Swedish Central Bank Finishes Phase One Of the e-Krona Digital Currency Test Pilot

Swedish Central Bank Finishes Phase One Of the e-Krona Digital Currency Test Pilot

  • Riksbank has revealed the finalization of the first phase of its digital currency project.

Today, the Swedes learned that they might have to wait a little longer to use an e-krona for their daily uses after the Swedish central bank realized that there are minor issues that need addressing after the first phase of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) project.

The Riksbank released a study that details the results of the first phase of its CBDC project that will run on the Corda blockchain.

The central bank tested several core issues of a future CBDC system, such as liquidity supply using its own settlement system dubbed RIX with the network membership being used as the e-kronor distributors. Other aspects tested were payment networks such as mobile apps, participants, and end-users.

The main challenge identified with the system was scalability, with the central bank saying further modifications were needed. The report says,

“The solution tested in phase one of the e-krona pilot has met the performance requirements made in the public procurement. But this has taken place in a limited test environment, and the new technology’s capacity to manage retail payments on a large scale needs to be investigated and tested further.”

The Riksbank also indicated that there were challenges in information privacy, stating a need to check if it meets the banking secrecy laws and whether the system protected personal data.

Swedish central bank had indicated that it would be ready to launch the CBDC system in 2018 but has postponed the launch date for years. The Riksbank now says the second phase of the project might not be piloted until next year and gives itself until 2026 to be fully ready.

The head of Riksbank’s unit in charge of the project insisted that it is not right to settle on the system before knowing the digital currency’s exact work. The Riksbank has also made it clear the project will not replace its fiat any time soon.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Ethereum Transaction Volume & Daily Active Wallets Took a Hit in November

November was a shaky month for Ethereum as it prepared for the launch of ETH 2.0. Amidst the excitement for the next phase, the total value locked in Ethereum DeFi showed erratic movements.

But the increase in prices helped TVL reach $13 billion by the end of the month, while adjusted TVL was around $11 billion, as per the latest Dapp Radar report.

While Daily active wallets grew by 239% year-on-year, they decreased by 19% month-on-month with the biggest drop recorded within the DeFi ecosystem, where daily active wallets took a dive from 54k to 45,600.

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Much like this, the total transaction volume surpassed $41 billion but was still down 12% to October levels; this has been because of a big decrease in the DeFi ecosystem, which accounts for 99% of it.

The NFT category, though fueled Ethereum volume it also saw a decrease of 24% while the Games category had an increase by almost $1 million, with Axie Infinity and Sorare being the biggest contributors with $2.2 million and $1.3 million, respectively.

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All of this obviously led to gas prices being a major network issue, as the average gas price got around 55 Gwei during the month.

“November was all about Ethereum 2.0 news and speculation, token price growth, and increased TVL. Although, transaction volume and daily active wallets decreased during November. We believe that improved results lie ahead for Ethereum,” concluded the Dapp Radar report.

As for other blockchains, Tron reached an all-time in terms of daily active wallets at 150,000 in November. But the same can’t be said of EOS, which, although saw improved activity, continues to see a decrease, painting a “doubtful” picture for the protocol.

Hive, meanwhile, managed to maintain a stable activity of 10k daily active wallets in November 2020.

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Author: AnTy

Only 8% of The Required Ethereum Deposited For Staking; $1.4 Million Came from Vitalik Buterin

Ethereum is getting ready for the first phase of its transition from Proof-of-Work (PoW) to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) as it announces the release of v1.0.0 specs. The mainnet launchpad is currently live.

Along with this release came the deposit contract that allows people to stake their ETH, and ju.once the locked amount reaches 524,288 ETH from a 16,385 validators threshold, the Beacon Chain, the core of ETH 2.0 will be activated.

Although the team believes it can happen by December 1st, preponed from its previous launch date on Bitcoin’s anniversary on Jan. 1st, it is to be seen if the Ethereum holders will really stake this much of ETH as the current numbers don’t show an eager community.

As of writing, 42,501 ETH worth over $19.6 million has been sent to the deposit contract, which is about double what was staked yesterday.

This means only 8% of the required numbers have been sent yet.

The community doesn’t seem real stoked about locking their ETH for an unknown period when the crypto market is enjoying a rally, with Bitcoin on its another bull run that could take it to a new all-time high.

The second-largest cryptocurrency is also enjoying the greens, up more than 22% in the last three days, trading at $462. While up 253% YTD, Eth is still down 67% from its all-time high.

This recent spike in price also has Ethereum’s daily active addresses interacting on its network trending toward the most bullish day since Oct. 16.

“This could be an indication of BTC profits gradually moving over to ETH and other altcoins as the FOMO crowd presumes that Bitcoin will continue its dominance. Remember that markets tend to ebb and flow based on the least expected outcomes by the crowd,” noted Santiment.

