Upstart Bitcoin Cash challenger BCHN gains miner majority ahead of fork

The Bitcoin Cash community appears to be signaling support for the upcoming BCHN fork, with 82% of hash power supporting the implementation.

The potential Bitcoin Cash fork in November is looking increasingly likely, with 63% of the last 1,000 BCH blocks being mined using the community’s breakaway Bitcoin Cash Node (BCHN) implementation.

BCHN appears to be ahead on multiple fronts. According to data published by Coin Dance, in total, roughly 82% of the hashrate on the Bitcoin Cash network are currently signaling support for BCHN, following recent support from the BTC.com and Antpool mining pools.

And more than 700 of the Bitcoin Cash network’s 1,262 nodes support BCHN. That compares to just 516 running Bitcoin ABC — the historically dominant implementation of BCH that is spearheaded by core developer Amaury Sechet.

Tensions within the Bitcoin Cash community were reignited in August, when Bitcoin ABC published its proposed, highly controversial ‘Coinbase rule’ that is slated to take effect on November 15.

The Coinbase rule would mandate that miners divert 8% of the BCH contained in new blocks to a development fund unilaterally controlled by Sechet. The notion of a ‘tax’ is anathema to many Bitcoin Cash fans and those opposed have converged in support of BCHN, which plans to fund development through community contributions.

On September 24, crypto asset exchange CoinEx launched futures markets for Bitcoin ABC (BCHA) and BCHN, demonstrating the community’s expectation that a chain split will occur come November. The exchange also announced it will allow users to convert BCH between BCH and BCHN at a 1:1 ratio leading up to the fork.

Discussing the split recently Amaury Sechet told Cointelegraph that BCHN will need to permanently command a dominant share of hashing power in order to survive after the fork takes place:

“BCHN will accept blocks coming from ABC but not the other way around. This means that there will be a fork if BCHN has more hash than ABC, but not the other way around. If at any point in time, the BCH chain becomes longer than the BCHN chain, then the BCHN chain will be wiped out.”

You can now trade on Uniswap without leaving Twitter

Mask Network has launched a widget allowing Twitter users to trade on Uniswap without leaving the social platform.

Mask Network has launched a trading widget allowing Twitter users to access market data and trade Ethereum-based crypto assets without leaving the platform.

Powered by Uniswap and CoinMarketCap, the new Mask widget brings up a window featuring market data and an interface for trading on Uniswap when users hover the mouse pointer over crypto asset tickers in posts.

In a Tweet thread announcing the new widget on September 24, Mask Network (formerly known as Maskbook) said it hopes to expand the service to other popular social media sites such as Facebook as well as other protocols in the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem.

Mask has come a long way since its initial launch in July 2019. Back then its widget was designed to enable Twitter and Facebook users to encrypt posts on the platforms. 

Mask has since developed a number of ‘applets,’ including a feature that detects all tweets containing a Gitcoin URL to enable readers to make direct deposits to a grant campaign in one click without leaving Twitter.

A new version of Mask is slated for release in 45 days, bringing a yield aggregator, portfolio analysis, and ‘Initial Twitter Offering’ features to the widget. They are yet to explain what that is.

There are also plans for the widget to offer peer-to-peer payments, token issuance, and decentralized storage functionality to Web 2 users. The team is also eying the e-commerce sector, predicting that future versions of the widget will facilitate a booming market for social content in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Federal Reserve Bank reveals details of digital dollar research

The Federal Reserve Bank has been exploring digital currencies to modernize the U.S. payments sector.

The President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland has revealed details of the Fed’s ongoing research into a potential digital dollar. 

Speaking in a keynote address on September 23, Loretta Mester emphasized that the Federal Reserve has been exploring central bank digital currencies (CBDC) since before the pandemic, noting that its Board of Governors has been “building and testing a range of distributed ledger platforms to understand their potential benefits and tradeoffs.”

She also noted initiatives from regional Federal Reserve branches, including a multi-year partnership between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Boston Fed, in addition to collaboration between the Fed’s New York Branch and the Bank for International Settlements. 

Despite the ongoing research, Mester asserted that the initiatives do not “signal any decision by the Federal Reserve to adopt such a currency,” adding that issues related to “financial stability, market structure, security, privacy, and monetary policy all need to be better understood.”

Mester noted that the Covid pandemic has resulted in significant disruptions to “crucial infrastructure” of the U.S., such as the payments sector, and had resulted in major changes to the patterns and volume of domestic transfers:

“The spread of COVID-19 heightened the reliance of businesses and individuals on digital services and faster connectivity, as many employees began to work from home and consumers turned to online shopping.” 

Looking ahead, Mester emphasized the importance of “making necessary investments to ensure that the U.S. payments system remains resilient in the face of extreme stress events will need to remain a priority.”

Mester’s speech comes two weeks after the Central Bank of The Bahamas announced the archipelago nation was aiming to become the first country to launch a CBDC, revealing that it’s ‘Sand Dollars’ digital currency will be launched nationwide in October.

Many analysts are critical of the prospects of success for CBDC initiatives however, with economist John Vas describing state-backed virtual currencies as “a defensive posture” against the threats posed by decentralized crypto assets to governments’ long-standing hegemony over monetary policy.

Few DeFi influencers understood what a bad idea $FEW meme token was

Prominent DeFi community members faced a backlash after attempting to engineer a token scheme inspired by the success of MEME.

Notable figures in the decentralized finance (DeFi) community found themselves in hot water after joining a group to cook up a MEME-inspired token with the apparent intention of dumping on unsuspecting investors. Group members claim the whole thing was just a joke that’s been taken the wrong way. 

Leaked chat logs indicate that the FEW token ‘experiment’ was conceived by Idea Markets’ co-founder Sam Ratnaker, who started the Telegram group for the project on September 22. EthHub’s Anthony Sassano, Rocket NFT’s Alex Masmej, and Twitter user ‘DeFi Dude’ were amon among those invited to the channel.

Ratnaker took to Twitter to announce the project, describing it as “an experiment to create value for the ecosystem.” FEW’s first 50 holders would each be airdropped 769.23 tokens that would be vested for one year.

The project was intended to follow in the footsteps of MEME — an anarchic token inspired by criticism of the DeFi space that airdropped its supply to Telegram users and then gained 900% in one month (though it has pulled back more recently). Sassano confessed to having been one of MEME’s original airdrop recipients, revealing that he sold the tokens prior to project gathering momentum, missing out on more than $600,000 in profits as of the token’s September 22 high.

However, FEW token failed to replicate MEME’s success, with hundreds of hopeful investors crashing intthe Telegram group and an imposter token being launched on Uniswap within hours of the announcement.

Screenshots of the group’s chat logs quickly began to leak, including a post from Sassano stating “we need people to dump on” and apparent confessions from Masmej and DeFi Dude that the project’s sole motivation was to engineer a “pump” that would line the pockets of those who missed out on profiting from MEME.

Responding to the backlash, group members claimed the whole thing was just an inside joke. Many members have burned their FEW tokens including Sassono who made a long mea culpa stating:

“Since this screenshot is going to circulate like crazy I want to get one thing straight — it was me making a joke when this group was just a few people. I just sent my $FEW tokens to the burn address to prove that I'm not going to 'dump' on anyone.”

