Cointelegraph By Editorial Staff
We ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and we throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!
This week, our 6 Questions go to Kain Warwick, the founder of Synthetix.
Kain Warwick is the founder of Synthetix, a derivatives liquidity protocol on Ethereum. Synthetix has processed billions of dollars in trading volume. Warwick previously founded Blueshyft, Australia’s largest cryptocurrency payment gateway.
1 — What’s a problem you think blockchain has a chance to solve but that hasn’t been attempted yet?
I might just still be a 2017 idiot here, but I still feel equity settlement, having a decentralized ledger for equity settlement, is a sensible thing that will happen. But it can’t happen until regulators are comfortable with it happening, etc. The efficiencies it will add are just too obvious to be avoided. There are certain things that come with that, that mean it’s gonna take a while before we see that. There have been weird little experiments, but I think a large-scale transition to something like that is still a ways away. But it will be hugely impactful when it happens.
2 — Which is sillier: $500,000 Bitcoin or $0 Bitcoin? Why?
$0 Bitcoin. There is just zero chance — it’s literally impossible for Bitcoin to go to zero. There is not a market where someone would not have a buy price for every Bitcoin above zero. It’s just functionally impossible. Whatever the canonical Bitcoin is, even if it’s not the one that it is right now — that specific chain or whatever — it has a price above zero. There’s always a market for something, there’s always a buyer of last resort for something, and Bitcoin has way more buyers of last resort — it’s never going to zero.
3 — What should we be teaching our kids?
I think we should teach our children to not blindly accept authority, which is a hard thing to do because there are so many things in children’s lives that are structured and controlled that they don’t have control over. And so, to teach them to be respectful of certain things while also being mindful that they should be questioned is a delicate balance to strike.
4 — What’s the silliest conspiracy theory out there… and which one makes you pause for a moment?
Probably the silliest conspiracy theory is the Bill Gates microchip vaccine theory, and probably the one that gives me pause for a moment is the Elon Musk microchip conspiracy theory.
5 — Which people do you find most inspiring, most interesting and most fun in this space?
I feel like Andre Cronje is an easy and obvious one. You never know what the fuck he’s going to be doing. Larry Cermak’s good, Anthony Sassano is good, Mariano Conti is good, he’s always high value. Obviously, G (DegenSpartan) is always good.
6 — What talent do you lack and wish you had? How would you use it if you had it?
I lack the talent to draw things, and I would be starting my own NFT project if I had the ability to draw.
Satoshi Nakamoto saves the world in an NFT-enabled comic book series – Cointelegraph Magazine
Cointelegraph By Elias Ahonen
There is a Reddit post from August 2013, in which a purported time traveler shared a dystopian future brought on by the proliferation of Bitcoin in the year 2025. “Things are looking bleak here, and some of you will carry blood on your hands,” the time traveler warned readers, telling them of a world of vast inequality and economic decline. The Bitcoin “earlies” live in fortified cities, as there are no more governments due to the difficulty of enforcing taxation.
This is the inspiration of the setting created by ENCODE Graphics, a comic publisher committed to “expressing the myths of the crypto scene and the metaverse in narrative form.”
Part of the vision is to breathe life into the comic book industry, which suffered a crypto blow last month after DC Comics barred its artists from creating NFTs featuring any DC Comics intellectual property. This means that they cannot mint art featuring the likes of Batman, Wonder Woman or Superman.
Despite this, ENCODE is seeing the artists from both DC and Marvel join forces with crypto artists around the world to create a new “universe with well-designed characters, which in turn will provide a basis for many more sub-projects.” All will be based around the concepts of crypto in a style that might be referred to as “cryptopunk.” An ENCODE spokesperson tells Magazine:
“The vision to establish a comic project that provides a wonderful base for comic artists to make artworks in the spirit of Bitcoin, CryptoArt and our crypto community. This universe, with its beautifully designed characters, offers a potential that goes far beyond the creation of comic literature.”
Who’s behind the mask?
ENCODE Graphics is headed by an Austrian artist going by the pseudonym PR1MAL CYPHER, who started off as an individual artist but is now better described as the artistic director for his project.
Originally versed in oil painting, he focused on digital CryptoArt with an element of social critique. He has taken an interdisciplinary approach to combine text with digital art on platforms SuperRare, MakersPlace and Nifty Gateway, and has also produced a run of silver coins funded with 0.01 BTC, in a style reminiscent of SATOSH1. His five-part NFT series “RIOT DAYS” featuring George Floyd is an example of his sociopolitical approach.
