SEC Chair Pledges to do more to Foster Crypto Investor Protection

Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler has declared during the 2021 FINRA annual conference, that his administration will do everything possible to put in place active policies that would foster consumer protection in the country’s crypto ecosystem.

Gensler Leaving no Loophole for Bad Actors 

During a virtual conference conducted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on May 20, Gary Gensler, the newly appointed chair of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), made it clear that his administration will join forces with other regulators to foster transparency in the crypto and traditional finance system.

Gensler has made it clear that it has become quite crucial for regulators to have an active policy agenda that will give bad actors no chance to operate.

He said:

“Every day, I am animated by working families and what the SEC means to them. I’m also thinking every day about the SEC’s three-part mission to protect investors, facilitate capital formation, and what links the two: fair, orderly, and efficient markets.”

“We need to do whatever we can to ensure that bad actors aren’t playing with working families’ savings and that the rules are enforced aggressively and consistently. Technology is always evolving, as are our markets. As we continue to stay abreast of those developments, the SEC and FINRA should be ready to bring cases involving issues such as crypto, and fintech,” he added.

Gensler Equal to the Task?

While United States regulators have been taking various actions to foster consumer protection including hammering down a vast array of crypto-linked projects for purportedly selling unregistered securities to Americans, and issuing warning letters to the public, highlighting the risks inherent in digital currencies, among other measures, the authorities are yet to start looking at implementing amenable regulations that would also accelerate innovation in the region and make it a hotbed for blockchain startups. 

On May 20, 2021, the U.S Treasury announced plans to tighten the noose on crypto tax evaders by making it mandatory for crypto transactions up to $10,000 or more to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Though crypto advocates remain hopeful that Gensler and his team would formulate clearer guidelines and fairer laws that will not stifle the growth of the U.S crypto ecosystem, it remains to be seen whether this dream will come to fruition soon.

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How Are Bitcoin’s Hash Rate, Difficulty And Fees Related?

Learning Bitcoin With Charts: How Are Hash Rate, Difficulty And Fees Related?

Date: May 15, 2021

Bitcoin’s difficulty adjustment mechanism is one of its most important aspects, but learning how it works can be a daunting task. This article leverages on-chain data to visualize how this mechanism works and how it relates to hash rate, block intervals, transaction fees, and the mempool. After reading this article, you will have a better understanding of why at certain times using Bitcoin may appear to be relatively slow and expensive, but also how Bitcoin fixes this and why this process is so essential to ensure Bitcoin’s monetary properties.

Bitcoin’s Supply Issuance Schedule

If you have heard of Bitcoin, you have probably heard that its supply is hard capped at 21 million units (BTC), making it a perfectly scarce asset and thus the ultimate “hard money.”

When Bitcoin was created, miners received 50 BTC for each new block as a reward for their work. The software has a built-in rule that after every 210,000 blocks that are mined (approximately every 4 years, if the block interval is 10 minutes), this “block subsidy” is cut in half during an event called “the halving.” During this first “reward era”’ which ended November 28, 2012, 10.5 million BTC were mined — half of its maximum supply. During the second reward era, half of that amount (10.5 million / 2 = 5.25 million) was issued, followed by half of that (5.25 million / 2 = 2.625 million) during the third reward era — and so forth. After 32 halvings, the block subsidy equals the smallest unit in Bitcoin (0.00000001 BTC = 1 sat) and cannot be split after, which means the block subsidy falls away completely after that (believed to be in the year 2140, if block intervals were 10 minutes during its entire existence). The first 14 reward eras of Bitcoin’s issuance schedule are visualized in figure one.

Figure one: The first 14 reward eras of Bitcoin's supply issuance schedule

Figure one: The first 14 reward eras of Bitcoin’s supply issuance schedule



The careful reader will have noticed that in the previous paragraph, we mentioned twice that the actual calendar dates on which these halving events occur depend on the block intervals and that we assumed 10 minutes here. Why is it important that this supply issuance schedule is predictable in regular calendar-times in the first place?

The Importance Of Relatively Stable Block Intervals

Let’s consider what it would look like if Bitcoin didn’t have a built-in difficulty adjustment mechanism, but simply had a fixed mining difficulty.

If that fixed difficulty had been set relatively high, early mining would have been very expensive and blocks would have come in at a very slow pace early on. Clearly, that wouldn’t have been ideal to bootstrap a new network and could have meant that it never succeeded in the first place.

