3 July

“Charts showing stocks denominated in gold and Bitcoin in 2020 show that far from having their best quarter in ten years, markets had no “recovery” at all.

In January, the S&P 500 traded at around 0.45 BTC, with this decreasing until mid-March when a sudden spike to 0.5 BTC occurred. Thereafter, a drop below 0.3 BTC in May spelled the end of any real U-turn, with current levels circling 0.33 BTC.

The same is true for crude oil. Denominated in BTC, its recovery to 433,000 satoshis at press time from lows of 150,000 satoshis in April pales in comparison to its January price of 900,000 satoshis.

In my opinion there is no stock market recovery – it’s all inflation.”

See Also: Boomer and Gen-X Interest in Bitcoin Surges During Pandemic
See Also: Lebanese Pound Falls 50% in 10 Days — Now Worth 1 Satoshi
See Also: Bitcoin Startup Zap Is Working With Visa

“IRS-CI Cyber Crimes Unit challenged its “industry partners” to explain where the crypto tracing community stands on privacy coins, Layer 2 protocols, sidechains and the Schnorr signature algorithm in a June 30 Request for Information (RFI).

There are few investigative resources for tracing transactions that move across these privacy-enhancing vectors. The CI Cyber Crimes program is working to get in front of this trend.”

See Also: Sun Sets on Offshore Banking as Assets Worth $11 Trillion Uncovered
See Also: China Police Said to Detain Crypto OTC Traders Amid Money Laundering Crackdown

People can use the mainnet from July 7. From then on, holders of ADA, the platform’s native token, can move their funds to a wallet that supports the new upgrade. They’ll also be eligible for staking.

IOHK also announced the launch of Atala PRISM, a decentralized identity system. Atala PRISM will give people, including those without access to a bank account, “self-sovereign identities” with which they can access decentralized finance (DeFi) services. IOHK said that the technology is currently being piloted with the Ethiopian government.”

“In particular, there is big demand coming from hedge funds and more professional investors for our product, they want multi-millions of cover. As a result, we’ve hit our current capacity limits on the key yield-farming protocols such as Compound, Balancer and Curve.

Nexus is run as a mutual company by holders of the NXM token. They have set limits of $630,000 in coverage on each protocol. That amount is based on how much is on hand to pay out claims. The token is designed to recruit more capital when it’s needed, however, so they may be able to take on more policies soon.

Nexus Mutual provides a way to hedge against the risk posed by smart contracts, with policies that pay out against a failure in the underlying software of a DeFi product within a given time frame.”

“Total sales of blockchain-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have exceeded $100 million for the first time since their emergence in 2017.

Once considered trivial playthings, non-fungible tokens representing collectibles, artworks and virtual land parcels could grow into a trillion dollar industry.

“Everyone’s favorite way to use Ethereum applications now comes with a host of new features!

Perhaps the most obvious change to version 8 is a refreshed MetaMask UI. You can [also] control which accounts interact with different sites across the decentralized web.”

See Also: MetaMask Tips and Tricks (Video)
See Also: Omen Prediction Market Officially Launched

“Blockchain sleuths at ZenGo, a wallet startup, have found a vulnerability that affected at least three major competing crypto wallets – Ledger Live, Edge and Breadwallet (BRD) – and potentially more.

The bug, which the Tel Aviv-based firm calls BigSpender, allows a hacker to double-spend a user’s funds and possibly prevent them from ever using their wallet again. It works by exploiting how certain wallet’s handle Bitcoin’s replace-by-fee (RBF) function, a failsafe that enables users to swap an unconfirmed transaction with one that has a higher fee.

Ledger and BRD have released code changes to prevent the attack from happening, and paid undisclosed bug bounties to ZenGo.”

“While LBCOIN is technically a CBDC based on the NEM blockchain and issued by the central bank of Lithuania, the financial institution prefers to call it “the world’s first blockchain-based digital collector coin”.

Each token will feature a portrait of one of the 20 Lithuanian historical figures who signed the country’s declaration of independence in 1918. Collectors will be able to exchange them for a physical silver coin.

LBCOIN helps to gain practical hands-on experience in issuing a (kind of) retail Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in a real environment.”

“Analysts from Flipside Crypto suggested that one possible reason for the swap is that Tron was paying a premium to keep Binance’s USDT on its blockchain, and this deal may have now come to an end.

Another possibility is that Binance, or one of its customers, wants to participate in yield farming using ERC-20 tokens.”

2 July

“Beijing has unveiled a 20-point plan to accelerate the development and deployment of distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and turn Beijing into both a global and national hub for blockchain tech.

Fostering a good business climate for blockchain innovation is cited as a top objective of Beijing, with “cultivating a group of unicorn enterprises” listed among the plan’s goals.

In addition to fostering private innovation, the plan outlines numerous public applications for DLT, including developing a blockchain-based directory system, digital identity platform, government data-sharing platform, and unified social credit applications.”

See Also: Swiss Government Makes Moves to Encourage Crypto Businesses
See Also: Japanese Blockchain Sector Grows Over 30% Since 2019
See Also: Kazakh Gov Plans to Double Its Investment in Digital Currency Mining

“SKALE is rolling out the first phase of its mainnet release, providing a new way to efficiently scale decentralized applications on Ethereum. SKALE provides an elastic validator network developers can tap to generate unique decentralized blockchains that are fully compatible with the Ethereum chain.

The first phase of the SKALE mainnet launch will enable users and developers to get a taste of the functionality of the protocol, including more than 2,000 transactions per second, sub-second block times, and smart-contract compatibility.

SKALE pricing supports Ethereum by giving dapps their own blockchain with a charge for the amount of server space over a period of time, rather than by transaction.

On SKALE it will be thousands of times less expensive to run transactions while not losing sync with Ethereum.”

“The American Bankers Association, a private consortium of American banks, said in a testimony at a US FinTech task force hearing earlier this month that a central bank digital currency (CBDC) puts an uncomfortable amount of power in the hands of the Federal Reserve.

The Federal Reserve would quickly become politicized as the central control point for monitoring and potentially denying transactions.

The right of people to transact outside the view of the central bank is a cherished civil liberty that is preserved and protected by the due process of a competitive private banking sector.”

