Rafael “Tatito” Hernández – Speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives – said the growing blockchain industry could bring more accountability and transparency to the public sector. He also raised hopes that his nation could become one of the cryptocurrency centers on the planet.
Puerto Rico Aims to Become a Crypto Hub
Puerto Rico – a Caribbean island and an unincorporated territory of the USA – is one of the most corrupt nations around the globe. At the same time, a big chunk of locals live below the poverty line. Extortion there is common not only among the general population but also on the higher levels.
A few days back, the mayor of the municipality of Cataño pleaded guilty to accepting over $100,000 in bribes and luxury watches in exchange for millions in municipal contracts.
In a recent interview for Bloomberg, Rafael “Tatito” Hernández said he will begin meeting with experts from the blockchain sector and discuss creating “smart contracts.” According to him, the transparency behind the technology could enhance Puerto Rico’s financial network and even reduce the level of corruption.
“We have a real credibility problem. And this might be part of the solution.”
Hernández added that those meetings will also be part of a broader mission to turn Puerto Rico into a hub for digital assets and blockchain innovation. The low taxes in the state and the fact that trading with bitcoin and the altcoins is not a subject of taxation have recently attracted thousands of new residents.
Hernández believes that locals should also focus on the cryptocurrency industry as it might create job opportunities and establish a better lifestyle for them:
“Back in the 60s and 70s, we had the niche of manufacturing. This is a new niche, a new opportunity to create jobs.”
Cuba Tried The Same Maneuver
Earlier this year, another Caribbean island – Cuba – announced plans to examine crypto adoption as an instrument to overcome financial turbulence in the country.
President Miguel Díaz Canel vowed to” keep informing the public” about any implementations regarding the matter. However, Cuba’s leader alerted about the ongoing crypto scams on the island, calling them” investment pyramid schemes.”
Back in 2019, the Cuban authorities made a similar announcement on how cryptocurrencies could deal with the country’s monetary issues. The Minister of Economy and Planning then said:
”We are considering studying the application of cryptocurrencies in national and international commercial matters. Measures of this type can allow us to move forward. We have to look for alternative means to solve economic problems.”
The White House recently released a first-of-its-kind, 38-page report detailing new efforts to fight state and financial corruption. It breaks down the effort into five strategic pillars, one of which bears mention of a new “National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team”.
Prosecuting Crypto Criminals
The Biden Administration released the document through a statement from the White House’s website on Monday. As reads the statement, the strategy places particular emphasis on reducing “the ability of corrupt actors to use the U.S. and international financial systems to hide assets and launder the proceeds of corrupt acts.”
Under pillar III, titled “Holding Corrupt Actors Accountable,” it states that the DOJ will combat the use of cryptocurrencies for illicit finance through a new, dedicated task force:
“DOJ will utilize a newly established task force, the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, to focus specifically on complex investigations and prosecutions of criminal misuses of cryptocurrency, particularly crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors.”
Money laundering is a persistent concern among regulators regarding cryptocurrencies – especially stablecoins. From Gary Gensler to Jerome Powell, fiat-pegged digital assets are perceived as unregulated avenues for global payment that can scale rapidly across illegal payment networks, due to their high liquidity.
Illicit Uses of Cryptocurrencies
That wasn’t the only mention of crypto in the strategy: pillar II titled “Curbing Illicit Finance” re-states the United States’ efforts to review risks posed by digital assets, and to cooperate with other nations in developing a central bank digital currency.
While recognizing the efficiencies and conveniences created by the technology, it names numerous illicit activities for which crypto is purportedly used, including narcotics trafficking and sanctions evasion.
Cryptocurrencies are also an increasingly popular tool for ransomware attacks. The non-reversible nature of crypto transactions leaves victims with no recourse to get their money back from cybercriminals that extort them for money. Earlier this year, John Oliver targeted Monero for marketing itself as a tool for such bad actors.
Ubisoft – a gaming industry giant – recently announced plans to integrate NFTs into its games. These NFT’s will be known as “Digits”, containing their own unique serial numbers while being tradeable on the crypto market.
NFTs and Ghost Recon
Ubisoft announced its NFT project in a tweet earlier today. The company will offer its tokens through its new platform – Ubisoft Quartz – which allows users to collect “the first playable and energy-efficient NFTs.” As its games’ NFTs will be stored on Tezos – a proof-of-stake blockchain – ethical concerns regarding environmental harm are a virtual non-issue.
