Author: Cointelegraph By Tom Farren

Iota launches beta smart contracts to foster interoperability

Iota launches beta smart contracts to foster interoperability

The Iota Foundation has announced the release of its beta version smart contract functionality, with the objective to solve market challenges of scalability limitations and high transaction fees, as well as reportedly debuting components not witnessed thus far in the space.Iota’s nonprofit foundation is focused on open-source research and development initiatives to drive adoption in the distributed ledger technology space, alongside its native platform, the Tangle.The smart contract service will foster interoperability and standardization through the integration of Ethereum Virtual Machine; multi-capacity for developers to write program languages with Tiny Go, Rust, and Ethereum’s Solidity; as well as enabling developers to mark unique execution fees, among other features.The latter is a prominent difference from the Ethereum blockchain and could drastically foster the reduction of fees across the network, as the pool of competitors seeking to validate the smart contract increases. Related: Iota Foundation to support EU blockchain initiativeIn March, the platform announced the release of its alpha Iota Smart Contracts Protocol, designed to encourage developers to build smart contracts in addition to decentralized finance (DeFi) and nonfungible token (NFT) applications.Dominik Schiener, co-founder and chairman of the Iota Foundation, told Cointelegraph that the addition of smart contract functionality will “add a vital component to the Iota ecosystem. They allow anyone to build composable and complex dApps using industry standard Ethereum tooling while relying on a feeless base layer and predictable, low execution fees.”“IOTA Smart Contracts also enable the feeless transfer of assets across chains, which offers the IOTA ecosystem — and anyone else interested — unprecedented opportunities in terms of utility, composability, and scalability,” Schiener said.Schiener claimed that Iota smart contracts are unique in that they offer low, predictable, transparent fees, adding: “Smart contract chains enjoy permissionless deployment, without setup fees, auctions, or gatekeepers of any kind. The smart contract execution fees are predictable, non-volatile, and entirely up to the chain owner to set.”“The possibility for chains to compete for the ‘work’ of executing a smart contract creates an additional incentive to push execution fees to their absolute minimum — including zero. Non-zero fees are payable in whatever form the chain owner demands, giving additional flexibility. In a nutshell, it is a DeFi operator’s ‘wet dream’.”

Mono X launches mainnet on Ethereum and Polygon

Mono X launches mainnet on Ethereum and Polygon

Automated market maker (AMM) MonoX has announced the official launch of its mainnet platform, offering investors a full complement of swap and liquidity capabilities on the Ethereum and Polygon blockchain networks.With the release of this new service, Mono X is aiming to establish a cost-effective and accessible infrastructure for liquidity providers seeking to propel their projects to the market and traders interested in engaging in token swap services.In the case of traditional decentralized exchanges (DEXes) such as dYdX, it is necessary for projects to provide two tokens to build a liquidity pair, a requirement that increases the capital barrier for entry. With the single-sided liquidity feature, projects only need to stake their native token, which means that they can offer more overall liquidity to the market.According to the official announcement, the liquidity pools implemented upon launch are as follows: On Ethereum, assets include Ether (ETH), Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), USD Coin (USDC) and Tether (USDT), while on Polyon, assets include Polgyong (MATIC), WBTC, USDC, USDT and Wrapped Ether (WETH).Last month, the AMM raised $5 million in capital funding to support the decrease of mandatory capital and liquidity levels for decentralized finance (DeFi) projects offering swap, borrowing and lending derivative services on DEXes. At the time, the project was still in beta development, but this announcement marks a transition to full-scale implementation in the DeFi space.MonoX CEO Ruyi Ren told Cointelegraph  how MonoX is utilizing single-sided liquidity pool innovation to reduce the barrier-to-entry for new DeFi participants:”Protocols that use liquidity pairs result in capital requirements to participate in DeFi being high. With our model, all you need to do is deposit your own token to the pool (0 collateral). Project owners can list their tokens without the burden of capital requirements and focus on using funds for building the project instead of providing liquidity.”Related: DeFi liquidity pools, explainedIn addition, Ren spoke of the potential impact Value Backed Tokens could have on the wider DeFi ecosystem:Value Backed Tokens (VBT) are tokens that are already backed by other assets. Financial derivatives, game tokens, NFT shards, DAO tokens, and even some stablecoins all fall into this category. With MonoX, we don’t require extra collateral so once a staked Ether is minted, it can be tradable on MonoX with zero capital requirement.

