Značka: Decentralization

Crypto firms ignore Africa at their peril as continent set for major adoption

Even though the digital asset market seems to be witnessing a bit of a lull at the moment, the adoption of crypto-centric tech has continued to move forward with a full head of steam globally. Africa, in particular, is a continent where a growing list of mainstream financial entities have continued to make their presence felt, as they have begun to realize that the economic opportunities presented by the region are immense.To put things into perspective, a recent report released by Singapore-based crypto data provider Triple A shows that the North African country of Morocco currently boasts one of the largest crypto populations in the region at nearly 2.5%. The kingdom currently leading many prominent countries in terms of daily Bitcoin (BTC) trades, trailing only behind Saudi Arabia across the entirety of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, an impressive feat, to say the least.What’s even more interesting is that Morocco’s existing legislative framework is largely anti-crypto, with the country’s Foreign Exchange Office giving no indication of softening its stance anytime in the near future. Despite these stringent regulations, people across the region have continued to find means such as peer-to-peer (P2P) and over-the-counter trading through which to make inroads into this rapidly-evolving ecosystem.Crypto firms entering Africa at unprecedented rateEmmanuel Babalola, the Africa director for cryptocurrency exchange Binance, told Cointelegraph that with each passing month, the number of cross-collaborations taking place between local blockchain/crypto firms and various mainstream entities has continued to grow. Babalola said that most forward-looking tech companies are vying to gain exposure within the region, all while trying to help people across the continent embrace and realize the true utility of blockchain. He further pointed out that Binance has recently partnered with the Confederation of African Football (AFCON) to sponsor the TotalEnergies African Cup of Nations tournament, a move which he sees as a small step toward a grander scheme, adding:“The AFCON sponsorship was a very exciting one. Football is the most popular sport in Africa, one that unites the entire continent and so, sponsoring the biggest football tournament in Africa was honestly a no-brainer. It corroborates our mission to take crypto mainstream across the continent.”Staying in line with his company’s ideal of widespread crypto adoption across the African landscape, he also pointed out that Binance recently collaborated with some of the stars participating in this year’s iteration of Big Brother Naija (Nigeria) — the biggest reality show on the continent — to help bring crypto education to a wider mainstream audience. “We are [even] sponsoring Nigerian Idol — the Nigerian version of a popular singing contest,” he added.Lastly, Babalola noted that in recent months, many unprecedented happenings have taken place across the global crypto ecosystem such as countries like El Salvador adopting Bitcoin as legal tender — something he believes was totally unfathomable just a few years ago — and thus it would not be surprising to see African nations follow suit:“I think this is only the beginning of things to come. In general, as institutional interest in cryptocurrencies continues to rise, more mainstream entities making their way into the region is inevitable.”Crypto can help redefine business across AfricaWhen asked about the continued growth of crypto across Africa, especially within the northern part of the continent, Adedayo Adebajo, Africa director for Jelurida, a blockchain software company that develops and maintains the Nxt and Ardor blockchains, told Cointelegraph that a vast majority of African countries like to consider themselves as one bloc, rather than being divided into regional categories.In this regard, he noted that one aspect that has united most people living in Africa is their lack of tangible business opportunities, as well as a clear lack of access to high-quality banking alternatives that they can use to send and receive funds from across the globe. Adebajo added:“African nations believed they were left out of the first three industrial revolutions. The 4IR (fourth industrial revolution) technology including blockchain and cryptocurrency has, for the first time in history, provided them with an opportunity to participate in making history. Most governments in the continent are now open to capacity building and localizing solution developments, among others. To do so, their doors remain wide open to foreign offers that will get them closer to their aim.”When asked about the challenges that may arise as a result of most nations in the continent (especially those located across North Africa) adhering to an Islamic way of life, Adebajo noted that the key issue preventing crypto-based banking services from reaching the masses is not religion but a clear lack of understanding of what the technology brings to the table. “As Muslims, we have learned from quotable religious scholars that we are not excluded from using crypto or participating in its offerings, although this stance may perhaps remain debatable,” he added.Related: Indonesia’s national Islamic council reportedly declares Bitcoin haramBlockchain-based banking solutionAfrica’s vast geographic size compounded by the presence of many small economies across the continent has led to many nations struggling with systematic infrastructure development, especially when it comes to financial services, something that has resulted in 57% of the continent’s population remaining unbanked. RJ Katunda, co-founder of African project World Mobile, a Cardano-based mobile network, told Cointelegraph that over the years, Africans have gradually become accustomed to using innovative payment systems such as Kenya’s M-Pesa.However, he pointed out that there are now newer blockchain-based alternatives beginning to emerge, setting the context for crypto and digital currencies that offer a more convenient and direct P2P channel for remittance payments, international commerce and savings. He added:“With many economies growing rapidly, crypto and blockchain-based projects will continue to enter Africa, where their proposition is relevant and where they can form partnerships with local entities. While many individuals use cryptocurrency in Africa, legislation in many countries lags. As in other jurisdictions, cryptocurrencies don’t fit within current regulatory frameworks.”In essence, Katunda believes that the core issue preventing widespread adoption of crypto-tech (especially from a financial standpoint) across the region is a lack of perceived central control from many governments, which creates difficulties for authorities to oversee and mitigate bad practices. “However, many governments have announced that they are working on regulatory frameworks to emerge in the near future,” he closed out by saying.Africa cannot be ignored any longerAkin Jones, a partner at Gluwa Capital, an Africa-based investment fund focused exclusively on fintech lenders using blockchain technology, told Cointelegraph that Africa’s growing population and adoption of cryptocurrency mean that companies ignoring the continent are either not serious about the technology in the long term or have failed to realize the massive financial proposition currently in front of them.In Jones’ view, Bitcoin could very well become legal tender across many African nations since most of these countries already find it quite hard to trade with each other because of constant currency fluctuations. Talking about North Africa in particular, he further opined that since the region serves as a bridge between Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, it would make a lot of sense for fintech firms to consider making inroads there, adding:“Identity management, land ownership and insurance are three key areas that could be improved on across North Africa which could help change the perception in the region. CBDCs [central bank digital currencies] could also help ease the acceptance of cryptocurrency in this regard.”Thus, it will be interesting to see how things shape out for the continent from here on out, especially since many of the nations within the region are known to suffer from an extremely high level of red tape. With many governments fast realizing the potential that crypto and blockchain possess, however, it would not be surprising to see countries making way for more foreign investment from established firms operating within this rapidly maturing sector.

