Crypto Mining ETF Focused On Green Energy Launches On NYSE

Investment firm Viridi Funds has launched an environmentally friendly, crypto mining-focused exchange-traded fund (ETF). The fund aims to invest in crypto mining firms using cleaner sources of energy.

Viridi Funds’ New RIGZ ETF

The ETF dubbed the Viridi Cleaner Energy Crypto-Mining and Semiconductor ETF will trade on the New York Stock Exchange’s Arca platform under the symbol ‘RIGZ.’

According to the announcement, Viridi Funds will serve as a sub-adviser to the fund, with Alpha Architect creating the fund’s infrastructure.

The ETF, which has an expense ratio of 0.9%, was first filed by Viridi in April this year.

Viridi said 80% of the fund’s investment would go to publicly traded miners, while 20% would go towards semiconductors that take advantage of clean energy. The fund would only invest in miners who have switched to nuclear or renewable energy sources or are working on offsetting their carbon emissions with carbon credits.

According to the CEO of Viridi Funds, Wes Fulford, the firm would use an internal proprietary screening algorithm to select the companies based on their current and planned energy source.

Viridi Funds is backed by several investors, including CoinShares, Alameda Ventures, Luxor Technology, Fundamental Labs, and Mechanism Capital.

Fulford commented on the recent movement of miners from China to North America. He said this was good news as North American miners have access to renewable energy sources.

“We believe that based on recent developments within the Chinese mining sector, North American miners that have access to sustainable low-cost power, large fleets of new-generation rigs, and access to capital are well-positioned to generate higher returns during the months and years ahead.”

With the migration of Chinese miners to North America, the country now accounts for nearly 17% of all global Bitcoin mining, CNBC reports.

Viridi’s ETF Amid Calls For Clean Energy

Viridi’s new product launch is part of the growing efforts of institutions in focusing on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

Several partnerships have been formed lately by US crypto mining firms to make Bitcoin mining more environmentally friendly. Last week, Bitcoin miner Cleanspark partnered with ESG focused miner Coinmint to increase scalability.

Other companies like Hut 8 and Hive Blockchain have also signed deals recently purchasing new machines to increase their hashrate.

For months, all the buzz has been about Bitcoin exchange-traded funds. While countries like Canada and Brazil have already listed Bitcoin ETFs in their stock exchanges, the US is yet to approve any.

Viridi’s ETF differs because it will not invest directly in cryptocurrencies but will likely have indirect exposure to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies. This is because many publicly listed miners have these assets on their balance sheets.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Ethereum Fees And Daily Transactions Spike Thanks to Shiba Inu (SHIB), Tether & Uniswap

Much like in May, Shiba Inu is the biggest gas guzzler on the second largest network, as it launched ShibaSwap. NFTs through Axie Infinity and OpenSea, and MetaMask are also the contributors.

Daily transactions on the Ethereum network are now back over 1.35 million, which had fallen to just above 1 million, but still down from the 1.7 million peak in early May.

Fees are also seeing a spike, with average transaction fees making their way towards $10 after falling to $2.33 in late June. At its peak in May, it soared past $70.

Additionally, gas fees are recording an uptick to 55 Gwei after falling and remaining in single digits for a couple of weeks in June.

According to Etherscan, Tether and Uniswap are the biggest gas guzzlers today, followed by addresses that belong to the Shiba Inu coin project. At 5th and 9th place again is the SHIB project, all of which together accounts for more than 18% usage in the past 24 hours.

Much like in May, on Tuesday, the SHIB project was the biggest gas guzzler and was also at the 3rd and 5th spot, as noted by crypto trader Joe McCann.

The popular dog coin is actually launching a decentralized exchange (DEX) called ShibaSwap. In a single day, ShibaSwap attracted $1 billion in total value locked (TVL).