See Also: Senate Banking Committee Remains Open to Idea of Digital Dollar in Tuesday’s Hearing

“Big names in digital assets are getting ready for the launch of Ethereum 2.0.

Blockchain infrastructure-as-a-service company Bison Trails announced today early support for features of Ethereum 2.0 (Eth2), including ETH staking and automatically managed validator nodes.

Bison Trails is a natural fit for users with more than a single node’s worth of ETH to stake, providing the remote hardware and service to set up as many nodes as is required.”

“Deutsche Boerse has listed an exchange-traded product (ETP) that tracks the value of bitcoin.

Bitcoin ETPs provide exposure to bitcoin in a regulated asset class. In contrast to the U.S., where regulators have been loathe to sign off on bitcoin ETF applications, there are already three to four entities offering crypto-backed products across Europe.

“The “mini-ETF” allows holders to earn interest on decentralized lender Compound and gain exposure to “yield farming.” The portfolio will “yield farm” – borrow against itself to release free COMP tokens on users’ behalf – sometime later this year.

Alongside the Compound vehicle, Techemy also launched bitcoin- and ether-based investment portfolios. All three portfolios are built on Ethereum and are self-custodial, only available to accredited investors.”

See Also: BZx about to jump on the DeFi yield farming bandwagon

“Pavillion Hub, powered by Phantasma blockchain, acts as a kind of blockchain-enhanced front end for Steam.

Gamers can simply link their Steam accounts to the downloaded app, and play all of their existing Steam content. However, the app will also create a Phantasma wallet for the player, allowing them to seamlessly utilize tradable non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, along with their Steam inventory.

With Pavillion Hub’s NFT marketplace, any item represented as an NFT can be bought and sold. It also enables the modding community to monetize their skill, as game mods and extensions can also be freely traded.”

“Cryptocurrency can now be used to pay for legal services as long as the fee agreement is fair and is only permissible if the lawyer is able to safely store the payment.

Bar associations in other jurisdictions, such as North Carolina, Nebraska and New York City, have previously approved accepting cryptocurrency as payment.

[Attorneys] cannot hold back the tides of change even if they would like to, and cryptocurrency is increasingly accepted as a payment method by vendors and service providers, including lawyers.”

“Bolt Labs has launched a private payment solution, zkChannels, on Tezos. Akinyele said the team built on top of Tezos to act as a testing ground of sorts for other blockchains.

A current problem with Lightning – a payment solution built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain – is that in certain settings, you can see other people’s de facto bank accounts, called funding channels. zkChannel hides that information from merchants.

zkChannels is a chain-agnostic anonymous off-chain protocol that enables cheap and private value transfer between a customer and merchant.”

“Many crypto experts have noticed that Bitcoin’s choice of secp256k1 elliptic curve was unusual for its time, as it was not yet well researched.

According to Okamoto, there are two alternative explanations for this choice: Either Satoshi picked because it offers greater efficiency or because it may have offered a secret backdoor.

There could still exist some suspicion that some backdoor might be secretly set up in the curve parameters.”

“The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans rejected defendant Richard Gratkowski’s claims his blockchain and Coinbase-held bitcoin transaction records could not be used as evidence against him.

Gratkowski based his motion to suppress that evidence on the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure.

The court effectively found that agents did not need a warrant to search those records. The court said the public nature of bitcoin’s permissionless blockchain undercuts any user’s claims to a reasonable expectation of privacy.

See Also: US Senators Float Bill Requiring Congressional Watchdog Study Crypto’s Role in Trafficking

“The market cap of leading stablecoin Tether (USDT) has surpassed $10 billion for the first time. Alongside Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), Tether is now one of three crypto assets with an eleven-figure capitalization.

Tether’s reported $10 billion market cap comes after year-to-date growth of 144% — with Tether representing $4.1 billion at the start of 2020.”

“We’ve just taken another step forward by decentralizing the hosting of the Uniswap Interface using IPFS. The Uniswap Interface is now deployed at least once per day to IPFS.

The domain uniswap.exchange is now redirected to app.uniswap.org, which is an alias to the Cloudflare IPFS gateway that serves the Uniswap Interface from IPFS.”

1 July

Geth makes up only one of 11 client specifications, but 79% of Ethereum nodes run on it. Developers worry that a bug could temporarily freeze the network – something blockchains aren’t supposed to do, ever.

In light of this, Ethereum Core developers decided Friday to postpone work on the Berlin hard fork until at least August in an effort to give other clients a chance to increase their share of the network.

Having a diversity of clients is good for the network. It allows different projects to join Ethereum’s developer community – from the tiniest startup to JPMorgan.

The main reason [to postpone Berlin] would be to reduce dependency on Geth and allow it to fail without bringing down the whole network.”

“Compound governance proposal #11 passed today [and] will go into effect in two days. When that happens, it’s very likely yield farmers will exit the riskiest markets of basic attention token (BAT) and 0x (ZRX) and move their activity into safer assets, stablecoins such as USDC and DAI.

Under the original rules, users are given COMP based on the amount of interest they earn or the amount of interest they pay. Under the new rules, users will simply earn COMP on the dollar value of assets they have put in or borrowed from the system.

By simply allocating COMP based on dollars in the system, stakeholders say the overall interest in COMP yield is unlikely to drop, but the assets will almost certainly shift to different markets.

By distributing on the basis of total borrow, the incentive to self-deal in niche asset pools largely dries up, and we’re likely to see much of this capital (particularly the BAT market) flow out of the protocol.

The goal of the COMP distribution is to allocate COMP to users who are generating value for the protocol.

When the Compound token distribution began, no one really knew what to expect. Our team was surprised by how powerful the impact of the distribution was on incentives, and so was the community.”

See Also: DeFi’s ‘Agricultural Revolution’ Has Ethereum Users Turning to Decentralized Exchanges
See Also: Matcha Launched
See Also: Incognito Blockchain Launches DeFi Privacy for Kyber
See Also: Coinbase Ventures Invests in $5M Token Sale for Ethereum Data Firm ‘The Graph’

“The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) will establish four additional “Innovation Hub” branches – in Toronto, Stockholm, London and a joint location for Paris and Frankfurt – over the next two years in a major expansion of its year-old effort to ponder the future of money.

