February 28,2024

Plutus V3 Finally Unveiled By Cardano

Cardano (ADA) has introduced the eagerly awaited Plutus V3 engine, aiming to transform smart contract functionalities and foster developer creativity. Simultaneously, Pullix, a novel DeFi protocol, is preparing to list the PLX token on two exchanges following the conclusion of its presale.

Charles Hoskinson has expressed optimism regarding the transformative impact of Plutus V3 on the protocol. With a focus on interoperability with other blockchains, Cardano anticipates increased adoption, governance support, and overall network scalability.


Plutus V3 Engine

The recently unveiled Plutus V3 engine by Cardano represents a significant upgrade intended to improve performance and functionality within its PoS network. This engine aims to enhance smart contract capabilities, generating interest among developers seeking advanced blockchain solutions.

The newly launched Plutus V3 engine incorporates enhanced cryptographic features, including optimized algorithm usage, Ethereum porting capabilities, and sidechain bridging. Notably, the introduction of Sum of Products (SOPs), an efficient data coding method, aims to reduce script size and enhance smart contract execution speed on Cardano.


ADA Reacts

The unveiling of Plutus V3 has not only excited developers but has also led to a surge in the price of ADA, the native cryptocurrency for Cardano. On February 25th, ADA experienced a significant 24% price increase, currently trading at $0.623 with a 4.88% rise in the last 24 hours. The broader enthusiasm surrounding Bitcoin ETFs and sentiments towards Cardano Plutus V3 have contributed to this positive movement.

As Cardano advances blockchain technology, Pullix emerges as a new DeFi protocol, introducing a hybrid exchange with a unique proposition, Trade-to-Earn. Pullix distinguishes itself when compared to traditional trading platforms by rewarding traders who hold $PLX tokens. A percentage of the daily revenues is used to purchase $PLX tokens via the open market and burn them, reducing the token supply and increasing demand. This mechanism incentivizes users to hold $PLX, providing them with passive income, trading discounts, and exclusive rewards.

Pullix also emphasizes security with a smart contract that has undergone a security audit by Interfi Network. The team plans to lock the liquidity pool for 24 months after launch, reducing the risk of a rug pull. The roadmap includes development plans such as presale launch, license acquisition, and PLX listing on various exchanges including Uniswap and BitMart.


February 28,2024

Ethereum Enters Next Stage As Dencun Upgrade Gets Activated

The Ethereum Foundation has announced the upcoming launch of the Dencun network upgrade on the Ethereum mainnet, following its successful activation on all testnets. Scheduled for March 13th, 2024, this upgrade mandates node operators and stakers to update their software.

Building on the Shapella upgrade, it introduces significant changes such as ephemeral data blobs with EIP-4844, aimed at reducing L2 transaction fees. A community livestream will be accessible for those interested in monitoring the event. This upgrade encompasses modifications to both the consensus and execution layers of Ethereum, as elaborated in EIP-7569.


Noteworthy Adjustments

Notable protocol adjustments include EIP-1153 (Transient storage opcodes), EIP-4788 (Beacon block root in the EVM), EIP-4844 (Shard Blob Transactions), EIP-5656 (MCOPY &ndash Memory copying instruction), EIP-6780 (SELFDESTRUCT only in the same transaction), EIP-7044 (Perpetually Valid Signed Voluntary Exits), EIP-7045 (Increase Max Attestation Inclusion Slot), EIP-7514 (Add Max Epoch Churn Limit), and EIP-7516 (BLOBBASEFEE opcode).

Details regarding consensus layer alterations can be found in the Deneb directory while execution layer adjustments are outlined in the linked EIPs, with an ongoing Python specification in the ethereum/execution-specs repository. Additionally, Dencun requires updates to the Engine API for communication between consensus and execution layer nodes.


Understanding The Requirements

Client releases supporting Dencun on the Ethereum mainnet have been enumerated, including versions for Lighthouse, Lodestar, Nimbus, Prysm, Teku (consensus layer), and Besu, Erigon, go-ethereum, Nethermind, Reth (execution layer). The Ethereum Foundation advises validators on the risks of running a majority client and provides resources for client distribution and switching guides.

For Ethereum users or ETH holders, no action is necessary unless instructed by their exchange or wallet provider. Node operators must update their clients to the specified versions for compatibility with the Dencun upgrade. Stakers are also encouraged to update both their beacon node and validator client. Failure to participate in the upgrade will lead to synchronization with the pre-fork blockchain, resulting in incompatibility with the post-Dencun Ethereum network. Application and tooling developers are urged to review the EIPs included in Dencun for potential impacts on their projects, particularly noting EIPs with backward compatibility implications.


