Polygon Inches Closer To Mainnet Launch After Second ZkEVM Testnet Success

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Haider Jamal
December 23,2022

Polygon has launched its second public testnet, thereby bringing the platform to the final stages before the mainnet launch. Another zkEVM (zero-knowledge proofs) platform, zkSync, raised $200 million in a Series C funding round last month.

The testnet will put a new upgrade called recursion through its paces, with the goal of exponentially scaling Ethereum. As of this moment, Polygon has not provided a timetable for the mainnet launch.

Polygon claims to be the first zkEVM scaling technology to achieve public testnet with open-source code for its proving system, which is an essential aspect of operating the zkEVM. Although Polygon claims to be open source, it has previously received criticism from various other zkEVM platforms for its broad usage of the term.

Put simply, zkEVMs are a new Ethereum scaling technology which have become very popular over the last year. Although they have yet to be proven, they have the potential to significantly improve transaction costs and speeds for Ethereum, as well as enable on-chain privacy,

Additionally, zkEVMs are said to greatly simplify the process of application development. This could pave the way for a slew of new on-chain apps that bridge the gap between physical assets and off-chain data.

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June 16,2024

75K Traders Affected By Bitcoin Liquidations As Volatility Continues

Over the past day, nearly 75,000 traders have been hit hard by recent market movements. Bitcoin (BTC) saw its price go on a rollercoaster, dropping to $65,000 yesterday, its lowest in about a month. This volatility also affected altcoins like NEAR, FIL, and FET, which saw significant declines.


More Of The Same

BTC started the week positively, briefly exceeding $70,000 on Monday. However, concerns over US CPI data and the upcoming FOMC meeting led to a drop to $66,000 on Tuesday. Following a surprise CPI increase, Bitcoin quickly bounced back to $70,000 before sliding to $65,000 by Friday evening. Despite a partial recovery, BTC ended the day down 1.5%. This volatility triggered liquidations totaling over $200 million which affected almost 75,000 traders within 24 hours.

Bitcoin also saw its market capitalization dip to $1.3 trillion, but it maintains dominance over altcoins, comprising just over 51% of the market. In response, most altcoins also saw declines, though some have since recovered slightly. SOL fell by 3% to $143, while DOGE and SHIB dropped nearly 5%. AVAX, DOT, and ADA saw declines ranging between 2% to 4%.

However, TON and UNI bucked the trend, each gaining 3% and 3.5% respectively, with TON now trading just above $8 and UNI at $11. Further losses were observed in NEAR, FIL, FET, and AR, contributing to an overnight decrease of approximately $50 billion in the total crypto market capitalization.


Other Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared past the historic 40,000 mark for the first time, driven by investor optimism amidst expectations of imminent rate cuts. This milestone underscores growing confidence in the market despite contrasting signals by the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs revised its S&P 500 target upwards, buoyed by a robust profit outlook.

Globally, efforts to implement rate cuts face initial hurdles, reflecting complex economic landscapes. In a surprising twist, Asian junk bonds have emerged as top performers, outshining other investment options. Amid these market dynamics, Japan is reportedly considering expanding its nuclear power plants, potentially reshaping its energy strategy.

In South America, Argentina faces disruptions as unions announce strikes impacting production in the Vaca Muerta region, a key area for oil shale. In other news, the passing of William Donaldson, former SEC chairman and influential figure in investment banking, marks the end of an era. As uncertainties persist, the European bond market appears resilient despite internal turmoil in France posing minimal contagion risk. Lastly, various Chinese premium brands are experiencing a downturn in investor favor, reflecting broader market sentiments.


June 15,2024

Popular Layer 2 Bitcoin Scaling Network Faces 9 Hour Disruption

Stacks, a layer-2 scaling network for Bitcoin (BTC), recently faced a significant disruption on Friday when block production halted for nearly 9 hours. The incident, attributed to a Bitcoin reorganization (reorg) and unexpected miner behavior, caused upheaval within the Stacks ecosystem and led to a 12% decline in the STX token price over the past 24 hours.


The Context

Stacks was developed to support functionalities like smart contracts for decentralized applications (dApps) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Bitcoin network, addressing needs not originally accommodated by Bitcoin itself but which have thrived on competing networks over time.

The network leverages both the security and immutability of Bitcoin, offering a secure foundation for developers to build scalable blockchain applications while remaining deeply integrated with Bitcoin. The delay in Stacks block production was due to unforeseen mining behavior alongside a Bitcoin reorg. Core developers are actively investigating the issue to resolve it promptly.


