Got crypto? Here are 3 software wallets for storage, staking and swapping

“Not your keys, not your coins” is short for “Don’t leave your crypto on exchanges.” Here are three soft wallets that are trusted by millions of investors.

Nearly every segment of the crypto sector underwent explosive growth in 2021. The steady inflow of institutional funds could possibly be interpreted as a signal that the best is yet to come.

For new users, figuring out how to obtain cryptocurrency can be a tedious task, and the challenge of securing the assets off exchanges is another hurdle some investors find difficult to overcome.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most used cryptocurrency soft wallets that support a wide swath of tokens and offer users access to decentralized finance (DeFi), nonfungible tokens (NFTs), staking opportunities and airdrops.

MetaMask

MetaMask was originally launched to support the Ethereum blockchain and decentralized applications (DApps) that run on top of it. It is now available as a browser extension and smartphone application.

The company launched in 2016 and has largely benefited from a first-mover advantage to become one of the most popular and widely integrated wallets, and it is one of the few to support nearly every blockchain network.

A quick scroll through the supported networks on Chainlist, a platform that provides a list of Ethereum Virtual Machine- (EVM)-compatible networks and instructions on how to add any listed network to their MetaMask wallet, shows hundreds of blockchain networks supported by MetaMask including many of the top smart contract competitors.

Currently, MetaMask supports Avalanche, Fantom, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, HECO Mainnet, Optimism and Arbitrum, and it’s easy for users to use various bridges to transfer tokens between the supported networks.

MetaMask has also integrated a swap feature directly into the wallet to give users access to an aggregated list of decentralized exchanges (DEXs). According to data from Dune Analytics, the daily swap volume on MetaMask swap has steadily increased throughout 2021.

MetaMask swaps daily volume. Source: Dune Analytics

The rise in swap volume has also come alongside rumors that MetaMask will eventually release a token of its own and many users are anticipating an airdrop.

Phantom

Phantom is a popular software wallet and browser extension available for Solana network users.

Similar to MetaMask, the Phantom wallet has a built-in DEX that allows users to make direct swaps within the software, thus avoiding the risk of connecting to a scam website or paying gas fees to transfer the funds out of the wallet to another exchange.

There are rumors that Phantom could launch its own token and airdrop a portion of the supply to early adopters. So far, however, this is nothing more than pure speculation and nothing has been mentioned by the developer yet.

The wallet also has an NFT tracking feature and users can also transact with available NFT marketplaces.

Similar to other wallets, Phantom users can stake Solana (SOL) tokens without needing to transfer the assets. Recently, the team announced a partnership with MoonPay that will allow users to use fiat currency and credit cards to purchase tokens in the Solana ecosystem.

The project is also developing smartphone applications that will allow users access to the Solana network directly from their smart devices.

Keplr

Keplr wallet is the first inter blockchain communication– (IBC)-enabled wallet and browser extension for the Cosmos network that allows users to store and access tokens within the ecosystem.

It currently supports more than 15 networks including Cosmos, Secret Network, Kava, Crypto.org, IRISnet and Persistence, and the team regularly adds support for new chains with several projects currently under beta access.

Holders of the supported tokens are able to stake their holdings directly through the Keplr wallet and the app works on Android and iOS devices.

At the moment, there are no rumors of a possible Keplr token or airdrop to users, but one can never be sure about what might happen in the crypto sector. If Keplr integrates popular features like its own swap interface or an NFT marketplace, then the chance of a native token is always a possibility.

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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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Illuvium, LCX and Tokemak hit new highs as Bitcoin dominance lingers

LCX, ILV, TOKE and at least 10 other altcoins hit new all-time highs alongside ETH today.

During bull markets, altcoins tend to accrue gains when Bitcoin price consolidates and at they run in tandem with BTC price during breakouts. This dynamic appears to be at play today because multiple altcoins went parabolic at the same time that BTC made a run at $64,000 and Ether (ETH) hit a new all-time high above $4,500.

According to data from Messari, 31 tokens have established new record-highs in the past 24-hours and the total cryptocurrency market cap increased from $2.619 trillion to $2.732 trillion overnight.

