BlockFi Changes Fees to Cover Ethereum Gas Costs

In brief

  • BlockFi’s new fee structure goes into place December 1.
  • It does away with free withdrawals of ETH.

It’s not just Three Arrows Capital founder Su Zhu who thinks Ethereum fees are out of control. Crypto companies are changing their pricing to avoid losses on ETH.

BlockFi, the crypto lending firm that’s battling multiple state securities regulators over its high-interest savings accounts, announced over Twitter today that it would no longer offer free withdrawals of ETH “due to the increasing transaction costs on the Ethereum network.” The announcement applies not only to ETH, but four tokens that run atop the Ethereum network: Chainlink, Pax Gold, Uniswap, and Basic Attention Token.

Bitcoin, Litecoin and stablecoin products remain unaffected by the news.

Previously, BlockFi users were allowed to make one cryptocurrency withdrawal and one stablecoin withdrawal each month for free; subsequent withdrawals were charged, with an ETH removal bringing a 0.02 fee. Starting December 1, every Ethereum withdrawal will carry a 0.015 ETH fee, with LINK, PAXG, UNI and BAT carrying their own charges. At current rates, that’s $64 to move the digital asset out of the BlockFi savings account and into your hands.

“We do NOT intend to profit off any withdrawal fees,” BlockFi wrote. Nonetheless, the change puts it at odds with rivals such as Celsius, which is also fending off inquiries from states over potential securities law violations. 

Celsius boasts that it has “no withdrawal fees, no transfer fees, no transaction fees, no early termination fees, no origination fees, nothing!” Of course, crypto savings platforms compete on more than just fees. For starters, they both dangle large interest rates to those who store their cryptocurrencies, then use the aggregated funds to hand out loans that collect interest of their own.

Ethereum fees have been the subject of consternation for months, as average transaction costs often exceed $50, depending on the day. The bad blood recently came to a head after Zhu announced—before walking back his comment—that he was leaving the network and, likely, taking his capital with him because he felt Ethereum didn’t serve regular users.

Solana, Avalanche and others have positioned themselves as low-cost, uncongested alternatives to Ethereum, which plans to transition to a faster, cheaper Ethereum 2.0 network in the coming months.

But BlockFi couldn’t wait.


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Payments Giant Stripe Open to Launching Crypto Support, Highlights Potential of Solana and Lightning Network

The president of payments giant Stripe says the firm is open to the possibility of integrating crypto into its platform.

Three years after abandoning support for Bitcoin (BTC) due to volatility concerns, Stripe co-founder and president John Collison tells CNBC in a new interview that the industry titan is reconsidering its stance on crypto.

“One thing that’s interesting to us is that there have been a lot of developments of late with an eye to making cryptocurrencies better, and in particular scalable, and acceptable cost as a payment method.

And so you have the layer 2 chains like Lightning, you have efforts like Solana, which is a dedicated chain towards payments, I think all that work is really interesting because we are interested in bringing more people into the global economy at Stripe.”

According to Collison, crypto could usher in more globalized payment rails. He says this aligns with the goals of Stripe and may force the tech giant to reconsider its position on the nascent industry.

“In countries where you have really well-developed credit card networks or bank transfer systems, then maybe the differential value of crypto is not that high.

But that is not all countries around the world. And so as we think about at Stripe, global coverage, then you start asking the question ‘is crypto an interesting way of complimenting that?’”

When asked if Stripe will begin accepting crypto as payments again, Collison said,

“We don’t yet, but I think it’s not implausible that we would.”

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Cardano Founder Addresses Liquidity Concerns Over eToro Delisting

Panic had washed over the Cardano community after news broke that midsize exchange eToro would be delisting the token, alongside Tron. The announcement came as a surprise and users milled onto social media to try to get explanations after receiving the email alerts. eToro had not given much of an explanation besides regulatory concerns which did not do much to quell the panic.

Many had worried that the delisting was a result of low liquidity. Given this, there had been the need for some clarification. Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson took to Twitter to address these concerns, assuring investors that liquidity had nothing to do with the delisting and soothing nerves.

Related Reading | eToro Announces Cardano (ADA) And Tron (TRX) Delisting, Points To Regulatory Concerns

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Hoskinson Addresses Community

Hoskinson started out by explaining that he actually had no idea about the delisting because IOG, the developer arm which is mostly involved with, did not handle listings. In the 13-minute video posted to Twitter, he clarified that there were actually no liquidity problems with Cardano, which was not a factor in the delisting.

