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CRYPTO && COFFEE

Crypto && Coffee 064-065 | A Double Shot of Blockchain News

Crypto && Coffee 065

Technology Recap:

Bitcoin:

  • A stale block was detected on February 21st, 2021, at height 671511. There were no conflicting transactions or double spends.
  • The Bitcoin network is currently adding more than twice as many new transactions as are being confirmed. The mempool has a ~237 block depth. The default mempool is dropping transactions below 11 sat/vB.
  • BlueWallet merged in a PR to support offline signing with air-gapped PSBTs (Partially-Signed Bitcoin Transactions). A PSBT at its highest level is a data format that allows wallets and other tools to create a transaction that identifies a set of UTXOs to spend and a set of outputs to receive that spent value. The information about each UTXO necessary to generate a signature can, however, be added by another tool. Thus, both parts do not need to be done on the same device or program.
  • Lightning Lab’s lnd v0.12.1-beta has been released. Among other updates, this release reverts the removal of the premature channel update cache, a refactor of the gossip throttling that was added in v0.12.0.

Ethereum:

  • In the latest Ethereum All Core Devs call, the timeline for the next upgrade, Berlin, was discussed. The intended timeline is for the upgrade to take place for Ethereum mainnet on April 14th, 2021, at block height 12,244,000.
  • proposal for the first hard fork, HF1, for the ETH2.0 Beacon Chain has been published. The key goals for HF1 include adding light client support, fixing weaknesses, and thorough testing of the hard forking mechanism with relatively small changes.
  • Vitalik Buterin shared his opinion on prediction markets such as Augur, Omen, PolyMarket and more, focusing on their use cases and application of blockchains.
  • Hasu and Georgios Konstantopoulos published their insights on why Miners will accept EIP-1559 on Derbit.
  • Sigma Prime released v1.1.3 of their ETH2.0 client Lighthouse. This release contains a fix for a known issue which caused excessive memory consumption as well as fixing false-positive warnings on resource consumption.

Other Chains:

  • On February 18th, 2021, Cosmos upgraded to Stargate enabling IBC (Inter-Blockchain Communication), marking the completion of the original Cosmos whitepaper and ushering in the age of cross-chain communication. Full rundown of the latest within Cosmos here.
  • Synthetix released a full write up on their recent updates including debt tracking on staking, earning options and more.
  • Balancer partnered with Aave to build the first Balancer V2 Asset Manager, allowing idle assets in V2 pools to earn yield on Aave!
  • The Graph announced that they will be supporting Polkadot, Solana, Celo and NEAR Protocol. These blockchains will be joining The Graph’s current support for Ethereum and IPFS.
  • DeversiFi enabled a UI, letting users transfer ETH and tokens between accounts without gas and privately, with no on-chain visibility.
  • DEXes are pumping right now, with the 30-day volume reaching ~$64.05B with a daily growth rate of 28%.
  • Yearn Finance has submitted an ARC to disable YFI borrowing in Aave in order to prevent governance and shorting attacks, extend a special 3% fixed interest facility to Yearn’s Treasury, and enable access to Native Credit Delegation for Yearn Vaults, allowing Aave LPs to delegate to Yearn vaults directly from within Aave.
  • The dYdX StarkEx built ZK-Rollup is now live on Ethereum mainnet.
  • 1inch shared that they are adding a mBTC pool that will bring an additional $1M of liquidity. mBTC is a meta-stablecoin based on tokenized Bitcoin, with a weight-limited basket of assets and native interest rate.
  • Tiingo has launched their own Chainlink node live on mainnet, bringing their financial market data directly to blockchain markets.
  • Cosmostation Mobile Wallet is now upgraded for Cosmos Hub-4 support.
  • The Zcash Sapling privacy set is nearly 2.5 times larger now than it was a year ago, as measured by the total number of transactions with at least one shielded output.
  • Osmosis was announced. Osmosis is an advanced AMM protocol built using the Cosmos SDK that will allow developers to design, build, and deploy their own customized AMMs.
  • Cover Protocol announced a substantial improvement to the liquidity model of their coverage tokens. By taking advantage of flash loans and their binary token system, Cover is able to eliminate their 2 balancer pools, replacing them with a single 50/50 NOCLAIM/DAI pool.
  • Alchemix is announced! Alchemix is a DeFi protocol that allows for the creation of synthetic tokens that represent the future yield of a deposit. Thus, it enables users to retrieve near instant tokenized value against temporary deposits of stablecoins.
  • Binance will be adding BUSD trading pairs for 1INCH, BAND, GRT, IOST, OMG, and REEF.
  • Cream Finance added renBTC and renZEC to C.R.E.A.M on Binance Smart Chain.
  • Brave released their latest roadmap update for BAT, including the Brave Wallet and Brave DEX.
  • Aavegotchi shared that Chainlink VRF (Verifiable Randomness Function) is live on Polygon (formerly Matic), ensuring that traits are assigned to Aavegotchis in a provably unbiased and tamper proof manner by Aavegotchis Portals.
  • The Electric Coin Company introduced a potential new Zcash protocol feature build using the Halo2 zero-knowledge proving system. It has been placed in ZIP-224 for incorporation in Zcash’s Network Upgrade (NU5) in the summer of 2021.

