16 February

Germany’s largest bank says it plans to create a trading and token issuance platform, bridging digital assets with traditional banking services, and managing the array of digital assets and fiat holdings in one easy-to-use platform.

The Deutsche Bank Digital Asset Custody prototype aims to develop ‘a fully integrated custody platform for institutional clients and their digital assets providing seamless connectivity to the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem.’ The bank says it would also provide ‘value-added services such as taxation, valuation services and fund administration, lending, staking and voting, and provide an open-banking platform to allow onboarding of third-party providers.’

Deutsche said it has completed a proof of concept and is aiming for a minimum viable product in 2021.”

See Also: Morgan Stanley Unit Considers Bitcoin Investment: Bloomberg
See Also: Japan’s SBI in Talks Over Joint Venture to Make Crypto a Core Revenue Source

The Asian session drop was likely a ‘funding reset’ needed for a sustained move above $50,000.

Indeed, the cost of holding long positions in bitcoin (BTC, -1.59%)‘s perpetual futures market, also known as the funding rate, rose to a 12-month high of 0.109% on Sunday, indicating excess bullish leverage, or overheating, in the market.

Bitcoin’s latest price slide is typical of pullbacks observed during the previous bull markets, and the path of least resistance remains to the higher side. At press time, the perpetual funding rate has normalized to 0.05% and the Coinbase premium has recovered to $50.”

See Also: Crypto Market Cap Breaks $1.5T as Buyers Show Up for the Dip

“Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin published a plan on Monday for the first hard fork of the new Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain, tentatively named HF1. The hard fork would allow the developers to introduce several key upgrades to the recently launched Beacon Chain, which would also serve as a useful test for deeper changes in the future.

The biggest practical change is the support for light clients — nodes that would have minimal resource requirements and could run on mobile devices. This would allow for “trust-minimized wallets” that are able to verify the blockchain on their own instead of relying on external service providers.”

“When the world’s largest custodian announces that it will provide custody services for digital assets, that feels like a tipping point in the market.

Once their crypto offering is available later this year…it could soon prove [to be an] inflection point as it will fundamentally change how asset managers view Bitcoin and other digital assets.

Even only one half of one percent of the $41 trillion BNY Mellon oversees is committed to crypto, we may see prices approach the targets that have been mentioned by JP Morgan, Guggenheim and others.”

See Also: Mark Cuban on blockchain: ‘It’s like the early days of the internet’ when ‘a lot of people thought we were crazy’

A new report on the exploding market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) reveals that transactions tripled in 2020. Virtual worlds are the most popular segment with 25% of the market, but art is quickly catching up and sales grew by 2,800% in 2020.

2020 has been a historic year for NFTs, and we’ve seen healthy growth across many metrics.

Traditional brands like Nike, Louis Vuitton, and Formula 1 are already spearheading the first generation of commercial uses for NFTs. We expect to see more brands entering and investing more resources in this space as they find new ways to engage virtually, and profitably, with their customers via NFTs.”

See Also: NBA Top Shot, CryptoKitties Firm Dapper Labs Raising $250M+ at $2B Valuation: Report
See Also: ConsenSys Grants Help Iranian Women Learn Solidity

Connext is a crosschain routing network that enables seamless communication between the Ethereum mainnet, L2 systems, and shards. Today, we’re excited to announce that the first user of Vector, Decentral Games, is live with instant transfers of $DAI and $MANA from Ethereum to Matic and back!

Before integrating Connext, our players had to wait 5–7 minutes for deposits and up to 2 hours for withdrawals, which was awful for user experience. Connext changes the game with their instant, trustless deposits to and withdrawals from Matic. Connext is a no-brainer for any dapp building on L2.

In the two months(!) that it’s been live, DG has grown to an astounding $9.45m in monthly betting volume and $1m in DAO treasury value!”

See Also: On the Road to StarkNet: A Permissionless STARK-Powered L2 ZK-Rollup
See Also: Ren Ecosystem Update
See Also: DeFi Trading Platform, Parsec, Goes Live
See Also: Ethereum L2’s

“Alpha Finance announced its Alpha Homora V2 product was the root cause. The company confirmed that it is working with DeFi guru Andre Cronje and Cream Finance to investigate the incident, and that the loophole had been fixed. It also said that they “have a prime suspect” in mind.

13 February

“The City of Miami’s governing commission today passed a resolution that it will look into the possibility of investing government funds into Bitcoin, an idea spearheaded by Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who wants to the city to be on the bleeding edge of fintech.

The resolution has two other important goals. One is to allow local government employees to receive some or all of their wages in cryptocurrency. The other is to allow citizens to pay property taxes or city fees using cryptocurrency.

I think we’re on the cusp of seeing a major titanic shift on this.”

See Also: Andrew Yang says he’ll transform NYC into a Bitcoin hub if elected mayor

Bitcoin (BTC) is looking increasingly like it is in a “supercycle,” not just a bull cycle, statistician Willy Woo suggests.

Retail has arrived. The last 4 weeks. Welcome to the middle phase of the bull market. This one is like no other.

With Bitcoin poised to tackle $50,000 resistance next, longer-term price indicators continue to point upwards even after the heavy upside of the past few months. Bitcoin so-called “thermocap” is one such metric suggesting that the gains are only getting started.”

See Also: Bitcoin Starting to Lead FX Markets, Analysis of Tesla Reaction Shows: Report
See Also: Wall Street Embrace of Crypto Grows Closer as Employees Argue on Its Behalf: CNBC

The deposit contract for the Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain – the epicenter of Ethereum’s new architecture – now holds over 3,000,000 ETH, worth over $5.5 billion at current prices.

The amount deposited represents 2.67% of Ethereum’s total supply.”

“The addition of a synthetic TSLA asset was first officially proposed on Feb. 2. The vote was put in motion on Feb. 10.

With the addition of synthetic Tesla stocks, Synthetix users will now be able to trade on one of the biggest corporate stocks from a DeFi app rather than a retail trading app such as Robinhood. The synthetic TSLA stock will be listed with the ticker sTSLA.”

