3 reasons why Reef Finance, Bridge Mutual and Morpheus Network are rallying

Strong fundamentals and new partnerships back the strong rallies in Morpheus Network, Bridge Mutual and Reef Finance.

As new institutional and retail investors enter the cryptocurrency space on a daily basis, large-cap top performers like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) attract the lion’s share of investor’s attention as they are the well-known ‘secure’ blockchain projects. 

Once these new investors get a taste of the mainstay cryptocurrencies and how to navigate the volatile markets, their attention soon turns to smaller cap coins as they search for the up-and-coming projects that could be the next big thing.

Currently, CoinMarketCap shows that there are 8,475 tokens and more are added daily. This makes it difficult to keep up with the latest developments and find solid projects with real-world potential.

With that in mind, here are some interesting projects that have been gaining strength over the past few weeks. 

MRPH/USDT

Morpheus Network (MRPH) is a blockchain platform focused on logistics and supply chain optimization through the use of its SaaS middleware platform which is integrated with emerging technologies.

Supply chain managers are able to use the platform to create a digital representation of their network as information collected is transformed into actionable data, with all steps in the supply chain being notarized on the Morpheus blockchain.

MRPH was trading at a price of $0.412 on Jan.15 before an influx of trading activity lifted the token more than 920% to a high of $4.44 on Feb.8.

MRPH/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The rapid rise in price was due in part to the fresh attention the project received from several well-known YouTube influencers and recent verifiable MRPH partnerships, such as China’s Qingdao Maple Leaf International Trading Co. and the possibility of a partnership with Coca-Cola in Latin America.

Speculations aside, the Morpheus platform currently has more than 100 integrations with industry-leading service providers including DHL, FedEx, SWIFT, Oracle, and Salesforce. With significant real-world partnerships and the attention of cryptocurrency influencers, MRPH has strong fundamentals and is likely to gain more attention from investors.

BMI/USDT

Bridge Mutual (BMI) is a more recent arrival to the decentralized insurance space but it has quickly garnered the attention of investors.

The insurance platform offers coverage for stablecoins, centralized exchanges and smart contracts. It also allows users to provide insurance coverage, determine insurance payouts, and recie compensated for taking part in the ecosystem.

BMI’s initial decentralized exchange offering (IDO) was conducted on Jan. 30 with a token price of $0.125 and it was first listed on Uniswap for $1.03. Since listing, BMI has rallied by 540% to a high of $5.46 on Feb. 3. Currently, BMI trades at $3.24 following the downturn in the market that began on Feb. 21.

BMI/USD 1-hour chart. Source: CoinGecko

Decentralized insurance has thus far been dominated by Nexus Mutual (NXM), but BMI’s arrival offers a fresh challenger to a field with growing demand due to the risky nature of investing in DeFi platforms.

REEF/USDT

Reef (REEF) is a Polkadot-based DeFi platform that aims to offer cross-chain trading powered by a yield engine and smart liquidity aggregator that enables automation of the exchange process.

One issue Reef developers hope to provide a solution for is high gas fees on the Ethereum blockchain that are currently making DeFi unusable for many community participants. The team also hopes to help connect liquidity pools from separate networks, avoiding the need for multiple accounts which can be difficult to keep track of.

REEF/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Work on the project began in the second half of 2020 with the completion of its IDO on Sep.30. Following its listing on Binance and Uniswap in late December of 2020, REEF price bottomed out at $0.0067 on Jan.13 and has since increased more than 750% to a high of $0.054 on Feb.11.

DeFi remains one of the hottest growth areas in the cryptocurrency sector and Reef is well-positioned to capitalize on its continued growth. As the Polkadot ecosystem grows its user base and provides solutions that provide relief from high Ethereum transaction costs, cross-chain functionality projects like Reef stand ready to benefit as decentralized finance goes mainstream.

Continue reading

Proposal seeks to overhaul Aave’s $375 million Safety Module

Big changes are coming to DeFi’s second-largest protocol and its $375 million insurance pool

In a largely celebratory community call devoted in part to commemorating lending protocol Aave’s January 8th “Aaveversary” — a full year of Aave on Ethereum mainnet — there was also a look into Aave’s possible future: a proposal from Delphi Digital seeking to fundamentally alter Aave’s Safety Module and create a new insurance product offering. 

Currently, $aave governance token holders can stake their tokens in the Safety Module, a pool of liquidity designed to help insure the protocol against a “shortfall event” such as a smart contract exploit. Stakers risk up to 30% of funds they lock in the Module, but earn a yield in return (currently 4.66%). The Safety Module pool has attracted nearly $375 million in deposits, comfortably the largest decentralized insurance fund of its type.

