In recent years, the Ethereum ecosystem has bloomed in multiple directions — that much is clear.
Importantly, this blooming has allowed the smart contract platform to become an early king of the hill regarding DeFi, decentralized exchanges, stablecoins, Layer-2 blockchain scaling solutions, non-fungible tokens, and more.
The advance of these innovations has led to something of a metaphorical gravity well, in which builders keep flocking to Ethereum because it’s become the premier platform for these advanced blockchain possibilities.
With that said, promising new Ethereum-based projects continue springing up at a rapid pace these days, making it dizzying at times to try and keep up with all the notable efforts. Interested in playing some catch-up? Here’s 10 newer Ethereum projects you can put on your radar — they’ve the potential to be around for years to come.
mStable is a meta-assets protocol focused on stablecoins that launched in late May 2020. The system is meant to address fragmentation and a lack of native yield opportunities in the stablecoin ecosystem.
Among the project’s first releases was mUSD, a meta-stablecoin underpinned by other stablecoins like DAI, USDC, TUSD, and USDT. This means you can mint or redeem mUSD on a 1:1 ratio with any of its constituent stablecoins. Additionally, mUSD also generates yield via mStable swap fees and via lending underlying assets through Aave and Compound.
Having arrived on the Ethereum mainnet this spring, Balancer is an automated market maker (AMM) protocol that lets users open up customizable liquidity pools. Popular AMM Uniswap currently only supports two-token pools with a 1:1 weighting of assets, while Balancer pools can support up to eight tokens with arbitrary weightings.
This model gives liquidity providers more flexibility with how they can earn fees using their idle Ethereum-based tokens. Moreover, Balancer has started a liquidity mining campaign that rewards Balancer LPs with BAL governance tokens in order to bootstrap the protocol.
As Ethereum has grown increasingly popular, the platform needs Layer-2 scaling solutions more than ever to handle the growing demand. That’s where Loopring Pay comes in.
Built by the Loopring team, Loopring Pay allows users to send free ETH and ERC20 transactions in instantaneous fashion, and it’s available to use today. The new service is built on zkRollups tech, a Layer-2 scaling innovation that stores data on-chain but handles computation off-chain with zero-knowledge validity proofs. These rollups are among Ethereum’s most promising scaling solutions, and Loopring Pay shows what they can do in the here and now.
Matcha is a decentralized exchange built by the creators of the 0x Protocol project and underpinned by 0x’s liquidity aggregator infrastructure.
Launched in June 2020, Matcha goes all-in on user-friendliness and sensible design. Additionally, the DEX uses 0x Mesh tech in combination with other liquidity sources like Kyber Network and Uniswap to offer optimized, best-price trades. The DEX sector has already been one of Ethereum’s biggest stars to date, and consumer-friendly platforms like Matcha have the potential to keep that dynamic going strong well into the future.
UMA is a protocol for creating global and decentralized financial markets using synthetic assets. This year, the UMA team launched its first synthetic assets, including a priceless ETHBTC token that tracks the ETH/BTC price ratio. The token is priceless because its smart contract doesn’t rely on an on-chain price feed from an oracle but rather on a reference index.
A UMA token minting interface was also just released, which allows users to create their own synthetic tokens, deposit and withdrawal collateral, redeem tokens, and easily track information about already deployed synths. These synthetic assets open up all kinds of new trading possibilities in the Ethereum ecosystem.
Tokenized bitcoin efforts are gaining traction around Ethereum, but the ERC20 BTC sector has been dominated so far by more centralized efforts like WBTC, whose underlying bitcoin funds are custodied with BitGo.
That said, there’s been increasing calls for tokenized bitcoin projects that are trustless and non-custodial, and the Ren team have answered that call with renBTC. Using the RenVM network, users can mint renBTC on a 1:1 basis using actual BTC. The upside is that this tokenized bitcoin can be put to profitable use in Ethereum’s rising DeFi projects, like via serving as a Uniswap liquidity provider.
Omen is a decentralized predictions market platform spearheaded by Gnosis’s DXdao group. The dApp lets anyone create prediction markets for any questions they’d like using customizable parameters.
Whereas other blockchain prediction projects have typically relied on conventional orderbooks, Omen facilitates liquidity using an automated market maker (AMM) system that matches trades in a manner akin to Uniswap. Moreover, Omen’s creators have explicitly designed the platform to be modular and open so that it can be extended organically as time goes on. The project’s reliance on external oracles is also a point of contrast from its main peer Augur, which has developed its own in-house oracle.