The FEW controversy comes after a recent surge in unaudited and forked DeFi protocols that have included both dramatic successes and failures

The high risk/reward ratio in the DeFi sector inspired crypto custody provider Trustology to offer a “smart contract safeguard” or “DeFi firewall” intended to protect institutional clients against poorly vetted protocols.

Bitcoin’s realized cap is now $43 billion above the 2017 all-time high

Bitcoin’s realized capitalization has soared above its 2017 record high, but Ethereum’s has struggled to reclaim its former highs

Crypto market data aggregator Glassnode has published data indicating that Bitcoin’s (BTC) realized capitalization has increased by more than 50% since tagging its all-time high of $20,000 at the end of 2017.

The realized capitalization metric measures the value of each BTC when it was last moved on-chain, which enables analysts to estimate the aggregate cost-basis of market participants.

However, coins on centralized exchanges are absent from the metric, indicating the data is probably more accurate in terms of the cost-basis of long-term investors rather than intra-day speculators.

Bitcoin’s realized cap currently sits at $115 billion — $43 billion more than at the all-time high in 2017. Bitcoin’s current $190 billion market cap suggests that the BTC hodlers are presently enjoying an aggregate profit of 65%.

BTC’s realized capitalization: Glassnode

Coinmetrics’ chart shows that realized capitalization continued to grow higher in the early months of 2018, pushing to test $90 billion three times between January and May despite prices having crashed back below $10,000.

While pre-halving speculation saw Bitcoin’s realized cap grow by 6% in Q2 2020, the violent ‘Black Thursday' crash quickly reversed 2020’s gains. Since May, the BTC’s realized capitalization has steadily trended upwards.

According to crypto data researchers IntoTheBlock, more than 72% of crypto addresses are currently profitable, with the largest sum of investments having been made in the $1,040 to $5,285, and $8,450 to $9,560, price ranges.

Number of BTC wallets that are currently in profit: Intotheblock

Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum’s (ETH) realized capitalization of $26.3 billion is still a long way from reclaiming its past highs — currently sitting 25% lower than its 2018 record of $35 billion.

Ether’s realized cap also experienced a much longer down-trend than BTC, having posted a local low of $22.4 billion during mid-April 2020. According to Intotheblock, 62% of Ether addresses are currently in profit, the largest share of which were purchased for less than $160.

ETH’s realized capitalization: Glassnode

Star Girl’s one million active users go with the Flow blockchain

After inking deals to bring third-party games and stablecoins onto the Flow blockchain, Dapper Labs has announced two related sales for the FLOW token.

Dapper Labs is continuing to expand partnerships with third-parties for its Flow blockchain, with Animoca Labs set to launch two crypto-powered games on Flow.

On September 22, blockchain gaming firm Animoca Brands announced that its MotoGP and Star Girl games will launch on the Flow blockchain early next year. Animoca is an investor in Dapper Labs.

The Star Girl series consists of multiple free-to-play mobile games owned by Animoca and claims a monthly user base of one million players. Dapper Labs’ chief business officer, Mik Naayem, welcomed Animoca’s titles onto Flow, stating:

"We share a mutual vision and approach to creating mainstream adoption of decentralized games in an inclusive manner. With this partnership we are one step closer to making this a reality.”

The Flow blockchain is a dark-horse in the race for blockchain scaling solutions to secure market share before the completion of Ethereum’s (ETH) long-awaited ETH 2.0 revamp. 

Dapper decided it would pursue the development of a scalable blockchain three years ago after the popularity of its pioneering non-fungible token (NFT) game CryptoKitties crippled the Ethereum network.

Until recently, Flow has exclusively supported Dapper Labs projects, such as its NBA Top Shot game, along with branded crypto collectibles in partnership with major entertainment brands including Warner Music and Ubisoft.

But in the past week or so Dapper inked deals with Circle and Binance to bring the USDC and BUSD stablecoins to Flow blockchain, suggesting that Dapper is readying to expand the ecosystem.

Dapper Labs has launched two token sales for FLOW. Residents outside of the United States and Canada will be able to participate in two offerings via the CoinList platform. 

Dapper Labs will reserve an allocation of $1,000 worth of FLOW tokens at 10 cents each to all participants eligible for its ‘Community Sale’, which is open until October 10.

Investors hoping to purchase more than $1,000 worth of FLOW must participate in a Dutch auction — where bids are accepted in order of price from highest to lowest.

Bids for the FLOW auction can be placed from September 23 onwards, with the sale set to take place on October 6. Dapper set the initial bidding price at $1 and the reserve price at $0.1.

Participants in the community sale will receive 50% of their tokens after one year, with the remaining coins to be distributed over the following 12 months. Tokens purchased via the Dutch auction will be fully unlocked after a 12-month lock-up.

Booming African crypto adoption drives concerns over regulation

African crypto adoption has exploded in 2020, prompting fears of a heavy-handed regulatory response

2020 has seen an acceleration in African crypto adoption, with the continent emerging as the second-largest region for peer-to-peer (P2P) trading, and two African nations ranking in the top eight of the Chainalysis crypto adoption index.

However, the booming growth has caught the attention of Africa’s financial regulators, sparking concerns that a rush to introduce heavy-handed oversight could quell innovation in the local crypto industry.

Nigeria has led the continent’s growth in 2020, posting weekly P2P volumes of between $5 million to $10 million, followed by Kenya and South Africa with between $1 million and $2 million a week each.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, a representative of top P2P exchange Paxful stated that Africa has been its strongest growing region in 2020, noting there was also dramatic growth in smaller economies like Ghana, and Cameroon.

Centralized exchanges have also reported a spike in trade activity, with Luno reporting $549 million worth of combined volume from Nigerian and South African customers last month — a 49% increase compared to the start of 2020. The exchange also notes that new customer sign-ups have increased by 122% from the fourth quarter of 2019 until Q2 of 2020.

Marius Reitz, Luno’s general manager for Africa, told business publication Quartz that the increasing demand for crypto is being driven by the benefits that virtual currency offers over the notoriously exclusive local banking sector.

Reitz notes that crypto assets are seeing increasing popularity among Africa’s large community of workers who live away from their home countries, with the steep fees on foreign exchange across the continent driving these migrants to explore crypto assets.

“The demand we see now is a result of the challenges that people experience across Africa.”

Lagos-based BuyCoins exchange has also noticed growth in “people trying to move money in and out of the country” with the exchange hosting $110 million in crypto volume this year, up from $28 million during the entirety of 2019.

However, the increasing popularity of crypto has also brought greater regulatory scrutiny — with African lawmakers analysts appearing divided on how to best respond to the crypto phenomenon.

In April, South African regulators proposed regulations that would impose strict licensing and monitoring requirements but do not recognizeng crypto assets as legal tender. Last week, Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed guidelines that would treat all crypto assets like securities by default.

Stephany Zoo of the Kenya-based exchange Bitpesa welcomed the consumer protections that will come from increased regulation. “It is important that the space is regulated and properly guided by the financial authorities to ensure confidence and protection of the consumer,” he said.

