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Yearning for Pickle? Two DeFi Protocols Merge

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The anonymously operated yield farm Pickle Finance has cut a deal to merge with Yearn, the latter’s lead developer, Andre Cronje, posted on Medium Tuesday.

“Pickle and Yearn developers have worked out a structure to allow the two projects to work together in symbiosis. This is done to reduce duplicate work, increase specialization and to leverage shared expertise,” Cronje wrote.

Timing and other details remain to be announced.

Yearn is one of the leading projects in decentralized finance (DeFi), serving its users as a way to automatically optimize yield for a set of cryptocurrencies. Pickle was started as a yield farm whose initial purpose was to help push four key stablecoins back onto their target price, but it has since evolved into something that operates more like Yearn, with its own set of yield optimizing pools.

Pickle Finance was hit by an exploit in which $19.7 million in DAI was lost. This follows a bug in late September where funds got temporarily locked after a bug was found in its smart contracts.

In the Pickle Discord channel, one of its moderators, 0xPenguin, shared Cronje’s post, writing:

“The idea of the merger, and the long-term benefits to everyone – investors, community members and developers – emerged during the process of working with the Yearn team in the investigation of the exploit.”

When news of the exploit first emerged, another moderator, Larry the Cucumber, wrote, “We will not be issuing any IOU tokens so as to not impede the growth of this protocol going forward.”

However, with the announcement of the merger, 0xPenguin backtracked on that somewhat, writing, “A solution has been found that allows us to announce the issuance of a new token – CORNICHON, to act as a debt instrument to help those who were affected by the exploit.”

How CORNICHON will accrue value has not yet been revealed. The tokens “will be minted against a snapshot of balances at the time of the attack and distributed to victims proportionally. Further measures may then be adopted by Pickle Governance through its regular decision process,” Cronje wrote.

The Yearn merger will also introduce a new token called DILL, which will incentivize users to hold PICKLE tokens longer.



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Coinbase Now Has Over $90B in Assets on Platform

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Coinbase saw whopping growth in 2020 as bitcoin rallied to close out the year.

New numbers published on the Coinbase “About” page Friday show the exchange now has over $90 billion in assets on platform and over 43 million registered users. An Internet Archive snapshot from as recently as last week shows $25 billion in assets on platform though it’s unclear when that data was collected.

The updated figures were collected as part of Coinbase’s 2020 year in review and are current as of Dec. 31, 2020.

“In this report, we take you on a comprehensive tour of the crypto asset class, sharing our unique perspective on how and why these institutions are engaging with the market,” Coinbase Institutional’s Brian Foster wrote in the report’s cover letter.

Coinbase’s asset surge is likely driven by the likes of MicroStrategy, Ruffer Investment and other institutions that have used the exchange’s prime brokerage service to make large bitcoin buys in recent months.

Assets under the control of Coinbase Custody accounted for “more than 50%” of the $90 billion total, the report states, adding that Coinbase executed “single trades exceeding $1 billion for some of the largest institutions in the world.”

The update from Coinbase comes ahead of an expected public listing. Investment bank Goldman Sachs is reportedly working with the firm on its Wall Street debut.

This is a developing story and will be updated.



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Alameda-Backed Investment Platform ‘Stacked’ Acquires Automated Trading Service

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Terms of the deal were not disclosed.



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Blockchain Bites: Clearing the Record on Yellen’s Crypto Concerns and the Bitcoin Double-Spend Fracas

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After dropping 13% yesterday, bitcoin is once again on the ascent. Meanwhile, Janet Yellen has offered a more nuanced view of crypto and small Ethereum mining pools are organizing a campaign against a potential network upgrade.

Top shelf

Miners revolt!
Eight Ethereum mining pools amounting to around 30% of the network’s hash power have formed a quasi-cartel to push back against a proposed blockchain update that would reduce their mining fees. Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 1559, floated by Vitalik Buterin, would burn mining fees to help reduce transaction cost volatility. While larger mining pools, like BitFly, F2Pool and Sparkpool, are ambivalent about the upgrade, smaller miners are calling to nix EIP 1559, according to CoinDesk tech reporter Will Foxley.

Trust progress?
Grayscale Investments is laying the groundwork for what could be five new cryptocurrency trusts, for chainlink, basic attention token, decentraland, livepeer and tezos. Preliminary paperwork was filed by the firm’s “statutory trustee,” though it does not guarantee any of these investable products will see the light of day, according to reporting from CoinDesk’s Dan Palmer. (Digital Currency Group owns both CoinDesk and Grayscale.)

Banking deposits
Signature Bank disclosed $10 billion in deposits from its cryptocurrency company clients, in an earnings call Thursday. Representing 16% of the New York firm’s total deposits, this sum is also twice that of competitor Silvergate Bank, which is widely considered the first crypto-forward bank, CoinDesk’s Nathan DiCamillo reports. Without revealing names, Signature’s chief executive said it now banks the “top five crypto exchanges.”

Crypto sweep
The U.S. government’s top investments watchdog flagged a series of unregistered cryptocurrency companies for allegedly duping mostly international investors with false corporate information. Of the 28 suspect investment firms the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) called out Thursday, CoinDesk reporter Danny Nelson found eight that appear to target would-be cryptocurrency investors.