“Ubisoft Quartz is a new experience for our players, built upon our vision of creating an ever-greater connection between you and the game worlds you love,” reads Ubisoft’s site. “It aims at offering you more autonomy and agency when interacting with the in-game items that help you craft your own story.”
The first digits will be released in beta for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, which comes out Thursday. These initial NFTs will come in the form of aesthetic, in-game gear, and may be purchased using cryptocurrency in any of the game’s launch countries.
Unlike typical gaming skins, each item will feature a unique serial number for all players, hence making them “non-fungible”. Furthermore, they may be bought and sold on Tezos by players that don’t even play Ghost Recon, or future NFT-compatible games. However, Digits used in-game will have their previous owner’s Gamertags listed on them for “years to come”.
Gamer’s Aversion To NFTs
Ubisoft is famous for releasing bestselling games including Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry. The former’s latest release “Valhalla,” raked in 1.8 million sales within its first week. By integrating NFTs into its games, Ubisoft can bring a whole new market segment into the NFT space, much of which is already tech-savvy.
Gamers haven’t been welcoming of NFTs in the past, however. Discord – a communications platform commonly used by players – went back on its Ethereum/ NFT integration plans following massive community backlash. Many were concerned with the perceived environmental impact of NFTs, combined with rampant scams and hacks that still plague the crypto space.
Brian Roberts – a tech veteran and former executive at Lyft – will join OpenSea as the project’s first Chief Financial Officer. He admitted that he sees a lot of potential in the non-fungible token industry and vowed to turn OpenSea into a publicly-traded company.
‘I Voted with My Feet’
According to a recent Bloomberg report, Brian Roberts has agreed to become OpenSea’s first Chief Financial Officer. The American economist revealed that he made the decision instantly as the NFT marketplace is an exciting project that looks like eBay in the mid-90s:
“I voted with my feet. I haven’t been this excited about something in a very long time. It reminds me of 1995 eBay.”
Not long ago, Devin Fenzer – Founder and CEO of OpenSea – asserted that the firm is looking for additional funds from various investors. Roberts noted that OpenSea is already a profitable company, not needing to raise more cash. However, the firm could employ the financing to acquire entities, strike partnerships, and expand further into the NFT space.
“I’ve seen a lot of P&Ls (profit and loss statements), but I’ve never seen a P&L like this,” Roberts added.
The CFO outlined OpenSea’s success throughout the year. While the leading NFT peer-to-peer marketplace had many highlights in 2021, arguably its most significant achievement was displaying art collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club.
Not long ago, the behemoth of the NFT universe surpassed $10 billion in total trading volumes. In comparison, the entire volume for the whole of 2020 was just 21 million. Having mentioned that rapid advancement, Roberts expects to see OpenSea as a publicly-traded company soon:
“When you have a company growing as fast as this one, you’d be foolish not to think about it going public. It would be well-received in the public market given its growth.”
Christie’s Teamed with OpenSea
At the end of November, OpenSea stroke a partnership with the legendary auction house – Christie’s. As a result, the latter will hold a series of curated auctions on the world’s leading NFT marketplace.
The collaboration enabled bidding and payments to be made using the Ethereum network. The first collection features a “cutting-edge selection of collectibles” pulled together by Christie’s Head of Digital and Online Sales Noah Davis and curator Ronnie Pirovino.
Featured artists include Andre Oshea, Alpha Centauri Kid, Ash Thorp, Baeige, EtherRock, Joshua Davis, KESH, Krista Kim, Maciej Kuciara, Mad Dog Jones, and more.
This March, Christie’s concluded the sale of its first non-fungible token – the record-breaking “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” by Beeple (sold for a whopping $69 million).
Project Serum aspires to become a fully-fledged financial ecosystem that brings unprecedented speed and very low transaction costs to the world of Decentralized Finance (DeFi). At its core sits a decentralized exchange (DEX) which is designed around a fully on-chain central limit order book and matching engine.
Partners of Serum’s ecosystem can compose with this on-chain order book to share liquidity and match orders for both retail and institutional users.
Serum was originally founded by Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) – CEO at one of the leading centralized crypto exchanges FTX, as well as other ecosystem partners, and is deployed on the Solana blockchain.