But Reitz warned that hasty, heavy-handed regulation could crush innovation within the sector:

“What we’d like to see is a phased approach. It can be very easy for regulators to want to regulate the entire industry from the onset but it could stifle innovation. Once governments regulate better, there’s more chance of opening up integration with traditional financial infrastructure and there would be more mass adoption as well.”

Yam plans protocol overhaul despite first successful V3 rebase

Despite Yam’s first post-relaunch rebase executing successfully, its developers are planning many more changes to the protocol.

Yam, the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector’s original food-themed clone protocol, has successfully completed its first rebase since its V3 relaunch.

Yam’s relaunch on September 18 followed the spectacular failure of Yam V2 last month — where a bug in the protocol’s unaudited code rendered governance impossible after only two days by rebasing the token’s supply 10 times higher than its design intended.

The Yearn.finance style protocol describes itself as “an experiment in fair farming, governance, and elasticity,” with Yam seeking to maintain a peg of 1 yUSD per token through adjusting or ‘rebasing’ its supply at 12-hour intervals. If Yam’s price is between $0.95 and $1.05 yUSD, no rebase will occur.

Yam V3’s first rebase took place on September 21, adding $571,000 worth of yUSD to its treasury and expanding tokens holders’ YAM positions by 2.49 times — driving down the price of YAM from $20 to $7.

Despite the rebase, Yam emphasizes that its protocol is not yet fully optimized.

It notes that while Yam V3 retained “most parameters from V1” to “enable an efficient governance and audit process,” improvements still need to be made to the governance, liquidity incentivization, and rebasing processes underpinning the protocol. It recommends that in future rebasing should be executed with greater frequency to reduce the market impact of purchases made by the Yam treasury.

On-chain governance is expected to go live in the coming days, with Yam’s developers also hoping to launch on-chain analytics, improvements to Yam’s Uniswap routing, and detailed documentation in the near future.

Yam also hopes to establish greater rewards for community contributors, including core developers, community moderators, and infrastructure contributors.

Joke MEME coin airdrop is now worth $600K

The MEME crypto asset has blasted into new all-time highs of $1,775 after being listed on Poloniex.

MEME, a community-driven project inspired by a ConsenSys developer’s satire of the yield farming bubble, has gained nearly 100% in 24-hours to post an all-time high of $1,775 after listing on Poloniex.

Since the start of September, MEME has gained more than 900%, despite its supporters promoting the project through the slogan ‘don’t buy MEME.’ MEME is currently the 254th-ranked crypto asset with a $48 million market cap, with more than $17 million worth of MEME changing hands in the past 24 hours.

MEME/USD: CoinGecko

The project’s unlikely rise began when ConsenSys’ DeFi product lead Jordan Lyall created a mock-advertisement for a yield farming protocol generator dubbed ‘The Degenerator.’

Within hours of the post circulating across crypto-Twitter, someone had created an ERC-20 under the same name, and listed it on Uniswap under the ticker ‘MEME.’ The 28,000 token supply was distributed via airdrop in batches of 250 to Telegram users within 30 minutes of the token’s creation.

The project now comprises an “experimental protocol” that “mash[es] up some of the most exciting innovations in DeFi” by offering yield farming rewards in the form of meme-inspired non-fungible token collectibles.

Poloniex is the sixth exchange to list the token, following Uniswap, Balancer, 1inch, Hoo, Mooniswap. More than 72% of trade takes place on Uniswap.

In response to MEME’s meteoric bull-run, EthHub co-founder Anthony Sassano (‘sassal0x’) revealed that he was one of the original airdrop recipients who had sold his tokens on day one because he thought it comprised “just a random token with no use.”

Had he hodled, his stash would be worth roughly $600,000 today.

Yield farmers make 500% returns but most can’t read smart contracts

A CoinGecko survey has found that the majority of yield farmers do not understand the smart contracts underpinning the DeFi protocols they use.

The majority of yield farmers do not understand how to read the potentially risky smart contracts that underpin the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem — but that hasn’t stopped them making huge profits.

Crypto market data aggregator CoinGecko has published its findings from a survey of 1,347 of its users about yield farming, finding that 93% of respondents claim to have reaped a financial return of at least 500%.

However around half of users are currently farming with less than $1,000, making high gas fees are a significant concern among the community, even though three quarters were still willing to pay more than $10 in fees per transaction.

While only 314 of the survey’s respondents indicated they have previously participated in yield farming, 59% of those who have tried farming continue to do so today.

In spite of the ‘degenerate’ reputation of the sector, the survey found the typical yield farmer is a fairly level-headed crypto investor — with 68% of users responding that they do not leverage their positions to minimize risk, and 49% refusing to invest in unaudited protocols.

Just 40% of DeFi users claimed they were able to interpret smart contracts underpinning the protocols they farm with. 

 Yield farming is a global phenomenon with 31% of users are located in Europe, followed by Asia with 28%, North American with 18%, Africa with 10%, South America with 7%, and Oceania with 4%.

Geolocation statics for yield farming community: CoinGecko

Around 90% of farmers are male, with 34% aged between 30 and 39, while 25% are in their twenties.

More yield farmers hold Ether (82.7%) than Bitcoin (74%) and 25.6% of farmers hold Chainlink, followed by Polkadot with 19.95%, Tron with 17.3%, and Litecoin with 15.7%.

Most-popular crypto assets among yield farmers: CoinGecko

Despite many DeFi projects distributing farming rewards in the form of governance tokens, only 11% of users expressed a desire to actually participate in governance. 54% of users primarily seek to hold their tokens, while 32% are farming to immediately sell.

South Australian food and wine tracing platform teams up with Hedera

The Australian government-backed supply chain traceability platform Entrust is launching on Hedera Hashgraph.

The Australian government-backed agricultural supply chain platform Entrust has announced it will operate on Hedera Hashgraph — a distributed ledger platform claiming a transactional throughput of 10,000 transactions per second.

South Australia’s premier, Steven Marshall, officially launched Entrust on September 20, describing the platform’s initial focus as protecting the wine and dairy manufacturing industries from counterfeit fraud in the global markets, and driving efficiency savings across agricultural sectors.

Entrust is a software-as-a-service platform that tracks the movement of primary products (such as wine grapes) across the local agricultural supply chain, as well as the supply chain of the secondary manufactured products (in this case, the wine itself.)

Geolocation, time-stamping, and other key data is immutably recorded to Hedera Hashgraph, and is accessible via web browser or mobile application.

The beta platform is currently being trialed by more than a dozen companies based in South Australia’s Clare Valley wine region, and is tracking the movement of more than 250,000 liters of wine. The platform was co-founded by Grosset Wines’ Jeffrey Grosset, with the Australian government providing A$150,000 (roughly $109,000) to support the initiative.

Entrust's technical director, Rob Allen, praised Hedera’s scaling capabilities, predicting that the speed advantages of Hashgraph will allow Entrust to target other countries whose economies are reliant on exporting wine and other agricultural products.

“Australia produces almost 2 million tonnes of wine grapes each year. As winemakers see the benefits of securing their Wine Australia Label Integrity Program data on Entrust, it is important the system is fast, cost-effective, secure, and scalable.”