“The firm, based in Tysons Corner, Va., put out calls on LinkedIn Friday for a Blockchain Data Analyst and Blockchain Data Engineer, explaining in job postings they will join a team ‘building an analytics platform with advanced metrics and insights for Bitcoin.’

Saylor has been vocal about perceived deficiencies in bitcoin’s data. He declared last October that “garbage” market data was holding bitcoin back.

[The product] could eventually become a commercialized intelligence offering for digital assets beyond just bitcoin. MicroStrategy wants analysts experienced with public, private and permission blockchains.”

BitPay’s U.S. cardholders can now add their prepaid Mastercard to their Apple Pay wallets. Apple Pay functionality will allow cardholders to use their mobile devices to make purchases in store and online using the crypto held in their BitPay wallet.

Support for Google Pay and Samsung Pay will be added later this quarter.”

The airdrop looks to entice active Uniswap traders to try 1inch.

The project distributed 6 million 1INCH tokens to particularly active Uniswap traders. To receive the airdrop, the traders must have interacted with Uniswap in at least 20 separate days, and have done at least three trades in 2021. In addition, the wallets must not have interacted with either 1inch or Mooniswap in the past.”

See Also: 0x takes initial steps towards decentralizing governance

India’s draft bill to put a complete ban on cryptocurrency transactions will likely be passed, according to a senior Finance Ministry Official speaking to Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity.

The official said that, when the bill gets passed, cryptocurrency holders and companies will have a transition period of between three to six months in order to wrap up their activity.”

12 February

BNY Mellon (NYSE: BK), the world’s largest custodian bank with some $41 trillion in assets in its safekeeping, is moving into crypto. Announced Thursday, BNY Mellon will roll out a new digital custody unit later this year, to help clients deal in digital assets.

We are starting with the anchor in this space, which is custody. Then it comes down to what our clients need from us. So that’s not just safekeeping of these assets, they want to leverage them for lending purposes, they want to leverage them for collateral. Then we are also looking at issuing digital assets like tokenized securities, real assets.

There has been some discussion among large crypto exchanges, trading desks and custody businesses about which financial institution will provide white-glove prime brokerage services, currently lacking in crypto. BNY Mellon’s plans would seem to be looking in that direction.”

“The first publicly traded bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in North America has been given the go-ahead by Canada’s financial regulator. The fund seeks to replicate the performance of the price of bitcoin minus the ETF’s fees and expenses.

Senior analyst at Bloomberg, Eric Balchunas, believes the fund in Canada is a “good sign” for a U.S.-sanctioned bitcoin ETF.

Either way, U.S. usually follows shortly after.”

See Also: 4 top universities submit CBDC designs to the Bank of Canada

“Khosrowshahi said the company will look into such options if it can identify a benefit or a need to do it. Uber has been a member of the libra (now diem) stablecoin association since October 2019.”

PayPal could be to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) what private banks are to physical dollars.

You think about how many [digital wallets] we’re going to have in the next two, three or five years, and we’re a perfect complement to central banks and governments to distribute those digitized forms of currency.

Schulman also revealed that PayPal is looking into smart contracts and tokenizations of other non-crypto assets.”

See Also: PayPal’s Crypto Products Coming to the UK in Months

TSLA Going Live on Synthetix!

Microsoft has launched a browser game that rewards players with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for use inside Minecraft, one of the world’s most popular games. NFTs acquired by playing the game will allow players to unlock a new “quest” inside the MyMetaverse Minecraft server.

Microsoft says the new initiative demonstrates a viable interoperability between multiple platforms, applications and games.

Enjin is proud to work alongside Microsoft to generate innovative opportunities for merging virtual worlds, bringing digital communities closer together and celebrating powerful women in science and tech.”

See Also: NFTs take center stage at ETH Denver 2021

“Grayscale Investments has registered an LLC for a prospective Yearn Finance (YFI) Trust. Grayscale now has 33 registered trusts in the state, though only nine are active.

Registering a corporation doesn’t mean that the new business entity is operational. In this case, the LLC is a placeholder for a future fund offering that may or may not come to fruition.”

“RAI tracks longer term gains and losses of ETH without the gigantic movements by taking advantage of control theory from traditional engineering.

The most important thing to understand is that DeFi can and should be detached from the fate of the US Dollar. RAI is a first step in that direction.

Many stable assets in use today are pegged to fiat currencies, a design with many limitations. These networks have limited economic incentives that can be used to influence the market price of their native stablecoins. Reflexer is opening up a completely new design space in the realm of ‘stable’ cryptoassets.”

“A cross-section of Nigerian senators have reacted to the recent Bitcoin ban enacted by the country’s central bank.

For Senator Musa, Bitcoin (BTC) and not mounting foreign debt, decades of poor economic policies, and corruption are to blame for the naira’s decline. Meanwhile, Bitcoin adoption has been on the rise in the country amid questionable monetary policies adopted by the CBN.

Bitcoin has made our currency almost useless or valueless.

Other senators who made their voices heard during the plenary session argued against the CBN ban.”

See Also: ECB’s Lagarde says central banks holding Bitcoin is ‘out of the question’

11 February

The functionality will see Mastercard customers’ digital currency payments settled in crypto at participating merchants, a first for the financial giant. The company has not yet disclosed which digital currencies it intends to support, or where.

Previously, Mastercard supported limited cryptocurrency transactions through its cryptocard partners Wirex and Uphold. But those programs only cover payment, not settlement; the coins are converted to fiat currency well before reaching the merchant.

The new initiative promises to upend that dynamic. The payments giant plans to support digital currency transactions directly on network. [Merchants] will be able to conduct their business beyond the bounds of the fiat ecosystem.

The payments space is rushing to support blockchain-based currencies at a pace not seen since Bitcoin pioneered the concept of stateless, peer-to-peer immutable transactions in 2009. PayPal intends to roll out bitcoin payment functionality later this year. Visa’s CEO said the rival company may add crypto payments in the future.”

Twitter is considering adding bitcoin to its company reserves, according to chief financial officer Ned Segal. The social media giant is also looking at payment options involving the top cryptocurrency by market cap.

