Mark Cuban Praises DEX SushiSwap; Now Selling “Personalized, Tokenized Video” on Rarible

The explosion of interest in the NFTs has the trading volumes surging nearly 200% in February to past $7 million.

Billionaire Mark Cuban is all about DeFi and NFTs. Almost every other day, Cuban is talking about the digitized space in which he is personally invested as he revealed that besides Bitcoin, Ether, and Litecoin, which he initially said is worth less than a banana, now also owns AAVE and SUSHI.

In a video over the weekend, he praised the decentralized exchange (DEX) SushiSwap which has been doing more than half a billion worth of volume every day.

Cuban thanked everybody at Sushiswap for making him money while making it easy to yield farm, stake, and swap, all the things that are part of the new future of banking and financial world with DeFi, he said.

He is particularly getting more and more interested in non-fungible tokens, which he compares to his interest in basketball cards but even better. He explained the reason behind investing in digital collectibles saying,

“Once you realize the sense of ownership is the same for a digital collectible as a physical one you come to the realization that holding/maintaining/grading/shipping/buying/selling a physical good is a hassle. It’s fast and easy w digital.”

Cuban is actually hustling on NFT marketplace Rarible, on which he has previously sold his digital piece.

Now, the owner of Dallas Maverick is selling “personalized, tokenized video,” like Cameo but with a twist of the latest technology.

“What’s better than Cameo? A personalized, tokenized video that you can save or sell,” tweeted Cuban.

On buying the collectible video of his, the buyer unlocks an email address that can be used to send a request for a personalized video with a 30 MB file limit. Cuban, in response, records the video, mints it and then transfers the video to you.

While the buyer won’t have any commercial rights on it, they can resell it or keep it forever, “It will be a one of a kind.”

Twitter holder @Pranksy, co-founder of NFTBoxes, has bought 10 of these Cuban videos already. He also gifted Cuban a “Million Dollar Punk Draw ticket.”

As we reported, NFT space is exploding with celebrities like Mike Shinoda jumping in. All of this activity has the weekly NFT trade volumes surging nearly 200% from $1.86 million in early January this year to well past $7 million in the first week of February.

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Author: AnTy

A ‘Surge in Interest’ in DOT Leads 21Shares to Launch World’s First Polkadot ETP on SIX

A ‘Surge in Interest’ in DOT Leads 21Shares to Launch World’s First Polkadot ETP on SIX

Amidst the growing interest in decentralized finance (DeFi), investment product provider 21Shares AG, previously known as Amun, has launched the world’s first Polkadot (DOT) exchange-traded product (ETP).

Zurich-based 21Shares is the issuer of crypto ETPs and will be launching the DOT ETP on the Swiss stock exchange (SIX Exchange) on Feb 4th, 2021.

The move came right on the heels of 21Shares adding DOT to its HODL basket. DOT is the second-largest constituent after Bitcoin in the product. Hany Rashwan, CEO 21Shares AG, said in a statement,

“We remain committed to the unprecedented demand we are seeing from institutional investors wanting exposure to crypto-assets.”

According to the chief executive, investing in other crypto-assets is a natural transition from Bitcoin for investors, and European investors have been approaching the company to launch new products.

While the company has been seeing a 5-fold increase in demand, mainly from institutional investors, across its suite of crypto ETPs since Q3 2020, it says there has been a “recent surge in interest” for DOT.

With DOT, 21Shares AG aims to provide “exposure to the multi-chain application environment that enables cross-chain interoperability on a level previously not possible via their traditional broker or bank.”

Created by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, DOT is the 5th largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $15.28 billion. Currently trading at $16.84, DOT is up 104% so far in 2021.

The firm says that despite the rising popularity of the DOT token, it is “not easy for non-technical users to buy and hold and interact with it,” as such, with its ETP, they are lowering the barriers to entry for newcomers. Rashwan said,

“We are launching the DOT ETP to give investors a safe, regulated, and easy way to obtain exposure to this exciting new blockchain technology.”

