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NFTs are not just for art: As technology matures, more uses will emerge?

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Before the age of smartphones allowed the average person on the street to snap a selfie with their favorite celebrity, autographs and signed memorabilia were highly sought after by collectors. Naturally, the value of these real-world, authentic and rare keepsakes are high and remain so today.

However, thanks to the utility of blockchain technology, digital collectibles are becoming the modern-day autograph or the one-of-a-kind, priceless piece of art. People need to look no further than the $69 million paid at auction for the now-famous “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” a digital collage created by digital artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple.

The auction of the digital art piece, which featured some 5,000 pieces of digital art created by Winkelmann, is the most expensive NFT ever sold at auction by world-renowned auctioneers Christie’s. In one swift strike of the auctioneer’s gavel, a piece of crypto art not only rocked the world of digital collectibles but instantly brought NFTs into mainstream consciousness.

The world of art is not the only industry to be enjoying the fruits of NFTs’ popularity. Various sporting icons, brands and teams have entered the fray by minting trading cards and digital memorabilia that have also attracted million-dollar bids from sport-loving NFT collectors.

NFL veteran Rob Gronkowski set the bar high for the sport NFT space after his recent auction of a limited edition series of trading cards commemorating his four successful NFT campaigns. Each successful NFT title was represented by an NFT trading card consisting of 87 digital versions, while a fifth, one-of-one “Career Highlight Refractor Card” was created as a tribute to those four successful campaigns.

Gronk managed to sell a total of 349 trading cards at auction as well as the one-off Career Highlight card to 95 different owners. The total trading value of the auction was 1,014 Ether (ETH) valued at $1.8 million, with the one-off Career Highlight NFT selling for 229 ETH valued at around $435,000.

Digitally-signed tweets are also becoming highly valuable as NFTs. Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey sold a tokenized version of his and the platform’s first-ever tweet for $2.9 million. The proceeds of the sale have been donated to an African charity that is supporting efforts across the continent to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, it’s debatable whether all the art pieces on offer bring value to the industry, as for example, some commentators, even outside the core crypto community, are starting to question the price tags of NFT art pieces, such as the single red pixel that was put up for sale for $900,000.

Nonfungible tokens have taken the cryptocurrency space by storm in 2021 as various forms of digital collectibles have attracted multi-million-dollar price tags. But are there more fruitful use cases for the burgeoning space than just selling NFTs as art?

As these astronomical values for various NFTs continue to astound onlookers, it begs the question of whether the prices being paid for digital collectibles are creating hype that takes away from other potentially more beneficial use cases for the NFT space.

Vitalik Buterin hopes NFTs support blockchain ecosystems

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin waded into the NFT discussion through a blog post on his website, outlining his hopes that NFTs are more widely used to fund or support efforts and organizations that work toward the benefit of social causes.

The Ethereum co-founder was addressing the relatively low percentage of funding that crucial elements of various blockchain infrastructure actually receive within their ecosystems. Using Ethereum as a prime example, Buterin painted a stark contrast between the roughly $37 million spent on daily block rewards and transaction fees and the annual $30 million spent on research, protocol development and grants of the blockchain ecosystem.

Buterin’s post explored the concept of legitimacy and how and what society deems as legitimate playing a crucial role in how accepted or used that object becomes: “Legitimacy is a pattern of higher-order acceptance.”

Buterin believes that that coordinated social behavior will enable the blockchain space to support platforms and ecosystems that reward and support the work that sustains them. However, he conceded that the current hype in the NFT space and the potential to realize large gains in value could be taking away from more beneficial outcomes, adding: “If the conception of legitimacy for NFTs can be pulled in a good direction, there is an opportunity to establish a solid channel of funding to artists, charities and others.”

Hype is warranted?

Other industry experts have also outlined their belief that the astronomical value of some of the leading NFTs is warranted while conceding that there could be more beneficial use cases for digitally verified collectibles.