In late-August, the Australian Department of Industry announced that local working groups targeting the supply chain and credentialing sectors had been established to support Australia’s National Blockchain Roadmap Steering Committee.

Several blockchain-based supply chain traceability solutions have also established a foothold in Australia, with VeChain partnering with hundreds of Australian businesses in recent years, while the agricultural-focused platforms Aglive and BeefLedger have seen success targeting the local beef industry.

Hedera Hashgraph is also expanding its presence down-under, having launched a DLT-powered micropayments pilot with Australia’s leading point-of-sale technology provider Eftpos in July.

Brazilian fund manager and Nasdaq to launch world’s first Bitcoin ETF

Brazil’s Hashdex is teaming up with Nasdaq to bring the world’s first Bitcoin ETF to the Bermuda Stock Exchange.

Regulated Brazilian fund manager Hashdex has inked a deal with Nasdaq to launch the world’s first crypto asset exchange-traded fund (ETF) on the Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX).

The stock exchange announced it had approved the ‘Hashdex Nasdaq Crypto Index’ on September 18, revealing that 3 million Class E shares will be issued for trade on the platform. Cointelegraph Brazil confirmed the Nasdaq partnership and ETF with Hashdex’s chief executive, Marcelo Sampaio

According to local media outlet Infomoney, the fund should be live and trading on the BSX by the end of the year. The report notes that Hashdex chose to apply with BSX due to Bermuda’s crypto-friendly regulations.

Exchange-traded funds offer a regulated and insured vehicle for institutional investors access exposure to commodities without holding the underlying assets.

While no further details regarding the ETF have been made public, Hashdex stated that the methodology and other key information concerning the product will be released by Nasdaq on the product’s launch date.

In comments to major Brazilian newspaper Oglobo, Sampaio said the ETF’s launch would advance institutional investment in the crypto sector.

Hashdex currently manages $46.4 million worth of assets spanning four funds, including funds holding crypto assets. The firm’s auditor is KPMG, its primary financial institution is Silvergate Bank, and Hashdex’s crypto asset custodians are Xapo, Kingdom Trust, and Vo1t.

Earlier this week, former Goldman Sachs executive and fund manager Raoul Pal predicted that the launch of Bitcoin ETF in the U.S was also imminent, stating:

“I’m going to give you the biggest front-running opportunity of your life: they will get an ETF across the line. There will be billions of dollars that pour into it. Every pension plan will allocate some money to it. Every family office will allocate some money to it. And the more the price goes up, the more they will allocate.”

In recent years, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has rejected proposals for Bitcoin ETFs from the Winklevoss twins, and Wilshire Phoenix and NYSE broker Arca.

Nvidia doesn’t want to give up its 2017 ‘crypto craze’ docs

Nvidia is trying not to hand over internal documents to plaintiffs who allege that the GPU manufacturer misrepresented its financials during the 2017 bull run.

The legal representatives of technology company Nvidia have argued that its investors are not entitled to access its internal records about the “crypto craze” of 2017 and 2018.

During a trial in the United States' Delaware Court of Chancery on Sept. 17, Nvidia's counsel argued that the plaintiffs have failed to show a “credible basis” for why Nvidia should be compelled to hand over the requested company documents.

Nvidia is facing a class-action lawsuit alleging that it misled investors as to how much its revenue relied on crypto miners buying its graphics processing units amid the 2017 bull run.

Patrick Gibbs of Cooley LLP criticized the plaintiffs’ decision to “rest on a paper record” at trial without offering live testimony as to their purpose for demanding that Nvidia hand over its internal documents. He also argued that evidence has been presented proving that the investors behind the suit currently own stock in Nvidia and thus maintain an interest in the suit. 

The court advised both parties to submit post-trial briefings addressing Nvidia's argument for why it should not hand over its internal records.

The lawsuit alleges that Nvidia made “false and misleading public statements concerning the company’s internal controls, prospects, and earnings.” The suit also levies accusations that Nvidia simultaneously sold $147 million worth of its shares “at artificially inflated prices.”

The investors allege that after launching its GPU dedicated to cryptocurrency in May 2017, the Crypto SKU, Nvidia solely attributed the sales of the SKU to miners to demand from miners. 

Additionally, the plaintiffs estimate that $1 billion worth of the company’s popular GeForce GPU sales that Nvidia claims were purchased by gamers in 2017 were actually purchased by crypto miners.

After the crypto bubble popped and demand from miners began to dry up, Nvidia’s struggled to offload its GPU inventories and saw a 30% crash in its stock price by the end of 2018.

Despite yETH returns of 2%, Yearn pushes forward with WBTC Vault

Yearn Finance has submitted a Maker Improvement Proposal for its forthcoming WBTC Vault, suggesting it will launch in the not-to-distant future.

The popular yield farming decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol Yearn Finance is progressing with its forthcoming Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) Vault.

The team has submitted a MakerDAO Improvement Proposal requesting whitelisting for the WBTC Vault to access upcoming oracle pricing from Maker, suggesting its launch may not be too far off.

‘Vaults’ are Yearn Finance’s core product. They use smart contracts to mobilize pooled assets from users to pursue arbitrage and yield farming strategies while sharing fees to mitigate gas costs.

As with Yearn’s recently launched Wrapped Ethereum (WETH) Vault, the WBTC Vault will leverage DAI minted against user holdings, which are then delegated to the protocol’s DAI Vault and mobilized to generate yield.

While Yearn’s Ether Vault saw deposits suspended after roughly $70 million worth ETH was delegated within days of its launch in early September, the returns generated by Yearn’s Vaults have fallen sharply in recent days.

Two weeks ago, Yearn’s ETH Vault was producing a weekly annualized percentage yield (APY) of more than 50%, while the DAI Vault offered 80% APY. As of this writing, the DAI Vault is generating a weekly APY of 30%, while the returns offered by the ETH Vault have plummeted 95% to post a weekly return equivalent to just 2% a year.

On September 18, Yearn Finance introduced its new ‘SyntheticRebaseDollar’, comprising “a credit based rebase index.” The index is intended to track the value of underlying assets against which a stablecoin has been minted, and automatically increases or decreases the sum of outstanding minted stablecoins in response to price fluctuations.

The team stated that they are “not yet sure” what they will use the protocol for, and wanted to publish the index so that others can build with and advance the technology.

UNI defies price dump predictions, emerges as top 20 DeFi token

Despite predictions Uniswap’s airdropped token would be dumped in the gutter, UNI has garnered a $217 million market cap.

The token, which was airdropped to past Uniswap users in batches of 400 per wallet without warning yesterday, has defied predictions that the market would crash from its initial pricing of $3 as the 75,235 users who have claimed so far raced to dump their free coins. Instead UNI has establishing a trading range of between $2.60 and $3.80 over the past 12 hours.

UNI, the governance token of the decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap, has emerged from its first 24-hours of trading as a top-65 ranked crypto asset by market cap.

According to DeFi Pulse, Uniswap has also leapt up the rankings to become the second-largest DeFi protocol by total value locked (TVL), representing $1.32 billion in locked funds. Uniswap’s TVL has increased by nearly 75% in 24-hours following the announcement of UNI liquidity mining incentives.

