How Bybit Empowered Crypto Believers To Achieve Their Dreams & Revolutionized The Traditional Finance

Bybit, established in 2018, is an innovative, fast-growing cryptocurrency derivatives exchange. The company was founded by a team of professionals having expertise in investment banking and the forex industry. Bybit has its headquarters in Singapore and is registered in the British Virgin Islands. It envisions a global economy and provides a seemingly fast, secured, and transparent trading system.

It has embarked on a journey to build the next-gen financial ecosystem powered by innovative and advanced blockchain technology. With more than 1.6 million Bybit users globally, and retail or professional clients, Bybit remains customer-focused and endeavors to provide the best user experience.

Bybit exchange, a crypto derivatives exchange, provides a fair trading environment to trade futures with good leverage in BTC/USD, ETH/USD, XRP/USD, EOS/USD, and BTC/USDT perpetual contracts. According to our Bybit review, this cryptocurrency exchange operates and provides a safe, secured, fair, transparent, and efficient futures trading platform.

Features of Bybit

While there are many similarities between the exchanges, some distinctive features that Bybit has included could make them attractive.

  • Bybit exchange offers trade derivatives products, including Bitcoin and other cryptos, with three contract options:-
    • Inverse Perpetual
    • USDT Perpetual
    • Inverse Futures
  • It gives full access to a wide range of trading features, including cross and isolated margin trading. Bybit offers 100X leverage trading, which is not adjustable if utilized in the cross-margin option.
  • Bybit permits limit order, conditional order or conditional limit order, stop-loss order, and advanced orders such as Good till Cancelled, Immediate or Cancel (IOC order), Fill or Kill. Advanced Order Forms are easy to use and great for quick access.
  • It provides a host of data analysis tools to access data such as price moving averages, moving average indicators, and monthly price range. It also includes funding data, specific index prices, rolling volatility chart, BTC daily realized volatility, market analysis, and the latest news.
  • It provides a great trading experience with an intuitive user interface for the crypto community.

Perpetual Futures and The Dual Price Mechanism

A perpetual futures contract is a derivative that does not expire, unlike spot and futures trade contracts. It helps to maximize profit opportunities. Bybit has plans to incorporate quarterly futures contracts and subaccounts when it integrates with the MetaTrader 4 foreign exchange platform.

The Dual Price Mechanism protects traders from trade manipulation or price manipulation, which results in steep losses due to liquidation of positions due to margin shortage or requirement at prevailing market price.

Bybit’s Mark to Market Price

‘Funding’ provides a healthy spread between the spot and the derivative cryptocurrency exchange price. It helps to match spot price and derivative exchange price, once in eight hours, by making the last asset traded price on the crypto platform ‘mark price to market price.’

100X Leveraged Trading

Bybit allows 100x leverage on perpetual futures products. Thus, most traders can increase their leverage to match the maintenance margin requirement. It equips experienced traders in entering sizable positions.

The Contract Loss Mechanism

A leveraged long or short position in a highly volatile market might be liquidated if the price goes lower than the bankruptcy price. Bybit Insurance Fund helps liquidated traders to cover the deficits caused due to losses.

Socialized Loss system Vs Auto-Deleveraging system (ADL)

ADL can protect traders from abnormal losses by potential deleveraging of the highest profitable and leveraged positions in that order. Its unrealized profit ratio and leverage determine the ADL ranking for each position.

Bybit Payments or Deposits into their account can be made through Visa, Mastercard, Electronic Fund Transfer or Wire Transfer, and Bill Payment options. Bybit operates in collaboration with Banxa, Xanpool, MoonPay, and Mercury to support payments through fiat currency. Mobile App users can click on the ‘Assets’ tab on the bottom right-hand corner and click on ‘Deposit.’

Bybit Fees

Makers and Takers: Users can be classified as either ‘Makers’ or ‘Takers’. Market Makers provide liquidity and market depth, whereas market Makers squeeze the liquidity from the order book. Makers orders are not filled immediately, whereas Takers orders are filled immediately as a market order. Market makers are rewarded for providing liquidity and market depth.

