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DeFi’s money markets are finally luring in institutional investors

Republished by Plato



Bitcoin’s bull run from last year has caused even some of its biggest skeptics to soften their stance. From economists to hedge fund managers, the world is opening itself up to technology, and at the center of this movement is decentralized finance, or DeFi. While the market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies has hit $2 trillion, worth as much as Apple, it’s the promise of DeFi — a small corner of the blockchain industry today — that’s grabbing the attention of institutional investors.

As Bitcoin’s (BTC) bullish trend persists, interest-bearing crypto products have become all the rage. Some services offer up to 8% returns on Bitcoin holdings. For investors who are already expecting a rise in value, this can be incredibly useful for maintaining cash flow without selling any assets.

The three main factors solidifying institutional interest in Bitcoin are the current historically low interest rates, the inflation rate and geopolitical instability. With near-zero interest rates expected for the foreseeable future, investors are gearing up to move their funds into alternative locations for securing wealth.

The United States Federal Reserve’s 2% inflation target has incited concern in investors fearing devaluation, and with tensions between the U.S. and China on a precarious edge, portfolios denominated in U.S. dollars are becoming riskier by the day.

A market for money

Buying, storing and using cryptocurrencies securely is still quite a complex ordeal — far more involved than setting up a bank account. However, according to Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock — a global investment management fund with nearly $9 trillion in assets under management — Bitcoin could evolve into a global market asset and achieve new highs in the upcoming years.

In the traditional financial system, money markets are parts of the economy that issue short-term funds. They usually deal with loans for periods of a year or less, and offer services like borrowing and lending, buying and selling, with wholesale trading taking place over the counter. Money markets are composed of short-term, highly liquid assets and are part of the broader financial markets system.

Money markets are traditionally very complicated, with expensive overheads and hidden fees pushing most investors to hire a fund manager. However, their existence is paramount to operating a modern financial economy. They incentivize people to lend money in the short term and allocate capital toward productive use. This improves the overall market’s efficiency while helping financial institutions meet their goals. Basically, anyone with extra cash on hand can earn interest on deposits.

Money markets are composed of different kinds of securities, such as short-term treasuries, certificates of deposits, repurchase agreements and mutual funds, among others. These funds generally consist of shares that cost $1.

On the other hand, capital markets are dedicated to the trade of long-term debt and equity instruments, and point to the entire stock and bond market. Using a computer, anyone can purchase or sell assets in mere seconds, but companies issuing the stock do so to raise funds for more long-term operations. These stocks fluctuate, and unlike money market products, they have no expiration date.

Since money market investments are virtually risk-free, they often come with meager interest rates as well. This means that they will not produce huge gains or display substantial growth, compared with riskier assets like stocks and bonds.

DeFi vs. the world?

To hedge against currency risk, institutions have started using Bitcoin, and retail investors are following their lead. More than 60% of Bitcoin’s circulating supply hasn’t moved since 2018, and BTC is predicted to push well above $100,000 in the next 24 months.

If the current trend carries forward, investors will continue to stockpile BTC. However, while much of the supply of the world’s first cryptocurrency remains in storage, the DeFi industry is constantly producing alternative platforms for interest-bearing payments through smart contracts, which increases transparency by allowing investors to view and track on-chain funds.

The average return for DeFi products is also much higher than in traditional money markets, with some platforms even offering double-digit annual percentage yields on deposits. From asset management to auditing smart contracts, the DeFi space is creating decentralized infrastructure for scalable money markets.

According to Stani Kulechov, co-founder of the Aave DeFi protocol, rates are high during bull markets because the funds are used to leverage more capital, with the cost of margin pushing up the yield. “New innovation in DeFi is consuming more stablecoins, which further increases the yield. Unless there is a new capital injection — these rates might stick for a while,” he said.

The Ethereum network currently hosts most of the DeFi applications, and this has barred tokens that aren’t available on the network from participating in decentralized finance. Bitcoin, for example, despite being the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, has only recently found its way onto DeFi platforms.

Related: DeFi yield farming, explained

With Kava’s Hard Protocol, investors can yield farm using Bitcoin and other non-ERC-20 tokens like XRP and Binance Coin (BNB). Backed by some prominent names (Ripple, Arrington XRP Capital and Digital Asset Capital Management, among others), the platforms allow users to stake their cryptocurrencies into a pool of assets, which is lent out to borrowers to generate interest.

The team also plans to add support for Ethereum-based tokens in the near future. The network’s upgrade to Kava 5.1, which was postponed to April 8 after failing to reach the required quorum, will also introduce the Hard Protocol V2, bringing powerful incentivization schemes and enhancements to its governance model.

