Brazil Becomes The Latest Country To Confirm Plans to Launch A CBDC

Brazil’s Economy Minister recently spoke during the celebration of the Caixa Economica Federal’s 100 millionth digital savings account, and he used the opportunity to announce Brazil’s own CBDC.

The Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) trend is larger than ever, with countries worldwide announcing their intention to create their own digital currency, one after another. The latest in this long line is Brazil, whose Economy Minister personally confirmed plans to launch digital real.

Brazil announces its upcoming CBDC — digital real.

Brazil’s decision to launch its own digital currency does not come as a major surprise. After all, as soon as China announced digital yuan, many countries started developing their own CBDCs in China’s fear of obtaining too much influence.

As soon as a few nations’ central banks showed their willingness to start creating their own crypto, the rest were bound to follow. Brazil comes as the next one in line, as confirmed by its Economy Minister, Paulo Guedes.

Guedes made his statement yesterday, November 5th, during a special ceremony that celebrated the opening of the 100 millionth digital savings account in Caixa Economica Federal.

He said that the central bank is once again autonomous and that the digital dimension is booming. With that being the case, he revealed that Brazil would have its own digital currency and remain ahead of many other countries.

Brazil was prepared for work on CBDC, but it did not address it before

Interestingly, this was the first time that the country’s Economy Minister addressed this subject. However, he still did not reveal any more details regarding the upcoming digital real.

Of course, Brazil has been keeping an eye on crypto in the past. Its central bank even announced setting up a study group for potential CBDC issuance back in August.

Its president, Roberto Campos Neto, also said that Brazil requires improvement in its currency. However, he expected that this would happen within the scope of a new federal digital payment system, Pix. He said,

“In our case, Pix is very important because from now on, we see the union of an instant, open and interoperable form of payment with an open data system. They will meet somewhere in the future with a currency that has yet to be perfected.”

Brazil’s CBDC to arrive in 2022

As mentioned, there are currently no available details on the digital real, as not even the central bank has released new information about it. However, Campos Neto did reveal that digital real will be in circulation in 2022.

Another interesting thing regarding this announcement is its timing. As some may know, Pix just recorded its first transaction this Monday, and it will be officially available as of November 15th.

According to the central bank’s statement, it will only be used for foreign exchange transactions in and out of the country as for digital real.

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Author: Ali Raza

DeFi Shifts to A Risk-off Environment, But A 2017-like Crypto Rally is Still Far Off

During the recent Bitcoin rally, altcoins suffered losses, and DeFi tokens had an even worse time.

Today, as BTC went to the $13,000 level, driven by European lockdowns, the crypto market reported deeper red. This consolidation in BTC could give altcoins a chance to recover, but it’s undecided and remains to be seen.

In the past month, except for a handful of DeFi tokens like Aave and Maker, the majority of them extended their losses from last month.

The total value locked (TVL) in the decentralized finance (DeFI) sector has been unperturbed by the crash in price as it hit an all-time high at $12.46 billion on Oct. 25. But since then, it has dropped nearly 10% to about $11.2 billion, as per DeFi Pulse.

But such declines aren’t new for the TVL, and it tends to recover just as fast.

“Just want to say that we are still extremely early in DeFi. As an analogy to Bitcoin, we probably just experienced the spring 2013 hype cycle. We haven’t even seen the winter 2013 cycle yet. Let alone the 2017 cycle,” said entrepreneur and quant trader Qiao Wang.

According to him, in the DeFi hype cycle, we are currently at a point where half of the legit projects have capitulated while the other half are in the process of capitulating.

Ethereum, on which the whole ecosystem is built, price-wise, is trading around $385. The sector meanwhile has a record 9 million ETH locked in it.

DeFi tokens on Ethereum are still minuscule, though, as they currently account for 1.39% of the $365 billion total crypto market cap. In terms of a number of holders, they capture an even smaller share of the market.

DeFi governance tokens in Ethereum have declined by a third in just last month while stablecoins and tokenized versions of Bitcoin on Ethereum have managed to continue in terms of market cap.

The shift has been because of a shift to a risk-off environment into less volatile yield-generating assets. As such, yield farming is transitioning from attracting users with unsustainably high rewards “to a more methodical approach rewarding those that actually create value to DeFi protocols.”

“It appears that the catalyst for DeFi’s initial boost may also be behind its crash,” noted IntoTheBlock.

Besides the high inflation rates, the bigger the rise in the price of DeFi tokens, the larger the retrace.

“While DeFi may currently be negligible in comparison to the $1.5 trillion financial services industry, there is a high room for growth as these systems become scalable and adopted.”

