Active Addresses of Ethereum Hit Monthly High with $22B Being Staked before the Merge

Ethereum (ETH) continues to be at the centre stage after undergoing its biggest software upgrade called the Merge, which saw a transition from a proof-of-work (PoW) to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. 

Active ETH addresses have skyrocketed after hitting a monthly high. Market insight provider Glassnode explained:

“The number of active ETH addresses (7d MA) just reached a 1-month high of 31,498.220. Previous 1-month high of 31,459.899 was observed on 17 August 2022.”

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Source: Glassnode

With weekly social engagement levels surging by 53%, active addresses were deemed to increase based on the speculation triggered by the much-anticipated Merge.

Nevertheless, Santinent acknowledged that there was heavy dominance of two addresses. The crypto analytic firm stated:

“According to our Ethereum Post Merge Inflation dashboard, 46.15% of the proof-of-stake nodes for storing data, processing transactions, and adding new #blockchain blocks can be attributed to just two addresses. This heavy dominance by these addresses is something to watch.”

On the other hand, hodlers had heavily staked in the Ethereum 2.0 deposit contract prior to this event. Crypto analyst Ali Martinez pointed out:

“ETH hodlers have staked more than 13.7 million ETH in the Eth2 Contract ahead of the Ethereum Merge, that’s more than $22 billion.”

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Source: Glassnode

After the Merge went live, it did not trigger a bullish momentum in the Ethereum network as anticipated. The second-largest cryptocurrency was down by 9.69% in the last 24 hours to hit $1,458 during intraday trading, according to CoinMarketCap.

Therefore, Ethereum needs to hold the current level to avoid a slip to $1,000. Market analyst Matthew Hyland stated:

“Ethereum is currently sitting on the neckline of the Head and Shoulders pattern Breakdown Target: $1000.”

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Source: TradingView/MatthewHyland

Therefore, time will tell how Ethereum plays out in the post-Merge era.

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Cardano Blockchain to Stimulate Authenticity and Quality of Georgian Wine

To boost Georgia’s global reputation as a leading wine producer, the Cardano Foundation has partnered with the nation’s wine agency to create a public and flexible trace solution powered by the Cardano blockchain.

In a statement, the Cardano Foundation disclosed that the partnership with the Bolnisi Winemakers Association and Scantrust and Georgia’s National Wine Agency would enhance the quality and authenticity of the nation’s wine.

Mel McCann, Cardano Foundation’s vice president of engineering, noted:

“This collaboration will develop a creative, cost-effective, and flexible certification and traceability system, which will provide transparency and authenticity for wineries and customers from the point of harvest to the point of consumption.”

The Cardano Foundation will spearhead the collaboration with individual wineries to get a scalable, shared, and cost-effective platform.

Per the report:

“A pilot program will be expanded in the Bolnisi region, serving both local and export markets. It will include up to 100,000 bottles of wine harvested during the Autumn 2022 period and subsequently bottled during Spring 2023.”

The bottles will comprise a secure and unique QR code that will enable consumers to track the history and authenticity of products. 

With trust and integrity being integral parts of consumer goods, the blockchain-powered traceable solution is deemed a stepping stone toward producing more bottles of wine.

Guram Avkopashvili, the founder of Bolnisi Winemakers Association, stated:

“Our goal is to produce and export 12 million bottles of wine in Bolnisi in 10 years. Currently, we produce a total of 200,000 bottles of wine, which we sell to the Georgian, European, US, Australian, and Chinese markets.”

The blockchain solution will also come in handy in fighting counterfeits at a lower cost.

“People around the world deserve to experience Georgian wine as it is intended, a celebratory and exceptional drink that we have cultivated for over 8,000 years, according to Levan Mekhuzia, the chairman of the Georgian National Wine Agency.

Meanwhile, Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson acknowledged that blockchain technology could revolutionize government structures from the whelms of archaic processes to modern ones, Blockchain.News reported. 

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Ethereum Under Potential SEC Scrutiny after The Merge: WSJ

Ethereum’s latest software update may have caught the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair’s attention to look into the second-largest cryptocurrency as a security, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

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Chair Gary Gensler shared his comments hours after Ethereum’s successful update, known as The Merge, which shifted its framework from proof of work to proof of stake.

According to the report, Gensler spoke about the Howey test, which is a test used by courts to determine if an asset is a security. He stated that cryptocurrencies and intermediaries that allow holders to “stake” their coins might have to pass that test.

Howey test also examines whether investors expect to earn a return from the work of third parties, according to the WSJ.

“From the coin’s perspective…that’s another indicia that under the Howey test, the investing public is anticipating profits based on the efforts of others,” Gensler told reporters after a congressional hearing.

However, he did not provide firm clarity. According to the WSJ report, Gensler said he was not referring to any specific cryptocurrency.

