Top Stories of Last Week

Regulatory

  • SEC once again delayed passing judgement on VanEck Bitcoin Trust, extending review period on bid by 45 days.
  • Thailand’s SEC announced it’s banned several tokens in cryptocurrency including meme tokens, fan tokens and NFTs in attempt to rein in trading in crypto instruments. 
  • NY State Assembly failed to pass environmental protection bill that would have clamped down on new and expanding Bitcoin mining operations.
  • Panamanian congressman Gabriel Silva plans to present bill that could potentially spearhead adoption of cryptocurrencies as legal tender and create tax incentives for crypto-related businesses.

Project Development

  • Taproot parameter of at least 90% of blocks mined signaling activation was met, with over 99% of blocks signaling decisively in its favor. Taproot will outfit Bitcoin with new signature scheme known as Schnorr signatures. Next phase of activation is 5-month waiting period for miners and nodes to update software to Bitcoin Core 0.21.1, and in November at Bitcoin block 709,632, Taproot will activate. 
  • Fox Entertainment putting $100 million behind NFT project, with funds going toward making first-ever animated series curated entirely on blockchain. Studio’s NFT play driven by “Krapopolis” from “Rick and Morty” creator Dan Harmon. 

Institutional

  • MicroStrategy announced it had completed sale of $500 million in bonds to increase stash of Bitcoin, and firm said it plans to sell up to $1 billion in stock to buy even more. 
  • Goldman Sach’s head of digital assets Mathew McDermott said bank plans to offer investors options and futures trading in ether the months ahead. 
  • Paul Tudor Jones said he would “go all in on inflation trades” if Federal Reserve remains indifferent to rising consumer prices. “I’d probably buy commodities, buy crypto, buy gold,” he said, adding “the only thing that I know for certain is I want to have 5% in gold, 5% in bitcoin, 5% in cash, 5% in commodities.” 

Mining

  • Bitcoin Mining Council held first meeting and was attended by more than 7,000 listeners, as Bitcoin industry representatives aired grievances about claims that mining is bad for environment. Michael Saylor also reiterated, “we are not trying to fix Bitcoin” to encapsulate gist of what event was trying to accomplish.
  • Ya’an, one of crypto mining hubs in China’s Sichuan province, set to shut down mining operations in city, according to local media reports. It remains unclear how long mining sites will remain closed. 

Fundraising

  • BitDAO raised $230 million to invest in projects through private token sale. Round led by Peter Thiel, Founders Fund, Pantera Capital and Dragonfly Capital, and also included Alan Howard, Jump Capital and Spartan Group. 
  • Bitwise Asset Management raised $70 million at $500 million valuation in Series B round of funding led by Elad Gil and Electric Capital. Third Point LLC, Stanley Druckenmiller, Henry Kravis, David McCormick, Nadeem Meghji, Coinbase Ventures, ParaFi Capital and more.
  • dYdX raised $65 million in Series C round led by Paradigm and joined by CMS Holdings, CMT Digital, Electric Capital, HashKey Capital and StarkWare Industries.
  • Mythical Games opening NFT platform to external game developers following $75 million Series B, led by WestCap Group with participation from VaynerFund, Galaxy Digital, Javelin Venture Partners and others. 
  • Crypto payments infrastructure startup Ramp raised $10.1 million in seed funding in round led by NFX and Galaxy Digital. Round also included Seedcamp, firstminute Capital, Fabric Ventures, Balaji Srinivasan and Roham Gharegozlou.
  • Goldfinch, a decentralized protocol enabling crypto borrowing without crypto collateral, raised $11 million in Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz. Company allows unsecuritized borrowers to benefit from DeFi lending.

Defi

  • Sygnum Bank launching custody and trading across range of DeFi tokens, with plans to expand to suite of yield-generating products for clients. Sygnum works with custody firm METACO.

