NFT representing 5% of Monaco F1 Delta Time track auctioned for $220K

NFT-powered racing game F1 Delta Time has auctioned off a segment of an in-game track for $222,000.

A segment of a race track in F1 Delta Time, a non-fungible token-powered motorsports game from Animoca Brands, has been auctioned off for more than 9 million of the company’s REVV tokens, worth approximately $222,000. Animoca says it’s a record price for an in-game NFT.

The token, “Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2020 1A” was auctioned on NFT marketplace Open Sea, with bidding taking place from Nov. 29 until Dec. 2. The token offers its owner an "Apex” share in the game’s Circuit de Monaco track.

Similar to the way users can buy virtual land in Decentraland or The Sandbox, F1 Delta Time’s in-game tracks are fractionally tokenized for sale to the game’s players — with Circuit de Monaco comprising 330 tokens of three varying rarities: Rare, Legendary, Epic, and Apex. 

The owners of Delta Time track-NFTs earn dividends from all activity that takes place on their track, including entry fees for races and yields from “Elite Events” that require participants to stake REVV for entry.

According to their rarity, track-NFTs will earn either 5%, 7%, 13%, or 25% of gameplay fees, in addition to either 3%, 5%, 11%, or 21% of elite staking yields.

Apex tokens are of the greatest rarity and afford their owner a 5% stake in the entire in-game track. As such, the auction’s closing price implies the entire track could be worth $4.44 million

The Monaco 1A track token is the first F1 Delta Time track-NFT to be auctioned. The token was sold to ‘MetaKovan’, who also made history by purchasing a tokenized Apex race car from Animoca for $111,111 last year.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Animoca Brands’ co-founder and director, Yat Siu, asserted the Apex token is “the most expensive gaming NFT” by fiat value.

NFTs have gathered significant momentum in recent years, with several game-based tokens garnering six-figure prices.

In September 2018, the CryptoKitties collectible “Dragon” sold for $172,000, just two months before a parcel of virtual land in Decentraland changed for hands for $215,000.

BTC Markets privacy breach exposes all customers to potential phishing attacks

Aussie exchange BTC Markets has revealed the full name and email addresses of all of its customers in a marketing email blast.

Major Australian cryptocurrency exchange BTC Markets accidentally exposed the full name and email addresses of all of its customers in a marketing email sent to each affected individual on Dec. 1.

The emails were sent in batches of 1,000, meaning that each customer was sent the name and email address of 999 other users.

BTC Markets is in the process of reporting the incident to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, with Bowler noting the exchange will be “taking guidance from the OAIC” on how to respond to the breach moving forward.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, BTC Markets CEO Caroline Bowler expressed the company’s “heartfelt apologies” for the incident, emphasizing that the exchange’s executives are now working around the clock to minimize the repercussions of the breach and to implement “additional security features” to prevent future information leaks.

Bowler recommended BTC Markets customers to ensure two-factor authentication is enabled to protect their account, and to change the password to their email account.

She also urged users to be wary of unauthorized attempts to access their email accounts and of phishing scams purporting to be from BTC Markets. She recommended users double check that emails from ‘BTC Markets’ are actually from addresses ending in ‘@btcmarkets.net’.

Bowler noted that the breach has not impacted the security of the exchange itself, and that no personal data aside from full names and email addresses was leaked through the email.

The promotional email was issued to announce that BTC Markets will list pairings for USDT from Dec. 3, in addition to supporting Flare Network’s Spark token airdrop on Dec. 12.

While BTC Markets will still proceed with the Tether listing and Spark airdrop, Bowler highlighted that the immediate focus of the exchange is on managing the data leak.

It was a case of bad timing for Bowler, who yesterday announced she has just joined local industry body Blockchain Australia as a board member.

Ten crypto leaders are in the new Forbes 30 Under 30 list

Forbes new list of 600 up and coming entrepreneurs aged below 30 features 10 representatives from the crypto and blockchain sectors.

Ten of the youthful business leaders featured in this year's Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list work in blockchain and cryptocurrency, highlighting increasing acceptance of the industry from the mainstream media.

Despite its name, the list actually highlights 600 young people across various categories — with the crypto alumni including seven individuals in the finance category, one in venture capital, one in energy, and one in manufacturing.

The finance category features the founder of the $1.2 billion crypto derivatives exchange FTX, and quantitative trading firm Alameda Research, Sam Bankman-Fried. Since launching last year, FTX has made waves by offering innovative products including prediction markets for elections, Bitcoin’s hash-rate and for futures contracts for oil, driving $30 million in profits for the exchange this year.

Brain Tubergen, co-founder of U.S.-based initial token offering and exchange platform CoinList, also makes the grade. Since launching in 2017, CoinList has facilitated more than $800 million in fundraising for many crypto projects backed by the heavyweights of the sector, including a16z, Sequoia Capital, and Bain Capital Ventures.

Almost one-third of the crypto leaders featured are women, which signals a shrinking, though still significant gender gap in an industry notorious for low female participation. Forbes celebrates Bitcoin's first female core protocol engineer Amiti Uttarwar, alongside and founder of crypto lending platform BlockFi, Flori Marquez, and the founding partner of Volt Capital, Soona Amhaz — who features in the venture capital category. 

Including Amhaz, three of the list’s crypto alumni represent venture capital firms, the 21-year-old Paradigm Capital investment partner, Charlie Noyes, and Pantera Capital co-CIO/Augur co-founder Joseph Krug.

Layer1 Technologies co-founder Alexander Liegl is the list’s sole representative of the crypto mining sector, with Liegl’s company having outlined an ambitious plan to bring 30% of global hashing power to the United States over the longer term. Liegl is in the energy category.

The CEO of Bitcoin payments firm Zap, Jack Mallers, also features in the finance category.

For its last entry, Forbes includes all three co-founders of blockchain-powered supply chain data platform Authenticiti — Andrew Yang, Yeong Woo Park, and Athanasios Karachotzitis, under the manufacturing category.

Crypto's strong showing in the finance category is likely down to the fact the judges have ties to the industry: they include Mike Novogratz, the Galaxy Digital founder and Bitcoin bull along with Cathie Wood, founder of Ark Investment Management which runs a digital assets fund.

Forbes has highlighted the achievements of the young crypto-leaders in the past, with its 2017 30 under 30 Asia list featuring Tron founder, Justin Sun, and its 2018 list including Melonport and Agora Trade’s Reto Trinkler.

The following year saw the number of crypto-entrepreneurs celebrated by Forbes increase, with Bitwise CEO Hunter Horsley, Bail Bloc’s JB Rubinovitz, and Lightning Labs’ Olaoluwa Osuntokun, and Nader Al-Naji of the now-defunct Basis Protocol all included in the list.

Ethereum flips Bitcoin’s node count

A surge of validators awaiting Eth2 staking has pushed Ethereum’s node count to 11,259 — surpassing Bitcoin by more than 100.

Ethereum 2.0 genesis stakers have pushed the total number of Ethereum nodes past the number of Bitcoin nodes for the second time this year.

According to Ethernodes.org, 11,259 Ethereum nodes are currently active, giving it a roughly 1% lead over Bitcoin’s 11,136. Ethereum’s node count last surpassed Bitcoin’s in early September.

The number of Ethereum nodes has increased by more than 50% in the past two weeks or so, spiking from 8,086 on Nov. 15 — 11 days after the Eth2 deposit contract went live. Ethereum’s node count overtook Bitcoin’s on Nov. 30.

