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Price analysis 9/25: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, DOT, LINK, BNB, CRO, LTC, BSV

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Bitcoin blasts through $13K following PayPal’s entrance into crypto

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Bitcoin (BTC) has rallied above $13,000 for the first time since July, and only the third time since the all-time high bull run of late-2017.

The move follows the long sustained period of five-figure price action, with BTC having spent nearly the entirety of the past 12 weeks trading above $10,000.

Weekly BTC/USD chart: BitcoinWisdom

The spike was triggered by news that the global payments giant PayPal is launching support for Bitcoin, in addition to Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

BTC, ETH, and BCH have all gained between 7% and 8% over the past 24 hours, while LTC is up more than 14%.

While Ethereum has rallied alongside Bitcoin, ETH has failed to maintain its strength relative to Bitcoin since rallying into the low-mid $400s amid the decentralized finance boom in August. Ether is currently testing resistance at $400.

In response to the news from PayPal, Alex Mashinsky, CEO of crypto lending platform Celsius, said:

“This is definitely a bullish sign for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Crypto is all about trust, and PayPal has a very high level of trust with its users […] If the UI/UX of the service is done right, we will see millions of new users join each month.”



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Bouncing ideas around tokenomic design – Cointelegraph Magazine

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Jack Lu, 23, was struck by the idea for his new DeFi platform Bounce while working on his thesis on game theory and cryptocurrency at Reed College in California.

“It took me quite a long time to think of it,” Lu explains about his game theory influenced auction platform. “Everyone was talking about lending and borrowing, and doing Uniswap and providing liquidity. When I looked at this financial channel I think there’s one missing piece, which is auctions.”

Lu — who counts Andre Cronje from Yearn.Finance, Kain Warwick from Synthetix and Calvin Liu from Compound as peers — describes Bounce as a decentralized version of eBay, Sotheby’s or Christies. Users can set up pools to auction off tokens, and play around with parameters like the number to be swapped, the time limit and different ways of accepting bids.

He co-founded it with Ankr CEO Chandler Song and the bare bones, black and white platform went live on August 4.  “I partnered with some friends and we made it,” Lu says. “The platform has been live for two months and it’s ranked nine on ETH gas station.”

So far more than 2,700 pools have been created, and more than 500,000 Ether ($179M) has changed hands on the Ethereum version of the platform. Bounce was also one of the first five projects announced for the interoperable Binance Smart Chain — which is essentially an Ethereum clone with lower gas fees and avoid congestion — and 700,000 BNB ($18.5M)has been swapped on that version since early September too. 

The site launched with two types of auctions. Fixed swap, where everyone has the same price (like an ICO from 2017) and sealed bid auctions.

“You can put in a floor price and a timer and anyone can come and bid above the floor price. And when the pool closes, the smart contract will fill the orders from the highest price down to the bottom. So people do get different prices.”

Lu recently added in some variations on Dutch style auctions — which start from a high price and sell off the tokens gradually as the price comes down — as well as English auctions, which start from a reserve price and head up.

World tour before San Francisco

Originally from Guangdong Province in China, Lu attended high school in Britain where he took intro courses for college economics that enabled him to finish his degree at Reed College early. “That was where Steve Jobs went,” says Lu. It was there he discovered crypto in 2016.

“Quite a lot of teenagers got into crypto at the time and my college roommate taught me about Ethereum and then I started to read medium articles and Reddit,” he says. Lu began joining crypto groups and became friendly with NEO founder Hongfei Da which led to a six month internship with NGC Ventures in Shanghai in 2018.

It turned into a full-time gig after he graduated in 2019 and he’s now the US Investment Manager for the fund, based in San Francisco.

“I help our portfolio projects to design their tokenomics,” he says. “During my due diligence on many projects, I have a broader view on what’s going on in the crypto market and what the progress is on tokenomics in the crypto world.”

Learning to play games

He may be the youngest employee at the firm, but he’s also the only one to have written his thesis on blockchain and game theory — one of just a handful on the subject in the world at the time.

Game theory is a branch of mathematics that examines the strategies employed in competitive situations where the outcomes for players depend critically on the actions of the other players. It has been applied to everything from war, to business and biology, but Lu’s thesis explores why it’s a perfect fit for cryptocurrencies. The ‘players’ in the decentralized world of blockchain, from miners to traders and hackers, are independent and make decisions after evaluating the benefits and costs associated with their moves. 