Each share of the product is fully collateralized by the corresponding amount of physical DOT tokens.

The company is preparing to add more ETPs in the next three months and new European exchange listings.

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Author: AnTy

Retail Catching Up on Bitcoin as the Digital Asset Gets Ready for $30k

Google Search interest for Bitcoin, Crypto, and ‘Buy Crypto’ has surged to Jan. and Feb. 2018 levels.

Bitcoin vaulted above $29,000 to hit an all-time high at around $29,620 on New Year’s Day. Last month, Bitcoin advanced about 50% to mark its biggest monthly gain since May 2019.

Q4 of 2020 was the second-biggest percentage gaining quarter ever at 168.78%, after 210% of Q4 of 2017.

These gains took Bitcoin’s market capitalization past $545 million and it became the 10th largest asset by market cap, surpassing BTC skeptic Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

Bitcoin’s weekly RSI at 92 meanwhile is pointing to Bitcoin being in overbought territory and the market is expecting BTC BTC 0.83% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 29,329.57
$243.44 0.83%
Volume 40.77 b Change $243.44 Open $29,329.57 Circulating 18.59 m Market Cap 545.17 b
8 h Retail Catching Up on Bitcoin as the Digital Asset Gets Ready for $30,000 9 h Bitcoin Hits a New All-Time Record High Against the Traditional Safe Haven Gold 1 d Bitcoin is ‘Going to Fall’ if a Correction is Seen in Stocks, Says Fundstrat’s Tom Lee
to top somewhere around $30k before seeing a correction. But given the strong and resilient demand for the digital asset, it’s anyone’s guess at this point, when and how low exactly we will go at this point if any at all.

Bitcoin’s Gain, USD’s Loss

While bitcoin is on a price discovery ever since breaking 2017 ATH $20k, the US dollar posted its biggest yearly loss since 2017.

The greenback soared to a three-year high of 103 against a basket of currencies in March when panic over the spread of COVID-19 in the US peaked, pushing all the markets down, before dropping on unprecedented Federal Reserve stimulus.

Now, improving global economic outlook, COVID-19 vaccines getting rolled out, ongoing fed bond purchase, and zero to sub-zero interest rates have put a dent in the dollar’s appeal.

“I expect the dollar to depreciate further over the next few years as the Fed keeps rates at zero whilst maintaining its bloated balance sheet,” Kevin Boscher, chief investment officer at asset manager Ravenscroft, told clients.

All the actors negatively affecting USD are actually working in favor of Bitcoin, pushing the digital asset’s prices higher and higher towards the moon.

Retail Taking Notice

The growing prices of Bitcoin have started to catch the attention of retail as well. The interest in the term Bitcoin on Google Trends has seen an uptick to February 2018 levels in the US, although nowhere near the 2017 high.

A similar jump in interest is seen worldwide but while it has a reading of 39, on a 0-100 scale, compared to the 30 reading in the US. Nigeria, South Africa, Austria, Ghana, and Switzerland are currently leading this interest.

Interest is actually higher for the terms ‘crypto’ and ‘buy crypto’ that have a reading between 40 to 48 last seen in Jan. 2018, both in the US and worldwide, most among Malta, Australia, Slovenia, Nigeria, and St Helena.

Among the cryptocurrencies, Google Search interest for Bitcoin, ETH, and XRP are at their highest since Jan. 2018 with Tezos being the only one to hit its peak in 2020. While ETH has relatively the highest search interest, IOTA has the lowest.

When it comes to Twitter, “the percentage of Bitcoin tweets coming from unique Twitter accounts is at an ATH,” noted The TIE.

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Author: AnTy

MicroStrategy Pushes its Bitcoin Ownership well over $1 Billion with Latest Round

MicroStrategy completed the sale of its $650 million convertible senior notes with an interest rate of 0.750%. The proceeds from the sale will be used to buy Bitcoin.

“MicroStrategy intends to invest the net proceeds from the sale of the notes in bitcoin in accordance with its Treasury Reserve Policy pending identification of working capital needs and other general corporate purposes,” noted the company on Friday.