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BIS general manager: Central banks generate trust, not big techs or “anonymous ledgers”

In a speech entitled “Digital currencies and the soul of money,” Agustín Carstens, the general manager of the Bank of International Settlements, criticized private stablecoins and decentralized finance (DeFi), touting central bank-led financial innovation as the best possible path to the future of money.Carstens, who served as governor of the Bank of Mexico between 2010 and 2017, delivered his remarks at the conference on “Data, Digitalization, the New Finance and Central Bank Digital Currencies: The Future of Banking and Money” at the Goethe University in Frankfurt.The economist’s argument revolved around the institutional foundations of money and how, even in the digital age, central banks remain in a position to provide trust in money and ensure “an efficient and inclusive financial system to the benefit of all.” Alternative designs of monetary systems that emerged throughout history, according to the BIS’ top official, “have often ended badly.”To advance his point, Carstens discussed three plausible scenarios of financial innovation. In addition to the global monetary system led by central banks, he envisioned a world where big tech-powered stablecoins are the dominant form of money, and another where the bulk of financial activity is decentralized and runs on distributed ledgers.The stablecoin scenario, Carstens maintained, is fraught with market power and data concentration at the hands of a few dominant private money issuers. National and global monetary systems would become fragmented, while the disintermediation of incumbent banks would threaten financial stability.Speaking of DeFi, the BIS boss claimed that the reality that DeFi applications are delivering is at odds with their proclaimed foundational principles of disintermediation. Carstens said:”To date, the DeFi space has been used primarily for speculative activities. Users invest, borrow and trade crypto assets in a largely unregulated environment. The absence of controls such as Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering rules, might well be one important factor in DeFi’s growth.”Furthermore, echoing BIS researchers’ recent claims, Carstens stated that “there is a lot of centralization in DeFi.” He also cited scalability issues and liquidity mismatches as problematic aspects of decentralized finance.In the vision of the monetary future that the economist extolled, central banks are at the core of the financial system, facilitating innovation such as building a global network of CBDCs. Because they are not profit-driven, central banks would act to advance the interests of the public, according to Carstens.These statements come as no surprise when voiced by a chief officer of an institution that is often called a bank for central banks. As Cointelegraph reported earlier, the BIS’ innovation arm is actively engaged in several CBDC trials, including the cross-border settlement initiative ran jointly by central banks of France and Switzerland.

