Journeys in Blockchain: Robert Wiecko of DASH Core Group

Journeys in Blockchain: Robert Wiecko of DASH Core Group

Robert Wiecko is getting back into playing electric guitar. Armed with his brand new Fender Stratocaster, the COO of DASH Core Group is reliving his youth as a high school student living in Poland. “It’s an amazing feeling to restart something you loved so much and forgot for some reason.” Playing guitar gives him a sense of freedom and peace, he explains. Learning to play again is not just entertaining, but acts as a sort of meditation. Focusing on the skill, he frees his mind from the usual demands and stresses of the day. The notion of freedom is what drew him into the blockchain space in 2011. Working in software development in the financial sector for much of his career, Wiecko recognized serious flaws in the system. “I realized there’s something wrong with the financial system in general. Bitcoin appeared to me as a fantastic thing. Back in 2011, it was for geeks, and I was a total geek.” Despite this initial fascination with blockchain technology, Wiecko felt he was not up to the task of exploring it initially, due to a multi-year bout with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel syndrome. “It’s a very nasty disease, incurable for western medicine. My life was almost ruined by the disease.” But Wiecko was open to exploring alternative approaches to rid himself of the illness. He learned that western doctors only offered medicines to mitigate symptoms, but not to cure the disease. In Poland, alternative medicines were frowned upon and perceived as illegitimate. “I said, ‘Well I disagree with that, I’m not going to be sick until the end of my life and consume chemical substances to maintain the status quo.’”  He did his own research — an oft-repeated adage in the crypto realm — and discovered a range of methods from Chinese and Tibetan medicine that, when combined with a disciplined diet and meditation, eradicated the disease. After three years of this change in mindset and healthier living, he returned to his doctor who found that Wiecko had successfully cured the illness. “The doctors were shocked,” he explains. Tests found no remaining evidence of the disease.  “Mainly it was the mindset and lifestyle changes that helped me to recover. I’m happy. I’m one of many cured…

4 Myths About CBDCs Debunked

4 Myths About CBDCs Debunked

Marcelo M. Prates is a lawyer at the Central Bank of Brazil and holds a doctorate from Duke University School of Law. The views and opinions expressed here are his. Although the terminology of central-bank digital currencies (CBDCs) is becoming increasingly confusing, when we talk about CBDCs we’re talking about a type of money with at least three features: Unlike bank deposits or e-money stored in prepaid cards, it’s a liability of the issuing central bank, not of an intermediary between the central bank and the money user.Unlike reserve balances held by banks at the central bank, it’s available to any person or business, not just to selected counterparties. Unlike cash, it only exists in electronic form, never as a physical token.The CBDC is, thus, a conceptual type of money that hasn’t yet been created, except for some limited prototypes. But myths surrounding CBDCs are already piling up. The Ecuadorian mythNo, Ecuador wasn’t the first country to issue a CBDC. Ecuador did have a bad experience with a so-called sovereign digital currency, the “Sistema de dinero electrónico,” or electronic money system, launched in December 2014. The official promise was that regular people could open digital accounts at Banco Central del Ecuador (BCE) and, with the help of a cell phone, spend or transfer money deposited in these accounts. But “money,” in this case, was U.S. dollars, as Ecuador had dollarized its economy in early 2000. So “dinero electrónico” has never been a true sovereign currency digitally issued by the Ecuadorian central bank. “Dinero electrónico” was instead an attempt to create digital dollars. The BCE exchanged U.S. dollar bills and coins deposited by the public for a digital representation denominated in dollars that could allegedly be used by the depositor, with no loss of value, to make payments and transfer funds electronically. See also: Ajit Tripathi – 4 Reasons Central Banks Should Launch Retail Digital Currencies The main problem with this monetary scheme was allowing, at least in theory, the BCE to circumvent the dollarization, namely by ditching the parity between the amount available in the digital accounts and the amount of US dollars kept deposited. This concern contributed to public distrust and, ultimately, to the failure of the experiment. Street protests against “dinero electrónico” were…

Crypto VC Firm Assesses the ‘State of Blockchain Governance’

