“After spending most of the day in negative territory, cryptocurrencies made a late surge on Friday with bitcoin hitting its highest level since mid-May. Bitcoin is currently trading above $41,000 at press time and is up more than 15% over the past week.
Bullish sentiment has returned after a sharp sell-off in May and two months of consolidation above the $30,000 support level. Some analysts are optimistic and expect buyers to remain active above the 50-day moving average, which is above $34,000 now.
Ether faces resistance near $2,500, where resistance is defined by the 100-day moving average. Ether is up about 10% over the past week and rallied nearly 30% after holding support at $1,720 on July 20. Lower support is seen at $2,000, which could stabilize a pullback.”
“Decentralized derivatives and synthetic asset trading protocol Synthetix has launched trading on the Optimistic Ethereum layer-two scaling platform.
Initially, there will be just four synthetic assets available for trading on layer two — sUSD, sETH, sBTC and sLINK. The data collected from this alpha launch and testing phase will enable the protocol to optimize synth trading on layer two and prepare for the beta launch.
In a related development, the Synthetix-based Thales platform just launched. Thales is a decentralized finance (DeFi) platform providing binary options-style trading. The Thales decentralized application offers more than 60 different assets, including cryptocurrencies, commodities, equities and index products.
Thales introduced some trial Olympics sports markets which enable users to bet on variables such as ‘Will the USA win the most gold medals?‘ or ‘Will Australia’s men’s basketball team win the gold medal?‘”
“Clients of Wealthfront, an automated investment service, can now gain exposure to crypto. The move marks the first by a major robo-adviser in the U.S. to offer clients crypto exposure. Wealthfront is among the largest robo-advisory platforms in the world with $25 billion in assets under management.
Clients will be able to allocate up to 10% of their total portfolio to the two trusts, with crypto’s volatility cited as the reason for the restriction.”
“Binance’s regulatory woes worsened Friday as Malaysia ordered it to halt operations in the country. Separately, the cryptocurrency exchange said it’s planning to wind down futures and derivatives products across Europe, starting with Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
Binance said users in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands will be unable to open new futures and derivative positions on the platform, effective immediately. Existing positions will have to be closed by an as-yet undetermined date.
The decision is Binance’s latest move to distance itself from products and services that have drawn the scrutiny from regulators in a slew of different markets.”
“PricewaterhouseCooper’s crypto lead, Henri Arslanian, claimed that larger players from venture capital, private equity and pension funds are outplaying smaller boutique firms and family offices from participating in the latest innovations around crypto.
This is happening a lot with very early-stage companies, say, $5 million to $20 million — the prices are being inflated.
As the crypto ecosystem continues to redefine the future of the asset class, Arslanian highlighted the recently doubled volume of crypto mergers and acquisitions. He underscored how this year, crypto businesses were able to raise 2020’s M&A value of $3 billion in just three months.”
“Local companies have transferred $580 million across international borders using a blockchain-based platform developed by authorities in the Chinese province of Yunnan.
The system, launched in December, helps export-oriented firms in Yunnan cut red tape, reducing the time needed for international money transfers to 15 minutes from as long as two days. In addition to being efficient for companies, the platform helps local authorities monitor transactions and implement regulations.”
Create statutory definitions for digital assets and digital asset securities and provide the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with authority over digital asset securities and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) with authority over digital assets;
Explicitly add digital assets and digital asset securities to the statutory definition of “monetary instruments,” under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), formalizing the regulatory requirements for digital assets and digital asset securities to comply with anti-money laundering, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements;
Provide the Federal Reserve with explicit authority to issue a digital version of the U.S. dollar, clarify that digital assets, digital asset securities and fiat-based stablecoins are not U.S. legal tender, and provide the U.S. Treasury Secretary with authority to permit or prohibit US dollar and other fiat-based stablecoins.“
“Warnick claimed the time is right for expanding Robinhood’s crypto operations due in part to two trends: Crypto going mainstream among retail investors and the trend of crypto users asking for more tools and features.
In particular, he cited demand for full-blown crypto wallets that let users send currencies off the Robinhood platform, and for the opportunity to earn interest and participate in a blockchain process known as staking.
All of this is consistent with rumors that have been trickling out in recent weeks that Robinhood is gearing up to take on crypto exchange Coinbase, including by building out tools for customers to participate in decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms.”
“During PayPal’s Q2 2021 investor update call on Wednesday, CEO Dan Schulman said the initial version of the company’s super app wallet was “code complete.” The PayPal CEO said the company planned for the wallet to be fully ramped in the United States in the next several months.
The super app wallet will feature high yield savings, early access to direct deposit funds, messaging capability, “additional crypto capabilities” and more.
We’re also seeing strong adoption and trading of crypto on Venmo.”
“ProFunds, an asset manager that manages $60 billion worldwide, has registered a mutual fund based on bitcoin futures with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It signals a positive move towards the SEC’s view of bitcoin.
Mutual funds give retail investors access to professionally managed portfolios, but they can only be bought or sold once daily and cannot be traded throughout the day as stocks and ETFs can.
This thing is holding futures in a mutual fund wrapper, and it’s likely not going to be tax efficient. What people really desire is a physically backed bitcoin ETF, in an ETF wrapper that is tax efficient.”
“Teams will be releasing their dapps between now and the end of this summer. Boot.Finance, Covey, CurioDAO, Human Protocol, Ivy and Minds are the projects in the initial cohort.
We hit a tech milestone and now we have hand-selected these use cases and partners to go live, paving the way for others to join. There are over 100 applications … that are currently being tested on SKALE.
The SKALE launch comes as projects looking to boost Ethereum’s usability rush to showcase themselves. From Reddit choosing Arbitrum to Uniswap tapping Optimism, scaling projects are touting various ways to get more transactions onto the world’s leading smart-contract platform.”
“Shared by Bybt and CryptoQuant, the data appeared to show the largest one-day outflow in at least a year. A total of 57,000 BTC left exchanges in 24 hours. With that, exchange balances returned to levels last seen in mid-May.”