These new locations will be well placed to advance work‘ on digital currency and distributed ledger technology (DLT) alongside other central banking issues including cyber security, artificial intelligence and digital payments, said Innovation Hub chief Benoît Cœuré in a press statement.

BIS, often referred to as the central bank for central banks, also announced its Innovation Hub will form a strategic partnership with the U.S. Federal Reserve System.

The expansion solidifies the Swiss-based institution’s multifaceted drive to incubate fintech at the highest levels of monetary policymaking.”

See Also: Digital Dollars Take Center Stage in Hearing Before US Senate

“The “v2” rollout has been slated for release on July 28, and will represent an entirely new deployment of the Augur core protocol on the Ethereum network. Augur v2 will offer a new version of the platform’s native REP token called “REPv2.”

Action is only required by REP holders after Augur’s v2 deployment has gone live. A migration tool will be provided within the platform’s user interface, along with a tutorial on how to carry out the swap.”

“The firm’s Retrievable Transfer feature works by building a new layer onto existing blockchain protocols. Users then have the ability to “cancel” a transaction sent to an incorrect cryptocurrency wallet address.

The company’s logic layer functions by providing a unique transaction code that must be entered by the recipient in order to receive funds from the sender. Until the recipient has entered the correct code, the sender may retrieve the funds at any time.

Kirobo’s Retrievable Transfer feature is now available for bitcoin transfers on wallets from France-headquartered firm Ledger, while support in other wallets is expected to roll out over coming months.”

“ETH2 scaling for data will be available before ETH2 scaling for general computation.

This implies that rollups will be the dominant scaling paradigm for at least a couple of years: first ~2-3k TPS with ETH1 as data layer, then ~100k TPS with ETH2 (phase 1).”

“Sorare, the Ethereum-based fantasy soccer game that lets players own digital cards based on real professional players, announced today that it has added the 700+ players that compete in North America’s Major League Soccer.

Sorare allows players to purchase and collect cards based on players from a variety of professional soccer teams, and then form a five-player lineup to enter divisional matchups against other Sorare users. Players earn points based on the pros’ respective real-world performances.

We’re excited fans worldwide now have the chance to collect, manage, and own licensed digital cards of their favorite players.”

“In simplified terms, traditional stocks entitle their holders to a voting share in the corporate board of the company and a portion of the dividends it may distribute.

Given the clear analogies with company stocks, there is an intervention risk from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which might deem these tokens as securities.

The decentralization of the network appears to be a key distinction when evaluating if a token is a security.

I agree there are some components of [governance tokens] that look security-like, but doesn’t necessarily mean that they are securities.”

“Dfinity has announced its “Internet Computer” is now open to third-party developers. Projects already being built atop of Dfinity’s Internet Computer include a decentralized payment app as well as a platform for luxury goods.

The firm said it’s already operating on a “network of independent data centers” across the U.S. and Europe, enabling developers and businesses to build and launch their own apps and projects onto the platform.

The Internet Computer and its open services, Williams continued, create a way to ‘reboot the internet creating a public alternative to proprietary cloud infrastructure.'”

“Wuhan Kingold Jewelry, the largest privately-owned gold processor in central China’s Hubei province, used at least 83 tonnes of counterfeit gold as collateral for loans amounting to 20 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) from over a dozen Chinese financial institutions.

In short, more than four percent of China’s official gold reserves may be fake.

Kingold started off as a gold factory affiliated with the People’s Bank of China but split off from the central bank during restructuring. As of September 2019, it held assets totaling $3.3 billion, and its shares are listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

The latest revelations are sure to spark questions about how much gold held as collateral is genuine, and how practical gold is as a reserve asset. In the last four years, at least $50 million worth of fake gold allegedly from Swiss refineries has been found in the vaults of JPMorgan Chase.”

“Wirecard-issued crypto debit cards from companies like Crypto.com and TenX have been reactivated following permission from the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, or FCA.

The regulator stressed that there are still ‘requirements imposed on Wirecard’s authorisation.'”

30 June

“Since Bitcoin doesn’t have the DeFi infrastructure that allows Ethereum token holders to lend their assets and receive passive yields, it appears that Bitcoin holders are turning to wrapped BTC tokens in order to use their assets in the rapidly growing DeFi market.

The amount of WBTC tokens increased more than sixfold over the past month – there are currently around 8,200 BTC converted into Ethereum tokens, worth roughly $74.9 million.

Launched in mid-May, renBTC has already taken second place among tokenized Bitcoin projects.”

See Also: Andreas Antonopoulos: Use DeFi Contracts for BTC Passive Income

“Researchers have found a vulnerability in the Bitcoin Lightning Network that could enable an attacker to drain funds from wallets.

The attacker forces many victims at once to flood the blockchain with claims for their funds. He is then able to leverage the congestion that they create to steal any funds that were not claimed before the deadline.

We believe that in many ways the exploited vulnerabilities are inherent to the way [Lightning works], and thus the attack cannot be avoided completely without major modifications.”

“EIP 1559 aims to reduce transaction costs by overhauling the network’s fee market in what independent analyst Hasu describes as ‘the biggest change to any blockchain post-release.’

Notably, EIP 1559 forces Ethereum transactions to be paid in the blockchain’s native token. The base fee is denominated in ETH, paid to the network and then burnt every time a transaction occurs, which also decreases the outstanding supply of ether over the long run.

Consequently, the burning also provides a new deflationary pressure into Etheruem’s economic model, a pressure some argue would give the network a higher value proposition in the long term.

The burning of BASEFEE, which is the bulk of transaction fee, is a deflationary force of ETH. It promotes its scarcity, and links its scarcity to the growth of the Ethereum economy.

As of June 24, developers have decided to launch a testnet to help model the effects of EIP 1559. Ethereum clients are already working on implementations.”

“The Katalyst upgrade will bring in a new mechanism enabling KNC holders to stake the token and be rewarded for voting participation in ether (ETH) collected in the form of network fees resulting from trading activity.

