MetaMask’s Active Users Reaches 10.35M as it Gains Traction in the Philippines, Vietnam, China & India

MetaMask’s Active Users Reaches 10.35 Million as it Gains Traction in the Philippines, Vietnam, China & India

The number of users actively using crypt wallet MateMask has now reached 10 million, increasing 18x over the last year, driven by a surge of interest in decentralized finance (DeFi), stablecoins, and non-fungible tokens (NFT).

Back in July 2020, MetaMask reported monthly active users of just about 545,000, which shot up to 8 million on June 1st and went up to 10.35 million by August this year, noted the parent company ConsenSys, a software company focused on Ethereum network founded by Ether co-founder Joseph Lubin.

The non-custodial wallet launched in September 2016 is a mobile app and browser extension that allows its users to manage their own private keys without a third party.

A year back, ConsenSys owned MetaMask’s open-source code and in Q2 launched MetaMask Institutional, a wallet built for institutions that have an address tracking system called Codefi Compliance that allows custodians to identify addresses within pools that are suspected of nefarious activity.

According to ConsenSys, it was the launch of the mobile version in Sept. 2020 that played a “crucial role” in bringing new users from global markets. The top 15 countries using the wallet are the Philippines, United States, Vietnam, United Kingdom, China, India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, Germany, France, Canada, and Spain.

MetaMask is hosting a party in the metaverse Decentraland on Sept. 2 to celebrate this milestone.

It is currently earning about $2.2 million on a weekly basis and has earned $63.3 million in total over the past year, according to TokenTerminal.

As we reported, Popular Ethereum wallet provider MetaMask is also open to creating its token, but there are no immediate plans as such, it said.

This tidbit was shared by MetaMask in its first-ever community call this week, where the development team discussed the possibility of launching a token eventually.

As we saw with Uniswap, 1inch, ShapeShift’s, FOX, and many others, airdrops in the cryptocurrency industry are a great way to reward the community and early users as they grow to be very valuable and, in cases, worth thousands of dollars.

However, the MetaMask team clarified that there are no immediate plans to launch a token, but added one could be released in the future.

The project is “absolutely open to the idea of making the project community-owned” through a crypto token, said Erik Marks, senior software engineer at MetaMask. However, the main concern is that they don’t want to create a token “that doesn’t have a use case.” The use case must be “compelling,” not to mention it will involve the whole pump and dump part.

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Author: AnTy

Lightning Network Hits 1,500 BTC Capacity For the First Time as it Gains Traction in El Salvador

Lightning Network Hits 1,500 BTC Capacity For the First Time as it Gains Traction in El Salvador

Bitcoin layer 2 payments solution Lightning Network that enables faster and cheaper transactions has grown to surpass the capacity of 1,500 BTC for the first time.

Between the period of March 2019 and May 2020, the Lightning network capacity has been pretty stagnant, keeping between 800 and 1,100 BTC.

But about a year back, it started seeing growth which started to record a serious uptrend only this year. In January, LN capacity remained above 1,000 BTC only to hit 1,200 BTC for the first time in April this year.

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Besides network capacity, the number of channels is close to hitting 50,000, another new all-time high, which started to increase in August last year.

The number of nodes with and without channels is also on the same path, ready to hit 21,500 for the first time. Lightning nodes basically open payment channels with each other that are funded with BTC. When transactions are made across those channels, the channel balance is reflected without having it to be broadcasted on-chain creating a second layer on top of the bitcoin network and expanding its capabilities.

This growth can be attributed to El Salvador, which recently declared Bitcoin legal tender. Currently, Lightning-enabled wallets, Strike and Bitcoin Beach are the top free financial apps in the country followed by Binance and Crypto.com.

Interestingly, last week, Jack Dorsey hinted that Twitter will be integrating the payments network.

Lightning Network integration into Twitter or BlueSky is “only a matter of time,” said Dorsey in response to someone asking about the same after the Twitter founder appreciated Lightning Network-powered messaging app Sphinx Chat.

The long-term Bitcoin proponent recently also shared that his payments company Square is considering making a Bitcoin hardware wallet.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum Targeting October for The Merge through Scaling Project ‘Rayonism’

Ether is enjoying a lot of momentum with prices aiming for fresh ATH as interest for the cryptocurrency gains interest from retail and institutions alike, as seen in the volume recorded by CME ETH futures, inflows into Ether funds, and four ETH ETFs gaining traction.

