Square is branching from just allowing people to interact with Bitcoin (BTC) on a mobile app, Cash App, to allowing BTC trading on a decentralized exchange (DEX).  The Jack Dorsey-led financial firm revealed plans to provide more than Cash App’s capabilities in July. Roughly four months later, Square has offered a sneak peek into a Bitcoin DEX.

Through its Bitcoin business department named “TBD,” Square has released the tbDEX white paper that presents a trading platform that can handle trading of BTC, government-issued currencies, or “real-world goods.”

The paper further notes that participants don’t know other traders. Also, tbDEX operates without third parties, usually found at the intersection of virtual currencies and government-issued currencies or fiat.

Although the exchange’s operations revolve around the leading currency, it’s unclear whether the Bitcoin blockchain will power it.

According to the white paper, “the tbDEX protocol aims to create ubiquitous and accessible on-ramps and off-ramps that allow the average individual to benefit from crypto innovation.”

Interestingly, TBD notes that the interaction between fiat and crypto rides on “social trust” to facilitate atomic swapping of cryptocurrencies “with a physical good or service,” or fiat.

TbDEX “Borrows Heavily” From Methods “Used for Securing the Internet Today”

To achieve the trust, Square proposed the use of DIDs or decentralized identifiers. However, to squeeze the most out of these identifies, the paper states that their implementation will be “open, permissionless, and censorship-resistant.”

TBD added that DIDs are exchanged between counterparties, and the BTC DEX doesn’t collect or record the personal information of its users.

The paper adds that “the tbDEX protocol borrows heavily, if not completely, from well-established models of decentralizing trust, such as the public key infrastructure (PKI) that is used for securing the internet today.”

Key participants on the tbDEX ecosystem include Issuers of Verifiable Credentials (IVC), wallets, and participating financial institutions (PFIs).

Note that an IVC can be an organization or individual that conducts know-your-customer (KYC) checks. On the other hand, PFIs provide liquidity services. PFIs can run a node without requiring third-party approval.

The white paper elicited mixed reactions from the crypto community. Some hold that a decentralized exchange should not do “KYC in the users” while others wondered whether tbDEX collecting “certain personally identifiable information (PII) [… is] some sort of a si*k joke.”

Why is Jack Dorsey Resisting Using Ethereum?

Others questioned why Jack Dorsey is resisting “using Ethereum’s well-established infrastructure for DeFi” or decentralized finance. Presumably, TBD doesn’t mention Ethereum in its white paper because Jack Dorsey is a Bitcoin diehard.

In the past, the Twitter CEO has been quoted saying that he will “spend the rest of [his] life” making the leading cryptocurrency “accessible to everyone.” In June, he said he would still be involved in Bitcoin even if he wasn’t at “Square or Twitter.”

A tbDEX supporter on Twitter said that it “would be pretty cool” for individuals to “be PFIs and […] fulfill the legal requirements within their local jurisdiction.”

As Square moves to expand its presence in the Bitcoin ecosystem, Plan B is still confident that BTC will hit $98,000 before we bid November goodbye.

Recently, Plan B has been under fire after Bitcoin slumped to below $60,000 despite saying that the leading crypto will hit close to $100,000 this month.

Plan B is a pseudonymous Bitcoin supporter who created a price prediction model called S2F (stock-to-flow). S2F predicts prices by considering an asset’s supply and its production in a year.

There’s a 1% Chance That BTC Will Hit $98K in November

After Bitcoin nose-dived from highs of $69K to lows of $56K, the crypto community wondered how Plan B’s prediction could be achieved, considering that were are more than halfway through the month.

But Plan B is backing down. In a tweet, they clarified that the “$98K Nov prediction is not based on the S2F model but on [the] floor model.”

They revealed that they use three models, S2F, Floor, and On-chain, to predict the price. As such, if the “$98K Nov floor model prediction fails, that doesn’t mean S2F or on-chain fails.”

However, some Bitcoin supporters were not ready to hear the excuse. For example, @TheMoonCarl, observed that the chance of BTC hitting $98K in November is one percent.

@Duro6468 said that Plan B was providing an excuse because they “now know exactly that there will be no $98K in November.” At the time of writing, Bitcoin was changing hands at around $58,400

 

 

In the first seven days of this month, all-time sales on the leading Ethereum NFT trading platform, Opensea, hit over the $10 billion mark. According to Dappradar, these numbers currently stand at 11.17 billion USD.

Apart from the rise in sales, the NFT marketplace is attracting unsolicited investors. As reported by The Information, new investors are likely to push Opensea’s valuation to around 10 billion USD.