Ethereum historic node count: Ethernodes.org

According to Blockchain Center’s “Flippening” index — which seeks to track the strength of Ethereum’s network relative to Bitcoin — the surge in node counts has seen the index gain from 50.5% to 62.4% over the course of November.

The Flippening Index: Blockchain Center

According to the index, node count is the third major on-chain metric on which Ethereum has currently “flipped” Bitcoin, alongside transaction count and transaction fees.

Etherscan estimates that Ethereum processed nearly 1.2 million transactions in the past 24 hours, compared to Bitcoin’s 300,000. Ethereum also processed $3.6 million worth of transaction fees in the last 24 hours, while Bitcoin fees were worth close to $1.4 million.

The Flippening Index estimates that Ethereum posted a two-year high of 67.68% for strength relative to Bitcoin in early September due to the third-quarter DeFi boom.

Eth2's beacon chain genesis kicks off in just a few hours from now. The launch of the deposit contract allowed ETH holders to designate their Ethereum for staking, with the 524,288 Ether required to initiate the launch of the beacon chain being surpassed just hours before its deadline on Nov. 24.

According to Beaconcha.in, 878,808 Ether have now been sent to the deposit contract. The beacon chain’s genesis will lay the groundwork for sharding and proof-of-stake.

Ethereum flips Bitcoin’s node count

A surge of validators awaiting Eth2 staking has pushed Ethereum’s node count to 11,259 — surpassing Bitcoin by more than 100.

Ethereum 2.0 genesis stakers have pushed the total number of Ethereum nodes past the number of Bitcoin nodes for the second time this year.

According to Ethernodes.org, 11,259 Ethereum nodes are currently active, giving it a roughly 1% lead over Bitcoin’s 11,136. Ethereum’s node count last surpassed Bitcoin’s in early September.

The number of Ethereum nodes has increased by more than 50% in the past two weeks or so, spiking from 8,086 on Nov. 15 — 11 days after the Eth2 deposit contract went live. Ethereum’s node count overtook Bitcoin’s on Nov. 30.

Ethereum historic node count: Ethernodes.org

According to Blockchain Center’s “Flippening” index — which seeks to track the strength of Ethereum’s network relative to Bitcoin — the surge in node counts has seen the index gain from 50.5% to 62.4% over the course of November.

The Flippening Index: Blockchain Center

According to the index, node count is the third major on-chain metric on which Ethereum has currently “flipped” Bitcoin, alongside transaction count and transaction fees.

Etherscan estimates that Ethereum processed nearly 1.2 million transactions in the past 24 hours, compared to Bitcoin’s 300,000. Ethereum also processed $3.6 million worth of transaction fees in the last 24 hours, while Bitcoin fees were worth close to $1.4 million.

The Flippening Index estimates that Ethereum posted a two-year high of 67.68% for strength relative to Bitcoin in early September due to the third-quarter DeFi boom.

Eth2's beacon chain genesis kicks off in just a few hours from now. The launch of the deposit contract allowed ETH holders to designate their Ethereum for staking, with the 524,288 Ether required to initiate the launch of the beacon chain being surpassed just hours before its deadline on Nov. 24.

According to Beaconcha.in, 878,808 Ether have now been sent to the deposit contract. The beacon chain’s genesis will lay the groundwork for sharding and proof-of-stake.

Bitmex parent 100x appoints German stock exchange exec as new CEO

Amid ongoing legal action from U.S. authorities, the company behind Bitmex — 100x — has announced a new CEO.

100x — the holding group for Bitmex’s parent company — has announced the appointment of a permanent new CEO in the wake of charges filed in Octob against the exchange’s co-founders, including former CEO of both 100x and Bitmex, Arthur Hayes.

On Dec. 1, 100x announced that the former chief executive officer of German stock exchange Borse Stuttgart GmbH, Alexander Hoptner, will take over as CEO during January 2021. Hoptner will also join 100x’s board of directors, and will report directly to the group’s chairman, David Wong. 100x’s new CEO stated:

“I am proud to join 100x Group because I share the global ambition and audacity of its founders and employees to create an ecosystem of cryptocurrency technology that will improve lives. The future of this industry will increasingly belong to those who provide a regulated trading environment that is innovative, liquid, and fair for institutional and retail investors alike.”

Hoptner takes over from 100x’s current interim-CEO, Vivien Khoo — who was promoted from COO on Oct. 8 as an emergency replacement for Hayes. 

The Oct.1 charges from the U.S. Department of Justice and Commodity Futures Trading Commission accuse BitMEX’s founders Arthur Hayes, Ben Delo, Samuel Reed, and Gregory Dwyer of violating U.S. money laundering laws and offering illegal derivatives products to American customers. The accused all stood down from their executive responsibilities with 100x on Oct. 8

Samuel Reed was arrested on Oct. 1 before being released the following week after posting a $5 million bond. None of the remaining accused have been apprehended by U.S. authorities. Hayes is expected to remain in Hong Kong. The territory suspended its extradition treaty with the United States in August.

Authorities shut off electricity to Bitcoin miners in China’s Yunnan province

Local media reports indicate electricity producers in Yunnan, China’s fourth-largest province by Bitcoin hash rate, have been ordered not to provide power to crypto mines.

Local sources report that authorities from the city of Baoshan in the Chinese province of Yunnan are escalating efforts to crack down on Bitcoin miners, ordering electricity producers to cease supplying power to the city’s miners.

On Nov. 30, Chinese crypto reporter Colin Wu tweeted that several miners had informed him of the ban, sharing what appear to be scanned copies of official documents issued to power producers:

However, Wu added that the ban was probably informed by localized “economic interests,” and probably is not indicative of a desire to quash crypto mining on the part of Beijing: 

“There is no need to overestimate the impact of this incident. The attitude of China local power companies towards crypto mining is often changing. It is more a demand for economic interests than political pressure.”

The ban appears to have coincided with a 24-hour drop in global hash rate of roughly 10% from 140 exahashes per second to 125 EX/s, though correlation is far from causation.

According to Cambridge University’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, or BECI, Yunnan was China’s fourth-largest region by mining hash rate, behind Xinjian, Sichuan, and Inner Mongolia as of April 2020. Yunnan then represented 5.42% of global hash rate — ranking it above all countries except for China, the United States, Russia, and Kazakhstan.

In June, Wu reported that Yunnan’s government had ordered 64 unauthorized mining operations to shut down, including seven that were still under construction. The government cited tax evasion and security risks including how the mines were wired to local hydropower stations.

During that same month, a local Bitcoin mine caught on fire, resulting in the incineration of thousands of units.

The mid-year crackdown also followed a May 29 explosion at a hydropower station in Yunnan that killed six people and injured five. The explosion was believed to have prompted greater enforcement of safety standards concerning hydropower plants in the region.

In April, Yunnan’s state grid also issued a document warning electricity producers against the unauthorized diversion of power to Bitcoin mines.

Wallets with less than 1 BTC account for just 5% of Bitcoin’s market cap

With the number of “wholecoiner” Bitcoin wallets holding at least 1 BTC increasing every year, the remaining addresses represent just 5% of Bitcoin’s market cap.

New data suggests that “wholecoiners” — Bitcoin wallets holding 1 BTC or more — now account for 95% of the cryptocurrency’s entire capitalization. That leaves just 5% of the market cap divided among tens of millions of users with a balance below 1BTC.

The total number of wholecoiner addresses has steadily increased year-over-year since 2009, despite BTC's astronomic price rallies. On Nov. 27, Glassnode CTO Rafael Shultze-Kraft tweeted a chart revealing that more than 800,000 addresses currently hold at least 1 BTC.