This has been ahead of the London upgrade that will involve EIP-1559 aiming to burn the ETH paid in gas fees, making it a deflationary crypto asset, all ready to come in July, a tentative date set in the last dev meeting.

Besides this reduction in ETH supply, the transition of the second-largest network from PoW to PoS is of significant importance. It will help the network remove the scalability issue.

Phase 0, the beacon chain, has already been launched in December, and almost 4 million ETH has been deposited so far in ETH 2.0.

During the ongoing ETHGlobal’s Scaling Ethereum event, a virtual hackathon that also involves summits, the devs talked about the need to move away from the centralized staking, especially crypto exchanges, and onto more decentralized options.

The developers working on Ethereum are targeting October 2021 for the Merge, which will swap the actual consensus layer from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake.

Though a bit optimistic, Ethereum virtual Hackathon hosting between April 16th and May 14th is working on the Merge. It has been given the name of Rayonism, a project that is taking the research and engineering efforts of the Eth1-Eth2 Merge and Sharding and building testnets around the ETHGlobal Scaling Hackathon.

If the Merge gets delayed due to the Shanghai upgrade, it can then come by Q1 of 2022.

During the Summit, it has been shared that the code changes for the Marge are expected to take weeks and not months, with much of the work needed to be done with testing and auditing.

Once the Merge is complete, a cleanup fork will take place, which will enable the withdrawal of the locked ETH.

From here, the team will move to sharding, which is expected to make the network scale up to 25x, which the community has long been waiting for as very high usage of the Ethereum network has made it accustomed to congestion and high fees.

Parallel to sharding, the key execution layer upgrade will be statelessness along with state expiry that will enable much higher gas limits and scaling on L1. Finally, the focus will be on zkSync 2.0 and StarkNet to make native execution on shards easier.

So, all the major upgrades to the Ethereum network are all planned out with developers working on making them a reality, and it is driving the ETH prices higher, which is currently trading above $2,500.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Having Almost No Correlation to Gold Since Late 2020

Compared to the $1 trillion crypto asset’s 85% YTD gains, the bullion is down -11.19% in 2021 so far. As for month-to-date, gold prices are again down 3%, while BTC is up nearly 20%.

It’s been nearly six months that the correlation between Bitcoin and gold has been on a downtrend. Currently, this correlation is near 0, which points to no correlation at all.

This made sense given that ever since hitting a new all-time high above $2,000, the prices of precious metal have been going down, hitting a nine-month low on Monday to $1,675 before making some recovery to $1,700 in tandem with all the other assets.

Based on BTC/GOLD 60d Spearman Correlation, “Bitcoin has had almost basically no correlation to Gold since late 2020,” noted Coin Metrics.

Compared to the $1 trillion crypto asset’s 85% YTD gains, the bullion is down -11.19% in 2021 so far. Even month-to-date, the spot gold prices are down 3%, while BTC is up nearly 20%.

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Source: CoinMetrics

Stock markets made a recovery on Monday on the back of a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan winning US senate approval on Saturday, only to end up lower. Tech-heavy Nasdaq is also selling off, now down 10.5% from Feb. 12 high of 14,095.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the package would fuel a “very strong” U.S. recovery, and as spending increases, she does not expect the economy to run too hot either.

However, investors are back to bracing themselves for another bout of sell-off in US Treasuries as a trio of large government debt auctions this week. “Investors will remain on pins and needles until the auctions are behind us,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, a rates strategist at TD Securities.

This could present a danger for all risky assets, including Bitcoin, as we have seen over the last couple of weeks.

Rising treasury yields are helping the US dollar strengthen, which fell to nearly 89 level earlier this year, a level not seen since April 2018. But since late February, the greenback has been climbing, going to 92.5 today before sliding to 92.

This is why the stock market and Bitcoin have been enjoying the gains finally, with BTC going above $54,000.

But in the near term, the macro presents a challenge in the form of rising yields and dollars. Additionally, March hasn’t been a bullish month for Bitcoin historically, which combined with 100k Bitcoin options outstanding for the March expiry points to continued volatility.

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Author: AnTy

ETH Gas & Bitcoin Fees Insanity Rear its Ugly Head Again Amidst Market Uptrend

As the price of cryptocurrencies keep its gains and, in some cases, rally, it is becoming costly, yet again, to use the two largest blockchains.

