Consensys, R3, eCurrency, Diem & Other Banking, and Payments Giants to Help BoE with CBDC

BoE Selects Consensys, R3, eCurrency, Diem Association & Other Banking and Payments Giants to Help with its CBDC

This week, the Bank of England announced the membership of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) Engagement and Technology Forums.

The creation of the groups was first announced in April this year alongside the CBDC task force to explore the potential of a UK CBDC.

Besides gathering input on all technical aspects and engaging stakeholders, the Technology Forum will help the bank understand the challenges of designing, implementing, and operating a CBDC.

The list published by the central bank includes some notable names from the world of payments and financial technology.

Members of the Engagement Forum include executives from HSBC, Starling Bank, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered Bank, NatWest Group SWIFT, PayUK, Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Google, Facebook’s Diem Association, and many others.

As for Technology Forum, the members are Monzo, Spotify, Stripe, Amazon Web Services, IBM, R3, eCurrency, Consensys, Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3), and the Project Lead of Blockchain & Digital Currency at World Economic Forum.

The Technology Forum met for the first time in late September, and the Engagement Forum will have its inaugural meeting later in the year, it said.

“The Forum will have an important role in helping the Bank and HM Treasury understand the practical challenges of designing, implementing, and operating a CBDC.”

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Author: AnTy

Only 1% of Ethereum Addresses Are Currently Using DeFi: ConsenSys Report

Only 1% of Ethereum Addresses Are Currently Using DeFi: ConsenSys Report

As of April 1st, 2021, there were 146 million unique Ethereum addresses, 16 million more since the beginning of the year. However, only 1% of these addresses are using decentralized finance (DeFi).

By the end of quarter first, 1.75 million unique addresses had used at least one DeFi protocol, despite DeFi users growing by 50% this quarter and a 10x increase from the end of Q1 2020, states the latest report on the DeFi sector by ConsenSys.

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The growth of DeFi represents the increasing demand for the sector, increasing the median gas price to 50% in ETH and average transaction fees to spike 4.2x.

In Q1 2021, Ethereum’s total fees were double of the Bitcoin blockchain. This gap continues to widen between both the blockchains, with Ethereum generating more than 850% fees daily than Bitcoin this month. Even leading AMM, Uniswap is doing more in fees than the largest network.

Due to the persistent issue of high fees, developers are moving to layer 2 solutions such as Polygon (MATIC), Optimism, and Starkware’s STARK-based roll-ups.

Within DeFi, each sector gained a 50% increase in users in the first quarter. DEX volume increased 2.5x to $63 billion, and outstanding loans rose 3x to $10.8 billion.

The report further covered NFTs, which saw a meteoric rise due to the coronavirus pandemic, which left 62% of artists unemployed. NFTs are about 10% of global art sales, it noted.

Now, in Q2, the trends to watch, according to ConsenSys, involve DAOs investing in NFTs and Flashbots dominating the Ethereum Network.

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Author: AnTy

Gitcoin Spins Out of ConsenSys After Raising Over $11M in a ‘Strategic’ Capital Move

Gitcoin Spins Out of ConsenSys After Raising Over $11M in a ‘Strategic’ Capital Move

Gitcoin, a decentralized funding program supporting open-sourced blockchain projects, has grown its Treasuries by $11.3 million, a blog post confirmed on Wednesday. The funding was led by Paradigm, with top crypto firms such as IDEO, 1kx, Electric Capital, The LAO, and MetaCartel Ventures also joining the round. Other individual investors included Andreessen Horowitz’s board partner, Balaji Srinivasan, and Naval Ravikant, co-founder of AngelList.

The additional funding aims to increase the firm’s capital during tougher crypto market times and assist the company spin-out from its parent company, ConsenSys.

“It was time for us to go and see if this bird can fly and if we can do this on our own and manage our own balance sheet accordingly,” Gitcoin COO Kyle Weiss said.

