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CRYPTO && COFFEE

Crypto && Coffee 069-070 | NFT Marketplace Builders Draw Big-Name Investor Interest 

Crypto && Coffee 070

Technology Recap:

Bitcoin:

  • Bitcoin had a stale block at block height 676234. The two blocks were proposed by BTC.com and Poolin, with BTC.com winning. The stale block did include a transaction which looked to spend 0.000010426 BTC. This output has not been spent on the main chain yet.
  • Within the taproot-activation IRC channel, core devs have decided to have ten weekly meetings to discuss the full activation process of Taproot each Tuesday at 19:00 UTC. Full recap of the latest meeting can be found here.
  • The Breez Lightning client has added a native podcast player. Lightning lets podcasters receive payment directly from their listeners without being subject to any intermediary. This is the next step forward in evolving the Lightning Network’s economy.
  • Specter v1.3.0 is out! This release allows for Bitcoin Core + Tor in a single-click setup, fast sync options, fee estimation via Mempool, full RBF transaction editing, and more.

Ethereum:

  • Tim Beiko published the latest updates from the recent All Core Devs call. These include continued preparation for the upcoming London fork after Berlin, the deployment of Berlin to all major testnets for the upcoming mainnet fork on April 14th, 2021, and more.
  • Danny Ryan of Ethereum Research and Development shared the latest on ETH2.0 with the first pre-release for Altair, the upcoming Beacon Chain upgrade. In addition, there is ongoing discussion on the unification of Ethereum’s application layer with Proof-of-Stake (PoS).
  • Ben Edgington published what’s new in ETH2.0, including further information on the Altair upgrade, the Merge, and further tooling.
  • Within the discussion regarding the Ethereum Merge, Sigma Prime shared they have tested the first ETH1.0 and ETH2.0 merge transaction via Lighthouse.
  • Prysmatic Labs published their March Development Update including information on their work regarding the ETH1.0 and ETH2.0 merge. View this Merge demo with Prysm and Catalyst.
  • ConsenSys released the latest version of Teku, their ETH2.0 Beacon Chain client. The release highlights upcoming breaking changes in the next version.

Other Chains:

