Ren price rallies 40% after adding LUNA, SOL and FTM to its ecosystem

Ren continues to gain momentum as the addition of new tokens and the protocol’s focus on DeFi and interoperability leads to an uptick in trading volume.

The cryptocurrency sector has emerged as a hot topic on the global stage in 2021 thanks in large part to the growth of decentralized finance and non-fungible tokens which have caught the general public’s attention. 

Throughout the sector there is a need for interoperability between networks as many of the most popular projects are on siloed blockchain networks and high Ethereum fees prevent developers and investors from interacting across chains.

One project focused on solving this project is Ren, which revealed on March 31 that Solana and Fantom had become the latest tokens supported by the interoperability-focused protocol.

These additions mark the third new token supported by the protocol over the past week, which has coincided with a 40% rally in the price of REN as community members from the newly supported tokens discover a newfound interest in the Ren ecosystem.

REN/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

As more NFT and DeFi projects continue to emerge on separate blockchain networks, the need for projects like Ren is likely to increase as the cryptocurrency ecosystem as a whole looks for ways to increase its interconnectedness. 

REN price soars as its ecosystem expands

2021 got off to a hot start for Ren thanks to the explosion in growth of decentralized finance and the protocol’s ability to bring tokens from other blockchains onto the Ethereum (ETH) network where a majority of the active decentralized applications exist.

Momentum for Ren really started to build on Jan. 26 after it was announced that Dogecoin (DOGE) could be transacted on the Ethereum network through the renDOGE bridge.

The announcement of a partnership with Alameda research on Feb. 2 followed by the protocol’s integration with the Binance Smart Chain on Feb. 18 helped push Ren to an all-time high of $1.84 on Feb. 19 before the overall market correction that began on Feb. 20 dropped the price back below $1.

Following the downturn, Ren has continued to expand its ecosystem through integrations with DeFi protocols like 1inch (1INCH), PancakeSwap (CAKE) and BadgerDAO (BADGER), as well as through the addition of new cross-chain assets including Digibyte (DGB), Terra (LUNA), Solana (SOL) and Fantom (FTM).

A collaboration that was formed with Polkadot (DOT) back in June 2020 has also been paying off for Ren of late as DeFi projects like the Acala network prepare to launch on the Polkadot network once the upcoming parachain auctions are complete.

According to the most recent ecosystem update, the RenVM surpassed $3 billion in total volume at the end of February and has paid out over $5,500,000 to node holders since its inception. The team has also released an update for Ren Bridge 2, which is now fully open-source and can be accessed on GitHub.

Signs of rising fundamentals 

Alongside the recent integration with multiple DeFi platforms and the addition of Solana, Fantom and Luna to the Ren ecosystem, the VORTECS™ Score, an algorithm comprised of current and historical market sentiment, trading volume, recent price action and Twitter activity, has risen as high as 78 over the past week as fundamentals for the project improve.

VORTECS™ Score (green) vs. REN price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

As seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ Score flipped green on March 26 and has remained in this zone for a majority of the time since then. Previous backtesting of the Markets Pro system has shown that higher VORTECS™ scores hint that the current market conditions are similar to conditions in the past when the asset rallied over the next several days.

With the momentum of nonfungible tokens starting to wane, traders could soon be looking to rotate into the next hot sector and there are signs that activity on DeFi platforms is again on the uptick.

As blockchain technology increases its presence in the mainstream financial markets, Ren is one altcoin investors are clearly watching due to the fact that interoperability will remain a major focus in helping to unify what is currently a disjointed cryptocurrency ecosystem.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Flamingo (FLM) TVL rises as Ethereum gas solutions remain elusive

Flamingo’s total value locked continues to rise as DeFi investors are attracted to the platform’s zero-fee transactions and high-yield liquidity pools.

Yield farming has grown in popularity over the past year alongside the rise of decentralized finance, but recently the ability to earn a good return has been limited by the high transaction costs on the Ethereum (ETH) network. 

As a result, yield farmers have begun exploring options outside the Ethereum network for more accessible opportunities in a low fee environment.

One option that has shown steady growth in liquidity since launching is Flamingo Finance (FLM), a DeFi platform based on the Neo (NEO) blockchain and the Poly Network interoperability protocol.

Flamingo finance total liquidity and 24-hour volume. Source: Flamingo Finance

Flamingo aims to become a full-service DeFi platform and the protocol currently has a cross-blockchain asset gateway (wrapper), an on-blockchain liquidity pool (swap), a blockchain asset vault, a perpetual contract trading platform (perp) and a decentralized governance organization (DAO).

