Analyst: Bitcoin Market Oversold and Ready for Major Bounce

At the time of writing, Bitcoin prices had reclaimed the $33,000 level for the first time in over a week. The king of crypto has made 1.5% on the day, building on yesterday’s momentum following a week of selling pressure.

Major Bounce Coming?

Analyst ‘CRYPTO₿IRB’ [@crypto_birb] has observed that there has been a complete reset on trend and momentum.

Analyzing the net unrealized profit/loss (NUPL), a measure of the difference between unrealized profit and unrealized loss to determine whether the network as a whole is currently in a state of profit or loss, the analyst added:

“NUPL suggests it’s as oversold as in September 2019 or September 2020 when it was trading at 6-9k usd. We’re lucky if we get 23-24k but market is ready for major bounce and final leg up in November-December imo,”

Bitcoin price

Technically, BTC would first need to reclaim the 50-day moving average which is currently at $35,200. For further strengthening of an uptrend, the next target is the 200-day MA which is at $44,670 according to Tradingview. The daily time-framed death cross which signaled the longer-term downtrend occurred on June 15.

The Bitcoin Fear and Greed Index, which can be used as a bellwether for market sentiment, is currently still in fearful territory however, registering a 23, or ‘extreme fear’.

Bitcoin Still Fundamentally Solid

The fundamentals for Bitcoin markets are still pretty solid. Market mover Elon Musk made a big impact this week when he stated that his two companies, Tesla and SpaceX are holding Bitcoin. He added that they, in addition to himself, have no intentions to sell.

Naturally, there was a FOMO-driven pump in reaction to this and BTC has gained 10% since the revelations.

The China crackdown FUD also appears to be dissipating with the general consensus among industry experts being positive. The great miner migration has resulted in more mining being done using renewable energy. Even mainstream media is now reporting that Bitcoin mining is better for the environment than it was when China dominated the hash power.

The next few days or possibly weeks will determine the direction of the next big move as one always comes after such a long period of low volatility.

KFC Korea and TriumphX marketplace sign deal to develop NFT content

KFC wants to promote its branding to Koreans through nonfungible tokens.

Entertainment and nonfungible token marketplace TriumphX has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with fast-food giant KFC in South Korea.

The agreement will focus on joint blockchain research with the aim of integrating NFT technologies and enhancing the branding of the fried chicken outlet.

According to reports in local media, KFC Korea plans to introduce blockchain and NFT technology to its branding content. The fast-food franchise intends to issue NFTs to its customers comprising different digital formats including video, art and graphics, and metaverse collectibles.

TriumphX's NFT issuance know-how will be leveraged to create and sell KFC-themed NFTs to a customer base that is already familiar with the Kentucky Fried Chicken brand.

Fried chicken and KFC is popular in South Korea with more than 210 outlets nationwide. According to a 2019 SCMP report, there were more fried chicken restaurants in the country than there were McDonald’s and Subway restaurants worldwide.

The cross-chain TriumphX has partnered with a number of local artists and entertainment companies recently including decentralized entertainment marketplace XPOP, photographer Kim Jung Man, and cartoonist Rosa Fantasy.

Related: KFC Launches Blockchain Pilot for Digital Advertising and Media Buying

NFTs have exploded in popularity in 2021 resulting in $2.5 billion in nonfungible token sales in the first six months of this year. This is a huge increase over the $13.7 million in sales for the same period in 2020.

Korea has not missed out on the NFT craze this year. According to a Korea Times report on July 23, copies of a priceless manuscript detailing the origins and workings of the Korean writing system will be sold as limited edition NFTs. The burgeoning K-pop industry is also looking to tap into nonfungibles to promote artists to adoring fans.

Despite the demand for NFTs and crypto in Korea, there has been an increase in regulation of the digital asset industry this year as financial watchdogs come down hard on unregulated exchanges and marketplaces.

As reported by Cointelegraph yesterday, the government stated that crypto exchanges will face punishment if they have not voluntarily registered with the country’s authorities by September 24.

Number of investors owning Bitcoin has tripled since 2018: Gallup Poll

Three times more U.S. investors are holding BTC now than in 2018 according to the poll.

A recent survey has revealed Bitcoin has gained traction with younger U.S. investors in terms of awareness, interest, and ownership over the past three years.

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.

The researchers noted that Bitcoin’s relatively modest ownership can be contrasted with more mainstream investments. The survey revealed that 84% of the investors polled reported having invested in stock index funds or mutual funds, while 67% said they owned individual stocks, and 50% have bonds.

“At 6%, Bitcoin ownership is more akin to gold, which 11% of investors say they own.”

The results of the poll come from the Gallup Investor Optimism Index survey conducted between June 22 and 29, 2021, among 1,037 investors in America aged 18 and older. The sample for the study was weighted to be demographically representative of the U.S. adult population with a maximum margin of sampling error of ±5%.

Related: Survey of millionaires finds 73% own or want to invest in crypto

Other findings reveal that the risk perception associated with Bitcoin has declined over the three-year period. Nearly all investors surveyed perceived BTC to be a risky investment, however, the percentage calling it “very risky” has declined from 75% to 60%. Most of the remaining 35% now consider it to be “somewhat risky,” while just 5% think it carries no risks.

Gallup concluded that large investments in Bitcoin by well-known companies such as Tesla, Square, and Morgan Stanley may be giving it more mainstream credibility.

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.

Binance Australia partners with Koinly for tax reports as ATO ramps up compliance

The taxman commeth for Australian crypto investors and Binance wants to help them out.

The Australian branch of leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance has increased the ability for users to accurately report tax liabilities amidst increased pressure from local tax authorities.

Binance has partnered with cryptocurrency tax startup Koinly to assist users grappling with ever-increasing tax obligations down under. Binance users in Australia have been offered access to Koinly’s tax reporting solution through the integration.

Koinly was founded in 2018 and supports over 600 exchanges and wallets, enabling users to sync their full crypto trading history with one central ATO-compliant platform.

The move comes as the Australian Tax Office (ATO) increases its effort to collect taxes on cryptocurrency gains. In July last year, the ATO targeted 350,000 crypto asset investors and holders with a letter regarding undeclared cryptocurrency gains.

In May 2021, the ATO doubled down with its efforts, reminding 100,000 Australian crypto users to report all gains on their tax returns — with a further 300,000 people expected to be prompted to do so as they lodge their returns. It estimated that there are over 600,000 taxpayers that have invested in crypto-assets in recent years. The ATO uses data matching with exchanges to identify users who may have tax bills.

In an announcement shared with Cointelegraph, Koinly founder Robin Singh explained:

“The ATO is collecting bulk records data from Australian crypto exchanges and comparing it to amounts entered on previous tax returns. Failure to declare crypto gains can attract a penalty of 75% of the outstanding tax liability.”

Binance is also increasing its educational efforts down under by hosting an end of financial year tax masterclass in collaboration with Koinly on July 22.

Related: Two-fifths of Aussie millennials think crypto investments beat real estate

Sam Teoh, of Binance Australia, stated that the crypto community has voiced their concern around tax compliance, adding “with approximately one in six Australians investing in crypto, taxpayers and tax agents alike are on a steep learning curve.”

Australians are not the only ones coming under the watchful eye of the taxman. In late May, the U.S. Treasury proposed crypto transactions over $10,000 be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

Tether promises an audit in ‘months’ as Paxos claims USDT is not a real stablecoin

Tether’s general counsel said a full audit is coming in months.

There will be an official audit of the world’s most popular stablecoin Tether within months according to the project’s general counsel.

An audit for the world’s third-largest digital asset has been awaited for several years and increased regulatory pressure appears to have accelerated the process.