Interestingly, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has already sent his first set of Ether for staking. A total of 100 transactions for 32 ETH each were sent from Buterin’s “VB2” addresses.

Buterin sent a total of 3,200 ETH worth $1.47 million, which accounts for 7.5% of all the staked amount so far.

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Author: AnTy

Vitalik Buterin: Ethereum has No Non-L2 Path for Scalability in Medium Term with ETH 2.0 Years Away

“Base-layer scalability for applications is only coming as the last major phase of eth2, which is still years away,” wrote Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin in the Ethereum roadmap update.

But Buterin doesn’t like that crypto media is putting it out there. Buterin’s saying that the media “selectively sound-bites” him and he’s just going to ignore it all has been in response to a crypto community member‘s remarks on the co-founder “comments not helping ETH.”

On ”A rollup-centric ethereum roadmap,” Buterin proposed a full focus on the second layer method because the base layer is nowhere near becoming a reality yet.

Buterin may not like what the media is publishing, but it has been just his words. About a year back, he had also talked about scalability being a “big bottleneck” for Ethereum blockchain, which is “almost full” and “keeping people from joining.”

“No Choice”

Over the past few months, the DeFi mania took over the Ethereum network sending the fees to an all-time high, breaking new records every month, pushing the small players out, and making it a big players game.

“The L1 is nearly unusable for many classes of applications, and there’s no non-L2 path that can get us to scalability in the short-to-medium term,” are exactly Buterin’s words this time.

He further talked about how the high fees on prediction platform Augur made it “very much “for the niche people and not for the world.”’

“If you are not convinced to go “all the way” on the “phase 1.5 and done” direction, there is a natural compromise path to take,” — which is to have a small number of execution shards and more data shards.

He has also been a staunch supporter of Layer 2 solutions, which he suggests building into the wallets like Metamask or Status. But more work needs to be done on cross-L2 transfers.

With most of the applications on layer 1, they would need to be migrated to layer 2 solutions. Some of the popular DeFi projects like Compound, Sunyetix, and Uniswap have already announced support for one such solution, Ethereum Optimism, which recently launched the first stage of their testnet.

Though there is “no choice” but to go with Layer 2 solutions, that will still take time.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum-Based Scaling Solution, SKALE Network, Deploys Phase 2 Of Its Mainnet

  • SKALE Network announces the launch of its phase two mainnet launch.
  • The Ethereum-scaling project goes live with over $78 million staked on the platform.

In an announcement made available to BEG, SKALE – a decentralized Ethereum-based project backed by Winklevoss-backed Gemini and ConsenSys – announced the successful deployment of Phase 2 of its mainnet. The platform aims to increase scalability, increase throughput, and reduce the high gas fees on the Ethereum blockchain.

According to the statement, a total of $78 million has already been staked on the platform as the Phase 2 launches. The amount was raised from over 4,000 SKALE users and businesses using the network from over 90 countries globally. So far, SKALE Network has 130 network nodes spread across 46 countries.

SKALE, an ‘elastic blockchain network,’ is a Layer 2 scalability solution built on Ethereum offering a convenient and efficient platform for decentralized apps (DApps) to build on. The platform promises over 1,000 elastic SKALE blockchains offering sub-second transaction times and higher throughput than the current Ethereum blockchain.

Jack O’Holleran, CEO and co-founder of SKALE, stated the launch of Phase 2 and the launch of the SKL token would boost the development of the raging DeFi market, Web3 applications, and gaming as transaction speeds on SKALE increase and fees lower.

He further stated that SKALE Phase 2 mainnet launch would mitigate the persistent problems on Ethereum, such as high gas costs, even with a booming DeFi market. He further stated,

“Validators and delegators alike have real incentives to participate as SKALE’s economic model pools security similarly to how DeFi projects pool liquidity.”

Over the past few months, Ethereum has faced a surge in gas costs as the DeFi and gaming markets boomed to billion-dollar valuations. The issues on Ethereum have set several projects to look for better options. Recently, AI intelligence firm, SinguarityNET announced plans to move a “significant portion” of its operations from Ethereum to Cardano blockchain.

This follows the launch of Phase 1 of the SKALE Network in July this year.

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Author: Lujan Odera

ConsenSys to Lead Phase Two of Hong Kong and Thailand’s Cross-Border CBDC Project

ConsenSys has been awarded the contract to lead phase two of the cross-border payments ‘CBDC’ project between Hong Kong and Thailand. Dubbed project ‘Inthanon-LionRock,’ the initiative follows successful research by the central banks of both jurisdictions, which found an additional value case in building a cross-border CBDC.

According to the press release by ConsenSys, they will work alongside industry giants Forms HK and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) towards implementing the second phase. Notably, the project has been in the works since May 2019 when the Bank of Thailand (BoT) and Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) signed a memorandum of understanding to dig deeper into the value proposition CBDC’s.

