Mark Cuban: Blockchain’s Evolution Over Past 3 Years to Support Smart Contracts, Changed the Game

Mark Cuban: Blockchain’s Evolution Over Past 3 Years to Support Smart Contracts, Changed the Game

WSB traders are applying the same principles of the digital/CryptoAsset world, said the billionaire while name dropping Bitcoin, Ethereum, AAVE, and several NFT projects like Mintable, Rarible, OpenSea, NiftyGateway, SuperRare, NBA TopShot, and Bitcoin Origin, and CryptoSlam.

Billionaire Mark Cuban has been getting more and more cryptocurrency-friendly with each passing day. While previously he didn’t find any worth in them, at least not more than bananas, now he realizes that it’s all about the demand and supply.

And this has him penning the blog titled, “The Store of Value Generation is Kicking Your Ass and You Don’t Even Know it,” where he name drops Bitcoin, his favorite AAVE, and several NFT projects.

While Cuban has been involved in the DeFi space for some time now, the battle between Wall Street Bets and Wall Street has him and the people realizing the true power of decentralization. He wrote,

“WSB traders are applying the same principles of the digital/CryptoAsset world to the stock market, and they are loving the fact that the old schoolers are hating it.”

The owner of Dallas Maverick is slowly coming around to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, and in his latest write-up, he talks about the evolution in the store of value.

Previously it was gold, which any gold bug would argue has value because of its history as the foundation for currency, a hedge against inflation, and other narratives and while “there are plenty of other “precious metals” that meet the same criteria, gold simply “has more buyers,” he wrote.

Cuban says this changed over the past 3 years as the “blockchain has evolved to support smart contracts and the ability to uniquely identify digital goods and the transactions associated with them.”

Now, everything is digital, and that is all that the New Generation knows — “This generation knows that a smart contract and the digital good it reflects or a CryptoAsset are a better investment than old school sees, touch or feel uses.”

While following the same laws of supply and demand, the digital space offers all the fun and same sense of ownership, “it has none of the hassles beyond remembering my passwords and dealing with wallets,” noted Cuban.

And though digital goods and crypto-assets markets aren’t perfect with high transaction costs, influenced by narratives, and propensity to be moved by a few big players, “the bottom line is that there are a growing number of investors and traders” believe in it.

The young generation loves its different features, including no central authority, and they don’t care about the Old School Wall Street’s narratives of Price-Earnings Ratios or NPV of future cash flows that are just sales pitches “designed to reward the people with the most money.”

“The more decentralized the power, the more power that comes with the collective working together,” wrote Cuban, adding that’s what Wall Street “hates and will fight because it moves the power out of their hands.” Cuban added,

“Every generation in this country has had its unique special power. This Store of Value Generation has found at least one of their special powers in financial unity. We as a country will be far better off if we understand them, respect them and learn from them, quickly.”

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Author: AnTy

Robinhood Faces Class Action Lawsuit After Blocking WSB Traders from GME, AMC & NOK

It took seven years for Robinhood to develop a trusted brand and it took just one day to destroy that trust.

Earlier today, Robinhood traders were shocked to find they could not trade GME, AMC, and other trendy stocks through their favorite trading app.

Robinhood appeared to block the trading of crowd-favorite stocks like GME. Users were able to sell these stocks without issue, but they were unable to purchase additional shares.

To many, it seemed like a clear issue of price manipulation. Robinhood didn’t like how much money its hedge fund billionaire buddies were losing, so it (and other trading platforms) tried to stop it.

Let’s take a closer look at this story to understand how we got here.

The Story Behind GME, WSB, and Other Trendy Stocks

GameStop (GME) shares have surged to record highs in recent days after unprecedented attention from Reddit’s WallStreetBets (WSB) community.

A few weeks ago, a WSB poster noticed numerous billion-dollar hedge funds had issued huge short-bets against GameStop. Hedge funds had wagered millions that the price of GameStop would drop shortly.

That user decided to fight back, rallying the community to destroy those hedge funds’ short positions.

Nobody expected what happened next.