In a rare mainstream media interview on CNBC, Tether CTO Paolo Ardoino and general counsel Stu Hoegner were asked some pressing questions on the subject of USDT’s backing and transparency.

Hoegner responded to the question by saying:

“We are working towards getting financial audits, which no one else in the stablecoin sector has done yet.”

Hoegner added that the firm hopes to be the first to do so and that audits will be coming in “months, not years”. He stated that Tether is backed one-to-one with its reserves but admitted that those reserves were not all US dollars. According to Hoegner, Tether’s reserves are heavily dollar-weighted but also include cash equivalents, bonds, secured loans, crypto assets, and other investments.

The current market capitalization of USDT is 62 billion according to Tether’s transparency report. It has grown by 195% since the beginning of the year but has lagged behind rivals USDC and BUSD in terms of growth.

Related: Coin Metrics co-founder takes aim at WSJ's Tether FUD

Circle released its own reserves disclosure report on July 21, revealing that 61% of USDC’s reserves were held in cash and cash equivalents with the rest in commercial paper accounts, treasuries, and bonds.

Paxos takes a swipe

In a related development, rival stablecoin company Paxos took a swipe at both Tether and Circle in a July 21 blog post claiming that they are “not comprehensively overseen by any financial regulators.”

“Neither USDC nor Tether is a regulated digital asset, for the simple reason that neither token has a regulator. In fact, neither USDC nor Tether tokens are ‘stablecoins’ in anything other than name.”

Paxos revealed that 96% of its own stablecoin reserves are cash or cash equivalents.

Tether revealed a breakdown of its USDT backing for the first time in May, following increased scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers. The firm has been submitting periodic reports regarding its reserves since reaching a settlement with the New York Attorney General’s Office in February.

New Data Reveals Bitcoin Mining is Now Friendlier to the Environment

New data from Cambridge University shows that the geography of Bitcoin mining has drastically changed over the last six months in the wake of China’s massive crackdown.

CNBC has been gathering the opinions of industry experts to get their take on the great miner migration and how it has altered the environmental impact of the industry. They have come to the consensus that crypto mining is now environmentally friendlier than it was when China dominated global hash power.

The report noted that as many as half the world’s Bitcoin miners went dark in a matter of days. This was confirmed by the 65% slump in hash rate between May 13 and June 28.

Greener Bitcoin Mining

Beijing’s heavy-handed approach has forced miners to relocate and many of them have found friendlier jurisdictions such as Texas that have lower-cost renewable energy sources.

CEO of digital currency company Foundry, Mike Colyer, confirmed that it has been a big plus for Bitcoin.

“Miners around the world are looking for stranded power that is renewable. That will always be your lowest cost. Net-net this will be a big win for bitcoin’s carbon footprint.”

According to the Cambridge data, almost 17% of all BTC mining is now conducted in North America and at least 50% of that uses renewable energy. China’s previously 65%+ share of the hash pie had dwindled to 46% according to the data released in April, and it has fallen a lot more since then.

The exodus from China also had an effect on a lot of older and less energy-efficient mining equipment that has now been shut down for good. Alex Brammer of Luxor Mining said “It took off, likely forever, a large amount of the most energy inefficient rigs,”

Renewable alternative energy sources such as hydropower, solar, wind, nuclear, and even gas flare energy are now being sought as burning fossil fuels gets phased out.

In a related development, the first-ever green mining exchange-traded fund (EFT) was launched on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday by Viridi. The investment product aims to attract mainstream and institutional investors with a focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

BTC Price Outlook

At the time of writing, Bitcoin had regained its psychological support zone at $30K and was trading up 3.2% on the day at $30,700 according to CoinGecko.

The world’s leading crypto asset has lost 10% over the past week and is now down 52% from its mid-April all-time high.

Green energy crypto mining ETF launches on New York Stock Exchange

The new exchange-traded fund will focus on environmentally friendly crypto mining infrastructure firms.

An exchange-traded fund focusing on more environmentally friendly crypto mining operations and infrastructure has been launched in the United States.

The new Viridi Cleaner Energy Crypto-Mining and Semiconductor ETF started trading on Tuesday, July 20, on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘RIGZ’.

The product is part of growing efforts to attract mainstream investors with a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

Viridi Funds, which launched the new investment product, stated that the fund also invests in crypto mining infrastructure businesses and semiconductor companies such as Samsung Electronics, Nvidia Corp., and Advanced Micro Devices, according to Law360.

Viridi CEO Wes Fulford, a former CEO of Bitfarms, said the fund will focus on clean energy screening. He said that the migration of mining out of China to North America was good news, as more than half of crypto mining operations in the region now use renewable energy sources:

“Obviously, with what’s happened in China the power used is dramatically lower than it was at the beginning of June. And it’s also providing the added benefit that more computing power is finding its way to other jurisdictions, sort of decentralizing the network even further, which adds to the security.”

Fulford added that Bitcoin and Ethereum address the ‘S’ and the ‘G’ from the ESG principles pretty well, and the new EFT will be adding the ‘E’. He stated that things are still in the early innings of this emerging asset class and a “tidal wave of institutional flows” has yet to come.

Related: Green Bitcoin: The impact and importance of energy use for PoW

According to a July 20 CNBC report, new data shows that Bitcoin mining isn’t nearly as bad for the environment as it used to be, thanks to older less efficient machines being switched off in China and operations moving to more environmentally friendly locations. North America has jumped from fifth to second place and now accounts for nearly 17% of all global Bitcoin mining.

On July 18, Cointelegraph reported that large U.S.-based crypto mining operations will benefit greatly from increased market share and hash rate dominance. It named Riot Blockchain, Marathon, Hut 8, and Hive Blockchain as potentially the biggest beneficiaries of China’s great mining migration.

ETH developer Virgil Griffith back in jail after allegedly checking Coinbase account

Griffith will likely spend the next two months in jail before his trial in September.

Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith has violated the terms of his bail and has been taken into custody after he allegedly accessed his cryptocurrency account.

The remand order came from U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel after Griffith reportedly sought to access Ethereum assets held by Coinbase in May.

The Ethereum Foundation researcher will likely spend the next two months behind bars. He is scheduled to be tried on September 21 on charges of conspiracy to violate sanctions with North Korea and faces up to 20 years inside.

According to Law360, Judge Castel’s main concern was flight risk since the assets Griffith held had jumped in value into the $1 million range, which may have influenced his decision to check the wallet, the judge stated.

Prosecutors sought remand on July 9, claiming that Griffith violated bail terms that sharply restrict his internet use. He allegedly accessed Coinbase to contact the exchange to request the removal of account security functions reportedly stating: “I'm going to need the [two-factor authentication] removed as the FBI took my devices away.”

Defense lawyers claimed the attempt to access Coinbase was made after consulting his counsel, adding that it was his family in Alabama that made the attempt on his behalf.

Griffith was charged and indicted on January 7, 2020, after his arrest in November 2019 for conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. He was initially denied bail but was finally granted a bond order for $1 million at the end of December 2019.

Related: Vitalik Buterin Supports Petition to Free Arrested Blockchain Dev

Federal authorities believe he assisted North Korea's efforts to launder money using cryptocurrency to avoid U.S. sanctions after he attended a blockchain conference in Pyongyang in April 2019.

In October 2020, Griffith filed a motion to dismiss the conspiracy charges, claiming that his April 2019 conference presentation consisted of widely available public information, therefore he was not providing a “service” to North Korean officials. The following month, lawyers representing the U.S. government labeled the argument “absurd”.

Bitcoin crashes below $30K, but on-chain data suggests accumulation is brewing

Despite the Bitcoin markets slipping below $30,000, on-chain data suggests accumulation may be underway, as $1 billion worth of BTC leaves exchanges each month.

