Coinbase Pro Lists Tether as USDT Supply Approaches 50 Billion

In an announcement on April 23, Coinbase Pro stated that it had enabled trading for the Tether stablecoin. The move is huge news as previously the leading exchange would only support its own native stablecoin, USDC.

The announcement added that support for USDT will generally be available in Coinbase’s supported jurisdictions, with the exception of New York State. The only version of USDT available will be the Ethereum ERC-20 standard.

Trading will begin on or after 6 PM Pacific Time Monday, April 26, if liquidity conditions are met, it added. The following pairs will be available: BTC/USDT, ETH/USDT, USDT/EUR, USDT/GBP, USDT/USD, and USDT/USDC.

Tether is not available on the regular Coinbase exchange yet and is limited to the Pro version which is more suited to professional and institutional traders.

Tether Supply Surges

The move comes as Tether’s circulating supply approaches a milestone all-time high of 50 billion. According to the Tether Transparency report, there are currently 49.58 billion USDT in circulation.

Of that total, almost half of it, or 24.4 billion is based on Ethereum while the majority of the remainder, almost 26 billion is circulating on the Tron network.

Since the beginning of 2021, the total supply of Tether has increased by 137% outlining the surge in demand for stablecoins in DeFi related activities.

Comparatively, there is currently 13.4 billion USDC in circulation according to the company that owns it, Circle. It has had an even greater increase this year with 244% since January 1.

The third-largest stablecoin is Binance USD which currently has a circulation of 7 billion according to Coingecko. The surge in supply for BUSD this year has been even greater at over 600%, largely driven by Binance Smart Chain and DeFi yield farms on PancakeSwap.

Crypto Market Correction Deepens

Cryptocurrency markets are currently correcting hard with a decline in total market capitalization of 20% from its all-time high of $2.3 trillion on April 16. Over the past 24 hours, $280 billion has left the space as Bitcoin and its brethren continue to pull back.

According to Coingecko, BTC prices have slumped 9.4% on the day dropping below $50K for the first time since March 7. It has now formed a lower low since the previous correction which could be a sign of a major trend reversal.

Synthetic FAANG stocks are trading in DeFi — but do gas fees make them uncompetitive?

Sky high gas prices may make synths more costly than the real thing.

Decentralized finance protocol Kwenta has launched a series of synthetic tokens for popular stocks — but current gas prices could make trading them more expensive than buying the real thing.

In a blog post on April 23, derivatives trading protocol Kwenta —an Ethereum dApp which is powered by Synthetix — announced the listing of various synths that track the prices of stocks from the top five tech firms known by the acronym FAANG. These comprise Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. Tesla was already available and there are plans to soon add Microsoft (MSFT) and Coinbase (COIN).

The Mirror Protocol on Terra blockchain has a similar setup offering a range of synthetic tokens based on tech stocks, as well as a FAANG index token. Tokenized stocks were first made available on the FTX derivatives exchange and can now be traded on other major platforms such as Binance, however synthetic tokens enable these stocks (or something similar) to be traded in DeFi.

Synthetic digital assets are tokenized versions of real world assets such as stocks, commodities, and indexes — they can also include physical assets such as real estate or vehicles. Their prices follow those of the real world assets, tracked by price oracles, allowing investors to gain exposure to them. The additional appeal is that anyone anywhere can trade them without having to jump through regulatory hoops associated with U.S. stock exchanges.

Synths were popularized by the DeFi protocol Synthetix which allows users to create their own synthetic assets providing there is underlying crypto collateral. The newly listed FAANG synths can be used for liquidity provision in pools provided by Balancer.

In the April 23 edition of DeFi newsletter ‘Bankless’, UMA Protocol founder Hart Lambur (another synthetic asset platform) compared synths to alchemy, adding that they enable anyone to create a financial asset for anything.

“In the same way YouTube allowed new forms of long tail video content to flourish, […] synthetic assets will enable new types of financial products we haven't even imagined yet.”

There is one underlying problem, however, especially with platforms based on Ethereum Layer 1. According to Bitinfocharts, the average transaction cost on Ethereum spiked to its second highest level on Tuesday, April 20, hitting $30.

Etherscan is currently reporting three-figure gas prices in USD for more complex DeFi activities such as swapping tokens on Uniswap. This could make investing in the new FAANG synths more costly than buying the actual stock and paying brokerage fees.

Fortunately, Synthetix is among a number of DeFi protocols implementing Layer 2 scaling solutions. It is currently in the process of migrating the exchange to rollup technology from Ethereum scaling solutions provider, Optimistic Ethereum. Owing to delays in the launch of Optimism mainnet, this is not expected until July 2021.

PancakeSwap Transactions Tops Ethereum But BSC Feels The Strain

There has been no denying the surge in popularity for the largest platform running on Binance’s Ethereum rivaling blockchain. PancakeSwap continues to pull in new DeFi users and those that are making smaller transactions.

A Dappradar report on April 21 stated that the DEX has now surpassed the entire Ethereum network for transactions in a 24 hour period.

“According to data from BSC Scan PancakeSwap had over 2 million transactions compared to Ethereum’s 1.55 million in the last 24-hours.”

BSCscan also reports that the blockchain has also reached a record of 9 million transactions per day. The same chart on Etherscan for Ethereum also shows a record, but just 1.5 million per day as of April 21.

The report attributed some of this momentum to Safemoon, a BEP-20 token listed on PancakeSwap. It added that this is the latest meme coin making noise on social channels, gathering over a quarter of a million followers on Twitter in less than a month.

“Some are even labeling it ‘The new DOGE’ [ …] Fundamentally these meme coins are giving people with very small investment pots, in some cases below $50 a chance to invest, participate, and potentially earn.”

Binance Smart Chain Under Pressure

All of this activity does not come without its downsides. Binance has touted BSC as an ‘Ethereum killer’ but it too will feel the strain under high demand if the entire infrastructure has not been designed to handle it.

On April 20, PancakeSwap responded to a number of user complaints about failed transactions and general errors stating that there was an all-time high number of users on the platform and “BSC was overloaded,”

BSCscan has also reported a record surge in daily gas used to pay for transactions. April 21 was the highest ever figure of 1.3 million, a surge of 285% since the beginning of the month.

Research suggests that BSC could go the way of EOS if it does not take steps to upgrade computing power, storage, and availability to keep up with the increase in demand.

ETH Shrugs Off Correction

Ethereum may be lagging behind BSC in terms of transactions, but it has shrugged off this latest correction, gaining 5.4% on the day to trade at $2,430 at the time of writing according to CoinGecko. Bitcoin, conversely, continues to slide dropping another 2.4% since the same time yesterday.

CAKE and BNB are also in decline over the past 24 hours dropping 3.2% and 6.6% respectively.

First Digital Trust announces $2.15M funding for Asian digital payments service

The funding will be used to develop debit and credit card payment rails in Asia.

Digital asset custodian First Digital Trust has secured funding to bring crypto asset payment services and upgrades to the Asia Pacific region.

The Hong Kong-headquartered company has raised $2.15 million in a convertible note funding round led by private investors including Asian venture studio Nogle. The total funding for the firm is now over $5.2 million according to Crunchbase which reported two prior funding rounds.

The firm stated that the funding will allow it to launch the first debit and credit card rail that will enable its digital assert clients to accept card payments seamlessly. Companies will be able to accept digital assets for payments in more than 100 currencies and offer instant settlement, custody and compliance using a simple widget.

FDT is Asia’s only qualified custodian and trustee capable of holding both traditional and digital assets.

CEO of First Digital Trust, Vincent Chok, stated that many firms have lost business due to the high-level minimum requirements and financial burdens associated with integrating credit and debit services with digital assets.

“Our mission is to open the gateway for open banking in Asia through regulated and compliant payment solutions.”

The announcement noted that in the West, companies such as MasterCard, PayPal, and Coinbase have spearheaded digital asset custody and open banking infrastructure upgrades whereas, in the East, fintech firms have been forced to jump through a variety of regulatory hoops, strike costly individual agreements with financial providers, or build their own infrastructure.

