High Tide in the Non-Fungible Token Marketplace
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) shot out of the gate in February 2021, and while they were initially dismissed as a fad, they have shown incredible staying power and continued growth as the year has progressed. While the most well-known uses for NFTs are for digital art, such as when Beeple sold a piece for $69m, the marketplace has so much more to offer and has managed to fill several new market needs in the process.
Ethereum London Hard Fork Prepares to Go Live, Institutions Eye Proof-Of-Stake
On July 18th, 2021, the upgrade for Ethereum’s long-awaited London hard fork was deployed to its final testnet, with an estimated go-live date on August 4th. This move represents an important milestone in the progression towards Ethereum 2.0, which stands to be one of the most momentous advancements in the history of digital assets. The hard fork brings with it several immediate upgrades that may serve to provide several much-needed boosts as the sphere recovers from its sell-off over the past few months.
Sunrise in Digital Asset Market Following Sell-Offs
The digital asset market has been on a wild ride downwards over the past few months, attributed to negative sentiment from a few particularly large market movers and concerns of crackdowns over trading and mining in China, which had previously held the lion’s share of the network’s mining operations. Much of the prevailing sentiment has called this a repeat of 2018, but there are strong indicators that long-term oriented market movers are scooping up coins at a massive discount. .
Fintech Offerings Outpace Legacy Institutions
In recent years, traditional banking institutions have struggled with meeting the needs of their customer base. With a great reliance on legacy processes that have not changed appreciably in decades, the need for innovation has never been greater. Fintech offerings have sidestepped many of the slow mechanisms that have hamstrung traditional financial system development, and their influence is beginning to eat into the market share legacy banks had previously enjoyed without competition.
Varys Capital is pleased to announce an investment in PolkaCipher. PolkaCipher’s aim is to bridge the gap between the off-chain Internet economy and on-chain decentralized applications, and to be at the forefront of the cross-chain NFT ecosystem with community governance and a privacy-enabled network.
Varys Capital is pleased to announce an investment in Matrixswap. Matrixswap’s mission is to develop a community-owned and governed decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol with infinite on-chain liquidity.
Varys Capital is pleased to announce an investment in Mintlayer’s seed round. Mintlayer’s mission is to provide access to decentralized finance (DeFi) in an accessible, user-friendly, and flexible manner.
War of the Blockchains – Newcomers Struggle for Dominance to Meet Market Needs
With markets firmly in “Altcoin Season” territory as of this writing, all eyes have been on potential shortcomings of Ethereum at its current scale. With transaction times and fees on the rise and concerns over power usage and potential centralization growing, the community has been hard at work building solutions with alternative blockchains while maintaining Ethereum’s mission and structure. This has led to a crop of up-and-coming projects, all eager to fill the needs in the market left as Ethereum continues to mature.
State of Current Affairs for Digital Assets: Q1 2021
Bitcoin has reached several all-time highs in 2021, primarily driven by economic uncertainty in regard to the pandemic and concerns of inflation triggered by large amounts of economic stimulus. Initially, the push was driven by a large amount of institutional investment and greater accessibility of Bitcoin, such as with PayPal offering crypto trading to a massive and previously largely untapped user base. As time has passed and the bull run has continued, though, its tenor has changed. For example, Grayscale, one of the largest forces behind the institutional investment force has tapered off their purchase of coins, but this has been compensated for by a huge surge in retail investment. Over the past twelve months, Bitcoin holdings have increased on Binance by 38%, much of it occurring in 2021. Binance is also outpacing Coinbase signups by a factor of 5, as the sensational price highs have spurred a vast amount of activity and interest in Bitcoin.
New Heights for Bitcoin Price and Adoption, Paving the Way for Altcoins
February marks another wild ride for Bitcoin, starting the month at roughly $34,000 and reaching an all-time high of $58,641 with a pullback to approximately $50,000 as of the writing of this article. This has resulted in a concomitant rise in chain activity, with a matching all-time high of unique addresses sending and receiving Bitcoin. This has resulted in institutions bringing Bitcoin access into both the virtual world through platforms and physical, real-space kiosks to drive further adoption.
Bitcoin Accessibility Marches On as Rally Continues
Bitcoin’s Rally Continues On Unabated
Bitcoin’s massive rally at the end of 2020 and proceeding into 2021 is no accident. One of the most common phrases among investors when comparing it to 2017’s rally is “this one is different.” 2017’s infamous rally and then crash was driven by speculation – when the house of cards fell, there was no real weight or backing behind it. What makes 2020 different is that the house is built on rock rather than sand, with an ever-swelling user base and the financial investment of some of America’s biggest institutional players.