Blockchain and Cryptocurrency News Roundup

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  • February 15, 2021
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15 February 2021.

Here’s a short summary of some of the biggest headlines in Crypto this week. XRP pushes above critical level as Ripple faces lawsuit heat, Ethereum NFT market primed for explosive growth in 2021, Blockchain firm aims to build crypto city in Nevada desert & Deutsche Bank quietly plans to offer crypto custody, prime brokerage.

Deutsche Bank quietly plans to offer crypto custody, prime brokerage

Deutsche Bank has joined the growing ranks of large financial institutions exploring cryptocurrency custody, with aspirations to offer high-touch services to hedge funds that invest in the asset class. The Deutsche Bank Digital Asset Custody prototype aims to develop “a fully integrated custody platform for institutional clients and their digital assets providing seamless connectivity to the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem,” according to a little-noticed report by the World Economic Forum, host of the annual gathering of muckety-mucks in Davos, Switzerland.  In a passage buried on page 23 of the December 2020 report, Germany’s largest bank says it plans to create a trading and token issuance platform, bridging digital assets with traditional banking services, and managing the array of digital assets and fiat holdings in one easy-to-use platform.


XRP pushes above critical level as Ripple faces lawsuit heat

Cryptocurrencies have rallied higher as Tesla announced its recent $1.5 billion purchase of Bitcoin. Against all odds, the current bull market has also benefited XRP, sending it above the $0.50 level. Currently, it is up approximately 8% in the last 24 hours and its trading volume has also increased. The position of the Relative Strength Index (RSI), which rests below the overbought level, suggests that the bulls have the upper hand on XRP at the moment.

In the current crypto bull market, it can be seen from the daily candlestick chart that the XRP price has broken through the downward channel line we have previously drawn. Buyers are currently trying to stabilize the price above $0.50 and form a definite upward channel, which will stamp in the fact that this is not a fake breakthrough.In recent days, XRP prices have all closed above the rising 9-day moving average. Candlestick chart prices have all closed above the exponential moving average ribbon and a series of exponential moving averages of different lengths show a long arrangement, illustrating that the bulls have an advantage. If the price stabilizes above $0.50 and the trading volume gradually increases, the first high point in front of the first target of the upward movement is approximately $0.584. If the price expands at this level, the upward trend may hit the highest point, which is around 0.7 dollars. If the bulls are not strong enough to maintain the price at about $0.50, the price trend may fall back to near the upward pressure line in the near future. If investors hold XRP, they can sell at rallies. Plan profit is realized. At the same time, you can wait for the opportunity of a callback to cover your positions on dips and pull down the average. If the price pulls back, XRP price support level will fluctuate from the previous low of $0.37099 to $0.47 in the short term. Although there has been a lot of speculations on the endgame for XRP as the SEC pursuing Ripple Labs – the company that created XRP – for unlawful sales of the cryptocurrency had washed away a major part of the cryptocurrency’s market cap, the token seems to have regained a bit of strength. Additionally, despite its trades currently being largely prohibited in the United States, trades in the Asia Pacific area for XRP are still on the rise. Meanwhile, Ripple Labs, the company that created the XRP cryptocurrency, is facing heat from not only the SEC but also former investors. With the SEC announcing it considers XRP as unregistered securities in the US, many investors have also joined forces to serve Ripple with a class-action lawsuit. A recent filed motion led by plaintiff Bradley Sostack has requested that Ripple be obliged by the court to hand over its email communications with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that date back to January 1, 2015. Currently, a court hearing for the filed motion is set for March 25. Ripple appears to have its hands full as it is awaiting trial to begin on February 22 with the SEC, where the debate of whether XRP is really a security will be brought to court for an official ruling.