Most loans in DeFi are overcollateralized, meaning the pool always has more money than it lends out. In case the value of the issued token drops, funds in the pool are liquidated to compensate.

According to Anton Bukov, co-founder of decentralized exchange aggregator 1inch, blockchains are the first-ever unbiased executors in human history — very limited, but ultimately fair — and could deliver new services and new flows of interactions in future. “Developers are doing their best to solve potential dishonesty issues of existing flows and invent new flows by replacing intermediaries,” he said.

By creating an automated platform to borrow and lend assets, decentralized finance enables money markets without intermediaries, custodians or the high fees that stem from high infrastructural costs.

Honest work

Of the many trends DeFi has set into motion over the last few years, yield farming has attracted quite a lot of attention. Yield farming is when the network rewards liquidity providers with tokens that can be further invested into other platforms to generate more liquidity tokens.

Simple in concept, yield farmers are some of the most vigilant traders out there, constantly switching up their strategies to maximize their yield and tracking rates across all platforms to ensure they’re getting the sweetest deal. The potential rate of return can become obscenely high, but it’s still unclear whether yield farming is just a fad or a phenomenon in the making. Kulechov added:

“Yield farming is simply a way to distribute governance power to users and stakeholders. What actually matters is whether the product itself would find protocol market/fit. Most successful governance power distributions with yield farming have been with protocols that have found protocol market/fit before such programs.”

Yield farming has an incredibly positive feedback loop, with an increase in participation pushing the value of its governance token up, driving further growth. According to Kava CEO Brian Kerr, while this feedback loop can produce very positive results in bull markets, it can have entirely the opposite effects in falling markets:

“It will be up to the governance groups of the various projects to navigate bear markets effectively, by ratcheting back rewards before a full-on death spiral occurs. Regardless of bull or bear markets, yield farming will be a mainstay in blockchain projects for years to come.”

Money markets are the pillars of our global financial system, but most of its transactions occur between financial institutions like banks and other companies in time deposit markets. However, some of these transactions do find their way to consumers through money market mutual funds and other investment vehicles.

Decentralization is the next frontier for finance, and as prominent investors continue to engage with the DeFi space, a decentralized economy seems all but inevitable. Participating in the burgeoning environment may be a risky bet today, but what decentralized finance platforms learn now will be the foundation of the robust DeFi applications of the future. According to Bukov, the higher interest rates of DeFi platforms are “absolutely sustainable.” He added:

“Higher profits are usually involved with higher risks. So the risk-profit model of all these opportunities is always nearly balanced. Normalizing risks would decrease profits because more participants will join to share the rewards.”

From smart contract malfunctions to the unauthorized withdrawal of community funds, the DeFi space is a place of both miracles and nightmares. DeFi-based yield farming platforms are still in their very early stages, and while the numbers can be all too tempting at times, it’s crucial to do your own research before investing in any platform or asset.

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Unlike Dogecoin, Catecoin Gives a New Meaning to Meme Coins with Real Use case

Republished by Plato



In the present-day connected world, memes have become an integral part of our pop culture. While one can’t put a monetary value on the entertainment they provide, its creators can definitely be encouraged and rewarded for their contribution towards a lively internet.

Catecoin, the first decentralized meme-based token is trying to do just by incentivizing content creators as well as consumers. The project is the first of its kind to implement DeFi features in the content space. Fueled by the CATE token, the project offers a platform for user-generated content, quite similar to 9GAG but on a blockchain, along with content farming and staking features.

How does it work?

Using the Catecoin ecosystem is as simple as using any social network platform. Content creators can submit their creations to the Catecoin Meme Platform and once published they will start earning CATE rewards as the community likes or comments on that content. Even platform users who interact with the posts will receive rewards for their comments and likes.

Meanwhile, the posts are evaluated based on the received reactions. Any post with 500 or more likes from the community will become eligible for a transformation into an NFT and get listed on the NFT market. Catecoin refers to this entire process as Content Farming and has set aside 35% of CATE supply for this alone.

Using CATE

CATE is the utility token of the Binance Smart Chain-based Catecoin project. Apart from value exchange, these tokens also control the accessibility of the platform. Users should hold a minimum of 10,000 CATE to interact with any posts on the platform. Similarly, content creators will have to maintain a balance of 100,000 CATE to be able to submit their works to the platform.

While each like or comment will result in both content creators and consumers receiving 0.1 CATE each, the community can also earn additional returns by just holding the tokens. The platform shares one percent of each transaction made on the network with CATE holders, and at the same time burns the same amount to regulate supply.

Once a meme gets converted to NFT and lists on the NFT market, anyone can purchase it and start receiving any rewards the asset may generate in the future.