Things to Watch This Week

  • Ethereum London Hard Fork on Testnet
    • The London Ethereum hard fork has a set block height for three testnets, beginning with Ropsten at block 10,499,401, or sometime June 24. Goerli is next on June 30 and Rinkeby on July 7. A release schedule for the mainnet upgrade is still being determined, but is tentatively expected July 14. The London hard fork upgrade includes EIP-1559, which is an overhaul of Ethereum’s existing fee structure, and the upgrade is considered to be one of several bullish catalysts on the horizon for Ethereum. The approach of this event should be watched closely as the reminder of this bullish narrative could provide a shot in the arm for not just Ethereum, but several other cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Defi.
  • Bitcoin and Ethereum Futures Contracts Expiration
    • The expiration of futures and options contracts for both Bitcoin and Ethereum will transpire on June 25th. Ethereum is set to face its largest options expiry date so far in 2021, with more than $1.25 billion worth of open interest in ETH settling on the 25th. Bitcoin will see $2.3 billion worth of open interest expire on the same day, a far cry from the levels that were seen not long ago. Nevertheless, the expiry date should be monitored closely as we’ve experienced high levels of volatility leading up to expirations for the past several months. 
    • Alex Krüger@krugermacro
      Most selling since May has come during the US session. Paper hands. $BTC
      Image

      Annotated chart with the dominant market drivers

      Image

      Nick Chong @n2ckchong
      The last time Ethereum gas was this low—as far as I remember—was the start of 2020, around the time of the initial launch of Aave. A lot has changed in that time for Ethereum and DeFi. Let’s recap. A

      Ethereum now settles over $45 billion in transaction volume each day, between ETH and stablecoins alone. At the start of 2020, this value was closer to $900 million, lower than Bitcoin’s $ throughput at the time as per CoinMetrics data.

      There is now over $60 billion locked in Ethereum DeFi today. At the start of January 2020, that value sat at $700 million, most of which was ETH and a smattering of ERC-20 tokens deposited in Maker to mint DAI.

      So what’s behind the drop in gas prices? Polygon happened. A bit of BSC and Solana too, probably. Prices dropped as well. But is DeFi gone? I don’t think so. Polygon’s consistently full blocks are a testament to that, as are the billions of $ still locked in smart contracts.

      READ MORE

      Daniel Munevar@danielmunevar
      Another  on El Salvador (SLV): #bitcoin as an international reserve asset, Balance of Payments (BoP), and the IMF edition. Some thoughts on the risks posed by the introduction of BTC as legal tender in SLV for the country in the context of an IMF program.

      On the surface, it appears that BTC does not have an impact on the BoP position of the country. BTC is not going to increase remittances, change demand for SLV exports from Rest of the World (RoW), nor change SLV imports from RoW.

      Introduction of BTC is not going to magically increase the profitability of domestic firms. Capital flows, either portfolio or FDI, should by extension remain broadly the same (lets abstract for a second from the thorny issue of AML skirting investments).

      The issue for el SLV is that years of running Current Account (CA) and Fiscal deficits have created a substantial debt problem. The country needs to attract USD to repay its debt and stabilize its foreign reserves. That is why is negotiating a program with the IMF.
      READ MORE

      John Street Capital@JohnStCapital
      0/ Paul Tudor Jones on CNBC- “I like $BTC. BTC is math & math has been around for thousands of years. I like the idea of investing in something that’s reliable, consistent, honest & 100% certain. BTC has appealed to me because it’s a way for me to invest in certainty. I look

      1/ at the Fed in 2013 vs. Fed of 2021. The difference b/w Trump & Biden. Do I want to have faith in human nature? I like $BTC as a portfolio diversifier. I want to have 5% in gold, 5% in BTC, 5% in cash & 5% in commodities, at this point in time. I don’t know what I want to do

      2/ with the other 80%, I want to wait & see what the Fed has to do on Wednesday.” If you look at QE we have planned b/w now & Dec and the 60% correlation b/w $QQQ & reserves Fed holds you can argue NASDAQ will go up 20% if we stay at $120B of UST purchases / month.

      3/ If the Fed goes all in he will put on the inflation trade- buy commodities, crypto & gold. If they course correct he expects a taper tantrum will a sell off in fixed income & equities.

