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

Iowa Senate Introduces Blockchain Bill to Regulate Smart Contracts as Law

Iowa Senate Introduces Blockchain Bill to Regulate Smart Contracts as Law

Iowa is the latest state in the U.S. to introduce a bill targeting blockchain technology and smart contracts. The bill aims to level the playing field between smart contracts and traditional contracts.

The state of Iowa introduced a partisan bill that recognizes and regulates blockchain technology and its smart contracts logic similar to traditional arrangements. Senate Bill 303, presented to the chamber by Republican State Senator Mark Lofgren, states there will be an oversight on smart contracts and anyone using a distributed ledger technology will be liable to similar laws as currently stipulated for traditional record keepers.

“A contract shall not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because an electronic record was used in its formation,” the bill reads, “or because the contract is a smart contract or contains a smart contract provision.”

Additionally, the bill also adds the concept of security through DLTs to define an “electronic record” and “electronic signature.”

The state of Iowa has been experimenting with blockchain technology and DLTs with the Iowa Democratic Party’s Caucus once trying out a mobile voting app built on the blockchain.

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Author: Lujan Odera

After Taking Profits, the Infamous $36k Bitcoin Options Call Buyers Reposition to Higher Levels

Deribit meanwhile added Bitcoin options contracts with a $400k strike price with Dec. 21 expiry. Amidst this Dan Morehead of Pantera Capital is calling for $115,000 by August 2021.

Bitcoin call options buying and selling is the name of the game, with short-dated calls in high demand. The two particularly active calls have been for Jan. 29 with $32k and $52k strike price.

Easier this week, the $36 call buyers took profits as we saw in the 28% drop in the spot price of Bitcoin. Until this week, gamma on the Jan21 36k calls was “very significant,” but as most of the $36k calls got unwound, they were no longer the largest pin for Jan expiry.

A sharp move has been rather made in options skew as they repositioned to higher levels with another very large Jan21 pin on the $52k strike, $850mln notional, noted data source Skew.

The largest open interest (OI) for Jan. 29 is now switched from $36k to $52k, and switching has been noted to 56k, 64k, and 72k strikes as well.

“Jan15 weekly expiry will bring further swings to the market and gamma effects only to prove meaningful if spot breaks out higher, otherwise impact will diminish heading into month-end,” noted Denis Vinokourov of Bequant.

Amidst this, crypto derivatives platform Deribit today added Bitcoin options contracts with a $400k strike price with Dec. 21 expiry.

Since December, with the wild rally came the options contracts with strike prices going from $100k, $150k, $160k, and recently $300k before the $400k calls and puts options today.

Bitcoin’s run-up from $3,800 in March 2020 to $42,000 last Friday has also brought forth the predictions that call for $115,000 by August 2021, which has been made by Dan Morehead, founder and CEO of crypto investment firm Pantera Capital at a conference call on Jan. 12.

“Is bitcoin overvalued? I would say no. […] Bitcoin has spent three years well below its long-term compound annual growth trend line, it’s still below it, and although Bitcoin has rallied a great deal over the last six months, I think it is fairly valued.”

Dan Morehead Founder & CEO of Pantera Capital

While the crypto market continues to get more bullish with each passing day, some regulators still can’t wrap their heads around this innovation.

The latest one being European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, who called Bitcoin a “highly speculative asset,” which, according to her, is conducting some “funny business.”

While Lagarde said Bitcoin enabling “totally reprehensible money-laundering activity,” the Crypto Twitter pointed to how she herself has been convicted of criminal charges over massive government payout but not only did she avoid jail but even get to keep her job after a guilty verdict.

Interestingly amidst this, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), one of Pakistan’s four provinces, launched two state-owned Bitcoin mining farms — one of the first instances of a govt. using its own funds to mine BTC.

Much like other counties, while Pakistan’s stance on Bitcoin is stuck in bureaucracy, local governments have been making way for cryptos.

As seen in Miami, Mayor Francis Suarez is working on making it “the most crypto competitive city on the planet.” We’ve always been known as a financial hub,” Suarez said.