KyberDAO, a platform that will allow the different stakeholders to participate in governance through voting, will be hosted on Kyber.org. Users of the network will gain access to the new Katalyst features a week after launch, on July 14.

KNC holders who do not wish to participate in governance are still able to earn rewards by delegating their voting power to KyberDAO pool operators.”

See Also: Matic Network Aims for 80% Token Lockup in New Staking Program

“Balancer CTO Mike McDonald said the attacker had borrowed $23 million worth of WETH tokens, an ether-backed token suitable for DeFi trading, in a flash loan from dYdX. They then traded, against themselves, with Statera (STA), an investment token that uses a transfer fee model and burns 1% of its value every time it’s traded.

The attacker went between WETH and STA 24 times, draining the STA liquidity pool until the balance was next to nothing. As well as WETH, the attacker performed the same attack using WBTC, LINK and SNX, all against Statera tokens.

Balancer Pool will now begin blacklisting all transfer fee tokens.”

See Also: Hacker Steals Balancer’s COMP Allowance in Second Attack Within 24 Hours

“What differentiates MCDEX is that it is the first of its kind to introduce an Automated Market Maker to provide on-chain liquidity to its perpetual contracts.

Competitors such as dYdX still rely on off-chain funding rates, and therefore are less decentralized.

Like many things in DeFi, you can think of MCDEX’s AMM as a kind of money Lego block. It provides basic composability and allows smart contracts to trade, arbitrage, and speculate (up to 10x) with MCDEX’s on-chain perpetual contracts.”

“Zimbabwe has suspended mobile money payments and the national stock exchange in a dramatic escalation of the nation’s currency crisis. Millions rely on mobile payments because of the difficulty in accessing hard cash.

African crypto news outlet Bitcoinke claims the demand for Bitcoin has skyrocketed‘ in the wake of the suspension—its sources claim the cryptocurrency is selling at 18% above the market rate.

Ecocash is commonly used to buy Bitcoin [and] has promised to defy the ban. Meanwhile, inflation has risen above 750%, and the local stock market has surged, as investors have sought safe havens.”

“The CCC aims to bring developers together to accelerate the use of Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) technologies and standards. A TEE sequesters code and data away from applications on the main operating system, so they’re protected from adversaries who may gain access to the main operating system.

This enables applications and other systems to run without having direct access to extensive amounts of vulnerable data such as financial or personally identifiable information. Blockchain technology offers a coordination mechanism for computers using TEEs, allowing access to data among parties that might not trust one another.

Confidential computing brings privacy-preserving smart devices to the next level by not only allowing users to own their private data, but also to use it in a privacy-preserving way.

This has major implications for consumer-facing industries such as health care and smart homes.

With confidential computing, facial recognition processes can be executed within a secure TEE-based confidential computing environment, where the raw data (people’s faces) and a cross-referencing database of faces can be analyzed and subsequently forgotten.”

“The roughly $14 million deal with Chinese metals giant Baoshan Iron & Steel Co Ltd. (Baosteel) was conducted on a platform created by Canada-based startup MineHub Technologies.

The MineHub platform was used to process contract terms, exchange documents online and provide visibility and accountability along the supply chain.

The bulk commodity industry needs a digital revolution to reduce physical documentation processes.”

“Counter-Strike superstars with two million fans will participate in a crypto-powered tournament, while fans will be able to bet on the outcome with crypto tokens.

The tournament is sponsored by Verasity — an attention based platform for video, gaming and entertainment rewards with a native VRA token. Verasity has signed a long-term deal with the players agents.”

“The Bitfury-powered blockchain for the Russian constitutional amendments was reportedly attacked over the weekend. Experts were working to restore access to the attacked node.

Moreover, the blockchain-based online voting has produced some abnormal results in certain regions. For instance, nearly 7,300 people assigned to a polling station in Troitsky Administrative Okrug were registered to vote online, despite the station only having a total of 2,358 residents eligible to vote.

Further, some people have reported successfully managing to vote multiple times.”

The Disrupt Weekend

“MKR holders have accepted KNC (Kyber Network) and ZRX (0x) as new collateral assets in the Maker Protocol. Both tokens can now be used to open Maker Vaults in order to generate Dai.

“Driskill is among the first adopters of “social money,” in which crypto’s socialites create their own cryptocurrencies, then gift or sell them to their followers. Once minted, they can raise money with token sales and encourage loyalty among their fans. The fans themselves can use the tokens to buy goods or services or even vote to influence the behavior of their creator.

From my followers’ perspective, it’s a way for them to interact with me. From my perspective, it’s a way to build an economy.

Human tokens create a marketplace for loyalty in a way that fiat currencies cannot. If Taylor Swift, for instance, wants to thank her fans, it’d be weird if she gave them $30. But if she gave them $SWIFTIES, that’s a great way of forming a sense of belonging and creating a community.

This is a truly novel means of value discovery since for the first time ever a person’s time can be tradeable on secondary markets, which could reduce the dependence on corporations as vehicles for coordinating economic activity.”

“Clearly we’re entering into a phase where there is going to be an all-out brawl for liquidity, based on absolutely massive subsidies being offered in the form of governance tokens.

In the near term, yield farming ensures that compatibility between lending and exchange protocols is mutualistic, benefiting both protocols due to the supercharged stacking of yields.

Once the subsidies from yield farming decline to more sustainable levels, it is unclear whether such linkages will prove to be commensalistic or even parasitic, benefiting one type of protocol at the expense of the other.”

See Also: Some Numbers That Show Why Yield Farming COMP Is So Seductive
See Also: King of DeFi: Value locked in Compound hits $1 billion

How To: Yield Farming

See Also: Yield Farming, DeFi, Risks & Opportunities with Kain Warwick of Synthetix (Video)
See Also: How to Ensure You Don’t Get Liquidated While Mining $COMP (Video)
See Also: How to Farm Yield with Stablecoins Using Curve Finance (Video)
See Also: Curve.fi In-depth

Web3Torrent is a browser based torrenting client that supports incentivized peer-to-peer filesharing using micropayments. The micropayments are built using state channels that run on top of the Ethereum blockchain. Users can upload files and begin seeding to earn small, incremental, amounts of money from anyone that downloads from them.

