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Karura launches decentralized exchange on Polkadot and Kusama

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Karura, the Polkadot implementation of the Acala protocol, has launched its decentralized exchange (DEX) platform, Karura Swap.

According to the announcement issued on Friday, the DEX platform is now live, with KSM/KAR being the first trading pair on the exchange.

Per details provided by the announcement, Karura Swap has gone live with an initial total value locked north of $3.4 million, with more than 1,000 unique liquidity providers (LP).

The team revealed that the DEX launch highlighted the benefits of its “Bootstrap feature” that provides a liquidity sandbox for trading pairs with the walled environment, reportedly preventing front-running and market manipulation during the initial launch of a trading pair.

“With Bootstrap, Karura aims to empower trustless trading at fair market rate to reflect the tenets of equitable and open finance for all,” the blog post added.

Indeed, the inaugural KSM/KAR pair passed through the bootstrap phase and has only gone live after satisfying the mandated liquidity goal. With the launch of the DEX, Karura Swap becomes the first decentralized exchange on Polkadot and Kusama and the first avenue for trustless trading of Kusama tokens on a DEX.

Other trading pairs that will be launched on Karura Swap can also make use of the Bootstrap feature. LPs can elect to supply one or both tokens in the pool during the process, while trading remains suspended until the set liquidity target is achieved.

Related: DeFi hub Karura emerges as first Kusama parachain slot auction winner

With Karura envisioned as a decentralized finance hub on Kusama, the team said other features such as kUSD stablecoin loans, staking and liquidity mining programs are in the works. These added protocols are part of the plans to build up the network within the 48-week network lease secured by winning a parachain auction slot.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Karura became the first Kusama parachain slot auction winner back on June 22, with over 501,000 KSM staked in the crowd-loan process. These slot auctions determine the parachains that will be added to the Kusama relay chain, which serves as a companion network for Polkadot.


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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/karura-launches-decentralized-exchange-on-polkadot-and-kusama

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Evolve or die: How smart contracts are shifting the crypto sector’s balance of power

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One of the familiar themes seen in previous crypto market cycles is the shifting market caps, popularity and ranking of the top 10 projects that see significant gains during bull phases, only to fade into obscurity during the bear markets. For many of these projects, they follow a recognizable boom-to-bust cycle and never return to their previous glory. 

During the 2017–2018 bull market and initial coin offering (ICO) boom, which was driven by Ethereum network-based projects, all manner of small smart contract-oriented projects rallied thousands of percentage  to unexpected highs.

During this time, projects like Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Monero (XMR) and ZCash (ZEC) also rotated in and out of the top 10 ranking, but to this day, investors still argue about which project actually presents a “useful” use case.

While all of these tokens are still unicorn-level projects with billion-dollar valuations, these large-cap megaliths have fallen far from their previous glory and now struggle to stay relevant in the current ecosystem.

Let’s take a look at a few of the current projects that threaten to unseat these dinosaur tokens from their perch.

Dollar-pegged stablecoins take the stage as the most “transactable” currency

Bitcoin’s (BTC) original use case stipulated that it would simplify the process of conducting transactions, but the network’s “slow” transaction time and the cost associated with sending funds makes it a better store of value than a medium of exchange when the other blockchain networks are considered as options.

Terra (LUNA), a protocol focused on creating a global payment structure through the use of fiat-pegged stablecoins, has emerged as a possible solution to the issues faced when trying to use the top proof-of-work (PoW) projects as payment currencies.

The main token used for transacting value on Terra aside from LUNA is TerraUSD (UST), a U.S. dollar-pegged algorithmic stablecoin that forms the basis of Terra’s decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem. The market cap of UST has steadily been increasing throughout 2021 as activity and the number of users in the ecosystem increased.

UST supply changes. Source: SmartStake

The recent addition of Ether (ETH) as a collateral choice for minting UST on Anchor protocol has given token holders a way of accessing the value in their Ether without having to sell and create a taxable event.

This opens the possibility for other tokens such as BTC to be utilized as collateral to mint UST that can be used in everyday purchases.

As it stands, the borrowing APR for UST on Anchor stands at 25.85%, while the distribution APR is at 40.67%, meaning users who borrow UST against their LUNA or Ether actually earn a yield while borrowing against their tokens.