This is despite the fact that crypto trading and digital activity in Asia equivalent to the US and Europe combined. As reported by Cointelegraph in late January, the region accounts for almost half of global crypto trading.

The third round of fundraising this year follows the integration of Fireblocks, a leading enterprise-grade platform delivering a secure digital asset storage infrastructure. On March 18, Fireblocks secured a $133 million investment round led by America’s oldest bank, BNY Mellon.

FDT’s instant settlement technology, security and payment rail infrastructure, and compliance technology will be available to token issuers, payments providers, crypto exchanges, asset managers, banks, and brokers across the Asia Pacific region.

Peter Brandt: ‘Laser eyes’ to blame for Bitcoin correction — but it’s ‘very mild’ anyway

Bitcoin has corrected 17% so far and could have further to go. But it should be OK.

Veteran trader and chart guru Peter Brandt has made a cheeky correlation between the current Bitcoin market correction and the prevalence of ‘laser eyes’ on Twitter.

In a tweet on April 18, the technical analyst tied the correction to irrational exuberance in markets as exemplified by the meme:

“The chances of a correction in cryptos is directly related to the prevalence of laser eyes on Twitter. Want the correction to end? Get rid of your laser eyes.”

The laser eyes meme that initially swept across crypto social media in February 2021 saw crypto influencers, industry leaders, and regular users change their Twitter profile pictures to include laser eyes. The fad was to signify support for Bitcoin’s price surging until it hit $100K.

Coincidentally, it also roughly coincided with a local top for Bitcoin prices which reached $57,800 on Feb. 21 before correcting 25% to bottom out at $43,500 a week later.

In this week’s dip Bitcoin has corrected from its recent all-time high of $64,600 on April 14 to current prices of $53,600 — a move of 17% at the time of writing.

However Brandt’s actually not all that concerned about the pullback. Brandt’s draw down figures put the current correction closer to 20% which he claims is “very mild historically”. In an April 20 tweet he said there is a strong history of Bitcoin bull trends to test the 18 week moving average which was at $46,615 at the time. This would entail a much larger correction of around 28%.

The average correction magnitude from the past 14 retracements is around 35% according to Brandt’s data. A fall to this level would send BTC prices tumbling back to $42,000.

Other analysts have also pointed to the historical record as a reason not to worry. ‘Rekt Capital’ tweeted that the February dip was three times deeper than this week's dip:

Brandt explained his 'laser eyes' theory in interview with crypto researcher Laura Shin on April 13, stating that over-enthusiasm in any market is always a warning sign:

“The more people put the laser eyes, you know at least the market’s going to get choppy for a while and stop going straight up… When people start pounding their chest in public, ‘I own Bitcoin. I own Bitcoin. Look at me. I have laser eyes.’ That’s always going to be a sign that the market is at least going to take a rest.”

At the time of writing, BTC is trading down 5% over the past 24 hours at $53,600.

Uniswap deploys V3 contracts to four Ethereum testnets

The world’s leading DEX has taken a big step toward launching its third iteration by deploying its contracts to all four of Ethereum’s testnets.

Leading decentralized exchange Uniswap has taken a step closer to launching its highly anticipated “V3” iteration, announcing the successful deployment of V3’s smart contracts to all Ethereum test networks.

In an April 21 announcement, Uniswap Labs confirmed that the protocol’s V3 core and periphery smart contracts have been deployed to all major Ethereum testnets — Ropsten, Rinkeby, Kovan, and Goerli.

The testnet addresses were posted to Github, with Uniswap reminding users that the addresses are not final and will be changed as the team makes final updates to the periphery repository. Version three’s core contracts have also been deployed to GitHub.

A bug bounty was started on March 23 offering rewards of up to $500,000 for the discovery of high severity bugs in V3’s contracts. According to the official announcement, Uniswap v3 is expected to launch to mainnet on May 5.

Uniswap has taken a path of capital efficiency for its next upgrade which may complicate the passive income aspect of liquidity provision for many casual DeFi investors.

Some of the upgrades in the next iteration include multiple fee tiers which allowing liquidity providers to be compensated for taking on varying degrees of risk. There are also upgrades to the automated market maker bonding curves, which aggregate individual positions into a single pool to form one combined curve for users to trade against.

Uniswap V3 offers three separate fee tiers per pair according to expected pair volatility — 0.05%, 0.30%, and 1.00% — offering greater protection against impermanent loss to liquidity providers.

Despite the high Ethereum network fees, which are currently around $67.86 on average for a token swap on Uniswap according to Etherscan, the DEX continues to attract high trading volumes.

On April 20, Uniswap founder Hayden Adams posted that the platform had reached the milestone of $10 billion in weekly trading volume for the first time,

At the time of writing, the DEX’s native UNI token was trading 6.8% higher over the past 24 hours according to CoinGecko. UNI tokens were changing hands for a shade under $32, but down from their April 15 all-time high of $39.20.

Dogecoin Disappoints With 32% Dump After ‘DOGE Day’

Granted, Dogecoin did crank to an all-time high yesterday hitting $0.418 for the first time ever as fans pumped the meme-flavored token amid a flurry of hysteria.

However, since that giddy peak DOGE slumped almost 32% to hit an intraday low of $0.285 in early trading on Wednesday, April 21 according to Coingecko.

Dogecoin price
DOGE/USD – Coingecko.com

Since then, the token has managed to recover slightly to trade at $0.340 at the time of writing. The big dump was inevitable following the token’s hype-fuelled pump of 250% over the past week.

DOGE is currently holding sixth in the market cap charts with $43 billion according to Coingecko.

More Meme Power

As reported by CryptoPotato, April 20 was designated ‘DOGE Day’ following the initiation of DOGE-themed campaigns by community members on Twitter and Reddit. The trend spread outside of crypto circles and even confectionary brands Snickers and Milky Way joined the craze.

There has also been no shortage of surreptitious comments from Elon Musk over the past year which has added to the token’s momentum and speculator properties.

DOGE Day has been so large that mainstream media even picked it up with CNBC reporting that the joke coin has made “out of this world gains this year”.

According to CNBC, crypto bull and Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz stated that Dogecoin speaks to a lot of the same movement GME did. In late January Reddit group, ‘wallstreetbets’ pumped the GameStop stock off the chart as a buying frenzy mounted.

“There is a crazy excitement around very young investors around meme coins and meme ideas. It’s shocking to me $GME continues to hold any value.”

The goal among those pumping DOGE was to get it to a dollar, however, they fell short by $0.58.

Crypto trader KALEO predicted the massive pump and dump for DOGE but profited handsomely from the hype and FOMO.

Delusional Dogecoin

DOGE is currently holding sixth in the market cap charts with $43 billion according to Coingecko. This puts the token that was created as a joke above solid real-world blockchain networks Cardano and Polkadot.

Crypto influencer ‘Ivy’ summed up some of the recent events in a tweet on the now infamous day:

“Just saw several tik toks post about $DOGE going up to $100 …. that’s over $12 TRILLION  which is over 12x $btc current cap. Good lord what are you guys smoking on 4/20”

Hegic Protocol announces ‘gradual’ governance launch for long-term users

Hegic will reward long-term traders, LPs, hodlers, and Discord users with its forthcoming governance token.

Decentralized finance protocol Hegic has announced a soft governance launch designed to reward its long-term users.

According to an April 19 announcement, Hegic intends to reward its most loyal users with its new gHEGIC governance token, straying from the public airdrops and yield farming campaigns that have become a popular means to distribute governance in the DeFi sector.

Users hodling gHEGIC will be able to vote in future Hegic Improvement Proposals.

Hegic is a decentralized on-chain derivatives protocol that allows users to purchase call and put options to speculate on Ethereum and Wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC). Users can provide liquidity to the protocol by selling options to buyers, earning a share of premiums paid to the pools.

“With the soft launch of Hegic governance, the most active and long-term oriented users of Hegic will own the protocol in terms of their influence on its future.”

Users who meet specific criteria will be able to participate in Hegic governance, including traders who purchase four or more options contracts acquired since the launch of Hegic v888, and liquidity providers who have provided at least 1 ETH or 0.05 wBTC to pools for more than 100 days without withdrawing.

