Connect with us


DeFi Is Hot but Retail Interest Nowhere Close to ICO Frenzy



Decentralized finance (DeFi) has exploded in 2020, but retail interest in the space remains quite low, if measured by Google search queries.

These suggest it may still be too early to draw parallels between DeFi’s growth and the initial coin offering (ICO) bubble of the final months of 2017 and early 2018. 

Indexed to the peak of searches for “ICO,” searches on Google Trends for the word “DeFi” currently return a value of 18, indicating the retail crowd is as interested in open-source finance as they were in ICOs during the latter’s boom. 

The DeFi movement seeks to transform old financial products into trustless and transparent protocols by leveraging decentralized networks. 

Google Trends provides access to a mostly unfiltered sample of actual search requests made to Google.  It displays an interest in a particular topic from around the globe and scales searches 0 to 100, though it does not give out raw totals.

Some investors have started comparing the DeFi explosion to the ICO bubble, which left millions of investors holding worthless alternative cryptocurrencies. An initial coin offering is the crypto market’s equivalent of an initial public offering for stocks.  

Why the comparison? The total value locked into the decentralized finance applications has increased by a staggering 1,300% to above $9 billion this year, according to data source That number is 66% higher than the $5.4 billion raised by initial coin offerings in 2017 and nearly double the $4.6 billion raised by ICOs in the first quarter of 2018, just before the cold days of “crypto winter”.

The trading volumes at major decentralized exchanges are now challenging centralized exchanges. For instance, Uniswap, a decentralized exchange facilitating peer-to-peer trading without a central authority, overtook the largest U.S.-based centralized exchange, Coinbase Pro, in terms of 24-hour trading volumes earlier this week.  

Some of the DeFi-associated tokens like Aave’s LEND have rallied by over 3,000% this year, leaving bitcoin far behind. The top cryptocurrency by market value is currently up 43% on a year-to-date basis. 

One interpretation for why DeFi isn’t receiving the same retail attention as ICO is its growth is being fueled by fewer but more sophisticated investors than those involved with ICOs.

In other words, Defi is not even close to the ICO hype bubble level yet, as noted by cryptocurrency derivatives trader Cantering Clark. Bubbles are usually the result of a euphoric retail crowd running ahead of itself. 

“DeFi is an incrementally accretive and sustainable trend while ICOs were not,” according to Su Zhu, co-founder, and CEO of the Singapore-based fund management firm Three Arrows Capital.

Experience with what DeFi actually does may also be a factor. Denis Vinokourov, head of research at London-based prime brokerage Bequant, says firms that trade on centralized exchanges aren’t taking decentralized exchanges seriously. However, firms trading on both have realized that the long-term growth potential of decentralized exchanges.

Source link


Bitcoin’s Carnivore Cult Is Both Stupid and Correct




This entire article is Saifedean’s fault. 

Saifedean Ammous, author of “The Bitcoin Standard,” kept heaping steak tartare onto my plate at a Bitcoin meetup back in August 2018, in between jokes about liberal plebs.  

As the youngest woman in the room, per usual, I wanted acceptance from the Bitcoin clan. Despite nearly a decade of (fickle) vegetarianism, I accepted the author’s meat offerings in exchange for an off-the-record interview. I torpedoed questions his way between bites. Ammous told me last week, via direct message, that he couldn’t remember if that was his first public steak dinner. But there would be many that followed.

Long before he became a bitcoiner, Ammous was a carnivore.

“I was, independently, into low-carb keto,” he said, referring to ketogenic diets. “These two things started to merge together more and more as people who were interested in Austrian economics became interested in meat and good food.”

Over the past decade, bitcoin-themed steak dinners have become a global ritual, hosted by communities from San Francisco to Tokyo. It was the Kraken exchange’s Bitcoin evangelist Pierre Rochard who organized most of Ammous’ steak-and-bitcoin dinners in New York, inviting friends from the Socratic Seminar meetup. This was all pre-COVID, of course. (These days, there are a few outdoor gatherings at beaches and parks.)  

