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.
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%.
Titled “Endgame,” the co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, has put forward a hypothetical idea of a “big blockchain” that is trustless and censorship-resistant but indefinitely accompanies some of the common trade-offs such as scalability and centralization when it comes to block production.
To achieve a system in which the block production is still centralized but the block validation is trustless and highly decentralized in nature, there need to be certain updates in place.
Buterin listed down a series of implementations, including the addition of the second tier of staking, the introduction of fraud proofs/ZK-SNARKS, data availability, and secondary channels for transactions. A system with all the aforementioned solutions would provide basic infrastructure, but the exec believes it would still be “somewhat aesthetically ugly.”
In fact, rollup implementations, such as Arbitrum, Optimism, Zksync, StarkNet, would also result in a similar outcome of centralized block production. Buterin stated that single rollups will be unsuccessful in holding almost more than half of Ethereum’s activity and would max out at a few hundred transactions per second instead.
Even though a multi-rollup future for Ethereum would present decentralized validation, robust censorship resistance, and even distributed block production, there is one catch. The exec asserted that the decentralization of block production may not last very long and cited the possibility of cross-domain MEV.
“There are several benefits to being able to construct the next block on many domains at the same time: you can create blocks that use arbitrage opportunities that rely on making transactions in two rollups, or one rollup and the main chain, or even more complex combinations.”
In a nutshell
In a multi-domain world, Buterin claimed that there are “strong pressures toward the same people controlling block production on all domains.” While a situation such as this is hypothetical, it is not entirely impossible. In short, centralization is one factor that continues to emerge irrespective of the route a blockchain plans on following.
This is where protocol-level mechanisms that include committee validation, data availability sampling, and bypass channels to “regulate” the market come. These techniques would ensure that the power is not abused by any players.
Regarding Ethereum, the co-founder believes that the “profound benefit” of the network’s rollup-centric roadmap implies that it is “open to all of the futures.” Furthermore, the blockchain does not need to “commit to an opinion.”
On a note to ETH researchers, Buterin pointed that it is important to have a clear understanding of what levels of decentralization in block production are achievable. He concluded by saying that the implementation of complicated plumbing may not render advantageous if cross-domain MEV makes it unsustainable.
Large bitcoin holders seem to believe that this is far from being the end of the 2021 bull cycle. Data reveals that whales took the opportunity to buy a whopping $3.5 billion, or 67,000 BTC, while the cryptocurrency was plunging towards $42,000.
- As CryptoPotato reported on December 5th, bitcoin’s price had dropped to $42,000 (on Bitstamp) – its lowest point since late September, for a cumulative crash of more than $16,000 in a day.
- Huobi – one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges with a prominent focus on the Chinese market – experienced a flash crash where the BTC price dropped to $28.8K instantly.
- All of this resulted in billions of dollars worth of liquidated long positions, causing nothing but mayhem within the community.
- Bitcoin whales, though, seem to have played this price movement “to perfection,” according to data from Santiment.
- The firm, which specializes in on-chain and social metrics of more than 2,000 cryptocurrencies, revealed that addresses holding between 100 to 10K BTC bought 67,000 bitcoins, beginning during the dump to $43.5K. That’s worth around $3.44 billion at current prices.
Bitcoin has recovered back to $50.1k Monday, and whale traders played the dip to perfection. Beginning during the dump to $43.5K, addresses holding 100 to 10K BTC have accumulated 67K more BTC after dumping the same amount before the price drop.
- Meanwhile, earlier today, we reported that the third-largest BTC whale also took advantage of the dip and bought more than 2,700 coins in a day at around $50K.
According to a study conducted by Grayscale Investments – the world’s largest digital asset manager – 26% of the American investors already own bitcoin. 55% of the HODLers entered the crypto market in the last 12 months.
Every Fourth American Has BTC
Despite bitcoin’s current price decline, the primary cryptocurrency has had a highly successful year and has increased its USD value by 70% compared to the first day of 2021. Throughout the last few months, many prominent individuals such as Paul Tudor Jones, Barry Sternlicht, Orlando Bravo, Senator Cynthia Lummis, Francis Suarez (Miami’s mayor), Eric Adams (New York’s mayor), and more showcased their support.
Numerous institutions and large companies have also turned their sight towards the cryptocurrency by investing in it. MicroStrategy is the brightest example as the firm takes every opportunity to accumulate more bitcoin.