Big in Japan
Following the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission’s (SEC) lawsuit against Ripple, Japanese XRP-stans are left wondering. The cryptocurrency has gained traction in the country as a remittance tool, is backed by one of the largest Japanese financial firms, SBI, and is considered a “cryptocurrency” – not a security, arguably – by Japan’s economy regulator. “The crypto community, I feel, sees this as a big blow to them and as kind of a precursor to what could come in the future, that other companies are also vulnerable,” Mike Kayamori, Liquid Global CEO, told CoinDesk’s Sandali Handagama.

Quick bites

BITCOIN ETF: Five reasons it should be approved. (Bloomberg opinion)

HUMAN TRADERS: A quant fund (not crypto-specific) is giving people a chance. (Bloomberg)

FOR THE FAITHFUL: Joe Weisenthal thinks bitcoin is a religion. Who’s the Pope? (Bloomberg)

BLUE SKIES? Jack Dorsey’s open-source social media platform released a 6o-page overview of the decentralized ecosystem. (Blog)

CUT TO THE CORE: A notable Bitcoin Core dev reflects on his time building and argues Bitcoin needs to decentralize. (Blog)

Market intel

Efficient markets?
Two events batted around to explain bitcoin’s 13% price drop on Thursday are a bit more complicated than they appear on the surface. Yesterday, bitcoin saw its biggest intraday drop since March 12, 2020, when bitcoin tumbled 39%.

Looking for cause, some suggested the markets threw a temper tantrum in response to a rumor that a double-spend appeared in the wild, on the Bitcoin blockchain. That story was picked up by the mainstream press. Others, that traders were spooked by comments made by Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen, who raised concerns about crypto’s use in the criminal underground. That story was picked up by the mainstream press, too.

CoinDesk tech reporter Colin Harper set the record straight: The transaction that looked like a double-spend – the very phenomenon Bitcoin was created to address – was a normal occurrence. The trouble bubbled up after BitMEX researchers found an orphan block containing a 0.00062063 BTC transaction that was also included in a valid block mined to the blockchain.

But it really was no big deal. In what’s called a block reorganization, Bitcoin programmatically dealt with the issue. While the bitcoin was technically “double-spent,” Harper notes, “no new coins were added to Bitcoin’s supply.”

Meanwhile, following a U.S. Senate hearing where Yellen spoke briefly about money laundering and terrorist funding issues that plague bitcoin on Wednesday, the former Federal Reserve Chair disclosed a nuanced opinion of crypto in a letter to the Senate Finance Committee a day later.

To wit: “I think we need to look closely at how to encourage their use for legitimate activities while curtailing their use for malign and illegal activities,” she wrote. “If confirmed, I intend to work closely with the Federal Reserve Board and the other federal banking and securities regulators on how to implement an effective regulatory framework for these and other fintech innovations.”

She is likely to be confirmed today, CoinDesk regulatory reporter Nikhilesh De said.

While neither the rumored double-spend nor Yellen’s concerns are nonevents, they were both based on limited or faulty information that was picked up, (including in yesterday’s Blockchain Bites).

That said, neither news items should be blamed for the market spat, nor should the new information in the public register be seen as leading to today’s price appreciation. As Nic Carter as written, the efficient market hypothesis, the idea that states that asset prices reflect all available information, is complicated.

For now, like during the panic in March, it’s best to keep in mind that “time in the market beats timing the market.”

At stake

Bitcoin’s support
Yesterday was a show of solidarity in the Bitcoin community, after nChain Chief Scientist Craig Wright pushed for cultural touchstones, Bitcoin.org and Bitcoincore.org, to pull the first cryptocurrency white paper off their sites.

Wright, who has long claimed to be Bitcoin’s pseudo-anonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, has filed for patents over Bitcoin’s earliest documentation and intellectual property. The notably rambunctious developer, law student and academic is also the creator of Bitcoin SV (for Satoshi’s Vision), a fork of Bitcoin Cash and competitor coin.

Bitcoin.org rebutted Wright’s legal challenge and kept the document up, though Bitcoincore.org – the main repository for the Bitcoin code base – took it down.

No matter, as CoinDesk Managing Editor Zack Seward reported, some of crypto’s most prominent voices have decided to host a mirror copy. These include Square, Coin Center, Facebook subsidiary Novi and CoinDesk, among dozens more companies, nonprofits and individuals. It has also been uploaded to the “uncensorable” Arweave platform as well as internet alternative the InterPlanetary File System (IFPS), Seward notes.

According to Bitcoin.org, the Bitcoin white paper was published under an open MIT license by Nakamoto, making it a public domain document. “There is no doubt” people have the legal right to host the white paper, the nonprofit said.

Wright has long been a thorn in the Bitcoin community’s side, launching several lawsuits against prominent personalities who questioned his claims of being the authentic Nakamoto. Hodlnaut, the pseudonymous account behind the lightning torch experiment and who was sued for defamation, was vaulted into the spotlight in 2019 with a wave of bitcoin enthusiasts adopting his cartoon cat avatar for their Twitter profile photos.

While the event shows Bitcoin is still capable of rallying together, the real issue at play is much bigger than Wright’s copyright claims. Dozens of businesses have patent key technologies off of, or that support, this open-source system. In some sense, some would argue, a copyright is simply anathema to Bitcoin’s core ideal of permissiveness.

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