Farmville Creator Zynga To Introduce a “Dedicated” NFT Game in 2022

Blockchain and NFT based games have been noticing an increase in attention and user base ever since Axie Infinity’s success. Following in the footsteps mainstream media companies are aiming to develop similar games which can establish them in the blockchain industry as well.

An “amaZYNGA” Idea

Discussing their plans with Axios, the studio shared details about the future of blockchain gaming for Zynga. The company’s blockchain chief Matt Wolf said: 

“Things are really frothy right now. So we’re looking at the cycle and we’re figuring out where we want to jump in, but we definitely have feelers out.”

The discussions began taking shape recently as Zynga is planning on releasing a ground-up, dedicated NFT game this year. Last year’s news surrounding Farmville and Words with Friends, two of Zynga’s most successful games getting NFTs was picking up the heat.

But Matt made it clear that the studio does not plan on mixing incorporating NFTs with those two games as it could potentially confuse players.

Instead, they aim on developing a new blockchain team whose sole focus would be on blockchain and NFT games. Zynga is looking to expand this team from the current 15 members to up to 100 before the beginning of 2023.

In line with the same, last week the studio posted a job position for a Lead Game Systems and Economy Designer – NFT.

Creating economic models, exploring and providing guidance around decentralized governance as well as conceptualizing, designing, and preparing documentation for new features and content were among the main responsibilities of the position.

Going forward the studio intends on tapping the blockchain and NFT games familiar player base who are simply looking to make the most use of the NFT features. Adding to the same, Wolf stated:

“When they enter into one of these products, they come at it from an investor or, a whale, point of view and are interested in specific elements including yield. We don’t want to bring them something that they didn’t ask for, and we don’t want to assume that they want a super, super deep gameplay experience.”

Not the First One Though

Last year,  not only planned but also incorporated NFTs into one of their major games Ghost Recon Breakpoint by adding three NFTs into the game which could be resold through the platform “Quartz”.

Although the community’s response was not similar to what they were expecting, they did not bow out of experimenting with NFTs yet.

Besides gaming, NFTs themselves are already becoming a mainstream interest with celebrities and companies using it as a form of marketing and promotion.

Dune Analytics Raises $70M to Make Blockchain Data More Accessible

The popular crypto and blockchain analytics firm made the announcement on Feb. 2, stating that it had raised $69,420,000 in a Series B round led by Coatue.

The company declared that it has “reached unicorn status at only 16 employees,” and will use the funding to build tools and educational resources to interpret the data it provides.

Technology-focused investment management firm Coatue spearheaded the effort which follows an $8 million funding round for the firm in August.

Demand For Data

Dune Analytics offers free blockchain data and allows users to create specific data sets and charts for various on-chain metrics. It stated that while there is a lot of information available, it is often obscured unless analysts can interpret it and convert it into more easily comprehendible material.

“With this financing we’re doubling down on our mission to make crypto data accessible and are committed to bringing a million Dune Wizards to Web3.”

Dune plans to “invest heavily in educational resources” so that anyone can learn to analyze blockchain data even if they do not have a technical background.

It will also develop a toolkit so that those creating data sets, who Dune calls “Wizards”, will get rewarded accordingly. The company added that “we’re convinced that many Dune Wizards will earn more than Wall Street analysts have done previously.”

Dune also plans to revamp and upgrade its query engine speeding up execution time and adding more blockchain networks to the platform. It also plans to launch a highly requested API (application programming interface) which allows developers to integrate the data into their own apps and platforms.

“This massive new product will change the crypto data stack forever, creating a living, breathing and performant community-driven API to enable boundary-less research, building, tinkering, trading and beyond.”

Big Funding For Blockchain Data

Dune is one of several companies providing in-depth analysis and information on blockchain networks.

In August last year, crypto analytics and market intelligence firm Messari announced that it had raised $21 million in a Series A financing round led by Point72 ventures.

Coin Metrics announced a $15 million Series B financing round that was led by Goldman Sachs in May while DappRadar raised $5 million in the same month. Additionally, crypto data firm Nansen raised $10 million from investors in June highlighting the increasing demand for industry data and analysis.

South Korea’s Second-Biggest Exchange To Suspend Crypto Withdrawals From January 27

Bithumb, which currently holds a 13% domination in the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange market, followed in the footsteps of the country’s third-biggest exchange, Coinone, after it made a similar announcement a few weeks ago.

Bithumb To Stop Withdrawals

With the new Travel Rules being implemented by March 25, the Korean Financial Intelligence Unit has asked all virtual asset service providers to register with the monetary unit. 

This led Bithumb to suspend all the withdrawals until the operated accounts had been registered and reviewed. 

South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges’ domination | Source: Statista

Any unverified personal wallet will not be able to make withdrawals as they are required to perform another set of customer verification certifications (KYC) in order to verify their wallets.

For now, mostly those exchanges that have partnered with the NH Bank are enforcing these regulations as the wallets that are not whitelisted by January 27 will be directly blocked. 

As per the news agency Money Today, investors weren’t happy with the stringent rules of using the video authentication system that they were not used to.

But since the whitelist system implementation is based on the contract of providing the real-name accounts to the bank, the wallets that are not registered will not be able to conduct any virtual asset withdrawal.

The KYC regulation was also implemented for withdrawals to other foreign cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance.US, Kraken, Bitstamp, blockchain.com (UK), and Bybit (Singapore).

South Korea and Blockchain

Apart from the existing cryptocurrency exchanges, the country itself has been at the forefront of blockchain technology adoption. Just yesterday, The Bank of Korea announced that it successfully completed the first phase of its CBDC (central bank digital currency) trial.

Moving ahead, the bank aims to complete the second round of trials by June this year, during which they seek to test the more complicated procedures.

Can Blockchain Drive the Gaming Industry to Full Decentralization?

The gaming industry has been around for many years. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to grow year after year. It is safe to say that blockchain technology and gaming are two industries that have yet to unlock their full potential.

While both industries hold great promise, they are also in the early stages of development. But what if there was a way to combine these two promising spaces and unlock even more potential? According to some experts, Blockchain may be able to do just that – drive the gaming industry into a state of complete Decentralization.

The Gaming Industry Pre-Blockchain Technology

Since the days of initial console gaming, the industry has evolved considerably. Video games were formerly enjoyed in the comfort of your own home on consoles, and there was little to no interplay with other gamers. The game business was far more centralized before the Blockchain.

The game publishers were in command of which games are published and which ones gamers may play, as opposed to today, when they have a significant role. In addition, gamers were at the mercy of game publishers regarding how much they had to pay for games.

Games were previously hosted on centralized servers, which meant that players could only interact with people who lived in the exact geographical location. This restriction was due to data centers renting or buying server space from game developers to host their games.

The Gaming Industry Operations on Blockchain Technology

The invention of blockchain technology has revolutionized the gaming industry. This new technology allows for the creation of Decentralized Games, which can be played by anybody worldwide. As a result, new genres of games have emerged, such as Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) and First-Person Shooters (FPSs).

Gamers are now in command due to the emergence of decentralized application platforms. These blockchain-based solutions go beyond virtual reality games that allow players to get lost in different realities. Gamers use trustless systems to purchase and trade items without going through a central entity.

Blockchain technology enabled the creation of decentralized games, which eliminated the need for central servers. This new technology also allowed game developers to create games that utilized cryptocurrencies as in-game money. CryptoKitties was the first decentralized game to use cryptocurrency as an in-game currency.

Benefits for the Gaming Industry under Blockchain Technology

Because of its liquidity and the fact that gamers are accustomed to tokenization, integrating Blockchain into gaming is a piece of cake. Blockchain technology has a beneficial interaction between cryptocurrency and video games. This is because Blockchain attempts to address several long-standing issues in the gaming industry.

Blockchain technology provides a slew of advantages to the gaming industry. The following are some examples:

  • Increased Security 

Blockchain technology is known for its security. This is because data stored on a blockchain is decentralized and immutable. Because hackers cannot break into the system, it becomes more difficult for them to steal information. As a consequence, the gaming business can benefit from increased data security.

  • Better Game Development

Game developers are no longer restricted to traditional distribution platforms like Steam and the iOS app store with the advent of blockchain technology. Blockchain technology enables them to establish peer-to-peer gaming platforms in which gamers may directly contribute to game development.

  • Increased Transparency

Blockchain technology helps to improve transparency in the gaming sector. Blockchain can enhance and optimize the interaction between gamers and game developers. It also assists with in-game asset ownership by making the gaming business more transparent and requiring legislation. All transactions are handled via smart contracts in a blockchain-based game. Smart contracts are programmed to follow particular rules and are unchangeable.