These developments might be some of the reasons why 26% of US residents are currently BTC HODLers, according to Grayscale’s latest research. What’s more, almost 60% of all participants said they are interested in crypto investments, hinting that the owners’ percentage could continue to increase.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent financial hurdles, which followed, might be another argument for investors to swap some of their fiat currencies for bitcoin. As such, it is no wonder that 55% of the current BTC hodlers in the States have hopped on the bandwagon in the last 12 months. A similar percentage admitted they view the leading digital asset as a store-of-value investment tool rather than a currency.
“The 2021 Bitcoin Investor Study results confirm that more investors see long-term value in adding Bitcoin and digital currencies to their investment portfolios,” said Michael Sonnenshein, CEO of Grayscale Investments.
Cryptocurrencies have usually been more attractive to youngsters and males. However, the trends seem to be changing as the percentage of people aged between 55 and 64 interested in bitcoin rose from 30% in 2020 to 46% in 2021. The enthusiasm among female investors is also growing – from 47% last year to 53% nowadays.
Will American BTC Investors Keep Multiplying?
The mass printing of US dollars, among other controversial policies which the US government undertook, created many monetary disorders such as increased inflation. Currently, its rate in the USA is standing at 6.2% as the number has not been that high since the 80s. As a result, the dollar’s buying power diminishes, and people will look for alternatives.
According to many experts, bitcoin could fit well in that role since it has a finite amount of 21 million coins ever to exist, making it a hedge against inflation.
Another concern in front of the American crypto community has been whether US authorities will ban bitcoin and the alternative coins (the way China did it earlier this year). Not long ago, though, the Federal Reserve and the SEC stated they had no such plans, which generated further enthusiasm among the investors in the States.
People in Colombia will soon have a new option to buy their favorite cryptocurrencies using their bank accounts just as easy as they buy any other product.
The US-regulated cryptocurrency exchange Gemini announced that it had finally completed all the necessary steps to move to the implementation phase of a project that would allow Colombians to buy cryptocurrencies with the funds stored on their Bancolombia accounts.
This partnership is of great importance for the development of the local crypto industry as Bancolombia is the largest bank in the country, with total assets ammounting to $275.76 billion in 2020 and over 16 million users in the same year.
Gemini and Bancolombia Partner to Offer Crypto Services in Colombia
Although the move could serve as a frictionless on-ramp for millions of Colombians to enter the crypto world, the service will for now be restricted to a limited number of users. Neither Gemini nor Bancolombia specified how many people will qualify for the service.
The project will last for one year, starting on December 14, 2021. During that time, all eligible users will be able to buy bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) from Gemini using their Bancolombia accounts.
That is to say, Gemini would handle processes involving cryptocurrencies, and Bancolombia would deal with all matters involving the movement of any amount of Colombian pesos -the country’s official currency.
The project is being executed within the regulatory sandbox that the country is currently implementing as a way to stimulate innovation in financial services. This is also why it is so heavily restricted and slowed down.
In a regulatory sandbox, government regulators grant certain advantages to startups that wish to test the viability of their proposals but are unable to implement them due to heavy bureaucratic procedures and possible legal hurdles.
Cynthia Del Pozo, Gemini’s Principal, Strategy and Corporate Development shared her excitement in an official blog post, noting that the crypto industry could help with the expansion of many Latin American economies
Crypto is borderless by nature, and we are committed to expanding crypto access to individuals across the globe. We believe that crypto can play an important role in the development of Latin America as interest in blockchain and innovative technologies proliferates throughout the region.
As we continue on our mission to build the future of finance, we invite institutions from across Latin America exploring opportunities in crypto to reach out to us here.
The Trend of Regulatory Sandboxes
Colombia’s regulatory sandbox is being promoted by the country’s Financial Superintendency with the collaboration of other regulatory bodies.
There are 9 projects approved for implementation. However, only 2 are in an operational phase: Gemini with Bancolombia and the Bitpoint exchange and payment startup MOVii. Other projects involve players such as Binance, and the Latin exchanges Bitso and Buda.com.
Currently, Brazil and Spain have also designed policies similar to the Colombian one. Brazil’s regulatory sandbox is focused on promoting fast and efficient payment systems, while Spain seeks to strengthen its security and compliance mechanisms.