“As the Web 3 ecosystem continues to grow, dapp developers are working on decentralized alternatives to everything from financial products to entertainment, including gaming and music-streaming. But many would-be decentralized streaming platforms and startups encounter trouble building with centralized infrastructure owned by tech giants like Amazon and Google.
Livepeer’s marketplace connects encoding providers – many of whom are crypto miners and data centers with otherwise unused capacity – to anyone who needs processing power for video services. Livepeer has an estimated 70,000 GPUs on its network.
The marketplace allows for a symbiotic relationship between buyers and sellers that is incentivized by Livepeer’s native token, LPT, and is much cheaper than the services provided by mainstream alternatives.
In creating an open market run by a decentralized network of active participants, Livepeer’s transcoding can be 10 times cheaper (or more) than centralized alternatives like Amazon Web Services.”
“London-based Fabric Ventures has closed a $130 million war chest for investing in early-stage blockchain firms. The notable thing, however, is one of its backers: the European Investment Fund (EIF) – which is comprised of the European Investment Bank, the European Union and other financial institutions – chipped in $30 million.
It’s the first time a vehicle affiliated with the European Commission has invested in a fund focused on digital assets.“
“Uniswap, Ethereum’s largest decentralized exchange by volume, is looking to expand into consumer finance – at least according to a deleted YouTube video from the EthCC conference that was held in Paris last week (The video is still available on IPFS).
Uniswap’s growth lead, said the team behind the trading protocol is in talks with well-known fintech companies to provide decentralized finance (DeFi) to the mainstream. The partnerships could allow DeFi protocols to mesh into existing fintech offerings in a bid to provide a larger variety of assets, instant settlement and 24/7 accessibility.
We’re trying to put Uniswap and the rest of DeFi right there in those applications so that we can bring the dream of open, 100% uptime liquidity to the whole world. PayPal wants to talk to us, E*Trade wants to talk to us, Stripe wants to talk to us.”
“Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael Hsu, said regulators are looking into Tether’s stockpile of commercial paper to see whether each Tether (USDT) token really is backed by the equivalent of one U.S. dollar.
In mid-May, Tether revealed a loose breakdown of its reserves, stating that it had invested in instruments beyond cash and cash equivalents, including Bitcoin (BTC), bonds, secured loans and a large proportion of commercial paper. In an interview with CNBC on July 21, Tether general counsel Stuart Hoegner promised that a full financial audit of its reserves would be coming within months, not years.”
“A bipartisan infrastructure bill in Congress proposes to raise $28 billion from crypto investors by applying new information reporting requirements to exchanges and other parties. According to a draft copy of the bill, any broker that transfers any digital assets would need to file a return under a modified information reporting regime.
The provision further makes clear that broker-to-broker reporting applies to all transfers of covered securities within the meaning of section 6045(g)(3), including digital assets.
The executive director of the Blockchain Association said the draft language could mean a number of individuals interacting with crypto may have to start reporting their transactions.
We interpret this to mean software wallet developers, hardware wallet manufacturers, multisig service providers, liquidity providers, DAO token holders and potentially even miners.”
“While undeniably successful, yesterday’s sale of Stoner Cats—a series of animated shorts sold in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs)—resulted in the loss of 344.4 ETH ($790,000) due to failed transactions as well as briefly clogging the Ethereum network.
Developed by Mila Kunis’ Orchard Farm Productions, a total of 10,420 Stoner Cats NFTs were put up for sale yesterday at 0.35 ETH ($785 at the time) each—and the whole supply was sold out in just ’35 meow-nutes.'”
“Even while pressure mounts to taper its asset purchases, the central bank will continue its accommodative quantitative easing. Powell added that inflation has been running above the central bank’s 2% inflation target for a few months and will continue to run above 2% for a few more months before falling back, but the bank is a “ways away” from raising interest rates.
Inflation has risen, largely reflecting transitory factors.
The central bank also announced that it has established two standing repurchase agreement (repo) facilities with a minimum bid rate of 25 basis points, one for primary dealers and additional banks, and another for foreign banks.
The Fed wants to make sure the Treasury market stays liquid even when the Fed winds down its balance sheet.”
“A rapid expansion of mining facilities in North America and the return of Chinese miners through overseas hosting sites are two major factors that will drive up mining difficulty. Most of the growth that will drive up mining difficulty in the coming months would still be from the North American miners who planned expansion ahead of Beijing’s crackdown last year or in early 2021.
I think we have reached that minimum low difficulty point and now we are going to start to grow unless there are other big government shakeups or changing bitcoin price.”
“The U.S. Senate Banking Committee put crypto on trial Tuesday as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said the industry needs tighter regulation and as the committee’s chairman sought to answer his own hearing’s titular question – “Cryptocurrencies: What are they good for?” – with a resounding “nothing.”
Warren said bitcoin decentralization is a fantastical narrative because the network’s true power brokers – miners and corporations – have the leverage to achieve false moral supremacy over big banks.
Instead of leaving our financial system at the whims of giant banks, crypto puts the system at the whims of some shadowy faceless group of super coders and miners.
Painting the industry as a fraud-ridden, accountability-dodging, digital slot machine that enriches its creators and burns everyone else, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the banking committee’s chairman, warned in his opening remarks that crypto could endanger U.S. consumers and financial stability. ‘There’s nothing democratic or transparent about a shady diffuse network of online funny money,’ Brown said. He called for “smart regulations” that protect consumers from crypto “extortionists” and their “phony populist marketing.”
“Zhao said there was no timeline for his succession and that he would not be stepping down right away.
We are looking for someone with a strong regulatory background to step in and be CEO.
Zhao acknowledged Binance’s communications with regulators in the past “have not been the best,” adding that the plan now is to hire ex-regulators and “become licensed everywhere.”
Binance has been lashed by a series of regulatory actions across a number of jurisdictions including the U.K. and Japan. On Tuesday, the company reduced its customer withdrawal limit from 2 bitcoins to 0.06 bitcoins.”
“If users spend funds immediately following the lock time in the first 2 blocks allowable by consensus rules (~20 minutes after receiving funds), then there is a good probability that the output can be identified as the true spend.