As we reported, the offering was initially set at $400 million only to be increased to $550 million with an additional $100 million up for grabs despite the company getting a bearish call from Citi analyst for its big BTC bet.

Interestingly, the popular hedge fund known for its exceptional returns, Renaissance Technologies has also been buying the majority of the MicroStrategy stock this year.

As we reported, RenTech’s flagship Medallion fund also disclosed its intention to invest in CME Bitcoin futures in March, this year.

Just a month before MicroStrategy first indicated its interest in buying Bitcoin publicly in July, RenTech bought the stocks of MSTR in June and then in Sept., and it is now indirectly invested in Bitcoin.

“BTC is our best Hope”

MicroStrategy’s latest $650 billion round of Bitcoin bet would take their Bitcoin ownership to over $1.1 billion. It was in August when the publicly-traded software company announced that it had bought 21,454 BTC for $250 million then the next month another 16,796 BTC were bought for $175 million. Then earlier this month, MicroStrategy bought 2,574 BTC more for $50 million.

MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor’s view on the largest cryptocurrency is pretty simple — “BTC is our best Hope.”

“Every investor is in danger of losing their wealth due to the great monetary inflation. We all need a Store of Value that is not based on fiat.

Bitcoin is The Solution – an investment grade, safe haven, treasury reserve asset.”

Given that MicroStrategy is a software company, some raised questions on its Bitcoin investment, calling it a fund.

“MicroStrategy is not an investment company (IC) per the 1940 Investment Co. Act. An IC is a co. that invests ≥ 40% of assets (less cash & govt securities) in “securities”. Per the SEC, BTC isn’t a security. Ergo, holding BTC doesn’t cause MicroStrategy to become an IC,” clarified Saylor on Twitter late Friday or early Saturday.

He further went on to say that MicroStrategy is also not an ETF/ETP because they exist to invest in stocks, bonds, or commodities and are investment companies per the’40 Act.

MicroStrategy much like Apple & Microsoft is an operating company traded on a stock exchange which “just happen to hold BTC in our treasury reserves,” Saylor said.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin’s Moon Target Set at $318,000 in Dec. 2021 by Citibank Report

With Bitcoin turning bullish, the mainstream institutions are also taking a special interest in the leading digital asset. The latest is Citibank, whose bitcoin technical analysis sees lofty price targets at over $300k per BTC by the end of 2021.

Thomas Fitzpatrick, Global head of CitiFXTechnicals product, the author of the report, traces the historical price performance of Bitcoin, which reflects that timeframes for the rally are getting longer, which puts this rally to peak in December 2021 at $318k.

“Improbable though that seems it would only be a low to high rally of 102 times (the weakest rally so far in percentage terms),” with arguments in favor of Bitcoin at their most persuasive ever, he wrote.

The report notes how Bitcoin is all about “unthinkable rallies followed by painful corrections” but a type of pattern that sustains a long term trend.

As such though it’s to be seen if such lofty levels will be hit, “the price action we are looking at clearly suggest the potential for a major move higher nonetheless in the next 12-24 months,” reads the report whose snippets were first shared by trader and economist Alex Kruger.

Although “this kind of technical analysis is of little value,” Kruger noted, “what matters here is Citi’s clients being exposed to the bitcoin moon.”

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Citibank compared the digital asset’s first rally that took it to the mainstream with gold, which similarly “was allowed to float in the early 1970s after 50 years of trading in a $20-035 range.”

And that was a “structural change in the modern-day monetary regime” ushering in a world of fiscal indiscipline, deficits, and inflation. As for Bitcoin, its move happened in the aftermath of the Great Financial crisis.

In 2020, with all the MMT, gold is likely to gain from this, but the author of the report noted that gold has restrictions such as storage, non-portable, and could possibly be even called “yesterday’s news” in terms of a financial hedge.

“Bitcoin is the new gold,” reads the report.

The leading digital asset has a limited supply, is easy to move across borders, and offers opaque ownership. But the author also says that Bitcoin may be subject to more regulatory constraints going forward.