On the other extreme, if the difficulty would have been set relatively low to incentivize early network participants to join, block intervals would have gotten smaller as more miners joined the network, and blocks would have come in at an increasingly quicker pace. It would have quickly run through its entire supply issuance schedule. Had this happened, the Bitcoin network likely wouldn’t have had enough time to develop the block space market needed to sufficiently incentivize miners to keep mining blocks in order to process transactions and secure the network after the block subsidy had run out.

To summarize, relatively stable block intervals are needed to spread out Bitcoin’s supply issuance over time, which in turn is needed to incentivize miners to keep joining the network over a relatively long bootstrapping period, as well as to gradually develop a block space market that will be able to keep the lights on after the block subsidy reward runs out.

To guarantee that block intervals will remain relatively stable over a multi decade period, Bitcoin has a difficulty adjustment mechanism. As can be seen in figure 2, even with this built-in difficulty mechanism, its block intervals were not very stable, averaging much longer than 10 minutes per block during its first year of existence. The block intervals became more stable after Bitcoin set its first market price in July, 2010, and have been relatively stable at just under 10 minutes for over five years now (no structural up or down trends in the orange line in figure 2) – works like a charm.

Figure 2: The 14-day moving average of Bitcoin's mean block interval over time

Figure 2: The 14-day moving average of Bitcoin’s mean block interval over time



Bitcoin’s Difficulty Adjustment Mechanism

To mine bitcoin, miners use highly specialized computers to basically guess a certain number (slightly simplified explanation). When a miner finds the number that the network is currently looking for, that miner earns the right to create a new block on the Bitcoin blockchain, take its block subsidy, choose which transactions to include in that block, and collect the fees of those transactions. At the time of writing, all miners that are active on the Bitcoin network are estimated to have a total capacity (hash rate) of 170 exahashes per second (EH/s), which is 170,000,000,000,000,000,000 hashes per second.

In Bitcoin’s first year of existence (2009), it was still possible to mine Bitcoin on the Central Processing Unit (CPU; which is basically the central chip in a computer that takes care of lots of things) of an average consumer computer, as the network’s hash rate was just a few million hashes per second. Over time, more computers joined the network and eventually chips that were better at heavy number crunching via their Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), the chip in a computer that is applied for graphical tasks and linear algebra) or even hardware custom made for Bitcoin mining (an ASIC, or Application Specific Integrated Circuit) was used.

As you can imagine, as the network’s hash rate increased by a multi-trillion-fold from that first year until now, it was necessary to make it a lot harder to guess that certain number to ensure relatively stable block intervals of approximately 10 minutes each

In Bitcoin, “difficulty” is the measure for how hard it is to find that number that the network is looking for. Every 2,016 blocks (14 days if block intervals are 10 minutes), the Bitcoin software basically calculates the block intervals during that period and adjusts the difficulty so that at current capacity, the average block interval will be roughly 10 minutes again.

The interplay between Bitcoin’s difficulty (the 14-day moving average of the) hash rate and block intervals over the last three months is visualized in figure 3. During the first visualized difficulty adjustment period (the red column on the left), the hash rate was declining (downtrend in black line). As network capacity decreased, block intervals increased (uptrend in blue line), making it necessary to decrease the difficulty (small drop in orange line after this period).

In three difficulty adjustment periods after (first green column in figure 3), the hashrate was increasing again, blocks came in faster than planned and difficulty adjusted upwards three times. Mid-April, 2021 (right red column), there was a large power outage in China that caused a massive drop in Bitcoin’s hash rate, slowing down blocks a lot and making a huge downwards difficulty adjustment necessary after the period. After this happened (right green column), the power outage itself was solved and the downwards difficulty adjustment made it much easier for miners to create blocks again. As a result, some miners with less efficient hardware and/or more expensive energy could earn a profit mining again, actually overcompensating the previous loss of hash rate, actually sending it to new all-time highs.

Figure 3: Bitcoin's difficulty adjustments (orange) and a 14-day moving average of the hash rate (black) and block interval (blue)

Figure 3: Bitcoin’s difficulty adjustments (orange) and a 14-day moving average of the hash rate (black) and block interval (blue) 



This latest hash rate drop and recovery is a good example of why miners leaving the network does not have a cascading effect of more miners leaving the network (sometimes called the “mining death spiral” by critics), but the software simply increases the remaining miners’ profit margins, incentivizing other miners to (re)join the network.

