Category Archives: Cointelegraph.com

Fidelity and Nexo are entering institutional lending market

Fidelity Digital Assets — the crypto wing of Fidelity Investments — and crypto borrowing and exchange platform Nexo have announced a partnership to offer crypto custodial services, products and lending services for institutional investors. The two firms will create a comprehensive product line and legal infrastructure for institutional investors looking to get exposure to cryptocurrencies.The partnership with Fidelity Digital Assets will allow Nexo to extend its asset portfolio and add a second custody level to its security architecture, according to an announcement. It also enables Fidelity Digital Assets institutional investors access to Nexo’s services as well as crypto prime brokerage.Kalin Metodiev, co-founder and managing partner at Nexo, commented on the development saying:“Working with Fidelity Digital Assets is the latest milestone in our quest to offer a complete institutional platform and to onboard traditional finance companies into the digital asset ecosystem. Our client base will now have full use of our industry-leading credit and trading products with reliance on Fidelity Digital Assets’ bespoke custody and security solutions.”Related: Institutional investors bought the dip as China FUD brokeChristopher Tyrer, head of Fidelity Digital Assets in Europe, said that the firm has seen significant growth in institutional investor interest on the continent, and has expanded its partnerships in order to meet that demand.Fidelity Investments has been ambitious in its plans for the institutional cryptocurrency market, making a number of strategic hires in the space. The company appears to be taking a more holistic approach to cryptocurrency, as the asset manager seeks to provide more institutional access points. 

Tezos blockchain notes power savings after PoS switch: PwC report

Tezos, a privacy-focused blockchain network, released its carbon footprint report from PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory SAS, a French member firm of the PwC network. The PwC report reflects drastic improvements in energy efficiency for Tezos since moving from a proof-of-work (PoW) to a proof-of-stake (PoS) mining consensus. The PwC report highlighted a significant decline in carbon emission by Tezos network despite a rise in network activity. The Tezos blockchain accounted for 50 million transactions while, according to the report, the whole network constituted an energy footprint of 17 world citizens. The energy efficiency for each transaction on the network increased by 70% while the estimated electricity requirement per transaction was 30% lower than in 2020.”As more brands and companies factor energy consumption into business decisions, an energy-efficient blockchain like Tezos is well poised to meet their needs and deliver efficient, secure and reliable operations,” said Reid Yager, global director of communications at Blokhaus, a marketing firm associated with Tezos.The annual energy consumption of the Tezos network is estimated to be at 0.001 Terawatt hours (TWh), which is negligible when compared to the likes of Bitcoin (BTC) at 130 TWh and Ethereum (ETH) at 26 TWh. Tezos consumes nearly 2.5 g CO2 equivalent per transactionRelated: French retail giant will launch Tezos-based stablecoinThe change to PoS has not only helped the Tezos network to decrease its carbon footprint, but has also opened new avenues in nonfungible tokens (NFT) and decentralized finance. Tezos has been selected by Red Bull Racing, Honda and McLaren Racing as their NFT launch platform. It was also named the blockchain of choice by Art Basel Miami Beach for its ecosystem exhibition.There has been a significant increase in the number of blockchain networks making the switch from PoW to PoS owing to energy consumption issues and scalability complexities. ZCash (ZEC), another privacy-focused blockchain network, is making the switch to PoS. Most of the blockchain networks moving to POS are looking to steer clear of the energy consumption FUD associated with the PoW mining consensus.

Bitcoin price aims for $52K as stocks rebound fuels bullish return

Bitcoin (BTC) attempted to crack $51,600 resistance throughout Dec. 7 as BTC/USD gained in line with an equities rebound.BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingViewBitcoin: “The trend is still up”Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed the largest cryptocurrency making repeated assaults on the $51,600 mark Tuesday.At the time of writing, the latest charge was ongoing, as the Wall St. open added further bullish momentum towards $52,000. Bitcoin was up almost 6% overnight.”Bitcoin rejecting at $51.6K. That’s an important level, just like $53.5-55.5K is,” Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe commented earlier.”The trend still up since the recent crash, through which $49.6K is an area that I’d like to see hold if we want to retest the $53.5-55.5K zone.”Nerves were still palpable across crypto markets amid broad belief that the current gains could be a so-called “dead cat bounce” and that a return to lower levels awaits.Nonetheless, the 5% price uptick appeared to do wonders for sentiment in terms of numbers, the Crypto Fear & Greed Index jumping a whole nine points to 25/100 — on the edge of breaking out of “extreme fear.”Crypto Fear & Greed Index. Source: Alternative.me”5% does wonders,” fellow trader and analyst TechDev added.ETF volumes show institutions still hungry for BTCAs Contelegraph reported, appetite for buying Bitcoin has nonetheless remained throughout recent days.Related: This Bitcoin price metric just hit ‘oversold’ for only the 7th time in 8 yearsAlong with a conspicuous whale account, institutional interest is also strong, as evidenced by exchange-traded fund (ETF) volumes.”Yesterday, Purpose Bitcoin ETF had its biggest inflow since the inception,” Lex Moskovski, CIO of Moskovski Capital, summarized looking at the data.”The demand is here.”Purpose Bitcoin ETF flows annotated chart. Source: Lex Moskovski/ TwitterElsewhere, open interest in Bitcoin futures also ticked up Tuesday, having taken a serious hit as BTC/USD crashed below $42,000.Bitcoin open interest chart. Source: Coinglass