Mattison Asher, who conducts research on Ethereum, NFTs and DeFi at ConsenSys, believes that favorable market conditions have played their part in some of the hefty prices paid for NFTs. However, he added that crypto native professionals have looked to give back to the space and support crypto artists as their portfolios have increased in recent months.

While Asher admits it’s difficult to say whether some of these NFTs are truly worth the prices paid for them, he believes that it’s an important psychological milestone for the industry and mirrors the burgeoning success of the cryptocurrency ecosystem:

“Both Beeple and the crypto industry as a whole have had to overcome an incredible amount of adversity in order to reach the level of success they are experiencing now. Similar to the crypto industry as a whole, Beeple has been creating digital works for years, often with little recognition. The work that Beeple auctioned tells the story of Beeple the artist but also reflects the story of crypto as a whole.”

Stephen Young, the founder of South African-based decentralized finance platform NFTfi, which allows users to stake their NFTs as collateral for a loan or offer loans to other users on their NFTs, believes that the hype and value being paid for NFTs is warranted, given that these projects have been developed and released through the cryptocurrency bear market.

However, ongoing monetary stimulus measures around the world have also seen asset prices inflated, which has spilled over into the world of cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Young told Cointelegraph that the popularity of NFT art and other collectibles is also influenced by the relatively low cost of minting and trading NFTs in their current forms and that it makes sense that art is the first form that reaches the mainstream, given the current limitations of the Ethereum network:

“Digital content doesn’t require nearly the same throughput as games, for example. With media, you only require transactions to mint and transfer the asset (which doesn’t happen all that often). For games and other applications, you need much higher throughput and lower cost. As things like Flow and Eth2 mature and become widely available, we should start seeing games and other use cases that require higher transaction throughput gain traction.”

Craig Russo, director of innovation at Polyient Games, told Cointelegraph that NFT use cases focused on digital art and other collectibles are the tip of the iceberg and will provide the basis for the space’s growth:

“NFTs are a very broad asset class that can function in a number of exciting verticals, and I do not believe the excitement around the creative use cases will be an impediment to growth in other verticals, especially as the technology continues to advance.”

Better use cases will reveal themselves

While NFT art and various digital collectibles continue to grab headlines and the greater imagination of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, it seems a natural progression for more use cases to be explored and developed in the coming months and years. NFTs could eventually make their way into various industries, with the potential for financial services and processes tapping into the technology.

Financial documents, including invoices, purchase orders and master data, could be turned into NFTs to help manage financial supply chain logistics. Gaming and tokenization of in-game assets have already emerged as prominent use cases, while NFTs also have the potential to be used in the insurance space, as well as for securitization and asset-backed lending.

Meanwhile, Young highlighted the fact that NFTs, in their most simple form, are just “unique digital things,” but the sheer amount of value being locked into the space will see these asset use cases multiply:

“As more and more value is locked up in NFTs, being able to use them as productive financial assets becomes very important and useful at the same time. Being able to use your NFTs in this way also makes them more valuable and useful. Over the coming years, as throughput on blockchains improve and the market penetration of crypto accelerates, we will see a number of blue ocean opportunities in the NFT space.”

Young noted that the design space for NFTs is broad in scope, and the potential of the space will expand from its current use in the art, collectibles, gaming and metaverse domains into ticketing/memberships, loyalty programs, financial contracts, tokenization of real-world objects, intellectual property and patents, to name just a few.

Asher suggested that NFTs as ownership contracts are currently an underexplored area that could also become an important use case, while the art and gaming industries will continue to drive their use:

“NFTs as art will continue to gain adoption. Certain types of contracts, in-game assets and tickets will also be constructed within an NFT structure. We are just at the beginning of experimenting with all of the various forms NFTs can take and what they can represent.”

Russo believes that the next major growth inflection point for the NFT market will be focused on gaming and decentralized finance: “Right now, the market is capable of understanding NFTs as something you can buy, sell or hold. The next stage of this market will be driven by what you can actually do with the asset class.”