But not everyone is surprised by UNI’s impressive performance, with various predictions on social media that it will continue to climb the rankings:

Within a single day, UNI has already been listed on more than one dozen exchanges, is featured in nearly 40 pairings, and has driven more than $1.8 billion in volume. It ranks as the seventh-most traded crypto asset of the past 24 hours above Litecoin (LTC), Tron (TRX), and Chainlink (LINK) according to CoinGecko.

As of this writing, UNI is changing hands for $3.33 and boasts a total capitalization of $217 million. With CoinGecko estimating that 70 million tokens are in circulation from Uniswap’s one billion max supply, the token’s current valuation would give UNI a fully diluted market cap of $3.34 billion.

CoinGecko ranks Uniswap as the 16th-largest DeFi token by capitalization, sitting below Kyber Network (KNC) and above Balancer (BAL).

UNI/USDT: CoinGecko

Binance USD is coming to Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain

Dapper Labs has partnered with its second major stablecoin this week, announcing the integration of BUSD for developers building on its Flow blockchain.

The U.S. dollar stablecoin of top crypto exchange Binance, BUSD, has become the latest stable token to announce it will launch on Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain.

The news comes just days after the platform added the rival USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin.

Dapper Labs, the team behind pioneering non-fungible token (NFT)-powered games CryptoKitties and NBA TopShot, began working on Flow to address the scaling issues with Ethereum (ETH) that CryptoKitties starkly exposed after launching in late 2017.

The new partnership will allow developers building on Flow to permissionlessly integrate BUSD into their decentralized applications (DApps), with the firms asserting that BUSD will open the door to developers looking to build stablecoin-powered decentralized finance (DeFi) applications on Flow. Binance's chief compliance officer, Samuel Lim, stated:

“We believe decentralized entertainment and games will play a leading role in accelerating crypto adoption. Our partnership with Flow and Dapper’s track record will bring BUSD into the hands of millions of consumers.”

With Dapper having inked partnerships with top global entertainment firms including Warner Music Group, Ubisoft, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and Dr. Seuss, the Flow blockchain is showing promise for consumer-scale products and applications.

Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot, the first game and DApp to launch on Flow, has driven more than $2 million revenue from the sale of collectible NFTs since launching in beta in June. The game allows players to collect and interact with multi-media ‘moments’ depicting key events in NBA history, and trade them on Top Shot’s marketplace.

Earlier this week, Dapper also partnered with financial services company Circle to bring USD Coin (USDC) to Flow as a settlement solution. Top Shot will be the first Flow Dapp to integrate USC, which will be used to finalize credit and debit card payments for the game.

In April, Dapper announced it had entered into a technology-sharing agreement with Facebook’s Libra. Dapper will access Libra’s virtual machine, while Libra will have the opportunity to use Dapper’s smart contract programming language ‘Cadence.’

Aspen offers cheap resort rooms as real estate tokens struggle

As real estate tokens falter, AspenCoin has announced cash rebates for token holders who stay at its resort.

Despite the broader security token market booming in recent months, real estate tokens appear to be struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

AspenCoin (ASPD), the digital security representing fractional ownership in 19% of a five-star 179-room hotel in Colorado, has announced discounts for token holders who stay at the resort to help boost sales.

Holders of between 10,000 and 99,999 ASPD will be eligible for a 20% cash rebate on their stay at the St. Regis Aspen Resort, while holders of between 100,000 and 499,999 tokens will be discounted 35%, and holders of 500,000 or more ASPD can stay for half-price.

Token holders will be eligible to receive the discount for no more than 30 nights per calendar year.

Despite trade for ASPD launching on the leading security token exchange by trade volume last month, Overstock’s tZERO, the token has seen a fairly flat performance and has gained just 4% in three weeks of trade.

By contrast, tZERO’s TZROP token has gained 35% since the start of September.

TZROP/USD : tZERO

Real estate token prices appear to be struggling generally amid the coronavirus slowdown, with all nine tokens trading on RealT posting losses for the month of August. The losses ranged between 1.89% and 24.90%, including four slumps of more than 15%.

Despite the lukewarm performance of many real estate tokens, the security sector broadly has posted historic trade volumes in recent months.

While just $200,000 worth of security tokens were traded for the month of April, volume jumped to $1 million in May, $2.1 million June, $8.1 million July, and $22 million last month. Over the same period, the sector’s market cap has grown from $53 million to nearly $500 million.

FinCEN announces sweeping money laundering regulations overhaul

FinCEN is preparing to modernize its AML requirements for financial institutions to greater respond to the dynamic threats posed by “illicit finance.”

The U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has announced it will be changing the anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) rules within the financial sector.

The announcement stated that FinCen will be seeking public feedback on forthcoming regulatory proposals intended to modernize and strengthen rules governing the reporting and monitoring requirements of financial institutions.

The new policies seek to address “the evolving threats of illicit finance, such as money laundering, terrorist financing and related crimes” which suggests that crypto firms and exchanges will be firmly in the sights of the coming regulatory changes.

They will also impact the compliance obligations of banks, credit unions, casinos, insurance companies, mutual funds, and dealers or brokers of futures, commodities, precious stones, and precious metals.

The new AML regulations aim to identify and combat illicit financial activity through robust record-keeping and risk assessment requirements and the regulator hopes to tighten up the definition and requirements of an “effective and reasonably designed” AML program under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). It notes the term currently “has no specific, consistent definition in existing regulation.”

“The regulatory amendments under consideration are intended to modernize the regulatory regime to address the evolving threats of illicit finance, and provide financial institutions with greater flexibility in the allocation of resources, resulting in the enhanced effectiveness and efficiency of anti-money laundering programs.”

FinCEN is currently considering policy recommendations from the Anti-Money-Laundering Effectiveness Working Group — an entity comprising representatives of state and federal law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, and trade groups operating under BSA regulations.

The working group has advocated the establishment of specific guidance for politically exposed persons, and greater clarity regarding the requirements for suspicious activity monitoring and reporting.

US ramps up enforcement actions against global crypto scams

The U.S. Justice Department has announced sanctions against two Russians, and the arrest of two Malaysians, over separate seven-figure crypto scams.

The United States has taken actions against international hackers responsible for the theft of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.

On September 16, the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced it has imposed sanctions on two Russian nationals who used a sophistication phishing campaign to steal at least $16.8 million from the customers of three virtual currency exchanges in 2017 and 2018 — including two based in the United States.

The pair, Danil Potekhin and Dmitrii Karasavidi, created multiple websites impersonating legitimate crypto exchanges to steal the login information for unsuspecting victims, before using accounts verified with stolen identities to move the crypto assets through various intermediaries and execute pump and dump schemes targeting altcoins with low market capitalization.

“The individuals who administered this scheme defrauded American citizens, businesses, and others by deceiving them and stealing virtual currency from their accounts,” said secretary of the treasury, Steven Mnuchin.

“The Treasury Department will continue to use our authorities to target cyber criminals and remains committed to the safe and secure use of emerging technologies in the financial sector.”

On the same day, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that two hackers had been arrested in Malaysia in connection with computer hacking campaigns that targeted more than 100 companies, universities, governments, and non-profit organizations internationally.