Despite Bitcoin crashing below $30,000 for the first time in one month, on-chain metrics suggest whales may be steadily accumulating BTC.

According to Glassnode’s July 19 “The Week On-Chain” report, the Bitcoin reserves of centralized exchanges have continued to evaporate despite the recently sustained bearish momentum, with an average of 36,000 Bitcoin (worth roughly $1 billion) being withdrawn from exchanges monthly.

Glassnode infers the shrinking Bitcoin reserves on exchanges as indicating large investors moving BTC into secure storage, rather than leaving their coins on exchanges in preparation for selling.

Bitcoin net position change on exchanges: Glassnode

Glassnode also identified a recent increase in the number of entities hodling Bitcoin since May, increasing from roughly 250,000 to nearly 300,000 today. Glassnode describes “an entity” as a unique on-chain cluster of associated addresses.

The on-chain analytics provider noted that the number of “sending entities” — unique address clusters associated with selling — has fallen by roughly one-third from 150,000 to 100,000, while “receiving entities” — addresses linked to accumulation or holding — have increased by roughly than 20% from 190,000 to 250,000 over the same period.

Bitcoin changes in on-chain entities: Glassnode

Despite emphasizing signals suggesting accumulation, Glassnode noted heavily divided market sentiment, predicting extreme volatility may be imminent for the markets:

“We have an extremely divided market, and one with a likely expansion of volatility just around the corner.”

Related: Traders are withdrawing 2,000 BTC from centralized exchanges daily

It added that miners are now also in accumulation mode despite expenses incurred in the great migration in the wake of China’s mining crackdown. The miner net position change metric indicates that more than 3,300 BTC per month is currently being accumulated.

U.S. Senators Warn Over China’s Digital Yuan Use at Beijing Olympics

Marsha Blackburn, Roger Wicker, and Cynthia Lummis have urged the U.S. Olympic Committee to forbid any usage of China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) at next year’s event in Beijing.

The lawmakers expressed concern over spying and espionage in a letter to Susanne Lyons, board chair of the U.S. Olympic Committee on Monday according to Bloomberg.

“Olympic athletes should be aware that the digital yuan may be used to surveil Chinese citizens and those visiting China on an unprecedented scale, with the hopes that they will maintain digital yuan wallets on their smartphones and continue to use it upon return,”

The senators, who are all members of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, have requested a briefing on their appeal within 30 days.

Over 20 Million Wallets

The warning comes a few days after the People’s Bank of China stated that more than 20.8 million individuals have opened a virtual wallet with the bank.

The paper published on July 16 said that foreigners will be granted access to China’s CBDC without the need to open a local bank account during trials at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

China’s central bank has not confirmed a timetable for the full deployment of its Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP). It did state that 34.5 billion yuan (around US$5.3 billion) had already been spent through almost 71 million transactions as part of ongoing trials of the CBDC over the last two years.

The digital yuan is still in trial stages, but concerns in the U.S. are mounting that it may challenge the status of the greenback as the world-dominant reserve currency. Chinese officials have asserted that it will mainly be used for domestic retail transactions.

Growing Concern

On July 14, CryptoPotato reported that American hedge fund manager Kyle Bass warned over a potentially devastating effect the Chinese digital currency could have on the U.S.

China could use the CBDC as leverage, forcing companies and banks to adopt and accept it if they wanted to do business with the People’s Republic. Bass added, “imagine what kind of stronghold they will have over the world if they hold all of our capital that way.”

China has already exhibited such behavior by cracking down on the mining of decentralized rivals to its own currency. Earlier this month the PBoC also took aim at stablecoins warning that they could negatively impact financial stability.

Treasury secretary Yellen urges lawmakers to quickly introduce stablecoin guidelines

The President’s Working Group on Financial Markets expects to deliver regulatory recommendations for stablecoins in the coming months.

United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has told financial regulators that the government must act quickly to establish a regulatory framework for stablecoins.

The comments came at Monday's meeting of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets. The group discussed the rapid growth of stablecoins, revealing plans to issue regulatory recommendations in the coming months, according to Reuters.

The group also deliberated on stablecoins as a means of payment, possible risks to end-users, and their broader impact on the U.S. financial system and national security.

In February, Yellen warned that the misuse of crypto assets has been a growing problem alongside cyber-attacks triggered by the global pandemic. At the time, she acknowledged the promise of these new technologies but also warned about her vision of the reality, stating “cryptocurrencies have been used to launder the profits of online drug traffickers; they’ve been a tool to finance terrorism.”

Co-founder and CEO of Circle, Jeremy Allaire, labeled the meeting as “very significant”, commenting that stablecoins are here to stay and likely to become key components of the global economic and financial system:

“It's extraordinary and positive that US financial policy leadership are taking this on right now. It's a sign of how far we've come and how fast this is all happening.”

Stablecoin growth has been monumental this year as demand for decentralized finance has surged. Circle’s USDC has been the best performer so far this year with a 577% increase in circulating supply to record levels of 26.4 billion according to CoinGecko.

Speaking on stablecoins last week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell similarly emphasized the need to establish a robust regulatory framework for stable tokens.

“If they’re going to be a significant part of the payments universe, then we need an appropriate regulatory framework which, frankly, we don’t have,” he said.

Related: Fed Chair says stablecoins need stricter regulation, speaks on CBDC

As reported by Cointelegraph earlier this month, the world’s most popular stablecoin, Tether, remains under scrutiny. On June 25, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Eric Rosengren, raised a cautionary flag regarding Tether’s basket of reserve assets.

When the total stablecoin supply topped $100 billion in May, it triggered alarm among financial regulators concerned about the sector’s lack of oversight, including the opacity surrounding how stable token issuers manage their reserves.

Binance burns $390M worth of BNB tokens

Binance has destroyed $400 million worth of BNB in its 16th quarterly token burn event, but the markets don’t seem to care.

Major cryptocurrency exchange Binance has completed its 16th quarterly Binance Coin (BNB) burn, destroying over $390 million worth of BNB.

On July 18, Binance reported that it had destroyed 1,296,728 BNB tokens valued at just under $400 million at the time.

The exchange noted an additional 5,163 BNB that were destroyed through its Pioneer Burn Program — an incentive that aims to help users who have lost tokens through honestly mistaken transactions to smart contracts.

Binance covers the losses, returning the tokens to users under specific circumstances. These token numbers are then deducted from the quarterly burn totals by the exchange.

Binance has pledged to burn 20% of the exchange’s profits every quarter, with the latest burn suggesting the exchange could have profited by $2 billion during the second quarter of 2021.

The latest burn is the second-largest in Binance Coin's history by fiat value, with a whopping $600 million worth BNB having been destroyed in March.

Despite the scale of the burn, the event appears to have had little impact on the Binance Coin markets, with BNB prices trending sideways over the weekend.

Related: Vitalik burns $6.7B of Shiba to reward generous hodlers

At the time of writing, BNB was trading down less than 1% on the day at $301.66. It is currently down 56% from its May 10 all-time high of $686, but is still up an impressive 700% since the beginning of the year.

Binance has recently been battling regulators on multiple fronts, with significant regulatory pressure coming from the United Kingdom, Germany and Hong Kong.

In the U.K., a number of high street banks have also curtailed their customers from transacting with the exchange as the country’s financial regulator clamps down on unregulated cryptocurrency trading platforms.

On July 16, Binance suddenly halted the sale of its stock tokens.

Daily Dogecoin volume soared to nearly $1B during Q2

DOGE is estimated to have represented up to 5% of all crypto volume during the second quarter of 2021.