During BreakPoint 2021 in Lisbon, CryptoPotato had the chance to talk to Edward (Ed) Zuo, who is a senior advisor at Project Serum. We talked about the current status of Serum, some challenges, as well as what lies ahead for the project.
The Order Book that Will Power a Superstructure of Financial dApps
“Project Serum provides the underlying liquidity infrastructure for applications building on Solana that need trading-related features that could benefit from Serum’s central limit order book.” Explains Zuo. “And It’s one of the first order book-based decentralized exchanges to be deployed entirely on-chain.
The idea behind Serum is to provide the fundamental primitives that bring about a fully functional, centralized exchange experience to all of DeFi.
Serum is unique because you can build a DEX on it. You could build multiple DEXes on it, and because of the composability of DeFi, users can compose with the markets on Serum to unlock incredible synergies and bootstrap liquidity for their protocols.
You can imagine what happens when more and more of these applications compose with the same set of software – You can imagine how big that pool of shared capital becomes. This model, which is so simple yet elegant, can allow for this massive scaling up of DeFi.
Now, you have devs building dApps. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time they make a new protocol, hence, you don’t need to figure out how to get order matching working. You can now focus on the other stuff that’s critically important for your project, whether that’s building a risk engine or focusing on marketing or other partnerships or whatever.
So with Serum, it’s able to power a whole superstructure of financial dApps on Solana that can easily talk to each other – over time, we hope to quantify how much time it’s saving and how convenient this is for developers.
Importantly, it’s built on Solana, which brings about features like sub-second settlement and extremely cheap transaction costs. Whatever you build on Serum, you can achieve the user experience people are familiar with on centralized exchanges.”
Bring Solana and DeFi to the Rest of The World
Serum was launched in late 2020, aiming to be the first decentralized exchange with fast transaction execution and low fees.
It seems that Serum has managed to build what no one has created before, and in a reasonably short time. Is the team behind Project Serum now the same as the founding team?
“Project Serum was originally founded by FTX and Alameda Research. Nevertheless, they are now simply contributors to the Serum project and many others, and Serum has attracted many ecosystem supporters and contributors through its grantmaking process and its DAO.
There are many volunteers too who get involved just by seeing what Serum is doing, and it helps that Serum has always been open source. Everything is there. People just get involved.
The people who are, I suppose, most active on Serum now include both newcomers as well as contributors dating back to the end of ‘DeFi Summer’ in September 2020.
You also see this increasing trend of more and more developer activity, as well as more and more diversity among the people actively contributing to Serum.”
About a year post-launch, what are your midterm and long-term goals?
“We are doing all the necessary steps to take Solana and DeFi to bring it to the rest of the world.
That’s why I keep talking about the issue of scalability and the fully functional centralized exchange experience, the ultimate convenience for developers and retailers – something that can bring the benefits of DeFi to the everyday user and allow them to seamlessly use it and benefit from it without having to worry about complexities and technological issues.
These are ambitious milestones and long-term ones. I think there are a few steps to get us there. One is to get institutional capital, and institutional adoption of DeFiwhich Solana can provide.”
DeFi is Going Nowhere Without this Institutional Capital
Zuo continues, “There are several ways we’re doing this: One is to keep letting market makers, high-frequency traders, and other large institutions feel more comfortable coming on-chain and letting them do their own thing on Serum because, without this institutional capital, DeFi is going nowhere. That’s an absolute fact.
Familiarity is only one of the issues for these players. The other issue is regulatory. Even as we wait for more regulatory clarity, it’s also clear that all these institutions need to meet existing regulatory and compliance requirements.”
Because if you can think about what these institutions want: these are players with an ever-increasing appetite for DeFi exposure, but if they trade with the wrong counterparty, we all know to understand these risks reasonably well. They need to be careful, and they want to be compliant. I personally think it’s great that ecosystem players in Serum and Solana are finding ways to allow for the institutional adoption of DeFi and letting these players come in.”
Raydium is the first AMM on Solana, with the initial aim to settle trades on Serum order book and their platform.
Raydium’s daily volume is much higher than the volume on Serum DEX, which is consisted of trades from Bonfida, Mango Markets, Raydium, and others. We recently saw higher volumes on the Raydium platform. Do you think that users prefer to trade on AMMs rather than order books?