  • Reduced Costs

Blockchain technology helps reduce costs for the gaming sector by automating procedures and eliminating intermediaries. This may save the gaming business a lot of money. The combination of cryptocurrency and entertaining video games is sure to result in an influx of investment.

  • Access to New Markets

Blockchain technology creates new opportunities for the gaming industry. It’s conceivable to utilize blockchain technology to create decentralized in-game economies in which gamers may trade virtual items with one another utilizing smart contracts. Consequently, this might open up new markets where game developers can profit handsomely.

The latest trends in the Decentralized Gaming Industry

The video gaming business is one of the world’s multi-billion-dollar fast-growing industries. Over the last few years, it has witnessed many changes, and it appears that this pattern will continue in the future. Companies are now using blockchain technology to transform the gaming industry. Some of the emerging decentralized trends include NFTs and play-to-earn (P2E).

In the video game industry, NFTs are frequently depicted in-game assets like weapons, armor, and property. NFTs may also be utilized to represent digital ownership of physical things, such as art or real estate. They’re also traded on decentralized marketplaces, which is a big deal. This enables gamers to trade virtual assets with each other, increasing the value of those items.

One of the most significant benefits of decentralized gaming is that it allows players to earn rewards for playing games. These tokens may then be spent on in-game goods or exchanged for other cryptocurrencies. This type of reward system is not only more lucrative than those employed by existing centralized gaming platforms, but it also lets gamers learn what kinds of games they enjoy.

The Drive to Full Decentralization

Can Blockchain drive the gaming industry to full Decentralization? Yes. Blockchain technology has the potential to solve issues that game centralized organizations confront. With blockchain technology, games can be completely decentralized, with no need for a central server or data control. This addresses the security concerns and establishes a more equitable voting mechanism.

Blockchain technology also makes it easier to provide a more engaging gaming environment. Decentraland and the metaverse are poised to revolutionize the gaming industry by resolving its most serious issues. Some platforms such as Jedstar are set to revolutionize crypto DeFi and GameFi.

Jedstar’s games and NFT marketplace are designed to encourage players and creators first and foremost. It is a Decentralized Ecosystem (DECO) that revolutionizes DeFi, GameFi, and NFTs by providing new possibilities for finance. It aims to empower gamers and artists through actual ownership.

Conclusion

Blockchain technology is propelling the gaming industry to complete Decentralization. The advantages of Blockchain for gamers are significant, but certain obstacles must first be overcome before it can become entirely decentralized.

Blockchain has enhanced game designers’ and publishers’ possibilities to connect with their audiences with less fraud and censorship. Decentralized games might be one future trend that provides gamers a better experience than ever before. It also opens up some intriguing possibilities for online marketers interested in connecting with these consumers online.

Here’s Why Gaming is the Top Passive Earner in the Metaverse World

The internet continues to provide unimaginable possibilities to users worldwide. Through it, the gaming economy has become more popular and worth more than $100B as of 2020. Blockchains and cryptocurrencies are further enhancing the gaming experience with a decentralized financial structure.

Coming into the limelight is the metaverse concept which allows users to interact in virtual environments. Basically, a metaverse ecosystem blends blockchains, augmented, and virtual realities. The innovative idea makes it possible to move to various locations, purchase, and maintain assets. Besides the entertainment experience, metaverse enables users to generate fortunes from playing games.

In that regard, this article sets out to discover why gaming is the top passive earner in the metaverse world.

Impacts of Metaverse Gaming

Data reveals that the overall market cap for metaverse coins is almost hitting the $100B mark. The reading suggests that for some reason, numerous users find metaverse gaming as a worthwhile activity.

As such, some of the reasons that make metaverse gaming an appropriate source of securing passive incomes include:

Fast transactional services

Blockchain technology empowers metaverse games with quicker financial services. The technology supports local and cross-border trades which use minimal execution periods.

Compared to traditional systems, blockchains help reduce transactional delays. Furthermore, players can mint and distribute digital assets such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and in-game assets in a fast manner.

Transparency

The digital asset economy advocates for transparency through blockchains. Before, there were limited options for earning rewards and trading in-game assets. The current metaverse gaming system is promoting several earning opportunities to players.

Hence, it encourages the growth of a financial system where users can trade their assets. At this point, blockchains provide a better solution to support and manage all trading details.

What’s more, publishing the transaction information encourages transparency since users can view every record.

Decentralization

Metaverse games help promote the idea of adopting a decentralized structure. Decentralization gives users the power to make several decisions related to the gaming platform.

Transaction verification processes are also done by ordinary members of the community. In the end, users can accumulate adequate rewards for performing these tasks.

Ownership

Engaging with metaverse games encourages digital ownership of items/assets. It therefore means that players can possess digital assets the same way they can own physical items.

Endless Possibilities

Anything is possible in the metaverse gaming world. Players get to take part in unique quests, own digital items, or even develop their own universe.

Therefore, the entertainment aspect of metaverse worlds enhances the growth of a virtual economy. Users get to play, interact, and receive an income from a digital universe.

Security

Despite facing several cyber-related threats, metaverse games apply several security features for their users. Auditing is an example of the steps that gaming projects take to maintain security.

Metaverse game developers can eliminate bugs found in the platform’s code all thanks to the existing security firms. Blockchains also provide another layer of security considering they are spread across various computers. Thus, it may be difficult to hack every user maintaining the blockchain network.

Most metaverse games let users remain in custody of their assets and earnings. Such advantages boosts security and financial freedom since players are in control of their holdings.

Privacy

Maintaining an anonymous environment is one of the core principles of blockchains. It removes the need for submitting confidential data which may fall into the wrong hands. In that case, players only work with their gaming usernames and wallet addresses to conduct transactions.

Applying privacy in metaverse games makes it easier to counter identity theft cases.

Cheaper Transactions

Traditional financial services mostly charge higher fees to process transactions. Shifting to metaverse gaming allows users to carry out their transactions at an affordable charge.

Trading fees are cheaper due to the application of blockchain technology. Players can therefore trade, buy, or sell their assets at an affordable fee.

Play-to-Earn: the Emerging Concept in the Metaverse Gaming World

Play-to-earn mechanisms work as a rewarding system whereby users can earn NFTs. On top of that, the system allows players to secure digital tokens that may have real-world utility.

While the concept may not be relatively new, metaverse games are taking up this idea to attract more participants. Axes Metaverse presents a similar P2E system where users can earn tokenized assets or NFTs.

As mentioned earlier, users are sometimes unable to access rewards or trade in-game assets. Through Axes Metaverse and NFTs, players can earn real money while playing mobile games.

Final Word

The evolution of technology is paving the way for several life-changing innovations- such as the metaverse world. Gaming companies are taking advantage of metaverse worlds to create limitless virtual realities. Blockchains and digital currencies further empower the digital universe with a financial structure to enhance the players’ experience.

Other than entertainment, players can come across income-generating opportunities in the virtual world. The games offer several prizes which could range from digital tokens to gaming items/characters.

More importantly, every user has control over their digital assets. Such benefits fuel the growth of metaverse games even as the number of internet users increases.

Integration of the Blockchain is a Game Changer in the Cloud Computing Sector

Cloud computing and blockchain industries may very well have one property in common; both are growing rapidly while having the potential to revolutionize their respective fields. However, up until now, pioneers within the two industries have not yet found a common interest. That could soon change as projects have started embracing the idea of integrating the blockchain into the cloud computing sector, and we could soon see a future of endless possibilities.

The game-changing development could mean big things for both industries. The development of the cloud computing sector has been aided by several elements, including the increasing use of mobile devices and data storage and processing capability. However, the integration of blockchain technology into the cloud computing industry could turn out to be one of the most significant drivers of the age of cloud computing.

Decentralized Cloud Computing

Decentralized Cloud Computing is a decentralized network of nodes to provide cloud services. It is a type of cloud computing that relies on a distributed network of computers to provide services. This type of cloud computing is different from traditional cloud computing, which relies on a centralized network of computers.

There are several types of decentralized cloud computing. The first is one in which each node stores a certain amount of encrypted data pieces, and the second is one in which all nodes store the same data chunks, but they are separated into distinct parts (shards). The third approach to decentralized cloud computing is for one node (or a group of nodes) to collect the data and send it back to the user.

Blockchain Technology in Cloud Computing

Blockchain technology is a novel data storage created for Bitcoin, a digital currency. Blockchain technology differs from traditional databases in that it is decentralized. There is no central database, as there would be in a traditional database. Instead, the data is kept on a network of nodes.

The majority must approve any modifications to the data of nodes, and blockchain technology is extremely safe. There’s also no single point of failure because if one node goes down, it doesn’t impact the rest.