“I was traveling to the U.S. and Pierre told me to stop by in New York and he’d organize a dinner for me. Then 70 people showed up,” Ammous said. “After that, everyone on Twitter was constantly asking, and demanding, their own steak dinner in their own hometown.”

Becoming a Bitcoin-carnivore evangelist

Since then, Ammous organized Bitcoin-themed dinners in more than a dozen cities, including Hong Kong, Amman, Beirut, London, Madrid and Milan. Meanwhile, hundreds of Bitcoin fans routinely post meaty food porn via Twitter and Telegram groups like “Citadel Chefs.”  Like Ammous, they often profess they naturally found this a hobbyist combination, rather than following a demographic trend. As Crypto Twitter icon @cryptomedici wrote: I don’t follow the chad lifestyle, the chad lifestyle follows me.”

Ammous is among the most famous carnivore evangelists tweeting hot pics of fatty steaks, his version of thirst traps. In fact, the prolific economist penned a manifesto for grilling steak to “beat fiat food,” equating empty carb calories with inflationary government-issued money. 

The (tongue-in-cheek) narrative says bitcoiners like Ammous will simply avoid the impending collapse of Western civilization by re-inventing feudalism, as lords of private “citadel” meat-lockers paid for with the world’s “hardest” money. Loving meat is a part of some bitcoiners’ shtick, along with hating journalists and socialism. Memes and jokes abound comparing “Soy Boy” or vegan token fans to hyper-masculine bitcoiners.

“It’s very masculine to grill. In the Wild West, the cowboys are always seen having this massive steak,” nutritionist Lorraine Kearney said in a phone interview. “Especially if they’re trying to lift weights and bulk up, it’s always about eating more protein.”

Back in 2018, I told Ammous I’d try carnivory, if only to gloat when my body didn’t magically transform into a lean, mean hodling machine. To my great dismay, two weeks of a 90% meat diet left me feeling stronger, more energetic and less emotionally volatile than I’d ever been. By the third week I stopped craving sweets and my doctor noticed a significant improvement in my health, compared to my last annual physical.

As it turns out, I’m hardly the first liberal woman to fall in love with both bitcoin and grilled flesh. To the contrary, author Amber O’Hearn was one of the most influential authors in the early days of crypto-carnivory. She’s been writing about her keto diet experiments for nearly a decade.

“I’m off all medications,” O’Hearn said, describing how this diet helped after her bipolar diagnosis. “I’ve never had symptoms of the mood disorder again.”

Read more: The Bitcoiners Who Live ‘Permanently Not There’

Like any crypto trend, believers can seem quite fanatic. Zcash co-founder Zooko Wilcox even tweeted that keto diets can help treat cancer. (Wilcox and O’Hearn were once married, but have since continued their meat evangelism separately.) 

On the other hand, Kearney said high amounts of fat can contribute to issues like heart disease. Bitcoin-carnivores often dismiss this warning as “fake news” by the media-fiat-food-industrial complex, hell-bent on brainwashing the masses. Of course, every citadel-dwelling hero needs a “mainstream elite” villain to foil his own righteousness. However, the reality of carnivore diets may be more nuanced.

Plant-eaters clap back

Kearney agreed with O’Hearn, broadly speaking, that high-protein diets can be very healthy and every person’s body is different.

The nutritionist said she’s known clients who feel amazing after years of only eating animal protein, while others prefer low-carb diets with diverse plants. She added that grass-fed meat has many more nutrients, so results may depend on the quality of the ingredients.

“The carnivore diet has been around for a number of years. But the research will take a decade, if not longer, to provide the benefits of such diets,” Kearney said. “When people remove inflammatory, highly processed foods and introduce a more natural diet, like with meat, they’ll see results like a decrease in weight gain and bloating, less fatigue and better gut health.”

There may also be some truth to the bitcoiner mantra that established norms were based on inaccurate science. Kearney said the past four decades saw a “massive shift” among nutritionists.

“Some of the products they used to recommend were processed foods … it was all about restricting calories,” Kearney said. “Now it’s more about focusing on balance and understanding the psychological aspects as well.”