Unlike in the real world (as the New Yorker points out), game theory actually works better when applied to blockchain and smart contracts, because the rules are fixed, the blockchain is transparent and the information can be made available to all the players. Research has shown that the more informed party in a deal typically captures up to 18% more economic benefits than the less informed party. Lu explains:

I always say it’s a successful experiment in game theory since we use smart contracts to avoid a lot of human elements for a game, and we can see how pool creators and participants act.

His thesis examined concepts like the Nash Equilibrium, which is used to analyze the outcome of games where there is a strategic interaction between several decision makers and where the outcome for each depends on the decisions others make, as well as their own.

Snitches get four years

The famous example of the Prisoner’s Dilemma helps illustrate the concept:

Two suspects are interrogated separately for a crime. If both confess, they get four years in jail. If neither does, each will be sentenced to two years in jail. If only one confesses he will be released and the other sentenced to six years.

The best outcome is that neither of them confess. However, the model predicts both will confess, because they don’t have any information about what the other prisoner is doing and thus hedge their bets and both converge at the middle outcome.

 

 

Game theory gets fantastically complicated very quickly with games within games, and various amounts of knowledge and information about what other players are up to, expressed using algebraic formulas.

Lu enjoys watching the auctions on Bounce to observe how things play out in the context of game theory. “I think all types of auctions are game theory events,” he says pointing out that a sealed bid auction is reminiscent of the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

“If you raise (the price), everyone needs to pay more than the sealed bid creator’s floor price. But if everyone bids near the floor price, everyone would be better off. So I think this kind of on-chain behavior is quite interesting to see.”

Price discovery

Lu says that auctions provide a better route towards price discovery for Initial DEX offerings than exchanges, or automated market makers like Uniswap. where the mechanics of competition encourages a lot of quick and reactive price action.

“For Bounce if you’re doing an auction, people have time to think. And the projects also have time to think and analyze people’s demand for each pool,” he says. “There’s only a floor price or a price ceiling, so everything else is purely based on market demand.”  

“Some projects are doing consecutive sealed bid auctions and the final price for each round is different. Like in the first round the final executed price is high and in the second round, the price is lower, and then in the third round the price gets higher again. So I think this is very interesting for analyzing players.”

He compares it to a guessing game, where players in the second round assume that because there’s more supply after the first round, they can enter at a lower price, but in the third round they assume everyone else will bid lower again, so en masse they bid higher in order to ensure they get tokens. As he puts it:

If you think that way others will also think that way, so this is the pattern of a consecutive game in game theory.

Synthetix founder Kain Warwick says Bounce offers some intriguing possibilities.

“On-chain price discovery mechanisms are still fairly rudimentary for early stage projects with low liquidity,” he says. “Bounce is looking to create several new token distribution mechanisms which will significantly improve price discovery and reduce volatility. Synthetix is exploring using this mechanism as part of our [stablecoin] sUSD peg stabilisation efforts.”

Synthetix is expected to make a proper announcement about that soon.

Another use case for Bounce is for decentralized over the counter (OTC) trades. Users with large piles of tokens can set up a pool, either privately or publicly, to arrange an OTC deal and avoid the price slippage that would occur on a centralized exchange.

Around 50 IDOs and OTC trades have already made use of the platform. Bounce hit a milestone when Lu added support for non-fungible tokens. NFTs are unique tokens that first appeared in the form of CryptoKitties, but now represent ownership of digital art, fashion, unique in-game items like F1 cars in racing games, and sporting memorabilia collectibles.

“I think an English auction is a perfect solution for NFTs that are art or tools in a game. But there are more functionalities, like using NFTs as collateral or NFTs as a loan, so for that dutch and sealed bid auctions have some special use cases.”

Competition for auctions

Bounce isn’t the only token auction platform and has competition in the form of Mesa, which is currently in beta, and CoinList. But Lu argues that Bounce is more decentralized than either.

“The difference is the philosophy, I want everything to be on chain, I want zero (off chain) computation, which means the smart contract will do everything,” he says. “It requires the smart contracts to be lightweight and requires your data type to be very efficient because you can only do a limited amount of computation on chain.”

Game theory was also influential when Lu designed the tokenomics for the project. While he has studied lots of complicated token systems in the course of his work, he decided to start small.

“It’s impossible to create a perfect game at the beginning because every single game you cannot reach equilibrium immediately,” he explains — which in this case means an optimal outcome. “A lot of projects think they can which is why they build a very, very complex token economy.” He explains that:

For game theory you move to your equilibrium gradually and that’s how I designed the Bounce tokenomics

Lu started with daily rewards based on the number transactions, then added staking and Uniswap liquidity pool rewards and more.