Additionally, Hegic initial bonding curve offering, or ICBO, participants who have not sold a single HEGIC token since the incentive was launched in September 2020 will receive the governance tokens, as will the project’s most active members on Discord.

In addition to being eligible to receive the protocol’s forthcoming governance tokens, traders and LPs who qualify for governance will have the opportunity to receive $500 worth of HEGIC in exchange for providing feedback about the platform.

Minting and distribution of the governance token is currently slated to begin on May 1.

The beta version of the protocol, dubbed Hegic v888, was launched in October 2020, and has since gained significant traction.

The first quarter of 2021 saw 1,368 individual traders purchase 3,200 ETH options and 1,500 wBTC options worth a cumulative volume of $291 million. The total value locked at the end of the quarter was $59 million, though it has since fallen to $57 million according to DeFi Llama.

At the time of writing, HEGIC tokens were trading up 3.2% over the past 24 hours at $0.175, according to Coingecko.

MakerDAO moves to expand collateral assets and upgrade liquidation engine

The new liquidation engine has been designed to offer Maker’s users greater predictability and security.

Decentralized lending and stablecoin protocol MakerDAO has opened governance voting to allow new tokens as collateral.

A number of new collateral types have been proposed for MakerDAO, potentially increasing the number of digital assets that can now be used to mint its stablecoin, DAI. Voting began on April 19 and will run for fourteen days.

Seven tokens have been suggested as collateral for the Maker, including Moss Carbon Credit (MCO2), Rocket Pool’s staked Ethereum (rETH), the 1inch decentralized exchange token (1INCH), and the BadgerDAO Sett token (bBADGER).

Three liquidity provider, or LP, tokens are also being voted on as prospective collateral, including SushiSwap’s DAI/USDC LP token, Uniswap’s DAI-PAX LP token, and Uniswap’s GUSD-DAI LP token.

If approved, these assets will be able to be deposited as collateral to back the creation of new DAI.

The MakerDAO community is also conducting a governance vote on a proposed upgrade to its liquidation system, dubbed MIP-45. Liquidations are executed by Maker to maintain DAI’s peg to the U.S. dollar by ensuring that all stable tokens generated using Maker’s vaults are sufficiently backed by collateral, the ratio of which varies depending on the asset.

The protocol has been working on an upgrade for the past year in response to the ‘Black Thursday crash in March 2020 that saw millions worth of users’ collateral liquidated after the price of Ethereum crashed by roughly 50% in 30 hours.

Maker describes the new liquidation engine as increasing the predictability and security of the protocol:

“Functionally, the new Liquidations system will provide greater security, predictability, and decentralization, facilitating wider participation by the Maker community and DeFi sector as a whole.”

Several modifications will be made to its smart contracts should the proposal pass, including an increase of the ‘Emergency Shutdown Threshold’ from 50K to 75K MKR. The mechanism is a crucial security feature that allows the system to shut down and make underlying collateral available for redemption by Dai and vault owners.

Other proposed modifications include improvements to the auction model for the liquidation of vault collateral, DeFi aggregator integration to allow greater competition between bidders, and access to more of the market’s liquidity and flash loan support.

At the time of writing, almost 26,000 MKR had been pledged in support of the proposal. As reported by Cointepegraph, MKR prices topped $4,000 in mid-April.

According to CoinGecko, the amount of Dai in circulation has surged almost 200% since the beginning of the year to 3.4 billion.

Cardano and Polkadot extend staked capitalization dominance

While Cardano and Polkadot are extending their staking dominance, Tezos has plummeted from the top ten by staked capitalization.

The stakes have been upped for Cardano and Polkadot, with the two networks continuing to dominate the staked capitalization rankings.

According to data from StakingRewards, Cardano is currently the top blockchain in terms of staked value, with roughly $26.4 billion worth of ADA allocated to securing the network. With Cardano’s entire capitalization tagging $36.6 billion, 73% of circulating ADA are being staked.

StakingRewards estimates Cardano stakers are earning an annual reward of 7.22%.

The second-largest crypto asset by staked value is Polkadot with $22.7 billion worth of DOT locked — representing 64% of its circulating supply. Average annual staking rewards for DOT are estimated at more than 13%.

Cardano and Polkadot currently represent 7.9% of the $620.6 billion in crypto assets currently designated for staking across the crypto asset sector combined.

While Polkadot and Cardano have long-dominated the staking sector by locked value, other leading assets have experienced notable disruptions to their rankings recently.

Solana has now surpassed Eth2 to take the third spot for staked capitalization, with $9.4 billion with in capital staked. SOL staking and validation require the asset to be time-locked up and taken out of circulation which may explain the discrepancy, explaining why its staked capitalization exceeds its roughly $8 billion market cap. SOL stakers are generating 11% annually.

Top ten staking assets by staked capitalization: StakingRewards

The once king of staking, Tezos, has dropped way down to the eleventh spot with a staked capitalization of $3.5 billion yielding 5.5% per annum. In mid-December 2020, Tezos was ranked fourth according to a Cointelegraph report at the time.

In terms of overall capitalization, XTZ has slumped from the top ten to rank 35th according to Coingecko.

Eth2 currently ranks as the fourth-largest staked asset with $8.2 billion. According to the ETH 2.0 launchpad, there are 3.9 million ETH locked into the Beacon Chain deposit contract. However, just 3.4% of circulating Ether has been allocated to staking, suggesting there is still significant room of Eth2’s staking cap to grow.

While ETH stakers are currently earning more than 7% annually, Ethereum’s forthcoming chain merge is expected to significantly boost rewards as stakers begin collecting fees from the Ethereum Virtual Machine, or EVM.

Eth2 researcher, Justin Drake, predicts staking rewards will at least double with the chain merge, estimating rewards could jump to 25% per year.

The remaining networks inhabiting the top ten rankings for staked capitalization are Avalanche, Algorand, USDC, Terra, Binance Smart Chain, and Tron.

Derivatives Flush Out Excess Leverage From Bitcoin Markets

According to on-chain analytics provider Glassnode, it is customary for Bitcoin markets to flush out excess leverage and that is exactly what has happened over the past few days.

A large number of traders increased their leverage exposure in anticipation of the Coinbase direct listing last week. This increase the risk of a long squeeze and cascading liquidations had built up in the system, pushing the price of BTC to an all-time high of $64,900 on April 14.

The report noted that Open Interest across derivatives exchanges also reached a new all-time high of $27.4 billion before almost $5 billion in futures contracts were closed out by the end of the weekend.

Liquidating the Leverage

Glassnode observed that long liquidations across major exchanges offering derivatives such as Binance, BitMEX and OKEx peaked at $1.85 billion, almost twice as much as the previous liquidation high set on Feb 22.

“What is notable is how quickly Bitcoin market derivatives clear excessive leverage, with this entire liquidation event settling and clearing within a one hour window.”

It added that the funding rate for perpetual swap contracts fell into negative territory, hitting a new cycle low for this bull market. When the funding rate, which is a mechanism derivatives exchanges use to achieve balance, turns negative it means the majority of the market is short-selling Bitcoin, which suggests an increase in fearful sentiment. The report added:

“Previous instances of futures funding rates resetting to zero, or going slightly negative, have indicated a significant flush of leverage has occurred, and is often constructive for price in the weeks that follow.”

Analysts have suggested that a power outage and resultant hash rate crash have also contributed to the rapid sell-off. It is likely that a combination of factors caused a cascade effect as stop losses were triggered for day traders.

Bitcoin Price Update

Bitcoin prices have continued to decline but at a much slower pace suggesting that the leverage flush has returned markets to their normal state.

At the time of press, BTC was trading down 3.7% on the day at $55,400 according to Tradingview. It has been in retreat since last week’s ATH and a fourth correction appears to be forming with BTC hovering around the 50-day moving average.

The next area to watch on the downside is the last low from the previous correction which was $50,500 whereas resistance on the upside has now formed at $58,000.