The report further mentions CBDC, which though a much more effective mechanism for distributing stimulus, “makes capital confiscation easier.” In both the scenarios, Bitcoin will give us the digital equivalent (Bitcoin versus Fiat digital) of what we saw in the 20th century when the financial regime changed (Gold versus FIAT paper).

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Author: AnTy

BoE Explores Negative Rates; Bitcoin Is A ‘Must’ Because Fiat is a ‘Giant Ponzi Scheme’

The Bank of England (BoE) is exploring negative interest rates now and in response Sterling weakened sharply.

The pound dropped 0.7% against the dollar after the central bank’s plans “to explore how a negative Bank Rate could be implemented effectively, should the outlook for inflation and output warrant it at some point,” were revealed.

While the negative rates are being considered, the key interest rate at 0.1% and the QE program remained unchanged on Thursday. Petr Krpata, a currency strategist at ING said,

“There was some expectation that one or two dovish members would vote for an increase in QE, but instead the BoE surprised people by revealing that they’ve been discussing negative rates.”

The UK is currently grappling with a resurgence in virus infections and fresh social restrictions to counter them. There are also fears that unemployment could spike when the government withdraws support for wages next month. Adding to this is Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s threats to redraw his Brexit deal with the EU.

The same day, the Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve also kept the rates unchanged at -0.1% and 0%-0.25% respectively.

This path to sub-zero rates has been already taken by some European peers and of course the BOJ, which means customers are charged for their deposits in banks.

Source: Gemini’s Tyler Winklevoss

In response to BoE contemplating negative rates, Jeff Booth, the author of the book “Price of Tomorrow,” called fiat currencies and economies “a giant Ponzi scheme.” He also said we should expect more banks to announce sub-zero rates.

Earlier this week, he had called Bitcoin “a “must” Not just for your wealth but as a lifeboat.”

Booth fired up his Twitter by explaining how central banks are exponentially adding more debt to escape the massive debt problem. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the debt was $250 trillion on a global economy of $80 trillion, out of which $185 trillion has been added in the last 20 years only.

“The unwind in whatever form it takes is going to be brutal,” and in that case, the world has only two choices either default through hyperinflation or default though a deflationary depression and the latter one will include the collapse of the banking system, he said.

And all of it because “an economic system (is) trying to fight gravity and catching all of us in its vortex,” said Booth.

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Author: AnTy

Over 20% Of Central Banks Are Looking to Launch A CBDC In The Next 1-6 Years: BIS Report

  • There’s a growing interest in central banks looking at the possible implementation of digital currency in 2020 than the hype on Bitcoin (BTC), the Bank of International Settlement (BIS) reports.

In research published over the weekend, the Swiss-based BIS reports the growing attention by global central banks on research and development of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in 2020. The paper states the motivations, technical developments and policy approaches towards the launch of CBDCs vary across the central banks with the more innovative countries taking a step ahead.

According to the report, there is an increasing consideration of retail CBDCs across the central banks to provide a publicly usable currency while some consider a wholesale CBDC which “could become a new instrument for settlement between financial institutions.”

The comprehensive 39-page research focuses on over 175 central banks and over 16,000 speeches from recent years. The findings of the report state that central banks controlling a fifth of the world’s population are considering to launch a digital currency. Additionally, over 20% of the banks are fast-tracking their CBDC to launch in the next 1-6 years.

The report further reads,

“A full 80% of surveyed central banks are engaging in research, experimentation or development of CBDCs.”

The tipping point

Per the report, the number of speeches positively talking about digital currencies has surged since the end of 2018. As of July 2020, there were more central bank governors speaking positively about retail and wholesale CBDCs than having negative stances.

The tide seems to have switched with the launch of Facebook-led digital currency, Libra, and the global COVID 19 pandemic, the report states.

“A tipping point was the announcement of Facebook’s Libra and the ensuing public sector response.”

