Native exchange tokens have exploded in value in recent months, alongside the wider cryptocurrency markets, changing the narrative for what these tokens were originally meant for.
Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and other cryptocurrencies have seen exponential growth over the past six months. In part, this is due to major institutional investors finally entering the markets in a meaningful way. Grayscale Investments, MicroStrategy and Tesla have been some of the biggest names to make major acquisitions of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, leading to new all-time highs in values.
This has had a knock-on effect for various tokens that either power cryptocurrency exchanges, or — like Ethereum’s gas charges for processing transactions — act as the fuel for the underlying blockchain.
Exchanges that use their own tokens to power their ecosystems have also seen their native cryptocurrencies boom in value. Two prime examples of this are Binance’s native Binance Coin (BNB) token and decentralized finance platform Uniswap’s UNI token and OKEx exchange token, the OKB.
BNB saw a rise in value from $38 per token on Jan. 1 to an all-time high of $335 on Feb. 19. Likewise, UNI went from $4.90 per token on Jan. 1 to just over $35 on March 22, also an all-time high. Meanwhile, since the start of the year, OKB tripled in valuation from around $7 to over $21 by Feb. 22.
Before delving further into the price appreciation of these cryptocurrencies though, let’s revisit the basics of exchange tokens.
What is an exchange token?
Cryptocurrency exchange tokens fulfill a variety of important roles for the platforms they operate on.
For one, they can increase both liquidity and trading activity. Liquidity on an exchange refers to the ability of a token to be converted to another cryptocurrency or fiat currency. Native exchange tokens can be used as an incentive to increase liquidity on the exchange by allocating rewards for trading volumes, or for users that stake tokens.
Exchange tokens are also used to provide fee discounts for traders and users. Typically, this involves users receiving discounts when paying fees using the cryptocurrency, whether on a centralized or decentralized exchange.
Some cryptocurrencies act as the fuel that powers the exchange, by allowing users to participate in governance mechanisms (like voting) or by offering exclusive benefits to holders.
Take BNB, for example. It is the means for transactions on Binance Chain, while also being used to pay transaction fees on the exchange.
Have exchange tokens become a good investment?
Though they serve a variety of purposes on their respective platforms, their rapid rise in value across the ecosystem begs the question of whether exchange tokens are now becoming a viable investment for users.
The nature of a given token and the role it plays within its exchange ecosystem also have an influence on its value and its potential to appreciate over time. Todd Crosland, founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange CoinZoom, told Cointelegraph, “There has been a graduation of sorts from using exchange tokens solely for trading fee discounts and other benefits, to the tangible value.”
Added benefits have also increased the value of these various tokens through rewards, discounts and other incentives, as Crosland explained in his correspondence with Cointelegraph.
According to Jonathan Leong, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange BTSE, the utility of exchange tokens like BNB and UNI is a driving force behind their appreciation in value. In the case of BNB, Leong highlighted the fact that the exchange token also became a utility token with the launch of Binance Chain. Essentially, this turned BNB tokens into the equivalent of Ethereum’s ETH tokens that are used to pay for gas fees.
While there seems to be a growing sentiment that prominent exchange tokens could become viable long-term investments, these tokens are also subject to the same volatility that the likes of Bitcoin and other prominent cryptocurrencies have become notorious for. As Leong highlighted in his comments to Cointelegraph:
“The volatility can be explained because things are really mainstreaming and the utility of DeFi is really coming into its own and people are seeing the possibilities with things like Uniswap, Curve, Aave and Saffron and all these other things. I think that’s why there’s a big surge, there’s a lot of money coming in — it’s the bull cycle. This is a highly speculative new technology which also can explain the volatility.”
A spokesperson from Binance outlined the exchange’s belief that the value of BNB will continue to grow as more applications and projects begin running on the Binance Smart Chain: “BNB’s use cases have expanded to hundreds of applications on numerous platforms and projects within the crypto ecosystem.” The exchange representative added further:
“BNB is utilized to pay transaction fees on Binance.com, Binance DEX, Binance Chain and the community-driven BSC. BNB is also used on multiple DeFi platforms built on BSC that provide financial payments solutions. The more people use BSC, the more utility BNB will have, and hence more value BNB will have.”