According to Bit Info Charts, wholecoiner addresses represent around $301 billion worth of BTC. By contrast, the current combined value of less-than-wholecoin addresses is $16 billion.

A linear chart reveals few retracements in the history of wholecoiners, with the largest dip coming in early 2016 when the number of addresses holding at least 1 BTC fell by 13.5%, from 520,000 to 450,000.

The year 2018 also saw wholecoiner growth stagnate, with the number of addresses oscillating between roughly 720,000 and 690,000 for 12 months from December 2017.

Number of Bitcoin wallets holding at least 1 BTC over time: Glassnode

According to Into The Block, 32.95 million Bitcoin addresses currently hold some value of BTC, suggesting that wholecoiners represent just 0.47% of balance-bearing Bitcoin wallets.

OECD tax director says international crypto tax standards are coming in 2021

The director of the OECD’s tax center has revealed that the organization expects to release a tax reporting standard for crypto assets by the end of next year.

Pascal Saint-Amans, the director of the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, has asserted that the 37-nation organization will introduce a common reporting standard, or CRS, for crypto assets in 2021.

According to Law360, Amans stated that the crypto tax standard “would be roughly equivalent to the CRS” developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to combat tax evasion.

The director attributed the likely development of the crypto tax CRS to a desire to introduce stronger standards surrounding crypto regulations among its member-countries:

“The timeline to deliver is probably '21, sometime in '21, because there is an appetite by all countries now."

Amans’ comments come days after the European Commission launched a process to amend and extend its tax evasion laws pertinent to crypto assets. The proposal was published on Nov. 23, with the EC set to receive public feedback on the initiative until Dec. 21. The new laws are expected to be introduced during the third quarter 2021.

Despite the action taken by the EC, Amans expects that the OECD will establish crypto tax standards before Europe, describing the policy arena as an “opportunity for the EU to align with [the OECD’s] standard.”

However, uncoordinated simultaneous development could result in the OECD and Europe establishing particular policy positions that contradict each other — threatening to create regulatory challenges for the OECD’s European members, as has been recently seen concerning the taxation of digital services.

Amans dismissed these concerns however, asserting that any proposal from the OECD would be “complementary” to EU regulations. Speaking to Law360, an EC spokesperson indicated the organization is working “in parallel” with the OECD to “avoid overlaps or inconsistencies to the extent possible.”

“At the same time the specific situation of the EU and its member states needs to be taken into account,” they added.

Majority of Indian investors see ‘no easy way to enter’ crypto

Most mainstream Indian investors still do not see an easy way to enter the crypto markets despite recent regulatory liberalization regarding virtual currencies.

A comprehensive survey from India’s CoinDCX exchange has found that most local investors don’t see an “easy way” to access exposure to crypto assets. That’s despite the country reversing a ban on financial institutions providing services to digital asset businesses earlier this year.

According to the OKEx-affiliated exchange’s findings, 56% of respondents under the age of 40 assert there is stil “no easy way to enter” the markets. This sentiment is also shared by 60% of respondents earning less than 500,000 Indian Rupees ($6,700) per year.

Many segments of India’s population also cite a lack of “legal & regulatory clarity” as the largest barrier to entering the crypto sector, including 22% of respondents aged 40 or above, 32% of undergraduates, and 23% of real estate investors.

Graduates and respondents aged from 20 to 30 identified “knowledge & education” regarding crypto as the biggest challenge to its adoption.

CoinDCX queried more than 11,300 participants digitally for its survey, including 3,512 of its own customers.

Challenges to Indian crypto adoption: CoinDCX survey

The findings indicate that 40% of India’s crypto investors hail from one of three professional backgrounds — IT, finance, or education.

While 12% of respondents working in the banking industry stated they have owned crypto assets, 22% agree with the statement that virtual currencies are a strong alternative investment suggesting this could be a growth sector in the country.

Nearly two-thirds of crypto investors are salaried, while 12% are self-employed, and just 8% are students. Despite the low-level of crypto-ownership among students, 87% of hodlers were found to have at least graduated university.

Interestingly there were very few survey respondents willing to write off crypto entirely with less than 5% of retired, unemployed, or homemaker respondents asserting cryptocurrencies offer “zero utility.” This figure drops below 1% among graduates.

In May of this year, India’s Supreme Court overturned a ban on banks providing financial services to businesses handling crypto assets that had been enacted by the Reserve Bank of India in July 2018.

Despite many crypto firms continuing to complain that banks are reluctant to work with them, India’s virtual currency sector has expanded significantly since the first quarter. India has emerged as a major peer-to-peer market for Bitcoin trading, local exchange Zebpay revealed plans to launch a marketplace for non-fungible tokens, and Binance launched a local accelerator for decentralized finance projects.

Experts say institutions drove Bitcoin’s rise to $19K and that alt-season is coming

Market analysts are attributing Bitcoin’s sudden surge above $19,000 to aggressive demand from financial institutions and leading companies in the United States.

Analysts are pointing to demand from financial institutions and publicly listed companies as the primary forces behind BTC’s sudden re-test of its all-time highs.

“The primary reason for the steady grind up in Bitcon has been the increased interest and aggressive buying activity from institutions,” said Nick Cote of gamified trading platform Hxro Labs. “A lot of investors are going through Grayscale.”

Rising institutional demand can be seen in heavy accumulation by Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust, with the fund’s BTC holdings exceeding 500,000 earlier this month.

Cote also said that top American companies like Square and Microstrategy are “putting BTC on their books as a hedge against inflation and poor monetary policy management from the central banks.” He described this behavior as driving a “positive feedback loop” in the markets:

“There will be pullbacks of course, but as long as institutions believe in the narrative of Bitcoin being used as a store of value or hedge against inflation, it becomes a positive feedback loop.”

NEM head of trading Nicholas Pelecanos agreed, stating that Bitcoin’s fundamentals are now stronger than ever before, pointing to post-halving supply dynamics, a rise in institutional adoption along with a number of “publicly listed U.S. companies moving 10% of their balance sheet into the asset.”

Pelecanos is now looking to a rise in the altcoin markets, stating, “BTC is back at its all-time high levels, but what is worth noting is the valuation of the altcoins which are on average still 50% below their all-time highs.”

Despite his bullish outlook for alts, Pelecanos warned that many alternative cryptocurrencies have failed to attract meaningful adoption, stating:

“Some altcoins represent projects that are no longer functioning, yet other projects have seen tremendous development on both adoption and tech.”

Analysts have also pointed to bullish signals coming from the mining markets, with Glassnode CTO Rafael Schultze-Kraft noting that miners have hoarded an additional 10,000 BTC since March.

Miners’ revenues also recently posted new year-to-date highs after reclaimed pre-halving levels, with daily revenue exceeding $20 million.

Cambridge and Oxford teams compete in algorithmic crypto trading contest

Teams representing the maths and science departments of the universities of Cambridge and Oxford are competing to design cryptocurrency trading algorithms.

More than one dozen teams representing the mathematics and computer science departments of Oxford and Cambridge universities are competing to build crypto trading algorithms on major exchanges Coinbase Pro and FTX.

According to a Nov. 25 announcement, the 15 teams will be assessed on their trading strategies, the technical design of their algorithms, and their overall return-on-investment. The competition launched on Nov. 16 and will run until Dec. 16.

The strategies employed include arbitrage, predictions based on machine learning and neural networks, and trend investing based on time-sequence forecasting.