Blockchain technology is utilized in cloud computing, allowing users to outsource their computing needs. The Blockchain can alter how we do cloud computing because of its decentralized nature. Hence users access the Internet and compute peer-to-peer without relying on servers or other infrastructure.

It’s also beneficial for cloud storage because it helps to keep data secure and tamper-proof. Companies may trust that their data is safe and secure. Cloud Computing became a necessity during the Covid-19 pandemic due to social distancing and working from home.

With its emphasis on decentralization, transparency, and security, Blockchain has become a highly significant and innovative technology for cloud storage in the current era of decentralized clouds.

Blockchain and IoT are already being used in many industries. This is referred to as BCoT in Cloud of Things. It’s being investigated as a potentially massive field for various industrial applications. Because the standard CoT infrastructures are based on centralized communication methods, they encounter problems of ineffectiveness.

The second major issue is that most current CoT systems must rely on any third party for trust. The network structure’s challenge is the last one: it raises communication latency. It necessitates greater power consumption for IoT devices due to significant data transmission, making large-scale CoT installations in practice difficult.

In light of the difficulties CoT is facing and the characteristics of Blockchain, integrating blockchain functions with CoT appears to be a good idea to overcome CoT’s drawbacks.

Decentralized Cloud Computing Solutions

One thing that many of the options presented as alternatives to conventional cloud computing solutions have in common: their choice to operate using a decentralized or peer-to-peer architecture. Cudos, Ankr, StorX Network and Akash are just a few of the most well-known decentralized cloud computing systems.

Cudos took a huge gamble when using an innovative architecture that approaches interoperability and security. The platform’s consensus is achieved using the Byzantine Fault Tolerant Proof of Staking (DPoS) algorithm and Tendermint core. This creates a hybrid system that eliminates scalability issues while retaining high decentralization and security.

Ankr has a secure ecosystem that offers cloud computing resources to connect to web3 and use blockchain node hosting services. This solution now provides developing and staking capabilities for nearly 40 blockchain protocols. Cosmos, Polkadot, Bitcoin, Compound, Elrond, and other platforms are supported.

Akash Network is working on a Supercloud in which anybody with a computer can operate as a cloud services provider. To improve scalability and provide inherent interoperability, Akash uses Tendermint and Cosmos SDK. There is also the benefit of reduced transaction costs and compatibility with all cloud-based applications.

StorX Network is a cloud storage platform that uses blockchain technology to guarantee safe and transparent storage. It’s a peer-to-peer decentralized Storage Network. The XinFin Blockchain Network powers it as Distributed Cloud Storage. The StorX Network Mainnet is based on the XRC-20 utility token, which runs the StorX Network data storage marketplace.

Benefits of Integrating Blockchain to Cloud Computing

It’s no surprise that cloud computing has permeated all business processes and operations. Cloud computing is fundamental to everything from watching Netflix to daily email communications. Blockchain applications, alone or in combination with other technologies, provide a plethora of benefits.

When cloud computing is integrated with blockchain technology, the main problem, security, and privacy, get addressed. Blockchain also aids in providing more transparency by creating a decentralized and distributed trust model.

Data deletion from one computer does not erase data stored on other devices on a blockchain network. As a result, there is no danger of data loss or alteration. Data on a blockchain is irremovable. It allows for clear documentation of data usage, including where, when, and how it is being used and by whom.

Blockchains are governed by codes, eliminating the need for third-party rules, making them a more secure alternative.

Conclusion

Blockchain is changing industries for the better, including healthcare, agriculture, finance, banking, and more. Cloud has become so essential to today’s business environment that its excessive dependency and associated dangers can be hazardous. The cloud’s security, compliance, and centralized architecture might be a significant business risk.

However, Blockchain has a significant impact on storage, transactions, and business processes. As a result, combining Blockchain with the cloud to get more security and decentralization while getting better authorization, privacy, and efficiency is the way forward.

PBOC Develops Pilot Version e-CNY Wallet Applications for Android and IOS

The Peoples Bank of China has announced the rollout of a ‘pilot phase’ for the e-CNY digital wallet applications both on Android and iOS. The wallet is available for testing on select institutions including major financial institutions.

PBoC Develops Digital Yuan Wallet Applications for Android and IOS

The Central bank of China has rolled out trial runs for the digital wallets that will hold digital Yuan or e-CNY. The wallet will be available as a mobile application for Android and iPhones. The launch, which occurred earlier today in Shanghai, is now available for download on Chinese mobile stores.

The central bank gave a notice that the Digital Yuan wallets were only available for select institutions, specifically those that provide e-CNY services. They also explained that the wallet was still in the research and development phase.

In November 2021, the PBoC Governor Yi Gang said that the country would continue to push forward with the development of the CBDC. Gang explained that the CBDC would have an improved design, usage and would be interoperable with the available payment tools.

The Development of the Digital Yuan

China has been against digital currencies for a long time now, and their fight climaxed in September 2021 after introducing a blanket ban on these assets.

The research for the e-CNY began in 2014. However, its pilot testing started in 2020 where the bank collaborated with firms like JD.com and DiDi Chuxing, among others. In August 2020, the bank revealed its plans of starting a pilot test for the coin. It also said it was already testing the currency in four major cities and more big cities would join in shortly.

In 2021, the PBoC officially debuted the digital Yuan. It started with introducing it as a salary payment means in the Xiong’an New Area in June of 2021.

The bank announced that an airdrop worth $3 million would be given to 350,000 citizens in a lottery-style in the same month. Following this news, people started applying to be among the first citizens to test the coin.

By November 2021, The PBoC Governor announced that citizens had already opened over 140 million accounts to use the coin.

The governor also revealed that over 10 million institutional accounts were open for trading using the digital Yuan. The announcement also explained that over  62 billion Digital Yuan had been transacted by the end of October 2021.

The digital Yuan is still in its test phase, and the country has been relentless in its development despite mixed feedback on its efficiency. The tests are ongoing with today’s wallet pilot phase launch, and the bank plans to launch the coin this year before the winter Olympics.

Bank of Jamaica Successfully Concludes it’s first CBDC Trial Run

Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has announced the completion of its central bank digital currency (CBDC) trial. The country is ready to roll out the CBDC soon. Earlier last year, the Jamaican central bank announced testing a prototype CBDC in its financial regulatory sandbox.

Other central banks globally are still preparing for a CBDC pilot. The Bank of Jamaica is on track to achieve its CBDC rollout target at the beginning of this new year. The bank worked with eCurrency Mint, a technology solutions provider, on the sandbox project. They have given an outline of the progress of the CBDC pilot.

Testing Phase

The scope of the pilot was just for wallet providers who have shown they can work within the timeframe. According to the announcement, The National Commercial Bank (NCB) tested the range of services that can use the CBDC solution.

NCB was the only payment service or wallet provider willing to take up the task of trying the digital payment system.

NCB performed the tests using its Lynk payment platform. TFOB Limited, The Future of Business. TFOB is the bank’s newest vehicle that provides the rollout of various non-traditional and effective financial services utilizing modern instruments.

The positive outcome of the pilot project relied on whether a CBDC and the attendant technology solution could be successfully implemented in Jamaica. Various activities were targeted and achieved during the pilot.

The Bank of Jamaica

Mid last year, BOJ minted over $220 million worth of digital currency. These were to be issued to deposit-taking firms. During the same period, the bank issued nearly $1 million worth of CBDC to its banking department.

The first CBDC issuance to a deposit institution was worth $5 million, made to NCB. The NCB involved around 60 customers who conducted transactions through almost 40 accounts.

According to BOJ, transactions with small merchants such as fashion and clothes boutiques, local craft jewelers, and shoe designers are included.

The rollout will allow two more wallet providers to onboarding existing and new customers. The providers are presently conducting testing to distribute CBDCs. Moreover, they are also testing transactions between customers of various participating wallet providers.

Though crypto- specific legislations are absent in Jamaica, the assets act by Jamaica’s present banking and securities regulations.

CBDC Hype

Central banks globally are at the peak of developing CBDCs in the respective jurisdictions. CBDCs have acquired full support from relevant authorities. Still, governments worldwide try to bring forth strict regulations around private cryptocurrencies.

The issuance of CBDCs is stalling due to the nature of digital currencies and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). Late last year, G7 finance leaders outlined CBDC guidelines.

Samsung Set to Integrate NFTs into its TV Technology in 2022

Days before the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022, the South Korean tech giant has officially announced its NFT aggregation platform. The platform will be supported by its exclusive smart TV launch. This platform will allow users to browse NFTs for sales, with the option of purchasing them via television.