Can Bitcoin's hard cap of 21 million be changed?

The hard cap on Bitcoin is secured from alteration by its incentive structure and governance mechanism. The entities that govern Bitcoin’s ruleset have significant incentives to fight a change to the hard cap because of the network’s architecture, but those who wish to change it have no power over the network. Incentives The individuals with the most incentive to modify Bitcoin’s hard cap are the miners. Changing Bitcoin’s hard cap could boost earnings for miners for a short time. However, doing so would negate one of the main arguments for investing in Bitcoin: its scarcity. The attractiveness of BTC for many investors is its predictable, fixed supply. However, it is not in miners’ best interests to remove the fundamental driver of Bitcoin’s value proposition. Although the modification will raise miner revenue in BTC terms, it would lead to a catastrophic and permanent price fall, resulting in a net loss of miner revenue in fiat terms. Miners are more concerned with their fiat-denominated earnings than their Bitcoin-denominated revenue since practically all of their costs — salaries, equipment costs, and energy bills — are paid in fiat. As a result, if Bitcoin’s price falls, miners will lose money. Bitcoin Governance The possibility of changing Bitcoin’s hard cap stems from two underlying misconceptions regarding BTC as a distributed, consensus-based network. To begin with, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of different versions of the Bitcoin source code. For example, every node in the Bitcoin network runs a software that rejects any incorrect blocks. While many nodes are running the most recent version of Bitcoin Core, some are still using older versions and implementations. As a result, while changing BTC Core’s source code is simple, convincing tens of thousands of nodes to implement these modifications is significantly more challenging. Moreover, miners have no control over the network’s rules. Instead, miners are responsible for creating new blocks and validating transactions. When miners submit a new block to the network, tens of thousands of nodes independently verify it, ensuring that it generates a suitable amount of new BTC, has legitimate proof-of-work and contains valid transactions. All blocks that break these criteria will be rejected by nodes, implying that miners have no control over Bitcoin’s ruleset. When 95% of miners agreed to lift the block size limit in 2017 in an attempt to allow Bitcoin to scale, this theory was confirmed by reality. On the other hand, nodes and users resisted the shift and successfully forced miners to switch to a different scaling method.