APEX:E3 is the contest’s principal sponsor, with the institutional analytics firm providing access to its APIs, mentorship, technical support, and an undisclosed sum of seed funding to each competitor. Only the winning team will keep their seed capital and profits.

Crypto exchanges Coinbase, FTX, SIX Digital Exchange, and LMAX Digital, along with Ethereum software developer ConsenSys have also partnered to support the competition.

Dr. Quentin Stafford-Fraser of University of Cabridge’s computer science department described the tournament as a risk-free opportunity for students to put their algorithms to the text in real life markets:

“APEX:E3 has created a fun and risk-free way for students to learn about the [algorithmic trading] industry and bring their creativity and expertise to bear on the particular challenges of this domain

APEX:E3 chief executive, Usman Khan, indicated the firm plans to make the tournament an annual event, adding he hopes to expand the number of participating universities in 2021.

Judge rejects motion to freeze Cred’s crypto assets in bankruptcy case

A U.S. bankruptcy judge has rejected a motion to freeze the assets of beleaguered crypto lending service that was filed by its users.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Dorsey has denied an emergency motion filed by 15 customers of the embattled crypto lending firm Cred Inc. to freeze crypto assets held by the firm on exchanges amid its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

More than one dozen of Cred’s creditors filed the emergency motion on Nov. 23, seeking to compel 21 cryptocurrency exchanges to freeze assets held by Cred on their respective platforms, including five U.S.-based exchanges.

During a Nov. 25 hearing, Dorsey asserted that he could not act on the motion without evidence surrounding the status and ownership of the crypto assets in question, and scolded the investors for their apparent lack of effort put towards tracking down the assets:

"At this point, all I have is the obligation of the debtors to exercise their fiduciary duty to protect the assets of the estate [...] all I can do is admonish the debtors.”

However, the judge noted that issues concerning the freezing of Cred’s assets are likely to be deliberated during the Dec. 9 hearing regarding a Nov. 18 motion from two Cred users requesting the case be converted to liquidation proceedings.

The Nov. 18 filing accuses Cred of operating an “unlicensed hedge fund [...] rife with fraud and deception on ‘Madoff’ level proportions,” estimating that Cred’s liquid assets are equal to just 10% of its $136.5 million in liabilities.

Cred filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 7, with Cred describing the move as an attempt “to maximize the value of its platform for its creditors.”

A Nov. 8 declaration from its co-founder and CEO Daniel Schatt claimed that Cred’s former chief capital officer, James Alexander, had absconded with $3 million in Bitcoin belonging to its users in July of this year. Schatt also said that 800 Bitcoin worth more than $10 million had been stolen from the company by an imposter hired by its debtors.

The bankruptcy filing came less than two weeks after announcing a temporary suspension of operations.

Bison Trails launches QT protocol to help developers build on Libra

Libra Association founding member, Bison Trails, has released a QT protocol allowing developers to read and write data to Libra’s pre-mainnet using off-chain systems.

Blockchain technology and staking service provider Bison Trail has announced the launch of its Query and Transactions Clusters, or QT, protocol to help developers build on Facebook’s forthcoming Libra network.

Libra QT offers a bridge between Libra’s pre-mainnet and off-chain systems, allowing dedicated off-chain infrastructure to read and write data to the blockchain.

According to a Nov. 25 announcement from Bison Trails, which provides blockchain services and infrastructure to crypto companies, “Libra QT offers fully-managed, dedicated, and highly resilient Libra read/write nodes and supporting systems without the hassle and expense of running them in-house.” Bison Trails’ co-founder and CTO, Aaron Henshaw, said:

“Libra QT is a core part of our product offering for the Libra ecosystem. It allows people building on top of Libra to securely and easily integrate their exchanges and wallets, and build new and exciting applications.”

Developers can use Bison Trails’ Libra QT to build wallets, exchanges, and other virtual asset services on Libra’s pre-mainnet. Bison Trails is a founding member of the Libra Association. 

Libra QT also enables payment processing, transaction validations, and specialized use-cases like smart contract authoring and market-making.

Since facing stiff regulatory push-back in 2019, the Libra Association has stepped away from the media spotlight to redesign the project — garnering little attention since announcing former HSBC, Credit Suisse, and Santander executive Ian Jenkins as its chief financial officer and chief risk officer last month.

In a recent interview, crypto skeptic David Gerard who has written a book on Libra, described the “uniformity” of the exclusionary response from international regulators to Libra as “amazing,” noting that lawmakers across the world immediately threw up barriers to the project and set about fortifying existing legislation to protect against “global stablecoins.”

Gerard believes that the threat of global “Libra-ization” was too great for regulators to ignore, with Libra posing challenges to the sovereignty of monetary policy.

“It’s like dollarization, which is the word for when a country’s economy is totally overtaken by US dollars [...] Libra-ization could happen the same way — that would be quite bad, because while the US dollar is maintained by the Federal Reserve for US interests […] there is some sort of public service aspect to dollarization.”

The Libra association has expanded its membership to 30 this year, including the addition of leading DLT venture capital firm, Blockchain Capital, and major e-commerce firms Shopify and Checkout.com.

6,700 investors lock $10.5M in Oasis Network’s token-drop

The token-drop for Oasis Network’s ROSE token has amassed a $10.5 million TVL and is now the second-largest offering on the U.S.-headquartered CoinList platform by number of participants.

Initial token sale platform CoinList has revealed that more than 6,700 investors participated in Oasis Network’s “ROSE Garden” token drop.

The ROSE Garden token drop was designed to ensure an equitable token distribution and attract robust participation from stakers for the launch of the project’s mainnet. It allowed investors to lock up to 2,000 USDT or USDC before Nov. 18 for a period of one month in exchange for Oasis’ native ROSE token.

Oasis is a privacy-focused network designed to support decentralized applications and confidential computing processes.

The ROSE Garden has now amassed a total value locked of more than $10.5 million, which ranks it as the 32nd-largest DeFi project by TVL according to DeFi Pulse.

The locked stablecoins will be returned and ROSE tokens distributed on Dec. 15, with ROSE holders able to lock their tokens to participate in CoinList’s “ROSE cultivate” staking program — which will end on May 15, 2021. CoinList will take a 10% fee on staking returns.

The ROSE cultivate program has secured more than 3,000 delegators based in more than 100 countries.

The ROSE Garden is CoinList’s second-largest offering by number of participants, after Dapper Labs’ FLOW community sale — which attracted more than 12,500 investors.

The FLOW community sale similarly sought to ensure an equitable token distribution, offering all non-U.S. persons the opportunity to purchase $1,000 worth of the token at $0.10 each — the same price Dapper Labs’ venture capital investors were offered.

Dapper’s community sale raised nearly $9 million, and ran parallel to a dutch auction for FLOW tokens that settled for $0.38 per token and raised a further $9.5 million.

Oasis Network celebrated its mainnet launch on Nov. 19, promising that its privacy features will allow vetting for undercollateralized DeFi loans and the secure analysis of genomic data among other things.

Filecoin storage tops 1 billion GB as tokenized FIL launches for use in DeFi

Anchorage and Tokensoft have launched wFIL, a wrapping protocol allowing Filecoin to be used on Ethereum.

Cryptocurrency infrastructure providers Anchorage and Tokensoft are teaming up to wrap FIL, the native token of decentralized file storage network FIlecoin, for use on Ethereum.

