Gemini Launches ETH & MATIC Staking Services in Switzerland and Turkey Amidst U.S Regulatory Crackdown on Crypto Staking

Crypto exchange Gemini has announced the expansion of its staking services to users in Switzerland and Turkey. The development comes at a time when United States-based exchanges face regulatory hurdles with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding similar services.

The launch was announced through the company’s Tweet, which noted that customers could now stake Ethereum (ETH) and Polygon (MATIC) in the two countries. The move aims to provide investors with new opportunities to earn rewards and enhance network functionality.

Gemini’s move follows a recent trend of U.S-based cryptocurrency exchanges exploring opportunities in regions with more relaxed regulatory environments. The trend was sparked by recent actions taken by the SEC against cryptocurrency exchanges providing staking services in the U.S.

Earlier this year, the SEC charged Kraken for failing to register its staking-as-a-service program. Coinbase, another industry giant, faced similar charges for operating an unregistered trading platform and offering an unregistered crypto asset staking service.

Staking is a process that involves participating in a proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain network by holding and “staking” cryptocurrency in a digital wallet to support network operations like block validation and transaction processing. In return, stakeholders earn rewards, usually in the form of additional tokens.

As U.S. regulations tighten on crypto-asset staking programs, exchanges like Gemini seem to be navigating these regulatory waters by extending these services to jurisdictions where they are permitted. The unfolding situation underscores the ongoing tension between crypto platforms and regulators as the industry continues to evolve.

With its latest move, Gemini continues to assert its commitment to providing its users with a wide range of investment options while working within the boundaries of varying global regulations. The new staking services in Switzerland and Turkey serve to increase Gemini’s reach and make cryptocurrency investment opportunities more accessible to users in these regions.


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Equities Up, Crypto Down: Robinhood’s May 2023 Trading Data and Upcoming Crypto Delisting

Robinhood Markets Inc., the popular trading platform known for democratizing investing, has released its operating data for May 2023, showing an increase in both equity and options trading but a decline in cryptocurrency trading.

In May, Robinhood’s Net Cumulative Funded Accounts (NCFA) reached 23.1 million, a growth of around 20,000 from the previous month. This figure, however, only represents unique users, as it does not count existing customers who have opened multiple accounts.

Despite the increase in the number of funded accounts, Robinhood reported a drop in Monthly Active Users (MAU), which fell by roughly 900,000 from April to May 2023, bringing the total to 10.6 million.

The trading platform experienced an uptick in Assets Under Custody (AUC), with a 6% increase from April to $81.8 billion by the end of May. Net deposits for the month of May totaled $1.6 billion, an annualized growth rate of 25% compared to April’s AUC. Over the past year, net deposits have reached $16.5 billion, reflecting an annual growth rate of 22% relative to May 2022 AUC.

However, when it comes to trading volumes, Robinhood’s report showed contrasting trends. While equity notional trading volumes rose 27% to $49.4 billion, and options contracts traded increased 29% to 97.5 million, cryptocurrency trading went down. Crypto notional trading volumes decreased significantly by 43% to $2.1 billion, reflecting a relative decline in the enthusiasm for cryptocurrency trading among Robinhood’s user base in May.

The company’s margin balances remained stable at $3.1 billion, showing no change from April 2023. Cash sweep balances, on the other hand, showed a marked increase, growing 16% from the end of April to $11.2 billion by the end of May.

The report provides insights into Robinhood’s performance in a volatile market environment, indicating the shifting preferences of its users. The contrasting trend in equities and options versus cryptocurrency trading may reflect changing investor sentiment in the evolving landscape of financial markets.

Adding to these dynamics that could significantly impact future trading volumes, Robinhood announced the delisting of cryptocurrencies Solana (SOL), Cardano (ADA), and Polygon (MATIC). This decision follows recent charges by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Binance and Coinbase, alleging that these platforms traded unregistered securities. Given these circumstances, a further decline in cryptocurrency trading activity on Robinhood can be expected.


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Crypto Market Outflows Continue for 8th Week Amid Rising Rates and SEC Actions

The cryptocurrency market has recorded its eighth consecutive week of outflows, driven by ongoing monetary policy concerns and mounting regulatory pressures. According to a report by CoinShares, outflows from digital asset investment products reached US$88 million last week, cumulating an 8-week total of US$417 million. This ongoing trend is inching towards last year’s record 12-week run of outflows, primarily attributed to the uncertainty surrounding continuous interest rate hikes.

The outflows were largely focused on North America, with one provider accounting for 87% of the total outflows. In Europe, Switzerland bucked the trend with minor inflows of US$9.2 million, while Germany reported outflows of US$9.4 million.

Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two leading cryptocurrencies, were not immune to the trend. Bitcoin saw US$52 million in outflows last week, bringing the total for the past 8 weeks to US$254 million or 1.2% of total assets under management (AuM). Ethereum, despite experiencing its largest single-week outflow of US$36 million since last September’s Merge, has fared comparatively better with total outflows representing 0.6% of AuM.

The altcoin market has shown mixed results. Litecoin, XRP, and Solana experienced minor inflows, while Polygon suffered outflows. Notably, altcoins have, on aggregate, seen inflows year-to-date, contrasting the outflows from Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Regulatory actions are likely contributing to these market movements. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, and its founder CZ on June 5 for alleged violation of U.S. securities rules. The SEC proceeded to take similar actions against Coinbase on June 6.

The SEC has classified several tokens related to Binance, including BNB and BUSD, and other cryptocurrencies like SOL, ADA, and MATIC as securities. The SEC also argues that various other cryptocurrencies traded on and Binance.US, and a group of 13 cryptocurrencies traded on Coinbase, were “offered and sold as securities”.

These regulatory moves have rocked the altcoin market. Over the weekend, many altcoins, particularly those identified as securities by the SEC, experienced significant value drops.

As monetary policy issues continue to affect investor sentiment, the added uncertainty from regulatory actions further underscores the volatility and risks inherent in the crypto market. These trends highlight the need for investors to remain vigilant and informed about these evolving challenges.


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SEC Lawsuits Target Multiple Tokens: DCG Founder Points Out Absence of PoW Cryptos

In an unfolding legal battle against two major cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase and Binance, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has declared various tokens as securities. These tokens include SOL, ADA, MATIC, FIL, SAND, AXS, CHZ, FLOW, ICP, NEAR, VGX, DASH, and NEXO in the case against Coinbase. For Binance, the list features SOL, ADA, MATIC, FIL, ATOM, SAND, MANA, ALGO, AXS, and COTI.

This declaration by the SEC highlights its ongoing effort to regulate the cryptocurrency market and could have substantial implications for these tokens and their holders. If the SEC succeeds in classifying these tokens as securities, it would subject them to more stringent regulatory rules and obligations.

Barry Silbert, the founder of Digital Currency Group (DCG), commented on the situation via Twitter, noting, “No Proof of Work tokens in any of the lawsuits, I believe (BTC, LTC, XMR, ETC, ZEC, etc.).” Silbert’s tweet refers to the SEC’s decision to not include tokens that use Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism in their lawsuits. This includes Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Monero (XMR), Ethereum Classic (ETC), and Zcash (ZEC), among others.

The implication of Silbert’s statement suggests that the SEC might be differentiating between PoW tokens and other tokens. This differentiation could lead to different regulatory standards and implications for tokens depending on their underlying consensus mechanism.

This ongoing case and the SEC’s decisions could set a precedent for future regulations and classifications in the crypto market. As such, all eyes within the crypto community are keenly focused on the developments. It is yet to be seen how these decisions will shape the regulatory landscape of digital assets.


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Worldcoin Emerges as Largest Deployer of Safe Wallets on Polygon Blockchain, Onboards 1.2 Million Self-Custodial Safe Smart Accounts

Worldcoin, the cryptocurrency project led by Tools for Humanity, has achieved significant milestones in its mission to drive adoption and empower users within the blockchain space. As reported on their official Twitter account, World App has emerged as the largest deployer of Safe wallets on the Polygon(Matic) blockchain. This achievement highlights the platform’s dedication to facilitating secure and self-custodial transactions.

Additionally, a tweet from Worldcoin states that they have successfully onboarded an impressive 1.2 million self-custodial Safe Smart Accounts, further solidifying their position as a key player in the blockchain industry. By providing users with a safe and reliable platform, Worldcoin aims to enhance accessibility and foster trust in decentralized finance.

In another tweet, Worldcoin invites followers to explore their blog post, which focuses on composability within the World App ecosystem. The blog sheds light on the protocols powering Worldcoin’s first wallet and provides valuable insights into the platform’s innovative approach to decentralized finance.

Furthermore, Tools for Humanity, the parent company of Worldcoin, recently announced a noteworthy achievement in fundraising. On May 25, 2023, the company successfully raised $115 million from investors. This influx of capital is expected to fuel the continued development and expansion of Worldcoin’s offerings, allowing them to further solidify their presence within the cryptocurrency landscape.


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Polygon(Matic) to Slash zkEVM Transaction Fees by 20%

Polygon, the scalable Ethereum layer-2 solution, has announced its intent to optimize its zkEVM (Zero-Knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine) in the coming weeks. These enhancements are predicted to decrease transaction fees by around 20%, according to the company’s official Twitter account. Interestingly, these improvements will be achieved without the need for any data compression techniques.

