Occam just completed a hugely successful initial decentralized exchange offering (IDO)

Occam Finance has conducted a hugely successful initial decentralized offering (IDO) on its proprietary OccamRazer platform, selling 200,000 OCC tokens in less than 20 seconds. And while the oversubscribed offering left most of the 150,000 prospective buyers empty-handed, it stands as a proof-of-concept of the platform’s efficiency.

The first IDO on Cardano sees huge success

OccamRazer, a decentralized funding platform and liquidity solution specifically built to suit the needs of the Cardano network, has completed its own IDO on April 14, marking a hugely important milestone not just for Cardano, but for the entire DeFi ecosystem. Occam Finance was one of the first major decentralized applications to launch for Cardano and has set its sights on making Cardano the go-to network for fundraising.

Its goal isn’t to mimic the service offered by platforms such as Pancakeswap, but to create a native ecosystem on Cardano that provides projects with a straightforward way of raising funds.

The OCC token, Occam Finance’s native cryptocurrency, was the first token to be released on the OccamRazor launchpad platform and the first initial decentralized exchange offering (IDO) to be released on Cardano.

According to the company’s press release, OCC’s IDO saw 200,000 tokens sold in less than 20 seconds. The lightning-fast round was highly oversubscribed and took the team by surprise as they weren’t expecting such engagement.

“In one simultaneous launch, we have both proven the capabilities of our OccamRazer platform to host IDOs and we have provided a fair and transparent way of offering the OCC token to our community. I’m blown away by the response from our strategic partners and community,” said Mark Berger, the President of the Occam Association.

OCC’s oversubscribed IDO demonstrates the power of decentralized launchpads

Occam also addressed the problems its users experienced during the IDO. With almost 150,000 visitors arriving on the OccamRazer website and attempting to participate in the IDO at the same time, only a handful of users actually got the chance to buy the token. This resulted in some criticism from the community, which claimed that the approach favored whales and excluded small players from the ecosystem.

In a blog post, Occam explained that it chose to launch the OCC IDO in line with its decentralized principles, which meant the platform couldn’t control who bought the tokens. The only limitation put up by the team was a 1 ETH cap on token purchases.

The team said that they decided to make only a small number of tokens available on the OccamRazer platform as a “proof-of-concept” that the platform actually worked.

“We wanted to showcase the functionality of our platform in a novel way, and show our users that we weren’t coming to market with the promise of a product — the OccamRazer platform can actually be used for IDOs,” the team explained.

And while the fact that the OCC token was the first such offering on Cardano certainly contributed to its popularity, it also demonstrates the power of decentralization. With the Occam Finance team announcing more IDOs in the near future and various other reward plans for the Cardano community, it’s safe to say that the DeFi ecosystem on Cardano is set to see a huge growth spurt in the coming months.

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Cardano (ADA) could soon see an on-chain liquidity boost, here’s how

The Cardano ecosystem could see a massive expansion of its on-chain liquidity with the launch of OccamRazer, a decentralized funding platform and liquidity solution specifically built to suit the needs of the network.

The platform has the potential to see the success other launchpad solutions have seen this year and drastically improve Cardano’s position on the market.

Cardano’s slow development process is coming to an end

While the current size and popularity of Cardano don’t make this obvious to those unfamiliar with the project, the network has been notorious for its slow development and bootstrapping process. And while the slow and steady pace is used to secure the network and incentivize good actors, this era of Cardano’s development is slowly coming to an end.

With the network now fully decentralized and the majority of Goguen, its governance phase, released, the time has come for projects to launch on Cardano and utilize the functionalities that took years to develop.

One of the first major decentralized applications to launch on Cardano is Occam Finance, a project that has set its sights on making Cardano the go-to network for fundraising. The first of this vision’s components will be the ‘OccamRazer,’ a decentralized funding platform offering a full suite of compliance and regulatory tech tools for professional venture capital participants.

The launchpad will come with a user-friendly interface that also makes it accessible to less tech-savvy network participants.

OccamRazer set to bring new participants to the Cardano ecosystem

According to the company’s blog post, OccamRazer is fully production-ready and will host the first projects raising funds soon. Occam Finance believes that its platform will eventually grow to become a fully comprehensive ecosystem that extends far beyond just a launchpad and other, more traditional DeFi products.

By creating a launchpad for the emerging cohort of new projects, OccamRazer will bring new participants, businesses, applications, and venture capital into the Cardano ecosystem. In turn, this has the potential to attract millions of users from local communities to Cardano.

“Being able to provide full-service decentralized fundraising will allow DeFi on Cardano to grow to be a truly global phenomenon,” the company said in the blog post.

The first projects to utilize the OccamRazer launchpad will be successful early-stage initiatives from Project Catalyst, Cardano’s decentralized community-led funding platform. As such, Occam Finance said that these projects are uniquely positioned to grow into a “ready and waiting” Cardano ecosystem as they have already been validated by the community.

To support the Occam ecosystem, the company will launch the OCC token, utilizing Cardano’s native assets functionality.

Disclosure: CryptoSlate holds a financial position in Occam.

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Orion Protocol becomes the first liquidity aggregator for Cardano

After establishing partnerships with Huobi ECO Chain, Binance Smart Chain, Avalanche, and Elrond, Orion will work with IOHK to enable the sustainability and scalability of the DeFi and NFT ecosystems on Cardano, the company said.

IOHK’s latest partnership marks an important milestone for Cardano

After a hugely successful year that began with the much-anticipated launch of Shelley, Cardano has been picking up the pace in 2021 with a slew of new launches and announcements. The latest major news to come out of IOHK, Cardano’s parent company, marks an important milestone for the blockchain platform, as it pushes it from an abstract, more academic niche to and turns it into a blockchain platform with real-world utility.

The company has partnered with Orion Protocol, a blockchain-agnostic protocol that provides a decentralized gateway to the entire digital asset market. The partnership has made Orion the first liquidity aggregator on the Cardano blockchain.

“It’s a huge honor to partner with IOHK to become the first liquidity aggregator to the Cardano blockchain. We admire and share their focus on building a scalable, and interoperable DeFi ecosystem, and we look forward to working together to achieve a sustainable future of the industry,” Alexey Koloskov, the CEO and co-founder of Orion Protocol said in a statement.

Creating the infrastructure to boost the DeFi and NFT ecosystems on Cardano

According to the company’s official announcement, Orion will provide Cardano with a decentralized gateway to the entire crypto market, aggregating liquidity across both centralized and decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges and swap platforms in a single decentralized platform.

By integrating multiple blockchains and exchanges in one platform, Orion will give users more freedom to transact on the crypto market.

Orion will work with IOHK to ensure the sustainability and scalability of the DeFi and NFT ecosystems on Cardano. Cardano’s own blockchain infrastructure will be utilized to enable the greater performance of Orion’s protocol and interoperability solutions—from its flagship product Orion Terminal to the Orion NFT Aggregator.

The solutions will be elegantly linked to Cardano through its foundation settlement layer, connected to a control layer. The settlement layer will have a unit of account, while the control layer will run smart contracts, Orion explained in the announcement.

“Completely open source and patent-free, Cardano was built in a spirit of collaboration. And engineered for efficiency and scalability, the Cardano ecosystem is developing out into the most complete and most useful cryptocurrency ever constructed,” Orion said in its announcement.

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Block production on Cardano is now fully decentralized

IOHK, the company behind the blockchain, will no longer participate in the production of blocks, making Cardano the only truly community-run network on the market.

The decentralization of Cardano is now successfully completed

Since the launch of Shelley in July last year, Cardano has been on the road towards complete decentralization. However, bringing the decentralization parameter down to zero required significant effort and careful optimization. Now, after over seven months of hard work, the network has fully decentralized.

In a press release shared with CryptoSlate, Cardano’s parent company IOHK said that the entirety of the network’s block production is now in the hands of the 2,000 community stake pool operators (SPOs). IOHK will no longer participate in block production on the platform, continuing only to work on the protocols underlying the network.

The company said that this was a significant moment in the total decentralization of Cardano, which will eventually achieve decentralization both in governance and development. According to Aparna Jue, the product director at IOHK, working with the stake pool operator community ensured that the transfer of block production was predictable and smooth.

“This is a key milestone in Cardano’s development, as it is the first component of the handover of control to the community. This is a process that will continue throughout the rest of the year,” she said in the release. “Peer to peer network decentralization is next in our sights, along with implementing advanced governance features to hand control of the blockchain over to the Cardano community.”

The three pillars of decentralization

In a blog post detailing the handover of block production, IOHK explained that the decentralization of the network was a concept held up by three pillars—block production, networking, and governance. These concepts are intrinsically linked to each other and need to work synergistically to create decentralization, the company explained.

With IOHK now completely removed from block production, the next major issue to tackle is the implementation of peer-to-peer (P2P) networking. While this has been tested with Shelley, the feature is still in the hybrid phase and will be further developed in the coming months.

Despite the fact that governance is the last step in Cardano’s roadmap, IOHK has been working on Goguen and Voltaire in parallel to Shelley. The recent Goguen rollout has introduced both metadata and native tokens to Cardano, fueling the popularity of Project Catalyst. Catalyst is essentially a precursor to Voltaire, the phase of the network that will introduce on-chain voting.

The d-parameter is set to reach 0 today at 21:44:51 GMT, transforming Cardano from a federated network of seven nodes run by IOHK, Emurgo, and the Cardano Foundation, to a decentralized, community-run network that’s set to host a whole new financial ecosystem.

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Cardano’s addition to Bloomberg Terminal could be bullish despite investor scrutiny

While some have scrutinized the cryptocurrency and its lack of working products, the move will most likely prove to be extremely bullish.

Fast-rising Cardano catches the eye of major investors through Bloomberg Terminal listing

While Cardano has certainly had an action-packed year, it seems that its popularity is about to soar significantly in the months to come. The reason behind this isn’t the major updates planned for the protocol, but the increased interest from major investors, both from traditional finance and the crypto industry.

The rising interest has become most evident following yesterday’s addition of Cardano to the Bloomberg Terminal. An integral tool for the global finance industry, Bloomberg Terminal is a product used to access, compile, and analyze financial information. With a cost ranging from $20,000 to $40,000 per month, the Terminal is reserved for the biggest and most influential players in the finance industry.

Adding Cardano to the list of supported assets displayed before these institutional investors has been seen by the Cardano community as a huge step towards securing the network’s place on the market.  