The firms announced wFIL on Nov. 23, promoting its use in decentralized finance applications including Compound, Maker, and Uniswap. Filecoin ecosystem lead, Colin Evra, stated:

“Wrapped Filecoin will enable some really creative DeFi products that create huge opportunities for Filecoin miners and storage users.”

The news came on the same day that Filecoin announced the storage capacity dedicated by its global mining community has exceeded one exbibyte — equal to more than one billion gigabytes.

According to an announcement, Filecoin’s capacity could store 4,500 Wikipedias, 290 million movies at 1080p quality, and 19 copies of the entire Internet Archive.

Filecoin is a trustless decentralized storage network that offers incentives to miners who provide storage capacity in the network. The network expects to attract developers and websites who will pay FIL in exchange for accessing Filecoin’s storage or for hosted data.

Filecoin’s Discover feature allows its miners to select datasets spanning literature, science, art, and history to mobilize unused storage capabilities to host and make accessible to the public. The datasets include Berkeley’s Self-Driving Data, a copy of Wikipedia’s database, and The International Genome Sample Resource’s 1000 Genomes Project.

The team describes the milestone as “solidifying FIlecoin’s position as a legitimate challenger to cloud-storage giants such as AWS [Amazon Web Services], Google Cloud, and Dropbox.” Colin Evra stated:

“Our aim was to build a Library of Alexandria for humanity’s most precious knowledge — one that could never be burned [...] Filecoin’s mission to create a decentralized, efficient, and robust foundation for humanity’s information is now a reality.“

On Nov. 24, Filecoin also announced it had partnered with top crypto exchange Huobi to launch the Huobi-Filecoin Incubation Center. The center, which will be supported by a $10 million fund, will focus on blockchain incubation, investment, and community development.

Filecoin currently comprises more than 670 active miners and boasts more than 90 organizations building on its network.

DeFi’s biggest names contribute to $1.1M investment in dHEDGE’s fund managers

dHEDGE has announced that $1.1 million will be injected into its fund managers’ pools by six of the platform’s investors and the dHEDGE DAO.

Some of the biggest names in DeFi, including Framework Ventures and Alameda Research, are backing the expansion of decentralized asset management protocol dHEDGE.

The investors and the protocol’s decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) will collectively invest $1.15 million into an initial cohort of 33 fund managers operating on the platform.

dHEDGE is a non-custodial social trading platform that allows users to choose asset managers to pool their funds with. The managers’ past trading performance is available for scrutiny, and uploaded to a distributed ledger to ensure immutability. Managers invest using synthetic assets in the Synthetix ecosystem.

The total comprises 651,000 sUSD from the dHEDGE DAO, and 550,000 sUSD contributed by dHEDGE investors Framework Ventures, DeFiance Capital, Divergence Ventures, Mechanism Capital, Klein Blue Capital, and Alameda Research.

Combined with the funds put forward by the fund managers themselves, dHEDGE expects more than 1.8 million sUSD to be deployed across its pools over the coming days and weeks.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, dHEDGE’s Henrik Andersson stated the team is “very impressed by the roster of managers” overseeing pools on the platform, noting the presence of South East Asia crypto investor NGC Asset Management.

Andersson also noted that the platform hosts managers overseeing investments in traditional, non-crypto-native asset classes, emphasizing his excitement for the platform’s growth in 2021:

“Decentralized asset management is set to become a core primitive in the DeFi space."

Framework Ventures’ co-founder, Michael Anderson, predicted that the next phase of growth for the DeFi sector is contingent on “bringing in the expertise of financial service professionals and showing them the power” of decentralized finance protocols.

Looking forward, Anderson predicted that DeFi will begin to cut into the market share of “centralized crypto finance” platforms — describing such as the dial-up internet of the virtual currency sector:

“The existing borrow/lend, exchange, and derivatives platforms will start to be replaced with DeFi upstarts. Layer 2 solutions will be looked back as the ‘dial-up to broadband’ moment for our industry.”

dHEDGE DAO’s investment is still pending approval from the stakers of dHEDGE’s native DHT token, with voting on whether to mobilize the funds set to close on Nov. 27. The investment will proceed should the proposal receive more votes in favor than opposed.

If passed, the proposal will see the DAO match the investments made by 17 of the fund managers — including two sums of 100,000 sUSD each, and 15 investments of between 10,000 and 50,000 sUSD. A further 10,000 sUSD will be distributed to 16 other fund managers each.

Bitcoin hits the front page of The Wall Street Journal

Crypto is against capturing the attention of the mainstream media, with the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal discussing Bitcoin’s 80% rally since reclaiming five-figure prices.

After rallying 80% in two months, Bitcoin is recapturing media interest from the top end of town, with The Wall Street Journal discussing the cryptocurrency’s adoption among institutional investors on the front page of its Nov. 23 issue.

The report notes that Bitcoin has recently found support from “Wall Street billionaires” Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller, alongside other public figures including a sports radio host.

WSJ’s coverage comes following a lull in Bitcoin’s presence in mainstream outlets, despite the cryptocurrency surging to test rarely seen prices while setting new records for market capitalization.

In addition to significant investments from hedge fund managers and Grayscale Investments, WSJ emphasizes increasing demand from retail investors who can now access crypto assets through familiar financial service companies. 

The report notes that Bitcoin volumes on Square’s Cash App were $1.6 billion during the third quarter of 2020, compared to $555 million for the entirety of 2019. Trade activity on U.S.-based exchange ItBit also surged after it was revealed that PayPal’s Bitcoin trading services would be executed through the platform.

On the same day, PayPal CEO Dan Shulman predicted during an appearance on CNBC that increasing everyday adoption of Bitcoin will see crypto assets “move from being less of just an asset class and more into a currency,” adding:

"As paper money slowly dissipates and disappears from how people are using transactions, central banks especially on the retail side will need to replace paper money with forms of digital fiat currency.”

Bitcoin hits the front page of The Wall Street Journal

Crypto is again capturing the attention of the mainstream media, with the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal discussing Bitcoin’s 80% rally since reclaiming five-figure prices.

After rallying 80% in two months, Bitcoin (BTC) is recapturing media interest from the top end of town, with The Wall Street Journal discussing the cryptocurrency’s adoption among institutional investors on the front page of its Nov. 23 issue.

The report notes that Bitcoin has recently found support from “Wall Street billionaires” Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller, alongside other public figures including a sports radio host.

WSJ’s coverage comes following a lull in Bitcoin’s presence in mainstream outlets, despite the cryptocurrency surging to test rarely seen prices while setting new records for market capitalization.

In addition to significant investments from hedge fund managers and Grayscale Investments, WSJ emphasizes increasing demand from retail investors who can now access crypto assets through familiar financial service companies. 

The report notes that Bitcoin’s volume on Square’s Cash App was $1.6 billion during the third quarter of 2020, compared to $555 million for the entirety of 2019. Trade activity on U.S.-based exchange ItBit also surged after it was revealed that PayPal’s Bitcoin trading services would be executed through the platform.

On the same day, PayPal CEO Dan Shulman predicted during an appearance on CNBC that increasing everyday adoption of Bitcoin will see crypto assets “move from being less of just an asset class and more into a currency,” adding:

“As paper money slowly dissipates and disappears from how people are using transactions, central banks especially on the retail side will need to replace paper money with forms of digital fiat currency.”

ETH 2.0 confirmed for Dec. 1 launch just hours before deadline

With just nine hours remaining, the Ethereum’s deposit contract met its threshold of 524,288 Ether — locking ETH 2.0’s beacon chain genesis for Dec. 1.