The token SHIB is currently trading at $0.00000874, down 77% from its all-time high of $0.00003791 hit two months back.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin was the one who sent the SHIB prices crashing in May after selling 50% of its supply (about $6 billion worth at the time) which was sent to his wallet unbeknownst to him, in place of burning the tokens. Vitalik actually gave these coins to charity, saying he doesn’t want that kind of power over a project.

Amidst this, some critics point out that aping into ShibaSwap for a four-figure APR might be a risky venture, given that its smart contract allows a single address to migrate the deposited funds.

“TLDR: All the staked funds can be rugged by the devs at any moment #WarOnRugs,” said Valentin Mihov, ex-CTO at data provider Santiment.

Since then, the project has addressed the concern and made changes, moving the owner to multisig.

“ShibaSwap devs reached out and transferred the owner role to a 6/9 multisig. They also informed they plan to deploy a timelock,” said Banteg, a core developer at DeFi bluechip Yearn Finance.

Besides Shiba Inu, the popular NFT game Axie Infinity is the fourth-largest gas guzzler. As we reported, while the NFT space has been cooling down, the play-to-earn game Axie Infinity is seeing the highest volume at $84.1 million, 769% higher than Q1 2021 and reaching over 4,700 daily unique on-chain users, an increase of 360.61% from the previous quarter.

It also had a breakout month in June, earning a record $12.2 million in revenue, and already in the first five days of the month, it has generated $9.2 million.

The AXS token has surged 300% in less than two weeks and is up 2,145% YTD.

NFT marketplace OpenSea and popular Ethereum wallet MetaMask, which earned $7 million in the past 30-days (4th highest) and $31.7 million in the last 3-months (3rd highest), are also among the top ten gas guzzlers on the second-largest network.

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Author: AnTy

a16Z Launches Largest Ever $2.2 Billion Cryptocurrency-focused Fund

Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has launched the third and biggest multi-billion dollar cryptocurrency-focused fund to continue to invest in the market.

Founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, the firm announced its new $2.2 billion fund on Thursday. It plans to deploy capital across blockchain, digital assets, next-generation payments, decentralized finance (DeFi), Web 3, and more. Katie Haun and Chris Dixon, partners who run Andreessen’s cryptocurrency group said,

“The size of this fund speaks to the size of the opportunity before us: crypto is not only the future of finance but, as with the internet in the early days, is poised to transform all aspects of our lives.”

The company launched its first crypto-focused fund three years ago during crypto winter. Currently, Bitcoin has halved from its all-time high, and altcoins have lost even more of their value.

But as Haun and Dixon noted, “prices may fluctuate but innovation continues to increase through each cycle.”

“We believe that the next wave of computing innovation will be driven by crypto,” they wrote, adding that they’re “radically optimistic about crypto’s potential.”

The firm is known for its early bets on companies like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Lyft. It made the first move into the crypto asset space in 2013 through Coinbase, which went public this year. Additionally, it is now an early investor in Facebook-backed stablecoin Diem, previously known as Libra. The firm has also joined the NFT boom by investing in Dapper Labs and OpenSea.

Andreessen Horowitz said it plans to hold these crypto investments for a decade or more.

The firm also announced new hires for the fund, including former SEC director Bill Hinman as an advisory partner and former undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs Brent McIntosh as an advisor.

For the global head of policy, Tomicah Tillemann, the former chair of the Global Blockchain Business Council and an adviser to the White House, has been appointed. Anthony Albanese, who left the New York Stock Exchange last year, will serve as the new COO, while Rachael Horwitz, who led communications at Twitter, Facebook, and Google, is joining as an operating partner.

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Author: AnTy

Saxo Markets Launches BTC, ETH, & LTC Trading on ‘Strong Demand’

Saxo Markets has launched a cryptocurrency offering enabling its clients to trade Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC) against the dollar, euro, and yen, from a single margin account.

Due to being in the form of derivatives, clients can go both long and short on these cryptocurrencies.