Transaction Fees

A side effect of this mechanism that we all feel is its impact on transaction fees. During times when the hash rate increases and blocks are coming in faster than planned (green columns in figure 4), transactions can relatively easily be included in blocks. Since this means that there are less transactions queued up in line (in Bitcoin called the “mempool”) to be included in upcoming blocks, transaction fees can be relatively low.

The opposite is true during periods where hash rate drops and block intervals increase (red column in figure 4). When blocks are coming in slowly, the queue of transactions waiting to get included gets crowded, and people need to bid up their transaction fees to basically jump the line. As such, transaction fees spike especially when the network capacity decreases (hash rate drops) and is waiting to be bailed out by the next difficulty adjustment.

Figure 4: A 14-day moving average of the Bitcoin hash rate (black), median block interval (blue) and median transaction fees (orange)

Figure 4: A 14-day moving average of the Bitcoin hash rate (black), median block interval (blue) and median transaction fees (orange)



In this section, we discussed the fees of transactions that were included in blocks. For those looking to transact on the Bitcoin network, it is even more relevant to get a feel for how much all of the transactions that are still waiting in line to be included in future blocks are bidding for their needed block space.

Mempool

As briefly mentioned above, the Bitcoin mempool can be interpreted as the total of all transactions which were broadcast on the network but are still waiting in line to be included in a future block. Technically, each of the thousands of Bitcoin nodes on the network has its own mempool, but since they are mostly well interconnected, visualizing them as a single waiting line is alright for general explanatory purposes.

Mempool.space is an industry-standard website that gives anyone not running their own node or simply looking to get a quick look at the mempool all the relevant data. Examples are the total size of the waiting line (mempool size), how many transactions are joining the queue (incoming transactions), if blocks are coming in faster or slower than expected (estimated difficulty adjustment) and estimations of how high the transaction fee of a new transaction needs to be to be included at low, medium, or high priority.

Figure 5 visualizes the mempool of the last three months. As you would expect, the patterns described in figure 4 can also be seen here. Between late February and early April 2021, when the amount of hash rate on the Bitcoin network increased and more blocks than planned were created, the mempool size (the size of the waiting line) decreased and transaction fees decreased correspondingly. After the mid-April hash rate drop, the mempool quickly increased and transaction fees skyrocketed, but both declined quite quickly after the April 30th difficulty adjustment, and subsequent hash rate growth to all-time highs.

Figure 5: The Bitcoin mempool according to mempool.space

Figure 5: The Bitcoin mempool according to mempool.space



The Future Block Space Market

As briefly mentioned at an earlier point in this article, Bitcoin’s block subsidy is designed to decay over time, and the development of a healthy block space market where transaction fees become the primary source of revenue for miners is essential to incentivize miners to keep processing transactions and securing the network in the long-run.

This is possibly the most important test that awaits Bitcoin in the future, and is the subject of my previous Bitcoin Magazine article titled “An Ode And Forthcoming Obituary To Bitcoin’s Four-year Cycle,” which is a recommended follow-up read. Finally, if you have any questions on the topics discussed in this article, feel free to send me a message on Twitter.

Disclaimer: This article was written for educational and entertainment purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.

This is a guest post by Dilution-proof. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.

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Michael Saylor and Vitalik Buterin Tackle Questions on Bitcoin’s Energy Use

MicroStrategy CEO and Bitcoin megabull Michael Saylor is engaging in a friendly twitter battle with reporter Adam Samson, who challenged Ark Invest crypto analyst Yassine Elmandjra’s assessment that the majority of Bitcoin miners utilize renewable energy.

Samson utilizes an infographic from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance to illustrate why Elmandjra’s statistic may be misleading, pointing out that the majority of energy derived from the process comes from non-renewable mining rigs.

Source: CJBS Alternative Finance/Adam Samson

Saylor quickly came to Bitcoin’s defense after Samson shared the graphic and posted an article for the Financial Times berating Bitcoin for its hefty energy use.

Replies Saylor,

“Bitcoin is electric money. Real cars use more electricity than toy cars… Bitcoin is the most efficient technology for converting energy into prosperity we have yet to devise.”