Nasdaq to launch options trading for Coinbase Global

Equity options for COIN stock are coming to Nasdaq today.

Less than one week after the largest crypto exchange in the U.S. was listed, Nasdaq is set to start trading options for Coinbase Global.

According to an April 19 Reuters report, a representative for Coinbase stated that the COIN.O options will start trading on Nasdaq on Tuesday, April 20.

The launch of equity options will offer a new way for investors to bet on the fortunes of Coinbase. Equity options represent the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a stock at a certain price, known as the strike price, on or before an expiration date.

The news follows Coinbase’s direct listing, which saw the firm's stock fluctuate between a valuation of $429.54 and $310 on its first day of trading.

Reuters estimates that Coinbase Chief Executive Brian Armstrong sold around $292 million in shares on COIN's first day of trading. According to filings made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Armstrong sold 749,999 shares in three batches at prices ranging from $381 to $410.40 per share for total proceeds of $291.8 million, however, this works out at less than 2% of his total holdings.

Cointelegraph reported that insiders dumped nearly $5 billion in COIN stock shortly after it was listed. Filings on the Coinbase Investor Relations website showed a total of 12,965,079 shares were sold by insiders, worth over $4.6 billion at COIN’s $344 share price at close on Friday.

Yahoo Finance reported the stock has slumped 22.5% from a high of $429.54 on April 14 to a current after-hours trading price of $332.75 where it appears to have settled after Monday’s trading session.

COIN market data - Yahoo Finance

On April 20, Coinbase Pro has announced that will add support for new trading pairs for Basic Attention Token (BAT), Cardano (ADA), Decentraland (MANA), and USDC from April 20. The four assets will be paired with three fiat currencies (USD, EUR, GBP), BTC, and ETH, with limited trading functionality to be made available while market liquidity is assessed at launch.

Did Power Outage and Bitcoin Hash Crash Cause Markets to Bleed?

Bitcoin dumped 12.5% in a matter of hours over the weekend sliding from $61,450 in late trading on Saturday to bottom out at $53,750 the following day according to Tradingview.

Monday morning Asian trading has seen the asset recover somewhat but analysts are looking at what may have caused the cascade that resulted in $10 billion in liquidations.

Some have suggested that rumors regarding the U.S. Treasury Department charging several financial organizations for laundering money with cryptocurrencies may have caused the crash. Others have looked on-chain to seek answers there and it appears that hash rates also plunged before the markets did.

Power Related Bitcoin Hash Crash

Analyst and chart guru Willy Woo noted that the single largest one-day drop in mining hash rate since November 2017 occurred on April 17. He added that the hash rate on the network essentially halved, causing mayhem in BTC price as it crashed.

The plunge was also recorded by Bitinfocharts which observed a fall from an almost peak average hash rate of 157.58 EH/s to 105.43 EH/s – its lowest level since December 2020.

Woo attributed the hash crash to a power outage in Xinjiang province, one of the dominant areas for Bitcoin mining operations. He added that this was known before the BTC price crash on the 18th, citing local news on the 15th.

He stated that 9,000 BTC was sent into Binance on April 16 in light of this news, adding:

“I’d note that Binance serves volume from Asia more than the West. It’s likely this was sent in from a whale with closer knowledge to happenings in China.”

Woo added that the selling pressure of these two events combined was enough to tip the price below liquidation levels around $59K which triggered a cascade of automatic sell-offs as stop losses were hit.

Strong holders bought into that dip which has since recovered around $4,000 since the bottom on Sunday.

Monday Morning Market Recovery

At the time of press, Bitcoin had recovered to $57,500 during Asian trading but a slight pullback saw the asset change hands at a little under $57,000 a few hours later.

Fundamentally, markets are still very strong and this minor on-chain blip wasn’t enough to rouse the bears. Over $10 billion has been added back into total market capitalization since the dip pushing it back over $2 trillion.

ASIC calls for closer engagement, but crypto industry says rules are unclear

Australia’s securities regulator wants crypto firms to work closely with it, but industry executives are unsure of their obligations.

The Australia Securities and Investments Commission, or ASIC, is urging local blockchain and crypto firms to engage with regulators to help them foster innovation in the region. 

Speaking at the Australia Blockchain conference on Monday, April 19, senior advisor of strategic intelligence at ASIC, Jonathan Hatch, emphasized the regulator is trying to build trust and collaborate with the crypto economy.

Panelist Kevin Saunders, the CIO of Monochrome Asset Management, stated that while the blockchain sector could do more to understand the ASIC regulatory framework, the commission needs to provide greater clarity as to the industry’s compliance obligations.

Saunders took aim at the opacity of existing regulations, characterizing the industry’s oversight as “too ephemeral for large institutions to engage with it”.

Commenting on the challenges in the sector, National Blockchain Roadmap Lead, Chloe White, agreed that it is challenging for industry stakeholders to keep up with the current regulatory environment.

CEO of digital financial agreements firm Lygon 1B, Justin Amos, added that regulators need to collaborate to support new technologies, rather than seek to stifle emerging industries with heavy-handed regulation.

The Australian government has already been supportive of blockchain projects, having made two grants of up to $3 million available to blockchain teams targeting minerals certification and excise taxation solutions in late March.

In November 2020, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced partnerships with the Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, financial services company Perpetual, and Ethereum software firm ConsenSys to explore the potential use of a wholesale central bank digital currency.

In January 2021, Cointelegraph predicted that Australia would be one of the first five nations to launch a CBDC due to its favorable blockchain environment.

AgeUSD to Launch as First Stablecoin on Cardano Network

Multinational blockchain technology company Emurgo initially announced the AgeUSD stablecoin in January 2021. The firm has since announced a partnership between the Ergo Foundation, Emurgo, and Charles Hoskinson’s Input-Output Global, the parent company of IOHK.

The AgeUSD stablecoin will be available on Cardano as soon as smart contract capabilities are launched on the blockchain, it revealed.

Do We Need Another Stablecoin?

Emurgo aims to prevent events like MakerDAO’s Black Thursday, which emerged through vulnerabilities in its Dai collateralization mechanism. A mass liquidation of the vast majority of Maker vaults resulted in around $4 million in Dai being under-collateralized at the time in March 2020.

AgeUSD’s so-called “Staticoin” protocol-inspired design does not rely on collateralized debt positions (CDPs).

“Thanks to its design, the scenario that happened on Black Thursday is not possible for the AgeUSD protocol. Without CDPs, we do not have liquidation events nor the requirement for users to perform transactions to ensure that the liquidations actually work properly,”

The stablecoin runs on the Ergo blockchain aiming to automate as much as possible within the mathematics of the protocol itself. Reserve providers pay Ergo’s native currency (ERG) to mint reserve coins representing the underlying collateral. Users of the stablecoin can also deposit ERG into the reserves to mint AgeUSD, it explained. This is only allowed by the protocol if there are enough reserves above its reserve ratio. Banks use a similar method to loan out funds.

The Cardano partnership will also enable its native token, ADA, to be used as collateral to mint reserves. However, the potential downside is that the stablecoin is only backed by these two assets, whereas Dai is backed by multiple cryptocurrencies.

AgeUSD will launch on Cardano when it rolls out the Alonzo update that ushers in Plutus-powered smart contracts. This is expected in the latter half of this year, according to the roadmap.

Cardano ADA Price Update

As the long-awaited update nears, ADA prices have been cranking to new highs, the most recent ATH being $1.55 on April 14. At the time of writing, ADA was trading up 2% on the day at $1.45, according to Coingecko.

It is the sixth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, which currently stands at $46 billion, and there are 32 billion tokens in circulation. The token was briefly flipped by Dogecoin but has regained its position in the charts below Tether.

Cardano Prepares for Plutus Powered Smart Contracts

Cardano has released more details on Plutus, it’s native programming language that will be used to write smart contracts after its next major upgrade, Alonzo.

In a blog post on April 13, IOHK – the firm behind Cardano – explained that Plutus contracts consist of parts that run on-chain and parts that run on a user’s machine off-chain.