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Russian protest group Pussy Riot seeks to tackle gender inequality in the NFT space

Russian punk rock collective Pussy Riot is planning to launch a DAO for LBTQ+ and women artists.As the group’s co-founder Nadya Tolokonnikova told Cointelegraph, The DAO will be working on reducing the gender inequality that still marks the NFT space and, more broadly, the crypto industry. Despite the large gender gap in crypto — around 60% of US crypto investors are white men according to a survey from August 2021 — Nadya is convinced that it is still early enough for Pussy Riot to make an impact. “The NFT space is still so small, I feel that with a good enough effort you can actually change it”, she said. Nadya is already using her follower base to promote the work of women and LGBTQ+ artists and connect them with potential collectors. The DAO will continue doing so but on a larger scale. “We are going to hire a whole team who will be creating educational material for girls who want to enter the space”, said Nadya. Punk rock group Pussy Riot has gained worldwide popularity for its provocative performances and criticism of the Russian government. Last year, Pussy Riot started using NFTs to raise money for social causes. In March 2021, the video of their music single “Panic Attack” sold for a total of 178 ETH as an NFT series. Most of the money was then donated to victims of domestic violence. “I wanted to bring large human rights and charitable components to NFTs”, Nadya said. Check out the full interview on our Youtube channel and don’t forget to subscribe!

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‘Centralization issues’ are the biggest culprits of DeFi attacks: CertiK

Decentralized finance, better known as DeFi, may not be “decentralized” enough as attackers exploited centralized weak points to drain users of billions of dollars in 2021, according to research from blockchain security firm CertiK. In a new report on the state of DeFi security in 2021, CertiK researchers said “centralization issues were the most common attack vector” within decentralized finance. The blockchain security firm cited 44 DeFi hacks totaling $1.3 billion in lost funds in 2021. That’s an increase of over $500 million compared with 2021. “This underscores the importance of decentralization and highlights the fact that many projects still have work to do to reach this goal,” CertiK said, adding:“Centralization is antithetical to the ethos of DeFi and poses major security risks. Single points of failure can be exploited by dedicated hackers and malicious insiders alike.”Research undertaken by ImmuneFi revealed that the value lost due to DeFi hacks and related scams exceeded $10 billion over the past year, revealing major discrepancies in how exploits are classified and tracked. However, most research on the matter seems to agree that security exploits targeting DeFi projects have witnessed a steep rise.Although DeFi exploits have undermined the legitimacy of cryptocurrency markets in the eyes of traditional investors and legacy financial systems, CertiK offered a silver lining: 2021’s losses represented only 0.05% of crypto’s total market capitalization, down 17% from the previous year. Related: What is a honeypot crypto scam and how to spot it?The cryptocurrency market peaked just north of $3 trillion in November 2021 after starting the year below $800 billion, according to CoinGecko data. DeFi was a major growth catalyst for crypto, with the sector’s total value locked rising from less than $20 billion at the start of 2021 to a record high of nearly $260 billion in December. Total value locked, also known as TVL, refers to assets that are currently being staked on DeFi protocols.Total TVL is down from record highs but remains well above $200 billion. Source: DeFi LlamaCertiK cited the growing popularity of Binance Smart Chain (BSC) as one of the biggest reasons for DeFi’s success. Between January and December 2021, BSC’s TVL grew from $62 million to $21 billion — an increase of 31,000%.Demand for CertiK’s blockchain security services appears to be on the rise as more projects look to avoid falling victim to scams and exploits. The company audited a total of 1,737 projects in 2021. As Cointelegraph reported, CertiK is approaching unicorn status after securing $80 million in Series B2 investments that concluded in late November 2021.