Users who don’t want to compromise their privacy should just wait at least an hour before transacting the XMR they have recently received.
The Monero Research Lab and Monero developers take this matter very seriously. We will provide an update when wallet fixes are available.”
“The code contains a message that reads: ‘To protect your orders against price volatility, we may sometimes skip your recurring orders or buy less than your chosen amount.‘
Robinhood is also testing an option called “round up investments” that will allow users to purchase specific stocks with “spare change.” Whether this money will come from rounded-up debit and credit card purchases as done by competitors like Acorn is unclear.
Crypto has become an increasingly important part of Robinhood’s business model, with approximately 17% of its Q1 revenue coming from crypto transactions—up from 3% in Q1 of last year.”
“Seven major global banks are live on SWIFT Go, a new service by the global interbank messaging system aiming to offer low-cost, cross-border payments, in a possible threat to the real-time payments network offered by Ripple.
BBVA, BNY Mellon, DNB, MYBank, Sberbank, Societe Generale and UniCredit are the seven banks using SWIFT Go.”
“The Government of Maharashtra recently announced a partnership with Indian blockchain startup LegitDoc to implement a credentialing system powered by Ethereum to provide tamper-proof diploma certificates.
To counter the rise in document forgery, the Maharashtra State Board of Skill Development (MSBSD) opposes India’s crypto ban narrative of using Ethereum-based public blockchains.
In the last 10 years, there has been a rampant increase in forgery of government-issued documents which have caused huge financial and reputational losses to the stakeholders involved.”
“Justin Sun, the founder of the Tron blockchain, is participating in a research project at the prestigious Central Party School, the higher education institution that trains cadres of the Communist Party of China. He will become a deputy leader in a research project on blockchain-based social governance.
Chinese reporter Colin Wu tweeted that Sun will not actually retire, but aims to show he has a good relationship to China’s ruling party.”
“Short liquidations – bearish trades where the principal was wiped out due to margin calls – kicked in around 9 p.m. ET time Sunday, helping to improve market sentiment and pushing the price of BTC up. According to one analyst, some $1 billion in trading positions were liquidated as prices surged.
Head of research at Synergia Capital, said the Tether news is less of a market negative because it is an investigation into executives and alleged practices. He said that’s not as concerning as “an investigation of what Tether is – a stablecoin.”
Thus, akin to the news last year when BitMEX was investigated, the entity remained intact and, in line with regulatory pressures, increased its [know your customer/anti-money laundering] approach.”
“Shopify powers the e-commerce sites of over 1.7 million businesses around the world. The company’s decision therefore potentially opens up NFTs to much wider adoption. One of the first Shopify merchants to offer NFTs will be the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, which launched an NFT “Legacy Collection” on Monday featuring the franchise’s six world championship rings.
Finkelstein noted that before Shopify’s move, its merchants would have to sell NFTs through a third-party marketplace, forcing them to relinquish control of the sale and the customer relationship.
Once again we are putting the power back into the hands of merchants and meeting customers how and where they want to buy.”
“The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Tether for a possible offense conducted “years ago.” Tether has long been dogged by accusations of murky banking relationships.
Tether and its sister exchange Bitfinex settled an investigation by the New York Attorney General’s Office (NYAG) into whether the stablecoin issuer was covering up the loss of nearly $1 billion in customer funds earlier this year. In the settlement agreement, the NYAG said Tether used various banks, but was suspended from some, including Wells Fargo, for unspecified reasons.”
“Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs has filed an application for an ETF that would offer exposure to public companies in decentralized finance and blockchain around the globe.
The Goldman Sachs Innovate DeFi and Blockchain Equity ETF (the ‘Fund’) seeks to provide investment results that closely correspond, before fees and expenses, to the performance of the Solactive Decentralized Finance and Blockchain Index (the ‘Index’).
The SEC is currently reviewing over a dozen bitcoin ETF applications and has delayed decisions on several of them. Both VanEck and WisdomTree have filed for Ethereum ETFs, but Goldman’s filing seems to be the first DeFi-related ETF application.”
“As the spokesperson’s comment suggests, Amazon is testing the waters, even if the reports of the company diving in were overstated.
Notwithstanding our interest in the space, the speculation that has ensued around our specific plans for cryptocurrencies is not true. We remain focused on exploring what this could look like for customers shopping on Amazon.”
“Lyra, an options trading protocol built on Ethereum scaling network Optimism, received $3.3 million in a seed round led by Framework Ventures and ParaFi Capital.
Lyra is integrated with Synthetix, a trading platform that also uses Optimism. The tie-up with Synthetix allows Lyra to hedge risk for liquidity providers. The decentralized finance (DeFi) project, which just launched its testnet less than a month ago, is expected to launch on mainnet in September.
Lyra’s novel on-chain pricing mechanism, Synthetix integration, and deployment on Optimism will introduce traders and liquidity providers to a scalable and capital-efficient options protocol.”
“Stoner Cats, an animated web series produced by actress Mila Kunis, already has an A-list Hollywood cast including Jane Fonda, Chris Rock and Ashton Kutcher. But the blockchain-linked TV show is also adding some crypto star power: Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin.
To watch the first five-minute episode, viewers must purchase a non-fungible token (NFT) that is both a digital artwork of a randomly selected character from the show as well as a ticket to unlock all “Stoner Cats” episodes as they are made. The NFTs will sell for 0.35 ETH – about $750 at time of publication.
The decision to use NFTs to fund the series arose out of concerns over censorship of the show’s drug content and a desire to keep creative control out of the hands of the networks. Crowdfunding via NFT sales allows for a direct exchange between consumers and creators, cutting out middlemen and, in some cases, offering a bit of creative control to consumers themselves.
The entire cast, including Buterin, will be paid in ether. He said Monday that 100% of his pay will be donated to the SENS Foundation, a non-profit research organization focused on finding cures for aging-related diseases.
We had to teach Jane Fonda how to set up a MetaMask wallet.