“The capital is here. The financial banking sophistication is here. We’ve got to integrate the crypto too, and I think that part is lagging a little bit, from New York, but I think we can do that fast.”

Francis Suarez Mayor of Miami, FL

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Author: AnTy

Coinbase Pre-IPO Contracts Now Trading on FTX, Price Surged 145% Within an Hour

Coinbase Pre-IPO Contracts Now Trading on FTX, Price Surged 145% Within an Hour

CBSE contracts recorded US$2.25 million in trading volume on its debut day, and its price went as high as $296.

Crypto derivatives platform FTX has now listed Coinbase’s pre-IPO contract with ticker CBSE.

Unlike tokenized stocks but much like Airbnb’s Pre-IPO contracts, they track the market cap of Coinbase. These contracts are tradeable with up to 5x leverage.

CBSE balances will be converted into the equivalent amount of Coinbase Fractional Stock tokens at the end of Coinbase’s first public trading day on June 1, 2022. If Coinbase does not publicly list by then, CBSE balances will cash-expire to US$32, which is in line with Coinbase’s $8 billion valuation.

The contract started trading at around $120 today and went just above $296 in less than an hour. Ever since this significant uptick within the trading’s early hours, the contract’s price has been trading around $240.

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At one point, Coinbase Pre-IPO contracts were traded at an implied $70 billion market price, which made the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange’s worth at 20% of BTC, 100% of ETH, and 300% of total DeFi market cap.

The contract tracks Coinbase’s market cap divided by 250,000,000. These contracts have garnered tremendous attention, as evident from about US$2.25 million trading volume.

These Coinbase pre-IPO contracts are recording more volume than SRM/USD and much higher than ABNB’s under $2,500 on the exchange.

“This IPO will capture investors’ imagination of what is possible in crypto the same way Google did it for the Internet,” noted Santiago R Santos of investment firm ParaFi Capital.

Coinbase announced its plans of going public just before the weekend, for which the largest US crypto exchange has hired Goldman Sachs Group.

Founded in 2012, Coinbase has more than 35 million users all over the world.

It confidentially applied with the US SEC on Thursday to go public, a move that would make it the first significant crypto company to be listed on the stock market. Crypto data provider Messari valued the exchange at $28 billion following this news.

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Author: AnTy

dYdX Exchange Launches Its Third Perpetual Contracts With Chainlink’s LINK Token

  • dYdX is the latest exchange to add Chainlink (LINK) perpetual contracts on its platform.
  • The listing allows users to leverage their positions in LINK/USD contracts.

In an announcement on their Twitter, dYdX announced the launch of LINK/USD perpetual contracts that allows users up to 8X leverage.

These perpetual contracts are different from futures contracts in that instead of having a fixed expiration date, they hold an indefinite period of expirations. Moreover, the latter at launch trade at prices different to the market price while perpetual contracts trade very close to the market price.

The exchange said the addition of LINK contracts as its third perpetual contract – after BTC and ETH – is as a result of the coin leading in trading volumes in the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem. According to the senior growth associate at dYdX, Corey Miller, the exchange is working towards launching other DeFi coins in the coming days.

dYdX is also working on launching standard short-term futures on cryptocurrencies after the implementation of its Layer-2 network. The exchange announced a partnership with Starkware to develop the L2 solution. Miller said,

“Once our L2 [Layer-2] is live, we will be able to launch them on a shorter time horizon.”

dYdX is a decentralized exchange platform, launched in 2018, allowing users to lend, borrow, or margin trade any supported asset. According to DeFi Pulse, the DEX currently has a total value locked (TVL) of $40 million in crypto assets.

Also Read: Huobi Launches Global DeFi Alliance With Compound, dYdX, Nest & MakerDAO as Founding Members

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Author: Lujan Odera

Chainlink’s LINK Sees ‘Unprecedented Drop’ with Marines HODLing & Developers Selling

While Chainlink has been growing in popularity as a “strong contender in the smart contracts market,” its price has been going off the charts.

This fifth largest digital asset has spiked about 1,000% since the March pandemic lows. LINK continues to rage on, reaching a price of over $20 on some crypto exchanges.