February 27,2024

MicroStrategy Buys An Additional 3K BTC To Expand Its Treasury

Despite reports indicating a breach of security on the X (formerly Twitter) account of MicroStrategy, the renowned enterprise software company based in Tysons Corner, Virginia, has once more bolstered its Bitcoin (BTC) reserves by acquiring an additional 3,000 BTC this month.

According to Bloomberg, this recent acquisition amounts to $155.4 million, significantly adding to the already impressive amount of Bitcoin assets held by MicroStrategy. As of now, the amount has reached approximately $9.88 billion based on current market values.


MicroStrategy Continues Bitcoin Acquisition

As per a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday, the transactions occurred between February 15th and February 25th. Consequently, MicroStrategy saw its total Bitcoin holdings increase to around 193,000 tokens.

Co-founder Michael Saylor initiated the Bitcoin acquisition strategy in 2020 to hedge against inflation and diversify its cash reserves. During a recent interview, Saylor reiterated his conviction in holding onto the cryptocurrency, stating that there is no reason to sell the winner. Since MicroStrategy began acquiring Bitcoin, its value has surged by a whopping 460%.


No Plan To Sell

The average price for the latest 3,000 BTC purchase by MicroStrategy was $51,813, contributing to an average price of $31,544 for the entire Bitcoin holdings, as disclosed in the filing. On Monday, Bitcoin saw its price remain relatively stable around $51,100 in early trading hours. However, the largest cryptocurrency in the market is displaying signs of renewed bullish momentum, currently trading at $52,800, representing a 2.5% increase over the past 24 hours.

As the value of BTC continues to rise, the substantial Bitcoin holdings of MicroStrategy serve as evidence of the forward-thinking approach that the company has adopted in addition to renewed confidence in cryptocurrency as a viable investment.

Still, how MicroStrategy intends to manage its Bitcoin holdings in the future remains uncertain. Nevertheless, the remarks made by Saylor suggest a long-term perspective, indicating that the company has no immediate plans to divest its Bitcoin assets.


February 27,2024

Bitcoin Skyrockets But Liquidation Concerns Continue

Bitcoin (BTC) moved closer to $55,000 on Monday, breaking through the $53,000 mark and rallying to $54,900 within the day, according to TradingView data. At press time, BTC was trading at around $54,700, about 21% lower than its all-time high of $69,000 in November 2021. As bulls take control, the cryptocurrency market capitalization reaches $2.09 trillion, up nearly 4.5% in the last 24 hours.


Caution Advised

As Bitcoin surged against short positions, analysts speculated about the key resistance levels ahead. Within a 24-hour period, the cryptocurrency market witnessed $158 million in Bitcoin short positions and $44 million in Ethereum short positions being wiped out. Binance recorded the largest single liquidation order, involving an ETH-USDT position valued at $10.38 million. In total, over $270 million worth of cryptocurrency shorts were liquidated.

The CoinGlass data cited by Crypto Rover, a cryptocurrency analyst, cautions that Bitcoin short positions totaling over a billion dollars could face liquidation if Bitcoin reaches $52,200. Ethereum also saw a surge, reaching a price of $3,273, a peak not seen since April of the previous year, which starkly contrasts with its record high in November 2021.


Uncertainty Looms

At the onset of the week, substantial liquidations hit investors in the cryptocurrency market who had placed bets against its upward trajectory. According to Coinglass, an on-chain data analysis tool, traders encountered $364 million in liquidations across platforms like Binance, Bybit, OKX, and Huobi. A significant portion of these liquidations were a direct result of Bitcoin short sellers.

The Bitcoin Fear and Greed Index, a gauge of market sentiment for cryptocurrencies, soared to a one-year high of 79 on the scale, a level not observed since Bitcoin experienced its all-time high price near $69,000 all the way back in November 2021.


February 26,2024

Riot Believes Climate Change And Chip Shortage Pose Significant Risks

Riot Platforms recently stated its anticipation of sustained elevated costs for ASIC miners until the resolution of the chip crisis. The statement was made via the annual report where, as a prominent Bitcoin miner, Riot acknowledged in its latest annual report potential risks to its profit, citing the ongoing chip shortage, the necessity to increase hash rate, and the intensifying pro-climate agenda in the United States.

Among the risks highlighted by Riot was the global chip crisis, attributed to the scarcity of semiconductor manufacturers capable of producing the specialized ASIC chips vital for its operations.

Furthermore, Riot noted its expectation to continue incurring above-average expenses in procuring and installing mining equipment until the chip shortage is resolved.