Screengrab showing the Cardano description on Bloomberg Terminal (Source: Twitter)
Screengrab showing the Cardano description on Bloomberg Terminal (Source: Twitter)

A bullish case for Cardano despite investor scrutiny

The addition of Cardano to the Terminal was followed by a piece of Bloomberg, where the media outlet highlighted both the advancements made by the protocol and the criticism it received from industry experts.

According to the article, Cardano’s loyal following enabled the cryptocurrency to maintain its upward momentum and resist major corrections that have plagued both the crypto and traditional markets in the past months. However, Bloomberg noted that the hype around Cardano isn’t all too clear, as the blockchain is yet to see the update that will enable it to run smart contracts. Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, said that the reason why Cardano will be the last major blockchain platform to get to market was that the company took its time to “do it right.”

This, Bloomberg noted, could be what pushed investors to buy Cardano despite a lack of applications and uses—the promise of a platform better, cheaper, and faster than Ethereum that can run entire governments and financial systems. Hoskinson backed this up by saying that over 100 companies are “in the pipeline” looking to shift their business from Ethereum to Cardano. And while some of these projects represent novel implementations of DeFi applications and NFTs, most will focus on the less speculative aspects of the industry.  

“My goal is to run countries on this blockchain,” Hoskinson said. “I don’t care about Uniswap and CryptoKitties and other things. It’s a bubble, and it comes and it goes, like Pet Rocks and Beanie Babies.”

And while Hoskinson said that he doesn’t know why the price of ADA skyrocketed in the previous weeks, the addition of the cryptocurrency to the Terminal will certainly give it more publicity. With the blockchain set to unlock its full functionality in the following months, the event could, in hindsight, be the spark that ignited an unprecedented growth spurt for Cardano.

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Mapping Ethereum’s DeFi eco-system projects on Polkadot

Polkadot has been rapidly growing from a niche blockchain project to one of the richest DeFi networks that have real potential to compete with Ethereum. While still in its infancy, the network already has a robust ecosystem of decentralized applications, all of which offer similar, and sometimes even more functionalities than their Ethereum counterparts.

We take a look at some of the upcoming Polkadot parachains and compare them to their Ethereum counterparts.

Projects flocking to utilize Polkadot’s scalability and decentralization

Introduced in 2016, Polkadot has become one of the most influential blockchain platforms on the market, with its sights set on achieving unprecedented decentralization. The blockchain was created by Gavin Wood, one of the original founders of Ethereum, who envisioned the platform as a way to provide businesses and developers easier access to blockchain technology.

Wood’s quest, as time has shown, has become incredibly attractive to developers. In the past year, dozens of new projects have launched on Polkadot with dozens more planning on migrating at least a portion of their networks to a Polkadot parachain.

Smart contract execution

One of the most exciting categories of the DeFi ecosystem that have gotten a lot of traction on Polkadot are smart contract execution projects. Smart contracts on Ethereum cannot be executed by a third-party protocol built on top of Ethereum, which drastically limits the effectiveness of the network.

Polkadot, however, enables developers to launch all kinds of smart contract execution platforms on its parachains. Phala, Edgeware, Plasm, and Moonbeam are the most promising smart contract execution projects currently on Polkadot, each one bringing a different kind of functionality to the network.

The Phala Network brings a layer of privacy to smart contract execution, with its founders claiming it’s the first confidential smart contract network built on Substrate. Phala applies a Trusted Environment Execution (TEE) design that allows confidential data to run in an isolated and private environment and outputs results alone with authorization.

Phala currently has two products—the pLIBRA and Web3 Analytics. The former is a confidential computation component built for Libra granted by Web3 foundation, while the latter is a tool that analyzes user data and output results without invading personal privacy.

Edgeware is a third-generation, self-upgrading smart contract platform in the Polkadot ecosystem. The Substrate-based chain allows users to create smart contracts written in Rust and compiled into WASM. What makes Edgware unique is the fact that it’s able to provide ongoing self-improvement without requiring the system to stop. The platform’s modularity separates different blockchain parts into modules, allowing changes to be performed on just a single part of the blockchain, not the whole system.

Moonbeam is another Ethereum-compatible smart contract parachain on Polkadot. Set to reach full capacity in 2021, the big part of its functionality is offering a set of unique features that target Ethereum developers. It’s a highly-specialized Layer 1.5 chain that mirrors Ethereum’s Web3 RPC, accounts, keys, subscriptions, logs, etc. The goal of the platform is to extend the base feature set found on Ethereum with additional features and functionalities that include on-chain governance, staking, and cross-chain integrations.

The Plasm Network is a scalable smart contract platform on Ethereum supporting Layer 2 solutions. One of Plasm’s most important characteristics is the fact that it’s compatible with different types of virtual machines—as of now, the protocol supports EVM, OVM, ECDSA, and Solidity. The network was the first parachain to launch on Polkadot’s Rococo V1 testnet and the first platform to deploy a smart contract on the testnet.

Credit markets and stablecoins

With industry powerhouses such as Maker, Tether, and USDC all hosted on Ethereum, it’s no wonder other blockchain platforms have trouble competing with the network effect Ethereum has. However, several Polkadot projects have launched as direct competitors to their Ethereum counterparts, showing big promises when it comes to acquiring a significant market share.

Equilibrium is a cross-chain implementation of Curve Finance on a Polkadot parachain, launched to help mitigate the costs of swapping assets on Ethereum. The protocol identified a need for low-slippage stablecoin swaps on Polkadot and enabled users to deposit collateral to create a decentralized stablecoin called EQ. Equilibrium is similar to MakerDAO, as owning the EQ token enables its users to participate in the protocol governance.

Acala is a fully-decentralized dual-protocol network and the first stablecoin to launch natively on Polkadot. The network, however, wants to become more than just another stablecoin—Acala’s development team has set out to build a DeFi hub that powers cross-blockchain liquidity and various other applications. Just like Equilibrium, Acala is Polkadot’s counterpart to Ethereum’s MakerDAO, Compound, and Aave protocols. The platform will enable users to borrow and lend the Acala Dollar (aUSD) to manage outstanding loans and earn interest on their holdings, as well as use the token to participate in governance. Once fully launched, Acala will also derivative and DEX trading of aUSD.

Akropolis is a Substrate-based chain providing a peer-to-peer way to cross-exchange value and data between informal and natively digital organizations. Originally launched on Ethereum, Akropolis suffered a devastating hack and has been shackled by Ethereum’s mounting fees. Launching the protocol as a Polkadot parachain has enabled the team to implement its Commitments to Future Cashflows (C2FC) financial primitive and simplify the creation of financial applications on Polkadot.

Bandot is a mortgage-based stablecoin based on Substrate, supporting the value exchange between different parachains on the Polkadot network. The platform’s users can issue smart tokens through the Bandot protocol and automatically exchange them through the value anchoring of the Bandot AMM. Users holding BDT, the protocol’s native token pegged 1:1 to the USDT, can participate in on-chain governance and access staking mortgages. Bandot’s BDT supports different types of currency collateral—DOT, BTC, and ETH.

Decentralized exchanges

Once considered the heart and soul of the Ethereum ecosystem, decentralized exchanges recently began suffering from mounting gas fees and increased congestion. Users looking to migrate to cheaper and more efficient options will benefit from Polkadot’s counterparts to the ever-popular DEXs such as Uniswap, Curve, Balancer, and Bancor.

Polkaswap is a non-custodial cross-chain AMM DEX designed especially for the Polkadot and Kusama ecosystems. The decentralized exchange employs a unique Aggregate Liquidity Technology (ALT) offering near-boundless liquidity with the security and convenience of a decentralized exchange. Polkadot’s interoperability enables Polkaswap to trade any tokens—decentralized exchanges based on Ethereum are limited to the network’s ERC-20 tokens. As it’s built on the SORA Network, Polkaswap will offer lower gas fees, making lower volume trades possible. Liquidity providers on the network are rewarded in the PSWAP token, earning 0.3% of trading fees per transaction.

HydraDX is another direct competitor to Ethereum’s Uniswap and Curve. A decentralized platform powered by Substrate, HydraDX enables developers to implement system-wide upgrades without triggering a hard fork. This makes HydraDX much more functional than its Ethereum counterparts—the platform enables users to swap cryptocurrencies from different blockchains, provide liquidity to earn rewards, and create new liquidity pools for new tokens. HydraDX implements an unconventional AMM model, using a single decentralized pool whose liquidity comes from individual liquidity provers and the platform itself. Liquidity provided by the protocol uses the platform’s native cryptocurrency, HDX, while individual LPs provide a wide basked of assets.

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Cardano crosses 500k accounts and Daedalus launches native-asset support

The Cardano blockchain now hosts over half a million unique wallet addresses, with the number growing each hour. The significant growth in new addresses on the network was partly fueled by the upgrade to Daedalus which will introduce native-asset support to the wallet.

The Cardano network sees significant expansion ahead of native asset upgrade

With the clock counting down the final hours before the Mary hard fork, the Cardano network reached two major milestones that are set to propel the network to the top of the industry.

IOHK, the company behind Cardano, announced today that it has released the first version of the Daedalus wallet with multi-asset support. According to the company’s release, the Daedalus v. 4.0.0-RC1 was released to the Cardano public testnet on Mar. 1.

Later in the day, the company is set to release a Daedalus Flight wallet timed with the Mary Hard Fork Combinator (HFC) event. The rest of the market, however, will have to wait a bit before the full version of Daedalus is released. IOHK said that the wallet will be fully released after final user experience testing with the Flight community and any last-minute UI tweaks.

Daedalus is the most popular Cardano wallet. The current version will enable developers and stake pool operators (SPOs) to test sending and receiving native tokens alongside ADA. Once the wallet is fully released, it will also feature a brand new interface and UI.

Half a million unique wallet addresses on Cardano await for Mary

Just as IOHK announced the latest version of Daedalus, the Cardano network crossed another major milestone. While it’s hard to pinpoint a single factor that contributed to the massive rise in users on the blockchain, the upcoming Mary hard fork and increased functionality of the network could be the ones to blame.

According to the latest data from AdaStat, there are currently 506,538 total unique wallet addresses on the Cardano network. With 294,682 delegators, this means that over 58 percent of all of the addresses on the Cardano blockchain have their funds staked to support the network.

Further data from AdaPools and AdaStat showed that the average amount of ADA per delegated wallets has been steadily decreasing this year, further strengthening Cardano’s decentralization and distributing power to a large number of network participants.

