Flare Network Raises $11 Million in Funding to Bring Smart Contracts to All Blockchains

Flare Network Raises $11 Million in Funding to Bring Smart Contracts to All Blockchains

Decentralized finance protocol Flare raised $11.3 million in another funding round supported by heavyweights in the crypto industry. Launched at the tail end of 2020, Flare, a Turing complete Federated Byzantine Agreement-based (FBA) network, announced Hong Kong-based firm Kenetic Capital led the round, including top venture capital firms such as Digital Currency Group (DCG) and Coinfund.

The funding aims to boost the development of smart contract functionalities on blockchains that do not offer native support for smart contracts. At launch, Flare is set to support smart contract functionalities for Stellar (XLM), Litecoin (LTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), and XRP.

Other participants in the current funding round include crypto VCs such as LD Capital, cFund, Wave Financial, Borderless Capital, and Backend Capital. Adding to the $11 million fund are top crypto private investors Charlie Lee, Vinny Lingham, and Terra CEO, Do Kwan.

The platform’s main goal is to bring additional utility to other non-smart contract blockchains,” Flare CEO Hugo Philion shared in a statement. Supported by Ripple in 2019, Flare is now awaiting its mainnet launch to create a robust and complete blockchain ecosystem.

“The investment brings into the Flare ecosystem key participants in the investment community, together with major exchanges, market makers, blockchain founders, and entrepreneurs that have an interest in driving meaningful developments and participation on Flare.”

Flare Protocol is also planning one of the largest airdrops in crypto so far by awarding every eligible XRP account on the snapshot taken on December 12th, 2020, its native Spark tokens. Despite hundreds of crypto exchanges taking part in the airdrop, close to 2 Billion XRP locked on Coinbase will miss the Spark airdrop, BEG reported last December.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Layer-2 Scaling Solution Polygon Records Continued Growth, But May Not Bring Fees Down on Ethereum

Layer-2 Scaling Solution Polygon Records Continued Growth, But May Not Bring Fees Down on Ethereum

Ethereum layer 2 scaling solution Polygon has been seeing a meteoric rise over the past few months.

The sidechain currently has over $9.5 billion of total value locked (TVL), up from just $1 billion less than two months back, with 3.71 million in ETH and 26.87 million in BNB. BNB -1.15% Binance Coin / USD BNBUSD $ 353.84
-$4.07-1.15%
Volume 4.49 b Change -$4.07 Open $353.84 Circulating 153.43 m Market Cap 54.29 b
8 h Layer-2 Scaling Solution Polygon Records Continued Growth, But May Not Bring Fees Down on Ethereum 6 d ETH 2.0 is Already the Largest Proof of Stake Network and Vitalik isn’t Concerned About Competitors 1 w China’s Regulatory Crackdown Focused on High Leverage Derivatives Trading

This growth of Polygon has been the result of the Ethereum network working at capacity and rising gas costs. ETH -2.99% Ethereum / USD ETHUSD $ 2,519.04
-$75.32-2.99%
Volume 41.91 b Change -$75.32 Open $2,519.04 Circulating 116.21 m Market Cap 292.74 b
6 h NHL Team, San Jose Sharks, to Accept BTC, ETH, DOGE, And Alts Next Season 6 h Polkadot Ecosystem Hits a Milestone as Kusama’s First Functional Parachain Goes Live 8 h Layer-2 Scaling Solution Polygon Records Continued Growth, But May Not Bring Fees Down on Ethereum

Up until now, there has also been a lack of layer 2 solutions, though popular ones Arbitrum and Optimism have yet to be user-ready. Layer 2 solutions are expected to bring the fees down on layer 1, Ethereum as well; however, according to long-term ETH investor Tetronode,

“L2 will cause L1 fees to go up, not down. Demand for L1 interaction is unlimited and only curbed by what the market is willing to pay. L2 settlements are valuable and worth almost any gas price. Arbing makes L1 fees dependent on value onchain, not TX throughput!”

As can be seen currently, the fees on Ethereum are extremely low, the gas price is actually set to tumble into a single digit, but this is actually indicating a lack of activity on DeFi.

The gas issue was also what led to the explosion of the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) in the DeFi scene. Hundreds of projects launched on BSC, and the network scaled from under a million transactions a day to more than 11 million at its peak.

image2

Polygon’s growth, in contrast, has been steady. Those already familiar with Ethereum went to the sidechain trying to escape the extremely high cost of transactions on the second largest network.

