Compound Rolls Out Cross-Chain DeFi Platform, ‘Gateway’ on Testnet

Decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol Compound has announced its latest addition to the blockchain network called Gateway on testnet. The new blockchain is built on a Substrate blockchain, and it would enable users to access cross-chain interest rates and collateralized markets.

Gateway Built On Substrate Blockchain

Initially announced in a Dec. 18 whitepaper, Compound had revealed that its latest upgrade would come with a multi-asset platform that enables the transfer of value and liquidity between peer ledgers.

Decentralized protocols have varying asset value on their platform, making it difficult for DeFi to really grow.

Compound aims to address this issue with its Gateway launch. Gateway would allow users to borrow assets native to one network with collateral from another. That means borrow Ether, provide collateral in CELO.

Gateway is said to run on a more modern programming language called Rust. This will see the multi-paradigm programming language increase performance and safety of the blockchain.

The substrate blockchain will also eliminate the consensus algorithms which has plagued older generation blockchains like Bitcoin. Instead, the team settled on building its own application code, enabling it to bring to developers only features that matter the most.

Compound says Gateway is fully upgradeable, which will enable governance token holders to vote on code upgrades without worrying about forks or downtimes.

Gateway would be powered by a dollar-pegged stablecoin called CASH, which would be used to settle interest payments on collateralized deposits.

Network validators (nodes) have also been considered in the upgrade. Compound says validators will earn a portion of all interest in every market in addition to transaction fees.

Gateway is currently running a testnet on Ethereum’s Ropsten testnet and will go live in the coming months.

Compound Reaching For The Stars

Compound says its goal does not end with Gateway. The DeFi platform could evolve into the backbone of a global interest rate market with the capacity to support any asset, including future currencies, assets, and tokens.

In the coming months, it has set clear goalposts for the Gateway project. Stress tests will be conducted before the mainnet launch. Gateway would also be integrated into its Compound protocol currently running on Ethereum’s blockchain network. Compound Finance is a big player in the DeFi space with around $5 billion in locked funds, according to DeFi Pulse.

Compound’s token rallied 15% following the announcement. This surge has seen it climb one step higher to rank as the 40th most valuable crypto by market cap, according to coinmarketcap. It currently trades at $510 at press time; the asset has come a long way from its ATH of $535 on Feb.13. The crypto-asset now has over $2.3 billion market valuation and is projected to rise further before the year runs out.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

State Bank of India Joins JPMorgan’s Ethereum-Forked Blockchain Payment Network, Liink

State Bank of India Joins JPMorgan’s Ethereum-Forked Blockchain Payment Network, Liink

State Bank of India (SBI), the largest bank in India, has announced a partnership with US bank JPMorgan to use its blockchain-based technology to enhance international transactions.

The government-owned bank explained that the partnership would help reduce transaction costs and time to execute customers’ payments. The bank stated that it would take hours to execute international payments and not the usual two weeks. The bank also stated that beneficiaries will now get their payments faster as it will involve fewer steps.

Venkat Nageswar, SBI deputy managing director, explained that the bank has been undertaking various digital transformations in the recent past and is keen to add more to enhance their daily operations. Nageswar told India’s Economic Times,

“We are excited to be the first bank in India to go live on the network and look forward to a closer partnership with JP Morgan on implementation and exploring applications as part of the network to better serve our clients.”

JPMorgan’s blockchain-based network, dubbed Liink, is a decentralized network where numerous financial firms, fintech firms, and other corporations can subscribe. The network enables the users to conduct secure and peer-to-peer data interchanges at fast speeds. It was started in 2017 being dubbed Interbank Information Network, but it rebranded to Liink in October last year.

Currently, over 400 financial-based institutions and corporates have subscribed to Liink from 78 nations. The enlisted firms include 27 of the globe’s top-ranking 50 banks. The network boasts of about 100 live banks consisting of private and government-owned institutions.

JPMorgan Chase India managing director, Prabdev Singh, explained that the recent deal with SBI is in tandem with its program to enhance its blockchain presence within India and the region. Singh stated that the firm is continually exploring how the new technologies can change customers’ experiences positively.

Apart from changing its name to Liink, JPMorgan also rolled out its own stablecoin dubbed JPM Coin last year. The stablecoin was launched to enhance international payments.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Ether Crashes to $700 on Kraken; High Network Activity Leads to Withdrawal Delay & Suspension

Ether Crashes to $700 on Kraken; High Network Activity Leads to Withdrawal Delay & Suspension

In Monday’s crypto carnage, the market provided a hefty discount that people have been calling out for some time now, with the digital assets rallying hard.

