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‘Global Policy Ought To Be Prioritized Over A Blanket Ban’, Says IMF Chief Economist
The International Monetary Fund's Chief Economist, Gita Gopinath, recently stated that developing economies must avoid outlawing cryptocurrencies. Instead, she referred to global industrial regulation as a need that must take precedence. She has therefore recommended regulating the industry rather than introducing a complete ban, given the latter's practical problems associated with its real-life implementation.
Gita's comments are in line with the growing sentiment that the cryptocurrency sector has grown so much that a ban may in fact no longer be feasible. As such, numerous regulators and governmental authorities are actively moving towards heightened regulation instead.
&lsquoRegulations to be preferred over a ban'
Arguing for a worldwide strategy, Gita, who will shortly take over as the IMF's deputy managing director, warned that if several nations banned crypto in its entirety, they would lose control over various offshore exchanges which are not subject to the rules of their respective country. This, she added, would then perhaps lead to them being disregarded completely.
Furthermore, Gita explained that there are obstacles to fully banning crypto due to the fact that many exchanges are based overseas, which would make it difficult to implement a ban on a global scale. This once again has to do with the fact that not every nation would be subject to following the same rules of another country or regulatory authority.
The Chief Economist's statements come at a time when governments around the world are debating how to regulate cryptocurrencies. The People's Bank of China for example formally announced a number of new efforts to prevent cryptocurrency adoption within their country back in September, including increased inter-departmental collaboration in suppressing cryptocurrency-oriented activities. More recently, the Russian central bank had officially outlawed mutual funds from being able to invest in Bitcoin (BTC) earlier in December.
Crypto keeps growing
As aforementioned, the cryptocurrency industry continues to grow at an exponential rate. New tokens, protocols and projects are emerging seemingly every other day, and the current market capitalization of Bitcoin is $892,158,622,767.  With such unprecedented growth, many regulators are becoming increasingly worried that if left unchecked, the rapid expansion could have unforeseen consequences. However, many entities believe that this is only the beginning for cryptocurrency's dominance, as companies like Grayscale keep purchasing more BTC.
What Happened When Crypto CEOs Met With Congress?
The CEOs of many prominent cryptocurrency startups travelled to Capitol Hill for a Congressional hearing. The topic of the hearing was reportedly on 'Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Understanding the Challenges and Benefits of Financial Innovation in the United States', and it was held by the House Financial Services Committee.
Some of the more notable attendees included FTX CEO, Samuel Bankman-Fried. FTX is one of the world's biggest and most active cryptocurrency exchanges. Coinbase Global CFO Alesia Haas, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire, Paxos CEO Charles Cascarilla, Bitfury CEO Brian Brooks, and Stellar Development CEO Denelle Dixon were all in attendance as well.
What were the main highlights?
Although the CEOs requested customized laws and regulations to respond to the developing cryptocurrency sector, they also warned against severe restrictions which could end up stunting innovation. Stablecoins and how they functioned were also reportedly discussed.
The legislators, led via California Democratic Representative Maxine Waters who acted as the committee's chairperson, asked various technical questions. Representative Waters went on to say that the overall popularity of digital assets such as cryptocurrencies has greatly risen throughout the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, and that the existence of cryptocurrencies has thus vastly 'contributed to working people searching for viable alternatives so that they can financially recover by investing in numerous cryptocurrency assets'. However, she added, as things stand right now, cryptocurrency markets lack a centralised regulatory framework, making digital asset investments prone to fraud, scams, money-laundering, manipulation, and other kinds of misuse.
Representative Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina nevertheless stated that his colleagues might not be as tech-savvy as they ought to be in order to effectively design new rules and regulations, after which he then asked as to whether anyone in the current administration is actually knowledgeable enough about cryptocurrencies to create an appropriate regulatory framework or not. He then added that the U.S does not require politicians to hastily regulate and restrict out of anxiety and paranoia rather than attempting to comprehend what this new kind of technology truly is and what it may lead to. This dread of the unknown, he concluded, as well as the push to regulate before knowing, will in all likelihood inhibit American inventiveness and place the country at a competitive disadvantage.
What to expect going forward?
Ultimately, the CEOs agreed that regulation might indeed be beneficial since it would define the role of numerous products and services while minimising any future confrontations between service providers and regulators. Samuel Bankman-Fried in particular stated that regulation is very likely and that it's essential. He added that more regulation would be a healthy development for the sector, if done properly.