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What should the crypto industry expect from regulators in 2022? Experts answer, Part 2

Michelle is the CEO of the Association for Digital Asset Markets, which works in partnership with financial firms and regulatory experts to devise a code of conduct for digital asset markets. “2021 was the year Washington woke up to the digital assets industry. The year started with the rushed FinCEN “Unhosted Wallets” proposal, which the industry was able to voice its concerns and delay. At the same time, pro-digital asset Senator Cynthia Lummis joined the Senate. As the Biden Administration got up to speed on digital assets, it seemed like all of Washington was studying the industry in some shape or form. Then came the Infrastructure Bill, which contained a rushed provision defining a broker for tax reporting purposes. This flawed language unleashed digital asset supporters from all segments of U.S. society and made it clear that policymakers and regulators need to act carefully and consider innovation as a key pillar of their decisions. The year culminated on a highly positive note with the early December crypto CEOs hearing in front of the House Financial Services Committee. Lawmakers were surprisingly warm to all participants and were genuinely interested in the innovation benefits that can be harnessed in Web 3.0. The hearing went a long way to legitimizing crypto in DC, similar to how bank CEOs appear in front of Congress on a yearly basis. Looking to 2022, lawmakers are starting to realize the long term benefits this industry can provide to the United States, and this, combined with the Biden administration being in office for a year, now presents a real window to get something done on a bipartisan basis to advance the industry and provide guardrails for market integrity and consumer protection. I expect to see a responsible public policy framework developed, from which the industry can flourish and the U.S. can benefit.”

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What should the crypto industry expect from regulators in 2022? Experts answer, Part 1

Hatu is the co-founder and chief strategy officer of DAO Maker, which creates growth technologies and funding frameworks for startups while simultaneously reducing risks for investors. “2021 has been a stop-start year for crypto and DeFi, as regulatory bodies have not clarified their stance on the industry. This has held back the retail population from getting involved, and this is a huge opportunity cost for the industry. However, with El Salvador adopting Bitcoin as legal tender and more countries embracing crypto, the future looks brighter. In 2021, yes, there have been multiple deliberations at various levels regarding crypto and its regulatory status. Governments and regulatory authorities across the globe have expressed reservations against the mainstreaming of crypto. However, they also realize the industry is maturing and currently is even too big to have a blanket ban imposed. I believe blockchain technology must be nowhere near the regulatory scheme of things, as the tech and its applications supersede the need for oversight. They bring much-needed facets like transparency and decentralization to the forefront. Regulating blockchain technology will only adversely impact our evolution as a society. Apart from this, in 2022, I expect more acceptance on the regulatory front as crypto aims to revolutionize the financial system across the globe with DeFi. Crypto forensics is on the rise, and I expect it to be adopted by governments to safeguard their citizens. Regulations are necessary for crypto in 2022, but restrictions are not.”

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Crypto regulation concerns make decentralized stablecoins attractive to DeFi investors

