South Korean Bithumb Exchange to Set Foot in the NFT Marketplace 

Amid the growing global interest around Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) one of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges Bithumb is planning to launch an NFT marketplace in order to stay competitive in the space and ‘promote blockchain-based digital content.’

NFT Craze Hits South Korea

As per data from market tracker DappRadar sales of NFTs crossed $25 billion in 2021 as the digital art asset industry exploded in popularity.

While many were early adopters of the NFT wave including South Korean exchanges like Korbit and Upbit, others like Bithumb seem to be keen on making strides in the same direction. 

In a January 13 interview, Bithumb CEO Heo Baek-young stated that the exchange was in process of developing an NFT exchange that would help the company ‘stay competitive’ with other domestic Korean exchanges. He further added: 

“An NFT marketplace will be important in promoting blockchain-based content, which will become a driving force in the future.”

In addition to that, many South Korean news outlets have reported that the upcoming Bithumb NFT marketplace could be developed in collaboration with tech giant LG CNS. On the contrary, Bithumb officials have not confirmed any such collaborations.

“It is true that we have been preparing for an NFT exchange. But, it is impossible to confirm whether LG CNS is single or is in discussion with multiple companies,” officials were reported as saying. 

How Does the NFT Landscape Look?

As per data from CoinGecko, Bithumb stood second in terms of 24-hour trade volumes while Upbit took the top spot at press time. Nonetheless, Bithumb had the highest trust score (liquidity, overall trading volume, order book depth, and spread) of 8 while Upbit and Korbit followed with a score of 7.

Upbit and Korbit were early to the NFT party and launched their own NFT marketplaces in November and June 2021 respectively. Upbit’s NFT exchange garnered decent attention after securing exclusive NFT content from several K-pop groups including BTS.

That said, while it may seem like Bithumb is late to the party the constantly growing NFT space would still open plenty of doors in terms of general and business growth for the exchange in the future.

MATIC Burn Begins as EIP-1559 Goes Live on Polygon Mainnet

The much anticipated EIP-1559 upgrade that introduces a partial network fee burning mechanism went live on the layer-two scaling network Polygon on January 18. 

The Ethereum Improvement Proposal 1559, more famously known as the London hardfork, went live on the Ethereum mainnet in August 2021 and has proved to be a success in terms of gas price predictability and network fee burning. On Polygon too, after a successful upgrade on the Mumbai testnet, EIP-1559 went live at block 23850000, according to a blog post by the Polygon network. 

Here’s What Changes

Broadly, the EIP-1559 upgrade aims to introduce the fee-burning mechanism to Polygon resulting in the destruction of MATIC tokens making the token supply deflationary once fee burning commences.

It also brings in better cost estimations by removing the first-price auction method for calculating network fees but does not reduce gas prices.

Similar to the ETH burning mechanism, the supply of MATIC is likely to become deflationary with 0.27% of the total supply being burnt every year according to estimations.

Unlike Ethereum, for MATIC since there is a fixed supply of 10 billion tokens with 6.8 billion currently in circulation, the token’s deflationary nature in the future could further aid supply shock narratives fueling a macro bullish narrative for the 13th ranked coin by market cap. 

Positively affecting token HODLers, validators, developers, and DApp users the upgrade aims to benefit the cohorts by making gas prices more predictable and the network more efficient. 

“Deflationary pressure will benefit both validators and delegators because the base fee increases automatically if the block is full, the changes will result in fewer spam transactions and lead to less network congestion,” the team added. 

Price Implications on MATIC 

Amid positive commentary around the Polygon network as the upgrade launched, MATIC’s price took an opposite trajectory. MATIC, at press time, traded at $2.19 noting a 7.77% fall in price over the last 24-hours. 

While Ethereum on the day of the EIP-1559 launch saw close to 13% appreciation in price, MATIC’s price reacted negatively to upgrade. Nonetheless, the introduction of token burning for MATIC is a long-term bullish trend that could fuel a better supply-demand narrative for the coin aiding price growth in the long term. 

For now, MATIC’s price seemed to be on a downtrend as trade volumes maintained low levels despite the positive social sentiment surrounding the update. 

UK Sees Highest Global Adoption Ranking for ETH, BTC Still Remains on Top

The last quarter of 2021 was a dramatically volatile time for the cryptocurrency market and saw the larger market’s sentiment swing from one extreme to another.

Amid the many sell-offs and overheated market spells, British cryptocurrency users were seen taking measured steps. 

A recent survey highlighted that while globally, crypto ownership jumped from 11.2% in October to 15.5% in December last year, some countries saw stunted growth in these terms.

The United Kingdom was among the few countries with the lowest growth rates in crypto ownership between the two surveys, with ownership rising merely by 1% in that time period from 5.2% to 6.1%. 

The Numbers are Perplexing 

The ongoing survey of Internet users in 27 countries found out that the crypto ownership rate in the United Kingdom is way lower than the global average of 15.5%.

In November 2021, it was noted that the United Kingdom ranked 23rd out of 23 countries in regard to positivity (positive sentiment) around cryptocurrencies, with merely 17% of respondents claiming they think cryptocurrency is a good investment.

Seemingly, a larger bearish sentiment swept over British crypto users which fell in line with the larger market’s bearish trajectory and consolidation for the most part of November and December 2021.

Bitcoin’s price after recording the all-time high of $69,000 on November 10, last year, made lower lows and lower highs as the crypto sentiment turned bearish from time to time. 