More Complications

Despite access to ASIC miners, Riot acknowledged the potential for encountering design flaws and complications related to software and firmware when adapting miners to operate in specific environments. Riot also highlighted the competitive nature of the industry, necessitating continuous expansion of hash rate to maintain market share in the face of a growing global hash rate.

The firm also pointed out potential scaling challenges for Bitcoin that could hinder its widespread adoption as a payment method, which could, in turn, impact its price and consequently weaken the financial position of Riot.


Climate Change Is A Key Challenge

Riot identified the increasing pro-climate change agenda in government bodies as a potential challenge, citing the possibility of significant costs imposed by new legislation and regulations. The company emphasized the risk of losing a competitive edge if subjected to stricter regulations compared to peers in other regions.

Riot recently achieved a favorable ruling in a lawsuit against US energy officials, alleging invasive data collection by cryptocurrency miners. Meanwhile, Riot reported a 19% increase in Bitcoin production in 2023, mining a total of 6,626 BTC, with a decreased average cost of mining per Bitcoin by 33% compared to the previous year.


February 26,2024

Cryptocurrencies May Be Recognized As Property By UK Law Commission

The United Kingdom is proposing a legal framework to grant cryptocurrencies a defined status within its legal system, aiming to provide clearer safeguards. The UK Law Commission has recommended treating cryptocurrencies as property, intending to enhance legal clarity and protection for digital assets.

By categorizing cryptocurrencies as a distinct form of personal property, the proposal seeks to bolster enforcement of property rights in cases involving digital currencies. This step is crucial for resolving legal uncertainties surrounding digital assets, offering improved protection for individuals and businesses involved in cryptocurrency transactions.


Guidance Needed

The proposed legal framework acknowledges the unique characteristics of digital assets like crypto-tokens and introduces a new property category within the common law of England and Wales. It underscores the necessity for the legal system to adapt to technological advancements.

To address the complex technical nature of cryptocurrencies, the Law Commission suggests courts seek guidance by an industry panel and establish a multi-disciplinary team to aid market participants in safeguarding their assets. This underscores the importance of expert advice in understanding and managing emerging technologies.


Slow But Steady

This initiative aligns with the broader strategy of the UK to strengthen its position as a leading global financial center for digital assets. By advancing cryptocurrency regulations, the country aims to attract tech development and position England and Wales as an appealing destination for cryptocurrency firms.

The enactment of the Financial Services and Markets Bill last year laid the groundwork for more comprehensive regulatory measures. With numerous crypto firms establishing themselves in the UK, this proposal could further cement the country as a global hub for digital asset innovation and security.

February 26,2024

Funding Deals 20th To 26th February 2024

We're thrilled to share some remarkable developments in the global tech landscape! Check out the latest funding rounds that have been making waves:

Helius (Canada) secured $9.5M in Series A funding led by Foundation Capital, reinforcing their commitment to innovation. Congratulations on this milestone, Helius team!

Eigen Labs (United States) raised a staggering $100M in Series B funding with a16z crypto at the helm. This substantial investment further solidifies their position as a key player. Kudos, EigenLayer!

Januar (Denmark) successfully closed a $2.19M Seed round, marking a promising start for their journey. Keep up the great work, Januar team!

Citrea, introduced by Chainway Labs, captured $2.7M in Seed funding led by Galaxy Digital, paving the way for exciting advancements going forward. Fantastic progress!

Bitcoin Dogs soared with a $3.1M Initial Coin Offering, indicating strong investor interest and confidence. An impressive feat, Bitcoin Dogs!

Degen (United States) secured $1.4M in Seed funding with 1confirmation, highlighting their potential. Keep pushing boundaries, Degen team!

OUINEX CRYPTO-EXCHANGE (France) raised $4M in Seed funding, demonstrating the global appeal of their vision. Well done, Ouinex!

Exohood Labs (United Kingdom) attracted $112M in Seed funding, signaling strong investor confidence in their innovative solutions. Impressive achievement, Exohood Labs!

Meso (United States) secured $9.5M in Seed funding led by Ribbit Capital, empowering them to drive impactful change. Awesome, Meso team!

Loong City closed a $2M Seed round, showcasing their potential in addition to amazing, larger than life visuals and gameplay elements. Keep up the momentum, LoongCity!

Congratulations to all the teams involved in these groundbreaking funding rounds! Your dedication and vision continue to inspire innovation worldwide. Let's keep pushing boundaries and shaping the future together! 


February 25,2024

Inflation Concerns Continue As BTC Stalls And UNI Skyrockets

The UNI token by Uniswap garnered significant attention over a 24 hour period, skyrocketing by close to 80% following a proposal aimed at rewarding UNI holders with a share of the fees generated by the DEX. This proposal has been the focal point of the recent surge exhibited by Uniswap, marking a substantial development for the cryptocurrency.

