Why Are People Flocking To CBDCs... Is There More Than Meets The Eye
Various central banks across the world have been working for a long time to develop central bank digital currencies, more commonly referred to as CBDCs, for their individual countries. The major reason for such a large number of nations to become increasingly involved is mainly to respond to the cryptocurrency industry&39s rapid and unprecedented growth. Several governments and financial organizations believe that cryptocurrencies have gradually evolved to pose a significant threat to the current financial system. As a result, the central banks have agreed, with the consent of the relevant corresponding governments, to embark on a program that would digitalize fiat currencies.
It is crucial to recall that investors came into crypto mainly to avoid dealing with banks and third-party intermediaries. However, governments and financial organizations saw this as a sophisticated means of evading regulatory rules and avoiding the mandatory submission of taxes, prompting numerous authority and governmental figures to take an aggressive stance. CBDCs are one such reaction since central bank digital currencies have the ability to not only threaten crypto&39s supremacy but ultimately replace it, according to a few analysts and experts.
Will Central Bank Digital Currencies Replace Crypto?
As aforementioned, a handful of individuals seem to believe that CBDCs shall ultimately replace crypto. But the matter is not as simple as that. While it is true that investors tend to side with assets that are properly regulated as well as backed by the government, it is also a fact that people have generally become fed up with the constant involvement of intermediaries and regulators, which was a key factor in the crypto industry becoming successful to begin with.
It should be noted that in the past, so many have attempted and subsequently failed to destroy Bitcoin (BTC) and the crypto sector, but CBDCs are unique in that they provide a direct substitute to cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, investors may feel at ease with CBDCs because there would be no anxieties or concerns about governmental regulatory crackdowns.
However, we are still very much in the crypto-age, and the adoption rate for highly valuable digital assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH) has only increased over time.
Is Everyone Supportive Of CBDCs?
While we have mentioned that plenty of investors may feel more comfortable with CBDCs rather than crypto, this might not necessarily be the case for everyone, especially at an institutional level.
Recently, a group of Republican senators sent a letter to the USOPC (United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee) expressing their concerns about China&39s new CBDC, the digital yuan, as the lawmakers believe that this is just another attempt to conduct surveillance on American citizens and gain sensitive information. The senators&39 identities were Cynthia Lummis, Roger Wicker, and Marsha Blackburn, and they submitted the letter together. The primary concerns were based on data security breaches and espionage.
To provide further emphasis, the senators think that not only may the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) plan on utilizing the digital yuan for surveillance and espionage purposes, but that this has already been occurring. Interestingly, other letters have been submitted in the past that expressed similar worries. Last month, Senator Tom Cotton wrote to President Biden, expressing his concern that China may seek to collect Team USA&39s DNA at the forthcoming Beijing Winter Games for unknown reasons.
Ultimately, CBDCs are not going anywhere as the world becomes increasingly digitalized. Just like cryptocurrencies, they are inevitable and so it will be interesting to see how each country continues to develop its own central bank digital currency.
Plasma Finance Integrates with Polygon to offer PlasmaSwap
For those who may be unaware, PlasmaFinance is a cross-chain decentralized finance aggregator that allows its customers to successfully manage their respective portfolios via a single, easy-to-use interface. The platform offers the most extensive analytics in the market, as well as simple tools and exposure to the most profitable DeFi returns over any protocol.
Most recently, the aggregator has now been added to Polygon (MATIC), which is a framework and protocol that runs on Ethereum (ETH). The launch involves the complete set of DeFi protocols that are supported by its native decentralized exchange, 'PlasmaSwap'.
&lsquoEasy DeFi' & PlasmaSwap
Customers may now profit via &lsquoeasy DeFi' by transferring liquidity to PlasmaSwap and utilizing Polygon's relatively higher speeds and lower costs. The PlasmaSwap users can provide liquidity as well as trade with fees that are reportedly up to 1,000 times cheaper as opposed to those on Ethereum.
Polygon has previously been making headlines and for good reason, as it has firmly positioned itself as an alternative to the world's second-biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. This is due to the fact that it operates on the same network as Ethereum and has all of the benefits of the 'altcoin king' built-in, but with significantly cheaper costs as aforementioned.