Top 13 tokens to recently establish a new all-time high. Source: Messari

Let’s take a closer look at the motivating factors behind the rallies in LCX (LCX), Illuvium (ILV) and Tokemak (TOKE).

LCX benefits from new exchange listings

LCX is the native token of the Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange which was established in 2018. Currently, the exchange is in possession of at least 8 cryptocurrency-related registrations by the Financial Market Authority Liechtenstein and this allows the platform to legally offer exchange services and security token offerings (STO).

Data from CoinGecko shows that since hitting a low of $0.125 on Oct. 17, the price of LCX has rallied 250% to a daily high at $0.44 on Nov. 2 as its 24-hour trading volume spiked 257% to $18.3 million.

LXC/USD 2-hour chart. Source: CoinGecko

The sudden spike in price and trading volume comes a day after LCX token was listed on Coinbase Pro and the Singapore-based Bitrue exchange.

Illuvium gameplay preview send ILV price higher

Illuvium is an open-world fantasy battle game that is built on the Ethereum newtork and has the goal of becoming the first AAA-rated blockchain-based game that incorporates aspects of decentralized finance (DeFi) and nonfungible tokens (NFT).

Data from TradingView shows that after reaching a low of $452.9 on Sept. 29, the price of ILV has surged 171% to establish a new record high at $1,231 on Nov. 2 as its 24-hour trading volume jumped 122% to $105 million.

ILV/USD 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The building momentum for ILV comes following the release of raw footage depicting the gameplay of the platform. This gave interested gamers their first taste of the Illuvium ecosystem.

Related: Axie Infinity, Decentraland and ‘metaverse’ cryptos rally after Facebook rebrands to Meta

Tokemak incorporates ‘Token Reactors’

Tokemak is a decentralized liquidity and market-making protocol that supports an “efficient and sustainable liquidity” across the DeFi ecosystem.

Data from CoinGecko shows that since trading at a low of $29.98 on Sept. 21, the price of TOKE has increased 145.65% to reach a new record high at $73.27 on Nov. 2 as its 24-hour trading activity remained relatively stable near $8 million.

TOKE/USD 2-hour chart. Source: CoinGecko

The steady climb in the price of TOKE comes as the total value locked on the Tokemak platform reached a new all-time high of $767.9 million according to data from Defi Llama. The recent rollout of “Token Reactors” on the Tokemak dashboard allow users to stake tokens from other protocols such as Alchemix (ALCX) and Olympus (OHM) to earn TOKE rewards.

The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $2.732 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 43.8%.

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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Reactivated Ethereum pools trigger a 78% surge in THORChain price

RUNE looks ready to extend its gains after the reactivation of ETH-based pools resulted in a 78% rally last week.

Ealier this year THORChain underwent a series of protocol exploits which led to $8 million being drained from its reserves and these successive attack took a heavy tool on RUNE price. This week, the protocol announced that it would re-open its Ethereum pool, along with other altcoin and BTC-based pools and the announcement appears to be having a positive impact on RUNE price.

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows that since hitting a low of $2.95 on July 20, the price of RUNE has increased 283% to a$11.64 and there is also a noticable uptick in trading volume.

RUNE/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

Two reasons behind the recovery and building strength seen in RUNE include the relaunching of trading capabilities on all five supported blockchains including the Ethereum (ETH) network and the upcoming launch of multiple new projects on the THORChain network.

Ethereum pools are open

The main development driving the momentum behind RUNE has been the reactivation of trading services across all supported blockchain networks, with Ethereum reopening on Oct. 21.

Trading activity was restricted following the April hack and after checking through the code again, the Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Binance Coin (BNB), Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) pools in the process of being reopened.

According to data provided by THORChain, the pent up demand for trading on the protocol was demonstrated by the near instant $2 million in trading volume for ERC-20 tokens minutes after the pool re-opened.

Related: Pension fund for Texas firefighters reportedly allocates $25M to Bitcoin and Ether

Future airdrops and token launches

Another reason for the bullish price move for RUNE is the upcoming launch of multiple new projects on the THORChain network which will soon be listed on the Thorstarter (XRUNE) platform, which is a decentralized launchpad for the RUNE ecosystem.

