Blockchain and Cryptocurrency News Roundup

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  • February 1, 2021
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01 February 2021.

Here’s a short summary of some of the biggest headlines in Crypto this week. XRP posted its biggest single-day gain in 3 years in a coordinated buying attack, is Ethereum the future of DeFi, traders & influencers lick their wounds after vicious Dogecoin dump & Uniswap’s token hits all-time high as rest of market stagnates.

XRP posted its biggest single-day gain in 3 years in a coordinated buying attack

“Traditional Crypto-Pump groups are being copied and legitimized by WallStreetBets,” Jehan Chu, co-founder and managing partner at Kenetic Capital, told CoinDesk. XRP rallied hard on Saturday in a move similar to a crowd pump recently observed in out-of-favor stocks such as GameStop. The cryptocurrency jumped 56% to $0.50944 to hit the highest level since Dec. 22, according to CoinDesk 20 data. That was the biggest single-day percentage gain since Dec. 21, 2017. The double-digit price rise was likely fueled by members of a Telegram-based group called Buy & Hold XRP (+40.16%) (t.me/pumpxrp), which came into existence on Saturday. The group’s membership hit Telegram’s 200,000 ceiling within the first 24 hours, forcing a migration to a new official channel with a similar title but a different link (t.me/pumpxrpofficial).

“Traditional Crypto-Pump groups are being copied and legitimized by WallStreetBets-style crowd-pumps, and are now turning their burning gaze from dogecoin (DOGE, +36.77%) to XRP,” Jehan Chu, co-founder and managing partner at Hong Kong-based Kenetic Capital, told CoinDesk. Classic pump and dump tactics are not new to crypto, particularly for XRP, which has a strong army of followers. However, their morale may have been boosted by a group of amateur day traders based on a Reddit forum called WallStreetBets, who recently launched a coordinated buying attack on the video game retailer Gamestop, triggering a short squeeze and inflicting heavy losses for hedge funds. Short-squeeze target GameStop (GME) surged nearly 400% last week, extending the preceding week’s 83% rise and attracting unwanted attention from regulators. Meanwhile, the meme-based cryptocurrency dogecoin surged 800% a day before XRP’s price pump. The data suggests the crowd buying tactics are returning to their home turf, having democratized the legacy markets. It remains to be seen if the Buy & Hold XRP group members remain faithful to the group’s title by holding the cryptocurrency. At press time, XRP is changing hands near $0.45. The price rise has erased a significant chunk of the plunge from $0.55 to $0.20 observed following the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s filing a lawsuit against Ripple Labs in late December. 

Coindesk

Is Ethereum the future of DeFi? Scalability and cost issues open door for Cardano and Polkadot

As Ethereum continues to struggle with scalability and cost—traders continue to question the limitations of the Ethereum network and whether it really is the future of decentralized finance (Defi). Decentralized finance and Dapps are the markets that Ethereum and other smart-contract blockchains are targeting. In its current state, the DeFi space is intrinsically linked with Ethereum, with the vast majority of the biggest DeFi protocols running on its blockchain. However, despite Ethereum’s popularity as a platform for DeFi applications, the rampant growth in both the number of DeFi applications and the number of DeFi users has put a strain on Ethereum’s infrastructure, leading to a number of challenges that many Ethereum DeFi users now face on a regular basis. As mentioned above, the Ethereum limitations continue to be exposed due to its lack of scalability and consequential high costs. As the Ethereum blockchain stands now, the most leveraged DeFi network is only capable of processing roughly 10-14 transactions per second (tps) at full load, or just over 30 transactions if blocks were fully optimized. The very limited throughput in transactions on Ethereum has created significant issues with most DeFi applications—namely high fees. The situation is growing more strained as DeFi interest has boomed and users have tripled in the last year alone. The main utility of many Ethereum-based DeFi applications is highly contingent upon achieving a quick transaction turnaround. With Ethereum pushed to its limits of scalability and cost, the DeFi landscape is currently becoming too expensive to use. Popular analyst and trader Lark Davis, said of Twitter: “#ethereum fees are insane right now, ETH defi is really a whale game at this point sadly. Layer 2 really needed for Uniswap.” Uniswap requires users to invoke a smart contract and due to Ethereum’s limitations fees have skyrocketed to reach record highs at an average of $16/transaction in mid-January. So what are Ethereum’s limitations and if its network is not the future of DeFi, then could alternatives like Cardano and Polkadot seize the market.

Polkadot and Cardano are two rival smart contract platforms who are both favourites among the group known as the Ethereum Killers.

Cardano (ADA)

A lot has happened behind the scenes of Cardano over the last year. Its ecosystem is still evolving, as can be seen from the introduction of proof-of-stake not that long ago. The community remains very loyal to this project. ADA price increased over 300% price in 2020. Cardano launched its Shelley mainnet in 2020, as part of its developments into a proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain protocol. While functional smart contracts are yet to be launched on the Cardano blockchain, the release of Shelley still marked a major achievement for the Cardano blockchain and drove more positive sentiment around the ADA token. In March, Cardano is slated to undergo the Goguen update, which should see the release of these functional smart contracts. When the smart contracts are live, large-scale decentralized finance protocols and other decentralized applications would be able to launch on top of Cardano—giving it further utility and value. Researchers at Binance Academy confirmed the smart contract integration of the Goguen update in a report: “As of December 2020, functional smart contracts cannot be deployed on the blockchain platform. As part of the roadmap, this will roll out as a part of the Goguen update. Following Goguen, the Basho era focuses on optimization of scalability and interoperability, and the Voltaire era introduces a treasury system to address governance.” Cardano’s price has also seen around 104% growth in 2021 alone. Its native token, ADA, moved past Bitcoin Cash (BCH) to become the six-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. ADA is currently trading at a price of 0.3461 at the time of writing.

