21 January

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with $7.81 trillion under management, appears to have granted at least two of its funds the ability to invest in bitcoin futures. The filings appear to mark BlackRock’s entrance into the bitcoin market.

BlackRock Global Allocation Fund Inc. and BlackRock Funds V are at least eyeing bitcoin. They both include the world’s oldest cryptocurrency on their lists of derivative products cleared for use. However, the funds may only invest in cash-settled bitcoin futures.

Last November, the company’s CIO for fixed income, Rick Rieder, told CNBC that cryptocurrency may be “here to stay,” and could even replace gold “to a large extent,” noting that it was “much more functional” than the yellow metal.”

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“Stephen Harper, an economist and the former prime minister of Canada, said bitcoin could potentially see use as a reserve currency, but it isn’t going to supplant the U.S. dollar’s international role.

Unless the U.S. becomes a catastrophe, it’s hard to see what the alternative is to the U.S. dollar as the world’s major reserve currency. Other than you know gold, bitcoin [and] a whole basket of things, right? I think you’ll see that the number of things that people use as reserves will expand, but the U.S. dollar will still be the bulk of it.”

“I think many [cryptocurrencies] are used, at least in transactions sense, mainly for illicit financing and I think we really need to examine ways in which we can curtail their use and make sure that anti-money laundering doesn’t occur through those channels.

As Fed Chair, Yellen said she didn’t want to over-regulate the crypto space, though she’s also dismissed bitcoin at various points during her term and immediately after. When she takes office, she’ll oversee a number of proposed regulations through the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, including a controversial rule that would require exchanges to collect and store counterparty information for unhosted wallets.”

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President Joe Biden has frozen all agency rulemaking, including former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s controversial proposal on “unhosted wallets.”

The freeze, effective until the proposed rules undergo further review, is already being hailed by cryptocurrency advocates, who fiercely opposed both the proposed rule and the initial attempt by the previous administration to rush it through.

We fought hard & earned the right to take a breath & reset.”

“Basing his prediction partly on use cases for Ethereum’s blockchain technology, Grider wrote in a note Tuesday that ether has scope for a rally to $10,500, according to Bloomberg. That’s an over seven-fold rise from the current price of $1,320.

Ether is the best risk/reward investment play in crypto. Blockchain computing may be the future of the cloud.

Grider sees bullish pressure stemming from the second-largest cryptocurrency’s growing role as the underlying infrastructure for the decentralized finance (or DeFi) space, which witnessed explosive growth in 2020. Ethereum is also eyeing transaction processing ability to rival card payment giants with a major network upgrade, per the report.

Ethereum launched its Beacon chain in December, kicking off a three-part series of transitions aimed at building a blockchain capable of handling an entire financial system.

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Berlin is an update for the current Ethereum 1.0 proof-of-work blockchain.

There are five EIPs in the draft published today: EIP-2565 (ModExp Gas Cost), EIP-2315 (Simple Subroutines for the EVM), EIP-2929 (Gas cost increases for state access opcodes), EIP-2718 (Typed Transaction Envelope), and EIP-2930 (Optional access lists).

With all participating clients having the code for those EIPs merged (the only exclusion is EIP-2930 for Geth), the Berlin upgrade could now be close to activation. However, the fork block number is not specified yet, so a date hasn’t been set in stone.”

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Connext is a cross-chain routing network for Ethereum L2s and shards. Vector, our flagship implementation of this network, uses state channels to enable swapping value between chains through a network of intermediary liquidity providers called routers.

This means you can use Vector to:

  • Instantly enter and exit, circumventing withdraw windows, into any Ethereum L2, shard, or turing-complete chain.
  • Send value (and soon even call contracts) between L2 ecosystems. For instance, using Uniswap running on Optimism with assets on Arbitrum.
  • Execute normal state channel usecases like conditional micropayments.

This marks the start of the multi-chain Ethereum ecosystem, where users can seamlessly interact with wallets and applications running on a variety of different L2s and shards, all without ever needing to know it’s happening.”

“The move continues to add accessibility to IPFS, allowing Brave users to access content on the protocol by ‘resolving ipfs:// URIs via a gateway or installing a full IPFS node in one click.’

Brave users who enable the IPFS node will have a network that still functions during internet outages and shutdowns and, for example, can access critical information such as COVID-19 news which is censored in some countries.

Dapps are ideal candidates to be hosted on IPFS.

One goal of this integration is to provide an early look at what truly decentralized access to information can look like and get feedback from developers and users so IPFS can start layering on more features and functionality in Brave.”

“Perpetual Protocol, a DeFi project offering decentralized perpetual contracts using the layer-two Ethereum scaling solution xDai, has emerged as the sixth-largest DEX by weekly trade volume after operating for only one month.

Despite executing 179,000 transactions during its first month of operation, the xDai-powered Perpetual Protocol spent just $183 on gas fees.

All trading fees generated by the protocol are currently sent to an insurance fund designed to secure the protocol, with the project planning to divert 50% of fees to PERP stakers once its staking pool has launched.”

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Bitfinex expects to finish turning documents over to the Office of the New York Attorney General (NYAG) in the coming weeks, a procedural hurdle that would move the state prosecutor’s investigation of the alleged $850 million Tether cover-up one step closer to conclusion.

The documents could shed light into the financial goings-on of tight-lipped iFinex. New York state prosecutors alleged in April 2019 that Bitfinex papered over an $850 million loss by padding its books with a massive Tether loan.”

“Lido is a DAO that’s meant to give users a way to their ETH behind the new iteration of Ethereum without sacrificing its liquidity.

Those who deposit ETH into Lido to stake for Eth 2.0 will receive stETH in return. stETH earns a return from staking. Anywhere it resides, more stETH will appear. Users can trade it away and whomever receives it will begin earning the returns the former holder had.

Tokenized staking ETH is interesting, because you can use the tokenized staked ETH as collateral (for example in Aave) and get more liquidity in ETH so you can leverage quite a lot in Eth 2.0 staking, I’m curious to see how much leverage there will be in staking.”

“Automotive giants BMW and Ford have taken another step in developing a means to tackle used car fraud by recording the provenance and history of vehicles using blockchain technology.

The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) has released the second installment of a standard for how to record the “true” identity of vehicles on a blockchain platform.

Dubbed vehicle “birth certificates,” the Vehicle Identity Standards I and II focus on vehicle registration and maintenance traceability in order to provide a “tamper-proof” history of the vehicle to buyers, regulators and insurers.

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“The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is launching a trading platform for digital assets in the second half of 2021.

The products listed on the platform will be tokenized assets and will not include cryptocurrencies. That’s because the asset class does not meet the stock exchange’s product standards and could be used to facilitating money laundering.”

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