Smart crypto policy could keep India's tech dominance on top

There’s no denying that the Indian government shares a contentious relationship with cryptocurrencies, as was made clear recently when the government indicated that it plans on banning all private cryptocurrencies — a list that could potentially include just about every digital asset in the market today — after it had previously lifted all such restrictions back in 2019.To elaborate, it is expected that as the government reconvenes for its Winter Session, it will discuss the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2021, which as the name suggests, seeks to create a legislative framework wherein all private cryptocurrencies can potentially be banned. That said, there is still a lot of confusion regarding what the term private crypto constitutes, with some people speculating that it may refer simply to security-centric tokens such as Monero (XMR) or ZCash (ZEC). On the other hand, Naimish Sanghvi, founder of crypto news website Coin Crunch India, thinks that the Indian government’s definition of a private asset could expand to include pretty much every crypto in the market, stating:“In the 2019 Department of Economic Affairs report on cryptocurrency, they essentially said that everything that is non-sovereign is designated as a private cryptocurrency. And by that logic, it means that Bitcoin and Ethereum will come into that definition.”Blurred lines galoreNischal Shetty, CEO of Indian cryptocurrency exchange WazirX, told Cointelegraph that it is hard to comprehend what the government means by private cryptocurrencies, especially since prominent assets like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) are essentially public cryptos that have been built atop transparent blockchain infrastructures — with each project featuring its very own set of specific use cases. Shetty further highlighted that people cannot use the Indian rupee or Tether (USDT) to pay for fees on the Bitcoin or Ether blockchains. Instead, they need crypto to use decentralized applications (DApps) and create nonfungible tokens (NFTs). He said:“While the description of the draft bill appears to be the same as in January 2021, several noteworthy events have occurred since January. First, the Parliamentary Standing Committee invited a public consultation, and then our Prime Minister himself came forward to call for crypto regulations in India.”Sumit Gupta, CEO of cryptocurrency trading platform CoinDCX, told Cointelegraph that there is no official label for a private cryptocurrency anywhere else in the world — and so now, the public eagerly awaits the Indian government’s definition of a private asset.He further pointed out that since the full details of the bill are not yet available, it is best not to speculate about what it may potentially entail. However, one thing that is clear is that the government recognizes the transformative potential of blockchain, and is paying closer attention to its various uses and applications in our everyday lives. Gupta noted:“A complete ban is unlikely as it will challenge India’s ability to harness blockchain technology to transform our industries — an outcome we believe policymakers would rather avoid. Crypto is a powerful trend that is shaping economies around the world, and we remain confident that our policymakers will formulate regulations that will enable our economy to reap the full benefits the global crypto industry has to offer.”A blanket ban looming on the horizon?When asked about the possibility of an all-out ban rearing its ugly head once again, Shetty noted that it is best to wait and find out more about the bill. He did admit that he is optimistic about India’s general outlook towards crypto, citing Finance Minister Nirmala Setharaman’s recent comments wherein she noted that India may only look to “regulate its digital asset sector” rather than stifle all of the innovation emanating from it irrevocably.Shetty alluded to the comprehensive Financial Action Task Force (FATF) guidelines that were proposed at this year’s G20 summit which stated that crypto is not a threat to the local economy of any country, adding:“A blanket ban will also lead to an increase in OTC markets, fake exchanges and brain drain from India. The crypto industry today directly/indirectly employs 50,000 people today and generates millions in tax revenue for the government. The crypto industry is open to being regulated, but a blanket ban is something that will harm the entire country’s financial and technology ecosystem.”Similarly, Gupta is willing to welcome any bill, as it assures that policymakers are beginning to acknowledge the importance of this new asset class, as well as the growing appetite from retail and institutional investors in India. “While we will not speculate as to the full details of the bill, we are confident that the government will act in a manner that best positions our economy for inclusive growth,” he added. In his view, a balanced approach between innovation and regulation should ideally be maintained, with the government clearly spelling out the specific parameters critical in transacting with crypto without overly stifling the technology’s potential.Regulation rather than an all-out ban Recent reports from local Indian media outlets claim that an outright ban may not be in offing. Rather, the government may devise a well-crafted governance framework with how digital assets can be administered in the region. News media organization NDTV revealed that it had been able to get its hands on a “cabinet note” related to the proposed crypto bill. As per the document, there are only suggestions to regulate cryptocurrencies as assets that are overseen by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) rather than outlawing the market completely. Not only that, the note reportedly specifies that investors will be given a set amount of time in order to declare their crypto holdings as well store them in platforms that are regulated by the SEBI — a move that suggests private wallet operators may be banned completely from operating within the region. Lastly, the document suggests that the upcoming crypto laws will not allow for any digital assets to be recognized as legal tender. However, the government may consider the creation of its very own central bank digital currency somewhere down the line.Policymaking and India’s digital dominanceAs things stand, India boasts of a vibrant tech and innovation sector that hosts the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world. In this regard, Gupta noted that investor confidence in the country has only continued to grow recently, with Indian crypto companies amassing over $500 million worth of funding investment over the course of 2021 alone. Furthermore, foreign direct investment in the sector is also estimated to grow to over $25 billion by 2025 and is likely to cross $200 billion by 2030. In this regard, he added: “Just recently, Singaporean crypto exchange Coinstore entered the Indian market despite the looming regulatory uncertainty, signifying India’s strength as a crypto hub that continues to attract international companies. If a blanket ban does come into effect, it will not only affect access and adoption-related to digital finance for consumers but also limit innovation and technological advancements for the wider economy.”India is historically known as a tech hub and by embracing the future of finance, it can further its economic and technological standing as a global powerhouse. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how the country decides to finally go ahead and regulate its burgeoning digital asset market.