MDT introduces blockchain oracle to accelerate DeFi adoption

MDT introduces blockchain oracle to accelerate DeFi adoption

Measurable Data Token (MDT) has announced the launch of a blockchain-based oracle service, Measurable Finance (MeFi), which has been designed to connect traditional financial data markets to the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector.In its primary showcase of utility, the project constructed a decentralized application (dApp) —accessible on both the Ethereum and Testnet blockchains — which enables participants of DeFi to access stock trading data from some of the world’s largest financial marketplaces including the Nasdaq, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX).With the introduction of these services, decentralized data sharing network Measurable aims to advance the DeFi industry into the mainstream, unifying the divide between the real-life and on-chain worlds.Oracles are third-party external data sources such as global temperature levels or sports scores that exist outside of the blockchain sphere but can be used to verify smart contracts. They can be likened to application programming interfaces that enable interoperable communication with two software entities.Projects within the blockchain space that utilize this technology include Chainlink (LINK) and Band Protocol (BAND), among others. Related: How will blockchain technology help fight climate change? Experts answerCo-founder of Measurable Data Token, Heatherm Huang, spoke of data as a superpower in the capital markets, continuing on to say:”If DeFi is to go mainstream, DeFi innovations and Dapps have to connect with the external context. MeFi serves as the ‘Bloomberg on blockchain’ — its secure connections between blockchain smart contracts and capital markets help developers access reliable external financial data on-chain.”In addition to this integration, the project has also expressed ambitions to expand the scope of financial data to include derivatives and exchange-traded funds through the adoption of its native token MDT.

Mudrex launches DeFi mutual fund model for  retail investors

Mudrex launches DeFi mutual fund model for retail investors

Cryptocurrency asset management firm Mudrex has announced the launch of its new Coin Sets investment vehicle.The new offering allows investors to diversify their asset portfolio across a range of high-performing decentralized finance, or DeFi, assets, as well as nonfungible tokens, or NFT’s. The niche financial model fosters the distribution of risk exposure in what is often considered a volatile marketplace, allowing investors to bet on the value proposition of an entire sector, rather than the individual potential of a single asset. The basket of assets is also rebalanced on a monthly basis to recalculate the risk and opportunity for investors. This is reportedly the first time a product of this kind has been launched to the retail marketplace, as opposed to mutual funds with similar design and functionalities that exclusively target high-net worth clientele and institutional-grade investors.Launched in January 2018, the San Francisco-based organization, is experiencing a moment of expansion, registering over 40,000 users and in excess of $15 million in assets under management. In April 2020, the firm launched a digital asset trading platform titled Mudrex Invest, designed to provide automated expert trading services to regular individuals. On Aug. 10, it was announced that the firm had received a seed funding raise of $2.5 million orchestrated by Nexus Venture Partners, with additional participation from the likes of Village Global and Kunal Shah, among others. It is expected that the recent acquisition of funds will contribute to expanding the firm’s operational workforce, in addition to the deployment of further products and services. Related: Portfolio rebalancing through DeFi must be simplified to see adoptionCointelegraph spoke to the co-founder of Mudrex, Edul Patel, who commented on the identified target audience for the launch of the new product:The demand for a simple to invest product like Coinsets is so universal that we have a lot of interest from across demographics. The product is especially attractive to new entrants into crypto who are quickly overwhelmed with the information overload in the asset class.In addition, Patel revealed an innovative aspect of the Coin Set product which encourages a self-assembling approach to portfolio creation, as well as reporting that one of India’s largest portfolio management systems, MintingM, have utilized the model for their flagship product xMINT.”One very interesting feature that we have enabled is letting pro traders/creators and influencers build their own Coin Sets and distribute it to their own communities to unlock wealth creation for theme.”