Last month, the DeversiFi team launched DeversiFi 2.0, which is a “high-speed, self-custodial exchange” that preserves users’ privacy and can facilitate more than 9,000 Ethereum transactions per second.
The new exchange is powered by StarkWare’s Validium tech, which is a Layer-2 scaling solution that handles data storage off-chain while dealing with computation via zero-knowledge proofs. Validium joins zkRollups, Optimistic Rollups, and Plasma as being very promising scaling advancements for Ethereum, and DeversiFi is putting Validium, the newest of these advancements, front and center for the good of users everywhere. If DeversiFi 2.0 gains traction, look for more projects to embrace Validium.
InfiNFT is a new token minting platform that lets users mint NFTs whose metadata in maintained completely on-chain, and here on-chain equals more verifiable, secure, and transparent.
The NFT sector is picking up lately, so it’s become increasingly important to consider how to maintain NFTs for posterity. InfiNFT tackles this matter head on by minting tokens using a combination of Ethereum, the Arweave blockchain, and the IPFS decentralized storage solution. This tech trifecta allows minters to rest easy knowing their NFTs will be secure indefinitely without having to go back and manually pin files to IPFS later.
Speaking of the rise of the NFT sector, NFTfi is a streamlined marketplace for loans that use NFTs, like CryptoKitties or beyond, as collateral. This allows NFT collectors to borrow money against their idle digital collectibles and lenders to provide liquidity to these borrowers, with the underlying NFTs serving as payments in the case of any defaults. To this end, NFTfi is an interesting new project at the crossroads of DeFi and NFTs, and it has the potential to generate more attention, activity, and value around NFTs accordingly.
2020 has been a bustling year for Ethereum, and a big part of the reason why is because so many promising new projects built on Ethereum like the ones discussed above have been shipping out powerful products and platforms in recent months.
At this point, the momentum is tangible; Ethereum’s network effect is growing, and as things stand right now, the platform’s ecosystem is vastly ahead of any so-called Ethereum killers.
The grand question for now, then, is whether this momentum will continue and whether the pace of development around the Ethereum space stays high enough to keep sucking in activity. If so, then Ethereum’s constellation of stars is only just beginning.
Bullish for Bitcoin? 39 Million US Households to Receive up to $3.6K Monthly Stimulus Starting July 15th
A new rule under the hat of the COVID-19 relief bill will see 39 million US households receive up to $3,600 monthly starting from mid-July. Given the history between BTC’s price appreciation since the first-ever stimulus bill, the narrative rises now if this latest endeavor will push bitcoin higher again.
39M American Families to Receive up to $3.6K Per Month
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the US government (and many others) to undertake extreme measures to help alleviate the financial pain for its citizens. The stimulus checks were among the initiatives, and the first ones reached their recipients in April 2020.
Since then, the government passed a few more similar bills with new checks sent to the majority of the American population. As Reuters reported on May 17th, another set of measures is coming for certain citizens.
Operating as part of the relief bill signed into law by President Biden in March, it will work as a tax credit available to some parents. Those who have children under the age of six (in 2021) will receive up to $3,000 or $3,600 for each child – subject to income restrictions.
According to Reuters, this means that 39 million households will automatically or by direct deposit receive the funds every month, starting on July 15th.
Biden has also asked Congress to extend the tax credit for the next four years. His administration believes these measures could “lift more than five million children out of poverty” – which is nearly 50% of the youngsters.
Bullish Case for Bitcoin?
While the government justifies the relief bill by helping its population, these multi-trillion dollars have to come from somewhere. In the US case, central authorities had to print excessive amounts of the greenback in relatively short periods.
Thus, some reports estimated that more than a fifth of the circulating USD had been created in 2020 alone. This raises concerns about potential inflation and even hyperinflation among experts.
Shortly after the first stimulus checks reached their destinations, several legendary traditional investors, including Paul Tudor Jones III and Stan Druckenmiller, highlighted the idea of purchasing bitcoin to protect themselves against inflation.
After all, bitcoin has a pre-determined total supply of 21 million coins. The halving occurring every four years assures decreasing inflation. Consequently, PTJ, Druckenmiller, and many, many more, opined that BTC could serve as a digital store of value.
JPMorgan (and others) even said bitcoin is eating away the market share of the traditionally regarded as the ultimate safe-haven asset – gold.