PlasmaFinance CEO Supports New Initiative
&ldquoWe will not and cannot stand idly by when it comes to pushing for increased DeFi adoption, decreasing the learning curve, and putting the means for financial independence in the capable hands of users," says Ilia Maksimenka, Founder and CEO of PlasmaFinance, in response to today's news.
The objective is hence to simplify the process and attract new users to hopefully adopt and actively engage with DeFi protocols, as well as to ensure that both new and current customers receive the finest pricing and performance. Ilia added that yet another significant step ahead has been taken in accomplishing this goal through the deployment of the PlasmaSwap decentralized exchange on Polygon.
&ldquoThanks to PlasmaFinance's connection with Polygon, there is no longer a requirement to choose between &lsquoeverything else' or &lsquofast and cheap. Thus, consumers will be able to enjoy the perfect combination", the CEO added. In addition to numerous leading protocols currently supporting the platform, the PlasmaPay wallet is also linked with multiple exchanges as well as an external service provider to buy and sell crypto via bank accounts, credit cards, and various other methods. Once again, the aim is to make DeFi adoption simple and effective for everyone.
Sandeep Nailwal, the COO and co-founder of Polygon, has stated that he is absolutely thrilled to invite DeFi initiatives like PlasmaFinance to join the ranks of Aave, Balancer, Curve, and Sushiswap when it comes to developing on Polygon.
PlasmaFinance to help Polygon compete with Ethereum
The extraordinarily high gas prices charged on the Ethereum network have caused growing dissatisfaction among DeFi users for a while now. PlasmaFinance addressed this issue somewhat earlier this year through an interim solution by offering gas optimization tools, and today's announcement would surely be appreciated by both current and new customers.
Moreover, PlasmaFinance evaluated the costs and speed when it launched its PPAY Coinmarketcap Earn campaign in June to demonstrate the potential of Polygon. The conclusions were remarkable, as PlasmaFinance spent only $0.30 to distribute $100,000 worth of PPAY tokens to a whopping 20,000 addresses, achieving transaction finality within just 2 seconds.
PlasmaSwap will provide additional benefits to those who already trade on the DEX on Polygon, such as market data on all DeFi and cryptocurrency tokens, a clean and accessible user experience, portfolio management, sophisticated trading tools like Limit Orders to be used for capital and risk management, Stop Loss, and even Future Orders for up-and-coming new token listings.
Clients need only add their liquidity onto PlasmaSwap on Polygon. As a result, they will be capable of launching and engaging in IDOs throughout all platforms via the IDO Launchpad Alliance and SpacePort. This alliance offers customers a concise summary of all IDO platforms, including active and future IDOs, in a single and convenient location.
Various decentralized finance initiatives may also avail the benefits provided by today's announcement. They may use SpacePort to launch their own completely customized and decentralized IDOs. They can also utilize PlasmaFinance and Polygon for improved DeFi capabilities, which include releasing liquidity, exchanging pairs, and innovative mining activities on PlasmaSwap that will also allow for even more benefits from simple and straightforward DeFi at fast speeds and cheap prices.
Australian Digital Finance Industry Looks to Legally Recognize DAOs
Blockchain-powered DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) are proposed to improve efficiencies and change the traditional corporate structure in Australia. Australia is now one of many countries pondering legislation and the potential upside to being a leader in crypto policy and regulation encouraging industry migration, and ultimately benefiting from crypto's explosive growth.
Countries around the world are recognizing the emerging opportunities in attracting the crypto industry to set up inside their borders. Being leaders in evolving policies, regulations, and energy infrastructure seems to be an important part of winning the race. The race empowers a global shift to a greater decentralization ideal adoption and is in our opinion a very worthy goal.
Global law firm lawyers and the DeFi industry-focused, lobby senate committee in Australia to create a new limited liability legal entity for DAOs. This legal entity classification for a DAO in Australia would enable project governors to contract with other legal entities through DeFi applications.
The structure of the traditional corporation would change under the DAO model, and a traditional board of directors would be replaced by Internet shareholders, communities, or nodes. The DAO for that network being encoded with a pre-determined set of rules that all participants have agreed to. The DAO would also remove any form of individual liability for the decisions of another node, or member on the DAO network.