Rarible introduces zero-cost NFT minting feature

Rarible introduces zero-cost NFT minting feature

Nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace Rarible has introduced a new functionality titled “lazy minting” that promises users the ability to create nonfungible tokens at zero cost — all while enhancing environmental sustainability on the platform.Instead of the traditional method whereby data is stored on the blockchain immediately after minting, Rarible announced Monday that, under its new program, NFTs are “minted not at the moment of creation, but at the moment of purchase. It’s the buyer who pays the gas fees when purchasing the item.” In this case, data will be stored on a decentralized peer-to-peer storage system called IPFS.Amid the influx of new retail participants into the NFT space over the past year, a large segment has been perturbed by the consistently high gas fees on the Ethereum network, increasing their barrier-to-entry and diverting many investors to alternative blockchains, such as Solana. According to data from Rarible Analytics, the current average gas price on Rarible for minting a single ERC-721 token is 0.022ETH, equivalent to $82.26 at current prices. This is actually a favorable time to mint on the platform, in comparison to frequent times of high network activity where gas fees can soar to hundreds of dollars.This is why the Rarible implementation will be welcomed as a positive initiative by the community, though it is yet unknown as to its potential impact on the wider market. Related: Rarible’s daily transactions see a rapid declinePopular cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase, FTX and Binance have been among the latest iteration of crypto firms expressing intent to build products and services in the NFT space. Coinbase garnered enormous social attention for the upcoming launch of its NFT marketplace, registering 1.1 million email signups in the first 24 hours. One week on, this figure is now 2.35 million.To add greater context to this figure, leading NFT marketplace OpenSea has recorded a little over 263,000 unique users across the last 30-days, in addition to in excess of $3 billion in total volume.Coinbase recorded 68 million verified users and 8.8 million monthly active users across the second quarter of 2021, according to its latest shareholder report.Analytics data from DappRadar reveals that Rarible has recorded 10,100 unique users over a 30-day period, RARI, the platform’s native token, has experienced positive growth over the past month, rising 80% from one year lows in late September to the current value of around $22.20.

Tokens.com acquire 50% stake in virtual real-estate firm Metaverse Group

Tokens.com acquire 50% stake in virtual real-estate firm Metaverse Group

Publicly-listed cryptocurrency and blockchain investment firm Tokens.com has announced a landmark agreement to acquire a 50% stake in metaverse real estate firm Metaverse Group in a deal worth in excess of $1.6 million.Tokens.com is expected to capitalize on the purchase — reportedly the highest purchase of a virtual real estate firm — through the development of asset opportunities for public retail investors seeking to gain greater exposure to nonfungible token, or NFT, and decentralized finance, or DeFi, assets.Metaverse Group operates a service akin to a traditional real estate firm in so much of property acquisition, development and management, in addition to marketing and promotional services. However, the group differs immensely due to its adoption of blockchain technology, gaming, NFT’s, as well as a multitude of other technologies that comprise the meta universe. While the true definition of the metaverse is still evolving to a unified consensus, for now at least, the technology is considered to be a three-dimensional virtual environment where users can interact, socialize and progress. Fornite and Roblox have given us some insight into this world, as did the Ernest Cline novel, Ready Player One. The Metaverse Group owns a collection of well-regarded plots of land and properties in some of the world’s most popular metaverse games: Decentraland, The Sandbox and Somnium Space, amongst others, with their global headquarters located in Crypto Valley of Decentraland.Andrew Kiguel, CEO of Tokens.com, shared some insights into the potential impact of the space:“The Metaverse is a game-changer for how advertisers and brands market their products. As more people congregate in these virtual cities, the land becomes more sought after for its ability to reach a new global demographic. Metaverse Group has the potential to be a major landlord and developer by using the same strategies used by physical real estate managers.”Related: The Metaverse, play-to-earn and the new economic model of gamingLast month, tech behemoth Facebook advanced upon their intentions to build a metaverse with the launch of a $50 million research and development fund. The company expressed ambitions to construct a fully-fledged virtual world including a panoply of products and services within a timespan of a decade.To execute this virtual vision, the firm are seeking 10,000 new employees from the European Union in roles ranging from specialised engineers, to virtual architects. 