The Problem

Notably, the disruption underscores the challenges faced by blockchain networks built atop Bitcoin during occasional reorganizations, which invalidate previously confirmed blocks and can disrupt applications and scaling efforts, as seen with Stacks.

Still, despite the setback, Stacks remains committed to enhancing network resilience, with plans for the Nakamoto upgrade aimed at introducing a new consensus mechanism to mitigate such issues in the future both quickly and efficiently going forward.


June 14,2024

Charles Hoskinson Dispels Rumors Of Collaborating With Elon Musk

In a recent segment of the Thinking Crypto podcast, Charles Hoskinson, the creator of Cardano (ADA), discussed ongoing rumors concerning a potential collaboration with tech magnate Elon Musk. On the podcast, hosted by Tony Edwards, Hoskinson talked about various attempts made by his team to connect with Musk, including proposals to assist in addressing bot-related issues on the platform previously known as Twitter, now referred to as X.


The Silent Treatment

Hoskinson refuted speculations about a partnership with Musk and shared his efforts to engage with Elon and his enterprises, particularly X, where they offered solutions to tackle prevalent problems such as fake accounts and bots. Hoskinson expressed disappointment at the lack of response despite multiple outreach attempts. He also mentioned his acquaintance with Kimbal Musk but clarified that Elon had never mentioned Cardano or discussed any potential collaboration personally.

Hoskinson mainly wanted to dispel rumors suggesting the use of Cardano and its technologies, like the Midnight sidechain, in prominent companies such as SpaceX or Tesla. Despite mutual connections like podcaster Lex Friedman, Hoskinson expressed bewilderment and some sadness over the absence of interaction by Elon, speculating on potential reasons for the lack of engagement. Charles commented on the challenge of understanding his motivations and actions.


ADA Does Not React Well

Regarding the price of ADA, there has been a 2.2% decrease in the last 24 hours, aligning with a broader downtrend in the altcoin market. Trading volume for ADA has also significantly decreased by 22% to $357 million during the same period.

The price has also consistently remained below the 20-day Exponential Moving Average (EMA), which has served as a crucial resistance level since mid-March. Although ADA briefly surpassed this threshold, it encountered strong resistance at the 200-day EMA, failing to sustain its upward momentum.


June 14,2024

Ethereum ETF S1 Could Be Approved This Summer According To Gensler

United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler, speaking at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, recently hinted at the imminent approval of an Ethereum ETF S1, anticipated sometime during the upcoming summer season.


Coming Soon

Gensler foresees the approval process progressing smoothly for individual issuers, with a potential green light expected within the summer months. The endorsement of the ETF by the SEC, particularly regarding the 19b-4 forms for various Ethereum ETF issuers, including VanEck and BlackRock, marks a notable shift in regulatory outlook. However, the official debut and commencement of trading for these ETFs hinge on the approval of the S1 forms.

Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas has suggested that the approval timeline may be accelerated, drawing parallels with the prompt approval of Bitcoin ETFs earlier this year. He posits a potential target date of July 4th, 2024, for the S1 approvals.


The Importance Of ETFs

Cryptocurrency ETFs, or Exchange-Traded Funds, are investment funds that track the price of one or more cryptocurrencies. They allow investors to gain exposure to the crypto market without directly owning the underlying assets. These ETFs are traded on stock exchanges, making them accessible to a wide range of investors.

They are important because they provide a regulated and convenient way for investors to invest in cryptocurrencies, offering exposure to the potential growth of the crypto market while mitigating some of the risks associated with direct cryptocurrency ownership. Additionally, crypto ETFs can help bring more institutional and retail investors into the crypto space, potentially increasing liquidity and market stability.

June 13,2024

Telegram Continues Bullish Momentum After Integrating Clicker Games

The surge of clicker games within Telegram is notably amplifying the appeal and functionality of the TON Blockchain and its native token Toncoin (TON). Telegram choosing to focus on community engagement, coupled with the Play-To-Earn (P2E) model, presents a compelling cryptocurrency incentive for users. This shift is reshaping crypto adoption, setting a fresh standard for incorporating digital assets into social and gaming platforms.

The leading Telegram clicker games propelling Toncoin adoption initiated with Notcoin, introduced by Open Builders in early 2024. Notably, Notcoin has become a prominent player in the Telegram gaming ecosystem since its launch. In May, Notcoin conducted its TGE (Token Generation Event), listing the native token NOT on several major exchanges, including OKX and Binance.