However, according to Jose Maria Macedo and Jonathan Erlich, a partner and an analyst respectively at Delphi Digital, there are a variety of flaws with this current system. For instance, the Security Module covers the entirety of the platform, meaning it’s difficult to determine market appetite for coverage; there are additional systemic risks with each new project listed on Aave; and Safety Module depositors are covering all projects at different individual levels of risk at the same rate.

Market solutions

The Delphi Digital proposal seeks to overhaul the Safety Module system and create a market-based solution to these flaws. 

“In our most recent proposal, rather than insurance being bundled in with all deposits, it is instead offered as a separate product on the demand side,” said Macedo and Erlich in an interview with Cointelegraph. “This makes it possible to compute cover demand and capacity precisely and thus price risk using market mechanisms.”

Their proposal would add an option for depositors to have a covered deposit or an uncovered one, with the covered deposits offering a lower interest rate in order to account for the cost of the insurance. This would allow the development of a more robust and complex market between Safety Module stakers working within different risk tranches and depositors greater capital efficiency as they can decide what degree of insurance they need.

“We believe [this] design is more efficient because rather than imposing a uniform insurance cost across all Aave money markets, it can instead price each asset independently based on the specific risks associated to it,” said Macedo and Erlich. 

Perhaps most excitingly, this system could become a “generalized insurance” product from Aave designed to compete with projects like Cover and Nexus Mutual. 

“With existing insurance solutions users have to purchase cover upfront which entitles them to insurance on a given protocol for a set amount of time (generally at least 6 months). With the current state of DeFi, most users don’t know where their capital will be next week let alone 6 months from now […] With our architecture, users only pay for insurance while they use it and the process of buying/selling is abstracted away entirely.”

VCs in DAOs?

The proposal is notable not just for potentially introducing a whole new product line into the Aave ecosystem, but also for who architected it: while Delphi Digital offers research and consulting services, they also house a venture capital wing. 

Because of their open, permissionless nature, DAO-governed projects such as Aave can house all kinds of members, including VCs. However, many observers have criticized projects for taking venture capital money prior to decentralizing governance, and believe that the influence of centralized entities can conflict with a wider community’s vision and goals.

In Delphi’s case, however, they may be demonstrating how VCs can help push a project forward.

“Capital is abundant in crypto and when we invest in a project, our goal is never just to invest money but also our team’s intellectual capital and time to help drive it forward,” said Macedo and Erlich. “We’re working on multiple proposals right now and have a long backlog of ideas for proposals and changes we want to make to others.”

While this kind of activism no doubt benefit’s Delphi’s bottom line, it’s also a larger bet of the future of DAOs generally.

“In terms of DAOs, we see them as the next evolution in human coordination. In the long-term, we believe the long tail of organisations will be structured as DAOs, taking advantage of their internet-native, borderless nature and of the efficiency/automation advantages they provide.”

Continue reading

Chamath Palihapitiya sees Bitcoin as insurance against uncertainty

“The fabric of society is frayed,” said the former Facebook exec.

Bitcoin’s (BTC) price has risen dramatically over the past days and weeks, recently wheeling past $40,000. An asset largely untied to governmental authority, Bitcoin is a hedge against global uncertainty, according to venture capitalist and billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya.

Citing a possible five or 10-year time horizon, Palihapitiya said he thinks Bitcoin will likely reach $200,000 at some point. “The reason is because, everytime you see all of this stuff happening, it just reminds you that wow our leaders are not as trustworthy and reliable as they used to be,” he told CNBC in an interview on Thursday. He added:

“So just in case, we really do need to have some kind of, you know, insurance we can keep under our pillow that gives us some access to an uncorrelated hedge.”

Since the pandemic gripped the world in 2020, governments around the world have taken various measures to combat its economic impact. The United States in particular has printed and spent massive sums of dollars.

Borderless and run by the people, Bitcoin allows holders to control their funds by themselves — no centralized authority required. Additionally, in October 2020, Fidelity released a report showing Bitcoin’s lack of price correlation to other markets, such as gold and stocks.

“It’s going to eventually transition to something much more important, but for right now, you’re just getting all these data points that prove this thing,” Palihapitiya said of Bitcoin, adding:

“The fabric of society is frayed, and until we figure out how to make it better, it’s time to just have a little schmuck insurance on the side, and everybody’s running in. It’s just an incredible thing. I could never have imagined it.”

Crypto has seen a noteworthy amount of adoption since the beginning of 2020, including large players gaining interest in BTC. Some influential financial figures, however, such as Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, still remain skeptical on Bitcoin, citing regulation as a potential issue.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has previously classified Bitcoin as a commodity, although recent action shows increased regulatory overwatch on the crypto space, partly evident in a government proposal limiting self-custody digital asset wallets.

Continue reading

Origin Dollar compensation plan marks progressing maturation of DeFi space

Traders and developers are trending towards greater DeFi depositor protections in unison

On Friday, decentralized finance (DeFi) stablecoin project Origin Finance announced a plan to compensate users affected by a $7 million November exploit — part of a wider trend from developers, users, and traders that has seen actors across the DeFi space more widely embrace insurance products and other exploit backstops. 