From privacy coins to privacy protocols

Privacy is also a cornerstone characteristic of the cryptocurrency sector and privacy-focused projects like XMR and ZEC offer obfuscation technologies that support covert or what, for a time, were thought to be untraceable transactions.

Unfortunately, regulatory concerns have made it more challenging for users to access these tokens, as many exchanges have delisted them for fear of drawing the ire of regulators and the overall demand among crypto users has declined alongside their availability.

Their lack of smart contract capabilities has also limited what these protocols are capable of and, so far, users do not appear to be too excited about utilizing Wrapped Monero (WXMR) for use in DeFi, as the token loses its privacy capabilities in the process.

These limitations have led to the development of privacy-focused protocols such as the Secret Network, which allows users to create and use decentralized applications (DApps) in a privacy-preserving environment.

Privacy features are not common among smart contract capable platforms in the crypto ecosystem, which makes Secret something of an experimental case in the ever-evolving Web 3.0 landscape.

Decentralized applications on the Secret Network. Source: Secret

Secret is also part of the Cosmos ecosystem which means it can utilize the Inter-blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol to seamlessly interact with other protocols in the ecosystem.

The network’s native SCRT can be used as the value transfer medium on the platform as well as to interact with protocols that operate on the network, including Secret DeFi applications and the network’s NFT offering, Secret Heroes.

New enterprise solutions aren’t better but they come without controversy

One of the ways cryptocurrency projects sought to differentiate themselves from the “medium of exchange” label was to offer enterprise solutions as a way to help corporations navigate the transition to a blockchain-based infrastructure.

XRP and Stellar (XLM) are two of the veteran protocols that fit this bill, but continual controversy and slow development has resulted in these early movers now playing catch up with newer networks that also don’t have the legal controversy that has followed Ripple for years.

Hedera Hashgraph has emerged as a competitor in this field and data shows that the network is capable of processing more than 10,000 transactions per second (TPS), with an average transaction fee of $0.0001 and a time to finality of 3-5 seconds.

These statistics are comparable to both XRP and XLM, which have indicated that their ledgers reach consensus on all outstanding transactions every 3-5 seconds with an average transaction cost of 0.00001 XRP/XLM.

Hedera is also smart contract capable, meaning users can create both fungible and nonfungible tokens, and developers can build decentralized applications to accompany the network’s decentralized file storage services.

For each sector (stablecoins, privacy and enterprise solutions), the main difference between the old-school and next-generation projects has been the introduction of smart contract capabilities and plans to develop within the side-chain and DeFi sectors where the top protocols exist. This gives newer projects additional utility, allowing them to meet the demand of investors and developers, thus increasing their token values and market caps as a result.

With smart contracts, the ability to interact with the growing DeFi landscape comes built-in, whereas the legacy tokens like LTC, XMR and BCH require special wrapping services which insert middlemen and thus insert additional fees, rigor and risk into the process.

Newer protocols have also embraced the more eco-friendly proof-of-stake consensus model that aligns with the larger global shift toward environmental awareness and sustainability. A plus is that holders can also stake their tokens directly on the network for a yield.

It remains to be seen if the slow march of time will eventually lead to a capital migration from older large cap projects to the newer generation protocols or if these legacy blue-chips will find a way to evolve and survive into the future.

Want more information about trading and investing in crypto markets?

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.


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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/evolve-or-die-how-smart-contracts-are-shifting-the-crypto-sector-s-balance-of-power

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‘Overlooked’ Part of Senate Infrastructure Bill Renews Worries From Crypto Lobby

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The $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which passed in the Senate in early August and is expected to be approved by the House, is the gift that keeps on giving.

At first, it was about roads, bridges, and clean water. Then a pay-for provision promised to give American crypto users new tax reporting requirements. And now there’s a new twist.

A report published today by the Proof of Stake Alliance (POSA), an advocacy group that counts Coinbase Custody and Solana as members, details an “overlooked” amendment to the tax code within the 2,700-page bill that will make it a felony to incorrectly report receiving cryptocurrencies, NFTs, or other digital assets.