Turning to the regulatory concerns, the Cardano founder addressed the current global regulatory climate around crypto and pointed out that the consequences of this were “a systemic lack of clarity. Since there are no global regulatory standards, then usually, it is up to countries, states, and even organizations on how they handle matters concerning cryptocurrencies.

Cardano price chart from

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ADA price drops to three-month low | Source: ADAUSD on

Japan, for one, possesses some of the strictest cryptocurrency laws and regulations when it comes to crypto. However, ADA had been successfully trading in the region for months now without a problem. Also as more exchanges in the region had picked up the digital asset, liquidity had gone up. There is also adequate liquidity in the U.S., the founder says, which points to it not being a problem.

“The best you can do in these things is navigate this on a case by case basis, on an exchange by exchange basis.”

Good News For Cardano

After the news of the eToro delisting had hit the market, the price of ADA had immediately suffered the harmful impacts that an announcement like this could have. Cardano which had been suffering greatly in the market had dropped to a three-month low when it hit $1.67.

In his video, Hoskinson had pointed out that although the digital asset was being delisted from eToro, it was being listed on another exchange. Bitstamp had announced that it was listing the digital asset, a considerably larger exchange by volumed compared to eToro.

Related Reading | Cardano Increases Block Size By 12.5%, What This Means

There is no telling what effect a listing like this might have on the asset going forward. However, it comes at a time where the community is looking for a light at the end of the tunnel of bad news.

As for eToro, Hoskinson revealed that the Cardano team had no idea of the delisting. “On our side, we had no indication of this from eToro and it’s rather unfortunate that nothing was sent our way,” said the founder. “We at least could have better understood their reasons,” he added.

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How Ethereum NFT Project Nouns Is Building Open-Source IP

Launched in August, Nouns stands apart from many other Ethereum-based avatar projects with a couple of unique hooks. It produces and auctions just one pixel character NFT per day, which consistently sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of ETH, and then all of the funds go into a shared treasury that Nouns NFT holders collectively oversee.

Since its debut, Nouns has flourished as it seeks to establish viable open-source intellectual property (IP). Nouns has its own DAO (or decentralized autonomous organization) of owners who vote on proposals for spending its pile of ETH. Plus, it has spawned collector DAOs like SharkDAO as well as derivative projects such as Noundles and 3D Nouns.

With more than $64 million worth of ETH amassed from NFT sales to date, the Nouns DAO’s next move could make the project significantly more visible to mainstream audiences.

Nouns plans to work with David Horvath—co-creator (with wife Sun-Min Kim) of the popular, long-running Uglydoll toy, book, and movie brand—to expand Nouns into Hollywood and the traditional IP licensing world via a proposed initiative called Nouns Studio1.

Nouns isn’t the first notable NFT project to attempt this move. Larva Labs, the creators of CryptoPunks and Meebits, signed with United Talent Agency (UTA) in August with plans to spread its creations into movies, TV, and more. Bored Ape Yacht Club creators Yuga Labs inked a deal with veteran music exec and tech investor Guy Oseary in October with similar aims.

What differentiates Nouns from those projects in this endeavor is that its creators lay no claim to the brand or randomly-generated characters seen in the NFTs. The project is governed by a Creative Commons CC0 “No Rights Reserved” license, which means anyone can use the Nouns name and characters to create anything. It’s in the public domain.

There’s Nouns merchandise sold by someone who doesn’t own a Nouns NFT, for example, and derivative projects that have generated millions of dollars in trading volume—and that’s allowed. In the same sense, anyone could take the Nouns brand and style and create their own movies, books, and toys.

The Nouns creators, or “nounders,” like to think of the project as a protocol or application layer for others to build upon. Ultimately, the genuine Nouns are the originals, as proven by the publicly-viewable Ethereum blockchain.

“You don’t need copyright anymore,” Nouns co-creator punk4156 told Decrypt of such projects. “In the same way that academic citations make the original paper more important, citation of Nouns in whatever form they come in—at least, this is our thesis—will make the originals more important and more valuable.”

Nouns is not the only notable CC0 NFT project out there—CrypToadz is another key example, and there’s even a derivative NFT project called Noadz that mashes up stylistic elements of both into new NFTs. However, Nouns is the first to try and translate that approach into industries that typically thrive on properties that are either owned or exclusively licensed.

Punk4156 told Decrypt that he expects “a real exploration of the space of possibilities” from brands regarding CC0 IP like Nouns, and that some companies will “understand it and do things that are native to the medium,” while others may miss the mark entirely. Others still won’t be able to come to terms with the concept of building products around public IP, he said.

