The Week: Binance Announces Futures Testnets, Bakkt Plans to Open up Crypto Deposits

Binance annoucnes the launch of two Binance Futures Testnet platforms while Facebook has reportedly hired a lobbying firm to start appeasing lawmakers’ concerns regarding its upcoming cryptocurrency Libra, and the ICE’s crypto venture Bakkt is set to open up deposits next week, ahead of the futures trading launch. Over 2,000 XRP investors signed a petition asking Ripple to stop selling its holdings, and the CEO responded. Finally, Craig Wright was ordered to pay 500,000 BTC to the Kleiman estate.

Binance Announces the Launch of Two Binance Futures Testnet Platforms

On Monday (September 2), Binance announced the launch of two Binance Futures Testnet Platforms.

On August 28, Changpeng Zhao (aka "CZ"), Co-Founder and CEO of Binance, explained during an AMA (Ask Me Anything) that Binance had invested in two futures platforms: one they bought and one they built themselves (with some outside help). He explained that "both of them are kind of ready," and that Binance is trying to decide which one to release. He noted, however, that it is possible that Binance will release both since "they are slightly different products.” In an article published to the Binance website, the Binance team said they wanted to give Binance users "the freedom to choose," and that they were going to give away 10,000 BNB in total to users "that participate in each Futures Testnet Platform." Furthermore, users that vote for the winning platform will also get a 50% discount on trading fees on the "official" Binance Futures platform for one month.

Facebook Hires Lobbying Firm to Push Libra

Facebook has started to do something about lawmakers ‘concerns surrounding its upcoming cryptocurrency Libra other than say it will comply with regulations. The social media giant hired a lobbying firm, FS Vector LLC, to support its cryptocurrency. The firm has John Collins, who was previously head of policy at coinbase and led the first congressional exploration into cryptocurrencies, as lead lobbyist.

Bakkt Announces Clients Will Soon Be Able to Start Depositing Bitcoin

The Intercontinental Exchange’s venture into the cryptocurrency space, Bakkt, has announced users will be able to start depositing funds on the Bakkt Warehouse beginning September 6. Bakkt Warehouse is a part of the Bakkt Trust company, which enforces the same security precautions as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

XRP Investors Ask Ripple to Stop Selling, CEO Responds

This week XRP investors signed en masse an online petition urging Ripple to stop selling the XRP tokens it holds, claiming the company was at least partially responsible for the cryptocurrency’s poor price performance so far this year. Ripple’s CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, soon defended Ripple’s XRP sales arguing the sales help expand the cryptocurrency’s utility and build the Ripple network. Moreover, Garlinghouse stated Ripple decreased its sales volume quarter on quarter.

Craig Wright Ordered to Pay Kleiman Estate 500,000 Bitcoin

Self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto Craig Wright made headlines after it was revealed a Florida court ordered him to hand over 500,00 bitcoins and intellectual property rights to the estate of his late business partner David Kleiman. Judge Bruce Reinhart rejected Wright’s testimony, and found he perjured himself by presenting the court with falsified documents.

The Long Take

Exchanges and DeFi Make Bitcoin and Other Cryptos an Attractive Investment

Cryptocurrency exchanges offering their users lending services and decentralized financial applications letting users lend their tokens out to gain interest on their cryptocurrency holdings are helping cryptocurrencies become an attractive investment.

There are an estimated $15 trillion in negative-yielding debt in the world right now, which means investors are lending governments money, while paying them to do so and barely reaping any rewards from it.

This year Austria’s government issued a 100-year bond with a yield of 1.2% - which doesn’t even keep up with inflation. It’s shocking to think investors would agree to lend the Austrian government money for a whole century, taking into account little over 100 years ago the Austro-Hungarian empire was still around.

This has seen various investors turn to equities and help them reach insane valuations. So much so that companies with less-than-stellar reputations are now turning at insanely high valuations. Such is the case of WeWork, which is looking t a $47 billion initial public offering putting it trading at 26 times revenue.