State channels are a layer 2 scaling technique for Ethereum; they enable trustless, instant, and zero-fee transactions amongst fixed groups of users.

Web3Torrent is running live on the Goërli testnet right now.”

“Over the last few years, I gained over $12 million dollars investing in cryptocurrencies. I did not take a single profit until they maxed out at a hundredfold at the very peak of the market in December 2017. The timing was perfect, I nailed it. However, I only took a small percentage of those gains.

This is what I’ve learned from riding the crypto market all the way up and down.”

In-depth: Decentraland.

Decentraland, the first metaverse to be built on the blockchain, is now open for business. Ever since the Argentina-based team raised $25 million in its 2017 ICO, much of the blockchain community has been eager to enter the matrix.

The metaverse has been quietly open for early users (and investors) since 2019. It more fully opened to the public on Feb. 20 and it continues to work out the glitches as it prepares for wider adoption.

How is Decentraland different from Second Life? ‘The world is owned by the users.’

Welcome to the strange, glitchy, fascinating, frustrating and potentially wonderful reality of Decentraland.”

“Even in Traditional Finance we already see the ability of Robo-advisors like Betterment to help me plan for a specific event, or goal, and reallocate my portfolio accordingly.

Using the composability of Ethereum and DeFi, I will be able to have a highly customized portfolio based on my life. If I am saving for my retirement, and my child’s education, I live in Texas and am susceptible to the price of oil, my job is based on the value of the Stock Market, and I want to take one big vacation per year…I will have the ability (theoretically) to create a portfolio that is diversified, contains hedges, creates income, and provides enough liquidity to help me reach my goals.

The Decentralized Finance Asset Management tools, developers, architects, and ecosystem has the potential to bring in millions of investors, many of which have never had the opportunity to invest before.”

“Rockside’s “transaction relay service” algorithmically determines gas prices on behalf of users.

Through its API, Rockside also offers “gasless” transactions. These use gas provided by the developer of the DeFi protocol that cover users’ gas fees for simple interactions with the blockchain.”

“Before the addition of refunds, senders and receivers had to coordinate addresses and payment amounts, often requiring multiple back-and-forth messages. Now, merchants can generate refunds directly from invoices—no additional communication or slowdowns.

As the software becomes more robust, there’s a good chance savvy e-commerce sellers will increasingly be drawn to the open-source, fee-less alternative to centralized payment processors.”

27 June

“A new regulatory regime for cryptocurrency will not only cover unregulated digital assets, but it will also consolidate and homogenize existing standards across the continent.

While Dombrovskis’ speech contained few specifics, he did say that the EU was particularly keen to bring stricter rules on any project deemed to be a “global stablecoin.”

Stablecoins, possibly like Libra, that operate on a global scale can ‘raise additional challenges,’ Dombrovskis said – they can disrupt financial and monetary stability.”

“Opyn has launched put options on COMP that will provide a safety net of sorts by helping holders mitigate some of the risk should COMP’s fortunes take a turn for the worse.

A trader with a bearish view on COMP can [also] just buy put options at the available strike price of $150. If COMP drops, the oTokens will appreciate in value and traders can liquidate them on Uniswap.

Several hours later, Universal Market Access (UMA) announced it is creating the ability to synthetically short COMP on its decentralized platform.”

See Also: Derivatives Traders May Have Manipulated COMP Rally
See Also: Compound’s COMP Token Paves Way for DeFi Yield Wars

“Dubbed ‘Forecast’, Facebook’s new iOS app polls users on a variety of forward-facing issues, with respondents using in-app points to access surveys on the platform. Survey results will be made publicly available via the Forecast website.

The app is currently only available to invited users based in the United States and Canada while the platform is in beta testing.

While decentralized prediction markets are still in their infancy, Augur’s (REP) imminent v2 transition is expected to offer a powerful platform for decentralized betting markets ahead of the U.S. election in November.”

“The pilot proves a use case for Assembly that applies to all foreign exchange contracts.

The FX announcement follows a digital asset-backed securities pilot that Vanguard announced the completion of earlier this month. The FX pilot’s completion also shows that the Assembly blockchain could quickly become a viable option for many large enterprises engaged in FX.

The planned exchange will trade in tokenized real estate. They are also exploring digitizing IPs and corporate bonds.

As the first step in the journey, Tokai Tokyo is investing in blockchain company Hash Dash Holdings to leverage the company’s knowledge to develop the exchange.”

See Also: China Gets Its First Blockchain-Based Public Resource Bidding Platform

“Hyundai applied to the intellectual property authorities for the brand names Altum, Atolo, and Rizon. Each application has the description ‘electronic wallets that can hold cryptocurrencies.

The data from the recent trademark filing indicates that the company may aim to provide services like crypto trading, crypto ATMs, crypto-related hardware, software, crypto issuance, and sales.

“A beta version of Electrum 4.0, the latest version of the Bitcoin wallet, launched on Wednesday, adding support for the Bitcoin Lightning Network. Electrum is one of the first Bitcoin wallets to support the Lightning network, which is still highly experimental.

Electrum’s implementation of Lightning uses its own servers but users are encouraged to select their own, or ones they deem reliable.

Since servers can lie about the state of a channel, users should either use a server that they trust, or set up a private watchtower.”

“Bitfinex has announced an open-source peer-to-peer data streaming platform that will allow users to share media across a decentralized network.

The code for Bitfinex’s “Dazaar” protocol has been uploaded to GitHub, describing a decentralized network in which distributed node operators store the information shared among users.

Buyers and sellers connect over the platform via a cryptographic identifier or “Dazaar Card,” with sellers able to purchase streams using crypto assets or credit cards. The protocol also features a live-streaming desktop application that allows sellers to manage subscriptions and broadcasts.”

“Members of the investing platform Republic can buy digital tokens called Republic Notes on July 16. Republic Note holders receive shares of profits from Republic’s investments in startups and private equities once those companies exit (i.e., are bought or go public).

Robinhood and Carta (formerly eShares) raised $6.3 and $13.7 million, respectively, on the crowdsourcing vehicle, although both did so in private sales. Still, there have been plenty of public raises on Republic.”

