Avalanche (AVAX) just hit a new ATH, but what’s really behind the price surge?

AVAX price soared to a record high as heavy inflows enter the protocol through its cross-chain bridge and institutional investors pledge $230 million in funding for the rapidly expanding Avalanche ecosystem.

On Sept.16 Avalanche (AVAX) price hit a new all-time high at $68.89 and over the last few months the project has risen to challenge the Ethereum (ETH) network’s dominance among smart contract platforms. According to the project’s website, the layer-one protocol capable of surpassing 4,500 transactions per second (TPS) with a time to finality of less than 2 seconds.

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows that since hitting a low of $32.10 on Sept. 7, the price of AVAX has rallied 111% to establish a new all-time high on Sept. 16 as its 24-hour trading volume spiked 200% to $2.8 billion.

AVAX/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Three reasons for the surging price of AVAX include the recent completion of a $230 investment round by large capital funds, the continued migration of liquidity to the Avalanche network and new integrations and protocol upgrades that help improve the user experience.

Big funds back Avalanche

The jump in momentum seen in AVAX price on Sept. 16 came following the announcement that a handful of large funds including Polychain Capital, Three Arrows Capital and Dragonfly capital took part in a $230 million funding round for the project.

This marks the largest investment into the Avalanche ecosystem to date and indicates that larger institutional players are starting to take a keen interest in the Ethereum competitor.

The Avalanche network is cross-chain compatible with Ethereum meaning any tokens or projects that operate on Ethereum can fully migrate to the Avalanche ecosystem and take advantage of its higher throughput capabilities and lower transaction costs.

With no definitive date on when Eth2.0 will be fully operational or what its final capabilities will be, networks like Avalanche now have an opportunity to make the case for why they are a better choice, which could lead to an increase in their market share.

Liquidity migration and rising TVL

A second reason for the building strength seen in AVAX has been the continual migration of assets from networks like Ethereum to Avalanche to participate in its growing decentralized finance ecosystem.

Evidence of the asset migration can be found in the total value locked (TVL) data provided by Defi Llama, which shows that the TVL on Avalanche has been climbing rapidly since Aug. 19 and reached a new record high of $2.17 billion on Sept. 16.

Total value locked on Avalanche. Source: Defi Llama

The rise in TVL is largely due to the launch and growth of several successful decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols on Avalanche including Benqi (QI), Trader Joe (JOE) and Pangolin (PNG).

Related: Bull flag breakout pushes Avalanche toward $80 as AVAX price hits another record high

Partnerships and crypto-related integrations

A third factor that has helped boost the value of AVAX has been a series of partnership and integration announcements that have excited investors and put the spotlight on the project.

The Avalanche NFT ecosystem has seen an influx of interest thanks to a partnership with the sports card and memorabilia company Topps, which launched its “Inception” NFT digital collectibles series on the network.

There is also a vote underway in the Aave community, one of the top DeFi protocols in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, to see if investors want to see AAVE launch on the Avalanche network. A vote of approval could lead to a further increase in TVL on Avalanche as assets held in AAVE on Ethereum have the potential to be migrated to AAVE on Avalanche.

According to data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro, market conditions for AVAX 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. AVAX price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

As seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ Score for AVAX spiked into the green and reached a high of 86 on Sept. 13, around 24 hours before the price increased 40% 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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Hedera Hashgraph rallies 150% in a week as its ecosystem expands

New partnerships, NFT integration and a market-wide surge in altcoin prices back HBAR’s recent 150% rally.

Real-world adoption and blockchain integration is the ultimate goal of any serious fintech protocol looking to offer workable solutions to some of the biggest challenges in finance and data transmission.

Hedera Hashgraph, a public network that uses a distributed ledger technology known as Hashgraph to increase scalability and lower transaction costs.

HBAR/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Two of the main reasons for the recent rise in HBAR include a growing list of ecosystem partners and the introduction of NFT minting capabilities to the network.

Hedera partnerships expand HBAR’s availability

The Hedera partnership program is an offshoot of the Hedera community that aims to roll more integrators, technology partners and enterprise applications to Hedera’s blockchain.

A scroll through the project’s Twitter feed shows that the partnership program lured new partners like the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras to the Hedera governing council.

Other recent partnership announcements include collaborations with Fobi, Dropp, and Filecoin, which has launched a $200,000 developer grant project in conjunction with Hedera designed to help advance Web3 interoperability.

Related: Indian university joins Hedera decentralized governance council

NFTs come to the Hedera network

The second source of excitement for the Hedera protocol has been the introduction of nonfungible token (NFT) minting capabilities on the network.