Polkadot (DOT)

Polkadot is seen as one of the most prominent rivals to Ethereum. The project was started by the Web3 Foundation with the aim of interoperability between blockchains to power a decentralized internet of the future. The Polkadot blockchain is considered a new-generation blockchain and it connects private and public blockchains and networks through a multichain protocol using what it calls “parachains,” which allow other blockchains to connect as sidechains. The Ethereum network has often been criticized as struggling with scalability and speed issues which its community believes will be completely ironed out once ETH 2.0 is complete. However, Polkadot’s protocol is getting attention as it currently has the capacity to handle thousands of transactions per second, which has pitted it squarely against Ethereum in the eyes of some commentators. Polkadot’s token DOT has seen incredible growth this year of nearly a 100% but has now dipped with the rest of the market and is currently trading at $15.98.

Ethereum for Now

For now, it appears unlikely Ethereum will be dethroned in the short-term. Ethereum has a very firm and clear first-mover advantage over its competitors. It not only has the highest dominance in terms of the network value but also outdoes the competition in several key factors. In a nutshell, these factors are—the number of active users; the ERC-20 (Ethereum) token being the most adopted standard for newly issued crypto-assets; third party adoption for service and infrastructure; and overall network security. ETH is currently trading at a price of $1,313.56 down around 7.5% in the last week according to CoinMarketCap.

Blockchain.news

Traders & influencers lick their wounds after vicious Dogecoin dump

After a pump that highlighted the power of crowd mania and meme magic, Dogecoin has tumbled nearly 40% in a retreat from $.06 Friday highs, falling as low as $.033 this morning.  For the influencers and Wall Street Bets refugees who joined in on the rise — many of whom were taking their first ride on what’s known to be a notoriously volatile chart — the price action reversal has been especially harrowing. Just yesterday, Dogecoin made history for cracking the top 10 crypto assets by market cap for the first time since 2015. The currency named after a dog meme that was started as a joke was propelled to such lofty heights on the back of similarly record-breaking social media volume, according to analytics provided by The TIE. While some tied the rapid price appreciation to Elon Musk memes and the inevitable groupthink of crypto’s often momentum-based markets, $DOGE’s success may also be rooted in anti-establishment sentiments running rife through the retail crowd following popular trading app Robinhood disabling ‘Buy’ orders for certain assets. The move from Robinhood and other brokers prompted furious accusations of hypocrisy and speculation that hedge funds were being favored over smaller investors — and what’s a better way to highlight a broken system than pumping a joke coin to a multi-billion dollar valuation? However, after reports of withdrawal issues on multiple centralized exchanges, Dogecoin has undergone a violent overnight reversal, leading many buyers to take to social media to express their regret. Just a few hours after posting that she’d “finally caved and bought the dog stock,” podcast host and media personality Mia Khalifa indicated some buyer’s remorse: This is the first time I’ve ever hated a dog. Khalifa wasn’t alone in feeling the pain. Multiple streamers and social media influencers had been along for the ride, and stream viewers last night witnessed some wondering if a “nuke” had gone off: Streamers watched their life savings crash after investing in a $DOGE coin. Seeing the value of DOGE nearly cut in half doesn’t seem to have pushed too many investors to more fundamentally sound projects, however. #DogeToADollar is currently a trending topic on Twitter, and a steady stream of users are claiming to double down. 

Cointelegraph

Uniswap’s token hits all-time high as rest of market stagnates

While most of the market stagnated, a couple of coins managed to drag themselves from the bog on Sunday and, ascending skyward, reached crypto heaven. Uniswap’s cryptocurrency today hit new highs of $20 in the early hours of the morning and XRP, the currency currently under siege from a lawsuit the US Securities and Exchange Commission slapped against Ripple Labs, absolved its sins in the eyes of the market and is up 50% today, continuing a 75% increase in the last week. Meanwhile, aside from a 17% drop in Dogecoin—still reeling from a crash that followed its momentous price boom earlier this week—the top 20 cryptocurrencies have suffered no major loss in value today. When the US Securities and Commission last month filed a lawsuit against Ripple, the company whose founders created XRP, the market crashed. But the XRP market bounced back this week. In part, this follows Ripple’s legal rebuttal, filed on Friday, that laid into the SEC’s arguments. However, Larry Cermak, research director at The Block, chalked it down to the actions of a pump and dump Telegram group. Whatever the reason, the coin surged in price. The talk of the town today is DeFi platform Uniswap’s native governance token UNI, which passed $20 at 03:44 AM UTC, setting a new record in a small but bullish-looking run that commenced on 27 January and has taken UNI’s market capitalization up to second place among DeFi tokens. Its price has since dipped to $19. Uniswap’s governance token powers its decentralized exchange. According to Uniswap’s protocol analytics, a little under $800 million worth of crypto was traded on the exchange in the past 24 hours. That’s a daily increase of ten percent, keeping Uniswap (V2) firmly at the top of the DEX tables.

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