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Decentraland Lords

Republished by Plato



[0] Auction Pricing of Location & Scarcity

[0A] — Auction 1

Given that world building is a key part of the Decentraland experience, I wanted to test out whether buyers took into consideration the “hot-spot” location proximity as a motivating factor. Let’s assume that landmarks (the roads, districts, and the genesis block) might serve as these points-of-interest. From the smart contract metadata, we can filter the price paid for parcels by their distance to the different classes of landmarks.

  • Filter parcels by distance to landmark type (road, genesis, district).

If proximity to landmarks was considered a driving factor, we would expect to see higher price paid for closer proximity. In other words, the higher the ratio, the less median or average $USD paid. We would expect a decreasing function to see a positive relationship between price paid for proximity. From Auction 1, we can eye-ball the linear trendlines for higher signal.

[0B] — Auction 2

If we were to run the same analysis for Auction 2, there is almost no relation between the location and price for all three landmarks. Yet, we see that the prices paid in Auction 2 versus Auction 1 are consistently higher for all location parameters across the landmarks. One reason could be the perceived scarcity of $LAND assets; another reason could be the project’s timing and execution risk priced into the assets (a full year of development and market activity).

[1] Marketplace Pricing of Location & Scarcity

While most of auctioned parcels (~90%) have not touched the marketplace, we can look at the marketplace to observe emergent behavior of the property assets values. Specifically, the buyer’s behavior might inform an assumption of his/her’s expectation of land value features.

We can cut this metadata in two ways:

  • Filter traded parcels by # of times traded on the marketplace (turnover).

[1A] Turnover

One take-away from observing the turnover behavior is that $LAND parcels purchased on the secondary marketplace tended to be clustered. We also observe that parcels that were traded with high turnover often were within these cluster proximities.

Turnover Rate of $LAND Parcels

[1B]: Pricing Multiples

From the pricing filter, we can observe that the highest priced multiples (10x and above auction price) belonged to parcels that had relatively low turnover. This could imply that whales (or $LAND lords) perceived these parcels to be underpriced and followed a uniform pricing to inform their bids.

Pricing Multiples for $LAND Parcels

[1C]: Location

If we overlay the Decentraland atlas, we begin to see that the clusters form near the edges of landmarks. This might belie the purchaser’s expectation, from a UX perspective, that a user might begin by exploring the landmarks, and then venture into adjacent $LAND neighborhoods/parcels.

Turnover on Atlas
Pricing Multiple on Atlas

[2] Estate Pricing of Location & Scarcity

Estates refer to $LAND parcels that are adjacent to each other and aggregated as a single collection. The idea is that owning or building on an estate is like owning a small neighborhood — allowing the ability to create city-like experiences. Not surprisingly, the value of estates exhibit a positive linear relationship to its size.

$USD vs Estate Size

What about the marginal value of additional $LAND to an estate? Not so much…

  • Estate Price: Filter estates by size and calculate average price per parcel.

[2A]: $LAND Flipping

One early hypothesis before the analysis was that buyers would purchase adjacent $LAND parcels, aggregate them into estates, and then sell the estate. Interestingly, the data below shows that this behavior is true for market participants in the auction. We see that most estates sold were not comprised of parcels that were bought on the marketplace, implying that buyers bought these parcels $LAND originally in the primary, then flipped them as estates once the feature became available.

Estates vs $LAND Turnover
Estates vs $LAND Pricing Multiples

Although only a few estates are comprised of $LAND assets purchased on the secondary markets, Section [1B] may hint that buyers have formed estates that have not been sold in the secondary markets yet. It could be that these estate owners are waiting for the market to react to actual construction and building of these interactive environments before selling the $LAND estates.

[2B]: Estate Free Riding

In the estate diagrams, we see that there are many instances of individual parcels bought adjacent to estates. Although a more rigorous timeline analysis is required to dive deeper, it is likely valuable to own $LAND next to an estate, similar to the logic of sitting adjacent to a landmark.

The market behavior shown in this analysis assumes some expectation from the $LAND owners about the future usage and utility of their parcels (similar to many public token projects). The uniqueness of the Decentraland analysis is the attempt to understand NFT feature-specific variables that might drive different valuation characteristics from other fungible crypto assets. At a high-level these features boil down to proximity and size.

Decentraland is meant to be an interactive experience. With the builder tools imminent to launch, it will be interesting to track how $LAND owners will actually make their assets productive (building, leasing, buying adjacent, selling).We may see over time whether these land owners used their land productively or simply waited for favorable speculation. The findings could inform whether the distribution of $LAND via auction went to those who could most efficiently make use of the land (and thus bring utility and value to Decentraland), rather than rent-seekers, speculators or wealth-parkers.