Survey says crypto popular holiday gift for Americans — NFTs not so much

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Dogecoin (DOGE) and Ether (ETH) are set to become the gift of choice for people of the United States, a new study by crypto lending firm BlockFi revealed.Conducted in October among more than 1,250 U.S. residents, BlockFi’s “Real Talk: Happy HODLdays” survey found that nearly one in 10 Americans would give crypto to their loved ones as a holiday gift. Bitcoin is the most popular gift by a large margin (75%) for people who plan to give or receive crypto as a present during holiday 2021, followed by Dogecoin and Ether, respectively. Nonfungible tokens (NFTs), on the other hand, still need time to be accepted as a gift alternative as only 2% of respondents are interested in receiving them as a gift.Moreover, crypto will likely become a hot topic at family dinner tables, as one in three respondents prefer talking about their popular digital assets instead of politics during the holiday season, the survey showed. While boomers would still prefer to talk politics, Gen Z and millennials plan to open the conversation with crypto.The survey pointed out the lack of knowledge on how to actually give crypto. Less than a quarter of respondents actually knew how to send crypto to someone as a present. This shows that crypto is becoming a popular topic but further education would benefit an even bigger population, BlockFi co-founder and SVP of operations Flori Marquez said.Related: A quarter of Aussie crypto users plan to buy crypto Christmas gifts: SurveyBlockFi also asked respondents about their new year plans. A third of millennials plan to buy crypto in 2022 while it decreases to 25% in the older generations. Some 15% of respondents said they plan to buy an NFT in 2022. One thing to note is that Gen-Zers, born after 1997, prefers to buy Dogecoin over Ether. A similar survey, conducted in Australia by Crypto.com, found that a quarter of Aussie crypto users plan to buy crypto gifts for their loved ones ​​this Christmas.

Russia’s largest bank struggles to register its digital asset platform

Sber, Russia’s largest bank, is apparently struggling to obtain a regulatory approval for its digital asset issuance platform as the company continues delaying registration plans.Sber CEO Herman Gref announced Dec. 7 that the bank now expects to get its digital asset issuance platform registered with the Bank of Russia by the end of 2021, local news agency Prime reported.”We are in constant contact with the central bank, and we are discussing various issues. We really want to believe that the platform will be registered by the end of this year,” Gref said.The new comments come almost a year after Sber initially filed an application with the Bank of Russia to launch a blockchain platform for its Sbercoin stablecoin in January 2021. At the time, Sber’s director of transactions, Sergey Popov, said that the registration procedure usually takes no longer than 45 days. As such, the bank was expecting to launch its platform and the stablecoin by spring 2021.While unable to move forward with the plans by the fall, Sber then said that it was planning to register its digital asset issuance platform in September.Sber did not respond to Cointelegraph’s requests for comment on the matter.Related: Crypto is a hedge for 46% of Russian retail investors, survey statesSber’s delayed plans hardly come as a surprise, as Russia’s central bank has taken a hard stance on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), and has even barred some major banks from offering crypto investment services. The bank has said that such services do not “meet the interests of investors and bear great risks.”In the meantime, Bank of Russia governor Elvira Nabiullina believes that tools like central bank digital currencies should serve as a good option for governments to replace decentralized cryptocurrencies.

Third-biggest Bitcoin whale’s holdings total $6B after ‘whopping’ 2.7K BTC buy-in

Bitcoin (BTC) returning to $50,000 overnight inspired one of the largest wallets to buy the equivalent of $137 million more.Blockchain data from on-chain monitoring resource BitInfoCharts highlights how one entity “bought the dip” like no other.Someone “buys the dip” to the tune of $137 millionAfter buying frequently since BTC/USD hit $69,000 all-time highs last month, the wallet holder upped the ante overnight with a single purchase of 2,700 BTC — taking their total to 118,017 BTC.The buy dwarfs previous recent transactions, and as popular Twitter account Venturefounder noted, takes the holder’s balance to “whopping” record levels.“This is officially the highest number of Bitcoin EVER held in this wallet: 118,017 BTC, in total the whale has put $2.5B USD to buy BTC with an average cost basis of $21,160 per BTC,” the account tweeted. “The second highest BTC count was during July 2021 (low $30k BTC).”The actions buck the overall trend, which has seen whales deposit BTC to exchanges since Friday’s crash.While there is no indisputable evidence that the wallet is a private investor, Venturefounder added that its activity is unlike a corporate entity such as an exchange cold wallet or fund, citing “Many strategic buy the dip & sell the rally behaviors and clear long term accumulation trend.”Recent transaction history for third-largest BTC wallet. Source: BitInfoChartsAltcoin profits eat Bitcoin’s lunch in reboundAs Cointelegraph reported, opinions remain mixed about whether the bottom is in for Bitcoin or that another price dip is due first.Related: BTC sentiment ‘comparable to a funeral’ — 5 things to watch in Bitcoin this weekA strong bounce among major altcoins has further added to convictions held by some that a form of “alt season” could enter while BTC consolidates.Ether (ETH) rallied 11.4% Tuesday, outpacing BTC/USD in a move copied by several other large-cap tokens. ETH/BTC hit its highest levels since February 2018 overnight, data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView confirms.ETH/BTC 1-month candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView“The best period to buy altcoins is probably current weeks,” Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe argued, adding that Bitcoin had “probably bottomed out.” 