The layer 2 solution has its own variation of Uniswap, QuickSwap, which has risen in popularity. Its rapid growth can be attributed to the fact that it enables over 10,000 swaps, constantly indicating users make use of the lower transaction fees.

Additionally, the average value of swaps on this automated market maker (AMM) has risen from just $186 to the north of $30k at its peak.

image1

Popular lending protocol Aave which currently dominates the DeFi space, is also contributing to the share of transactions on Polygon. AAVE -1.24% Aave / USD AAVEUSD $ 331.35
-$4.11-1.24%
Volume 406.83 m Change -$4.11 Open $331.35 Circulating 12.79 m Market Cap 4.24 b
3 w Coinbase Enables its Over A Million Wallet Users to Use DeFi — DEXs, NFTs, & More 3 w Software Provider Temenos Enables Crypto Trading for Banks 3 w Aave Is Testing Private Pools for Institutions to Ape into DeFi, Reveals CEO Stani Kulechov

Aave was integrated on Polygon for less than a quarter, but the average user on Polygon’s implementation of Aave does about 5 transactions on any given day, noted Joel John. The combined gas cost for supporting over 4,000 users as of early June was under $15.

In the meantime, Polygon’s $9 billion market cap coin MATIC is feeling the market woes, trading at $1.40, down 46% from its all-time high of $2.62.

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Author: AnTy

BadgerDAO & RenVM Launch A ‘Bridge’ to Bring Bitcoin to Ethereum in ‘One Click’

BadgerDAO & RenVM Launch A ‘Bridge’ to Bring Bitcoin to Ethereum in ‘One Click’

BadgerDAO and RenVM partner to bring Bitcoin to Ethereum via ‘Badger Bridge.’ The bridge aims to boost BTC utility in the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem.

  • Bitcoin-focused DeFi platform, BadgerDAO announced its partnership with RenVM, an open cross-chain solution, to bring Bitcoin to Ethereum via a Badger Bridge.
  • The bridge will ease users’ yield earning activities while offering instant transactions all in “a few short clicks.” It will be accessible through the Badger app to build a one-stop shop for Bitcoiners in DeFi.

In an aim to appeal to the market, BadgerDAO is launching “The Bridge Mining Program,” termed as the largest incentive program yet in crypto to incentivize the transfer of up to 100,000 BTC (~5.4 billion) to Ethereum with a reward of up to $6 million to participants.

The bridge aims to boost the number of conversions on RenVM, which has processed over 25,000 BTC conversions into Wrapped BTC since June 2020. Apart from impacting the adoption of the two partners, this bridge will also “provide seamless interoperability between platforms for DeFi users boosting the ecosystem,” RenVM chief operating officer Michael Burgess said.

This collaboration looks to further open Bitcoin to the DeFi field with more partnerships with top projects on the way, the statement reads.

“Given this depth of collaboration, we expect to mimic this functionality throughout all DeFi Ecosystems, so keep an eye out for similar products on Binance Smart Chain, Fantom, Solana, Polygon, and more!”

Burgess further stated that the partnership with BadgerDAO is an important step in introducing new innovations that will enable Bitcoin to have more utility.

“We wanted to strengthen our relationship with the BadgerDAO team and really make it the go-to place for putting your BTC to work, so it’s a natural fit. Further, it helps from a UX perspective by consolidating this functionally for users under one roof.”

The partnership follows a recent $21 million investment in BadgerDAO from top crypto venture capital firms in an aim to diversify some of the BADGER tokens held on the platform’s DAO treasury as a “backstop” to huge bearish market movements.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Alonzo Hard Fork to Bring Smart Contract Compatibility to Cardano (ADA) In April

Alonzo Hard Fork to Bring Smart Contract Compatibility to Cardano (ADA) In April

In a recent virtual conference of the Cardano360 event, IOHK Chief and Cardano CEO Charles Hoskinson said that Cardano’s roadmap is on course.

Alonzo HardFork Coming Next Month

According to Hoskinson, the Alonzo hard fork combinator will be launching in April. According to the academic, this feature will let users deploy smart contracts on the Cardano network.

“For the first time ever, publicly, people will be able to write smart contracts and deploy them on Cardano.”

The project has been heavily criticized, with some saying that Cardano will not displace Ethereum. Hoskinson has always said that is not the end goal of Cardano and that the blockchain network was cut out for something greater. And with this update, Hoskinson has validated his supporters.

Hoskinson said the Alonzo update would be deployed in the form of a hard fork just like the “Shelley” era. The former Ethereum executive noted that the upgrade would be available on the testnet in June, with the full mainnet launch slated for August this year.