The NFT sector has been one of the hottest trends in 2021 and while the price action and trading activity for NFTs have declined significantly from their August highs, the sector is likely to expand in the near future.

VORTECS™ data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro began to detect a bullish outlook for HBAR on Sept. 4, prior to the recent price rise.

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. HBAR price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

As seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ Score for HBAR climbed into the green zone on Sept. 4 and reached a high of 72 around 72 hours before its price increased 147% over the next seven 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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Stanford researcher-led Pledge raises $3M for decentralized lending protocol

Researchers from Stanford University and U.C. Berkeley contributed to the development of the crypto-asset lending platform.

Decentralized lending protocol Pledge has secured $3 million in investments for its cross-chain ecosystem focused on long-term financing, highlighting continued innovation in the DeFi sector. 

The investment round was led by DHVC, a Palo Alto-based venture capital firm, with additional participation from U.C. Berkeley professor Gary LaBlanc and Stanford University community members Ray Wong and Torsten Wendl. The raise will support Pledge’s mission to become a premier crypto-asset lending platform that eventually paves the way for tokenized real-world financial assets.

Pledge was created by a group of blockchain-focused researchers at Stanford University, including professor David Tse, Nicole Chang, Ray Wong and Torsten Wendl. Aforementioned professor Gary LaBlanc also contributed to the protocol.

Utilizing Binance Smart Chain, Pledge aims to facilitate long-term financing for crypto holders, something the researchers say has yet to be addressed in the industry. The protocol achieves this goal by allowing users to diversify their portfolios with non-crypto assets without being exposed to interest-rate volatility.

The protocol is powered by Pledge Tokens, or PLGR, which have a total supply of 3 billion. No market data is currently available for PLGR.

DeFi lending markets have exploded in popularity this year, attracting an influx of new users on the promise of higher yields and increased access to new markets. While Aave dominates the DeFi lending market, several protocols have launched over the past year, each one providing its own value proposition.

Related: DeFi attracts 2.91M Ethereum addresses, according to ConsenSys

Currently, just under $44 billion in total value has been locked into DeFi lending markets, according to industry data. That accounts for just over half of the total decentralized finance market.

DeFi’s growth has attracted unwanted attention from regulators who are growing more concerned about investor protections and whether certain assets fall under federal security laws. As Cointelegraph recently reported, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission has warned cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase that its proposed yield program violates securities laws.

Related: SEC vs. Coinbase: Alex Mashinsky says Celsius will have to ‘wait and see’ on fallout

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Fantom price gains 100% after launching a 370M FTM incentive program

FTM gained 500% in the past six weeks, and a newly launched $320 million incentive program could see the rally extend further.

The Ethereum network continues to enjoy being the top smart contract platform in the blockchain industry. However, the competition is slowly gaining market share because high costs and network congestion are still challenges for the protocol. 

One project that has been gaining traction in August is Fantom (FTM), a layer one smart contract platform that utilizes a directed acyclic graph architecture as a means to solving the problems of slow transaction speeds and high transaction fees.

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows that since hitting a low of $0.15 on July 20, the price of FTM rocketed 500% to an intraday high of $0.90 on Monday as its 24-hour trading volume exploded by 1,250% to a record $1.26 billion.

FTM/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Three reasons for the surging momentum in Fantom include the launch of a 370 million FTM incentive program, a significant growth in social media engagement and the continued increase in the amount of value locked on the protocol.

Fantom launches a liquidity incentive program

The biggest momentum boost for Fantom came on Monday with the announcement of a 370 million FTM — $320 million — incentive program, designed to attract new protocols and liquidity to the Fantom ecosystem.

Under the program, developers who launch on the Fantom network will be able to apply for rewards from the Fantom Foundation and will receive between 1 million to 5 million FTM depending on the total value locked (TVL) in the protocol in question.

In order to qualify for rewards, a protocol must maintain a TVL above a time-weighted average (TWA) of $5,000,000 or $100,000,000 for an extended period of time. If the TWA falls below the $5,000,000 minimum at any point, reward distribution will be paused until the TVL once again reaches the required minimum.

Social media engagements surge in August

Lunar Crush registered Fantom’s building momentum throughout August via social media metrics. The platform showed a 34% increase in social media mentions compared to July; social media engagements also shot up by nearly 96%.

On-chain data for the network also showed a steadily increasing engagement rate because the network now has 415,000 unique addresses conducting more than 300,000 transactions per day.

These numbers could significantly increase in the weeks and months ahead thanks to the release of the FTM incentive program, which has already lead to a new record high in the number of transactions on the Fantom bridge.