Read more: They Biked, Ran and Swam Over 200 Miles Across Europe – All for Bitcoin

There are also plenty of vegan bitcoiners, from Bitcoin Core developer Matt Corrallo to Lightning Labs CEO Elizabeth Stark.

“Bitcoin doesn’t care what you eat,” Stark said in a direct message.

The steak-loving author of “Bitcoin: Sovereignty Through Mathematics,” Knut Svanholm, agreed with Stark.

“I believe that we should probably leave diets out of any Bitcoin discussion,” Svanholm said. “It tends to be a bit silly and people are semi-religious when it comes to food preferences.”

Thanksgiving feasts

Meanwhile, Wilcox and O’Hearn are among many bitcoin aficionados who ate a predominately meat dinner for Thanksgiving 2020.

“I like fatty steak, roast beef, ground beef and bacon more than turkey. And that’s even more true on Thanksgiving, which is a celebration of plentitude and togetherness,” Wilcox said in a direct message.

For a festive twist on the holiday classics, O’Hearn combined turkey with a keto-friendly stuffing.

“Sausage stuffing with ground pork and pork rinds, to help absorb the fat the way bread does in a stuffing,” O’Hearn said over the phone, describing the menu. “I also eat eggs and dairy without having too much of a problem. So for holidays I might have eggnog.”

It was O’Hearn who convinced me that bitcoiners’ meat fetish isn’t primarily the result of loud men’s testosterone-induced, Freudian fixations.

“There are these ideals about what a woman ‘should be’ that dissuade women from taking pleasure in their bodies and being physical. Meat is connected to that,” O’Hearn said, contradicting the diet’s stereotype. “Meat is sexy and carnal … plus, one of my primary roles as a mother is to nourish my children, inside my body, next through breast-feeding and then preparing their food and nutrients.”

Read more: Gender and Income: Binance US and Stellar CEOs Debunk Myths for International Women’s Day

Like so many bitcoiners who ate Thanksgiving dinner with their families, O’Hearn said she was grateful for her healthy family. As for myself, I ate plenty of plants this holiday, despite knowing lean protein makes me feel better than pecan pie. Rather than travel to family, I joined an outdoor gathering of bitcoiners for turkey, my first friendsgiving as part of the clan. I no longer felt like an outsider, nor was I the sole young woman. But I did bring my own rosé, because we all know the bitcoin cowboys will only bring beer and whiskey.

It may be precisely because of our differences, instead of despite them, that we were so grateful to gather with diverse friends contributing, in our own ways, to the first open-source, digital money. Especially during the pandemic, we’re thankful to be a part of an economic shift that just might manage to outlive our BBQ-slathered grills and little stone castles.

Source link

Continue Reading


IOTA and Bitpanda-Backed Pantos Join Efforts to Launch Christian Doppler Laboratory in Austria




The official opening of the Christian Doppler Laboratory took place yesterday, with the Austrian Federal Minister for Digital & Economic Affairs Margarethe Schramböck attending the event.

IOTA, a non-profit organization and creator of the IOTA, IOTA Tangle, and MIOTA, is expanding its focus on the Internet-of-Things (IoT) industry through its blockchain technology. On November 26, IOTA announced a partnership with Bitpanda company Pantos to foster research in distributed ledger technologies and their use in IoT. Within the partnership, the companies have launched a new laboratory. Named the CDL Blockchain Technologies for the Internet of Things (CDL-BOT), it will be housed at the Vienna University of Technology. It will accelerate the everyday use of DLT.

IOTA and Pantos Opened New Laboratory

The official opening of the Christian Doppler Laboratory took place yesterday, with the Austrian Federal Minister for Digital & Economic Affairs Margarethe Schramböck attending the event. According to IOTA and Pantos, the laboratory will run for seven years. Besides, it will be headed by Prof. Stefan Schulte and employ several postdoctoral and doctoral students.

For IOTA, the Christian Doppler Laboratory marks an important step in deepening its academic research about the Tangle. It will also benefit from a partnership with leading European private sector initiatives, which will ensure the relevance of such activities across industries.