Hoskinson also said the mainnet launch could see the launch of its Plutus programming platform for token swaps.

Cardano Would Host Countries

Cardano progressively upgrading its blockchain offering has made it to be called the “Ethereum killer.”

Ethereum has seen its gas fees shoot up. The second most valuable crypto project has also been plagued by slow transaction speed. Even with these challenges, Ethereum is a hub for everything decentralized applications (dApps). Decentralized offerings like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized lending, token swaps have continued to thrive.

But skyrocketing gas fees have seen users begin to explore alternative projects to build a fast-growing dApp niche. Cardano’s multi-asset and smart contract platform would be a great relief as its transaction is reputed to be much lower.

And according to the Cardano team, who is ably represented by Hoskinson, a fully formed Cardano blockchain would process thousands of transactions in a few seconds.

Besides aiming to move into the DeFi space, Hoskinson has said Cardano would fulfil a much-larger mission when it goes live. In a recent blockchain conference for Africa, Hoskinson said the Cardano is not just about facilitating the development of dApps. To him, the peer-reviewed blockchain would be able to host data of countries. He also said Cardano is currently working with some African nations to create digital identities linked to the Cardano blockchain.

This deal would see millions of users come into the Cardano ecosystem and create a whole new $5 trillion of wealth.

Even though the project is still under development, Hoskinson said many developers and DeFi projects have already subscribed, further propelling the Cardano ADA up the crypto chart.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Litecoin MimbleWimble Testnet Launched, Privacy Will Finally be Here in 2021

Litecoin MimbleWimble testnet is here, which will bring privacy to the network. Scheduled for launch on Sept. 30, not many participated in keeping it running as such MimbleWimble testnet has been relaunched. The protocol is designed to enhance privacy and obfuscate the traceability of distributed ledger transactions.

Only a few nodes connected and mined, so not “enough blocks to activate mimblewimble yet,” but as more peers get onboard, they will be able to activate the testnet, said Grin developer David Burkett who has been working on this implementation.

MimbleWimble is a modified implementation of the proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm that underpins Bitcoin. In this, blocks appear as a single large transaction, preventing the individual inputs and outputs of a transaction from being identified. Burkett also wrote,

“I’m still roughing in very minimal cli wallet support, but hopefully we’ll have a simple way to create mimblewimble transactions by the time it activates.”

Despite this news, LTC failed to pump and continues to trade around $46, down 87.55% from its all-time high. One of the worst performers of 2020, LTC saw returns just about 8.65% YTD.

Now that “Mimblewimble Extension Block” (MWEB) testnet is working, the developer will be focusing on making it easy for non-technical Litecoin users to test it out as well — this means wallet support, automated builds, and better documentation. He said,

“Once I’m confident everything is working as designed, I’ll start looking for ways to break the testnet, to make sure we find and resolve any security or stability weaknesses.”

Burkett also stated that next month, he would share a detailed plan about the remaining work required to get MWEB merged to the main repo, so that node operators and miners can start signaling for activation sometime in 2021.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin’s Key Psychological Level Showing ‘Strength’ But Price Could Still Drop Another 30%

The weekend didn’t bring any reprieve for digital currencies, rather resulted in bitcoin falling to $9,850 briefly before going back above the $10,000 level.

The good thing for bitcoin is that the key psychological level of $10k, although broken a few times, has managed to hold the fort.

While bitcoin is keeping above $10,000 for the most part, for now, Ether, which has been leading this rally, lost nearly 35% of its value last week.

Ether’s loss resulted in the DeFi’s TVL declining by $2 billion, while a whopping $78 billion were wiped out from the overall crypto market. Su Zhu, CEO of Three Arrows Capital said,

“Eth 320 as a bottom made sense and played out; btc i am actually flabbergasted by the strength shown at 10k and prob means 100k is more likely than 5k at this stage.”

At the time of writing, BTC/USD has been trading around $10,150, with ‘real’ volume still low at just $1.2 billion. Meanwhile, Tether is currently recording over 3x of bitcoin’s volume.

In late July, the flagship cryptocurrency broke the $9,000 – $10,000 range in which bitcoin traded between May and July to form a new higher range of $11,000 to $12,000.

Bitcoin / US Dollar on Bitstamp
Source: TradingView — Bitcoin YTD performance (+38%)

The current situation, however, doesn’t bring any confidence to bulls, as per analyst DonAlt, who has been bearish on BTC for quite some time.