According to PR1MAL, the goal of ENCODE is to offer “a glimpse into the future — a project that still guarantees the professionalism of the old publishers, but wants to live up to the symbols of CryptoArt and the Metaverse with new technologies.”
While PR1MAL is clear that there is no intention of competing with the big names in the world of comics, he states that the company is “keen to be a pioneer in the field” by leveraging the “possibilities of blockchain and the digital world in general. We will succeed in that.” This could certainly introduce a unique edge in drawing up a new generation of crypto-native comic book fans — and collectors.
Though the rest of the lineup of writers and visual artists is not yet completely public, it includes a number of notables within the DC and Marvel experience. Some writers include Eisner Award winner Mike Baron; Chuck Dixon, who is known for Batman and The Punisher; Aaron Lopresti, who has written extensively for both Marvel and DC; as well as Scott Beatty, who has written encyclopedias based on DC Comics characters, in addition to his work for the publisher.
Comic artists Will Conrad and Mark McKenna are represented on the visual side along with a number of new talents. McKenna is already familiar in the NFT scene, having released digital artworks on MakersPlace in December 2020. Despite the impressive lineup, there are hints of more to come, as the project’s organizer states that “Many of the already involved artists with rank and name currently remain under secrecy.”
The time-traveler title mentioned earlier, otherwise known as 2084, centers on the recently returned Satoshi Nakamoto. Here, SATOSH1 explores a “distant dystopian future version of our Earth after the ‘Big Reset’, where the big corporations and citadels hold the power,” according to PR1MAL. The ongoing series is meant to constitute “an epic of CryptoArt” set in a fictional, polarizing future, filled with symbols and figures related to the culture around cryptocurrency intended as a recurring theme. 2084 is expected to stay in the production phase until summer 2021.
“At the heart of ENCODE is the publication of stories that on the one hand take up the symbols and memes of crypto culture, but also the vision of the present that will be the reality of the future.”
Another title, METATALES, is a graphic black-and-white anthology made up of a number of short stories by various artists. Some of these are about crypto, while others “are more socio-critical and portray our society in terms of technological developments.” Publication is planned for early June.
METATALES – a comic anthology https://t.co/myelPiqDJR
Curious what our anthology will be about #nftcommunity?
— ENCODE Graphics (@ENCODE_graphics) April 10, 2021
Distribution of the comics has not yet been announced, but an NFT drop called GENESIS related to 2084 took place on April 17 on Nifty Gateway. The drop of four open edition works featuring SATOSH1 saw 148 sales, bringing in nearly $97,000 for the project.
“The GENESIS drops help us with funding. Artists want to get paid,” says PR1MAL. A second, related drop is scheduled for June 4.
The Nifty Gateway platform is owned by the Winklevoss twins, and was previously chosen as the main platform for Michael Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, for his drops because it allowed anyone to participate using a credit card or bank transfer, instead of being strictly on-chain.
The launch of the GENESIS NFT series before the launch of the actual comic is interesting from the perspective of crypto history, since the set-up appears to be an echo of the pre-initial coin offering phenomenon that was commonplace in 2017. Pre-ICOs were opportunities for investors to get in on a project “at the ground floor,” with raised funds being used, at least in theory, to create a valuable product. In this sense, the GENESIS NFT drop was a sort of pre-offer or kick-starter to the art project.
Helping emerging young artists access the NFT scene is a point of emphasis, according to ENCODE, with PR1MAL explaining that a portion of NFT proceeds will go toward an “artists fund” to help support young talent, who “should be offered a possibility to get access to the NFT scene and to get fair shares from releases within the framework of ENCODE.”
“We would very much like to provide a scholarship to the Kubert School in Dover for one young talent each year at some point,” PR1MAL adds, referring to a New Jersey school for cartooning.
Are you interested in what is really behind our mask design? Is it a Guy Fawkes mask? All the answers are readable here:https://t.co/sNRixgYSoT
— ENCODE Graphics (@ENCODE_graphics) March 30, 2021
Visualizing the future
Physical comics are naturally part of the picture — but with a modern twist. Some next-generation physical comic books will “contain NFCs with ETH keypairs and NFTs” that will “harmonize with Web 3.0.” NFCs refer to near-field communication devices, used in applications like tap-and-go payment cards. The covers of each comic will also be available as NFTs.
