7 January

“In a zero-interest environment in traditional markets, banks may have a new friend in decentralized finance (DeFi). This is what institution-friendly DeFi initiative Aave Arc is offering, having now officially launched with the help of cryptocurrency custody firm Fireblocks, plus a “whitelist” of 30 licensed trading firms.

Aave Arc could usher in a new era of bank-friendly DeFi.

Looking ahead, Kulechov predicts permissioned and unpermissioned DeFi will likely exist in parallel, adding that there’s been “enormous” interest in Aave Arc from institutions, including banks. Enabling institutional access to DeFi could unlock a trillion-dollar opportunity over the next half decade.

See Also: Arab Bank Switzerland Is Quietly Getting Into DeFi

“Shares of GameStop (GME), the original meme stock that stoked retail investor frenzy in buying highly volatile stocks last January, surged as much as 31% in after-market trading Thursday after the Wall Street Journal reported that the company is launching a division to build a marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFT) and to establish cryptocurrency partnerships.

GameStop’s plan calls for it to build an online hub for buying, selling and trading NFTs of virtual video-game goods such as avatar outfits and weapons. The company has hired more than 20 people for the division.

Prices for loopring (LRC), the native token of layer 2 protocol Loopring, spiked about 15% on the news. There have been rumors that Loopring is one of the crypto companies that is working with GameStop on its NFT marketplace. In October, GameStop said it was looking to build an Ethereum-based Web 3 arm.”

See Also: Castlevania’s Konami Is Latest Video Game Giant to Jump Into Ethereum NFTs
See Also: Drone Racing League Zooms Into Metaverse, Bringing ‘Play to Earn’ to Algorand

Named after Samsung’s flagship 837 store in New York, the Samsung 837X virtual store will open for business for a limited time from today. Decentraland users will be invited to explore an “experiential playground” and earn NFT rewards by completing quests.

The metaverse experience will consist of three areas, the Connectivity Theater (which showcases news from Samsung’s stage at CES 2022), the Sustainability Forest, which comprises a “journey through millions of trees” to mark the company’s sustainability initiatives, and the Customization Stage.

The latter will showcase a live in-metaverse dance party hosted by DJ Gamma Vibes from the physical 837 store, with NFT badge holders entered into a raffle to win Samsung-branded swag for their Decentraland avatars.

The metaverse empowers us to transcend physical and spatial limits to create unique virtual experiences that could not happen otherwise.”

See Also: Australian Open Apes Into Tennis NFTs and Decentraland, Too
See Also: Blockchain and the metaverse make inroads at Consumer Electronics Show

The U.S. Congress is preparing an hearing to examine the environmental impact of crypto mining, especially on the Bitcoin network. The date and witness list for the hearing are still undetermined, but it could take place as early as the end of January.

In December, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to New York-based miner Greenidge’s CEO, expressing concerns about the firm’s environmental impact. That was followed by a New York Times article that relayed concerns surrounding the increased mining in the state. These “recent events in New York state” have raised the alarm over crypto mining with the House Energy and Commerce Committee.”

See Also: Kazakh government resigns, shuts down internet amid protests, causing Bitcoin network hash rate to tumble 13.4%

The crypto developer ecosystem has notched all-time highs in multiple metrics including monthly active developers and highest number of new developers in a calendar year. It’s a robust sign of health and growth for the industry as a whole.

The developer ecosystem, we’ve always thought it was the leading indicator. The engineers are closest to whether or not there’s real value, and this many people coming in, playing with it, is a good sign.

A key population leading the surge is developers working on top of smart contract platforms such as Ethereum and Solana. 65% of all developers working in Web 3 joined the ecosystem in 2021, and 2,500 developers are working on decentralized finance (DeFi) in particular.

While Ethereum comfortably leads all blockchains with 4,000 monthly active developers, Solana in particular has “broken out” with almost a 5x multiple to just under 900 monthly active developers. In total, 10 different smart contract platforms now have over 250 monthly active developers.

One of the takeaways for me is that it’s really impressive that Ethereum had this growth trajectory. The ecosystem was so much smaller – in terms of the absolute number of developers, it’s so impressive Ethereum could do this.”

See Also: Crypto Browser Brave Passes 50M Monthly Active Users

The January edition of Bloomberg’s Crypto Outlook described the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise interest rates in 2022 as a possible “win-win scenario for Bitcoin [versus] the stock market.” The reasons stem from the fact that the S&P 500 Index is currently the most overextended above its 60-month moving average in over two decades and that Bitcoin is seeing growing mainstream appeal as an inflation hedge.

Stretched markets have become common, but commodities and Bitcoin appear to be early reversion leaders. It’s a question of bull-market duration, and we see the benchmark crypto coming out ahead.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s December policy meeting revealed on Wednesday that central bankers are ready to aggressively curb their stimulus support more quickly than previously expected. The plan, at least for now, includes three interest rate hikes in 2022 accompanied by a reduction in the Fed’s balance sheet, which currently stands at nearly $8.3 trillion in Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities.”

See Also: Bitcoin Falls to 1-Month Low as Fed Minutes Reveal Talks to Shrink Balance Sheet
See Also: Bitcoin Falls Below $43K, Leads to $800M in Crypto Liquidations
See Also: Here’s why Bitcoin traders say a drop to $38K is the worst case scenario

WeChat users now have the option to pay using China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) via a new access point in the messaging app’s payment service. They must, however, have already verified their identity using the digital yuan wallet app, or “e-CNY” app.

The Tencent-developed WeChat is the dominant instant-messaging app in mainland China with over a billion users.”