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Blockchain This Week – Bitcoin Shoots Past 20K, Coinbase IPO

Bitcoin Price Smashes the $20,000 Barrier and Is Cruising at $23K

As you would have guessed, the prime feature in today’s newsletter is the remarkable price rise of Bitcoin. On Dec 16, the world’s premier cryptocurrency performed an unprecedented feat when it drove past the US $20,000 price mark for the first time in history. It comes just two weeks after the currency shot past its previous all-time high. Within a few hours, the price surged past the 21K and 22K and quickly reached the US $23K mark. At the time of writing, one Bitcoin was equivalent to $23,098.10. Many experts predict that unlike the last, this time around, the Bitcoin price would continue its rally chiefly due to increased demand among the institutional investors. As seen in the past several months, mainstream financial institutions and banks are actively investing in Bitcoin and altcoins. The growing interest has also led the Bitcoin options to hit a historical new high of $1 billion on Dec 16. Additionally, the CME Bitcoin futures market’s open interest is at $1.07 billion. Digital Asset Management company Grayscale’s AUM surpassed US $13 billion.

Ethereum 2.0 Now Has $1 Billion Worth of Ether Locked Away

Talking about highs, as of this week, the total volume of Ether deposited in the Ethereum 2.0 contract has reached 1.5 million Ether, an increase of over 3,500 percent in just over a month. At today’s price of $653.69 for 1 Eth, the value of Ether staked is close to US $1 billion. According to Dune Analytics, a total of  35,300 transactions to date have contributed to the surge in Ether volume.

Tether’s Market Cap Crosses $20 Billion

One of the largest stablecoin by market cap, Tether (USDT), increased its market value significantly this week. Its total market cap surpassed US $20 billion for the first time. Tether’s market cap has seen remarkable gains throughout the last quarter after it crossed the $10 billion mark three months ago.

Coinbase’s Imminent IPO

The San Francisco based cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, is looking to go mainstream with an initial public offering. Coinbase announced this week that the firm had filed for its public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Securities and Exchange Commission will make the filing public after completing the review process.

Crypto Bank Tokenizes Its Shares, in Preparation for Public Offering

The Switzerland-based digital assets firm, Sygnum, has tokenized its shares on the Ethereum Blockchain. The crypto bank is leveraging its tokenization platform called Desygnate. This move is assumed to be in preparation for its upcoming public sale. The platform is reportedly compatible with a Swiss DLT law coming into force from Feb 2021. Additionally, it issues digital versions of the shares and their associated legal rights and obligations on Blockchain.

Cardano Hard Fork and Solidity Support

Earlier this week, the Cardano Blockchain network initiated a hard fork to add the mechanism that enables token locking. Unlike other hard forks, this one did not cause any disruption to the normal operations of the network. This feat was possible due to a feature called ‘hard fork combinator. It automatically preserves the block history and seamlessly combines the protocols with any interruptions. The transition to the new protocol was completed on Dec 16.

Additionally, Cardano recently announced that its developers would soon support smart contracts written in the commonly used Solidity language on Cardano Blockchain. They plan to use their K Ethereum Virtual Machine or KEVM for supporting Solidity.

WEF Making Headway With Emissions Tracking Blockchain

According to the World Economic Forum’s announcement early this week, the international NGO has completed the first stage of the Blockchain-powered pilot that tracks carbon emissions. The Mining and Metals Blockchain Initiative (MMBI) is a proof of concept that traces the greenhouse gas emissions along the mining value chain, from the mine to the final product, using Blockchain. WEF is spearheading this initiative along with seven mining firms.

WordPress Adds an Ethereum Ad Plugin

WordPress has added a new plugin that allows the publishers to receive ad payments into their Ether (Eth) wallets. The widget, called EthereumAds, will enable those who publish their content on WordPress to auction the ad space using smart contracts. After the user inserts the plugin, the advertisement space is auctioned every two weeks using smart contracts, and the highest bidder is awarded the ad space.

Founder of a DeFi Protocol Gets Hacked

The DeFi firm Nexus Mutual revealed this week that an unknown attacker stole close to US $8 million from the personal wallet of its CEO, Hugh Karp. The founder reportedly has lost 370,000 NXM in Monday’s hack. The hacker purportedly installed a malicious version of MetaMask wallet and tricked Karp into signing a transaction that directed all his tokens into an address owned by the attacker.

Yet Another Flash Loan Attack

The latest in the series of flash loan attacks on the DeFi protocols is Warp Finance, a DeFi platform that started operating in Nov this year. As per reports, the attackers made away with an amount close to US $8 million. 

Germany Legalizes Digital Securities

Chancellor Merkel’s cabinet passed a new law this week that introduces all-electronic securities. The legislation is a part of the finance ministry’s broader blockchain strategy. It will end the need to possess a paper certificate for the sale of a security.

Whiskey on Blockchain

The University of Glasgow’s Scottish Universities Environment Research Center or SUERC is partnering with the Blockchain firm Everledger to tackle counterfeit whiskey. According to SUERC, 40 percent of the currently circulating single malt Scotch whiskies are fake. To address this problem, SUERC will leverage Everledger’s NFC tags. These tags will be used to access the digital certificate that asserts the age and provenance of the whiskey. These certificates are held on the Blockchain.

Xbox Royalties on Blockchain

This week, Microsoft and EY announced the expansion of their enterprise Blockchain solution to manage royalties and content rights for video games. Now, the partners of Microsoft’s Xbox gaming and other creators will have better visibility into the royalties they have earned. Due to Blockchain, the content owners will now wait for a few hours for their royalties instead of an earlier 45 days.

Finally, Can a Costly Mistake Be Rectified by a Noble Deed?

This week, Dawid, a crypto enthusiast, accidentally sent 4,005 Chainlink (LINK) tokens to the address of the DeFi game Aavegotchi. These tokens are worth close to US $50,000. Sadly for the user, the smart contract to which the crypto was sent does not support them, and hence are lost forever. However, in the spirit of the season, Aavegotchi decided to help out the user. They have set up a special ‘SantaGotchi’ wallet for other crypto patrons to donate. On Christmas, Aavegotchi will transfer the money deposited in the wallet to Dawid. As per reports, crypto users had given close to $1,170 in Ether so far.

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