As these industry experts outline, the possibilities of NFTs are as seemingly endless as the blockchain technology that powers them. There’s plenty of attention on NFTs, and it seems like it’s only a matter of time before new, exciting use cases emerge.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/nfts-are-not-just-for-art-as-technology-matures-more-uses-will-emerge

Blockchain

Rothschild Investment Buys $4.75M in Shares of the Grayscale Ethereum Trust

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Asset manager Rothschild investment Corp has acquired 265,302 shares from the Grayscale Ethereum Trust, a purchase worth $4.75 million.

According to an SEC filing on April 15, the firm also bought an additional 8,000 shares of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), now owning a total of 38,346 shares.

Not The Rothschild You Think

Rothschild Investment Corp has nothing to do with the Rothschild family, but many in the community are still confused. 

Founding members Monroe Rothschild and brother-in-law Samuel Karger have said the firm has no relation with the wealthy dynasty originally from Frankfurt. In 1995, New York Times published an article that clarified the differences between both branches.

Rothschild Investment Corp was founded in 1908, headquartered in Chicago. The firm holds over $1.2 billion in its portfolio and over 450 open positions in the market.  Unlike the famous bankers, the firm has been accruing shares since 2017, long before traditional institutions started investing in crypto assets. 


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Grayscale Finally Hit the $50 Billion Mark

The recent purchase comes after Grayscale hit the long-awaited $50 billion mark. As reported, Grayscale finally holds over $50 billion in total assets under management (AUM). The GBTC alone holds $41,442 million, while the Ethereum Trust holds over $7,420 million. 

Ethereum also hit a new all-time high by reaching $2500 after a parabolic run in the last five months. It soared 13.7% last week, breaking its previous resistance at $2,2007. The Berlin hard fork went live a few days ago in an attempt to reduce the high fees on the network, but many users have complained about syncing issues for the network nodes.

The crypto market was overall bullish in the last weeks but the market took a u-turn this weekend, causing mayhem across the board, liquidating over $10 billion worth of both long and short positions in less than a day.

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Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cryptopotato.com/rothschild-investment-buys-4-75m-in-shares-of-the-grayscale-ethereum-trust/

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Are we there yet? Here’s why one analyst says its not ‘altcoin season’

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Few traders would argue against the fact that Bitcoin (BTC) is in a bull market, but there is less consensus on whether the market is in the midst of an “altcoin season.” A quick view of Crypto Twitter shows the schism between traders who are certain we are halfway through alt season and those who believe it has yet to begin.

Typically, traders rely on a wide swath of indicators and metrics, like Bitcoin’s total market capitalization versus the total altcoin market cap, Bitcoin’s dominance rate, and whether low-cap altcoins have rallied by a certain percentage.

As is the nature of investing, too much signal can at times produce mixed results, so Cointelegraph decided to have a chat with Ben Lilly, co-founder and analyst at Jarvis Labs, to see where he and his firm think the market currently stands and to determine the most appropriate metrics to use in figuring out whether or not an altcoin season is truly at hand.

Cointelegraph: A number of analysts claim we’re in an altcoin season, or at least right at the verge of one. Some are looking at support/resistance flips and fractals on altcoin market cap charts (isolated from BTC’s market cap) to make convincing arguments. Why do you think that we are nowhere near an altcoin season?

Ben Lilly: I believe everybody’s interpretation of what defines an altcoin season varies. For many, altcoin season might exist when both BTC and altcoins move higher. This is opposed to Bitcoin rising while altcoins remain flat or drop.

I think this is a fair view of altcoin season, but it’s not necessarily one I subscribe to. Simply because if this is a definition for altcoin season, it’s not a compelling reason for me to move away from Bitcoin and into altcoins from a risk-adjusted perspective.

Because in that definition of altcoin season, Bitcoin is still the preferable asset to own.

We think of altcoin season as market movements that take people by surprise or at least make traders rethink what is normal.

CT: So, altcoin seasons are not reflecting a macro-level trend shift in the market direction of Bitcoin’s momentum?