Ethereum (ETH) creator Vitalik Buterin is also weighing in on the debate. He says that Bitcoin (BTC) could be left behind due in large part to environmental concerns.

Both Bitcoin and Ethereum currently use the proof of work (PoW) consensus mechanism, which requires significant computational power, but unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum is switching to proof of stake (PoS) in its upcoming upgrade, which will dramatically reduce its energy use.

In a new interview with CNN, the Russian-Canadian programmer discusses Ethereum’s upcoming switch to the PoS consensus mechanism, which is far less tested than Bitcoin, but is designed to make the blockchain more efficient and reduce transaction costs. 

“We go from consuming the same energy as a medium-sized country to consuming the same energy as a village.”

Buterin says billionaire Elon Musk’s remarks about the carbon footprint of mining the coin are understandable.

“I definitely think [those concerns] are real. The resource consumption is definitely huge. It’s not the sort of thing that’s going to break the world by itself, but it’s definitely a significant downside.”

Buterin says he expects there will be more calls for Bitcoin to switch to proof of stake or a hybrid of the two mechanisms. 

“If Bitcoin sticks with its technology exactly as it is today, there’s a big risk it will get left behind.”

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Disclaimer: Opinions expressed at The Daily Hodl are not investment advice. Investors should do their due diligence before making any high-risk investments in Bitcoin, cryptocurrency or digital assets. Please be advised that your transfers and trades are at your own risk, and any loses you may incur are your responsibility. The Daily Hodl does not recommend the buying or selling of any cryptocurrencies or digital assets, nor is The Daily Hodl an investment advisor. Please note that The Daily Hodl participates in affiliate marketing.

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Bitcoin Crashing to $30K, Elon Musk Talking Dogecoin, and China FUD: The Weekly Recap

This week was particularly turbulent in the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin’s price crashed to $30K following comments made by Elon Musk, who keeps teasing Dogecoin HODLers. Meanwhile, we also saw old China FUD recycled yet again.

Starting off with bitcoin’s price performance, the week was rather unfortunate for bulls. BTC is down about 25% in the past seven days, currently sitting at $37K. It’s worth noting, though, that the cryptocurrency fell even lower, briefly touching $30K on Wednesday, going through the biggest correction through this bull cycle. It’s not yet clear whether the pain is over, as the market looks quite indecisive, despite the recent recovery.

The altcoins followed suit. Ethereum is down 39%, BNB – 46% and the majority of large-cap cryptocurrencies charted similar declines.

The market started crashing earlier in the week when Elon Musk went on to bash Bitcoin for its inefficient mining process, saying that the primary cryptocurrency is actually rather centralized because of the high concentration of hashrate in China. This sparked a massive debate on crypto Twitter, with many calling him out for the fact that Tesla is heavily subsidized, while SpaceX relies on fossil fuels to power up its rockets. He also teased about Dogecoin going to $1.Elon

The bad news didn’t stop with Musk, though. Around the same time, three self-regulatory bodies in China reiterated old restrictions on cryptocurrencies, causing further dips in the price. Just today, the State Council of the country, once again, reminded about the crackdown on Bitcoin mining and trading.




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The entire ordeal caused massive liquidations on Wednesday, as over $8 billion worth of leveraged long and short positions were wiped off in less than 24 hours.

It’s also worth noting that Bitcoin’s dominance increased throughout the week, showing that the primary cryptocurrency managed to recover somewhat better than the rest of the market.

It’s interesting to see how the next seven days will shape up, but if one thing is true, it’s that there are no boring days in crypto.

Market Data

Market Cap: $1585B | 24H Vol: 208B | BTC Dominance: 43.4%

BTC: $36,811(-25.81%) | ETH: $2,449 (-39.4%) | XRP: $1.03 (-26.3%)



This Week’s Headlines You Better Not Miss

Vitalik Buterin: Crypto is a Bubble But Isn’t a Toy. Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum and arguably one of the most influential people in the industry, believes that crypto is a bubble. He said that we’ve seen this multiple times, and the reason for their burst is usually because the technology isn’t there yet.

US Investors Will Have to Report Cryptocurrency Transactions Over $10K to the IRS. The United States Treasury has officially called for stricter regulations and compliance measures for cryptocurrencies, claiming that there’s risk of tax evasion in the space. From 2023 onwards, investors will be obligated to report transactions over $10K.