Graph showing the average number of ADA per delegated wallet from Dec.5, 2020, to Feb. 28, 2021
Graph showing the average number of ADA per delegated wallet from Dec.5, 2020, to Feb. 28, 2021. (Source: Pieter Nierop)

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Cardano’s Babel fees mechanism allow users to pay transaction fees in native tokens

Once the Mary Hard Fork is implemented, users on Cardano will be able to pay transaction fees in native tokens, essentially requiring no ADA to utilize the blockchain. And while this might seem like a huge technical conundrum, IOHK’s engineers have actually come up with a rather simple, free-market-oriented solution.

Cardano’s Extended UTXO makes native token transactions possible

Aside from opening up the world of DeFi to its users, the addition of native tokens to the Cardano blockchain comes with a whole new set of technological benefits. The biggest advancement made possible by native tokens is Babel fees, a mechanism that enables users to pay transaction fees on the blockchain with user-defined tokens, rather than just using the blockchain’s native token.

In practice, this means that any token issued on Cardano can be used to pay transaction fees, a move that will enable users to completely circumvent the use of ADA.

This is made possible by Cardano Extended UTXO (EUTXO) model. Unlike Ethereum’s account-based model, issuing a valid transaction on Cardano requires consuming one or more UTXOs. However, a UTXO on Cardano is able to carry a bundle that contains multiple different tokens, both fungible and non-fungible.

According to a blog post by Prof. Aggelos Kiayias, IOHK’s chief scientist, this model makes it possible to issue a transaction that declares a liability denominated in ADA that’s equal to the amount of fees that the transaction issuer is supposed to pay. This type of transaction is perceived as an open offer on the blockchain, asking interested parties to cover the liability. In return for covering the liability, the party would be paid a reward in the form of other tokens included in the transaction.

However, a transaction with a liability wouldn’t be admissible to the blockchain by itself. Block producers are the ones tasked with creating a matching transaction that will absorb the liability, covering it both with ADA and the other tokens included in the transaction. As such, the transaction with the liability and its matching transaction become admissible to the ledger as a group.

Stake pool operators become liquidity providers under Babel fees

The only way for this mechanism to work is for the Cardano blockchain to introduce the notion of liquidity providers. These LPs are participants in the blockchain that are willing to issue matching transactions on the blockchain.

In the case of Babel fees, it’s the stake pool operators that become the liquidity providers. They are incentivized by the market to provide exchange rates for specific native tokens they want to accept. Prof. Kiayias explained that any SPO can declare that they will accept a certain token for a fixed exchange rate, for example, 3:1 over ADA. If a transaction costs 0.16 ADA, the sender can declare a liability of 0.16 ADA and offer 0.48 of token X. Cardano’s native asset model implements this as a single UTXO carrying a token bundle with the following specifications:

ADA → -0.16, token X → 0.48

In the bundle, the liability is represented with a negative sign.

The stake pool operator that accepts the transaction recovers the liability from the mempool and issues a matching transaction consuming the UTXO with the liability. The matching transaction transfers 0.48 of token X to a new output, owned by the SPO.

What makes this rather simple mechanism revolutionary for blockchain technology is the fact that it’s entirely op-in for SPOs. Each stake pool operator can determine their own policy and exchange rate irrespective of each other. This means that different stake pool operators can provide different exchange rates for the same token, pushing users issuing liability transactions to offer an amount of tokens that corresponds to the minimum, average, or even maximum of the posted exchange rates on the network.

“In this way, a natural trade-off arises between settlement time of liability transactions and the market value of tokens they offer,” Kiayias explained in IOHK’s blog post.

To further promote the free market experience, Babel fees don’t require SPOs to be the only entities on the network covering liabilities. Stake pool operators can partner with an external liquidity provider that will issue matching transactions. In addition to that, third-party providers can also independently on the network and issue matching transactions themselves, removing the need for stake pool operators.

Aside from Babel fees, this mechanism enables a variety of other innovative applications. While IOHK has remained mostly silent on the issue, its latest blog post highlighted atomic swaps for spot trades as one possible implementation of the mechanism.

According to Kiayias, the mechanism enabling negative quantities in token bundles will be implemented in the basic ledger rules of Cardano following the Mary Hard Fork. And while there’s still no clear date as to when Babel fees will be enabled, it’s safe to assume that they will see the light of day sometime shortly after the introduction of native assets.

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Major Dubai crypto fund to sell $750M worth of BTC to buy Cardano and Polkadot

FD7 Ventures, a Dubai-based crypto investment fund with $1 billion under management, has announced plans to sell off $750 million worth of their Bitcoin holdings in the next month. The proceeds from the sell-off will be used to purchase Cardano and Polkadot, as the fund’s managing director says he believes ADA, DOT, and ETH will be the foundation of Web 3.0.

Cardano and Polkadot get backing from a major crypto fund

The crypto industry has been ripe with news of major financial institutions and enterprises acquiring huge amounts of Bitcoin. From Jack Dorsey’s Square leading the pack with its massive BTC purchases last year and PayPal’s and Visa’s crypto payment functionality to MicroStrategy’s and Tesla’s billion-dollar acquisitions—there seems to be a corporate race to accumulate Bitcoin.

However, a major cryptocurrency fund in Dubai has decided to go a different route and sell-off most of its Bitcoin holdings. FD7, a global crypto investment fund with $1 billion in assets under management (AUM), announced that it plans on selling $750 million of its BTC holdings in the next month.

According to the company’s press release, the proceeds from the sell-off will be used to increase the company’s positions in Cardano (ADA) and Polkadot (DOT). The increase in DOT and ADA holdings will better serve the needs of FD7 investors, the company explained in the release.

The fund’s managing director deems Bitcoin “useless” as a store of value

Prakash Chand, the managing director at FD7 Ventures, said that the fund’s investors want to diversify their portfolios in the crypto space.

“Aside from the fact that Bitcoin was first to market and society has given it meaning as a store of value, I think Bitcoin is actually pretty useless,” he said in the company’s press release. “Projects such as Cardano, Polkadot, and Ethereum are the foundation of the new internet and Web 3.0.”

And it’s not just portfolio diversification that pushed the fund to Cardano and Polkadot. The company said that both the founder of Cardano, Charles Hoskinson, and the founder of Polkadot, Dr. Gavin Wood, are considered to be “two of the brightest minds” working in crypto. Both, the company further explained, lead projects it believes will have the potential for significant worldwide impact. Chand noted that he was convinced Ethereum, Cardano, and Polkadot will be more valuable than Bitcoin within the next few years, which is why the company was trying to front-run the market and expose their investors to the growing assets.

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Major Dubai crypto fund to sell $750M worth of BTC to buy Cardano and Polkadot

FD7 Ventures, a Dubai-based crypto investment fund with $1 billion under management, has announced plans to sell off $750 million worth of their Bitcoin holdings in the next month. The proceeds from the sell-off will be used to purchase Cardano and Polkadot, as the fund’s managing director says he believes ADA, DOT, and ETH will be the foundation of Web 3.0.

Cardano and Polkadot get backing from a major crypto fund

The crypto industry has been ripe with news of major financial institutions and enterprises acquiring huge amounts of Bitcoin. From Jack Dorsey’s Square leading the pack with its massive BTC purchases last year and PayPal’s and Visa’s crypto payment functionality to MicroStrategy’s and Tesla’s billion-dollar acquisitions—there seems to be a corporate race to accumulate Bitcoin.

However, a major cryptocurrency fund in Dubai has decided to go a different route and sell-off most of its Bitcoin holdings. FD7, a global crypto investment fund with $1 billion in assets under management (AUM), announced that it plans on selling $750 million of its BTC holdings in the next month.

According to the company’s press release, the proceeds from the sell-off will be used to increase the company’s positions in Cardano (ADA) and Polkadot (DOT). The increase in DOT and ADA holdings will better serve the needs of FD7 investors, the company explained in the release.

The fund’s managing director deems Bitcoin “useless” as a store of value

Prakash Chand, the managing director at FD7 Ventures, said that the fund’s investors want to diversify their portfolios in the crypto space.

“Aside from the fact that Bitcoin was first to market and society has given it meaning as a store of value, I think Bitcoin is actually pretty useless,” he said in the company’s press release. “Projects such as Cardano, Polkadot, and Ethereum are the foundation of the new internet and Web 3.0.”

And it’s not just portfolio diversification that pushed the fund to Cardano and Polkadot. The company said that both the founder of Cardano, Charles Hoskinson, and the founder of Polkadot, Dr. Gavin Wood, are considered to be “two of the brightest minds” working in crypto. Both, the company further explained, lead projects it believes will have the potential for significant worldwide impact. Chand noted that he was convinced Ethereum, Cardano, and Polkadot will be more valuable than Bitcoin within the next few years, which is why the company was trying to front-run the market and expose their investors to the growing assets.

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Polkadot’s upcoming parachains to be tested on the Kusama Network

Ahead of its long-awaited parachains launch, Polkadot published a comprehensive roadmap where it revealed that all upcoming parachains will be tested and optimized both on regular parachain testnets such as Rococo and on the Kusama Network.

Polkadot publishes comprehensive parachain launch roadmap

Parachains, the building blocks of the ambitious Polkadot network, are set to see their full launch in the very near future. When delivered, parachains will allow Polkadot to realize its full potential as a scalable multi-chain architecture.

The entire Polkadot network is currently in its Rococo phase. Rococo is a parachain testnet that enables developers to test and bug fix before rolling out their parachains to the mainnet. According to the company’s roadmap, once they’re confident the testnet parachains are running smoothly and all of the code has been fully audited and benchmarked, a vote to enable parachains and slot auctions on Kusama will be submitted via on-chain governance.

Despite being used to test out Polkadot functionalities, Kusama is a live network with real economic incentives. This will enable it to serve as an additional proving ground for parachains, allowing developers to observe things such as network effects that wouldn’t be possible on traditional testnets.

“Kusama governance will first vote to enable parachain functionality via runtime upgrade. After that it can vote to begin slot auctions and to add any common-good parachains,” the company explained.

The launch of parachains is in the hands of the Polkadot community

Once all audits are completed and parachains spend enough time running smoothly on Kusama, the process of launching slot auctions will be initiated. The first public-good parachains will be deployed by the Polkadot community, with DOT holders voting to enable parachain functionality.

Proprietary on-chain governance on Polkadot will enable the community to initiate slot auctions, enabling developers to bid for a chance to set up and run a parachain on the network. All of the 100 parachain slot leases, Polkadot explained in the roadmap, will be allocated through non-permissioned candle auctions.

