Ethereum’s transition to PoS and the issue of the ruble-pegged stablecoin. Main events of the week
The most important industry news and detailed analysis of the cryptocurrency market in GetBlock Magazine's weekly review
Bitcoin has fallen by 4,82% over the past seven days. The asset reached its highest values on September 13, when BTC was trading at $22 799. The lowest values were registered on September 9 — $19 291 per coin. As of September 16, 10:30 UTC, the bitcoin exchange rate is $19 784 (according to Binance).
The value of the second most capitalized cryptocurrency, Ethereum, has declined 13,55% over the past seven days to $1463. The native token of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance (BNB) has fallen 4,83% and is trading at $275,1.
The total capitalization of the crypto market fell from $1,028 trillion to $1,002 trillion for the week, with bitcoin dominating 37,64%. Ethereum's share is 17,71%.
Ethereum successfully switched to PoS
On September 15, around 6:45 UTC, the long-awaited Merge upgrade to the Ethereum network was released. The blockchain of the second-largest cryptocurrency switched to the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, and management moved from miners to validators.
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin said he was “absolutely thrilled” about the end of the Proof-of-Work (PoW) era. “[It] has clearly been a dream for the Ethereum ecosystem almost from the start,” he said during a YouTube broadcast. Buterin also said that global power consumption has decreased by 0,2% since the upgrade.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began examining the status of ETH after the move to PoS. The asset must pass the Howey test, which will determine whether it is a security. The test will reveal whether investors expect to receive income from third parties. In Ethereum's case, the presence of a staking feature could indicate this.
According to a report by analytics firm Nansen, 64% of staked Ethereum (ETH) is controlled by 5 entities: Lido Finance (31%), Coinbase (15%), Kraken (8,5%), Binance (6,75%), and Staked.us (3,92%). 23% of all staked ETH accounts for the unlabeled group of validators. The study also says that staking accounts for just over 11% of the total number of circulating coins on the Ethereum network.
The developers of Ethereum's PoW fork launched the mainnet hours after the Merge upgrade. A number of large Ethereum mining pools are expected to support EthereumPoW (ETHW) mining. The list includes F2Pool, Nanopool, Poolin, and BTC.com. The network is also partnering with backup mining pool EthwMine.
ETW trading paired with Tether stablecoin (USDT) was launched by crypto exchanges Bybit and FTX. Before the upgrade, Bybit took a snapshot of ETH in users' accounts and credited ETHW at a 1:1 ratio based on that data.
From the world of mining
The US authorities allowed the possibility of banning mining because of its impact on the environment. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy suggests that miners reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the participation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Energy, and other federal agencies, which should also develop environmental standards for the industry. Cardano blockchain head Charles Hoskinson later warned that these recommendations could lead to a total ban on bitcoin.
One of the largest mining pools, Poolin, which announced liquidity problems on September 5, unveiled a plan to restore withdrawals. The company issued six types of tokens as IOUs: IOUBTC, IOUETH, IOUUSDT, IOULTC, IOUZEC and IOUDOGE. They were credited to users on September 15. Each quarter, the pool will burn part of the tokens, allowing customers to exchange “debt” assets for basic ones.
After another recalculation on September 14, the Bitcoin network's mining difficulty increased by 3,45%, to a record 32,05T. The average network hashrate rose to 229,85 EH/s. It reached its highest levels on September 12, at 232,4 EH/s.
Russian market news
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin instructed the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Russia to develop a strategy for the development of digital financial assets (DFAs) by December 1, 2022. The prime minister believes that DFAs should facilitate smooth payment of imports and exports. Regulators must also agree on a draft law to regulate mining by December 19.
Ivan Chebeskov, Director of the Financial Policy Department of the Ministry of Finance, said that the option of cross-border transfers in cryptocurrency may appear as early as 2023. This information was also confirmed by Anatoly Aksakov, head of the State Duma Committee on the Financial Market. He also added that the companies will choose which cryptocurrency to trade in, and operations can be carried out on the Moscow and St. Petersburg exchanges. At the same time, according to the bill on the legalization of cryptocurrencies submitted in February, this class of assets may be recognized as property, and transactions with them will become barter.
The head of Indefibank Sergey Mendeleev announced the release of stablecoin with a peg to the ruble based on the Ethereum blockchain according to the ERC-20 standard. The asset will be fully backed by real currency. Ethereum is taken as the starting platform, if there is demand, the coin will also be issued in Binance Smart Chain and Solana networks.
