Lindsey Lohan’s Affair With Bitcoin Is Over. It’s Tron’s Turn Now

In brief

  • Lindsay Lohan today congratulated Tron founder Justin Sun for a “good job” with DeFi.
  • Tron has made a play to sway developers away from Ethereum to its network.
  • But Tron’s development metrics are stagnant, according to a report, as DeFi on the network struggles to gain traction.

Yesterday, actress and musical artist Lindsay Lohan publicly discovered Bitcoin. Well, sort of. She auctioned off an Ethereum-based NFT on digital collectible marketplace Rarible after predicting and/or demanding, “Bitcoin to the moon.”

Over the following 24 hours, several of her 8.4 million Twitter followers and assorted onlookers painstakingly pointed out that Bitcoin is not Ethereum, which is where that non-fungible token resides—along with a whole slew of decentralized finance (DeFi) applications that allow people to lend funds, earn interest, and swap assets without going through a financial institution.

And now, guys, Lohan totally gets it. She’s been looking into the amazing things that non-Bitcoin blockchains have to offer and she’s come away a big fan of…Tron.

“Exploring #DeFi and already liking $JST, $SUN on $TRX,” the starlet tweeted today. “Super fast and 0 fee. Good job @justinsuntron”

Tron, led by wealthy founder and CEO Justin Sun, has positioned itself as an Ethereum competitor. Tron boasts the ability to process about 100x more transactions at a time than Ethereum, no small feat as DeFi apps become increasingly popular. 

The 66 Ethereum protocols and platforms tracked by DeFi Pulse currently have $40 billion in value locked into them, an indication of how widely they’re used. That represents a record and a 100% increase since the first week of January.

Tron has tried to get in on the fun. Last year, Sun went on a marketing blitz to drum up users for his blockchain’s DeFi system. 

“We are creating the same kind of DeFi ecosystem as Ethereum,” Sun told the LA Blockchain Summit. “All the Ethereum network products, you can see a same version of Tron products. For example, the MakerDAO on Tron is called JustStable, created by the JUST team. And UniSwap is called JustSwap.”

But Tron is in decline, according to a recent report by VC firm Outlier Ventures. It wrote: “Ethereum killers Tron, EOS, Komodo, and Qtum are seeing a decrease in core development metrics.” Tron had a net loss of core developers last year, a sign that its DeFi offerings aren’t translating to increased interest in the network.

Additionally, Sun and Tron have attracted attention for many of the wrong reasons. Sun has been accused of plagiarizing from the Ethereum whitepaper; Bram Cohen, who created BitTorrent, which Tron bought, accused Sun of withholding payment for the acquisition. And an expose by The Verge in September 2020 ripped Sun as a crypto tyrant, using interviews with anonymous employees.

To crypto newcomers like Lohan, however, that history (or FUD, for those who back Sun) is likely yet to be discovered. Tron is just Ethereum with more marketing.

Tron’s marketing emphasis has several people wondering if Lohan was paid for the post. (Tron has not replied to a Decrypt request for comment). If she didn’t get something before, she might in the future: Justin Sun responded to her tweet by asking for her address. “I may send you something,” he wrote. 

He added a wink emoji.


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Nigeria’s Senate Summons Central Bank Chief to Explain Crypto Ban

Nigeria’s Senate has summoned the country’s top financial regulators for a briefing after the central bank ordered local financial institutions to stop providing services to crypto companies and users last Friday.

The Nigerian Tribune reported Thursday the Senate has mandated its banking committee to invite the governor of the central bank (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, and the director general of the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission, Lamido Yuguda, to appear at a time to be determined and explain the opportunities and threats of cryptocurrency. The Senate session discussing the issue was live-tweeted on the Senate’s official Twitter page. 

Last week’s CBN directive caused an uproar on social media, while local crypto advocates wrote to the bank asking for clarification on the order. In response, the CBN published a five-page statement that included a pledge to protect Nigerian citizens from the risks of cryptocurrencies. 

“[The CBN] will continue to do all within its regulatory powers to educate Nigerians to desist from its use and protect our financial system from activities of fraudsters and speculators,” the statement said.

But a number of senators opposed the CBN move and an outright ban on crypto, though they spoke in favor of regulating the industry. 

