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.
Nym: The World’s First Generic Incentivized Mixnet Releases its Whitepaper
[PRESS RELEASE – Please Read Disclaimer]
In a time when mass surveillance and data harvesting are ever present and not a day goes by without news of companies selling user data for profit, Nym Technologies is building a next generation privacy network that can change the way people use the internet.
Chelsea Manning, a famous whistleblower and technologist, says “As methods for network traffic analysis have dramatically improved in the last decade, I have frequently called for research (most notably in 2016) into alternative methods to Tor that avoid exposing the data within the network to such analysis. Nym is one such viable alternative worthy of research, and developmental implementation.”
Nym was conceived in 2017 and was the first privacy project to receive funding from Binance Labs in 2018, followed by a $2.5M raise from other well known investors. Today, the actual design of Nym has been made public after extensive review by technologists like Chelsea Manning, academics like Carmela Troncoso, and venture capital firms like Polychain Capital.
Carmela Troncoso (EPFL) notes “I spent a long part of my career working on improving mix-based anonymous communications systems. It is thrilling to see how the Nym team, a unique combination of expert software engineers and privacy experts, have made mixnets a reality.”
The Nym network is a generic, decentralized, and incentivized infrastructure that provides privacy to a broad range of applications and services, including any blockchain. A core component of Nym is a mixnet that protects the metadata of the internet packets sent to it with privacy superior to both VPNs and Tor.
Metadata is “data about data”, and includes IP addresses of the users, geolocations, information about who talked to who, when, and how often. All of this metadata can be monetized or used without users knowledge. Now it can be protected by Nym.
Anyone can join the network by running a node and get rewarded in NYM tokens for providing privacy to the network. Nodes do useful work anonymizing packets for users and services.
NYM tokens can be transformed into anonymous credentials that allow users to privately prove their “right to use” of services in a decentralized and verifiable manner. This allows users to be private at the network level as well as the application layer. Cosmos and the European Commission are amongst the many who have been supporting the use of Nym’s anonymous credentials.
The 3rd-party applications and services that can integrate their systems to the Nym network to protect their users from malicious actors and preserve their privacy range from crypto apps (wallets or DeFi projects) to messaging applications, IoT devices, or literally any data transfers over the internet that can leak metadata.
Currently, Nym is running an incentivized testnet with a 1500 capped number of nodes on the Liquid network, but this limit will raise in the next major release due to the high demand of people who want to join the network and test its features out.
Throughout human history, privacy has been considered a great asset and a prerequisite for freedom. However as privacy was not built into the fabric of the internet, power is now in the hands of a few powerful players. Nym is setting off to change this and give power back to users so they can decide if and how they reveal their data. To know more about the technicalities, read the whitepaper or join the Nym Telegram channel to stay up to date.
This bullish Bitcoin options strategy lets traders speculate on BTC price with less risk
Historical data shows that it is nearly impossible to consistently predict Bitcoin’s price action and many traders that attempt this end up losing money. Now that Bitcoin trades near $50,000, the ultimate goal for most traders is to hold on to their current holdings and incrementally add to them in a way that is not terribly risky.
Options strategies provide excellent opportunities for traders who have a fixed-range target for an asset. For example, using leveraged futures contracts might be a solution for a scenario where one expects a price increase of up to 28% over the next month. Of course, using a tight stop loss lessens the viability of the trade.
On the other hand, using multiple call (buy) options can create a strategy that allows gains that are four times higher than the potential loss. These can be used in both bullish and bearish circumstances, depending on the investors’ expectations.
The long butterfly strategy allows a trader to profit from the upside while limiting losses. It’s important to remember that options have a set expiry date; therefore, the price increase must happen during the defined period.
The Bitcoin (BTC) calendar options below are for the March 26 expiry, but this strategy can also be used on Ether (ETH) options or a different time frame. Although the costs will vary, its general efficiency should not be affected.
The suggested bullish strategy consists of buying 1 BTC worth $48,000 call options while simultaneously selling double that amount of $56,000 calls. To finalize the trade, one should buy 1 BTC worth of $64,000 call options.
While this call option gives the buyer the right to acquire an asset, the contract seller gets a (potential) negative exposure.
As the estimate above shows, if BTC is trading for $48,700, any outcome between $49,380 (up 1.5%) and $62,630 (up 28.6%) yields a net gain. For example, a 10% price increase to $53,570 results in a $4,000 net gain. Meanwhile, this strategy’s maximum loss is $1,350 if BTC trades below $48,000 or above $64,000 on March 26.
This allure of this butterfly strategy is the trader can secure a $4,050 gain, which is 3x larger than the maximum loss, if BTC trades from $53,550 to $58,460 expiry.
Overall it yields a much better risk-reward from leveraged futures trading considering the limited downside.
The multiple options strategy trade provides a better risk-reward for bullish traders seeking exposure to BTC’s price increase and the only upfront fee required is the $1,350 which reflects the maximum loss if the price is below $48,000 or above $64,000 at the expiry date.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.
Transaction batching protocol Furucombo suffers $14 million “evil contract” hack
The latest “evil contract” exploit has netted an attacker over $14 million in stolen funds.
Furucombo, a tool designed to help users “batch” transactions and interactions with multiple protocols at once, fell victim to the attack which centered on token approvals from users.
The attacker’s address currently has $14 million worth of various cryptocurrencies, but the attack appears to be larger as they have been transferring ETH to privacy mixer Tornado Cash in batches over the last hour.
This attack is conceptually similar to the $20 million “evil jar” attack that struck Pickle Finance last year, as well as the $37 million “evil spell” exploit that hit Alpha Finance earlier this month. In these “evil contract” exploits, an attacker creates a contract that fools a protocol into believing it belongs there, giving them access to protocol funds.
So what happened to Furuсombo
An attacker using a fake contract made Furuсombo think that Aave v2 has a new implementation.
Because of this, all interactions with ‘Aave v2’ allowed transfers approved tokens to an arbitrary address. pic.twitter.com/gQVxJqiAmL
— Igor Igamberdiev (@FrankResearcher) February 27, 2021
In this case, the attacker ‘tricked’ the Furucombo protocol into thinking that their contract was a new verison of Aave. From there, instead of draining funds from the protocol as in previous evil contract exploits, the attacker instead leveraged the ability to transfer the funds of every user who had given the protocol token permissions.
“Infinite permissions means you can wipe everyone who interacted with Furucombo,” said whitehat hacker and co-founder of DeFi Italy Emiliano Bonassi in a statement to Cointelegraph.
This type of exploit appears to be growing increasingly popular, now accounting for over $70 million in user funds lost in just a few months.
The team confirmed the attack in a Tweet, saying that they “believed” they’d mitigated the exploit but recommended revoking permissions “out of an abundance of caution:”
Today at 4:47 PM UTC the Furucombo proxy was compromised by an attacker. We have deauthorized the relevant components and believe the vulnerability to be patched but we recommend users remove approvals out of an abundance of caution.
— FURUCOMBO (@furucombo) February 27, 2021
Users can leverage tools like revoke.cash to do so.
The attack comes during a period of wider reflection in the DeFi world on security and the utility of auditing companies. In the last three months, three different auditing and code review services have emerged, each with a different incentive model designed to encourage more thorough and dynamic security practices.
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