Fantom bridge transaction count. Source: Twitter

Related: This service is declaring that it’s “crypto altseason” again

Significant gains in DeFi

The third reason for Fantom’s explosive growth is the increasing TVL of its DeFi ecosystem, which is led by the SpookySwap exchange and its $192 million TVL.

According to data from DeFi Llama, the total value locked on the Fantom blockchain has now surpassed $657 million with a 19.52% increase coming over the last 24-hours.

Total value locked on Fantom. Source: DeFi Llama

As seen in the chart above, the launch of the Fantom Incentive Program helped spark a significant rally in the TVL on Fantom. However, the network was already seeing impressive gains in the metric even before the launch of the program.

Between Aug. 4 and Aug. 23, Fantom’s TVL grew from $269 million to a high of $510 million without any special incentives. This increase proves that interest in interacting with the platform has been on the rise for multiple weeks.

VORTECS™ data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro began to detect a bullish outlook for FTM on Aug. 29, prior to the recent price rise. 

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. FTM price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

As seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ Score climbed into the green zone on Aug. 28 and reached a high of 70 on Aug. 29, around four hours before the price increased 80% over the next day.

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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Ethereum traders expect volatility ahead of Friday’s $820M options expiry

Overly-confident Ethereum options traders are nervously watching the $3,200 level ahead of this week’s $800 million ETH options expiry.

Ether (ETH) will face a critical $820 million monthly options expiry on Friday, Aug. 27. That will be the first time that $3,000 and higher options will have a real fighting chance, even though bulls seem to have missed a good opportunity to dominate the expiry because they were too optimistic about Ether’s price potential.

It is unclear why $140 million of the neutral-to-bullish call options were placed between $3,800 and $8,000, but these instruments will likely become worthless as the monthly expiry approaches.

Competition and the success of interoperability-focused protocols impact Ether price

The Ethereum network has struggled due to its own success, which consistently leads to network congestion and transaction fees of up to $20 and higher. Furthermore, the rise of nonfungible tokens and decentralized finance imposed further stress on the network.

Maybe some of the inflow that was supposed to move Ether price up went to its competitors, which presented stellar performances recently. For example, Cardano (ADA) surged over 100% quarter-to-date as investors expect its long-awaited smart contracts to launch on Sept. 12.

Solana (SOL), another smart contract contender, captured one-third of the inflows to crypto investment products over the last week, according to CoinShares “Digital Asset Fund Flows Weekly.”

Lastly, layer-two scaling solutions like Polygon (MATIC) have also seen 150% gains after successfully bringing DeFi projects into its interoperability pool and launching a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) to scale projects on the software development kits.

Ether options aggregate open interest for Aug. 27. Source: Bybt.com

Notice how the $3,000 level vastly dominates Friday’s expiry with 30,900 ETH option contracts, representing a $100 million open interest.

The initial call-to-put analysis shows a slight prevalence of the neutral-to-bullish call instruments, with 13% larger open interest. However, bears seem to have been taken by surprise because 83% of their bets have been placed at $2,900 or lower.

To succeed, bears need to push and hold Ether price below $2,900

Nearly half of the neutral-to-bullish call options have expiry prices set at $3,500 or higher. These instruments will become worthless if Ether trades below that price on Friday. The options expiry happens at 8:00 am UTC, so traders might expect some price volatility nearing the event.

Below are the three most likely scenarios that will likely happen and their estimated gross result. Keep in mind that some investors could be trading more complex strategies, including market-neutral ones that use calls and protective puts. Consequently, this estimation is somewhat rudimentary.

The simplistic analysis weighs the call (buy) options against the put (sell) options available at each strike level. So, for example, if Ether’s expiry happens at $3,050, every neutral-to-bullish call option above $3,000 becomes worthless.

  • Below $2,900: 36,360 calls vs. 32,700 puts. The net result is virtually balanced.
  • Between $2,900 and $3,000: 36,770 calls vs. 20,320 puts. The net result favors the neutral-to-bullish instruments by $48 million.
  • Between $3,000 and $3,200: 55,660 calls vs. 8,320 puts. The net result favors the neutral-to-bullish instruments by $147 million.
  • Above $3,200: 62,260 calls vs. 1,490 puts. The net result favors the neutral-to-bullish instruments by $197 million.

Bears will try to minimize the damage, and luckily for them, the honeypot for a favorable price move doesn’t look worthwhile of a significant effort from bulls.

As for the excessively optimistic options traders, they should better rethink their strategy for the September expiry. The Ethereum network seems to be its own biggest enemy because the increasing adoption has fueled the rise in competitors’ decentralized finance applications.

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

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