Buterin will join the cast of “Stoner Cats” as the voice of Catsington, a taxidermied, monocle-sporting cat who gives advice to the five living cats belonging to Ms. Stoner, a spunky octogenarian with Alzheimer’s, whose magical strain of weed has somehow given her feline companions the ability to talk.”
“The wait is finally over: Layer 2 summer is heating up with Uniswap V3’s deployment onto Optimism. While it’s only an alpha release, and it’s limited in functionality and decentralization, we’ve tested it out and it absolutely lives up to the hype.
With transaction speeds that would make the Flash blush, and substantially reduced gas costs, Uniswap on Optimism is a teaser for the incredible capabilities and potential of layer 2. It’s also the first domino of many to fall as more of our favorite DeFi protocols, such as Synthetix, will be deploying more capabilities on Optimism in the coming weeks.
This is a historic moment for Ethereum. It’s the first step in transforming the network from being slow and expensive to blazingly fast and cheap. Optimism gives near-instant transactions for a low cost. Instead of paying $20 for trades on Uniswap, you pay <$1. Instead of waiting 2-3 minutes for transactions to confirm on-chain…you don’t have to wait at all.
Uniswap on Mainnet is a dial-up modem. Uniswap on Optimism is broadband. Ethereum is now scaling trustless transactions per second. Absolutely massive.
Want to experience the magic for yourself? This post will serve as your guide on Optimism, how to migrate to this layer 2 solution, the trust assumptions of doing so, and what the experience will be like when you get there.”
“The Optimism team has long been in search of a solution on how to sustainably fund public goods, and we now have the structure of our first experiment thanks to a brilliant design by Vitalik Buterin.
The nonprofit model may work well for maintaining an already-built codebase, but the beginning phase of kicking off a project is extraordinarily difficult. A great majority of startups don’t make it to any kind of exit, and it’s even harder for FOSS projects. It’s often a slow-moving labor of love from a small group of highly dedicated individuals. Donations are not a stable enough source of funding for a team to calculate runway. Grant money is not enough to offer competitive salaries. Working somewhere for the “right reasons” doesn’t pay the bills.
There’s a beauty to the altruism of these heroes, but as avid users of what they create, shouldn’t we want them to get paid too? By providing OSS projects an exit, we’ve actually incentivized a source of funding to arise as well. Working backwards from the exit, open source projects can now be profitable!
The core principle behind the concept of retroactive public goods funding is simple: it’s easier to agree on what was useful than what will be useful. For the profit-making sector, the best that we can do is to build out an ecosystem where people can create startups and invest in them, and get rewarded if they end up correct. So rather than reinventing the wheel entirely, we will create a public-goods-oriented version of the exact same mechanism.
A DAO, which we can call “the Results Oracle”, funds public good projects. Long term, the results oracle can be funded by protocol fees (eg. if implemented by an L2 project, sequencer auctions are one candidate). But unlike other public goods funding DAOs, the Results Oracle funds projects retroactively, rewarding projects that it recognizes as having already provided value.
With protocol generated revenue, retroactive public goods funding, and a Results Oracle, we will create a startup-style funding cycle for public good projects. We, the Optimism team, commit to giving all our profits made from sequencing (prior to decentralizing the sequencer) to public goods funding experiments.”
“MEV profits are becoming an increasingly large part of miner’s economic rewards, making the threat of time bandit attacks [accumulating computing power in an attempt to remine old blocks] and reorgs more likely. It also means that it should theoretically be possible to actually bribe miners to reorg the chain.
Konstantopoulos and Buterin refer to reorg mining as “myopically rational.” Doing it works in the short run, but threatens to reduce trust in the network over the long term, thereby devaluing their ETH. Which isn’t to say it can’t happen.
They believe, however, that Ethereum’s planned move away from a proof-of-work system, in which miners create new blocks, to proof of stake, in which validators deposit their ETH for the right to make new blocks, solves for this. That’s because, with nearly 200,000 validators already participating in Ethereum 2.0, the network is much more distributed. When coupled with pseudorandom selection of several thousand validators to attest to each block, there are few opportunities for selfish actors to concentrate their resources.
Even single-block reorgs are extremely difficult, because an attacker controlling only a few validators has no way to beat the honest majority of thousands of attesters.”
“The dollar was once basically a stablecoin tied to gold, and that worked well as the greenback was establishing itself as an asset. But in time the American economy got so much bigger that it needed more flexibility than the gold standard afforded. Similarly, she expects the crypto economy will also outgrow a collateral obligation eventually.
An algorithmic stablecoin is one that can keep its peg using only software and rules. If one ever works, it could scale infinitely, to whatever size an economy needs.
To create USDC you need USD in the bank, and that works well if you’re just starting out. What comes after, it’s the right kind of monetary policy that allows stability and low volatility to allow people to trade … if we can do that with math and we can do that with monetary policy, that’s more efficient.
The reason algorithmic stablecoins keep getting tried is because it feels like the Holy Grail. It’s like bitcoin and settled on-chain, but actually stable and with purchasing power.”
“Uniswap Labs is restricting access to some tokens, including tokenized stocks and derivatives on the protocol interface that it supports. Uniswap cited an “evolving regulatory landscape” in explaining its decision.
Consistent with actions taken by other DeFi interfaces, we have taken the decision to restrict access to certain tokens through app.uniswap.org.
However, unlike Binance, a centralized exchange, Uniswap is only restricting access through its own interface. Users can still access these tokens through other portals on the decentralized finance (DeFi) platform that supports them.”
“Today Amazon listed a job posting for a Digital Currency and Blockchain Product Lead to create a vision and roadmap for new payment products. A subsequent statement shared by an Amazon spokesperson fanned the flames by suggesting the world’s largest online retailer is actively considering enabling cryptocurrency payments.
We’re inspired by the innovation happening in the cryptocurrency space and are exploring what this could look like on Amazon. We believe the future will be built on new technologies that enable modern, fast, and inexpensive payments, and hope to bring that future to Amazon customers as soon as possible.”
“The first in-person Ethereum event since the pandemic was a low-key but upbeat affair in Paris last week. EthCC was as far away from Bitcoin Miami as you could get.
