Messari Says Regulator Subpoenaed Speaker at Its Event

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The head of Messari has confirmed that regulators issued a subpoena to a speaker during its blockchain conference.

Messari CEO Says SEC Issued Subpoena

Messari founder and CEO Ryan Selkis wrote on Twitter today that regulators issued a subpoena during Mainnet 2021, a three-day conference organized by his company.

Selkis highlighted his comment about tickets, noting Messari had offered compensated event passes to regulators, which were apparently refused. “They don’t want to learn,” he concluded. “They want to shut crypto down in the U.S., full stop.”

He did not mention which regulator issued the subpoena. However, another attendee, Slava Rubin, reported that the agency responsible was the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Rubin said that he saw “a guy get served by the SEC at the top of the escalator…right before going on stage for his panel.”

Company In Question Still Unknown

The company that received the subpoena is still unknown. However, the incident occurred before 11:15 AM EDT and concerned a male speaker, leaving only a handful of candidates.

Possible companies include Akash Network, United Frontier, Quantstamp, Polymath, Hashflow, Teller, Maple Finance, Terraform Labs, and Parity Technologies, based on the event schedule.

With two more days left during the conference, it remains to be seen whether the targeted company will identify itself, and whether the SEC will take action against other attendees.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing this author held less than $75 of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and altcoins.

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Steve Hanke Says BTC’s Fundamental Value is Zero, But Is It?

The prominent economist – Steve Hanke – once again revealed his negative stance on bitcoin. According to him, the primary cryptocurrency is highly volatile, uncertain, and has a “fundamental value of zero.”

Is BTC Really ‘Snake Oil?’

Steve Hanke – Professor of Applied Economics at the John Hopkins University – took it to Twitter to warn investors to stay away from bitcoin. The 78-year-old American – who is a well-known cryptocurrency critic – does not see the leading digital asset as a “true currency.” He went further, calling it “snake oil” that “the crypto bulls are selling:”

“Its extreme volatility, susceptibility to fraud, and uncertainty are all reasons why BTC will never be suitable as a true currency.”

SteveHanke. Source: Bloomberg
Steve Hanke. Source: Bloomberg

While bitcoin’s price fluctuations are indeed present, it is still a relatively new asset that could overcome its volatile nature in the upcoming years, especially with the implementation of proper legislation. Anthony Scaramucci – SkyBridge Capital’s CEO – recently compared bitcoin to Amazon, reminding that the e-commerce giant was also unstable in its early days but now is one of the most influential companies:

“Bitcoin is volatile because it is in its early adoption stage. Amazon had the same volatile curve 24 years ago. But if you have put $10,000 on Amazon at its IPO, you would have $21 million today.”

Hanke did not stop there as he concluded that bitcoin is a “highly speculative asset, with a fundamental value of zero.”

His words do have some merit here as bitcoin, just like almost every other investment, is a speculative tool. Some traders and investors use its fluctuations to generate profits. However, there’re also those who prefer to hold it as they believe it’s a digital store of value. Prominent names here include the legendary legacy investors Paul Tudor Jones III and Stan Druckenmiller.


At the same time, large corporations such as Tesla and MicroStrategy bought substantial portions of the asset. And, despite Hanke claiming that BTC has a “fundamental value of zero,” the asset already saw a significant milestone adoption event this year after the Central American country El Salvador made it a legal tender inside its borders.

Fraud and Uncertainty, Really?

As mentioned above, Hanke, who previously bashed El Salvador’s move, spoke about BTC’s supposed susceptibility to fraud and uncertainty. The former point is somewhat controversial, to say the least. Bitcoin’s blockchain is entirely transparent. All transactions are recorded on the digital ledger and can be seen by anyone with access to the Internet.

As such, although there’re still some reports claiming that certain bad actors have employed BTC to launder money or other illicit activities, the cryptocurrency’s nature makes it a highly inappropriate tool for those trying to hide their actions.

In contrast, FinCEN documents from last year revealed that well-regulated organizations like banks – including HSBC and StanChart – facilitated dirty money transactions worth more than $2 trillion.

Hanke failed to provide any more details on the “uncertainty” comment he made in regards to BTC, so it’s difficult to speculate on what precisely he meant. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic drove extremely high levels of uncertainty to all financial markets and, in fact, all parts of life last year. Within that time, bitcoin’s value against the dollar skyrocketed multi-fold, while the greenback itself – the reserve currency of the world – lost ground.

As far as the argument of failing as a currency goes, a recent transaction worth $2 billion in BTC was transferred from one address to the other, and the transaction cost was less than $1. Meaning that in just mere minutes, someone transferred an entire fortune without a third party. Such a transaction using the more traditional methods like banks or PayPal would be significantly more expensive (and slower).

Featured Image Courtesy of Europost


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Data shows parabolic-style growth in layer-2-based DeFi and DEX platforms

In the increasingly competitive landscape of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, protocol innovation and the ability to solve the biggest problems facing the crypto community are necessary for any project that looks to have long-term success in the ecosystem. 

Recently, the emergence of layer-2 technology like Arbitrum, Optimism and a bridge to the Avalanche ecosystem is revolutionizing the way investors, builders and developers interact with various protocols because each facilitates fast, low-cost transactions that improve the fundamentals of the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem while also making it easier for retail-sized investors to capitalize on opportunities.

According to data from Token Terminal, DeFi continues to be one of the fastest-growing sectors of the crypto economy as evidenced by increases in the total value locked (TVL) on protocols. Some of the biggest gains from last week occurred on cross-chain compatible networks and layer-two protocols that offer a lower fee environment.

Top-6 weekly gainers in total value locked. Source: Token Terminal

Two of the top-6 projects on the list above, Trader Joe and Pangolin, are found in the Avalanche network which has seen significant inflows and an increase in TVL since the launch of an upgraded cross-chain bridge that allows Ethereum-based tokens and applications to migrate to the Avalanche ecosystem. 

Total value locked on Avalanche. Source: Defi Llama

Governance features have also been a positive factor in helping spark new growth for projects as both Alchemix Finance and Rari Capital have ongoing, or recently completed votes designed to improve their ecosystems and increase community involvement.

Related: Bitcoin is great, but real crypto innovation has moved elsewhere

Layer-1 projects and decentralized leveraged exchanges thrive

Another emerging trend shown in the data from Token Terminal is the growing strength of derivatives and options trading protocols as regulators increasingly crack down on centralized exchanges that offer derivatives services and have loose KYC and AML requirements.

Top-6 weekly gainers in protocol revenue. Source: Token Terminal

As shown on the chart above, two of the biggest gainers in terms of protocol revenue over the past week were dYdX and Hegic, a pair of protocols that offer decentralized derivatives and on-chain options trading to investors.

Global regulators have increased their scrutiny on leveraged and derivatives trading platforms in recent months, while at the same time, established exchanges like Coinbase have applied to offer futures trading services, indicating that this is one sector poised for continued growth as cryptocurrencies become more mainstream.

dYdX has also benefited from the fact that it operates on a layer-two solution developed in conjunction with StarkWare that enables cross-margined perpetual’s with zero gas costs and minimal trading fees.

Data shows that Ethereum-competitors such as Tezos (XTZ) and Cosmos (ATOM) have al seen an increase in revenue over the past week, suggesting that the layer-1 battle is heating up as high fees on the Ethereum network continue to motivate users to explore other options.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.