The overall cryptocurrency market lost $240 billion, but since then, it has gained some $86 billion back as the prices of cryptocurrencies make a recovery.

While Bitcoin went under the $50,000 level, Ethereum went under $1,550. But what has been interesting and for some devastating, the price of Ether went to $700 on Kraken.

The cryptocurrency exchange had some wild price action on Ether as after such a discounted opportunity, it went back right above $1,700 and caught up with other exchanges soon after.

This hasn’t even been a one-time thing as popular crypto personality, CryptoCobain, tweeted, “People trading on Kraken are masochistic. Once per month they get completely fucked by the matching engine.”

While for leveraged traders, it was a disaster, this also turned out to be a perfect opportunity for spot buyers.

“Unbelievable, my fishing ETH orders below $1.2k have been filled on Kraken,” tweeted one trader, who is extremely bullish on Ether and has long been calling out for a $10,000 price target for the second-largest cryptocurrency in this cycle.

On top of the deep red market, this much price volatility sent the gas prices on the network soaring. This made trading on-chain nearly impossible, let alone allowing traders to front-run.

Exchanges were already struggling with too much activity, with Kraken reporting, “Due to heavy traffic you might experience some connectivity issues. We are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.”

Then, this congestion due to demand spikes on the Ethereum network led to delays with ETH and ERC20 token withdrawals.

Besides Bitstamp, Binance, as usual, felt the heat and suspended withdrawals.

“Binance has temporarily suspended withdrawals of ETH and Ethereum-based tokens due to high network congestion. Rest assured funds are SAFU, and we apologize for any inconvenience caused,” informed the leading spot exchange.

For now, things are slowly coming back to normal, ETH is currently around $1,750, and Bitcoin is back above $53,500.

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Author: AnTy

Matic Network Strategically Rebrands to ‘Polygon’ in a Bid to Build the Best Ethereum Layer 2 Solutions

Matic Network Strategically Rebrands to ‘Polygon’ in a Bid to Build the Best Ethereum Layer 2 Solutions

  • Matic Network rebrands to ‘Polygon’ and expands their strategic technological mission of providing faster layer 2 solutions for Ethereum blockchain.

Polygon, formerly Matic Network, announced its pivoting in a shift to enable Ethereum to compete with its rival, Polkadot, by building robust, fast and efficient multi-chain solutions.

According to a blog post, the Indian-based startup will incorporate a layer 2 aggregation software development kit (SDK), allowing projects to host multiple projects at once. This will allow developers to connect to any of their preferred scaling solutions, reducing the burden on Ethereum, as well.

Polygon introduces a new secure layer 2 scaling solution that relies on Ethereum for security purposes and sidechains that completely deal with their own security. The former allows startups to focus on their craft rather than worry about safety and ensure the projects attain the highest security levels. The standalone sidechains also have their benefits for companies, such as sovereignty and speed of transactions.

“The Polygon SDK is built to accommodate [and] aggregate all such kinds of solutions, rollups being one of them. Currently, the Polygon SDK will enable the creation of standalone chains like Polkadot’s substrate.”

Sandeep Nailwal Polygon Co-Founder

Polygon, adding to the Plasma chains already available on Matic, will “support other major Layer 2 solutions such as Optimistic Rollups, zkRollups, Validium, etc., thus basically becoming one-of-a-kind “Layer 2 aggregator”, the report reads.

“Polygon SDK will support and offer several auxiliary solutions and products which will extend Polygon functionalities, improve the developer experience and introduce support for specific use cases.”

The Polygon network aims to overpower other scalability solutions such as Avalanche (AVAX), Polkadot (DOT), and Cosmos (ATOM). Having built on the Ethereum (ETH) Network, Polygon could enjoy greater security levels and become more open and robust, feeding off the second-largest blockchain.

The old Matic Network version will remain fully functional, and the MATIC token will continue to be the native token of the network.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Binance Backs Parachain Candidate, Plasm Network; Making First Investment in Polkadot Ecosystem

  • Plasm Network, a leading parachain candidate on the Polkadot blockchain, has received financial backing from Binance.
  • The Polkadot blockchain is growing rapidly, adding to its standing as a viable Ethereum substitute for DeFi protocol developers.
  • Top cryptocurrency exchange Binance is making a significant splash in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space.
  • The exchange’s venture capital arm Binance Labs has led a funding round for the Plasm Network, a hub for decentralized apps on the Polkadot blockchain.