However, Spain is also working on stepping up its crypto game. The country’s Central Bank is prioritizing the desing and implemention of a CBDC on its latest development plan for 2020-2024. A little slower than its Brazilian counterpart which plans to launch a its own CBDC next year.
Over the weekend, BitMart suffered a large-scale security breach. It can be counted as one of the most devastating attacks to date wherein the hackers managed to siphon off $196 million worth of cryptocurrencies after compromising a private key that opened two hot wallets. But the communities of Seychelles-based Huobi and Shiba Inu (SHIB) have announced support to assist BitMart.
Huobi, Shiba Inu Communities Lends Support
According to a recent development, Huobi has vowed to report and assist the inflows of related assets promptly as the embattled cryptocurrency exchange undergoes a security review. Its official tweet regarding the same, read,
“Huobi will do our best to assist BitMart in handling this issue. If there are any inflows of related assets, we will report and assist in a timely manner.”
With BitMart’s withdrawals remaining suspended, for the time being, another community, this time, Shiba Inu, has extended its help.
Even though the core of our project is decentralization, we want to show our support and give some love to our friends at BitMart Exchange, who are already working hard to fix the security incident that happened yesterday.”
What transpired during the large-scale hack?
On December 4th, blockchain security and data analytics company Peckshield first observed the security breach when one of the exchange’s addresses exhibited a consistent outflow of numerous crypto assets to an address, which Etherscan has labeled as the “Bitmart Hacker.”
According to Peckshield, the attackers managed to steal $100 million worth of various tokens on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain and $96 million on Binance Smart Chain (BSC). Following the incident, BitMart released a statement confirming that only the “hot wallets” of the two blockchains were affected that carried a very small portion of the trading platform’s assets.
Sheldon Xia, the founder and CEO of BitMart announced the completion of initial security checks and also identified affected tokens. Xia went on to say that all the other assets with the exchange are secure and undamaged.
He also confirmed that the platform will use its own funding to cover the incident and compensate affected users. BitMart is reportedly in talks with various project teams with regards to the most reasonable solutions, such as token swaps.
Furthermore, the CEO maintained his optimism on resuming their deposit and withdrawal functions from December 7th.
Craig Wright – the man who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto (the inventor of Bitcoin) – has been found to not have had a business partnership with Dave Kleiman, a deceased Florida forensics expert. However, he still must pay $100 million in compensation for stealing Kleiman’s company in Florida.
The ruling for Wright’s case was revealed by CoinDesk earlier today. Apparently, the Jury chose to make Wright pay his $100 million damages in fiat currency alone, writing “0 BTC” under the line for Bitcoin damages.
Wright claimed to have been friends with Kleiman before his death in 2013, and that Kleiman had helped him edit the Bitcoin whitepaper. However, he maintained that the two were not business partners. After Kleiman’s passing, his brother brought a lawsuit against Wright on behalf of Dave’s Estate, and W&K Info Defense Research.
In this case, the Jury was required to evaluate a number of charges, including whether Wright was liable to W&K for stealing, or for fraud. While found liable for the prior, he was cleared of the other claims.
Feelings About the Verdict
Wright said he feels “remarkably happy and vindicated” with the outcome while continuing to insist that he has never been a fraud. According to him, he had offered the Kleiman estate $12 million back when Bitcoin was only $200 each. Should that money have been stored and kept in Bitcoin by Kleiman, it would be worth nearly $3 billion today.
However, the attorney for the plaintiffs – Vel Freedman – was still pleased to know they’d scored $100 million from the case. He and his fellow attorneys felt that the verdict set a positive precedent in the blockchain industry.
“Wright refused to give the Kleimans their fair share of what Dave helped create. We are immensely gratified that our client, W&K Information Defense Research LLC, has been awarded $100,000,000 reflecting Dave Kleiman’s brilliant contribution to bitcoin. “
In June, Wright also won a legal dispute against Cobra, getting Bitcoin.org to remove the Bitcoin whitepaper from their site.
BitTorrent Token (BTT) – a TRC-10 utility token – will see its main net launched on December 12th, according to recent word from the organization. Meanwhile, old BTT tokens on TRON will be redenominated into smaller units, while retaining the same market cap.
Mainnet Launch + Redenomination
BitTorrent announced the upcoming BitTorrent Chain (BTTC) launch through a tweet earlier today.