Under the laws passed in the 1930s, securities — assets such as stocks and bonds — issuers must file extensive disclosures with the SEC. Exchanges and brokers conducting securities trading must comply with rules designed rigidly for the safety of investors to protect them from conflict of interest, according to the WSJ.

Currently, due to the undeterminable nature of cryptocurrencies, issuers and trading platforms face strict liabilities if they sell any assets that are deemed to be securities by the SEC or courts.

One way through which cryptocurrency networks – including Solana, Cardano and, as of this week, Ether – verify transactions is staking, which allows investors to lock up their tokens for a specified amount of time to receive a return.

Gensler commented about crypto exchange offering staking services, saying it “looks very similar—with some changes of labelling—to lending.”

Over the past year, Gensler has reiterated that firms offering crypto-lending products should register with the agency. After failing to conform to the SEC’s request, BlockFi Lending was forced to pay $100 million in February.

The Merge has shifted Ethereum into a more environmentally sustainable framework by reducing Ethereum’s energy consumption. It will also set the stage for future improvements that will make the platform easier and cheaper to use, according to a report from Blockchain.News.

The technical details of the Merge are extremely complex, but, basically, the process boils down to a shift in how cryptocurrency transactions are verified.

The report added that after completing the Merge, Ethereum has now shifted from a verification system called proof of work (PoW) to “proof-of-stake” (PoS) – which consumes less energy and does not involve an energy-guzzling computational race, unlike its previous system. PoS also deposits or “stakes” a certain amount of participants’ crypto savings in a pool, which additionally enters them into a lottery. The new system also has a reward system; every time a crypto transaction requires approval, a winner is selected to verify the exchange and receive a reward.

Popular estimates show that Ethereum’s shift to proof of stake will reduce its energy consumption by more than 99%.

The developers involved in the Merge have said that the switch from PoW to PoS will make it easier and friendlier to design future updates that lower gas fees – the costs of executing a transaction in cryptocurrency associated with the Ethereum platform, Ether.

The completion of the Merge has come after years of intense study and debate. Founded in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum is now run by a loose network of coders from around the world who spent months gathering on video calls streamed on YouTube to discuss the intricacies of the Merge.

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Ethereum to Undergo 4 Phases to Tackle the Scalability Issue after Merge

The much-anticipated Merge saw the light of day yesterday, September 15, setting the ball rolling for a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism in the Ethereum (ETH) network.

Since the Merge is the first step towards solving the scalability trilemma, the second-largest cryptocurrency will have to undergo four more steps to solve this issue, as reported by Bloomberg. 

The four phases include the surge, the verge, the purge, and the splurge. Per the announcement:

“The Surge: Implementation of sharding, a scaling solution which will lower the cost of bundled transactions on Ethereum.”

The report added:

“The Purge: Elimination of historical data and technical debt. The Splurge: Miscellaneous updates after the first four stages to ensure smooth functioning of the network.”

The time frame for these stages is not well defined, but Sameep Singhania believes it might take two to three years. The co-founder of QuickSwap pointed out:

“It’s hard to talk about the timelines of the following four stages because all of them are still under active research and development. But, in my opinion, it will easily take 2-3 years before all phases are complete.” 

Aditya Khanduri, the head of marketing at Biconomy, also opined that the purpose of the four upgrades was to make Ethereum cheaper, faster, and more scalable.

Upon the completion of the remaining four phases, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin pointed out that the network would be in a position to process 100,000 transactions per second.

Therefore, the merge is seen as a stepping stone toward future improvements. Developers involved in the Merge noted that switching from a proof-of-work (PoW) to PoS would make ETH easier and friendlier to design future updates that lower gas fees.

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Valkyrie’s Two Crypto-focused Trusts Raise $73.6m

Two crypto-focused trusts owned by digital asset manager Valkyrie have raised $73.6 million.

One cryptocurrency trust, the Valkyrie Tron Trust, launched last year to offer accredited investors access to the TRX cryptocurrency.

According to an amended filing with the SEC, the fund has secured a $50 million investment fund from investors.

Another cryptocurrency trust is a new trust launched in May, Valkyrie Avalanche Trust, dedicated to providing investors with separate exposure to the Avalanche (AVAX) blockchain and the underlying cryptocurrency.

The report shows the trust has now raised nearly $24 million, slightly less than the $25 million Valkyrie said in May had raised for the then-newly announced trust.

Valkyrie spokesperson comments on the two cryptocurrencies trust fund that:

“Tron has gained significant traction because the Tron network continues to see continued transaction growth, including for stablecoins, and investors familiar with the Asia-Pacific region have started taking notice. Avalanche is also seeing increased adoption at a substantial rate, including earlier this week when KKR announced a deal with Securitize to tokenize a piece of a private equity fund on the Avalanche blockchain.”