The pair are each facing charges carrying up to 77 years in prison. Five Chinese nationals are still at large, including one individual who has claimed ties to China’s Ministry of State Security.

The group penetrated computing infrastructure to steal source code and other proprietary business information, customer account data, and to launch ransomware and cryptojacking schemes. David Bowdich, deputy director of the FBI, stated:

“Today’s announcement demonstrates the ramifications faced by the hackers in China but it is also a reminder to those who continue to deploy malicious cyber tactics that we will utilize every tool we have to administer justice.”

The indictment targeting the Malaysians was unsealed last month, while indictments for the Chinese hackers were unsealed in August 2019 and August 2020.

The Bahamas will launch a digital Central Bank ‘Sand Dollar’ in October

The Central Bank of The Bahamas is planning to launch a national cryptocurrency across its entire archipelago next month.

The Bahamas is gunning to become the first country in the world to roll-out a state-backed virtual currency nationwide, and has announced it will launch a central bank-issued cryptocurrency during October.

The assistant manager of eSolutions at the Central Bank of The Bahamas, Chaozhen Chen, told Bloomberg that the digital currency, dubbed 'Sand Dollars', is intended to drive greater financial inclusion among the remote islands within the archipelago nation.

“A lot of residents in those more remote islands don’t have access to digital payment infrastructure or banking infrastructure. We really had to customize the effort and the solution to what we need as a sovereign nation.”

Sand Dollar transfers are made by mobile phone, with roughly 90% of the Bahamian population using mobile phones as of 2017.

Chen noted that the central bank digital currency (CBDC) will be subject to the same regulations as the Bahama dollar, with anti-money laundering and know-your-customer protections surrounding the creation of accounts to use the virtual currency.

New digital dollars will be created as demand grows, with the CBDC exclusively issued alongside the retirement of Bahamian dollars to mitigate potential impacts on monetary supply.

The Central Bank of the Bahamas first announced its desire to pilot a CBDC in June 2018, noting that many smaller islands had seen “commercial banks downsize and pull out of their communities, leaving them without banking services.”

The government launched the ‘Project Sand Dollar’ pilot last year, trialing its CBDC on the small islands of Exuma and Abaco — representing populations of just 7,314 and 17,224 respectively.

Each Sand Dollar is pegged to the Bahamian dollar, which is in turn pegged to the U.S. dollar. While only 48,000 Sand Dollars were issued in the pilot, the project was hailed as a success.

Bakkt Bitcoin futures smashes daily volume record by 36%

Despite the milestone, Bakkt’s future volumes pale in comparison to those of top crypto exchanges Binance and Huobi.

Bakkt, a regulated platform for crypto asset custody and trading owned by Intercontinental Exchange, has reported record daily trading volumes for its physically-settled Bitcoin (BTC) futures contracts.

On September 16, Bakkt announced that more than $200 million worth of BTC contracts had been traded over a single day — breaking its previous record by 36%.

According to crypto market data aggregator Skew, the record figure is roughly double the average daily volumes posted throughout September so far.

Bakkt daily Bitcoin futures volume: Skew

Despite being touted as the likely catalyst for an institutional-led bull market, Bakkt’s Bitcoin derivatives failed to meet the expected impact — seeing sustained periods of complete inactivity during January of this year. However, the steady increase in volume recently enjoyed by the platform suggests that institutions are now warming to it.

A point of difference for Bakkt’s contracts is they are supposedly ‘physically settled’ in Bitcoin rather than cash. However, analysts have highlighted that most contracts traded on Bakkt are rolled over — with only a minority of traders opting to receive Bitcoin when the contracts expire.

Despite the new all-time high, Bakkt’s volumes pale in comparison to the trade activity on the largest cryptocurrency exchanges. Over the past 24 hours, Binance’s BTC-USDT perpetual contract — a futures contracts with no expiry or settlement date — drove $2.65 billion in trade, while the exchange’s 74 futures pairings pushed $5.96 billion collectively.

Huobi’s 103 futures pairings generated $5.48 billion in trade over the past 24 hours, including $1.28 billion from the platform’s BTC-USD perpetual contract. OKEx’s BTC-USD perpetual contracts saw $516 million worth of trading today, with the exchange’s 466 futures pairings driving $2.72 billion in total.

However, Bakkt beat out Derebit today, with Derebit’s BTC-USD contract generating $168 in 24-hour volume.

Yam Finance readies for less-disastrous relaunch

Yam is gearing up for its V3 release later this week after undergoing a security audit from PeckShield.

Decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol Yam Finance is relaunching on September 18.

Yam Finance V2, a fork of Compound (COMP) featuring a native token with an elastic supply, burst onto the DeFi scene last month — garnering more than half a billion in assets from yield farmers within 24 hours of launching.

However, the unaudited V2 of Yam Finance came to a dramatic conclusion when a catastrophic bug caused excessive reserves to be minted which rendered it impossible for governance to be executed.

The relaunch follows a period of interim governance during which community consensus was found regarding “all key issues for V3’s launch”, with the community voting to change Yam’s reserve asset to yUSD, extend the voting period to two days, and adjust the thresholds for proposals and quorum.

Most importantly for the confidence of potential investors, an audit was completed by blockchain security firm PeckShield.

The audit found “several issues related to either security or performance” that could be further improved in Yam’s smart contracts — including 17 “basic coding bugs,” 12 issues found during PeckShield’s “advanced DeFi scrutiny” of “business logics” and “system operations,” and six additional recommendations.

PeckShield describes four of the issues as “informational,” while six were considered to be low-risk, four were medium-risk, and one was classified as high-risk. No issues were found to be of “critical” severity, and all identified issues have since been “promptly confirmed and fixed.” PeckShield concluded:

“YAM presents an interesting and novel experiment of on-chain community-based governance and elastic supply cryptocurrency, and we are very impressed by the overall design and implementation.”

However, the firm emphasized that “smart contracts as a whole are still in an early, but exciting stage of development,” echoing the cautionary warnings of Ethereum (ETH) co-creator Vitalik Buterin regarding “smart contract risk.”

The audit was paid for using funds from the project’s Gitcoin grant, with all remaining funds set to be used to sponsor a bug bounty.

Liquidity incentives will go live for the YAM/yUSD pairing on September 19, with the first rebase set to occur two days later. Yam V2 tokens are to be manually migrated to V3 at a 1:1 ratio, with 50% immediately redeemable and the remaining half to be continuously vested over 30 days.

Eastern Europe’s sixth-largest crypto service is a darknet market

A new report from Chainalysis has found that Eastern Europe is responsible for more darknet activity and ransomware volume than any other region.

Blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis has found that darknet markets exert a disproportionate presence in Eastern Europe’s crypto sector.

In an excerpt from Chainalysis’ 2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report, the firm asserts that Eastern Europe is responsible for “more global darknet market activity than any other region,” with the anonymous free market Hydra comprising the region’s sixth-largest crypto service.

Regional shares of global darknet market transfer volume

Regional shares of global darknet market transfer volume: Chainalysis

The report estimates that Hydra generated more than $1.2 billion in crypto revenue between June 2019 and July 2020. The platform is among the world’s largest darknet marketplaces despite solely servicing the Eastern Europe.

