This Week in Blockchain

This Week in Blockchain on 5th April 2021

April 05, 2021 Season 1 Episode 8
Show Notes Transcript

Hi, I'm Conor Svensson, Founder and CEO of Web3 Labs and this is your Week in Blockchain on Monday the 5th of April 2021. This week we're going to be talking about Visa supporting stable coin payments on Ethereum, Ethereum reaching a new all-time high with Bitcoin getting close, Goldman Sachs adding more support for crypto, PayPal supporting crypto payments, ConsenSys partnering up with Damien Hurst on a new NFT offering and finally, Mark Cuban's view on the role of NFTs and the real killer application that they have. The big news this week is about Visa allowing payments using the USDC stablecoin currency on Ethereum. What they've done is partnered up with the crypto.com app which enables payments in cryptocurrency. Historically they've always had to convert crypto payments into fiat currencies such as US dollars in order to then transact with Visa. What they're doing in this pilot is converting the crypto into USDC, a stablecoin, and they're paying Visa using the USDC stablecoin on Ethereum. This is a huge step forward for staying within crypto for these payments on the crypto.com app. On the back end they're working with Anchorage, which is the first federal fully chartered digital asset bank and also Visa's settlement partner for this. It's a fantastic move forward within the payment space, especially when someone like Visa are doing this. We've also seen big news from PayPal where they want to open up their checkout service for their 29 million merchants in order to accept crypto as a default payment. What that means is that when people check out with PayPal, they'll have the option of paying in their regular fiat currency or checking out and paying with Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash or Litecoin and that will be converted by PayPal seamlessly to the currency that the payment is in. We've also seen Ether, the cryptocurrency, hit a new all-time high, just getting close to $2100 and Bitcoin's back above $60,000 at the time of recording. In the UK, the tax authority has issued new guidance on cryptocurrencies. One of the key things with this new guidance, and they've released a lot over the last few years, is talking about when people are transacting cryptos that they need to pay capital gains on this. Now they've updated their guidance to provide information on how you handle interest through lending crypto and staking services as well which, of course, in the last year we've seen huge growth in adoption. In a new report from PWC, the value of crypto mergers and acquisitions has more than doubled to $1.1 billion last year which Bloomberg reported earlier this week. Also, CME are expanding their Bitcoin futures offering to include micro futures. What this means is that previously with the futures contract, if you wanted to undertake one, you had to buy a futures contract that was for five Bitcoin, which is almost $300, 000 whereas with the new micro Bitcoin futures, it's only .1Bitcoin that needs to be used so it adds liquidity and a number of options for people who want to start investing. Goldman Sachs have also said that they're going to start offering Bitcoin and other digital asset services via its wealth management division. There's clearly a big demand here from their clients in that they want to get more exposure to crypto. So, for Goldman they feel they need to embrace this natively to support their customers. This week Coinbase's listing has been confirmed for the 14th of April with their ticker COIN so that's going to go ahead on the NASDAQ exchange. Also announced this week was Teletubby's 'TubbyCoin', an innovative new cryptocurrency employing the groundbreaking breaking power of "hug tech'. Of course, it being April fool's week it did emerge to be an April fools but the company behind it have said that they're going to make donations to a kids charity off the back of people who share the post so there's good things to come out of that. In the blockchain analytics space, Chainalysis, the blockchain analysis company, announced on Friday that they'd closed a $100 million series D financing which doubles its valuation to over $2 billion. It just shows how much demand there is right now for these analytic services, especially for governments and individuals who want to be able to track how cryptocurrencies are being used. We mentioned last week about the Ethereum developer, Vlad Zamfir, who had launched an injunction against Casper Labs because of the usage of the name 'Casper' which was tied in with the proof of stake protocol mechanism that he had helped pioneer. Unfortunately, the injunction was denied. Block production on the blockchain network Cardano is now fully decentralized. When they talk about being fully decentralized, the interesting thing that they've done here is that IOHK, the company behind the blockchain who's led a lot of the development, are no longer participating in the production of blocks which is quite different to all the other blockchains in that typically those foundations, or the companies that help get them off the ground, continue to contribute to them whereas Cardano's stepped out of the picture so that they can talk in terms of being a truly community-run network, which is a unique proposition for them. We've also seen on the Cosmos blockchain there's been some movement in that the investors have approved the inter blockchain communication mechanism. The atom token which is locked into the blockchain and the holders of it have voted that they're supportive of this protocol to transfer assets between blockchain. One of the big USPs of the Cosmos blockchain is the ability to send a digital asset across blockchain so it's a big move forward for them. The Dharma Wallet has announced that you can send funds directly to Aave, Uniswap, Yearn and Compound from