“For me the philosophy is we will build more token economic pieces along the road, not at the very beginning, because even if you build a very complex system, if there are no people participating and you don’t see what people want, then you are far away from equilibrium.”

Attack of the scammers

Being philosophically inclined towards maximum decentralization, Lu was faced with a tricky situation when scams started appearing on the platform. This is an issue that plagues DeFi protocols with a host of scam tokens listed on Uniswap every week.

“People are saying ‘Oh you should ban scammers’, but I was like, ‘Oh this is a dilemma, because if I ban the scammers that means this platform is no longer decentralized,” he says.

“How can you define if it is real or if it’s fake?” he says. “So the only way is to build a social trust system.”

In the just released system, users stake BOT tokens, and can then propose a project to the social trust board. The community of stakers vote on which tokens are legit and which aren’t. So far around ten proposals have been put to a vote.

“The proposer (of a pool) will stake their token to make sure they have their monetary interest in it. And they can lay out all of the project’s information and all the Bounce holders can go to this social trust board and open all the proposals and if they like it, they can upvote, if they don’t like they can downvote.”

Interestingly enough, it’s not based on the similar sounding Kleros curated token registry for Uniswap, which takes advantage of a game theory concept called a Schelling Point to reward jurors with tokens for voting for the judgement they think most other jurors are likely to give and punish them for voting any other way.

“Right now there’s not a mechanism, but later there will be punishments, Lu says of the social trust system. “When you propose a pool you’ll stake tokens in an insurance fund and the mechanism will punish malicious behaviour. If everything is clear, you get the insurance back, otherwise you compensate people through the insurance fund.”

“I think this is going to be a very nice experiment. When people talk about DeFi governance everyone just focuses on parameters like changing the transaction fee from this percentage to that percentage and adding a new pair. But this is not all that governance is about, there should be a large, large social element and people should be able to use tokens to do some interesting stuff. If on Bounce, social trust is worked out, I hope other people can also try to use it.”

Attack of the clones

The other big issue DeFi projects face is that as soon as a successful protocol is created, someone else clones it and offers its users bigger incentives to jump ship. Lu says he’s just happy if “there are more people starting to think of different types of auctions and start to start to see this is also a DeFi piece that people can work on” and isn’t worried about clones.

“Being the creator of this idea, I know exactly what I’m doing,” he says. “They might be able to copy the auction types I built but I have a roadmap in mind to follow so I think we can gradually compete them out.

“You can copy one piece of the framework but when the framework has a solid foundation and a community to back it, I don’t think a copycat will function. “

Governance for Bounce is handled by an all-star line up including Liu (Compound), Warwick (Syntherix) Stani Kulechov (Aave), George Lambeth (Balancer), Nikita Ovchinnik (1inch) and Michael Gu (Boxmining). Lu says that he hopes to collaborate more with these projects and believes that interoperability and collaboration is the key to DeFi’s future.

“The next step will be to find cooperation with other DeFi projects because I strongly think we only need one financial channel and everyone needs to cooperate with each other – not to have the ambition to fork other people,” he says.

If you look at financial structures in history everything worked out because of collaboration.


 



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Bitcoin rallies, McAfee compares prison to Hilton, digital yuan airdrop

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Coming every Sunday, Hodler’s Digest tracks every important crypto news story from the previous week. Essential reading for all Hodlers!

 

Top Stories This Week

 

$12,000 Bitcoin price back on the table after BTC rallies above $11,400

At last. Bitcoin rallied to $11,448 on Friday, finally breaking above the symmetrical triangle where the price had been compressing for the past 30 days.

Earlier in the week, BTC had dropped to $10,528 when Donald Trump suggested negotiations on a second stimulus package wouldn’t happen until after the election.

But there were reasons to be cheerful. In a surprise move, Square announced it had acquired 4,709 BTC, describing it as an “instrument of economic empowerment.” This helped Bitcoin turn bullish — bringing $12,000 back into view.

DeFi tokens followed BTC’s bullish trend, with Yearn.finance surging by 58% in a 72-hour period. Also this week, Wrapped Bitcoin topped $1 billion in total value locked after a 900% increase in two months.

All eyes now are on the U.S. election, and whether it’ll impact Bitcoin’s price. One trader, “BigCheds,” told Cointelegraph a clear winner won’t affect crypto too much, but he believes “we should see a bounce in risk-off assets like gold and Bitcoin” if the result is contested.

 

SEC’s conservative approach to crypto needs to change, “Crypto Mom” says

Hester Peirce — the SEC commissioner affectionately known as “Crypto Mom” — has said the regulator’s conservative attitude to crypto needs to change.