Chainalysis estimates that 1.4% of Eastern Europe’s $41 billion 12-month crypto volume is sent to illicit entities. In percentage terms that’s slightly behind Latin America — where 1.6% of total transfer volume is destined for illegal platforms — however the total volume in Latin America is substantially smaller..

Eastern Europe is also home to “the highest-earning ransomware network administrators and ransomware-as-a-service operators,” with the region receiving 23% of global transfers destined for ransomware addresses.

Despite the region’s high levels of crypto-powered cyber crime, the report notes that Eastern Europe has seen significant adoption of crypto assets for legitimate purposes as well, with Ukraine and Russia ranking as the top two countries in the Chainalysis’ Global Crypto Adoption Index

Approximately 85% of Earstern European crypto transfers are described as “professional-sized” transactions worth more than $10,000, with Chainalysis noting the emerging presence of crypto fund managers in the region.

Curve, Aave, Synthetix and 7 others join Global DeFi Alliance

Huobi's Global DeFi Alliance has announced 10 new members, including sector heavyweights Aave, Curve Finance, and Synthetix.

Huobi’s decentralized finance (DeFi) consortium — dubbed the Global DeFi Alliance — has welcomed 10 new members — bringing its total membership to 15.

The new members comprise DeFi heavyweights Curve Finance, Aave, Synthetix, Balancer, Loopring, Zapper, Zerion, Bitpie, Mykey, and CoinGecko.

They join founding members Maker Foundation, Compound, NEST Community, dYdX, and Huobi DeFi Labs to explore “cross-border collaboration opportunities” and promote the development of the DeFi ecosystem.

The Global DeFi Alliance launched one month ago, describing its mission as driving collaboration between decentralized finance projects from both the Western and Eastern hemispheres.

“All of the members have greatly contributed to the DeFi ecosystem, and we are excited to be part of the Global DeFi Alliance,” said Aave founder and CEO Stani Kulechov. In Huobi's September 15 announcement CIO Sharlyn Wu said:

“We appreciate all new members of the Global DeFi Alliance and look forward to cooperating with them in various fields from user education, practice sharing, protocol standardization, risk management to supporting the development of the global decentralized financial ecosystem.”

The alliance will host webinars and events intended to bolster DeFi awareness and education targeting firms and users in the Asian region. Representatives of both Synthetix and Aave noted their intentions to expand their Asian presence prior to joining the alliance.

Huobi noted that additional DeFi players will be admitted into the alliance over the coming months, alongside representatives of the centralized finance sector.

More than $1B in Bitcoin has been tokenized for DeFi

Almost 100,000 Bitcoin are now tokenized on Ethereum, more than half of which migrated over the past 30 days

More than $1 billion worth of Bitcoin (BTC) has now been tokenized to access decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols on the Ethereum (ETH) network. That’s equivalent to the entire total value locked (TVL) in DeFi less than four months ago.

According to DeFi Pulse, roughly 98,300 BTC, worth $1.05 billion, has been tokenized using protocols other than Blockstream’s Lightning Network — equating to more than 12% of the DeFi’s sector’s $8.57 billion combined capitalization.

Number of Bitcoins locked in DeFi protocols: Defi Pulse

The milestone illustrates the increasing popularity of ETH-based protocols for generating passive returns among Bitcoin hodlers, with the entire DeFi sector having been valued at just $1.05 billion TVL as of the start of June — of which $47.5 million or 4.7% was Bitcoin, indicating that the share of DeFi’s capitalization represented by BTC has increased by 150% over three and a half months. 

By contrast, the Lightning Network has only attracted 1,100 Bitcoin worth $11.5 million since launching during March 2018.

In June, the vast majority of BTC in the DeFi sector took the form of Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), However, the launch of Ren’s more decentralized Virtual Machine (VM) and RenBTC in addition to grassroots tokenization protocols like PieDAO’s BTC++ this year have boosted Bitcoin’s expansion into DeFi.

Bitcoin tokenization protocols let users lock up their Bitcoin and mint an corresponding ERC-20 token — allowing the value represented by a user’s Bitcoin holding to interact with smart contracts on the Ethereum network.

While WBTC is still the top-ranked tokenization protocol by total BTC locked after attracting 56,800 Bitcoin worth nearly $605.5 million since late-November 2018, Ren’s VM has tokenized 21,500 Bitcoin worth $230 million since launching in May of this year.

Number of Bitcoins tokenized by WBTC: DeFi Pulse

While both protocols have more than doubled in the number of locked Bitcoin over 30 days, WBTC continues to attract a larger volume of BTC than Ren — with WBTC growing from roughly 28,360 BTC to 56,850 BTC, and RenBTC expanding from 10,000 BTC to 21,510 over one month.

Over the past 90 days, both projects have grown by more than 850%. On June 19 WBTC represented only 5,839 BTC and Ren had tokenized just 155 BTC.

Number of Bitcoins tokenized by Ren: DeFi Pulse

Curve Finance is the top-ranked yield generating protocol by tokenized BTC with 27,600 Bitcoins worth 295 million, followed by Aave with 17,800 BTC worth $190.5 million, and Balancer with 9,500 BTC worth 101.6 million. Collectively, the three protocols have attracted more than half of all tokenized Bitcoin.

However, with only 0.47% of Bitcoin’s supply tokenized, there is still significant value that will likely migrate from Bitcoin into DeFi over the coming months and years.

Federal payments licensing push could boost crypto adoption

The Office of the Comptroller’s move to license payments firms at the federal level is receiving push-back from state regulators.

Brian Brooks, Coinbase’s former chief legal officer and the current U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, is pushing to consolidate licensing regulations for payment companies at the federal level in the United States.

Federal licensing for payments firms that do not accept deposits could open the door to further mainstream adoption of virtual currencies by allowing crypto payments firms to obtain approval to operate across multiple states. The U.S.’s patchwork of federal and state regulations has deterred many virtual currency firms from setting up shop in the United States.

However, analysts predict that many states will push back against federal licensing, citing an ongoing dispute over the OCC’s fintech charter with the New York Department of Financial Services. 

In an interview with Law360, Crowell & Moring partner Michelle Gitlitz said:

"It would surprise me if the same thing didn't happen again. I don't see why a regulatory institution like the New York Department of Financial Services would take a different position with respect to a payment charter than they did with the fintech charter."

At the end of August, John Ryan, president of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), published a statement expressing the association’s opposition to federal payment licensing and accusing the OCC of “disregard[ing] the statutory limits of its authority.” 

“The OCC’s proposed payments charter is no different than the fintech charter already rejected in federal court and subject to a nationwide order preventing the OCC from accepting applications from a company that does not take deposits,” the letter said. 

“State regulators are opposed to this unconstitutional expansion of power.”

Despite this, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced it was prepared to accept applications from payment firms for a federal banking charter last week.

Brian Brooks’ appointment to head the OCC has been welcomed by the crypto sector, with Celsius founder and CEO Alex Masinsky tweeting:

Square launches cryptocurrency patent alliance to fight the trolls

Square is launching a consortium to pool patents and democratize access to innovative blockchain technologies

Square, the U.S.-based financial services company headed by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, is establishing a consortium to fight patent trolling and ensure open access to technology in the crypto sector.

