Bitcoin had a strong Sunday on the back of global stagflation concerns. The market is bullethereum classic price analysisish on macro hedge investments and with large outflows of US government debt now occurring, money is flowing into risk assets. Tech stocks and Bitcoin have both surged as a result.
At the age of eight, Leon Portz was gradually losing his eyesight due to a congenital condition when he was given his first computer. By the age of nine, he had figured out how to speed up the machine-generated voice that read out websites and other electronic texts, allowing him to grasp the information faster. He now listens to texts at five times the standard speed, which is unintelligible to an untrained ear.ethereum mining historyBut his love of science only truly flourished when he moved from his hometown in central Germany to the nearby town of Marburg, a leafy, medieval university town, to attend a specialist school for the blind. As it turned out, that move transported him into a hotbed of inclusive innovation.
Marburg proudly calls itself a "Blindenstadt", a city for blind and visually impaired people, due to its long history as a hub for accessibility. A ground-breaking educational institute for the blind, the Blindenstudienanstalt (or Blista) in German, was founded here during World War One, to provide opportunities for young men blinded in the war. The institute has spawned countless inventions for blind people since then, including a tactile mathematical font. It has also profoundly shaped the town around it, turning it into a place where, as Portz puts it, "everything is ideal for blind people".Some of the innovations that make Marburg so accessible also exist elsewhere. But the way they are joined up here is unique, Portz and other blind people who have lived in the town say. The clattering sound of guiding canes is ubiquitous in Marburg, as blind people navigate the town aided by beeping traffic lights, pavements and floors with ridges and bumps that act as tactile signals of hazards or barriers. Buildings often have raised maps and floor plans, while detailed miniature bronze models of major sights such as Marburg's castle and town square allow blind visitors to feel the entirety of each landmark.Other convenient features are a result of the town's natural shape. Marburg is small and hilly, making it easy to orient yourself simply by noting if you are going up- or downhill. A web of accessible leisure facilities spans the city, such as a horse-riding school for the blind, and blind rowing, football, climbing and skiing clubs. The town's university has Germany's highest proportion of blind students, and the widest range of degrees taken by blind people.The Blista and its students have driven many of these innovations, developing everyday aids such as a foldable cane, but also, working with the university to improve accessibility across departments. Law and psychology are among the most popular course choices, as the materials are text-heavy and can be studied easily with aids such as screen readers. Now teachers and pupils from the institute are prising open another field: the natural sciences, which have long been beset by barriers for blind people."I don't feel like a pioneer, but I guess I am one," says Portz, who is studying biochemistry and computer science in Düsseldorf. He is the first blind biochemistry student there, and by his own estimate, one of fewer than a handful of blind chemistry students in all of Germany.
Chemistry remains relatively closed to the blind, due to the hazards of laboratory work, and the ubiquity of images, charts and graphs. But chemistry teacher Tobias Mahnke, who taught Portz at the Blista-associated Carl-Strehl-School in Marburg, argues there is no reason why his subject should be so restricted."No human being can see molecules, no human being can see atoms, and yet, chemistry education is so visual. Why? There shouldn't be any disadvantage for blind people, given that sighted people can't see all this, either," he says.Robinhood users are currently only able to buy crypto with US dollars and trade digital assets on the platform, as the app does not support crypto deposits and withdrawals.
Robinhood’s crypto traders have long badgered the company to introduce deposit and withdrawal functionality for digital assets, with the calls having grown this year as fiery-eyed Dogecoin fanatics converged on the platform.In an Aug. 19 quarterly earnings call, Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev announced that the firm was finally exploring introducing a crypto wallet."I know there's been a ton of enthusiasm from the crypto community and the Dogecoin community in particular in getting access to wallets," Tenev stated, emphasizing the firm’s excitement to launch the new feature.Robinhood first launched Bitcoin and Ethereum trading services in 2018 for customers in five U.S. states. Robinhood has since expanded its altcoin support and currently allows traders based in all but four U.S. states to access its crypto features.
Crypto services have become a significant part of Robinhood’s revenue in 2021, with its Q2 report showing that around 41% of its $565 million revenue was from crypto trading. By contrast, the firm generated $5 million from crypto trading for the entirety of 2020.Earlier this month, the firm expanded its crypto offerings by launching a recurring crypto investment feature allowing users to dollar cost average (DCA) into crypto positions.
