Bitcoin is great, but real crypto innovation has moved elsewhere

Bitcoin will always be the boss, but the real innovative and groundbreaking developments are happening in layer-2 solutions, DAOs, NFTs with utility and the emerging Metaverse.

Something is brewing, and those with finely tuned noses can smell it. As traders have come to expect, Bitcoin (BTC) is doing “Bitcoin things” by bouncing around between the usual “key” support and resistance levels, and to be honest, it’s all starting to feel a bit boomerish.

Bitcoin’s long-awaited “moon” depended on institutional investor buy-in, breaking the previous all-time high at $19,000, and a set of other firmly held beliefs. Well, all that happened, and the run to $64,900 exceeded many investors’ wildest dreams. But despite this, the entire BTC situation just feels predictable and boring if you are of the opinion that the top-ranked cryptocurrency will eventually top out around $100,000 in the current bull market.

So, back to what else is brewing…

Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are hot, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) are hot, play-to-earn gaming is hot and the Metaverse is hot.

This is where the real heads are right now — speculating, building, pondering, networking and doing shit that actually matters. And what is unique about those who are really putting in work in the trenches of crypto is that this grassroots approach and bottom-up building trend is leading to some of the space’s most groundbreaking projects.

Take Dom Hofmann’s “Loot” project as an example, or the recent Good Bridging and BridgeLoot drops in the Avalanche ecosystem.

Rather than putting on a suit, throwing together some c-suite-friendly presentation and chasing after venture capital dollars, Loot was minted for free by interested participants willing to pay the gas costs, and the community ascribed value to the NFTs via OpenSea sales.

The value of new ideas was agreed upon by a flurry of discussions in Discord, and anyone with an idea was free to launch their own derivative contract where Loot holders could then replicate the minting and listing cycle again.

Will Papper’s airdrop of 10,000 Adventure Gold (AGLD) to Loot NFT holders, soon became worth over $50,000 and catapulted the entire project to stardom and into the history books. It was essentially the “YFI” of NFTs, some would say.

There’s a seismic shift at hand

What’s unique and intriguing about Loot is that it has set the precedent for what is becoming a new drop model in the space. The process involves creating a product (whether it be an NFT or a protocol), mentioning it to an interested community, and allowing them to mint tokens for free within the 7,777 to 10,000 supply range. After that, creators let the community, speculators, believers and OpenSea do the rest.

Hofmann encouraged the entire fam to do what they wanted with the project — he essentially said, “This is yours! Go and build, my children!” The anon genius behind the Good Bridging (GB) token drop also did the same but with even less guidance.

Basically, 16,000 early users of Avalanche’s Ethereum-to-Avalanche bridge got an 895 GB token airdrop, which at its peak price of $2.60 per GB was worth about $2,300. Not too shabby, eh?

To add to this, GB holders who didn’t immediately liquidate the drop were eligible to mint a gasless BridgeLoot NFT as a reward, and a few hours later, the Avalanche-based NFT marketplace Snowflake verified and listed BridgeLoot, where many holders listed their NFTs for 20 to 100 AVAX.

From a markets perspective, money chases after money. Investors chase after liquidity, and that’s part of what drives price action within markets.

We see this happening with all the layer-one incentive launches where hundreds of millions of dollars are shifting from ETH to Fantom, or ETH to Arbitrum, or ETH to AVAX, or ETH to LUNA, or ETH and USDC to Web3-based decentralized exchanges like dYdX and GMX.

The point is that crypto is driven by liquidity and trends. The whole Loot phenomenon let the cat out of the bag and enlightened builders on a feature that has always been present but only recently uncovered.

Bottom-up fundraises, NFTs with utility in the Metaverse, DAOs and the great liquidity suck into layer-2 ecosystem are here to stay.

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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Crypto community remembers Hal Finney’s contributions to blockchain on his 65th birthday

The cypherpunk was one of the first people besides Satoshi Nakamoto to mine Bitcoin blocks, and reported many of the early bugs.

It’s been more than ten years since computer scientist Hal Finney became the recipient of the first transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain, and his impact on crypto as a technology is still felt today.

Finney was one of the first people to respond to Satoshi Nakamoto’s post on the cypherpunks mailing list, with some in the space still believing he was one of the pseudonymous individuals behind the creation of Bitcoin (BTC).