Support for Digital Artwork on MICRO LED, Neo QLED, and The Frame

On Samsung smart TVs, the NFT aggregation platform fetches NFTs from various marketplaces, and users will be able to preview these NFTs, read about its creator, and learn about the digital art tokens. According to the company, users can browse and trade NFTs through Samsung’s MicroLed, Neo QLED, and The Frame models.

According to a company’s press release, with demand for NFTs on the rise, companies have never been more crucial to offer customers a solution to the fragmented landscape of viewing and purchasing.

Samsung is introducing the world’s first TV screen-based NFT explorer and marketplace aggregator in 2022. The platform is a game-changing platform that allows users to browse, buy, and display their favorite artists all in one place.

In the cryptocurrency world, NFTs are setting new records. So far, people have spent more than $9 billion on NFT sales. According to the Chainalysis 2021 NFT market report, approximately $26.9 billion in NFTs were traded across all NFT marketplaces, indicating the market’s growing dominance.

Creators Will Now Share Their Art with the World

NFTs are digital assets that have been around for a long time, but crypto and crypto art has gotten a new lease on life in recent months.

NFTs enable people to buy and sell ownership of one-of-a-kind digital items in cryptocurrencies while keeping track of who owns them on the blockchain. Technically, these can contain anything digital, such as drawings, artworks, tweets, or even video games.

Creators will share their work with the rest of the world via the Samsung NFT platform. They will allow potential buyers to view and learn about an NFT’s history and blockchain metadata before purchasing it. The company will release more information about the NFT platform in the coming months.

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022

A note should be made that the announcement comes ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022 that will take place in Las Vegas from January 5. The company will also introduce its newest TV models at Consumer Electronics Show 2022 to the world.

They promise an improved picture and sound quality, a more comprehensive range of screen sizes, customizable accessories, and an enhanced interface.

However, due to the increasing cases of coronavirus variant Omicron, several tech giants such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Lenovo will not be physically present at the CES 2022.

Richest Man in Crypto Outlines Biggest Challenges for Industry

On December 27th, 2021, Sam, the CEO of FTX, sent a series of tweets providing his opinions on the crypto space. Sam is one of the wealthiest men in the crypto industry, running one of the largest crypto exchanges. Sam began by mentioning the progression of crypto. However, he later finished by highlighting the problems and possible solutions.

Sam Started By Mentioning Some Crypto Achievements

On Monday 27th, Sam from FTX sent tweets addressing his opinions on the state of crypto. According to Sam, the crypto space already has a solid user base of nearly 200 million people. He mentioned that crypto has a market cap lower than big companies like Microsoft and Apple. However, crypto gets more attention than those companies.

Sam highlighted the relevance of smart contracts and the newly developed Metaverse. He mentioned Web3, Defi digital gold, and others products of smart contracts. On top of the smart contract growth, Sam noted some use cases associated with crypto and the contracts. Smart contracts contribute to the growth of payment, store of value, tokenized assets, social media, and other solutions.

Sam mentioned the growth of scaling solutions offered in the crypto space from lighting and Layer 2s. According to Sam, the developments indicate that things have been going well with crypto.

Sam Addresses Challenges and Solutions

During his thread session, Sam also highlighted the problems associated with crypto. One of the issues is regulations. The tension between regulators and industry participants frustrates crypto growth. Also, there are no clear policies on handling different assets and growing crypto networks. Hence, some large institutions fear investing because of the lacking framework.

Crypto institutions and regulators have also not been properly collaborating. There have been cases of feuds between the two, primarily affecting crypto. Aside from the regulatory standstills, Sam talked about the blockchain TPS. Most blockchains have low TPS, thus making it hard to adopt them industrially.

While giving the state of crypto affairs, Sam also offered recommendations on what needs to be done. He asked for collaboration between the government and crypto networks to create sound policies. The main intention is to protect consumers and propel crypto to growth. He mentioned that setting a framework for stablecoins would assure investors of a solid backing. Furthermore, he proposed creating standards similar for spots, futures, and others.

He highlighted the use of NFT in gaming. But, he still emphasized that high TPS is necessary for crypto growth. There were hundreds of responses following his thread, some agreeing with what he said.

FTX Recent Announcements

Recently, FTX has given several announcements concerning the platform and its roadmap. Some of the significant developments were recent token listings. They also announced a monkey giveaway contest starting 28th to 29th December. According to one of their Tweets, FTX is now a top 20 crypto exchange. It would be fun to see where it’s going.

The 117th Congress Introduced 35 Bills Related to Crypto.

The 117th Congress introduced 35 bills relating to cryptocurrency and blockchain policy this year. The year was a defining moment for the industry in the United States. There was far more emphasis on cryptocurrency regulation than in previous years.

The majority of the bills dealt with cryptocurrency regulation in general. It also included blockchain applications and central bank digital currencies (CBDC).

The Congress is entering its second year, and attention is shifting to the midterm elections. Hence, U.S. Senators and Congress will likely pay close attention to how constituents respond to crypto in 2022.

3 Different Types of Bills Introduced

Congress introduced three different types of bills aimed at regulating cryptocurrency. The first set of bills is primarily concerned with regulatory agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The blockchain and distributed ledger technology bills aim to promote the technology that underpins cryptocurrency within the United States government for broader adoption in other sectors of the economy.

Finally, the new concept of CBDCs is still being explored. Some policymakers see technological innovations like stablecoins as a threat to the U.S. dollar’s position as the world’s reserve currency.

All three of these areas are equally important. However, one area that has received the most attention and received hearings on Capitol Hill. It is how the government should regulate cryptocurrencies and whether legislation is required.

2022 Will Face More Scrutiny

In 2022, the cryptocurrency market is predicted to enter a period of sustained growth. The world is rapidly adopting crypto assets, and we require a unified regulatory framework for the global crypto industry.

More bills of this type are expected as Congress focuses more attention and effort on the blockchain industry. The United States government has been slower to respond than other countries. However, this appears to be changing for. For example, in the case of a CBDC, officials have stated that they would instead “get it right” than be the first to do it.

StableCoins are a Growing Concern

Stablecoins have been a particular source of concern for governments worldwide, not just in the United States. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have expressed concern about fiat-pegged assets. Still, no official legislation has been passed in the United States to address the issue.

Gary Gensler, the Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, has outlined a list of potential tasks on the road to regulation. However, nothing significant is yet to be has yet been implemented. Although the SEC has been busy with ETF decisions, it is clear that the government will take some action next year.

Crypto Exchange Kraken Acquires Staking Platform Staked

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken (KRAK-USD) has acquired the staking startup Staked, according to a report on 21 December. The acquisition is among the many steps that the crypto exchange has achieved this year, and it is by far the biggest crypto-related milestone for the exchange to date.

Kraken Expands its Crypto Services Provision Network

As per the report’s details, this step aims to expand Kraken’s existing staking services, which are custodial. It also stated that the decision came due to an increased demand for non-custodial staking services by consumers in the crypto industry today.

Kraken ranks as one of the top crypto exchanges in the market, offering an array of services, including account management, staking, futures trading, market prices, indices, margin trading, different funding options, bug bounty, and learning materials, among others. On the other hand, Staked has been a noncustodial staking ecosystem for over three years now.

It offers an infrastructure supported by Kubernetes to increase user convenience across five clouds. As such, the infrastructure enables users to secure user funds in case of any downtimes despite how long they are. This factor makes it a trusted partner for a variety of projects across the crypto industry, solidifying this through its audited infrastructure.

Combining the missions of both platforms will create better earning opportunities for all their users. Moreover, it expands the scope of the products and services available on Kraken today while ensuring continued security for users.

Kraken Expanding Its Progress

Despite the many acquisitions made in the crypto industry over the years, the current event stands as the largest in crypto history. According to its blog post on the same, the exchange defines this as an eye-opening endeavour to its continued success as a top staking service provider. It recognizes its growing user base, which benefits from its portfolio of existing products.

Staked will be a welcome addition to giving users more freedom in how they wish to deal with their funds. In its opinion, it hopes to offer users staking rewards while giving them the chance to have full custody of their investments.

Jesse Powell, the CEO of the exchange stated that both platforms remain complementary to each other, solidifying the products it offers. He also stated that despite the common belief that ‘not your keys, not your coins,’ being a trend, it trusts in its customers’ interest and still offers custodial services to them. Staked helps it expand its current status without relinquishing the wishes of some of its users.

Powell also mentioned that the platform is becoming more encompassing, supporting the migration of the digital world into Web 3.0. It further stands as a hailer of the decentralized finance sector in its services across its years of practice. Currently, it welcomes not only retail investors, but also institutional and professional investors in the industry.