We have done a lot of the upfront thinking to consider how we might pay employees should they ask to be paid in bitcoin, how we might pay a vendor if they asked to be paid in bitcoin and whether we need to have bitcoin on our balance sheet.”

See Also: Grayscale CEO: Firms race to buy Bitcoin as mood shifts from ‘why’ to ‘why not?’

Job postings describe a walled garden-type digital currency that could roll out in emerging economies. The yet-to-be-announced project, which Amazon sketched out across a series of recent job posts, appears to be an effort to keep lucrative Prime customers eternally plugged into Amazon’s platform.

This product will enable customers to convert their cash in to digital currency using which customers can enjoy online services including shopping for goods and/or services like Prime Video.”

Since mid-January, the Ethereum token swap service within MetaMask wallet has been bringing its developers between $170,000-$440,000 per day in fees. Users have been swapping between $22 million and $30 million worth of Ethereum-based tokens on a daily basis.

The service allows users to swap their Ethereum-based tokens at current exchange rates directly in their wallets. To support these swaps, MetaMask has integrated the largest liquidity pools, such as Uniswap, AirSwap, 0x API, 1inch.exchange, Paraswap, Totle, and dex.ag. For each swap made this way, MetaMask takes 0.875% in fees.”

Never mind bitcoin on the balance sheet, a subsidiary of Europe’s biggest telco is taking a stake in DeFi.

Deutsche Telekom AG, Europe’s largest telecommunications company by revenue, has begun staking on the Flow Network, the ultra-scalable proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain from CryptoKitties creator Dapper Labs, and has plans to begin staking on several other chains in the near future.

We started roughly five years ago, like everyone else, doing all those enterprise blockchain proofs of concept. But we gradually began to feel we were not focusing enough on public blockchains.This is where digital value will be moved in the future, and it’s really where a telco should be active.”

“A recent report on decentralized finance is bullish about its potential.

DeFi offers exciting opportunities and has the potential to create a truly open, transparent, and immutable financial infrastructure.

The availability of historical (and current) data is a vast improvement over traditional financial systems.

In terms of accessibility, Schär believes that DeFi can level the playing field for access to financial services. Second, the technology allows the quick transfer of tokens using smart contracts, a game changer for efficiency. Composability—the ability to create multiple products and fuse them to create something new—’allows for an ever-expanding range of possibilities and unprecedented interest in open financial engineering.’

“Today, Bitcoin-on-Ethereum yield vault project BadgerDAO and fellow yield vault platform Yearn.Finance announced a partnership designed to bring Yearn’s sustainable vault expertise to Badger.

Badger will migrate their current synthetic Bitcoin vault balance to Yearn’s, and the Yearn vault will display in Badger’s app. Additionally, the two protocols will work together to build a new WBTC vault. The fees from the vaults will be shared between the Badger and Yearn protocols.

The partnership between the yield vault projects accomplishes two goals: ensures sustainable yield for Badger vaults, and grants Yearn strategists meatier compensation.”

10 February

The CNBC host said it’s almost irresponsible not to include bitcoin on balance sheets following Tesla’s buy.

Every treasurer should be going to boards of directors and saying, ‘Should we put a small portion of our cash in bitcoin?’ It seems to be an interesting way to hedge against the rest of the environment.”

See Also: Bitcoin Could Rally Further as Tesla Leads Corporates on Treasury Investments
See Also: As Tesla Shareholders, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs Are Now Exposed to Bitcoin

Institutions were aggressively accumulating ETH in the lead up to the launch of CME futures, with Ether products representing 80% of last week’s institutional crypto inflows.

We believe investors are looking to diversify and are growing increasingly comfortable with Ethereum fundamentals. Bitcoin had its lowest inflows (US$42m) since the all-time highs were achieved in the week ending 8th January 2021.

Total inflows into digital asset investment products for 2021 so far now totals $2.6 billion — equating to 39% of the $6.7 billion in institutional capital that was invested in crypto funds during 2020 in just six weeks.”

See Also: CME’s Ether futures drove more than $30M volume on first day

Loopring cuts transaction costs to just 0.1% of those on the Ethereum mainnet.

When the gas gets going, Ethereum L2 gets rolling. More Loopring zkRollup transactions yesterday than any day before.

The developers added that around 1.23 million transactions were conducted on the Ethereum mainnet during the same time period, thus Loopring’s transaction count was equivalent to 3.25% of that figure.”

Ethereum startup Matic Network is rebranding to Polygon as it goes all-in on further Ethereum layer 2 scaling solutions. Version 1 of the software development kit (SDK) for layer 2 aggregation will be ready in March.

Polygon will support multiple layer 2 solutions such as Optimistic Rollups (OR), zkRollups (ZKR), and Validium, effectively making it an L2 aggregator. This approach, implemented via Polygon’s modular SDK, will enable projects to select the scaling solution that best suits their needs rather than being bound by any one option.

Polygon will also be able to launch whole blockchains, similar to Parity Technologies’ Substrate. Blockchains launched on Polygon inherit the security assumptions of the underlying Ethereum blockchain, just as Substrate-based chains can plug into Polkadot’s ecosystem to gain security.”

“Major decentralized finance protocol Yearn.Finance (YFI) has restored its yDAI vault in the aftermath of a $11 million exploit by hackers.

Yearn announced Tuesday that they opened a Maker vault with YFI tokens from the treasury and minted 9.7 million DAI tokens from the vault to keep the yDAI vault intact. Using borrowed money allows the project to reimburse users without taking a hit to the treasury.”

“ConsenSys introduced the new AirSwap on Tuesday, culminating “Phase II” of its development roadmap. Beginning Tuesday, exchange users will also be able to participate in governance by staking their AirSwap tokens on Codefi Activate.

The upgraded exchange will protect traders from both front-running and price slippage by leveraging the request-for-quote, or RFQ, protocol and atomic swaps for settlement. The company expects RFQ models will capture roughly 40% of decentralized trading volume in the future. It also presents a better use case for over-the-counter, or OTC, trades.

Some of the largest trades in DeFi have been on AirSwap OTC.”