Get some CATE, it is simple

In just a few simple steps, one can become part of the Catecoin community early on. CATE is listed on PancakeSwap and users can acquire the tokens against BNB payment. Buying CATE will require users to download and set up Trust Wallet and MetaMask accounts and hold some BNB in their wallets. They can then visit PancakeSwap, make payment in BNB to the Catecoin token 0x118f073796821da3e9901061b05c0b36377b877e and receive the tokens in their connected wallet.

What Makes CATE Different?

The flood of meme coins into the crypto market started long ago, and Dogecoin is the prime example. Many of these coins have a virtually unlimited supply and no real use cases. On the other hand, CATE has a definite supply of 100 trillion and a deflationary mechanism that reduces the supply by 0.5%-1% per transaction while providing a real-world use case – encouraging meme creators to monetize their content. The model adopted by Catecoin makes it the most sustainable meme project out there.

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Amid Rumors Of Dumping Its BTC Holdings, Elon Musk Maintains Tesla Hasn’t Sold Any Bitcoin

Republished by Plato



Amid Rumors Of Dumping Its BTC Holdings, Elon Musk Maintains Tesla Hasn't Sold Any Bitcoin

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Elon Musk has been dragged under the bus by countless bitcoin proponents as the price of the flagship currency continues to take a downward movement. Bitcoin dropped 20%, sending prices to $45,000 as of yesterday.

As of publication, Bitcoin imitates analysts’ predictions that the asset could continue to dip for the most part of this week, and with Bitcoin now trading at $45,065 at press time, their analysis remains valid.

BTCUSD Chart By TradingView

The Bitcoin selloff continues

Asides from the “bearish” tweets from Musk, which to many is simply just the Billionaire’s expression of his dissatisfaction with Bitcoin, Bitcoin could sustain more losses if Tesla sold its remaining Bitcoin holdings.

Following Tesla’s announcement, onlookers spotted a Bitcoin transfer of 19,259, worth over $872 million at press time. Analyst William Clemente observed that the transfer time coincided with Musk’s tweet, hinting that Tesla may have indeed called it a day for Bitcoin.

Musk reveals Tesla’s $1.5 billion holdings still intact, prices soar

However, Musk has recently cleared the air on whether the Bitcoin holdings are still under Tesla’s belt. In what could be considered the most recent positive tweet from Musk on Bitcoin, he wrote “To clarify speculation, Tesla has not sold any Bitcoin.”

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Some excited Bitcoiners are holding on to the news as a sign that Tesla has not lost all interest in Bitcoin, despite Musk’s tweets that Dogecoin is a superior asset to Bitcoin. On the other hand, skeptical Bitcoiners are convinced that in a matter of time, Tesla will pull through with its Bitcoin sale.

Recall that Elon Musk teased that this could be the case, given that Bitcoin proponents have continued to critique Tesla’s decision. Shortly after hinting that Tesla might give up its $1.5 billion Bitcoin holdings.

However, Bitcoin has since surged by 7% since Musk’s clarification on Tesla’s Bitcoin holdings.

Bitcoin doesn’t need Elon Musk

Meanwhile, analysts’ who heavily bought the dip have insisted that Bitcoiners pay no mind to the bear market.

In unison, key players agree that “Bitcoin doesn’t need Musk. Rather, Musk needs Bitcoin.” It is unclear where the market is headed going forward, but the sentiments from top Bitcoin proponents similarly claim that the bear trend is only temporary, as Bitcoin is still yet to bottom.

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Elon Musk tweets BTC price bottom? 5 things to watch in Bitcoin this week

Republished by Plato



Bitcoin (BTC) is nearing $40,000 this week as “Dogefather” Elon Musk deals out pure pain to hodlers — what’s next?

After a traumatic weekend for many crypto investors, Monday is setting the stage for the next chapter in the wild 2021 bull market.

Cointlegraph takes a look at five factors which could shape what Bitcoin and altcoins do next.

Musk tweet hits key Bitcoin technical level

It’s all about one man yet again this week: Elon Musk. In characteristic fashion, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO caused uproar on Twitter when he came out bearish on Bitcoin.

BTC/USD sold off immediately on news that Tesla was halting BTC payments for its products, but for Musk, this was not enough.

Further tweets over the weekend, including criticism of Bitcoin’s decentralization and how he “believes in crypto,” added fuel to the fire.

It was a hint that Tesla may already be planning to sell its holdings, however, that caused the most misery. Bitcoin fell to near $42,000, retesting this previous all-time high level before steadying as Musk stressed that no sale had occurred.

“To clarify speculation, Tesla has not sold any Bitcoin,” he wrote on Monday.