Bitwise CIO ‘not so sure’ about Bitcoin hitting $100K in 2021

As 2022 draws closer, some cryptocurrency investment experts are doubtful about whether Bitcoin (BTC) has enough time to hit $100,000 in 2021.Following a major flash crash in the cryptocurrency market, Bitcoin is unlikely to break new all-time highs in the next three weeks and go all the way up to $100,000, according to Bitwise chief investment officer Matt Hougan.“$100,000 by the end of the year is a difficult prediction to make […] I think $100,000 could be in target in 2022 but this year, I’m not so sure,” Hougan said in a Monday interview.He noted that a potential cryptocurrency rally in 2022 will be largely thanks to growing institutional support. “I think as we look into 2022, we still have these fundamental drivers, the institutions we speak to every day at Bitwise,” Hougan said, adding that many institutions are still moving into the market for the first time.The CIO also predicted that 2022 will see an “explosion of activity built on Ethereum” and layer-one solutions, or those aiming to improve the base protocol itself to scale the overall system rather than creating a different protocol.“Investors are going to be looking at Ethereum, Solana, or Polygon. Investors are starting to realize there’s more to crypto than just Bitcoin. If there’s one bigger story for next year, it’s going to be everything else: crypto as DeFi, NFTs, Web3, or metaverse,” Hougan predicted.While Hougan noted the growing potential of altcoins — or coins other than Bitcoin — some prominent figures in the crypto community are still sticking with BTC.Bobby Lee, founder and CEO of crypto hardware wallet Ballet, argued on Monday that Bitcoin is “more valuable” than altcoins because i is not backed by “any sort of project, or a promise that can fail.”The crypto community has been watching Bitcoin’s price closely this year, with notable figures in the industry predicting BTC will ha hit $100,000 by the end of 2021, including Standard Chartered’s cryptocurrency research unit, stock-to-flow model creator PlanB, Morgan Creek Digital Assets co-founder Anthony Pompliano, SkyBridge Capital CEO Anthony Scaramucci and others.Related: Bitcoin to hit $250K in January 2022 but ‘invalidate’ S2FX BTC price model — New predictionOthers in the crypto community have taken a more skeptical view.The year is 2050: “One more shakeout for #Bitcoin  and then it’s moon time! 100k EOY” Ok Grandma let’s get you to bed. pic.twitter.com/F9RoBF8qdo— Lunch Money (@LunchMoneyMitch) November 10, 2021At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading at $51,290, notably recovering after dropping below $47,000 on Saturday, according to data from CoinGecko. After starting 2021 at around $30,000, Bitcoin hit its all-time high above $67,000 in mid-November.Bitcoin one-year price chart. Source: CoinGecko

Nasdaq Stockholm lists Bitcoin and Ether exchange-traded notes

Nasdaq Stockholm has announced that 21Shares has listed its first two physically backed exchange-traded notes (ETN) on the Swedish trading platform. The two instruments listed, with Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) as underlying assets, represent a new segment for ETNs — a type of unsecured debt security that tracks an underlying index of equities and trades on a major exchange. According to the announcement, the new ETNs will provide investors access to investment opportunities in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether. Helena Wedin, European head of exchange-traded products at Nasdaq, said that exchange-traded notes allow one to invest in non-traditional assets while maintaining the transparency of a regulated market. She added, “We are happy to launch this new segment at Nasdaq Stockholm with 21Shares as the first issuer.” According to the press release, most traditional banks and brokers allow investors to trade all ETNs listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. This is a first that opens up new possibilities to investors interested in investing in cryptocurrencies but who are uncomfortable doing so on unregulated exchanges.Related: ETN vs. ETF: Which Is the Investor’s Dream?The cryptocurrency market has experienced a steep rise in valuation throughout the previous year. Despite some recent price dips, interest in cryptocurrencies continues to be high.One reason for this sustained interest may be the possibility of increased institutional investment in the market. As institutional investment in cryptocurrencies increases, we’ll likely see more products such as ETNs being listed on regulated exchanges. As reported by Cointelegraph in September, VanEck introduced Solana (SOL) and Polkadot (DOT) ETNs on Deutsche Boerse’s Xetra.