Increased Staking Interest

The Proof of Stake consensus algorithm seems to be the new buzz in town, with major blockchains such as Ethereum transitioning to the same. It solidifies the idea that staking is a popular passive income earning opportunity for all types of investors entering the market.

This milestone by Kraken and Staked is grounding the essence of Proof of Stake in the crypto industry. Despite the exchange’s late entry into staking services, its progress is undeniable, hitting $10.8 billion in staked assets in the Q3 2021.

It also shows how competitive the staking sector has become in the crypoverse. An advisory in the banking sector highlighted that PoS is grounding its roots in what will be the future of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. All in all, Kraken hopes to achieve more in the coming year while progressing this acquisition to building a better staking ecosystem for all.

Visor Finance Suffers another DeFi Hack as Losses Mount Up to $8.2M

Visor Finance is the latest DeFi protocol to suffer a multi-million dollar hack. As a result of the hack, Visor Finance lost 8.8 million VISR tokens due to a reentrancy flaw exploited by the hacker.

At the time of the hack, VISR tokens traded at around $0.93.

The Visor DeFi Smart Contract Exploit

On December 21st, 2021, 02:29:11 PM UTC, a malevolent contract stole 8,812,958 VISR tokens from Visor Finance’s staking contract.

Hackers used the IVisor delegateTransferERC20 interface to generate the exploit. The hackers also used the withdrawal function of the staking contract to call for the desired VISR amount. As a result, reliance on an external IVisor delegateTransferERC20 implementation by the caller allowed the exploit to succeed.

Bugs in the Visor decentralized system opened a door for an attacker to get away with crypto tokens. A full post-mortem investigation has not yet been conducted, but it is believed that the hacker exploited the vulnerability to assume control of the rewards contract. As a result, they could create extra VISR tokens.

Reentrancy bugs can be deadly in DEXs since they allow an attacker to create an infinite number of tokens. The Visor team announced the breach shortly after it occurred, stating that it had discovered a bug in its VISR staking agreement.

The team also stated that no positions or hypervisors were at risk. The assault primarily affects stakers and token holders since it has dropped dramatically since the attack. One VISR is valued at just $0.04 right now, having lost 95% of its value.

Users Compensation

The Visor team has stated that it will establish a migration date based on a before-the-hack snapshot to make up for it. The strategy of token migrations is a common way to counter DeFi hacks. They function by allowing token holders to exchange an equivalent quantity of new tokens for their existing holdings.

Users will redeem based on the total amount of VISR they had before the hack occurred. Although Visor has gained popularity since its debut, its financial journey hasn’t been without hiccups. It’s been breached several times this year. However, it characterized the most recent incident in November as a “Uniswap V3 arbitrage.”

Surprisingly, the protocol has been audited by CertiK, a security company that has previously missed other DeFi flaws; however, after the attack got an ongoing audit from Quantstamp.

According to Etherscan data, the attacker has already exchanged most of their VISR tokens for ETH via Uniswap. In addition, they’ve started funneling cash through Tornado.cash, a bundler for preserving Ethereum transaction history.

However, because of the liquidity issue, their investment will ultimately result in significantly less than $8.2 million worth of notional value.

How Layer-Two Solutions Can Help Solve the Blockchain Trilemma

Along with concepts like artificial intelligence and cloud computing, blockchain offers the ability to store and process information in a secure and efficient manner.

But, like other technologies, blockchain isn’t perfect. Over the past few years, flaws in blockchain platforms have been too apparent to overlook.

Understanding The Blockchain Trilemma

While blockchain is becoming more apparent as a pillar of next-generation technology, its underlying concept is facing a unique issue known as the Blockchain Trilemma. Essentially, the blockchain trilemma is the problem of being unable to balance between security, decentralization, and scalability in blockchains.

Decentralization is the ability of blockchains to distribute data and computing power across the many computers in their network. It is what ensures that data is always secure and that no single entity can hack a blockchain network to get the data that is concealed in it. In a sense, decentralization is the pillar upon which blockchain itself is built.

Security isn’t a new concept. It encompasses all of a blockchain network’s defense mechanisms against threats and malicious actors who might want to take advantage of other computers on the blockchain somehow. Along with decentralization, security is a must-have for blockchains in today’s competitive industry.

But, the third characteristic is where the issue really lies – scalability. Like every other network of computers, a blockchain needs to be scalable. It needs to support the influx of users that troop in when it gets popular, and it should be able to manage high transaction volumes.

While it doesn’t necessarily come off as important in the way that security and decentralization are, scalability is critical because it represents the only way that blockchains can compete with traditional networks. Blockchains can support multiple transactions because of their scalability, and they are better suited for today’s fast-paced financial world.

Take Bitcoin for example. The Bitcoin network works round the clock, processing between 4 to 7 transactions a second – according to data from Blockchain.

On the flip side, VISA, one of the most popular traditional payment processors, handles up to 1,700 transactions a second. To compete with these systems, blockchains will need to match these scalability levels.

Scalability Continues to Be An Issue

Sadly, the scalability problem has continued to grow. Blockchain is getting more popular, with its adoption outpacing even that of cryptocurrencies themselves.

Even worse, certain blockchains have become much worse for scalability. Ethereum is the most popular blockchain in the world because of its ability to support smart contracts. It’s not the only blockchain to have smart contract functionality, but it was the first to bring this feature into the limelight. Thanks to this incumbency, Ethereum has continued to grow.

Today, most decentralized apps (dApps) in the industry are built on Ethereum. From non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces to decentralized finance (DeFi?) protocols, Ethereum is the go-to source.

Thanks to this, Ethereum’s scalability has suffered. The blockchain doesn’t handle as many transactions, and its gas fees have risen through the roof. According to data from BitInfoCharts, gas fees on the Ethereum blockchain have jumped by over 2,000 percent since June.

How Layer-Two Solutions Help

While blockchain developers are trying their best to make things better, one recommendation appears to be more effective than others – layer-two solutions.

To understand layer-two solutions, you should also know about layer-0 and layer-one. The zero layer is made up of components that essentially cause the blockchain to work. This layer includes components like the hardware, the internet itself, and other connections.

Moving on, layer-one is the foundational layer. This layer controls consensus, blockchain time, programming, and conflict resolution processes – all of which ensure to maintain the blockchain’s fundamental functionality.

Then, there are layer-two solutions. These are networks that are built on the primary later. Their job is to optimize scalability by taking out some of the interactions that need to be handled on the base layer. As a result, the smart contract on the blockchain will only handle withdrawals and deposits, ensuring that all transactions are legitimate.

So, what makes layer-two so different from layer-one? The blockchain itself acts as the first layer in the entire decentralized system. On the other hand, layer-two is a third-party integration that operates with the base blockchain. Layer-two ensures that more computers can join the network and that it can work faster – especially when it comes to transaction processing.

Optimizing Blockchain Functionality in Many Ways

Several scaling solutions have been built recently. The Bitcoin blockchain has the Lightning Network, while Ethereum has big names like the Arbitrum Network. Arbitrum allows Ethereum users to settle transactions away from the blockchain, thus increasing speed and efficiency.

Arbitrum uses a different consensus model and data compression to achieve quicker transactions while keeping fees low. It bundles several smart contracts as a simple object on its chain, meaning then much easier to use. In fact, from a user’s perspective, working with Arbitrum is pretty much the same as Ethereum.

With Ethereum facing massive scalability issues, layer-two solutions have also allowed developers to build better with the blockchain. DeFi protocols have started listing on some of these layer-two solutions, with Arbitrum now supporting Arbis Finance – a yield aggregator platform that looks to take on DeFi giants like Yearn Finance and more.

Layer-two scaling solutions bring a lot of benefits with them. Even though Ethereum and other legacy blockchains continue to work towards achieving greater scalability on their primary chains, these layer-two solutions will remain important to them.

With layer-two, blockchain can truly grow into the transformative technology it was meant to be. This is especially important now, with the demand for better data management and transactions efficiency going through the roof.

New England Patriots, New England Revolution Collabo with Blockchain Company

A ground-breaking partnership with Kraft Sports + Entertainment’s New England Patriots and New England Revolution brought Socios.com into the world of American football and soccer for the first time.

The NFL is the most tradition-driven and largest sports league in the U.S. Based in the Greater Boston area, the New England Patriots play professional American football. The Patriots are members of the American Football Conference East division of the National Football League.

In addition to their record of 6 Super Bowl wins, the Patriots have appeared in 11 Super Bowls and lost five times to the Denver Broncos.