Stablecoins have emerged as a foundational part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem over the past couple of years due to their ability to provide crypto traders with an offramp during times of volatility and their widespread integration with decentralized finance (DeFi). These are necessary for the health of the ecosystem as a whole. Currently, Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC) are the dominant stablecoins in the market, but their centralized nature and the persistent threat of stablecoin regulation have prompted many in the crypto community to shun them and search for decentralized alternatives. Top 9 stablecoins by reported market capitalization. Source: MessariBinance USD (BUSD) is the third-ranked stablecoin and is controlled by the Binance cryptocurrency exchange. DAI, the top ranked decentralized stablecoin, has 38% of its supply backed by USDC which, again, raises questions about its “decentralization.”Investors’ pivot toward decentralized stablecoins can be noted by the rising market capitalizations and the number of DeFi platforms integrating TerraUSD (UST), FRAX (FRAX) and Magic Internet Money (MIM).Here’s a look at some of the factors backing the growth of each stablecoin.TerraUSDTerraUSD (UST) is an interest-bearing algorithmic stablecoin that is part of the Terra (LUNA) ecosystem and is designed to remain value-pegged with the United States dollar. In order to mint new UST, users are required to interact with Anchor Protocol and either burn an equivalent value of the network’s native LUNA token or lock up an equivalent amount of Ether (ETH) as collateral. The addition of Ether as a form of collateral really helped kick things into high gear for UST because it allowed for some of the value held in Ether to migrate into the Terra ecosystem and this resulted in an increase to UST circulating supply. 1/ bETH is now live on the Anchor web app!You can now borrow $UST against bETH, a wrapped version of the stETH staking derivative for ETH 2.0. We teamed up with @LidoFinance to provide a guide to using bETH on Anchor. https://t.co/T5KkGNNAYE— Anchor Protocol (@anchor_protocol) August 13, 2021As a result of the growth of UST, the Terra network recently surpassed Binance Smart Chain in terms of total value locked (TVL) on the protocol, which now sits at $17.43 billion, according to data from DefiLlama. Terra has also been adopted by the Curve stablecoin ecosystem which further helped its distribution across numerous DeFi protocols. This also gives UST holders another way to earn a yield alongside the 19.5% annual percentage yield (APY) offered to users who stake their UST on Anchor Protocol. FRAXFRAX (FRAX) is a first-of-its-kind fractional-algorithmic stablecoin developed by Frax Protocol. It is partially backed by collateral and the remaining portion is stabilized algorithmically.The real story behind the growth of FRAX starts with its adoption by the DeFi community within multiple well-known projects and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) voting to add support for the stablecoin within their ecosystems and treasuries. FRAX was adopted early on by the OlympusDAO rebase protocol as a form of collateral that could be bonded to obtain the platform’s native OHM token. It also became the stablecoin of choice within the recently launched TempleDAO protocol.On Dec. 22, 2021, FRAX was added to Convex Finance (CVX) and was immediately thrust into the ongoing Curve Wars where a handful of major DeFi protocols are battling to accumulate CVX and Curve (CRV) to gain voting power over the Curve network and increase their stablecoin yield.The @fraxfinance Convex soft-launch has begun.https://t.co/oZ9WKZxNXRDeposit + convert $FXS to $cvxFXS— Convex Finance (@ConvexFinance) December 22, 2021

This week, the Curve Wars received a new participant after Tokemak members voted to add FRAX and Frax Share (FXS) to its Token Reactor, vowing to “bring the fight to a massive new scale.” Magic Internet Money Magic Internet Money (MIM) is a collateral-backed stablecoin issued by a popular DeFi protocol called Abracadabra.Money. What differentiates this coin is that it is “summoned” into existence when users deposit one 16 supported cryptocurrencies in “cauldrons” that support MIM.There are limitations placed on the amount that can be borrowed from the assets supported on Abracadabra and this is part of the protocol’s effort to avoid the problems faced by MakerDAO (DAI). Namely, the presence of too many centralized stablecoins and the history of catastrophic liquidations during market volatility. Some of the popular tokens available to pledge as collateral to mint MIM include wrapped Ether (wETH), Ether, Shiba Inu (SHIB), FTX Token (FTT) and Fantom (FTM).‍♂️!Our first zero-interest lending market is here!1️⃣ Provide $WETH as collateral and mint $MIM or leverage your $ETH!- Interest 0%- Liquidation Fee 4%- LTV 90%- Borrow Fee 0.5%What are you waiting for anon? Mint now!https://t.co/N3r54iPo7n— ‍♂️ (@MIM_Spell) December 31, 2021

MIM has also been integrated into the pools on Curve Finance, further highlighting the important role that Curve plays for stablecoins within the DeFi ecosystem and underscoring the incentives for participating in the Curve Wars. MIM’s cross-platform and centralized exchange integration, including its long list of collateral options, have boosted its circulating supply to $1.933 billion, making it the sixth-ranked stablecoin in terms of market capitalization.While the amount of value held in these decentralized stablecoins is only a fraction of that held in USDT and USDC, they are likely to continue to see their market share increase in the months ahead as proponents of decentralization choose them over their centralized counterparts. Want more information about trading and investing in crypto markets?The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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ImmuneFi report $10B in DeFi hacks and losses across 2021