The Value Of A Strong Community

The TON Blockchain looks to make itself stand out by allowing players to earn Toncoin through the games after which they can seamlessly transfer their rewards to TON-based wallets. The smooth integration of the TON Blockchain into these games enhances the utility and demand for the cryptocurrency.

Furthermore, these clicker games have swiftly attracted millions of users. For instance, as of June 10th, Hamster Kombat, one of the most popular clicker games, has amassed over 100 million players. This is hardly surprising, as Telegram boasts an expansive user base coupled with the viral nature of social media that also play crucial roles in the rapid proliferation of these games. Community-driven promotion and easy sharing within Telegram groups amplify the reach and impact of these games, alongside round the clock customer support and easy accessibility.


A Comprehensive Platform

In addition to the robust ecosystem, gamification is also a vital driver of engagement. Clicker games combine the addictive nature of simple, repetitive tasks. Many of these games have established their in-game currencies and economies, fostering microtransactions. As a result, TON has experienced more daily active addresses than Ethereum (ETH) in 10 of the last 11 days.

Microtransactions allow players to purchase upgrades, enhance earnings, or unlock new features, further enhancing engagement and potential revenue. Moreover, features like leaderboards, friend challenges, and team competitions foster a sense of community and friendly competition. This blend of social elements, entertainment, and financial incentives heightens engagement and retention.


June 13,2024

Multiple South Korean Retailers End Their NFT Operations

Various South Korean retailers, such as Lotte and Hyundai, are closing their NFT (Non-Fungible Token) operations successively, dealing a significant blow to the sector. According to Herald Kyungjae, Lotte Home Shopping, the e-commerce division of Lotte, is discontinuing its NFT trading platform. Lotte introduced the NFT Shop platform slightly over two years ago, in May 2022. The company declared on June 12th that it would cease its NFT shop services by July 2nd, 2024.


A Sound Strategy

The platform, accessible through the Lotte Home Shopping mobile app, was conceived as part of a mid- to long-term strategy for constructing a metaverse platform. Unlike typical NFT trading platforms, NFT Shop utilized fiat KRW as its transaction currency to enhance accessibility for non-crypto holders. To bolster the appeal even further, the company launched its line of NFTs featuring its corporate character, Bellygom.

Lotte Home Shopping collaborated with Daehong Communications, a crypto startup owned by the Lotte Group, for this venture. The NFTs were released on the Polygon (MATIC) blockchain network. Subsequently, Lotte Home Shopping expanded its NFT collaboration with Daehong. Additionally, Lotte Home Shopping incorporated NFT tie-ins with its virtual influencer Lucy. The company also planned to facilitate secondary NFT sales on Opensea, the largest NFT trading platform in the world.


NFTs Slowly Winding Down

The closure of NFT Shop signifies Lotte Home Shopping completely exiting the NFT sector. The company will transfer all remaining NFT business interests, including Bellygom NFT, to Daehong. This move follows Hyundai Department Store also recently deciding to leave the market.  Shinsegae, another retail giant, has significantly reduced the scope of its NFT offerings.

Meanwhile, Hyundai introduced its NFT wallet services (H.NFT) in 2022, offering customers discounts and free gifts. An unnamed industry insider mentioned that retailers initially rushed into the NFT business. However, as the NFT market has slowed down, they are now closing their platforms one after another. Instead, they are concentrating on enhancing the competitiveness of their core business areas.


June 12,2024

BODEN Briefly Skyrockets After Hunter Biden Was Found Guilty

Jeo Boden (BODEN), a meme token cleverly named after United States President Joe Biden, experienced a surge of 26%, reaching a high of nearly $0.20 within five hours of his son, Hunter Biden, being found guilty on three charges in a federal gun case on June 11th. Hunter, who has struggled with addiction, was convicted of falsifying information on a form to purchase a Colt revolver in 2018 and faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.


A Mixed Bag

The Hunter Boden (HUNTBODEN) token saw a significant increase of 116% to a daily high of $0.0022, while the First Lady-themed Jill Boden (JILLBODEN) token dropped by 9% during the same period. However, these gains were short-lived, as BODEN and HUNTBODEN dropped by 6% and almost 54% respectively in the last 24 hours, and JILLBODEN decreased by 14.7%.

In addition, the market capitalization of HUNTBODEN is considerably smaller at under $583,000 compared to BODEN which is over $124 million, as reported by GeckoTerminal. In contrast, Doland Tremp (TREMP), a Solana meme coin named after former United States President Donald Trump, experienced a decrease of over 12% to $0.93 on the same day.