It is true that ETH followers, like their Bitcoin counterparts, have become hugely wealthy recently, and the community is readying itself for several serious upgrades to the network, among them Optimism, the London hard fork and EIP 1559, and maybe finally—one hears breathlessly—proof of stake.
And yet, the tone of the Ethereum community’s first large-scale, in person event since before the pandemic was not one of nauseating religious fervor but was rather more involved and academic—more about poring over recondite technical details than about preaching any particular evangel (beyond “financial freedom”).
Talks were not of the “fuck Elon” variety but instead focused on sensible things such as “Painless Gas Cost Optimizations,” “Relayers as an Ultimate UX Solution that Connects Fragmented Ecosystems in a Multi-Chain World,” and “Up Only: How DAOs and NFTs Can Expand Personhood For Trees.” And, thank Christ, there was not a Lambo in sight.”
“So why are the central bankers so keen to characterize the private issuance of money as inherently unstable?
Because they are deeply conflicted: They rely on these myths to sell us their proposed solution in the form of CBDCs. It’s no coincidence the anti-stablecoin contingent is generally fond of CBDCs and believes the state should not only control the issuance of money but also have the power to determine which transactions are valid.
The debate is fundamentally about the state’s role in society. CBDCs promise to strip some of the issuing power of money away from the commercial bank sector (which exists as a public-private partnership) and restore it to the central government. This would naturally grant governments extremely powerful tools for surveillance, societal control and would empower central bankers with granular tools to affect the money supply. In a country where the politicization of banking is an established doctrine, CBDCs would represent a colossal victory for those trying to concentrate power in state hands.
The success of stablecoins, and the attendant stagnation of CBDC projects, is embarrassing to central bankers and policymakers. Stablecoins offer everything that CBDCs hope to achieve, but in a completely bottom-up, free-market way.
Gorton and Zhang object that stablecoin recipients will not accept these tokens at par, because the “no questions asked” (NQA) principle is violated due to a lack of confidence in the issuer and no government backing. But their analysis is off base both historically and in the present day. Private banknotes worked just fine – in Scotland, between 1716 and 1844. Today, stablecoins have been embraced and indeed accepted at par by millions of individuals and firms, thanks to the presence of convertibility.
Far from being inherently flawed or unstable, stablecoins are an overwhelming success today. The free market has allocated over $110 billion in deposits to these projects, even though they have only really existed in production for seven years or so. Stablecoins collectively today settle anywhere between $10 and $20 billion on a given day – trading with extremely tight spreads.
Indeed, our venture fund – alongside many of our industry colleagues – today prefers to settle investments in stablecoin format because they operate 24/7, offer strong finality and do not face the massive headaches involved with sending wires abroad. Startups we invest in increasingly ask for them – and in some cases process payroll in stablecoin format. For globally distributed teams, stablecoins make far more sense than trying to tackle transfers to dozens of different countries via extractive intermediaries and the byzantine correspondent banking system.
As for the consumer benefit of private versus public money, one only has to consider what happened after the free banking episode in the U.S. Monetary issuance was centralized in the hands of the state, which promptly inflated away everyone’s savings during the Civil War. Curiously, the central bankers touting the benefits of public money omit that part of the story.”
“The eight-year-old company will go public through an IPO on Thursday. Shares are expected to sell at around $40 under the ticker HOOD.”
Robinhood is making a lot of investments in things we know our customers want, such as wallets, lending, and staking. We think there’s a big opportunity in front of us, and we look forward to delivering more products for customers.
Robinhood said it would offer a crypto wallet “as soon as possible” back in March. Executives repeated that promise yesterday but did not provide a launch date.”
“As international travel ramps up in parts of the world, Amadeus, a reservation system used by 474 airlines, has adopted IBM’s digital health passport solution called IBM Digital Health Pass. Instead of presenting paper-based certifications, travelers need only scan a QR code sent by email at the gate.
The backend technology authenticates credentials against requirements of each country—relieving from agents an onerous burden, given how frequently countries change travel restrictions as the pandemic evolves.
Data privacy is a major issue in creating universally-accepted IDs. For instance, the French are up in arms about president Emmanuel Macron’s plan to introduce a national health pass to enter restaurants, shopping centers, museums, and any indoor gathering places. In Macron’s plan, anyone who gets the Covid-19 vaccine will be entered in a central database which could be used to track individuals. The perceived government encroachment on individual freedoms is a reason some in France aren’t getting the vaccine.
IBM Digital Health Pass, in contrast, uses blockchain encryption technology, eliminating the need to collect and store personal data. This allows user to manage what information they want to share through their smartphones. All border agents see is a prompt for whether a traveler is cleared for travel or not.
Greg Land, IBM’s travel and transportation expert, believes the growing adoption of app-based health passes will energize initiatives to digitize all travel credentials which may one day make passport booklets obsolete.
Even before the pandemic, we were starting to see long lines at airports and other venues and it made us think that we just have to find a way to take that digital transformation to the next level.”
“Binance’s peers are distancing themselves from the company, as regulators circle overhead. Bankman-Fried is being careful not to say he bought out Binance’s shares in order to distance his company from Binance. So I’ll do it for him: that’s obviously the reason.
I think there are some differences between how we run our businesses. I think there are ways I would have reacted, responded, and run things differently.
As the space grows and all the big exchanges seek to attract customers while also navigating the necessary evil of regulation, you get the sense the other exchanges are “all in this together” while Binance increasingly stands alone, an island unto itself.”
“Upside momentum is improving, which could keep crypto buyers active into the weekend. Some analysts expect a short-squeeze to push bitcoin above the 50-day moving average around $34,000 given oversold conditions on the charts.
For the first time in many weeks we are seeing bullish signs here and expect Bitcoin to head towards the upper end of the $30,000-$40,000 range. On the options front we have seen a good amount of covering between the $35,000-$40000 strikes for the weekly maturity.