“Automated Market Makers are a very different type of market to a central limit order book. Each has its pros and cons. if you look at what Raydium is trying to offer, it’s an experience with reduced slippage, among other benefits, but how do they achieve that part? In part by composing deliberately with Serum and sending orders to Serum’s order books, they can provide their users the best of both worlds.
Raydium is only one among many very popular GUIs built on Serum, and the latter is powering not just Raydium but many apps out there that bring value and traffic to Serum.”
Maybe this means that the user experience on Serum is yet to be polished as much as a centralized exchanged experience?
“Well, Serum wants to provide something that allows people to build whatever they want to build, whether it’s a DEX or a derivatives protocol or another kind of trading dApp.
Derivatives are actually quite interesting because Serum Core (a new upgrade developed by Bonfida) unlocks a lot more flexibility for developers building these products.
There are all kinds of teams building incredible derivatives and risk hedging tools that are going to bring more and more interest and value into Solana and Serum ecosystems. So that’s something to look forward to. It’s not just about one or two key players. It’s really about having the whole suite of offerings for anyone coming to Serum.”
When talking about derivatives, leverage trading is a point that comes up naturally as it has become very popular among Bitcoin and crypto traders.
As of now, the volume of leverage trading is much higher than spot trading. Asking whether he sees leverage trading coming up soon on Serum, Zuo replies:
“There are people building things like margin solutions, and this is the kind of fun part about Serum because everyone kind of sees their own place in the ecosystem.
You have primitives like an on-chain order book (that’s Serum), you have wallets, you have AMMs. Okay, cool. What’s next?
Well, I think it sounds to me like borrow-lending was the next step, and then margin services afterward that will allow for leveraged trading. After that, how about perpetual futures? Your futures require margin. Now you have, not just futures on crypto underlying, but also cross-chain underlying when you bring bridges into the mix, or perhaps even real-world underlying when you bring in oracles.
It’s not just about Serum doing everything – it’s about what Serum inspires. It helps get all of us there, but we leave it to the expertise, wisdom, and guidance of the community.”
The total supply of SRM is 10 billion, though the circulating supply is around 130M. The fully diluted valuation of Serum is approximately 80 billion USD as of today (data by Coingecko).
Currently, 100% of the fees from traders on the exchange go to buy, burn, and staking yield. It seems the volume on the Serum exchange needs to be high to justify the fully diluted valuation of the project.
Keeping in mind the project was constructed in the best interest of the token holders and the community, we can’t ignore the enormous non circulating supply. How do you see it moving forward? Are there any plans to address this issue?
“There’s a number of reasons that governance has been put up. Part of it is to tap into the wisdom of the community, and I guess the question then becomes, well, what is up for governance? What is up for voting? It’s a lot of things, a lot of important aspects about Serum.
It could be the fee parameters, for instance. It could be about default settings on the GUI. It could be about the tokenomics and the form of the utility and the governance of SRM tokens, and this is critical.
People have been discussing issues like this for a very long time. They matter to Serum’s community, its volunteers and contributors, and users. And SRM, of course, matters for things like grant-making and other critical initiatives by Serum to inspire and guide further ecosystem development.
So people have passionate, strong, well-founded, and often very mixed feelings about tokenomics. That’s to be expected. I think that’s the case with many projects. Serum offers a venue now for people to discuss this and to really come up with whatever it is that makes the community most excited and most empowered. These things can be iterative, and they take time.”
Do you not see it as a risk for the short term for Serum?
“Well, I think it depends who you ask. Some people are very bullish on the amount of volume that SRM can generate, while other people are perhaps more conservative, and that’s fine. That’s why we take it to the forum for discussion.”
One of the greatest virtues of blockchain is its composability aspect. The ability for project Serum to use Solana’s blockchain in a permissionless way, or the ability for dapps to use Serum’s order book to settle trades and get a cut of the fees.
How do you expect the ecosystem around Serum to evolve? What will it look like in 5 years?
“It’s a very good question. I’ll try not to let myself digress too much. When you look at what an ecosystem needs versus what direction it may end up taking, you find that those are actually two slightly different questions.
I think it’s fair to say that, in the future, we’re going to need risk hedging solutions. People are building great examples of that. We’ll also need increasingly sophisticated wallet solutions and more TradFi-like solutions for non-crypto native users – maybe something like borrow-lending that also kind of interfaces like a bank account with a fixed period yield generation, which is being explored in the Serum and Solana ecosystem already.