In the end, the hearing took place at a time when governments all over the world are deciding whether to follow China's example and entirely prohibit or regulate cryptocurrencies as well as digital assets, or to alternatively allow the embryonic technology to thrive as it has in El Salvador. Other notable developments which occurred included the proposed Token Taxonomy Act, which seeks to define digital tokens as not being securities.
Stark Ware Just Dropped Game Changing Innovation
The cryptocurrency, blockchain and DeFi sector is constantly evolving with the addition of all kinds of new and innovative technologies, projects and protocols. However, there is one that everyone should be keeping an eye on and that is StarkNet.
StarkNet is a decentralized permissionless ZK-Rollup. It runs as an L2 (Layer-2) network over Ethereum (ETH), allowing any dApp (decentralized application) to attain unlimited scale regarding its respective computation, all without jeopardising Ethereum's safety or composability.
What makes StarkNet so special?
One of the most recurring problems within this industry is that of scalability. StarkNet promotes scale while maintaining L1 (Layer-1) Ethereum security via the creation of STARK proofs off-chain, after which it would then subsequently confirm the proofs on-chain. In this way, StarkNet offers composability near the level of Ethereum itself, allowing for simple and straightforward development as well as innovation.
Simply put, through the intuitive usage of StarkNet Contracts, developers will hence be provided with the ability to quickly deploy any business logic on StarkNet. To that end, StarkNet Alpha is now live on the mainnet, through which the developers can take it one step further and implement the aforementioned business logic of preference in a smart contract, after which it would be a simple matter of permissionless deployment on StarkNet.
There are various milestones that StarkNet has already managed to achieve, with numerous more expected to be accomplished before long. As of right now, the smart contracts all support general computation, and they can even interact with one another too, which will reportedly enable further composability. Furthermore, L1 to L2 interoperability has been added, and complete Layer-1 security has been administered via on-chain data (Rollup).
In terms of future goals, the project shall be adding a Solidity to Cairo Compiler as well as StarkNet full nodes soon. There shall also be a wide range of data availability solutions which shall be offered, and a permissionless Sequencer and Prover is in the works too.
Lastly, in terms of its ecosystem, there is a wide array of useful educational resources available (where you can actually learn how to write and deploy your very own StarkNet contract), in addition to all kinds of innovative tools such as StarkNet JS, Devnet, Cairo Docker, Cairo Playground, Voyager Block Explorer, Warp EVM Transpiler, and more. Finally, it has a supportive and active community and the team is also usually quite active on Discord.
Visa Launches Crypto Consulting Service In Bid For Mainstream Dominance
Visa is introducing new advisory and consultancy services to assist its customers in navigating the cryptocurrency sector. Visa has since acknowledged UMB, an American bank, as a client which is already utilising its new advisory services.
The world-renowned payments processor announced this past Wednesday that its crypto-advisory service, contained inside its respective consulting and analytics department, will provide information and guidance to numerous financial institutions, firms, retailers, and various other businesses on topics ranging from implementing cryptocurrency-oriented features to examining NFTs.
Visa to cash in on crypto craze?
The initiative is Visa's newest attempt to expand its presence in the cryptocurrency market and industry. As per Nikola Plecas, Visa's European cryptocurrency head, the organization handled $3.5 billion in digital currency transactions via its cryptocurrency-connected card schemes from October 1st, 2020 to September 30th, 2021.
Nikola went on to say that a sizable portion of large exchanges worldwide have millions or perhaps even tens of millions of active users. He then added that Visa allows customers to spend their cryptocurrencies at more than 80 million merchants. Visa's Cuy Sheffield also called cryptocurrencies &lsquocool' during a recent conference.
The business is also working on solutions for stablecoins, which are virtual tokens pegged to the value of fiat currencies, generally the dollar. Some of the more notable stablecoins include but are not limited to USDT, BUSD, DAI, and USDC. Efforts concerning central bank digital currencies are also reportedly being worked upon.
What's the endgame?
Visa expects that its new consulting services will hopefully aid in the growing mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies. The credit card company, like major competitor Mastercard, views cryptocurrencies as a crucial growth prospect as it goes beyond card-based transactions.
Moreover, leading payment networks have experienced greater competition from a slew of new financial companies and businesses within the past few years. Emerging developments like open banking, which intends to provide competing fintechs access to customer bank information as well as payment capabilities, threaten to destabilise their business model.
