February 25

“Wednesday, Powell went further while speaking before the House Committee on Financial Services, saying the U.S. central bank would “engage with the public” on the digital dollar this year, giving a timeline to the central bank digital currency’s development for the first time.

This is going to be an important year. This is going to be the year that we engage with the public pretty actively including some public events that we are working on, which I’m not going to announce today.

We’re going to have a public dialogue … in the meantime we’re working on technical challenges and also collaborating and sharing work with other central banks around the world.

Powell emphasized that the Fed won’t make decisions and then present them to the public, but will rather talk with Americans about the tradeoffs involved with the digital dollar project.”

See Also: US Central Bank Explains ‘Preconditions’ for a Digital Dollar

Canadian bank VersaBank has launched a stablecoin called VCAD that it plans for use in commerce. The bank said it expects VCAD to be available to the general public in coming months.

Currently, the digital currency is only being issued by VersaBank to financial intermediary partners in exchange for Canadian dollar deposits. The partners will then offer VCAD directly to individuals and businesses for use in commerce. VCAD will be redeemable for Canadian dollars as required after that, the bank said.

As North America’s first bank-issued ‘stablecoin’ VCAD offers consumers and businesses the ability to adopt and leverage the benefits of digital currency and blockchain-based assets without the volatility of traditional currencies, alongside the security of a value-backed asset that the cryptocurrency world has long demanded.”

“The CoinShares Physical Ethereum ETP is listing on the Swiss SIX exchange under the ticker “ETHE” and already has around $75 million in assets under management (AUM). This is the firm’s second such product after its “BITC” bitcoin ETP was listed on the SIX exchange in January.

Bringing innovative products like ETHE allows us to continue setting the industry standard for trust and transparency and provide institutions with easy access to industry-leading crypto investment vehicles.”

Decentralized finance (DeFi) trading venue dYdX is now onboarding users to a new version of its platform built on StarkWare’s Cairo software. The StarkWare implementation relies on a cryptographic innovation to boost speeds by moving the heavy computation off-chain.

Cross-margin perpetuals are now available to early signups at zero gas fees thanks to a proprietary implementation of the Layer 2 solution.

ZK-Rollups offer high throughput, instant finality (no danger of trade rollbacks), self-custody, and privacy, and are therefore well suited to the high-value exchange use case.

A platform for cryptocurrency derivatives, dYdX lists both BTC/USD and ETH/USD perpetual contracts, lending, spot and margin trading. The platform has $250 million in total value locked (TVL).”

See Also: Chainlink Promises ’10x Data’ With New ‘Off-Chain Reporting’ Overhaul

“We’ve spent a great deal of time looking at various approaches and teams building Layer 2s, and today we’re thrilled to announce we are leading a $25 million Series A investment in Optimism. Optimism’s exceptional team, carefully designed developer experience, major scaling benefits, years of research and testing, and full composability made it the obvious choice.

Optimism is among a small cohort of firms looking to boost Ethereum’s famously choked throughput. The startup added seven new members to the team as well, including talent from Coinbase, Handshake and Casa.

As a result of being able to hire this kind of talent, we will be launching arbitrary contract deployment on mainnet in March instead of public testnet.”

Bitcoin gained ground, while U.S. bond yields dropped, during Wednesday’s Asian session as remarks by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell squashed fears of an early unwinding of monetary stimulus. The leading cryptocurrency clocked a high of $51,413 at 04:15 UTC, having defended the psychological support of $45,000 on Tuesday.

The 10-year rose to a 12-month high of 1.39% earlier this week, diluting bitcoin’s appeal as an inflation hedge, and sending the cryptocurrency lower to $45,000 from record highs above $58,000. The sell-off was accentuated by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s anti-bitcoin comments.

Moving forward, a continued decline in bond yields could propel bitcoin toward record highs. ‘The focus remains on bond yields and stock markets.’

Vinokourov added that “buying the dip” remains the best strategy, as institutional demand for the cryptocurrency continues to grow. Further, the settlement of a long-running legal dispute between Tether Ltd, the company behind the stablecoin tether, and the New York Attorney General’s office has supposedly removed a potential systemic threat to cryptocurrency markets.”

See Also: Bitcoin Stabilizes Around $49K After Two Extremely Volatile Trading Days

Investment bank JPMorgan Chase has been testing blockchain payments between satellites in earth orbit. The tests ultimately showed that blockchain technology could power payments between everyday objects.

The idea was to explore [internet of things] payments in a fully decentralized way. Nowhere is more decentralized and detached from Earth than space. Secondly, we are nerdy and it was a much more fun way to test IoT.”

Golem is an Ethereum-based decentralized application that enables users to rent out computing power resources. Since November 2020, the project has been migrating from GNT to GLM tokens after deploying a new ERC-20 contract. Anyone can share and aggregate computing resources, as well as create applications using the network. Ultimately, the solution aims to compete with traditional centralized cloud services like Amazon Web Services.

Layer-two scalability is already being offered on the mainnet using Matter Labs’ zk-Sync, which is a zero-knowledge technology for the payment API. On Feb. 23, Polygon, formerly known as the Matic Network, announced that it would be joining forces with Golem to produce an off-chain payment driver.

While there appears to be potential in the project’s product, the team may need to secure an enterprise-level partnership in order for GLM to gain sustainable traction.”

See Also: Brave unveils plans for DEX aggregator and NFT wallet in next browser

“The note, predominately a rather bullish take on gold’s 2021 trajectory, cast the two commodities as inhabiting different ends of the investment spectrum: Gold remained the “defensive” play while bitcoin was more “risk-on.” Bitcoin “serves a different role in portfolios vs. gold,” the analysts said, primarily because of the crypto’s legendary volatility.

In an environment of broadband dollar weakness and still very low and negative real rates we do not see either asset cannibalizing each other and see enough room for both.”

“According to security researchers, BitcoinPaperWallet.com sends a copy of every private key it generates on behalf of its users to the site’s servers. Whoever has access to the BitcoinPaperWallet’s back end can then access these keys and steal the funds associated with wallets generated on the site.

BitcoinPaperWallet users who collectively claim to have lost millions of dollars worth of bitcoin. Blockchain analysis shows these funds flowing to Binance and Poloniex exchanges.

The unfortunate scenario is a reminder that, in most cases, web-based bitcoin wallet generators should be avoided in favor of vetted bitcoin wallet software and hardware.”

With Eth 2.0’s first hard fork spec mapped out, attention has turned to the planned merge of Eth 1.x and Ethereum 2.0. A few functions may be removed from Ethereum during its merge from Eth 1.x to Eth 2.0.

We have a unique opportunity to make some backwards-incompatible changes to the EVM that could be valuable for Ethereum in the long term.

It’s unclear how much support the EVM cleanup pitch will receive. Moreover, any changes to the EVM will come with ample warnings beforehand, Buterin said.”

Bitcoin and Friends: Episode 7