Following the first auction on Polkadot, every subsequent new auction will take place roughly every two weeks. The winning parachain will be deployed to the network shortly after completing the auction. Parachain slots can be leased for anywhere between six months and two years, after which they’ll go back up for auction.

Polkadot noted that auctions might increase in frequency as more slots become available and previous slots expire.

Explore all Polkadot ecosystem coins on CryptoSlate.

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Why crypto might grow like the early 2000s tech stocks: An introduction to the Gartner Hype Cycle

Developed by research company Gartner to represent the adoption of new media, hype cycles have been used since the 1990s to quantify and predict the performance of groundbreaking new technologies. With the Gartner Hype Cycle perfectly describing the ups and downs the dot-com boom saw in the early 2000s, many have wondered whether applying the methodology to the crypto industry would provide more clarity as to where the market is heading.

Quantifying bold promises from new technologies with the Hype Cycle

Since the early nineties and the beginning of the internet boom, each new technology has carried with itself a huge amount of hype. And while publicity has often been one of the most important factors in technology adoption, it often clouded the public’s vision of what was actually commercially viable and sustainable in the long term.

To help both investors and the public discern the hype from real value, American research and advisory company Gartner came up with its trademarked Hype Cycles—a representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications and their relevance to solving real business problems.

Graph representing the Gartner Hype Cycle (Source: Gartner)
Graph representing the Gartner Hype Cycle (Source: Gartner)

Every Hype Cycle boils down a new technology’s life cycle to five key phases—the innovation trigger, the peak of inflated expectations, the trough of disillusionment, the slope of enlightenment, and the plateau of productivity. If applied correctly to new technology or application, Hype Cycles can help investors get a better understanding of where the technology stands and evaluate the risks involved with investing in a certain period of time.

But, what does an often-disputed metric usually applied to the dot-com bubble in the late nineties have to do with the crypto industry? And how can it be used to quantify the adoption of blockchain, a technology that continuously fails to resemble anything we’ve seen in the market so far?

Crypto bull runs show an almost perfect correlation to Gartner’s Hype Cycle

Since the first Bitcoin block was mined in January 2009, the cryptocurrency industry has been on what can only be described as a wild ride. The massive ups and downs cryptocurrency prices have seen in the past decade did little to convince the general public that it was seeing a rise of a new monetary system and not a get-rich-quick Ponzi scheme. The equally fast growth crypto media has seen in the meantime has convinced many that a single article can be as big of a market mover as a major financial recession.

And while the crypto community has been embroiled in a decade-long discussion with the mainstream about the viability of cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology has been on a low-profile journey almost all emerging technologies have gone through.

The innovation trigger for blockchain technology was the Bitcoin whitepaper, a single event that started a ripple effect of breakthroughs. It led to the creation of other cryptocurrencies and ideas about additional implementation for blockchain. While extremely exciting to the small population involved in the niche technology, the first phase of the cycle often produces no usable products and has no proven commercial viability.

This was the case with Bitcoin, which remained essentially worthless until 2010, when the first BTC trading platforms emerged from the BitcoinTalk Forum. The following couple of years were market by price volatility and low adoption.

The second phase blockchain encountered was the peak of inflated expectations, where early publicity produced a number of success stories accompanied by an almost equally high number of failures. For blockchain, the second phase started in 2014 with Ethereum and reached its peak in 2017 with the market mania surrounding ICOs. The period between 2014 and 2017 saw an unprecedented rise in adoption, with the retail market being responsible for most of the price hikes.

Ethereum made it cheap and easy for essentially anyone to issue a token. Hundreds of millions, and sometimes even billions of dollars were raised overnight, with investments flooding in from around the world into projects backed with little more than a website.

However, the wild west that was the ICO boom met its end in 2017, when blockchain entered the third phase of the Hype Cycle like clockwork.

The trough of disillusionment, Gartner’s third Hype Cycle phase, is described as a period of waning interest as new technology experiments and implementation fail to deliver their ambitious promises. According to Gartner, this is where producers of the technology, or in this case token issuers, get shaken out of the market.

Those that survive the shake-up do so only by improving their products “to the satisfaction of early adopters.”

After the speculative crypto bubble exhausted in late 2017, the market was left in shambles as numerous projects failed and billions of dollars in market capitalization was erased. Back in 2018, Gartner’s own analysis identified that the market entered the trough of disillusionment, putting blockchain among the rapidly declining technologies such as autonomous driving, and IoT platforms.

Graph showing Gartner’s Hype Cycle for emerging technologies in 2018 (Source: Gartner) 
Graph showing Gartner’s Hype Cycle for emerging technologies in 2018 (Source: Gartner)

With almost 80 percent of the market cap wiped out, negative sentiment dominated the market, spreading disillusionment both among institutions dabbling in cryptocurrencies and retail investors.

After suffering its most devastating hit, the market took almost two years to fully recover.

It wasn’t until the rise of DeFi that the industry entered into the fourth phase of the Gartner Hype Cycle—the slope of enlightenment. Essentially the recovery phase, it’s the first time instances of how the emerging technology can benefit enterprises start to crystallize. According to Gartner, this is where second and third-generation products begin to appear on the market and less risk-averse enterprises begin funding projects and implementing the technology.

Last year’s DeFi boom attracted an unprecedented amount of new users to the market. And for the first time ever, it wasn’t just the promise of huge yields that made people flock to the crypto space—third-generation cryptocurrency projects like Cardano, Polkadot, and Chainlink offered a glimpse of a technologically-advanced future many believe to be achievable and sustainable.

The response to the global COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in controversial fiscal measures such as stimulus packages and quantitative easing seemed to diminish not just the retail sector’s trust in fiat currencies, but the institutional reliance on government-issued currencies as well. To diversify their treasuries and create the potential for huge profits, several high-profile companies began investing billions of dollars in Bitcoin.

And while many criticized MicroStrategy and Tesla for their “reckless” investments, the corporate jump to cryptocurrencies shows that more enterprises began to realize and better understand the benefits of cryptocurrencies—exactly as described in the Gartner Hype Cycle.

More industry voices believe the market is entering into the fifth and final phase of the Hype Cycle

The plateau of productivity—the fifth and final phase of the Hype Cycle, where mainstream adoption truly begins to take off. Gartner describes this phase as the period where the criteria for accessing a project’s viability becomes more clearly defined and a technology’s market applicability begins to pay off by becoming globally relevant.

One of the main characteristics of the plateau phase is a significant slow-down of volatility and the adoption of a slower, more sustainable growth pace. And while it can be argued whether this could be applied to the crypto industry, some of the industry’s most influential voices believe that this is exactly where the crypto market currently is.

Su Zhu, the CEO of Three Arrows Capital, a Singapore-based hedge fund manager, said he believed the market was currently in the last Gartner cycle. The cycle, he explained on Twitter, won’t be as short-lived as the others and will extend many years into the future, bringing over a billion new people into the crypto ecosystem.

According to Zhu, the very fact the market has entered the plateau of productivity means that there was a high probability that we’d never see another major market crash like the ones we’ve seen in March 2020 and in January 2018.

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Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, UBS buy the first ETP offering exposure to Polkadot’s DOT

Data from the Bloomberg Terminal has revealed that some of the biggest Wall Street players have bought the world’s first exchange-traded product (ETP) for Polkadot. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, UBS, and ICAP have all bought different amounts of the Polkadot ETP shares, signaling the rising institutional appetite for crypto derivatives.

Major Wall Street players experimenting with a Polkadot ETP

The latest news coming out of Wall Street has shown that some of the largest industry players have shown a rising interest in the diverse product offering of the crypto market. According to data from Bloomberg Terminal obtained by CoinDesk, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, UBS, and ICAP have all bought the world’s first exchange-traded product (ETP) that offers exposure to Polkadot’s DOT token.

Launched at the beginning of February by 21Shares, a Swiss investment product provider, the Polkadot ETP (ticker: PDOT) is listed on the Swiss SIX Exchange. According to Laurent Kssis, the head of ETP at 21Shares, the Polkadot ETP currently has over $15 million in assets under management.

Data from Bloomberg Terminal revealed that Goldman Sachs purchased three lots of shares on behalf of a client. UBS, on the other hand, purchased 2,770 shares, while Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch bought 2,200 shares. ICAP purchased 1,000 shares, while JPMorgan bought 500.

Instinet, a broker-dealer owned by Japan’s Nomura Holdings, was the biggest investor in Polkadot’s ETP, having purchased 9,280 shares.

Bloomberg Terminal data showing brokers that have purchased shares of the Polkadot ETP.

Wall Street execs stay silent while the popularity of ETPs explodes

A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs said it had no knowledge of the trades and that they would be looked into. None of the other companies shown to have bought the Polkadot ETP have responded to queries from journalists as of press time.

Nonetheless, the number of Polkadot ETP shares sold since the beginning of the month shows that there is significant demand from institutional investors for products that offer crypto exposure. Investing in exchange-traded products enables institutions to reap the benefits of a token’s performance without having to worry about custody. ETPs also offer institutions a way to comply with regulations.

The increased interest is seen clearly in the number of new products added to the SIX Exchange. There are currently six ETP providers with cryptocurrency products listed on the exchange and 34 ETPs listed in total. Users can buy shares of Bitcoin Cash ETP,   Binance BNB ETP, Ethereum ETP, Ripple ETP, Tezos ETP, and FiCAS Active Crypto ETP.

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Cardano’s Daedalus wallet receives its most significant update yet

Version 3.3.0 of the Daedalus wallet brings support for the upcoming Cardano protocol update that delivers native token support to the blockchain. What also stands out from the numerous new features introduced is the ability to register to vote for the Project Catalyst Fund3, removing unnecessary steps from Cardano’s on-chain governance.

Daedalus wallet gets a revamp in the latest update

Daedalus, a Cardano wallet developed by IOHK, has just received its biggest upgrade yet. Announced on Feb. 17, the update has essentially made Daedalus ready for Mary, the upcoming HFC event that’s set to bring native token support to Cardano.

Version 3.3.0 also brings a slew of other updates to Daedalus, including configurable SMASH servers, metadata transactions, fee processing, ADA deposits, as well as support for Ledger devices configured with a secondary PIN.

Daedalus can now display the converted value of users’ wallet balances in a supported fiat or cryptocurrency. Conversion rates are provided by CoinGecko, but IOHK noted that the calculated conversions should only be used as a reference.