The cross-blockchain asset gateway is currently capable of wrapping ERC-20 tokens including Wrapped Ether (WETH) and Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), as well as Ontology-based (ONT) tokens.

Interaction with the protocol is done using the NeoLine or O3 wallet browser extensions for Neo tokens, the Cyano wallet browser extension for Ontology-based assets, and the MetaMask browser extension for transactions requiring the Ethereum network.

While the platform is not really a contender with Etheruem, the low fees have been attracting users, as shown by the rising TVL. Once all collateral has been wrapped and deposited on the Neo blockchain, all transactions on the Flamingo protocol have a fixed cost of 0.011 GAS and there is a option to choose a feeless transaction if the user is willing to wait a little longer for the transaction to process.

Competitive yields boost liquidity

When Flamingo originally launched, it offered simple staking and high yields to attract the initial pool of liquidity that helped get the ecosystem established. It has since shifted into offering yield opportunities for liquidity pool providers, especially on pools where there is a greater need for liquidity.

Liquidity pool staking rates on Flamingo Finance. Source: Flamingo Finance

As seen in the graphic above, all of the pools are paired with Neo and rewards are paid out in FLM token.  

According to Flamingo’s Twitter feed, the protocol is now gearing up for the release of Neo 3.0, which began its Testnet launch on March 25. Once fully implemented, Neo 3.0 could see increased activity on the network and spark a rise in value for FLM as it’s the base pair for all of the liquidity pools.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Reported volume of top South Korean crypto exchanges surpasses that of the country’s stock market

The increase in volume came as the price of Bitcoin rose to a new all-time high of more than $61,000 Saturday.

The volume of transactions in the South Korean digital currency market briefly exceeded the daily average transaction amount of the country’s stock market on Sunday.

According to data from CoinMarketCap, the combined 24-hour volume of major South Korea-based crypto exchanges UPbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit was more than $14.6 billion on Sunday. On Friday, the same metric was roughly $14.5 billion on the Korea Composite Stock Price Index, or KOSPI, and $10 billion on the Korean Securities Dealers Automated Quotations, or KOSDAQ.

The increase in volume came as the price of Bitcoin (BTC) rose to a new all-time high of more than $61,000 Saturday before dipping under $60,000 again.

It should be noted that trade volumes appearing on CoinMarketCap are not always believed to be accurate due to the prevalence of volume inflation. CoinMarketCap has introduced several initiatives to combat inflated volume data but the figures reported there are higher than what’s seen on Messari.

Some crypto exchanges in South Korea have experienced their share of regulatory and business-related challenges in the last year.

In August, local authorities seized Coinbit, the country’s third-largest cryptocurrency exchange, following allegations 99% of transaction volume on the exchange was faked through wash trading. Data from CoinMarketCap shows Coinbit’s 24-hour transaction volume is now just over $900 million.

In addition, major crypto exchange Binance’s Korean arm said it would close its doors in January, citing shrinking liquidity and low trading volume of its BKRW trading pairs. Bithumb, the second largest exchange in the country by volume, announced last week it would be implementing new Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer measures.

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Ethereum gas fees drop as daily DEX and DeFi volumes decline

Ethereum fees have pulled back from their recent highs alongside a decline in DeFi transaction volumes but the rise of NFTs could push transaction costs back to new highs.

The rising popularity of decentralized finance (DeFi) has brought fresh attention and optimism to the cryptocurrency sector with the total value locked on all protocols increasing from $1 billion to $59 billion in less than a year and the top 5 platforms accounting for $24.33 billion of the total value.

Rising gas fees have been one of the most noticeable results of the increasing interaction with DeFi protocols and currently, the Ethereum (ETH) network hosts the majority of the top DeFi projects. Gas fees have been steadily rising since November 2020 and reached a peak on Feb. 23 when the average transaction cost reached 373 Gwei which is approximately $11.72 at the current Ether price.  

Average Ethereum gas price. Source: Etherscan

Since Feb. 23, fees have declined by 65% with the average cost dropping to 131 Gwei on March 3 and data shows that certain times of the day offer fees below 70 Gwei.

DeFi transactions decreased as the market corrected

One possible source for the declining gas fees seen over the past couple of days can be found by looking at the daily decentralized exchange (DEX) volume.

Daily DEX volume. Source: Dune Analytics

Data from Dune Analytics shows that trading volume on DEXs has been on the decline since peaking at $4.35 billion on Feb. 23 and the DEX daily 24-hour growth metric was down by 50% on March 3.