Decentralized finance, or DeFi, security platform and bug bounty service ImmuneFi published an official report on Thursday, which calculated the total volume of losses in the cryptocurrency markets in 2021. According to its report, the company found that losses resulting from hacks, scams and other malicious activities exceeded $10.2 billion dollars over the past year.Responsible for protecting over $100 billion worth of assets for a number of well-established DeFi protocols, including Synthetix, Chainlink, SushiSwap and PancakeSwap, among others, ImmuneFi has regularly facilitated seven-figure pay-outs to whitehat hackers and other good-willed entities for preventing protocol compromises.According to the report, across 2021, there were 120 instances of crypto exploits or fraudulent rug-pulls, the highest-valued hack being Poly Network at $613 million, followed by Venus and BitMart with $200 million and $150 million, respectively.Other notable entries to the list were Alpha Finance and Cream Finance, who were both hacked for $37.5 million, Yearn.finance’s $11 million, Furucombo’s $14 million evil contract exploit, as well as the infamous Alchemix reverse rug in which the platform’s users claimed a welcome fortune due of $6.5 million after a withdrawal issue arose with one of the platform’s smart contracts synthetic assets, alETH.The year 2021 saw a stark rise in both the frequency and volume of security breaches in comparison to the previous year, which recorded 123 incidences totaling $4.38 billion, a 137% increase.We’ve just released our report for 2021 on crypto losses stemming from hacks and scams. In total, the DeFi ecosystem saw a loss of $10,210,188,549 Read more facts and figures here:https://t.co/gCWiOqjhhZ pic.twitter.com/zEX28yg0vD— Immunefi (@immunefi) January 7, 2022In conversation with Cointelegraph, CEO and founder of Immunefi, Mitchell Amador, spoke of his optimism for the future of on-chain security, despite what he described as a “year of dramatic losses” for the industry.“Despite the appearance of entirely new vulnerabilities in the onchain economy, the community is adapting rapidly. At Immunefi alone, we saved double the amount lost to exploitation this year, and security best practices are circulating throughout the community.”Amador cited ImmuneFi’s role in facilitating Polygon’s (MATIC) recent $3.47 million pay-out to two whitehat hackers for their instrumental role in averting what was described as a “critical” vulnerability in the network’s proof-of-stake Genesis contract, placing almost all of the MATIC token supply of $10 billion at risk.Related: Recounting 2021’s biggest DeFi hacking incidentsIn September last year, ImmuneFi organized what was reported at the time as being the largest bounty in the history of DeFi to renowned white hat programmer Alexander Schlindwein for averting a potential $10-million bug crisis in automated market maker, or AMM, protocol Belt Finance.Schlindwein received a compensation of $1.05 million in total, $1 million of which was granted by Belt Finance with ImmuneFi acting as the middleman, and the remaining $50,000 offered by Binance Smart Chain’s Priority One program.In October, ImmuneFi announced a $5.5 million capital raise from a number of institutional investors, including Blueprint Forest, Electric Capital, with the intention of expanding its security services across the DeFi industry in a concerted effort to lower the prevalence and financial impact of benevolent security exploits in the space.

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3 reasons why Cosmos (ATOM) price is near a new all-time high