Launched in 2017, the firm has helped several companies get off the ground, including Uniswap (UNI), Defiant (a crypto-focused publication), and the Ethereum 2.0 testnet, Prysm. The program has released nearly $20 million in grants to connect crypto and Web3 startups with open-source developers.

Weiss said the extra funding would enhance the “general development of the space” to decentralize the internet while helping open source developers in funding, especially in times of crisis.

“We want Gitcoin and Gitcoin Grants to have staying power, so now is the time to make sure there’s enough money in the treasury to last the next four to 10 years, potentially through at least another bear market” Weiss said.

Gitcoin rolled out four grant programs in 2020 to over 20 projects after $975,000 in grants across 2019.

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Author: Lujan Odera

JPMorgan, Mastercard, & UBS Invest in ConsenSys’ $65M Round to “Accelerate the Convergence” of DeFi and Traditional Finance

JPMorgan, Mastercard, & UBS Invest in ConsenSys’ $65M Round to “Accelerate the Convergence” of DeFi and Traditional Finance

ConsenSys, an Ethereum software company, announced the closing of a $65 million round to “accelerate the convergence” of DeFi and Web3 applications on Ethereum.

The companies that took part in this funding involve J.P. Morgan, Mastercard, UBS, Protocol Labs, the Maker Foundation, Fenbushi, The LAO, and Alameda Research.

“Enterprise Ethereum is a key infrastructure on which we and our partners are building payment and non-payment applications to power the future of commerce,” said Raj Dhamodharan, Executive Vice President of Digital Asset and Blockchain Products and Partnerships at Mastercard.

Other investors include CMT Digital, Greater Bay Area Homeland Development Fund, Quotidian Ventures, and Liberty City Ventures.

Interestingly, several funds invested with Ethereum-based stablecoins, DAI and USDC, read the official announcement by the tech company.

“We are proud to partner with preeminent financial firms alongside leading crypto companies to further converge the centralized and decentralized financial domains at this particularly exciting time of growth for ConsenSys and the entire industry,” said Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsesnSys who co-founded Ethereum. ETH 7.13% Ethereum / USD ETHUSD $ 2,302.61
$164.187.13%
Volume 29.46 b Change $164.18 Open $2,302.61 Circulating 115.46 m Market Cap 265.85 b
3 h CoinList’s Rally Network Liquid Token Sale Attracts 40k Users to Buy $22 Million in RLY 5 h JPMorgan, Mastercard, & UBS Invest in ConsenSys’ $65M Round to “Accelerate the Convergence” of DeFi and Traditional Finance 8 h CoinShares is Launching an XRP ETP (XRPL) as the Digital Asset Nears $2

The company currently has a headcount of 360 and plans to add another 100 employees by the end of this year.

ConsenSys’ list of products includes MetaMask with over 3 million monthly active users across, more than 150,000 developers use Infura’s APIs, and millions of developers using Truffle to create and deploy smart contracts. Meanwhile, its Protocols group, which develops Hyperledger Besu and Quorum, is building Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) for six central banks.

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Author: AnTy

“DeFi is Inevitable,” 4Q20 Recorded 100k New Addresses Daily: ConsenSys Report

“DeFi is Inevitable,” 4Q20 Recorded 100k New Addresses Daily: ConsenSys Report

“This year Ethereum proved that an entire decentralized financial (DeFi) ecosystem is inevitable,” reads ConsenSys’ DeFi 4Q20 report.

While this gained momentum last year, with all the drama surrounding the retail traders pumping up the prices of heavily shorted stock prices and now being suspended from trading them on Robinhood, a popular trading venue among retailers and other platforms are working on taking this moment forward in speed this year.

After the DeFi sector heated up in Q2 and cooled down in the subsequent quarter, Q4 saw its rise yet again. By the end of this quarter, 1,195,000 unique Ethereum addresses interacted with DeFi protocols, more than doubling in the quarter. Moreover, on average, 100k new addresses were created daily in Q4 2020. Custody providers and professional traders are also increasingly seeking exposure to the sector. The report states,

“With interest rates on trading pairs or lending protocols in the range of 5-12% APY compared to US treasuries at 0.92% yield, it’s easy to see the appeal.”