In an interview with Cointelegraph, she admitted that the Securities and Exchange Commission has been “very slow” in giving guidance, even though interest in digital assets is growing.

“I think we’re going to be forced to confront that more and more in the coming years,” Peirce said.

In other regulation news, U.S. Attorney General William Barr published official guidelines for keeping crypto markets accountable and said the space could “fundamentally transform” society. His framework gives examples of crypto being used legitimately and illegally and sets out a game plan for the future.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice said it has jurisdiction over foreign crypto companies that touch U.S. servers and warned “rogue states” such as Russia, Iran and North Korea could use crypto to fund cyberattacks designed to undermine national security.

You can watch Hester Peirce’s interview with Cointelegraph here.

 

BitMEX founder and ex-CTO out on $5 million bail bond until court appearance

BitMEX’s former chief technical officer, Samuel Reed, has been released from custody after signing a $5-million bond.

He was arrested on Oct. 1 after being accused of flouting money-laundering rules in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, as well as illegally offering derivatives trading to U.S. retail customers.

Reed has deposited $500,000 in cash with the court as part of the agreement, and his bond will be forfeited if he fails to appear in court or doesn’t surrender to serve any sentence the court may impose. His passport has also been seized.

His fellow co-founders and colleagues — Arthur Hayes, Ben Delo and Gregory Dwyer — are all indicted with the same charges and remain “at large.”

BitMEX announced sweeping changes to its top leadership this week, meaning the exchange’s three co-founders will no longer hold executive roles. But David Carman, a former Chicago Board Options Exchange trader, told Cointelegraph that the damage may already have been done, and the legal drama could scare off mainstream institutions.

Shenzhen to hand out 10 million digital yuan in currency giveaway

Even central bank digital currencies can have an airdrop.

The Chinese city of Shenzhen is distributing 10 million digital yuan (worth $1.5 million) to 50,000 lucky recipients through a lottery system.

Winners will have one week to spend their prize at more than 3,300 merchants in the city’s Luohu District.

All of this comes as the Chinese government continues to promote the digital yuan to the public — and a pilot program is currently taking place in nine cities.

In other CBDC news this week, seven central banks joined the Bank for International Settlements in producing a report that sets out how these digital assets should be designed

But in a rather curious development, BIS admitted that none of the central banks involved in the research have actually decided whether they’ll issue a CBDC of their own.

John McAfee arrested in Spain on tax evasion charges

John McAfee has been arrested in Spain on tax evasion charges, and he is now awaiting extradition to the United States.

He faces five counts of tax evasion covering the years 2014 to 2018, and if convicted, he could face a sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count. McAfee has also been charged with five counts of willful failure to file taxes.

On the same day, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a suit against McAfee for allegedly promoting ICOs without disclosing he had been paid to do so. It’s claimed that he earned $23 million as a result.

In a message conveyed through his wife, Janice, McAfee said: “Hello from prison my friends. I am having a fascinating time. Spanish prison is not that bad. We can wear whatever clothes we want. We can smoke and socialize. It’s like the Hilton without turn down service.

Winners and Losers

 

 

At the end of the week, Bitcoin is at $11,372.62, Ether at $373.51 and XRP at $0.25. The total market cap is at $358,488,544,443.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are UMA, Ren and Storj. The top three altcoin losers of the week are PumaPay, Hyperion and SushiSwap.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis

Most Memorable Quotations

 

“If we have a clear winner and an easy transition of power, I do not see much of an impact on the price per coin. On the other hand, if we have a close and/or contested election, we should see a bounce in risk-off assets like gold and Bitcoin.”

BigCheds, trader

 

“Some are betting on blue, some betting on red, and I’m betting on gold.”

Frank Holmes, U.S. Global Investors CEO

 

“Andre said he won’t be tweeting anymore. People got what they asked for … Crypto community at large has always been childish and irresponsible, which is the reverse of what Andre has been preaching. This witch hunt is something else, the last week has been very demoralizing.”

Banteg, Yearn developer

 

“There are many reasons why the price of Bitcoin can rise or fall, but S2F is not one of them.”

Charlie Morris, ByteTree co-founder

 

“There is more hype around NFTs right now. To some extent it’s an extension of the DeFi excitement. We have seen with DeFi that once a trend starts it creates a snowball effect.”

Ilya Abugov, DappRadar project manager

 

“The crypto market has been engulfed in a sea of red this week, with most DeFi blue chips recording double digit losses over the past 7 days.”