The valuation itself may seem off if we consider Amazon trades at around four times its revenue, but it gets worst: WeWork never turned a profit nor is it expecting to do so in the near future, and its CEO Adam Neuman leases it real estate to lease – the company itself owns no properties. In the IPO Adam is issuing non-voting shares, keeping him in control of the firm.

Poor interest rates, negative-yielding debt, equities becoming overvalued, and economic uncertainty caused by the U.S.-China trade war and the looming threat of Brexit have put investors on edge, so much so that since the S&P 500 hit 3,000 earlier this year it never got back there, and has been rather volatile since.

Similarly gold, the safe haven with a 5,000 year history of being a secure asset, has surged this year and seems to be showing no signs of slowing down.

That being said it may be wise not to put all of our eggs into one basket and diversify – investing in the cryptocurrency space and what some are calling “gold 2.0,” bitcoin. In the cryptocurrency space it’s possible to earn interest on holdings by lending through decentralized financial applications like Compound, or on cryptocurrency exchanges offering margin trading like Poloniex and Binance.

In some cases the APR can be as high as 15% on centralized exchanges for certain cryptocurrencies. On DeFI protocols the rate has risen to over 10% in numerous occasions. It’s worth noting there are various risks in investing in these products – in exchanges you don’t control your private keys, while dapps are written by humans and may have security vulnerabilities.

Tweets of the Week

Pantera Capital explaining why it may be a good idea to invest in Bitcoin

Ripple CEO Brag Garlinghouse responding to controversy surrounding XRP sales

Messari co-founder Dan McArdle points out five years ago Hal Finney started supporting bitcoin, helping the cryptocurrency become more than a dream that didn’t come true.

Overstock’s blockchain venture Medici Ventures reacts on social media after the resignation of the firm’s CEO Patrick Byrne


Crypto Trading Volumes Plummet in June, CryptoCompare Report Shows

Cryptocurrency trading volumes plummeted in June to “roughly half of the daily volumes” seen in May, according to the CryptoCompare June 2020 Exchange review report.

The report found that top-tier cryptocurrency exchanges, those with a high ranking on CryptoCompare’s Exchange Benchmark,  saw their trading volumes saw their spot trading volumes drop by 36% last month to $177 billion, while lower-tier cryptoassets exchanges saw their trading volumes drop by 53% to $466 billion.

unnamed.pngSource: CryptoCompare

CryptoCompare notes that last month the highest recorded trading volume in a single day on top-tier exchanges was of $9.26 billion. In comparison, in March’s Exchange Review, the cryptoassets data provider revealed that the March 12-13 crypto market crash led to high in daily trading volumes, as $75.9 billion were traded across exchanges in a single day. Top-tier exchanges traded $21.6 billion that day.

It’s worth noting that the spot volumes did not hit an all-time high, even during the March market crash. In July 2019 and December 2017, when the price of bitcoin hit its all-time high near $20,000, spot volumes hit record highs.

In June, cryptoassets trading platforms charging traditional taker fees represented 76% of the total exchange volumes, while those implementing the tans-fee mining (TFM) model represented less than 23% of the cryptocurrency space’s spot volume.

Fee-charging exchanges, the report adds, traded a total of $455 billion in June, as their trading volume dropped 48% since May. Trading platforms using the trans-fee mining model saw their volumes drop 45% since May, as they traded $141 billion.

Exchanges using the TFM model are seemingly gaining market share. While in March they represented less than 20% of the spot trading volume, in June their market share was of 23%.  As CryptoGlobe reported, these trading platforms often have unusually thin order books and low traffic.

FCoin, the cryptocurrency exchanges that started using TFM, has passed trading and withdrawals earlier this year over the shortage of crypto worth up to $130 million. The firm’s founder revealed that the platform was not hacked, but instead an internal system error gave users more rewards than they should have received.

Featured image by Austin Distel on Unsplash.