“#BTTC Mainnet and #BTT Redenomination Plan will be launched on Dec 12, 2021!” said the company.
BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol that’s existed since 2001. Rainberry – the developers behind BitTorrent – launched BTT in February 2019, which powers various other blockchain dapps and BitTorrent features. These include BitTorrent Speed, BitTorrent File System, DLive, and others.
TRON and BitTorrent announced BitTorrent Chain early last month, marking each chain’s first entry into the cross-chain field. BTTC is an EVM-compatible interoperability protocol built on TRON. It will allow for asset transfers between TRON, Ethereum, and Binance Smart Chain (BSC) alike. It will also operate using a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, validated by various “Super Representatives” that stake a required number of tokens.
Only today was BTTC’s official launch date announced, alongside plans for BTT redenomination:
“While maintaining the current market cap, old BTT tokens will be redenominated and swapped with the new at a ratio of 1:1000. The total supply will be increased to 990,000,000,000,000.”
While BTT currently operates as a TRC-10 token, it will be recast as a TRC-20 token on TRON, and mapped to the BTTC main net.
As such announcements tend to do, BTT surged once the BTTC launch date was revealed today. Drifting around a $2.2 billion market cap at 6am EST, the coin peaked at $3.1 billion just 2 hours later. That comes after another massive surge from $1.6 billion to $2.2 billion at around 11pm EST yesterday, within only minutes.
BTT’s market cap has since consolidated to around $2.7 billion at the time of writing, with a token price of $0.00289 each.
The blockchain provider and development platform – Syscoin announced that its Layer 1 for Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) smart contracts has reached mainnet on block 1,317,500. With that development, it has fulfilled Phase One of the NEVM launch.
Syscoin Combines Bitcoin And Ethereum
According to a press release seen by CryptoPotato, this upgrade will allow users of the platform to enjoy more benefits, such as enhanced security and flexibility of smart contracts on a modular chain. The Syscoin team added that this advancement laid the foundation for supporting the next EVM Layer 2.
The advancement happened when the platform reached its 1,317,500 block. The Syscoin team posted the news on Twitter, informing the public that the whole process will be completed in a couple of hours. It also warned users to refrain from sending SYS (the native token of the protocol) during the update.
.@syscoin block 1,317,500 has now been reached.
All miners will now shut down and upgrade to 4.3. This will take a couple of hours to complete.
When the #smartcontract chain is deployed successfully, we will update everyone.
Please refrain from sending $SYS during the update
— Syscoin (@syscoin) December 6, 2021
The team outlined that its POW security has a green focus thanks to the merge-mining technology of both Bitcoin and Ethereum. With the help of its Solidity and EVM compatibility, Syscoin managed to set the stage for all EVM-based projects, including Ethereum itself.
As a result of the development, projects running on Ethereum can migrate to the Syscoin platform and save almost all transaction fees. In turn, those savings could be passed on to their user bases. Jagdeep Sidhu – Syscoin’s Lead Core Developer – gave further details:
”Syscoin will utilize the best features of the top two cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin and Ethereum. Hence, Syscoin will provide the security offered by Bitcoin while maintaining the programmability of Ethereum. Scalable applications will be mounted on this system via ZKPs, which will introduce our proposed decentralized cost model on Ethereum gas fees.”
Subsequently, Syscoin explained that the upcoming Phase Two will bring ZK-Rollups, which could boost the speed to 210K TPS in Q1 of 2022. Phase Three should follow in Q3 with the implementation of Vanadium technology, which could enhance the number to 4 million TPS.
Syscoin Provided Stablecoin Bridge
At the end of last year, the project partnered with the stablecoin platform – TrustToken. The goal of the collaboration was to speed up payments and provide other solutions to Ethereum’s blockchain. Additionally, the five stablecoins of TrustToken (TUSD, TGBP, THKD, TCAD, and TAUD) started running on Syscoin’s network and became available for users. Speaking on the matter was once again Jagdeep Sidhu:
“Digital assets have growing needs for better usability, robust decentralized security, and a scalable way of ensuring every transaction complies with regulations. Syscoin uniquely aligns with all of these requirements. We look forward to TrustToken’s family of stablecoins becoming future-proof and gaining significant advantage with Syscoin.”
The partnership also enabled developers to mine two cryptocurrencies at the same time – SYS and BTC.