Meanwhile, huge Internet businesses are putting pressure on Visa. Amazon announced last month that it will no longer accept Visa credit cards in the United Kingdom owing to the company's &lsquoexceedingly high costs'. Additionally, in both Singapore and Australia, the e-commerce behemoth has taken similar action against Visa.
Nonetheless, the future looks promising. According to a recent Visa poll, 94% of Americans are already aware of cryptocurrencies, and nearly one-third admitted to having used the digital assets as either a medium of exchange or an investment.
For Visa, the growing popularity surrounding cryptocurrencies hence represents a significant new sector and massive growth potential, according to Nikola. He concluded that the company shall therefore continue to focus on building this side of the organization even more for the foreseeable future.
Jack Dorsey Rebrands Payments company Square to Block
One of the most shocking events which dominated the headlines both in and outside of the cryptocurrency community was that of Jack Dorsey announced that he will indeed be leaving his position as Twitter CEO behind. However, what is perhaps even more intriguing is the fact that not long afterward, Jack also announced that Square, a financial payments company of which Dorsey is the current CEO, shall be rebranding itself as Block in the near future. SQ shall remain the official stock ticker for now.
Many had since speculated with varying degrees of accuracy that Jack had hence accomplished what he had set out to do back in 2006 with the formation of Twitter and the subsequent revolutionizing of social media as we know it, and is now focusing his efforts on Web 3.0.
Square is Out, Block is In
Dorsey has been obsessed with cryptocurrencies and blockchains, particularly Bitcoin, for several years now. He has extensively pushed for and backed the advancement of the Bitcoin Lightning Network, as well as personally assisted Bitcoin developers through a unit known as 'Square Crypto', which shall also reportedly be rebranded as 'Spiral'.
Furthermore, the enhanced Square's Cash App with Bitcoin capability. In related news, he also implemented Lightning-based tipping on Twitter and guaranteed NFT (non-fungible token) avatar inclusion prior to actually stepping down.
Now though, he plans to develop Square into a full-fledged cryptocurrency as well as blockchain corporation. There isn't much else to say about the name change to 'Block', as not only does this indicate Jack's interest in the cryptocurrency and decentralized finance sector, but it is also is a term used by many in this industry including but not limited to &lsquoBlockchain.com', &lsquoThe Block', &lsquoBlockworks', and many more.
A New Era?
However, Block appears to be understating the seemingly unmistakable crypto-oriented parts of the rebranding. Blockchain was undoubtedly the main inspiration for the rebranding, but it's sandwiched between drivel such as building blocks, neighborhood blocks and their local businesses, music-based block parties, and more.
This is in stark contrast to the other significant name change in the last month when Facebook became &lsquoMeta'. Facebook went all-in on declaring the turnaround, and it has since received a lot of press coverage.
The difference here though is that Facebook was attempting, at least in part, to divert attention away from the legal and regulatory issues that have plagued it. Another problem is that some believe the transition from social media advertising towards something akin to a virtual reality &lsquometaverse' has yet to be supported by concrete goals and technologies.
For Block, however, the sky's the limit and many are eagerly waiting to see what Jack will do next. Needless to say, with a man as capable as Dorsey at the helm and all of his efforts seemingly focused towards DeFi, the potential regarding what Block may be able to accomplish may indeed be limitless.
VanEck To Launch Digital Asset Mining ETF
In recent news, VanEck has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to create an ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) focusing on digital asset mining firms.
The fund shall reportedly invest a minimum of 80% of its accumulated assets in securities of digital asset mining enterprises which produce or have the potential to provide at least half of their income from mining or similar technologies.
Small and medium-capitalization enterprises, as well as international and developing market issuers, may be included in the ETF's holdings. Additionally, it might invest in various depositary receipts as well as foreign currency-denominated securities.
It is worth mentioning however that the ETF will not make direct investments in digital assets and ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). Moreover, the filing did not include information about the potential ETF's listing date, ticker, or associated costs.
What to expect
Viridi Cleaner Energy Crypto-Mining & Semiconductor ETF (RIGZ), which has risen 45% ever since commencement in July, and Bitwise Crypto Industry Innovators ETF (BITQ), which has risen 26% since its commencement earlier this year, are two other ETFs that are listed in the United States and have significant exposure to cryptocurrency miners.