These declines coincide with a broader market downturn, with top meme coins like Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB) seeing drops of 5% or more in the last day. Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) also experienced respective drops of 3% and 4.5% in the last day, with BTC trading at $67,395 and ETH at $3,503, according to Cointelegraph Markets Pro.


Pros And Cons Of Meme Coins

Investing in meme coins can offer the potential for substantial returns, driven by their volatile nature and the possibility of rapid price surges. Additionally, these projects often boast active and passionate communities, fostering engagement and support. Furthermore, meme coins typically have low entry barriers, making them accessible to a wide range of investors.

However, it is essential to consider the downsides. Meme coins are notorious for their extreme volatility, which can lead to significant losses as prices fluctuate based on social media trends and sentiment. Moreover, many meme coins lack fundamental value or utility, leaving them vulnerable to speculative bubbles and market manipulation. Regulatory scrutiny also poses a risk, as authorities may increase oversight due to concerns about investor protection and financial stability.

June 12,2024

Officials Lambast CBDCs At Oslo Freedom Forum Conference

At the recent Oslo Freedom Forum conference, concerns about Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) were prominent. Participants, including activists, government officials, and citizens, expressed worry about governments leveraging CBDCs to control opposition movements, particularly in authoritarian regimes like Russia and Nicaragua.


The Dark Side Of CBDCs

The experiences of figures like Carlos Chamorro, Jimmy Lai, and Alexei Navalny illustrate the aforementioned fear. Chamorro faced asset seizures and statelessness in Nicaragua for criticizing the government. Lai in Hong Kong is currently facing life imprisonment for similar reasons, with the government freezing assets to silence dissent. Navalny in Russia, before his death, experienced asset seizures and arrests due to his anti-government activism.

The rollout of CBDCs in countries like Nigeria and China further underscores concerns. Government inefficiencies in implementation, such as the clunky Nigerian CBDC app, raise doubts about their capabilities. However, there is a darker side, as governments might resort to force to compensate for these shortcomings, as seen in the orchestrated cash shortage within Nigeria.


Potential Misuse

Warnings made by Liu Xiaobo about communist control over the income of Chinese citizens is another example of potential abuse. If governments control income and currency, dissent becomes nearly impossible. This sentiment was echoed at the Oslo Freedom Forum, where participants stressed the heightened difficulty of activism in a world where governments have total control over the finances of their citizens.

At their core, CBDCs are digital forms of sovereign currency issued by central banks. They operate on blockchain or digital ledger technology and are considered legal tender, providing a digital alternative to physical cash. Governments around the world are mainly backing CBDCs in an effort to curb the growing popularity and mainstream usage of cryptocurrencies.

Nevertheless, the forum emphasized the importance of raising awareness about CBDC risks. Many are unaware of the implications, making education a crucial step in mobilizing against potential abuses of CBDCs.

June 11,2024

Ethereum Takes A Backseat As Bitcoin NFT Sales Skyrocket

Ethereum (ETH) had dominated the NFT sector for some time, but Bitcoin (BTC) recently surpassed it to become the top player. NFTs saw a resurgence, with Bitcoin leading in sales, experiencing a significant 55.42% increase to reach $49.74 million. However, this surge was accompanied by a rise in wash trading, increasing by 15.39% to over $39,000, raising concerns about the authenticity of some activities.


Slow And Steady

Despite the increase in wash trading, the number of active Bitcoin buyers dropped by nearly 96%, with only 2,056 addresses participating in the market. Ethereum, the former leader, followed closely with $35 million in NFT sales, a slight decline of 0.31% compared to the previous week. However, Ethereum had a higher number of active buyers, though this still marked a significant 56.33% drop compared to the prior week.

Other blockchains also made progress. Polygon saw a healthy 29.43% increase in sales, reaching $19.63 million. Solana claimed the fourth position with $18.225 million in sales, while Immutable X experienced a 12.77% increase in sales, strengthening its position in the NFT ecosystem.


A Mixed Bag

A popular collection on the Bitcoin network, Quantum Cats, experienced a 51% increase in sales volume over the past month, with sales transactions growing by 33% during this period. Despite the heightened interest in Bitcoin NFTs, the amount of active addresses on the Bitcoin network significantly declined.

Infact, the number of daily active addresses on the Bitcoin network decreased to 613,000 in the last 30 days. The reduced activity on the network also impacts miners, affecting their ability to generate revenue based on network transactions.