Robinhood is not alone in looking to expand its support for crypto, with an increasing number of mainstream firms announcing moves to enable digital asset payments.Cointelegraph reported on Sept. 16 that AMC Entertainment plans to accept movie ticket payments in Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) by 2022. The company already announced plans to support Bitcoin payments in August.On Sept. 15 software giant Adobe also announced that merchants using its Adobe Commerce product will be able to accept cryptocurrency payments via Paypal from the fourth quarter of this year.DELIVERED EVERY MONDAY
Recent dialogue between MakerDAO developers and the office of anti-crypto Senator Elizabeth Warren’s has revealed a concerning lack of familiarity with the current decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem.On Sept. 20, a screenshot began circulating on social media appearing to show dialogue between members of the MakerDAO community discussing the conclusions from a recent meeting between representatives of the project and the office of Senator Warren.In the screenshot, pseudonymous MakerDAO Governance delegate “PaperImperium” claims to have spent much of the time convincing Warren that Maker is not the same project as The DAO — an infamous early experiment in decentralized autonomy organizations (DAOs) that suffered a major hack before failing in 2016.MakerDAO is currently sixth-largest DeFi protocol commanding a total value locked of more than $8.2 billion, according to DeFi Llama.
Despite the confusion, the delegate also concluded that the Senator is “not super interested in us,” adding that they “have a commitment for another meeting” that is expected to take place within roughly three weeks.While the screenshots shared to social media claim appear to be citing Senator Warren directly, a Sept. 17 thread posted to MakerDAO’s governance forum indicates the project’s delegates would be meeting with Warren's “economic and banking advisors.”
The meeting comes after increasing efforts from MakerDAO to promote initiatives establishing dialogue between the crypto industry and lawmakers.Elizabeth Warren has recently become a pariah to the crypto industry, labeling crypto as "the new shadow bank" and a "lousy investment" in recent months.
Earlier this month she suggested it would be “worth considering” prohibiting U.S. banks from holding the reserves to back private stablecoins in a move that could “effectively end the surging market.”Related: Sen. Warren goes after Ethereum network fees in committee hearingThe DAO was one of the first major projects on Ethereum, launched in 2016 after raising $150 million USD worth of ETH through a token sale. The DAO was hacked due to code vulnerabilities and $60 million in ETH was stolen less than 3 months after it launched.It was one of the most heavily invested crypto projects to date, having attracted 14% of all circulating ETH at the time.As a result of the incident, the Ethereum community opted to hard fork Ethereum to reverse the attack, with dissenting voices maintaining the old chain to spawn the Ethereum Classic classic chain.Despite Bitcoin (BTC) dropping below the $43,000 mark on Monday, the outflow of BTC from exchanges has continued in a multi-month trend, particularly on Coinbase Pro.
Over the past month, the amount of Bitcoin held in Coinbase Pro’s vaults dropped by 28,843.87 BTC. Similarly, other crypto exchanges, including Kraken, OKEx, Bitfinex and Huobi, also experienced a drop in their Bitcoin holdings, with the withdrawn amount totaling 30,236 BTC across the board.On-chain analysts perceive falling Bitcoin reserves as a bullish signal.
That is primarily because most traders move their BTC assets to exchanges only when they prefer to trade them for other assets — be it fiat currencies or altcoins. As a result, the exchange balance serves as a metric to gauge traders’ sentiments for the underlying asset.As a result, Coinbase Pro’s declining Bitcoin reserves hint at its traders’ intention to hold BTC instead of selling it. But, at the same time, its top rival, Binance, has been playing a spoilsport.
However, data also shows that the Bitcoin balance in Binance wallets has risen to 29,717 BTC in the last 30 days, which is more than the amount Coinbase Pro withdrew from its vaults.As the world’s leading crypto exchange by volume, Binance enjoys a certain influence on the market due to its global outreach. The exchange’s rising Bitcoin balances suggest that its users could sell an increasing amount of BTC, the opposite of the trend seen on Coinbase.
The increase in Bitcoin reserves on Binance also reached levels that followed up with the market sell-offs during the second quarter of 2021. Notably, the Bitcoin balance on the exchange spiked from 199,700 BTC on April 20 to 347,590 BTC on June 26.The same period saw BTC/USD drop from around $65,000 to below $30,000, including the notorious May 19 crash when Bitcoin plunged by more than 30%.Bitcoin trading at $300 premium on BinanceThe massive spike in Bitcoin reserves on Binance also coincided with premium BTC/USD bids on the exchange, with the BTC spot price being almost $400 higher on Binance than on Coinbase.