Users will also be able to import wallets from ‘secret.key’ files located in state directories of old versions of Daedalus. This represents a significant update for users that have lost their wallet recovery phrases, as the new version allows the import of wallets with just spending passwords.

Daedalus brings Cardano a step closer to completely decentralized governance

However, the biggest and most significant functionality unlocked in version 3.3.0 is the addition of Project Catalyst Fund3 voting registration. While still in its experimental phase, Project Catalyst is a program that will ultimately bring on-chain governance to Cardano. The platform enables ADA holders to vote on proposed campaigns for Cardano’s growth and receive rewards for participating in the governance process.

The latest version of Daedalus will enable users to register and vote for proposals in Fund3 directly in the wallet.

Project Catalyst voting will also utilize another major Daedalus update, which is added support for transaction metadata. Version 3.3.0 will enable Cardano transactions displayed on Daedalus to contain additional metadata information, aside from containing ADA and other Cardano native assets in the near future. Transaction metadata can be used to provide additional context for transactions, a feature that will prove to be extremely useful as both the proposals and the voting process on Project Catalyst become more complex.

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Almost 72% of all ADA is now staked on Cardano

With 71.9 percent of the total circulating supply of ADA now staked, Cardano is still the most decentralized blockchain network on the market. The significant increase in the amount of its underlying cryptocurrency being staked is followed by an equally significant rise in the number of new users entering the Cardano ecosystem, pushing ADA’s price the closest to $1 than it’s been in the past four years.

Cardano is still the most decentralized blockchain network in the world

While overtaking Polkadot earlier this year in terms of staked value has been major news for Cardano, it’s equally as important to notice the blockchain’s month and a half reign as the most decentralized network in the world.

With just under 72 percent of the total circulating supply of ADA staked, Cardano is still way ahead of Polkadot with 60.61 percent of DOT tokens staked on the network.

Screengrab showing the total staked value for Cardano and Polkadot on Feb. 16 (Source: Staking Rewards)
Screengrab showing the total staked value for Cardano and Polkadot on Feb. 16
(Source: Staking Rewards)

The latest data from Cardano data aggregator AdaPools has shown that over 54 percent of all ADA wallets have delegated their funds to a stake pool. This means that there are currently 214,610 wallets holding ADA that have decided to allocate their funds to securing the Cardano network.

Graph showing the number of delegated wallets on the Cardano network (Source: Pieter Nierop)
Graph showing the number of delegated wallets on the Cardano network (Source: Pieter Nierop)

Almost every ADA metric points to a rapidly decentralizing network

The rise in the number of delegated wallets was followed by a rise in the total number of ADA wallets on the network. According to data from AdaPools and AdaStat, there are currently 392,887 ADA wallets on the market—a 60 percent increase from the 244,932 wallets recorded on Jan. 14.

Graph showing the total number of ADA wallets on the market (Source: Pieter Nierop)
Graph showing the total number of ADA wallets on the market (Source: Pieter Nierop)

Another major metric that points to the rapid decentralization of the Cardano network is the average number of ADA held in each delegated wallet. Unlike almost all of Cardano’s other fundamentals, the average number of ADA per delegated wallets has been decreasing. This means that there are more small-time players and retail investors utilizing Cardano, essentially stripping the whales and other large holders of their power over the network.

Graph showing the average number of ADA per delegated wallet (Source: Pieter Nierop)
Graph showing the average number of ADA per delegated wallet (Source: Pieter Nierop)

The data shows that there has been a 38.24 percent decrease in the average number of ADA in delegated wallets in the past 30 days.

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Tesla made more money buying BTC in one day than it did selling cars last quarter

The electric car manufacturer has profited more from its $1.5 billion Bitcoin position in a single day than it did selling cars in Q4 2020. With its massive position pushing BTC’s price up over 23 percent, Tesla made over $365 million dollars between Feb. 8 and Feb. 9.

Tesla’s poor Q4 2020 performance makes BTC its most profitable endeavor

After Tesla announced that it has taken up a $1.5 billion position in Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency market went into what can only be described as a frenzy. The world’s largest cryptocurrency saw its price increase $10,000 in a matter of hours, dragging the rest of the market with it.

And while the entire industry was ecstatic about the massive market gains, it was Tesla that actually turned the most profit on its investment.

Namely, the company saw the value of its investment increase by over 23 percent in a single day. Given the fact that its position was worth $1.5 billion dollars, the profit from the investment comes down to over $356 million.

And while this might not seem like a particularly significant number, it’s more than the company made selling its core product throughout the entire fourth quarter of last year.

According to CNN, the company reported its Q4 2020 adjusted net income of just $270 million. At the time, the numbers were way short of the $780 million net income estimated by Wall Street, which erased a few percent from TSLA’s valuation.

The low net income surprised analysts as the company posted quarterly revenue of $10.7 billion, up 46 percent from the previous year. The adjusted income was up more than 6,700 percent from the modest profit the company posted in 2019, the first-year Tesla actually turned a profit.

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Ben Goertzel’s SingularityNET begins second phase of migration from Ethereum to Cardano

SingularityNET, an artificial intelligence (AI) solution built on Ethereum, has begun the second phase of its migration to Cardano. The company’s AGI cryptocurrency will be the first major token release on the Cardano Native Assets platform and the largest democratic exercise in the history of decentralized AI.

A major decentralized AI network is coming to Cardano

SingularityNET, a decentralized artificial intelligence (AI) solution created by Dr. Ben Goertzel, has entered into the second phase of its migration to Cardano. The network’s departure from Ethereum was announced back in early October 2020, citing the academic rigor and formal methods behind Cardano as the main reason for migrating to the platform.

At the time, the company said that the core technology developed by IOHK was “closely in line” with the deep scientific background of the SingularityNET’s team.

Dr. Ben Goertzel, the founder and CEO of SingularityNET, said that the decision on whether or not to migrate to Cardano was left to the community. The voting process took place earlier this month and lasted for four days. With 187 million votes in favor of the proposal to migrate and only 20 million votes against it, SingularityNET will now officially be a Cardano-based platform.

SingularityNET’s AGI becomes the first major token to launch on Cardano

As part of the migration, SingularityNET’s native AGI tokens will be issued on Cardano. According to an official announcement from the company, 1 billion tokens will be issued in total, with the first issuance consisting of 15 million AGI. The rest of the tokens, called AGI-ADA will be issued gradually each month, with the issuance reate decreasing 1.5 percent each month.

In a recent YouTube video, Dr. Goertzel said that the total issuance will take 91 years to complete. He explained that the slow issuance process will enable the company to allocate more resources to develop the platform.

The old AGI ERC-20 token will remain on Ethereum, with users being able to swap back and forth between AGI ERC-20 and AGI-ADA.

After SingularityNET migrates to Cardano, the next step in the platform’s development will be to strengthen its governance model through the tools provided on the Cardano blockchain.

IOHK, the company behind Cardano, said that having AGI on the blockchain will be the first major token release on the Cardano Native Assets platform. It will also be the “largest democratic exercise in the history of decentralized AI,” the company added.

“The AGI SingularityNET Phase Two proposal represents a major new step for Dr. Ben Goertzel’s decentralized AI project and an intensification of the Cardano partnership,” IOHK said on Twitter.

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Here are 3 reasons why Cardano (ADA) is up 100% this month

Cardano’s native cryptocurrency ADA has been on a roll since the beginning of February, seeing a price increase of over 100 percent since the beginning of the month. And while the overall bull market has been partly responsible for ADA’s price hike, the rally is mostly fueled by the major developments inside IOHK and a number of hugely important releases planned for this year.

Graph showing ADA’s price from Jan. 14 to Feb. 8 (Source: CryptoSlate ADA)
Graph showing ADA’s price from Jan. 14 to Feb. 8 (Source: CryptoSlate ADA)

Cardano’s smart contract era is getting closer to launch

Goguen, the era of the Cardano blockchain that will unlock its smart contract functionality, has been in development for at least as long as Shelley has. The teams behind the blockchain have been working on almost all of its phases simultaneously to ensure smooth launches and minimal performance issues.

The first of the two hard fork combinator (HFC) events set to unlock Goguen took place on February 3rd, bringing native assets to the Cardano testnet. At the end of February, the same upgrade is set to roll out to the Cardano mainnet and transform Cardano into a DeFi platform.

The market reacted strongly to the upgrade, as Cardano is one of the few, if not the only blockchain platforms, that handles tokenization natively. This means that user-defined tokens on Cardano act exactly the same as its native cryptocurrency does. Having native assets built into the ledger means that transactions between native tokens and assets do not incur execution fees, making DeFi applications much more affordable and efficient.

The network will become fully community-controlled in less than two months

While decentralization has been the biggest talking point of the crypto industry in the past year, only a handful of networks have actually taken concrete steps to become fully community-owned and operated.

IOHK, the company behind Cardano, is set to give up all control over block production on the network on March 31st., when the d-parameter will go down to zero. The d-parameter is a metric used to represent the percentage of blocks that are produced by IOHK. When Shelley, Cardano’s staking era, was launched last year, the parameter was set at 1, meaning that 100 percent of the blocks on the network were produced by the company.

With each epoch, the value of the d-parameter slightly decreased and is set to reach zero on epoch 257. Once d reaches zero, IOHK’s only role in the Cardano ecosystem will be to continue developing the network until its mandate runs out.

Knowing that the network you invest in cannot be controlled by its founding company was certainly something that attracted many users to Cardano, pushing ADA’s price well past $0.71 at one point this week.

IOHK’s Africa deals could bring millions of new users to Cardano

Both IOHK and the Cardano Foundation have been outspoken about the potential Africa has for blockchain adoption, frequently investing in various development and education programs across the continent. Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, revealed late last year that the company was working on a number of projects involving Cardano aimed exclusively at Africa.

And while the public will have to wait for the end of the month to hear concrete information about the project, the latest reports have shown that IOHK’s “major” African project is in its final stages of development.

In a recent interview with the Proof of Africa, IOHK’s director of African Operations John O’Connor revealed that the company was in the final stages of a large government contract in Africa. When launched, the project could onboard millions of new users onto the Cardano platform and become one of the largest real-world implementations of blockchain technology.

What is clear is that almost all of the projects IOHK is working on in Africa will be based on Atala PRISM, IOHK’s identity solution based on Cardano. O’Connor revealed that the company has “reasonable plans” to onboard 100 million users on this identity platform within the next couple of years.