Australia's decision to legalize a less centralized model of corporate governance echo's the moves of many exchanges in the crypto business. Many exchanges are actively working to further decentralize their services, appealing more to the ideals of crypto veterans. Pressure on world authorities to evolve policy and regulation for crypto is being recognized more and more as potentially lucrative, worthy, and in demand. A big case study taking shape in El Salvador right now. Crypto talent and investment will land in the countries that are most interested in supporting the industry with favorable regulation, and world-leading green infrastructure initiatives.
Axelar Raises $25M Series A Lead By Polychain Capital
Axelar, the decentralized interoperability network that connects blockchain ecosystems, applications, and users, has raised $25m in its Series A funding, led by Polychain Capital. The funds will go towards scaling key network integrations and engineering resources for the team's rapid expansion.
In addition to Polychain Capital, notable investors in the funding round include Dragonfly Capital Galaxy Digital North Island Ventures Robot Ventures Collab+Currency Cygni Capital Lemniscap Divergence Ventures SCB 10X Hypersphere Zola Global Investors Nima Capital and GoldenCoin TS LLC. Angel investors participating in Series A are Do Kwon, co-founder of Terra Happy Walters, co-founder, and CEO of Catalyst Sports & Media Waikit Lau, founder and CEO of RemoteHQ, and others.
Axelar protocol is powered by a decentralized network and designed explicitly to frictionlessly connect all blockchain ecosystems that speak different languages. Olaf Carlson-Wee Founder & CEO of Polychain Capital said: "Axelar's cross-chain solution is truly groundbreaking for the decentralized economy. We are very excited to help support Axelar's pioneering blockchain interoperability solutions in leading its investment round. Together, with our shared resources we are looking forward to working with Sergey and Georgios, and the wider Axelar team, in shaping the decentralized economy and blockchain industry for years to come."
Expiring Grayscale GBTC Contracts May Lead To Bitcoin Surge
This July promises to bring an exciting and potentially volatile period for Bitcoin. Late this month, over 140,000 BTC worth of Grayscale GBTC shares will be unlocked and available to the open market. Grayscale is a Bitcoin Trust and has been the largest buyer of Bitcoin in the world over the past two years.
Grayscale is like a black hole for Bitcoin. Once Bitcoin enters the Trust, it does not leave the Trust (aside from the 2% management fee taken by the management company). Here's how it works: Accredited investors deposit BTC or USD into the fund in exchange for GBTC shares in proportion to the fund's net asset value (NAV). GBTC shares usually trade at a premium to NAV (sometimes as high as 100% higher than NAV. For a long time, GBTC shares traded at a premium of 40% or more to the spot bitcoin price.
When GBTC shares are minted, they have a 6-month lock-up period before they can be sold to retail investors on the open market. This seemed like a sure-fire way for institutions to turn a quick profit. This in turn incentivized institutions to borrowed Bitcoin to lock in the fund in return for GBTC shares which traded at a premium. However, as the Bitcoin price tanked in April, the GBTC price fell to a discount of NAV and the trade fell apart for those institutions who borrowed BTC and received GBTC in return.
It is important to realize that when GBTC shares are traded, no "physical" bitcoin is actually trading hands, only shares of the Trust. There has been much speculation that this GBTC unlock could be a major bearish catalyst for Bitcoin as the GBTC discount will entice buyers to buy GBTC as opposed to BTC on the spot market. However, the actual underlying market dynamics may paint a very different picture.
Investors who entered the trade by locking in borrowed coins might now need to repurchase those to repay the loan. Similarly, those who deposit their bitcoin holdings need to buy back coins to return to their base portfolio. So assuming supply-side factors remain constant, the repurchases associated with Grayscale unlockings could end up putting upward pressure on bitcoin prices.
The debate is far from over and only time will tell what type of influence this unlocking of shares will actually have on the market. But if there is one thing we can count on in late July and August, it's volatility!