How Does the May 19th Bitcoin Correction Compare to History?. The most recent correction in the cryptocurrency market was a vicious one, as BTC lost over 50% of its value from its ATH to Wednesday’s bottom. However, it’s worth looking at it historically and seeing where exactly it falls compared to other stark corrections of the kind.

Bitcoin Bull Run Still ‘In Tact’, According to SkyBridge Capital’s Anthony Scaramucci. According to Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of SkyBridge Capital, Bitcoin’s 2021 bull cycle was paused, but it wasn’t entirely stopped. His comments come amid a market-wide correction.

Bitcoin is Still a Safe Investment Especially at Lower Prices, Says Bill Miller. American investor and hedge fund manager Bill Miller still considers bitcoin to be a safe investment. In fact, he also said that the lower price at the moment makes it even more attractive. He said that if he liked it at higher prices, it’s safe to say that he will like it even more at lower prices.

Elon Musk, Michael Saylor, Peter Schiff, and Others: Community Reacts to Bitcoin’s Bloodbath. The entire cryptocurrency market went through a massive crash over the week, and even though it managed to rebound, it’s still very far away from its peak. With this said, many influential people and proponents (and not only) reacted to what happened.

Charts

This week we have a chart analysis of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Binance Coin, and Polkadot – click here for the full price analysis.

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Disclaimer: Information found on CryptoPotato is those of writers quoted. It does not represent the opinions of CryptoPotato on whether to buy, sell, or hold any investments. You are advised to conduct your own research before making any investment decisions. Use provided information at your own risk. See Disclaimer for more information.




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Iran’s Bitcoin Mining Could Be Generating $1 Billion in Annual Revenue: Study

In brief

  • 4.5% of all Bitcoin mining takes place in Iran, according to a new study.
  • Oil that would otherwise be sold to the US is now going into Bitcoin mines.
  • The study estimates it could bring in $1 billion annually.

Iran accounts for 4.5% of all Bitcoin mining, according to a new study from the blockchain data firm Elliptic. At the country’s current rate of power consumption, Elliptic estimates that Iran’s Bitcoin mining farms would generate $1 billion in revenue, annually.

In putting together their estimate, Elliptic looked at data from Cambridge University’s Centre for Alternative Finance, as well as statements from Iran’s state-controlled Power Generation, Distribution, and Transmission Company (also known as Tavanir), which claimed Iranian miners use up to 600 MW of electricity.

Still, the company admits the numbers are “very challenging to determine.”

Cambridge last updated its per-country figures in April 2020, and pegged Iran’s average monthly share of Bitcoin’s energy consumption at 3.82%. Back then, the price of one Bitcoin was around $7,000—the global hashpower (i.e. the amount of computing power dedicated to mining Bitcoin) has since increased substantially, along with the price.

The study also suggests that Iran has doubled down on Bitcoin as a way of skirting US sanctions around oil exports. Less gas leaving the country means more cheap energy for Bitcoin mines, which is an attractive prospect not just for local miners, but also for Chinese mining companies looking to evade bans.

In effect, Iran is still selling plenty of oil and gas internationally—it’s just happening on the level of electricity generation, rather than the oil and gas itself. “The electricity being used by miners in Iran would require the equivalent of approximately 10 million barrels of crude oil each year to generate—around 4% of total Iranian oil exports in 2020,” reads the study.

The Bitcoin mining boom in Iran is also an example of how Bitcoin’s proof-of-work consensus mechanism incentivizes a race to the bottom for cheap energy; miners make more money when they’re paying less for electricity.

And the cheapest power sources tend to be the dirtiest.

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What’s Next for Bitcoin? CNBC’s Brian Kelly Analyzes Investment Thesis After Crypto Crash

CNBC contributor Brian Kelly is assessing Bitcoin’s value after its recent drastic sell-off.

Ultimately, says Kelly in a new CNBC interview, the reasons to invest in Bitcoin remain intact despite this week’s dramatic price plunge.

He calls Bitcoin tumbling from around $45,000 to slightly above $30,000 in a matter of hours a “mechanical sell-off.” Kelly remains bullish on BTC’s overall trajectory and says he’s a buyer.

“On days like today, I always ask myself, ‘Has my thesis broken?’ And for me what’s driving this Bitcoin market, is institutional adoption and a hedge against currency debasement…

So I have to say no, my thesis isn’t broken. This is just a mechanical sell-off that got exacerbated and I want to be a buyer.”

