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Exploring Umoja, the NFTs that Transform Lives in Uganda

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Tiffany Stewart — Founder, CEO of Umoja

The NFT realm is well-versed with innovative projects, but only some utilize Web3 technology with meaningful outreach. Meaning ‘unity’, Umoja NFTs support the aspirations of orphans in Uganda with the proceeds made from its digital art visuals.
We were lucky enough to speak to the brain behind this project, Tiffany Stewart, who spoke out about the vision, mission, and measures that creatively assist those in need. So, join us as we delve into Umoja’s matchless union of artistry and humanity.

First and foremost, please tell us about Umoja NFTs:

Umoja, meaning ‘unity’, was born at the intersection of Web3 and philanthropy. Each of our dreamlike generative collectibles not only provides utility in the physical world through direct impact humanitarian efforts but was dreamt up by the real humans we support.

Through our partnership with Dasom Ministries Orphanage in Uganda, the proceeds from Umoja NFTs support 17 orphans — along with many other locals in need — who are also the visionaries behind each piece of digital art. Therefore, Umoja starts with real-world input and ends with real-world impact.

What sets Umoja apart compared to other NFT projects in the digital art landscape?

Umoja is hyper-focused on real-world impact that can make drastic improvements in the lives of real people. Rather than just donating our proceeds to a large institutional charity, we took the approach of purchasing the land Dasom Ministries Orphanage is on in order to ensure them a future free from displacement and are dedicating our initial focus entirely on uplifting the lives of these select individuals. But these orphans and volunteers aren’t just central to our mission; they’re central to the art itself.

Can you please explain how your project involves volunteers and children through its art creation process?

We speak directly with the children and the volunteers (many of the young children are still learning English, so the volunteers help translate) and ask them to imagine anything. We believe in the infinitely scalable power of the human imagination and leverage modern generative AI to help bring their visions to life and give them a creative platform that not only represents them but supports them. Every prompt is delivered in the form of “I imagine…” and our team takes that idea and brings it to life in our unique art style that’s meant to represent the abstract space of the human imagination.

In short, the people of Dasom Ministries Orphanage come up with ideas, we create them and turn them into NFTs, and the proceeds from their imaginative pieces go directly to the reoccurring and fixed-price projects we outline on our website.

In which ways does Umoja ensure honest operations regarding its contributions?

We support honest operations through consistent updates from Dasom Ministries in the form of images/videos of progress on projects, receipts from purchases of goods, and regular conversations with the Director of the orphanage.

What inspired you to support an orphanage in Uganda over other charitable initiatives?

I’ve always known I wanted to help individuals in that part of the world, and I firmly believe that foundational change starts with the youth. On a personal note, I don’t have any family myself, and I understand what it can feel like not to have any support system or someone who sees the potential in you. I see the potential in every one of those children, and it’s my goal to do whatever I can to foster it.

Are there other ways in which we can help support your cause instead of purchasing an NFT?

Absolutely! Anyone can go directly to Dasom Ministries by visiting their website and donating: https://dasomministriesuganda.org/

Has anyone from the Umoja team been involved in any other blockchain-based projects?

I (Tiffany) have been Head of Design for Stellar Development Foundation (stellar.org) for the past five years, a company whose sole goal is real-world utility with blockchain. My main focus with Stellar has been working on building its non-custodial wallet Vibrant App, which allows individuals in high-inflation countries to access USDC and escape devaluation.

What’s in the pipeline for Umoja? Do you have inspiration to expand the project across Africa?

We’ve got big dreams at Umoja. How far we’re able to take things really comes down to the level of support our project receives. In an ideal world, we’ll not only fill the basic needs of these individuals, but we’ll set them up on a path of success: opening schools, fostering vocational training, and building the greater community. Our goal would be to take the Umoja model and apply it to the many individuals and areas in need throughout Africa and eventually beyond.

Anything else you would like to add?

Umoja’s goal is to create sustainability for those we support, so we allocate our royalties right back into the project. We want to encourage supporters to buy or sell at any point because even in the secondary market, their contributions don’t go unseen. Every single transaction made on an Umoja NFT goes back toward the mission and, therefore, puts real food in mouths, real medicine in bodies, and real roofs over heads. You can never be late to the game with Umoja. You can only choose not to play.

One other additional note that might be relevant to readers is that at mint, every image will be at a fixed price of ~$100. We felt that price point would be enough to know you’re making an impact and a reasonable amount for the everyday person who wanted to support a good cause and receive a unique piece of art in return. Our mint date is 11/28 to observe Giving Tuesday.

Please provide us with your socials so we can stay up-to-date with your project:

To stay in the loop with Umoja NFTs, check out our TwitterInstagram and Discord.

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Web3 Festival in Hong Kong: Enthusiasm Amidst Record Bitcoin Prices

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Despite a dip in attendance, the Web3 Festival in Hong Kong this year has been buzzing with enthusiasm, fueled by the surge in Bitcoin prices that continues to captivate investors worldwide.

According to Deputy Financial Secretary Michael Wong Wai-lun, a significant majority of participants – approximately 80% – hailed from outside Hong Kong, indicating a growing international interest in the event. This year’s festival also boasted more exhibitors from Europe and the US, underlining the city’s emergence as a key hub for cryptocurrency-related activities.

As Hong Kong solidifies its position as a crypto-friendly destination, it has been actively attracting Web3 events and renowned speakers. Cathie Wood, founder of ARK Invest, graced the festival as a keynote speaker, lauding Hong Kong’s regulatory efforts and suggesting that the US lags behind in fostering crypto innovation.