Trading volume for Dogecoin increased by more than 13 times during the second quarter for 2021, nearly tagging $1 billion daily.

According to data compiled by Coinbase and reported by Business Insider, Dogecoin trading volumes soared 1,250% between April and June, with $995 million worth of DOGE changing hands daily on average during the quarter.

By comparison, Dogecoin’s average daily volume for the first quarter was $74 million.

Dogecoin started the year priced at just $0.004 and saw its first uptick in early February when prices jumped 50% when Tesla CEO Elon Musk embarked on his Twitter-shilling campaign in support of the meme-coin.

A massive rally was to follow as Musk ramped up the Dogecoin hysteria, sending the Shiba Inu-themed coin to an all-time high of $0.731 on May 8. The move culminated in a whopping 18,000% gain since the beginning of the year.

Despite many crypto commentators attributing Dogecoin’s meteoric 2021 performance to Twitter-shilling from Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, Business Insider speculates that Dogecoin’s impressive performance would not have been possible without the spate of DOGE listings on major exchanges witnessed during Q2 — including Gemini and eToro in May, and Coinbase in June.

According to Coinbase’s data, the second quarter also saw global cryptocurrency trading volume increase by 32% overall, with nearly $19 billion worth of digital assets changing hands daily. The data suggests that DOGE represented more than 5% of combined crypto volume during Q2.

However, in its quarterly cryptocurrency report, GoinGecko estimates roughly $81 billion worth of digital assets were traded daily during Q2, indicating DOGE comprised 1.2% of quarterly crypto volume.

Related: Triple-digit gains make Dogecoin and Ethereum Classic the top performers of Q2

Despite the record rally, Dogecoin has suffered extreme losses since its all-time high, having plummeted 75.3% from its May 8 all-time high of $0.181, according to CoinGecko. However, DOGE is still up 4,425% since the start of 2021.

The Tesla CEO appears to have returned to his DOGE-shilling ways, changing his Twitter profile picture to done “Doge-eyes” on July 18 to show his ongoing support for Dogecoin.

While DOGE quickly spiked 18% over two hours in response to Musk’s new profile image on Sunday, its gains were quickly erased, with the meme-coin now trading 2.5% higher than it was prior to Musk changing his profile picture.

High-profile Ethereum co-founder quits crypto over safety concerns

Despite co-founding the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency, Anthony Di Iorio believes society is in little need of digital assets.

Ethereum co-founder, Anthony Di Iorio, has announced his intention to exit the crypto industry, expressing concerns over his personal safety.

According to a July 17 report from Bloomberg, Di Iorio is looking to sell his digital asset firm Decentral and sever ties with all other crypto projects he is currently involved with, stating that he no longer feels safe as a result of his elevated profile within the crypto sector:

“It’s got a risk profile that I am not too enthused about. I don’t feel necessarily safe in this space. If I was focused on larger problems, I think I’d be safer.”

Hailing from a background in web development, Di Iorio was among the eight co-founders who began working on Ethereum in 2014. He served as chief digital officer of the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2016 and has focused on venture capital investing and startup advising in recent years.

In 2016, the 48-year-old Canadian entrepreneur founded blockchain company Decentral, which operates Jaxx Liberty — a multi-platform cryptocurrency wallet that boasts a user base of more than one million.

Since 2017, Di Iorio has traveled with a security team. In 2018, Forbes estimated his net worth to be as much as $1 billion, featuring Di Iorio in its crypto rich list for the year. During the same year, Di Iorio was further cast into the limelight after buying the largest condo in Canada for $22 million and using crypto for part of the payment.

Di Iorio now expects to sell Decentraland for “hundreds of millions,” highlighting that he will only accept either cash or equity in another company for settlement, and will not consider offers made in cryptocurrency

The entrepreneur also emphasized he does not wish to invest in blockchain startups moving forward.

Related: Anthony Di Iorio: At the Forefront of Canada’s Bitcoin Community

In a bid to find more philanthropic pursuits, Iorio has joined Project Arrow — which plans to build Canada’s first zero-emission vehicle — with the entrepreneur asserting that crypto can only assist with a small number of the world’s problems:

“I want to diversify to not being a crypto guy, but being a guy tackling complex problems. I will incorporate crypto when needed, but a lot of times, it’s not … It’s really a small percentage of what the world needs.”

Of Ethereum's eight co-founders, only Vitalik Buterin is still actively working on the blockchain platform.

Charles Hoskinson and Gavin Wood have started rival blockchains, namely Cardano and Polkadot. Mihai Alisie and Joeseph Lubin started firms to focus on Ethereum applications and development, launching AKASHA Project and ConsenSys respectively.

The remaining founders, Amir Chetrit and Jeffrey Wilcke, have made similar moves to Di Iorio by exiting crypto to focus on other industries.

Payments Platform Square Touts New DeFi Business Focusing on Bitcoin

Details were thin on the ground in Dorsey’s July 15 tweet, but the company CEO said that it would launch a platform for developers to create non-custodial decentralized finance projects built around Bitcoin.

Twitter CEO Dorsey added that the project will be completely open source, just like its new Bitcoin hardware wallet. He continued to state that Square’s strategic development lead Mike Brock is leading and building the team

The project named TBD will differ from Square Crypto, the open-source project development organization, Dorsey added.

“TBD will be focused on creating a platform business, and will open source our work along the way.”

Several responses to the tweet commented that Ethereum already exists and this appeared to be another attempt to reinvent something that already does the job.

Delving into Bitcoin DeFi

The focus on Bitcoin was the interesting part, however, since BTC currently does not have smart contract capability which makes it difficult to compete with DeFi on Ethereum.

The FT noted that the Bitcoin network has historically been considered slower and less efficient than its Ethereum counterpart.

It will receive its first big upgrade in several years in November called Taproot which will make it easier for smart contracts to be created on the network. Taproot is a Bitcoin soft fork that promises more secure, private, and lightweight transactions, making the network more scalable and helping to lower transaction fees.

This will give a much-needed boost to Bitcoin-based DeFi, which is what Dorsey appears to be anticipating.

Revenues at Square more than doubled in 2020 largely due to a rise in Bitcoin-related transactions made on its peer-to-peer mobile payments platform Cash App.

Ethereum Still Dominates DeFi

Decentralized finance is still primarily Ethereum’s domain with Ethereum based platforms dominating the TVL (total value locked) charts.

At the time of writing, the TVL fdefior all DeFi protocols was around $82 billion according to DappRadar, an increase of 273% so far this year.

The platform also reports that there is around $6.3 billion locked up in wrapped BTC, the tokenized version of Bitcoin on the Ethereum network. This has almost doubled since the beginning of the year highlighting the demand for Bitcoin-based DeFi.

Payments in a flash: Strip club in Las Vegas now accepts Lightning

Guests at the Crazy Horse 3 will soon be able to tip their favorite dancers using BTC.

The Crazy Horse 3 gentlemen's club has announced it has become the first major entertainment venue in Las Vegas to accept Bitcoin using the Lightning Network.

The nightspot will implement the layer two Bitcoin scaling solution enabling punters to make payments in a flash. It has integrated BTC payment processor OpenNode which will initially allow guests to securely purchase VIP bottle packages using BTC through the venue’s website.

According to the announcement, the Bitcoin payments rollout includes plans to accept the digital asset for admission, food selections, craft cocktails and the club's signature “dance dollars” which are used for tipping entertainers. In other words, Lightning for lap dances.

Crazy Horse 3 publicist, Lindsay Feldman, said that the club is embracing the opportunity to accept Bitcoin as a way to deliver convenience and an additional level of anonymity for its guests, adding:

“The club's partnership with OpenNode allows us to cater to our tech-savvy customers' needs by offering an innovative form of payment that's both seamless and secure.”