Overall, risk sentiment is improving in traditional and crypto markets as concerns about tighter monetary stimulus wane. On Thursday, the European Central Bank (ECB) pledged to keep interest rates lower for longer and adjusted its policy stance to allow for a slight overshoot of the 2% inflation target. The ECB announcement along with a broad decline in global government bond yields contributed to higher stock prices over the past week.”
“Securities and Exchange Commissioner Hester Peirce has voiced concerns over the United States lagging behind global jurisdictions in adopting cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The SEC commissioner also mentioned her concern that U.S. regulators could be overstepping their remit by forcing the local crypto industry to play by a separate set of rules than everyone else.
We’re not a merit regulator, so we shouldn’t be in the business of deciding whether something is good or bad.”
“The CEO expressed confidence that Binance is set to face heavy regulations in the future, noting that the company ‘is in the mindset of shifting from a tech startup to a financial service.’
Despite seeing a meager success in communicating with global regulators so far, Binance doesn’t preclude a possibility that Binance US would go public one day as the exchange is seeking ways to go for an initial public offering (IPO), CZ declared.
Binance US is looking at the IPO route. Most regulators are familiar with a certain pattern, or having headquarters, having corporate structure. But we are setting up those structures to make it easier for an IPO to happen.
Launched in 2019, Binance US operates a separate entity from Binance, licensing technology and receiving branding support from the global exchange. Brian Brooks, the former acting comptroller of the United States Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, became the CEO of Binance US earlier this year to help the exchange compete with Coinbase exchange and expand across the United States.”
“The study conducted by global analytics and advice firm Gallup revealed that the number of investors in the U.S. holding BTC has jumped from 2% in 2018, to 6% as of June 2021. The research defines “investors” as adults with $10,000 or more invested in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds.
It also reported that Bitcoin ownership among investors surveyed aged under 50 has more than trebled over the past three years to 13% from 3% in 2018. Unsurprisingly, it revealed ownership was much lower at just 3% for the over 50s group of investors, though this has also increased three-fold from 1% in 2018.
A similar survey that polled institutional investors in May and June revealed that more than 80% of hedge fund executives and wealth managers surveyed that are already holding crypto assets intend to increase their holdings.”
“ChainMaker, an enterprise blockchain developed with support from the Beijing city government, said it is preparing to be interoperable with the distributed file storage protocol InterPlanetary File System.
ChainMaker is poised to become Beijing’s government blockchain, uniting data currently siloed across ministries and government departments. A 27-member group that includes state-owned enterprises, banks and universities has pledged to integrate the blockchain across their operations.”
“Arbitrum has been upvoted by Reddit. The rollup technology was selected by the social media site to make Reddit’s Ethereum-based Community Points system ready for prime time. Arbitrum beat out 21 other entrants to become the winner of its “Scaling Bake-Off.”
Community Points, which are ERC-20 tokens that can be earned by Reddit users for quality comments or other contributions, can be spent on things such as exclusive badges, custom emojis and GIFs.
Community Points are being experimented with in two communities. One is r/CryptoCurrency, where the Points come in the form of “Moons;” the other is r/FortNiteBR, where the Points are known as “Bricks.” Together, these two communities contain around 4.8 million members.
Reddit launched its own layer 2 rollup using Arbitrum tech on the Rinkeby testnet today, before migrating to the Ethereum mainnet. In addition, Reddit is looking for developers to build a more decentralized web at ‘Reddit-level scale.’“
“The second quarter saw a record $4 billion in venture capital raised by cryptocurrency firms, amid a bumper crop of $30.8 billion in fintech deals generally, a 29% increase from the year before.
The report mentioned sizable funding rounds, such as those from stablecoin company Circle, which snagged a then-record $440 million in May. (The new largest funding round by a crypto firm came earlier this week when crypto derivatives exchange FTX announced it raised $900 million.) Also noted by CB Insights was hardware wallet maker Ledger’s $380 million funding in June, and a $300 million round in April for custody firm Paxos (which, like Circle, also acts as the steward of stablecoins).
Crypto has brought about a new age in banking compliance, the report said. Blockchain analytics companies, which track transactions and aid regulators and law enforcement, are another hot area in terms of funding. CB Insights also singled out crypto custody and infrastructure as sub-segments that were notable for their ability to raise money.”
“JPMorgan will let wealth management clients invest in Grayscale and Osprey crypto trusts.
The move gives a wide array of JPMorgan clients – including those plugged into the commission-free Chase trading app – easy access to indirect crypto investing. Trust products from Grayscale and Osprey are “price exposure” vehicles that sidestep custody headaches.”
“The eastern European country, which is a global leader in cryptocurrency adoption according to Chainalysis, is trying to become the jurisdiction of choice for crypto startups, and is one of the few nations in the world to present a strategy for developing its digital asset industry.
Tokenized assets, it says, should become part of the existing financial system, and there should be an official way to buy virtual assets for fiat money.
Education also features in the plan, with the development of programs dedicated to blockchain and virtual assets starting at school-aged children. There should be a special program for members of parliament and a Master’s course on decentralized finance.
The report predicts that if its recommendations are followed, by May 2024 Ukraine should become of of the top-10 crypto nations, with 47% of the population using digital assets and 10% of businesses having their assets tokenized.”
“ConsenSys researcher Mikhail Kalinin has created a pull request for EIP-3675, which would upgrade the blockchain’s consensus mechanism to proof of stake. The proposal, which sets the stage for “the merge” to Ethereum 2.0, will be discussed at Friday’s core developers meeting.
We are ensuring that core specs are in place so that post London and Altair, the engineering process can move swiftly.”
“The crypto ATM company plans to install kiosks at “thousands” of Circle K locations with over 700 already live in 30 states. CEO Brandon Mintz is aiming for 6,000 kiosks across North America before 2021 is done.
We feel that the Circle K brand has a wide and diverse customer base with people from all walks of life visiting these stores.
The tie-up comes as the crypto ATM industry continues to grow. Bitcoin Depot’s own statistics indicate the industry is up 155% year-over-year.”