The company is targeting mass affluent and emerging-affluent clients for its latest offering. Over the next few weeks, this will be launched in different countries.

This new service was introduced on the back of “strong demand,” said Saxo Markets APAC Chief Executive Officer Adam Reynolds.

“The active trading clients are going to be the ones most interested in this,” Reynolds said, “and that will include people who are active traders in FX, but also people like active traders in tech stocks.”

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Author: AnTy

Decentralized Trading Platform Slingshot Launches Open Beta On Polygon (MATIC)

Decentralized exchange (DEX) aggregator Slingshot has launched on Ethereum’s layer two protocol Polygon network, per an official tweet.

Slingshot Chooses Polygon Over Ethereum

According to the rebranded DEX platform (formally DEX.AG), the upgrade will enable users to execute faster trades, pay fewer transaction fees, and get the best prices on Polygon. This is following a run-up of DeFi platforms launching in the past year. Slingshot is in open beta on Polygon.

Slingshot noted that its reason for using the Polygon instead of launching on the Ethereum blockchain was due to high gas fees and slow transaction issues the decentralized finance (DeFi) facilitator experienced. Polygon is a multichain solution that runs alongside Ethereum’s network.

The Ethereum network is the second most active blockchain ecosystem after Bitcoin. In a year that has seen cryptocurrencies gain more followers, the Ethereum network has attracted more developers riding on the decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFT) craze.

But this adoption has brought up issues previously left unattended. First, the insane gas fees users have to pay before executing a trade on the platform.

Another major hiccup has been the network congestion issues prompted by the explosion of NFTs. NFTs, which are predominantly built on the Ethereum network, are unique virtual assets stored on the blockchain. Recent successes in the digital collectibles circle have seen the Ethereum network battle with slow transaction speeds.

These issues have seen the upsurge of layer two protocols like Polygon. Given their swift execution timelines and lower gas fees, developers are now shifting to alternative platforms to access the burgeoning world of DeFi.

Speaking on the recent announcement, Slingshot’s CEO, Clinton Bembry noted that the DEX platform ran multiple pilots on both the Ethereum and Polygon network for some time before settling with Polygon. All trades would now be executed on the Polygon network, while the Ethereum network integration would come much later.

ConsenSys Launches Developer-friendly Tools

Ethereum is aware of the challenges facing its platform and is reportedly preparing to migrate to a proof-of-stake (PoS) protocol in the coming months. According to founder Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum 2.0 will see the end of high gas fees and network congestion and make the Dapps facilitator scalable.

Meanwhile, Ethereum software studio ConsenSys is working to make the Ethereum platform more developer-friendly. According to the blockchain company, it will be adding tools to scaling solution Polygon to make it easier to develop and run dapps on the platform.

The tools named Infura and Truffle would be added to its already extant Ethereum and IPFS offering. Infura would allow developers to connect to the Ethereum network using an application programming interface (API) without running a full node.

Its Truffle tool would help developers build and deploy dapps easily like boilerplate projects.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

DFinity’s ICP Token Rises By Almost 60% on Opening Day following Monday Listing

The much-anticipated Internet Computer (ICP) utility token has launched, and the token has seen much action on its first day of trading.

The utility token made by Zurich-based tech company DFinity quickly found its home on major crypto exchanges like Coinbase Pro, Binance, Huobi Global, OKEx, and many others yesterday.

ICP Tokens Fifth Most Valuable Crypto

Following a four-hour trading period, the price for the ICP tokens swung wildly, moving from its opening trade of $700 to $250 before self-correcting and rising 70% to $420 at press time.

Crypto data aggregator Coingecko estimates that over $2 billion has been traded in the last 24hrs with a fully diluted valuation of over $213 billion since opening trade.

According to market data aggregator Messari, following its max supply of 469,213,710 and a price valuation of $342, the market valuation of the five-year project would be in the region of $160.5 billion. Even though only 26% of the overall tokens are in circulation.