According to Kelly, the Bitcoin crash is largely due to a deluge of liquidations in the options market and the resulting high volumes that brought some exchanges to a crawl.

“Primarily the biggest part of this sell-off was due to margin calls and liquidations. And the exchanges couldn’t handle the volume – they effectively stopped trading and it just cascaded down.”

Kelly also suggests that China’s move to ban financial institutions from offering crypto-related services, a move which preceded the crash in Bitcoin’s price, is motivated by the world’s most populous country’s plans to ensure successful uptake of the digital renminbi (RMB).

“What China did actually probably is more predicated on the fact that they are launching their central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital RMB. And so they wanted to make sure that there was nobody out in the channels, that everybody is going to use the digital RMB.

Once they have the digital RMB, there’s no reason why they couldn’t turn these things back on. It just happens to be that the ramp into it is the digital RMB as opposed to something like Tether (USDT).”

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Disclaimer: Opinions expressed at The Daily Hodl are not investment advice. Investors should do their due diligence before making any high-risk investments in Bitcoin, cryptocurrency or digital assets. Please be advised that your transfers and trades are at your own risk, and any loses you may incur are your responsibility. The Daily Hodl does not recommend the buying or selling of any cryptocurrencies or digital assets, nor is The Daily Hodl an investment advisor. Please note that The Daily Hodl participates in affiliate marketing.

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How Polygon Became the Indian Tiger of Blockchain Platforms

The conspicuous lack of Indian presence in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space has always seemed relatively incongruous. With India expecting to be home to 5.2 million programmers within the next two years, the country is on track to have more software developers than the US in the very near future.

In the last decade, India has undergone rapid digitization, with government initiatives focused on digital identity, healthcare, agriculture, and judicial systems. Furthermore, the population is one of the youngest in the world, with a median age under thirty years old, compared to mid-forties in Western Europe and 37 in the United States.

Despite all this, as the blockchain scene started to gain significant traction from 2017 onwards, the trend didn’t seem to catch on in India in the same way it did in many other Asian countries such as South Korea, Thailand, and Singapore.

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The ban on cryptocurrencies imposed by the Reserve Bank of India in 2018 is likely a significant reason why the crypto scene stalled on the subcontinent, as legal ramifications may have deterred many would-be investors or developers.

However, against this somewhat barren and hostile backdrop, a rogue group of developers convened around the idea of boosting blockchain. It was a multi-faceted ambition – to boost Ethereum’s capabilities to the point where it would be an attractive platform to end-users, but also to boost blockchain’s standing in India, and indeed, the world.

Starting from the Ground Up

In late 2017, Jaynti Kanani, Sandeep Nailwal, Anurag Arjun, and Mihailo Bjelic brought the Matic Network (now known as Polygon) to life. The team aimed to use the Plasma side-chain processing technology to implement a scaling solution for Ethereum. Matic was among the first projects to build a working MVP for Plasma.

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For over a year, the team worked to build out the Matic Network. Their efforts included gaining visibility in the broader cryptocurrency community. By early 2019, their efforts had started to pay off, and Matic became one of the select few projects to be picked for a token sale on Binance’s prestigious LaunchPad IEO platform. It also gained backing from Coinbase Ventures in the form of seed investment. The dual support of two of the biggest exchanges in crypto proved to be a springboard for onboarding an initial raft of applications in gaming and DeFi.

In the summer of 2020, the project launched on its mainnet. It was the culmination of two years of hard work. Around the same time, Matic announced the launch of a “Large Scale Developer Initiatives” program to incentivize the adoption of its mainnet. Luckily, the project could hardly have timed its mainnet launch any better. Summer of 2020 is when the DeFi craze started to truly take off, and Ethereum began to choke from the high volume of traffic on its network.

An Attractive Platform for Developers

For Ethereum users and developers, one of the biggest attractions of using Polygon (formerly known as Matic), is its compatibility with Ethereum. Tokens issued on the Polygon Network are compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine and vice versa. So as Ethereum’s weaknesses started to manifest, many applications have expanded beyond Ethereum to rely in tandem on Polygon’s layer 2 solutions for scalability and lower-cost transactions.