See Also: TORN soars 200% as Tornado.Cash’s governance token becomes tradable
See Also: AWS Marketplace Is Selling Origin’s Decentralized Ecommerce Service
See Also: DeFi’s Curve Finance Is Branching Out to Polkadot

“The eye-popping 888 ETH virtual land sale is said to mark the largest NFT transaction of all time.

What we’re witnessing is a historic moment; the rise of digital nations with their own system of clearly delineated, irrevocable property rights.”

The fund will focus on global early- and growth-stage companies that will shape the next generation of financial services and digital systems, the venture capital arm of Thailand’s oldest bank announced.

The firm’s chief venture and investment officer said blockchain-enabled financial services have the potential to spur financial inclusion, enable open access and encourage innovation.”

See Also: Hashdex to Launch the Hashdex Nasdaq Crypto Index ETF
See Also: New $50M Venture Fund Aims to Bridge East-West DeFi Investment Divide

9 February

“The announcement that much of the crypto world has been hoping for is here: Tesla has invested in bitcoin. Tesla joins publicly traded companies including Michael Saylor’s MicroStrategy that have steered corporate money into bitcoin.

According to Tesla’s annual report, the investment policy was updated in January to provide ‘more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on our cash.’ Tesla also expects to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for its products “in the near future.”

We think this is just the start to a much wider adoption from household institutional names, finally ready to make the crossover into the crypto space.

Bitcoin’s price shot up more than 14% after Tesla’s disclosure to a new all-time high of $44,801.”

See Also: Will Apple be the Next Company to Adopt Bitcoin?
See Also: Rising Bitcoin futures funding rate signals traders expect $50,000 BTC
See Also: Top Crypto Exchanges Experience Difficulties as Tesla News Prompts Trading Frenzy

The world’s first regulated ether futures product may draw more institutional demand for the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, boosting the recent price rally.

The earliest traditional financial institutions that bought BTC are already looking at ETH, if not bought already. And rightfully so. The most used crypto network + future of finance + a potential deflationary monetary policy narrative make it extremely compelling.

Patrick Heusser, head of trading at the Swiss-based Crypto Finance AG, foresees ether leading the broader market higher. Wang foresees ether rallying to $5,000 and higher in the long run.”

See Also: CME ETH Futures

The debasing of global currencies is why companies like Tesla (TSLA) and MicroStrategy (MSTR) are investing in bitcoin and that should be troubling for the rest of the world, former acting U.S. Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks said Monday.

The former acting comptroller noted the U.S. money supply has risen 25% since the start of the pandemic and will be up 40% compared with a year ago once the most recent round of stimulus is done in the next few days.

“The app – to be updated this week – will let Ledger wallet users connect to decentralized apps (dapps) via an integration with open-source protocol WalletConnect.

Ledger Live mobile users will be able to use their device to manage transactions without relying on external gateways and browser-based Ethereum wallets.

See Also: Which Crypto Projects Are Based on Ethereum?
See Also: Anon-powered options: DeFi platform Premia goes live

The proposed Index will be comprised primarily of companies that derive more than 75% of their revenue from the crypto sector or that have more than 75% of their net assets held in cryptocurrency. The remainder includes large-cap companies that have a “dedicated business initiative” focused on crypto.

Notably, the proposed ETF will not invest in crypto assets directly or through derivatives.”

“A Chinese banking institution has completed the development of a hardware wallet for the country’s central bank digital currency, the digital yuan. The new hardware wallet supports dual offline payments without an internet connection.

In late 2020, local tech giant Huawei announced that its upcoming Mate40 smartphone series will feature an integrated hardware wallet for the digital yuan.”

See Also: China releases final anti-monopoly rules targeting major tech and payments firms

“Cardano’s successful testnet integration of smart contract functionality and plans to enter the DeFi space back ADA’s 139% rally.

ADA rose from $0.35 on Feb. 1 to its current price of $0.71, a move which has elevated Cardano to the 4th ranked cryptocurrency by total market cap.”

Starting today, CoinDesk TV is rolling out three daily and three weekly shows with a lean team of 11, focused on delivering high-quality production and booking top-notch guests. Plus, we’ll be showcasing the deep bench of incredible talent in CoinDesk’s global team of reporters, editors, analysts and researchers.

We view CoinDesk TV as an opportunity to bring to life the people and personalities who are disrupting digital finance and revolutionizing the way we use technology and the future of money.”

The Disrupt Weekend

Recommended Read.

A new report from the Center for New American Security (CNAS) not only lays out in stark terms the history and state of China’s CBDC system but also reviews what few technical details of it are available and recommends policy steps the U.S. should consider in an escalating CBDC conflict.

This CBDC system, which the Chinese government calls Digital Currency/Electronic Payment (DCEP), will likely enable the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to strengthen its digital authoritarianism domestically and export its influence and standard-setting abroad.

By eliminating some of the previous constraints on government data collection of private citizens’ transactions, DCEP represents a significant risk to the long-held standards of financial privacy upheld in free societies.

DCEP would give the Chinese Communist Party something that no government has ever had in history: The ability to monitor in real time the minute financial dealings of its citizens.

It’s not yet clear how accessible DCEP would be outside China, but if it is, this has implications for other governments.

The U.S. government needs to assess whether DCEP use should be blocked in the United States. But private-sector U.S. tech companies should also be thinking about whether they will allow the DCEP application to be accessible on their platforms, such as app stores.

In the U.S., the founders created the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution precisely because it was understood that if the government had access to everyone’s private possessions (such as their papers at home), it would lead to government repression.

This dynamic continues to exist, and places like China which don’t have this standard built into their governing system are more likely to abuse their citizens and hinder their ability to advocate for their interests or redress grievances.”

Maximizing Ethereum’s inclusivity has been why Ethereum 2.0 has taken so long (six years!) to roll out. Ethereum 2.0 offers the ability for the average individual to stake ETH on consumer level hardware, on laptops or Raspberry Pi’s, and participate in Ethereum security and receive ETH issuance. The BLS signature scheme that was incorporated into ETH 2 allows for unlimited numbers of participants from joining into the protocol and offering their security to the network.