Binance Goes Further Into DeFi

According to an official announcement, Binance Labs ponied up $2.4 million, nearly 25 percent of its Polkadot support fund, for the investment. Other investors who participated in the funding round were LongHash, PAKA Ventures, HashKey, and the Digital Finance Group.

Plasm would use the funds to develop new projects, such as to build a bridge between Polkadot and Ethereum. The company, which specializes in parachain development and layer-two scaling solutions, explained that it would allocate the raised funds towards research and development, on-chain governance, and building a bridge between the Ethereum and Polkadot blockchains.

In a statement, Wei Zhou, the head of Binance Labs, praised the Plasm Network for some of its previous accomplishments and its growth since launching operations. Zhou added that this investment shows Binance’s commitment to supporting the Polkadot ecosystem.

The Plasm Network is only the second Polkadot-based DeFi platform to successfully raise funds this month. Last week, several investors including Polychain Capital, Defiance Capital, and Alameda Research collaborated to raise $1.1 million for Manta Network, a company looking to build a decentralized exchange on the blockchain.

Manta Network’s exchange will focus primarily on privacy protection. The platform will operate as an automated market maker exchange, featuring private swaps through the use of zk-SNARKs and Groth16 proofs – the same cryptographic technology used in notable privacy coin ZCash.

In a survey conducted by the team, about 75 percent of respondents revealed that they had second thoughts about performing transactions due to their privacy implications. Simultaneously, 84 percent of respondents had problems with linking their real identities with their blockchain identities for privacy reasons.

To wit, the firm hopes to provide a genuinely private exchange, using the concept of shielded tokens to create swaps. Thanks to the use of zk-SNARKs, the exchange will be able to obfuscate token swaps while ensuring that transactions follow certain rules.

Polkadot Means Business

Projects like these provide a significant growth opportunity for Polkadot – a blockchain now considered to be a viable competitor to Ethereum. Over the past year, the growth of the DeFi space has brought several challenges for Ethereum, with many raising concerns over its scalability and rising gas fees. In Polkadot, DeFi protocol developers have found a possible alternative that could work almost as well as Ethereum.

Despite the competition, connections between the two blockchains have also been an interesting recent development. Last week, Acala, a stablecoin development project on the Polkadot blockchain, announced an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) to connect Polkadot with Ethereum provide protocol developers more seamless operations.

The company’s announcement explained that its EVM would provide a full stack of tools to developers using languages like Solidity, Substrate, and Web3. Using these tools, developers will be able to integrate their apps and access DeFi via a single wallet. Developers will also be able to deploy their applications on Acala without additional tooling support, thanks to protocol composability features.

In addition, the EMV provides access to cross-chain and Polkadot-native assets like renBTC, ACA, and DOT. Developers can deploy ERC-20 tokens into EVMV as well, listing them on decentralized exchanges to be used as gas fee tokens.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Cosmos (ATOM) Joins Forces with China’s Blockchain Service Network (BSN)

Cosmos (ATOM) Joins Forces with China’s Blockchain Service Network (BSN)

  • China-only Blockchain-based service network (BSN), China’s blockchain infrastructure project, announced the addition of Cosmos (ATOM) blockchain to its network.

In a tweet sent out this Monday, Chinese permissioned blockchains, BSN open permissioned blockchains (OPBs) announced they’ve adapted the first batch of networks, “Wechang chain” based on the Cosmos blockchain and Tai’an chain based on FISCO BCOS.

The Chinese only blockchain service network only permits permissioned enterprise blockchains, which differs from the global version which supports any blockchain.

China’s BSN is aiming to promote permissioned blockchains interoperability and improve the efficiency of transacting across them hence the move to add Cosmos. The integration might of Cosmos, a multi-chain system focused on completing cross-chain value transfer, could be a major step in transacting digital assets and data across permissioned enterprise blockchains.

Moreover, Cosmos is also well regulated under China’s laws and will help keep China’s BSN and the BSN international community in check.