Over the past 30 days, LINK has risen about 140% and is now the third highly traded digital asset behind Bitcoin and Ethereum, in terms of average 7-day volume, as per Coin Metrics.

Moreover, in line with price, Chainlink’s network activity is also continuing to rise, with 13,000 active addresses recorded yesterday and 6290 new addresses created.

Additionally, Binance Futures is launching LINK/USD coin-margined perpetual contract, a futures contract where LINK is collateral, with up to 75x leverage on August 19.

“Marines with leverage,” tweeted Binance CEO CZ, explaining to one user how “Leverage doesn’t change an asset’s price,” rather just “gives both long and short more… leverage.”

Taking a Breather

Over the last few days, LINK’s gains were partly driven by Dave Portnoy’s shilling to send the digital asset “to the moon”. Barstool Sports’ president, who recently became popular on Twitter as a day trader during the coronavirus pandemic induced stimulus and lockdown and ventured into crypto claims, unlike SEC-regulated traditional markets, crypto space, encourages pump and dump schemes.

According to analyst Mati Greenspan, this “is not a good look for the community and certainly a step back from building the internet of value.”

For now, LINK has corrected about 18% and is currently trading at $16.37.

“LINK experienced a pretty unprecedented drop, independent from the rest of the crypto markets. Notable is the 6-month drop of the percentage of Chainlink tokens on exchanges, declining from 8.6% to 6.9% during this timeframe,” stated crypto data provider Santiment.

But Who’s Responsible?

LINK’s holders, called LINK Marines, are not the culprits here as Santiment added the declining LINK balance on exchanges “supports the narrative that the LINK army just isn’t selling, and more and more of the supply is being moved to offline wallets.”

These LINK Marines are reportedly 50,000 strong with Framework Ventures being the largest private token holder of the digital asset.

“What they do is they promote it,” Anderson told Bloomberg. “This is one of the things that’s unique to the blockchain, where the community is compelling.”

Is it LINK Devs Then?

While the Marines are holding strong, LINK developers are selling. These devs reportedly sold about $40 million worth of LINK up until the weekend. But it is not the reason behind the pullback because it was nothing new this month.

Trader Josh Olszewicz pointed out how LINK devs have been selling for months now, and the rate of LINK sold hasn’t changed, “still 1m LINK/month thus far.”

More importantly, Chainlink has had the highest GitHub developer commit rate over the last 12 months.

A “de facto choice”

The pullbacks have been nothing for LINK after new ATHs, and given that Bitcoin is moving upwards, this BTC decoupled digital asset is moving in the opposite direction. Some traders might also be taking off profits.

Nevertheless, Chainlink has become a “de facto choice” for DeFi applications that outsource their data feeds, which is reportedly powering 95% of all public blockchain derivatives.

As Greenspan puts it, “it’s designed to translate things that are happening in the real world into data on the blockchain.”

Moreover, Chainlink’s partnerships, such as Alphabet’s Google, which got the project off the ground, add to its growth. “We work with them on a weekly and monthly basis,” said Sergey Nazarov, co-founder, and CEO of San Francisco-based SmartContract.

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Author: AnTy

World Bank Releases Research On The Impact Of Smart Contracts For Financial Inclusion

The World Bank released its report on smart contracts and the impact it’ll have on the development of financial systems across the globe. A brief report on the working paper, titled ‘Smart Contract Technology and Financial Inclusion,’ states the research focused on digital financial inclusion in leveraging communities that suffer from access to formal financial services.

Smart contracts is a self-executing agreement coded on blockchain technology. Over the years, smart contracts have been lauded for their potential to reduce the cumbersome contract processes involved across the financial industry by allowing trustless transactions and reducing the costs involved.

According to the research, smart contracts can be utilized by micro, small, and medium businesses to drive the inclusion of consumers in particular financial services such as index-linked insurance and supply chain finance.

However, the authors write that the smart contract technology impact may be bound to some challenges in other areas of finance, such as short term unsecured credit.