BTC Mining: Miner Revenue Surges +50% Since Record Difficulty Drop
There are big gains for some in the China Bitcoin miner shakedown on a few fronts. Amidst the China Bitcoin miner shutdown, resulting in massive Bitcoin hash rate drops decreased competition and network difficulty drops have made mining much more profitable for miners outside of China, still hashing. Hash decrease is affecting other POW cryptos as well, and further hashing miner gains can be found in cheap equipment hitting the market. Historical changes in hash power have an impact on Bitcoin's efficiency. Bitcoin's fundamental programming and economic strengths are now in the spotlight.
What is bad for some is great for others. Bitcoin miners outside of China and still hashing on the network have seen mining revenues jump by over 50% recently, due to Chinese miners going offline, massive reductions in overall Bitcoin hashrate, and an amplifying Bitcoin difficulty drop. With 50% of Bitcoin hash power going dark, half the miners will make zero, and the other half make double. The Bitcoin issuance remains constant and those still mining simply make a greater share of it.
It is not all good news though as the reduction in hash power is having its effect on the network. Bitcoin block interval times have increased this week and reached shocking highs, as you might expect with a massive reduction in the network processing power. The time required to process a block reached a level that had not been seen since early in Bitcoin's life in 2009 before it even had a price. It will take some time for difficulty and block interval timing to reach a new equilibrium, based on the new level of network hashrate. Further Chinese miner migration and even lower overall hash rate will prolong the time it takes to reach this equilibrium. The gold rush for hashing miners will continue, at least for a little while. Bitcoin is programmed to deal with this sort of thing in time though, and its fundamental programming strengths will restore the equilibrium.
Bitcoin is not the only POW crypto being affected by the Chinese miners going dark, competition on the Ethereum network has also decreased. As an Ethereum miner, I can tell you first hand that the amount of Ethereum produced by my miners has increased about 25%, in direct relation to the timing surrounding this Chinese miner crackdown.
The miner crackdown could have the positive collateral effect of relieving demand and price inflation for mining equipment, as miners sell equipment in China. Chinese markets are seeing a flood of mining equipment for sale, at bulk pricing that is much lower than what we are seeing in the resale markets lately.
At the end of the day, it is unfortunate the Chinese authorities feel it necessary to take these actions, instead of continuing to lead the world in Crypto. I have trouble seeing the logic in it. We wish our migrating miners the best of luck and hope they find new homes that will support their righteous work. Mining crypto is a rollercoaster of profit and investment, belief in crypto being an essential component. Witness Bitcoin reach a new equilibrium and mitigate this massive hashrate decrease while incentivizing new miners to join. Draw strength in your conviction from Bitcoin's perfect economic fundamentals.
Nansen Closes $12M Series A Lead by a16z
Nansen, the DeFi-focused cryptocurrency tracker, announced a $12 Million Series A last week lead by a16z. Additional notable venture firms, including Skyfall Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, QCP Capital, and more, participated in the round.
Crypto tracking has seen significant growth since the boom in decentralized finance (DeFi). Recently, companies like Chainalysis, CipherTrace, and TRM Labs have all raised major rounds. However, top-tier blockchain analytics have often been considered a tool for the government, regulators, tax authorities, and legal enforcement. Nansen's CEO, Alex Svanevik, believes that "the actual market participants, should have access to the best on-chain analytics as well."
Enter Nansen, an analytics platform for blockchain, that combines on-chain data with a massive and constantly growing database containing millions of wallet labels. "Nansen's high-quality data enables investors to follow where the smart money is moving, where influential investors are taking positions as well as for discovering new projects to invest and perform due diligence," Says Svanevik.
The start-up currently analyzes over 90 million Ethereum wallets & their activity. Users access the data & tools through a monthly membership package that is designed to help retail traders in addition to a pricey $2,500 monthly package for more bespoke clients. Although there was no explicit talk about what the fresh capital would be used for, the company will likely scale its offerings and look to expand to multiple chains.
Unchained Capital Announces $25M Series A From NYDIG
On Friday, Bitcoin financial services firm, Unchained Capital announced the close of their $25M Series A round from lead investor and institutional powerhouse, NYDIG. NYDIG has also committed to lending Unchained another $100 million, for a total commitment of $150 million.
"Historically, there has been a lack of investment in bitcoin-dedicated infrastructure, often in favor of platforms supporting many digital currencies, but Unchained Capital expects this raise to be the first of a growing trend of bitcoin-only businesses attracting capital investment at the scale which has long been deserved," Parker Lewis, head of business development at Unchained, said.