Moreover, the SEC denied VanEck's proposal to launch a Bitcoin Spot ETF last month. The filing was made public in March. However, it took many months for the commission to dismiss it due to investor protection concerns.
The SEC has a history of delaying Bitcoin ETFs until October when the ProShares Bitcoin strategy ETF became available. The ProShares ETF was based on futures contracts. Furthermore, because of the CME safeguards, Gary Gensler has since indicated more receptivity to it. Nevertheless, the commission has since authorized a number of similar ETFs. One of them came from VanEck in November, although it received significantly less attention on launch day than the ProShares ETF.
VanEck's ETF plan thus seems to offer a creative solution for the SEC's warning about spot crypto ETFs. To some extent, mining businesses' profits are dependent on Bitcoin's price, offering an indirect type of asset exposure.
Barbados To Launch Digital Embassy In The Metaverse
The world as we know it is changing. The metaverse is no longer simply a concept, in fact, it is rapidly transforming into a reality. With that being said, Barbados recently revealed its plans to build a metaverse embassy, taking a huge step toward legitimizing the metaverse concept in the process.
Barbados, therefore, hopes to build a digital embassy through a partnership with Decentraland. The local government is currently in the midst of negotiating collaborations with many top Metaverse platforms and industry leaders. Although there is a lot more work to be done, many believe that this will go a long way towards bringing the idea of the metaverse and its subsequent implementation into the mainstream.
Barbados, if successful, will be the first independent nation in history to have an embassy constructed in the metaverse. The foreign minister of Barbados, Jerome Walcott, stated that Barbados remains optimistic about interacting with the rest of the world via the new digital embassy. The plan had also reportedly been in the works for several months prior to the announcement.
The Times Are Changing
Hot on the heels of Facebook recently rebranding as 'Meta', other various constituents of several sectors such as those pertaining to the blockchain, cryptocurrency, NFT, and social media industries had all begun taking the notion of the metaverse much more seriously.
Now, with the new plans of constructing a digital embassy being announced by Barbados, few can argue against the fact that we are gradually moving towards a new age, one that will in all likelihood be fully digitalized. However, it is worth pointing out that despite the interest in the metaverse, Barbados' government has stated that current affairs in the real world are still going to be prioritized above all else.
Moreover, there is also the issue of how sovereignty will actually work within the metaverse, and how certain things such as the issuance of visas and passports along with the establishment of international treaties will function in a digital realm. Still, although these problems are certainly going to become more common as time progresses, the government's willingness to even consider a move that will include active involvement with the metaverse is indeed noteworthy.
Not Everyone Is On Board
Unsurprisingly, not everyone is supportive of the aforementioned decision to create the digital embassy. Will Gottsegen from CoinDesk recently commented that perhaps not everything should be dependent on blockchain technology and that the idea of a metaverse embassy, while certainly intriguing, is one that may be little more than an empty promise from a politician or official who simply wants to cater to the members of the cryptocurrency and blockchain communities.
Elsewhere, others are worried about how the treatment of property rights will occur within the metaverse. Some have even gone as far as to claim that shifting to a digital realm with little to no laws will in all certainty lead to anarchy and chaos. Some are also concerned about the role that NFTs will play in this as well, in addition to Barbados' government potentially using this opportunity to exploit others via land rights and impose digital control while simultaneously bypassing international rules and regulations in the real world.
Whatever the case may be, it is clear that before the idea of this digital embassy can be fully actualized, plenty of obstacles and challenges will need to be navigated through first. In related news, Barbados also has plans of opening digital embassies with various other providers such as SuperWorld and Somnium Space. Additionally, as per the latest reports, Barbados plans to tentatively launch the embassy by January 2022.
Layer 2 DEX, Diversifi to Launch New Rewards Program with Incentivized AMM
DeversiFi exchange is on a mission to make DeFi accessible to everyone, and ensure that the DeversiFi platform becomes a one-stop-shop for all DeFi needs. Earlier this year they soft-launched DVF token, through their very own launch mechanism (DeversiFi launch market), and have since grown that community. But that was just the beginning for Diversifi s growth plan, working hard to bring further value for users.
In two weeks DeversiFi will launch its first rewards program, along with an inaugural series of incentivized automated market makers (AMMs). This twin initiative will allow you to earn by trading on DeversiFi, OR providing liquidity to one of the brand new incentivized pools, offering some of the best rewards on Layer 2.