Transaction fees within the Polygon zkEVM serve to cover the costs associated with data availability and posting proof to the Ethereum network. Each transaction that gets processed requires the publication of state data. Additionally, fees cover the operational costs of running the servers that generate the proofs. Currently, around 80% of a transaction fee is dedicated to data availability, a resource that is not currently being compressed.

In a roadmap soon to be released, Polygon will detail upcoming upgrades on data compression, as well as the Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 4844. These developments are expected to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of transactions on the platform.

The company also shared advice on how users can optimize fees in the current ecosystem. One major suggestion is to time on-network transactions to periods when Ethereum is the cheapest, thus minimizing the L1 interaction cost. 

Interestingly, Polygon advises users to conduct transactions when network activity on zkEVM is high. This approach may seem counterintuitive, but due to the cost of proof generation being distributed across all transactions, fees on a rollup decrease as activity increases.

For users wishing to bridge assets from Ethereum, the fees can be notably high. However, alternatives do exist. Transak, for example, can transfer tokens directly to the layer-2 solution, bypassing Mainnet fees completely.

Moreover, users with assets on a different blockchain can utilize a third-party bridge instead of first bridging to the Mainnet. For PoS (Proof of Stake) to Polygon zkEVM, LayerSwap offers a solution. For other layer-2 solutions to Polygon zkEVM, users can consider options like Orbiter Finance and Multichain.

The forthcoming updates, along with the existing strategies for optimizing transaction fees, point towards Polygon’s ongoing commitment to enhancing user experience and making blockchain technology more accessible and cost-effective.


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Polygon MATIC Price Surges to $0.951, Driven by Major Institutional Network Adoptions

Polygon (Matic) has been one of the major gainers for the last 24 hours in the cryptocurrency trading sector, according to CoinMarketCap. Polygon has risen its value by 4.33% in the past 7 days. The price increased by 11.44% in the last 24 hours.

At the time of writing, Polygon’s price was $0.951668 with a 24-hour trading volume of $1,147,593,937; and ranked #11, with a live market cap of $8,312,170,483.   

With Matic topping $0.951668, it emerged as the best-performing asset among the top-ranking cryptocurrencies on November 3, as per CoinMarketCap’s price-tracking website for crypto assets.

Indeed, the crypto market has enjoyed a bit of relief across all assets, which explains why Polygon (MATIC) is showing some short-term price momentum. However, MATIC’s network growth has significantly contributed to the latest decent uptick.

Courtesy: TradingView

On November 2, Instagram parent company Meta announced plans to introduce a number of a nonfungible token (NFT)-related tools that will enable creators to mint, show and sell NFTs. The tech firm tapped the Polygon blockchain as an initial partner for functionality that would allow its creators to make digital collectables and sell them on and off Instagram.

Banking giant JP Morgan also announced on November 2 that it successfully executed its first-ever cross-border transaction using decentralized finance (DeFi) on the layer-2 network Polygon blockchain. JPMorgan said it used Polygon to conduct its first live trade (worth around $71,000) on the blockchain technology, marking a crucial step toward integrating crypto assets into traditional financial frameworks.

After the above announcements, MATIC rose its value by over 13% to $0.985, accompanied by a surge in its daily trading volume.

In the last few months, multiple household names chose Polygon blockchain as their preferred partner to get their foot into Web3. Top-tier brands such as Coca-Cola, Reddit, DraftKings, Bentley Motors, Quadrata, NFTically, and Starbucks launched their NFTs on the Polygon network.

Despite Polygon seeing a considerable uptick in its value prompted by its network growth, it is still early days for the token to maintain its momentum at its $0.90 level. Macro risks threatening the ongoing crypto market recovery may hurt its bullishness and trigger its downsides.

Polygon cryptocurrency is expected to see slow yet steady growth that would maintain its average trading price of around $ 0.889911 and even climb to a maximum level of $1.15 throughout part of this year.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Digital Currency Ecosystems Company BTCS Inc. Adds Ethereum Layer 2 Sidechain Polygon

An early mover in the blockchain and digital currency ecosystems BTCS Inc. announced the addition of Layer 2 Proof-of-Stake (PoS) sidechain Polygon (“MATIC”) to its blockchain infrastructure operations.

BTCS Inc. (“BTCS”) is the first “Pure Play” U.S. public company focused on blockchain technologies. The company secures the blockchain through their transaction verification services business and plans to build a broader ecosystem to capitalize on opportunities in this fast-growing multi-billion dollar industry.