“Liquid – a network developed and overseen by Blockstream and meant to move bitcoins around more quickly than the Bitcoin blockchain – moved 870 bitcoins that had been stuck in a queue since June 11 waiting to be processed.

Holders of the network’s emergency two-of-three multisig wallet had potential access to the funds for about one hour. Whether or not this has happened in the past remains an open and pertinent security question.

Blockstream’s administrator backdoor activated, and Liquid security became dependent on trusting the company.”

“The company is refunding 100% of customer funds after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) suspended the activities of Wirecard Card Solutions.

All funds will be refunded in the next 48 hours. Users will not be able to top up or transact with Crypto.com cards as of later today.

26 June

Synthetix, Curve and Ren have teamed up to launch BTC liquidity incentives using Curve’s low-slippage pools. The program combines three Ethereum-based flavors of Bitcoin—renBTC, wBTC and sBTC—to provide seamless swaps between the rising wrappers.

Backed by 10k SNX and 25k REN worth of weekly incentives, those who provide liquidity can stake their LP tokens via Mintr to claim a pro-rata portion of the rewards.

The fun doesn’t stop there. Synthetix and Ren have teamed up to issue those SNX & REN rewards in the form of Balancer Pool Tokens (BPTs) – meaning LPs are also earning BAL from Liquidity Mining. As if that wasn’t enough, contributors will also earn Curve’s soon-to-be announced governance tokens—CRV.

Best of all, with all three wrappers essentially pegged 1:1, there is no risk of impermanent loss.”

See Also: Balancer Votes for Centralized Quick Fix to Stop Users Gaming System

“This first funding round is meant to finance the development of W3bcloud’s first Ethereum data centers. The company plans to provide enterprise grade decentralized computer infrastructure.

W3BCLOUD brings together the pre-eminent GPU manufacturer and the leading blockchain developer to build the compute infrastructure for the blockchain economy.

W3bcloud is already in talks with multiple potential customers.”

See Also: AMD-Backed Blockchain Project Amassing 20K GPUs but Won’t Say Why

“Instead, the BIS, in a new digital payments chapter of its annual economic report published Wednesday, said central bankers have come around to CBDCs because the tech presents a convenient vessel through which they can shape the future of payments.

CBDC issuance is not so much a reaction to cryptocurrencies and private sector ‘stablecoin’ proposals, but rather a focused technological effort by central banks to pursue several public policy objectives at once.

By the BIS’ count, CBDC can assist in: financial inclusion, securing digital payments, increasing payment efficiency and encouraging innovation in the space.

CBDCs have the potential to be the next step in the evolution of money.”

“In the wake of a $2.1 billion accounting scandal, Wirecard, whose business lines include issuing cryptocurrency payments cards for TenX and Crypto.com, has collapsed into insolvency.

A TenX spokesperson told CoinDesk this week that customer funds, both crypto, and fiat, had not been affected by the Wirecard scandal. Crypto.com has steadfastly refused to comment. ‘We’re still staying totally silent on this.'”

“Uphold announced that they will allow users in Latin America to use cryptocurrency to acquire fractional ownership of the world’s leading companies.

If you’d put $1,000 in Uphold’s basket of 50 U.S. stocks in June 2010, today your investment would be worth around $5,785 compared with just $337 if you’d left your money in Brazilian Reals; $50 in Argentinian Pesos; or shockingly less than a penny in Venezuelan Bolivars.”

Idea markets use investment to establish credibility for ideas and narratives without trusting a centralized third party. Rather than say this is true or false, which doesn’t really respect the readers free will and ability to make different judgments, we’re saying the market has put this at this rank.

Elias’ plan is to launch a browser extension that would include the ranking of the news source next to articles from it on social media.

So, for example, depending on how the market shakes out, CNN might sit at 10th and Brietbart at 90th. Anyone can see how much trust a publisher has earned. Such a system could rank news sources on a platform like Twitter, without a single company having control over them and having to be the dreaded “arbiter of truth.””

See Also: Apple just put privacy ahead of advertising in a big way

STKR acts as both a governance token and security, with funds garnered from the protocol distributed to token holders.

Under the hood, StakerDAO has two pieces: a Cayman Island corporation and a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). StakerDAO works in a similar space as the Ethereum-centric LAO, a DAO meshed with a legal wrapper.

StakerDAO itself is led by a five-man council including Polychain’s Olaf Carlson-Wee, Coinbase Custody’s Luke Youngblood, Lemniscap’s Shaishav Todi, DTC Capital’s Spencer Noon and StakerDAO’s Lamis.”

“Yang announced the creation of a public-benefit corporation, the Data Dividend Project, which aims to help enable people to control the use of their data and allow for compensation of approved use of collected information by tech companies.

Various crypto startups, such as Streamr and Brave, are already working on similar ends. Streamr is a data protocol that is focused on building a decentralized infrastructure that allows users to control their data and monetize it by providing a marketplace.

Fighting for the paradigm of data ownership is one of the best ways to tackle the huge global digital exploitation that is currently taking place.”

“NY DFS is proposing a “Conditional BitLicense” framework to reform its controversial BitLicense regulation introduced in 2015.

The proposal would help overcome “actual or perceived hurdles” in obtaining the BitLicense by using the expertise of an existing license holder. The regulator expects that businesses will eventually pursue a full license.”

“Kadena preps its first ever listing on Bittrex Global, with initial trading pairs including Bitcoin and Tether. Alongside its first listing, Kadena is open-sourcing a decentralized application, or dApp, for tracking and validating COVID-19 test results.

KDA has been primarily OTC-only since launch in January. Listing on Bittrex Global is the first for KDA.”

BTCPay is a tool for bitcoin bookkeeping tasks that merchants need, such as managing invoices tracking how much bitcoin the merchant is owed for each product sold.

BTCPay provides a crucial invoicing solution for anyone who wants to receive bitcoin, whether its fundraising for a nonprofit or for receiving e-commerce payments. We’re excited to help the team grow their offering.”

“Customers of local cryptocurrency exchange Bitcoin.com.au will be able to pay for Bitcoin at more than 3,500 Australian Post offices.