The possibility of having tens, and maybe even hundreds of millions of users on Cardano in the next two years has certainly rallied up the market. There has been an increase both in ADA’s trading volume and the number of new ADA wallets created, indicating that the market has been reacting strongly to the positive news coming from Cardano.

For more information:

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IOHK on the brink of securing a massive Cardano government contract in Africa

IOHK, the company behind the Cardano blockchain, is in the final stages of securing a huge government contract in Africa. According to John O’Connor, the director of African Operations at IOHK, the project could add millions of users to Cardano for real-world blockchain implementation.

IOHK making major strides in Africa with real-world blockchain solution built on Cardano

While Africa has long been touted as the next big frontier for blockchain technology, few companies have actually gone through with their plans to invest in its developing countries. IOHK, the company behind Cardano, is one of just a handful of companies actively working in Africa.

Charles Hoskinson, the founder and CEO of IOHK, has been outspoken about the potential Africa has for blockchain adoption, saying that his company was working on a number of projects aimed exclusively at the continent.

And while there is still no concrete information coming neither from Hoskinson nor from IOHK, the latest report have shown that whatever IOHK is working on in Africa is in its final stages of development.

In an interview with the Proof of Africa, John O’Connor, IOHK’s director of African Operations, revealed that there is a real-world blockchain solution being built on Cardano that’s designed specifically to be released in Africa.

“What I can say is that we are at the final stages of a large government contract that would have multimillion users being onboarded onto the platform for real-world blockchain implementation,” he said in the interview.

Decentralized identity solutions coming to five major African countries

While O’Connor is based in Ethiopia, he said that IOHK’s project will focus on other African countries as well. IOHK’s focus countries include South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Another 15 will be added to the list in the near future, he revealed.

The company’s work in Tanzania will provide each user of the country’s telecom providers with digital identity and access to the ADA payment network on Cardano. When it comes to South Africa, O’Connor said that IOHK was working on an “interesting project” involving insurance.

What is clear so far is that almost all of the projects IOHK is working on in Africa will be based on Atala PRISM, the company’s identity solution.

“We have quite reasonable plans to onboard 100 million users on this identity platform within the next year or two. This might seem ambitious, but actually, the scale of the African continent means that it’s quite realistic,” O’Connor explained in the interview.

All of the process required to launch the mysterious African solution should be done by the end of February, he said, adding that the team at IOHK will be the one that makes the news public. According to O’Connor, the deployment has the potential to be the largest real-world blockchain deployment in the world.

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IOHK delegates 3.2M ADA to 100 Cardano community pools

To further distance itself from the actual running of the Cardano blockchain, IOHK has delegated 3.2 million of its own ADA to 100 different stake pools ran by the Cardano community. This is part of IOHK’s larger plan to delegate funds to a new set of pools each quarter and support operators in developing countries.

Private stake pools on Cardano get an influx of 3.2 million newly delegated ADA

Following up on its mission to introduce a fairer and more community-oriented delegation approach, IOHK has announced that it has delegated all of the funds from its public pool to community-run staking pools.

The strategy was first introduced in November last year when IOHK’s marketing and communications director Tim Harrison outlined the company’s plans for the next 12 months. Namely, after retiring all but one of IOHK’s public stake pools in December, the company set out to delegate a portion of its funds to private pools ran by the community.

Around 15 percent of IOHK’s total ADA holdings were set out to be delegated to the Cardano community, with the set of pools receiving the funds changing each quarter.

According to the company’s latest announcement, 3.2 million of its ADA has now been successfully delegated to 100 different stake pools on the network.

Delegating with a purpose

To further support the growing community of stake pool operators, the company has decided not to delegate to a random set of pools, but to pools it believes exist with a “purpose.”

“Our primary objective here is to delegate to pools that we feel support our wider purpose and mission of economic inclusion – decentralization of sustainable technology, empowerment through education, and opening up economic identity for all,” Harrison wrote back in 2020.

These purpose pools, the company explained, might include operations hosted in developing countries or run on a charitable or philanthropic basis.

With the cohort of stake pools IOHK delegates to set to change every quarter, any operators interested in applying for next quarter’s delegation will be able to do so in several weeks.

According to Harrison, a new form with a fresh call for delegation will be shared with the community either in late March or early April. Stake pool operators looking to apply to be considered for the next round of IOHK’s delegation can fill out the form and wait for the quarter to end to see whether they have been chosen in the round.

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The Cardano treasury now holds almost double the funds raised in the 2016 ICO

With over 276.5 million ADA currently sitting in its treasury, it’s safe to say that Cardano has got the back of its community. However, this number becomes even more relevant when considering the fact that the treasury now holds almost double the funds that were raised in the project’s 2016 ICO.

The value of Cardano’s treasury keeps increasing

The massive price growth Cardano’s ADA has seen in the past month has continued into February, with the token reaching a three-year high of around $0.44 at the beginning of the week. And while the price rally has definitely made the handful of speculators very happy, its importance lies not in the short-term gains, but in the long-term possibilities it opens.

Namely, with the amount of ADA in Cardano’s treasury growing with each epoch, the rising price of its native cryptocurrency means that there is, effectively, more money to be distributed to the community working on Cardano.

According to the latest data from Project Catalyst, there is currently 276,588,875 ADA locked in the treasury. At press time, ADA’s price of $0.41 puts the value of the Cardano Treasury at over $113 million.

At the beginning of the week, ADA’s three-year high of $0.44 put the value of the treasury at over $121.6 million.

showing ADA’s price in the past 30 days (Source: CryptoSlate ADA)
Showing ADA’s price in the past 30 days (Source: CryptoSlate ADA)

A modest ICO makes way for a truly community-oriented project

Such a significant increase in the value of the treasury is important to the entire crypto market, not just the community members fighting for grants from Cardano’s funds. It represents a unique occurrence on the market, where a cryptocurrency project managed to show significant and sustainable growth after its ICO.

In its 2016 ICO, Cardano raised just over $62 million, selling 45 billion ADA for $0.0024 per token. The three-month-long coin offering raised what is considered a modest amount, especially given the fact that it was done right at the beginning of the ICO craze which saw projects raise billions of dollars through token sales.

Just over four years later, Cardano’s treasury alone holds double what IOHK managed to raise in the ICO. With a market cap of just under $13 billion, the token is currently the sixth-largest cryptocurrency in the world.

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Today’s Mary hard fork will bring Cardano one step closer to Goguen

Mary, one of the two hard forks set to transition Cardano from Shelley to Goguen, is scheduled to take place at 20:00 UTC today. The long-anticipated hard fork will finally bring native asset support to Cardano, a move that will unlock decentralized finance on the network.

Native asset support coming to the Cardano testnet later today

The Cardano blockchain is scheduled to go through a major upgrade today that’s set to unlock a whole new world of opportunities both to the Cardano community and the businesses and institutions using the blockchain.

IOHK, the company behind Cardano, announced that Mary, one of two hard fork events that will transition Cardano from its Shelley to its Goguen phase, is scheduled to take place later today. According to the company’s tweet, on Feb. 3 at 20:20:16 UTC, the Cardano testnet will be hard forked and the Goguen native token upgrade rolled out.

This will effectively transform the Cardano testnet into a truly multi-asset network, enabling users to issue and distribute their own tokens on the Cardano blockchain.

At the end of February, the same upgrade will roll out to the Cardano mainnet, unlocking the blockchain’s smart contract functionality.

What makes native tokens on Cardano different?

Unlike other blockchain networks, which handle token issuance through smart contracts, Cardano handles tokenization natively. This means that the logic behind issuing tokens on Cardano is based on the Cardano ledger itself, eliminating the need for constructing additional layers on top of the blockchain.

User-defined tokens on Ethereum, created with ERC-20 and ERC-721 standards, are fundamentally different from ETH. Cardano, on the other hand, supports user-defined tokens natively, which means that there’s no need to add custom code on top of the blockchain.

In addition to that, it also enables those assets to behave almost exactly like ADA, the blockchain’s native currency. The only differences between any token issued on Cardano and ADA are that the tokens can be destroyed and that only ADA can be used to service fees, rewards, and deposits.

The fact that native assets on Cardano are built into the ledger is set to revolutionize decentralized finance. On Cardano, transactions between native tokens and assets do not incur execution fees, making DeFi applications much more affordable. IOHK believes that offering tokens without the inherent vulnerabilities of custom-coded smart contracts could make them very interesting to institutions and businesses looking to explore blockchain technology.

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Polkadot (DOT) has set out to solve the problem of fast innovation

One of the most decentralized networks in the world, Polkadot created a spark that ignited the blockchain revolution and the switch towards more community-oriented protocols. We explore what’s behind the network that calls itself a “chain of chains” and wants to disrupt the way people innovate with blockchain technology.

Polkadot is an exercise of blockchain abstraction

First introduced back in 2016, Polkadot has been one of the most influential blockchain platforms in the market’s quest for decentralization. Created by Gavin Wood, one of the founders of Ethereum, it was envisioned as a solution that would give businesses and developers easier access to blockchain technology.

In an interview with Real Vision’s Sebastian Moonjava, Wood said that his main goal with Polkadot was to solve the problem of innovating fast. Building new, disruptive products requires putting in a lot of hard work and getting a relatively small reward back. Developers need to build everything from the basis of their blockchain platforms to their business logic from scratch, which can be a mammoth task that slows down innovation.

“What Polkadot does is it allows you to shortcut on an awful lot of that work,” he explained in the interview. “It also, very crucially, allows you to avoid having to build your own security base.”

Making Polkadot a proof-of-stake (PoS) algorithm was an obvious choice, given the enormous electricity consumption proof-of-work (PoW) blockchains such as Bitcoin have. However, that doesn’t mean that PoS systems come without their own set of disadvantages. Wood said that the rise of PoS has led to a huge liquidity problem—with dozens, potentially even hundreds of major PoS chains, the capital they acquire gets fragmented and divided. If all that capital was pooled together and used to secure all of the chains, their security would increase exponentially.

“That’s really one of the key problems that Polkadot solves—it allows the same capital base to secure many different domain-specific blockchains.”

The secret to Polkadot, according to Wood, is its aggressive abstraction.

Seeing the problems Ethereum faced with high gas fees, Polkadot was envisioned as the most abstract protocol in the world. The blockchain has no notion of gas, accounts, or account balances.

“The way that I designed Polkadot back at the beginning, was really to try and make it as general as possible.”