Bybit offers a maker fee (rebate) of 0.025% instead of charging fees to Makers, unlike a fee of 0.075% charged for Takers. The net cost accrued by the Bybit platform is 0.05%. One can withdraw funds by entering the wallet address and clicking the withdrawal button three times a day with a withdrawal fee. Bybit withdrawal limits are 10BTC. It also has limits on daily withdrawals, which is 0.0005 BTC, and Bybit Funding Fee or Funding Rate is 0.02%/ -0.02%.

Services Provided by Bybit Exchange

Currently, Bybit offers trading strategies or options in Inverse Perpetual Contract, USDT Perpetual, and Inverse Contract in Bitcoin, EOS, Ethereum, and Ripple XRP. It offers up to 100x leverage on Bitcoin’s perpetual swap future contract. Deposits are accepted in all the currencies that they trade, i.e., BTC ETH EOS, XRP.

Bybit Promotions

Rewards Hub

For new signups, $50 coupon for first-time deposit within 48 hours and $10 after 48 hours, $5 bonus on a BTC deposit, and $5 coupon on following Bybit on social media channels or networks. It is a user-friendly exchange that also conducts trading competitions offering colossal prize money to the winners.

Bybit bonus can either be used as an initial margin or initial maintenance margin to cover losses or offset the trading fee. Bonus as such cannot be withdrawn. However, the profits derived from trading with bonuses can be withdrawn. As soon as the referee becomes qualified, the bonus is deposited immediately in the trader’s Derivatives Account, which refers to the new user.

Bybit Trading Bot

Trading bots are automated software that trades as per the pre-set conditions by experienced traders. Some trading bots that enable a trader to auto trade in Bybit are TradingView, 3Commas, Alertaton, Autoview, Cornix, FMZ, GoodCrypto, Haasonline Hydor, Mudrex, Profit Trading, ProfitTrailer, Profitview, Sirius Trader, Stacked, TokenBot, Tycoon, Wunderbit, and WBCCLUB.

Bybit Testnet

Bybit testnet enables a potential trader to better understand the key features, options, advantages, and pros and cons without making a deposit. It’s a virtual account provided solely to practice crypto trading with fake money. A new user could explore for informational purposes and have a hands-on experience without actually exposing oneself to the risk of losing money.

Bybit Mobile App

The mobile app is fully compatible with the most advanced Android and iOS systems and can be downloaded from the Google play store. Like desktop, one can buy cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other coins through the app, either using a credit card, debit card, or a bank transfer. Though it’s a bit challenging to study TradingView charts and monitor numerous markets on the app, it’s a good tool for monitoring open positions. The crypto account is fully secured through a multi-signature cold storage wallet solution. One can choose to trade various trading pairs like BTC/USD, ETH/USD, XRP/USD, EOS/USD, BTC/USDT, and other perpetual trade contracts. It processes 100,000 transactions per second which ensure the fulfillment of every trade order.

Bybit Security Parameters

Bybit spends 20% of its annual budget on ensuring the platform’s security against the industry average of 15%. Unlike most other exchanges that use ‘hot wallets,’ it has adopted ‘cold wallets,’ which have inbuilt robust security management, features, and measures. All deposit addresses are cold wallet addresses. Offline signatures carry on underlying Asset transfers and withdrawals. Withdrawal requests are subject to three levels of verifications and manual reviews per day to manage risk, and traders can withdraw once every eight hours.

Bybit has a stringent policy regarding crypto-asset consolidation, including system security, physical environment security, operation authentication, encryption techniques, monitoring, and audit. It protects user data and personal information, which is in line with its privacy policy. Each employee of the platform is thoroughly trained, scrutinized, and assessed for internal security control.

The exchange always insists the user have two-factor authentication. The user has to scan the QR code, and a six-digit 2FA code is generated randomly inside the Google Authenticator App. Users should write down the Recovery Key Phrase and store your RKP securely inside a cloud server with full SSL encryption.

Bybit Customer Support

Bybit has a 24/7 customer support team on a global scale to answer the phone or live chat function to resolve any queries or issues. The language options here are English, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Source: https://www.bybit.com

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Treasury Sanctions Ethereum-Based Tornado Cash For Allegedly Helping To Launder More Than $7 Billion

The Treasury Department on Monday sanctioned a cryptocurrency firm with ties to a North Korea state-sponsored hacking group for allegedly facilitating malicious laundering—marking the latest retaliatory measures against so-called virtual currency mixing services, which effectively obfuscate cryptocurrency transactions to make them more difficult to track.