Blockchain network interoperability is shaping up to be one of the main themes for the cryptocurrency ecosystem in 2022. New users are continuing to onboard into the growing world of crypto while both new and established projects search for the chain that will best serve the needs of their protocol and community. One project that has 2022 off to a bullish start thanks to its focus on facilitating the communication between separate networks is Cosmos (ATOM). This project bills itself as “the internet of blockchains” and seeks to facilitate the development of an interconnected decentralized economy. Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows that since hitting a low of $25.06 on Dec. 30, the price of ATOM has rallied 75% to hit a daily high at $43.98 on Jan. 4 as its 24-hour trading volume spiked to $2.54 billion. ATOM/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingViewThree reasons for the surging price of ATOM include the launch of a cross-chain bridge which makes the protocol Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible and an upcoming Theta upgrade which will rapidly expand the ecosystem of connected chains and applications.Cosmos nears EVM compatibilityThe most significant development that has provided a boost to ATOM is the rollout of Evmos, an EVM-compatible protocol that will allows assets and projects that operate on the Ethereum (ETH) network to migrate over to the Cosmos ecosystem. @EvmosOrg is an application-agnostic @cosmos chain ⚛️@EvmosOrg will be interoperable with @Ethereum, EVM-compatible environments, and other chains via IBC, making it easy to move value across chains ⛓Learn about @EvmosOrg network architecture https://t.co/VfDiYxVkte pic.twitter.com/20iMai6B3Z— Figment (@Figment_io) December 7, 2021Up to this point, there had not been a way for Ethereum-based projects to interact with the Cosmos ecosystem. This significantly limited the number of projects and tokens that could interact with DeFi and NFT projects in the Cosmos ecosystem.Gravity Bridge, which launched on Dec. 15, is another project dedicated to facilitating the bridging of assets between Ethereum and Cosmos and currently it operates as a standalone chain. Plans to migrate to the Cosmos Hub in early 2022 are currently underway.Preparing for the Theta upgradeA second development that has put wind in the sails of Cosmos is the protocol’s upcoming Theta upgrade which is scheduled for March 31. Some of the new features included in the upgrade include the addition of meta-transactions, where transactions can be submitted by separate accounts that receive tips and the introduction of inter-chain accounts which allow users to manage accounts across multiple blockchains. Another feature is liquid staking, a system where users utilize the value of staked assets in other parts of the Cosmos ecosystem. The Theta upgrade also includes NFT modules, which enable the simple management of NFT identifiers, their owners and associated data.Related: ROSE gains 54% in a week as Oasis Network ecosystem expandsExpanding ecosystems are typically bullishA third reason for the bullish momentum of ATOM is ecosystem’s expansion to 28 live, interconnected chains that total more than $68 billion in total value. Cosmos is the only cross-chain ecosystem in the world that uses an interoperability standard.#CosmosFactshttps://t.co/HwBEUuchyP pic.twitter.com/9b9YRyLfVS— Cosmos – Internet of Blockchains ⚛️ (@cosmos) December 30, 2021

Some of the more established chains that have joined the Cosmos ecosystem include the Binance Smart Chain, Terra (LUNA) and Crypto.com (CRO), while the biggest projects using Cosmos’ software development kit (SDK) include Osmosis (OSMO), Secret (SCRT), Oasis Network (ROSE) and Kava (KAVA). As the bridge protocols linking Cosmos with other EVM-compatible networks are established, the number of chains connected to the Cosmos Hub is likely to increase. This will bring an increase in the total value of the ecosystem along with it. VORTECS™ data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro began to detect a bullish outlook for ATOM on Dec. 29, prior to the recent price rise. The VORTECS™ Score, exclusive to Cointelegraph, is an algorithmic comparison of historical and current market conditions derived from a combination of data points including market sentiment, trading volume, recent price movements and Twitter activity.VORTECS™ Score (green) vs. ATOM price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets ProAs seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ Score for ATOM began to pick up on Dec. 28 and climbed to a high of 81 just as the price began to increase 67% over the next six days.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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What’s ahead for crypto and blockchain in 2022? Experts Answer, Part 3

Alex is a writer, speaker, investor and adviser focused on the impact of emerging technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies. He is the general manager of Ninepoint Digital Assets Group, an investment management services provider in the field of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.  “I think 2022 is the year of multichain. 2021 saw the rise of new layer-one protocols like Solana and Avalanche that promised to improve on Ethereum with faster throughputs and lower fees. But these benefits may prove impermanent. As they become more popular, they may suffer the same fate as Ethereum. Remember, Ethereum fees used to be cheap too until the network found a product-market fit with the rise of liquidity mining and other DeFi applications.  With a tsunami of new users coming into the ecosystem, it became a victim of its own success. Fees skyrocketed, turning Ethereum into a ‘whalechain,’ meaning only the wealthy could afford the fees. The same thing could happen to other layer ones. That’s OK. I believe the scarcest resource in the world for the next few years will be block space. All these layer ones will probably fill up, meaning we need better ways to interconnect different protocols.  Most new crypto users will only interact at the application layer, not knowing or caring what base chain they run on. That means making interoperability a reality. A few groups are working on multichain, including Cosmos, which supports hundreds of crypto assets worth tens of billions of dollars. 2022 is the year of Multichain Maximalism, and Cosmos is leading the way.”