GameStop stock had gradually grown in value after sitting around $4 throughout 2020. In late 2020, GME stock broke through the $10 mark, surging to $20 in late January.

And then the story went viral. Hedge funds admitted they were facing huge losses because of their ill-timed short bets. WSB users were unrelenting, pouring more money into GME and creating a viral sensation.

By January 14, GME stock was sitting at $40. By January 27, GME surged to $350. At one point on January 28, GME passed $450 per share.

WSB users targeted other stocks, including AMC (for AMC Movie Theaters), BB (for BlackBerry), and NOKI (for Nokia), sending prices of all of these stocks to unprecedented highs.

Some users picked stocks for nostalgia. Others picked stocks for their large short-selling activity. Some picked stocks just because they liked the stock.

Billionaires Fight Back Against GME and WSB

Amidst this unprecedented rise, users were shocked to see some of the biggest tech companies and media platforms rush to defend their billionaire hedge fund buddies.

Media outlets like CNBC and Bloomberg shared “heartbreaking” stories of hedge funds losing millions on their short positions. These media outlets seemed particularly sympathetic towards Melvin Capital and Citron Capital, two of the highest-profile hedge funds that had shorted the trendy stocks.

These media outlets seemed convinced their report would drive users to sell, bursting the bubble and saving their billionaire buddies.

Unfortunately, the opposite occurred: Reddit users noticed that few hedge funds had actually liquidated their positions. So, they decided to buy more.

Users refused to believe the “FUD,” piling more money into GME and pushing the stock even higher.

Robinhood also participated in the defense, appearing to block users from trading GME, AMC, and other trendy stocks.

Approximately 50% of Robinhood users own GME stock. In an instant, Robinhood blocked users from purchasing GME – but allowed users to sell GME. Like CNBC, Robinhood seemed to want markets to crash as users rushed to sell and lock in their gains.

TD Ameritrade and other major trading platforms also appeared to halt the trading of trendy stocks.

Meanwhile, Reddit’s WallStreetBets subreddit temporarily went offline, leading to speculation that Reddit was rising to the defense of hedge funds.

After everything that had happened, it seemed like GME’s legendary rise had come to an end. Corporations and their hedge fund owners had the power to influence markets, block trading, and manipulate trading activity – and they were using this power to protect their corporate overlords.

However, GME stock continued to rise – as did other shares. Even as Robinhood and other platforms appeared to ban trading desperately, WSB was undeterred, continuing to push GME and other stocks to record highs.

Robinhood Faces Class Action Lawsuit

Many users have pointed out the hypocrisy of it all: billionaire hedge funds are freely allowed to trade any stocks they like without consequence, penalty, or halts. They destroyed the economy in 2008 for their own personal gain, faced no consequences, and continue to play their own game by their own rules today.

How can Robinhood and TD Ameritrade ban retail traders from buying stocks they like? How can one company single handedly manipulate markets exclusively to benefit its corporate overlords?

The issue has become so bad that even Ted Cruz and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez agreed that Robinhood deserved a complete investigation:

Making things look particularly bad for Robinhood is that it’s the leading trading platform for younger investors – many of whom are interested in GME and other trendy stocks.

In fact, it’s estimated that 50% of Robinhood users own at least one GameStop stock.

After users pointed out this hypocrisy, CryptoWhale shared breaking news: Robinhood was facing a class-action lawsuit.

The class-action lawsuit accuses Robinhood of “purposefully, willfully, and knowingly removing the stock “GME” from its trading platform in the midst of an unprecedented stock rise,” depriving retail investors of the ability to invest in the open market. Robinhood’s activity manipulated the open market. The class-action lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of New York.

Some have pointed out the irony of an app named Robinhood protecting its corporate overlords. Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor – kind of like how GME has stolen from the rich and given to the poor in recent weeks. However, the Robinhood app seems to lack the enthusiasm of its mythological namesake, and that’s why Robinhood is facing a class-action lawsuit.

Hedge Funds Have Lost $70 Billion So Far

There’s good news for people who hate hedge funds and billionaires: hedge funds are genuinely hurting due to GME stock. According to Reuters, hedge funds have lost $70 billion on their short positions in US firms like GameStop in recent weeks. Reuters cited data from Ortex. Ortex data showed that hedge funds had taken loss-making short positions at more than 5,000 US firms in recent weeks.