According to PR1MAL, “This is also a particular goal of ENCODE Graphics — the innovative building of bridges between physical works and the new digital possibilities of the blockchain.”
The vision of creating comics that represent the 21st century seems to be supported by plans for an exclusive set of 21 founder tokens. “The tokens will be like a contract for 3 years. Holders will receive a lot for what they pay, digital items and analog items: all issues and variants, including a special founder variant. Plus partial potential movie rights, limited Founder NFTs, a physical printed ‘yearbook’ after one year, prints, original art, etcetera,” PR1MAL lists in addition to other swag. There are also plans for a trading card game called CITADELS featuring characters from 2084.
With so many plans, however, it is worth questioning if launching two recurring publications in such a short time may prove too large of a bite to chew. Despite the workload, PR1MAL says that “Everything is on schedule” and that Issue #2 of both comics is being worked on.
If ENCODE Graphics does become a success to the point that its characters become representative of the global epic of crypto, the possibilities are quite considerable. In five years, PR1MAL hopes to expand 2084 “to such an extent that it would even be ripe for a film adaptation.” There is also the potential of integrating the storyline with the actual Metaverse somehow, using platforms like Decentraland or Cryptovoxels to name a few.
PR1MAL concludes that: “ENCODE guarantees the professionalism of the old publishers but wants to live up to the symbols of CryptoArt and the Metaverse with new technologies.”
Atomic swaps and network upgrades send Monero (XMR) price to a 3-year high
Cointelegraph By Jordan Finneseth
As the 2021 bull market cycle unfolds with decentralized finance and nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, being two of the biggest driving forces for growth, old-school cryptocurrency projects have quietly been climbing higher as their established track records begin to attract traders who value a longer history of success.
One such project that has been gaining traction in recent weeks is Monero (XMR), a privacy-focused project that recently celebrated its seven-year anniversary and is now looking to take out its 2017 all-time high of $470.
Data from Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView shows that since reaching a low of $134 on Feb. 1 the price of Monero has swelled 210% alongside a steady increase in trading volume and the network’s hash rate.
Community members push for adoption
Momentum for XMR saw a noticeable uptick in early February thanks to an effort by members of the Monero community to get XMR added as a payment option on Tesla’s website.
While the proposal has thus far been unsuccessful, with Tesla only announcing support for Bitcoin (BTC) at this time, the effort succeeded in attracting wider attention to the Monero project and the privacy capabilities it offers.
The project also received a boost in momentum following the successful audit of Bulletproofs+, the network’s new zero-knowledge proving system that enables lighter, smaller Monero transactions.
Following the market downturn in late February, the price of Monero traded in a tightening range through the month of March despite multiple adoption-related announcements, including the ability to use XMR to book a private jet with TapJets and to book travel arrangements through Travala.
Monero has also received a significant boost in optimism due to the possibility of atomic swaps between XMR and BTC.
ICYMI: Three different teams are working on atomic (trustless) Monero swaps!
– Farcaster is a Bitcoin-Monero atomic swap project.
– COMIT team is working on a usable XMRBTC swap tool.
– THORChain is working on adding Monero to their cross-chain decentralised liquidity network.
— Monero || #xmr (@monero) January 27, 2021
In the time since the above tweet was posted in January, the Comit team has released a functioning swap demo for community members to try out while THORchain has also verified that it is in the process of working with the Haven protocol to integrate Monero.
Excitement for atomic swaps combined with the release of the Monero-based Haveno decentralized exchange on April 8 has resulted in a 66% surge in the price of XMR over the past two weeks and put its price within striking range of its old all-time high at $470.
As institutional investors continue to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency asset class, more established projects like Monero are likely to be some of the first tokens that are explored, as evidenced by Grayscale Investments filing for a Monero trust in January.
This development — combined with a growing community, atomic swap functionality and real-world integrations — has XMR well positioned to see further growth as the current bull market cycle unfolds and the appeal of cryptocurrencies continues to entice new investors.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and you should conduct your own research when making a decision.
Coinbase frenzy, DOGE dazzles, Bitcoin breaks records, Jim Cramer sells
Cointelegraph By Editorial Staff
Coming every Saturday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
Top Stories This Week
Coinbase gets off to a rocky start as it lists on the Nasdaq
It was billed as a “watershed” milestone for cryptocurrency — the industry’s “Netscape moment.” This week, Coinbase made its stock market debut.