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Yearn.finance risks pullback after YFI price gains 100% in less than 3 weeks

Yearn.finance (YFI) looks poised for a price correction after rising five days in a row to approach $42,000. Notably, an absence of enough buying volume coupled with overbought risks is behind the bearish outlook.The YFI price rally so farYFI’s price surged by a little over 47% in five days to $41,970 as traders rotated capital out of “top-cap” cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) and looked for short-term opportunities in the altcoin market. #DeFi assets are showing some nice signs of growth to kick off 2022. $YFI, $UNI, and $AAVE are all ticking up nicely thus far with the first Monday of the year looking #bullish for several #altcoins. https://t.co/8ujolCvt5z pic.twitter.com/ASpf1dUbtn— Santiment (@santimentfeed) January 3, 2022Yearn.finance was among the beneficiary of the so-called capital migration, given its value against BTC and ETH rose almost 47% and 41.50%, respectively, in just five days. Meanwhile, at the core of traders’ sudden buying interest in the YFI markets was a token buyback program.YFI/ETH and YFI/BTC daily price performances after token buyback program announcement. Source: TradingViewOn Dec. 16, the Yearn.finance team announced that it had purchased more than $7.5 million worth of YFI tokens from the open market at an average price of $26,651 per unit. It also revealed $45 million extra cash in its treasury that it would use to continue its YFI buyback spree.Additionally, the Yearn.finance community also proposed that the YFI treasury direct a portion of the token buyback to reward YFI holders who actively participate in Yearn Governance. The proposal (full details here) is currently in its voting phase.1/8Since the cat is out of the bag here:-Yearn has started massively buying back YFI.-They are revisiting their tokenomics to do a fee distribution to holders, currently looking at veCRV model and xSushi models.-The ratios are insane. https://t.co/CzuHhbNuhx— Adam Cochran (@adamscochran) December 16, 2021

YFI’s price surged by more than 100% against the United States dollar after the token buyback announcement.YFI’s price correction risksHowever, YFI’s trading volume fell despite the rally, suggesting the low conviction among traders in its upward movement. YFI/USD daily price chart featuring price-volume divergence. Source: TradingViewTypically, a bearish divergence between price and volume leads to either correction or consolidation until conviction increases. As a result, the likelihood of YFI at least pausing its ongoing price rally is high, with its daily relative strength index also entering its overbought zone above 70, a sell signal.Related: YFI price gains 46% in just four days after Yearn.finance’s $7.5M buybackAdditionally, the Yearn.finance token’s latest price rally has brought it closer to a known inflection zone near $40,000, as shown via the Fibonacci retracement graph in the chart below.YFI/USD three-day price chart featuring Fib entry and exit levels. Source: TradingViewIn detail, the 0.618 Fib line near $40,113 has been limiting YFI’s upside intraday attempts. The same level was instrumental in stopping the token’s price rally between October and November, which later led YFI’s price to its 12-month low near $17,000.Nonetheless, if bulls manage to push YFI’s price above the 0.618 line decisively, they may also take the token out of its multi-month range defined by about $25,500 as support and $40,000 as resistance. In that scenario, YFI’s next upside target may move toward the 0.5 Fib line around $51,000.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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What’s ahead for crypto and blockchain in 2022? Experts Answer, Part 2

Alan is the chief legal officer at PrimeBlock, a sustainable Bitcoin mining operation, infrastructure solutions provider and member of the Bitcoin Mining Council, with locations spread across North America. “We’re going to see more countries adopting crypto as a legal currency. We’re also going to see central governments coming out and taking their own currencies and putting them on a blockchain. China has already said it is going to do this, which will speed up the real competition for private cryptocurrencies from a payment perspective.  Central bank digital currencies do not present competition from a store of value or inflation protection perspective because it’s still the same fiat currency, subject to the same monetary policy manipulation by central banks. It’s certainly something that is fully digital, transparent, and has both good things and some very scary things that come with it. The hope is that, at least in the United States, the dialogues around CBDCs will happen alongside maintaining the values of our society in mind, including our own privacy and control. How China versus the U.S. will run it will differ, so the dialogue needs to consciously ask the right questions. There’s a way to get carried away with technology that really ignores the fundamental, social, political, philosophical and legal impacts it could have on society. It’s an immensely powerful tool — I’m not understating or overstating it. The government has a lot of regulatory control of the payment, banking and monetary systems now by regulating important intermediaries like banks and other entities. This is going to be directly impacting us on a micro level.”

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