It added that both parts are actually written in the Haskell programming language but are compiled by Plutus which provides the framework for smart contracts on Cardano.

Bitcoin Inspiration

Just like Bitcoin, Cardano uses the UTXO (unspent transaction output) model where the inputs are unspent outputs from previous transactions. However, the network has expanded upon this to employ an extended UTXO model (EUTXO) which offers unique advantages over other accounting models.

Without going too deep into the technicalities of it, the EUTXO model essentially allows the validity of transactions to be checked off-chain before the transaction is sent to the blockchain. This is in contrast to Ethereum Layer 1 which processes transactions all on-chain. Transaction execution costs can be also determined off-chain before transmission which is another unique feature.

Plutus Core will be used to define the parameters of these EUTXO transactions and compile the code developed for smart contracts. A Plutus Application Framework (PAF) will provide easy access to services and applications running on the network with full web browser interoperability.

“Applications written on top of the PAF automatically provide an HTTP and WebSocket interface that can be used to interact with the application from the web browser.”

Cardano launched native tokens in February’s ‘Mary’ upgrade to allow users to create uniquely defined custom tokens and carry out transactions with them. Plutus will expand on current token capabilities, vastly improving minting policies which will be beneficial for NFTs which may need time locks.

Cardano Alonzo Upgrade in Q3

Plutus is part of the Alonzo upgrade, a major upgrade stage on the Cardano roadmap which introduces smart contracts and the ability to build dapps. In an earlier blog post, the team hinted at a timeline:

“May and June will be a time for quality assurance and testing with users, which will be followed by a feature freeze lasting for four weeks. This will provide crypto exchanges and wallets with the time to upgrade and prepare for the Alonzo protocol update. We expect the Alonzo upgrade (hard fork) to happen in late summer,”

At the time of writing, Cardano’s native ADA token was trading down 2.3% on the day at $1.45 according to Coingecko. It hit an all-time high of $1.53 on Wednesday, April 14.

Bitcoin power consumption ‘66 times higher than in 2015’: Citigroup

However energy consumption has not matched the 170X price increase over the same period.

The Bitcoin energy consumption debate is heating up faster than the planet, with corporations facing pushback from the public and shareholders over Bitcoin investments.

According to a Citigroup Inc. report, Bitcoin is consuming 66 times more electricity than it did in 2015. It added that the carbon emissions associated with mining will likely face increasing scrutiny, according to Bloomberg.

This assertion is backed up by new research from Mastercard — which just released its own Carbon Calculator — that shows 54 percent of people believe that preserving the environment is more important now than it was pre-COVID-19.

Citigroup analysts also stated that:

“As the value of Bitcoin rises, so should its energy consumption.”

However, the network’s electricity usage is rising much more slowly than the price, which has risen by approximately 170 times over the same period.

The Citigroup report, citing numbers from the Cambridge University Center for Alternative Finance, stated that the global power demand by the Bitcoin network reached an annualized 143 terawatt-hours. This is about 4% higher than Argentina’s total electricity generation in 2019.

The Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI) currently estimates Bitcoin’s annual electricity consumption is currently somewhere between that of Sweden and Malaysia at 141.6 TWh per year.

The report suggested that China may crack down on mining due to environmental concerns:

“Mining and use of these ‘coins’ is undoubtedly energy-intensive and could face greater regulatory scrutiny as adoption expands, especially if the U.S. continues to scale its crypto footprint and market-leader China cracks down on Bitcoin mining if it adversely impacts its climate goals,”

Bitcoin’s environmental impact has been fiercely debated with many arguments about it either refuted or at least shown to be much more complicated than opponents suggest. In late March, Coin Metrics co-founder Nic Carter produced a well-researched rebuttal to some of these key claims.

In it, he stated that there is an abundance of energy in the four Chinese provinces that the majority of BTC mining occurs, and much of it is derived from solar, wind, and hydropower. Additionally, the Chinese government actually curtails or sequesters power by removing excess energy from the grid or public consumption, often to maintain price levels.

To maintain profits, miners will generally use the cheapest power available. There is an annual migration to Sichuan province to take advantage of cheap hydroelectric power during the rainy season. Studies suggest that between 39% and 76% of Bitcoin mining uses renewable energy.

ShapeShift Launches Decentralized Trading Through THORChain, RUNE at ATH

In an announcement on April 13, the Switzerland-based non-custodial crypto company stated that it was now fully integrated with THORChain, enabling users to trade native Bitcoin with Litecoin and Ethereum for the first time.

The move is a big deal because it is the first time a decentralized exchange has enabled crypto asset swaps across different blockchains without the need for bridging technology or custodian controlled wrapped tokens.

THORchain Crossing the Chains

THORchain launched its long-awaited MCCN, ‘multi-chain chaos net’ platform on Tuesday, April 13 amid a great deal of hype from the crypto community including ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees.

Less than a day before the launch, Voorhees stated that it would be a huge deal for crypto.

“Native cross-chain decentralized exchange. Never been done before. Arguably the biggest event in crypto this week, though it may not be obvious for a year or two.”

THORchain uses its own native token RUNE as collateral and an intermediary, so those wanting to trade BTC for ETH, for example, will have the trade go via RUNE yet the end-user will not notice.

The revolutionary platform has been in development for three years and yesterday’s launch could bring big improvements to the rapidly evolving DEX space.

Voorhees continued to extol its virtues:

“We saw the power of this technology and wanted to bring it to our users immediately. This is a continuation of our commitment to offer users an easy, self-custody platform for their decentralized trading needs.”

ShapeShift DEX users, including those making trades via the new THORChain integration, can also earn FOX Tokens with every trade which enables eligibility for other rewards on the platform.

FOX Pumps 45%, RUNE Hits ATH

ShapeShift’s FOX token exploded on the news, pumping 45% to reach an intraday high of $1.30. The exchange-based token has made 180% over the past month and hit an all-time high of $1.60 on April 6.

THORchain’s RUNE token has also been on fire, surging 19% on the day to hit an all-time high of $14.60 at the time of writing according to Coingecko.

RUNE has doubled in price over the past fortnight and pumped a monumental 1,150% since the beginning of the year.

Nifty News: Kevin Smith sells horror flick rights as NFT, Megadeth’s ETH, farming MEMEs …

MEME NFT farming platform launches the new and improved v2, Megadeth NFT nets $18K, and Kevin Smith tokenizes the rights to “Killroy Was Here”.

Filmmaker Kevin Smith is releasing his latest horror anthology “Killroy Was Here” as a non-fungible token. 

The owner of the NFT will secure the rights to exhibit, distribute, and stream the work, making it a revenue generator outside of just a resale. The filmmaker said on Twitter that: “Back in 1994, I took my first flick to Sundance to sell it. Now in 2021, I’m taking my new flick to CRYPTO to sell it!”

Smith, who will auction off his work on his independent crypto gallery ‘Jay and Silent Bob's Crypto Studio’, stated that crypto provides a new platform upon which to tell a story. On April 14 he tweeted:

“I believe whoever buys it will sell it to a streamer, at the very least. They’re buying an NFT that also grants them ownership of the physical media files for KILLROY WAS HERE — so in an effort to support any type of theatrical distribution,”

Smith is collaborating with media and technology company Semkhor to produce and distribute NFTs. The studio will host what it calls “Regular Drops” which are built around "Smokin' Tokens" commemorating different Jay and Silent Bob movies and the characters that starred in them.

Megadeth NFT nets 8.4 ETH

Big-4 metal band Megadeth has sold its first NFT which went for 8.4 ETH, or approximately $18,000 at the time. The piece, dubbed "Vic Rattlehead: Genesis", features the band’s logo and the iconic mascot revolving in opposite directions for six seconds.

The NFT was sold on the Rarible marketplace where it started out priced at just 0.15 ETH. However, just 20% of the proceeds of the sale went to the band, with Rarible netting the rest.

Megadeth are not the first heavy band to jump on the NFT bandwagon. Slipknot percussionist M. Shawn “Clown” Crahan sold his first NFT earlier this month for 6.3 ETH, or around $14K at the time.