[However] the US dollar price of 32 ETH is already prohibitively expensive for 98% of the world’s population, and right now the price of ETH is going up and to the right pretty damn fast. As a result, it would be a shame if Ethereum consensus participation was only restricted to ETH whales and early adopters who made a high conviction bet on the future of crypto networks.

Ethereum has an app for that. Decentralized Staking-as-a-Service (DSaaS) has the opportunity to successfully offer a decentralized alternative to centralized staking-as-a-service providers.

If centralized SaaS come to dominate Ethereum consensus, that could spell trouble. It’s common belief that all SaaS (Centralized or Decentralized) will all issue a S-ETH derivative token, and they will all compete for liquidity in Ethereum.

This could be the ‘DETH of Ethereum’. Liquidity begets liquidity, and when it comes to S-ETH (or DETH), that compounding effect means that a centralized entity comes to hold more and more ETH. If the S-ETH derivative token issued by a centralized SaaS provider comes to be the dominant form of yield-bearing ETH, this would mean that the centralized entity would slowly march its way into a dominate position in Ethereum consensus.

In the way that DAI offers us a trustless alternative to USDC and USDT, rETH (Rocket Pool’s S-ETH token) can offer us a similar safe-haven for trustless Staked ETH.

When you come to Rocket Pool and stake your ETH, you will receive rETH in return. It’s important that rETH becomes competitive as a money. And I think it will, as rETH has certain features that gives it stronger assurances than any centralized S-ETH token could ever offer.

If a protocol is trustless, it means that you have complete assurances that you are uncompromised in your control over money and assets. Rocket Pool is a math-driven protocol, meant to serve any and all requests no matter way. Coinbase is a trust-driven company, which will never be able to offer stronger assurances than what is offered by decentralized applications on Ethereum like Uniswap or Rocket Pool. rETH offers the strongest possible assurances with ETH redeemability. Therefore, rETH will be good money.

As these young DSaaS providers like Rocket Pool come into the market, we as users can protect Ethereum by adopting rETH or any other DSaaS S-ETH derivative token that arrives.”

“Layer 2 is often touted as our best scaling option. The industry has spent years trying figure out the best Layer 2 model. We’ve seen state channels, plasma, and now, rollups. All have their own trade-offs.

The reason Rollups have become the defacto L2 scaling method is that they offer similar capabilities as Plasma, but they also solve the data availability problem. Rollups offer many-to-many transactions, smart-contract capabilities, and significantly reduced total L1 blockspace requirements.

That’s why rollups are so promising. It sufficiently scales the network with full security guarantees. Layer 2’s aren’t perfect yet, but don’t be mistaken…They’re coming.”

“How is it possible in 2021 to have 136% of stock sell short? Who allows such things to exist and why isn’t anyone being held responsible? While everyone is focused on enabling the Reddit mob to buy GME, no one is looking into the root cause of the GME problem: the collusion of brokers and hedge funds to use naked shorting to destroy companies for pure profit.

When the GameStop short squeeze took place, we found out who Robinhood’s largest customer really was: Citadel & Point72 (two of the most storied hedge fund managers on Wall Street), which pays Robinhood over $300 million in fees yearly for the order flow and securities lending.

We need to take advantage of this moment, when the traditional financial institutions are exposed, to introduce the waves of innovation that have been occurring on blockchain technologies.

From naked short positions to lying about how much annual percentage yield you really should be making from holding your assets with these institutions, it is time to introduce real, impactful financial freedom through financial tools and methods that act in the best interest of the users and not the abusers at the very top.

See Also: Why Crypto Markets Aren’t ‘All-to-All’ Either (and How They Can Be)

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak is pushing a plan for “opportunity zones” that would give large tech companies the power to create their own governments. The semi-autonomous zones would be able to carry out the same functions as county governments, ‘including the ability to impose taxes, form school districts and justice courts and provide government services.’

The zones would be earmarked for “innovative technology,” including blockchains, AI, and robotics. Blockchains, LLC made a big splash in 2018 at Devcon, when the tech company announced plans for a “smart city” in the desert outside Reno, Nevada.”

“While focusing on domestic use cases is understandable for individual countries, CBDCs will only ever operate in local sandboxes unless there is some type of interoperable protocol. It is critical to bridge the gaps between the various CBDC initiatives and existing payments systems as well as other digital currencies to ensure their success on a global scale.

The Bank of International Settlements’ Innovation Hub, or BISIH, announced that CBDC research is a top priority for it in 2021. It plans to gauge the feasibility of faster, cheaper cross-border payments. This initiative is going to be highly beneficial for global economies exploring the interoperability of their own CBDC projects.

While governments exploring the use of CBDCs is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, truly borderless, global commerce will be powered with the help of an interoperable protocol, as our economic system is too multifaceted to be replaced by a singular currency.”

“Balancer, a non-custodial portfolio manager, is releasing version 2.0, which puts all the assets entrusted to it in one big vault. This should dramatically reduce gas fees for decentralized finance (DeFi) trades because users can swap as much as they want, only paying gas for going into and out of Balancer.

It will go live with the familiar weighted pools that Balancer users know already. It will also have stable pools that work more as Curve does, so big trades on stablecoins can see very little slippage. Soon, Balancer will launch smart pools, whose logic can change on the fly.

Balancer will also introduce asset managers, external smart contracts that can be used to put some of a liquidity pools’ underlying value to work elsewhere in DeFi. Balancer version 2.0 is under audit now. The team currently projects a March launch.”

The COVID-19 crisis has increased consumer demand for identity solutions that don’t compromise individual privacy and freedoms. As the travel industry and various governments continue to explore ideas like “immunity passports,” which would maintain vaccination and/or testing records, the creation of a global standard around digital credentialing seems both necessary and elusive.

Awareness of the power that centralized platforms and service providers wield over our lives is moving beyond the crypto and blockchain community to the mainstream. Take, for example, the recent mass exodus from WhatsApp to Signal following a (relatively minor) change in Facebook’s data-sharing policies. This may create an increase in demand for decentralized service provision.”