This adoption from prominent names resulted in a substantial price appreciation for BTC in the next 13 months (since the first checks). The asset traded around $6,000 in April 2020 before it skyrocketed ten-fold by April 2021. Despite its most recent correction, bitcoin is still significantly higher than the pre-relief bill levels.
As such, the latest government initiative could push investors towards BTC once again in search of an asset with a limited supply.
Cook Finance Announces Launch of Testnet Version for Community Feedback
[PR – Sunnyvale, United States, 17th May, 2021]
The cross-chain decentralized asset management platform Cook Finance today announced the launch of its first DApp on Ethereum Rinkeby Testnet. The project has also invited its community members to preview the Testnet platform and share their feedback to help improve it. Soon after the Testnet version, Cook will then launch its Columbus version on the Ethereum Mainnet.
The excitement around the Testnet launch of the Cook Finance DApp is due to the fact that it is the first time the public will gain first-hand experience of how a cross-chain decentralized asset management platform differs from traditional asset management platforms. While traditional asset management platforms face challenges due to their opaque investment strategies and tight centralized restrictions, Cook is proud to give a glimpse into the future of decentralized finance by offering a fully transparent, decentralized and secure asset management platform.
The launch of the Testnet version of the DApp is a step forward for the team in improving the platform and ensuring that the community gets a say in how the project evolves over time. All community members of Cook Finance can now access the platform to explore its new UI under more dynamic conditions. The team will be taking feedback from all users and implementing necessary changes to help improve the DApp.
Adrian Peng, the CEO of Cook Finance said, “We have come a long way, but one thing that has always been a priority for us is to be thorough in every step and every process. We do not want to rush anything and miss out on critical details and functionalities of the DApp. After careful planning, we are finally ready for the Testnet launch, which is a major step forward for us. This is an exciting time that will help us better understand how users interact with the platform and what parts of the UI we can improve in the future.”
About Cook Protocol
Cook Protocol establishes a transparent and flexible asset management platform suited to diverse investors and asset management service providers alike. Investors can monitor a manager’s fund allocations without worrying about fund security or foul play. At the same time, fund managers can leverage Cook Protocol to gain access to investors and carry out virtually any investment strategy without having to opensource the strategy.
Top Bitcoin Mining Pools Are Signaling for Taproot Activation
9 out of 10 of all Bitcoin (BTC) mining pools have been signaling for taproot activation, an upgrade that could highly improve network scalability and privacy. However, its activation seems unlikely during the Difficulty Epoch for Bitcoin.
The latest mining pool to signal Taproot activation is BTC. Top, which did so on block height 683,945. Other top mining pools like F2pool and Antpool have previously shown support for the soft fork upgrade, which would give more flexibility to Bitcoin’s smart contract.
🚨 NEW POOL 🚨
Taproot signal by https://t.co/fnM6S6ouD8 in block 683945
— Taproot Signal (@taproot_signal) May 17, 2021
A 90% Consensus For the Upgrade
95% of mining pools were briefly signaling Taproot activation, with the percentage now standing around at 70%. However, data from Taproot.watch shows the update seems unlikely with 200 non-signaling blocks at press time, constituting 10% of non-signaling blocks.
The current signaling ratio is approximately 64.53%, but the Taproot update can only occur if 90% out of 2,016 mined blocks signal for Taproot in a two-week period. If successful, the update will be made available by November.
Taproot signal: 355/550 blocks (64.55%)
Difficulty period: 550/2016 blocks (27.28%)
Estimated signal: 1301 blocks
Activation threshold: 1815 blocks pic.twitter.com/0rCPaY057k
— Taproot Signal (@taproot_signal) May 17, 2021
What is Taproot?
Taproot is a network upgrade for Bitcoin that could boost transaction speed, scalability, increased privacy, and lower fees, among other things. Taproot is BTC’s long-awaited update in four years since the block size increased in 2017.
While miners are showing support for the network upgrade, the community will ultimately decide the future of BTC. If successful, it would be a notable step forward for the protocol since privacy, security, and scalability have always been primary concerns for crypto users.
The Taproot upgrade integrates Schnorr Signatures, a well-known program for its simplicity, efficiency, and security. In essence, Schnorr is an alternative signature algorithm to the ECDSA currently implemented on the Bitcoin network. It would create a sort of master key to summarize a set of signatures into a single one —making multi-signature multi-input transactions (UTXI) faster and cheaper.
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