The one-off piece was an image of the original logo from Knotfest’s Electric Theatre that sees insects flying out of his mouth.

MEME farm v2

The long-awaited second iteration of NFT farming platform MEME has finally launched ushering in a number of feature improvements. In an announcement on April 13, the non-fungible token farming platform revealed that v2 had gone live. Version two has been rebuilt from the ground up in order to scale and meet the increasing demand for the platform, it added.

Improvements to the time taken for content to arrive on the platform have been made and there has been an upgrade to the user interface. It added that further layer 2 scaling improvements will be included in future releases in addition to content from renowned digital artist Beeple:

“In the coming weeks, we’ll see Beeple, and future versions of the platform that innovate on our tokenomics and other types of drop mechanics,”

In the eight months since its initial launch, MEME has made some remarkable achievements. These include attracting over 30 artists and creators and 6,700 NFT holders to the platform which has a reported total value locked of $25 million.

NFT news you may have missed

As reported by Cointelegraph, the U.S. Postal Service will soon be stepping into the NFT market in order to help customers purchase postage. In an announcement on April 13, e-postage provider CaseMail stated that the USPS had certified its postage as NFTs, for use by legal professionals and government agencies initially.

Baseball card maker Topps also announced that it would be launching a NFT collection in partnership with Major League Baseball and MLB Players Inc.

On April 13, the New York Stock Exchange also jumped on the bandwagon by minting NFTs celebrating the first trade made in the shares of prominent United State companies.

Exodus Wallet raises almost $60M in crypto in regulated offering

Exodus’ claimed record share sale is set to be shattered by Coinbase later today.

Crypto wallet provider Exodus has raised more than $59 million in just five days as investors flocked to participate in the public offering.

Exodus Movement, Inc., a firm based in Delaware, began selling stock on April 8 in a sale that was approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The shares were listed for $27.42 apiece with a maximum investment of 2,733,229 shares.

According to an April 12 report, the offering will close once the maximum offering amount of $75 million has been reached. The crypto wallet company is already 80% towards reaching that target with participation from over 4,000 investors.

The firm noted that the majority of the investment has come from retail traders or non-accredited investors with just 8% of the total coming from accredited investors.

The Regulation A sale allowed the firm to reach beyond deep-pocketed investors and offer participation to those often left out of securities sales. However, the sale was only available to U.S.-based investors excluding the states of Arizona, Texas, and Florida.

Exodus accepted payments in crypto only using Bitcoin, Ethereum, or USDC instead of accepting fiat.

Exodus is currently exploring partnerships with alternative trading systems (ATS) that could potentially expand the availability of the shares. The firm intends to make the Class A common stock available for trading on several platforms including tZERO within nine months of this offering, the report added.

tZERO is a SEC-compliant security token trading platform and a subsidiary of Medici Ventures, which itself is a subsidiary of online retailer Overstock.

The multi-asset software wallet provider claims to have completed the largest regulated crypto offering to date, however, that accolade isn’t likely to last the day.

Coinbase is due to list its stock on the Nasdaq stock exchange just hours from now, which will no doubt be the largest crypto offering ever. Valuations for the company once it goes public have been between $60 billion and $140 billion, and sentiment has been overwhelmingly positive from both the crypto and traditional financial markets.

The biggest event in crypto this week ISN’T Coinbase’s IPO: Erik Voorhees

The first truly native cross-chain DEX is about to go live.

ShapeShift CEO and crypto industry stalwart, Erik Voorhees, has suggested the launch of Thorchain is arguably the biggest event in crypto this week.

And considering all eyes in crypto are on the direct listing of major US exchange Coinbase on the Nasdaq on Wednesday — with a potential valuation of $140 billion according to the FTX derivatives exchange — that’s a pretty big claim.

Thorchain’s launch is scheduled for Tuesday, April 13, and will mark the first time that native crypto assets can be traded on a DEX across unique blockchains without bridging technology or wrapping tokens.

In an April 12 tweet, Voorhees asserted that the launch of a native cross-chain decentralized exchange (DEX) will tread new ground for crypto.

“Thorchain has no bridges. It has no wrapping. It is native assets, swapped across chains in a decentralized way, for the first time ever,” Voorhees exclaimed.

Thorchain will host launch party on social platform Clubhouse on Tuesday at 18.00 EST. The event will be attended by some of the biggest names in crypto, including Voorhees and several ShapeShift executives, Multicoin Capital managing partner Tushar Jain, Delphi Digital co-founder Yan Liberman, and several others.

The DEX will initially host pairings for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Binance Coin pairings, with plans to support other crypto assets in future.

Thorchain operates like other automated market makers such as Uniswap, but with the important distinction that it enables the trading and swapping of crypto assets from completely different blockchains and networks.

Thorchain is based on the Tendermint consensus protocol which is also associated with the Cosmos ecosystem. The exchange is backed by its native token RUNE, which acts as collateral to facilitate trades.

Assets are supported by the protocol when blockchains get added to Thorchain's cross-chain network, called “chaosnet.” Chaosnet allows assets to be swapped without relying on third-party intermediaries such as the custodians of wrapped versions of BTC, for example.

To swap BTC for ETH, for example, the exchange would trade the BTC for RUNE, which is then swapped for ETH. This is all carried out at high speed to ensure the user is not impacted by the intermediary trade.

There has been increased demand for cross-chain solutions, especially from the DeFi sector. On April 8, Cointelegraph reported that cross-chain asset bridge and application hub ChainSwap had closed a $3-million strategic funding round led by Alameda Research.

Thorchain is also developing a native wallet called Asgard X which will be built to interact directly with the “chaosnet,” allowing the tokens of unique blockchains to be held by a single wallet.

The platform’s native token, RUNE, has been on fire recently, surging 13% over the past 24 hours to reach an all-time high of $12.65, according to Coingecko.

‘Rick Astley’ Hodlers Keep Bitcoin Prices Above $60K

Bitcoin market momentum is being buoyed up by the upcoming Coinbase IPO on April 14 among other things. The latest report from on-chain analytics provider Glassnode has reported that additional momentum has come from Grayscale’s intent to convert its Bitcoin Trust into an exchange-traded fund (EFT).

Analyst Willy Woo has coined new terminology for Bitcoin holders, labeling them as ‘Rick Astely buyers’ after the British singer who had his one-hit wonder in 1987.

“These are strong hands who are never gonna give you up [read: hodling coins forever], nor let you down [read: never let their sat balance go down].”

Woo cited a chart showing liquid supply change which was still deep in the red indicating that coins were not moving or being spent. The metric indicates the rate at which coins are crossing the liquid to the illiquid threshold.

Never Gonna Give You Up …

The report added that the Bitcoin HODLer Position Change uses 155 days as the measure of ‘old coins’, in that they have not been touched for that period of time.

155-days ago was around mid-November when BTC prices were trading up from $16k to $18k following MicroStrategy’s initial two acquisitions it noted.

“As a result, it is likely that the coins purchased by institutions in late 2020 and early 2021 are starting to mature past the 155-day threshold (assuming they held on in true Rick Astley style).”

The uptrend in this metric is likely to continue providing those institutional buyers continue to hold. With many funds seeking much longer-term gains than short-term day traders and speculators do, the reluctance to sell is likely to continue.

bitcoin hodlers
Chart – Glassnode

Bitcoin Price Outlook

At the time of press, Bitcoin was trading at $60,250 according to Tradingview.com. It had touched $60,800 during Tuesday morning’s Asian trading session following a fall below the psychological price level in late trading on April 12.

BTC is currently trading up around 3% since the same time last week, having made a new all-time high of $61,150 on April 12.

As reported by CryptoPotato, on-chain data has confirmed that miners are now holding and BTC stored on exchanges is falling which suggests a reluctance to have the asset ready to sell.

USDT, USDC, and BUSD represent 93% of stablecoin market cap

The three largest stablecoins represent a combined capitalization of $60 billion.

Research from on-chain analytics provider Glassnode has revealed that the top three stablecoins represent more than 90% of the sector’s entire market cap.