In a statement Monday morning, the Treasury announced it was sanctioning Ethereum-based Tornado Cash for allegedly helping to launder more than $7 billion worth of cryptocurrency since its creation in 2019, effectively freezing U.S. assets on the platform and barring Americans from using the service.

Laundered funds included over $455 million stolen by North Korea hacking ring the Lazarus Group in the largest known virtual currency heist to date—when North Korean cyberattackers stole some $620 million from an Ethereum-linked platform for NFT-based video game Axie Infinity in March—the Treasury said.

On its website, Tornado Cash says it has helped nearly 40,000 users obfuscate transactions through more than 150,000 deposits that help “achieve privacy” by using smart contracts to route funds to an address with no ether balance and then send it to a new public address that has no link to the original sender.

In a Monday statement, the Treasury’s Brian Nelson said Tornado Cash repeatedly failed to impose effective controls and “basic measures” designed to stop it from laundering funds for malicious cyber actors and pledged to continue to “aggressively” pursue actions against mixers that launder cryptocurrency for criminals.

The move follows the Treasury’s first-ever sanctions on a virtual currency mixer in May, when it designated Blender.io for allegedly also helping to carry out the Lazarus-backed crypto heist in March—to the tune of more than $20.5 million worth of illicit proceeds.

In addition to the heist in March, Tornado Cash was also used to launder more than $96 million of funds derived from a June hack of blockchain bridge Harmony and at least $7.8 million from an attack on Nomad, which lost about $190 million in a security exploit just last week, according to the Treasury.

Treasury officials this year have unleashed a wave of sanctions to protect against the potential use of cryptocurrency for sanctions evasion and money laundering. Shortly before the first mixer sanctions, the Treasury in April designated a cryptocurrency mining firm for the first time—targeting Switzerland-based Bitriver AG for operating in the Russian technology sector. Also that month, the Treasury designated Moscow-based exchange Garantex for “willfully disregarding” anti-money-laundering obligations and “allowing [its] systems to be abused by illicit actors.”

In a post on its website, crypto policy think tank Coin Center criticized the Treasury’s Monday decision for “sanctioning a tool that is not an alias of any person meriting sanction,” and said the move effectively limits “any American who wishes to use her own money and a freely available software tool to maintain her own privacy—including for otherwise entirely legal and personal reasons.” According to Coin Center, the sanctions also have uncertain legal ramifications because they potentially put Americans who are sent money through a Tornado address at risk of violating the Treasury’s rules—even though they can’t reject the transaction due to the nature of blockchain.

I’m a senior reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business

Source: Treasury Sanctions Ethereum-Based Tornado Cash For Allegedly Helping To Launder More Than $7 Billion

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How Shell Is Using Web3 And Blockchain For Sustainability And Energy Transition

Shell is one of the largest energy companies in the world. Although many of us may associate it primarily with oil and gas, it has embarked on an ambitious energy transition agenda in a bid to move away from the use of fossil fuels toward green and sustainable energy.

This includes targets of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner, as well as a more immediate goal of reducing scope one and two emissions by 50 percent by the end of this decade.

In order to do this, it is leveraging several new technology trends that are proving themselves to be revolutionary in many industries beyond their own sector. These include artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), and – as we will see in this article – Web3 and blockchain.

Blockchain is best known to most people as the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The simplest way to think of it is that it’s essentially a relatively new form of database format. Blockchains have two key features that make them different from other databases. Firstly, rather than being centrally located on a specific computer or server, they are distributed. This means they are spread across multiple computers, so no one person is in direct, overall control, and all changes have to be validated by consensus.

Secondly, they are encrypted, meaning they are effectively tamper-proof, and only people with permission can add to them or edit the data they contain.

These two features, in combination, make blockchain ideal for applications where data needs to be added, checked, and validated by multiple parties, and security and integrity are of utmost importance. A good demonstration of its robustness can be seen in the fact that the Bitcoin network itself handles 270 million transactions every day, is worth (as of writing) around $400 billion and has remained secure throughout the 13 years of its existence so far.

These features make blockchain an attractive technology for global organizations like Shell, which need hyper-secure, scalable technology solutions to drive a new generation of applications involving collecting and sharing valuable data. Their “trustless” nature improves the current processes used across the industry, helps to reimagine energy value chains via tokenizing energy to create transparency & traceability, and creates new markets and new business models with DEFI / DAO’s / NFT’s etc.