People are building all of these ‘obvious’ things, borrow-lending, oracles, bridging, margin services, options, and futures and perps. These things are very easy to predict. But other things like the NFT craze, no one could have predicted that.
Also, the play to earn model derivatives on top of NFTs and all the augmented reality and other immersive interactive app supported by Web3 innovations. Some of these things you just can’t predict at all, and that’s why it’s best to leave it to the community and help steer resources towards the right places to build all these cool things.”
Anyone Should Be Able to Use DeFi
“I look forward to a world where these different dApps, whether they’re financial services or something else, are all kind of powered by Serum and Solana in the background, but their users are not necessarily DeFi native,” Zuo concludes.
“So, what do we do to get there? I think a lot of it is what you can call ‘uninformed flow.’ Anyone should be able to use DeFi, including people like my parents or people who just don’t care about the blockchain.
I couldn’t give you a good lecture on how the internet works. I’m not an expert, but nevertheless, I benefit from it. I enjoy the internet. So the next wave of applications, I think will be more and more user-friendly and immediate benefits to any user.
The UX challenge is not easy to get right. You want the app to feel extremely seamless to pick up and start using. This applies whether it’s e-commerce or mobile gaming, or whatever. So it’s not about pushing new technologies onto people. It’s all about getting people to come and use it without realizing.”
Polkadot’s parachain auctions have been one of the most hotly anticipated events for the platform since it launched on mainnet in May last year.
When the project announced in mid-October that the auctions would be starting on November 11, DOT prices rallied by over 25% before going on to reach a new all-time high within a few weeks. The reasons for the excitement were manifold.
Firstly, Polkadot and its cousin network Kusama are the first blockchain platforms to operate the concept of a parachain slot. Whereas most blockchains are open to any developer to come and set up shop, Polkadot has a fixed number of parachains that connect to its central Relay chain. Moreover, projects can’t simply buy these slots – the parachain auctions are where they bid in DOT tokens for the lease on a slot.
To enhance their chances of making the highest bid, projects can request that their supporters bond their own DOT in a crowdloan. However, this is quite a big ask – Polkadot’s parachain slots are 96 weeks long, and crowdloan participants can’t access their DOT at all during this time. So to make it worthwhile, projects offer enticements in the form of their own token rewards.
But to introduce an intriguing dynamic to this tokenomic model, remember that Polkadot is also a proof-of-stake network. DOT holders can already earn rewards for staking their DOT under the Nominated Proof-of-Stake consensus. So parachain contestants must make sure that their token rewards are enough of an enticement to outweigh the attraction of staking.
How is the Push-Pull DOT Token Dynamic Taking Effect?
The parachain auctions are now two weeks in, so we’re beginning to get an idea of how these staking versus crowdloan dynamics are playing out.
According to DotMarketCap, after two weeks, there are nearly 100 million DOT locked in crowdloans, representing over $3 billion in total value. The charts show a distinct upward trend at the point that the parachain auctions opened before leveling off to the same steady increase seen in the lead. However, the number of contributors looks to be on a steady upward trajectory.
These auctions are due to take place in two batches, with five parachain slots auctioned and due to go live on December 18. Assuming the rate of participation continues to increase on its current trajectory, we could expect to see up to around $4.5 billion worth of DOT locked up for most of the next two years.
A Global Supporter Community
It’s worth noting that DotMarketCap also lists participation numbers – over 230,000 currently – but these are likely to be grossly underrepresented due to the fact that several exchanges are supporting Polkadot’s crowdloans.
For example, at the time of writing, the biggest contributor to the Moonbeam crowdloan, according to Parachains.info, has put in over 11.7 million DOT, worth over $450 million. It seems most likely that sums of this magnitude come from exchanges rather than individual investors, meaning that a single deposit represents hundreds or even thousands of supporters.
This community will be incentivized to continue supporting Polkadot for the duration of the time their DOTs are bonded, which bodes well for the success of projects operating on the platform.
In any case, we won’t have to wait long to find out. On December 18, all five of the first parachains will be able to go live. As that day will mark the moment when the clock starts ticking on the 96 weeks of their lease, they’ll need to be ready to go if they want to ensure they’re demonstrating maximum value to their lenders.