 

Mainstream Recap:

  • MicroStrategy announced the purchase of an additional ~19,452 bitcoins for a purchase price of ~$1.026 billion in cash at an average price of $52,765 per bitcoin on February 24th, 2021.
  • Square announced on February 23rd, 2021, that it has purchased approximately 3,318 bitcoins at an aggregate purchase price of $170M. Combined with Square’s previous purchase of $50M in bitcoin, this now represents 5% of Square’s total cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities as of December 31, 2020.
  • Bitfinex and Tether have settled with the New York Attorney General’s office over a case that began two years ago, resulting in Bitfinex/Tether paying $18.5M as part of the settlement.
  • Blockchain.com closed a strategic financing round, securing $120M from Moore Strategic Ventures, Kyle Bass, Access Industries, Rovida Advisors, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Google Ventures, Lakestar, Eldrige, and more.
  • Kraken shared insight into the recent market selloff during the large price fluctuations on February 22nd, 2021.
  • Will Reeves, CEO and co-founder of Fold, published an update–the last early access community update before announcing the full program.
  • Hong Fang, CEO of OKCoin, announced that starting March 1st, 2021, BSV and BCH will no longer be listed on OKCoin.
  • Open-source Bitcoin firm Brink received a 1 BTC donation to aid in their developer funding efforts from Jack Dorsey.
  • Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Bitfinex, shared that over the last 30 days, Bitfinex has processed ~12.5K transactions on the Lightning Network—primarily deposits.
  • Alpha Homora and C.R.E.A.M published an announcement that clarifies how the additional debt between the two will be resolved from the recent exploit.
  • Form D filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission illustrate that Bitcoin brokerage firm River Financial aims to raise ~$500,000 in additional funding for a total of nearly $17.8M.
  • Mempool.space received a generous donation from their newest sponsor, Jack Dorsey.
  • CoinDesk reported that Cryptopia has been hacked again at ~$45K USD in the XSN cryptocurrency which was transferred out of Cryptopia’s cold wallet on February 1st, 2021.
  • Gemini shared that over the past few months, growing support of the Gemini dollar (GUSD) via DeFi projects has led to a surge in its market cap, now passing $100M.
  • CoinDesk reported that the Swiss canton of Zug has started accepting tax payments in cryptocurrency.
  • Gemini launched Cryptopedia, a free crypto education platform which provides open-access to anyone in the world wanting to learn more about crypto.

 

Jake’s Cup of Coffee:

This week, Jake and his coffee cup are traveling down to Beverly Hills to sip some Bravo from Aharon Coffee & Roasting Company. This incredible blend brews great for an espresso, drip, or cold brew. Crafted exclusively with 100% organic coffee from South America, Indonesia, and Africa, it packs a full-bodied punch with notes of currant, dark chocolate, graham cracker and hints of cherry. Enjoy!