Unchained and NYDIG also plan to offer collaborative custody services in which both hold private keys with the intention of encouraging more financial institutions to do the same.
New German Law Opens Door For $415 Billion In Bitcoin Buying Power
On June 1st, a new German law came into effect that could theoretically see up to $415 billion flow into crypto. The German Fund Location Act, introduced in April and approved by parliament shortly thereafter, permits Spezialfonds, or special funds, to invest as much as 20% of their portfolios in crypto.
Sven Hildebrandt, CEO of Distributed Ledger Consulting estimates that if every Spezialfond chooses to allocate the full 20% in crypto, that would equate to &euro350 billion ($415 billion), based on the total AUM (assets under management) of such funds in Germany. His work was cited in a report by the financial newspaper Boersen Zeitung in April.
Spezialfonds are the dominant institutional investment vehicle in Germany. While the $415 billion figure is sizable enough on its own, it pales in comparison to the potential inflows that may come from other European countries if they chose to follow suit. Given Germany's status as the euro zone's most powerful economy, their policy actions have profound impacts on the surrounding neighbours.
There have been other signs of such acceptance of crypto emanating from Germany in recent months. Last Monday, Coinbase received a crypto custody license from Germany's Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin). The license allows Coinbase to continue serving the German market. Deutsche Bank also announced its intention to offer custody and brokerage services to its institutional clients in December.
We are currently witnessing the beginnings of a very bullish narrative for institutional Bitcoin buying in Germany. Given their impact and influence on the entire Euro-zone, it will be interesting to see how Germany's policy influences the sentiment coming from the rest of Europe.
Binance Under Attack By Ontario and UK Regulators
The scrutiny and regulatory eye on crypto tighten as the world's largest crypto exchange by volume, Binance seems to be the "example", and focus of traditional investment regulators from around the globe. Tension mounts in crypto as the regulation vs. crypto battle heats up, and governments try to retain a position of power in this economic revolution.
As countries push forward with their own centralized digital currencies, decentralized cryptos and exchanges we know and support are being illuminated by regulators and governments as competition to their own projects, and the regulation heat is being turned up. Of course, all crackdowns with crypto regulation are cited as efforts to curtail money laundering, illicit activities, crypto scams, tax evasion, and to protect investors. Countries such as China, India, Turkey, Germany, and Nigeria are leading the regulation parade, and have already put measures or threats of exchange fines in place to restrict or stop crypto trading.
Binance exchange, with a history of traditional investment regulation breaches, has again come under attack by regulators, most recently in Japan and UK. There has also been a recent change for Binance's operations in the Canadian province of Ontario, in reaction to regulators' dealings with other crypto exchanges. The regulation attacks are aimed at hybrid crypto investments products that are pegged to traditional regulated stock market offerings, a dangerous line for exchanges to walk. Binance seems to be the "example" here but is not alone, many other exchanges are also being addressed by regulators.
Financial Services Agency of Japan has filed its second warning in 3 years to Binance, stating that Binance is not licensed to operate in Japan. In the UK the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) has banned Binance from conducting any regulated investment activity within their boundaries, which does not include trading of unregulated crypto investments. In Ontario, Binance ceased operations, where recently 3 crypto exchanges have been issued notice by regulators stating that they were in breach of investment regulations.
Increased threat of regulations and scrutiny is having an impact on the crypto industry's overall growth, market sentiment, and maybe the reason a slew of new crypto exchange and trading applications with Britain's FCA have been withdrawn in recent months. Regulation in crypto is desirable, necessary, and in most cases welcome. Let's hope that these regulations are in fact designed for, and effective in protecting investors, and not just tools to protect the interests of those who are late to the party, and stand to lose some control.
Post Coinbase Exit, Andreessen Horowitz Doubles Down on Crypto With New 2.2 Billion Fund
Last Thursday, Andressen Horowitz cemented its support for the crypto industry with the launch of a massive new crypto-focused fund called Crypto Fund III. The $2.2 billion Crypto Fund III will be among the largest capital commitments to the crypto ecosystem in history, and roughly four times the size of the firm&39s second cryptocurrency fund a year ago. The fund will be co-lead by Andressen Horowitz partners, Chris Dixon and Katie Haun.