First things first, the fees are nowhere near the levels recorded during the bull market’s height, but still, it is getting pretty ramped up.

The average transaction fees on the Bitcoin network surged to about $12 on Friday. Interestingly, the fees didn’t record a considerable uptick on the two days that the price of Bitcoin breached multiple levels to reach a new all-time high at $24,195.

However, the fees started spiking just a week back, when it was under $3, and the BTC price was only around $18,000.

Today, Bitcoin’s average fees are back around $9. In late October, fees had gone even higher, above $13. During this time, BTC price fluctuated $1,000 up and down. Of course, we have a long way to reach the 2017 high of $60 in average fees.

The latest jump in fees came after the transaction count in mempool surged to nearly 132.5k yesterday. But today, the pending transaction is clearing up, falling to the 34.24k level. The hashrate is also 10% off of its all-time high record in mid-October.

Bitcoin price, meanwhile, is keeping around $23,560 ever since breaking it on Thursday.

Much like Bitcoin, the fees on Ethereum also spiked thanks to the bullishness in the market. For Ethereum, not just its price, which is only around $650, still 58% away from its peak but DeFi tokens also play a part.

And yesterday, DeFi tokens jumped with notable gainers, including UNI, AAVE, SUSHI, SRM, CRV, and SNX that pumped 7% to 12%.

A spike in ETH gas fees was expected. On Dec. 17, average gas fees on the network jumped to 138 ETH, up from 35 ETH earlier this month.

For ETH, the explosion of the DeFi market resulted in several such jumps in fees in 2020. In June, the average gas fees climbed to 704 ETH, as per Blockchair.

Although Ethereum has successfully launched the first phase of ETH 2.0 and already 1.57 million ETH are deposited in it, cheaper fees are still not in the picture and may take a long time to become a reality.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin OTC Indicators Point to Ongoing Institutional Buying And This Means Only One Thing

Bitcoin is holding firmly to its gains made during the wild rally of 4Q20. Trading above $24,000, yes, another all-time high on the weekend, with $4.7 billion in ‘real’ volume, BTC/USD is up 230% this year.

Despite these substantial gains, bitcoin is not looking like it will correct anytime soon. Many are expecting the digital asset to run even higher up before any pullback could be expected.

Similar views are of Ki-Young Ju, CEO of data provider CryptoQuant, and the reason for this continued bullishness is the ongoing institutional buying.

“This BTC bull-run never stops as long as these OTC indicators keep saying institutional-buying,” said Ju pointing to all the large over-the-desk deals still going on vigorously.

For starters, massive outflows can be seen in Coinbase BTC outflows going to their new cold wallet for custody that held 6k to 8k BTC. Whenever the US’s biggest exchange moves a significant amount of Bitcoins to other cold wallets, it indicates OTC deals.

The largest digital asset manager, Grayscale, which continues to add up BTC to its stash, uses Genesis Trading for buying Bitcoin, which in turn uses Coinbase OTC desks for that. Coinbase was the one that helped MicroStrategy in its initial $250 million investment. Ruffer also confirmed that they purchased their BTC via Coinbase.

Another indicator is the Fund Flow Ratio for all exchanges, the ratio of network transaction volume of exchanges among all the tokens transferred on the network. If this value goes up, it implies most of the network transactions are exchange deposits/withdrawals; otherwise, transaction volumes are coming from non-exchange wallets. Young Ju noted,

“Since the price is eventually determined on exchanges, massive non-exchange transaction volume is considered as a bullish signal. These transactions include OTC deals.”

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Currently, only 5% of the network transactions are used for exchange deposits and withdrawals. The same level was seen in February 2019 when major exchanges launched OTC desks.

Looking at Tokens Transferred, which is the number of Bitcoins transferred on the network, this indicator has been trading up ever since early August.

If the value of Token Transferred goes up and the fund flow ratio for all cryptocurrency exchanges goes down, it again “implies that huge OTC deals are ongoing.”

Based on these on-chain indicators that estimate OTC deals going under the hood by institutional investors, large OTC deals are happening, and they point out that “institutions are continuing to buy BTC.”

So, much like this week, which saw several levels and all-time highs getting breached, we could continue further up.

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Author: AnTy

XLM Records Impressive Volume; Co-founder says Team Is Making Stellar ‘Useful for Real People’

Much like the rest of the cryptocurrency market, Stellar has also been enjoying the gains this past month.