A Major League Soccer club in the Eastern Conference of the league, the New England Revolution competes in the Greater Boston area. Since its inception, the club has competed in the MLS as one of the ten charter members

“We are delighted to welcome Kraft Sports + Entertainment into the Socios.com family as they have one of the most successful NFL franchises in history as well as a top Major League Soccer franchise this year,” said Socios.com CEO Alexandre Dreyfus. Our goal is to increase Patriots and Revolution fan engagement as we continue our expansion into the U.S. sports market.”

New England fans will be rewarded for correctly answering five matchup-related questions during each week of the season on Patriots.com and the Patriots mobile app through “Patriots Fan Predictions, presented by Socios.com.”.

Socios.com will also serve as the official sponsor of the Patriots’ indoor practice facility.

According to Jim Nolan, chief operating officer at Kraft Sports + Entertainment, Socios.com is a market leader with innovative ways to engage fans. “We are looking forward to collaborating with them, exploring new audience segments, and offering additional fan experiences.”

After winning the 2021 MLS Supporters’ Shield as regular-season champions for the first time in their 26-year history, the Revolution have earned the top seed in the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.

In partnership with Socios.com, a global leader in cutting-edge fan engagement, Revolution President Brian Bilello looks forward to bringing fans new and innovative ways to connect with their club.

We’re looking forward to collaborating with Socios.com to provide fans with enhanced access to their favorite teams and players both virtually and in person.”

More than 100 sports teams are part of the Socios.com roster, including the Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Lakers.

The Socios.com family of brands includes soccer giants FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, AC Milan, Atlético Madrid, Valencia, Manchester City, Inter Milan, Arsenal, as well as leading teams from F1, esports, and cricket.

Huobi Group Vows to ‘Save the Ocean’ Ahead of Blockchain Summit

Huobi Group, a leading blockchain company, recently sponsored crypto experts to attend the Oceans 4.4 retreat held in the British Virgin Islands.

The 5-day retreat took place from October 9-14th. It was hosted by renowned entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson at his home on Necker Island. The event aimed to raise awareness of the water crisis affecting millions of people across the world.

During the retreat, founders, innovators and influential minds presented various solutions that can help conserve the ocean and combat climate change.

The Huobi representatives contributed to the discussion on how to tackle various issues contributing to environmental degradation. They also promised that Huobi would make climate commitments aimed at saving the ocean.

Commenting about the event, Jeff Mei, the Director of Global Strategy at Huobi Group, reiterated his company’s commitment towards improving society:

“As we continue to grow our business presence around the world, we are taking an increasing interest in the communities we operate in. Furthering social impact initiatives will be one of Huobi’s key goals going forward, and we will look to work with like-minded stakeholders that share our values.”

Huobi Group’s Blockchain Summit 2021

The Oceans retreat was a precursor to the upcoming Huobi Summit 2021, which will commemorate the blockchain company’s 8th founding anniversary.

The summit, set to take place on November 8, will host an online industry forum to discuss cutting-edge crypto and blockchain projects. Huobi Group has invited government leaders such as former Federal Reserve head Alan Greenspan and numerous business founders to participate in the event.

Huobi has been at the forefront of creating a more sustainable world. The Seychelles-based blockchain startup is involved in various initiatives geared toward fostering global blockchain development for the benefit of the society and global economy.

Contributing to a Brighter Future

Huobi Group leverages its resources and influence to create a fair and equitable future for all. Through its philanthropic arm, Huobi Charity Limited, the company taps the blockchain and cryptocurrency to tackle societal issues like poverty, healthcare, education, and more.

Huobi is committed to applying blockchain tech towards environmental development and bringing positive change to the world through innovation and social initiatives. Such efforts could help foster blockchain and crypto adoption by proving that the technologies can be a force of good for the environment.

More crypto industry participants need to join efforts to integrate environmental protection measures to silence critics who oppose the emerging sector.

The Future of DeFi: Boom or Bust?

After a slow start, with a number of DeFi protocols having been around for a few years, the segment has recently drawn plenty of attention.

Projects are on the rise and some of the main players within the CeFi space are making sure that they aren’t left behind.

As with any new space, however, the pitfalls are many and the gold rush could be short and sweet.

At the time of writing, simply comparing the market cap of non-stable coins and stable coins shows how far behind DeFi is from CeFi.

Based on numbers at the time of writing, the total market cap of non-stable coins stood at US$310bn. By contrast, the total market cap of stable coins stood at just US$16bn

Some of the main players within the DeFi space predict a 20 fold increase in the market cap of stablecoins. It is, therefore, unsurprising that there is an explosion in the number of protocols hitting DeFi.

The Projects

To view the current protocols launched within DeFi, DeFi Pulse provides a platform for protocols to list.

The list is broken down by function to make it easier for investors to find the protocol of their liking. These categorizations include:

Lending; Trading; Payments; Wallets; Interfaces; Infrastructure; Assets; and Scaling.

Additionally, there are the following categories to assist DeFi communities or new entrants:

Analytics; Education; Podcasts; Newsletters; and Communities.

While the projects are readily accessible, with DeFi Pulse making it easier for DeFi investors, key risks exist.

As a result of the very nature of DeFi, which is Permissionless and Trustless, not all of the protocols are audited.

Without governance and the anonymous nature, the protocol developers are anonymous. This has led to a vast number of scams and Ponzi schemes. Akin to any industry, bad news and dishonest participants tend to slow progress and, in particular, adoption.

Due to the sheer number of projects coming to the market, we, therefore, expect a period of consolidation. Many of the main players within the DeFi space expect that the vast majority of the existing projects will eventually fail.

What to look out for

When considering the view that a large number of scams and Ponzi schemes exist, there are ways to at least mitigate some of the risks.

These would include:

  • Avoid protocols that are unaudited or unverified: While DeFi is a Trustless and Permissionless world, the more serious projects provide investors with the necessary comfort.
  • Look for projects with longer vesting and incentive periods: Projects with vesting periods of as little as 2-weeks are unlikely to be there in a few months, let alone a few years. The anonymous founders will take their money and run… The same view is taken on incentives given to protocol communities. Within the DeFi space, it is the communities that are of greater importance. Short-term incentive schemes will not keep a community together for the longer-term. This should be considered negative.
  • Look for innovative protocols: The key to the success of DeFi is to deliver protocols over and above those available within the CeFi and banking space. Finding protocols that bring innovative financial services to the DeFi space will find support. This is assuming that they address the issues raised above.
  • Reputable Communities: As previously mentioned, communities are key to the success of a project. Not only must they be appropriately incentivized but they must also be reputable.
  • Governance and Transparency: Alongside the communities, some sort of governance is also needed. That should come from a degree of transparency in the early years before becoming fully Permissionless and Trustless.

The Risks

As with anything nascent, there are plenty of risks associated with DeFi. An advantage for the DeFi space, however, is certainly the lessons learned from the ICO boom.

For the DeFi space key risks and threats to its evolution include:

  • Bad news: As with any investment opportunity, bad news does not help. The ever-present threat of scams and hacks leave DeFi exposed to unscrupulous participants. News of thefts and hacks would give DeFi a bad name and put its advancement back by years.
  • Blockchain constraints: Ethereum’s blockchain is already at capacity. This means that the market requires a degree of fragmentation. Currently, Tron’s blockchain is the next viable alternative. Ensuring that there is not a complete fragmentation is important, however. A degree of specialization would be an acceptable solution. Here different blockchains would support different sectors…
  • Vesting and incentive periods: As previously discussed these would need to tie in developers and communities for the long haul. A cut and run mentality would slow the evolution and adoption of DeFi.
  • Financial Risk: Investors are currently exposed to the risk of significant loss. The developers and communities can mitigate some of the risks by:
    • Carrying out greater testing and verification to eliminate debilitating bugs.
    • Provide insurance to protect investor capital.
    • Educate: Vastly increase the education currently available on DeFi.
  • Platform Access: Simplify access to DeFi. The more user-friendly the greater the degree of user comfort. This is another avenue to build trust in the Trustless world of DeFi.

Looking Ahead

When considering the risks associated with DeFi, these are not wholly different from those seen in the CeFi space.

The key to the success of DeFi is to deliver communities with solutions that are also available in the CeFi and banking space. At a minimum, DeFi must deliver viable alternatives that deliver greater earning power.

Additionally, DeFi will need to be far more innovative and offer protocols that address the shortcomings of both CeFi and banks. In essence, this would be the development and mass adoption of automated asset managers.

Communities don’t need people but smart contracts that are able to locate the best earnings power across DeFi.

Coupled with smoother user experience, zero gas fees, and addressing the issue of unaudited smart contracts, the future does look bright.

DeFi will need to experience some consolidation, however. As was the case in the .Com and ICO booms, a large number of the DeFi projects will not last.