In hindsight, it is also worth noting that the total crypto market cap after reaching $3 trillion in November lost close to 30% value by the end of last year painting a bearish picture for the larger market.

Thus, UK’s declining crypto enthusiasm seemed to pretty much follow the larger market trend. However, there were some interesting findings regarding cryptocurrency adoption in the UK that instilled hope for Ethereum’s larger narrative.  

Ethereum Leading the Way

While everything else in terms of interest and adoption took a backseat, confidence in Ethereum seemed to be reignited in UK’s crypto crowds. ETH ranked as the UK’s second choice for crypto with 32.9% of crypto owners holding Ethereum, which is above the global average of 24.4% and places the UK third for ETH ownership.

While ETH statistics glimmered, Bitcoin still remained king and came out as the most popular cryptocurrency with 42.8% of crypto owners owning BTC. Ripple came in third with 17.4% owning XRP, while Solana’s ownership climbed to 15% and Dogecoin made a mere 1% gain.

Metaverse Token Avaxtars Built on Avalanche Rises over 180% in 24-hours

Metaverse tokens continue to take the market by surprise as altcoins in that category present massive upticks despite the larger crypto market’s consolidation.

Avaxtars, a metaverse coin built on the Avalanche blockchain was the highest price gainer among Metaverse tokens on January 17 noting 182.99% price gains in 24-hours. 

What is Avaxtars?

Avaxtars is a browser-based idle sci-fi game built on Avalanche’s C-Chain making it the first browser-based Play to Earn (P2E) idle game on the platform. Launched on 31 March 2021 Avaxtars has a roadmap with progressive development with AVXT as the native currency of the Metaverse game. 

The game is built on NFTs with each in-game component tokenized on the Avalanche blockchain. Avaxtar is digitally generated and recorded on the Avalanche mainnet as a unique ERC-721 NFT. 

Additionally, the game also features the Personal Avaxtar Generation Machine (PAGM) which aims to analyze the Digital Genetic Code (DGC) of Gen1 Avaxtars and create new Gen2 Avaxtars. The aforementioned process is called Avaxtar Farming and enables users to earn new Avaxtars and thereby earn new AVXT tokens.

Apart from AVXT, the game also features two other tokens- DGC and ENXT. The platform’s tokenomics allow AVXT to be earned by in-game mechanics, DGC to be generated by PAGM processes, and ENXT earned by providing liquidity to AVXT-AVAX pools on decentralized exchanges.

So, while some of the top Metaverse tokens like Axie Infinity and MANA noted minor gains of 2.96% and 1.75% respectively, what aided AVXT’s triple-digit price rise?

What Fueled the 180% Gains?

Avaxtars Token’s trade volumes as per data from Coin Market Cap jumped by 1582.20% over the last 24-hours as its price trajectory noted a vertical uptick. That said, the coin’s market cap also picked up and stood at $2,944,002 presenting 209.98% rise in the last day. 

The recent price rally came after Avaxtars’ announcement of a partnership with Kaira Network, the first social network on Avalanche. The partnership will let users connect their Avaxtar NFTs to the Kaira Network platform, create content, and earn Kaira tokens while socializing. 

While Avaxtars’ recent price hike was triggered by the partnership news the gaming platform’s growing ecosystem has also acted as a catalyst for price growth. Riding on a wave of high positive social sentiment and retail euphoria the coin traded at $18.21 at the time of writing.

FTM Rallies to New ATH as Fantom’s DeFi Ecosystem Blooms

Fantom’s price has been on an uptrend for the last week as FTM rallied from the price range of $2.22 on January 10 to a make a new ATH of $3.4 on January 17. FTM’s price surged by over 50% in less than a week, reclaiming an all-time high price amid the latest developments and other milestones. 

DeFi Ecosystem Blooms

Fantom’s growth in the DeFi space has aided the growth in the altcoin’s spot price and was indicative of the rising institutional interest in the ecosystem. Notably, the total value locked in the chain rose from $5 billion to $7.68 billion at the time of writing as per data

That said, the cryptocurrency’s hourly social volume increased by 250.0% around the $3.22 price level. Fantom’s surge comes alongside the larger market’s consolidation with Bitcoin and Ethereum still trading near their lower support levels. 

Fantom is a programmable blockchain using an asynchronous byzantine fault-tolerant Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism called Lachesis.

The blockchain is integrated with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and the Web3JS stack and allows users to write, compile, and deploy smart contracts the same way it’s done on the Ethereum network. 

The 26th ranked coin as per market cap started performing well from December 22 and gained close to 130% price but soon fell in tandem with BTC and larger market in the second week of January.

Fantom’s bullish price action over the last week can also be credited to the increased activity on the blockchain as highlighted by the network in a Twitter DeFi. As seen below, Daily Active Wallets were on a rise. 

Further, FTM spent around 33 hours as the No. 1 LunarCrush AltRank this week as the altcoin was leading in terms of social and market activity.

More Gains Ahead?

After making a new ATH FTM’s price trajectory seemed to have flattened as the altcoin traded at $3.18 noting a 2.09% daily price fall at the time of writing. Data from Sanbase presented that a crucial signal to watch closely for FTM would be its funding rate on exchanges like Binance.

When going negative, the same could indicate many shorts meaning that prices have tended to rocket upward.

Source: Santiment Twitter
Source: Santiment Twitter

While the growth in DeFi has been key to the rise in price other developments boosting network activity have also played a role in FTM’s price rally. For now, however, with price seeming to slow down and the FTM market looking overheated a short-term pullback wouldn’t come as a surprise.