As in most crypto use-cases, while enforceability of scarcity is strongly guaranteed, the parameters of scarcity are not perpetually fixed. In the case of $LAND, unlike real world estates, virtual world scarcity is not bounded by physics. Decentraland is an attempt to iterate on this idea. This may change over time via the usage of $MANA (largely ignored in this analysis) as a governance token for the Decentraland economy, which may eventually be used to vote on proposals related to scarcity and utility such as increasing the size of the map or the dimensions of parcels (re: the conundrum of governance…)

In virtual worlds we are collectively building an entertainment society in a vacuum minus the long-standing social and economic driving forces that create environments like NYC. Yet, we are all participating in the generation-long experimental phase of new incentives and environments, and so though Decentraland will take time to build as its own, we can at least track the utility in real-time. How long until my Decentraland estate gets gentrified?

All data was sourced via the $LAND smart contracts and on 2019–02–28.



Goldman Sachs Plans to Relaunch Its Cryptocurrency Trading Desk

Republished by Plato



Reports on Reuters today revealed that American multinational investment bank, Goldman Sachs, will offer bitcoin futures and non-deliverable forwards on behalf of its clients starting next week.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the move is part of the bank’s effort to take advantage of the fast-growing crypto space, which is gradually becoming an investment of choice for institutional players. 

Notably, the bank is also considering developing a Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) soon as part of its commitment to fully venture into the industry. 

Based on this regard, the unnamed source noted that Goldman Sachs had already “issued a request for information to explore digital asset custody.” 

Goldman’s First Shot At Crypto

In late 2017, Goldman Sachs became the first Wall Street biggest firm to ever consider offering crypto-related products, as the bank was planning to open a cryptocurrency desk.

At the time, the Wall Street financial institution was working on how to address security challenges associated with the business, as well as how it would custody the assets.

Plans were on the way for the launch slated for late 2018 when reports emerged in September that same year that the bank has chosen not to offer crypto-related investments. 

Sources said that the bank dropped its crypto plans due to the regulatory concerns associated with the industry, with regulators breathing down the neck of most projects. 

The issue of regulatory uncertainty has been the major stumbling block that hindered several institutional players from getting involved with cryptocurrencies. 

Interestingly, there have been clearer regulations in recent times luring institutional investors like Microstrategy and Tesla. 

The entrance of these large corporations has given other institutional investors the greenlight that crypto is safe compared to how it was viewed in 2018. 

Thus it could be the reason Goldman Sach is making plans to restart its cryptocurrency trading desk in earnest.

A Change Of Heart? 

However, Goldman Sachs’ second shot at launching a cryptocurrency trading desk comes less than a year after the bank told its clients during a conference call that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are not an asset class.

Reports at the time suggested that part of the reason for the call was to discourage its customers from including bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in their portfolio.

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Bitcoin Still Has an Uncertain Future: Citibank Analysts

Republished by Plato



In a 100-page deep-dive report dubbed “Bitcoin, at the Tipping Point,” Citibank’s global perspectives and solutions team noted that the cryptocurrency could potentially “become the currency of choice for international trade.”

The analysts acknowledged that the massive interest shown by several large institutional investors like Tesla, Microstrategy, and PayPal is one of the major propellants for the digital asset gaining mainstream adoption.

The team further noted that several other factors, including a wide range of digital payment options like stablecoins and Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), could also increase the chances of bitcoin adoption for cross-border settlements.

An Uncertain Future

The report also pointed out that a side-by-side comparison of the risks associated with bitcoin and the opportunities it presents makes it very easy to conclude that the digital asset is at a tipping point.

They wrote:

 “There are a host of risks and obstacles that stand in the way of Bitcoin progress… Weighing the potential hurdles against the opportunities leads to the conclusion that Bitcoin is at a tipping point… Bitcoin’s future is thus still uncertain, but developments in the near term are likely to prove decisive as the currency balances at the tipping point of mainstream acceptance or a speculative implosion.”

Bitcoin Going Mainstream Already 

The concluding part of the report quoted the famous philosopher, Schopenhauer, who said,

“All Truths pass through three stages, first it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

The team states that the positive change in stance on issues about bitcoin by several financial institutions very well prove these words of Schopenhauer, which he said more than 150 years before the bitcoin idea was born.

Several banks had actively shunned bitcoin in the past, arguing that it has no intrinsic value as it is allegedly backed by mere speculations from its proponents.