Since June 2020, transactions have consistently peaked above the 1 million daily mark, driven upward by the use of decentralized finance applications built atop the blockchain.

Increased use of the blockchain put strain on the network; it pushed up gas fees on an increasingly congested blockchain. The proof-of-stake Ethereum 2.0 network, which went live last year but is not yet fully functional, is designed to process a larger amount of transactions—and quickly.”

“Miller Value Funds–run by veteran hedge fund manager and bitcoin bull Bill Miller–may invest in the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust through its flagship fund, the Miller Opportunity Trust.

Miller Opportunity Trust had assets under management of $2.25 billion as of Dec. 31, 2020, making the fund’s potential maximum investment in GBTC $337 million.

6 February

Most of these coins have chalked up notable gains in recent days in a potential sign that investors are realizing the revenue potential of decentralized exchanges (DEXs) and other DeFi solutions.

The DeFi coins look undervalued if we compare bitcoin‘s (BTC) valuation to Uniswap, the biggest DEX by trading volume.”

See Also: MEW now provides access to 2,000 DeFi and NFT DApps on mobile
See Also: If Whales Move the Market, UniWhales Is the Whale Whisperer
See Also: SUSHI price surges 73% in four days: Why investors say it’s still undervalued

“Trader and analyst Alex Kruger foresees a continued rally toward $1,920 ahead of the launch of ether futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Feb. 8.

I don’t expect a crash after the launch, as it happened in 2017. For two reasons. First, the market is now more mature, the macro is different, and there are different players involved. Second, ETH remains a high beta asset. BTC determines the market direction, ETH follows.”

See Also: The good news for ETH hodlers about insane gas fees

“Seattle-based Protego Trust Bank has received conditional approval for a trust charter from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to custody digital assets. Protego is the second applicant to receive conditional approval from the OCC, following Anchorage.

The newly chartered trust bank will also offer a trading platform for clients, a service for issuing new digital assets and a peer-to-peer lending platform for its clients.

Protego’s integrated offering will be of great benefit to institutions that want to be able to store their assets in a federally regulated bank.”

Some argue the “Chinese New Year dump” will not happen this year because institutional investors in the U.S. and Europe have been the main drivers of the current bull run. That is in contrast to 2017’s bull market, which was heavily powered by retail investors in Asia.

In 2018, bitcoin’s price dropped to $5,947.40, down 37.2% from a high point at $9,471.46 during the 14-day period. In 2019, for the same period, bitcoin’s price fell to $3,346.14, down 8.3% from an earlier high at $3,648.50. For 2020, the drop was 10.5%, from $9,181.97 to $8,220.87.”

“The new round comes off the successful launching of 0x’s DEX router, Matcha, which came out in June and has processed $2.7 billion in orders. A 0x Labs report from October contends that 0x’s routing architecture delivered the best overall price seven times out of 10.

The funds will also be used to further build out 0x Labs’ trading desk business, Periscope Trading; the professional-grade aggregation service, 0x API (which underlies offerings from companies such as ShapeShift, MetaMask and Zapper); and furthering its work on the underlying open-source protocol.

The market is realizing that these tokens represent real value being added in the market.

The biggest difference between 2021 and 2017 is that crypto now consists of productive assets.”

“The Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN), the blockchain infrastructure provider backed by the Chinese government, plans to offer blockchain analytics and financial auditing services for Ethereum developers in its network through a new partnership with Big Four auditor Ernst & Young (EY).

EY OpsChain will integrate procurement and traceability functions into BSN, where its users on Ethereum can run procurement activities using tokens and smart contracts. The EY Blockchain Analyzer will offer blockchain analytics and financial statement audits to the users.

China is one of the largest markets for blockchain technology in the world, and, while EY teams have been operating there for several years, this is the EY organization’s first big step in deploying the EY blockchain platform in a scalable manner.”

“The exploit was a complex arbitration attack on Yearn’s version 1 DAI yield vault, [which] netted the attacker $2.7 million in profits, and cost the vault $11 million in DAI.

Shortly after the vulnerability disclosure, stablecoin Tether CTO Paolo Ardoino announced in a Tweet that the company had frozen $1.7 million in stolen funds, which will presumably be returned to the project. Likewise, senior Yearn core developer Banteg has informally proposed to the MakerDAO community the creation of a purpose-built collateralized debt position (CDP) to make affected users whole.

We are contemplating opening a cdp with the minted yfi to make the vault whole.

DAOs bailing out DAOs is the future we deserve.”

Centralized payment companies such as Visa, Mastercard and PayPal will need to adapt if they are to survive the potential demand for blockchain-based stablecoin payments, according to research firm Gartner.

While new bitcoin (BTC) offerings from such firms are helping to prepare the transition to a future payment infrastructure, their revenue is based on charging transaction fees for clearing and settlement. The fee strategy, which sits at odds with blockchain’s peer-to-peer model, could be the very thing that sees these firms fall behind the competition from stablecoin payment networks.

Companies we speak to are justifiably skeptical of these services. After all, the revolution of blockchain payments is that they execute peer-to-peer and eliminate central intermediaries and associated bank fees.

Will these centralized financial services companies go forward in line with the spirit of blockchain peer to peer payments at the risk of cannibalizing their existing central-clearing house based-revenue streams? The answer will depend on whether or not these firms have any practical choice.”

“This week, Bitcoin startup ZEBEDEE will launch the first servers for popular first-person PC shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) that implement Infuse, its technology that allows users to earn small amounts of Bitcoin based on their in-game performance.

The announcement of our Bitcoin integration with CS:GO has resonated with gamers in a way I haven’t seen before in blockchain gaming. Waitlist sign-ups are already enough to keep our first 10 servers full. I have a good feeling that we’ve finally cracked the infiltration of crypto into mainstream gaming.

When playing on one of ZEBEDEE’s Infuse servers, you’ll scan a QR code at the start of the match with a smartphone app to pay a small amount of BTC, as little as 100 satoshis. Over the course of the game, your potential winnings will fluctuate as you rack up kills and/or die, with your share of the pot based on your percentage of the total game score.