BTC/USD chart with Twitter events highlighted. Source: Twitter

With Musk versus the cryptocurrency community beginning to look like a full on war, Bitcoin is thus unsurprisingly volatile as all eyes remain on the Twitter battlefield.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin was trading at around $44,800, still down 8.7% over the past 24 hours.

As analyst Alex Krueger noted, however, the clarifitication tweet may be unwittingly acting as a local bottom signal, as Musk posted it just as BTC/USD hit a key 61.8 Fibonacci retracement level.

“Elon Musk must be an outstanding technical analyst,” he commented.

“His ‘Tesla has not sold any Bitcoin’ tweet was posted exactly at Bitcoin’s key technical level, the 61.8 fib ($42,845).”

BTC dominance falls below 40%

Musk’s activities have had a detrimental impact on Bitcoin and altcoins alike.

Despite continuing to praise Dogecoin (DOGE), even the meme-based token failed to avoid losses over the weekend, with the majority of large-cap altcoins following Bitcoin down.

There were some less significant losses, such as those of Cardano (ADA), which on Saturday was still bucking the overall downtrend to even post new all-time highs.

In terms of bearishness, however, nothing shows how much the average Bitcoin holder is suffering like market dominance.

On Monday, Bitcoin’s overall market cap share dipped below 40% for the first time since June 2018.

Bitcoin market cap dominance chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Already on the way out, dominance was dealt a significant blow thanks to the recent Bitcoin price pressure, while alts such as Ether (ETH) benefitted.

“The Bitcoin dominance is still falling,” popular Twitter trader The Moon summarized over the weekend.

“The alt season is not over yet. But my gut feeling is that the end is near!”

Bitcoin fundamentals provide calm

For all the nerveracking price action, meanwhile, nothing provides a bullish counterpoint to the current Bitcoin narrative than its network fundamentals.

Even after its $42,000 dip, Bitcoin is more attractive than ever for miners, and its network security is therefore also more solid than ever before.

As Cointelegraph reported, both hash rate and difficulty have staged a miraculous recovery in recent weeks, reclaiming all-time highs after a miner washout caused its own brief price crash.

The weekend proved to be no different, with weekly average hash rate topping 180 exahashes per second (EH/s) for the first time.

Bitcoin 7-day average hash rate chart. Source: Blockchain

Difficulty is still on track to increase by over 10% at the next automated readjustment in 11 days’ time. The previous readjustment on May 14, at 21.5%, was the largest positive shift since June 2014.

“Bitcoin’s mining difficulty hitting an all-time high just after tesla’s announcement is a chef’s kiss,” Alex Thorn, head of firmwide research at crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, said last week.

Dollar bounces at support

Taking a break for crypto-specific triggers, the wider macro picture may yet provide some inspiration for price trajectory.

After plunging late last week, the strength of the U.S. dollar is returning. The U.S. dollar currency index (DXY) is bouncing off familiar support — surges in its strength tends to provide teething problems for BTC/USD.

U.S. dollar currency index (DXY) 1-day candle chart. Source: Tradingview

At the same time, stocks are bullish in China but performing averagely in Europe and the U.S. Coronavirus, with localized peaks in some jurisdictions but fewer cases in others, joins the melting pot.

Among traders, however, it is inflation that is a key issue. A broad global rebound from the time of lockdowns and other restrictions creates problems for those attempting to engineer it — specifically, the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks.

“The global economic recovery is well under way; that’s what’s fueling the inflation fears,” Olivier d’Assier, Qontigo head of APAC applied research, told Bloomberg.

After stock markets’ rip roaring year, he added, appetite for profit taking will be understandably increasing.

Bitcoin still beats its last bull market

Is it 2013 or 2017 in terms of the Bitcoin bull market?

Among the industry’s best-known names, there is no hint of bearishness — all that remains to do is analyze the nature of the current retracement and compare it to years past.

This week, stock-to-flow creator PlanB notes that for all the Musk drama, Bitcoin is still performing better than during its 2017 run to $20,000. This despite the $42,000 dip officially being Bitcoin’s biggest this bull cycle and since the cross-asset crash of March 2020.

“Today feels like 2017 bull market (esp. during the fork war),” he tweeted on Monday, invoking memories of the birth of Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

“It’s not a straight line to the next ATH, but a lot of volatility (multiple -30% dips). HODL.”

BTC/USD stock-to-flow chart as of May 17, 2021. Source: Digitalik

Calling for calm and zooming out is a key feature among seasoned Bitcoiners. As Cointelegraph reported last week, stock-to-flow remains unviolated by Musk or any other episode of downward volatility.

An accompanying survey meanwhile revealed that a majority of 35,000 respondents believe that BTC/USD will still hit $100,000 this year.

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