The Bank of Russia started looking for a blockchain developer. The position involves the development of technological prototypes, as well as participation in the development of advisory reports, amendments to regulations in the field of digital assets and distributed ledgers. The vacancy is posted on hh.ru.
NFT and metaverse news
Singapore's largest bank, DBS Bank, partnered with The Sandbox metaverse to create an interactive virtual world called BetterWorld. It will be available for free to all users after the full launch of The Sandbox tentatively in 2023. BetterWorld will be used to disseminate information about environmental, social, and governance issues and draw attention to the companies that are addressing them.
The sports company PUMA launched its own Black Station metaverse, as well as its FUTROGRADE collection of NFT sneakers. Owners of tokens from the company's earlier collection, Nitropass, have access to it. The launch took place at New York Fashion Week (NYFW).
Japan began using NFTs as an additional reward for local governments. The tokens were presented to seven officials by the Cabinet Secretariat in recognition of their efforts to use digital technology to solve local problems.
According to The Block Research, the number of NFTs issued on the Solana blockchain reached 312 000 on September 7. This figure was only 39 000 on September 4. On September 6, the total volumes across all marketplaces reached $11,5 million, the highest level since May. The market share of Magic Eden, an NFT marketplace on the Solana network, has grown since the beginning of the month from 12% to 36,6%.
The Center for Strategic Research (CSR) of the Russian Federation proposed a separate regulation of NFTs, as well as persons who ensure the transfer of tokenized rights and make records of their accounting on the blockchain. The CSR stated that the existing legal definitions of NFTs do not correctly describe the essence of the assets and limit their options. The organization also develops a set of rules for virtual items from metaverse and games with the Play-to-Earn model (P2E).
An unknown user paid a fee of 36 ETH (about $57 852 at the time of the transaction) to issue the first NFT after the Ethereum upgrade. The token is an image of a panda and is called The Transition.
New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) will buy NFTs with part of the proceeds from the sale of William Paley’s collection, founder of the CBS broadcasting network. It has been kept in the museum since Paley’s death in 1990 and contains works by Picasso, Rodin, and Renoir. Museum officials expect to earn $70 million at the auction.
CBDC and stablecoin news
The Norwegian Central Bank released a prototype of the national cryptocurrency based on Nahmii, an Ethereum scaling solution. GitHub has published open source code for access to the testnet, where mining, burning and transfer of ERC-20 standard tokens are available.
China's central bank called for better integration between traditional electronic payment instruments and the digital yuan system to improve its convenience. The regulator believes this requires expanding the asset's uses.
Tether launched the USDT stablecoin on the NEAR protocol. The asset now circulates in fourteen blockchains: NEAR, Algorand, Avalanche, Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP), Ethereum, EOS, Kusama, Liquid Network, Omni, Polygon, Tezos, TRON, Solana, and Statemine.
Predictions on cryptocurrency rates
Dan Morehead, head of the cryptocurrency hedge fund Pantera Capital, said that crypto winter will soon end and the bitcoin price will start to grow. He stressed that such ups and downs are commonplace and have occurred repeatedly over the past ten years. Morehead believes that the value of BTC will grow about 2,5 times every year.
The former head of crypto exchange BitMEX, Arthur Hayes, allowed the value of Ethereum to rise to $3000 after the upgrade, which would reduce the daily issuance from 13 000 to 1600 coins. Hayes is confident that the reduction in ETH will be a strong boost to the price.
Crypto trader and investor Tone Vays warned of a possible bitcoin crash similar to that of the 2018 bear market. According to Vays, the asset is also repeating the price movement of May 2022, when it showed signs of recovery but eventually collapsed.
Clem Chambers, head of financial information portal website ADVFN, said the price of bitcoin could fall to $10 000 if it drops to $17 000. According to Chambers, in this case, BTC may reach the bottom twice within the corresponding pattern, after which active growth to $40 000 is possible.
Robert Kiyosaki, entrepreneur and author of the bestseller “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” urged his readers to buy cryptocurrencies amid the impending crash of all markets combined with the decline of the economic system. He noted that the collapse “will lead to a transformation of the current world order, and cryptocurrencies have a chance to emerge victorious.”
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