Crypto && Coffee 064 

 

Technology Recap:

Bitcoin:

  • On Tuesday, February 21st, 2021, Bitcoin hit another all-time high at $58,419.
  • Lightning Labs announced the preview release of the Lightning Pool UI. With this update, users can now buy access to Lightning liquidity and sell channels right in the Terminal dashboard. Take a deep dive into Lightning Pool here.
  • Russel O’Connor and Andrew Poelstra published a post announcing the implementation of an algorithm that can speed up Bitcoin Core’s signature verification by 15% while also reducing the time it takes to generate signatures by 25%.
  • Hugo Nguyen posted a draft BIP to the Bitcoin-Dev mailing list that describes how hardware wallets can securely exchange information necessary to become signers for multisig wallets.

Litecoin:

  • On February 13th, 2021, Litecoin had its two millionth block mined. At the time of mining, Litecoin was at a year-to-date high of ~$220.

Ethereum:

  • Danny Ryan of Ethereum Foundation shared a quick update on ETH2.0 including sharding, Kate polynomial commitments, design of the executable Beacon Chain, and more.
  • Ben Edgington shared what’s new in ETH2.0 regarding scalability, Beacon Chain slashings, and future upgrades.
  • As highlighted last week, the Ethereum Cat Herders will be hosting a community call on EIP-1559: Fee Market Change for ETH1.0 on February 26, 2021, at 14:00 UTC. Since the announcement, hundreds of supporters have been posting information about their support for EIP-1559.
  • Sigma Prime published the latest release for their ETH2.0 client, Lighthouse v1.1.1. This release contains important optimizations that reduce propagation times of new blocks on the network.

Other Chains:

  • On February 15th, 2021, Uniswap became the first decentralized trading platform to process over $100B in volume.
  • StarkWare announced that BadgerDAO is launching on StarkNet! This will be the first gas-free ZK-Rollup AMM dedicated to tokenized Bitcoin.
  • Ren announced that RenBridge v2 is live! Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Zcash, and Dogecoin are now supported on Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain.
  • mStable launched their second mAsset, mBTC. mBTC is a meta-stablecoin based on tokenized Bitcoin, with a weight-limited basket of assets and native interest rate. This launch means that users could also mint mBTC with renBTC.
  • On Thursday, February 18th, 2021 at 06:00 UTC, Cosmos stopped producing blocks momentarily as the 125 validators across the globe activated Stargate. This historic upgrade enables IBC (Inter-Blockchain Communication), which marks the completion of the original Cosmos whitepaper and ushers in the age of cross-chain communication.
  • Bison Trails published Global Blockchain Sync (GBS), a new software to reduce the time it takes new nodes to be production-ready by over 100x. GBS is available for all cloud providers and regions supported by the Bison Trails platform with local blockchain image repositories that undergo multiple steps of verification.
  • IC3 published an article on Using Universal Composability to Implement Off-Chain Payment Channels. As payment channels are one of the fundamental ways for scaling cryptocurrency networks, this post sheds light on that including a simple implementation that includes an executable security specification in the form of a UC ideal functionality.
  • DeversiFi is promoting their platform as gas fees continue to increase within Ethereum and the need for lower fees is rising.
  • On February 12th, 2021, the 1inch Foundation provided another distribution of the 1INCH token to make sure that users who have not yet received their tokens will collect them. 3.56M tokens were sent to 1,308 participants in the second liquidity mining program; 4.8M to 9,094 users of Mooniswap; 310K to limit order users; and 375K to Argent, Authereum, Gnosis, and Pillar wallets with transaction relayers.
  • Tezos underwent a successful activation of Edo last Saturday, marking the fifth and most ambitious Tezos upgrade over the past two years. In this thread, Tezos shares what comes with this significant upgrade.
  • Aave went through another governance vote, this time adding xSUSHI to the platform.
  • Degenerative Finance announced uSTONKS. uSTONKS, which is designed by UMA Protocol, will be a synthetic that tracks an index of the ten most bullish Wall Street Bets stocks.
  • Akash Network previewed DeCloud, the first decentralized cloud marketplace aimed at being a faster, more efficient, and lower cost cloud build for DeFi.
  • Fuse added Kyber Network’s KNC token to their FuseSwap, rewarding Liquidity Providers on the KNC/USDC pair with 50,000 FUSE tokens over a 1-month period.
  • StarkWare shared the Cairo Games, which will kick off on February 18th, 2021. The Cairo Games will feature various puzzles which involve developers completing a prover using Cairo. Each first solution to a puzzle will receive a prize.
  • Instadapp shared DeFi Simulation, a gas free environment to try DeFi without spending any real money.
  • Ribbon Finance was announced. Ribbon is a new company focused on creating crypto structured products on DeFi. They are focused on products to tackle four major categories: volatility, yield enhancement, principal protection and accumulation.
  • XPeare, an AI and blockchain-powered content IP marketplace and acceleration platform, announced that they will be integrating Chainlink oracles into various aspects of their ecosystem.
  • The SushiSwap LP Rewards pre-deposit window is now live! Users can now stake their governance token for Rari Capital, RGT, LP tokens to start earning RGT + SUSHI rewards in roughly five days.