With that number, it would likely place the new entrant just behind meme coin DOGE with a market cap of over $57 billion, displacing Ripple’s XRP token and Cardano’s ADA as the fifth most valuable cryptocurrency.

ICP Set To Replace Legacy IT Infrastructure

The Internet Computer (TIC) blockchain has long been in development spanning five years. According to the parent company DFinity Foundation, TIC is the world’s first blockchain that runs at web speed with unbounded capacity.

It’s also the third major blockchain innovation alongside Bitcoin and Ethereum set to change how we interact with the internet and transfer value.

DFinity says the project’s mission is to change the way billions of people interact with the traditional IT infrastructure by enabling users to connect through standard protocols to a publicly accessible global supercomputer on its ICP protocol.

The project, founded in Oct. 2016 by former President and CTO of String Labs, Dominic Williams, aims to replace the present IT industry by allowing developers to host their codes directly on the public internet. This will see them forgo using traditional hosting companies, servers, commercial cloud services, and big tech companies.

According to Williams, the Internet Computer uses a scientific protocol called the Chain Key Technology (CKT), which comprises Non-Interactive Distributed Key Generation (NI-DKG), Network Nervous System (NNS), Internet Identity, and several advanced technologies.

The CKT platform uses a set of cryptographic protocols, and the system is separated into several subsections, including two “canisters” and “neurons” that help it run efficiently.

The project says it would allow developers to run computing applications on the decentralized web just like decentralized applications facilitator Ethereum. But DFinity says the TIC comes with superior scalability functionality.

Before its Mercury genesis launch, DFinity raised a total of $121 million from venture capital contributors like Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital, SV Angel, Aspect Ventures, and several notable investors.

Its ICP tokens would be used in staking in its governance system, and users will be able to earn “voting rewards,” which they can now exchange for “cycles” they can use to run their computations.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Fidelity Launches Digital Asset Analytics Tool For Institutional Investors

Financial services firm Fidelity investment has launched a digital assets analytics platform for institutional investors.

Fidelity’s Sherlock To Guide Institutional Investors

Fidelity named the platform Sherlock, which is a digital assets analysis tool that will provide fundamental and technical analysis for fund managers and investors.

According to the firm, Sherlock will collate valuable pieces of information on the blockchain, market, social sentiment analysis, as well as industry news into a single portal.

The platform will also research crypto-assets relying on quality institutional data providers coupled with the provision of unique analytics to guide investors.

Fidelity’s Sherlock is expected to provide much-needed competition against existing solutions produced by companies like Messari.

In 2018, Messari launched a data solution service and had gained valuable recognition worldwide by integrating with Kaiko’s Rest API.

Other giant forces to be reckoned with in the provision of data and analytics are Dune Analytics, Glassnode, Skew, Coin Metrics, and Santiment.

Speaking on the new development, Kevin Vora, Vice president, Product Management, Fidelity Center for Applied Technology (FCAT), said Sherlock would deliver comprehensive data and deep analytics as clients will no longer face numerous irrelevant resources.

Fidelity Dominating the Crypto Space

Besides developing Sherlock to help institutional investors, Fidelity investment has been making significant contributions to the crypto space.

Earlier, Fidelity Charitable, the charitable arm of the mutual fund giant, reportedly raised $28 million in cryptocurrency donations.

The acceptance of cryptocurrencies as part of donations for the non-profit was a welcome development in the crypto space.

More importantly, the investment firm plans to launch its bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) for digital assets and virtual currency, per Form S-1 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

While SEC is yet to approve any firm to date, Fidelity might be feeling lucky due to its track record in the traditional finance space.

Given the prevalence of existing data and analytics solutions for institutional investors, observers will be eager to see if the newly introduced Sherlock solution by Fidelity investment will also turn things around.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Turkey Drafting Wider Crypto Regulations, Probe Launched into Another Exchange

Turkey Drafting Wider Crypto Regulations, Probe Launched into Another Exchange After it Ceases Activities

After Thodex was abruptly shut down, Vebitcoin abruptly stopped all its activities as well. An investigation has been launched in both the crypto exchanges, and several people have already been detained.