The legendary Bitcoin pioneer would have turned 65 years old today, had he not passed away from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS — in 2014.

Prior to his death, Finney posted on the Bitcointalk forums about his early experiences with the cryptocurrency. He described mining several blocks on the BTC network as a relatively simple process in 2009, capable of being completed with a CPU rather than a GPU.

“When Satoshi announced the first release of the software, I grabbed it right away,” he said. “I think I was the first person besides Satoshi to run Bitcoin. I mined block 70-something, and I was the recipient of the first Bitcoin transaction, when Satoshi sent ten coins to me as a test. I carried on an email conversation with Satoshi over the next few days, mostly me reporting bugs and him fixing them.”

Finney was a well known cryptographer who worked for the PGP Corporation — later acquired by Symantec — in the development of software allowing users to encrypt emails and files. Even though one of his last messages said he was “essentially paralyzed,” Finney used an eyetracker system to write code aimed at beefing up the security around crypto wallets.

Finney is survived by his two children and wife Fran, who today posted a photo of the Bitcoin pioneer running through a neighborhood in the 1980s, an image retweeted by cryptographer Adam Back. Before his diagnosis, Finney was training to run a full marathon.

Prior to his death, Finney and his wife Fran worked to raise awareness and fundraising for ALS. Since his departure, Fran Finney has continued her husband’s legacy, working together with the Golden West chapter of the ALS Association.

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Paypal Launches Business Unit Dedicated To Cryptocurrency

Paypal Launches Business Unit Dedicated To CryptocurrencyPaypal is launching a new business unit dedicated to cryptocurrency services, the company chief executive officer Daniel Schulman announced this week. In an earnings call on February 3, 2021, Schulman said the existing financial system is outdated and that his firm will be investing a lot of money into blockchain and digital currencies. Schulman explained: […]
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Circle enables seamless USDC-USD transfers, providing a bridge from banks to DeFi

The result of developments in both crypto technology and regulation, Circle’s new USDC API provides a bridge between crypto and traditional finance.

Circle, the company behind the second most popular stablecoin USD Coin, has rolled out a new API that will allow for the seamless transfer of USDC to USD via automated clearinghouse (ACH) systems. 

The first exchange to adopt the new API will be derivatives and futures specialist FTX, looking to speed up USD settlement processes on behalf of their customers.

In a blog entry, project manager Gee Chuang described how Circle’s ACH API improves connections between the fiat world and the digital world by introducing interoperability among payment rails, such as card, wire and blockchain transfers. Using the API, USD funds can be transferred easily between banks and blockchains with processing traditionally done manually, now automatic.

Circle has partnered with Plaid, a company that specializes in online account security and verification, to provide a process for streamlining USD/USDC transfer through Circle. Chaung said:

“This process prevents common errors like mistyping bank accounts or routing numbers and ensures greater user security, while reducing fraud reversal risks. No digging around for numbers, no clunky codes, no switching between applications during the process.”

More than 50 countries use some version of ACH payment processing, including the EU, United States, United Kingdom, China, Japan and South Korea. Circle has also partnered with Visa to process crypto-related payouts across 30 countries covered by their network.

USD Coin is primarily an Ethereum-based token that can be exchanged for US dollars on a 1:1 basis and is backed by a reserve of regularly-audited assets. Launched in Oct. 2018 as an alternative to Tether, there are currently about 5.4 billion USDC in circulation, making it the second biggest stablecoin by market cap, after USDT.

Demand for USDC has been at an all-time high, setting weekly volume records during the first three weeks of the new year. In addition to being used heavily at Binance and Coinbase, USDC is also a stablecoin favorite among DeFi traders, with platforms like Uniswap, Curve and Compound accounting for hundreds of millions in daily trading volume.

Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire has long been a proponent of integration between the digital currency space and traditional finance, appealing to the U.S. Treasury Department in Dec. 2020 to allow crypto industry collaboration in the regulation development process.

Speaking at a fintech festival earlier that month, Allaire predicted that upcoming breakthroughs in blockchain technology will encourage massive adoption, putting its potential benefits “in the hands of hundreds of millions, if not billions of users.”

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