Andreessen Horowitz also introduced several new advisers to the crypto team, who are meant to help "translate crypto to the mainstream" and perhaps navigate future regulation over the crypto market. Tomicah Tillemann, the former chair of the Global Blockchain Business Council and an adviser to the White House, will join as global head of policy. Two others with government experience Bill Hinman, the former director of the Securities and Exchange Commission&39s Division of Corporation Finance, and Brent McIntosh, former undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs will also join as advisers. Anthony Albanese, who left the New York Stock Exchange last year to take a role on Andreessen Horowitz&39s crypto team, will now serve as chief operating officer.
In 2013, Andressen Horowitz took a bet on crypto by leading the first funding round for a little-known cryptocurrency exchange called Coinbase. The company pledged to be the financial exchange of the future. Eight years later, the investment has paid off. In April, Coinbase became the first major crypto company to go public and did so in spectacular fashion. Coinbase closed its first day of trading at $328.28 a share, putting its value at $85.8 billion, making it Andreessen Horowitz&39s biggest exit yet.
After such a phenomenal exit, Andressen Horowitz has chosen to double down on crypto and roll some of their profits into a new gigantic fund. Andreessen Horowitz announced on Thursday its third crypto-focused fund for the "next generation of visionary crypto founders."
Andreessen Horowitz said in a press release about the fund, "The largest crypto fund ever raised to date, Crypto Fund III is a validating moment for the ecosystem and another sign that crypto becoming an ever more mainstream part of our financial infrastructure." Let&39s hope this statement and the creation of Crypto Fund III serve as the dime light at the end of the tunnel of this major market correction.
B-Cube Rolls Out Suite of New Features Following Successful ICO
It's been a few months since we last covered b-cube, but we wanted to share an update on one of our favorite up-and-coming projects in the crypto-trading niche. b-cube.ai is an AI-powered trading bot platform democratizing access to top-tier AI-trading tools. They completed a successful public token sale in March and have been on a tear adding new features and functionality to their platform. We wanted to take a minute to discuss some of the new announcements and features they're launching:
B-Cube Staking & Tokenomics:
The b-cube team has built-in some innovative utility into their BCUBE token. Users will have the ability to lock up their tokens for a given period on the b-cube platform to earn APY. Users that stake their tokens will also be granted free b-cube bots trading courses and other products depending on their amount staked. Token holders will also benefit from profit sharing from the B2B side of b-cube's business. When hedge funds pay b-cube to build them custom trading bots, a percentage of the proceeds will be distributed back to BCUBE token holders.
A percentage of the tokens collected for payment of the services and products on the platform will be burned. 100% of the payments received in BCUBE directly will be burned from August 2021 to August 2022 & 25% of the FIAT payments received for our bots and services will be used to buy BCUBE tokens by the company and will be burned. The b-cube team hopes to reduce the supply of b-cube tokens by 50% within one year time.
New Trading Bots:
The b-cube team is getting ready to release 10 trading bots on their platform. While these bots are new to the public, they have already been hard at work building successful track records. Their results are already available on the site.
B-cube makes it easy to integrate your bot with leading exchanges like Binance, FTX, Kucoin, and BitMEX, however, they are now rolling out DEX integration. You will be able to add APIs to leading DEX's like Uniswap, but don't worry about trading fees.. trading fees are aggregated by the b-cube algorithm and one gas fee can be shared by up to 120 users. Trading fees are also covered by the b-cube so there is no need to worry about trading frequency.
Defi Stake & Trade:
No longer will you have to choose if you want to trade crypto or stake it. Defi stake & trade is one of the most innovative features we have seen in a crypto project. b-cube has partnered with MontraDAO to allow you to stake your defi tokens and automatically unlock your tokens when your bot finds you a trading opportunity. In Q1 2022, you will be able to earn while staking and benefit from AI-powered trading at the same time!
We are excited to watch this project unfold and bring AI-powered trading to the masses. If you are interested in purchasing the b-cube token you can find it on Uniswap, or find more information here.
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