The BSN international community has been growing in the past few years adding Ethereum, Tezos, Nervos, Neo, EOSIO, and IrisNet (developed by Chinese blockchain startup Bianjie, also the creator of Wenchang Chain) in September 2020. More blockchain was added later in the month including Solana, Algorand, and ShareRing with a plan to add over 40 blockchains by summer.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Uniswap Generating More Network Fees than Bitcoin; Total Fees on ETH Reaches BTC All Time High

Bitcoin has been the leader in generating more fees than any other network. But that has only been up until June 2020, when decentralized finance (DeFi) mania started kicking in.

Today, this DeFi craze even saw popular DEX Uniswap beating Bitcoin in daily fees of $2.3 million, as per Cryptofees.Info. While BTC only had $1.8 million, Ethereum is unreachable by collecting $8.8 million in fees.

Uniswap, which accounts for 48.5% of DEX volume market share, even without the liquidity incentives, saw $12.7b in traded volume, $36.543 million in fees, and liquidity increased to $3.6 billion over the past 15 days, as per IntoTheBlock.

Another DEX SushiSwap had just under $1 million in daily fees, followed by Synthetix and Balancer, but they only had about $100k to $200k.

In the past week, Ethereum did more than 3x of Bitcoin’s 7-day average fees of just over $3 million, while Uniswap recorded $2.4 million.

“It’s the first DeFi protocol, but not the last. The key feature here is that fees in DeFi benefit not only miners but also LPs and token holders,” noted Santiago R Santos, a partner at ParaFi capital.

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Ethereum entered the space in 2015, and its daily total fees in USD surpassed Bitcoin’s several times since then. But it wasn’t until DeFi exploded that ETH was able to beat the world’s largest network by a wild margin.

During the peak of the 2017 bill market, Bitcoin did nearly $21.4 million in total fees, while at its peak, Ethereum did only $4.55 million.

But earlier in June 2020, compared to Bitcoin’s $383k in total fees, Ethereum recorded a whopping $3.55 million. From here, as DeFi gained more traction, so did Ethereum fees, and this gap between BTC and ETH fees continued to grow.

At the peak of DeFi mania in Sept. 2020, the Ethereum network was used so much that it became unusable as the average fees and gas prices continued to hit new highs. On Sept. 1st, the Ethereum network received more than $17 million in total fees compared to $1.48 million on Bitcoin.

Bitcoin overtook Ethereum for a brief period, a fortnight and a small margin, from late October to early November.

Since then, Ethereum continues to generate millions of dollars in fees every day, setting yet another new record at $21.38 million on Jan. 11, the day the crypto market saw a sell-off.

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Author: AnTy

BIS to Build Proof of Concept Network for Testing Cross-Border Payments Using CBDC’s

BIS to Build Proof of Concept Network for Testing Cross-Border Payments Using CBDC’s

The Bank of International Settlements’ Innovation Hub (BISIH) announced this week that one of its highest priorities is the continued research and testing of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), along with five other areas of focus.

This news is according to this year’s annual work program, which lays out its intention to “explore the feasibility of faster and cheaper cross-border payments” using central bank digital currencies. The BISIH further added that it would dedicate its work this year to exploring prototypes in the creation of “tiered retail CBDC distribution architectures” along with “tokenized green bonds to retail investors.”

To drive these priorities forward, they will be headed up by the company’s Innovation Hub Centres in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Switzerland while also coordinating with local central banks. The BISIH’s Innovation Center in Singapore, for example, has its sights set on the development of an ‘International Settlement Platform’ where regulated banks and payment entities can conduct and settle transactions using a range of CBDCs.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Innovation Center will be working on green bonds, specifically with the intent of tokenizing green bond assets for retail investors. Additionally, Hong Kong’s center will work on building a bridge to enable foreign exchange transactions of approved CBDCs, along with stablecoin issuance.

Switzerland’s BISIH Center is one of the furthest ahead in terms of development. It has already completed two functional proofs-of-concept for linking payment systems to test out payment settlements using tokenized assets and wholesale CBDC. This was done through its initiative dubbed ‘Project Helvtica.’ Discussing the details of BISIH’s work program, Innovation Hub’s Head, Benoit Coeure, said the following:

“This work programme shows our commitment to exploring in the most practical ways how best to harness technological change for the benefit of central banks and create public goods to support the global financial system.”

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Author: James Fox

OKCoin Exchange to Support Bitcoin’s Lightning Network in Q1 2021

OKCoin Exchange to Support Bitcoin’s Lightning Network in Q1 2021

Digital asset exchange OKCoin has become the latest to announce its integration of the Lightning Network, enabling it to access greater support from the Bitcoin ecosystem and faster transaction speeds.

