Kyber CEO Talks About WBTC (Wrapped Bitcoin) and its Potential to Impact Bitcoin and Ethereum

WBTC (Wrapped Bitcoin), an innovative new token that aims to bridge the gap between the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains, launched on Oct 26th as a joint venture between BitGoKyber Network and Republic Protocol.

The new bitcoin ERC20 token will bridge the worlds of the two leading cryptoassets in that it will in effect allow bitcoin to be traded against other assets on Ethereum-based DEXs (Decentralized Exchanges), bring liquidity from Bitcoin to Ethereum and allow for a whole new suite of Ethereum-enabled Bitcoin applications.

In a significant departure from other kinds of asset-backed tokens such as USD stablecoins - which have come under fire for their perceived lack of transparency - the project aims to ensure transparency by ‘minting’ and burning the tokens in a way which is publicly verifiable on both the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains.

CryptogGlobe spoke with Kyber Network CEO and co-founder Loi Luu about the project, its origins and its potential impact on the crypto economy.

CryptoGlobe: When did the idea for WBTC originate and has BitGo, Kyber and Republic been working on this together since conceptualization?

Loi Luu: Kyber has been exploring solutions to bring Bitcoin and other coins to Ethereum for long time (see our blog posts about PeaceRelay and Bringing Bitcoin to Ethereum). The idea of WBTC came together when we all discussed together with Ben and Tai, and we thought of building a practical solution to offer Bitcoin on Ethereum.

CGAre Kyber and Republic sourcing all of the initial Bitcoin liquidity for launch – do you have a ballpark figure of the WBTC issued at launch?

LL: We will for sure provide initial liquidity, but we expect other merchants or partners will also do the same. I can't speak for others, but Kyber side will provide at least 1 Million USD worth of Bitcoin. 

CGAfter the launch where do you expect to see most demand for WBTC arising?

LL: Decentralized exchanges and other financial protocols like Dharma, Compound finance and index funds. 

Would you like more exchanges and custodians to join? For example, Coinbase as they have a DEX product, bitcoin liquidity and a custody solution of sorts, would they be a partner or do you see them as a potential competitor?

WBTC is a community driven project, so we welcome everyone to participate as either merchant, custodian and a DAO member. The initiative is governed by a DAO which comprises of many projects in the space to create one single standard for cross-chain assets that no one owns. As such, we very much hope and expect other projects and companies in the space, including Coinbase and other DEXs, to join the initiative and collaborate together.

CG: Do you think this will elevate the value proposition for Ethereum and Bitcoin?

LL: Absolutely, WBTC helps achieve the best of both worlds: bring the most popular cryptocurrency (in terms of market cap and trade volume) to Ethereum and allow it to be programmable with expressive smart contracts on Ethereum. 

CG: Do you feel this will set a precedent of transparency in the crypto/traditional finance worlds, could publicly auditable tokenization models become the standard?

LL: Transparency is what we want to achieve and value very much in WBTC. And yes we would be happy to have everyone to work together on a single standard when it comes to tokenizing other assets. Thats why the whole initiative is designed to be open, and community oriented to welcome such collaboration.

 

Bitcoin Drops Below $10K After a 7.5% Flash Crash

Siamak Masnavi

According to data from CryptoCompare, around 21:00 UTC on Wednesday (February 19), Bitcoin suffered a 7.5% flash crash, dropping almost $800 in just 45 minutes, as you can see in the 24-hour BTC-USD price chart shown below:

BTC-USD 24 Hour Chart on 20 Feb 2020.png

At 21:00 UTC on Wednesday, Bitcoin was trading at $10,146, and by 21:45 UTC, it had dropped to its intraday low of $9,379, i.e. a loss of $767 in value in less than one hour.

As usual, when Bitcoin fell, the vast majority of altcoins fell also, some (e.g. EOS) suffering an even harder fall.

At press time (around 07:20 UTC on February 20), Bitcoin has recovered somewhat to $9,625. This means that currently Bitcoin's market cap is $175 billion, and Bitcoin Dominance stands at 62.75%. 

Bitcoin's return-on-investment (ROI) figures (against USD) for the past 7-day period, past 30-day period, year-to-date (YTD) period, and  past one-year period are -6.1%, +10.10%, +33.28, and  +139.88% respectively.

The Crypto Fear & Greed Index, which "provides an easy overview of the current sentiment of the Bitcoin / crypto market at a glance", currently has the value 44 (i.e. in the "Fear" territory):

Fear & Greed Index on 20 Feb 2020.png

Popular macroeconomist and crypto/trader Alex Krüger took this opportunity to remind traders not to speculate with Bitcoin on high leverage:

As for Josh Rager, another prominent crypto analyst/trader, he offered this bit of technical analysis:

With regard to market volatility, crypto exchange Kraken's recently-released report "January 2020 Volatility Report" made a number of interesting observations, but the key takeaway was:

Shifts in sentiment and open interest in Jan. indicate greater volatility in the coming weeks or months.

Finally, on the topic of Bitcoin's next block mining reward halving in May 2020, Binance Co-Founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao (aka "CZ"), expressed the following opinion during an interview yesterday with BLOCKTV Senior Anchor Yael Lavy:

I personally believe the halving has not been priced in.

 

Featured Image by "Pexels" via Pixabay.com