With ConsenSys now in the picture, the joint CBDC between Thailand and Hong Kong will move past the research phase to a more practical era. ConsenSys has since been tasked with building a proof-of-concept (PoC) cross-border corridor to enable Hong Kong’s Lionrock and Thailand’s Inthanon networks to interact seamlessly. The press release reads,

“Using its enterprise Ethereum stack, ConsenSys will test solutions that prioritize scalability, security, and interoperability.”

This is not the first time ConsenSys works collaboratively with a particular authority towards designing and developing a CBDC. The blockchain software technology firm has, in the past, worked with the South African Reserve Bank and Monetary Authority of Singapore to create decentralized payment networks. ConsenSys Hong Kong Director, Charles d’Haussy, noted that they are thrilled to take on a new initiative in a similar line,

“ConsenSys is thrilled to lead this implementation of CBDC for cross-border payments. We are humbled to work on the development of Hong Kong’s financial infrastructure.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

DeFi Protocol Synthetix Upgrading to L2 Scaling to Alleviate Gas Costs for Small SNX Stakers

Popular on-chain synthetic assets protocol, Synthetix is in the first phase of its transition to Optimistic Ethereum, a layer two scalability solution for the second-largest network that continues to grapple with congestion and sky-high fees thanks to all the DeFi craze.

Synthetix founder Kain Warwick is “unreasonably excited” about this development who recently hinted at what’s to come by saying those priced out of staking the digital asset will get “unpriced out” soon.

SNX is the 39th largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $472 million currently trading in green at $4.70. The DeFi protocol also has about $600 million in crypto deposits.

Get those SNX Working

The first phase involves an incentivized testnet that trial SNX staking on Optimistic Ethereum, aimed at SNX stakers with smaller balancers who may have priced out of participating in staking due to high gas prices.

78.54% of SNX is already collateralized to mint synths.

Optimistic Ethereum is the only “generalized” Layer 2solution for Ethereum, meaning it doesn’t require any specific functionality to be built to support the existing L1 protocols.

“This is a huge milestone for Synthetix, Optimistic Ethereum, and indeed the entire Ethereum space,” reads Synthetix’s official announcement. “Launching SNX staking on OE is a crucial step towards full scalability for the burgeoning DeFi ecosystem, truly allowing anyone around the world access to open financial infrastructure without the friction of high gas costs.”

In this incentivized testnet, the eligible SNX stakers, addresses holding between 1 and 2500 SNX that have staked at least once historically, will get a snapshot of their SNX balance on Optimistic Ethereum’s L2 testnet.

It can then be used to stake, mint, and burn sUSD and also to claim rewards for their participation, which are claimable on the mainnet launch L2.

In other news, SNX is getting listed on crypto exchange Bitfinex on Sept. 26 at 10:00 AM UTC.

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Author: AnTy

More Urgent than Ever – Ethereum Layer 2 Solution Goes in its First Phase of Testnet Launch

Ethereum layer 2 solution Optimism is welcoming the first phase of the Optimistic Ethereum Testnet.

This development has become a necessity of the market thanks to DeFi mania, which has sent fee on the second-largest network through the roof.

The airdrop of Uniswap’s governance token UNI last week actually sent Ethereum’s hourly fees 10x up, from just over $100k to more than $900k, the highest ever Ethereum fees on a per hour basis.

Over the past few months, the Ethereum network has been facing unprecedented congestion, which means waiting for hours to get your transaction confirmed. The prohibitive fees and stifling congestion calls for Ethereum scalability.

While ETH 2.0 is still not here and even then, it’s hard to say if it would be able to handle the fast-growing DeFi space, the market is turning to layer 2 solutions, and Optimistic is one of them.

As the team noted itself, “Our mission has felt more urgent than ever, and our path forward clear.”

The First Phase

After 4 “exhausting” months since their last update, Optimistic has achieved the milestone of reaching the first phase of its testnet launch.

This launch would be a gradual process, which is currently open for public use but not for public contract deployment.

“As we gain confidence in the stability of the testnet, we will progress through each phase until the full Optimistic Ethereum system is up and running,” said the team.

Top DeFi projects like Synthetix, Uniswap, and Chainlink have already shared their intention to be early adopters.

Synthetix has officially announced that they are starting the first phase of its transition to Optimistic Ethereum, which involves incentivized testnet with 200k SNX in rewards for participating users.

“This is a huge milestone for Synthetix, Optimistic Ethereum, and indeed the entire Ethereum space,” said Synthetix in its official announcement. “Launching SNX staking on OE is a crucial step towards full scalability for the burgeoning DeFi ecosystem, truly allowing anyone around the world access to open financial infrastructure without the friction of high gas costs.”