There was no shortage of excitement in the run-up to Wednesday’s direct listing on the Nasdaq, with Bitcoin rallying to $64,863.10 before the open. COIN’s reference price was set at just $250, with all 1,700 staff pocketing 100 shares each.
In true crypto form, it was a volatile debut. Coinbase’s stock quickly rose to $430 before falling sharply within the first few minutes of trading, closing its inaugural session at a still-impressive $328. It wrapped up Friday at $342, with a market cap of $67.2 billion.
COIN’s arrival on Wall Street is significant because of how it gives investors indirect exposure to cryptocurrencies. Ark Invest is especially bullish on the stock, snapping up more than 1 million shares that will be shared across three exchange-traded funds.
Overall, the stock’s performance has been hailed as positive so far, especially compared with how IPOs have performed in the past. Will this embolden other exchanges to follow suit?
Coinbase could see fee compression in long term, CEO expects
As you’d expect, the exchange enjoyed much fanfare on the big day and even embedded the title of a New York Times article referencing Joe Biden’s stimulus package into the Bitcoin blockchain. Nonetheless, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong was keen to address some of the concerns raised by analysts.
Some fear that the mooted $100-billion valuation ahead of the listing was too high amid fears crypto exchanges will soon end up in bitter competition that will drive down fees — and affect overall profitability. Given how this accounted for 96% of Coinbase’s revenue in 2020, it’s kind of a big deal.
On CNBC, Armstrong sought to tackle this head on. While he said that fee reductions are possible in the long term, the executive doesn’t believe it’s an imminent threat. Plus, by the time it is, he predicts “maybe 50% or more” of revenues will come from alternative streams such as debit cards and crypto custody.
Dogecoin doubles in a day as YTD gains hit 5,000%, while Bitcoin price dips
Bitcoin cooled once COIN started trading. And while Ether has comfortably outperformed the world’s biggest cryptocurrency this week (securing a new all-time high of $2,547.56 on Friday), altcoins have been stealing the show.
If Dogecoin is a joke, it’s certainly wiped the smile off cynics’ faces. DOGE was trading at just $0.07 on Monday but began a frenzied 514% climb to highs of $0.43 by Friday. That’s a surge of 8,735% since the start of the year — and there’s little doubt it will have turned a number of enthusiasts into overnight millionaires.
The frenzy saw DOGE leapfrog Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin in the rankings, with a market cap that’s twice as big as Deutsche Bank’s.
Even professional traders have been caught by surprise. There’s one thing we know for certain, though: Bold predictions of a $1 DOGE one day are now looking less outlandish.
XRP price soars to new highs after recent legal victories and relisting rumors
With the market cap of altcoins surpassing $1 trillion, one clear theme has emerged this week: Older cryptocurrencies are enjoying something of a renaissance. And it isn’t just DOGE that’s mooning… XRP is racing higher, too.
XRP hit multi-year highs of $1.96 this week. Although that’s some way off the all-time record of $3.84 set in January 2018, this still reflects year-to-date gains of 790%. The latest spike caused a whopping $420 million of liquidations on derivatives exchanges.
Momentum for XRP has been building thanks to a series of legal victories for Ripple in its battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission, along with rumors that the token may be relisted on multiple exchanges.
Elsewhere, two forked projects that once sought to challenge Bitcoin and Ethereum for their seats at the top — Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum Classic — also racked up triple-digit gains. Will other retro cryptocurrencies be next?
Jim Cramer cashes out half his “phoney money” Bitcoin to pay off mortgage
Enigmatic CNBC host Jim Cramer risked attracting the ire of crypto enthusiasts this week — for two reasons.
Not only did he refer to Bitcoin as “phoney money,” something that causes the red mist to descend for many maximalists, but he also revealed he has sold 50% of his BTC portfolio to pay off a mortgage.
Cramer confirmed he had bought a lot of Bitcoin at $12,000 — meaning it had risen fivefold by the time he offloaded half of it. The anchor subsequently admitted: “I know people are going to be angry with me.”
Some Twitter users likened the one-time crypto critic’s move to the infamous pizza purchase for 10,000 BTC. But others have praised Cramer’s move and argued that it’s important to take profits off the table, writing: “Selling only 50% after a 5x gain doesn’t sound toooo silly.”
Winners and Losers
At the end of the week, Bitcoin is at $62,272.53, Ether at $2,466.78 and XRP at $1.69. The total market cap is at $2,274,625,979,472.
Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Dogecoin, Ethereum Classic and Siacoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are KuCoin Token, Klaytn and Celsius.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Most Memorable Quotations
“This is a really important day for the whole crypto world. This is saying ‘this is an asset class, and it’s an asset class that’s here to stay.’”
Mike Novogratz, Galaxy Digital founder and CEO
“We haven’t seen any margin compression yet, and I actually wouldn’t expect to see it in the short and the midterm. Longer term, yes I do think there could be fee compression just like in every other asset class out there.”
Brian Armstrong, Coinbase CEO
“PayPal really wants to use cryptocurrency as a funding source for everyday transactions. The endgame, though, is a more noble vision of this inclusive economy, and things will be done much differently than today.”
Dan Schulman, PayPal CEO
“Bitcoin is looking strong at RSI 92. Still not above RSI 95 like 2017, 2013 and 2011 bull markets.”
“You gotta buy Coinbase when that deal comes. Even though it’s a $100 billion deal, this has become common knowledge that there are many companies that are going to switch. MicroStrategy has always been the leader, so others would want to follow.”
Jim Cramer, CNBC host
“Coinbase is the watershed moment in terms of legitimizing some valuations you see in crypto.”
Ben Lilly, Jarvis Labs co-founder
“Coinbase IPO May Boost #Bitcoin to $70,000, Like #Tesla to $60,000 — The lowest 30-day volatility since October indicates Bitcoin is ripe to exit its cage and bull-market continuation is favored for the next $10,000 move.”
Mike McGlone, Bloomberg Intelligence
“Truth be told I seriously think we’ve entered the final leg of this $btc bull market. To be clear, final leg could be 2-3 weeks or even more. Price could reach 200k or even more who knows. Just don’t make irrational life decisions based on unrealized PnL.”
Mohit Sorout, Bitazu Capital founding partner
“An ETF would be a bigger deal, obviously, than Coinbase getting listed.”
Eric Crown, entrepreneur
Prediction of the Week
Ethereum could go to $10,000 in 2021 and outperform Bitcoin, says veteran trader
Back to Ether now, which has been in the ascendancy this week following an irreversible hard fork that aims to deliver some reforms to transaction fees. On-chain data suggests that ETH’s price could double between now and the end of May — but some analysts are going even further.
In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Scott Melker said gaining exposure to ETH was “like investing in the internet in the early 1990s.”
Even though his price target for $10,000 by the end of this year may seem outlandish, he added: “I don’t see why that’s crazy. It’s basically just under a 5x from here. […] Bitcoin did almost three times that last year.”
FUD of the Week
r/Wallstreetbets finally allows crypto threads… then bans them again
This week, there seemed to be a major breakthrough when r/Wallstreetbets announced that it would allow Bitcoin, Ether and Dogecoin to be discussed in a daily thread on Reddit.
The new policy lasted a day, and the reason why the ban has been reimposed has raised eyebrows.
Bloomberg had claimed that r/Wallstreetbets was “bowing” to digital assets by opening up the discussion beyond stocks, something that really pissed off one moderator.
A new post read: “Due to the article that was written [by] Bloomberg who somehow felt that ‘WallStreetBets Bows to Crypto.’ Crypto discussion is banned indefinitely. I’ve read a lot of dumb articles written about wsb. This one takes the cake. P.S. Like always. Please be respectful.”
Despite the plea for respect, many Reddit users weren’t pleased with the dramatic reversal.
Turkey to ban cryptocurrency payments
A new ban in Turkey will prohibit crypto holders from using their digital assets for payments in addition to preventing payments providers from providing fiat onramps for crypto exchanges.
The ban will come into effect on April 30, rendering any crypto payments solutions and partnerships illegal.
According to Turkey’s central bank, “any direct or indirect usage of crypto assets in payment services and electronic money issuance” will be forbidden.
Banks are excluded from the regulation, which means users can still deposit Turkish lira on crypto exchanges using wire transfers from their bank accounts.
ECB endangers itself by waiting around on digital euro, says ConsenSys exec
The European Central Bank will put itself in jeopardy if it waits around to launch a digital euro for too long, according to a ConsenSys executive.
With a central bank digital currency set to be years away, Monica Singer said such projects are a chance for central banks to repair their mistakes and fix a broken financial system.
She warned that if global banks miss this opportunity, alternatives from private tech giants like Facebook could make fiat currencies obsolete.
Singer added: “If the central bank in Europe is gonna wait until 2028, by then there won’t be a central bank. Because who’s gonna use the euro in its current form? There are gonna be so many choices.”
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