However, bitcoin’s immense growth has forced its former critics to re-evaluate their stance and join the bitcoin adoption trend. Some of the biggest banks in the world have started offering bitcoin services to their clients.

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Matic, xDAI (STAKE) and Loopring (LRC) rally as Ethereum gas fees rise

Republished by Plato



The start of a new month has brought renewed fervor from the cryptocurrency market as Bitcoin (BTC) price steadily climbed from a low of $43,537 on Feb. 28 to a high of $49,200 during today’s early trading hours. 

As traders get excited about positive moves in the market and look to re-enter positions, the increasing use of DeFi continues to drive fees on the Ethereum (ETH) network higher, shining the spotlight on the top layer-2 (L2) protocols that offer working solutions.

Three protocols that have emerged as top L2 contenders with working platforms are Polygon (MATIC), xDai (STAKE), and Loopring (LRC). Each offers its own unique layer-2 approaches to helping ease high traffic on the Ethereum network. 


Polygon, previously known as Matic, officially launched as a layer-two aggregator for Ethereum on Feb. 9 as a way to offer an interoperability protocol for the network.

Since excitement for the rebrand began, MATIC price has increased by 400% from $0.05 to an all-time high of $0.245 on March 1. Growing excitement for the Aavegotchi (GHST) mainnet launch on March 2 has also brought a boost of attention and trading volume to MATIC.

MATIC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Aavegotchi was one of the first projects to bridge over to the Polygon network and it will likely be joined by other projects if its mainnet launch on the network go smoothly.

MATIC also received a boost on Feb. 26 when it was announced that gaming giant Atari would be integrating Polygon in order to “bring their NFT & token products to Layer 2,” along with the launch of “the first EOS-Polygon cross-chain bridge,” that was done in partnership with pNetwork (PNT).


 xDai is another layer-2 solution that has caught the attention of investors over the past few weeks. The xDai (STAKE) chain is a stable payment blockchain created by the POA Network, an Ethereum open-source public side-chain which offers a framework for smart contracts.

STAKE is designed to be a multi-chain staking token that validators and delegators offer as collateral in order to participate in the consensus mechanism and receive staking incentives for block production. The goal of the xDai platform is to offer fast and inexpensive transactions on the Ethereum network.

Since trading at a low of $7.50 on Jan. 2, STAKE price increased 500% to a new all-time high of $43 on Feb. 21 before falling under pressure alongside the wider cryptocurrency market.

XDAI/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

A scroll through the project’s Twitter feed shows multiple recent partnerships and integration announcements that have helped propel STAKE higher in recent weeks.

Notable mentions include an integration with the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) that allows users to move funds from Binance to xDAI using a BSC-to-xDai Bridge as well as the announced migration of the up-and-coming Bao Finance (BAO) to the xDai network.


Loopring is a layer-2 solution that specifically focuses on the creation of decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges (DEX).

One of the major sources of congestion on the Ethereum network is the ever-growing activity of popular DEXs like Uniswap (UNI) and SushiSwap (SUSHI).  A separate side-chain made specifically for exchange trading could help alleviate congestion on the network and this is what Loopring aspires to provide.

The overall goal of the Loopring protocol is to combine the advantages of decentralized exchanges with the liquidity and order book management offered by centralized exchanges to help increase the efficiency of order execution and enhance the liquidity of the DEX ecosystem.

Since Jan. 2, LRC has increased by 430% from $0.165 to a high of $0.88 on Feb. 12 .

LRC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

After falling to a low of $0.46 on Feb. 28, LRC price rallied 30% after it was announced that the Loopring exchange added multiple WBTC/Stablecoin pairs, offering “6 new ways to trade WBTC on Ehtereum L2.”

VORTECS™ data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro began to detect a bullish outlook for LRC on Feb. 28, prior to the recent price rise.

The VORTECS™ score, exclusive to Cointelegraph, is an algorithmic comparison of historic and current market conditions derived from a combination of data points including market sentiment, trading volume, recent price movements and Twitter activity.

VORTECS™ Score (green) vs. LRC price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

As seen on the chart above, the VORTECS™ score for LRC reached a high of 73 on Feb. 28, just as the price was beginning it’s 30% rally to $0.59.

Continued increases in the price of Ethereum, which rose back above $1,500 on March 1, will only exacerbate the pain felt by traders attempting to use popular DeFi protocols on the network.

The amount of gas needed to conduct basic transactions as well as the price of these fees will continue to drive users to trial the alternatives be offered by layer 2 solutions, and Polygon, xDai and Loopring are three protocols well-positioned to capitalize on this trend.


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