Some of the major upcoming launches include THORSwap, THORWallet, Brokkr Finance, Skipp Swap, DeFiSwap and XDEFI wallet.

According to data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro, market conditions for RUNE have been favorable for some time.

The VORTECS™ Score, exclusive to Cointelegraph, is an algorithmic comparison of historical and current market conditions derived from a combination of data points including market sentiment, trading volume, recent price movements and Twitter activity.

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

As seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ Score for RUNE has been elevated in the green zone for the majority of the past week and it reached a high of 74 on Oct. 18, around nineteen hours before the price increased 29% over the next two days.

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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Altcoin Roundup: Holding Bitcoin? Here’s how to put it to work in DeFi

BTC is back at all-time highs, meaning it’s even easier for holders to capitalize on the lucrative yield opportunities DeFi offers to investors who are willing to stake their tokens.

The long-awaited day finally came on Oct. 19 as the first Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) went live on the New York Stock Exchange, thrusting the crypto asset into the limelight across mainstream news outlets and alternative media alike. 

Despite the fact that the ETF in question will hold no actual Bitcoin and is instead a futures-based instrument, investors and pundits across the ecosystem have largely hailed its launch as proof that Bitcoin has hit the big leagues and will soon surpass the coveted $100,000 price target.

Many investors either don’t have access or will choose not to interact with the newly launched EFT, but holders can still use a variety of strategies to earn a yield on their BTC holdings.

Here’s a look at some strategies BTC holders can use to earn a yield.

DeFi meets BTC in BadgerDAO

BadgerDAO is an open-source protocol built on the Ethereum network that has the specific goal of building products and the required infrastructure needed to simplify the integration of Bitcoin into decentralized finance (DeFi).

Currently, BadgerDAO has the most extensive list of BTC paired pools where investors can provide liquidity.

BadgerDAO Bitcoin yield offerings. Source: BadgerDAO

As seen in the image above from the BadgerDAO dashboard, there are different offerings from the simple staking of Wrapped BTC (wBTC), which can earn a yield ranging from 1.22% to 27.98% depending on the terms of the lockup, to the staking in more complex liquidity provider (LP) strategies like the renBTC/wBTC/sBTC pool, which offers a yield ranging from 7.07% to 45.37%.

It is important to note that there are risks involved with wrapping BTC and RenVM because a user must relinquish control of the original BTC in order to obtain either wBTC or renBTC, violating the crypto code of “not your keys, not your crypto.”

For LP tokens that pair BTC with other cryptocurrencies such as Ether (ETH), BADGER or stablecoins like Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC), holders must also consider the possibility of suffering an impermanent loss if the price of Bitcoin increases by a significant amount compared to the other token it is paired with.

Trader Joe

Trader Joe is the largest decentralized trading platform by total value locked (TVL) on the Avalanche network, according to data from Defi Llama, with $2.18 billion worth of assets currently on the protocol.

Bitcoin-related pools on Trader Joe. Source: Trader Joe

Using wBTC on the Avalanche Network requires another layer of wrapping that produces wBTC.e, which can then be traded on the network or used to provide liquidity.

At the time of writing, Trader Joe is offering a yield on three LP tokens, including a return of 26.223% for the wBTC.e/AVAX pair, 16% for the wBTC.e/USDC.e pair, and 11.9% for the wBTC.e/USDT.e pair. All rewards are paid out in the protocol’s native JOE token.

Raydium

Raydium is the top-ranked DeFi protocol on the Solana network, according to data from Defi Llama, and currently boasts a TVL of $1.77 billion.

Users who wish to use their BTC on Solana have the option of pairing it with USDC, USDT, Serum (SRM) and a wrapped form of Solana known as mSOL.

Bitcoin-related pools on Raydium. Source: Raydium

The yields offered range from 5.16% to a high of 14.27%, with all rewards paid out in the platform’s native RAY token.