With GameStop alone, hedge funds have lost $1.03 billion year-to-date. Those shorting Bed, Bath & Beyond lost $600 million. As the price rally continues, losses could reach even higher for hedge funds – especially if retail investors ignore the FUD and keep driving prices up.

What Comes Next?

Robinhood is facing a class-action lawsuit. Other class-action lawsuits could be filed against TD Ameritrade and other trading platforms that have blocked activity.

The good news for people who hate hedge funds is that they appeared to have lost big. Some hedge funds will go bankrupt because of this issue.

Is a trading platform allowed to singlehandedly halt the trading of stocks it decides users shouldn’t buy? Should billionaire hedge funds have such complete control of the media that they can manipulate stock prices with a single interview?

These are all good questions – and they’re all good reasons to buy Bitcoin.

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Author: Andrew Tuts

Hedging on Fears: New Crypto Volatility Index Let Traders Bet on Market Turbulence

Hedging on Fears: New Crypto Volatility Index Let Traders Bet on Market Turbulence

Over the years, since Crypto investing became more mainstream, we have seen the creation of futures contracts, funds, and now Volatility indices.

The Blockchain-powered Fintech startup company, COTI, has announced the launch of a brand new cryptocurrency index, which allows traders to bet on the likelihood of shorter/longer-term market volatility. At this stage, traders are able to open positions by depositing and using the Tether stablecoin (USDT).

With the popularity of indices like futures, which allow investors to bet against a digital asset’s long-term performance, the introduction of a volatility index shouldn’t be so surprising. The Gibraltar-based company explained that “Users who expect volatility to increase can open a CVI position. If correct, they can take profit by selling their position once the index has risen.” However, if traders correctly anticipate low volatility, they can profit by collecting fees from other traders that opened positions.

In a sense, COTI helps to bring more liquidity to the crypto market.

To avoid overly febrile activity on the platform, CVI liquidity providers will need to deposit and hold USDT for at least 72 hours. Once any position is opened, a CVI trader must keep it open for 6 hours before it can be closed or sold.

For the moment, aspiring traders can link to COTI’s CVI through major wallets such as MetaMask and TrustWallet. COTI intends to add digital assets like Ethereum (ETH) and its native COTI Token in the future.

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Author: James Fox

Too Afraid to Buy the Dips; Too Much FOMO to Resist Buying ATHs

12 years back, Bitcoin first came into existence with the genesis block having a reward of 50 BTC. The genesis block came with the text “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”

In 2020, history repeated itself as central banks all over the world went crazy with money printing. This led institutions to see Bitcoin as a hedge against weak dollar and risk of inflation, making it part of their investment portfolio.

The unprecedented institutional interest in the crypto market had Bitcoin rallying to nearly $35k from the March low of 3,800.

Even at this record high price level, Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of SkyBridge Capital, which today announced its Bitcoin Fund, urged people to invest in it. “You’re still way early to Bitcoin if you’re buying today,” tweeted Scaramucci on Sunday.

“When you look at this bitcoin rally that we have been seeing in the last couple of weeks and months, really, there’s two big elements driving it. One is the continuous entry of institutional players,” PwC’s global crypto leader Henri Arslanian said Monday on CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia.” These institutional players have “an outsized impact on the markets.”

Arslanian who expects this trend to continue over the coming months said, there’s also “a lot of regulated players as well,” which was “not the case a couple of years ago.”

Combined with retail FOMO, “there’s a lot of momentum going on in the space.”

As the price continues to go higher and higher, people continue to feel the FOMO as Douglas A. Boneparth, CNBC Advisor Council tweeted, “Instead of drinking coffee and eating avocado toast every day, I should have been buying bitcoin.”

This can especially be seen in the way the market moved in the last few hours.