Recently, I was joined by Dan Jeavons, VP of Computational Science and Digital Innovation at Shell, as well as Shell’s blockchain lead, Sabine Brink, to discuss some of these projects on my webinar.

Brink tells me, “The intersect of digital and energy is one of the most exciting spaces. Looking at how do we utilize this technology – web3, blockchain that accelerate the energy transition. This is an extremely motivating journey to be on.”

This enthusiasm has led to her spending the past five years examining every area of the business where blockchain and related Web3 technologies could be implemented in order to drive sustainability and green energy goals. A number of projects have emerged out of this, and the most promising are now moving into pilot and production stages, where it is hoped their ability to drive real global change will be realized.

In particular, I was interested to hear how the energy giant is using blockchain to trace and verify the provenance of energy created from renewable sources. As the world has come to appreciate the urgent need to transition towards sustainable energy sources, huge rewards – both in terms of financial incentives and customer loyalty – have emerged for organizations that work towards affecting change.

The process, however, is often opaque – it’s difficult for customers or partner organizations to really be sure exactly how clean a specific energy source or supplier is. Jeavons and Brink explained to me that Shell has developed a blockchain-based system that can demystify the complex web of sources.

He says, “So if you look at the electricity market today, we have energy attribute certificates (EAC) that represent green energy or grey [non-green] energy generated in a given month or year. For companies that aim to run on 100 percent green energy, their monthly or yearly certificates may match their total energy consumption, but when the sun doesn’t shine, and the wind does not blow, grey energy is actually being consumed. So it’s hard to claim that they are actually consuming green energy on a 24/7 basis.”

Shell’s solution involves creating highly granular certificates in real-time at the source where the energy is created – which could be solar panels in the desert or wind farms in the ocean – to represent the green energy produced at every half hour, in sync with established energy attribute certificates systems. Every point of that electron’s journey to the point that it is consumed is tracked and recorded on a blockchain.

“This is one of those solutions where blockchain creates the transparency and assures us there’s no double-counting of electrons in the system; we believe this could be a game-changer,” Jeavons tells me.

Another project which has just made the leap to pilot phase is an ambitious venture between Shell, Accenture, and Amex aimed at increasing the availability and use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Brink says, “To me, this is one of the most exciting projects we’ve been working on. I’m very proud of the team. It’s one of the first public blockchain solutions that creates a credible and transparent way to help decarbonize the aviation sector. Thanks to its inherent technical features, blockchain offers verifiability, transparency, and security of environmental attributes of SAF.”

The product is Avelia – one of the first blockchain-powered book-and-claim system which will offer around one million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and associated environmental benefits to corporates looking to reduce emissions from their business travel.

Currently, there is insufficient SAF available at an affordable price. It’s hoped that through aggregating demand for SAF among corporate travelers who form a more concentrated segment than leisure passengers, there will be a reduction in the price – with SAF currently priced significantly higher than equivalent conventional aviation fuels. However, a growth in demand for the fuel will theoretically lead to suppliers increasing investment in production and, therefore, an eventual fall in price.

“It’s really hard to decarbonize the aviation sector,” Brink tells me. “Decarbonizing the aviation sector cannot happen overnight. Today we do not have large-scale airplanes that can be powered by green electricity that are able to travel the world. Sustainable aviation fuel is actually a solution – sustainable aviation fuel that we can utilize today and implement with existing infrastructure.

With Avelia, we hope to demonstrate that the tracking of SAF data at scale can be delivered in a credible manner, thereby proving to decision-makers that a mechanism for corporations and airlines to book and claim SAF is an acceptable form of emission reduction. In turn, this creates increased demand signals to structurally scale the SAF production required to reduce emissions in aviation.”

Other blockchain and digital transformation projects currently undergoing evaluation or pilot status at Shell involve “digital passports” to track the lifecycle of industrial parts, equipment, and machinery at energy plants operated by the company and its partners.

Of course, all of this technology-driven transformation is driven, at its root, by data, and Shell has worked to implement an integrated data platform that aggregates 2.9 trillion rows of information harvested from all areas of its business. This includes IoT sensors installed across its plants and wind and solar farms, ultimately allowing it to create digital twin applications to help it better understand the operation of its assets.