OpenNode is a Lightning Network-powered BTC payments platform that operates in 126 countries and has more than 8,000 users. The platform will allow the venue to receive BTC payments directly without the involvement of third-party payment processors or associated fees.

The adult industry has embraced cryptocurrencies over the years as much through necessity as choice, with payment processors either banning such businesses or charging them exorbitant fees for being “high risk”.

Related: Las Vegas Club to Accept Bitcoin, Record Memberships on Blockchain

Bitcoin’s leading layer two scaling solution has seen steady growth over the past year. Since the beginning of 2021, LN nodes have increased by 56% to a record high of 12,844 at the time of writing according to BitcoinVisuals.

The number of unique channels connecting nodes for the first time has also seen impressive growth this year with an increase of 54% since January 1.

Bitcoin and crypto acceptance in Sin City is also showing growth. In May, the Resorts World Las Vegas casino-resort announced a partnership with crypto exchange Gemini to allow patrons to make payments using BTC and cryptocurrencies using their exchange wallets.

Judge allows Ripple to depose SEC official who decided ETH is not a security

Bill Hinman could be called to testify on his 2018 comments regarding Ethereum’s security status.

San-Francisco-based fintech firm Ripple has notched up another small victory in its ongoing battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Netburn has denied the SEC's motion to suppress the deposition of the former director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, William Hinman, in a ruling in New York on Thursday.

In June 2018, Hinman said in a speech that based on his understanding of the Ethereum network and its decentralized structure the “current offers and sales of Ether are not securities transactions.”

The deposition may add more weight to Ripple’s claim that the XRP token is not a security. If there is no appeal from the SEC, Ripple can ask Hinman to testify about the reasoning behind his decision on ETH at the time, and then attempt to apply that samrationale to XRP.

Ripple has argued that the SEC cannot regulate XRP as a security because it is a medium of exchange used for international and domestic transactions.

According to Bloomberg, the SEC fought the subpoena, saying the questioning “would subject high-level government officials to depositions regarding every law, regulation, or policy they consulted on or spoke about and that later underlay an enforcement action.”

The financial regulator also argued that it does not speak through its staff or individual commissioners but only through enforcement actions, so anything Hinman ever said is privileged as “deliberative”. The SEC told the Judge the deliberative process privilege also known as “Exemption 5” would be invoked if Hinman was deposed.

Judge Netburn stated that this was not a “run-of-the-mill SEC enforcement case,” adding that Hinman’s deposition wouldn’t “open the flood gates.” She continued to state that the case “involves significant policy decisions in our markets, the amount in controversy is substantial and the public’s interest, in this case, is significant”.

Related: Is XRP a Security? We May Never Know

In December 2020, the SEC filed a lawsuit against Ripple alleging the firm, CEO Brad Garlinghouse and co-founder Chris Larsen, had been conducting an “unregistered, ongoing digital asset securities offering” with their XRP token sales.

In late June the SEC accused Ripple aficionados otherwise known as the ‘XRP Army’ of issuing ‘false statements’ against its leadership on social media. The regulator requested the conference to discuss quashing the motion from Ripple to subpoena the Hinman stating at the time that it would set precedence for “a parade of requests for the testimony of high-ranking government officials” and interfere with government operations.

In an outgoing speech in November 2020 just before Hinman left the agency, he cited the SEC’s record as being open to technologies like cryptocurrencies and blockchain without the need for overhauling the existing regulatory framework.

Ethereum Network on Pace to Settle $8 Trillion in 2021

According to Messari’s second-quarter decentralized finance review, the Ethereum network has settled $2.5 trillion between April and June this year.

It added that this represents a gain of more than 65% quarter on quarter and almost 1,500% year on year. If the current pace continues, the Ethereum network could settle $8 trillion by the end of this year, Messari noted.

Researcher Ryan Watkins stated that the largest driver of this growth continues to be DeFi and stablecoin activity.

Ethereum transaction volume –

For the same quarter in 2020, when the DeFi sector was just starting to bubble up, $159 billion was settled on Ethereum. Going back a year to 2019 when markets were still largely bearish, just $73 billion was settled on the network.

Ethereum whales have also been increasing their holdings with the top ten ETH wallets now controlling more than 20% of the entire supply.

Stablecoin Activity Surging

Stablecoins still made up about half of the total settlements for the quarter despite the decline in ERC-20 based ones on Ethereum.

Messari noted that in Q2 2021, the stablecoin monetary base reached over $107 billion, up 70% since Q1 and more than 800% year-over-year. The three-month period has facilitated $1.7 trillion in transaction volume for stablecoins, up 1,090% year-over-year and 59% since Q1, the report added.

The biggest growing stablecoins in Q2 were USDC, BUSD, and DAI which grew their market share to 23%, 9%, and 5%, respectively. USDT is still the market leader however its dominance is gradually fading as rivals eat into its share.

According to the Tether transparency report, its total supply is currently 62.4 billion – an increase of 197% since the beginning of the year. Of this total, less than half or 30.9 billion USDT are on the ERC-20 token standard. Slightly more are on the Tron network which has 32 billion USDT.

USD Coin has vastly outperformed Tether this year in terms of growth with a supply surge of 577% since the beginning of the year to a record 26.4 billion USDC circulating today.

Ethereum Price Weakens

Despite Ethereum’s bullish transaction figures, the underlying asset continues to weaken. ETH prices are still below the psychological $2K level, trading at $1,970 at the time of press. According to CoinGecko, Ethereum has taken a 15% hit over the past week and is currently down 54.7% from its mid-May all-time high.

On July 7, it was reported that Goldman Sachs still views Ethereum as bullish due to its use-cases and smart contract capabilities.

DOGE attack: Co-founder slams crypto as ‘right-wing hyper-capitalist’ tech

The crypto industry is controlled by a “powerful cartel of wealthy figures” according to Jackson Palmer.

The co-founder of the memecoin DOGE, Jackson Palmer, has slammed the entire crypto industry and its investors in a vitriol-laden Twitter thread on Wednesday.

Palmer, who created the wildly popular coin as a joke in 2013, unleashed his tirade in a lengthy thread about whether he would ever return to cryptocurrency, in short his answer is an emphatic “no”. He stated his belief that crypto is right-wing and inequitable:

“I believe that cryptocurrency is an inherently right-wing, hyper-capitalistic technology built primarily to amplify the wealth of its proponents through a combination of tax avoidance, diminished regulatory oversight and artificially enforced scarcity.”

Palmer also claimed the crypto industry is controlled by a “powerful cartel of wealthy figures” which have “evolved to incorporate many of the same institutions tied to the existing centralized financial system they supposedly set out to replace.”

Tech news website Mashable labeled it a “Shiba Inu-sized dump on crypto”. Palmer went on to state that crypto is not user-friendly with users being blamed for lost passwords or falling victims to scams.

Palmer, who has been rather quiet during Dogecoin’s epic rise this year, took a swipe at the technology claiming it has been designed to limit consumer protections.

“Cryptocurrency is like taking the worst parts of today's capitalist system (eg. corruption, fraud, inequality) and using software to technically limit the use of interventions (eg. audits, regulation, taxation) which serve as protections or safety nets for the average person.”

Related: Has the Doge had its day? Dogecoin interest cools

He admitted that cryptocurrency “doesn't align with my politics or belief system,” and has no interest in counter-arguments as he “doesn't have the energy” to try and have a dialogue with those “unwilling to engage in a grounded conversation.” He turned off the ability to reply on his Twitter feed.

In 2015, Australian Palmer announced he was taking an “extended leave of absence” from the “toxic” world of cryptocurrency. In 2018 he told Vice that he made zero profit from his involvement with the Dogecoin project.