PancakeSwap

PancakeSwap is the No. 1 ranked protocol by TVL on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) with data from Defi Llama showing that $5.39 billion worth of tokens is currently locked on the protocol.

In order to utilize Bitcoin on the BSC, it must first be wrapped to become BTCB, which can then transact on the network.

Bitcoin-related pools on PancakeSwap. Source: PancakeSwap

At present, PancakeSwap is offering a 5.44% return for the BTCB/ETH pair, a 15.82% return for the BTCB/BUSD pair (Binance’s stablecoin, Binance USD) and 20.79% for the BTCB/BNB pair. All rewards are paid out in the protocol’s native CAKE token.

Related: Valkyrie Bitcoin futures-linked ETF launches on Nasdaq, with share prices dropping 3% in first hour

Decentralized Bitcoin futures

DYdX is a decentralized perpetual futures trading platform that made waves back in September when it airdropped thousands of dollars worth of its native DYDX governance token to early adopters of the platform.

Similar to the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, trades made on the dYdX protocol do not settle in actual Bitcoin but instead in a USD stablecoin, so BTC stakers may not be too interested in the protocol if directly increasing Bitcoin holdings is the only goal.

However, as opposed to trading a government-regulated futures product that is only available when the traditional markets are open, dYdX offers the decentralized, 24/7 trading environment that the crypto faithful have grown to love.

Want more information about trading and investing in crypto markets?

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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DeFi picks up the pace as alternate blockchains and NFTs boom

On the back of the incredible crypto market recovery and the boom in NFT markets, the DeFi market has grown 18% in October.

As September ended, the cryptocurrency markets recovered from the so-called “September curse” handsomely to hit a market capitalization of $2.32 trillion. The decentralized finance (DeFi) market has been an integral part of this growth. The total value locked (TVL) in DeFi protocols grew more than 20%, from $113.5 billion on Sept. 28 to hit $137 billion on Oct. 6, as per data from Dappradar.

Even the Bank of America (BoA) — a global banking giant — has revealed its bullish outlook on DeFi and nonfungible tokens (NFTs). In an Oct. 4 report by BofA Securities — a subsidiary of BoA — the firm evaluated the scope of crypto assets beyond “just bitcoin.”

(Bitcoin’s strength) can execute automated programs (smart“Tokens such as Ether, Cardano, Solana, and others with blockchains that can do more than securely record payments contracts) such as making a payment after an event. his is Decentralized Finance (DeFi) where smart contracts automate manual processes of traditional finance”, the report states.

It also compared tokenization to the early days of the internet and spoke of the decentralization and tokenization of many aspects of finance as it currently exists. 

Cointelegraph discussed the rapid expansion of the DeFi markets with Johnny Kyu, the CEO of crypto exchange KuCoin. He explained:

“The popularity of the DeFi market is growing as more people are starting to understand that a smart contract can be a worthy alternative to a traditional loan or bank deposit. The amount of funds locked in DeFi reflects market adoption among private investors who are moving their money from the traditional financial system to the decentralized industry.”

While the DeFi sector’s TVL has seen a bump from the massive price increase of various projects’ native tokens, Kyu also attributes the growth to the attractive rates offered by DeFi platforms.

A recent report by Dappradar revealed that the TVL in the industry gained 53.45% quarter-on-quarter in Q3 2021. In September, the unique active wallets (UAW) linked to any decentralized application hit a daily average of 1.7 million. The quarterly average UAW is 1.54 million.

Cointelegraph spoke with Balancer Labs CEO Fernando Martinelli about the importance of the DeFi base that Ethereum established. He said, “A new wave of DeFi projects is building on top of the infrastructure the first generation has established, bringing new use cases and more advanced products to DeFi power users.”

Martinelli said that greater institutional involvement is driving up the TVLs in well-established “safe” protocols. Furthermore, the large yields offered by DeFi platforms are shifting retail investors from centralized platforms into the DeFi space. This rising adoption across various categories of investors is enabling DeFi to move to the next phase of its growth.