Glassnode’s April 13 “Week On-chain” report found that the top three stablecoins — Tether (USDT), USD Coin (USDC), and Binance USD (BUSD) — have seen significant growth over the past six months to represent a combined capitalization of more than $60 billion, equal to 92.75% of the stablecoin market.

By contrast, six months ago the combined stablecoin capitalization for those three was less than one-third of its current levels at $19.2 billion. This time last year, stablecoins were worth just $7 billion combined.

The analysis compared the growth of stablecoins with Bitcoin’s market cap, identifying a clear correlation between the two. The report also found that USDT’s supply has continued to increase during recent weeks despite BTC trending sideways, whereas growth for USDC and BUSD has slowed.

BTC market cap vs stablecoin supply: Glassnode

The report notes historic lows for its Stablecoin Supply Ratio (SSR) metric, which measures Bitcoin’s market cap relative to the total stablecoin supply to estimate the global “buying power” of the stablecoin sector.

When BTC prices are low, the supply of stablecoins can buy a larger portion of it to push prices up. Conversely, as prices increase the available stablecoins can purchase less which reduces the influence on prices. Glassnode concluded:

“The growth of stablecoin supplies throughout 2020-21 has held the SSR metric near historical lows suggesting a relatively high buying power of digitally native dollars. The demand for digital dollars appears to be keeping pace with demand for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a whole.”

Tether’s market cap has over doubled since the beginning of 2021 to currently sit at a record $45.6 billion, according to the Tether transparency report. Circle’s website reported an all-time high of $11.5 billion USDC on April 9, while Goingecko estimated BUSD's supply to be $5.1 billion on April 13.

On April 7, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire predicted its USDC stablecoin could soon surpass PayPal by settlement value.

Keep Network unveils v2 specs for tBTC protocol

A second iteration of tBTC hopes to improve on the failings of the first.

The Keep Network has released details for the second iteration of its “trust-minimized” Bitcoin tokenization protocol, tBTC.

In an April 11 blog post, Keep Network developer, Evandro Saturnino, outlined several changes the protocol is considering to address it’s past issues with collateralization.

tBTC’s second iteration is expected to require stakers to only lock up KEEP rather than both KEEP and ETH, alongside introducing changes to its wallet generation mechanism. The protocol allows users to tokenize their Bitcoin for use on the Ethereum network.

While Saturnino notes the changes “will provide a way of greatly decrease[ing] the collateral ratio of the staking assets,” he warns of new risks associated with the proposed upgrades.

To offset a “small risk to the peg” resulting from the changes, Saturni advances uses insurance coverage pools to protect against malicious validators, describing the pools as “perfectly suited to ensure against fraud in tBTC v2.”

tBTC works with ETH collateral on a network of blockchain validators and parties that individually contribute to the minting and backing of the asset, with activity kept in check on the blockchain. Saturnino explained:

“In this mission that tBTC emerged to be the first solution to bring tBTC in the Ethereum Network in a trustless and truly decentralized way using Keep Network infrastructure which is able to store and compute data hidden even from itself.”

Once the user submits a request to mint tBTC and a deposit bond, a randomly selected signing group generates a public BTC wallet address to the user. Signing group members are picked from an eligible pool of signers who agreed to bond ETH as collateral.

The bonded ETH is an incentive to align the interests of the signers and can also be used to penalize members in the case of misbehavior. Signers must bond 150% of the total deposit size in ETH as collateral in a mechanism that is similar to the MakerDAO and Dai stablecoin system.

The developer acknowledged the team has learned a lot since the second launch of the tBTC mainnet in September 2020. Within just a few days of its initial launch in May 2020, Keep protocol was briefly shut down after a bug was detected in its redemption codes. The protocol also struggled to scale, added Saturnino.

Despite being backed by venture capital giant a16z and other big names, Keep’s tBTC has failed to gain traction among DeFi users with a circulating supply of just 1,293 tokens according to CoinGecko.

Existing Bitcoin tokenizations solutions have enjoyed significant growth and popularity over the past year, with the custodial Wrapped BTC currently ranking as the second-largest DeFi protocol with a TVL of $8.7 billion, according to DeFi Llama. Non-custodial competitor renBTC has also amassed a TVL of $926 million and currently ranks as the 27th top DeFi project.

Fidelity’s Tom Jessop says crypto has hit a ‘tipping point’

Rock bottom interest rates and fiscal stimulus has driven momentum in the crypto sector the Fidelity executive said.

Executives at investment giant Fidelity are confident that cryptocurrency market momentum will continue for the foreseeable future.

Speaking to MarketWatch on April 8, Tom Jessop who heads the investment firm’s crypto division said that he believes crypto has opened a new chapter in traditional finance circles and things have reached a tipping point for the industry.

Jessop stated that the maturation and adoption of crypto assets as an investment class will continue at a rapid pace in the coming years. There are a number of reasons according to the finance manager, one of which is extremely low interest rates in traditional finance.

This, coupled with an environment stimulated by monetary policies, has driven momentum for crypto markets. The Fidelity executive said that this environment is unlikely to change any time soon:

“I think we’ve reached a tipping point. I think you’ve had the accumulated experience of now roughly 12 years of the Bitcoin blockchain being operative since the genesis block in early 2009. And the pandemic, quite frankly, was a catalyst for institutional adoption, and specifically Bitcoin and the narrative, or use-case, around digital gold,”

Jessop added the narrative has been exacerbated by the unprecedented monetary stimulus from central banks and governments in response to the pandemic.

Since the pandemic began, U.S. stimulus packages have topped $6 trillion with much of that money being freshly minted by the Federal Reserve.

Jessop is not the only finance executive to believe that Bitcoin and crypto has reached a tipping point. In early March, Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz used the same phrase while commenting on the CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETF on Bloomberg:

"Bitcoin adoption has hit a tipping point and investors don’t want to sit on the sidelines,”

On March 24, Fidelity filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to list a new Bitcoin exchange traded fund (ETF). The Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust aims to track the asset’s daily performance using the Fidelity Bitcoin Index PR, an index derived from several price feeds.

Analyst at CFRA Research, VanEck, and Fidelity Investments, Todd Rosenbluth, opined that the SEC is likely to approve an ETF in the coming year or two.

Fidelity created the digital asset unit in 2019 and has been integrating digital assets into traditional investment portfolios ever since.

Ledger Faces Lawsuit Over Massive Data Breaches

According to legal documents republished on Scribd, law firm Roche Freedman has filed a formal complaint against Ledger and Shopify on April 6 on behalf of two lead plaintiffs.

Ledger suffered a number of data breaches in 2020 and one was linked to e-commerce platform, Shopify, which hosts the company’s stores and products.

Ledger admitted responsibility for the Shopify incident in which a rogue employee leaked personal details of 20,000 customers in December 2020. This breach was in addition to one in the summer of the same year that resulted in the details of 292,000 Ledger customers being leaked online.

The class action on behalf of plaintiffs John Chu and Edward Baton opens with:

“Plaintiffs seek redress for the substantial, Class-wide damages that Ledger’s and Shopify’s misconduct caused in connection with a massive 2020 data breach that those companies negligently allowed, recklessly ignored, and then intentionally sought to cover up”

Ledger Still Maintains Security, Lawyers Look For Holes

The firm has stuck by its claim that the devices are still 100% secure but its customers have been singing a different tune. Ledger general counsel Antoine Thibault simply said that “Ledger does not comment on ongoing legal issues,”

Speaking to The Block, partner of the law firm Kyle Roche stated:

“We’ve been investigating this since the day it became public. This investigation included speaking with experts in the data security and cryptocurrency fields,”

The suit does not specify the amount of compensation sought for the class action, but it does identify the matter as being worth over $5 million. The documents reference just two Ledger users who together lost 4.2 BTC, 11 ETH and 150,000 XLM to phishing attacks.

There are likely to be thousands of others out there.

Customers Left in The Lurch

Following the massive data breach, Ledger customers took to crypto and social media to vent their anger at the company which offered no recompense whatsoever and largely blamed users for sloppy security on their part.