He is “full-blown beartard” on bitcoin until the digital asset has a significant daily close above $11,200. Such an upward move would invalidate his bearish stance, but if not, he is looking for $8,000 or even $6,000 – $7,000.

Already, the last week which saw the digital currency briefly going to $12,000, bitcoin has fallen 17.5%. But a move to about $7,000 would put the pullback into the 40% drop category, which will be in-line with the previous pullback of 30%-40% recorded during the last bull cycle to the top.

As such, on-chain analyst Willy Woo says while “Local on-chain switching bullish (looking at the next few weeks out),” he is “not calling this has bottomed,” although it may have.

However, he also says, “it’s not a bad time to buy back in.”

A lot of Bitcoin’s next move depends on the stock market. Last week, after hitting a new all-time high, they experienced a correction, and a sharp reversal in tech stocks saw bitcoin responding as well.

However, unlike the crypto market, the stock market will remain closed on the occasion of Labor Day on Monday. Although stocks reversed some of their losses on Friday, markets are expected to still be choppy after investors return from the long weekend, which means bitcoin still remains in danger.

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Author: AnTy

HM Treasury to Establish Regulatory ‘Gateway’ For Cryptocurrency Promotions

The British government intends to bring some certain cryptocurrencies in to the scope of financial promotions regulations in a bid to protect UK based consumers. They announced at the beginning of this week that they would be looking to put an end to misleading adverts that put retail investors at risk.

According to a proposal published today that was tabled by John Glen, UK financial sector City Minister, the Crypto firms would have channeled through a regulatory gateway before being greenlighted to advertise crypto assets. The Financial Conduct authority (FCA) would play the oversight role for the promotions. Therefore, companies seeking to access the products from these unauthorized firms would require approval from the financial watchdog.

This was after a report from the 2018 crypto taskforce collaborative efforts from the HM treasury, FCA and Bank of England, highlighted that in as much as the crypto sphere and the underlying Distributed Ledger Technology potentially had a lot to offer, they should take steps to protect consumers and markets from looming risks. The risks identified include: Money laundering and terrorist funding and consumer and firm understanding of regulatory framework.

In the statement, the Minister remarking at the deficiencies of the current regulatory framework to catch up with the dynamic products flooding the markets, insisted that the proposal would look to categorize crypto promotions as other financial product promos.

Notably, a recent FCA crypto survey estimates that at least 1.9 million Britons translating to almost 4% of their population own some sort of cryptocurrency. With the number of citizens that have possessed crypto assets increasing to 5.35% in 2020 from last year’s meagre 3%. Bitcoin is the most popular crypto product, with almost 22% of the respondents acknowledging to have heard of Facebook’s Libra initiative despite not being operational yet.

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Author: Lujan Odera

SmartPy, Cryptonomic Devs Bring Chainlink Pricing Oracles to Tezos Blockchain

Blockchain based oracle, Chainlink partners with independent Tezos developers to bring decentralized data solutions to the decentralized staking platform.

In an official announcement, a pair of Tezos developers will be working with Chainlink to bring decentralized oracle solutions to the staking platform. Smart Chain Arena and Cryptonomic are part of the wider Tezos development community aiming to increase Tezos blockchain adoption. The partnership will allow SCA and Cryptonomic to receive live aggregated data feeds from multiple sources enabling the development of better platforms.

“Oracles are like a big onion … [T]he more you dig into them the more layers of problems you discover.” – Chainlink CEO on partnership with Tezos. “The depth of the problem initially isn’t obvious.”

Smart Chain Arena launched the SmartPy language which will provide the bridge –through smart contracts –to deploy Chainlink’s decentralized oracles. Cryptonomic stack will support deployment, indexing and querying.

Several blockchain platforms have turned to Chainlink to offer reliable data as the various external data sources are a barrier to development. Speaking on the integration of Chainlink’s oracles, Cryptonomic co-founder Vishakh said,

“We recommend Tezos developers use Chainlink when building smart contracts as Chainlink’s secure decentralized oracle network makes possible a plethora of new use cases across DeFi, Equities, Insurance, and much more.”

The partnership project will be fully funded by the Tezos Foundation through a grant in order to allow the quick completion of the project. The Foundation has been an important pillar in Tezos development offering universities and crypto developers several grants to improve the Tezos ecosystem.