Players can cash out at any time, and transactions are handled by the Lightning Network. Ultimately, ZEBEDEE plans to also launch servers that require no entry fee thanks to the support of partners, whose advertising will be implemented into the experience instead of charging players to compete.”

“Average trade volumes jumped 282% year-over-year, from $9.8 million to $37.4 million. The total volume of payments hit $916 million, up 80% from the previous year. Commercial payment values rose 37.3% year-over-year, exceeding 22,000 transactions per day, which is reportedly higher than Bitcoin (BTC).

In January, Dash outperformed Bitcoin in terms of the number of brick-and-mortar retailers accepting digital payments in the United States.”

“The CBN said it was reminding regulated banking institutions that ‘dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.‘ As such, all banks should ‘identify persons and/or entities‘ transacting with cryptocurrency or operating crypto exchanges on their platforms and ‘ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.‘”

5 February

Visa is piloting a suite of application programming interfaces (APIs) that will allow banks to offer bitcoin services. This is the first time the company has offered crypto services to banks.

The Visa Crypto APIs pilot program will let clients ‘easily connect into the infrastructure provided by Visa’s partner, Anchorage, a federally chartered digital asset bank, to allow their customers to buy and sell digital assets such as bitcoin as an investment within their existing consumer experiences.’

This is shifting to the next phase of Visa’s strategy where we’re looking at how Visa can also be a bridge between the thousands of financial institutions … and help them tap into the growing world of crypto assets and blockchain networks.”

See Also: Binance Says It Wants to Get More People Using Crypto With Its New Payments Service

“The rapper and entrepreneur is part of a glitzy roster of limited partners backing North Island Ventures’ newly revealed $72 million VC fund.

Helmed by Glenn Hutchins, co-founder of $39 billion private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, backers include big names like hedge fund boss Paul Tudor Jones; Josh Harris, co-founder of Apollo Group; and former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi.

Some people might see this story and think Glenn Hutchins is jumping on the bandwagon. The truth is that Glenn was one of the earliest very established leaders from the finance community to get behind this technology.

In addition to Dapper Labs (the company behind the new Flow blockchain and surging NFT game NBA Top Shot), North Island has invested in carbon-credit tracking platform Nori and blockchain interoperability app Axelar.”

See Also: Dan Tapiero Launches $200M Fund to Invest in Crypto Companies
See Also: California Pension Fund Loaded Up on RIOT Shares During Bitcoin’s Q4 Rally
See Also: Saylor, MicroStrategy Offer Playbook for Corporate Bitcoin Adoption at Annual Summit

“Ethereum’s ether (ETH) cryptocurrency logged a new record high on Tuesday, amid expectations the recent GameStop (GME) trading saga would accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance (DeFi).

Platforms like Robinhood have restricted transactions to rein volatility fueled by Reddit-based retail traders’ coordinated buying in stocks. Crypto analysts believe the restrictive actions could bring more users into the DeFi space, which is dominated by Ethereum’s blockchain. According to Messari’s Ryan Selkis, the door for mass adoption of bitcoin, ethereum, DeFi and Web 3.0 assets has been flung open.

Ether also has a store-of-value appeal, and a growing number of institutions have taken positions in the cryptocurrency.”

See Also: ETH price surge could cause ‘gamma squeeze’ as bull market heats up: Delta Exchange exec
See Also: Exchange Tokens Hit New All-time Highs as Stock Traders Rush to Crypto
See Also: Why a GameStop-Inspired Mania Is Unlikely in China’s Stock Market
See Also: Following GameStop, South Korea Financial Regulator Extends Ban on Short Sales

Investment firm Accelerate Financial Technologies announced Wednesday it is seeking approval to list the Accelerate Bitcoin ETF on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) under the ticker “ABTC.” The ETF would offer units denominated in both the U.S. dollar and Canadian dollar, with a management fee of 0.70%.

Bitcoin has been one of the best-performing asset classes on a one-year, three-year, five-year and 10-year basis, both absolute and risk-adjusted.

Given bitcoin’s historical track record and future potential, along with its portfolio diversification properties, we are looking forward to offering investors exposure to the asset class in an easy-to-use, low-cost ETF.”

“Gemini has launched a new investment service called Earn. [Earn] ‘allows customers to lend their digital assets to disclosed institutional borrowers‘ via uninsured loans. The company says Earn’s annual percentage yields can be as much as 7.4%.

In another stab at a bank-like offering, Gemini recently introduced a company credit card geared toward Bitcoin rewards. It’s set to launch later this year.”

“ConsenSys has partnered with cybersecurity firm Securosys to launch a more secure staking solution for Ethereum 2.0. The new product, dubbed Codefi Staking, provides ‘institutional staking tools for Ethereum 2.0.’

Codefi Staking was built to make it easier for institutions to stake their own ETH or their customers’ ETH without the challenges of operating independent validator nodes.

The enhanced security is achieved by removing the “challenges of operating independent validator nodes,” ConsenSys said. Securosys provides multiple key control mechanisms to ensure that stakers never relinquish control over their Eth2 withdrawal keys.”

“The final vote to increase the supply was 1,670 YFI for versus 331 against. Under the proposal, 33% of the new tokens would be set aside for key contributors. The other 66% will be set aside as a treasury, for everything from protocol acquisition to further development.

The decision marks a clear shift for the team, which accrued a unique amount of buzz for eschewing the convention of setting aside governance tokens for insiders.

Yearn’s launch was exceptional at creating a decentralized and engaged community, but it did not provide adequate incentives to retain existing and future contributors on an ongoing basis, nor did it provide the protocol with a war chest to fund future activities.

This seems to be the equivalent of an equity raising round. In these rounds an early-stage venture will issue equity and in effect dilute current shareholders. … The overarching idea being that the cash raised will increase future value enough to offset any dilution.”

See Also: Yearn Finance DAI Vault ‘Has Suffered an Exploit’; $11M Drained

“Blockchain developers are devoting less time to once-popular “Ethereum killer” blockchain protocols in favor of a select few projects, according to a report by crypto venture capital firm Outlier Ventures.