The Lightning Network serves as a layer-2 solution that operates on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, providing it with the means to scale and complete transactions at a fraction of the time and cost. At the moment, OKCoin is undergoing the final phases of integration, with the team highlighting some of the net benefits,

“Integrating the Lightning Network increases transaction speed, meaning that OKCoin customers can now choose to have their transactions occur on the Lightning network. Doing so will confirm transactions within a few seconds instead of up to an hour. It will also reduce our current minimum withdrawal/deposit from 0.001 bitcoin or 100k satoshis (~$35) to 0.000001 bitcoin or 100 satoshis (~$0.04).”

By integrating into the Lightning Network, the digital asset exchange would effectively operate as one of its nodes; supporting the validation of transactions across the ecosystem. Within the announcement post, made on OKCoins blog, Company CEO Hong Fang added the following,

“The lightning network, like Bitcoin, requires a network of nodes and adoption of the technology to perform to the best of its capabilities. As part of our analysis of the technology, we assessed the nodes’ strength and quality and now feel the network is strong enough to participate as an exchange with a high volume of withdrawals and deposits a day.”

OKCoin is still keeping abreast of other blockchain solutions but is currently focused on the full integration with Bitcoin’s Lightning Network for the time being.

Lightning Network – What it Means for Users

The immediate benefits of integrating with Lightning is the drastic cut to transaction costs and a dramatic increase in their speed. For example, an average transaction on Bitcoin would cost an average of $10, rendering it expensive for the typical holder. Additionally, these same transactions would take around 10-30 minutes to be deposited/withdrawn.

In comparison, transactions using Lightning would cost $0.01 and would take 1-3 seconds to be completed. For any user, the Lightning network provides far greater security and privacy; each transaction takes place off-chain, meaning that the Bitcoin network does not log them.

Next to OKCoin, Kraken Exchange announced that it too would support Lightning by the first half of 2021.

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Author: James Fox

USDT Launches on Hermez Network, Bringing Layer-2 Tech to Tether Transactions

USDT Launches on Hermez Network, Bringing Layer-2 Tech to Tether Transactions

Layer-two solution Hermez will dedicate its scaling solution to make USDT transactions cheaper.

Hermez, a layer-two scaling solution on the Ethereum blockchain, has announced its first crypto partnership as it sets its sight on making Tether transfers much cheaper.

Batched Transactions Using ZK-Rollups

Hermez is a layer-two technology that utilizes ZK-Rollups. The rollups are a layer-two solution that improves scalability in the Ethereum blockchain.

They batch hundreds of transactions into one, freeing up more data and reducing gas fees for transaction validation. They also use zero-knowledge proofs, a cryptography technique, to run off-chain computations and submit validity proof to the Ethereum network.

The pairing between Tether and Hermez appears to be a perfect one. Data from ETH Gas Station shows that Tether stablecoin-denominated transactions account for a significant portion of activities on the Ethereum network.

By improving scalability, Hermez could free up more space on the Ethereum network and help combat rising gas fees.

Ethereum’s Gas Problem

The Ethereum network has had a significant problem with rising gas fees of late, thanks in no small part to the growth in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space. With most DeFi protocols operating on the blockchain, gas fees on the network have also skyrocketed.

Last week, the average gas fees on the network reached an all-time high, topping out at $17.43 per transaction, according to data from YCharts. The figure represented a considerable jump from the previous all-time high – $12.54, which was recorded back in September during the DeFi mania’s height.

Thanks to yield-chasing on several DeFi platforms, stablecoin transfers increased significantly, increasing usage on the Ethereum network. The average gas fees went through the roof. Sadly, this also occurred to the detriment of several market participants.

Aavegotchi, a non-fungible token (NFT) project, announced around that time that it would postpone its mainnet launch. Aavegotchi blamed the delay on the rising gas fees, explaining that it was considering using layer-two technology to facilitate the mainnet’s release.

In part, the company’s post explained that its project on layer-two would improve speed and scalability while reducing transaction fees. All in all, it could enhance the gaming experience a great deal.

So far, layer-two technology provides perhaps the most significant reason for solving expensive gas fees. Many have pointed to the launch of Ethereum 2.0, the long-awaited upgrade that transforms the Ethereum network into a proof-of-stake consensus.

However, while the upgrade has begun, Kosala Hemachandra, the founder of MyEtherWallet, recently told news sources that the process might take years to complete.

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Author: Jimmy Aki