“A lot of companies, I think, are going to be unwilling to make the transition—because they rely on this idea that their IP is a monopoly product,” said punk4156. “It will be very scary for them to have to compete in the marketplace, where other people can use the same IP that they can.”

A Nouns studio

Horvath was enlisted for Nouns Studio1 for two key reasons. He has 20 years of experience working with brands like Disney, Coca-Cola, Sony, Funko, and Random House to create products and content built around original IP. Also, Horvath is deep down the NFT rabbit hole and has released his own NFT artwork with his wife. He’s really into Nouns, too.

Horvath first got into NFTs in March and has been immersed in the space since, he told Decrypt. When he first saw Nouns, he thought that it satisfied all of the dimensions of a great IP: It has character-driven storytelling potential plus a unique style that could translate into all sorts of products (e.g., Hello Kitty), and he believes that the boxy glasses seen on every Nouns NFT could turn into an icon like the Nike swoosh.

“In the licensing world, everyone’s looking for the next SpongeBob, the next, next, next—because it’s the ‘next’ which keeps our business alive,” said Horvath. “When I saw Nouns, I thought: man, if the licensing world could see this through their filter, I know they would resonate with it.”

Horvath plans to leverage his connections and experience to begin conversations with brands and companies that he hopes will ultimately want to pursue Nouns projects. Like his collaborator punk4156, Horvath expects resistance, along with uncertainty: Many traditional players may not understand the potential value of NFTs and community-developed IP.

Brands that release NFTs via a platform like VeVe, for example—like Marvel and Star Trek have—are still ultimately licensing out owned properties. There’s a “certain level of comfort” to that for brands, Horvath said. As an NFT-native, CC0-built property, Nouns is very different in approach. But film studios have worked with public domain creations before, such as with the “Hotel Transylvania” films and Universal Monsters franchise, Horvath noted.

David Horvath with some of his Uglydoll plush creations.

“[I’ll be] focusing on getting them familiar with what this new world is, and how those in it seem to be responding to the idea of a complete flip when it comes to rights and what they’re accustomed to,” he explained.

For now, Nouns Studio1 has been launched as a proposal to Nouns DAO members, but punk4156 said that owners are widely enthusiastic about the idea. “We’ll see when it goes up to a vote, but I would be very surprised if it wasn’t unanimous,” he said.

If the proposal passes, then the first initiative will be to produce a line of Japanese “sofubi,” or premium toys produced in small batches. The Nouns DAO will continue the engagement with Horvath quarterly as they potentially move from toys into other endeavors, with that first effort (for Q1 2022) set to cost 24 ETH, or about $102,000 at the current exchange rate. That’s a tiny sliver of how much ETH the Nouns DAO is sitting on right now.

Beginning with premium sofubi toys is all about “setting the tone” for what’s possible with Nouns projects, Horvath said—to focus on quality over quantity while showing other potential creators how they too can tap into a CC0 NFT property like this.

“When I think about the DAO and the potential for doing good, and for teaching others a similar formula… it’s open. You can learn from this and do that on your own,” he said. “You could make something entirely new based on this system. I think that’s really special, and I think there’s something there—big time.”


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India Could Introduce Crypto Ban Next Month

Key Takeaways

  • A new government bulletin suggests that India’s parliament will consider and possibly pass a bill that bans most crypto activity.
  • The parliament will make a decision on the bill during its winter parliament session beginning Nov. 29.
  • India’s government put forward a similar anti-crypto law with nearly identical language in January.

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India may soon implement a ban on cryptocurrency, according to a recently published government bulletin.

Bill Aims to Prohibit Cryptocurrencies

A government bulletin published on Tuesday suggests that the Indian Parliament could soon pass a law titled The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021. The law is intended to create a framework for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) handled by the Reserve Bank of India.

It also “seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies.” The word “private” does not seem to refer to privacy coins like Monero, but rather to all cryptocurrencies operated by private groups, including Bitcoin. The bill does, however, leave limited exceptions for using cryptocurrency’s underlying technology (i.e. blockchain).

Though it is unclear how far these restrictions could extend, earlier plans suggested that the country could prohibit crypto ownership altogether, along with mining, trading, issuing, and transacting.

News of Bill Has Affected Indian Market

The bill is part of a bulletin that lists 26 bills for introduction, consideration, and passing. They will be handled in a winter session of Parliament between Nov. 29 and Dec. 23, 2021.

The news caused crypto prices to drop on India-based exchanges like WazirX and CoinSwitch. The top twenty cryptocurrencies saw losses of 5% to 17% within 24 hours of the news on Tuesday, Nov. 23.