It should be noted that the frontrunners for the parachain slots have all battle-tested their projects twice over. For example, Acala, the DeFi protocol that’s already taken the first parachain slot, also operates its sibling platform Karura on the Kusama network. So, we can anticipate a very short lead time to launch for each parachain after the slots go live on December 18.
What’s Been the Impact on Staking?
Coming to the other side of the DOT tokenomic equation, there has been an evident impact on DOT staking since the parachain slots were announced.
For much of the year, Polkadot was the second most popular staking network after Cardano, boasting over 70% of the total DOT supply locked. However, since October, many stakers have unstaked their DOT, meaning that the network now has around 53% of DOT locked in proof-of-stake. However, in response to the reduced staked DOT, the issuance algorithm will increase the rewards, ultimately attracting more DOT to be staked from the open market to increase the security of the network.
Remember – these are just the first slots. Another six are planned before March, bringing the total to eleven. However, we can expect Polkadot to keep increasing the number of parachains over the coming months and years, meaning that this continuing cycle of bonding more DOT in crowdloans, which creates additional incentives to stake, will continue unabated for some time to come.
Based on the performance of the parachain auctions over the last two weeks, the DOT tokenimic model is proving successful.
[PRESS RELEASE – London, United Kingdom, 7th December 2021]
Polygon and Wanchain are proud to announce a strategic partnership that will drive further adoption of Layer 2 cross-chain bridges and accelerate the development of interoperable blockchain technology as a whole.
To cement Polygon’s position as the leading platform of Ethereum scaling and infrastructure development, Wanchain will deploy direct decentralized cross-chain bridges connecting Polygon and Arbitrum. This Layer 2-to-Layer 2 bridge will complement and enhance Polygon’s growing suite of solutions, including Polygon Hermez, Polygon PoS, Polygon SDK, and Polygon Avail.
Wanchain, a decentralised blockchain interoperability solution that connects the world’s isolated blockchain networks, is the only project that enables truly decentralised cross-chain transactions between isolated heterogeneous blockchain networks. Wanchain’s cross-chain infrastructure already supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Wanchain, EOSIO, Binance Smart Chain, Litecoin, XRP Ledger, Moonriver, Avalanche, and Polkadot. The addition of Polygon’s Layer 2 bridges reinforces Wanchain’s position as the world’s most advanced cross-chain solution.
Polygon and Wanchain have a shared vision of decentralised blockchain interoperability. They foresee that multiple Layer 2 solutions will coexist and that, in order to preserve the value of scaling solutions, different Layer 2 blockchains will need to allow assets, data, and commands to transfer directly from one Layer 2 blockchain to another.
This partnership marks the first instance of using decentralised liquidity pools to power cross-chain bridges. It is an important milestone as the blockchain industry marches towards decentralised cross-chain function calls. This approach differs fundamentally from the industry-standard Lock-Mint-Burn-Unlock approach previously formalized by Wanchain.
Li Ni, Wanchain VP of Business Development and Operations, states:
“We recognizsed that needing to pass through Ethereum when moving from one Layer 2 to another is self-defeating and completely undermines the improved scalability promised by Polygon. Wanchain’s new Layer 2 bridges preserve the high transaction throughput and low costs of Polygon while remaining efficient, versatile and decentralised.”
Sandeep Nailwal, the co-founder at Polygon, commented:
“By extending inroads between Abritrum and Polygon PoS, the cross-chain bridge will facilitate better liquidity and utility for ecosystem users on both sides while fostering greater overall interoperability and growth for the Ethereum Ecosystem.”
Polygon is the leading platform for Ethereum scaling and infrastructure development. Its growing suite of products offers developers easy access to all major scaling and infrastructure solutions: L2 solutions (ZK Rollups and Optimistic Rollups), sidechains, hybrid solutions, stand-alone and enterprise chains, data availability solutions, and more. Polygon’s scaling solutions have seen widespread adoption with 3000+ applications hosted, 1B+ total transactions processed, ~100M+ unique user addresses, and $5B+ in assets secured.
If you’re an Ethereum Developer, you’re already a Polygon developer! Leverage Polygon’s fast and secure txns for your dApp, get started here.