      Ari Paul @AriDavidPaul
      High level thoughts on what I think happens over the next 5 years in cryptocurrency (not what I think should happen, or want to happen, but my guess as to what will.) I think periods of rising bitcoin dominance will be countertrend and temporary. /

      2/ at top of this bull market (maybe Q1-Q2 next year?) I think BTC likely to be the 2nd or even 3rd largest coin by market cap and <4th in network fees and usage. The work to add critical functionality to bitcoin to natively support basic financial features likely

      3/ requires the introduction of new opcodes and then a bunch of work building financial primitive libraries so people can build dApps. IMO, the solidity sidechain based dApps on bitcoin will get usage, but won’t have a clear enough consensus to feel like “the future.”

      4/ so we’ll increasingly have bitcoin looking like “digital gold” while other chains seem like the Nasdaq in the 1990s. What breaks that trend? What causes bitcoin to regain supremacy? IMO – if the security and decentralization compromises of other chains cause a blow up.

      5/ alternatively on a longer time frame of 5+ years, we could see basically everything replicated on bitcoin and maybe the BTC versions win out via open competition by virtue of having a stronger SoV and settlement layer at the core. Not much opinion on this, but <50% imo.

      6/ the two sources of possible temporary major countertrend rising dominance for bitcoin in the next couple years – A. major buying by giant sovereign wealth funds or a G7 treasury adding BTC, or B. serious regulatory action against defi somewhat resets the competitive landscape.

      Jurrien Timmer@TimmerFidelity
      In my view, it looks like the bottom is in.

      SpartanBlack @SpartanBlack_1
      0/ In the last 5 years, the easiest trade in Equities was to go long Big Tech via the FAANG stocks (FB, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google). If this is bill passes, this trade may no longer be so attractive. cnbc.com/2021/06/09/dem…

      1/ In China, the earliest equivalent of this trade was BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) which later became BATX (incl Xiaomi). For many years, this was the no brainer trade, but is less clear now as the Chinese government is also trying to curtail the power of these Tech giants.

      2/ With this mega trend shift underway, the natural question is: where do the hundreds of billions of dollars of capital go if investors turn negative on Big Tech?

      3/ They can’t all go to Tesla. Uber and Wework once looked like they were natural recipients of the baton, but that’s no longer the case.

      4/ The same goes for China. The capital can’t all go to XPeng (Tesla equiv) and Uber’s Chinese counterpart Didi is no longer the high flier it once was. There are others like Meituan but it too has ties to Alibaba and will likely not be spared the increased regulatory scrutiny.

      5/ A decently large group of wealthy individual investors and funds have made alot of money investing in US/China big Tech over the past decade. That same pool of capital is now starting to look at crypto with interest. Some of them have invested. Many have not.

      6/ Of late, we have seen via our funds some of the private HNW capital in Asia that are heavily invested in these Tech names starting to diversify into other areas incl. crypto (mainly via BTC and ETH but there is also keen interest in DeFi and NFT investments.)

      7/ If this exodus of private capital from Big Tech happens, crypto would be a net beneficiary. Judging from the conversations I have had in recent months, this is quite a probable outcome.

      Sino Global Capital@sinoglobalcap
      The second Solana hackathon has successfully concluded with interest from projects all over the world. Our chads @OmniscientAsian@TTx0x and @cweihan took this opportunity to go through all the projects and drop some free alpha. Here are some interesting ones to monitor:

      1/ @EverlendFinance – Everlend is a cross-chain lending solution natively integrated on Solana, utilising Wormhole bridge for composability of other tokens onto their platform.

      2/ @cyclosfi – Cyclos is an automated market maker that brings Uniswap V3-style concentrated liquidity to Solana.