The Finance Minister of Turkey is working on broader regulations regarding cryptocurrencies, said Central Bank Governor Sahap Kavcioglu on Friday.

However, the bank does not intend to ban crypto, he added.

Some details on regulations would be ready as early as in two weeks, Kavcioglu said in an interview with Turkish broadcasters. Recently, the central bank banned the use of cryptos as payments, citing volatility along with “irreparable” damage and transaction risks.

This latest move towards regulating digital assets came after crypto exchange Thodex abruptly shut down, making hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crypto assets irretrievable.

Thodex recorded about $538 million in volume on its last trading day.

The authorities have detained dozens of people in the investigation into the exchange and sought its founder’s arrest in Albania, police said on Friday.

As we reported earlier this week, the Thodex platform said on its website that it would be closed for four to five days due to a sale process. After people were unable to make any withdrawals or access their accounts, they filed criminal complaints saying they had been scammed.

Police launched raids across eight provinces on Friday with warrants to arrest 78 suspects, the Istanbul police said. Sixty-two people have been detained so far, reported the state-owned news agency Anadolu.

A day earlier, the officials searched the company’s Istanbul offices and seized materials.

According to the police, the company’s founder and CEO, Faruk Fatih Ozer, had flown to the Albanian capital Tirana on Tuesday. Interpol then issued a red notice for Ozer.

Amidst all this, a probe has been launched into another cryptocurrency exchange Vebitcoin, a local prosecutor said on Saturday.

Turkish authorities blocked the onshore bank accounts of Vebitcoin and detained four people as part of the investigation. This action was taken after the exchange announced that it had stopped all activities, citing financial issues. The notice on the exchange reads,

“Due to the recent developments in the crypto money industry, our transactions have become much more intense than expected. We would like to state with regret that this situation has led us to a very difficult process in the financial field. We have decided to cease our activities in order to fulfill all regulations and claims.”

The Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) has blocked the company’s accounts and started an investigation, reported Anadolu.

“Four administrators and personnel of the company were detained on Saturday on allegations of fraud,” Mehmet Nadir Yagci, a prosecutor in the southwestern city of Mugla, said in a statement.

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Author: AnTy

JPMorgan Piloting Blockchain-based Payment Solution in Asia

American investment bank and financial services provider JPMorgan, on Monday, April 12, launched ‘Confirm,’ a blockchain solution to reduce the number of rejected or returned payments.

‘Confirm’ Validates Transactions In ‘Near Real-time’

Following the launch, the US bank is now test-running the blockchain solution with 12 banks in Taiwan. The financial institutions include CTBC Bank, Taiwan Cooperative Bank, and First Commercial Bank.

As part of the test run, the banks were required to transfer money to Indonesia, using JPMorgan’s clearing solution – ‘PayDirect.’

Disclosing this development to the investing public, the banks which were used as case studies, according to JPMorgan, were able to request and receive confirmation of beneficiaries’ account information in ‘near-real-time.’

According to the US banking giant, there are numerous risks attached to transaction failures in the blockchain market, some of which are -a heightened risk of fraud, increment in cost from payment returns, and poor customer experience because of delays in processing payments.

Why this solution is timely for digital asset holders

In the blockchain industry, transactions are mostly seamless as cryptocurrency transactions are often done without problems. But there are instances where unsuccessful and failed transactions are recorded. In situations where failed transactions occur, one of the most common reasons is ‘fees.’

It is pertinent to note that the fees asset holders input in their transactions is collected by miners, who are shouldered with the responsibility of confirming transactions on the network.