Santiment

 

“What’s BitMEX thinking of? What are any of these companies thinking of that they can operate like this and not be above board and be honest and have a high level of integrity, and be transparent. What do they think is going to happen here?”

David Carman, former CBOE trader

 

“I’ve never been this excited about the potential of #Bitcoin for significant price appreciation in the short term (less than 18 month time frame.)”

Bill Barhydt, Abra CEO

 

“Conservative. I’d say #bitcoin likely sees $1 trillion market cap within 2 years, probably sooner. $1 trillion is about BTC $50k.”

Adam Back, Blockstream CEO

 

Prediction of the Week

Bitcoin pioneer predicts $1 trillion Bitcoin market cap by 2022 or “sooner”

Adam Back has said it is “conservative” to think that Bitcoin will hit a $1-trillion market cap by 2025 — and believes it could happen within two years.

This would result in Bitcoin surging to a price of approximately $50,000 per coin.

For the Blockstream CEO’s prediction to come true, Bitcoin’s market cap would need to increase by almost 400%, given how it currently has a valuation of about $210 billion.

Other crypto executives also believe there’s a lot to get excited about.

Bill Barhydt, the CEO of the payments gateway Abra, tweeted this week: “I’ve never been this excited about the potential of #Bitcoin for significant price appreciation in the short term (less than 18 month time frame.)”

He believes that we could see a retest of all-time highs at $20,000 — sparking “a run to $50,000 and beyond.”

FUD of the Week

 

Coinbase hemorrhages employees following controversial culture stance

At least 60 Coinbase employees are planning to leave the exchange after controversial adjustments were made to the company’s policies.

Coinbase’s CEO, Brian Armstrong, had said that staff would be expected to avoid political and social distractions and focus on building “an open financial system for the world.” Employees who felt uncomfortable with this direction were invited to accept a “generous exit package” worth between four and six months’ pay.

Armstrong has now revealed that about 5% of Coinbase’s workforce has decided to accept the offer, and additional workers have expressed an interest in leaving as well.

Some had feared that the cultural shift would affect the company’s “under-represented minority population.” But according to Armstrong, people from such groups have not taken the severance package in disproportionate numbers.

In an email to the staff left standing, he wrote: “While having team members leave is never easy, I think we will emerge as a more aligned company from this. From time to time we need to rearticulate and clarify our cultural norms as we continue scaling.”

Multimillionaire Dick Smith threatens to sue The Guardian over Bitcoin scam ads

One of Australia’s best-known entrepreneurs has threatened to sue The Guardian after it hosted ads that linked to fake articles suggesting he is promoting a fake Bitcoin investment scheme.

Dick Smith has vowed to start defamation proceedings against the media outlet within 14 days unless his legal team receives a satisfactory response.

Although The Guardian has been taking down ads once notified, Smith’s lawyer warned “that does not prevent Australian readers from falling victim to this prolific cryptocurrency scam.”

Smith has been battling the ads on various platforms for months. In his case, the fake articles were about “how to make money easy” and “get rich in a few days” using cryptocurrency.

Several high-profile individuals — including the Dutch billionaire John de Mol and the British financial expert Martin Lewis — have also taken legal action after scam ads featuring their image were found on Facebook.

 

75 crypto exchanges have closed down so far in 2020

Crypto exchanges are disappearing at a fast rate this year. At least 75 of them have shut down due to hacks or scams, with some simply vanishing into thin air.

According to research by the Crypto Wisser Exchange Graveyard, five of the exchanges are believed to have been scams, four were hacked, 31 were shut down voluntarily, and 34 were labeled “MIA” for disappearing with no explanation. Two were shut down by governments.

There are some macro trends that help explain why so many smaller exchanges are failing. The growth of DeFi and the rise of decentralized exchanges in 2020 have put the final nail in the coffin for many smaller operations.

Regulatory pressure has also increased since the early days of the industry, and many exchanges simply haven’t been able to keep up with the requirements. 

 

Best Cointelegraph Features

 

North Korean crypto hacking: Separating fact from fiction

How do North Korea’s hacking groups operate, how serious is the issue, and what can be done to stop them? Cointelegraph Magazine’s Alex Cohen takes a look.

 

These are the end days for crypto criminals, and good riddance

Nobody who believes in crypto wants it to be a sector beholden to criminality or poor commitment to security, Paul de Havilland argues.

 

NFTs take on DeFi? Nonfungible tokens push to be the next crypto craze

NFTs have been gaining traction in the background, but where is the industry headed? António Madeira takes a look. 



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