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Author: AnTy

US Treasury Dept And Federal Reserve Are ‘Studying’ Possible Launch Of A Digital Dollar

Speaking during the online Atlantic Council webinar, the U.S Deputy Treasury Secretary, Justin Muzinich, said his department, alongside the Federal Reserve, is looking at launching a central bank digital currency (CBDC) tied to the dollar in the future.

This announcement follows a trail of the Federal Reserve’s previous efforts to launch digital dollar wallets liable to the central bank. Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester, revealed last month that legislation is being set up so each American would own a digital dollar account with the Feds.

Notwithstanding, the Boston Federal Reserve announced in August that they are testing over 30 blockchain projects to prepare a digital dollar. However, the research and development process for a CBDC is set to take years to complete – having begun in 2015 – the Boston Fed said.

Muzinich stated the learning curve in launching a digital dollar on a distributed ledger would produce “efficiency benefits and cost benefits.” He further targeted the slow U.S. efforts in introducing its own dollar:

“And I also think, more broadly, it’s important for the government to embrace innovation and not be scared by it.”

However, there are still a few factors to consider in launching a CBDC, including regulation of the CBDC to prevent money laundering activities while maintaining users’ digital privacy.

On regulation of a digital dollar, Muzinich states governments worldwide – especially Europe – should work to regulate cryptocurrencies globally. This arises from the different functions of cryptocurrencies, away from payments.

Questions of money laundering have taken center-stage in the adoption of cryptocurrencies. Still, other issues such as financial stability and monetary base of the cryptocurrency should also be put in check. To keep the consumers and users of the digital dollar safe and secure, Muzinich stated the existing laws governing fiat currencies should be extended to crypto.

“Treasury has made it clear that the obligation to comply with U.S. laws is the same, regardless of whether a transaction is denominated in traditional fiat currency or digital currency.”

“Existing laws apply to digital assets in no uncertain terms.”

He explains that even if cryptocurrencies comply with the KYC/AML/CFT rules, there’s still a danger of foreign parties disrupting the monetary base creating financial instability. This could arise if a stablecoin issuer shifts its reserve ratio from fully backed to partially backed, or changing the composition of assets in reserve.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Crypto Funds Reporting ‘Impressive’ Performance This Year

Bitcoin had a good start in 2020, starting the year at around $7,200. During the market-wide crash in March, the digital asset crashed to $3,800 but only to surge to the yearly high of $12,630 in mid-August.

Up until August 31st, bitcoin recorded a return of 66.6%.

During the same period, Pantera unveiled returns of over 100% across various funds the firm manages, with its bitcoin fund gaining 61%, revealed the firm in its September 2020 investor letter. It was the company’s digital asset fund that recorded 168% returns and the ICO fund having a whopping 323% uptrend while the long-term ICO fund had a 270% return.

The outperformance of other funds has been primarily because of DeFi tokens that rallied hard between May and September of this year. The firm had invested in about 40 ICOs over the years.

Pantera’s Chief Investment Officers also pointed to DeFi as the main driver behind their portfolio performance. “We’ve been positioning the funds towards decentralized finance,” which they started acquiring some years back.

One of the largest digital currency funds in the space, Pantera, has reportedly nearly $500 million in AUM, compared to the largest asset manager Grayscale’s $5 billion AUM.

Also Read: Grayscale Bought 17,100 BTC Last Week, Now Holds 2.4% of Bitcoin’s Supply

Promise for value investing in crypto

Off The Chain Capital is another one that saw returns of 93% YTD compared to 57.2% returns posted by crypto funds during the same period.

The $40 million fund is also in talks to purchase about 1% of crypto-payments processor BitPay and another stake in the crypto exchange Kraken. Back in March, the Florida-based company bought 1% of Polychain Capital and then a year ago a stake in Digital Currency Group.

Additionally, Off The Chain has been buying claims of creditors of Mt.Gox every week and is its largest buyer.

“I learned about Bitcoin” in 2014, said Brian Estes, who runs the fund. “Coming from traditional finance, I thought it was just a scam. After the Mt. Gox hack, my value instincts kicked in, I started doing due diligence. I read the Satoshi white paper, and it clicked with me.”

It was when he started investing in bitcoin and crypto startups like Coinbase. His son actually grew his money from $500k to almost $10 million at the end of the 2017 bull run, which Estes then bought and opened to outside investors last year.

Additionally, it is packaging Bitcoin and Ether into equity-like investments to sell them through brokerage firms.

“Even if Bitcoin doesn’t move, we are making 40-60% a year on harvesting these premiums,” Estes said.