For many people, paying for Bitcoin at an Australia Post office feels safer than transferring funds online.”

25 June

“Option expiries can influence market direction via a process known as “pinning” in which option traders try to move the spot price to avoid sharp losses.

Skew CEO Emmanuel Goh said that ‘with big quarterly expiry, you tend to see some pinning and then the market moving post-expiry.’ Open interest is concentrated at $10,000 and $11,000 strike prices. As a result, $10,000 may act as a stiff resistance heading into expiry.

This is definitely the largest BTC option expiry by a country mile.”

See Also: Veteran Commodities Trader Chris Hehmeyer Goes All In on Crypto
See Also: Low Exchange Reserves Suggest Futures Traders Are Over-Leveraged

“Decentralized finance (DeFi) tokens from Balancer, Ren, Aave and Swissborg have all made huge gains, in the wake of excitement generated by the distribution of Compound’s governance token.

Less than twelve hours after Balancer announced its protocol governance token BAL was live on the Ethereum mainnet, and the price jumped from $6.65 to $22.28. It’s following in the footsteps of COMP which more than tripled in value this week.”

See Also: DeFi-Nitely a Bubble? Seller Blamed as COMP Crashes 45% on Coinbase
See Also: Compound Token Suffers Heavy Losses But Still Dominates DeFi Rankings

“The sale was for the governance token of a decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem called the DeFi Money Market. The interest rates are backed by real-world assets, mostly cars.

Termed the DMM, it’s an Ethereum-based yield farm that claims to offer consistent interest rates of 6.25% on Ethereum (ETH), decentralized US dollar stablecoin DAI and centralized US dollar stablecoin USDC.”

Brazil’s central bank has ordered Mastercard and Visa to suspend processing money transfers on behalf of Facebook’s WhatsApp.

The Central Bank of Brazil (BC) took action against WhatsApp Pay ‘to preserve an adequate competitive environment‘ and allow the central bank to assess the risks posed by the firm to the country’s existing financial sector.

Despite taking swift action against WhatsApp, Brazil’s central bank also announced that the payments feature will likely be integrated with PIX — the central bank’s forthcoming blockchain-like digital payments system.”

Recommended read.

“The world’s oldest central bank presents four models for supplying a digital version of the Swedish krona (e-krona) as well as outlining how well the different models would fit its policy goals.

The four models under review include a “centralized e-krona provision without intermediaries,” “a centralized model with intermediaries,” “decentralized solutions with intermediaries” and “a synthetic e-krona.”

The Riksbank concludes that both the centralized and decentralized model featuring intermediaries, as well as the centralized e-krona provision without intermediaries, would incur substantial change and cost. A synthetic digital version of the Swedish krona, the paper says, could prove to be viable but may not even classify as a CBDC.”

The History of (Yield) Farming

“A bill that would outlaw end-to-end encryption for technology companies was proposed by three Republican senators. The proposed legislation ‘would bring an end to warrant-proof encryption in devices, platforms, and systems.

It is not clear why Graham and his colleagues felt the need to propose a bill that, on the surface, seems to have similar goals to the EARN IT Act — stripping the individuals of the right to use privacy-preserving technology while forcing technology companies to become even more responsive to the state’s whims.”

“Braintrust launched out of stealth mode Wednesday, backed by a $6 million seed round. The tech startup aims to cut the middleman (think: ZipRecruiter, Indeed) from the employment decision.

In the current environment of massive economic uncertainty, it is our responsibility to share our expertise in managing a distributed workforce.

Braintrust has already sourced hires for firms such as Porsche, Nestle, Blue Cross Blue Shield, TaskRabbit and even NASA.”

24 June

“LibertyX, the firm that launched one of the early Bitcoin ATMs, has just made purchasing Bitcoin in cash possible at more than 20,000 retail locations across the United States. Customers of retailers including 7-Eleven, CVS Pharmacy, and Rite Aid [can now] buy Bitcoin (BTC) with cash.

Users need to have the LibertyX mobile app installed, select which retailer location they will visit in advance, and scan their barcodes at the time of purchase. Crypto holders can buy between $20-$500 with transactions processed in minutes for a small fee.

Now, everyone is only a few miles away from owning bitcoin.”

“KPMG has built a suite of tools designed to help both traditional financial companies and fintech startups provide tightly managed crypto-asset services.

Targeting institutional clients, the new KPMG Chain Fusion product lets customers manage their data in compliance with regulations around financial reporting, security and processing needs. The suite allows these customers to collect and organize data from both traditional systems as well as blockchain databases.

This allows these entities to run “advanced analytics” on the data.”

See Also: In Banking First, ING Develops FATF-Friendly Protocol for Tracking Crypto Transfers

“Balancer’s core function is it allows users to make pools of tokens that automatically rebalance, and to tokenize those pools. So if a pool was built so that the value was 50% WBTC, 25% WETH and 25% BAT, for example, it would sell some of its WBTC for WETH and BAT if WBTC shot up in value, so that the proportion of value went back in line. In short, it automates crypto indices.

The dapp can offer the same DEX functionality as Uniswap. The big question for BAL: Can it catapult Balancer into Uniswap’s place as the AMM of choice on Ethereum?

The smart contract governing BAL provides for 100 million tokens with no inflation. So far, 35 million have been minted. Of those, 25 million are designated for the team, advisers and investors. The remaining 65 million tokens mint at a rate of 145,000 BAL every week, which means it would take about nine years to fully distribute.

I think we will see that Balancer builds a very successful brand quickly.”

Ja Rule has inked a deal with Roll, an Ethereum-based protocol that allows content creators to control their own platforms using cryptocurrency’s native digital scarcity.

The concept of social money allows artists to have birth-to-death control over their content. Tokenizing access to personal work such as music or writing enables an artist to be paid in their own currency, letting them set the monetization rules.

If someone can create their own social network online, they should be able to create their own social money. This really allows them to give users a stake in their community and create this deeper sense of belonging.

Founded in 2019, Roll launched into private beta this week backed by a $1.7 million seed round led by BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes.”

See Also: Social Money (On a Roll) – Single (Audio)

“New Solidity deposit contract formally verified and added to the bounty program.