Unlike building applications on Ethereum, which requires each protocol to be associated with an account holding ETH, building on Polkadot allows protocols to essentially exist as independent entities, disconnected from Polkadot itself and its native currency, DOT.

Parachains: independent, but still deeply intertwined

The mechanics of Polkadot haven’t sacrificed simplicity for innovation.

As Wood explained, Polkadot is essentially a “chain of chains,” a network of many blockchains called parachains that connect in Polkadot’s main chain, called the relay chain.

Any application running on Polkadot is actually a parachain, with the network requiring developers to put down a lease for “uploading” their protocol to any of the free parachains. Once Polkadot reaches full functionality, it will have around 100 free slots for various parachains to occupy.

Developers that want to take up a slot need to put down a lease in the form of DOT tokens. According to Wood, the lease is just a way of determining the value of one project against another. The leased DOT tokens don’t need to be put up by a single entity—users holding DOT can decide to sponsor a project with a deposit of their tokens. This way, users don’t transfer their tokens to a project, they just put them behind its chain as a way to secure it.

These tokens, Wood explained, never leave the ownership of the crowd and just get placed behind a particular parachain.

However, the real value of parachains lies in their ability to communicate with each other.

While they are, essentially, independent blockchains, they have the ability to communicate with each other. This communication happens every six seconds when the parachains catch up with each other and ensure that the entire parachain system is running smoothly.

One way to ensure that all’s well in Polkadot is to communicate with validators, which are independent entities acting as controllers of the network. They are the ones that make sure that parachains are operating correctly and that no malicious activity is being conducted on any of them.

The magic of Polkadot’s security is hidden in the random assignment of groups of these validators to parachains. Namely, once Polkadot reaches full functionality, there will be around 1000 validators controlling the network. They will be split into 100 subgroups of 10 validators, each one having literal skin in the game by having their funds locked into Polkadot. Each subgroup then gets randomly assigned to one parachain and ensures it retains its integrity.

When asked what will prevent validator groups from colluding and wreaking havoc on a parachain, Wood had a simple answer.

“They get swapped every six seconds,” he explained. “Even if you compromise one of these groups, it’s very difficult to get a long run, it’s basically impossible to get a long run of blocks, of six-second blocks, in order to really make any attack feasible.”

An attempt at creating a forkless blockchain

Aside from its robust governance system, another thing that makes Polkadot a dangerous competitor to most PoS systems on the market is its ability to resist forks.

While the network wasn’t intended as a go-to platform for enterprises and governments that value security over innovation, the strong foundation it provides will most certainly make it attractive to applications looking to attract a less crypto- and risk-savvy population.

Alongside its many definitions, Polkadot is also a blockchain meta protocol.

What this means is that all of the things associated with Polkadot—parachains, governance, balances, DOT tokens, etc.—aren’t actually a part of the underlying protocol. All of that, Wood explained, is just business logic that sits on top of the protocol and is entirely programmatic.

“What this means is that it can be swapped out at any point in Polkadot’s future for some other business logic.”

The actual protocol, on the other hand, is very thin and very difficult to change. The underlying consensus is similar to the consensus behind Ethereum 2.0 and represents a fairly substantial move forward when compared to all of the existing consensus mechanisms.

What Parity, Wood’s blockchain company behind Polkadot did was plug WebAssembly into the blockchain consensus alongside a database.

Having such a simple and thin consensus algorithm provides excellent protection from forks.

As everything inherently Polkadot-related runs on top of the WebAssembly base, there is no need and, more importantly, no way to alter the underlying protocol. If any Polkadot mechanism needs to be changed, it can be done quickly, efficiently, and cheaply on top of Substrate, its base protocol.

Another, but equally as important thing protecting Polkadot from forks are its parachains.

“We can actually take the best things that are caused by hard forks, which is to say, policy or protocol experiments, and do them at the level of parachains,” Wood said.

All of these experiments can be done in parallel, one in each parachain. The ones that work can then be elevated into the Polkadot relay chain, while those that don’t work can either be left on the parachains or dropped altogether thanks to their programmability.

This is diametrically opposite to how Ethereum works.

Ethereum’s rigid definitions of each aspect of its protocol force all of its users to buy into its legal system. Everyone using the network, be it a single person or a huge DeFi project with billions in locked value, have to be beholden to the same underlying blockchain logic.

With Polkadot, users can define their own laws irrespective of what Polkadot has to say about it.

“Polkadot exists lower in the stack,” Wood explained. “Polkadot sits as a foundation layer that’s just there to provide security and interoperability to its constituent chains. Doesn’t do anything more than that.”

It’s a bet against maximalism, Wood said, adding another catchy definition to Polkadot.

“You can think of it as a layer zero blockchain,” he concluded.

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In 61 days, Cardano will be completely in the hands of stake pool operators

On Mar. 31, all of the blocks on the Cardano network will be produced by independent stake pool operators. IOHK, the company behind Cardano, will no longer participate in block production, making Cardano the only truly decentralized blockchain network on the market.

T-61 days until Cardano becomes completely decentralized

Decentralization has been one of the biggest talking points of the crypto industry for the better part of the last year. With centralized blockchains and blockchain companies continually suffering issues that stem from a lack of community participation in governance, the entire industry seems to have pointed its sails at a more inclusive, decentralized future.

However, few networks have actually managed to get close to the decentralization they preach. Only a handful of projects, which include Polkadot, Avalanche, Cosmos, Tezos, and Cardano, have actually managed to achieve significant decentralization and have over half of their circulating supply staked to secure the network.

However, none of these networks will be as decentralized as Cardano is set to be in just 61 days. Namely, on Mar. 31, just over two months from today, all blocks on the Cardano network will be produced by stake pool operators.

And while that might not seem like that huge of a deal, this effectively means that IOHK, the company behind Cardano, will no longer be involved in block production in any capacity.

D-parameter going to 0 in two months

Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, shared the news on Twitter, saying that the d-parameter will reach zero on epoch 257, which falls on Mar. 31.

“Is everyone ready for epoch 257 on 2021-03-31 d=0 day -> #d(0)day when Cardano is completely in the hands of the SPOs!,” he tweeted earlier today.

The d-parameter is a metric that represents the percentage of blocks on the network that are produced by IOHK. With the launch of Shelley, Cardano’s staking phase that went live in July last year, the d-parameter was set at 1. This meant that 100 percent of the blocks on the network were produced by the OBFT nodes managed by IOHK.

As every epoch goes on, the d parameter is set to decrease slightly until it finally reaches 0. In essence, this means that Cardano will finally switch from a static, federated system to a dynamic, decentralized one.

IOHK’s only role will be to continue developing the network until its mandate runs out, after which the company will have to reach out to the Cardano community with a new proposal.

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The total number of ADA wallets increased by almost 40% in 2021

The Cardano blockchain has seen significant growth since the launch of its staking era last July, a feat that has been most evident in the number of new users joining the network. The latest data has shown that the total number of ADA wallets increased by almost 40 percent since the beginning of the year, with the total number growing at an average pace of 1.5 percent per day.

Cardano sees a huge increase in the number of new wallets on the network

While most of the market measures the success of a network by the performance of its underlying asset, sometimes the only true measure of growth can be seen through the acquisition of new users.

This is the case with Cardano. Despite the solid performance ADA has shown in this bull cycle, the real success of the network is seen in its decentralization. According to the latest data published by stake pool operator Pieter Nierop, there has been a steady increase of new ADA wallets created every day for the past 30 days.

His data has shown that the total number of ADA wallets has increased 37.8 percent in the past month—growing from 191,581 on Dec. 25, 2020, to 280,475 on Jan. 25, 2021.

Screengrab showing the daily percentage growth of new ADA wallets per day (Source: Pieter Nierop)
Screengrab showing the daily percentage growth of new ADA wallets per day (Source: Pieter Nierop)

Zooming out a bit reveals that there has been a steady, sustainable increase in the total number of wallets created since at least Dec. 10.

Graph showing the increase in the total number of ADA wallets from Dec.10, 2020, to Jan. 25, 2021 (Source: Pieter Nierop)
Graph showing the increase in the total number of ADA wallets from Dec.10, 2020, to Jan. 25, 2021 (Source: Pieter Nierop)

Steady growth in new users means more decentralization

The increase in the number of new wallets created on the network naturally brings with itself an increase in the actual number of users on the network. However, one of the few metrics related to Cardano that has actually been decreasing is the average amount of ADA held in delegated wallets.

This means that there is now a significant amount of users of the network that have smaller amounts of stake delegated.

Graph showing the decrease in the average number of ADA per delegated wallet (Source: Pieter Nierop)
Graph showing the decrease in the average number of ADA per delegated wallet (Source: Pieter Nierop)

With more people delegating their funds to stake pools, no matter how small they might be, the more decentralized the network becomes. At press time, 69.67 percent of the total circulating supply of ADA has been staked on the network. Over 55 percent of the wallets on the network have delegated all of their funds to stake pools, marking a significant milestone in the network’s road to complete decentralization.

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IOHK launches the new Plutus Playground for Cardano (ADA) developers

IOHK, the company behind the Cardano blockchain, has announced the launch of the new Plutus Playground. The playground represents a new testing environment enabling developers to write and deploy test versions of Plutus smart contracts for Cardano.

Developers can now test Plutus smart contracts on Cardano

With Cardano’s Goguen phase set to see the light of day later this year, major work is being done on bringing about developers that would utilize Cardano’s smart contract functionality. IOHK, the company behind Cardano, has just launched its Plutus Playground, a testing environment that enables developers to write and deploy test versions of their Plutus smart contracts on Cardano.

Plutus Core, Cardano’s native programming language, is based on the Haskell programming principles and allows developers to write high-assurance applications that interact with the blockchain. IOHK explained that they chose Haskell as the basis for the Plutus Platform due to its ability to write more secure code.

By offering a simple to understand and highly-secure programming language, the company wants to attract developers that create decentralized applications for supply chains, track and trace, medical records, identity voting, property registration, P2P payments, and financial systems. Aside from serving entrepreneurs and the Cardano community, the wide variety of dApps are also set to attract large companies and governments to Cardano.

A new and improved way to create dApps on Cardano

According to IOHK’s announcement, the newly launched, improved version of the Plutus Playground will work through web browsers, eliminating the need to install specific software to use it. Further improvements have been made to the backend software and the new interface is presented in a clearer, more easy-to-use way.