One of the best features about DeversiFi is the gas-free trading, but they are going one step further with a new rewards program. From December 1st, traders on the platform can earn some sweet DVF token, which will be calculated by the amount of fees they have paid each week as part of the overall &lsquofees pot'. Simply trade on DeversiFi and earn DVF. It's as easy as that!
50% of total DVF supply is controlled by the DVF DAO, with some of it initially allocated to liquidity mining and trading (at the DAOs discretion). There could be a vote after 3 months to continue the program or alter the parameters, so holding DVF will give you a voice in these decisions.
Automated Market Makers (AMMs)
Unlike the traditional order book method, which matches buy and sell offers, AMMs offer a liquidity pool where traders can simply buy and sell their tokens against the liquidity that is present in this crowdsourced vault. In other words, you can make trades even if there is nobody on the other side.
The launch of DeversiFi AMMs will involve 16 new incentivized liquidity pairs. The initial incentivized launch pools were chosen by DeversiFi and the DVF Community in a governance vote, and contain a mixture of large blue-chip tokens as well as stablecoin pairs and NFT & DeFi tokens.
By providing liquidity to the pools, users are entitled to a portion of the trading fees collected by that pool.
Empowering decentralized trading by rewarding usage, cutting fees, motivating platform investment, and decentralizing control. This is a formula for certain crypto success, and DeversiFi seems to have it calculated well. These types of financial growth offerings will only increase in volume as crypto goes mainstream. More people every day become aware and gain access to crypto investment and savings options that traditional systems cannot compete with. DeversiFi is developing their exchange and community with new-age users and platform growth fundamentals in their sights.
Constitution DAO Raises over $40M Ether in Bid To Buy The U.S. Constitution
The original print of the United States Constitution has only 13 surviving copies. After a high-stakes bidding battle that captivated the Internet's interest and imagination, a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) recently stated that it had lost its bid to successfully purchase one of the original copies of the U.S. Constitution from a recent Sotheby's auction.
The United States Constitution sold for just over $43 million at Sotheby's this past Thursday. The winner was also recently revealed to be none other than hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, who is both the founder and current CEO of Citadel.
Although defeated, the daring rise of the DAO, a collection of individuals who had connected with each other via the Internet, is nevertheless a unique situation that must be examined further.
The group of individuals had been identified as ConstitutionDAO. Following a brief burst of enthusiasm on Twitter, when some members of the organization incorrectly declared that they were victorious, the group then issued a follow-up statement clarifying what had actually transpired. According to the announcement, the organization may have lost the bid but it nevertheless made history by raising the biggest amount of money through crowdfunding within a time period of under 72 hours.
According to one organizer in the DAO's Discord channel, the group was defeated because it did not earn enough money to construct the reserve needed to consistently preserve and maintain the document. Moreover, the participants of the DAO would reportedly receive their money back, excluding gas fees.
Constitution DAO's bid had witnessed thousands of contributors continuously donating via ETH. The founders of the organization had gathered for the first time just over seven days ago which was around the time that they began requesting funds. The group had carried out a campaign primarily using word-of-mouth tactics via Twitter as well as various other forms of social media.
The power of DAOs
The campaign, which was mostly fuelled by Twitter and a rapidly growing Discord server, provides a glimpse into what a community-driven effort where transparency, honesty, and shared ownership are the main driving forces would be like as we continue to make technological progress. The prospects provided by the decentralized autonomous organization framework are hence actively piquing people's curiosity and interest.
Furthermore, as dramatic as it may appear, the joy of welcoming individuals into the cryptocurrency community is therefore an exhilarating by-product of ConstitutionDAO. It allows users and members to enjoy the perks as well as overall experience of a fully decentralized community.
However, although the influx of new users may indeed be beneficial, it also necessitates that someone must educate those who are new to the industry regarding certain matters such as where their hard-earned money may actually be going. As a matter of fact, the ConstitutionDAO team felt the need to adjust their initial message from potentially 'owning a very small part of the U.S Constitution' to 'users shall receive governance tokens'. This change had to be implemented relatively early on in order to ensure that the participants understood exactly how everything works and where their money will be allocated. Still, the success that the DAO had in gathering everyone together to achieve a common goal should not be understated.