Crypto VC Firm Assesses the ‘State of Blockchain Governance’

Everyone in crypto has been talking about decentralized finance (DeFi) since bankless lending started to boom in June. But, looked at another way, it’s really a governance boom. Into this environment has stepped Greenfield One, an early-stage venture capital firm that just published a comprehensive new resource on the topic of blockchain governance. Take, for example, COMP. DeFi has been hot ever since Compound started distributing its COMP governance token on June 15. COMP didn’t introduce new features to the product, it just gave users a means to voice how the $777 million lending protocol should evolve.  The report from the Berlin-based Greenfield One looks at this and every notable spin on blockchain governance leading up to the birth of yield farming following COMP’s debut. “The [Compound] community uses a variant of liquid democracy,” the report states. But despite crypto founders’ best intentions, the Greenfield One team found blockchain governance schemes tend to get put together fast and then treated with reverence. At times that faith is misplaced.  “I’m not saying that teams aren’t taking governance seriously, but it always feels like something that they build on the side,” Jascha Samadi, a Greenfield One partner, told CoinDesk in a phone call. The venture firm often starts working with portfolio companies well before mainnet launch, Samadi said, coaxing them to consider various governance models as early as possible.  Therefore, Greenfield One thought it would be helpful to have an overview of what different groups have tried so far. Since such a guide didn’t already exist, the group decided to make one. “This is such an important topic that we really just need to raise awareness,” Samadi said. The report covers Bitcoin, Ethereum, Decred, Tezos, Cosmos, Polkadot, several DAO frameworks, MakerDAO, Nexus Mutual and Compound. It also deals with describing the roles of stakeholders seen across blockchains such as miners, validators, users, full-node operators and companies. It deals with strategies for off-chain governance as well as the various questions that can be dealt with on-chain. Also read: How a DeFi Trader Made an 89% Profit in Minutes Slinging Stablecoins Larger storyThe cryptocurrency industry has a tendency to function as if the world began on Halloween 2008, when Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin white paper, but Greenfield One…

Bitcoin Recovers From $11.3K Despite Losses in European Stocks

Bitcoin Recovers From $11.3K Despite Losses in European Stocks

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Institutional FOMO? CME Bitcoin Futures Open Interest Soars to $841M

Institutional FOMO? CME Bitcoin Futures Open Interest Soars to $841M

Today the open interest on Chicago Mercantile Exchange Bitcoin (BTC) futures reached a new all-time high at $841 million. Although this can’t be deemed bullish on a standalone basis, it does signal that professional investors’ interest in Bitcoin continues to grow at an immense rate. Further proof of this comes as MicroStrategy, a Nasdaq-listed company worth more than $1.2 billion, announced the acquisition of 21,000 Bitcoin for $250M. This shows that regardless of what critics have said about cryptocurrencies, savvy investors and entrepreneurs have recently built sizable positions in Bitcoin and some altcoins.CME Bitcoin futures open interest in USD terms. Source: SkewFutures premium provides more useful dataThe best way to gauge inventors sentiment on futures contracts is by measuring their premium versus Bitcoin’s market price at spot exchanges. Typically, the indicator should display a 0.5% to 1% premium for 1-month contracts in CME futures. By postponing the financial settlement date, it is only natural that sellers are required to put up more money. On the other hand, an excessive premium will create an arbitrage opportunity, as one can sell the futures contract while simultaneously buying the same amount on spot markets. This is a neutral market strategy, commonly known as ‘cash and carry.’CME Bitcoin futures basis, or premium. Source: TradingViewThe above chart shows how the basis has consistently held a favorable terrain since mid-March, recently sustaining levels above the 1% premium for ten consecutive days. A positive basis indicates contango, meaning sellers are demanding more money to postpone settlement. This situation, known as contango, is the primary indicator of a healthy and bullish derivatives market. This is especially true when open interest increases, as new positions are being created under these ideal circumstances. CME Bitcoin options markets are growingCME Bitcoin options markets are relatively new, having just launched in January 2020. It certainly looks modest compared to the leading exchange Deribit, although CME has reached an impressive $440 million open interest in late-June.Bitcoin options open interest. Source: SkewThe current $171 million CME options open interest carries a trend that has been consistent since its launch, as they are heavily concentrated on call options.This means investors are able to capitalize on the right to acquire CME Bitcoin futures at a fixed price, also known as a strike.CME options contracts expire on the last Friday…