their traditional bank accounts with a daily limit of $25k. This is significant news because one of the barriers to entry and DeFi is transaction fees. A lot of the time people need to take fiat currencies, trade them on an exchange to get hold of a cryptocurrency, then put those into a cryptocurrency wallet which requires an additional transaction before they can send them into a decentralized finance protocols. So, making use of the Dharma Wallet will eliminate a few of those steps which will drastically reduce the number of fees that people need to pay in order to start interacting with DeFi. It's a big move forward for the usability side. Aave, the DeFi lending protocol, have announced that they're going to be working with the Polygon scaling technology in order to bypass some of the congestion issues that are seen on Ethereum. Polygon was formerly known as Matic and is one of the layer two scaling technologies for Ethereum. We'll see their name coming up again later on in today's show. The other thing that happened in DeFi this week is that an anonymous developer within a team called Core that built the Delta DeFi protocol, released a smart contract that enabled it to claim almost $11 billion in trading volume of a single token on UniSwap. This was misleading data so what they've managed to do was game the metrics that appear in Uniswap to show that the token is far more widely traded than it actually is which, of course, has implications because a lot of people go on to Uniswap to look at the liquidity of tokens in order to think about whether it makes sense to work with them. Going to other statistical sites you can work around this, but the point is that someone finding a way to gain the Uniswap protocol is not ideal for them so they're working on a way to not suffer from this problem again. In NFTs there has been a lot of activity continuing to happen. The big news here is that ConsenSys has lined up the artist Damian Hurst to launch a new NFT art protocol. There's going to be 10 000 works on paper that are tied to corresponding NFTs using what's called the Palm NFT platform which ConsenSys has announced runs on top of the sidechain, so it also bypasses some of the transaction and electricity cost concerns about using Ethereum. Uniswap released the V3 video promoting their new platform, which we spoke about last week. The NFT of this sold for $525,000 as a tokenized version. The video's artist said the funds would be donated to charities supporting ethnic minority groups. Mark Cuban, in an interview, has discussed that he sees the killer apps of NFTs being in ticketing. This won't come as a big surprise when Mark Cuban is a very vocal supporter of NFTs and blockchain technology but also the owner of the Dallas Mavericks team. The idea of being able to utilize NFTs in the ticketing market could be an incredible opportunity for him. Charles Hoskinson, the creator of the Cardano blockchain, is confident about pushing the Cardano platform as being one of the leading venues for NFTs because of their native multi-asset support which we've touched on previously. Given that they're coming slightly late to the party it'll take time for them to gain traction but it'll definitely be interesting to see how it evolves. Justin Sun, the founder of the Tron blockchain, has also unveiled a plan for 'top notch', as he says, NFT artwork. So typically this fund will accept NFT token art that's got a price tag of at least $1 million but he looks to have a median value of $10 million. The first piece going into it is the 'Oceanfront' NFT piece that was made by Beeple that he bought in auction last week. Dapper Labs, the company that's very much at the forefront of the NFT revolution, who created Crypto Kitties originally on Ethereum and then launched their own Flow blockchain have received another significant round of funding this time of $305 million. This gives them a valuation of $2.6 billion, thanks to the great success they've had with initiatives such as NBA Top Shots and Crypto Kitties before that. The NFT marketplace SuperRare has raised $9 million dollars in series A funding. One of the investors, there's going to be no surprise popping up again here, is Mark Cuban. Then, previously known as the blockchain gaming protocol, Enjin, who have their Enjin coin have raised nearly $19 million to build a Polkadot based platform for NFTs. The network which is called Efinity will have its own token. The funding has been secured by selling EFT tokens said their CTO. On the scaling side, the NFT marketplace OpenSea is going to be using the Immutable X scaling protocol to increase the capacity on the network. Then, the Decentraland platform are launching a decentralized application protocol using the Polygon scaling technology which we mentioned Aave were looking to use earlier on today, to bypass the high gas fees. Then a NFT investment firm is going to be floating in London. This is from the co-founders of the crypto mining company Argo blockchain. They intend to raise about 10 million by floating on the niche Aquis Stock Exchange Global Market. In our metrics this week, the Crypto Market Cap, driven by the big price gains we've seen is up 8.5% to $1.92 trillion. The amount locked in DeFi, is up almost 20% to almost $49 billion. The seven days average price for NFTs has stayed relatively static at $35.5 million dollars and then the average price for NFT sales is floating at around $1250. That's all we have for this week, if you like what you hear please subscribe to our podcast and our YouTube channel. Links to all items discussed are available in our show notes and at our website, weekinblockchain.com. There won't be a Clubhouse session happening this week due to the Easter break, but normally that will happen on Mondays at 12 p.m eastern, 5 p.m uk time if you'd like to discuss any of the items that we have covered here. Thanks and I'll see you next week.