“Off The Chain’s reported performance this year has been impressive and may indicate promise for value investing in the crypto space, even as it has fallen out of favor with traditional equity investors,” said Josh Gnaizda, CEO of CryptoFundResearch.

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Author: AnTy

ECB Exploring Benefits & Risks of Digital Euro to Provide an Alternative to Crypto: President

In her introductory remarks, during the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly on Monday, ECB President Christine Lagarde said they are “exploring the benefits, risks and operational challenges of introducing a digital euro.”

This ensures the strength and autonomy of European payment systems as the digital euro could be complemented to cash. She said,

“It could provide an alternative to private digital currencies and ensure that sovereign money remains at the core of European payment systems.”

While Lagarde, like other regulators, wants to keep the control of money issuance with the central banks, Galaxy’s Mike Novogratz says that it doesn’t matter because just like the traditional version, the digital one would devalue as well.

“Digital Central Bank issued FX is coming. I believe it will help the adoption of BTC and other crypto’s as well. If those same CBs keep printing their FX like its toilet paper, the digital version will depreciate. BTC won’t,” Novogratz said.

Shaping Europe’s Future

According to Lagarde, digitization is one of the trends that pandemic has the potential to accelerate.

“Trends that will lead to structural changes in the global economy.”

“We need to fully reap the potential gains from digital technologies and, at the same time, make sure labour markets remain inclusive,” she said.

Lagarde talked about accelerating the progress towards the Digital Single Market through economies of scale for digital firms.

Besides the digital euro, she also touched upon transitioning to a carbon-neutral economy and the coronavirus crisis, which is of “unprecedented magnitude,” giving Europe the “opportunity” to strengthen the Union.

Lagarde said ECB expects a rebound in activity in the second half of the year and judged that the economy still needs fiscal support for the recovery to continue and strengthen further, which has been critical in alleviating the impact of the pandemic.

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Author: AnTy

DeFi’s Speculative Frenzy Subduing Ethereum; Users Approaching 500k

During the bloody red Monday, Ether lost about 10.6% of its value; currently, it is trading around $340.

These levels were last seen earlier this month, but another small lower and Ether will get back to July level.

“Weekly time frame still looking like a bearish retest of the previous range ($390s). Bitcoin looking better on the weekly, but also pulling back from daily resistance,” noted trader Cred.

With a lull in price came the opportunity to make cheaper transactions on the second-largest network. Not that the sky-high fees prevented users from doing that, as evident from the drastic congestion seen last week.

DEX Extravaganza

Currently, the average transaction fees on Ethereum is around $3.56, down from $11.6 on Sept. 17, the day popular DEX Uniswap airdropped its governance token UNI.

Uniswap is the project that accounts for the highest gas spent. In the past 30 days, Uniswap V2 was responsible for spending $12.7 million in gas.

It is also the largest decentralized exchange by trading volume that generates nearly $1.5 million in fees per day, less than Ethereum’s $5.2 million but more than Bitcoin’s just over $500k, as per TradeBlock.

The trading volume on DEXs overall has also been hitting a new all-time high. More than $17 billion in notional volume has already been transacted so far in September, double the August’s volume and an increase of 400% since July.

DEXs have seen explosive growth in recent months on the back of increased capital flows in DeFi tokens, which don’t need a formal listing process. All this speculative frenzy of activity results in driving up ETH gas fees.

With traders desperate to get ahead of their peers and willing to pay outrageous prices for a confirmation, the Ethereum fees proved to be inelastic, which has some projects even abandoning the network as it makes their project economically unviable.

Can even ETH 2.0 handle it?

The overwhelming demand for Ether has been going on for the past three months, which saw the daily transactions on the network hitting a new peak at 1.4 million, up from 1.34 million set at the height of last bull run, in early Jan. 2018, as per Etherscan.

This is why ETH continues to flow out of centralized exchanges and into smart contracts. Since August 15th, the balance of ETH has decreased by 11.6%, with 2.2 million ETH withdrawn from exchanges while the amount of Ether in smart contracts increased by 3.4 million.

DeFi currently has nearly 8 million ETH locked compared to 16.6 million on centralized exchanges, as per Glassnode.

The innovation in DeFi space is also drawing users in like crazy, currently just under 500k, up from 98k at the beginning of 2020 and a mere 8,325 on January 1st, 2019.

This raises the question of whether ETH 2.0 will really be able to handle this growth.

“(ETH 2.0) starts with 64 shards at first, so it should be able to handle at least 64x more usage (potentially even more if we get some L2 adoption as well),” said David Lach.

Although the first step towards ETH 2.0 has been taken, the path to launch is long and arduous, as such layer-2 applications present another solution with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin himself endorsing the likes of OMG, Loopring, and Zk-sync.