BL: Well, getting back to what I said earlier, support and resistances are helpful ways to explain. We can view these as areas that, when broken, create fast price action. It’s the type of action you want exposure to, assuming you’re on the correct side of it. While anything in between these supports and resistances can almost be assumed as “expected” or normal — in a loose sense.

To figure out where this area might be, we can look at a Bitcoin dominance chart. This lets us know the percentage of the market Bitcoin represents. Right now, it’s trading in a range, which is to say an “expected” range. And because it’s trending down, this is good for altcoins as Bitcoin concedes some dominance to other coins.

While many might point to this and say it’s an “altcoin season,” I’ll point out that this type of activity tends to happen in a bull cycle because new money is moving in.

In fact, we’ve been trading in this range of expectation from the middle part of 2019, which coincides with when Bitcoin found its low and began to turn bullish.

Bitcoin market cap dominance weekly chart. Source: TradingView, Jarvis Labs

Oddly enough, we recently jumped out of this range in late 2020, and when we did, Bitcoin went on an absolute tear. During this run, altcoins lost value. And similar to how Brent Johnson describes his dollar milkshake theory, Bitcoin sucked up the market’s liquidity as it ran higher.

We have since returned to this range of expectation, also known as the normal area of the market.

Now, if the opposite happens and we break this expected range to the downside, in our point of view, this will signify that altcoins are the asset to be sitting in, as they will generate outsized returns relative to Bitcoin. That’s when things will get wild.

CT: For years, traders have pinpointed the shifts in dominance rate between BTC and altcoins as a relevant indicator of when altcoin season begins. As the theory holds, when Bitcoin’s price consolidates or is in a downtrend and its dominance rate drops below a certain percentage, altcoins capitalize on Bitcoin’s range-bound action by rallying higher. What thoughts do you have on this?

BL: Similar to what I explained previously, it’s all about expectations. As soon as the market creates a change in view of what’s normal, then “altcoin season” will appear.

Another chart I’m frequently leaning on is the ETH/BTC pair. When Ether gains in relation to BTC, this is generally a good sign for altcoins. And recently, there’s been some bullish momentum on the chart within its current range of expectation.

The ETH/BTC pair is currently forming what we can describe as the Livermore Accumulation Cylinder. For more than a month, we have been discussing this in our free “Espresso” newsletter from the Jarvis Labs Substack, and what is clear is that the chart is taking form and is at the later stages of its trend.

If ETH/BTC breaks up and out of this cylinder, it’ll be another moment where expectations of what is normal will be adjusted. This is when we will see fast price action, and likely an altcoin season.

ETH/BTC weekly chart. Source: TradingView, Jarvis Labs

CT: While a rising tide does lift all boats, altcoins have been the top performers in the market when compared with Bitcoin. A quick look over CoinMarketCap shows that at least 50 have made moves that are well above 100%, and the altcoin market cap has risen from $250 billion in January to nearly $900 billion today. In your opinion, what is the primary signal that the market is in a proper altcoin run?

BL: Now, this is a bit different than an altcoin season, in my opinion. That’s because a proper bull run for altcoins is when investors are more likely to walk further out on the risk curve of crypto versus simply buying Bitcoin, not necessarily outsized gains compared with Bitcoin.

Based on this definition, we can make the case that whenever Bitcoin dominance is falling while crypto as a whole is in a bull market (like today), then this is a bull market for altcoins.

While investors might not have outsized gains relative to Bitcoin in a proper altcoin bull run like they would in an altcoin season, it is wise to begin building exposure to these higher-risk assets in this environment.

CT: Does on-chain data have any value in determining when alt seasons begin?

BL: Absolutely. On-chain is very valuable if you know how to filter out all the noise that comes with it. With crypto, there’s so much transparency in seeing transactions on-chain. This creates a trove of data that can be looked at in hundreds of different ways, many of which are somewhat meaningless.

At Jarvis Labs, we filter out all the data to find the data that matters. Then we run it through algorithms to create trade signals. It’s high-value data analytics and tends to be used in place of in-house analysts.

In saying that, on-chain is still an evolving space outside of Bitcoin and Ethereum. We’re on half a dozen blockchains watching these signals evolve and generating a variety of reliable signals will better pinpoint exactly when trend shifts take place and altcoin seasons begin and end.

One simple thing traders can follow in order to see the progression of an altcoin season is USDT flows.

When an altcoin season arrives, we’re likely to see USDT flow into other layer-two protocols such as Polkadot, Cosmos and Solana. That’s because many small-cap assets that are very far out on the risk curve, which tend to be bought in these types of environments, will exist on decentralized exchanges rather than centralized exchanges.

As investors start buying up these small-cap assets, liquidity will arrive, and USDT is the most ubiquitous form of liquidity in the market.

So, when USDT enters these ecosystems by the hundreds of millions, you can be sure it’s altcoin season, as investors will be chasing these assets only found on DEXs native to their protocol (i.e., Serum).

CT: Is it possible that the narrative may be changing and that some altcoins are breaking away from their reliance on the performance of Bitcoin, shifting what an altcoin season may look like?

BL: The changing landscape of risk is how I view this particular question.

And as other assets begin to grow in market cap and age, the network effects will grow. This, in turn, will insulate many crypto assets from Bitcoin since a lot of value will be attached to them.

In this way, over time altcoins will slightly deviate away from BTC’s performance.

Ethereum will be the first asset to do this, simply because of where it’s at in terms of its life cycle and development. But in terms of being immune to Bitcoin’s price, this won’t happen for many years. In fact, I think there will always be some correlation to an extent.

That’s due to macro reasons. Simply put, commodities as a whole tend to have a correlation to one another, equities as a whole have correlation, and even currencies tend to move in tandem with one another (i.e, USD, CHF, JPY). In saying this, crypto as a whole is likely to move in tandem with one another for at least most of this decade if not longer.

Disclaimer: Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim to provide you with all the important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as investment advice.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/are-we-there-yet-here-s-why-one-analyst-says-its-not-altcoin-season

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COINQVEST and Anclap introduce inflation free cryptocurrency payment processing for Argentina

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COINQVEST, a licensed virtual currency service built on the Stellar Network that allows merchants to accept, manage and disburse cryptocurrency payments, today announced its collaboration with Argentina-based Anclap, a Peso Argentino anchor and financial technology service provider, to bring blockchain-based and inflation-free payment processing to merchants and enterprises in Argentina.

Anclap provides real-time bank account integration in Argentina and helps businesses protect themselves from the inflationary nature of the Argentine Peso.

The COINQVEST platform offers Argentinians secure payment processing of transactions in BTC, ETH, XLM, and other major cryptocurrencies or stablecoins with settlement to international and local fiat currencies. Merchants can on and off-ramp funds from digital wallets or brick-and-mortar bank accounts.

Benefits of COINQVEST include non-custodial settlement, reduced costs and settlement times, crypto wallet and fiat bank payouts, customer invoicing, and compliant record-keeping.

“Argentinian merchants can now settle sales in USD and maintain a USD balance sheet to protect themselves from the depreciation of the Argentina Peso. Settled funds can automatically be exchanged into ARS using payment rails provided by Anclap in real-time.”
– Marcin Olszowy, Co-Founder at COINQVEST

COINQVEST’s service offers solutions for developers and non-developers alike. A hosted checkout interface was created for lean businesses without web development personnel. For enterprises with a dedicated development team, COINQVEST’s powerful and well-documented API with white-label capability is available for greater control and customization.

“COINQVEST is redefining the digital payments industry. It brings countless benefits for Argentine businessmen and entrepreneurs. Anclap participates in this process connecting e-commerce with the local financial system through Argentine Pesos, providing an on-/off-ramp to the network, and allowing access to new global financial services instantly and safely, maintaining full compliance with PLA/FT regulations.”
– Ivan Mudryj, Co-Founder at Anclap

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.cryptoninjas.net/2021/04/20/coinqvest-and-anclap-introduce-inflation-free-cryptocurrency-payment-processing-for-argentina/

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