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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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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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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Digital asset exchange Blocktrade concludes $25M investment round

The company underwent a successful securities offering earlier this year, receiving support from over 6,000 European investors.

Luxembourg-based Blocktrade has become the latest cryptocurrency exchange to receive major backing from venture capitalists, offering further evidence that digital asset startups are becoming a prime target for investment funds. 

Private investors across 33 countries participated in the $25.8 million, or 22 million euros, Series A round, Blocktrade announced early Tuesday in Europe. The investors were not disclosed.

Blocktrade said the funding will go towards improving internal operations, especially in the areas of security, fiat onramps and market-making. The company also said it would allocate more resources to growing its potential user base, as well as pursue other business partnerships.

“Blocktrade is more than a classic crypto exchange: we are building a complete ecosystem around digital assets, which provides our users with much more than just access to trading tools,” said Bernhard Blaha, who was appointed the CEO of Blocktrade in late 2020.

Blocktrade was founded in 2018 but was later acquired by Cryptix AG, a Swiss venture capital firm that specializes in digital payments. Under the leadership of Cryptix, Blocktrade underwent a securities offering in early 2021, attracting investments from over 6,000 participants across Europe.

Crypto-focused startups have generated billions of dollars in funding this year, a testament to the growing appeal of blockchain and cryptocurrencies among venture capitalists and other private investors. Exchanges have been at the center of the funding frenzy, with the likes of Mercado Bitcoin, Bitso, FTX and Pintu generating nearly $1.4 billion in funding over the past few months.

Related: FTX smashes crypto funding record with $900M raise to become exchange decacorn

These companies follow on the heels of Coinbase’s massive IPO in April that further pushed digital currency trading into mainstream consciousness.

Crypto trading is likely to intensify now that more investors have confirmation of a two-pronged bull market for Bitcoin (BTC) and other assets. The BTC price smashed through $46,000 on Monday amid news that U.S. lawmakers are planning to introduce new crypto-focused amendments to the infrastructure bill.

Related: Bitcoin ‘awaiting second leg of bull market’ as BTC price hits $46K 3-month highs

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