So much activity had an obvious effect on the fees, which saw “tremendous growth.” Besides the team, these fees also go to the uses of the applications.

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During this period, stablecoins, which are essential to the rise of DeFi, also continued their success. 70% of all the stablecoins worth $20 ln as of Jan. 1, 2021, are issued on Ethereum only.

Interestingly, “stablecoins are now responsible for more trade volume on Ethereum than the asset that pays for computation — ether (ETH) — itself,” at almost $1.6 trillion, notes the report.

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DeFi is also attracting other blockchains, and by the start of 2021, more than 138,774 BTC (about $3.9 billion) has been converted to ERC-20s.

The report also covered the growing trend of NFTs, whose marketplace value is estimated to be $52,293,650.

Despite all this growth, “DeFi is still in its infancy as an industry” and has a huge room for growth with “many new innovations just on the horizon that will further increase the accessibility and variability of DeFi.”

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Author: AnTy

ConsenSys Quorum, an Ethereum-backed Ledger Protocol, Teams Up With China’s BSN

Situated in New York, and renowned as Ethereum’s globally-known ledger protocol, ConsenSys has announced that it will be partnering with the China-based Blockchain Service Network (BSN), bringing the enterprise ledger, Quorum, to China.

What sets this partnership apart from others is down to i. As part of this partnership, Quorum will be made available across 80 different cities within China; all of which operate as public city nodes of BSN’s network. Quorum was previously developed as an open-source protocol layer for enterprise applications. Quorum was also used early on by the investment giant JP Morgan.

Charles d’Haussy, ConsenSys’ Director of Strategic Initiatives, cited China’s rapid growth in importance as a hub for strategic innovation and enterprise blockchain technology:

“China is a great example of where enterprise blockchain is a strong play… What Ethereum is doing with ConsenSys Quorum is connecting people who are essentially migrating from the permissioned chain to the global chain.”

For Quorum, the announcement represents an interesting change in fortunes. From being designed as a high-security, privacy-centric blockchain solution by JP Morgan, it fell into relative obscurity for some time, before being re-housed by ConsenSys. Even now, Quorum is a name that is synonymous with the bank and investment entity, even in d’Haussy’s mind.

“Quorum was very much associated with JPMorgan, but there was also this open-source software which was available to many developers. It may not have been apparent, but there was this large audience of enterprise users, and we are now bringing to this ecosystem other products and applications from ConsenSys.”

In contrast, Blockchain Service Network (BSN) was a relatively new initiative; having been established by Red Date Technology, a blockchain-based software company, along with China’s UnionPay, China Mobile, back in April 2020. Comprised of UnionPay and China mobile, BSN consists of a number of cloud environments and portals within China. What makes BSN such a valuable initiative comes from its connections to the Chinese government; being backed through the National Development and Reform Commission.

Simply put, BSN has been rapidly positioned as a major blockchain initiative within the country’s ‘Digital Silk Road,’ with BSN has deployed over 108 public city nodes in China. Over 88 cities and public cities are connected to this ecosystem as nodes across the world.

For BSN, this partnership would enable it to “substantially accelerate” its rollout to more cities worldwide, according to Red Date Technology CEO and Executive Director of the BSN Development Association,

“After the launch, BSN will include Quorum in BSN’s training programs in 2021 to substantially accelerate the enterprise adoption of blockchain technology and Ethereum-based solutions in China.”

In order to ensure global application, Red Date’s CEO added that the partnership would include longer-standing interoperability between the two blockchain protocols. Permissioned blockchain solutions, d’Haussy explained, represented the best start to any technical journey including large firms, but that it would very much be a long-term undertaking.

But d’Haussy continued on to say that small and larger-scale suppliers lack the connection they once did, and are more receptive to blockchain technology as a means of re-establishing that same connection.

“China’s industries, which are a global network of large and small suppliers, are not integrated as they were in the past… They are jumping on coordination tools such as blockchain.”