With high gas fees also burning the profits of exchanges, with Coinbase now passing this directly onto users, an increasing push towards these solutions has been seen. Tether is already implementing Zk-roll ups; many apps are also turning to side chains such as xDai.

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Author: AnTy

Green Shots Emerge in DeFi Following the Painful Unwinding of the Crowded Space

During the recent correction, the DeFi market pulled back hard, so much so that the seven days percentage returns are still in the negative by 20% to 40%.

Except for a handful of top DeFi tokens, all of them plunged 70% to 95%.

But the market seems to be gaining momentum yet again. While in the past hour, DeFi tokens are slowly turning red, in the last 24 hours, significant gains have been made.

Notable mentions include Cream (81%), Swerve (81%), Hydro Protocol (44.3%), bZx Protocol (30%), YFI (17%), Loopring (12%), Aave (10%), Bancor (6.3%), Chainlink (5.6%), Serum (5%), Synthetix (3.8%), and CRV (2.5%).

Total Value Locked (TVL) in DeFi has also climbed to $7.95 billion after falling to the $6.78 billion low today from the high of $9.5 billion on Sept. 2nd.

Uniswap, with $1.47 billion in TVL, is now dominating the DeFi space, a position juggling between Aave, Curve Finance, and the long-standing leader Maker.

Another Vicious to Resume

The market correction was actually the domino effect of DeFi positions unwinding after the head chef of SushiSwap decided to call it a day by pulling a Litecoin’s Charlie Lee, or you could say Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin.

“The uber-crowded trade in US equities is nothing compared to the crowded nature of DeFi space,” said Denis Vinokourov of London-based brokerage service Bequant.

When DeFi tokens started going down, “the spillover effects turned out to be significant,” which makes sense given that almost $10 billion worth of capital was splashing in the ecosystem. Vinokourov said,

“Going back to the recent price action and as demonstrated in the past, crowded trade unwinds are extremely painful and broad-based but eventually green shots emerge.”

And this is what we are seeing in the market currently. Also, with a considerable reduction in Ethereum gas levels and potential interest from China, another vicious circle will soon resume.

An Opportunity for Competitors

During the DeFi craze, network fees being too darn high also came back in the light. Ethereum miners made a killing from transaction fees, pocketing a total of $113 million in profit in August, up over 3,660% from the meager $3 million earned just four months back.

This means the Ethereum network has all to gain from this DeFi craze and to lose as well.

So, what the second-largest network needs, according to Vitalik Buterin, is nothing but “drastic increase in scalability” – which involves only sharding and rollups, and that has been coming for years.

This makes it a big opportunity for Ethereum competitors such as Cardano, Tezos, and EOS. But while Cardano has just released its mainnet, EOS is not seeing much traction, recording $1.74 billion volume compared to Ethereum’s $5.64 billion.

But according to Brendan Blumer, CEO of Block.one, the company behind EOS, “EOS will unleash DeFi… EOS has the performance, liquidity, and developer community to support DeFi applications that aren’t possible anywhere else.”

Polkadot is another one that jumped the ranks thanks to a denomination – crypto’s version of the stock split.

In the meantime, market participants acknowledged Ethereum’s layer2 solutions like the OMG network and Loopring, resulting in these tokens outperforming.

But Vinokourov says, Ether contenders “command significant financial firepower and a competing platform to rival Ethereum’s DeFi is likely a matter of time.”

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum (ETH) to Repeat 2017? Supply Sink & Buy Pressure Coming

Ether outperformed Bitcoin during the ICO mania of 2017, as it was the most popular platform on which these projects were built on.

Now, during the DeFi mania, ETH is again surpassing Bitcoin, the largest digital asset with a fixed supply. In 2020 so far, ETH has recorded 238% positive returns compared to BTC’s just 56.05%.

According to on-chain analyst Willy Woo, Ethereum is actually “very close to BTC in terms of risk-reward.”

Bitcoin Risk Adjusted Returns vs Other Assets
Source: charts.woobull.com

Thanks to the DeFi craze, Ether’s supply has also been shrinking as a record 6.4 million ETH is already locked in the sector. Now, Ether’s supply is going to be even more contracted thanks to DeFi darling Yearn Finance.

The project has finally added yETH vault along with yWETH and other digital assets. Obviously, these debt-based vaults carry extremely high risk like any other DeFi project and also charges a 0.5% withdrawal fee, not to mention the record transaction fees on the second largest network.

In simple terms, lock in your ETH in a vault and take out more than you put in thanks to the 65% APY.

The community is extremely excited about this development, with some calling it “the world’s first autonomous on-chain hedge fund.”