Finance Redefined: Celsius raises $400M, and Rari’s 7.5K% yields, Oct. 11—15

Finance Redefined: Celsius raises $400M, and Rari’s 7.5K% yields, Oct. 11—15

Welcome to the latest edition of Cointelegraph’s decentralized finance (DeFi) newsletter.In a week where Rari Capital achieved the $1billion TVL milestone, read on to discover why OlympusDAO is yielding four-figure sums on its most popular protocol. What you’re about to read is a shorter, more succinct version of the newsletter. For a comprehensive summary of DeFi’s developments over the last week, subscribe below.Celsius Network raises $400M to expand institutional serviceCryptocurrency lending platform Celsius Network announced a $400 million equity fundraise this week led by Canadian pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and equity firm WestCap, taking the company’s valuation in excess of $3 billion.The firm has expressed intentions to utilize the funds in a two-fold strategy: enhance its institutional product and service offering, as well as doubling the workforce to nearly 1,000 employees across the globe.Celsius Network CEO Alex Mashinsky revealed to Cointelegraph the financial impact the platform is having on the lending sector:“With more than $25 billion in assets and over $850 million in yield paid to over 1.1 million users, Celsius has distributed 10x more yield for the crypto community than any other lender.”This funding news coincides with enhanced political scrutiny for crypto lending platforms in the United States. In September this year, Celsius encountered legislative resistance from the Texas State Securities Board and New Jersey Bureau of Securities, which threatened to terminate activity due to the alleged selling of unregistered securities.Despite this, Celsius has consistently maintained its innocence of wrongdoing and has been willing to communicate and cooperate with regulatory agencies.Rari Capital smashes $1B in TVL DeFi protocol Rari Capital surpassed $1 billion in total value locked (TVL) this week to reach an all-time high of $1.225 billion according to analytical data from ranking platform DeFi Pulse.The eight-figure total marks a monumental rise from $500 million two weeks ago and just $100 million three months ago. Launched in July 2020, Rari provides an automatic yield optimizing strategy to participants in the DeFi space seeking to secure the highest possible return from their investment.A number of its liquidity pools have garnered noticeable attention for their lucrative returns, such as the USDC deposits, which offer a 21.67% annual percentage yield (APY), and the Dai pool, which offers 26.43% APY.Despite these higher-than-average returns in comparison to the industry standard, it has been the OlympusDAO within the Fuse Protocol’s Tetranode’s Locker that has truly stolen the headlines over the past few months.OlympusDAO is an algorithm-centric rebase model whereby token balances fluctuate over time depending on changes in the token price and the supply in circulation. As of writing, the OlympusDAO sOHM token is yielding a seismic 7,594% APY. North America’s surging DeFi volume Monthly cryptocurrency transaction volume in the North American region expanded 1,000% over a one-year period from July 2020 to June 2021 by virtue of the flourishing DeFi sector according to data released this week by analytics platform Chainalysis.The annual Geography of Cryptocurrency Report revealed that monthly volume peaked at $164 billion during May 2021 before descending to $100 billion in June. In addition, DeFi transactions equated to 37% of the region’s total volume at $276 billion.David Gogel, growth lead at decentralized derivatives exchange dYdX, commented on the findings that the biggest volume recorded was driven by retail consumers:“Right now, DeFi is targeted towards crypto insiders. It’s people who have been in the industry for a while and have enough funds to experiment with new assets.”Token performancesAnalytical data reveals that DeFi’s total value locked has increased 8.11% across the week to a figure of $146.89 billion.Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows that DeFi’s top 100 tokens by market capitalization performed varied across the last seven days.Perpetual Protocol (PERP) secured the podium’s top spot with a respectable 29.7%. RenBTC (renBTC) came in second with 6.03%, while Wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC) came a close third with 6.00%.Analysis and deep dives from the last week:Thanks for reading our summary of this week’s most impactful DeFi developments. Join us again next Friday for more stories, insights and education in this dynamically advancing space.

Aurora raises $12M in debut funding to scale Ethereum ecosystem

Aurora raises $12M in debut funding to scale Ethereum ecosystem

Aurora, an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) designed to scale decentralized applications (DApp) built on the Near protocol, has announced a $12-million debut funding round.The round included over 100 venture capital investors, including Pantera Capital and Electric Capital.According to an official statement, Aurora will use the funds to expand ​​cross-chain capabilities beyond its current offering, in addition to hiring specialist developers to support the growth of Ethereum scaling.The scaling solution seeks to facilitate interoperability between blockchains through its EVM connection and multichain bridge, granting developers the accessibility to launch DApps with multichain functionality. Aurora has also revealed it is in the development phase of building a price oracle, data indexer, an automated market maker exchange and block explorer, among other features.The EVM is a blockchain-based computer engine at the core of Ethereum’s operating system, responsible for transaction execution, smart contract deployment and other operating functionalities, in addition to enabling developers to build DApps on its blockchain.It was recently announced that blockchain data explorer Etherscan has partnered with Aurora to integrate its Ethereum-exclusive service to participants of the Near protocol. Alex Shevchenko, CEO of Aurora, said:“Our goal at Aurora has been to create a future where the obvious gaps between blockchains, developers and users are seamlessly bridged. The success of this funding reinforces Aurora’s appeal among our community and our objective to bring scaling solutions across the crypto ecosystem.”Related: Near Protocol, Algorand and PowerPool rebound while Bitcoin consolidatesIn July this year, it was announced that Crypto.com deployed its proof-of-authority EVM testnet enabling developers and builders to transfer their Ethereum-built projects cross-chain to other ecosystems compatible with the EVM.