  • On March 29th, 2021, ATOM holders voted through the launch of IBC (Inter-Blockchain Communication) within Cosmos, enabling assets to easily transfer between blockchains.
  • Hermes Network’s zk-rollup is now live on Ethereum. Check it out here.
  • Crypto.org Chain is now live. Crypto.org utilizes the Cosmos SDK and Tendermint Core under the hood. All ERC-20 CRO will be automatically converted to native CRO when users withdraw.
  • DeversiFi introduced DVF, the DeversiFi governance token. DVF will be transferable later this year and give holders the ability to directly adjust several parameters related to the layer-2 DeversiFi protocol.
  • Ethereum Optimism announced that they are delaying official public mainnet in favor of a more coordinated community launch.
  • Matter Labs shared the latest regarding zkSync and their full roadmap. This includes a possible zkEVM testnet in May and a hopeful mainnet launch in August.
  • Alchemy has chosen Flow as the next public blockchain they will support with their entire development platform. Flow blockchain is currently home to apps like NBA Top Shot, Viv3, and MotoGP.
  • Shadows Network has partnered with Ren Protocol to use renBTC as a new type of collateral within their system.
  • Sentinel has officially minted its mainnet genesis block on Cosmos SDK and is live.
  • Sommelier published an article on the Five Ways UniswapV3 Changes the World For Liquidity Providers on the AMM.
  • The DODO team introduced DODO NFT, a price discovery and liquidity protocol for non-standard assets.
  • Aleo published the second installment of their series introducing users to zero knowledge primitives and Aleo’s solution to private, programmable applications.
  • ZeroSwap, the multi-chain DEX aggregator, announced that after integrating Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, and Polygon, they are now working on enabling Huobi’s HecoChain.
  • NFT Trader will integrate the Chainlink Verifiable Randomness Function (VRF) to randomly assign rare properties to tradable NFT items within their new gamification system, Trade Squads.
  • Popsicle Finance shared their latest airdrops to addresses that run Ren Protocol Darknodes as well as addresses which voted on BadgerDAO’s snapshot.
  • Zero Knowledge Validator gave a full deep dive into blockchain privacy, zero knowledge proofs, and what they mean for the Cosmos ecosystem.
  • Ellipsis Finance shared their 2021 roadmap with plans to add a BTC pool with Ren, integration of liquidity aggregators, a full audit of their codebase, and a full campaign to draw awareness to Ellipsis on Binance Smart Chain (BSC).
  • 1inch launched a new liquidity mining program with Vesper on March 25th, 2021. Liquidity providers of the 1INCH-VSP pool will collect 150K 1INCH tokens and 100K VSP tokens distributed over a 24-week period.
  • As of March 24th, 2021, renBTC will be supported on the Secret Ethereum Bridge, bringing programmable privacy to holders of renBTC and allowing it to be utilized anywhere in Secret.
  • Nethermind featured their latest tests and breakdown of using StarkWare’s Cairo language.
  • 1inch integrated Ellipsis with $638M of additional liquidity for the following stablecoins: BUSD, USDC, and USDT.
  • Loopring launched a relayer upgrade on March 25th, 2021, which was successful. With the upgrade, adding and removing AMM liquidity is now 30% cheaper.
  • SushiSwap’s new lending and margin trading platform Kashi has integrated Chainlink Price Feeds to secure isolated token lending pairs, providing DeFi users a tamper-resistant, one-click leverage trading solution.
  • Secret Network congratulated the Secret Monero Bridge team for their work on connecting the Monero community to Secret Network and Secret DeFi. The proof of concept developed at HackAtomRU enables value transfers between Monero and the Secret Network.
  • Immutable X will launch its alpha version before the end of this month, with Gods Unchained players being the first to use the layer-2 solution.
  • Check out the latest in the Tezos ecosystem with the TQ Tezos weekly spotlight. This week features Interop and NFTs.
  • With the upcoming Donut hard fork on Celo, James Prestwich gave a full rundown on all the proposals being included—especially CIP-35. CIP-35 brings Celo back to full compatibility with Ethereum wallets and tooling.
  • Origin has integrated new Chainlink Oracles live on mainnet and shared that Chainlink is now the sole provider of real-time price data feeds for OUSD.
  • Crypto wallet Nash shared that users can now buy Aave directly within their wallet with 1% fees.
  • Althea announced the completion and test of the first transaction of a Cosmos-based token (ALTG) to test Ethereum Goerli using the second iteration of Althera Gravity: the Cosmos <> Ethereum bridge.
  • The Zcash Foundation has completed an audit of their FROST implementation which is the first step for full compatibility with the Zcash protocol with re-randomization.
  • The Electric Coin Company published their full Transparency Report for Q3 of 2020.
  • As part of the recent mainnet launch of RAI, Reflexer has integrated Chainlink’s ETH/USD Price Feed Oracle.
  • Chainlink shared how to get a random number on Polygon through Chainlink’s VRF.
  • OpenZeppelin published their latest review and audit of Fei Protocol with multiple vulnerabilities.
  • The Grin Council has awarded David Burkett and Grin++ with a $250K bug bounty in recognition of their efforts in relation to the recent critical vulnerability that was patched in MW/Grin v5.0.2.

Mainstream Recap:

