By Ria Bhutoria and Wilson Withiam
Know & go
- A closer look: In our latest Insights piece, we provide our take on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Libra initiative and its stakeholders.
- Three things to know: (1) Ethereum foundation announced Ethereum 2.0 is set to launch in January 2020 (2) PoS blockchain Algorand raised over $60 million in its first token auction on CoinList (3) Ripple announced a $30 million investment in Money Gram.
- Market snapshot: Total crypto market capitalization is around $287.4 billion at press time (up 14.3% w/w). BTC is trading at $9920 (up 18.8% w/w), ETH is at $295 (up 13.4% w/w). BVOL (the rolling 30-day annualized Bitcoin volatility as calculated by BitMEX) is 65.4%, down from 77.1% last week. (6/21 2:50PM ET)
Weekly market snapshot
A closer look: A balanced take on Libra
If you’re a close follower of the crypto industry, you’ve probably consumed a significant amount of content on Facebook’s announcement of its cryptocurrency and blockchain by the same name – Libra – that could go live as soon as 2020, the not-for-profit Geneva-based Libra Association created to govern the project (with over 25 of the targeted 100 members already announced), and Facebook’s new wholly owned and regulated subsidiary, Calibra. In case you haven’t had the chance to catch up, there are a plethora of articles and threads to help you get up to speed. Given the abundance of information on how it all works, we took this opportunity to put together a Circle Research Insights piece that synthesizes this information into an old-fashioned SWOT analysis of the proposed new Libra coin and network.
You can read the full piece here – A balanced take on Libra.
In other news
- The Ethereum foundation announced the genesis block for Ethereum 2.0 is set to launch in January 2020. The long awaited upgrade will introduce a new proof-of-stake consensus mechanism as well as promised improvements in scalability and security. Source.
- CoinMetrics will be integrating Social Market Analytics’ cryptocurrency data to provide users with market sentiment information based on Twitter conversations. CEO Tim Rice said sentiment data helps represent social media discourse in a quantitative way and that this data can be combined with network metrics to build a better fundamental understanding of crypto assets. Source.
- Last Friday, Binance announced it will stop serving U.S. customers starting in September. According to The Block, about 15% of Binance’s monthly traffic comes from the U.S. Source. A few days later, the crypto exchange said it will be launching a Bitcoin-pegged token on Binance Chain. According to the announcement, all tokens will be 100% backed and reserves will be held in Binance controlled but publicly audible cold storage wallets. Source.
- In similar news, decentralized exchange Bancor will be geo-blocking U.S. citizens and IP addresses. The precautionary move may be in response to the U.S. charging the founder of Ether Delta, another DEX, with operating an unregulated exchange in 2018. Source.
- JPMorgan said the influence of the Bitcoin futures market has been understated due to the prevalence of fake reported trading volumes by most cryptocurrency exchanges. According to JPMorgan, if estimates stating only 5% of reported trading volume is genuine are right, real Bitcoin trading volumes in May totaled ~$36 billion. Therefore, the aggregate volume of $12 on CME and Cboe futures contracts over the same period may have had a more significant impact on the market than initially considered. Source.
- A fallout between the Tezos Foundation and French engineering group OcamlPro may lead to a hard fork in the Tezos protocol. OcamlPro claimed in a blog post that the foundation threatened to stop funding them, so the developer team found an outside partner (Starchain Capital) to fork Tezos and create a new blockchain called Dune Protocol. The Tezos Foundation said OcamlPro failed to open-source all of its code, which was one of the required conditions to receive continued funding. Source.
- It was discovered Block.one, the company behind the EOS blockchain, paid $30 million for the rights to the domain name voice.com. The purchase now serves as the site for Block.one’s EOS-based new social media platform, Voice, which launched earlier this month. Source.
- Professional consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) launched an auditing solution for its clients that hold cryptocurrencies. The new service helps clients manage their crypto treasury by tracking actual blockchain data to establish true ownership. The platform currently supports BTC and its forks BCH, BTG and BCD, LTC, ETH, ERC20-OAX token, and XRP. Source.
- MetLife is using the Ethereum blockchain to add transparency and efficiency to the life insurance claims process. The insurance giant is collaborating with Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and NTUC Income through its Singapore-based incubator LumenLab to pilot a blockchain solution dubbed LifeChain. The platform is intended to help customers determine if someone is protected by a policy and if so, automatically file a claim. Source.