Polkadot to debut parachain auctions after governance vote

Polkadot to debut parachain auctions after governance vote

Polkadot has laid out a schedule to debut parachain auctions on Nov. 11 following unanimous approval from the blockchain’s on-chain governance council members. The news marks a landmark achievement as it fulfils the final core technical element of the whitepaper published five years ago. Parachains are uniquely distinctive layer-1 blockchain platforms that operate in laterally alongside the main Polkadot network, in addition to being tethered to the Polkadot Relay Chain. Their purposeful function can be witnessed across a multitude of areas from decentralized finance to smart contracts. Speaking at the Sub0 conference as representatives of Parity Technologies, Polkadot founders Gavin Wood and Robert Habermeier, confirmed that Polkadot now holds the technical capabilities to implement parachains, auctions, and crowdloans for the first time.In immediate response, Proposal #118 was motioned by governance member Joe Petrowski, expressing details and recommendations for the deployment.The first Polkadot parachain auction of the initial batch is slated to begin on Nov. 11 and will continue at a rate of one per week for five consecutive weeks until the final auction on Dec. 9.The initial bidding period will last for two days, followed by a five-day ending period. Two unique features about the proposal of this auction schedule are that unlike the immediacy of Kusama’s project onboarding after auctions, Polkadot auctions will be held in transit for a period of one month.In addition to this, there will be a 75% capacity of projects to that witnessed on Kusuma, in a bid for quality over quantity. Within the proposal, and indeed further quoted later in this piece, canary network Kusama were cited as having a positive impact on the evolution of this concept in both abstract and practical terms. Kusama, a sandbox platform designed for developers to experiment blockchain applications before their official launch on the Polkadot blockchain, have recently implemented the success of 11 parachain slot auctions.In addition to the official release commending the near-flawless process of the Kusama auctions, it also noted that 2.4 million KSM has been contributed by 49,000 uniquely active addresses during the auctions.Cointelegraph reached out to Peter Mauric, Head of Public Affairs at Parity Technologies, for an exclusive commentary on the inspiration behind the proposal, as well as the potential impact the implementation may have on the Polkadot ecosystem:”Kusama was launched in order to give the teams building the core Polkadot protocol, parachains and their constituent communities an opportunity to battle-test their tech and teams. While there were a few bits of expected chaos along the way, the experience over the past few months deploying parachains on Kusama have given us confidence that they are ready for prime time on Polkadot.”Related: Polkadot Web3 wallet Talisman closes $2.35M seed funding roundHe went on to discuss ways in which the implementation will most positively impact the Polkadot ecosystem, saying:”This is the moment everyone has been waiting for since the Polkadot paper was introduced over five years ago. The promise of parachains has always been core to what Polkadot aims to achieve: scalable, customizable and truly decentralized infrastructure for the next generation of layer-1 protocols, in the form of these parachain networks.

US crypto trading Voyager Digital granted European trading license

US crypto trading Voyager Digital granted European trading license

Cryptocurrency platform Voyager Digital has been granted an official licensing approval from French regulatory bodies Autorité des marchés financiers and the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution to facilitate a trading platform of 60 digital assets in the French and the European Union markets under the subsidiary LGO Europe SAS.Voyager, a United States-based, Canadian-listed company under ticker symbol VYGR.V, is reportedly the first organization outside of Europe to be designated a “Fit and Proper” approval status of this kind.In early August, Voyager penned an agreement with crypto payments firm Coinify at an estimated value of $85 million with the ambition of expanding its financial offering to global cross-border payments.Amid the announcement, the firm has been developing its mobile trading application, a service expected to launch in a select number of European countries in the latter half of the first quarter of 2022. Voyager chief international officer Lewis Bateman said:”We have a long waiting list of European customers who are looking forward to the launch of our app. The crypto economy is global and we are excited about the prospect of servicing these customers and delivering the Voyager quality access to a broader customer segment.”Related: This indicator flashed bullish prior to Voyager’s (VGX) 200% rallyAnalytical data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView reveals that the Voyager Token (VGX) price has modestly increased 13.22% across the last seven days to $2.57 following an insidious decline across the last month in the wake of a bullish surge to $6.50 in mid-August.

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