  • PayPal launched “Checkout with Crypto,” enabling PayPal customers in the U.S. to checkout with cryptocurrency alongside other payment methods in the PayPal wallet.
  • Visa announced on March 29th, 2021, the integration and use of USDC, a stablecoin backed by the US dollar, to settle a transaction with Visa over Ethereum. Visa is piloting the capability with Crypto.com, a Visa partner, and plans to offer the USDC settlement capability later this year.
  • StarkWare announced their $75M Series B, led by Paradigm, with investors Three Arrows and Alameda Research as well as Pantera Capital, Sequoia, Founders Fund, DCVC and Wing. Fun sidenote, Paradigm is an investor in both Optimism and StarkWare, the two leading firms behind the most popular scaling solutions on Ethereum.
  • Dapper Labs announced a $305M funding round on March 30th, 2021, from a full group of NBA stars and venture capital firms including Kevin Durant, Michael Jordan, investment firm Coatue, and more.
  • Silvergate Bank will be the second lender to extend bitcoin-backed loans to investors who custody their crypto with Fidelity. Full report from CoinDesk here.
  • Lolli raised $5M Pre-Series A from Seven Seven Six, the venture capital fund headed by Alexis Ohanian, Night Media. The funding will contribute to their mobile app development and international expansion of the popular bitcoin rewards company.
  • Bakkt launched its digital wallet, Bakkt App, to manage all forms of digital assets—debuting with Starbucks, GolfNow, and Best Buy.
  • Esprezzo, a no-code blockchain automation and data platform, announced a $2M investment round with participation from Mark Cuban, Arrington Capital, Longley Capital, Rarestone Capital, CMS Holdings, LongHash, Youbi, TBD Angels, Zag Capital and more.
  • ElasticDAO shared information on their smart contract security and recent audits, including information on the work samczsun and Tina Zhen performed to save ~4M of users’ funds spread across both the DAO and AMM pools.
  • According to a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a firm called FD Funds Management LLC is the sponsor of a fund, Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust, with Fidelity Service Company serving as administrator.
  • Under a federal order on March 19th, 2021, Coinsquare must hand over detailed information on its Canadian customers, their crypto trading activity, and PII to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
  • London based Blockchain.com has raised $300M with a $5.2B valuation led by DST Global, Lightspeed Venture Partners and VY Capital.
  • Crypto bank Avanti raised $37M from Series A investors as it prepares to take its digital banking operations online. The investors include Coinbase Ventures, Binance.US, Morgan Creek Digital, Slow Ventures, and the University of Wyoming Foundation.
  • CoinDesk reported that UK-listed Argo Blockchain has signed a memorandum with DMG Blockchain Solutions to launch a bitcoin mining pool completely powered by clean energy.
  • a16z dove into NFTs in their latest podcast, cutting through the noise of what’s hype and what’s real.
  • The Graph Foundation allocated over $5M to grants and ecosystem support.
  • As Cosmos entered into a new chapter with IBC, the leading firm behind the network, Tendermint, rolled out a $20M fund to support promising projects.
  • Liquity, a decentralized borrowing protocol that offers interest-free liquidity against ETH as collateral, announced their $6M Series A funding round. The round was led by Pantera Capital with follow on investments from Nima Capital, Alameda Research, Greenfield.one, IOSG, AngelDAO, and others.
  • Blockstream shared the launch of the Blockstream Mining Note, a security token that expands exposure to Bitcoin mining to more investors.
  • Crypto derivatives exchange Delta raised $5M in a private token sale. Sino Global Capital led the funding round with participation from Aave Ventures, Kyber Network, Spartan Group, gumi Cryptos Capital, QCP Soteria, and more.
  • Tether shared a document produced by Cayman Islands-based accounting firm Moore Cayman, displaying their holdings as of February 28th, 2021, showing at least $35.28B in total assets against $35.15M in total liabilities.
  • Gemini supported the Bitcoin ecosystem with a $25K sponsorship for Mempool.

 

Jake’s Cup of Coffee:

This week, Jake is staying local with ACE – La Bandera, a single-origin roast from Ritual Coffee in San Francisco, CA. This Costa Rica roast yields flavors of bold chocolate, caramel, toasted almonds, and hints of pineapple. Be sure to dial in your brewing process to get the pineapple flavors! Enjoy!

 

 

Crypto && Coffee 069 

Technology Recap:

Bitcoin:

  • Mempool, previously Mempool.Space, added a new feature called “the effective fee rate”. This new fee rate is calculated and displayed when a CPFP (child-pays-for-parent) is detected. In short, CPFP is a fee bumping technique where a user spends an output from a low fee rate unconfirmed transaction in a child transaction with a high fee rate in order to encourage miners to include both transactions in a block.
  • Anton, the Lightning developer behind BLW, is now focused on building a new implementation called Immortan. Immortan would be the first Lightning routing mobile wallet.
  • In the past week the Lightning Network has increased with 190 nodes, 1,129 channels, and >20 BTC. The network now holds a capacity of 1,161.6 BTC.
  • Olaoluwa Osuntokun (aka roasbeff) kicked off a series of PRs to implement BIP-8 and eventually Taproot for btcd.

Ethereum:

  • Ethereum Foundation announced a Request For Proposals (RFP) for general security and testing engagements related to the beacon chain and the upcoming merge of Ethereum to the beacon chain.
  • Two weeks ago there was a PR issued on Ethereum’s PM repo regarding Vitalik’s merge proposal to become the main focus after the London and Altair forks.
  • Bison Trails released their latest update on ETH2.0 and the discussions around the eth1<>eth2 merge.
  • The Goerli testnet successfully activated the Berlin upgrade on March 18th, 2021.
  • The Rinkeby testnet successfully activated the Berlin upgrade on March 24th, 2021.
  • Sigma Prime released their latest version, v1.2.1, of the ETH2.0 client Lighthouse. This release contains an optimization that significantly reduces the likelihood of locally-produced blocks being orphaned.
  • Ethereum Foundation released their list of Q4 funded projects and a full update from the Ethereum Support Program team.
  • Trail of Bits fuzzed the Ethereum Solidity compiler for an entire year. Check out the lessons they learned and five interesting bugs that were uncovered.