ETH 2.0’s beacon chain genesis has been confirmed for Dec. 1, following the transfer of 524,288 Ether from 16,384 validators into the ETH 2.0 deposit contract since it went live on Nov. 4.

Despite early concerns stemming from low staking participation, transfers to the deposit contract rapidly increased over the past day — with more than 200,000 ETH being sent to the contract in the past 14 hours.

Ether sent to deposit contract over time: Dune Analytics

ETH 2.0’s beacon chain genesis is now set to take place on the earliest possible launch date of Dec. 1, with genesis taking place seven days after the required deposit contract’s threshold was met.

While genesis participants will not be able to withdraw their coins until ETH 2.0 reaches Phase 1.5 — which will merge the Ethereum mainnet with ETH 2.0’s beacon chain and sharded environment — many hodlers are waiting for third-parties to launch withdrawal-enabled staking services, despite the potential risk of exit scams.

The deposit contract’s threshold was met with roughly nine hours to go until its deadline.

ETH 2.0 set to launch Dec. 1 after late surge in deposits

Ethereum’s beacon genesis event is set to take place on Dec 1, with the ETH 2.0 deposit contract reaching more than 94% of its target with just 12 hours to go.

ETH 2.0’s Phase 0 launch looks all but certain for Dec. 1, with the number of Ether transferred to the ETH 2.0 deposit contract snowballing as today’s deadline approaches.

As of this writing, nearly 499,000 of the 524,288 Ether required to secure the Dec. 1 beacon chain genesis has been deposited into ETH 2.0’s deposit contract, with 11 hours remaining for the deadline to be reached.

Less than 32,000 Ether is now required and more than that was deposited in the past six hours alone. Hourly deposits increased from approximately 10,000 Ether to more than 15,000 ETH every 60 minutes.

Pundits are now certain that ETH 2.0’s beacon chain launch will come at the start of December:

Ethereum’s co-creator Vitalik Buterin also took to Twitter to celebrate the influx of deposits and remind people they must deposit before the beacon chain’s activation if they wish to participate in the genesis cohort of stakers:

Last week, the crypto community was speculating the deposit contract may not reach its target until well into 2021, with only 50,849 ETH having been deposited within the first week of the deposit contract’s launch.

Many were concerned that low staking participation would force further delays due to Ether holders being unwilling to lock their tokens up without knowing when they would be able to make withdrawals.

Currently, it is anticipated that stakers will be able to withdraw their tokens alongside the launch of “Phase 1.5” — which will see the current Ethereum mainnet merge with ETH 2.0’s new beacon chain and sharding system. Phase 1.5 is expected to launch sometime around late 2021 or early 2022.

The surge in deposits has seen wild volatility on Polymarket’s prediction market for whether the ETH 2.0 genesis event will occur on Dec. 1, with contracts in favor of such jumping from $0.36 12 hours ago to $0.95 as of this writing.

Price chart for prediction market for ETH 2.0’s expected Dec. 1 genesis: Polymarket

The imminent launch of Phase 0 has also driven bullish pressure in the ETH markets, with Ether rallying into new year-to-date highs above $600 over the past 12 hours. Since changing hands for $135 at the start of the year, ETH has gained nearly 350%.

First company-sponsored Bitcoin retirement plans launched in US

DAiM has launched the United States’ first employer-sponsored retirement plans that support investments in Bitcoin.

U.S.-based asset manager, Digital Asset Investment Management (DAiM), has launched the country’s first employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement plans supporting Bitcoin.

According to a Nov. 19 announcement, DAiM will serve as the advisor and fiduciary in helping companies “create a 401(k) plan that offers several recommended model portfolios of varying risk to traditional assets and allocation of up to 10% to Bitcoin.”

The BTC will be held in cold storage by Gemini Trust, allowing DAiM to transfer Bitcoin to former-employees who have left participating companies.

DAiM’s crypto-friendly plans are compliant with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, and will be able to be offered by employers from 2021.

While U.S. citizens have been able to include crypto assets in their individual retirement accounts, 401(k) rollovers, and brokerage accounts since the Internal Revenue Service began taxing Bitcoin in 2018, DAiM COO Adam Pokornicky told Cointelegraph that, “It’s been impossible to offer Bitcoin inside actually company-based plans until now.”

“The difference is, you can take an old 401k plan and convert it to an IRA when you leave a job or employer to invest in Bitcoin, but it's never been possible to invest in Bitcoin while working at a company without taking a penalty or quitting your job until now.“

Pokornicky said that the traditional wealth management industries have been “slow to warm up to Bitcoin,” noting there are “barely any investment advisors offering licensed and regulated access to Bitcoin directly in brokerage and retirement accounts.”

He attributes the sector’s reluctance to “serious regulatory red tape” surrounding crypto compliance, emphasizing that it took “almost a full year of slow-building” before DAiM was approved to offer its employer-sponsored services:

“As an advisor, you can't just start managing and advising for Bitcoin because you want to. There's an enormous amount of work and compliance that needs to be done to develop operational frameworks, infrastructure, and strategic partnerships that need to be married together to be compliant in every state you operate.”

Pokornicky also noted “booming” demand for retirement investments in Bitcoin, adding: “We've seen most demand from individuals between the ages of 28-45.”

SEC seeks judgement after ‘no show’ in $9M Meta 1 Coin fraud case

The SEC is seeking a default judgment against three companies and four individuals for their roles in an allegedly fraudulent ICO that duped $9 million from 500 investors.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has requested a default judgment against three companies and four individuals associated with the allegedly fraudulent art and gold-backed cryptocurrency Meta 1 Coin.

The SEC filed its Nov. 18 motion for a default judgment after the defendants failed to appear to put their case, despite having corresponded with both the court and legal representation. The defendants are Meta 1 Coin Trust, Clear International Trust, and Ironheart Trust, and individuals Robert P. Dunlap, Nicole Bowdler, Wanda Traversie-Warner, and Alfred Warner Jr.

They are accused of defrauding at least 500 investors worldwide out of $9 million in exchange for crypto tokens that Meta 1 Coin allegedly fraudulently represented as being backed by either $1 billion worth of fine art assets or $2 billion worth of gold.

According to a lawsuit filed by the SEC in March, no fine art collection, gold holdings, or even digital currency ever existed, and investor funds were spent on personal expenses.

“Defendants enticed investors with the allure of a cryptocurrency, but the securities offering is nothing but a vehicle to steal investors' money.”

Meta 1 allegedly told investors that coins purchased through its pre-initial coin offering would appreciate in value from $22.22 or $44.44 to $50,000 each over two years.

The complaint also noted that Bowdler claimed to have psychic abilities when attempting to solicit potential investors.

The SEC is seeking civil penalties, disgorgement, and a permanent injunction against the four individuals and three firms. Relief defendants Pramana Capital Inc. and owner Peter K. Shamoun are not included in the motion and remain in the case.

Pramana allegedly received $1 million in funds for investment into Meta 1, with Shamoun also accused of using $215,000 to purchase a Ferrari.

Attack of the vampires: Uniswap loses 57% TVL as rivals up rewards

Rival decentralized exchanges are upping their liquidity mining rewards to attract Uniswap’s former-liquidity providers, leading to SushiSwap’s TVL tripling in one week.

With leading decentralized exchange Uniswap having ceased its yield-farming incentive program, rival automated market makers 1inch, SushiSwap and Bancor are snapping up liquidity providers with targeted rewards.