The Gamified Stock Betting App That Rewards Effective Traders
Trading crypto is a lot like trading stocks. It's a little scary, a little overwhelming, and a little risky. But these are exactly the reasons why so many people are drawn in. While there's no sure-fire way to be successful in the crypto markets, fantasy trading platforms like StockBattle let users get the vital experience needed to find success in crypto trading.
It's Easy to Join and Fun to Participate
StockBattle contests aren't games &ndash they offer a chance to profit based on your skills to identify the right crypto or stocks. However, most participants agree that contests are fun and exciting. You'll love the adrenaline rush you feel while competing against others in 15-minute head-to-head rumbles backed by real-time price data.
The great thing about these competitions is that they are easy to join. Essentially, it comes down to picking 5 stocks or cryptocurrencies for your portfolio and watching them perform in a real-time dynamic chart. The entrant whose portfolio grows higher wins a predefined cash reward. It's a simple concept that you'll feel comfortable with using in seconds. However, you will need to analyze the market and rely on your intuition to create a winning portfolio.
Get Started with Free Contests to Learn the Basics
Free contests are the best place to get started in StockBattle. Free contests don&39t require any upfront investment and still have the potential to payout on a win. They offer the safest means of learning how to use the platform and what kinds of strategies are most effective for you. Free contests can help you get comfortable with how assets fluctuate in price, what kinds of volatility are profitable, how to read price charts, and more. Once you can stand on your own two feet, you&39ll probably be itching to try your hand with some real money.
Play to the Match, Not the Market
In StockBattle, you compete with your match, a person with the same passion for crypto, not the whole market. It means that victory is real and truly within your reach. To gain a victory, you need to pick the stock or crypto that you feel is most likely to perform well over the selected time, ignoring any potential for long-term profits. Look for something with a bit more volatility. Assets that rise and fall quickly are prime choices for StockBattle.
If you've been waiting for the right moment to test the waters of fantasy crypto trading, go ahead and get started today. Download StockBattle and start experimenting at no cost to you. Thanks to the wealth of information out there and the ease of fantasy finance there&39s never been a better time to jump into the world of trading.
A Step in the Right Direction: India Announces Conference Discussing Regulation of Digital Assets
In recent news, India's Parliamentary Standing Committee of Finance had announced an upcoming official conference wherein possible regulation of digital assets will be discussed with some of the country's most significant cryptocurrency stakeholders and industry leaders.
Politicians and industry executives are therefore set to take part in extensive conversations about possible cryptocurrency regulation and legislation. The actual itinerary for the meeting though has not yet been issued, as per a representative for the House of the People (Lok Sabha) secretariat.
Whatever path the Indian lawmakers ultimately decide upon could have a domino effect on other countries in the region, and cryptocurrency advocates are thus hopeful that the negotiations will end in mainly beneficial outcomes.
India's Relationship with Crypto
WazirX, an Indian cryptocurrency exchange, recently reported a considerable increase in its respective number of subscribers as well as overall trading volume in 2021. It had also been reported that the platform's user base expanded to 10 million this year. Furthermore, according to Coindesk, WazirX's 2021 trade volume has now managed to reach just about $38 billion, representing a 44% increase on a monthly basis.
Needless to say, there are thus many Indian citizens who are supportive of crypto, and most of these enthusiasts hail from cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Kolkata. Most of the supporters were also found to be adolescents. However, not everyone seems to be on board, as was made evident by both the central bank as well as the country's lawmakers refusing to acknowledge the growing popularity and increasing demand pertaining to digital assets by the Indian cryptocurrency community.
As a matter of fact, Governor Shaktikanta Das of the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) recently claimed that the overall amount of Indian citizens who have expressed an interest in various cryptocurrency-based assets has in fact been grossly exaggerated and blown out of proportion. In the past, the RBI has often adopted a hostile approach towards cryptocurrencies, so this statement should not come as that much of a surprise.
Time for a Change
While there are several reasons as to why the cryptocurrency space has been experiencing exponential growth over the course of the last decade, the fact remains that it is mostly the younger generation that is spearheading the charge for the new industry.
India's cryptocurrency community is no different, and it is this unyielding support that has now culminated in the upcoming meeting between the local government and various cryptocurrency leaders and experts. The ones representing the cryptocurrency sector hail from a variety of different companies, and noteworthy participants involve both the BACC (Blockchain & Crypto Assets Council) and the IAMAI (Members of the India Internet & Mobile Association). As per the most recent reports, the meeting is scheduled to occur on the 15th of November, 2021.