Other Chains:

  • 1inch announced integration of the Binance Chain Wallet into 1inch. With the Binance Chain Wallet, users can send and receive funds on Binance Chain, Binance Smart Chain, Ethereum, and provide cross-chain transfers.
  • Uniswap V3 is almost here. Uniswap has revealed the detailed overview of V3 with a mainnet launch scheduled for May 5th, 2021, and a scalable Optimism Layer-2 deployment shortly thereafter.
  • Mina launched their mainnet on March 23rd, 2021. Unlike other blockchains, Mina can interact privately with any website on the web, allowing developers to leverage real world data into computing and decision-making. Thanks to zk-SNARKs, the entire Mina blockchain is about 22kb.
  • Elastic finance aggregator Polkalastic will integrate Chainlink’s Price Feed oracles to securely track the performance of rebase tokens, algorithmic stablecoins, and other elastic assets.
  • Nubia, Nethermind’s layer-2 StarkNet, has been deployed to Ropsten testnet for their E2E tests. It is a simple smart contract that verifies Sharp facts built out of the Cairo language.
  • Aleo, the module and toolkit for building private, zero-knowledge applications and deploying them to a blockchain, released information on their core components for any private, programmable application for the Web3 ecosystem.
  • Immutable’s CTO delivered a full thread on their design decisions within Ethereum, their choices on scaling, and various options between layer-1 and layer-2.
  • Zapper announced that they are now multi-chain, with support for portfolio tracking on Polygon, support for Quickswap DEX on Polygon, support for Optimism, and portfolio tracking for Binance Smart Chain.
  • Terra, an algorithmically-governed, seigniorage-share-style stablecoin platform based on Tendermint, updated their oracle feeder costs to keep fees low, allowing oracle messages to be submitted only from the active validator set.
  • Aztek launched zk.money mid-month, enabling efficient, completely private transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. Dive deeper into private ZK-rollups and more in their latest post.
  • Novi Financial, the digital wallet behind Facebook’s Diem payment system, released SMTree, their Rust Merkle tree accumulator, to the public.
  • StarkWare announced that layer-2 minting is here. 600,000 NFTs were minted on layer-2 in a single STARK proof. Minting an NFT costs less than 10 gas, and with Immutable and Alpha on mainnet soon, the ecosystem will scale drastically with StarkEx.
  • Hop Protocol announced their plans for launch in April 2021. Hop allows users to quickly and easily transfer tokens directly between layer-2s, sidechains, and layer-1 Ethereum.
  • uForex, a decentralized foreign exchange market based on UMA protocol, is now live. uForex is offering synthetic Chinese Yuan and synthetic Euros.
  • Perpetual Protocol launched the REN/USDC trading pair.
  • SportMonks shared that they will be launching their own Chainlink node to bring their sports data directly to blockchain applications across leading networks.
  • TQ Tezos discussed creating NFTs on Tezos with Sandeep Sangli and Harsha Bakku, the core team behind Kalamint, a public marketplace for NFTs on Tezos.
  • The wallet registration stage on DeversiFi has been removed, allowing users to move to layer-2 in a single transaction.
  • Rari Capital launched Fuse! Fuse is a protocol that supports isolated interest rate markets, allowing pool creators to choose all parameters and allowing users to enter and exit positions as they wish in a trustless manner.
  • Grin++ nearly suffered an attack on March 18th, when the Grin Rust node included an invalid bulletproof in a block. Fortunately, Grin++ did not accept the block, so the incident was identified and avoided quickly. This attack could have inflated the supply drastically. In any case, make sure to upgrade your node to v5.0.4.
  • On March 19th, 2021 an executive vote was added to MakerDAO’s voting portal to increase the ETH-A Maximum Debt Ceiling from 2.5B DAI to 15B DAI as well as increase WBTC-A Maximum Debt Ceiling from 350M DAI to 750M.
  • Fei Labs pushed back their mainnet launch until March 31st, 2021, to allow further feedback and engage with the community.
  • Loopring listed four new tokens within Loopring L2, including four new AMM pools.
  • ICHI, the first stablecoin infrastructure built to power other communities, is partnering with 1inch to introduce a joint liquidity farming program.
  • Saddle Finance released a refreshed swap page along with a new pool architecture and stablecoin pool!
  • Yield activated YLD’s Utilities, including buy-back and burning. YLD is a burnable token with 100% of the fees charged on the platform being used to buy-back YLD from the market and burn it.
  • Jack Zampolin shared that while Sommelier’s team is currently focused on Ethereum, their bridge technology will work with Binance Smart Chain, Fantom, and pretty much any EVM compatible chain out there.
  • MakerDAO released a deep dive into blockchain bridges and their importance within DeFi.
  • DApp framework useDApp has been introduced, allowing for rapid DApp development with a focus on UX and developer experience.
  • TVL Snacks is now live on UMA. TVL Snacks provides an alternative that decouples the pump and dump craziness from otherwise respectable projects through synthetic derivative tokens based on a project’s actual use.
  • UniLend announced that Flash Loans and UFT staking are launching on mainnet on March 30th, 2021.
  • The second Monero Bulletproofs+ audit by JP Aumasson has been successfully completed. The full audit report is here.
  • Harmony launched the Binance Smart Chain bridge, allowing support for BNB and BEP-20 assets over on Harmony.
  • Comit Network announced the successful completion of their recent project bringing Liquid Network atomic swaps to the browser.