Jeavons says, “This is what my team is so excited about – the potential to do this at scale. We’re rolling out digital twin … we’re rolling out AI … and when you put that together with traceability, we believe we could bring to market a whole raft of decarbonization solutions … where we could partner with our customers to help them accelerate their own decarbonization journeys. We’re just getting started.”

Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, futurist, and a strategic business & technology advisor to governments and companies.

Source: How Shell Is Using Web3 And Blockchain For Sustainability And Energy Transition

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What Are The Benefits of Working For a Private Blockchain Development Company

Blockchain technology is a relatively new development that has the potential to be a game-changer. Some even promote blockchain technology as being the next technological revolution. A lot of businesses are excited about the possibilities that exist with blockchain and are trying to get in on the game early.

Over the last few years, blockchain technology has made a lot of progress. This is one of the most talked-about trends in the technology sector. With the potential to change everything from institutions to platforms, there is no doubt blockchain technology is here to stay. While it is still in the early days, we have a long way to go before we see it being used by most people and businesses.

This blog looks at some of the biggest benefits of working for a private blockchain development company.

 What is a private blockchain?

A private blockchain is a blockchain that is not open to the public and can only be joined by invitation. These blockchains are usually controlled by a single entity, organization, or group of people. There are also consortium blockchains that are controlled by a pre-selected set of nodes or miners. In the case of a public blockchain, the transactions are openly validated by a network of miners. On the other hand, in a private blockchain, transactions are validated by either a single entity or a group of people.

There are several benefits of working for a private blockchain development company, depending on the business you’re in. Private blockchains are a good option if you want to keep your transaction data private. It is also great if you want to carry out multiple transactions per second. However, a private blockchain is not a decentralized system and is usually used by a single entity.

 How is private blockchain development better than public blockchain?

You might have heard about public blockchain and private blockchain, but what is the difference between them? Let’s see what the difference between private and public blockchains is.

A public blockchain is a decentralized ledger that is open to everyone on the network. Anyone can download the software and join the network. All transactions are transparent and the miners’ identities are public. Anyone on the network can participate in the consensus mechanism.

A private blockchain is a private version of the public blockchain. It is behind a firewall, so only those who are granted access can join the network. So, it is permissioned. A private blockchain can be permissioned by a single entity or by a consortium of companies. A private blockchain is used for enterprise solutions. It is centralized, but it is not controlled by a single entity. It is controlled by a group of companies.

 Benefits of hiring a  private blockchain development company

Today, Blockchain technology is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, and there are a lot of Private Blockchain development companies that you can hire to help you with your project. But you must know them. Blockchain has been in the news a lot lately, with many companies making headlines by using the technology.

Bitcoin, which is a digital currency, was the first application of Blockchain technology. Bitcoin was developed in 2009, and in that same year, Blockchain technology started to gain popularity. Today, Blockchain technology is used in a variety of different industries and has a large number of applications.

When you work for a private blockchain development company, you get to work on some really interesting projects. You also get to learn new information and technologies. These are just a couple of the benefits of working for a private blockchain development company, but they are also some of the most important. You will also be able to apply your knowledge to a wide variety of different projects.

Conclusion

The benefits of working for a private blockchain development company are about the same as for any other IT job. You get access to new technologies, you get to learn new skills and you get to work with other talented people. The main difference is that you are working for a company that is using blockchain technology, so you are sure to be working on something new and exciting.

By: John.V

Source: What are the benefits of working for a private blockchain development company?

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Playing it louder: Companies bring music licensing to the blockchain Cointelegraph

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How Digital Currencies Went From Boom To Collapse

Yuri Popovich had watched his neighbours’ houses burn down to the ground in Kyiv and he needed a safe place to put his money. So he did what millions of amateur investors have done in recent years: he turned to cryptocurrency. “It was impossible and unsafe to store funds in the form of banknotes. There was a big risk of theft, we also had cases of looting. Therefore, I trusted a ‘stable and reliable’ cryptocurrency. Not for the purpose of speculating, but simply to save,” he says.