As for COVID 19 pandemic role in implementing CBDCs, several governments are accelerating their research and developments on CBDCs to ease payment systems and curb the spread of the virus through cash payments. The U.S. recently enhanced its efforts to offer a digital dollar “as a means of quickly executing government-to-person payments (CARE package), as an alternative to credit transfers and slow and costly cheques.”

These efforts by central banks have seen the public become more attentive to CBDCs over time. In 2020, BIS reports that internet searches across the world for CBDCs are massively overshadowing searches of Facebook’s Libra and Bitcoin (BTC) – which crossed the $12,000 mark earlier this month.

Central banks entering the digital era

As mentioned above, the technical decisions, method of implementation, and reasons for the launch of a CBDC vary across states and countries. According to the BIS report, countries with higher mobile phone usage and higher innovation capacity are associated with a higher likelihood of developing a digital currency.

So far, three countries, China, Sweden, and Canada, have completed tests on a retail CBDC and 13 countries are actively researching on the launch of a wholesale CBDC. Another 18 countries have published reports on the impact and effects of digital currencies on their economies.

BEG reported this July, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) is extending its efforts to launch a CBDC division that will work in cooperation with the U.S. and European governments. The project aims to compete with China’s launch of its digital renminbi (RMB). Other states actively focusing on CBDC include Lithuania, Canada, Cambodia, Thailand, among others.

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Author: Lujan Odera

SEC Contracts with DARPA Funded CipherTrace to Track BNB & Binance Chain

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is now taking a special interest in Binance Chain and the native token of the leading spot exchange Binance BNB among other tokens on its blockchain.

Binance Chain hosts about 189 tokens along with the 10th largest cryptocurrency by market cap of $3 billion BNB and underlies Binance DEX, a decentralized exchange.

“This is a significant step to have more BinanceChain token listings on fiat exchanges. Working for our ecosystem projects,” said Changpeng Zao, Binance CEO.

As per the public records, SEC has chosen CipherTrace Inc. for this task to which the agency intends to award a fixed-price contract on a single source basis. The contract will be awarded by SEC by today for a period of one year with four options of one year each to extend the contract. It states,

“CipherTrace Inc., is the only source that can reasonably meet the SEC’s requirement in accordance with FAR Part 13.106-1(b).”

Founded in 2015, the blockchain analytics company was initially funded by the US Department of Homeland Security and DARPA, an agency of the US Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for the military use.

CipherTrace is the only forensics and risk intelligence tool that can support Binance Coin (BNB) and all other tokens on the Binance network, reads the notice.

CipherTrace partnered with Binance in November 2019 to bring anti-money laundering (AML) tracing tools to Binance Chain.

At the time, Dave Jevans, CipherTrace CEO said, as the crypto ecosystem matures, regulators demand better transparency and compliance.

The technology will enable regulators to browse Binance blockchain and identify high-risk addresses, said Binance adding, CipherTrace will improve its blockchain’s AML controls.

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Author: AnTy

DeFi FOMO is Strong But What’s to Come Once This Craze is Over?

The DeFi space has been picking up heat for some time now as the tokens gained a lot of interest after their prices skyrocketed.

In 2020 so far, some of the DeFi coins like Aave have jumped 3,185%, Kyber Network 898%, Bancor 498%, Loopring 493%, REN 445%, Synthetic 235%, 0x 112%, and Augur 101%.

In the past year, projects like Aave and Kyber Network have also gained 7,000% and 1,000% against BTC.

The market cap of Defi space has been flying, now close to reaching $9 billion. The total value locked in the sector is also hitting new highs, the latest one being $2.62 billion, as per Defi Pulse.

In the past few weeks, especially after Compound’s stellar performance following the listing of its governance tokens just days after launch on Coinbase, which is also backing the project, took the DeFi space by storm.

However, ConsesnSys’s latest report states, “the increased activity caused by the activity around COMP has come from those already inside the ecosystem.”

Also, “although COMP has caused massive waves in the DeFi community and greatly impacted ETH locked and DAU, it has not brought many new users into the ecosystem.”