The Binance spokesperson however declined to comment on whether the firm feels that the rise in value of BNB tokens has exceeded expectations.
As cryptocurrency markets continue to hold the gains that have been realized in recent months, exchange tokens are also allowing users to hold value on these platforms, evident by their market capitalization. BNB’s market cap sits at just under $40 billion, which leaves it almost on par with the total capitalization of the Tether (USDT) token.
Coinbase Pro Lists Tether as USDT Supply Approaches 50 Billion
In an announcement on April 23, Coinbase Pro stated that it had enabled trading for the Tether stablecoin. The move is huge news as previously the leading exchange would only support its own native stablecoin, USDC.
The announcement added that support for USDT will generally be available in Coinbase’s supported jurisdictions, with the exception of New York State. The only version of USDT available will be the Ethereum ERC-20 standard.
Trading will begin on or after 6 PM Pacific Time Monday, April 26, if liquidity conditions are met, it added. The following pairs will be available: BTC/USDT, ETH/USDT, USDT/EUR, USDT/GBP, USDT/USD, and USDT/USDC.
Tether is not available on the regular Coinbase exchange yet and is limited to the Pro version which is more suited to professional and institutional traders.
Starting today, inbound transfers for USDT are now available in the regions where trading is supported. Traders cannot place orders and no orders will be filled. Trading will begin on or after 6PM PT on Monday April 26 , if liquidity conditions are met. https://t.co/F5o73g8o4v
— Coinbase Pro (@CoinbasePro) April 22, 2021
Tether Supply Surges
The move comes as Tether’s circulating supply approaches a milestone all-time high of 50 billion. According to the Tether Transparency report, there are currently 49.58 billion USDT in circulation.
Of that total, almost half of it, or 24.4 billion is based on Ethereum while the majority of the remainder, almost 26 billion is circulating on the Tron network.
Since the beginning of 2021, the total supply of Tether has increased by 137% outlining the surge in demand for stablecoins in DeFi related activities.
Comparatively, there is currently 13.4 billion USDC in circulation according to the company that owns it, Circle. It has had an even greater increase this year with 244% since January 1.
The third-largest stablecoin is Binance USD which currently has a circulation of 7 billion according to Coingecko. The surge in supply for BUSD this year has been even greater at over 600%, largely driven by Binance Smart Chain and DeFi yield farms on PancakeSwap.
Crypto Market Correction Deepens
Cryptocurrency markets are currently correcting hard with a decline in total market capitalization of 20% from its all-time high of $2.3 trillion on April 16. Over the past 24 hours, $280 billion has left the space as Bitcoin and its brethren continue to pull back.
According to Coingecko, BTC prices have slumped 9.4% on the day dropping below $50K for the first time since March 7. It has now formed a lower low since the previous correction which could be a sign of a major trend reversal.
ORBS Is Now Accessible on Binance Smart Chain Via AnySwap
[PRESS RELEASE – Please Read Disclaimer]
The ORBS token is now accessible via the Binance Smart Chain. Hodlers can swap tokens to and from the Ethereum network. Exploring this additional blockchain allows Orbs to leverage BSC’s potential for speed, low costs, and DeFi purposes.
This integration of ORBS onto Binance Smart Chain is made possible through the cross-chain bridge developed by Multichain.XYZ – a platform co-developed by Anyswap and Andre Cronje. By integrating this functionality, holders can now move ORBS to and from the Ethereum and BSC networks at their own leisure.
Given the potential for BSC in the DeFi space, support on this blockchain can unlock new use cases for Orbs. As BSC is home to near-daily launches of new projects, products, and services, it is one of the more exciting blockchains in the industry today. It has a competitive edge over Ethereum – which remains the main ecosystem for DeFi – by providing faster transactions at a much lower cost.
“While the Ethereum ecosystem is leading the pack in terms of DeFi activity and public interest, in the last couple of months we are seeing more and more DeFi alternatives growing on BSC. Says Orbs co-founder Tal Kol. “We knew we had to be part of the opportunities and innovations happening in the BSC ecosystem” he continued.