Now, major DeFi projects, including Aave, Curve Finance, Augur, and UMA, among others operate on the Polygon Network. In February 2021, the project was rebranded to Polygon. The new name is intended to reflect the ongoing expansion to other scalability solutions such as rollups and other blockchains.

Along with a willing mass of dApps keen to expand to Polygon from their original platforms, the project is also proving attractive to new apps. QuickSwap is one of the projects spearheading the DeFi ecosystem on Polygon. QuickSwap is a decentralized exchange, and automated market maker set up as a fork of Uniswap running on Polygon.

QuickSwap is proving to be a hit among traders – it recently hit 440,000 daily transactions, with over $710 million in 24-hour volume and nearly $800 million in Total Value Locked (TVL), which is also sometimes known as liquidity. This represents the highest volumes and deepest liquidity of any layer 2 exchange. Furthermore, QuickSwap also pays generous APYs of up to 300% for pool stakers.

With the promise of lower fees to boot, the platform is evidently gunning for the same kind of success seen by BSC-based PancakeSwap, which overtook biggest rival Uniswap on trading volume in February.

QuickSwap is also another example of Indian innovation. The project’s co-founder, Sameep Singhania, is a blockchain and software engineer who has also worked on other projects including ParaSwap and Bonded Finance, in addition to his own initiatives.

A Meteoric Rise, and a Bright Future

The influx of newcomers like QuickSwap, together with the migration of flagship apps such as Aave have contributed to Polygon’s meteoric rise in recent months. The project that started as a simple idea by a group of developers in Mumbai is now going stellar. Polygon recently saw user numbers increase by 75,000 in one week, many of whom were drawn in by one of the 93 apps running on the network.

The success is reflected in the token price, too – MATIC has posted gains above 12,000% since January. Its current market cap is over $13 billion, putting it in the top 20 tokens by global ranking. It also gained a Coinbase listing in March this year. Sandeep Nailwal, one of the founders of Polygon, recently told the Economic Times of India that the platform aims to become the third most valuable blockchain after Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Polygon’s rise is impressive to watch, even more so considering that it’s a passion project for a group of enthusiastic developers blazing a trail in their sector. Furthermore, knowing that it’s one of the few projects to light the touch paper of innovation among India’s developer community makes the story all the sweeter.

The future of Indian blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation is now looking considerably brighter. Following a 2020 decision by the Supreme Court of India to reverse the cryptocurrency ban, the community has wasted no time in catching up on the lost years. The pool of developers interested in blockchain is growing rapidly, and recent reports suggest that the country is moving towards a more constructive framework of regulation. In the coming years, there’s every chance that India will rise to become the de-facto blockchain center of the world.

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U.S. Government Calls for Information on EtherDelta Hack

Key Takeaways

  • The U.S. authorities are asking victims of EtherDelta’s 2017 hack to fill out a questionnaire related to the event.
  • In 2017, a hacker alleged to be Anthony Tyler Nashatka stole more than $1.4 million from users of the DEX.
  • The search for victims follows the indictment against Nashatka announced by a federal grand jury in 2019.




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The United States Secret Service and Office of the U.S. Attorney have issued a call for victims of 2017 EtherDelta’s 2017 hack to come forward and fill out a questionnaire.

U.S. Seeks Info on EtherDelta Hack

The U.S. government has asked victims of a 2017 hack on the EtherDelta exchange to provide details of the incident in a questionnaire.

EtherDelta was one of the first Ethereum-built decentralized exchanges (DEXs) that enabled non-custodial trading of ERC-20 tokens. It surged in popularity during the ICO boom, allowing swapping of tokens to users who could retain private keys.


In Nov. 2018, EtherDelta founder Zachary Coburn was charged by the SEC for running an unregulated security exchange. However, the DEX’s popularity suffered its biggest hit after a hack worth $1.4 million in Dec. 2017.

The hacker, allegedly identified by investigators as Anthony Tyler Nashatka, gained access to the platform’s domain name settings and proxied the traffic to a phishing site to steal its users’ private keys.

According to an official public notice from the U.S. Attorney’s Office published Thursday, the alleged hacker launched a series of phishing attacks leading to losses of funds worth $1.4 million in various cryptocurrencies. First, Nashatka and his co-conspirators stole $600,000 from hundreds of victims between Dec. 19 and Dec. 21, 2017, the statement says.  Then, it continues, he stole an additional $800,000 from a single user on Dec. 26, 2017.