Many also argue that Defi’s gains are just recycled money, flowing from large-cap cryptos to these latest hot DeFi tokens, and no new money is entering into the sector.

A Long Journey Ahead for DeFi

“Real talk. There’s so much Defi FOMO but few talk about the elephant in the room: scalability,” said crypto analyst Qiao Wang. According to him, “latency and throughput are the biggest hurdles to Defi adoption,” and it will be a long journey for Defi.

“Most people seem to think that we’ll see exponential growth in the next few months/years. More likely than not, I think we’ll see step-function growth. Grow -> hit latency/throughput ceiling -> infra breakthroughs -> grow again,” Wang said.

Recently, DeFi’s biggest lending protocol Compound was integrated with Curve, a crypto custodian that services institutional investors while Aave, which has “become a DeFi VC darling” with the sale of $3M worth of LEND tokens to crypto funds Three Arrows Capital and Framework Ventures. Aave is dominating the long-tail lending market, with its AUM heavily weighted towards mid-cap digital assets.

“Aave is taking the Binance strategy to scaling while Compound seems to be taking the Coinbase strategy,” said Spartan Black, of crypto hedge fund The Spartan Group.

What Once the Craze is Over

It’s not only the price of Defi tokens that has captured people’s interest. The interest rates offered are just as lucrative, some offering higher than 10% yield on some digital assets.

But Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin said, “these interest rates do not reflect on anything that is remotely sustainable. It’s just a temporary promotion that was created by printing a bunch of compound tokens, and you can’t just keep printing compound tokens forever.”

According to him, once this craze is over, DeFi will no longer offer double digits interest rates but eventually come down on par with those offered in the traditional financial system.

While Buterin thinks synthetic assets would improve the space, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee isn’t “too excited” or optimistic about the future of DeFi.

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Author: AnTy

CME Records Over 20x Growth in Total Bitcoin Options Open Interest Since May

Institutional grade Bitcoin derivatives platform, CME, is experiencing a superficial growth in options interest from its clients. The total open interest is on a skyrocketing path, witnessing a 2500% increase, from the May 1 at $13 million to over $360 million as of Monday, June 15, 2020.

However, the total daily volume of BTC options traded has dropped significantly during the past week as price levels faltered below the $9,000 mark.

Institutional Interest in BTC Options Explodes

CME Bitcoin options launched in early January this year, starting on a slow note before the market exploded about five months later in May. Across the past six weeks, CME Bitcoin options open interest increased from $13 million on May 1 to an all-time high of $373 million recorded on June 10, 2020.

Source: Skew Markets

Despite the slight retrace to $368 million on Monday, the 2000%+ growth signals a growing interest in institutional investment interest into trading regulated crypto derivatives. CME now holds over 23 percent of the total global OI on Bitcoin options, surpassing the OKEx and LedgerX markets.

A spokesperson of the company, however, said the company “has no plans to introduce additional cryptocurrency products” despite the demand.

A one-Sided Battle in Institutional Investment

According to Matt Kaye, a managing partner at Blockhead Capital, a crypto hedge fund, the increasing open interest gives a “strong signal that regulated institutions are exposing their books to bitcoin.” Investing in regulated BTC products comes at a higher cost, but it seems the institution is ready to pay it, Kaye said.

“CME has a higher cost of capital and is closed on weekends, so anyone trading there is likely making those sacrifices because they have to.”

However, CME’s largest competitor, Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt, is not experiencing similar fortunes despite institutional demand growth. Since launching in December 2019, the total OI on Bakkt BTC options has only crossed the $1 million mark thrice (from January 9 to 11th), currently languishing at $66,000 as of June 15.

Skew Markets BTC Open Interest
Source: Skew Markets

Bitcoin options interest has also ballooned in retail markets, given the extremely volatile prices of the top crypto so far. Deribit, the largest exchange dealing in BTC options, has recorded a 300% increase in total open interest since the start of the year. Deribit crossed the billion-dollar mark in the final week of May, setting an all-time high on June 12 at $1.2 billion.

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Author: Lujan Odera