      3/ @Francium_Defi – Francium is a leveraged yield aggregator platform, allowing users to manage leveraged farming positions across multiple strategies.
      READ MORE

      (((Frances ‘Sisyphus’ Coppola))) @Frances_Coppola
      I’ve written up my analysis of the BIS’s proposed capital regulations for cryptocurrencies and stablecoins. With a primer on bank capital and reserves, since people still don’t seem to know what these are and how they differ from each other.
      coppolacomment.com/2021/06/bank-c…

      Some time in the next few days I shall look at the proposed regulatory framework for stablecoins and try to work out which if any of the stablecoins currently in circulation would actually meet these regulatory requirements. I suspect none of them would.

      I only need to look at stablecoins backed by fiat currency, as the regulatory framework explicitly excludes algorithmic stablecoins and stablecoins backed by crypto asset.

      Chris McCann @mccannatron
      1) I published a deep dive into the DeFi Infrastructure sector
      medium.com/racecapital/de…

      including:
      – What DeFi infrastructure is
      – Why it’s challenging our legacy financial infrastructure
      – A landscape of companies in the DeFi Infra space
      READ MORE

      Sam Trabucco @AlamedaTrabucco
      The macro market DOES drive crypto, but only when it has to. In March 2020, crypto had no choice but to go down with (e.g.) SPY — the whole world was watching, and when the whole world watches people will buy BTC when it lags below SPY, and vice-versa.

      Honestly? Crypto traders don’t give a shit about what happens when the traditional markets aren’t going crazy. I literally couldn’t tell you which direction SPY moved .3% in (or whatever) yesterday.

      But when SPY crashes 20%? Yeah, we’ve gotta follow it. And because we’re following it, our trades will follow it — not all the time, but enough for a correlation to exist.
      READ MORE

      Justin Leroux@0xMidnight
      I’m going to use my middle-curve brain to attempt a high-level TL;DR for this short post from @VitalikButerin for those tempted to click  on his post without reading. Big brains, please jump in and correct me and help me learn if I’m wrong. (1/9)

      The problem: “The Ethereum state size is growing quickly.” This means the storage requirement for nodes keeps rising. So what’s state? A snapshot of every account balance on the Ethereum blockchain. State = a picture of a  (~100GB) History = recipe for the  (~150 GB) (2/9)

      What’s a “Verkle tree” and how does it help solve this issue? It’s a really storage efficient replacement for the Merkle Patricia trees Ethereum uses now to hash lots of data together till you get down to a Merkle Root that’s tiny but still verifies the full data set. (3/9)
      READ MORE

      Do Kwon @d0h0k1
      1/ My thoughts on @IronFinance and building new algo stablecoins 

      2/ First, I am only writing this post due to high demand for commentary from the Terra community. I’ve staked everything on the success of algo stablecoins, and have no intention of capitalizing on others’ failures. We’re all in this together – once again, reach out for help.

      3/ For those of you not familar, Iron / Titan has had a rough week – the Iron stablecoin became an overnight success with soaring TVL, driven largely by DeFi traders on polygon and celebrity endorsements.

      4/ Just as quickly, when a critical mass of capital left the system, everything came crashing down – with both the price of the stablecoin and the TITAN reserve asset quickly converging to 0.

      5/ Titan’s fate is not far off from that of its many predecessors in ESD, DSD, AMPL, BAC – all of which are trading at ~70-90% off the peg. So why have they failed? Is algorithmic stability too hard?

      6/ New algo stablecoins have all failed because they solely rely on recursive holding incentives for growth. That is: If you hold the stablecoin, we will let you farm more stablecoins.

      7/ This leads to a feedback loop where capital flight compresses both the value of stablecoins and the holding yield, increasing both principal risk and lowering returns to compensate. Death spiral.
      READ MORE

      Lucas Nuzzi@LucasNuzzi
      Bitcoin bull markets tend to end with a bang, not a whimper. So is this one over? Bull markets are always different but, believe it or not, a 50% correction is still a whimper when it comes to #Bitcoin . And Free Float MVRV at 1.5 is looking a lot like summer 2017.

      Bitcoin hodlers have been incredibly resilient through this 50% correction. More so than 2013, or 2017. Proof? Look at UTXO Value-Weighted Mean Age (Days). It trends downwards in bull markets as newcomers store value in “younger coins” – no decrease like ’17.
      READ MORE