Read More: World Bank: The Potential of Blockchain In Bid For Financial Inclusion

Limited Scope for Smart Contracts

As mentioned above, the research found out that smart contracts’ impact on digital financial inclusion may have a more significant effect on some areas than others. One of the regions bound to benefit from smart contract integration is index-linked insurance, such as weather linked insurance.

Smart contracts enhance the overall trust, transparency, and product suitability on the insurance, but there remain some issues unfixable by integrating smart contracts, the authors conclude.

Alternatively, the issue of integrating smart contracts on the unsecured loans market may turn out to be less impactful than the retail insurance market. Smart contract integration could help “yield efficiency gains across various phases of a loan lifecycle,” the paper writes, but the application and approval of unsecured credit are “already highly automated.”

A Closer Focus on Blockchains

Governments and financial authorities across several states are closely monitoring the impact of smart contracts in a digital financial system despite the slow adoption of the technology. To this end, the research recommends regulators take a closer look at the impact of smart contracts in accommodating financial consumer protection, KYC/AML compliance, and legal foundation requirements.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Andreessen Horowitz-backed DeFi Exchange, dYdX, Rolls Out BTC-USDC Perpetual Contracts

dYdX, one of the leading Ethereum based DeFi’s, has released its BTC perpetual contracts for trading to the public. This initiative was initially under a private alpha testing phase but will now be fully integrated with Ethereum’s DEX ecosystem. However, the perpetual contracts are not available for U.S investors.

According to an earlier publication in April, the contract is the first of its kind within the dYdX decentralized exchange. Following this launch, the private alpha appears to have been successful hence the bold step to introduce Bitcoin’s liquidity in the form of a perpetual contract. Antonio Juliano, the founder of dYdX, has since told Coindesk in a private message that this is a big milestone in the world of crypto derivatives,

“For the first time, users can trade the most popular financial product in crypto – BTC perpetual contracts – on a decentralized exchange,”

dYdX BTC Perpetual Contracts

Complex financial products seem to spill over for replication in the upcoming crypto market. Today, crypto exchanges have evolved from simple trading to products like spots and futures whose underlying are digital currencies. Perpetual swaps in the dYdX non-custodial exchange will further diversify investors’ options in the crypto derivatives market.

Basically, the assets have no expiry dates like normal future contracts hence the whole idea of ‘perpetuity’. Margin differences in the dYdX BTC perpetual contracts will be settled in USDC, a USD backed stablecoin.

However, the DEX plans on adding more pairs in the near future. Notably, dYdX offers up to 10x leverage on the perpetual contracts as it looks to hit a$10 million daily traded volume by the end of 2020. A post by the firm has echoed that the private alpha already recorded impressive numbers,

“To date, almost $5M has been traded since going into Alpha, with $3M of that coming since Sunday. We are excited to launch our Perpetual Markets to the public, and gather additional feedback from our community.”

With such progress, dYdX could gradually become a threat to big boys like BitMEX and Binance who have long dominated this market. The platform’s decentralized advantage means that individuals get to execute and audit on-chain as opposed to centralized exchanges where such confirmations are not an option. dYdX also said that it will be scaling the scope of its perpetual market in the coming months to feature other prominent cryptocurrencies as well.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

DeFi Platform, dYdX, Launches The First Ever Decentralized Perpetual Contract Market

  • Decentralized exchange, dYdX, launches perpetual contracts on the platform. The DEX new derivatives product will settle non-Ethereum based cryptocurrency assets.
  • Bitcoin (BTC) pair with Circle’s USDC is the first pairing on the exchange.

In an official announcement on Medium, Antonio Juliano, dYdX Founder, unveiled the decentralized exchange will launch the first-ever perpetual contracts on the platform. The contracts will allow users to trade any pair of non-Ethereum tokens with an alpha testnet set up for private users on the BTC/USDC pair.