Writing in his role as an advisor to the POSA, law professor Abraham Sutherland details how the infrastructure bill amends Section 6050I of the tax code. The amended section 6045 that caused so much consternation when it made it through the Senate changed the definition of “broker” to cover those handling cryptocurrencies. 

Industry lobbyists and cryptocurrency advocates such as the think tank Coin Center argued that the bill as written would force Bitcoin miners and validators on other networks to file 1099 forms for the people whose transactions they were processing—even though they lacked the personal information needed to do so.   

Section 6050I, on the other hand, deals with the tax reporting requirements of those who ultimately receive the cryptocurrencies. While Americans must already report their crypto gains to the IRS just as they would with other investments, Sutherland says the amended provision goes much further: They must tell the government who sent it, including reporting social security numbers, when the value of the digital assets is more than $10,000. Not doing so within 15 days constitutes a felony.

This raises at least two issues. First, as Sutherland notes, it’s just as unwieldy as the section 6045 amendment: “This provision demands the impossible because the digital assets might not be ‘received’ from a person whose personally identifiable information can be verified and reported—including cases where the digital assets are not ‘received’ from a person or entity with a tax ID number, period.”

Second, as Sutherland alludes to and as Coin Center Research Director Peter Van Valkenburgh hammered home in a blog post, it might just be unconstitutional. The tax code currently mandates that people report such information to the IRS when they receive $10,000 in cash. That passes Constitutional muster because the bank acts as a third party; otherwise, authorities would need a warrant under the Fourth Amendment. But in cryptocurrency, a peer-to-peer transaction doesn’t have a third party

Writes Van Valkenburgh: “One person to a two person transaction is obligated to collect a load of sensitive information from her counterparty and hand that to government officials without any warrant or reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.”

Though he writes that Coin Center usually doesn’t “object to equal treatment of cash and cryptocurrencies,” in this case the “provision is a draconian surveillance rule that should have been ruled unconstitutional long ago. Extending it to cryptocurrency transactions would further erode the privacy of law-abiding Americans.”

Sutherland also calls into question the process by which the amended IRS code will become law—via a bill on completely unrelated topics. “A statute creating felony crimes for users of digital assets should be debated openly, not quietly inserted into a spending bill,” he wrote.

Source: https://decrypt.co/81236/overlooked-part-senate-infrastructure-bill-renews-worries-crypto-lobby

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Avalanche (AVAX) bumps to near $70 after reveal of $230 million fundraise

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High-speed blockchain Avalanche jumped to highs of $68.30 today after several influential crypto investors revealed the close of a private funding round involving $230 million worth of AVAX tokens in June, CryptoSlate learned in a release.

The Avalanche Foundation, a non-profit that oversees the development of the Avalanche blockchain, disclosed participants in the multimillion-dollar funding round were led by PolyChain Capital and Three Arrows Capital, and included R/Crypto Fund, Dragonfly, CMS Holdings, Collab+Currency, and Lvna Capital.

What happens to Avalanche now?

Proceeds from the private sale will be used to support the burgeoning Avalanche ecosystem—one that has been positioned as a top contender against Ethereum for its high speed and low fees. 

Part of the funds will be funneled to support DeFi (decentralized finance) projects on Avalanche as well as enterprise applications through grants, token purchases, and other forms of investments.

Avalanche’s smart contract is able to execute Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) contracts, making it possible for developers to ‘reuse’ their codebase if they have a working/testnet product on the Ethereum blockchain.

Converting assets on-chain using a ‘bridge’—a way for two separate blockchain to communicate with and transfer value between each other—are also simple as applications querying the Ethereum network can be adapted to support Avalanche by changing API endpoints and adding support for a new network. 

Meanwhile, the news caused a surge in AVAX prices last night. The token jumped 30% to over $68.30 to set a new all-time high, reaching a $14 billion marketcap and becoming the 12th-most-valuable cryptocurrency by that metric.

At press time, AVAX continues to trade above its 34-period exponential moving average, a metric used by traders that determines asset trends using historic prices. It has been been in a gradual uptrend since breaking the $15 mark in late-July, and has returned several multiples to investors in the past three months alone.

Image: AVAX/USD via TradingView.

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Source: https://cryptoslate.com/avalanche-avax-bumps-to-near-70-after-reveal-of-230-million-fundraise/

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