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Author: James Fox

ConsenSys Rolls Out MetaMask for Institutions to Bring DeFi to Crypto Funds & Custodians

Ethereum software company ConsenSys has announced a new offering of MetaMask that allows institutions, including crypto funds, custodians, and professional traders, to access decentralized finance (DeFi).

MetaMask is a popular Ethereum wallet with over 1 million monthly active users who recently introduced a token swap feature and increased privacy level.

With DeFi space exploding in 2020, growing to over $14 billion, “Custody providers increasingly seek exposure and access to the diverse, decentralized finance opportunities,” noted ConsesnSys.

According to the firm, professional trading firms’ current process to use the attractive DeFi protocols is inefficient; they are introducing an institutional-grade version of MetaMask.

ConsenSys is working with the digital asset security provider Curv which also announced Curv DeFi for institutions that will integrate MetaMask. Curv Co-Founder and CEO Itay Malinger said,

“Since there is no reliable and secure institutional solution for DeFi, organizations are reverting to retail-level use of MetaMask or custom integrations with individual apps as a workaround.”

“We believe by combining our unique multi-party computation (MPC)-based security infrastructure with MetaMask we will be able to play a significant role in the institutional adoption of DeFi.”

Curv is ConsesnSys’s first launch partner, and it will be collaborating with other custodians and professional trading firms.

Scams Promoted via Google Paid Ads

In other news, MetaMask informed its users about the new scam targeting crypto users – rotter seed phrase attack. These malicious pre-phishing scams are being promoted via paid ads on Google linked to fake versions of wallet websites.

In this attack, a malicious website mimics the original wallet’s website and imitates its onboarding flow. Toward the end of the fake onboarding process on the fake website, the user is instructed to backup their seed phrase previously generated by the scammer.

The user is then taken to the wallet’s real website, where they are instructed to install the wallet and import the rotten seed phrase whose access is with the scammer who waits for the user to add funds to their wallet and then drains the accounts.

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Author: AnTy

ConsenSys Acquires Truffle Suite; The ‘Most Widely Used’ Development Toolkit On Ethereum

Ethereum’s leading development and investment firm, ConsenSys, has acquired Truffle Suite’s dev team and technology. Truffle Suite is a platform hosting Ethereum development tools, a development environment, testing framework, and asset pipeline, allowing developers to build dApps on the second-largest blockchain network easily.

The acquisition follows a one-and-half year-long layoff in any partnership between the two companies. As one of the first companies to be incubated by ConsenSys since 2015 as a developer tool kit, Truffle spans out of the firm in 2019 and has since raised over $3 million in equity funding. The terms of the contract of their reunion were not disclosed in the report. ConsenSys Founder, Joe Lubin said,

“The Truffle Suite is essential for developers to get started on Ethereum and Web3, and is invaluable for increasing adoption of Mainnet applications and enterprise blockchain solutions alike.”

Truffle is currently used by over 1.3 million developers worldwide, enhancing Solidity development into an elegant, productive, and safe product for users. According to the report, the acquisition “concludes ConsenSys strategic restructuring of the company”. The report further stated the restructuring would “form two separate entities and delineate our core technology business from our investment activities, which we started in February 2020″.

“Truffle will now be a wholly-owned product of ConsenSys the software company, which includes Codefi, Diligence, MetaMask, Infura, and Quorum.”

Tim Coulter, Founder of Truffle, labeled Truffle Suite’s acquisition by ConsenSys “a natural fit” for the products stack. He further said,

“We look forward to delivering enterprise-grade solutions that enable developers to build and deploy blockchain systems using Ethereum and across multiple blockchains.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Ethereum Developer ConsenSys Partners with Thailand’s Central Bank & French Bank for Retail CBDC

ConsenSys has joined the Bank of Thailand as its technology partner to develop and test a prototype for central bank digital currency (CBDC). Other partners include SCG and Digital Ventures (DV).