DOGE prices have slumped 73% from their May 9 all-time high of $0.731, but were trading up 4% on the day at $0.196 according to CoinGecko.

Green BTC miner Bitfarms’ production up 50% after China ban, as Compass goes nuclear

Bitfarms is producing more BTC at a lower cost due to the drop in difficulty.

Publicly traded North American Bitcoin mining company, Bitfarms, has doubled its productivity this year amid the Chinese crackdown and resultant miner migration.

The Canadian hydroelectricity mining outfit claims to be currently powering an estimated 1.5% of the entire Bitcoin network with more than 99% renewable green energy.

In a July 14 production update, the firm revealed that it had mined 1,357 BTC in the first six months of 2021, adding that this was the largest number of BTC mined in North America as reported by publicly-traded miners.

It has projected the production of more than 400 BTC for the month of July, which would be double the 199 it mined in January, and more than 50% over June’s 365 BTC mined.

Bitfarms, which was founded in 2017, also stated that more than 95% of its production this year, or 1,445 BTC, has been deposited into custody as of July 12.

Earlier this month, Bitcoin experienced its largest difficulty drop in history due to the mining crackdown in China and resultant closure of operations. BitInfoCharts has reported a 42.5% decline in difficulty since late May with more than half of that occurring this month.

This has resulted in Bitfarms producing significantly higher quantities of BTC at a lower cost per unit produced, the report added. The productivity boost did not prevent company stock taking a hit in late June as reported by Cointelegraph.

Bitfarms founder and CEO, Emiliano Grodzki, stated that Beijing's Bitcoin mining embargo has been good news for the company which has nearly doubled its market share as a result.

“Reports indicate that the ban on crypto mining in China and the exodus of mining rigs seeking new hosting may take an extended period of time to resolve. Bitfarms is well-positioned to take advantage of the significantly improved economic opportunity.”

The company has already begun that process with the installation of 1,500 Bitcoin miners from MicroBT in its Magog, Quebec, data center, adding 120 PH/s of total production in June 2021.

Related: Nic Carter takes aim at claims Bitcoin is an environmental disaster

Compass points to nuclear power

In a separate mining industry development, North American mining and hosting firm Compass Mining has signed a 20-year deal with nuclear fission startup Oklo which will supply the firm with 150 megawatts of energy.

According to Compass CEO, Whit Gibbs, the first Oklo mini-reactors will be deployed in 2023 or 2024 and the costs will be “considerably” lower than the energy sources firm currently uses.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, nuclear reactors do not produce air pollution or carbon dioxide while operating, however, the major environmental concern related to them is the creation of radioactive waste.

Compass is also in talks with the crypto-friendly city of Miami about getting power from the Turkey Point Nuclear Plant according to a Nasdaq report.

Uniswap v3 launches Optimistic Ethereum layer two scaling in alpha

Long-awaited layer two scaling is finally being launched on Uniswap v3, albeit in a limited format initially.

The long-awaited layer two scaling solutions upgrade for Uniswap has finally been spotted in the wild with the launch of version 3 on Optimistic Ethereum.

In a post on July 13, the world’s most popular decentralized exchange stated that it was pleased to finally announce the alpha launch of Uniswap v3 on the Optimistic Ethereum (OΞ) mainnet.

The alpha launch is a limited version of the full system which helps developers deploy the system gradually and address any issues that may arise. The blog post elaborated:

“Please treat this as an early alpha product. Optimistic Ethereum is a complex Layer 2 scaling solution still in need of rigorous battle testing.”

The DEX warned of potential downtime, and stated that withdrawals from OΞ to layer one will take seven days. It also stated that there are limited assets at launch, namely ETH, USDT, WBTC, DAI, and SNX, but more will be added in the coming days and weeks.

During the alpha period, the platform will support an initial throughput of 0.6 transactions per second. It added that this should equate to a transaction capacity roughly in line with layer one, but transactions on OΞ confirm instantly meaning there are no more pending or stuck swaps.

Uniswap explained that assuming v3 has equal usage to layer one, OΞ should offer transaction cost savings of up to ten times, however increased demand will drive gas costs higher. The transaction speeds will be increased over the coming weeks and months as the infrastructure is tested and optimized at scale.

Protocol founder Hayden Adams commented on the launch and high-speed transaction capabilities, adding:

“Building general purpose Optimistic Rollups is an extraordinary undertaking and a critical step for decentralized finance to gain mass adoption.”

Related: Will the launch of Uniswap v3 spark a new DeFi boom?

Initial users have been impressed, with Bankless founder David Hoffman exclaiming “It's instantaneous and insanely cheap. 5 swaps in 30 seconds, and I wasn't even trying to be fast.”

Uniswap said that the scaling solution is complementary to Ethereum 2.0:

“Scaling Ethereum will be an iterative process, but this is a major step forward. Optimistic Rollups and ETH 2.0 are complementary scaling solutions and together will propel DeFi to mainstream adoption.”

OΞ uses an optimistic rollup which changes the zero-knowledge consensus principle by assuming that all transaction verifications are correct. Users only intervene only if they see an incorrect transaction whereby they can submit a “fraud-proof” to signal that the data is incorrect.

DeFi platform Synthetix has also announced the launch of Optimistic Ethereum for its layer two exchange for the week beginning July 26. In late May, the Ethereum layer two scaling solutions provider announced a collaboration with blockchain analytics platform Etherscan.

Coinbase Connects Wallet to Polygon Network For L2 Scaling

In an announcement on the company blog on July 13, Coinbase stated that the Polygon Network is now available on the Coinbase Wallet mobile app and extension, and more scaling solutions are coming.

Coinbase claims that more than a million of its wallet customers are using DeFi protocols such as Uniswap, Compound, and Aave, and NFT platforms like OpenSea and Zora.

It also acknowledged that transaction fees on Ethereum have been pretty high lately and there have been long waits for confirmations when the network has been under heavy load. Combining this with Coinbase’s own excessive fees makes using the exchange an expensive procedure.

Coinbase Laying on Layer 2

Coinbase stated that using the Ethereum layer 2 scaling aggregator Polygon is as simple as selecting it from the active networks in their wallet app.

Users will need some crypto on the Polygon platform to begin with since Coinbase does not support layer 2 natively. Once the two wallets are connected, users will need to use the Polygon Bridge to send any ERC-20 tokens from the Ethereum mainnet to Polygon.

They can then use any of the Polygon integrated dapps and protocols such as Aave to delve into DeFi. Coinbase said that its mission was to onboard millions of users into the world of DeFi.

“In the coming months, we’ll continue to take steps to make it easier for users to access and interact with a variety of Layer 2 networks both on mobile and web.”

In October 2020, Coinbase added support for optimistic rollups using the Optimistic Ethereum platform. At the time the scaling tech was largely experimental and running on testnets on platforms such as Synthetix.

As reported by CryptoPotato in late June, Coinbase plans to launch its own a dapp store after obtaining a crypto custody license from German financial regulator BaFin.

MATIC Tokens Continue Downwards

Polygon’s native token, which is still called MATIC, has seen no positive market movements from the announcement.

The token has dumped a painful 9.5% on the day as the market slump gathers momentum and DeFi tokens take the brunt. MATIC is currently trading at $0.90 according to CoinGecko, having lost more than 20% over the past week.

MATIC, like most of its DeFi brethren, is way down from its all-time high, languishing 66% below it despite all of the partnerships and momentum the protocol itself has had recently.

Thales raises $2.5M for binary options platform in Synthetix ecosystem

Binary options and sports betting will soon be launched on the Synthetix-based Thales platform.