On Nov. 17, the same day that Uniswap’s rewards ended, the cloned AMM SushiSwap announced a new incentive scheme for the same four pairings previously incentivized by Uniswap.

Uniswap’s total value locked, or TVL, plummeted by more than $1 billion in less than 24 hours that day. Since posting a record high of $3.07 billion on Nov. 14, Uniswap’s TVL has crashed 57.5% down to $1.3 billion.

Uniswap TVL: DeFi Pulse

By contrast, SushiSwap’s TVL has rocketed nearly 160% since Nov. 17, from $407 million to $1.05 billion. It’s now up more than 313% since one week ago. 

SushiSwap TVL: DeFi Pulse

SushiSwap was not the only DEX to launch a 'vampire' campaign targeting Uniswap’s liquidity providers, with Bancor unveiling a liquidity mining program including retroactive rewards on Nov. 17.

On Nov. 18, 1inch launched the second stage of its yield-farming incentives, allocating an additional 1% of its token’s supply to liquidity providers. Speaking to Cointelegraph, 1inch CEO and co-founder, Sergej Kunz, said:

“Right now we’re seeing a lot of other projects launching incentives after Uniswap’s ended. As we are confident that our Mooniswap protocol has a lot of potential to be unlocked while attracting additional liquidity, we decided to announce our new liquidity mining program in order to hunt for the freed up liquidity from the Uniswap.”

AMMs comprise non-custodial decentralized exchanges that settle trades using liquidity pooled by users. In addition to offering liquidity providers, many DEXs have sought to attract users by offering yield-farming rewards in the form of their native tokens. 

UNI token holder and blockchain-powered streaming platform, Audius, submitted a Uniswap governance proposal to reinstate the exchange’s liquidity mining program with about half the rewards of the previous program on Nov. 17.

The proposal has nearly passed its first round of voting, however, it must complete two more stages of voting and secure at least 40 million votes to be implemented. Since decentralizing governance on September 16th, Uniswap has failed to pass any governance proposals.

Oasis Network mainnet launches touting privacy for loans and genomes

The privacy-focused Oasis Network has completed its mainnet launch, promising to facilitate under-collateralized loans in DeFi.

Oasis Labs has announced the successful launch of its Oasis Network mainnet, with more than 70 independent validators already live.

Oasis is a privacy focused Layer 1 network that claims a throughput of 1000 transactions per second designed to support decentralized applications. In June 2018, Oasis raised $45 million from crypto venture heavyweights including A16z, Binance Labs, Pantera, and Polychain. Oasis allows data to be encrypted, and for privacy policies surrounding its use to be enforced through smart contracts

Oasis Labs says its “confidential compute” functionality enables encrypted data to be processed by the network’s nodes to ensure the privacy of a wide range of processes — from credit history checks to genetic research. An announcement on Nov. 19 explained:

“The Oasis Network can support a new breed of privacy-preserving applications that respect a user’s data preferences by design and ensure each individual is fairly compensated for their data. They can earn rewards by staking their data with apps that want to analyze it or control how their most sensitive information is consumed by the services they use.”

The Oasis team touts the network’s privacy protocols as facilitating the creation of under collateralized loan products within DeFi sector. The network is said to have a greater capacity to enable credit checks as it ensures the privacy of sensitive financial or personal data, allowing loan applicants to establish their creditworthiness to lenders. 

The majority of existing loan products within DeFi offer over collateralized lending, although efforts to introduce under collateralized loans are also being undertaken by projects including Mainframe.

The announcement notes that DeFi industry leaders Chainlink and Balancer recently joined Oasis Network. Oasis Labs also believes its secure architecture could also facilitate the creation of private decentralized exchange platforms, including automated market makers (AMMs) like Uniswap.

According to Oasis “hundreds” of partnership projects are already being built on the network, including a “privacy-first genome sequencing” venture with Nebula Genomics, and the Binance-led CryptoSafe Alliance (CSA).

Last month, Oasis announced that Nebula Genomics would be using its data governance API product “Parcel” to allow genomic data to be analyzed within an isolated computing environment.

The project is intended to reduce the risk of consumers’ genetic data being compromised through the breach of centralized databases. Parcel also offers secure data storage, and tamper-proof access history logs to consumers.

Announced in August, the CSA is a platform designed to facilitate the private sharing of threat intelligence data among cryptocurrency exchanges. The CSA uses Oasis’ confidential smart contracts to ensure that sensitive data belonging to participating entities is kept private within the network.

Celo taps Chorus One to build a bridge with Cosmos, paving the way for others

Celo is the latest blockchain network to strive for interoperability, with Chorus One receiving a grant to build a bridge between Cosmos and Celo.

Celo has awarded a grant to staking service provider Chorus One to build a bridge facilitating interoperability between the Cosmos and Celo networks.

The proof-based bridge will allow “bidirectional communication’ between Celo and Cosmos, allowing Celo’s cUSD stablecoin to operate on the Cosmos network, and Cosmos-based assets including ATOM, BAND, and KAVA to be held in the Celo Reserve.

According to a Nov. 19 announcement, the partnership will lay the groundwork for building future bridges between Celo and “chains like Polkadot, Near, and Solana.”

Cosmos is also working to build numerous cross-chain bridges, including with Ethereum, Polkadot, and Kadena.

The post notes that work will be split between two service agreements, and will require the implementation of a “unique light client” on each blockchain.

The Interchain Foundation, a non-profit foundation formed to support the development of Cosmos, will fund a WASM-based Light Client to allow Cosmos to verify Celo transactions without undergoing a hard fork.

The Celo Foundation will also fund a Tendermint Light Client allowing the Celo blockchain to verify signatures and block headers created both by Cosmos and Cosmos-SDK-based chains.

Celo’s co-founder Marek Olszewski emphasized his belief that the crypto sector will come to comprise an interoperable ecosystem spanning many blockchain networks:

“We believe that the industry is not zero-sum, or winner takes all. In a future with many chains, cooperation is necessary to realize our goal of a globally accessible and inclusive financial system. We view the implementation of cross-chain architecture as an act of Mutually Assured Development.”

In May, Chorus One was awarded a similar grant by the Web3 Foundation to build aspects of a bridge enabling interoperability between Substrate and Cosmos-SDK-based blockchains.

Cosmos and Celo are not only networks pursuing interoperability, with Near launching its Ethereum bridge and Ontology Neo and Switcheo unveiling their “interoperability protocol alliance,” Poly Network, in August.

Mexico’s second-richest man invests 10% of his liquid portfolio in Bitcoin

The 166th wealthiest person in the world has revealed that he has invested in Bitcoin.

Ricardo Salinas Pliego, the second-wealthiest man in Mexico, has revealed that 10% of his “liquid portfolio” is invested in Bitcoin (BTC).

The billionaire shared a video captured in “a Latin country” depicting banks throwing out garbage bags filled with paper money into a dumpster. He asserted that “paper money is worth nothing,” adding: “That is why it is always good to diversify our investment portfolio.”

The video appears to show bags of Venezuelan bolivars being thrown out, including 10,000 bolivar notes issued in 2016 and 2017 — before the country redenominated its banknotes in 2018 amid an escalating inflation crisis.

Three hours later, Pliego then tweeted a recommendation for the book The Bitcoin Pattern, asserting that “Bitcoin protects the citizen from government expropriation” and revealing his cryptocurrency investment:

According to a translation provided by Google, the tweet stated:

“Today I recommend THE BITCOIN PATTERN, this book is the best and most important to understand #Bitcoin. Bitcoin protects the citizen from government expropriation. Many people ask me if I have bitcoins, YES. I have 10% of my liquid portfolio invested.”