The digital asset that Popovich chose in April was terra, a “stablecoin” whose value was supposed to be pegged to the dollar. It collapsed in May, sparking a rout in the cryptocurrency market whose victims include Popovich. He lost $10,000 (£8,200). Popovich says his losses were “devastating”, although donations from sympathetic onlookers on social media have helped make up some of the shortfall. He says: “I stopped sleeping normally, lost 4kg, I often have headaches and anxiety.”

Popovich is one of many experiencing the deep chill of the current crypto winter, more than four years after the market’s cornerstone, bitcoin, marked the first digital freeze by tumbling from its then peak. It went on a long tear after that but it has come to a juddering halt, with bitcoin falling below the $20,000 mark at one point this month – far below its peak of nearly $69,000, which it hit last November.

The fall has been sharp and spectacular: an overall market that was estimated to be worth more than $3tn barely six months ago is now worth less than $1tn.

Crypto boom: a new digital economy

The beginnings of the latest crypto boom held all the hallmarks of being another instance of the “Robinhood economy”, named after the popular American stock trading app. Bored white collar workers, stuck at home because of pandemic lockdowns but awash with disposable income, turned to day trading as a way to pass the time. Subscribers to the r/WallStreetBets forum on the popular online discussion site Reddit doubled over the course of 2020 and then quadrupled in the first month of 2021, as a small army of retail investors flooded into assets as varied as the then bankrupt car rental company Hertz, the troubled video game retailer GameStop and the electric car manufacturer Tesla, pushing the latter from $85 at the beginning of the pandemic to a high of $1,243 towards the end of 2021.

Cryptocurrencies also benefited from the surge in day trading. Bitcoin soared from a low of $5,000 in March 2020 to more than $60,000 a year later. The currency has had that sort of precipitous increase before: in 2017, it had risen 20-fold, to its then peak of $19,000. But in the latest boom, ethereum, the number two cryptocurrency, had an even more impressive climb, from just $120 to a high of almost $5,000 in 2021.

Cryptocurrency is the name for any digital asset that works like bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency, which was invented in 2009. There is a “decentralised ledger”, which records who owns what, built into a “blockchain”, which secures the whole network by ensuring transactions are irreversible once made. In the years since then, a dizzying amount of variations have arisen, but the core – the blockchain concept – is remarkably stable, in part because of the social implications of truly decentralised networks being immune to government oversight or regulation.

Where, 10 years ago, people simply spoke of trading in bitcoin, the space has ballooned. As well as cryptocurrencies themselves, , the sector has developed in a complex ecosystem. It encompasses Web3, a broader selection of apps and services built on top of cryptocurrencies, DeFi, an attempt to bootstrap an entire financial sector out of code rather than contracts, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which use the same technology as cryptocurrencies to trade in objects rather than money.

The flood of money washing into the world of crypto did more than simply inflate the paper wealth of pre-existing shareholders. Instead, it led to a surge of interest in, and funding for, the vast array of projects that aimed to capitalise on the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies. For a generation of new investors, the “decentralised finance” opportunities of the sector were appealing. Built on top of the “programmable money” of the ethereum cryptocurrency, the “DeFi” [decentralised finance] sector is an attempt to expand bitcoin’s anti-establishment ethos to cover the entire economy.

Take the comparatively small sector of the crypto market known as NFTs. A product dating back to 2014, NFTs take the tech used to create cryptocurrencies, but let creators link unique assets to the blockchain, instead of money-like currencies. That means NFTs can be traded that represent works of art, virtual collectibles, or even function as tickets to events or membership of clubs. And like cryptocurrencies, they can be bought or sold in open exchanges, held pseudonymously, and packaged up or securitised in complex financial instruments.

One token, representing years of work by the digital artist Beeple, sold for $69m; another, linked to the first tweet sent by the Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, was bought for $2.9m. Individual NFTs in the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection – the most consistently desired examples of “profile pic” NFTs, designed to be used as pre-packaged online identity – regularly sold for $1m-$3m apiece. But by the beginning of 2022, the NFT bubble appeared to have already popped. “Floor” prices for large NFT collections had plummeted, and, while many large NFT acquisitions have stayed in private collection, those that have been put back on the market have fared poorly: the Dorsey tweet was withdrawn from sale after achieving a top bid of just $14,000.