The ‘Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance’ (COPA) seeks to democratize access to innovative technologies in the crypto sector, asserting that “open access to patents covering foundational cryptocurrency technologies is necessary for the community to grow, freely innovate, and build new and better products.”

Members of the alliance will agree to pool crypto and blockchain patents into COPA’s library, ensuring open access to technologies developed by participating firms. The alliance website says:

"Cryptocurrency technology and its adoption is still at a nascent stage. We believe that cryptocurrency’s success depends on the community coming together to build and develop upon existing technologies to innovate, which is not possible when parties tie up foundational technology in patents and litigation."

The alliance hopes to “transform the way patents are viewed and used in the crypto world,” emphasizing the opportunity for patents to be employed to advance innovation in the sector, rather than to hinder the industry’s development.

As of April 17 2020, Alibaba Group held the most blockchain patents with 2,344. It filed for 470 patents in 2019. Tencent is looking to accelerate its patent hoarding with 718 filings last year.

Controversial self-proclaimed ‘Satoshi' Craig Wight, is frequently accused of being a patent troll for his efforts, and his company nChain's efforts, to secure hundreds of blockchain patents.

While more than 5,800 applications for patent blockchain patents were filed last year, only 3% were granted during 2019.

Similar efforts to create a “collective shield” against “patent aggressors” have been undertaken in the music industry, with programmers and musicians Damien Riehl and Noah Rubin developing software to generate nearly every possible melody in defiance of the controversial music litigation industry earlier this year.

In March, Katy Perry successfully had a ruling reversed concerning a lawsuit filed by Christian rapper, Flame, that sought $2.8 million for Perry’s use of 8-bit musical timbre in the song Dark Horse which Flame claimed had been stolen from his song Joyful Noise.

In 1993, former Creedence Clearwater Revival singer John Fogerty was sued by the owner of Fantasy Records for allegedly ripping off a song that he had written 23 year prior, that the record label had come to own the rights to.

Yearn Finance shuns governance token with new stablecoin lending protocol

Yearn Finance is launching a MakerDAO like stablecoin lending protocol with no governance token.

Popular decentralized finance (DeFi) platform Yearn Finance has announced a new lending protocol dubbed StableCredit.

StableCredit combines tokenized debt stablecoins, lending, and single-sided automated market makers to offer what it describes as “a completely decentralized lending protocol” reminiscent of MakerDAO (MKR).

Users can deposit USD Coin (USDC) to mint StableCredit USD at a ratio of up to 75%, which can then be then exchanged for other crypto assets. To release the locked USDC, users must deposit the borrowed StableCredit USD back into the protocol.

A September 10 announcement states that StableCredit’s user interface is currently being finalized, predicting the protocol will be publicly launched “in the coming weeks.”

The protocol notably will not distribute a governance token to users — a tactic frequently used to incentivize the use of new DeFi platforms. Yearn Finance’s own governance token YFI has been a major beneficiary of the recent DeFi bubble, gaining more than 800% during August to tag an all-time high above $38,000.

Earlier today, Yearn Finance’s creator Andrew Cronje expressed a certain amount of disdain for the current state of the DeFi sector:

Yearn has garnered popularity through its variety of lending protocols, with its ‘Vaults’ recently attracting investors with the promise of high returns and reduced transaction fees through pooling.

YFI has gained 11.4% over the past 24 hours, with the market rallying in response to Coinbase Pro announcing it will support the token from September 14.

Stablecoins post triple-digit growth in 2020, but institutional rivals loom

Despite stablecoins posting triple-digit market cap growth this year, competition from projects backed by major financial and tech corporations is on the horizon.

The supply of the Coinbase-backed stablecoin USD Coin (USDC) has grown by 250% since the start of 2020, including an 80% expansion in just the past two months.

After starting the year with a nearly $520 million market cap, USDC now ranks as the 16th-largest crypto asset with a $1.86 billion capitalization — beating out all other major stablecoins except for the $14.5 billion Tether (USDT) by at least four times.

Meanwhile, other stablecoins (most of which are pegged to the value of $1 US) have also seen significant growth this year, with DAI and Binance USD expanding by 970% and 800% respectively in 2020 so far.

Historic market cap of USDC, HUSD, PAX, BUSD, and DAI: CoinMetrics

However, the race is on for established stable tokens to consolidate market share before major financial institutions and corporations enter the fray with their own tokenized money.

On September 9, Fnality — a stablecoin project spanning 13 global banks that was spearheaded by UBS Group — predicted it will receive regulatory approval for its ‘UtilitySettlement Coin’ initiative by the second quarter of 2021.

The Fnality project has been in development for more than five years, and seeks to establish a network featuring tokenized US dollars, Japanese yen, Euros, Canadian dollars, and British pound sterling.

Existing stablecoins may also face stiff competition from Facebook’s Libra competition, which despite facing early regulatory push-back, appears to be slowly gaining favour among lawmakers.

In July, the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) granted permission to federally chartered banks to custody crypto assets, further opening the door to the mainstream acceptance of stablecoins.

Central bank digital currencies are also on the horizon in China, the US and Europe and have the potential to one day wipe out demand for crypto stablecoins. On September 10, European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde announced that the ECB will soon deliver a verdict on whether the region is in need of a digitized Euro:

"The Eurosystem has so far not made a decision on whether to introduce a digital euro. But, like many other central banks around the world, we are exploring the benefits, risks and operational challenges of doing so."

In May, the Liechtenstein-based Bank Frick began accepting deposits in USDC.

DeFi tokens rebound with 19% bounce in 24 hours

DeFi tokens are rebounding, with the sector posting average gains of 19% today.

After a bloody week for decentralized finance (DeFi) projects that saw numerous tokens plummet by up to 50%, the DeFi sector has rebounded by 19% in one day. Ether is also up 11% over the past 24 hours.

According to Messari, 32 of 37 DeFi tokens are up today, posting gains of between 3% and 39.6%.

Top 10 DeFi tokens by 24-hour performance

Top 10 DeFi tokens by 24-hour performance: Messari

Swerve (SWRV) tops the daily charts, followed by Yearn Finance (YFI) with a 37.6% gain, Loopring (LRC) with 29.9%, Aave (LEND) with 29.4%, and SushiSwap (SUSHI) with 27.8%.

YFI’s rally comes despite its highly anticipated Ether (ETH) vault producing a diminishing annual percentage yield (APY) since launching roughly one week ago. However, the daily returns generated by Yearn Finance’s stablecoin vaults have pushed above 0.1%, likely fuelling the rally.

DeFi tokens have outperformed the broader Ethereum ecosystem, with 136 of 178 ETH-based tokens in the green for an average gain of 8.3%. 

Top 10 Ethereum tokens by 24-hour performance

Top 10 Ethereum tokens by 24-hour performance: Messari

Ampleforth (AMPL) tops the ranking with an 84.5% gain, followed by YFI and LRC. 

Half of today’s top ten markets by 24-hour performance (among the top 100 coins) are DeFi ERC-20’s. 

The notable exception is Solana (SOL), which is the second-strongest top 100 crypto asset of the day with a 47% gain.