It is possible that Parliament’s decision on the bill next month could have further effects on the crypto market.

Crypto Ban Has Previously Been Considered

Talk of a crypto ban in India has been ongoing for some time. In January, the government attempted to introduce a bill with nearly identical language, followed by further attempts in March. Neighboring country China imposed its own far-reaching ban on crypto in September, which seems to be similar in scope.

India also banned banks from handling crypto in 2018, though after a reversal of policy it seems those rules are no longer in effect.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, this author of this piece owned less than $100 of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and altcoins.

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Ripple Partners With Republic Of Palau To Develop National Digital Currency

Digital payment network Ripple has partnered with the Republic of Palau to develop its own digital currency. The payment network is still on a mission to dominate the global payments industry. That is, despite the issues it is dealing with in the U.S.

Related Reading | SEC Takes Blow In Action Against Ripple, Will It Impact XRP Price?

Like El Salvador, the country does not have its own fiat currency or even a Central Bank. Its legal tender, instead, is the U.S. dollar. The partnership with Ripple will focus on developing a USD-backed digital currency, more like a stablecoin rather than a central bank digital currency (CBDC). This currency would help facilitate cross-border payments for the nation.

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Ripple Develops First-Ever Government-Backed National Stablecoin

According to a Tuesday announcement by Ripple, the partnership will focus on developing strategies for cross-border payments. The implementation of this plan means that Palau would have the world’s first government-backed national stablecoin.

Related Reading | XRP Builds Momentum With 7% Increase As Ripple Launches New ODL Partnership

Ripple, with its experience in building global payment systems, plans to implement the national stablecoin in the first half of 2022. And also provide Palau with technical, business, design, and policy support.

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Palau’s President Surangel Whipps Jr. expressed pleasure about the partnership with Ripple to advance financial innovation and technology in the country. He also acknowledges the potential of blockchain technology in transforming the country’s economy.

“The first phase of the partnership will focus on a cross-border payments strategy and exploring options to create a national digital currency, providing the citizens of Palau with greater financial access.”

Palau chose to create its digital currency on  XRP Ledger (XRPL) as an alternative to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Being carbon-neutral and 120,000x more energy-efficient than proof-of-work blockchains is an added advantage. Additionally, the XRPL provides other benefits like scalability, speed, and low cost.


XRP at $1.025 | Source: XRPUSD on

“We are excited to be working with Palau to achieve its financial and climate-related goals,” said James Wallis, VP of Central Bank Engagements at Ripple. “We have a wonderful opportunity to bring together our technology and experience with the unique characteristics of Palau to make a real economic and social impact for the country.”

This partnership is ideal, given both parties’ concerns for climate and the environment.

Ripple’s Carbon Net-Zero Goal

Last year, the leading provider of enterprise blockchain solutions for payments committed to carbon neutrality by 2030.

Subsequently, Ripple co-created EW Zero, a tool to ensure sustainability in the blockchain industry. And the XRP Ledger Foundation was the first to use this tool.

About two months ago, the company also partnered with Bhutan, the only carbon-negative country in the world, to develop its CBDC.

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Coinbase acquires crypto wallet provider BRD’s team as utility token price surges 500%

Crypto wallet provider BRD said “nothing will change” for users following an acquisition from major U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase.

In a Nov. 24 letter to BRD users, CEO Adam Traidman and co-founder Aaron Voisine said some of the company’s team members would be moving to Coinbase to continue working on crypto wallets. Coinbase Wallet said on Twitter that the addition of the BRD team would “help accelerate web3 adoption” as well as provide “deep expertise in self-custody.”

“Nothing will change in the BRD wallet app and as always, your funds are safe and secure,” said the BRD execs. “In the future, BRD wallet users will have an optional migration path to self custody with Coinbase Wallet.”

Formerly known as Breadwallet, BRD is behind the utility token Bread (BRD). According to data from CoinMarketCap, the token price surged more than 500% within two hours of news of the Coinbase acquisition breaking, increasing from roughly $0.16 to $1.01.

Related: BRD’s CEO Dismissed Crypto Until Overhearing Andreessen Horowitz Execs

BRD announced a number of expansions in 2020, including updating its wallet compatibility to allow storage of Hedera Hashgraph’s HBAR token in June. In September, the firm partnered with Ciphertrace, Chainalysis, Elliptic, and Unbound Tech to help introduce its data integration platform used by financial institutions and crypto firms considering providing custody solutions.