Valkyrie Digital Assets was one of the first asset managers to launch a Bitcoin futures ETF in the U.S. with a very robust underlying trust portfolio.

These include, but are not limited to, the Valkyrie Bitcoin Trust, the Valkyrie Algorand Trust, the Valkyrie Polkadot Trust, the Valkyrie Dash Trust, and the Valkyrie TRON Trust. In addition to launching these funds based on the innovation embodied in cryptocurrencies and their underlying blockchains, they also float based on popular demand.

Valkyrie is knowns as an experienced Index manager whose Bitcoin futures ETF was approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last year.

In July, crypto asset manager Valkyrie launched a new financial investment product. The Tennessee-based company has announced that it is entering the venture capital arena with plans to raise a $30 million fund by investing in early-stage startups in Israel.

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Yuga Labs to Raise $50m by Launching New NFT Collection “Mecha Apes”

Yuga Labs, the startup that developed the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) series of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), plans to launch a new NFT series, “Mecha Apes”, by the end of this year, according to a filing on Sept. 15.

The new collection of NFTs is aimed at raising $50 million and 100,000 metaverse parcels.

Previously, Yuga Labs successfully raised $600 million by selling its NFT series “Otherdeeds for Otherside” at an initial price of $6,000.

Team Yuga continues to expand its reach in the emerging Web 3.0 and metaverse worlds by acquiring IP rights to the CryptoPunks and Meebits series.

Yuga Labs has been low profile on releasing the NFT series. Still, the company has launched a Mecha Piece as a product in the Otherdeeds virtual land, and Yuga Labs has not disclosed any information about the Mecha Apes collection.

In March, the team also floated the ApeCoin (APE) token, which rose to become the best performer, as detailed by Blockchain.News. 

Yuga Labs proposed to move ApeCoin from Ethereum to its own blockchain, and Ape holders are currently competing for this proposal.

Meanwhile, Yuga Labs raised funds worth $450 million in March. As a result, the funds effectively placed the blockchain startup at a $4 billion valuation. The team aimed to inject the funds into building a media empire that predominantly features NFTs.

This fundraising came days after Yuga Labs unveiled a metaverse project dubbed the “Otherside”. The teaser featured an animated Bored Ape NFT smoking Tobacco in what appeared to be a metaverse-themed world.

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Agency Needs to Prepare Regulating Crypto, Says CFTC Chair

In one of the most proactive efforts to bring a sweeping regulation to the digital currency ecosystem, Rostin Behnam, the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) noted that he has directed members of his agency to start preparing to be the major regulator in the crypto world.

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The move from Behnam was based on the strength of the allowance that the Senate Agriculture Committee is set to grant the agency as the regulator for the spot crypto market based on the broad definition of assets like Bitcoin as a commodity. In the prepared speech for testimony before the Senate Committee, Behnam said.

“The volatility in the market, and its impact on retail customers – which may only worsen under current macroeconomic conditions – emphasizes the immediate need for regulatory clarity and market protections.”

According to him, the CFTC has the “CFTC’s expertise and experience make it the right regulator for the digital asset commodity market.”

There has been a wide-ranging debate on whether the CFTC or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the best agency to oversee the cryptocurrency ecosystem. The bill from the Senate Agriculture Committee will only grant a measure of power to the CFTC, with the courts billed to define the extent of the powers of both agencies over the digital currency ecosystem.

Over time, the inability to clearly define which digital assets are securities and which are not has caused a lot of unwanted legal battles between the SEC and major crypto players. While blockchain payments firm Ripple Labs Inc is still neck deep in its battle with the SEC over the pronouncement of XRP coins as securities, the regulator has also designated 9 tokens on Coinbase Exchange as securities.

While it is still unclear whether the SEC is going to sue Coinbase, industry veterans are advocating that a comprehensive regulation should be introduced so all parties can know what is obtainable. The move from the Senate Committee to put CFTC in charge can be a highly strategic move toward achieving this.

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BigCommerce Partners with BitPay & Coinpayments to Enable Crypto Payments for Merchants

BigCommerce on Thursday announced a strategic partnership with cryptocurrency providers BitPay and CoinPayments to deliver crypto payment solutions to BigCommerce merchants in select countries.

With BitPay and CoinPayments, a NASDAQ-listed e-commerce platform can accept a variety of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Shiba Inu, Wrapped Bitcoin, Litecoin, XRP, and five US dollar-pegged stablecoins such as Binance USD (BUSD), Dai stablecoin (DAI), Gemini dollar (GUSD), USD Coin (USDC), and Pax Dollar (USDP).

By expanding its crypto ecosystem, BigCommerce opens up opportunities for its merchants to offer more payment options, widen its market share, tap into a new customer base, and accelerate international growth through innovation.