A decentralized finance project providing binary options style trading has just completed a $2.5 million seed round.

Binary options are financial instruments that allow traders to speculate on the price movement of the underlying market or cryptocurrency. There are two possible outcomes which is why they are considered binary.

At launch, Thales will support markets for more than 60 different assets including cryptocurrencies, commodities, equities, and index products, before expanding into sports markets. At the time of writing, there was no mention of the specific launch date.

The strategic investment round for the Thales platform was led by Framework Ventures and Apollo Capital. There were several other venture capital contributors including LD Capital, Honey DAO, the LAO, Zee Prime Capital, IOSG Ventures, D64 Ventures, and Koji Capital.

The announcement added that there will be a two-year token vesting strategy by the protocol’s strategic partners starting at the token generation event.

The funding round was completed using 'DAO-first capital formation', a method proposed by Synthetix founder Kain Warwick earlier this month. This approach enables the project to establish token holder-based governance usi a Decentralized Autonomous Organization much sooner than going through legal structures and processes.

Thales is a Synthetix ecosystem project building support for trading binary options and on-chain derivatives on the Ethereum network. In late 2020, core contributors at Synthetix began to seek an external team to develop a binary options trading platform that would become Thales. It received seed funding from the SynthetixDAO to kick start the project.

Thales token distribution model will be weighted towards active Synthetix community members with 35% of the 100 million tokens claimable by SNX stakers with minted debt. Another 45% will go toward various incentive programs and yield farms and 20%, or 20 million Thales tokens, will be allocated to the current and future team.

The Thales airdrop will likely happen in August and September according to Synthetix core contributor, Jordan Momtazi.

Related: Blockchain startup offers peer-to-peer contracts for market deals

Thales intends to venture into the realm of on-chain sports betting through a partnership with Chainlink which will be providing the oracles and data feeds.

In 2019, Cointelegraph reported that U.S. regulators were growing concerned about the emergence of binary options scams for this high-risk derivatives trading method emerging in the crypto sector.

Crypto crackdown targeting USD access points has begun: Caitlin Long

Avanti’s Caitlin Long expects the U.S. Federal Reserve to make it harder for crypto companies to access USD payment channels.

Caitlin Long, the founder and CEO of the pioneering bank for the crypto sector, Avanti Bank & Trust, has declared that the regulatory crackdown on crypto “has begun.”

In a lengthy tweet on July 13, the Wall Street veteran highlighted her thoughts on the current regulatory situation in the U.S., predicting that authorities will not target Bitcoin and Ethereum directly, instead opting to go after “intermediaries” and “access points” for U.S. dollars into the sector.

“The issue isn’t Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other crypto protocols, they’re just fine. The risk comes from the banks’ operational processes.”

She also noted that July 13 marked the “key event” in which the comment period for the Federal Reserve’s proposed payment system access guidelines ended, arguing that the Fed’s guidelines were partially aimed at cryptocurrencies despite not mentioning the asset class directly.

The guidelines, proposed on May 5, outline the system that the central bank will use to evaluate requests to access the agency’s financial services. The proposal comes amid growing requests from fintech firms and financial institutions and providers to gain access to the payments system.

Caitlin emphasized the importance of ensuring crypto firms are able to gain direct access to master accounts with the Federal Reserve, citing an example from 2017 when a number of banks carried out mass closures of bank accounts connected with crypto, stating:

“Didn’t matter whether biz was legit or scam--all were de-banked.”

Long emphasized that the same risks remain today, noting that leading U.S. exchange, Coinbase, had expressed the same concerns in its IPO prospectus.

“It’s important for our industry that law-abiding companies can gain direct US$ access on our own. It’s not just about cutting out layers of fees that many in our industry are incurring just to get US$ access,” she said.

Related: Will regulation adapt to crypto or crypto to regulation? Experts answer

Avanti, which received a bank charter in Wyoming in October 2020, has submitted its own 18-page comment letter emphasizing its concerns with the Fed’s proposed legislation.

Long, who co-founded Wyoming Blockchain Coalition in 2017, was instrumental in establishing Wyoming’s permissive regulatory apparatus regarding crypto firms.

Glassnode: Bitcoin Back in Accumulation Mode But Big Move Ahead

On-chain analytics provider, Glassnode, has detailed the current state of the Bitcoin network which appears to be fundamentally strong, despite the lethargic price action.

Labeling it an “impressively quiet week” the company confirmed that volatility is diminishing as BTC remained range bound between roughly $34,900 and $32,500.

“It is starting to feel like the calm before the storm as muted and quiet activity appears across both spot, derivative, and on-chain metrics.”

At the time of writing, Bitcoin had dropped 4% on the day and fallen below $33K during the morning’s Asian trading session. It remains within that sideways channel, however, although the movements are getting smaller in amplitude.

A Minor Miner Recovery

The analytics provider noted that miner accumulation had slowly begun again with the miner net position change metric returning to accumulation.

“This indicates that what sell-side pressure is coming from offline miners, is more than offset by accumulation by the operational miners.”

There has also been a slight uptick in hash rate since it hit its lowest level since August 2019 on June 28 when it dipped to 68 EH/s according to Bitinfocharts. The current hash rate has climbed 32% since those levels to 90 EH/s suggesting almost a third of hash power has come back online since the dip.

Glassnode stated that this could be because miners in China have successfully relocated hardware, or previously obsolete hardware has been dusted off and found a new lease on life.

Bitcoin Exchange Outflows Up

Another metric supporting the accumulation theory is exchange outflows which have been increasing over the past fortnight. When traders are preparing to sell, they move Bitcoin onto centralized exchanges to convert to fiat or stablecoins, which happened in April and May.

Glassnode noted that, on a 14-day moving average basis, the last two weeks, in particular, have seen a more positive return to exchange outflows, at a rate of around 2,000 BTC per day.

It added that on-chain transaction fees associated with exchange deposits have declined while those associated with withdrawals have increased, concluding:

“Continuation of this as a structural trend may reinforce a thesis sell-side pressure is subsiding.”

Long periods of sideways price action usually result in a big move, but major selling appears to have already taken place according to the on-chain data.

Gemini plans to beat Binance through compliance, aims to become ‘fastest tortoise’ in race

The recent regulatory backlash against Binance could give a competitive advantage to regulated exchanges.

Gemini exchange co-founder, Cameron Winklevoss, has stated the company expects to overtake the current largest crypto exchange by volume, Binance, predicting its emphasis on compliance will win out as regulators increasingly crack down on unregulated exchanges.

As reported by Bloomberg on July 12, Cameron Winklevoss emphasized the importance of adhering to regulators’ demands, stating that Gemini is “playing the long game:"

“We’re trying to be the fastest tortoise in the race. The long game pays off over time.”

The comments come as Binance faces increasing regulatory pressure, with the U.K’s. Financial Conduct Authority told Binance that it wasn’t authorized to carry out regulated activities in the country in late June. A banking blockade followed as several high street banks curtailed their customer’s activities with the exchange.

Around the same time, Bloomberg also reported that the U.S. Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission were actively examining aspects of Binance’s business.

By contrast, Winklevoss stated that Gemini has been working alongside Bitstamp, Bittrex, and bitFlyer USA in an effort to clean up the industry and allay the concerns of financial regulators. The firm helped create the Virtual Commodity Association in 2018, which aims to root out bad behavior and prevent fraud and manipulation.

Related: ‘Crypto Needs Rules’ Says New Gemini Ad Campaign

However, Binance continues to dominate crypto trade volumes, with its analytics platform, CoinMarketCap, estimating Binance’s daily spot trading volume is more than 100 times that of the Winklevoss twins’ exchange — with Binance hosting almost $14 billion worth of trade in 24 hours while Gemini posted $117.7 million.