With nearly 113% gains in the last 30-days, XLM is currently trading at $0.175, which brings its year-to-date performance to over 289%.

In the last 60 days, Stellar’s trading volume has surged by a whopping 517% on the back of numerous fundamental developments, noted eToro.

Recently, Germany’s Bankhaus von der Heydt (BVDH) launched a Euro stablecoin on the Stellar network. The EURB stablecoin is a fully regulated one but won’t be openly traded on exchanges due to strict KYC requirements.

BVDH managing director Philipp Doppelhammer said EURB’s first use case will be for “cross-border money transfers” for blockchain payments company SatoshiPay’s customers.

This came after earlier this week, German private bank Hauck & Aufhäuser announced its first crypto fund, the HAIC Digital Asset Fund I that will include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Stellar (XLM). This fund will be launching on Jan. 1, 2021.

The Dollar Savings Project

Stellar co-founder Jed McCaleb, who was also behind the Mt. Gox exchange, recently appeared on The Pomp Podcast where he talked about the idea behind the 13th largest cryptocurrency which is to

“make this interoperable layer where all these things can communicate with each other, not just in financial networks but different currencies.”

McCaleb further explained,

“It just allows you to use any currency at any financial institution and seamlessly and effortlessly send anybody else in the world.

That’s kind of the goal and the way we do that is by leveraging this innovation that Bitcoin came up with which is this distributed ledger that everyone can see but no one can change arbitrarily.”

Stellar launched about six years ago and currently one of the big things the team is working on is the dollar savings app “which is a consumer app that allows people in places with really high inflation like say Argentina to be able to save their money in dollars,” said McCaleb.

These are the efforts where the team is working on making Stellar useful for real people with another big B2B payments corridor between Nigeria and Europe that “we’re helping it foster,” he added.

McCaleb, who is also the former CTO of Ripple, recently sold 29.5 million XRP worth about $135 million in a single day.

Between 2014 and 2019, he sold 1.05 billion XRP, as per Whale Alert. In 2020, he sold another 375 million XRP at a total of $75 million up to August 3.

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Author: AnTy

Retail Investment Not Returned in Force Yet; This Doesn’t Feel Like 2017’s Bull Run

Today, BTC is tracing back the recent gains, going to the $17,400 level. A pullback has long been expected as Bitcoin has been surging since early October when the price was around $10,500.

For the last six weeks, the digital asset has been printed green candles, and this week, we might finally end up seeing some correction. However, BTC/USD is currently trading above $17,900 at the time of writing.

“We’re overextended here and due for a pullback,” Vijay Ayyar, head of business development with crypto exchange Luno told Bloomberg.

“Anywhere from between $18,000-$19,000 is potentially a top. We should have many people selling at these levels, especially those that bought at the top in 2017-18. Major rallies in the past always had 30-40% corrections. No reason to believe this time is different.”

Red in the Bitcoin market has the majority of the altcoins recording losses as well, with a few notable exceptions like FOAM (+90%), YFI (10.4%), and WAVES (7.6%).

Reaching for those highs

This week Bitcoin had a wild run as the leading digital asset went from $15,750 to nearly $18,500. With this, on Wednesday, the highest number of bitcoin addresses were created since January 2018.

Additionally, this uptrend saw the volume across the board, climbing to new highs. The leading spot exchange Binance recorded a new all-time high in its volume, as shared by its CEO Changpeng Zhao.

Yesterday, the real volume also surged above $6 billion, as per Messari. Even crypto exchanges went off as usual as the digital asset made some big moves.

However, on-exchange trading volumes are still below prior levels, “indicating that retail investment in the space has not yet returned in force.”

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“I don’t see this move as a mania or grossly over-loved just yet,” wrote Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Financial Pty.

Still Far Off

While volume hasn’t made new highs, the aggregated open interest in the BTC futures market has done so at $6.4 billion, in USD terms, that is.

However, in terms of Bitcoin, the open interest is far from the ATH — trailing at around 390k BTC, below the yearly average of 395k BTC.

On CME as well, the open interest surpassed the $1 billion mark.

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Comparing the current market condition with that of the last bull run, analyst PlanB noted,

“Big difference with 2017 is that most BTC sold today will never see the daylight again, they disappear into deep cold storage. Buyers today are professionals with long term vision and staying power.”

