Welcome to the latest edition of our Market Roundup, where we cover the highlights of the past week in the rapidly evolving world of blockchain and decentralized technologies.
It’s been a week of green. The cryptocurrencies with the largest market caps traded upward over the past week, with SOL (+19%) and BTC (+23.43%) climbing rapidly.
(as of 1:30 AM UTC, Apr 14, 2023)
A major catalyst behind Solana’s movement was the April 13 launch of the Saga mobile phone, an Android device that is meant to allow users to easily and securely trade tokens, mint NFTs, play Web3 games, and access decentralized applications.
BTC crossed the US$30,000 mark this week, the first time since June 2022. Some observers attribute the rally to investor confidence in BTC, while others point out that it’s tied to the nine interest rate hikes implemented by the United States Federal Reserve over the past year.
Meanwhile, the Ethereum network’s Shapella upgrade went smoothly, unlocking 1.1 million ETH, or roughly US$2 billion, in accrued validator rewards. To distribute selling pressure and prevent the value of ETH from dipping, there are daily withdrawal limits and waiting periods for node operators who wish to claim partial or full rewards. The Shapella upgrade completes Ethereum’s transition into a proof-of-stake network.
- Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) has released its second annual “State of Crypto” report which highlights the importance of Web3, blockchain infrastructure, and a price-innovation cycle. The report notes that Web3 is more than a financial movement; it is an evolution of the internet, and it advances the internet through “crypto computers, not crypto casinos.” The report says that the advantages of Web3 over prior technological models include decentralized blockchain networks, the community-governed nature, the lack of power consolidation among corporations, and value accruing to network participants. The report also highlights the ongoing improvements in blockchain infrastructure, including new layer 1 chains that improve scalability and programmability, and layer 2 scaling systems such as optimistic and zero-knowledge rollups.
- Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary, Paul Chan Mo-po, has said that the time is right for the economy to embrace Web3 adoption. Hong Kong plans to adopt a strategy of proper regulation and promotion of development. Virtual asset service providers will be introduced to a licensing system in June. Chan Mo-po has also allocated HKD 50 million (US$6.3 million) to the Cyberport tech hub to accelerate Web3 development.
- Binance has released a Wallet Software Development Kit for blockchain engineers, allowing third-party protocols to be integrated with Binance DeFi Wallet. The wallet leverages multi-party computation cryptographic standards for maximum privacy and security of users’ data. The SDK allows developers to add basic functionalities such as signing and receiving transactions, and new functions will be released soon to enhance integration with Binance services. Documentation for API integrations is available on Binance’s developer portal. The Wallet SDK is currently only available to close ecosystem partners.
- zCloak Network has launched Valid ID, a new product for entity identity registration and verification, which provides a secure and decentralized way for organizations to prove their identity and issue credentials. The platform uses Multi-Party Attestation Based Web of Trust and provides unique protection in a cryptographic and legally binding way to verify and anchor the real identity of organizations. Valid ID solves the problem of “who is the third-party trusted entity that issues verifiable credentials?” and has potential applications beyond digital credentials. The platform is available in public beta and zCloak invites organizations to join.
- Gaming hardware company Razer has announced the launch of its zVentures Web3 Incubator, which will fund Web3 gaming projects and bring them to mainstream audiences. The incubator will provide marketing support and incubate up to 36 projects, with a focus on selecting developers who have a strong track record in creating successful games. Razer aims to help create immersive and engaging gameplay experiences for Web3 games, which it believes will help attract and retain players. The company is known for its significant brand recognition among mainstream gamers, with an audience of roughly 200 million gamers.
- Avalon Corp aims to create tools for Web3 game development that aid world and asset creation, as well as interoperability between games. The company plans to provide an engine that delivers AAA visual and gameplay expectations alongside ownership to modders, enabling them to monetize through in-game asset sales and other marketing initiatives. The company’s work is based on Unreal 5’s GPU-driven rendering pipeline, Nanite.
- Singapore-based Bluzelle has launched the Capella NFT marketplace for blockchain-based Web3 games. Capella offers easy access to NFTs and gaming collectables within the Cosmos ecosystem and a streamlined trading process. Capella addresses the issue of inflexibility in supporting semi-fungible tokens (SFTs), which are becoming more common in Web3 games. The global blockchain gaming market size was valued at US$5.41 billion in 2022 and is predicted to increase at a CAGR of 68.9%, reaching US$1.02 trillion by 2032 due to the rising shift from traditional games to blockchain-based games. The Asia Pacific region is projected to generate significant growth and market share in the blockchain gaming market.
- Polygon is the second most widely used blockchain for gaming, according to DappRadar. Its daily unique active wallets (DAUWs) in March surpassed 138,000, a 53% month-on-month increase. Wax remains the most active network for Web3 games. Polygon’s native token is MATIC, while Wax’s native token is WAXP.
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- Thai property tycoon Sretta Thavisin pledged to airdrop 10,000 baht, or roughly $300, in “digital currency” to citizens if he is elected prime minister. Notably, the Bank of Thailand had in 2021 banned stablecoins denominated in baht. The race is tight, with support for Sretta’s political party at close to 50% in recent polls.
- Crypto builders lamented the collapse of Signature Bank and Silvergate, but a virtual bank based in Hong Kong, ZA Bank, is attempting to step up and work with Web3 projects to perform crypto-fiat conversions. As Hong Kong opens its shores to teams that are building new platforms and protocols using blockchain technology, more projects are considering establishing a base in the financial center.
- As Reddit releases its Gen 3 NFT collection, more than 11 million Reddit avatars have been minted on Polygon as of April 14, with a total market cap of US$74.5 million. There were hitches, but the collection remains popular. Reddit continues to promote the NFTs as “Collectible Avatars” for stronger mainstream appeal.
- Absolute Labs, a Wallet Relationship Management platform that enables brands to use blockchain-based marketing, has raised US$8 million in a seed fundraising round. The platform is trusted by companies such as LVMH, MoonPay, and The Sandbox, and it helps brands gain deep data insights, build actionable segments, and automate cross-channel campaigns.
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