“BlockFi aims to go public in 12 to 18 months, according to documents circulated to investors Wednesday. BlockFi is [also] set to close its Series E on July 27, the documents show. The round amounts to $500 million. BlockFi is expected to command a $4.75 billion post-money valuation.
BlockFi’s road to Wall Street grew complicated this week as state securities regulators in the U.S. began questioning the legality of the firm’s marqueé BlockFi Interest Account (BIA) offering.
Regulators in Texas, Alabama and New Jersey each alleged BIA is an unregistered security in violation of state laws. New Jersey is giving BlockFi until July 29 to explain itself. If the pair fail to come to a resolution, the state could halt BIA account onboarding.
We have active dialogues with regulators worldwide. We firmly believe that the BIA is lawful.”
“According to the report, about 61% of its tokens are backed by “cash and cash equivalents,” meaning cash and money market funds. Yankee Certificates of Deposit – meaning CDs issued by foreign (non-U.S.) banks – comprise a further 13%, U.S. Treasuries account for 12%, commercial paper accounts for 9%, and the remaining tokens are backed by municipal and corporate bonds.
According to footnotes in Tuesday’s attestation, the commercial paper has a “minimum S&P rating of S/T A1,” meaning S&P Global Ratings regards the issuer’s ability to meet its financial obligations as being strong.
Circle intends to go public later this year in a merger with a special purpose acquisition company that would value Circle at $4.5 billion.”
“Stock tokens and stablecoins backed by securities might be treated as securities under U.S. law, SEC Chair Gary Gensler said.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a stock token, a stable value token backed by securities, or any other virtual product that provides synthetic exposure to underlying securities. These platforms – whether in the decentralized or centralized finance space – are implicated by the securities laws and must work within our securities regime.
Gensler warned that his agency may bring future enforcement actions as well, noting that “we’ve brought some cases involving retail offering of securities-based swaps,” seemingly referring to a case the SEC brought against financial app Abra, which paid $300,000 in penalties. Crypto exchange Binance also recently announced it was closing its stock token business.”
“In a series of shocking statements early yesterday, European Commission regulators declared that they were “banning anonymous cryptocurrency wallets” as part of a money laundering crackdown.
Rather than a ban on crypto wallets, the E.U. rules would impose tighter but defensible rules on money service providers, such as exchanges or custody services. The new rules would be very similar to the “travel rule” guidelines from the multinational Financial Action Task Force. The rules prohibit providing anonymous services, such as crypto custody or exchange accounts provided by a third party, not the provision of software for self-custody.
Either McGuinness and her communications team misspoke out of genuine ignorance when describing the new rules to the public, or they knowingly obfuscated as a way to misdirect public perception. Unsurprisingly, many news outlets reported McGuinness’s statements without examining them.”
“SpaceX holds BTC, Musk said. SpaceX’s bitcoin holdings had not been previously disclosed. Tesla still holds the asset in its treasury, the CEO said.
On Tesla accepting bitcoin for car payments again, Musk said the network’s energy usage is improving and Tesla is doing some more due diligence on this, but that Tesla would “most likely” resume accepting BTC for payments.
The entrepreneur and provocateur said he personally owns bitcoin, ether and, naturally, dogecoin.”
“Bank of America’s prime brokerage unit has started the clearing and settlement of cryptocurrency exchange-traded products (ETPs) for hedge funds in Europe. This is the second recent move on the part of the traditionally conservative bank in the volatile cryptocurrency arena. Bank of America has also approved the trading of bitcoin futures for some clients and is clearing cash-settled contracts.
Bank officials may have felt they could not ignore an asset class that has seen numerous companies dive in. The demand for products such as ETPs has been increasing.”
“Mastercard has named the first stablecoin and a handful of partner companies that will help cryptocurrency holders spend their digital assets at merchants that accept the payment giant’s cards. In the pilot announced Tuesday, Circle’s USDC will serve as a bridge between the cryptocurrency in consumers’ digital wallets and the fiat currency paid to merchants.
While it might sound like adding an extra step, swapping a cryptocurrency for a stablecoin and then exchanging the stablecoin for dollars can be quicker or simpler than going directly from crypto to fiat.
Today not all crypto companies have the foundational infrastructure to convert cryptocurrency to traditional fiat currency, and we’re making it easier.
The company is also in talks with long-running crypto startups Uphold and BitPay to provide digital wallet technology and with three firms from the traditional card business to handle back-end functions.”
“The Bank of Canada paper argues that CBDCs endowed with programmability through smart contracts will engender vibrant innovation and competition in digital services. A CBDC would give consumers a non-bank option to store their money risk-free, increasing competition in the market for retail deposits.
A digital currency would also allow users to bypass payment services providers such as credit cards, which antitrust watchdogs globally have said exhibit anticompetitive practices, the central bank said. The digital currency might be a “measured path” to combat big tech monopolies and negative externalities “at least” in payments, the authors argue.”
“The Maker Foundation has announced it is turning over operations entirely to its decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), MakerDAO, as founder Rune Christensen has long promised.
The Maker Foundation is the formal organization that was created to steward the protocol through its early days until holders of the MKR token were ready to take on all aspects of stewarding the project, managing all its teams, making necessary upgrades and promoting its use around the world. The intent was always to gradually decentralize the home office out of existence.
From the earliest days of Maker, everyone involved worked tirelessly to devise a framework for scientific governance and create an infrastructure for a new generation of open financial services that can be used by anyone, anywhere, anytime.
The Foundation will formally dissolve within the next few months.”
“281 different crypto projects have announced integrations during 2021 so far. With all time third-party Chainlink integrations currently totaling 650, that means 43% of the project’s partners were onboarded this year. By contrast, roughly 250 partners integrated with Chainlink during all of 2020.
An increasing number of projects are also utilizing Chainlink’s Verifiable Random Function (VRF), which offers decentralized applications a secure and automated solution for generating randomization.
Chainlink VRF provides the Infinity Skies’ smart-contract responsible for chest opening with direct access to a tamper-proof and auditable random number to determine outcomes when opening chests.”