At present, BTCS has become the technical work of running Polygon validator nodes and has pledged 456,445 MATIC, allowing users to entangle the corresponding annual percentage income in the pledged tokens.

Polygon occupies a very pivotal position in the Ethereum and Web3.0 ecosystems.

Matic Network provides scalable, secure, and instant Ethereum transactions designed to use Plasma side chains and a Proof-of-Stake network to solve the pain points of slow block confirmation and high gas fees.

Michael Prevoznik, CFO of BTCS said:

“While Polygon is focused on Ethereum at the moment, it plans to support other blockchains with its scalable technology and provide cross-chain interoperability between different protocols.”

While Ethereum still ranks as the world’s most used blockchain network, transaction count and accompanying fees have skyrocketed over the years. With Polygon, these transactions can be carried out on Ethereum, scaled massively, and at a much lower fee.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Crypto Whales Are Focusing on Two Gaming Altcoins As Bitcoin and Ethereum Move to the Upside

Fresh data shows the world’s biggest Ethereum whales are stocking up on a pair of gaming tokens while the broader crypto markets maintain positive momentum after a sluggish start to the year.

The latest numbers from WhaleStats reveal the 1,000 wealthiest non-exchange Ethereum addresses are buying into Decentraland (MANA), a virtual reality world that runs on Ethereum.

In the past 24 hours, the whales have bought on average 1,500 tokens for an average total purchase price of $4,980. MANA has also cracked the top-10 of total holdings, sitting at the ninth slot with an average quantity of 100,905 for a valuation of $331,227.

Whalestats says that total site-wide MANA holdings among whales are worth over $333.6 million and accounts for 3.11% of their cumulative bags.

At time of writing, Decentraland is the 34th ranked crypto by market cap and trading for $3.34.

Also on the whales’ radar is Smooth Love Potion (SLP), a token used within the Axie Infinity (AXS) ecosystem to earn rewards and purchase creatures in the online battling game.

Whalestats reports that over the past day whales purchased on average 125,380 SLP for a total value of $4,696.

The price of Smooth Love Potion has been surging higher and higher all week as news spread that Axie Infinity developers planned to drastically cut future issuance of SLP to curtail inflation.

The token has more than tripled in value and is up another 38% today to $0.037.

Source: Whalestats

Whalestats also posted some of the largest crypto purchases this week:

The 26th-largest wallet named Trinity bought 1,500,000 MANA for $4,980,000.

The 21st-ranked whale purchased 49,999,997 SLP for $1,998,612.

The whale ranked #305 helped itself to 657,998 tokens of layer-2 scaling solution Polygon (MATIC) for $1,322,576, then went back for seconds to the tune of $1,507,480 for 749,990 MATIC.

The 594th-biggest whale was not to be outdone, shelling out over $4 million to acquire 332,900 of UNI, the altcoin that powers the decentralized exchange Uniswap.

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Polygon Raises $450M from Venture Capital Firms Led by Sequoia

Ethereum-based Layer-2 protocol, Polygon, has raised $450 million in a private token sale that marks the most significant funding round for the firm which was founded in 2017. - 2022-02-08T100658.864.jpg

Polygon occupies a very pivotal position in the Ethereum and Web3.0 ecosystems. While Ethereum still ranks as the world’s most used blockchain network, transaction count and accompanying fees have skyrocketed over the years. With Polygon, these transactions can be carried out on Ethereum, scaled massively, and at a much lower fee.

As reported by the protocol, the Polygon funding was led by Sequoia Capital India with participation from SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Galaxy Digital, Galaxy Interactive, Tiger Global, Republic Capital, and prominent investors like Alan Howard (co-founder, Brevan Howard) and Kevin O’Leary.

With the new capital, Polygon will now be able to invest in its plans to further contribute to its Web3.0 emancipation. Additionally, the funds will also allow Polygon to continue investing in cutting-edge zero-knowledge (ZK) technology that will be key to onboarding the next billion users to Web3. 

“Web3 builds on the early Internet’s open-source ideals, enabling users to create the value, control the network and reap the rewards. Ethereum, scaled by Polygon, will be the bedrock of this next stage in the Web’s evolution,” said Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal. “Technological disruption didn’t start with Web2, nor is it going to end there. That’s why we are very excited to see some of the same firms that funded the previous round of innovation now being our Web3 vision.”

Just as Polygon was favoured by investors, so also are other major players in the blockchain ecosystem. Specifically, 1INCH also raised about $175 million last December following a similar route as the Polygon-through token sale. With the way DeFi, NFT, and blockchain protocols have been securing funding in the past few years, the once-nascent industry can now be said to be prepared for the next wave of adopters set to enter the space.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Bitcoin (BTC) $ 38,103.21 2.86%
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