New Developments in Privacy — Shielded Wallets and Railgun
Of the three legs of the blockchain trilemma decentralization, scalability, and security is the most foundational. It is an absolute necessity that users feel assured that the system they are using will not leave them exposed.
Achieving blockchain security is motivated by what has been labeled the cypherpunk mentality the idea that by leveraging cryptographic methods, we can develop online defenses that protect our personal information. But as crucial as security is to the adoption of decentralized financial applications, there remains a fundamental lack of privacy protection on Ethereum.
Users may think that hiding behind an Ethereum address is sufficient to keep them anonymous, but the network uses a public, auditable ledger with account-based tracking. This means that everyone can easily discover the wallet balance of every user on the network. This isnt dissimilar to any payment you make in your daily life-giving the recipient the means to check how much money is in your bank account. Suppose you wanted to make a contribution to a liquidity pool such as with base Ethereum, the entire network knows your investment and can see when you withdraw. Or what if you wanted to interact with a DEX? Uniswap executes billions of dollars worth of trades daily, with each transaction trackable simply by looking up the Uniswap smart contract on Etherscan. Click on any one of the addresses involved in the transactions and you can view the entire trading history of the wallet. For anyone trying to develop proprietary farming strategies, they could easily be copied. Or for a credited trader with a number of users following their wallet, every investment they make notifies those users.
Beyond wallet transparency, consider how most users interact with the Ethereum network, even services that let you manage your own wallet like MetaMask are able to read your IP address. Assuredly, there are methods to enhance security, like using a VPN, using multiple addresses for different dApps, or even running a node yourself. But privacy shouldnt require users to be developers or experts, mass adoption and true usability require layer-one, passive privacy.
In recent years, privacy-focused protocols have been developed and successfully implemented, proving the effectiveness and versatility of zero-knowledge cryptography. In 2015, Zcash launched a fork of Bitcoin that enabled users to send transactions with shielded addresses. But the more versatile Ethereum has a different environment structure, with account-based tracking and smart contracts increasing the complexity of protecting wallet information. Thus, providing the same level of privacy on Ethereum required additional research and development.
One possibility for anonymizing transactions through Ethereum is using mixers or tumblers, protocols that enable users to transfer to another Ethereum address without the deposit and withdrawal addresses being linked, often in set denominations of 1, 10, or 100 ETH. However, this privacy model is incomplete. With a balance in a mixer, its impossible to withdraw to a smart contract or interact with DeFi protocols. The user has to create an additional address, withdraw to that address, and then submit the contributionor transaction to the smart contract. Additionally, they have to make sure that none of their behaviors enable someone to link the new address to their original address. Even with the proper use of a new address, only being able to exchange denominational values makes proper DeFi interaction difficult.
Railgun has introduced a stronger model of privacy that brings security to DeFi. By establishing a shielded wallet for all users, any interaction you can execute with your Ethereum wallet can be executed anonymously with your Railgun wallet. The same for the other smart contract-capable blockchains the technology has been ported to.DeFi has been at the core of blockchain development over the past 2 years. Its been foundational in moving the technology from ICOs and into the development of efficient financial products.  DeFi applications are responsible for billions of dollars worth of transactions, all of which are easily trackable.  If these applications are to be trusted and used as true financial mechanisms, then privacy is necessary. Privacy that doesnt require expert knowledge.
Using Railgun, once the initial contribution is made, your address is shielded. Your Railgun wallet can make a transaction to any smart contract or wallet address, and all that will be revealed is that a Railgun user executed the transaction. Contributions to a liquidity pool, exchanges over a DEX, internal or external transfers all can be made in any denomination with a single transaction. Railgun solves the vast majority of privacy problems DeFi has been struggling with. That said, as recent years have shown, DeFi requires the mindset that no one is quite sure what is over the horizon.
Shielded wallets are a solid foundation, but constantly-evolving products, features, and methods require protocols that can adapt. The team behind Railgun is full of strong minds, cryptography experts, and accomplished engineers, but the ultimate power lies in the democratized decision-making of the DAO. With a list of enhancements already in discussion, the community has the ability to hear the voices of any DeFi innovator, Ethereum developer, or simply anyone who truly believes that privacy should be within reach. Railgun introduces a new paradigm, enabling us to unlock the full potential of DeFi.