Bitcoin’s price BTC -3.41% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 31,558.08
-$1,076.13 -3.41%
Volume 82.36 b Change -$1,076.13 Open $31,558.08 Circulating 18.59 m Market Cap 586.69 b
2 h Why Does Bitcoin (BTC) Continue to Tear Up Without Ever Stopping? 3 h Ethereum Blockchain Becomes Absolutely Unusable Yet Again as Average Fees Hits ATH at $20 4 h Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital Launches Institutional-Grade Fund to Directly Invest in Bitcoin; Offers GBTC Swap Too
went to $34,825 on Sunday on Coinbase and today we went down to $27,648 and already we are above $31,000.

The same has actually been the case with the second-largest cryptocurrency Ethereum ETH 13.21% Ethereum / USD ETHUSD $ 1,036.04
$136.86 13.21%
Volume 59.1 b Change $136.86 Open $1,036.04 Circulating 114.12 m Market Cap 118.23 b
3 h Ethereum Blockchain Becomes Absolutely Unusable Yet Again as Average Fees Hits ATH at $20 4 h Too Afraid to Buy the Dips; Too Much FOMO to Resist Buying The All Time Highs 6 h ETH Rips to Jan 2018 High As The Market Rotates Bitcoin Profits into Ethereum
which took just over a day to go from $750 to $1,170 only to fall to $885 to now be back above $1,000.

Even YouTuber Marques Brownlee, best known for his technology-focused videos and his podcast, Waveform: The MKBHD Podcast, took to Twitter to share his interest in buying in Bitcoin and missing out with the price continuing to keep on going higher and higher.

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But still, with bitcoin adoption reaching only 2%, a huge population is on the sidelines and institutions have just started coming in.

Just last month, the day BTC broke its previous ATH $20k China’s mainstream financial outlet, Caijing ran a survey on Weibo asking people’s position on Bitcoin which revealed that 11k out of the 20.8k participants responded with “Such a scam, will never buy” while 3.1k said they might buy later.

This only goes on to show that this bull cycle is still in its early phase.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Hits a New All-Time Record High Against the Traditional Safe Haven Gold

The Bitcoin market is working on broadening the universe of its investors even more.

On New Year’s Day, Bitcoin made yet another all-high against USD at about $29,620.

But in 2020, USD and several other fiat currencies aren’t the only ones against BTC which made new highs. Even against gold, the digital asset hit new highs.

Bitcoin made a new all-time record high against gold at the end of the year.

2020 has been a roller coaster ride for the world and the asset classes as we saw deep retracement in March. But ever since then, every other asset class has jumped to new highs.

Bitcoin, however, was the clear winner of the year, with 318% gains.

While oil still remains deep in red, -22% returns in 2020, other asset classes rallied but are nowhere even close to Bitcoin’s levels. Private assets were up 9% while equities recorded a 15% uptrend in the year, cash 16%, and bonds 20%.

The precious metal had only 28% year-to-date performance after breaking the ATH in August, which was last seen in 2011. After the consolidation for the last nearly four months, the bullion managed to rise back to $1,900 to mark the end of the year.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, had a wild year. Up 675% from the March lows, and in the past fortnight, it broke several levels in succession without any meaningful pullbacks ever since the uptrend started in Sept.

Broaden the Universe Some More

This year, things are going to get even more interesting as the rate at which institutions started to trickle in gained speed towards the end of the year will flood in in 2021.

Another exciting and bullish thing is the Bitcoin ETF. After getting rejected every single time over the past couple of years, this week VanEck filed another proposal for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) with the SEC, and this one will also physically hold BTC.

A change in SEC leadership, Jay Clayton not being a chairman anymore, has the cryptocurrency market’s hopes high of approval this time. Also, with all the institutions, big names, corporates, insurance companies, and high net worth individuals jumping on Bitcoin, the odds of regulatory approval have improved.

“All indications from the SEC are that a bitcoin ETF still faces an uphill battle,” said Nate Geraci, president of the ETF Store, an investment advisory firm.

“That VanEck has the confidence to file for a Bitcoin ETF might indicate some shifting viewpoints within the SEC. Clearly, a key to watch as this drama continues unfolding is who President Biden taps as SEC chair.”