“The next level is cryptocurrency and we can’t run away from it. It is CBN’s responsibility to bring Nigerians to the next level, not discouraging it. It is the simplest way of exchange,” Sen. Bassey Akpan said. 

Despite its risks and dangers, crypto has its merits, Sen. Dung Gyang said, adding that the lawmakers want the CBN governor to brief them on the risks and opportunities that crypto offers the nation so that Nigeria won’t “miss out.”

Another senator, Solomon Adeola, said he is “strongly against” the CBN’s outright ban on crypto and that the bank should instead be regulating the space.

According to the Nigerian Tribune report, the Senate will be taking an informed position on the issue after the briefing. 

Sen. Adetokumbo Abiru, who co-sponsored the motion, said cryptocurrency is a major transaction tool and an employer of “teeming youths” in the country. 

“So I am not sure the CBN can ban it,” Sen. Abiru said. 

Nigerian crypto users seemed largely undeterred after the CBN directive took effect, turning to peer-to-peer exchange platforms to continue trading. Nigerian peer-to-peer trading soared past two of Africa’s largest crypto markets, Kenya and South Africa, since the announcement.  



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Why DeFi Pulse Refuses to List 1inch Exchange

In brief

  • DeFi Pulse is a site that tracks the growth of the decentralized finance industry.
  • 1inch is a DeFi exchange aggregator with over $2 billion in locked value. It isn’t listed on DeFi Pulse.
  • Here’s what happened.

DeFi Pulse, the go-to website for metrics on decentralized finance projects, does not accurately measure the size of the industry. But there’s a reason for that.

1inch, a decentralized exchange aggregator that holds almost $2 billion in value, doesn’t appear on DeFi Pulse, which ranks top DeFi projects by how much money they hold. A lively spat between the two founders explains why.

Since early 2019, 1inch’s founder, Sergei Kunz, has alleged that DeFi Pulse slammed the door on it, stole its code to build a competing project, and launched cybersecurity attacks against it. DeFi Pulse founder Scott Lewis says that isn’t true, and that Kunz threatened to beat him up and has caused him and his team nothing but grief. 

While the fight continues, Lewis and his team refuse to work with Kunz—they’ll only work with 1Inch’s community. 

And until a member of its community steps up to the plate, 1inch won’t be listed on DeFi Pulse, meaning that DeFi Pulse’s top line—total value locked up in the decentralized finance industry (the amount of money flowing through these products)—doesn’t reflect the true value of crypto locked up in DeFi protocols.

The unresolved feud tugs at a very human dilemma: how can open-source, decentralized finance thrive when its progenitors are at each other’s throats?

A non-custodial battle

1inch Exchange is a decentralized exchange aggregator founded by Sergei Kunz in 2019. It reroutes trades across different DeFi projects and decentralized exchanges (DEXes) to get the best price.

1inch is part of the good ship decentralized finance, the loosely connected industry of community-led, non-custodial exchanges, synthetic derivatives and lending protocols. 

These protocols have grown from around $600 million in combined value at the start of 2020 to more than $40 billion today.

In early 2019, 1inch Founder Sergej Kunz called foul play. He alleged that DeFi Pulse Founder Scott Lewis stole code from 1inch and used it to power his own competitor, DEX AG. Lewis, in turn, denies this.

Around the same time, Kunz and his team fended off a denial-of-service attack. They traced the attack to Toronto, the Canadian city where DeFi Pulse’s CTO lived at the time, and threatened to ask the police to settle the matter. 

The threats scared DeFi Pulse’s CTO (who did not respond to Decrypt’s request for comment), which Kunz takes as evidence that he was behind the attack. Could it all be a coincidence? “Could be, maybe, yeah, I don’t know,” he said. 1inch never took it to the police: “A waste of time.”

Then, when squaring off against Lewis on Telegram, Kunz invited Lewis to “get into the cage”—Kunz’s natural habitat: “I have [a] brown belt [in] karate and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,” he told us. In the cage, Lewis “will not have a change [sic] to escape,” wrote Kunz on Telegram. Kunz clarified to us that this was “a joke, because I guess no one would come.” 

Still, Lewis took this as a physical threat and, by this point, had had enough. He vowed never to speak to Kunz again and muted 1inch from his life. “Not going to ask our team to risk getting treated like that again,” he said. 