June 11,2024

Solana Meme Coin Surges After Ariana Grande Shares Instagram Story

Michi, yet another meme coin associated with Solana (SOL), experienced an 18% surge early Monday, as per CoinGecko. This uptick followed pop star Ariana Grande sharing the meme on her Instagram story, an action which many interpreted as Ariana openly supported the meme coin.


Michi Takes Over

The meme coin depicted Michi holding a pink love potion amidst posters featuring a man adorned with kiss prints on the wall. Created by a Grande fan account, this edit was a nod to a music video for her song The Boy Is Mine.

After Ariana shared her Instagram story, Michi saw a modest 3% increase to $0.22 over 8 hours. However, when crypto influencer Ansem, known for boosting coins like Dogwifhat (WIF), highlighted the repost on X, Michi surged 18% to $0.26 within an hour.


Another Celebrity Joins In

The aforementioned spike occurred amidst a trend of celebrities venturing into crypto. Caitlyn Jenner launched two meme coins, Iggy Azalea introduced her own, and former kickboxer Andrew Tate went on a meme coin buying spree.

Speculation arose on Crypto Twitter regarding the authenticity of the repost, but many believe it was a genuine act. Michi had garnered meme status prior to becoming a meme coin, suggesting that most people sharing the image may not be aware of its crypto ties. Lastly, the repost does not seem to be a result of a hack, as Grande continued her usual social media activity, including posting a birthday message for her mom.


June 10,2024

The Dark Knight Rises Once More After Roaring Kitty Shares Iconic Image

Controversial trader Keith Gill, also known as Roaring Kitty on social media, has once again sparked some fresh volatility in the crypto market with a recent social post. In the post, he shared the opening scene as shown in The Dark Knight movie, directed by Christopher Nolan, on his official X account Sunday evening. This action quickly led to a 14% surge in the value of the Solana-based meme coin within minutes, according to CoinMarketCap.


History repeats Itself

As a result of what Gill did, trading volume saw a significant increase of 38% to $225 million over the last 24 hours. Gill is no stranger to controversy, and his social media activity continues to impact both traditional and cryptocurrency markets. Last week, his Reverse Uno Card post resulted in a threefold increase in the value of GME. However, his highly anticipated YouTube livestream disappointed investors, causing the meme coin to plummet by a whopping 60%.


Traders Growing Wary

Despite his influence, the aforementioned decline suggests that traders may be growing wary of Gill and his influence regarding investment decisions, as evidenced by GameStop experiencing a relatively modest price movement compared to the previous week.

Furthermore, many kitty-themed cryptocurrencies, including Kitty AI, experienced declines in their value. These coins had previously surged in response to the Roaring Kitty frenzy. As of the latest data by Benzinga Pro, GME is trading at $0.0208. In after-hours trading, GameStop shares dropped by 3.82% to $28.22 following a 39.4% decrease in price during the regular session on Friday.


June 10,2024

Charles Hoskinson Confirms Voltaire Is Coming Sooner Than Expected

Cardano (ADA) is poised to enter the final phase of its ambitious roadmap, the Volatire era. This upcoming upgrade will enhance the Cardano blockchain by incorporating CIP-1694, thereby evolving the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) network into a fully decentralized governance system.


The Wait Is Almost Over

Founder Charles Hoskinson has confirmed that the long-awaited moment is nearing, signaling the end of a lengthy wait for users. Hoskinson has announced via social media the imminent release of Cardano Node version 9.0 in June. This update will introduce the highly anticipated Chang hard fork, a significant transformation for the network.

Upon the activation of the hard fork, Cardano will begin its transition to a decentralized governance structure, as outlined in the CIP-1694 proposal. The first Chang update will kickstart this process, with subsequent upgrades in Q4 2024 unlocking additional governance features. Hoskinson envisions Cardano as a decentralized global entity with millions of participants, boasting an advanced blockchain governance system guided by community input.


Key Details

The Chang hard fork is instrumental in implementing CIP-1694, which aims to enable ADA holders to participate in on-chain governance actions. Following the hard fork, all Genesis keys will also be eliminated, symbolizing a shift towards full community control over the Cardano protocol.

Hoskinson believes that with the implementation of CIP-1694, Cardano will surpass competitors like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) in decentralization, although this remains to be seen. In any event, the transition to the Voltaire era signifies a crucial step towards genuine decentralization for Cardano, promising inclusive and transparent governance.