Another new NFT marketplace, LooksRare, has entered the non-fungible token trading scene, hoping to steal some of OpenSea’s dominance in the sub-sector. Meanwhile, German fintech N26 is aping into crypto trading.

LooksRare has gone live today, launching with an airdrop of LOOKS token to OpenSea users who had traded a minimum of 3 ETH between June 16 and December 16 2021.

The airdrop accounts for 12 per cent of the token’s total supply of one billion, and is being described as crypto’s latest “vampire attack” – a strategic move by a project to attract users away from a leading competitor.

Famously (within crypto circles at least), the SushiSwap AMM (automated market maker) made such a move on Uniswap in September 2020.

The LOOKS token hit the market early this morning UTC (evening, AEDT) trading as high as US$4.52, however, on another stagnant, dipping day in the wider crypto market, it dropped as low as US$1.57, and is currently trading for about US$1.75.

Launched by two anonymous co-founders known as “Zodd” and “Guts” (sounds legit), the LOOKS token’s utility is based partly around yield-staking and incentivising NFT trading on the platform. When users buy and sell NFT from eligible collections on LooksRare, they will receive LOOKS tokens, according to a blog post.

“We, the NFT community, are tired of not being taken seriously by market leaders,” reads the post. “We’re building something better. Something that rewards, empowers, and gives back to you – the platform’s users and creators.”

LooksRare is not the first vampire attack on OpenSea. A decentralised, community-driven NFT marketplace called Infinity also attempted the move in October, although it has failed to gain much traction to date.


German neobank N26 finally makes crypto move

Also making headlines today, German “neobank” N26, one of Europe’s largest fintechs, has indicated it’s looking to jump into crypto and equities trading.

The company, valued at more than US$9 billion, has admitted it got its core strategy of global expansion wrong and should have instead focused on the boom in cryptocurrency in 2020 and 2021.

This is according to its co-founder and co-CEO Max Tayenthal, who spoke with the Financial Times this week.

N26 surprised some by exiting two crucial financial markets – the US in November, and the UK in early 2020 – but seems to have come to the realisation it needs to refocus its direction in an attempt to regain and maintain its status as one of the most highly valued fintechs in the world.

“Should we have built trading and crypto instead of launching in the US? In hindsight, it might have been a smart idea,” Tayenthal told the FT, adding:

“We were spreading ourselves extremely thinly… [there are] so many things we can work on instead of putting flags in new markets.”

N26 now plans to introduce new products and services to its seven million European customers, including the launch of a cypto-trading service “later this year”, followed by an equities brokerage.

“We really want to expand our product universe and we have to,” said Tayenthal.