As per the announcement, the CBDC will be tested and issued using ERC20 smart contracts. In partnership with Atato, it will “architect a solution using its Enterprise Ethereum stack, including ​Codefi​ and ​MetaMask​.” Charles d’Haussy, Director of ConsenSys in Hong Kong, said,

“A retail blockchain-based CBDC represents a new technology for the issuance of central bank money, where tokenized central bank money is accessible to the general public, and in this case businesses piloting the solution.”

The company that develops for the second-largest network Ethereum and funds the ecosystem startups is also helping French bank Societe Generale in its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot research.

According to the announcement, ConsenSys will work with the bank’s digital arm, SocGen – Forge, and will provide its expertise regarding issuance and management, delivery versus payment, and cross-ledger interoperability of the CBDC. Jean-Marc Stenger, CEO, SocGen said,

“We are pleased to partner with ConsenSys, a company who is a key player in the development of distributed ledger technology globally and offers many of the infrastructure and development tools used by the blockchain community.”

SocGen – Forge is also working with Banque de France on CBDC experiments and recently issued a EUR40 million bond that was settled with a digital euro.

These aren’t the first instances of ConsenSys being involved in CBDC experiments; it has been reportedly helping the Hong Kong Monetary Authority on a CBDC pilot to facilitate cross-border payments between commercial banks as well. Ken Timsit, Global Head of Enterprise Solutions at ConsenSys, said,

“ConsenSys is committed to advances in the CBDC space and has assisted six central banks around the world on CBDC projects.”

In August, it also acquired Quorum, JPMorgan’s blockchain platform on which the bank’s stablecoin JPM Coin is built, which is expected to see its first commercial use this week.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum Holders Not Staking ETH Altogether Is “Not Unreasonable” – ConsenSys DeFi Report

Ethereum 2.0 is likely to launch its genesis block in Q4 2020, says Ethereum developer ConsenSys in its latest DeFi report.

With the launch of the first phase, Phase 0 – Beacon Chain, the long-anticipated staking will come to ETH. The Proof of Stake consensus mechanism will allow the holders to earn rewards through staking Ether. For this, validators have to lock up their ETH. But this may become a problem as the report states,

“Some community members expressed concern that DeFi could be the number one threat to getting a significant amount of staking participation in Eth2.”

The Risk of Locking ETH

DeFi has been the star of Q3 2020 as it saw “the largest bull run since the ICO boom of late 2017 and early 2018.”

This DeFi bull run started with Compound’s governance token (COMP) release, leading to a frenzy of activity and an exuberant amount of yield.

With various DeFi protocols offering higher returns than staking, ETH holders may elect to direct their tokens elsewhere that wouldn’t even require them to lock ETH up for an unspecified amount of time.

“It is not unreasonable to worry that ETH holders would (at best) wait to see how early staking returns compare to DeFi returns, or (at worst) decide altogether not to “risk” locking up ETH until Phase 1.5 (which is likely at least a year away) in case another similar bull run occurs in the meantime.”

But the team sees the emergence of derivative tokens representing the users’ pooled token. As we reported, recently launched project Lido has already announced the same intentions.

However, it remains to be seen how the holders will really react when the time comes with considerations like the amount of liquidity an ETH holder can access, the volatility of Eth1.x vs Eth2, and the evolving user experience of being an ETH holder to play into their decision making to lock funds.

Major Changes Expected

The report also covered how it was the rise of Automated Market Makers (AMM), governance tokens and yield farming, forks, derivatives, and network effects, and weird DeFi where it “began to incorporate memetic internet culture into the lexicon,” were the trends that defined Ethereum DeFi in Q3.

Although the excitement has come down extensively and the price of DeFi tokens are in capitulation mode, in the afterglow still, “smart financial and technical minds are increasingly attracted to the financial capabilities of Ethereum,” states the report.

These rapid innovation periods also saw an increase in ETH locked in DeFi protocols and a spike in the average gas price. But,

“As the Ethereum community prepares for an upgrade to the base protocol, and the Eth2 Deposit Contract goes live in Quarter 4 of 2020, this cycle could see major changes as DeFi continues to drive major activity on Ethereum.”

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Author: AnTy