The vast price difference created arbitrage trading opportunities, coinciding with Binance’s Bitcoin reserves adding 1,529 BTC in the previous 24 hours compared to Coinbase that processed withdrawals of 579 BTC.As a reminder, exchanges still processed more than 30,000 BTC in withdrawals in the past 30 days, signaling that traders overall wanted to hold their crypto rather than sell it for other assets.
But given Binance’s trading volumes (~$24 billion) in the previous 24 hours were six times higher than Coinbase Pro’s (~$4.23 billion) at press time — as per data collected from CoinMarketCap — the probability of an interim Bitcoin price drop appeared high.Fall is traditionally the open season for United States financial regulators. The thicket of news coming out of Capitol Hill, federal courts and various regulatory agencies can feel overwhelming around this time, especially for those of us residing outside of these venerable institutions’ purview. It is also clear that the outcomes of these legal battles will have tremendous effects on crypto markets, adoption and, generally, the relationship between state power and the industry worldwide. But that is not the only reason for anyone interested in how the old world adapts to digital finance to follow U.S. developments closely.
Security and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler appeared in front of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs last week. During the hearing, we didn’t get much clarity on how Gensler wants to handle stablecoins beyond his opinion that many of them “might well be securities.”It was good to at least see some senators, such as Pat Toomey, willing to call Gensler out for inconsistencies and omissions in his argumentation. What was worrisome was seeing mostly Republicans on the stop-stifling-innovation side and mostly Democrats on the stricter-investor-protection side (despite all the laughs and memes that Senator Warren’s Ethereum fees spiel produced). Crypto becoming yet another partisan issue is a nightmare scenario — luckily, it does not seem to be that way outside of this particular Senate hearing yet.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which has historically been more lenient toward the corner of the crypto space that falls under its jurisdiction, will soon have a permanent chairman and two new commissioners. All three nominees — the acting chairman who spoke amply in favor of innovation, a legal scholar specializing in digital finance, and another with a strong enforcement background — seem to have the potential to be a force for good for crypto, but let’s not get too excited just yet.The rest of the world keeps supplying major policy developments for digital assets. Cuba recognized cryptocurrency and now allows its use as a remittance and investment vehicle. Over in El Salvador, President Nayib Bukele’s opponents made a political statement by setting a crypto kiosk ablaze. In South Korea, the majority party clashed with the finance minister over a controversial crypto tax code, attempting to postpone its implementation. Notice a common theme? All over the world, cryptocurrency-related issues are part of political agendas.In the increasingly competitive landscape of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, protocol innovation and the ability to solve the biggest problems facing the crypto community are necessary for any project that looks to have long-term success in the ecosystem.Recently, the emergence of layer-2 technology like Arbitrum, Optimism and a bridge to the Avalanche ecosystem is revolutionizing the way investors, builders and developers interact with various protocols because each facilitates fast, low-cost transactions that improve the fundamentals of the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem while also making it easier for retail-sized investors to capitalize on opportunities.
According to data from Token Terminal, DeFi continues to be one of the fastest-growing sectors of the crypto economy as evidenced by increases in the total value locked (TVL) on protocols. Some of the biggest gains from last week occurred on cross-chain compatible networks and layer-two protocols that offer a lower fee environment.Two of the top-6 projects on the list above, Trader Joe and Pangolin, are found in the Avalanche network which has seen significant inflows and an increase in TVL since the launch of an upgraded cross-chain bridge that allows Ethereum-based tokens and applications to migrate to the Avalanche ecosystem.
Governance features have also been a positive factor in helping spark new growth for projects as both Alchemix Finance and Rari Capital have ongoing, or recently completed votes designed to improve their ecosystems and increase community involvement.Another emerging trend shown in the data from Token Terminal is the growing strength of derivatives and options trading protocols as regulators increasingly crack down on centralized exchanges that offer derivatives services and have loose KYC and AML requirements.
As shown on the chart above, two of the biggest gainers in terms of protocol revenue over the past week were dYdX and Hegic, a pair of protocols that offer decentralized derivatives and on-chain options trading to investors.Global regulators have increased their scrutiny on leveraged and derivatives trading platforms in recent months, while at the same time, established exchanges like Coinbase have applied to offer futures trading services, indicating that this is one sector poised for continued growth as cryptocurrencies become more mainstream.