Kunz said Lewis refused his handshake at ETHDenver, a yearly conference held in Denver, Colorado, that hosts Ethereum developers from around the world. “I’m not trying to be friends with these people,” Lewis told us. 

Meanwhile, Kunz remains open to working with Lewis on the listing, even though he thinks that Lewis is “toxic.” 

Stuck at the crossroads

DeFi Pulse’s blanket ban on all things Kunz poses several problems. 

Most obviously, how is DeFi Pulse’s total value locked figure supposed to be an authoritative source if its founder prefers some projects over others? But perhaps more importantly: Isn’t this the kind of collective action DeFi was supposed to solve? What happens when DeFi’s can’t handle it?

“They love to fight with each other which is kind of sad since DeFi is also about human composability. I think they need to put their swords down and focus on building,” said Stani Kulechov, founder of decentralized lending protocol Aave, which is listed on DeFi Pulse and integrated with 1inch. 

Critics of Lewis’s decision say that his company should accept 1inch’s olive branch and work with the team; to blacklist the team is akin to censorship, hypocritical given the open-source ethic on which decentralized finance prides itself. 

Lewis gets their point. “We build a website that lists DeFi protocols; it should be on there,” he said. But due to the way DeFi Pulse is set up, he said, projects listed on DeFi Pulse have to collaborate with 1inch’s team on an ongoing basis. 

Since he won’t work with Kunz, Lewis said that 1inch’s only chance is to get one of their community members to act as a maintainer on his behalf. and Swerve Finance rely on their community to maintain their DeFi Pulse listing, he said. 

“We would love to work with everyone because we want to grow the space,” said Kunz. And improving the space is only possible if we work together, he said. 

Lewis disagrees: “Do we have to be friends just because we’re building in this space?”


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DeFi growth and potential Grayscale YFI security push to $45.9K

In the early hours of Feb. 11 (YFI) experienced a high volume spike which pushed the price to a new all-time high at $45,900. 

Data from Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView shows that YFI hit a swing low at $33,638 on Feb.10 before experiencing a 26% breakout of 26%.

The move appeared to be motivated by a corporate registration filing with the State of Delaware which showed Grayscale Investments registering the LLC for a Yearn finance trust similar to its Bitcoin and Ethereum products.

A range of new partnership announcements and further expansion of its vast DeFi ecosystem are also factors that may have catalyzed YFI’s surge to a new high.

YFI/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

VORTECS™ data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro began to detect a bullish outlook for YFI on Feb.7, prior to the recent price rise.

The VORTECS™ score, exclusive to Cointelegraph, is an algorithmic comparison of historic and current market conditions derived from a combination of data points including market sentiment, trading volume, recent price movements and Twitter activity.

Cointelegraph Markets Pro – VORTECS™ Score (green) vs. YFI price

As can be seen on the VORTECS™ chart above, after seeing its price decline in the early hours on Feb.10 the YFI community had a significant announcement, and prior to this announcement the VORTECS ™ score registered 48, then rose to 66 as YFI price broke out from $35,000 to $42,500 in the hours that followed.

In an effort to help the YFI protocol become the most expansive decentralized finance ecosystem, Yearn also announced a partnership with Badger DAO, whose purpose is to build the necessary products and infrastructure that will help accelerate Bitcoin as collateral across other blockchains.

Together, and BadgerDAO hope to build the “best-in-class Bitcoin vaults” for the DeFi space that will allow BTC holders to fully integrate and participate in the growing DeFi movement.

The partnership will also help ensure sustainable yields for Badger vaults while allowing Yearn users to earn a healthier compensation, amounting to a win-win for both communities and the DeFi ecosystem as a whole.

Grayscale Investments filing gives YFI an added boost

Yearn price received further attention on Feb.11 when it was revealed that Grayscale Investments registered an LLC for a prospective Yearn Finance (YFI) Trust, indicating that mainstream financial investors may soon have access to the governance token.

Institutional investors are thought to be the primary force propelling the current crypto bull market and announcements that signal their investment into particular assets like YFI tend to generate a temporary pump in price and sentiment.

What is yet to be determined is whether today’s YFI rally was a buy the rumor, sell the news event.