On November 17th, Origin Dollar announced that its yield-bearing stablecoin project had been the victim of a $7 million flash loan attack. While the attack is just another instance of what has been a brutal summer and fall for DeFi protocols facing hacks and exploits, the Origin Dollar team’s response stands out for its attempt to fully compensate users.

In a blog post on Friday, Origin Dollar product manager Micah Alcorn laid out a multi-tiered plan that would immediately pay 75% of users their lost funds back in the “audited, and relaunched with new security measures in place” stablecoin OUSD.

For larger depositors, however, payments would be a more complicated process, involving a 1-year timelocked quantity of the e-commerce utility token OGN. Whether or not these larger depositors will be fully compensated for their loss therefore depends on the performance of the OGN token.

Even with the timelock, Alan, a semi-anonymous core developer at insurance-adjacent ‘coverage’ protocol Cover, says that the effort from Origin might help attract new users to the space. 

“I believe protocols (and their auditors) need to start taking responsibility for the code they push out,” he said. “Whether it is through they themselves providing coverage, or reimbursing funds, this type of behavior sets a strong precedent and allows users to feel more confident in the platforms they use, which helps boost TVL, so a win-win.”

In the past, DeFi protocols have offered users little more than a “don’t risk more than you can afford to lose” disclaimer, but market movements appear to be trending towards better protections. 

According to Alan, Cover has nearly tripled its total value locked since its users decided to cover the Pickle Finance hack, rising to $39 million.

Likewise, Nsure Network — another coverage protocol in testnet phase and set for launch in Q1 2021 — has been on a tear, rising nearly 60% on the month.

As these coverage tools develop, Alan recommends that developers seriously investigate launching with coverage plans and including clear exploit contingencies as a core feature of DeFi protocols.

“DeFi needs to set a precedent that the protocol themselves need to be held accountable if they get hacked. From what I have seen with the recent exploits, getting hacked simply means ‘Oops, we’ll patch this bug and do better next time’. […] Having an “insurance fund” really comforts users knowing that if the protocol they deposit in gets hacked, their deposits are covered.”

Moreover, he adds, if DeFi is ever going to really break mainstream, these kinds of protections might be a requirement and not just a luxury for skittish depositors.

“Having a coverage/protection fund is the way to go in the future if DeFi really wants to truly gain mass adoption.”

Continue reading

Your car insurance salesman is now an AI bot connected to blockchain

A new virtual assistant powered by blockchain can complete insurance contracts without human assistance.

Malta-based virtual assistant firm Vaiot has integrated IBM’s Watson Assistant with the Cosmos blockchain to sell car insurance.

The new platform features an end-to-end sales process that does not require human assistance to complete the car insurance contracts. The mobile app interacts with customers via voice or text, initially asking a series of questions to identify and suggest insurance options.

Once signed, the contract is stored on the Cosmos SDK in the form of a smart contract, underpinned by the Tendermint Protocol. The AI monitors the deal and automatically begins the insurance coverage once the payment goes through.

Although multiple providers have experimented with voice assistants to aid in the selling process, the announcement claims that none have been able to offer the service as an end-to-end solution which includes the actual sales process. Vaiot’s CEO Christoph Surgowt stated:

“The opportunities that come with AI on cloud and blockchain technologies allow companies from the insurance and InsurTech sectors to digitize and improve their current processes, and we are confident our solutions will jumpstart this transformation.”

IBM Watson is an AI computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language, developed in IBM’s DeepQA project. The system was named after IBM’s founder and first CEO, Thomas J. Watson.

In September, Vaiot raised $5.9 million in a private sale, offering 30% (120,000,000) of its VAI token to investors. Surgowt explained that the funds will be used to help “deliver a product that can transform how businesses conduct their processes,” with the firm focusing on utilizing blockchain to aid in legal processes.

Last month, Vaiot received approval by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) as the first firm to offer a regulated digital asset in the form of its VAI token. The firm also plans to hold a public sale later this year offering investors 2% (8,000,000) of the VAI token supply.

Malta is among the first countries to implement a comprehensive regulatory framework for initial coin offerings (ICOs) with blockchain assets being classed as either financial instruments, e-money, virtual tokens, or Virtual Financial Assets (VFAs). The sale will be offered under the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFAA) and will be one of the first Initial Virtual Financial Assets Offerings (IVFAOs).

The VAI token will be used to incentivize users to utilize Vaiot’s solutions in the form of a rewards program and payment for goods and services offered within the program.

Last month, IBM Watson was also incorporated into a digital health pass called IBM Watson Health. The blockchain-based solution is designed to help organizations enable individuals to return to work or school amid the pandemic.

Continue reading