In the case of the precious metal, the launch of the gold ETF had a very significant impact on the gold market. The first gold-backed ETF in the US was launched in Nov. 2004. The largest gold ETF, GLD, is one of the biggest funds in terms of the value of the assets it manages.

And the same is expected to happen with the digital gold – Bitcoin, once its ETF gets approved.

An ETF “could be taken as bullish for Bitcoin because it does broaden the universe of investors who could be aware of Bitcoin,” said Everett Millman, a finance expert with Gainesville Coins.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Is Ready to Welcome The New Year With Blast; Chance Of A Pullback?

Several factors point to an upcoming correction, what will be instructive for next year’s flows would be whether institutions “buy on a potential dip.”

Bitcoin vaulted above $29,000 to hit yet another record high with just one day left to end 2020. But it is showing no signs of slowing down its crazy December rally that has it up over 50% this month.

The digital asset climbed as high as $29,275 before pulling back to $28,045 but is now just above $28k.

And with these gains came over $540 billion market cap which helped Bitcoin flip its skeptic Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and become the 10th largest asset by market capitalization.

Interestingly, while volume on Wall Street is winding down due to the holidays, crypto volumes are seeing record-breaking levels.

As Paul Vigna, a reporter at the Wall Street Journal noted, in his 3-decade experience covering financial markets, he has “never seen a group of people so insanely bullish on a specific asset class.”

This latest uptick in BTC price coincided with increased stablecoin deposits on crypto exchanges. However, such transactions are now decreasing.

A Potential Dip

Bitcoin has been going strong ever since the March sell-off and since then we have yet to see any meaningful pullback.

“BTC would have a correction when the spot inflow of institutional investors slows down,” says Ki-Young Jo, CEO of data provider CryptoQuant. He noted that Grayscale hasn’t purchased any BTC since Dec. 25. Also, we haven’t had significant Coinbase outflows since last week.

The relative strength indicator is also flashing red, putting the digital asset into overbought territory, suggesting the coin is “close to a top.”

“Key to this rally is that it has been sustained over several weeks,” said Matt Long, head of distribution and prime products with crypto brokerage OSL in Hong Kong. “If we do see a break to the downside, it will be instructive on the direction of first-quarter flows whether we see institutions continue to buy on a potential dip.”

The market has long been anticipating a correction that is yet to be seen. In the light of strong demand for Bitcoin, experts believe it won’t be as deep, 30% to 40%, as we saw during the 2017 bull run but less than half of that and even that would be quickly scooped off.

“My sense is we’re very close to a top — we could hit $30,000 though,” said Vijay Ayyar, head of business development with crypto exchange Luno in Singapore. “We should definitely see a pullback, but the magnitude is probably lesser. We might only see 10% to 15% drops.”

According to Ayyar, a lot of things have been validated this year, and “Bitcoin is now a real alternative.”

Regulatory Worries

Regulators are also keeping things slightly uncertain. After the SEC sued Ripple Labs and its top executives for allegedly selling unregistered security XRP, it has been speculated that they are “sniffing around a number of projects and companies.”

The market can see the biggest hit if a stablecoin like the dominant USDT gets targeted. And although some may feel so, “Tether is registered and regulated under FinCEN as all the centralized competitors. Strict KYC/AML is applied to all Tether direct users, as the other main issuers are doing. Less regulated is just FUD,” clarified Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Tether and Bitfinex.

When it comes to Tether, the “SEC isn’t the agency to be worried about,” said Jake Chaervinksy, General Counsel at Compound Finance. The NYAG is already pursuing Tether in a Martin Act investigation, He said earlier this week that the handover of loan documents will be completed in “the coming weeks.”

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Author: AnTy

IRS Successfully Prosecute First Bitcoin Tax Case, Ordered to Pay Over $8 Million in Restitution

Volodymyr Kvashuk, a former Microsoft engineer, has been sentenced to nine years in prison for defrauding the tech giant for over $10 million, using a bitcoin mixer to hide taxable income, and filing fraudulent crypto tax returns.

