The closing week of February has not been the best one for the crypto market and the world’s economy in general.
After some hope that we were at the start of an extended bull run, we are not back to the $8,600 support levels. It is not the best outcome, but it’s not the worst either. We seem to be consistently finding new bottoms and there is a lot to be happy about there.
The coronavirus has rapidly become a serious problem for the world, dealing a really bad blow to supply chain systems, manufacturing industries and healthcare systems. The current figures estimate that and there is increasing discussion about an upcoming recession, which would no doubt put more spotlight on digital currencies - but that is a different discussion.
Amidst all of this, we have the crypto industry continuing as normal, with a few notable releases, collaborations and incidents involving some big figures happening in Feb’s last week.
Let’s jump in.
1. CryptoKitties + UFC
You probably do because it’s still referred to a lot in write ups that reference the (then) performance limitations of blockchains networks, as well as those that speak about successful consumer level applications that can really capture the public’s imagination.
Well, now the team behind CryptoKitties, Dapper Labs, has announced that they are working with UFC in the form of a licensing partnership. According to the press release, the two will work together “to develop a new digital experience” for UFC fans, which will allow them to purchase, trade and own UFC related collectibles.
The digital experience will be launched on Dapper Labs’ Flow platform, which has been built specifically for consumer blockchain experiences like collectible trading.
This is right up Dapper Labs alley, of course, which is probably why the UFC picked them up for this purpose. The non-fungible tokens used for the CryptoKitties collectible experience saw prices for the assets skyrocket quickly, so much so that it showed strain on the Ethereum blockchain.
This, however, could be MUCH bigger than CryptoKitties, given that it is the UFC.
2. Warren Buffett Says No To Crypto Again
Warren Buffett is no fan of cryptocurrencies, with him having mentioned on multiple occasions how he doesn’t really consider it to be a true asset. Buffett is a genuine investment and business giant, fully deserving of the credit he receives for his knowledge and understanding of how a business should operate (not to mention a notable philanthropist).
However, criticism has been raised against him by those in the industry - mostly people saying that he does not understand this novel technology and asset class that can revolutionize the way the world exchanges value.
He remains unconvinced though.
In an interview on CNBC, Buffett said that “Cryptocurrencies basically have no value” and “I don’t own any cryptocurrency. I never will… You can’t do anything with it except sell it to somebody else.”
He also made the news recently - well, it was more Justin Sun who made the news - when Sun won the annual charity lunch with Buffett by making the highest bid. The meeting was postponed at first, which itself generated controversy, before it took place with several others from the crypto space as well, including Litecoin founder Charlie Lee.
Sun responded to CNBC’s tweet on the interview, saying that he had gifted Buffett some BTC and TRX during the dinner,
It’s unlikely that Buffett will ever be convinced of the value of cryptocurrencies, but the general public and other incumbents are slowly warming up to the idea.
3. Steven Seagal Pays $330K in Fines for Promoting Some Crypto Project
Here’s another well known name that’s been in the crypto news this week - though for truly negative reasons. Steven Seagal, actor and martial artist, has been fined $330k for promoting a cryptocurrency’s ICO without revealing that he was being paid to promote it.
The cryptocurrency, Bitcoiin2Gen (B2G), had paid him $250k in cash and $750k in B2G tokens for the promotion. This goes against federal securities anti-touting laws. Seagal paid the fine and agreed not to conduct any more promotions for 3 years. The case was settled.
Celebrities promoting cryptocurrencies has been a bit of a pain point for the market. While it does bring attention to the asset class, more often than not it is the wrong kind of attention, as celebrities typically do not know much about the project they are getting involved in. This in turn can spur uninformed investors into investing into what could be a terrible investment - hence the anti-touting laws.
4. Everyone Talked About Kyber Network
The Kyber Network has some good news to offer for you DeFi fans (which should be everybody, to be honest): the network has facilitated over $139 million worth of transactions in February alone, or about 576,000 on chain trades.
Kyber Network is a liquidity focused decentralized protocol that facilitates increased liquidity through reserves. When a trade is made, the protocol finds the best price across all of the reserves available. This in turn can be integrated with platforms and DApps, making it a key part of decentralized infrastructure services. It already has a lot of partners on board, including those for DeFi and token swaps.
The team has also said that a new upgrade called Katalyst is due soon, which will further enhance liquidity.
The KNC token has a pretty good February with the price going up by a factor of 2.5 Currently, it is aroud $0.67 - but it is hard to bet against Kyber when their network fundamentals are so solid and ever improving.
Kyber Network was founded by Loi Luu, Victor Tran and Yaron Velner. Vitalik Buterin is also an advisor - so you know there’s something to this network.
5. Loopring Has Launched Ahead of Time
Some more Loopring news. After releasing the beta version of their DEX, the Loopring team announced on February 27 that they have launched the Loopring Exchange, which was originally scheduled for March.
In an earlier news post, I talked about how Loopring had launched the public beta of its DEX and was bringing zkRollups to DEXs.
It’s quite technical, but I’ll try to explain it in a nutshell: zkRollup is a zero knowledge proof layer 2 solution that combines hundreds of transactions - rolls them up - into a single rollup block. As a result, throughput is greatly increased.
Loopring has launched the first zk Rollup DEX on the Ethereum mainnet and the improvement is incredible.
The cost of transactions is just now $0.000042 per trade for proving transactions. Settlement costs are incredibly low too, at $0.000124 per trade. This is actually an improvement from an already great cost effectiveness - in January, the on chain cost of trades was $0.0025.
The effort has to be applauded, as it’s no small feat to consistently better results, which is now almost negligible.
That’s about it for last week’s news wrap up. I think that many more exciting developments are going to happen as we head further into 2020, not the least of which will be the halving and some pilots of CBDCs.