In contrast, the price of Bitcoin has remained relatively stagnant, hovering around the $51,000 mark as market dynamics between bulls and bears persist. Despite attempts by bears to drive the price below $51K, buyers intervened, preventing a significant downturn.


BTC Declines As Altcoins Go Up

The dominance shown by Bitcoin in the market has slightly declined to 48.6%, indicative of a strengthening performance by several altcoins such as Ethereum and Cardano. The overall sentiment in the cryptocurrency market, as indicated by the fear and greed index, remains in the Greed territory, although it has slightly decreased compared to the previous day.

Among altcoins, the UNI token stands out with its remarkable surge, influencing other DEX-related tokens like dYdX and Quickswap to also experience notable gains. The proposal to alter the Uniswap protocol, transforming UNI into a token that generates yield for holders, has catalyzed this surge. In any case, it will be intriguing to observe how these trends unfold in the near future, especially amid broader economic considerations such as potential inflationary pressures.


Other Markets

Meanwhile, indications suggest that underlying US inflation likely experienced its most significant increase in a year in January, as indicated by the Federal Reserve. This underscores the arduous and erratic journey toward curbing inflationary pressures.

Specifically, the core personal consumption expenditures price index, excluding food and energy expenses, is anticipated to rise by 0.4% compared to the previous month. This would mark the second consecutive monthly acceleration in a metric that has largely trended downward over the past couple of years.

Elsewhere, longstanding concerns within the oil tanker industry regarding insufficient new ship constructions are resurfacing as a result of recent Houthi attacks on commercial shipping, causing widespread diversions in global petroleum trade routes. Only two new supertankers are scheduled to join the fleet in 2024, representing the lowest addition rate in nearly four decades and approximately 90% below the average annual rate for this millennium. However, as ship owners increasingly avoid the southern Red Sea, the lack of new capacity is beginning to have consequences: freight rates are experiencing sharp increases, and voyage durations are extending.


February 24,2024

Banks Continue To Suffer Massive Losses As Scammers Intensify Efforts

According to a recent report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), US banks failed to prevent scammers when it came to absconding with nearly half a billion dollars of customer funds in 2023. The FTC, in its overview of scamming trends, documented 11,950 instances of bank transfer and payment fraud last year, resulting in a staggering $492 million in customer losses.


The Scams Keep On Coming

These losses emanate via various scams targeting bank accounts, including imposter schemes, check fraud, and phishing attacks. Overall, scammers pilfered $10 billion in 2023 using both traditional and digital methods.

Investment scams topped the list, accounting for $4.6 billion in losses, marking a 21% surge compared to 2022. Imposter scams followed closely, racking up $2.7 billion in stolen funds. Emails have emerged as the most effective tool for fraudsters, surpassing phone calls and text messages.


Not Just Crypto

Despite concerns about cryptocurrency fraud, the amount lost in the crypto markets was lower than in the traditional banking system, with 11,671 reported cases and a total loss of $331 million. This is important because it shows that, although the Fed has often chastised crypto for being too volatile and unpredictable which, in their opinion, leads to unnecessary losses. However, many in the crypto community were quick to point out that while crypto has its flaws, the traditional finance system does too.

In any case, the FTC is reportedly pursuing a multifaceted strategy to combat consumer fraud, which includes cracking down on illegal telemarketing groups, banning impersonator fraud, and prosecuting investment and business opportunity scams.


February 23,2024

EIA Gets Sued Over Making Unlawful Data Collection Demands

The Texas Blockchain Council (TBC) and crypto miner Riot Platforms recently filed a lawsuit against the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), alleging that the agency made unlawful demands for data collection through the Bitcoin mining sector.

In the previous month, the EIA announced its intention to collect data on the electricity usage of certain US-based crypto miners, starting in early February. This requirement pertains to commercial miners, who are obligated to disclose their energy consumption. The decision came after emergency approval for data collection was granted by the Office of Management and Budget on January 26th.


TBC Speaks Out

TBC, a non-profit organization, highlighted that the EIA requested specific information such as the types of machines utilized and the locations of mining operations. There were concerns expressed regarding the potential public disclosure of this sensitive data, which could lead to further scrutiny of the industry, as hinted at in previous statements by The White House.

According to the council, this move is part of a broader strategy led by Senator Warren and the Biden Administration, described as a whole of government approach to address the digital asset industry. TBC also characterized the action as a direct assault on private businesses under the guise of an emergency. TBC President Lee Bratcher claimed it is evident that the focus here is not about grid stability, as Bitcoin miners are the most flexible load on any grid, but is a targeted political effort led by figures like Elizabeth Warren.