“An insurance collaboration between decentralized protocol Etherisc and microinsurance issuer ACRE Africa has allowed thousands of farmers in Kenya to receive coverage for weather-related risks. As part of the initiative, smallholder farmers are reportedly able to pay as little as $0.50 in premiums to receive coverage for crops adversely affected by climate change.
Some of those already receiving coverage have been paid using an end-to-end solution on the blockchain. Etherisc reported it had dispersed payments to farmers in need using the cash and mobile payment system M-Pesa, with roughly 6,000 expected to be compensated for lost or affected crops before the end of the season.
The solution that we built with our valued partners at ACRE Africa overcomes a number of challenges associated with traditional crop insurance — delayed payments, high premium costs, and lack of transparency.”
“Brady’s platform has also signed exclusive, multiyear NFT deals with fellow iconic sports stars Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Derek Jeter, Naomi Osaka and Tony Hawk, who will join Autograph’s advisory board. Lionsgate digital collectible content will be launched on Autograph, featuring NFTs focused on such film franchises as “John Wick,” “The Twilight Saga” and “Dirty Dancing,” as well as acclaimed TV series “Mad Men.”
Autograph’s NFT content will be sold on the DraftKings’ digital marketplace. Autograph is slated to launch this summer.”
“The AMMs, collectively named “Trident,” will function as a new base layer for SushiSwap, allowing users to build their own liquidity pools with unique characteristics. SushiSwap has already built four of these, which were unveiled Tuesday.
The first, ConstantProductPool, is a basic “50/50” pool consisting of half one set of tokens and half another. HybridPool enables the exchange of similar assets like stablecoins. ConcentratedLiquidityPool allows liquidity providers to specify a range in price in which to provide liquidity, and WeightedPool allows providers to manually adjust the balance of pooled tokens.
Each of these products already exists in different DeFi protocols too. Uniswap, for instance, was the first 50/50 crypto pool and its latest v3 iteration was the first to introduce a concentrated liquidity function. Curve Finance is the original stablecoin and like-assets AMM, while Balancer allows users to change the weightings of their holdings within a pool.”
“The acting AG’s order requests BlockFi to stop accepting new BIA clients residing in New Jersey beginning July 22, 2021. The order is the latest headache for the embattled lender that, in May, incorrectly deposited and then tried to reverse excessive amounts of bitcoin to users’ accounts.
We will continue to engage with all relevant authorities to protect our clients’ interests and ensure that our products remain available.”
“Stani Kulechov, founder and CEO of DeFi lending protocol Aave, said that users will be able to monetize the content they post and govern the rules of the network. With his new project, Kulechov hopes to solve problems he considers endemic to social media: a vulnerability to censorship and an exploitative pay structure that benefits platform creators rather than users.
We believe that content creators should own their audiences in a permissionless fashion, where anyone can build new user experiences by using the same on-chain social graph and data.”
“We’ve onboarded over 300 projects onto Arbitrum One including many of the largest dApps deployed on Ethereum, and at this point we’ve offered access to every project that’s applied for deployment.
We remain committed to our goal of having an L2 ecosystem that is fairly launched and open to all. While many teams have already completed their deployments, there are a few commonly used infrastructure components and projects that are core dependencies for many dApps which are quite close but not yet live on Arbitrum One. We’re working closely coordinating with these projects, all of which are actively working and quite close.
It takes great coordination to stand up an entire ecosystem. We’re well underway in this process and are committed to a fair launch, and also a full and usable ecosystem launch, and critical to this is making sure core infrastructure dependencies are in place and popular tokens are bridged.”
“The President’s Working Group for Financial Markets, a presidential advisory group, plans to issue recommendations about stablecoin regulations within the next few months. The highly anticipated meeting examined stablecoin growth, use cases and possible threats.
The Secretary underscored the need to act quickly to ensure there is an appropriate U.S. regulatory framework in place.
The meeting came just days after Federal Reserve attorney Jeffery Zhang (writing in a personal capacity and not for the Fed) and Yale University economist Gary Gorton published a paper saying stablecoins could pose a systemic risk to the financial system. The paper likened stablecoins to the wildcat banks of the 1800s, pointing to a lack of insurance, the risk of bank runs and the chances of a stablecoin losing its peg when a user tries to redeem or spend it.”
“Grayscale, the largest cryptocurrency investment manager, said Monday it has started a fund focused on decentralized finance (DeFi) tokens, based on a new DeFi-specific index produced by CoinDesk’s TradeBlock division. The idea is that investors can allocate money toward DeFi without having to buy the tokens directly.
The Grayscale DeFi Fund provides exposure to a selection of industry-leading DeFi protocols through a market-capitalization weighted portfolio.”
“The South China Morning Post (SCMP) has launched a non-fungible token (NFT) standard for recording historical records on the blockchain. The newspaper introduced “ARTIFACT,” a standardized model for recording accounts of history and historical assets on the blockchain as NFTs. The venture will harness “a few selected blockchains” the SCMP has yet to identify. The plan is for ARTIFACT to eventually be chain-agnostic.
The Post believes that factual accounts of history and authentic historical assets should be immutable, and that ownership of these digitised and tokenised assets, which are part of our collective human experience, should be decentralised.”
“On Sunday, difficulty fell by 4.8% at block 691,488, having declined by a record 28% on July 3. The difficulty rate now stands at an 18-month low of 13.67 trillion. That’s down 45% from the mid-May peak of 25.05 trillion. The network last recorded four consecutive declines in difficulty in 2011.
The dramatic decline in both the hashrate and difficulty could be a short-term phenomenon, as there is evidence that China-based miners shifting to the U.S. and Kazakhstan could soon become operational.
The last four adjustments have been downward, and it now looks like the blockchain is back to normal.”
“Tianjin released China’s first blockchain-based carbon offset certificate, days after the world’s second-largest economy launched its national carbon market.
The offset is built using AntChain, fintech giant Ant Group’s enterprise blockchain platform. Blockchain can make the issuance, trading, and audit of carbon offsets transparent and traceable, according to the report.
China aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, according to its latest Five-Year Plan. It is ramping up the use of green finance with green bonds and a national carbon market announced Friday.”