And then: the crash

The crypto crisis has played out against the backdrop of wider market problems, as fears over the Ukraine conflict, rising inflation and higher borrowing costs stalk investors. Some market watchers play down the prospect of a crypto crash triggering serious problems elsewhere in the financial markets or the global economy. The total value of all cryptocurrencies is about $1tn currently (with bitcoin accounting for about 40% of the total), which compares with approximately $100tn for the world’s stock markets.

Since November the value of all cryptocurrencies has fallen from $3tn, meaning that $2tn worth of wealth has been wiped out, with no serious knock-on effects to the broader stock market – so far. Teunis Brosens, the head economist for digital finance at the Dutch bank ING, says the traditional financial system is relatively well shielded because established banks – the cornerstones of the financial world that buckled in 2008 – are not exposed to cryptocurrencies because they do not hold digital assets on their balance sheets, unlike during the financial crisis when they held toxic debt products related to the housing market.

“What has happened in the crypto market has caused great losses for some investors and it’s all very painful and not something I want to downplay,” he says. “But it would be overplaying the role that crypto currently has in the economic and financial system if you were to think there could be systemic consequences for the wider financial system or even a global recession directly caused by crypto assets.” To date, the turmoil has been limited to the crypto sector. Digital assets have been hit by some of the same economic issues that have affected the wider global economy and stock markets. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been affected by concerns over rising inflation and the ensuing increases in interest rates by central banks, which has made risky assets less attractive to investors. This meant that as stock markets declined, so too did crypto assets.

But the collapse last month of terra also hit confidence in cryptocurrencies. In June, a cryptocurrency lender, Celsius, was forced to stop customer withdrawals. And a hedge fund that made big bets on the crypto markets slid towards liquidation. Crypto investors and firms that had made bets on the crypto market using digital assets as collateral were forced into a selling spree. Kim Grauer, the head of research at the cryptocurrency data firm Chainalysis, says: “It was a combination of the stock market plus the kind of excessive reaction that is typical of crypto markets because of these cascading liquidations. In this case the key event was terra.”

She added: “Crypto is not going away. And it has experienced crashes more severe than this crash.” Regulators and various government agencies are looking closely. Harry Eddis, the global co-head of fintech at Linklaters, a London-based law firm, says recent events in the crypto asset market will strengthen regulators’ determination to rein in the industry.“nI think it will certainly stiffen the sinews of the regulators in saying that they’re more than justified in regulating the industry, because of the obvious risks with a lot of the crypto assets out there,” he says.

In the UK, the financial watchdog continues to expand safeguards on crypto products. Its latest proposals on marketing crypto products to consumers could lead to significant restrictions on crypto exchanges operating in the UK. Consumers reported 4,300 potential crypto scams to the Financial Conduct Authority’s website over a six-month period last year, far ahead of the second place category, pension transfers, which had 1,600 reports. The FCA has 50 live investigations, including criminal inquiries, into companies in the sector.

The terra collapse has also heightened regulatory concerns about stablecoins, because they are backed by traditional assets and therefore could pose a risk to the wider financial system. In the UK, the Treasury wants a regime in place for dealing with a stablecoin collapse, saying in May that a terra-like failure could endanger the “continuity of services critical to the operation of the economy and access of individuals to their funds or assets”.

“Even just the top three stablecoins hold reserves totalling $140bn in traditional assets, much of this being in commercial paper and US treasuries. A run on redemptions of the largest coin (tether) could destabilise the entire crypto asset system and spill over into other markets,” says Carol Alexander, the professor of finance at University of Sussex Business School.

Elsewhere, the EU is drawing up a regulatory framework for crypto assets with the aim of introducing it by 2024, while in the US Joe Biden has signed an executive order directing the federal government to coordinate a regulatory plan for cryptocurrencies including ensuring “sufficient oversight and safeguard against any systemic financial risks posed by digital assets”. The Federal Trade Commission, the US consumer watchdog, says 46,000 people have lost more than $1bn to crypto scams since the start of 2021.

In general, regulators have been talking tough about cryptocurrencies. The chair of the FCA has called for “strong safeguards” to be put in place for the crypto market, while the head of the US financial regulator has warned consumers about crypto products promising returns that are “too good to be true”, while Singapore has said it will be “brutal and unrelentingly hard” on misbehaviour in the crypto market.