“Could be a block hole for ETH, super bullish,” said another trader.

“YFI yETH vault will lead to a supply sink from ETH deposited to mint DAI, but also ETH buy pressure from yield farming earnings converted to ETH. Another timely benefit is that gas costs are pooled,” stated Alex Gedevani, who handles research at Delphi Digital.

With ETH leveraged in DeFi, staking coming in Phase 0 of ETH 2.0, and yETH vault here, the supply-side liquidity crisis is coming for Ethereum, which is expected to send the digital asset’s prices higher.

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Author: AnTy

Tezos (XTZ) Class-Action Securities Lawsuit for the $232M ICO Sees $25M Settlement Pending

A class-action lawsuit against Tezos during its 2017 ICO may end in a $25 million settlement. The lawsuit was filed against Tezos for the illegal raising of over $232 million worth of Ether during its ICO.

Filed back in November 2017, the lawsuit by Block & Leviton on behalf of investors that participated in the ICO, claimed that Tezos violated several security laws. The Tezos Foundation also announced its settlement proposal on Mar 20th and stands strong on the belief that the lawsuit itself is baseless.

Block & Leviton informed all investors that participated in the Tezos ICO between July 1, 2017, and July 13, 2017, that they might be eligible for a share of the $25 million settlement offer.

ICO investors were asked to submit the claim of their settlement via [www.TezosFoundationSettlement.com]. Investors have until Aug 6th to object to the settlement offer and until October 16th to submit their claims.

The lawsuit accuses Tezos of being an unregistered security offering and might be the reason why Tezos has decided to settle rather than prolong the case. If Tezos is found to be an unregistered security, it may cost them up to $150 million in direct fines.

United States District Judge Richard Seeborg approved the settlement offer proposed by Tezos on April 30th. In addition, during the final hearing – scheduled for Aug 27th – will determine the legal procedure for initiating the settlement to investors. The court statement approving the settlement offer read:

“The court will likely be able to approve the settlement, subject to further consideration at the Settlement Hearing.”

Looking at recent cases like Telegram and Kik ICO’s, which were deemed as unregistered security offerings. Telegram, which conducted one of the biggest ICOs back in 2017, raising billions of dollars in the process, are now unsure if they will ever be able to launch their blockchain Gram token.

Tezos, meanwhile, wants to try and avoid falling into that same legal quagmire and appears to be considering the settlement offer.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Libra Would Help Usher In ‘Higher Prices’ for Facebook Ads, Says CEO Mark Zuckerberg

During Facebook’s annual shareholder meeting on May 27, 2020, the founder, Chairman, and CEO of the social media giant, Mark Zuckerberg talked about how Libra benefits the company financially. Zuckerberg said,

“Not just Libra, but all of the commerce work that we’re doing is that you should really think about it in terms of our ads business.”

He explained how the auction is an important property of the ads business which means, they don’t set a price, rather every business can just bid for themselves what an ad is worth to them.

This means they can offer the lowest possible price.

It also means those businesses will be interested in bidding more because they will get more and the idea behind offering additional tools, whether it’s around commerce like Facebook Shops or around payments like Libra or Facebook Pay, is to make commerce be more effective for businesses. Zuckerberg said,

“When they run an ad, somebody who clicks on that ad is now going to be more likely to buy something because they actually have a form of payment that works that’s on file, then it basically becomes worth it more for the businesses to bid higher in the ads than what we see are higher prices for the ads overall.

So that’s broadly the strategy around going deeper on commerce and payments.”

Updating the core infrastructure of payment

During the call, he also shared that the payment is an area where the core infrastructure hasn’t been updated in a very long time.

Transferring money or paying for things between countries is still often very difficult as such,

“there are a lot of opportunities with Libra to make the process of commerce and payments helpful — a lot easier.”

This, he believes, isn’t good for people around the world but also the economy overall. He said,

“And we will be able to participate in some amount to that value creation ourselves through higher prices in ads if businesses are succeeding using these tools.”

Just this week, Facebook renamed the wallet Calibra to Novi — a combination of two Latin words: Novus which means “new” and Via meaning “way,” to distance it from the Libra digital currency.

“People were confusing Libra and Calibra all the time,” said David Marcus, Facebook’s head of blockchain. “In hindsight, it’s hard to blame them.”

Libra digital currency was first announced in June 2019 as a global currency that would be nearly free to send across borders. However, since then the project has faced many hurdles.

The fiat-backed digital currency would be governed by the Libra Association made up of 27 companies and nonprofit organizations. Its first chief executive officer, Stuart Levey, was also named earlier this month.

The Association hopes to launch the Libra currency by the end of this year.

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Author: AnTy