The time is almost here for the first public, multi-client testnet of v0.12 – Altona with an expected launch date in the next seven days.”

“The Status Keycard now works with Android smartphones to make mobile apps more secure. It also enables a user to both authorize the spending of crypto and acts as a form of two-factor authentication (2FA) for logging into applications.

Now we are working on developing an open payment network. It would be particularly interesting in countries where it is difficult to open a bank account.”

See Also: Handshake Goes Live With an Uncensorable Internet Browser

Baseline Protocol

“SmartContract, the company behind the Chainlink oracle network, will help the state-backed Blockchain-Based Service Network (BSN) with sourcing of reliable information about the real world. Meanwhile, Iris Foundation Ltd., an “inter-chain” services firm that integrates businesses with the Cosmos network, will assist BSN with interoperability, or allowing different systems to work in conjunction with each other.

Our users will be able to obtain outside data such as stock prices and financial transactions through Chainlink while getting cross-chain services between blockchains adapted in the network with Irisnet.

We have been on-boarding two to three public chains every month.

BSN aims to deliver a demonstration of its cross-chain services as early as September.”

See Also: Chainlink (LINK) Near New All-Time High — Here’s 3 Reasons for the Rally

“The Police Accountability Now (PAN) Protocol is designed and built on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) and the Ethereum blockchain, so it can’t be shut down by any central entity. The aim is for civilians and police officers to file misconduct reports in an anonymous and searchable way.

Police misconduct reports are hard to obtain for journalists, much less members of the public. Reports are rarely seen by people outside of the police department. Only 12 states make the records public.

This protocol is meant to enable anyone to create a gateway/front end and let anyone log complaints.

We highly encourage someone to build a follow on adjudication process/protocol that verifies/vets any claim put into the database.”

See Also: Microsoft, EU-Based Universities Say Blockchain Could Help Meet Paris Agreement Carbon Goals

“A federal judge ordered Eran Eyal, the founder of the Shopin cryptocurrency, to pay $450,000 in fines last week as a result of allegations he committed fraud.

He paid the $450,000 fine in 3,105 ether, according to an SEC press release.”

See Also: What the Supreme Court ruling on SEC penalties means for crypto

23 June


Fintech giant PayPal plans to roll out direct sales of cryptocurrency to its 325 million users.

My understanding is that they are going to allow buys and sells of crypto directly from PayPal and Venmo. They are going to have some sort of a built-in wallet functionality so you can store it there.

The service could be expected ‘in the next three months, maybe sooner.’

Crypto is increasingly seen as an obvious way to bolster user numbers on fintech apps and create new revenue streams.”

“DeFi “yield farming” is the latest meme exciting investors in the crypto universe.

One of the first mainstream DeFi use cases is high-yield interest income in which users deposit their crypto to earn a high rate of return, often 100 times higher than the typical commercial bank savings account (i.e. 10% vs 0.1% APY). DeFi yield farming takes this basic concept and compounds returns by utilizing leverage to gain additional exposure to various crypto assets.

Considering the average bank saving account interest rate is 0.1% and DeFi products can yield 100%+ annualized yields, are these products inherently 1,000 times riskier? Probably not, and thus savvy investors and traders are cashing in on these arbitrage opportunities.

These rates will naturally decline over time as the space grows in size and volume and DeFi products become battle tested and hardened. Until then, DeFi yield farming will serve as a catalyst increasing user adoption and acclimating users to the notion of “unbanking” themselves.

See Also: 3 Reasons Why DeFi Tokens Are Outperforming Bitcoin Price

“Wang made the announcement during the online 2020 Fin­tech Fo­rum organized by Ten­cent Fin­tech Re­search In­sti­tute and the Fin­tech 50 Fo­rum in Beijing.

China’s CBDC is currently in its testing phase, Wang said during the forum. The country has also started drafting laws that will help the launch and implementation of its digital currency.”

See Also: Italian Banks Are Ready to Trial a Digital Euro
See Also: Chinese City Issues Post-Pandemic Consumer Vouchers on the Blockchain

“The pair modeled a so-called basket-backed stablecoin in a hypothetical scenario, evaluating the likely impact that stablecoin would have on the economy as well as the likelihood of it being adopted.

Our model shows that although the basket may have the potential to become important and globally demanded, [the regular ebb and flow of fiat value and trade] make it such that the basket never dominates either of the component currencies.

Although the basket currency will never dominate the sovereign currencies it comprises, we find that there can be substantial gains in world welfare if many sellers accept the basket as payment.”

“The company will use the investment to spread cashless solutions to businesses across Asia.

In times of social distancing, fintech infrastructure such as payment gateways are key tools in performing day to day financial transactions in a fast, secure and convenient manner.

Our subsidiaries are developing new and improved technologies and financial infrastructure to enhance customer experiences with seamless value transfer systems that would also accommodate a cashless society.”

See Also: Anthony Pompliano Continues Push for Pension Fund Crypto Allocation
See Also: $10M Investment From Tether Won’t Change Celsius’ Mission of Sharing

“Ebang will reportedly get listed on Nasdaq on June 26, becoming the second crypto mining company to go public in the United States.

Notably, Ebang’s sales have been decreasing since 2018. In 2019, Ebang’s annual revenue was $109 million, which constituted a 66% drop in growth from $319 million in 2018.

This is great for the Bitcoin mining industry because as more ASIC manufacturers go public we have more transparency and accountability.”

“On a relatively new exchange like the Antigua-based FTX, the order book depth now matches the depth seen on industry leader BitMEX.

As of Monday, the daily average bid/offer spread for bitcoin perpetual swaps for $10 million quote size on FTX is 0.32% compared to 0.28% on BitMEX. A small spread implies a highly liquid market and vice versa.”

“Honeywell has announced that its newest quantum computer has reached a quantum volume of 64—twice that of IBM and Google’s rival machines. Honeywell aims to increase the quantum volume of its machine by a factor of 10 every year, reaching a score of 640,000 by 2025.

According to a June 2017 paper, a quantum computer would need to have around 2,500 qubits of processing power in order to break the 256-bit encryption used by Bitcoin, although the crypto industry is preparing defenses.”