YAM Token Holders ‘Burnt the Hardest’ After Price Plunges to Zero

YAM Token Holders ‘Burnt the Hardest’ After Price Plunges to Zero

Yam Finance, an experiential Decentralized Finance (DeFi) protocol, saw its market cap crash down to zero within minutes on Aug. 13. With it, major DeFi tokens, including Compound, Yearn Finance, and Balancer, plunged as well.YAM/USD price performance. Source: CoinmarketcapCompound, the second biggest DeFi protocol in the global market, saw its market cap drop by nearly $100 million. Yearn and Balancer, which saw strong momentum in recent weeks, dropped by 7% to 13%.The price chart of Compound. Source: TradingView.comThe Yam protocol gained steam in the DeFi space as the second purely decentralized DeFi project after Yearn Finance. It allowed Yam holders to govern the protocol, deploying a decentralized governance model.But on Aug. 13, Yam co-founder Brock Elmore announced the protocol had a bug. The bug within the rebase supply feature of Yam crippled the government system of the protocol. In an official medium post, Yam developers wrote:“Shortly after 7am UTC on Thurs August 13th, we submitted a governance proposal and cast a vote with what we originally believed were sufficient votes to be able to enact it. Shortly thereafter, with help from security experts, we concluded that the rebaser bug would interact with the governance module and prevent this proposal from succeeding.”Elmore emphasized in a later tweet that is thankful for the “insane” support from the community. He said:“i’m sorry everyone. i’ve failed. thank you for the insane support today. i’m sick with grief”Why did Yam fall, and why did major DeFi tokens drop in tandem?Due to its decentralized structure, when Yam first launched, it allowed users to stake various cryptocurrencies to earn Yam. The staking model enabled the Yam protocol to distribute Yam tokens in a transparent way.The distribution model was unique and popular, garnering attention from industry executives, such as BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes. Within 24 hours, nearly $500 million worth of capital was locked in the Yam protocol.Initially, Yam opened staking pools for Compound, Aave’s LEND, Chainlink’s LINK, Wrapped ETH (WETH), YFI, Synthetix (SNX), Maker (MKR), and Uniswap V2 LP tokens. Butt most of the tokens that were used in Yam staking pools crashed after the bug.The majority of DeFi tokens corrected after Yam officially confirmed the rebase bug in the protocol. It caused the DeFi index perpetual swap contract on FTX to sharply…

Wall Street Starts ‘Hodling’ Bitcoin as 40% of BTC Unmoved in 2 Years

Wall Street Starts ‘Hodling’ Bitcoin as 40% of BTC Unmoved in 2 Years

Institutions are buying huge amounts of Bitcoin (BTC) and hodling, not selling it, data shows as the network mimics early 2016.Data from various sources uploaded to social media this week show that over 40% of the Bitcoin supply has now not left its wallet in two years.Institutional BTC demand far outweighs supplyAt the same time, institutional-grade sources are purchasing huge amounts of BTC, in what looks increasingly like preparations for a long-term investment strategy.“In the last two weeks… – Grayscale added 14,422 BTC to $GBTC. – Microstrategy bought 21,454 BTC. – Bitcoin miners mined 12,594 BTC,” analyst Kevin Rooke summarized.Institutions’ current and prospective love of Bitcoin hit the headlines this week thanks to MicroStrategy, which made the largest cryptocurrency its new treasury reserve asset. The 21,454 BTC buy-in came at a cost of $250 million. Grayscale, meanwhile, has returned to Bitcoin purchases after a temporary moratorium. The company already owns a huge number of coins with Cointelegraph reporting that it is on track to hold 3.4% of the total supply by 2021 as its AUM recently surpassed $5 billion.Throughout the past weeks, miners have contributed fewer coins in supply compared even to demand from these two institutional players. Since the release of “new” BTC per block is fixed — and went down 50% at the halving in May — price rises were all but guaranteed.Fixed supply, changing of which requires miner consensus, which would likely make all network participants poorer, is a key feature of Bitcoin which has allowed it to preserve its status as digitally scarce hard money.Bitcoin buying from Grayscale and MicroStrategy Vs. supply. Source: Kevin Rooke/ Twitter“No one wants to take profits”Further figures reinforce the idea that although BTC/USD has hit its highest levels in over a year, investors are in no mood to sell. Instead, a long-term investment strategy seems to already be in play, with almost half the available supply staying stationary for at least two years.“The last time this much supply had built up and was locked in Bitcoin was January 2016,” Charles Edwards of digital asset manager Capriole commented, adding:“Despite the recent price rises, no one wants to take profits. Demand is increasing and supply is reducing.”Bitcoin hodl wave chart showing stationary supply. Source: Charles Edwards/ GlassnodeAt that time, almost…