These fees are used to determine the priority of each transaction as far as blockchain is concerned. Meaning that the higher the fee, the higher the level of importance placed on a transaction, and vice-versa. So, if the price an asset holder includes is too low, there are chances that miners will not consider such a transaction worthwhile to validate. And the most common consequence of this is rejection.

While no data is accessible at press time to confirm the rate at which traders experience failure in their transactions, there are indications most of the transactions that suffered rejection were because of the injected fee. More so, when a low price is used during the period that a network is experiencing congestion, there is a likelihood that it will not be successful. Due to how the blockchain is designed, miners are the only ones that determine every transaction’s status.

However, with ‘Confirm,’ JPMorgan brings a solution aiming to reduce failed transactions and increase successful ones.

Through a secure peer-to-peer network in the blockchain industry, trading entities can request an account’s validation before payment initiation. They can also respond to requests for account owner and status or participate as both a requestor and a responder.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Cosmos (ATOM) Enhances Interoperability with IBC Protocol Rollout

Cosmos has finally launched its Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol following a majority vote from the community members.

Cosmos IBC Now Lets Blockchains Talk To Each Other

The newly launched protocol would enable the transfers of tokens and data between sovereign blockchains.

More than 1500 Cosmos validators and delegates supported the launch.

The long-awaited IBC protocol would also address scalability issues through sharding technology, according to the development team.

Cosmos also said that this launch opens up a whole new world of possibilities for the decentralized finance (DeFi) space, as decentralized applications (DApps) built on its network would be able to execute multi-chain smart contracts.

According to Tendermint CEO Peng Zhong, the launching of the IBC marks a momentous milestone in the evolution of the Cosmos ecosystem as it builds the foundation for interoperability.

Cosmos has been working on its vision to realize an open blockchain protocol for some time now.

Although the IBC whitepaper was released back in 2016 by Cosmos co-founders Jae Kwon and Ethan Buchman, it was not until 2019 that a mainnet was launched.

In 2020, the ATOM’s native blockchain launched another incentivized testnet for IBC, dubbed Game of Zones, which stress-tested the IBC module pre-launch and distributed over 100,000 ATOMs in rewards to dozens of validators.

Stargate, the last phase of IBC, which completed the original roadmap laid out in the Cosmos whitepaper, was then launched in February 2021. Speaking on the impact IBC would have on the blockchain space, the lead developer of the IBC Protocol Christopher Goes, said,

“IBC will create an ecosystem of politically independent chains that can interact via trade and information exchange. Knitting together many different blockchains can form a new crypto-economic system”.

The Impact of IBC In DeFi Sector

IBC’s launch greatly expands the realm of possibilities for blockchain applications. IBC will be used to transfer both fungible (cross-chain payments) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) between chains. This will see the subsequent rise of interchain token exchanges and NFT marketplaces.

The launch of IBC is a big deal, especially in the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector, as it could open up opportunities by allowing tokens to zip between chains. A product on an application-specific blockchain could use an asset from a completely different chain.

The initial version of IBC allows users to kick off token transfers between various chains only on the Cosmos Hub, the central blockchain that connects all other Cosmos blockchains or zones. Now for the first time, Cosmos has achieved actual cross-chain token transfers.

The blockchains built on Cosmos’ native consensus model like Kava (KAVA) and Crypto.com (CRO) will likely be the first crypto projects to adopt the IBC standard, putting an end to blockchain silos.

Even though Gavin Wood-led Polkadot (DOT) blockchain ecosystem is on the path to end network tribalism through its Bridges protocol, Cosmos seems to have beaten them to the finish line.

Meanwhile, Cosmos also announced its plans to add the Gravity DEX, a decentralized exchange, as the next upgrade following IIBC.

The Gravity DEX will act as an online marketplace for trading tokens from any connected blockchain, including tokens from IBC-enabled blockchains, wrapped ETH (wETH) to wrapped BTC (wBTC) tokens, and from any future networks that implement IBC.

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Author: Jimmy Aki