Blockchain firm aims to build crypto city in Nevada desert

CEO Jeffrey Berns says the smart city could incorporate digital currency payments for goods and services as well as records on the blockchain. Blockchain incubator and investment firm Blockchains LLC is stepping up its plans to build a smart city in the Nevada desert east of Reno. In an interview with the Associated Press released Saturday, Blockchains CEO Jeffrey Berns said he had asked the state of Nevada to let him form a local government on the 67,000 acres the firm owns in Storey County. If his petition is successful, the blockchain firm would be allowed to operate as an “innovation zone,” where a company would be able to impose taxes and create courts — in addition to incorporating digital currency payments for goods and services and maintaining records on the blockchain. Berns claimed the way the government is set up now isn’t ideal for creating a community based on blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and other innovative technology. He proposed the crypto city as a place “where people are willing to just start from scratch.” Blockchains originally purchased the land for $170 million in Jan 2018. At the time, Berns said the proposed crypto city would feature the Blockchains campus, a content creation studio, an e-sports arena, and residential properties. Though the CEO said he hopes to build 15,000 homes in the crypto city within 75 years, residential development isn’t currently allowed on most of the company’s land, seemingly limiting the property to 3,500 homes. Should Nevada lawmakers accept these innovation zones, three people could potentially “govern” private technology companies’ properties with more than 50,000 acres which also promise a $1 billion investment. This legislation could potentially affect the Tesla Gigafactory located in the same county given CEO Elon Musk’s apparent affinity for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Dogecoin (DOGE). Amazon also has a fulfillment center in the area. Berns said he wants Blockchains to break ground on the smart city by next year.


Ethereum NFT market primed for explosive growth in 2021

A new report on the exploding market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) reveals that transactions tripled in 2020, reaching more than $250 million in total. Known as NFTs, these unique digital assets, which exist on the Ethereum blockchain, can be anything from BBC-branded Dr Who trading cards and Ubisoft Raving Rabbids tokens to luxury art pieces. The biggest sale to date is a set of plots of virtual land, which went for $1.5 million on blockchain game Axie Infinity last week. The market saw astonishing growth last year, with use cases expanding, buyers vastly exceeding sellers, and plenty of traders making six-digit profits, according to the report, which was released today by leading NFT analysis firm and foresight business, L’Atelier. “2020 has been a historic year for NFTs, and we’ve seen healthy growth across many metrics,’ Dan Kelly, CEO of NonFungible, told Decrypt. “Equally exciting is the explosion of different use cases, communities and projects that have developed over the last year,” he added. The report is based on NFT on-chain transactions on the Ethereum blockchain using the ERC-721 token standard, which is common among NFTs. According to the data, the total value of all NFT transactions (which includes sales and all other transactions, such as “breeding” Cryptokitties, “minting” tokens, and renting virtual space) increased from over $62 million in 2019 to in excess of $250 million in 2020. In 2020, NFT art sales alone grew by 2,800%, per the report, and big brands like Turner Sports and watchmaker Breitling have jumped aboard, making the asset class firmly mainstream. “Traditional brands like Nike, Louis Vuitton, and Formula 1 are already spearheading the first generation of commercial uses for NFTs,” Nadya Ivanova, chief operating officer at L’Atelier, told Decrypt. “We expect to see more brands entering and investing more resources in this space as they find new ways to engage virtually, and profitably, with their customers via NFTs,” she added. L’Atelier, which is part of the French international banking group BNP Paribas, gave a foretaste of things to come in May last year—when it demonstrated how people were earning six-figure salaries in the “Virtual Economy” of gaming platforms like Fortnite, and virtual worlds such as Decentraland. The new report finds that NFTs are “primed to become a leading emerging asset class for the Virtual Economy in the years ahead, both in terms of their financial value and their practical uses, and a major driver of economic activity in virtual worlds.” According to the report, the total number of active wallets transacting with NFTs grew 97%, between 2019 and 2020 (from 112,731 to 222,179,). On top of this, the accelerating growth of NFTs throughout 2020 suggests a strong upward trend in 2021, according to the report. Focusing purely on NFT sales, virtual worlds that house numerous virtual assets, as well as land, form the biggest sector of the market, with 25% of total sales. But virtual art was the strongest performing segment in terms of growth and made up 24% of the market. Sales rose from $456,885 in 2019 to $12.9 million in 2020. Gaming that involved NFTs made up 23% of the market in 2020 and provided the largest number of sales (at 629,553). Collectibles linked to sports, such as F1 or NBA, were another growing sector, and made up 13% of total sales. The report attributes the growth of the NFT market partly to increased online activity following the pandemic but adds that it also reflects a wider, accelerating trend towards spending more time, and money, on virtual goods, services, and experiences. And major financial players are quickly moving in on this trend and  “seizing the opportunity to capitalize on a broader shift to virtual finance already evident in the rise of cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance,” according to Ivanova. This, she said, is already leading to a dedicated economic infrastructure and services, and NFT-backed financial products, such as insurance and collateralized loans. Kelly predicted that future activity will scale as new layers are built on Ethereum, and will further extend to the new generation of high-throughput blockchains in the coming years. NFT boom-time is only just beginning.


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