The next generation

The DeFi ecosystem began on the Ethereum blockchain because of the smart contract functionality it offered. However, several other blockchain networks have since deployed smart contract functionality on their networks through layer-1 or layer-2 solutions. The most prominent of these networks are Binance Smart Chain, Solana, Avalanche, Terra and Polygon. Most recently, the Cardano network witnessed smart contract deployment as a part of the Alonzo hard fork.

Even though the growth of these networks could be seen perceived to be organic, there is one major issue with the Ethereum blockchain that could have contributed to this growth: gas fees. The EIP-1559 proposal that came as part of the London hard fork included the burning of ETH tokens in an attempt to make ETH “ultrasound money” eventually, improve scalability and reduce gas fees.

However, even though the fees are not as absurd as they used to be during the peak of the bull run in May, there have been a few instances in the last several weeks where the average transaction fee in the Ethereum network took a huge spike. Notably, on Sept. 7, the fee went to $21.29, and on Sept. 27 the gas price went to a four-month high of $25.43.

Martinelli said, “There is little doubt that high gas fees on Ethereum — particularly severe recently due to the congestion from NFTs — has helped spur on the rapid adoption of other networks. (..) Layer 2 solutions are helping Ethereum scale, and we’re excited to see ongoing developments in this space.”

The continued popularity of NFTs is also a significant driver of this growth. The aforementioned report by Dappradar mentioned that the NFT space has seen exponential growth as well. In Q3, the market generated over $10.67 billion in trading volumes, thus entailing a 704% increase from the second quarter and a massive 38,060% increase year-on-year. 

While earlier in the year, most of the major NFT sales were on the Ethereum blockchain, now blockchains like Binance Smart Chain, Solana, Polygon, Avalanche and Tezos are beginning to catch up. Recently, an NFT from the biggest collection in the Solana ecosystem, Solana Monkey Business, sold for 13,027 Solana (SOL), currently worth more than $2.1 million, breaking the platform’s previous NFT record.

Shane Molidor, the global head of business development at crypto trading platform AscendEX, spoke with Cointelegraph about the potential of NFTs:

“Due to the rapid growth of the market, some may say the market is a bubble, but I believe that NFTs offer enormous value propositions beyond just the collectivity of JPEGs or images. NFTs can be used to record the ownership of not only digital items but collectibles, fractionalized assets, and even virtual worlds.”

Mistakes, bugs and hacks

The rapid expansion of the DeFi ecosystem is not without its setbacks. Due to a combination of lack of understanding and scrupulous players, there have been several exploits and hacks throughout the growth phase.

On Sep. 30, DeFi interest rate protocol Compound Finance announced that there was a token distribution bug in its newly implemented Proposal 062. This flaw accidentally rewarded users with $70 million in COMP tokens. In the aftermath, another $65 million COMP tokens are at risk as the update in the code wouldn’t take effect for the next three days due to a time-lock. In total, the bug put $162 million “up for grabs,” making it an extremely costly mistake. On Oct. 7, the protocol passed a proposal to fix this issue.

In another instance of a technical error, the cryptocurrency exchange Bittfinex paid a transaction fee of over $23 million to transfer $100,000 of Tether (USDT) on the Ethereum blockchain to a layer-2 subsidiary platform, DiversiFi. However, the goodwill of the miner prevailed as he returned the funds to the exchange.

Despite the lucrative nature of the DeFi markets, such widely covered instances of hacks, bugs and mistakes could serve as deterrents for institutional investors and retail investors alike. Retail investors are even more susceptible to such events of financial loss due to the lack of sophistication and knowledge that institutional investors possess. Thus, they often serve as a benchmark for retail investors. Molidor told Cointelegraph:

“Institutional and retail entrance into DeFi is almost like a feedback loop. As more retail users enter the space and [the] market cap grows, institutions start to examine the industry more closely to explore economic opportunities. As institutions enter DeFi, the space is then given more visibility. From this visibility, DeFi enters the mainstream discourse, and yet again, more retail users become familiar with the benefits and economic rewards DeFi provides.”

But these negative instances are only a small part of the picture evolving in the DeFi market, which is attempting to revolutionize finance. The user’s independence and the innovation that DeFi protocols offer to investors will only serve to further grow the space.

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