 

Mainstream Recap:

  • CNBC reported that Morgan Stanley is the first major U.S. bank to offer bitcoin to its wealth management clients. On March 17th, they notified their financial advisors that they are launching access to three funds that enable ownership of bitcoin.
  • Coinbase will pay $6.5M in a settlement with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) over allegations the exchange “self-traded” digital assets.
  • Jack Mallers hinted at the latest update to Strike, allowing users the ability to get a portion of their paychecks in Bitcoin.
  • BitMEX announced they are going to issue Bech32 addresses to all new BitMEX users and migrate current users to new addresses in various phases. This change will result in them slowly moving to full SegWit support.
  • Atlanta-based Bitcoin Depot is launching more than 100 new crypto ATMs across the U.S.
  • ConsenSys released the latest update on MetaMask Mobile, which will now allow users to seamlessly swap tokens from inside their mobile wallet.
  • Canadian startup MintGreen closed their seed financing round, led by CoinShares Ventures. MintGreen recovers waste heat from cryptocurrency mining and sells it via heat offtake agreements with industrial clients.
  • Gemini shared a security brief on how users can protect themselves from account takeovers on the Nifty Gateway platform.
  • Bitcoin security company Casa detailed their full Sovereign Recovery process.
  • Fred Ehrsam, co-founder of Paradigm, announced their investment in Zora through an NFT.
  • Travala announced that Monero (XMR) is now accepted on the platform through the Binance Pay payment system.
  • OpenSea, a marketplace for NFTs, shared their $23M fundraise, with an incredible set of partners including Andreessen Horowitz, Naval Ravikant, Mark Cuban, Tim Ferris, Belinda Johnson, Ben Silbermann, Alexis Ohanian, Balaji Srinivasan, Standard Crypto, Linda Xie, Avichal Garg, and Flamingo DAO.
  • Bounce Finance announced that it has raised a new funding round. Investors include Pantera, Coinbase Ventures, Hashed, Fundamental Labs, DHVC, Blockchain Capital, and SNZ capital. The raised funds will be used to build an NFT marketplace and ecommerce platform.
  • Nick Grossman shared a post entitled Bitcoin as Battery, which dives into Bitcoin’s relationship to energy consumption.
  • Gemini announced support for new DeFi, gaming, NFT, and infrastructure tokens including Bancor (BNT), 1inch (1INCH), Loopring (LRC), The Sandbox (SAND), Skale (SKL), The Graph (GRT), and Enjin (ENJ). Trading is now available for all seven tokens.
  • Ethereum-based interoperability project Connext has raised $2.2M in seed funding, led by Polychain Capital.

 

Jakes’s Cup of Coffee:

This week, Jake is sipping a cup of Essence from Alma Coffee in Canton, GA. This espresso roast is a perfect balance of sweetness, acidity, and slight bitterness. Even if you don’t have an espresso machine, this roast is awesome as a drip or French press. Enjoy!

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