In 2019, the U.S. government indicted Nashatka in connection with defrauding EtherDelta users. Now, law enforcement agencies want to know the identities of victims involved in the attack between Dec. 19 and Dec. 21, 2017. According to the notice, the indictment merely alleges the crimes and criminal penalties are yet to be determined. Therefore, testimonies from the victims may be used to prosecute the hacker, who can get maximum sentence of 47 years in prison.

Victims have been asked to fill out a questionnaire and email the U.S. Secret Service’s office to provide information. Responders may also be contacted to provide additional information. However, no details about reimbursement to victims were specified.

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Musk: Renewable Energy Audits Could Help Address BTC’s Energy Concerns

Auditing the quantities of renewable energy used by large-scale BTC miners is crucial in calming fears about the crypto’s carbon footprint. This is according to Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk. Musk was responding to a tweet from Brett Winton, Ark Investments director of research. The latter had asked about Bitcoin mining’s potential to enhance the adoption of solar and battery systems on the power grid. 

Renewables And BTC Energy Concerns

The Tesla CEO held that recent growth in energy usage wouldn’t have been possible were it not for renewables.

He further opined that it’s easy to resolve concerns about BTC mining. For that to happen, the top ten hashing organizations would’ve to reveal their audited numbers of processes that used renewable energy vs those that didn’t.

Responding to another Twitter user’s query about the ideal energy for mining, Elon Musk proposed a value of 0.1kWh. The figure would be a factor of the system’s total energy consumption divided by the maximum transaction rate.

BTC Is Unsustainable

Again he said that Dogecoin (DOGE), his favourite cryptos, still had a lot to do to lessen its environmental impact. It is instructive that DOGE, like BTC, uses a proof of work protocol in validating transactions.

Bitcoin’s critics have long held that the world’s leading crypto is environmentally unsustainable. Their stance is further bolstered by findings from revered academic institutions, including Cambridge University.

In its latest Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, the university states that crypto mining energy use surpasses entire nations such as Sweden and Malaysia.

Push For Greener Cryptos

It is such misgivings that have seen an emergence of a push for greener cryptos. At the forefront of this drive are various industry-leading lights, among them Elon Musk.

So far, Mr Musk has been a significant force creating awareness of BTC’s carbon footprint. Previously one of the BTC’s strongest proponents, he has since become its foremost critic.

Musk’s Change Of Heart

At the height of his support, his firm had accumulated up to $1.5 billion of the currency. Tesla had also started accepting BTC payments for the purchase of its vehicles in February.

But in a quick change of heart, Musk reversed the decision to accept BTC payments. While justifying this shift, he said that cryptocurrency was a good idea that had a promising feature. However, its adoption couldn’t come at a tremendous environmental cost.

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95% Of Bitcoin Hash Rate “Potentially” Signaling For Taproot Activation

Taproot.watch has added a new feature showing that a vast majority of Bitcoin mining hash rate supports Taproot activation.

Taproot.watch, the website built by Hampus Sjöberg for people to follow along Bitcoin soft fork upgrade Taproot’s path to activation, has added a data visualization that showcases the total “potential” acceptance by network hash rate.

By adding the “potential” hash rate share, the website now enables Bitcoiners to quickly get a better sense of how likely the soft fork is to be locked in as a protocol upgrade for November. Mining pools that have mined at least one “green” block (i.e., a block that signals Taproot activation) will count toward the new metric, while the “current total” is summarized as before: the percentage of hash rate signaling for activation based on pools’ most recently mined block and hash rate share.

At the time of writing, 95.47% of the Bitcoin network hash rate has at least once mined a green block, in contrast to an 85.57% figure of those showing support for Taproot in their latest blocks. However, Taproot.watch also indicates that the soft fork will have to wait for another epoch to be locked in because there are 13% non-signaling blocks in the current signaling epoch –– it requires 90% of blocks to be green in an epoch.

Taproot is a protocol upgrade that could bring more privacy and smart contract flexibility to Bitcoin. But because it requires fundamental changes to the protocol, its activation is difficult and the method for activating it has been somewhat contentious. Many in the space are hopeful that Taproot will be activated by miner signaling soon so that a larger debate about making changes to Bitcoin, reminiscent of the infamous block size debate of a few years ago, can be avoided.

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