Sergey believes Tezos will use the decentralized oracles in decentralized finance and insurance as its DeFi space grows. He further said,

“And having a good oracle mechanism is basically now a prerequisite for having a well-functioning DeFi application. And I think people are starting to realize that building oracle mechanisms is akin to building a blockchain.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

VeChain Partners with Fashion Brand H&M to Use Blockchain for Supply Chain Traceability

H&M, a fashion and clothing brand has partnered with VeChain to bring Blockchain traceability to manage its supply chain and offer more data to the customer on the products they are purchasing. Cos, a high end subsidiary of H&M has reportedly incorporated the blockchain system in their supply chain.

The official announcement has not been made public on the use of the VeChain blockchain as of yet, but the primary investor is already discussing various fields where the two companies can collaborate and expand their partnership.

The news came into the public domain during an Ask Me Anything (AMA) by Sunny Lu, the chief executive officer at VeChain, During an AMA Blockchain-based Supply chain management firm announced “more than 4,000 sustainability products were traced” using ‘MyStory’ —traceability platform for the new partnership.

Uncle Cat Found that H&M’s Luxury Brand Cos is Likely Using VeChain Powered MyStory Platform

This revelation by the VeChian CEO gave rise to the speculations about their partnership with H&M as the clothing brand in the past have utilized VeChain’s infrastructure for verifying organic manufacturing for its subsidiary Arket’s apparel back in 2018.

Soon after doing the math and realizing that H&M is likely the clothing brand partner, the Chinese media platform Uncle Cat found that H&M’s luxury sub-brand Cos is the new partner after they found one of their Jumper with MyStory tag.

VeChain Partnership with H&M’s Subsidiary Cos Likely to Expand Further

The partnership was later confirmed by an investment and blockchain firm, CREAM, which is considered as a driving force behind VeChain. CREAM released a blog confirming Cos is using VeChain’s blockchain tool and also revealed that the partnership is likely to expand further and can be utilized to bring blockchain traceability of Cos second-hand marketplace called “Resell”.

The partnership could see creation of a non-fungible token which will be tagged with each product and offered to the original buyer at the time of sale. This token could act as proof of originality in the second-hand market.

Under the partnership, VeChain would enhance the value of the premium clothing products offered by Cos, the technology would prove the authenticity of the products purchased by the customers and also reveal the sustainability of the raw products to the customers. Cos sustainable products must contain at least 50% sustainable fiber which the company claims is the minimum amount and the actual product would contain a much higher percentage of the fabric.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

US Congress Drafts Bill ‘Crypto-Currency Act of 2020’ To Bring Clarity To Digital Asset Regulation

A draft bill that will bring more regulatory clarity when it comes to the crypto sector has been introduced by an US congressman.

The bill named the Crypto-Currency Act of 2020 and will help to determine which federal agencies should regulate in the crypto space. This newest draft comes after the US lawmaker Warren Davidson earlier this year was looking to make regulations clearer by reintroducing the Token Taxonomy Act.

SEC to Regulate Crypto Securities

As reported, the US lawmaker who introduced the Crypto-Currency Act of 2020 bill was the Republican Arizona congressman Paul Gosar. This bill has cryptocurrencies divided into securities, cryptocurrencies and crypto commodities.

The draft has been proposed that for each of the mentioned categories above, to have a federal crypto regulator that provide updated announcements to the public on any required registrations and licenses.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been proposed for the crypto securities category, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for the cryptocurrcey category, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for the crypto commodities.

The Bill Defines Cryptocurrencies

What’s even more interesting about the bill is that it defines the cryptocurrencies types. According to the draft, crypto commodity represents “economic goods or services”, crypto securities are “all debt, equity and derivative instruments that rest on a blockchain”, whereas cryptocurrency stands for an US currency representation or “synthetic derivatives resting on a blockchain”.

The bill also says that acting via the FinCEN, the Secretary of the Treasury should issue rules for cryptocurrencies, synthetic stablecoins included, that make it possible for transactions in the crypto space to be traced, just like currency transactions of financial institutions do at the moment.

Market Participants and Lawmakers Have Been Long Looking for Regulatory Clarity

Regulatory clarity is something lawmakers and the crypto market players have been looking for. Through the Token Taxonomy Act, congressman Warren Davidson wants to help cryptocurrencies stand legally in the US.

Only recently, SEC, FinCEN and CFTC have issued together a statement in which they’re saying the cryptocurrency industry needs to comply with the US financial services and banking laws. All crypto players can do for the moment is wait and see if the bills introduced by Gosar and Davidson are going to bring regulatory clarity.

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Author: Oana Ularu