Bitcoin perpetual contracts have taken over the crypto market scene since launch by centralized crypto exchange, BitMEX in 2014. Since, the field has grown exponentially with other centralized exchanges such as Binance taking up a larger market share in volume traded in the past few months. Can the launch of the derivatives spark a new rush in trading on decentralized platforms?

dYdX launches first-ever perpetual contracts on its DEX

Perpetual contracts offer the trader exposure to Bitcoin with no fixed expiration date on the contract. The dYdX perpetual contracts will allow traders up to 10X leverage on their position on the contracts. The contracts are cash-settled with the first stablecoin pair on the platform BTC/USDC being settled in Circle’s USDC stablecoin. The post reads,

“The BTC-USDC Perpetual will offer 10x leverage on BTC (long or short) with no expiry, and settlement and margining in USDC. A periodic funding rate paid between longs and shorts keeps the contract price tethered to the underlying.”

The contract will have an initial margin maintenance requirement of 10% with the maintenance margin set at 7.5%. The perpetual contract market will chop off 0.025% of the maker’s fees and 0.075% of the takers.

The open finance platform raised its series A funding round in 2018 raising $12 million led by Andreessen Horowitz ‘a16z’, 1 confirmation and a16z’s child, Polychain Capital. The latest addition is expected to be a big boost in the adoption of DEX trading in comparison to margin or spot trading. On the funding rate, the post reads,

“Funding payments are made every second according to a rate which is updated hourly. The funding premium is scaled so as to have a realization period of 8 hours.”

DEXes perpetual contract differences with centralized exchanges

You may have noticed the low fees charged for trades above compared to centralized exchanges. However, this is not the only difference that dYdX is aiming to bring about in perpetual contract trading. The platform will have a publicly auditable insurance fund and deleveraging that occurs will be public and auditable on-chain. dYdX head of strategy and business operations, Zhuoxun Yin, explained,

“On centralized exchanges, the exchange does the liquidation. On dYdX, any account may liquidate any other account that is liquidatable. The fact that anyone is able to perform the liquidation, and it is verifiable on-chain, means that it is quite different from centralized exchanges.”

dYdX recently reached a total of $1 billion in loans originated from the platform showing growth in the Defi space. The total volume locked (TVL) on dYdX has soared almost 40% in the past 90 days to slightly above $22.8 million.

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Author: Lujan Odera

CME February Bitcoin Futures Expire Today, Trader “Expecting Shenanigans”

  • Open interest on Bitcoin futures contracts on regulated platform CME hits its peak this month
  • CME gap is fully closed at $8,500 and a potential bullish divergence has started to show up which means a bounce could be seen
  • The market is already very volatile and it is further expected to be even more so as bitcoin futures on the regulated platform CME expires today.

Bearish traders have a stronghold within the crypto market with Bitcoin’s (BTC) price down from above $10,000 earlier this week to $8,421. Shorts, meanwhile, are feeling the pain amidst this bloodbath.

Interestingly, on Bitfinex, the longs still dominate the market, making up to 95%. This majority contrasts sharply with the shorts on the Binance, which makes up 65% of its market.

Now, CME Bitcoin futures contracts for February are set to expire. Launched in Dec. 2017 during the market peak, CME recorded considerable growth over the last two years.

After the crypto-winter of 2018, 2019 brought a revival of volume: with prices climbing before dropping towards the second half of the year. However, in Feb. 2020, CME’s platform registered the highest average daily open interest (OI) on Bitcoin futures.

This month marked the highest ever OI on CME bitcoin futures, breaking $1 billion in trading volume for the third time.

However, since hitting $1.1 billion in daily volume on Feb. 18, according to the data provider – Skew Market – the volume on the exchange took a hit. During these two weeks, the daily volume hit lows of $118 million. This week, however, it’s been moving between $270 million and $450 million. OI also hit a low of $220 million down from $338 million on Feb. 14, before reaching a peak at $338 million.

This increased activity means the futures expiry will have a greater impact on BTC prices. In addition, CME has been accused of market manipulation, due to its involvement in the 2017 crash from the $20,000 ATH.

For the moment, Bitcoin is hovering around $8,600 and, according to the trader Crypto Michael said,

“We could see a bounce up to $9,000 from $8,300-8,400.”

“Futures expiring today, as well as current BTC prices, show that the gap is fully closed at $8,500 + a potential bullish divergence is starting to show.”

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Author: AnTy