Gemini is not the only U.S.-based exchange prioritizing compliance in its roadmap, with Coinbase published audited financials amid its IPO earlier this year. Kraken also plans to soon go public, having received a regulated bank charter in Wyoming in September 2020.

Traders are withdrawing 2,000 BTC from centralized exchanges daily

Surging BTC outflows from centralized exchanges suggest the Bitcoin markets could be in an accumulation.

The number of Bitcoin held on centralized exchanges has consistently fallen since late May, with roughly 2,000 BTC (worth roughly $66 million at current prices) flowing out of exchanges daily.

Glassnode’s July 12 Week On-Chain report found that Bitcoin reserves on centralized exchanges have fallen back to levels not seen since April, the month that saw BTC blast to its all-time high of roughly $65,000.

The researchers noted that during the bull run leading up to this peak, relentless depletion of exchange coin reserves was a key theme. Glassnode concludes that much of this BTC went to the Grayscale GBTC Trust or was accumulated by institutions, driving “a persistent net outflow from exchanges.”

However, when Bitcoin prices slumped in May, this trend reversed as coins were sent to exchanges for liquidation. Now, the net transfer volume has moved back into negative territory again as outflows increase.

“On a 14-day moving average basis, the last two weeks in particular have seen a more positive return to exchange outflows, at a rate of ~2k BTC per day.”
Net BTC transfer volume to/from exchanges: Glassnode

The report also noted that the proportion of on-chain transaction fees represented by exchange deposits declined to 14% dominance this past week, following a brief peak to around 17% in May.

On-chain fees associated with withdrawals saw a notable bounce from 3.7% up to 5.4% this month, suggesting an increasing preference for accumulation over sales, it added.

Related: Bitcoin price falls under $33K, but on-chain data hints at BTC accumulation

The fall in exchange reserves appears to have coincided with an uptick in capital flows to decentralized finance protocols over the past fortnight.

According to DeFiLlama, the total value locked has increased by 21% since June 26 as it climbed from $92 billion to $111 billion.

Survey finds most El Salvador citizens are skeptical of making BTC legal tender

More than half of Salvadorans surveyed don’t seem as keen as their president to adopt Bitcoin.

According to a newly released survey, up to three-quarters of Salvadorans are skeptical over President Nayib Bukele’s Bitcoin adoption plans.

The survey, which polled 1,233 people across El Salvador between July 1 and 4, revealed that only 20% approved of the plan to make Bitcoin legal tender

The survey, which has a margin of error of 2.8%, was conducted by researcher Disruptiva, which is affiliated with Francisco Gavidia University. According to Reuters, it found that about 54% of people viewed the Bitcoin adoption program as “not at all correct”, while another 24% described it as “only a little correct.”

Almost half of the respondents, or 46%, admitted that they knew nothing about Bitcoin. Around 65% of them were not open to the idea of being paid in digital currency.

Head of Disruptiva’s institute of science, technology, and innovation, Oscar Picardo, commented that “this is a risky bet on digital transformation.”

The country’s new Bitcoin law was passed on June 9, and is due to take effect on September 7 making the world’s leading crypto asset a parallel official currency in the Central American nation. Late last month, the government unveiled a Bitcoin wallet called Chivo but stated that it is just one option available.

At the time, Bitcoin aficionado Bukele stated that the wallet will not incur fees or commissions for transfers and will not take a cut for converting BTC to USD.

In late June, he stated that every Salvadoran adult who downloads the Chivo wallet app will be eligible for an airdrop of $30 worth of BTC.

Related: El Salvador adopting Bitcoin could make it lose market dominance

President Bukele has touted BTC adoption as a way to facilitate remittance payments from citizens living overseas and lessen reliance on the U.S. dollar which has been the national currency since 2001.

Around 70% of the population in El Salvador does not have access to bank accounts or any financial services, but if this small survey is anything to go by, they have yet to see the merits of Bitcoin as a potential solution.

Ethereum’s London upgrade deployed to final testnet ahead of August 4 fork

The long-awaited EIP-1559 upgrade is just 26 days away now.

The long-awaited London upgrade for the Ethereum network is edging closer as the code was deployed to the final testnet this week.

Ethereum’s London hard fork, which will usher in the EIP-1559 upgrade, has now been scheduled for August 4 following the launch on the Rinkeby testnet on Thursday.

Ethereum developer Tim Beiko posted the testnet update confirming that the code has now been successfully deployed to all three testnets.

The mainnet launch will occur at block 12965000 which puts the estimated date at August 4. The first block was produced on the Ropsten testnet on June 24, and the Goerli testnet deployed the hard fork on June 30. Rinkeby is the final testing phase before the mainnet goes live.

The London upgrade has been named after the second-annual Ethereum developer's conference in 2015. It may take the network into a deflationary state through the adjustment of the current auction mechanism for network fees. The EIP will introduce a “base fee” instead of the existing first-price auction fee. According to Ethereum software solutions firm ConsenSys, in theory, the more transactions that occur, the more deflationary pressure that the burning of the base fee will have on the overall Ethereum supply.

It will not necessarily reduce gas fees through the EIP-1559 update, however, as many had hoped. ConsenSys confirmed this in a guide to the upgrade posed last month, though they did suggest fees may ease slightly:

“As a side effect of a more predictable base fee, EIP-1559 may lead to some reduction in gas prices if we assume that fee predictability means users will overpay for gas less frequently.”

Related: A London tour guide: What the EIP-1559 hard fork promises for Ethereum

The upgrade will see some of the transaction fees burned, which will have an effect on the supply of Ethereum over time. A website has been set up to see this mechanism in action on the various testnets. At the time of writing more than 89,000 ETH had been burnt on the testnets, nominally valued at approximately $185 million at current prices.

The deflationary properties of the system may be amplified when the network switches from mining to proof-of-stake consensus in the latter half of 2022.

Goldman Sachs: Ethereum May Surpass Bitcoin as Store of Value, But Not Gold

In a note to investors on Tuesday, Goldman Sachs outlined its reasoning behind the claim that Ethereum will eventually become a better store of value than Bitcoin.

According to the note, the investment bank believes Ethereum currently looks like the cryptocurrency with the highest real use potential. It added that it is the most popular development platform for smart contract applications, according to reports.

Bitcoin may have the stronger brand given its first-mover advantage, it added, however, BTC lacks some of the often-cited real use cases of Ethereum. This is partly due to its slow transaction speeds of just 7 transactions per second. Ethereum in its current native state is not much quicker, however, with around 15-20 transactions per second.

Goldman Big on Gold … and Ethereum

The bank did state that neither crypto asset can compare with gold as a store of value, arguing that its high volatility does not make them comparable.

“Gold is competing with crypto to the same extent it is competing with other risky assets such as equities and cyclical commodities. We view gold as a defensive inflation hedge and crypto as a risk-on inflation hedge,”

What it did not compare, however, were the gains between the two. So far this year, gold has declined 5.4% whereas Ethereum has made over 215% to current levels – and that is including a 46% correction.

Goldman added that the competition between different crypto assets is also preventing them from becoming safe-haven assets at this stage.

Big Bank Flip-flops

The banking giant has flip-flopped on crypto assets and even gold recently with a report in June contradicting its current findings.

“The argument that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are a digital version of gold does not confer any value to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, because gold itself is not a consistent or reliable store of value,”

There are obvious divisions within the bank about its approach to cryptocurrency. In May, Goldman Sachs led a $15 million investment round for blockchain analytics firm Coin Metrics.

In April the bank added Bitcoin to its year-to-date returns report, and in March, Goldman filed for a Bitcoin ETF with the SEC according to crypto custody firm New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG).