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Polkadot-integrated RAI Finance raises $1.5 million from crypto-funds

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DeFi protocol RAI Finance is in the news after it announced that it raised $1.5 million worth of strategic investment led by global crypto-funds including GBIC and Alphabit.

RAI Finance aims to build a DeFi ecosystem with a higher amount of liquidity and a diverse set of financial use cases through an integration with the Polkadot ecosystem.

RAI would harness the Polkadot network’s cross-chain compatibility to solve problems in building DeFi-based digital assets and supplying liquidity to existing distributed financial ecosystems.

The $1.5 million investment from GBIC and Alphabit represents an interest in a project that has many potential use cases in pushing the DeFi ecosystem to new levels of adoption and functionality, especially with Polkadot’s cross-chain composability.

The announcement was celebrated by RAI Finance’s Lee Keonho who said,

“We are pleased to attract strategic investment from global crypto funds ahead of the launch of Rai Finance. We will strive to complement and further develop the existing distributed financial ecosystem through Rai Finance.”

Polkadot has been busy lately with a host of partnerships. It recently partnered with Ontology, a partnership that will integrate its DeID solution on the network. This was part of a wider effort for Ontology to build a parachain on Polkadot. The parachain in question is intended to bring cross-chain liquidity to the Polkadot network.

Cross-chain functionality is increasingly important to scale DeFi and offers users access to more asset classes across the ecosystem. The growth of Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) is the perfect example of how important interoperability is to users.

Polkadot is a network protocol that allows not just tokens, but also arbitrary data to be transferred across blockchains. Its partnership with Equilibrium in August highlights the emphasis on cross-chain interoperability to boost DeFi market growth.

Source: https://eng.ambcrypto.com/polkadot-rai-finance

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Eth2 dev talks about challenges and lessons learned ahead of mainnet launch

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After years of delays and changes in plans, Ethereum 2.0 is finally approaching release on Dec. 1.

Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0 is introducing the long-awaited mechanism of staking to the smart contract platform, in addition to launching the skeleton of a future Eth2 blockchain, the Beacon Chain.

Progress in 2020 steadily picked up pace as more and more testnets were introduced and iterated on. While they were successful in aggregate, they were not exempt from problems related to synchronization and block production.

Part of those issues came from the challenge of keeping the same pace between seven different clients, or Ethereum 2.0 node software, working with different programming languages and technology stacks.

Cointelegraph spoke with Zahary Karadjov, research developer at Nimbus — one of those clients — to learn more about both the road Ethereum 2.0 has traveled so far and the next legs of the journey.

The interview has been lightly edited for length and context.

Cointelegraph: Nimbus seems to have had a few more issues catching up to the shared Ethereum 2.0 specifications. Why do you think that is?

Zahary Karadjov: We were very busy preparing Nimbus for mainnet. It’s fair to say that it has been a little bit more challenging for us because it took us a while to develop some of the components that the other teams already had available — more specifically, the Libp2p networking layer.

This is something that we had to build from scratch, and it took us quite a lot of time to stabilize it. There were a few months where we were struggling with performance. It was only recently that we published our initial stable release. But right now, we feel confident for mainnet: We are working on the last of the small issues, and our audit has also been completed.

CT: Prysm and Lighthouse — which similar to existing Ethereum 1.0 clients were built in Go and Rust, respectively — seem to have been ahead of the others so far. Is that because they were able to build on the work done for Ethereum 1.0?

ZK: My explanation will be a simplification, as there are many factors involved. But I would say that developing Libp2p has been the most significant source of delays for us. And the logic is easy to see here: Teku, which is developed in Java, also didn’t have a Libp2p implementation, and it also became ready at a slightly later stage.

The Prysm team had the luxury of having Libp2p developed a very long time ago, as it was originally developed in Go, while Lighthouse was able to take advantage of the implementation created, again, quite some time ago by the Parity team for its work on Polkadot.

Libp2p is the networking layer of Ethereum 2.0 — you can say it’s a completely different technology from the one that’s used in Ethereum 1.0. In very practical terms, it’s a publish-subscribe technology called Gossipsub, which is an optimized way to broadcast information in the network.

CT: Let’s talk about the Medalla testnet. What lessons did Nimbus and the Eth2 community learn, especially considering the periods where the blockchain wasn’t providing block finality guarantees?

ZK: Well, the struggles with finality started with a technical issue. There’s the famous Cloudflare Roughtime incident, which demonstrated exactly what we were discussing in our previous conversation. If everybody on the network is using the same client, a technical issue in this particular client could put a lot of validators offline, which may immediately render the network into a non-finalizing state.

We had this issue with the Prysm client, and it also taught an important lesson in the importance of communication. The Prysm team was able to provide a fix for this issue in a very short amount of time — just a couple of hours. But it took quite a while for the community to realize there was a problem and to deploy the fix.

This was the initial incident that created a long period of non-finalization for Medalla. But this was actually very helpful for the clients because when the network is not finalizing, the clients have to consider many different possible forks and alternative histories, and this puts a lot of stress on the clients. So, these long periods of non-finalization allowed us to see and to optimize the clients for these stressful moments in the network where everything is not running as expected.

CT: During the testnet and the non-finality period, some users complained that their stake was reduced even if they were online. Is that a bug or a feature of the system?

ZK: You could describe it as an unanticipated consequence. Basically, the problem is that the client gets rewarded for the attestations broadcast on the network. But these attestations are supposed to be included in blocks. If there is nobody to produce blocks, your attestations don’t end up on the chain. So, it looks like you’re not active.

I think this issue is well recognized and acknowledged by the implementation team and the research team. It should be addressed in the future of Ethereum — in Phase 1, or even Phase 0.5, one of the very first upgrades of the network. But we should not forget that it would be quite unexpected if we see low participation rates on the mainnet, as when there’s real stake involved, the incentives for validators to be online are much stronger.

CT: Do you think these complexities and the requirement of being constantly online could turn people away from staking with their own devices?

ZK: Well, this is a very common misconception that I think we should do a much better job at communicating. Actually, the risks of not being online all the time are not that great. You will make a profit if you are online more than 50% of the time. Think about it: You can be offline for half of the year, and you’ll still be at zero. You won’t be making any money, but you also won’t be losing any money. The protocol is quite forgiving in this regard.

CT: What comes after the mainnet launch of Phase 0? Is sharding the next upgrade on the list or do you expect more work required for this initial Beacon Chain?

ZK: There will certainly be upgrades coming with the integration of Phase 1, and it would require breaking changes — or let’s just call it a hard fork — where the client teams will release new software as more functionality is brought online. We expect the rollout of the finality gadget at some point, which will finalize the Ethereum 1.0 chain through the consensus mechanism of Ethereum 2.0. All of these ongoing releases are going to happen in parallel. They’re a little bit independent from each other and are part of the Ethereum roadmap for the next few years.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/eth2-dev-talks-about-challenges-and-lessons-learned-ahead-of-mainnet-launch

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ECB’s Lagarde speaks positively about digital euro, not so much about stablecoins

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Calling central bank money “unique,” Christine Lagarde, President of European Central Bank, spoke about the future of money and pointed out the positive aspects of the digital euro. While she maintained that the digital euro would only complement physical cash, she did emphasize that issuing a digital euro might become necessary to “ensure monetary sovereignty” in the region.

However according to her, crypto-assets are “highly volatile, illiquid and speculative,” and “do not fulfill all the functions of money.” Lagarde also believed that stablecoins and crypto-assets posed “serious risks” and with regard to stabelcoins, in particular, she further added: 

Although stablecoins could drive additional innovation in payments and be well integrated into social media, trade and other platforms, they pose serious risks. 

She went on to state that if widely adopted, stablecoins “could threaten financial stability and monetary sovereignty” and explained

For instance, if the issuer cannot guarantee a fixed value or if they are perceived as being incapable of absorbing losses, a run could occur. Additionally, using stablecoins as a store of value could trigger a large shift of bank deposits to stablecoins, which may have an impact on banks’ operations and the transmission of monetary policy.

Referring to “big tech” companies such as, in all probability, Facebook’s Libra, Lagarde said that stablecoins issued by global technology firms could also present “risks to competitiveness and technological autonomy in Europe. She believed such firms would attempt to “leverage their competitive advantage” and “control of large platforms.” On the other hand, Lagarde believed that a digital euro would also be “an emblem of the ongoing process of European integration and ultimately help to unify Europe’s digital economies.”

Recently Deutsche Bank’s research found that the CBDC race was led by Sweden and China with both nations having started CBDC pilot projects earlier this year. It found that governments played a “pivotal role” in supporting a digital payments infrastructure. In its research, the bank also called on US and Europe to “catch up” with the CBDC trend and even cautioned European policymakers about the risks of not developing their own CBDC.

Source: https://eng.ambcrypto.com/ecbs-lagarde-speaks-positively-about-digital-euro-not-so-much-about-stablecoins

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Bitcoin Targets $25,000 Fib Level With New All-Time High Set

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Today, Bitcoin price set a new all-time high record. While that statement certainly speaks for itself, it does beg the question: what comes next?

Given the fact that this hurdle was the one the entire investor class was watching, and it is now out of the way, the most logical next target could be $25,000. Here’s why this number is significant and why there’s a strong probability that price heads there next.

All-Time High Broken, Bitcoin Price To Return To Price Discovery Mode

For nearly three full years, crypto investors have been waiting for this day and wondering if it would even happen. Holding Bitcoin has been a rocky ride for those that got in at the peak of the last bubble.

After the cryptocurrency tapped the current level, it fell to $3,000 a year later. A revisit back to that key level earlier in the year sealed the deal on a new uptrend and canned any chances of the cryptocurrency dropping lower.

Related Reading | Here’s What Will Happen To Altcoins Once Bitcoin Breaks $20,000

From that bounce caused a sharp uptrend and now – as of today – Bitcoin price has set a new record.

The leading cryptocurrency by market cap is now below the previous high, but a spike higher today set a new all-time high record. The feat is likely to make waves across the finance space, and lure in another wave of investors, until the asset peaks and does it all again.

But before the bull market truly takes off, the next logical level, according to one crypto analyst, is right below $25,000 at $24,800.

bitcoin btcusd btc

The 1.272 Fibonacci extension is the next logical target for Bitcoin price | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com

Why Cryptocurrencies And Other Assets Respond To Fibonacci Levels

According to crypto analyst Jamie Holmes, the next target resides at the 1.272 Fibonacci extension level. Beyond there, 1.618, 2.618, and 3.618 sit at $30,000, $50,000, and roughly $75,000 respectively, and could be next after the first extension is taken out.

Holmes accurately called for the retest of ATH after a “bullish saucer” formed on monthly timeframes. Now he’s pointing to $25,000 next.

During the last bull market, Bitcoin rose as high as the 19.618 Fibonacci level, which could suggest that these early extensions will be barely a blink for the now unstoppable cryptocurrency.

Related Reading | Fibonacci Day: How To Use Math To Trade Bitcoin And Altcoins

It isn’t exactly clear why Fibonacci ratios and their retracement levels and extensions act as support and resistance, but they do for all asset types.

Breaking through the 0.618 Fib retracement level at $13,800 is what set off the recent bullish impulse and send the cryptocurrency to a new all-time as of today.

The 0.618 level could once again become a target to watch, and this time act as support for any major corrections that follow from here.

Featured image from Deposit Photos, Charts from TradingView.com

Source: https://www.newsbtc.com/analysis/btc/bitcoin-targets-25000-fib-level-with-new-all-time-high-set/

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