Boom! Kraken Predicts Imminent Bitcoin Price Rally of Up to 200%

Boom! Kraken Predicts Imminent Bitcoin Price Rally of Up to 200%

Major United States-based crypto exchange Kraken has released a report predicting that Bitcoin (BTC) will rally by between 50% and 200% in the coming months.The report notes that Bitcoin posted a 21-month low for volatility on July 24 of just 23%, and stated that BTC’s 12 historic volatility lows (of between 15% and 30%) have typically been followed by a rally of 140% on average.With August usually the third-most volatile month for BTC price fluctuations, Kraken is predicting that upward momentum produced by Bitcoin at the end of July will continue for several months to come.Late-July Bitcoin rally defies historyKraken emphasized that Bitcoin’s recent rally resulted in the second-strongest July for BTC price performance since 2011, noting that July was usually the third-weakest calendar month for Bitcoin.Bitcoin’s 14.5% jump between July 27 to July 31 drove the month’s overall performance to a 24% gain, positioning the market for continued momentum, according to Kraken.Prior to the move, July produced what the report describes as a “suppressed pocket” of weak volatility. Ten of the 12 past instances of Bitcoin entering a suppressed pocket have been followed by gains exceeding 196%.Kraken estimates that 44% of July’s total trade volume transpired during the final seven days of the month.BTC correlates with goldThe report also notes that Bitcoin’s rolling 30-day correlation with gold jumped to a one-year high of 0.93 on July 31.The spike comes after the monthly correlation fell to a 10-month low of -0.66 on July 2, contradicting predictions that gold and Bitcoin would emerge as popular “safe-haven” assets and move in-step throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.

Global P2P Bitcoin Trading Volume at Highest Point Since Jan. 2018

Global P2P Bitcoin Trading Volume at Highest Point Since Jan. 2018

Combined global peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin trading volumes have surged to their highest levels since January 2018, with nearly $95 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC) changing hands on Localbitcoins and Paxful in the first week of August.The spike comes as many Latin American markets have seen trade activity rally into new highs over recent weeks, with the Bitcoin P2P markets in Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, Honduras, Paraguay, Uruguay and The Bahamas all posting record highs since the start of July.Venezuelan trade still represents the lion’s share of Latin America’s nearly $13 billion in weekly P2P trade, posting more than $5 million in volume for two consecutive weeks. Colombia is the second-strongest Latin market with more than $3 million, followed by Argentina and Peru with roughly $1 million a week each.An extra $1 million in weekly trade would see Latin America post new all-time highs for regional P2P trade.African P2P market surgingAfrican peer-to-peer trade has also continued to rally, with the Sub-Saharan region posting new volume records for seven of the past 10 weeks.While Nigeria still represents 50% of the region’s roughly $18 million weekly volume, the markets of South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, Zambia, and Sudan have posted new records over the past fortnight.Kenya is Africa’s second-strongest market with $3.6 million in weekly trade, followed by South Africa and Ghana with roughly $2 million each. Indian P2P trade has also posted record highs for four of the past five weeks, recently pushing above $4 million for the first time.