Wood’s optimistic outlook extended to Bitcoin’s future, with a bold prediction of its price reaching $1.5 million by 2030. This optimism echoes the sentiments of many investors amidst Bitcoin’s record-breaking price surge, which recently exceeded $73,000.

While this year’s Web3 Festival may be smaller in scale compared to previous editions, it remains a testament to Hong Kong’s commitment to the crypto industry. Despite challenges and competition from other global events, the city’s supportive regulatory environment and robust infrastructure continue to attract entrepreneurs and investors alike.

As Hong Kong navigates its crypto journey, it presents a compelling opportunity for firms and individuals seeking to venture into the virtual assets space. However, success in this dynamic landscape requires dedication, resources, and a commitment to building sustainable businesses.

In conclusion, the Web3 Festival in Hong Kong serves as a beacon of enthusiasm and innovation in the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrency. With Bitcoin’s meteoric rise and Hong Kong’s crypto-friendly ecosystem, the future of the industry looks promising in the city’s vibrant landscape.

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SEC Complaint Ripple CFO Resigns

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In December 2020, the SEC took legal action against Ripple, alleging that they had utilized XRP to raise funds, a move they asserted violated securities laws.

Kristina Campbell, the former chief financial officer of Ripple, has transitioned to a similar role at Maven Clinic, a virtual healthcare provider. According to her LinkedIn profile, her tenure at Ripple concluded abruptly in October, after more than two years, without any specific explanation, other than expressing her appreciation for the time she spent at the cryptocurrency company. She had joined Ripple in April 2021, following over four years as CFO at the payment platform PayNearMe.

Campbell, in an October 7th post, acknowledged that although healthcare is a field as intricate and heavily regulated as fintech, it marks a new chapter in her career.

This announcement from Campbell coincides with Ripple’s ongoing legal battle initiated in December 2020 with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, primarily revolving around the sale of their XRP token. In a significant development, a federal judge ruled in July that XRP did not qualify as a security when sold to retail investors—a ruling that was subsequently upheld in October following an appeal by the SEC.

Ripple’s trial against the SEC is scheduled to commence in April 2024. This timing aligns with other notable cases impacting the cryptocurrency space, such as the second criminal trial of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried in March 2024 and the trial of former Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky in September 2024.

The reason behind Campbell’s departure remains unclear, and it is uncertain whether it is linked to the regulatory challenges Ripple is confronting in the United States. CEO Brad Garlinghouse recently advised startup companies to steer clear of the U.S. market as of September, while chief technology officer David Schwartz expressed optimism about the changing landscape of regulatory uncertainty in the country.

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“Brazilian Securities Authority Sandbox 2024

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In the realm of content creation, three essential elements come into play: “perplexity,” “burstiness,” and “predictability.” Perplexity gauges the intricacy of the text, while burstiness examines the diversity of sentence structures. Predictability, on the other hand, assesses the likelihood of anticipating the subsequent sentence. Humans tend to infuse their writing with greater burstiness, interweaving lengthy, complex sentences with shorter ones. In contrast, AI-generated sentences tend to maintain a more consistent structure. Consequently, for the forthcoming content you’re about to create, I’m seeking a healthy dose of perplexity and burstiness, while minimizing predictability. Moreover, please adhere to writing exclusively in English. Now, let’s rework the provided text:

During the Rio Innovation Week, Daniel Maeda from Brazil’s CVM announced the regulator’s intention to explore the concept of a regulatory sandbox, with potential implementation commencing in 2024. The Comissão de Valores Mobiliários (CVM) of Brazil is charting a course to initiate its second regulatory sandbox program in the year 2024.

Addressing the audience at the Rio Innovation Week on October 4th, Daniel Maeda, the superintendent overseeing institutional investor supervision at CVM, divulged that the regulator is embarking on a journey to delve into the realms of a regulatory sandbox, with a focus on tokenization use cases. This endeavor is tentatively slated to commence in 2024. Maeda shared that the decision to proceed with a second sandbox initiative stems from the positive outcomes of their initial experience, during which approximately $36 million worth of assets were successfully tokenized.

“We intentionally refrain from defining specific use cases, as our aim is to allow innovation to flourish within the CVM without any predetermined constraints,” remarked Maeda in an interview with Cointelegraph Brasil. “However, certain domains for tokenization application have indeed captured our attention, notably agribusiness and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives.”

Expounding on the CVM’s strategy, the superintendent mentioned that they plan to observe the evolution of Brazil’s crypto market, especially in relation to the country’s central bank digital currency, the Drex. According to Maeda, both the securities regulator and the central bank should closely monitor developments within the digital asset space, taking cues from how other nations have approached regulation.

“I hold the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in high regard, and I refrain from passing judgment on whether their stance is right or wrong,” Maeda remarked. “What I can affirm is that, at CVM, we have identified numerous advantages in this market that can streamline processes. Through tokenization, investors stand to benefit from enhanced transparency, reduced costs, and increased democratization of investments. These values resonate deeply within our commission’s mission.”

Brazil’s central bank took a significant step in October, introducing stricter regulations in response to the burgeoning adoption of cryptocurrencies within the country. Governor Campos Neto explicitly highlighted concerns about potential links between cryptocurrency usage and tax evasion or illicit activities.

Back in June, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva enacted a comprehensive framework into law, defining the distinct roles of the country’s central bank and the CVM in overseeing digital assets. Looking ahead to November, Brazil is set to launch a program for issuing identification documents via a private blockchain, aligning with their commitment to safeguard personal data and combat fraud.

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