As we reported, Chinese state media also shared bitcoin’s bull run with the people noting that the bull run of 2020 is institutionally driven in a more developed ecosystem.

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Author: AnTy

China’s State Media on BTC’s ‘Institutional-Driven’ Bull Run; Improved Dramatically Compared to 2017

Bitcoin has enjoyed gains of 31% in November while being up more than 67% this quarter, making it the 18th largest asset in the world by market capitalization.

After breaking $16k, $17k, and $18k this week, today, we are keeping around the $18,000 level on the back of a $6 billion trading volume.

However, with these gains came the issues with crypto exchanges as they continue to go down whenever BTC makes higher than usual moves.

Coinbase has been one of them, whose CEO Brian Armstrong said they are working on adding additional capacity, in terms of servers and customer support “to deal with increased traffic.”

While Armstrong said, “Bull runs can be exciting and stressful,” the crypto community isn’t really satisfied as the exchanges had three years of bear and slow market to deal with the issues.

Now that the bull market is here, the situation will only get wilder and wilder — the market capitalization of BTC has already hit a new high. Unchained Capital stated,

“The bitcoin market cap is at a new all-time high, but the current state of coins held for the long-term is nearly identical to when the price was about $700 in 2016 before it went on its historic run to $20k in 2017.”

Already we are at price levels not seen since the euphoric December 2017, and the positive momentum continues to come for the leading digital asset as the BTC percentage supply on exchanges continues to decrease while the overall exchange flow balance remains dormant.

“This is good news for bulls, with little funding moving from offline wallets with the intent of making major trades,” noted Santiment.

Gradually as we continue to go higher, mainstream media is taking note as well. The latest has been from CCTV.

China’s official TV channel reporting on Bitcoin’s uptrend, which it said is driven by institutional funds. The ecosystem is far better than the last time during the current bull run.

“The Bitcoin ecosystem ranging from infrastructure and development to investment, has improved dramatically compared to 2017.”

However, at the same time, we have been seeing the Chinese government cracking down on the exchange of cryptocurrencies. According to the local media, about 74% of the “Chinese miners are facing a major problem in paying electricity bills.”

This could also be why funding has been flat in this bull run, with open interest in USD increasing only marginally. Economist and crypto trader Alex Kruger shared his theory behind this,

“Chinese miners selling heavily reduced due to fiat onramp complications. They are instead shorting derivatives. Their selling pressure is equal in measure to buying pressure from levered longs. Hence why funding has remained flat in this bull run.”

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Author: AnTy

ErisX Obtains CFTC License to Provide Futures & Swaps Clearing Beyond Digital Assets

The Chicago-based crypto exchange, ErisX, gains regulatory approval from the U.S Commodities and Futures Trade Commission (CFTC) to start a clearinghouse for all types of futures and swaps. The crypto-focused exchange will expand its clearing services for fully collateralized swaps from digital assets to all traditional assets following the OK by the CFTC.

Back in July 2019, the firm gained the traditional designated contract market (DCM) license from the CFTC, allowing users to trade futures on the platform. The latest license granted to the firm is the traditional derivatives clearing license (DCO), which allows the firm to provide a clearinghouse for all fully collateralized swaps. Previously, ErisX provided these services to digital asset futures contracts listed on its virtual currency exchange – ErisX exchange.

ErisX, backed by TD Ameritrade, offers users both spot and physically settled futures contracts on Bitcoin (BTC) – recently announcing the launch of physically-settled Ethereum futures. The launch of these ETH-settled futures in the U.S is a first of its kind under the regulation of the CFTC.

Before the launch of ETH futures contracts, ErisX Clearing LLC received its approval of the lucrative BitLicense application offered by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). The exchange joins an exclusive list of crypto firms holding the license, including Binance, Coinbase, BitPay, Bitstamp, and Robinhood.

ErisX platform aims at integrating digital asset products and technology into a reliable, compliant, and robust capital markets workflow.

On the subject of the latest DCO license offered to ErisX, Laurian Cristea, General Counsel at ErisX, celebrated the move allowing listing and clearing of third-party contracts on their platform.

“Our trading platform is a high throughput, deterministic, low latency matching engine hosted in a world-class data center,” Cristea further said.

“Similarly, our clearing system is a reliable, web-based clearing engine designed to meet institutional requirements, and with real-time segregation balances, no other DCO can boast.”

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Author: Lujan Odera