- Internet security provided Cloudflare introduced an Ethereum gateway that helps developers access the Ethereum network without having to run a node, deploy smart contracts, and build dApps using the API. Cloudflare also offers an IPFS gateway, which, combined with the Ethereum gateway creates the Cloudflare Distributed Web Gateway. Source.
- Algorand, a proof-of-stake system, raised over $60 million in its first token auction on CoinList this Tuesday, for a per-token price of $2.40, making its fully diluted market cap $24 billion. This is on top of the $66 million it raised in equity funding. Source.
- Ripple announced a $30 million investment in Money Gram with the option to invest another $20 million in the next two years. The deal gives Ripple the opportunity to deploy its X-Rapid product, which it is a superior way to move money cross border. Last year, Western Union engaged in a pilot program with X-Rapid, but said the service did not provide significant savings. Source.
- Livepeer raised $8 million in a Series A led by Northzone. Livepeer offers a decentralized platform for video encoding centered on the Ethereum network. So far, over 100 events used the Livepeer platform to stream their videos. Source.
- Dovey Wan of Primitive Ventures and Pan Zhibiao, Bitmain alum, launched Hard Core Fund last year to fund core Bitcoin developers. This week, Dovey announced that she’s gathered 50 BTC to fund and sustain even more Bitcoin developers that can work on the protocol full-time. Lack of funding is one of the key hindrances when it comes to open source projects. Source.
- Roll, a startup that wants to help content creators monetize their relationships with fans via crypto, raised $1.7 million in a seed round led by Arthur Hayes, CEO of BitMEX. Source. (h/t/ Messari News)
Global regulatory roundup
- There are about 40 crypto companies awaiting FINRA’s decision on their broker-dealer applications that would allow them to compliantly offer securities or services around securities to end users. Some believe that FINRA may be delaying a decision per the SEC’s request. Source.
- The CFTC has charged now defunct crypto scheme Control Finance Limited and its director, Benjamin Reynolds for running a fraudulent scheme to misappropriate almost 23,000 bitcoin from over 1,000 customers. Source.
What we’re reading
- Bitcoin bites the bullet by Nic Carter
- Bitcoin Average Dormancy by David Puell
- Bitcoin is the Antivirus (Mushroom Medicine) — Part 3 / 4 by Brandon Quittem
- Uniswap & Kyber Network Research & Analysis by Delphi Digital
- Why is Monero a Weak Privacy Argument by Mohamed ElSeidy
- The Golden Ratio Multiplier by Philip Swift
- The High Yield Bond Market is the Best Parallel to Crypto by Jeff Dorman (Arca)
- Thoughts on Libra “Blockchain” by Jameson Lopp
- The Libra Masterplan by Eric Wall
- Overview of Layer 2 approaches: Plasma, State Channels, Side Chains, Roll Ups by Alexander Skidanov
- How Set Protocol Works Under the Hood by Anthony Sassano
- The Full Circle Hypothesis by Mario Laul (Placeholder)
What we’re listening to
- What Bitcoin Did: Udi Wertheimer on Navigating Bitcoin
- Chain Reaction: DARMA Capital’s Andrew Keys and James Slazas: $100M Ether Fund Launches – Largest of 2019
- Unchained: Not Sure a Cryptoeconomic System Will Work? Gauntlet Can Help
- Off the Chain: Misir Mahmudov, Analyst at Adaptive Capital: Why Bitcoin is Stored Time
- Unconfirmed: Libra’s Dante Disparte on Why We Should Trust a Financial System Designed by Facebook
- Blockchain Insider: Libra: Facebook’s world domination
- Base Layer: Pierre Rochard (Bitcoin Advisory)
- Epicenter: Hayden Adams: Uniswap – An Automated Decentralized Exchange for Ethereum
- Click here to apply: Jill Carlson thinks we should take more walks
Circle in the news
- Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire participated in a panel at the Fortune Brainstorm Finance conference that covered the topic of Facebook’s Libra announcement.
- Circle released the latest attestation report on US dollar reserves backing USDC issued by independent accounting firm, Grant Thornton LLP.
- Poloniex announced this week that it will re-launch the Trollbox.
Where we’ll be in June
- MIT Professional Ed – Applied Blockchain Course, Cambridge, MA, 6/24-28