True DeFi is interoperable — Wanchain, the Wide Area Network chain, is the world’s premier decentralised blockchain interoperability solution. Our mission is to drive blockchain adoption through interoperability by building fully decentralised bridges that connect the world’s many siloed blockchain networks. This cross-chain infrastructure empowers developers to build truly decentralised cross-chain applications to power the future of DeFi.
The Swiss-based investment product issuer – 21Shares – listed its first two physically-backed Exchange-Traded Notes (ETNs) on Nasdaq Stockholm. The underlying assets of the financial products are respectively Bitcoin and Ethereum.
First Issuer of ETNs on Nasdaq Stockholm
According to a recent press release, Nasdaq released a new segment for ETNs, a type of debt securities that track specific assets and trade on a major exchange like a stock. Exchange-Traded Notes are similar to bonds but do not have periodic interest payments.
21Shares – a Swiss organization that enables people to invest in various cryptocurrencies through conventional ETPs – became the first issuer of physically-backed crypto ETNs on Nasdaq Stockholm with Bitcoin (ticker symbol: ABTC) and Ethereum (AETH) as underlying assets.
As of November 2021, 21Shares managed nearly $3 billion in 20 European cryptocurrency exchange-traded products and 82 listings. The CEO – Hany Rashwan – commented on the most recent initiative:
“We are excited to become the first issuer of physically-backed ETNs for Nasdaq Stockholm, one of the most tech-forward global exchanges. Our partnership is a strong endorsement of 21Shares’ mission to make cryptos more accessible in a simple and regulated manner.”
In 2015, Nasdaq Stockholm became one of the first trading venues to trade exchange-listed products with bitcoin as an underlying asset. Helena Wedin – European Head of ETPs at the global marketplace – explained more about ETNs and 21Shares’ move:
“Exchange-Traded Notes provide access to alternative investments while maintaining the transparency of a regulated marketplace, and we are happy to launch this new segment at Nasdaq Stockholm with 21Shares as the first issuer.”
21Shares Offers Crypto ETPs for Saving Accounts
Earlier this year, 21Shares partnered with the German online retail platform – Comdirect – to bring its cryptocurrency exchange-traded products to the latter’s savings plan program (Spar plan). Following the development, Comdirect’s nearly three million customers were allowed to gain digital asset exposure in their savings accounts.
Rashwan highlighted his firm’s previous endeavors on the German market, saying that 21Shares was the first crypto issuer to list a “fully collateralized, 100% physically-backed bitcoin ETP” on most German exchanges back in 2019.
Marco Infuso – Managing Director of Business Development of the DACH region (the countries of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) – described this collaboration as a “milestone in democratization crypto investments.” In his opinion, many investors have been considering purchasing BTC, but until now, they did not have the proper investment tools to store the asset in a savings plan.
DeFi aficionados are always looking for different ways to earn in the decentralized finance market. However, the list of trading, staking, and farming platforms available in the space can be quite overwhelming for new entrants.
Most of the time, traders have to use different platforms for their DeFi activities such as charting, trading, staking, and more. But Sphynx is looking to change that by providing an all-in-one platform for DeFi traders and investors.
What is Sphynx?
Sphynx is an all-in-one decentralized exchange built on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) for staking, trading, holding, and farming tokens, and more.
Sphynx offers a single platform that has everything a trader or investor might need to successfully navigate the DeFi market, including a consolidated wallet that gives users a view of their digital assets, dynamic charts, farms, staking portals, and more.
It is designed to allow users to trade and conduct other related activities quickly, which is achieved through the automated configurations of the user experience.
The platform automatically configures whatever action users take on the platform. For instance, when users search for a particular token on the platform, the swap is automatically configured so that it is set for traders to buy. Also, if traders wish to sell any of their digital assets, they just simply click on the particular asset, and the swap will be automatically configured to sell.
The Sphynx platform offers users several utilities that are all geared toward making their trading and investing experience seamless. Some of them include:
- Papyrus Charting
The Sphynx Papyrus charts allow users to chart, research and place orders for any token on BSC. Using the charts, traders can check for several important trading information, including market cap, liquidity, and order books, without leaving the platform.
- Consolidated Sphynx Wallet
The platform provides users with a consolidated Sphynx Wallet that enables them to store their assets, trade directly from within Sphynx at any time, and reduce transaction costs when tokens are transferred between the different platforms it offers.