‘I’m sure crypto will bubble again

Where crypto goes from here is an unanswerable question. For proponents, such as Changpeng Zhao, the multibillionaire owner of the Binance cryptocurrency exchange, the sector is sure to recover – though it might take some time. “I think given this price drop … it will probably take a while to get back,” he told the Guardian last week. “It probably will take a few months or a couple of years.”

For sceptics, however, the plummet could be a lasting wound. “Bitcoin will be around for decades,” says David Gerard, author of Attack of the 50-Foot Blockchain. “All you need is the software, the blockchain and two or more enthusiasts. Unless there’s new stringent regulation, I’m sure crypto will bubble again. But if there’s a genuine consumer bubble, it may not reach the heights of this one. The 2021-22 bubble made it to the Super Bowl. As many a dotcom found out 20 years ago, there’s nowhere to go from there – you’ve reached every consumer in America.”

But one thing both sides agree on is that the dividing line between “survivable downturn” and “cryptoapocalypse” is likely to involve neither bitcoin nor ethereum, but the third biggest cryptocurrency: a stablecoin called tether. Stablecoins are a foundational part of the crypto ecosystem. Their value is fixed to that of a conventional currency, allowing users to cash out of risky positions without going through the rigamarole of a bank transfer, and enabling crypto-native banks and DeFi establishments to work without taking on a currency risk.

In essence, stablecoins function like the banks of the crypto economy, allowing people to park their money safely in the knowledge that it is not exposed to wider risk. Which means that when a stablecoin collapses, it has a very similar effect to a bank failure: money disappears across the ecosystem, liquidity dries up, and other institutions begin to fail in a domino effect. The beginning of the latest crisis in crypto was sparked by exactly that: the failure of the terra/luna stablecoin. The algorithmic checks and balances put in place to keep it stable broke – triggering a death spiral.

And so on 9 May, a stablecoin called UST “depegged”, dropping from $1 to $0.75 in a day, and then falling further, and further and further. Within four days, the luna blockchain was turned off entirely, the project declared dead. A domino effect took out other crypto establishments. Some of the “contagion” has been prevented, in part through huge loans made by Alameda Ventures, the investment arm of 30-year-old crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s empire. Drawing comparisons to JP Morgan in the panic of 1907, “SBF” has stepped in to support the crypto bank Voyager and the embattled exchange BlockFi, and been loudly calling for support from others.

Unlike terra, tether is a “centralised” stablecoin, maintaining its value through reserves which, the company says, are always redeemable one-to-one for a tether token. The model means it cannot enter a “death spiral” like terra, but also means the stability of the token is entirely a function of how much one trusts tether to actually maintain its reserves. That trust is not a sure thing. Tether once claimed to hold all its reserves in “US dollars”, a claim that the New York attorney general’s office concluded in 2021 was “a lie”.

Tether, and Bitfinex – a bitcoin exchange that shares an executive team with, but is legally distinct from, Tether – “recklessly and unlawfully covered-up massive financial losses to keep their scheme going and protect their bottom lines”, Letitia James, the New York attorney general, said at the time. The two companies had transferred money back and forth to cover up insolvency, she said, and had failed to ensure tether was “fully backed at all times”, the investigation concluded.“Te ther has been the timebomb under the market since 2017,” says Gerard.

“It has reduced its market cap by 15bn USDT in the last month, and has claimed that these are redemptions, or a reduction in their holdings of ‘commercial paper’,” she says, referring to one of the key assets that Tether uses on its balance sheet: commercial paper, short-term debt issued by banks and corporations to cover immediate funding needs. Tether, for its part, remains extremely bullish – and has even suggested it may publish a formal audit of its reserves, something it said was “months away” in August 2021.

In late June, Tether announced another expansion: the introduction of the first GBP stablecoin. “We believe that the UK is the next frontier for blockchain innovation and the wider implementation of cryptocurrency for financial markets,” says Paolo Ardoino, the chief technology officer of Tether and Bitfinex. “Tether is ready and willing to work with UK regulators to make this goal a reality.” More regulation, and further market volatility, are a given. Popovich says he is still receiving donations. “I’m extremely embarrassed. Yesterday an anonymous person sent me $50 in the form of cryptocurrency. And I’ve never borrowed anything from anyone in my life. I’m scared and restless.”

Source: Crypto crisis: how digital currencies went from boom to collapse | Cryptocurrencies | The Guardian

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