To prevent a DeFi implosion, however, developers and communities must address existing blockchain constraints. There will also need to be a greater degree of auditing, addressing vesting and incentive periods, and the availability of insurance to protect investors.

Fishing out the scammers and Ponzi schemes with limited reputational damage to DeFi will also be a must.

The Positives

Having said that, there are certainly some positives that yield optimism. These include:

  • Speed of innovation: While currently lagging CeFi, market leaders expect DeFi to grow exponentially relative to CeFi.
  • The benefit of hindsight: DeFi can take the lessons learned from CeFi and the ICO boom and avoid the same mistakes.
  • Early Awareness: There is early awareness of some of the key DeFi risks. This gives communities the opportunity to mitigate the risks quickly to support growth.
  • Education: As the news wires report huge earnings potential, the education side is also improving. There is yet the widespread awareness needed, however, to compete with the banking sector. DeFi remains a niche space today and will likely remain so for the near-term.

When considering the risks and the positives, addressing these while continuing to offer a greater earnings multiple would support a positive future for DeFi.

There is a sizeable audience that DeFi can capture with relative ease. Target audiences would include:

  • The non-banked: At the time of writing, the World Bank estimated 1.7bn people with access to basic banking. In the DeFi world, all a user would need is a mobile phone or a computer. There are no KYC or AML requirements…
  • CeFi Users: For CeFi users, a migration to DeFi seems a natural one. Once DeFi has gone through its teething problems it is hard to envisage CeFi keeping up.
  • Disgruntled banking customers: This is possibly the largest target audience of them all. For DeFi, the inflection point is expected to be when users don’t know that they are on DeFi. At this point, the banking community and CeFi may well find themselves in the history books.

In conclusion

We don’t expect a bust. The more innovative and transparent projects will likely enjoy longevity.

There is undoubtedly going to be some pain ahead, however, something that is hard to avoid in the early days.

As with blockchain and cryptos, the concepts are right and so it rests in the hands of innovators to deliver.

One curveball to consider, as always, is whether governments and central banks will allow the untimely demise of the global banking system.

If we learned anything from back in 2017 and 2018, anonymity within the world of finance is a no-no for governments.

How this plays out may eventually decide the fate of DeFi

How the Blockchain Can Turnaround Africa’s Mining Industry

The use of the blockchain, otherwise known as the Distributed ledger technologies (DLT), involves the setting up of digitally stored databases around several privately held locations around the globe, enabling the creation of electronic records which can be verified using peer-to-peer mechanisms, without any verifying party having centralized control of the database. Such a record is secure, accessible to all, and is immutable.

The very structure of the blockchain makes it suitable for use in eliminating the various challenges that have beset Africa’s mineral sector, which is riddled with problems that are created from the relative opacity of all segments of the sector. Take any person living in a typical African mining community and ask whether he or she knows what happens to the minerals taken from their soil and you would be lucky to get an informed answer.

The opacity of the processes involved from the extraction point to when the precious minerals and the payments change hands provides the perfect cover for those who game the system at all levels.

In many African countries, national governments do not even know how much of their minerals leave their shores. Such is the level of decadence in the mineral sector in Africa.

The situations above probably operate where there are legitimate governments in place. When there are conflict situations or conditions where renegade movements are in control of the areas where the mineral resources are located, things take a gory turn. The problems of conflict minerals which the film “Blood Diamonds” portrayed in a toned-down manner are now well known.

The emphasis now is to deploy initiatives that can address all the problems associated with Africa’s extractive industry and to bring about improvements. The use of distributed ledger technology will directly address the problems with record-keeping, traceability, and management of the entire supply chain. The blockchain can be used to enforce standards that comply with international conventions on the extraction, processing, marketing, and distribution of mineral resources and their derivatives.

The Issues

The political, economic and social cost of illegal mining in Africa is immense. From Ghana to DR Congo, Nigeria to South Africa, the story is the same. The locals and the economy of the mining communities are left impoverished as vast lands that could be used for agriculture are destroyed by uncontrolled and unethical mining methods.

Local workers are subjected to slave-like, dehumanizing conditions with armed soldiers paid for by these companies, set over these workers. The countries bleed foreign exchange as revenues that could have gone to development projects is siphoned off by large foreign corporations. The only gainers are the big mining companies, their executives and local collaborators in government and the communities.

The Blockchain: The Tool for Audibility and Accountability

Distributed ledger technologies have certain features that make them adaptable as tools of audibility and accountability in the African mineral sector.

  1. They are decentralized and available to all
  2. The records stored on the databases are immutable
  3. The records are open to public scrutiny and validation

The lack of a single clearinghouse or a single point at which information is warehoused makes it very hard to alter records pertaining to the mining operations. A government can in an instant, know who has been granted mining licenses, who has commenced operations, and which companies are not listed on the national database of mining licenses.

Records are secure and cannot be altered or subjected to fraudulent accounting practices. No single person can lay hold of control on the ecosystem. The records can be viewed by all. Transactions can be scrutinized and validated. Tax records of mining companies can immediately be accessed. Prosecution of errant parties in the mining industry can be made a lot easier as incontrovertible evidence of wrongdoing can be gathered quickly. Opacity is sacrificed instantly on the altar of transparency; this is what the blockchain offers.

The blockchain can significantly degrade the ability of those who game the mining industry in Africa in an instant. Its efforts can be supplemented by the demands of increasingly aware consumers, who want to be sure that what they are buying was ethically sourced in an environmentally friendly manner.

Consumers also want to be sure that what they are getting was not produced by dehumanizing labor practices, and that it passed through an accountable supply chain management system that can pinpoint the pathway of the minerals from point of origin to destination.

Blockchain technology is not a fix-all solution to the problems in Africa’s mining industry. But the blockchain forms a very strong foundation on which fundamental change can occur.

Use Case Applications of the Blockchain in Africa’s Mining Industry

One of the ways in which the blockchain can be used to benefit Africa’s mineral industries is by the tracking of conflict minerals. One country that is already doing this is Rwanda. Rwanda became the first country in the world to adopt blockchain technology in addressing the problem of conflict minerals within its borders. Rwanda uses the blockchain to track the entire mining chain of Tantalum, from the mining pots to the refining furnaces.

Another example of the use of distributed ledger technology to track minerals in Africa comes from a private company. IAMGOLD Corporation is a gold miner which is using the blockchain to track responsibly sourced gold. IAMGOLD Corporation has its African operations in Burkina Faso and uses a blockchain technology solution developed by California-based company, Emtech.

These two are examples of how a government and a private corporation in Africa are helping contribute to the use of distributed ledger technologies to combat Africa’s mining problems.

What Does 2020 Have in Store for the Blockchain?

2018 and 2019 could be described as years in which there was a redefinition of blockchain technology and to what uses it should be channelled to. The decline of the market in 2018 as well as the rollercoaster ride of 2019 gave room for real-life use cases for blockchain technology to come to the fore.

So what does 2020 have in store for the blockchain? We can expect to see the following:

1. Greater Regulation

A bill has been submitted to the US Congress seeking to provide a proper regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, with legal backing. Harnessing the full potential of the blockchain and cryptocurrencies is only possible when this industry is regulated just enough to root out the bad guys, but not too much as to stifle innovation.

Many countries may perhaps be waiting to see what model of regulation the US brings to the table. Successful deployment of a regulatory framework in the US could spur a slew of similar actions across the globe.

2. Greater Institutional Footprint

If blockchain assets and other digital currencies are brought into regulation in the US, this may finally give the confidence to other institutional players to bring money into the market, knowing that they have a cover for their humongous investments. Enterprise adoption is going to increase and we will see further deepening of the cryptocurrency market as well as adoption of more real life use cases for blockchain projects.

3. The Death of More ICOs of Yesteryears

Many more of the much-hyped ICOs of 2017 and 2018 that were on one form of life support or another may finally be killed off this year as disillusioned investors jettison whatever they can of their battered holdings in order to recover some of their investment. Many of those ICOs were simply riding the moving horse. With that horse starting to tire, it became aware of all the deadweight and started to throw them off its back. This is exactly what has happened to all the deadbeat ICOs which had no real product, no value to add, but only served as a way for the founders to make money off gullible people who could not predict what would happen down the road.

4. More Funding for Viable Blockchain Projects

Ripple was able to raise an additional $200m in December 2019 despite the underwhelming performance of its token in the market. The reason is simple: it has a working product which is gathering loads of attention from the relevant market and more players in that sector are signing up. Projects which have great use case scenarios will keep attracting more funding and more clientele. It will only be a matter of time before the boys are separated from the men.