As more and more DeFi alternatives launch on BSC, it makes sense for the ORBS token to be interoperable. As Orbs is a prolific decentralized finance project with unique advantages and multiple upcoming projects under development, both ecosystems will benefit from this compatibility. With the help of cross-chain bridges – such as multichain-xyz – the DeFi ecosystem can continue to grow and evolve into more encompassing solutions.
Moreover, Orbs and the Binance exchange strengthened their partnership in January to promote ongoing innovation in the world of decentralized finance. They were the first core sponsors of the DeFi.org accelerator bootstrapping new projects and DeFi protocols.
Other projects being worked on by Orbs include Liquidity NEXUS – to bridge the gap between CeFi and DeFi – and the Orbs DeFi Portal – an aggregation service for information regarding Orbs and decentralized finance. There is also the Orbs DeFi Grant Program which aims to foster ongoing growth among contributors developing the network and ecosystem.
Orbs is a public blockchain infrastructure designed for mass usage applications – offering developers a proper mix of performance, cost, security and ease of use. The Orbs protocol is decentralized and executed by a public network of permissionless validators using Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus.
Orbs Now Bridged to Binance Smart Chain (BSC) with Anyswap
Blockchain company Orbs said it is now available to trade on Binance Smart Chain (BSC). The move is yet another milestone in Orbs’ efforts to build bridges between complementary blockchains that will eventually bridge ORBS to multiple ecosystems.
With the release of this feature, ORBS holders will be able to leverage their tokens to participate in DeFi applications on the Binance network. At the same time, they tap into Binance’s ever-growing ecosystem that allows for cheap transactions and high scalability.
The BSC integration is also another step in growing token liquidity across multiple chains, while also preparing for the ability of other assets to live on the Orbs network.
ORBS, which has some $272 million in liquidity and around $1 million in 24-hour volume, was formerly only hosted on the Ethereum blockchain, which is currently suffering under increasingly high gas fees.
To kick-start this integration, Orbs is utilizing the cross-chain bridge infrastructure developed by multichain.xyz, which makes applications compatible with new and legacy systems. Effective today, ORBS tokens can be swapped from the Ethereum mainnet to the BSC mainnet and back.
Once the swap is complete, the ORBS token will be visible in the Binance Wallet connected to the service. From there, users can trade, swap, and interact with the associated token as they would with any supported asset in the Binance Chain.
The rapid rise of the Ethereum-based DeFi ecosystem has fueled the migration of many relevant applications to alternative blockchains. The trend has accelerated after the expensive gas fee on the Ethereum network has limited functionality and made many defi protocols barely usable.
Is BSC the Ethereum killer?
As the Defi ecosystem continues its boom, Ethereum seems to be losing its market to Binance Smart Chain (BSC). Binance’s native blockchain has become the go-to alternative for many traders, onboarding millions of users at an eye-watering pace.
As a result of BSC’s rising popularity, BNB token price has skyrocketed to become the world’s third biggest cryptocurrency, trailing only behind Bitcoin and Ether. Trading volume on Binance’s network has also outpaced that of Ethereum, a clear shift of the market to the new chain.
For Orbs, the main motivating factor for integrating Binance Chain is to give users new ways to use ORBS on various DeFi applications within the nascent ecosystem.
Orbs’ vision is to convert real-life businesses to blockchain at scale by turning the trust-enabling technology into mass-usage applications for many sectors.
The Israeli blockchain garnered attention earlier this year after partnering with Binance to fund a recently launched accelerator for decentralized finance innovation.
Named ‘DeFi.org,’ the incubator reviews submitted applications, even anonymous ones, and the one that fulfills requirements and receives approval gets the accelerator’s assistance.
Successful applicants receive many benefits and incentives including mentorship, funding from scratch and exposure to the DeFi community.
Upon receiving approval, they also get a “special consideration” if they apply to take part in Binance’s seed fund for Bridging DeFi and CeFi. In line with the sponsorship, Orbs also provides startups with a grant under the company’s Grant Program.
Meanwhile, Orbs has recently introduced a new liquidity-as-a-service application that makes access to defi easier for professional investors. Dubbed ‘Liquidity Nexus,’ the application provides a massive source of new liquidity for interested defi projects.
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