In what is described as the “nation’s first Bitcoin case” by the IRS, Kvashuk was ordered to pay $8,344,586 in restitution. He may be deported to Ukraine following his prison term. IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner said on Monday,

“Today’s sentencing proves you cannot steal money via the Internet and think that Bitcoin is going to hide your criminal behaviors.

Our complex team of cybercrimes experts with the assistance of IRS-CI’s Cyber Crimes Unit will hunt you down and hold you accountable for your wrongdoings.”

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A Skiller developer, Kvashuk, 26, worked at Microsoft from August 2016 to June 2018, during which he used his testing access to Microsoft’s online retail sales platform to steal “currency stored value” (CSV) such as digital gift cards.

He made millions of dollars by reselling them on the internet and used the proceeds to purchase a $1.6 million lakefront home and a $160,000 Tesla vehicle.

To hide the source of the funds that he ultimately sent to his bank account, he used a bitcoin “mixing service.” During the seven months of illegal activity, he transferred about $2.8 million in Bitcoin then filed fake tax return forms, claiming the bitcoin had been a gift from a relative.

While gifts are not taxable to the recipient under the current US tax code, one is required to check “yes” on the infamous crypto tax question “At any time during 2019, did you receive, sell, send, exchange, or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?” even if it is a crypto gift. CoinTracker noted,

“Before the 2019 tax year, if you received a crypto gift, you wouldn’t have to disclose it any tax forms encouraging tax cheats to hide crypto income.”

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Author: AnTy

Mt. Gox Rehabilitation Plan Deadline Postponed, Yet Again, for Two Months

It’s been over six years, and Mt. Gox creditors are still not any closer to getting their BTC back.

In the Tokyo District Court’s latest announcement, the rehabilitation plan deadline has been postponed, yet again, from Oct. 15, 2020, to December 15, 2020.

Already this deadline has been changed several times, and yet again, they postponed it to two months later, which brings no relief as this could easily be changed again. According to the order,

“The Rehabilitation Trustee is currently formulating the rehabilitation plan, but as there are matters that require closer examination with regard to the rehabilitation plan, it has become necessary to extend the submission deadline for the rehabilitation plan.”

mt gox rehab plan

The cryptocurrency market continues to await the possible release of 150,000 BTC, currently worth over $1.7 billion, to its former users.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum 2.0 Developers to Launch Zinken Testnet After Spadina ‘Dress Rehearsal’ Fails

After five years of waiting for Ethereum 2.0, developers may have to wait longer for its launch after a failed launch of the Spadina Network. The ETH 2.0 developers plan a third testnet, Zinken, which is expected to solve bugs and fix problems found in the previous two testnets – Spadina and Medalla.

ETH 2.0 is expected to introduce sharding protocols to increase Ethereum’s scalability and reduce blockchain gas costs. The main upgrade on ETH 2.0, however, is the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism that is expected to replace the energy-intensive proof-of-work (PoW) currently available.

ETH 2.0 Phase 0, or the Beacon Chain, is expected to launch later in the year with the full implementation of the upgrade set to take over two years. According to original plans, Spadina was set to be one of the final testnets, or a “dress rehearsal, before the launch of Phase 0, but bugs and finality problems were discovered.”

One ETH 2.0 developer, Danny Ryan, wrote on Twitter that despite ETH 2.0 clients becoming more robust, the high latency times for finality raised several issues on the Spadina network, including “cli options, testnet config, bootnodes, and genesis calculation bugs.” Ryan further wrote,

“Even though we expect moderately low participation on a short-lived non-incentivized testnet, small errors in the client release process greatly exacerbated this problem, resulting in ~1/3 participation in the first few epochs.”

To respond to the issues stated above, the developers will run the Zinken testnet as a “dress rehearsal.”

The bugs, however, are not critical, Prysmatic Labs developer, Raul Jordan, stated. Comparing the failures in Spadina to Medalla’s earlier failures, Jordan believes the failures will be a “learning experience” for ETH 2.0 developers.

Also Read: Ethereum Miner Fees Beats August Record with a 47% Increase in September

Ryan confirmed the Zinken testnet dress rehearsal would be launched in the coming two weeks.

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Author: Lujan Odera