5. Bitcoin to Continue Its Market Domination

Bitcoin looks good to continue its dominance in the cryptocurrency market. According to TradingBeasts cryptocurrency guide for novice traders, it still commands the market capitalization, the trading volumes and market interest all across the world to maintain this position. Mention some other cryptocurrency in some parts of the world and many would draw blank; mention Bitcoin and the lights come on.

We expect this to continue in 2020. This will be more pronounced in countries whose national currencies would struggle in the face of economic turmoil. In these areas, Bitcoin would become the new safe haven asset, which only serves to continue Bitcoin’s market domination.

6. Launch of a Few National Cryptocurrencies

Some countries are in the stage of conceptualization, or are already in advanced stages of development of their national cryptocurrencies. Examples of countries that are considering launching digital versions of their national currencies include Switzerland and China, although the latter continues to keep mum over such a development. 2020 may also see more countries opening discussions and consultations to kickstart the digitalization of their national countries. However, these discussions seem to be well pronounced in Europe, less so in Asia and virtually non-existent in Africa and Latin America. Will the lagging countries be open to the idea? 2020 will tell.

7. The Make or Break Year for Libra

Libra is yet to take off the blocks and already the project has started to face hitches with stiff opposition from the US, France and a few other countries. Some of its consort partners have also pulled out of the project. 2020 will determine if this project will take off or if Mark Zuckerberg and his team will decide to either kill off the project or replace it with something that is more agreeable to regulators and finance ministers.

So these are the events we think will shape the blockchain industry in 2020.

The Crypto and Blockchain World – Trading and Investing in Today’s World

The Landscape

Throughout 2018, we saw regulators across key crypto markets including, but not limited to, China, India, Japan, and South Korea, clamp down on what was commonly referred to as the Wild West of the Global Financial Markets.

Over the course of the current year, however, the public attitude has shifted.

There are numerous reasons behind this, including significant steps by regulators and governments to shut down the more cavalier exchanges permitting the trading of cryptocurrencies, without the need for the standard disclosures seen across exchanges offering to trade of more traditional asset classes.

While jurisdictional restrictions continue to be a thorn in the crypto sphere’s side, crypto exchanges have also made significant strides in delivering more technically advanced trading platforms.

Not only have exchanges delivered the platforms for the effective trading of cryptocurrencies, but a number have also been built on blockchain tech, adding an additional layer of security.

Cryptocurrency Trading

Since the early days, when investors were only able to invest in the actual cryptocurrencies across exchanges that were no able to protect investor funds, times have changed.

The crypto trading market has evolved from exchanges offering crypto to crypto trading, into trading between cryptocurrencies and fiat money, but also the trading of certificates of deposits, derivatives and more.

As crypto exchanges have developed, risk management and other platform capabilities have been introduced. Encouraged by the volatility and potential earnings the crypto market offers more seasoned investors crossed over.

Across the crypto exchange spectrum, the types of exchanges on offer vary. While some are under the more standard web-based models, others are built on a blockchain platform.

As the blockchain world expands, the number of exchanges and trading platforms based on blockchain is also on the rise.

One such trading platform is Torex.

Torex

Torex is a multifunctional blockchain platform supporting cryptocurrency trading.

The advantage of using Torex is that it consolidates different exchanges, coins, and analytical tools onto the Torex platform.

In the first quarter of 2020, traders will be able to trade, gain experience and share trading strategies.

The Torex trading platform delivers the following capabilities to support both more novice and advanced crypto trading:

Centralized Parallel Monitoring

Enables the tracking of cryptocurrency rates on different exchanges on the Torex platform.

Advanced Analytics

The platform is planned to provide diverse analytics, ranging from embedded news aggregators to detailed technical analysis.

Multi-Exchange & Multi-Coin

Fast operations with any coin or token (like Bitcoin and Ethereum for example) from different exchanges.

Diverse Trading Tools

The platform, in 2020, will allow traders to choose between API-trading, copy trading, arbitrage trading, crypto betting, and more.

Advanced Cryptocurrency Arbitrage

Torex’s Arbitrage Tool analyzes the liquidity and depth of order books across multiple crypto exchanges, providing traders with easy access to liquidity-driven price arbitrage.

Cryptocurrencies are considered to be the most volatile of asset classes, with values capable of rising or falling by a few percentage points in a matter of minutes.

The volatility delivers traders with the rare opportunity of inter-exchange arbitrage.

Torex provides traders with the platform to take advantage of arbitrage windows. An arbitrage window develops when the strike price of a cryptocurrency at one exchange is higher or lower than found on another.

Using the Torex Arbitrage Tool, traders are also able to adjust the parameters. Traders are able to select the exchanges, cryptocurrency pairings, minimum trading volumes, and the minimum percentage of profit expected.

This capability is delivered through the manual mode of the Torex Arbitrage Tool. In automatic mode, an arbitrage assistant will carry out the functions, with the trader being required to make only minor inputs.

Cross-Platform

Torex is fully functional on PC and mobile devices. (A fully functional mobile version for Android and iOS is due out in Q4, 2020)

The Future of Crypto Trading

The nascent nature of the crypto trading world means there are plenty of opportunities for traders, both the novice and more advanced alike.

Crypto exchanges will need to continue to develop and introduce greater capabilities to hold onto existing liquidity and fee income.

Additionally, being flexible as such to meet the ever-fluctuating demands on the regulatory front, is also an important factor for traders domiciled across multiple jurisdictions.

The minimum requirements for the vast majority of crypto traders now include:

Stop loss, take profit, and trailing stop orders. Traders now can simultaneously place stop loss and take profit orders.

Trailing stops have become more popular in the volatile world of crypto trading.

Trailing stops allow traders to adjust the order limit along with the price, which is essential within the more volatile crypto sphere.

Other Modern Trading Platform Capabilities

API Trading

API Trading allows traders to make transactions and monitor currency rates across different exchanges. The added advantage is that it supports the managing of several accounts on one exchange.

Torex uses the official APIs, developed and released by the leading stock exchanges. These APIs allow users to manage all of their exchanges on the Torex platform.

Crypto betting is similar to the futures markets, where investors and traders forecast future prices.

Crypto Betting

Another development in the crypto world is the offering of crypto betting. In crypto betting, the user needs to predict how the rate of a coin or token will change in a given period of time. (Due for release in Q3, 2020).

Idea Sharing

On the Torex platform, there is also the opportunity to share trading tips through an encrypted TOREX end-to-end messenger.

Trader ideas is a recommendation to open a transaction that a trader creates and makes visible to all users on the platform.

Within the Torex world, traders will be able to purchase a subscription for a given number of published ideas for a given number of days. In 2020 traders will have a possibility to make payments in Torex tokens, called TOR. Basic Torex functionality is and will be available free of charge.

For an investor, the investor pays a commission for the ability to view and accept trading ideas.

The platform uses a Telegram Messenger bot to ensure both quick and easy to view trading ideas and signals in support of the network.

Trading ideas provides traders and investors alike with the opportunity to seize on a series of trading ideas.

Torex will release the idea-sharing capability in Q1, 2020. The copy trading capability is due to roll out in the 2nd quarter.

Blockchain

As the cryptocurrency world has evolved, the number of exchanges developed on blockchain technology has also increased.

A key attribute to the use of blockchain technology is the level of trust and transparency it delivers.

There are a number of increasing advantages of using blockchain tech. These go beyond the recording of transactions on the exchange.

The use of smart contracts is certainly one, which delivers even greater transparency.

Conclusion

As the crypto trading world evolves, more traders and investors continue to cross over from more mature asset classes. Trading platforms, including Torex, will need to continue to deliver equivalent, if not, more advanced trading experience than seen across traditional exchanges.

Catering to the need of both traders and investors will further fuel interest in crypto trading.

Alongside the necessary tools to trade and the appropriate transaction logging, security and speed are also significant priorities.

Since the early days, when hacking and theft was rife, cryptocurrency market players have begun to provide a far safer environment.

Exchanges are increasingly using cold wallets, which holds funds offline and out of reach from hackers. 2-factor authentication (“2FA”) is widely offered to further protect investor and trader accounts. With that in mind, 2FA authentication is implemented in Torex universal trading platform as well.

Coding has also become more sophisticated. Ensuring that hackers are unable to break into the system and take what very little is online is key.

We can expect the use of blockchain and an ever-increasing number of capabilities across the exchanges and trading platforms to further support the cryptomarket.

By historical standards, more recent crypto exchange offerings are certainly more sophisticated.

This is not surprising when considering the risks associated with trading in cryptocurrencies.

For investors looking forward to Torex, the IEO is coming soon. The soft cap has already been reached. Torex’s intention is to create a sophisticated, transparent and truly universal platform to meet the needs of every crypto trader.