointelegraph)

The keyword being growth. Crypto is expanding onward and upward into every aspect of the global economy. Crypto’s next stop? Instagram. Meta (formerly Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the popular social media platform will be NFT capable in the near future. What that will look like is still unclear, according to Zuckerberg. “We’re working on bringing NFTs to Instagram in the near term,” he said. “I’m not ready to kind of announce exactly what that’s going to be today.” (Coindesk)

One of the many perks of that integration may be the accessibility of Instagram and the further inclusion it could provide to the NFT space. Most notably, enabling NFT opportunities in the social media space could help bridge the large gender gap staining the NFT community. Statistics show that only 16% of NFT creators are women, and their art only accounts for 5% of sales on the NFT market.

Masha Vyazemskaya, Head of Communications at NFT platform Rarible, attributes this gap to the siloing effects of the male-dominated tech space, saying it fosters  “a sense of intimidation for many women who want to enter the NFT space.”

"As the industry continues to mature, it is important that we champion our female artists and innovators,” said Vyazemskaya, “promoting and encouraging their work and giving them greater opportunity to shape the future of the industry." (Cointelegraph)

By taking NFTs out of the tech space and integrating them into an easy-to-use, familiar social app, it stands to reason that every demographic will be more inclined to get in on the action. In light of Women’s History Month, this announcement carries with it a note of welcomed promise for an equal future. The more the crypto space expands, the more inclusive it becomes. There are so many voices speaking on behalf of crypto, from CEOs to artists to gamers. There is a truly collective voice surrounding this topic, and that’s how you know it’s a revolution. Everyone is invited.

Top market movers as of March 18, 2022

  • ApeCoin (APE) +1,193%
  • JASMYCoin (JASMY) +119%
  • AAVE (AAVE) +28.7%
  • The Graph (GRT) +23.1%

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