- Nile Staking Pools
Sphynx Nile Pools allow DeFi projects built on BSC to boost rapid adoption by distributing a portion of their tokens to SPHYNX token holders. Nile Pools also allows existing projects to develop a relationship with the Sphynx community of loyal supporters.
- Pyramid Farming
The Sphynx Pyramid farming is for users to earn SPHYNX tokens by creating liquidity for their desired pair and subsequently providing liquidity to the Pyramid. Sphynx offers a mouth-watering APR as an incentive for users to provide liquidity for their favorite DeFi projects.
- IDO LaunchPad
The Sphynx launchpad is geared toward providing a platform for new promising DeFi projects to be launched without the developers having to go through the hassle of getting an audience and building a community, as they would have an already developed community on Sphynx.
- ETH Bridge
The SphynxSwap platform offers an Ethereum to Binance Smart Chain bridge with their launchpad and DEX features, allowing users to be able to easily switch between the two networks hassle-free.
SphynxSwap is an automated market maker (AMM) that allows any combination of two tokens to be swapped on the platform.
Users can swap their tokens quickly and not worry about high transaction fees. Sphynx also allows investors to earn passively by staking their tokens on the platform. It has a yield farming feature where users can stake liquidity provider (LP) tokens and earn SPHYNX.
The SPHYNX Token
SPHYNX is the native cryptocurrency of the platform. It is a BEP-20 token with a total supply of 1 billion SPHYNX.
The token has a minting function that can only be accessed by MasterChef for farms and staking platform. MasterChef is a smart contract that controls what a farm can do and how. It is the master code that runs all operations.
Sphynx intends to continue developing its platform and expanding its product offering as the crypto industry continues to grow.
Some future integrations that Sphynx is currently working on include:
- NFT MarketPlace
With the NFT space currently making waves, Sphynx aims to embrace it fully. The Sovereign Sphynx Council consists of 8,888 NFT collectibles that will reward holders with a small percentage of fees charged on the platform. The Sphynx NFT Marketplace is still under development and will go live soon.
- Cross-chain Trading
Sphynx plans to expand to other smart chains aside from BSC to foster the interoperability of crypto assets, including the launch of an ETH bridge.
Leading cryptocurrency lending and savings platform Nexo has partnered with Fidelity Digital Assets (FDA), the digital arm of financial services giant Fidelity Investments, to expand institutional access to cryptocurrencies.
Nexo Partners with Fidelity
Following the collaboration, both firms will develop a comprehensive product suite and compliant infrastructure for institutional investors seeking to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies, Nexo said in a press release shared with CryptoPotato.
In addition, the duo will offer quality custodial and lending services as well as launch innovative products developed specifically for institutional clients.
Unrestricted Access to Crypto
Under the agreement, Fidelity’s institutional customers will have unrestricted access to Nexo’s products, including the company’s crypto prime brokerage, while expanding Nexo’s ability to increase its assets under management.
Nexo’s custodial layer will also be upgraded to military-grade security infrastructure, keeping investors safe at all times, the announcement added.
Commenting on the development, Kalin Metodiev, co-Founder and Managing Partner at Nexo, said the partnership will enable customers to use the credit and trading products while relying on FDA’s advanced custody and security infrastructure.
“Working with Fidelity Digital Assets is the latest milestone in our quest to offer a complete institutional platform and to onboard traditional finance companies into the digital asset ecosystem,” Metodiev added.
Christopher Tyrer, Head of Fidelity Digital Assets Europe, noted that the move creates an opportunity for the duo to deliver a robust and seamless solution for their customers, adding:
“We’re thrilled that our best-in-class operational controls and security expertise will be extended to the assets of Nexo’s customers, while the ability for Fidelity Digital Asset’s clients to access Nexo’s lending solutions will help us deliver a richer experience to meet our clients’ evolving needs.”
The development comes less than a month after Nexo announced a $100 million buyback program for its native cryptocurrency dubbed NEXO.
Surging Institutional Interest in Crypto
In recent times, there has been a growing interest in cryptocurrencies from institutional investors, who hope to also participate in the opportunities associated with the asset class.
While several institutional clients have gained exposure to cryptocurrencies via direct and indirect investments, the interest in crypto assets from these investor classes has continued to surge.
According to a report in July, as part of its efforts to the growing institutional interest in cryptocurrencies, FDA said it will hire 100 employees, which would see its staff strength surge by up to 70%.