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.

 

South Korean Startup That Raised 29,000 ETH via ICO Is Shutting Down

Contents Protocol Team, a South Korean cryptocurrency startup that raised over 29,300 ether via an initial coin offering (ICO) and a private token sale in 2018, is shutting down and refunding its investors.

According to the startup’s website, Contents Protocol decided to shut down and refunds its investors over a continued lack of regulatory uncertainty, and over difficulties with its own goal of collecting data from local platforms like Watcha and Watcha Play. Watcha is a Korean movie rating and recommendations service, while Watcha Play is a streaming service similar to Netflix.

The startup was looking to reward the platforms and their users with its own native token, the CPT, for the data it collected, so it could then sell the data to content providers and create a better content production ecosystem. The idea didn’t seem to work as the platform didn’t see cryptocurrencies in a favorable light. The website reads:

There were numerous difficulties in encouraging participation from content consumers because of their negative perception toward cryptocurrency, price volatility and complex user experience. It was also a challenge to bring in content platforms who would provide data to Contents Protocol.

The firm added that since its capacity to collect data was limited, it was hard to give content producers insightful data that helped them improved the ecosystem. Legal and accounting risks associated with the uncertainty surrounding crypto taxes also contributed to the firm’s fallout.

Contents Protocol detailed it’s liquidating and distributing its remaining assets to investors based on the legal opinion and advisory from law firms in both Korea and Singapore. Its assets are to be converted to ether and then distributed to CPT token holders who requested an ETH compensation.

Its initial coin offering was held in December 2018, where it raised 29,337 ETH when the cryptocurrency was trading at about $115. It currently has 26,878 ETH in its reserves which will be distributed to CPT holders following a specific ratio:

asset distribution ratioSource: Contents Protocol

According to CryptoCompare data, ether is currently trading at $281 after rising over 72.8% in the last 30 days.

Featured image via Pixabay.