Crypto Twitter reacted gleefully to the news that the world 166th-wealthiest citizen is significantly invested in Bitcoin, with Kraken’s Dan Held proclaiming that, “The institutional herd is stampeding.”

Pliego responded to Held, saying that institutional adoption had manifested gradually since the launch of Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust in 2016.

The billionaire also noted that the remaining 90% of his liquid portfolio is invested “in precious metals miners.”

Pliego was born in 1955 in Mexico City and is the founder and chairman of Grupo Salinas — which owns businesses in media, telecommunications, finance, and retail.

Salinas is also the chairman of TV Azteca, the second-largest producer of Spanish-language programming worldwide, and the second-largest media company in Mexico.

Alleged crypto-Ponzi operator arrested after failed sea-scooter escape

The alleged ringleader of a Ponzi scheme that solicited $35 million for crypto mining and other investments has been arrested after attempting to flee FBI agents using a “sea scooter.”

Matthew Piercey, the accused operator of two fraudulent firms that solicited tens of million to ostensibly invest in cryptocurrency mining, life insurance, and other assets, has been apprehended by authorities after a failed attempt to escape FBI agents using a sea scooter.

According to Californian media outlet The Sacramento Bee, the 44-year-old Shasta County man evaded agents seeking to arrest him for an hour. He first fled in his truck from his home in Redding, California.

After driving through the town’s residential areas, the suspect veered off-road twice on his way to the Interstate 5 highway, before abandoning his vehicle on the edge of Lake Shasta.

Piercey then spent roughly 25 minutes in the lake while being pulled underwater using a sea scooter — a water-propelled device that helps divers move underwater at speeds of up to 4 miles per hour. Unfortunately for him, he was arrested when he emerged from the lake.

Piercey now faces multiple charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, and witness-tampering in relation to the operations of his investment firms Family Wealth Legacy LLC and Zolla Financial LLC.

The two firms are believed to have received $35 million from investors since 2015 for “investment products” including cryptocurrency mining schemes, health care investments, and securities. The firms targeted wealthy investors, with minimum investments capped at $50,000.

However, Piercey allegedly admitted to an associate that his companies’ “Upvesting Fund” did not exist. Further, the accused Ponzi operator is believed to have little understanding of cryptocurrencies apart from using the term as a buzz word. Joshua Cons, a lawyer representing clients of Family Wealth Legacy, stated:

“I don’t know they knew what they were doing with the crypto.”

Piercey is believed to have spent $2.5 million renovating two homes and credit card bills. His accused accomplice, Kenneth Winton is also believed to have spent $1 million of the funds on a houseboat.

Prosecutors allege that $8.8 million of the funds raised were provided to previous investors to create the illusion that the funds were generating profits, adding:

“Of the remaining net investment of approximately $26 million, few if any liquid assets remain to repay investors."

The prosecution also noted that Piercey may face a life sentence if found guilty. The incident underlines how easy it is for even wealthy investors to lose money on non-existent crypto "investment opportunities."

Why Bitcoin’s market cap just hit a new record high before the price did

Despite Bitcoin rallying to post a new all-time high for market cap, the milestone appears to have failed to attract the attention of the mainstream media and general public.

The latest leg of Bitcoin’s (BTC) recent rally saw its market cap push above $330 billion for the first time ever as prices rallied above $17,750 late Nov. 17.

According to CoinGecko, Bitcoin’s previous record capitalization of $329.3 billion was posted on Dec. 16, 2017, amid the market’s all-time high price rally to test $20,000.

BTC market cap since 2017: CoinGecko

However, the new record for capitalization comes despite the BTC price itself failing to break into new highs.

There’s a simple explanation for that for that — Bitcoin’s expanding supply. While roughly 16.746 million Bitcoin existed on Dec. 16, 2017, more than 1.8 million coins have since been mined, equating to a 10.75% expansion in supply. That means Bitcoin is able to have a higher market cap despite today's lower BTC price.

The combined capitalization of all cryptocurrencies has also pushed above $500 billion dollars for the first time since February 2018.

Combined crypto asset capitalization since 2017: CoinGecko

According to the World Bank, Bitcoin’s market capitalization exceeds that of the combined publicly listed companies based in countries including Belgium, Iran, Norway, Sweden, and the Philippines respectively, it's more than double those in Denmark, Qatar, Vietnam, Colombia, and Poland.

Compared to companies featured in the S&P 500, Bitcoin's market cap sits roughly $13 billion behind the 11th-ranked Procter and Gamble, and above Nvidia and JP Morgan. However, some would argue that comparing Bitcoin to companies isn't very illuminating and that it should be likened to commodities, or some other asset class.

Despite the all-time high milestone, some analysts are noting a lack of mainstream media coverage on Bitcoin’s recent gains.

However, according to data shared by LunarCRUSH, a firm that tracks social media sentiment regarding crypto, Bitcoin-related news volume has seen a significant spike since early November.

The company tweeted a chart suggesting the volume Bitcoin’s daily media coverage has increased by five times over the past two weeks.

According to Google Trends, search volume for the keyword ‘Bitcoin’ during November is roughly 15 percent of its 2017 peak, further evidencing a relative lack of retail interest in BTC compared to when the market was last rallying into parabolic highs.

Relative search volume for ‘Bitcoin’ over the past five years: Google Trends

In fact, search volume is only at its fourth-highest level for 2020, sitting behind spikes in interest that coincided with the March ‘Black Thursday’ crash, Bitcoin’s block reward halving in May, and BTC’s break above $10,000 in May.

Median DeFi token return on par with Bitcoin this year

Analysis of 38 top DeFi assets reveals a median performance only 15% above Bitcoin.

Despite a pull back from the meteoric bull market for decentralized finance, the average DeFi token return has vastly outperformed Bitcoin and Ethereum. The median performance is a different story however.

On Nov. 17, pseudonymous crypto analyst ‘Ceteris Paribus’ shared data with his 12,000 followers compiling the YTD median and average performances of 40 top crypto assets, comprised of 38 top DeFi assets, Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH). Around 26 of the DeFi assets are currently posting YTD gains.

The analyst found that the median return sits around 148.8%, which is 15.5% above Bitcoin’s 133.3% YTD gain. So half of DeFi tokens are above that level, and half below. Paribus said it was pretty much even:

"Strong rebound in November so far but unlike summer, median token return has matched $BTC, not outperformed."

However the 2020 average performance of 428.7% is more than triple Bitcoin’s gain.

As of this writing, DeFi’s top-performing assets for 2020 are Aave (AAVE) with a 4,245% gain, Band (BAND) with 2,466%, and Yearn Finance (YFI) with 1,597%. THORChain (RUNE) is the only other DeFi token to post quadruple-figure YTD with 1,203%.

The sector’s worst performing assets for the year so far are Curve (CRV), SushiSwap (SUSHI), and Swerve (SWRV), posting losses of 88.7%, 80.1%, and 79.9% respectively.

DeFi assets have produced extreme volatility in recent months, with 10 of 29 DeFi tokens posting gains exceeding 1,000% in August, while CRV was the sole asset to end August in the red.

However, only Gnosis (GNO) and Hegic (HEGIC) were able to post single-digit gains for September through October, while the remaining 34 tokens were at a loss — including five tokens that fell more than 89%.

November has thus far seen comparatively modest volatility, with 32 of 38 tokens gaining to post median and average performances of roughly 20% and 35% respectively.