In phase one, there will be no deposits or withdrawals, but tokens airdropped into L2 for staking reward. It would be in the second phase that deposits will be enabled, and staked assets can be increased, and in the next phase, withdrawals are enabled.

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Author: AnTy

Aave Launches V2 to “Push DeFi Limits,” LEND Hits ATH & TVL Doubles to Exceed $1 Bln

One of the hottest crypto projects in decentralized finance (DeFi), Aave, is now ready to leave phase 1 by launching Aave V2 to “push the limits of what is possible,” with this sector.

There is already much excitement for the (formerly known as Eth.Lend) project, which was launched in January 2020 after a 2017 $16.2 million ICO, into the community as it integrates with other popular DeFi projects.

In the past couple of years, the protocol has grown to be of 1 billion market size with innovations like flash loans, credit delegation, and stable rates.

Recently, there have been reports that the project will be transferring the ownership of the project through its governance token AAVE.

In its latest announcement, the team shared governance features such as vote delegation and cold wallet voting that will be coming with V2.

“V2 will be the start of what is commonly referred to as “Liquidity Mining” for the users of the Aave Protocol,” it read.

Much Excitement

The native token of the money protocol LEND took a jump on these upcoming developments, hitting a new all-time high of $0.499. This biggest gainer of 2020, with 5,400% returns, has recorded an increase of 13,500% in the past year.

Even more exciting response was reflected in the total value locked in the protocol, which doubled, going from $529.5 million yesterday to surpass $1 billion yesterday, as per DeFi Pulse.

Meanwhile, with this new version, Aave is also ready to venture into debt, collateral, and margin trading.

The Aave protocol V2 will allow anyone to natively trade their debt position, which will open the possibility for interest rate optimization and yield optimization strategies.

To onboard a new set of users, this new version will allow users to repay with part of their collateral and introduce debt tokenization and native credit delegation.

Interestingly, the Aave protocol will open private markets to support tokenize assets of all kinds. “A collaboration between RealT and the Aave Protocol is in the works to push DeFi even further and bring mortgages on Ethereum.”

Fixed deposit rates are meanwhile chosen to provide a guarantee of income for liquidity providers, so that market volatility doesn’t affect them while improving the stable borrow rate.

With V2, Aave is also tackling the skyrocketing Ethereum gas prices. First, for gasless approvals, aTokens V2 integrates the EIP 2612. Besides introducing significant gas Optimisations that will be leading to a “sharp drop” in the transaction cost, they will implement native GasToken Support as well.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum 2.0 Final Testnet, Medalla, Rolls Out; Is A 2020 Launch Now In Sight?

The Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0 Medalla public testnet finally went live on August 4, 2020 at around 1AM GMT giving hope of a possible ETH 2.0 mainnet launch this year. News coming in to BEG desk, confirms all five named client implementations have successfully synced to the Medalla testnet including Prysmatic Labs’ Prysm, ChainSafe’s Lodestar, PegaSys’ Teku, Status’ Nimbus and Sigma Prime’s Lighthouse.

Over the past two years or so, Ethereum developers have launched testnets with an aim to improve the development towards ETH 2.0. The Medalla testnet, the fifth and final official testnet in the transitioning of Ethereum to a proof-of-stake (PoS) network, is the only public test net so far.

The launch follows previous releases of the Sapphire testnet, when developers tested the validators by depositing 3.2 ETH. The Topaz testnet, released by Prysmatic Labs, introduced the full 32 ETH validators fee and in June, the Ethereum community introduced the Onyx testnet to boost the number of validators to 20,000.

Finally, a coordinated multi-client testnet dubbed Altona went live in early July to ensure further stability before the Medalla testnet could be rolled out this month.

A slight bump in the road

According to the Beacon chain, ETH 2.0 staking explorer, the Medalla testnet launched at Epoch 0 with 20,084 validators on board with over 640,000 ETH staked on the platform. Despite the successful launch, the platform faced a challenge with only 57% of validators available, presenting an issue in block finality.

However, Ethereum Foundation’s, Hudson Jameson said on Twitter, the low count in validator participation offers a learning moment for the upcoming ETH 2.0 mainnet launch. He wrote,

“We are getting to experience firsthand how the network operates with a low number of validators and how it will improve as more validators come online! This is what testnets are for and I’m excited to see the situation develop as we get more folks online on the testnet. Get hype. Eth2 is coming :)”

The low participation levels is mainly caused by the people who staked the 32 ETH but are not online to validate the blocks. This issue is set to be settled out with these validators expected to be thrown out in order for the Medalla testnet to reach the optimal 80% validator participation threshold.

The Medalla testnet, a Spanish name for medal, is similar to the final testnet of ETH 1.0, labelled Olympic testnet, which gives a possibility that the ETH 2.0 mainnet launch could be completed later this year despite earlier predictions of a 2021 launch.

More developments on the story to follow.

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Author: Lujan Odera