Screengrab showing the old Plutus editor on the left and the new interface on the right (Source: IOHK)
Screengrab showing the old Plutus editor on the left and the new interface on the right (Source: IOHK)

The new Plutus Playground interface is split into three sections—the editor, the simulation, and transactions. The new and improved simulator, aside from showing how a contract will behave on the blockchain, can also act as a training tool for developers without advanced Plutus skills.

It will also offer a choice of keyboard setups, allowing users to choose between Vim and Emacs options and the default keyboard. IOHK said that the latest iteration of the simulator is much more realistic than the older version as it provides a better way for developers to see how their Plutus applications run on the blockchain. As with the previous one, the new Playground can also be linked to GitHub accounts to save contracts and any work in progress.

The company called on developers to test the Plutus Playground and encouraged them to provide feedback.

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EMURGO, Ergo, and IOHK announce AgeUSD, the first stablecoin that will come to Cardano

The Ergo Foundation, EMURGO, and IOHK have announced AgeUSD, a stablecoin protocol based on the Ergo blockchain. According to Roman Pellerin, the CTO of IOHK, the crypto-backed algorithmic stablecoin will also be available on Cardano once its smart contract functionality is unlocked.

A new type of stablecoin to launch on the Ergo blockchain

EMURGO, a multinational blockchain company tasked with developing solutions for the Cardano blockchain, has announced the launch of a new stablecoin called AgeUSD. The stablecoin, however, won’t be launched on Cardano, but on Ergo, a decentralized blockchain platform.

Announced during the “Ergo Summit 2021” on Jan. 24, the stablecoin will be based on a novel algorithmic design developed on the Ergo blockchain. AgeUSD is a result of a joint partnership between the Ergo Foundation, EMURGO, and IOHK, the company behind the Cardano blockchain platform.

What makes AgeUSD different from other stablecoins on the market is the fact that it’s not a fiat-pegged token, but a crypto-backed algorithmic stablecoin protocol. This means that AgeUSD doesn’t rely on collateralized debt positions (CDPs), essentially making liquidation events impossible.

The protocol will see a significant portion of its mathematics as automated as possible and stop relying on dynamic transaction posing. And while EMURGO noted that AgeUSD is still far away from solving all of the problems stablecoins experience, it represents an important attempt at creating a highly secure alternative to the current market offering.

With Goguen, AgeUSD could also see the light of day on Cardano

The significance of AgeUSD goes far beyond just Ergo. While the stablecoin will utilize Ergo’s native cryptocurrency in its protocol, the protocol could be deployed to other blockchains as well. Given EMURGO and Ergo’s close ties with IOHK, it was only obvious that the ambitious stablecoin would be released on Cardano.

Bruno Woltzenlogel Paleo, the technical project director at IOHK, shared a preliminary, high-level implementation of AgeUSD in Plutus during the Ergo summit this weekend. During his presentation, he said that IOHK wanted to demonstrate the new capabilities and functionalities that open up when you combine Cardano’s Plutus smart contract programming language with Ergo’s ErgoScript.

Romain Pellerin, the CTO of IOHK, shared the news about AgeUSD on his Twitter account, confirming the news that the stablecoin would be coming to Cardano. However, Pellerin’s announcement was brief and had no mention of a particular timeline when AgeUSD would be rolled out on Cardano.

Given the fact that Cardano’s upcoming Goguen phase will fully unlock the blockchain’s smart contract functionality, it’s safe to assume that AgeUSD could roll out by the third quarter of the year, when IOHK predicts Goguen would be fully complete.

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More than half of all Cardano wallets are now staking ADA

Almost 55 percent of all the ADA wallets on the market have all of their funds delegated to a stake pool. The sharp rise in new ADA wallets created per day, accompanied by the increase of the total number of ADA staked has made Cardano by far the most decentralized blockchain network on the market.

The latest data shows Cardano is rapidly decentralizing

Earlier this month, Cardano overtook Polkadot as the most decentralized blockchain network currently on the market. With over 69 percent of the total circulating supply of its native cryptocurrency ADA staked on the network, Cardano seems to be living up to its promise to become one hundred times more decentralized than Bitcoin.

The rapid rise of the number of new ADA wallets created, as well as the total amount of ADA staked Cardano has seen in the past couple of months has been attributed to the overall bear market, with many saying ADA was reacting to the altcoin boom.

However, several weeks into a consolidated market, most of Cardano’s on-chain metrics seem to be growing at a consistent pace.

According to data aggregated by Pieter Nierop, a Cardano stake pool operator, the number of wallets that have delegated all of their ADA has reached its all-time-high number of 152,417. This represents 54.92 percent of the 277,538 ADA wallets on the market.

Graph showing the number of delegated wallets from Dec. 5, 2020 to Jan. 24, 2021 (Source: Twitter)
Graph showing the number of delegated wallets from Dec. 5, 2020 to Jan. 24, 2021 (Source: Twitter)

There has never been more ADA delegated to stake pools

Since the beginning of the year, over 600 million ADA has been delegated to stake pools. Data from AdaPools and AdaStat have shown that there is currently 22.1 billion ADA staked—a sharp increase from the 21.45 billion staked on Jan. 1, 2021.

Graph showing the total number of ADA staked on the network from Dec.5, 2020 to Jan. 24, 2021 (Source: Twitter)
Graph showing the total number of ADA staked on the network from Dec.5, 2020 to Jan. 24, 2021 (Source: Twitter)

Another testament to Cardano’s rapid decentralization is the sharp decrease in the average number of ADA delegated per wallet. Since Dec. 25, 2020, the average number of ADA in delegated wallets has been steadily decreasing, and now stands at just under 145,000 ADA. This means that the network is being controlled by a large number of users that hold smaller sums of the network’s native coins.

Graph showing the average number of ADA per delegated wallet from Dec. 5, 2020 to Jan. 24, 2021 (Source: Twitter)
Graph showing the average number of ADA per delegated wallet from Dec. 5, 2020 to Jan. 24, 2021 (Source: Twitter)

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The value of Cardano’s treasury reaches $100 million

As the price of ADA reached $0.38, the value of the tokens locked in Cardano’s treasury briefly surpassed $100 million. But what does this mean for the Cardano ecosystem and how can the Cardano community benefit from the growing amount of funds locked inside it?

There’s almost $100 million currently locked in Cardano’s treasury

The price of ADA, the native cryptocurrency of the Cardano blockchain, recently reached its two-year high, surpassing $0.39 on Jan. 18. And while many have dismissed ADA’s significant growth as a side effect of the market-wide rally we’ve been seeing this past month, there is significant growth within Cardano pushing its price up.

Graph showing ADA’s price from Jan. 18 to Jan. 21
Graph showing ADA’s price from Jan. 18 to Jan. 21 (Source: CryptoSlate ADA)

The huge growth ADA has seen affected more than the coin’s price.

The Cardano Treasury saw the value of all of the locked ADA briefly surpass $100 million on Jan. 18, making it one of the largest decentralized blockchain treasuries on the market. According to data from Project Catalyst, at the beginning of the latest epoch on the blockchain, there was 261,254,564.02 ADA locked in the treasury. At press time, ADA’s price of $0.34 puts the value of the Cardano Treasury at $88.82 million.

Why is the Cardano Treasury important to the community?

The goal of the Cardano Treasury is to provide funds to develop the Cardano blockchain through a voting process. Its core component is a decision-making system that enables members of the community to collectively reach decisions that essentially run the network.

Cardano’s treasury is funded through several different channels, which include taking a percentage of stake pool rewards and transaction fees, holding back a portion of newly-minted coins, and accepting occasional donations or charity.

The funds held in the treasury are meant to finance various projects and proposals for improving the blockchain, which are chosen through community votes.

This is where Project Catalyst comes in. Launched as the core component of Cardano’s Voltaire governance era, the platform provides the infrastructure necessary to facilitate this voting process.

Launched late last year, Project Catalyst has so far shown that it’s extremely efficient when it comes to allocating funds from the treasury. Earlier this week, the second treasury fund, Fund2, was successfully completed and $250,000 worth of ADA was given out to 11 different projects building on Cardano. Fund3, which will be launched in the following weeks, will see $500,000 worth of ADA distributed to a select group of projects.

The fact that the Cardano Treasury holds over 261 million ADA will provide the Cardano community with a safety net, allowing them to explore different projects and ideas related to the Cardano network. With the amount of ADA in the treasury steadily replenishing, developers will continuously be able to access funding for their projects.

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DeFi on Cardano will enable users to earn yield on staked ADA

Once Cardano’s Goguen era is launched, users will be able to earn additional yield on their ADA without having to unstake their funds. Liqwid Finance, a DeFi solution built on Cardano, will enable users to earn governance tokens by providing liquidity to the ADA market on Liqwid—all the while their tokens remain staked on the mainnet.

Goguen set to unlock vas new DeFi capabilities on Cardano

Most of the conversation focusing on Cardano’s upcoming Goguen era seems to be analyzing the steps needed to unlock the smart contract functionality. However, the concrete things Goguen will bring to the blockchain seem to be seldom, if ever, discussed.

Liqwid Finance, a DeFi project built on Cardano, highlighted some of the upcoming features Goguen will enable, giving the Cardano community a rare glimpse into what the future will look like on Cardano.

Namely, the project, which won the first prize on IOHK’s Wyoming Hackathon in October, said that they received a lot of inquiries from the Cardano community about their upcoming Liqwid tokens. The DeFi platform focuses on peer-to-peer lending and is set to launch governance tokens that will be distributed as rewards for users providing liquidity.

The company said that the tokens will launch through user distribution and yield farming contracts just as the first HFC event for Goguen unrolls in February.

Yield farming rewards on top of standard staking rewards

While many members of the Cardano community seemed excited for the opportunity to provide liquidity to lending markets on the blockchain, some seemed worried that liquidity pools would drain the ADA delegated to stake pool operators.

However, Liqwid quickly disproved these claims by revealing that users who want to supply liquidity to lending pools on their platforms won’t have to give up delegating their tokens to stake pools.

The token locking functionality released last year, when combined with other features of smart contracts on Cardano, will enable users to earn additional funds on top of the standard staking rewards they get for delegating. Providing liquidity to a lending pool, such as the ones offered by Liqwid Finance, will not affect the funds delegated to stake pools.

The company also revealed that Liqwid’s core developers are currently exploring the option of having a hardware wallet connection to its platform. This would enable users to hold their ADA in a hardware wallet such as Trezor or Ledger and still provide liquidity to any lending pool on Cardano.

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