Marc Ostryniec, Chief Sales Officer at BigCommerce, talked about the development: “Expanding our crypto ecosystem to include trusted best-of-breed partners is just one step towards driving innovation and growth for our merchants. A new era of consumers are passionate about transacting using crypto, and we’re helping them do it.”

Helping Retailers Navigate a Changing Payment Landscape

E-commerce platforms accepting cryptocurrency are steadily increasing, an evidence that the crypto market continues to grow. The use of cryptos for online shopping has shown parallel expansion.

BigCommerce has joined a number of other e-commerce platforms that have been adding crypto payment capabilities over the past few years.

In May this year, Shopify expanded crypto payment options through a partnership with Crypto.com so its merchants can accept cryptocurrency payments from customers through Crypto.com Pay.

Last month, a Shopify Competitor called Launch Cart enabled its merchants to accept Bitcoin payments using OpenNode and the Lighting Network.

With the growth of global acceptance of cryptocurrency, many online merchants have adopted crypto payments to remain in the trend.

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SBI Digital Taps License to Operate in Singapore

SBI Digital Markets, a subsidiary of SBI Group, a leading Japanese financial services firm, has announced it has been granted the Capital Markets Services (CMS) Licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

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The new license will make the startup launch a series of digital assets products to further extend its stance as a financial service provider of note in the country.

The CMS license followed the In-Principle Approval that was granted to it back in May. As detailed by the platform, it will launch custodial services and a proprietary digital asset securities platform to help capture the market from both the private and public sectors.

“Being awarded this licence and the backing of the SBI group sends a message that we are a first-choice institutional digital asset securities issuance platform to financial institutions in the region,” said Winston Quek, Chief Executive Officer of SBI Digital Markets, “Singapore’s financial regulatory system is among the most respected in the world for its rigour and transparency, so MAS’s licence signals the standards at which we will operate to our potential partners.”

There has been a steady growth in the demand for crypto-related products over the past year. The solid regulatory clarity in Singapore, compared to other nations, has made the country one of the top destinations for crypto service providers looking to penetrate the Asian market. SBI Digital Markets comes off as one of the few players in the crypto industry to have been granted the CMS license thus far.

Backed by the highly blockchain-bullish SBI Group, which has a major influence on the Japanese financial scene. SBI Group boasts of having the highest number of securities accounts in Japan, and its solid financial base and expertise will help SBI Digital Markets excel in its push to maximize the new license from the Singaporean Central Bank.

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Ethereum Energy consumption, Carbon Footprint Reduce 99.99% after Merge

The Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute (CCRI), a research-driven institution providing carbon estimates for investments in cryptocurrencies and technologies, has issued a report showing that Ethereum Merge, which was successfully completed last night, has drastically reduced the blockchain network’s overall energy consumption.

According to the report issued on Thursday September 15, Ethereum’s energy usage and carbon footprint have both dropped even more than anticipated after the Merger upgrade.

The report said Ethereum now uses approximately 99.99% less energy after the merge was completed. It further mentioned that the blockchain’s carbon footprint has also fallen by over 99.99%.

In the past, the Ethereum Foundation estimated that the merge would cut the network’s energy consumption by approximately 99.95%.

The CCRI report disclosed that Ethereum’s overall electricity consumes just 2,600-megawatt hours per year, compared to 23 million megawatt hours before the merge. As a result, Ethereum’s estimated annual CO2 emissions have fallen from over 11 million tons to just under 870 —less than the combined total of 100 average American homes, per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In a statement yesterday, Uli Gallersdörfer, CCRI co-founder and CEO, said that Ethereum’s “green credentials” are now at par with other energy-efficient blockchain networks that started with a proof-of-stake consensus model, rather than transitioning to it as Ethereum just did.

However, Ethereum’s move to proof of stake (PoS) consensus model has not gone well with some industry stakeholders. Ethereum miners, who used to run powerful computers to secure the network and earn ETH rewards through mining, have moved on to mine cryptocurrency on other networks.

Miners have moved their powerful rigs to other blockchain networks like Ethereum Classic (ETC), Ravencoin (RVN), and Ergo (ERG) to do mining.

Why the Merge Is Important

Ethereum’s switch to proof of stake has been planned since 2014, before the official deployment of the blockchain. Due to its technical complexity and the increasingly large amount of money at risk, the upgrade has been delayed several times.

The Merge is part of what in the past was called “Ether 2.0,” a series of upgrades that reshape the blockchain’s foundations.

The move, known as “the Merge,” is of huge consequence. The major network upgrade, which saw Ethereum transition from PoW to PoS, was designed to address concerns about its environmental impact, dramatically improve its transaction speed, and boost the value of Ethereum, among other improvements.

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Bitcoin (BTC) $ 27,602.40 1.15%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 1,642.29 0.50%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 64.00 2.61%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 228.65 1.35%