 

Mainstream Recap:

  • BNY Mellon, the nation’s oldest bank, announced that it will allow digital assets to pass through the same plumbing used by other, more traditional holdings, using a platform that is now in prototype.
  • CoinDesk reported that Deutsche Bank has joined the growing ranks of large financial institutions exploring crypto custody and possibilities to offer services to hedge funds.
  • Bitso, Latin America’s leading crypto platform, announced on February 11th, 2021, that it has acquired Quedex, a regulated, Europe-based Crypto Derivatives Trading platform. This acquisition will integrate Quedex’s trading engine into Bitso as it continues to expand throughout Latin America and globally.
  • A Delaware corporate registry filed on February 10th, 2021, shows Grayscale is considering Yearn Finance’s YFI as a potential future offering.
  • The Avalanche network suffered a major issue two weeks ago when heavy load on the system triggered a non-deterministic bug related to state verification. This caused validations to accept some invalid mint transactions, with the rest of the network refusing to honor the transactions. Since then, the issue has been patched and services such as the Avalanche-Ethereum bridge are back online.
  • Alpha Homora V2 published their postmortem on the recent exploit involving flash loans which allowed an attacker to get away with ~$38M.
  • Kraken announced Kraken Ventures, a global investment operation with a presence in Austin, Berlin, Hong Kong, London, New York, and San Francisco. Kraken Ventures will provide the necessary resources and expertise to developers and respective technologies that will power the next wave of innovation.
  • Jack Dorsey shared that he and Jay-Z will be giving 500 BTC to a new endowment named ₿trust, to fund Bitcoin development, initially focused on teams in Africa and India.
  • BitPay announced that US cardholders of the BitPay Prepaid Mastercard can add their card to the Apple Wallet and spend via Apple Pay.
  • Synthetix has raised $12M from venture capital firms Coinbase Ventures, Paradigm, and IOSG.
  • Reflexer Labs announced a Series A round of $4.14M led by Pantera Capital and Lemniscap. Reflexer built out a crypto-native stable asset for the DeFi ecosystem, RAI, which launched on the 17th.
  • The Ontario Securities Commission gave approval to Purpose Investment’s North American Bitcoin ETF on the 11th.
  • Bloomberg shared that cryptocurrency holders in India will likely be given three to six months to close their positions.
  • Showtime, the decentralized social network aimed around NFTs, announced a pre-seed round led by Dragonfly Capital, Robot Ventures, Bollinger Investment Group, and various angel investors.
  • On Monday, February 15th, 2021, the French information security agency ANSSI published an advisory warning that hackers with links to Sandworm, a group within Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency, had breached several French organizations. The intrusions date back to late 2017 and have continued through 2020.
  • Balancer Labs announced that Three Arrows Capital and DeFiance Capital have purchased $5M of BAL ahead of Balancer V2. They are joining the $12M Series A alongside Pantera Capital and Alameda Research.

 

Jake’s Cup of Coffee:

This week, Jake is hitting up Mother Tongue Coffee in Oakland, CA, for a cup of Mugshots. This roast is a blend of Ethiopian and Central American coffees that yields flavors of peach, sweet chocolate, and hints of florals. Jake suggests brewing this roast via pour over or drip. Enjoy!

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