IOTA co-founder Dominik Schiener said:

“Together with the world-leading academic institution TU Wien and Pantos as a cutting-edge technology provider, we will jointly focus on the interoperable transfer of digital assets and trusted Internet of Things while expanding our footprint in Austria specifically.”

As for Pantos, the collaboration will enable it “to stay at the forefront of interoperability development”. It will also “solve one of the biggest complexities in this young but steadily maturing industry”.

IOTA Foundation’s Research into DLT and IoT

IOTA Foundation is a global non-profit foundation that backs the research and development of new distributed ledger technologies. It aims to solve the fundamental blockchain issues like scalability, environmental sustainability, and cost.

The company is a board member of the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications. Furthermore, IOTA Foundation is a founding member of the trusted-IoT alliance as well as the mobility open blockchain initiative (MOBI). It promotes blockchain and distributed ledgers in regulatory approaches, the IoT ecosystem, and mobility.

Back in 2018, IOTA partnered with Volkswagen, Bosch, and Fujitsu. The three big multinationals started using its Tangle Technology to automate their products and services. In October, IOTA Foundation announced working with the Japanese government. They launched a project that seeks to transform the country’s industrial infrastructure using IOTA systems. Besides, on November 24, IOTA completed a standardization update to assure interoperability between devices and systems that employ IOTA-based software.

next Blockchain News, Business News, Cryptocurrency news, Deals News, Internet of Things News

Daria is an economic student interested in the development of modern technologies. She is eager to know as much as possible about cryptos as she believes they can change our view on finance and the world in general.

Source link

Continue Reading


NYT Reports Claims of ‘Racist or Discriminatory’ Treatment of Employees at Coinbase




The New York Times has published a critique of Coinbase’s internal diversity policies, with several former employees complaining of “racist or discriminatory” treatment. 

The report by journalist Nathaniel Popper, published Friday, is based on commentary from 23 current and former Coinbase employees. It paints the picture of a company that “has long struggled with its management of Black employees.”

Coinbase, which became aware of a potential story during the fact-checking process, attempted to front-run the story Wednesday evening. The company emailed a statement to its employees and then published that email in a blog post, alerting the public to an imminent “negative story.” 

“Given that this story may be read by your friends, family and professional contacts, we wanted to give everyone a heads-up and provide some important context,” the statement reads. Notably, it expressed the company’s belief that the NYT’s report would “likely quote” three former Coinbase employees and one former contractor. This proved to be an underestimation.

The NYT’s report details several incidences of allegedly discriminatory behavior, ranging from racial stereotyping to inadequate practices around the hiring and promotion of Black employees. The Times reports that at least 11 former employees contacted the human resources department or their managers about such incidents.

Crypto, like the larger tech industry, has come under fire for a lack of diversity. In an opinion piece for CoinDesk titled “The Crypto Community Needs to Stand Up and Fight Racism,” Robert Greenfield, CEO of Emerging Impact, wrote, “The crypto community is conveniently selective about what aspects of society it wants to change.”

“Most people of color working in tech know that there’s a diversity problem,” said one former Coinbase employee, Alysa Butler, in Popper’s article. “But I’ve never experienced anything like Coinbase.”

Kim Milosevich, a Coinbase spokesperson, told the New York Times the company “does not tolerate racial, gender or any other forms of discrimination.” She is also quoted as saying, “All claims of discrimination are treated very seriously, investigated by both internal and third parties, and the appropriate action is taken.”

Coinbase, an $8 billion exchange, made headlines in September after CEO Brian Armstrong published an open letter declaring Coinbase as an “apolitical” and “mission driven” company, with the understanding that social justice issues should not be discussed on company time or channels.

Days later, the company offered a severance package for all employees who were uncomfortable with Armstrong’s mission statement. As of Oct. 14, 5% of Coinbase employees had left the firm. 

Coinbase is one of crypto’s most valuable and public exchanges. The company is reportedly exploring a public stock offering in 2021.

Source link

Continue Reading