Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter, where we cover the highlights of the past week in the rapidly evolving world of blockchain and decentralized technologies.
(as of 10:30 AM Singapore Time, November 17, 2023)
Solana was again the highlight this week. Its network activity overtook that of Ethereum mainnet last weekend, with 356,300 unique users. That was a major leap from the 208,000 active addresses on Solana just days prior. That could be the beginning of Solana’s recovery after a fast drop in the fallout from the devastation of FTX’s collapse, when the value of SOL dropped by more than 96%.
The value of SOL has gained 28.23% over the past 7 days, and 147.83% over the past 30 days. Its comeback — if this is indeed a return to strength — could herald rapid growth in the Solana ecosystem. Already, long crypto watchers and investors are speculating about the airdrops that projects built on Solana will offer, and the buildout that will take place.
Aside from the optimism about Solana’s future, inflows into exchange-traded products (ETPs) have already gone above US$1 billion for the year — most of which took place over the past seven weeks. This includes US$293 million worth of inflows from just last week. In particular, bitcoin ETPs formed 19.5% of total BTC trading volume on major exchanges, suggesting investors see much more room for the value of BTC to rise.
Meanwhile, millions of dollars worth of SOL was moved from wallets associated with FTX. In all, the assets that were transferred to Binance and trading firm Wintermute include 250,000 SOL (valued at US$13.5 million during the transfer at the beginning of the week) and US$4 million in USDT stablecoins. The FTX estate may be preparing for a sale, but it’s also possible that some or all of the SOL tokens were meant to be staked, which was the choice by the debtor group in October.
For more insights about market movements, be sure to check out the routine updates on BTSE’s blog.
- Spot trading volume on centralized exchanges during October shot up by more than 57% month-on-month, according to data compiled by crypto journalist Colin Wu, who goes by WuBlockchain on social media. This marks a new high since April. Meanwhile, derivatives trading volume went up by more than 44% month-on-month, hitting a new high since June. There’s a sense of optimism in the crypto investment community as the end of 2023 nears, perhaps signaling that a bull run is imminent next year.
- Stablecoin issuer Circle’s Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol (CCTP), which enables USDC transfers between networks without a custodial bridge, will go live on November 28. The launch will take place on Noble’s main network in the Cosmos ecosystem. For now, the chains supported by CCTP include Arbitrum, Base, Ethereum, and Optimism. When CCTP goes live, expect the movement of liquidity between the supported blockchains to become much more fluid. Altogether, these chains currently hold roughly 22.6 billion USDC tokens.
- The NEAR Foundation has introduced two new tools, the NEAR Data Availability (DA) layer and a partnership with Polygon Labs, to support Web3 builders. These innovations are focused on enhancing the development of Ethereum rollups and WebAssembly (WASM) blockchains. The collaboration with Polygon Labs aims to develop zkWASM, a zero-knowledge prover for WebAssembly blockchains, positioning NEAR Foundation as a significant contributor to Polygon’s Chain Development Kit for Ethereum-compatible networks. This partnership is expected to foster trustless interoperability between NEAR, Ethereum, and the broader Web3 ecosystem. Meanwhile, the NEAR DA layer offers Ethereum rollup developers a reliable and cost-effective solution for data availability, leveraging NEAR’s proven track record of stability.
- A stash of USDT worth US$27 million was drained from a hot wallet that is allegedly tied to Binance over the weekend, according to on-chain sleuth ZachXBT. The wallet initially received US$26 million from a Binance hot wallet in early November, establishing the relationship. After the drain, the stablecoins were converted into ETH and moved to noncustodial exchanges, then bridged to Bitcoin. For now, it isn’t clear how isolated this hack was, specifically whether one team member was targeted or if there is a larger systemic weakness.
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- The adoption of Web3 payments is gaining momentum in the United Arab Emirates and globally, driven by the technology’s ability to enhance transaction security, transparency, and efficiency. This trend, highlighted in a Deloitte report, is aligned with the UAE’s forward-looking blockchain strategy. Web3 payments, facilitated by platforms like Fuse Network, are transforming financial transactions by reducing dependence on intermediaries, lowering costs, and improving operational efficiency, making them an attractive option for businesses of all sizes.
- The Bitcoin network now has its own decentralized file-hosting solution. The service, called BitStream, was introduced on Monday by a developer with ZeroSync, a zero-knowledge proofs creator. The idea is that any user can offer their excess bandwidth and data storage capacity to other individuals, charging fees in return. This is a decentralized alternative to familiar solutions such as Google Cloud and Dropbox. BitStream will use a pay-to-download fee structure, which the developer claims is a sustainable approach to offering data storage. Notably, the same developer, Robin Linus, launched the Bitcoin-based virtual machine BitVM last month.
- Circle has upgraded its USDC and EURC stablecoins. The improvements involve cutting gas fees, as well as enabling better account abstraction and security for transactions on EVM networks. The upgrade is backward-compatible, so users will not experience any difference in the ways USDC and EURC are utilized. There’s no need to perform any swaps. Circle will roll out more updates over the next few months.
- Kasikorn X (KX), the venture capital arm of Thailand’s Kasikornbank, and HashKey Capital, a Hong Kong-based asset manager, have announced a strategic alliance to enhance the Web3 ecosystem in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. This partnership, marked by KX’s investment in HashKey Capital, aims to support startups in the digital asset and blockchain sectors. KX commits US$100 million to foster fintech, AI, and deep tech innovations, while HashKey Capital is raising US$500 million for its third fund, already having invested in leading companies like Animoca Brands. This is not the first collaboration between KX and HashKey Capital, as they previously partnered for the Web3 Bangkok Blast expo. This alliance showcases a strong commitment to advancing Web3, AI, and deep tech projects, with both entities leveraging their strengths and financial resources to influence the technological landscape in the region significantly.
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