Multi-chain protocols like Polkadot, Cosmos and Avalanche are seeing a consistent rise in core development and developer contribution. Meanwhile, Ethereum killers Tron, EOS, Komodo, and Qtum are seeing a decrease in core development metrics.

The reshuffle doesn’t affect the ranking of Ethereum. Ethereum is still the ‘most actively developed blockchain protocol,’ with 42,457 commits to its code from, on average, 220 monthly active core developers. There have been 4,119 Ethereum releases today.

Developers are also interested in working on DeFi. Commits to decentralized lending protocol Aave were up by 763%; Bancor by 264%, and Set Protocol by 161%.

“Selling for 420 ETH (roughly $650,000 at the time of purchase on Wednesday), the collectible non-fungible token (NFT)-based artwork is known as a Hashmask.

I’m particularly interested in purchasing ultra-high-end NFTs that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye and scarce.

Danny also said he was “immediately” attracted to Hashmask due to the “Basquiat style” – a reference to noted Manhattan-based artist Jean-Michel Basquiat – and its several layers of “subjective scarcity.””

Google trends reveal a huge spike in “buy crypto” searches, a possible precursor to wider retail adoption.

The keyword received a perfect Google Trends score of 100, which indicates maximum relative interest. A similar spike was also observed for Ethereum.”

See Also: Brave browser active user base doubled in 2020, hits 25M per month

“Jassy offered a mixed review of blockchain technology and its applicability to Amazon’s business in 2017. In a statement at the Amazon “re:Invent” conference, he expressed doubt that blockchain could be used for more than a “distributed ledger” but also said he and his team were personally interested.

In 2018, Jassy did move forward with a “quasi-blockchain” offering, as he oversaw the launch of two blockchain products: Amazon Quantum Ledger Database and Amazon Managed Blockchain.”

“The global interbank settlement organization SWIFT is partnering with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). It’s unclear what the new group’s mission will be, though People’s Bank of China employees working on its digital currency efforts will be involved.

SWIFT opened a wholly-owned subsidiary in China over a year ago to support the country’s efforts to internationalize its fiat currency renminbi.”

2 February

“The card giant works with wallets and exchanges to enable crypto purchases, and could eventually use digital currencies over blockchain in the same way it processes traditional money.

To the extent a specific digital currency becomes a recognized means of exchange, there’s no reason why we cannot add it to our network, which already supports over 160 currencies today.

The payments executive also said stablecoins could be used for “global commerce” and that ‘digital currencies running on public blockchains as additional networks just like RTP or ACH networks.'”

Switzerland now lets tokenized securities trade on a blockchain with the same legal standing as traditional assets. The new law went into effect Monday. The DLT amendments recognize tokenized securities as a new class of asset, whose legal ownership rights are automatically transferred via the blockchain to each new investor.

With these new registered rights, it’s clear that you have legal certainty.

Switzerland’s two regulated crypto banks, Sygnum and SEBA, chose to mark the occasion by issuing tokenized securities. SEBA is issuing its Series B equity shares as Ethereum ERC-20 tokens.”

See Also: Fine Wines Become First Tokenized Securities Under New Swiss Blockchain Law

MGM has acquired the movie rights to a book proposal known as “The Antisocial Network” by New York Times best-selling author Ben Mezrich. Publishers are expected to go to auction with the book this month.

Winklevoss Pictures, founded by entrepreneurs and bitcoin billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, will executive produce the film. Aaron Ryder – who produced “Arrival” and “Donnie Darko” among others – has been selected to produce the new movie.”

See Also: Mark Cuban Hails ‘Store of Value Generation’ Taking on Wall Street
See Also: Robinhood Raises Another $2.4B to Support GameStop Trading Surge: WSJ

“On the price front, investors saw the highest monthly close in history with the coin ending the month at $1,313. Ethereum has outpaced Bitcoin in terms of the daily transferred value, reaching $19.1 billion per day—versus the latter’s $9.78 billion.

According to DeFi Pulse, there’s over $27 billion of total value locked in DeFi smart contracts, while the amount of ETH coins sent to the ETH 2.0 deposit address is approaching 2.9 million (or, roughly $3.8 billion at current prices).

Ethereum miners brought in $800 million in January revenue, surpassing the previous record highs seen exactly three years ago. The cryptocurrency’s mining difficulty has reached an all-time high.

On February 8, the CME Group is launching its Ethereum futures contracts, making the assets more widely available to institutional investors.”

See Also: Axie Infinity escapes Ethereum gas fees as Ronin sidechain goes live

IBM has cut its blockchain team down to almost nothing, according to four people familiar with the situation. Big Blue’s major blockchain networks are FoodTrust, a farm-to-supermarket tracking system backed by Walmart; and TradeLens, a shipping container logistics blockchain backed by Maersk.

While cryptocurrencies and public blockchain networks appear to have flourished in 2020, the economic shock of COVID-19 has impacted innovation departments inside large firms, to the extent that areas not immediately generating revenue – such as blockchain – have been trimmed.

IBM is doing a major reorganization. There is not really going to be a blockchain team any longer. Most of the blockchain people at IBM have left.

A spokesperson for IBM denied the claims. ‘Our blockchain business is doing well, thank you.'”

“Coinbase will become one of the few cryptocurrency exchange companies on tech-heavy Nasdaq when it lists, though the timeline is still unclear.

Existing Coinbase investors have already been trading shares through Nasdaq’s Private Market platform, where the company has notched an implied valuation of $50 billion.”

“Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has clarified that he is a bitcoin supporter, if a bit “late to the party.” The Tesla CEO further said bitcoin, the top cryptocurrency by market cap, is ‘on the verge of getting broad acceptance by conventional finance people.’

I should have bought [bitcoin] eight years ago … I do at this point think bitcoin is a good thing. I am a supporter.”

The blockchain-based search engine is designed to protect user IP addresses, device info, browsers, and location data. Presearch says it has grown to over 1.7 million registered users with around 300,000 active.

The Ethereum-based project uses searches powered by independent nodes to help protect the identity of the people who make queries for data. Users are rewarded with PRE tokens.

Search is one of the most centralized and important utilities on the web.”