Ledger customers had reported everything from outright crypto theft from the devices to threats of physical abuse, home invasions, and even murder.

Hackers and scammers went on a spam and phishing frenzy armed with a Ledger customer database full of personal info that included email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses.

Bitcoin Miners Hit Jackpot as Hash Rate Peaks Again

Data from on-chain analytics provider Glassnode has reported that Bitcoin’s average hash rate hit a new all-time high this week, crossing a daily average of 178 exahashes per second for the first time in history.

Bitinfocharts confirms the record high, reporting current hashrates at 176 EH/s. It topped 150 EH/s twice in February and has remained at these high levels for the past two months, steadily increasing.

Hashrate is often considered as computing ‘horsepower’ for the Bitcoin network and a strong sign of its security. The higher the hashrate, the harder it is to attack the network.

The bullish on-chain metrics were observed by data scientist Rafael Schultze-Kraft [@n3ocortex] who added that mining difficulty has also hit a new all-time high.

Mining Never More Profitable

The analyst noted that Bitcoin miners have been making more than $50 million per day for the past month. He put this into perspective by pointing out that a year ago, this number was around $12 million – so current earnings are a fourfold increase despite the block subsidy being cut in half in May 2020’s halving.

Miners are also now holding on to the new coins they’re minting as the net position has flipped back to green according to Glassnode. In the run-up to the $40K price level, miners were aggressively selling off to cover their costs but they’ve now switched back into accumulation mode.

“In fact, the Bitcoin unspent supply (BTC that has never left the original mining addresses), has started to increase again after a quick and sharp drop of around 15k BTC at the beginning of the year. More hodling than spending.”

He added that direct BTC transfers from miner to exchange wallets have been going back down significantly and even USD-dominated miner to exchange volume has decreased despite a stable price. Though miner activity represents a very small fraction of BTC trading volumes as a whole.

The analyst concluded that these metrics are very bullish and miners have little incentive to cash out now or capitulate as many predicted after the halving.

Bitcoin Price Update

At the time of press, Bitcoin was trading down 1% on the day at $56,700 according to Coingecko. It is down on the same time last week by 3.4% but remains within the month-long range bound channel it has formed.

Bitcoin has not dropped below $50K for over a month which is also a bullish sign that support is holding strong.

ChainSwap raises $3M from investors including Alameda Research and NGC Ventures

The multi-chain bridge hub aims to bridge Ethereum and BSC and beyond.

Cross-chain asset bridge and application hub ChainSwap has closed a $3 million strategic funding round with participation from some of the biggest names in decentralized finance and the crypto industry.

In an April 7 announcement, ChainSwap stated that it raised the funds in order to accelerate its vision of creating a multi-chain and multi-asset application hub.

Participants included some big names in crypto and DeFi such as Alameda Research, OKEx’s venture arm OK Block Dream Fund, NGC Ventures, Spark Digital Capital, Metaconstant Ventures, CMS Holdings, Rarestone Captial, SRC Capital, DAO Ventures, and a number of others.

The ChainSwap platform allows projects to seamlessly bridge between Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, and the Huobi Eco Chain (Heco). It plans to add cross-chain solutions for Bitcoin, Polkadot, and Solana in the future and has already begun with a Polkastarter bridge launched on March 21.

The protocol currently supports 18 tokens from various platforms including stablecoins RAI and FEI, Polkastarter’s POLS, Vortex VTX token, Strongblock’s STRONG, and a number of more obscure listings which can be seamlessly swapped between the three currently supported blockchains.

It plans to launch its own token which will be airdropped for protocol users and holders of the AntiMatter token, MATTER. AntiMatter Finance is a lightweight on-chain DeFi perpetual derivative protocol currently running on testnet.

ChainSwap is one of a number of multi-chain platforms entering the DeFi space in recent months. Decentralized liquidity network THORChain will be launching what it calls a “multichain chaosnet” (MCCN) on April 13.

The multi-chain AMM will compete with the likes of Uniswap v3 when it goes live in early May. Thor’s native token RUNE rallied to all-time highs in late February after Multicoin Capital revealed it had accumulated a large position.

Kyber Network introduces Uber-style surge pricing for DeFi token swaps

Dynamic fees will improve capital efficiency on the new DMM.

Decentralized exchange Kyber has launched a Dynamic Market Maker, or DMM, in what it claims is a world first.

The new platform, which was announced on April 5, has been designed to optimize fees and enable extremely high capital efficiency for liquidity providers.

One of the major differences between Kyber’s new platform and regular Automated Market Makers, or AMMs, is the fee generation system. While platforms such as Uniswap charge a fixed trading fee of 0.3%, the new DEX will calculate fees dynamically, increasing during times of high volatility and demand, and decreasing when markets are quiet. This encourages traders to take advantage of cheaper trade opportunities which improve capital efficiency for LPs and the platform.

The system mimics the Uber-style surge pricing that increases prices when there is a lot of demand for rides, such as in bad weather or rush hour, and drops them when there is less demand and traffic levels have returned to normal.

Kyber Network is an on-chain liquidity protocol that has a DEX called KyberSwap, which allows users to swap crypto assets without a central order book or operator. Much of the inspiration for the new DMM has been taken from the current Uniswap interface.

According to the DMM dashboard, liquidity on the platform is currently $20.5 million with a daily volume of $490,000. Kyber’s native token, KNC, has retreated over the past 24 hours dropping 5.7% to $3.13 according to Coingecko.

The new DMM also operates a “programmable pricing curve” which allows liquidity pool creators to customize pricing through an “amplification factor” based on the nature of the relationship between the two tokens.

In essence, tokens that have a lower deviation from their prices such as stablecoins can have a higher amplification factor which allows the liquidity to increase without needing more tokens in the pool. These features have also been included in the Uniswap v3 upgrade which also aims to improve capital efficiency by optimizing the bonding curve.

Pool creators can set their own AMP factor which increases the liquidity depending on the type of tokens in the pool — stable tokens can have a higher factor, whereas more volatile ones will be set lower.

“This means that given the same liquidity pool and trade size, Kyber DMM can provide much better liquidity and slippage compared to AMMs. Slippage can potentially be 100X better than AMMs for more stable pairs!”

The announcement added that the code has been fully reviewed and audited multiple times by both the internal team and external auditors with no critical issues found. It stated that the full audit will be released soon but added that the protocol is still in beta.

Ripple’s CEO Following the SEC Hearing: Today Was a Good Day

On April 6, Ripple Labs won discovery from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission concerning its internal discussions on the status of its XRP token as a security.

Ripple Can Argue its Case, but It’s Not Over Yet

According to Law360, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn granted the motion determining that SEC minutes or memos concerning crypto can be discoverable by the defendant. In other words, Ripple can access previously internal documents and raise disputes about SEC rulings and declarations.

Company CEO Brad Garlinghouse simply tweeted “today was a good day”.

The development is an extra point on the side of the fintech firm, but it is not out of the woods yet as the token could still be declared a security by the financial regulator. Ripple has already challenged the SEC lawsuit by asserting that XRP is the same as Bitcoin or Ethereum which have not been deemed as securities by the regulator.

On March 30, District Judge Analisa Torres approved XRP holders to intervene in the ongoing legal case against the SEC on grounds that they would be affected in addition to the company itself.

XRP Price Pumps

The positive move from the previously punitive regulator has sent Ripple’s XRP token skyrocketing to its highest price since February 2018.

At the beginning of this week, XRP was trading at around $0.65. It started to move upwards yesterday, surging to a three-year high of $1.10 during the Asian trading on Wednesday, April 7. The move marks a 32.5% gain on the day and around 70% since the beginning of the week.

XRP has remained relatively flat during the bull market as it got repeatedly flipped by tokens around it such as DOT and BNB, both of which have made new all-time highs.

At the time of writing, XRP had retreated slightly to change hands at a little over $0.90. The massive pump has given it a 78% gain in the past seven days and 116% since the same time last month.

In terms of market cap, XRP has flipped Tether and Polkadot for fourth place with $46 billion. It is still behind Binance Coin though which has just topped out at a record $412 with a market cap of $63 billion.