Addressing Energy Usage Concerns

Warren, along with other Democratic lawmakers, had previously urged major US crypto mining companies to disclose their energy usage. Last year, a select few of these companies called on the US Environmental Protection Agency to implement regulations mandating crypto-mining operations to report their yearly energy consumption.

Bitcoin mining offers advantages such as network decentralization and profit opportunities for miners. However, it also presents risks that affect both miners and the broader community. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, Bitcoin mining globally consumes approximately 127 terawatt-hours (TWh) annually, surpassing the energy consumption of some countries. Nevertheless, compared to the banking industry, the energy usage of Bitcoin is significantly lower.


February 23,2024

Reddit Admits To Buying Both Bitcoin And Ethereum

Bitcoin (BTC) surged to $52,000, and Ethereum (ETH) surpassed $3,000 once again following a recent disclosure by Reddit Inc. regarding their holdings in treasury reserves. Reddit allocated some of their surplus cash reserves into BTC and ETH in addition to also procuring ETH and MATIC as payment for sales of specific virtual goods, a practice which the company may sustain in the future.


Slow And Steady

The proceeds via the sales of virtual goods in ETH and MATIC were negligible for the fiscal years ended December 31st, 2022, and 2023. Furthermore, Reddit acquired and maintained digital assets, specifically cryptocurrencies, for the utilization of their product and engineering teams, subject to specific purposes.

As of December 31st, 2023, their digital asset holdings for treasury purposes exclusively comprised BTC and ETH, and any investments in cryptocurrencies mandate approval by their Board of Directors, as per their investment policy.

Moreover, according to a Reddit representative, treasury investments in cryptocurrencies are confined to Bitcoin, Ether, and any other cryptocurrency identified by the SEC, Commodities Futures Trading Commission, or prominent members of their staff through public statements or guidance as likely not constituting a security.


Reddit Goes All In

Reddit chose not to disclose precise amounts of BTC and ETH held, stating instead that the net carrying value of their cryptocurrencies, primarily Bitcoin and Ether, along with all related cryptocurrency activities, was immaterial for the periods outlined. Reddit has explored various crypto initiatives, including tokenized karma such as Moons and Donuts.

While Moons was discontinued, Donuts, operating on a decentralized model, continue to be traded and earned by participating in ethtraders discussions. Lastly, in their Initial Public Offering (IPO) filing, Reddit disclosed advertising revenue of $804 million for 2023.


February 22,2024

DeFi Staking Continues To Evolve Through LRTs And Blast

Liquid restaking tokens (LRTs) and the rise of layer two solution Blast are fueling a fresh surge in DeFi staking. LRTs, the latest development in LSDs (liquid staking derivatives), have showcased notable innovation and adaptability within the Ethereum ecosystem, particularly following the Shanghai upgrade.

In the realm of DeFi, the advent of LRTs represents a significant shift in the traditional staking paradigm. Secondly, increased fund inflows significantly enhance market liquidity, contributing to the stability of the entire DeFi ecosystem. Furthermore, dynamic staking strategies, by offering diversified and customized investment options, foster market innovation and development.

However, implementing these strategies faces technical hurdles, particularly in constructing efficient and accurate algorithmic models and ensuring system security and resilience against network attacks.


Going All In

Pendle Finance ventured into uncharted territory within the LSD sphere, pioneering yield tokenization on Ethereum, facilitating users to trade yield and earn fixed yields on their assets. This innovative approach paved the way for novel strategies in yield optimization and risk management.

However, the pursuit of higher yields and optimized utilization of staked assets persisted. Eigenlayer, a restaking protocol, emerged with a more intricate model. Eigenlayer enables stakers to reallocate their staked assets to reinforce additional decentralized services on the Ethereum network. This not only amplifies the overall rewards but also fortifies the cryptographic security and resilience of the entire Ethereum network.


Still A Ways To Go

Despite all the potential, a significant obstacle surfaced. Restaked assets became fragmented and illiquid, impeding activity and interoperability within the DeFi space. This is where LRTs come into play. This innovation unlocks the liquidity of restaked assets and further boosts the rewards for stakers by enabling participation in DeFi activities.

Users can deposit LRTs into liquid restaking protocols to garner additional earnings. These developments have propelled the LSD space to a more intricate and diversified ecosystem as opposed to a single-layer staking infrastructure.

Recent developments such as the emergence of Blast echo this trajectory. Blast, an EVM-compatible Ethereum layer two network, offers native yield staking of ETH and stablecoins on its platform. This democratizes staking rewards and enhances the overall user experience by streamlining the process.


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