According to Connor Higgins, a data scientist at Flipside Crypto, fees have decreased over the past few days, but rather than attributing it to one specific cause, Higgins said that the high fees seen on Feb. 23 were an outlier when compared against the overall average on a longer time span.

Higgins said:

“On average fees did fall, but it looks more like they are normalizing after a day of unusually high fees.”

Ethereum fees by the hour. Source: Flipside Crypto

As seen on the chart above, gas fees were significantly higher than the average between Feb. 22 and Feb. 23 when network congestion increased due to a market-wide sell-off that saw BTC price fall by 23.6% and altcoin prices also corrected sharply. After the market stabalized, gas fees returned to their normal average. 

Rising NFT transactions clo the Ethereum network

Those using the Ethereum network might have expected to see a more meaningful decline in gas fees as DeFi transactions decreased but this has not been the case. One reason rates remain high could be the recent increase in activity in the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) sector.

NFT project history chart. Source: NonFungible

As more and more NFT projects launch and hold auctions, high transaction costs and network congestion are likely to continue on the Ethereum network until a widely integrated scaling solution is implemented.

Layer 2 solutions and protocols with cross-chain bridges to Ethereum, such as Polygon and the Binance Smart Chain, have emerged over the past two months and many projects are migrating to these platforms as the best short-term solution to high fees.

Projects like Aavegotchi and SushiSwap have shown how effective these networks can be following their recent integrations with Polygon, and it’s likely that other NFT and DeFi projects will follow suit as the transaction costs and speeds are superior to Ethereum. 

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Increasing stock market volatility drags Bitcoin and altcoin prices lower

Growing concerns over rising U.S. Treasury yields are putting pressure on global financial markets and possibly dragging cryptocurrency prices lower.

The cryptocurrency market faced another day of downward pressure as the unease in the traditional markets continues to spread following the recent interest rate spike on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond

Data from Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView shows that the price of Bitcoin (BTC) fell to a low at $44,710 late on Feb. 25 before buying at the key support returned to help the digital asset recover back above $46,500 but generally, analysts are looking for $50,000 to become an established support before expecting bullish continuation.

BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Despite major BTC purchases by MicroStrategy, Tesla and MassMutual, a majority of institutional investors still have security and tax treatment concerns that prevent them from investing in Bitcoin, according to Galaxy Digital co-president Damien Vanderwilt.

Institutional investment has been a significant source of optimism in the cryptocurrency sector in 2021, but its influence in helping BTC reach a market cap of $1 trillion may be overstated as recent analysis shows that stablecoin whales and retail traders still hold the most buying power.

Interest rate increase puts pressure on GBTC

On Feb. 25, the interest rate for the 10-year U.S. Treasury spiked to 1.52%, its highest level in over a year.

According to Chad Steinglass, Head of Trading at CrossTower, the move led to market-wide pressure that pushed the “GBTC premium down as low as negative 6% and it closed around negative 2% today.” The analyst sees interest rate volatility as a major source of market volatility, as the long end of the curve steepens while the U.S. dollar is pushed lower.

Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

Cryptocurrencies fell under increased pressures as equity markets deteriorated throughout the day, possibly due to a “scramble for liquidity” resulting from traders “pushing up against margin calls and needing to free up cash.”

Steinglass said:

“I interpret the GBTC premium collapse as a sign that either retail is dumping to free liquidity, or large fund holders like ARKW are seeing outflows, which causes them to sell GBTC along with everything else.”

Traditional markets are still choppy

The 10-year Treasury yield pulled back .0582 basis points to 1.46 on Feb. 26, marking a 3.82% decrease from its high on the previous day. This leadi to a choppy day in the markets which saw the major indices close mixed.

The NASDAQ finished the day up 0.56%, recovering some of its losses from the 3.5% drop on Feb. 25. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 and DOW finished the day in the red, down 0.48% and 1.51% respectively.

A majority of the top cryptocurrencies also took on sharp losses on Friday, with the exception of Cardano (ADA), which became the third-ranked cryptocurrency by market cap after its price broke out to a new all-time high at $1.29. The current excitement for the altcoin appears to be connected to the upcoming ‘Mary’ mainnet launch scheduled for March 1.

ADA/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Basic Attention Token (BAT) has also battled back against the market sell-off to post a 6.43% gain following the Feb. 23 announcement of the upcoming Brave Decentralized Exchange (DEX).

Ether (ETH) price is down 7.19%  and trading below $1,500, while Binance Coin (BNB) has dropped 8.36% to $224.14

The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $1.533 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 61.3%.

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