Sources familiar with development intimated to The Information that the investors willingly put investment offers and Opensea didn’t ask for funding. According to the anonymous sources, investors are thirsty “for a piece of the” leading Ethereum NFT marketplace.

The rumors of a possible investment round come four months after the startup completed a funding round in July. The Andreessen Horowitz-led funding round attracted 100 million USD from notable participants such as Ashton Kutcher and Durant Kevin. This round earned Opensea a crypto unicorn crown after achieving a $1.5 billion valuation.

However, the anonymous sources familiar with the unsolicited investments into Opensea didn’t disclose the names of the investors seeking to invest in the NFT trading platform voluntarily. However, the sources cited the rising NFT sales volume in the recent past as the main reason for their appetite.

Opensea Achieves a 24-Hour Sales Volume of More than $100 Million

Six days ago, the Ethereum NFT trading platform recorded its best day in several months after achieving a 24-hour sales volume of over $100 million. According to Dune Analytics, this represented a more than 200 percent increase.

 

The sales volume last reached such highs in mid-October. The sudden increase was attributed to a rise in Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) non-fungible tokens sales. Data from CryptoSlam!, a data aggregation platform, shows that BAYC NFT sales skyrocketed by 900 percent.

BAYC has seen backing from popular names in the entertainment and music industry. For example, Rolling Stone magazine recently announced it has entered into a partnership that would allow it to use the project’s Bored Ape image on the cover of 2,500 magazines.

Universal Music Group, the world’s leading record label, revealed that it’ll use BAYC NFTs as avatars in Kingship, a metaverse outfit. Timbaland, a popular global music producer, also disclosed that they’ll use BAYC avatars for a metaverse band. Timbaland announced the birth of Ape-In Productions, a firm focusing on animations and music for the band.

The NFT Bay Attracts Over One Million Visitors in Ten Hours

As investors continue to thirst for a piece of Opensea, an Australian software developer has created a pirate bay focused on non-fungible tokens. Named “The NFT Bay,” the platform holds a collection of images, in JPEG format, of NFTs instead of the NFTs themselves.

The software developer, Geoffrey Huntley, launched the project with over 17 terabytes of image copies of NFTs. Ten hours after going live, The NFT Bay attracted more than a million visitors.

Interestingly, the platform borrows heavily from the popular torrent site, The Pirates Bay. The website facilitates downloading of pirated games, movies, among other types of content.

For instance, apart from using the same logo, it uses a similar layout as The Pirate Bay. Huntley noted that The NFT Bay project is for “educational” purposes and has an artistic approach.  According to the developer who has turned to be an NFT critic, the project should help those thinking of investing in non-fungible tokens “understand” what “they truly are buying” and hopefully reconsider their decision.

NFTs May not “Have Inherent Value”

Huntley observed that Web 3 is an “amazing” concept, but the technology powering it is “not” living up to the standards. The Aussie software developer said that his project is out to show that NFT investors only hold “nothing more than directions on how to access or download an image.”

Huntley added that most of the images that make non-fungible tokens are “hosted on Web2.0 storage.” According to him, such storage platforms are likely to be inaccessible hence making NFTs less valuable.

However, some in the cryptocurrency community differed with Huntley on where images are stored. For instance, Steve Mitobe, an executive at an NFT-focused platform, told Cointelegraph that NFTs use IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) to facilitate distributed data storage and sharing. IPFS-based storage allows images and associated information to be permanently stored and eliminates a centralized “point of failure.”

However, Huntley’s project and NFT belief has attracted supporters. Some of them applaud the Aussie software developer for helping clear “the notion that NFTs have inherent value.”

 

Over the weekend, the Bitcoin blockchain welcomed the Taproot upgrade after an agreement from 90 percent of miners and mining pools. The soft fork happened between blocks 709,488 – 709,632, indicating the first major update since 2017.

In 2017, the BTC-powered network saw the birth of Lightning Network (LN). Another Bitcoin blockchain upgrade that happened that year is the introduction of SegWit or Segregated Witness.

LN introduced a layer two platform to enhance BTC payments. On the other hand, SegWit removed signature information from transactions hence increasing the network’s block size.

Taproot adds to these upgrades by enhancing the Bitcoin blockchain’s privacy and scripting functionalities. The latest Bitcoin soft fork achieves these through the use of Merkelized Abstract Syntax Tree or MAST. MAST helps “make smart contracts more efficient and private by only revealing the relevant parts of the contract when spending,” as noted by Hampus Sjoberg, a Bitcoin developer.

According to the developer, the upgrade also enables the network to support off-chain projects seeking to improve efficiency.

Things Won’t be Immediately Different Unless You’re a Developer

The soft fork’s successful implementation was as a result of employing Speedy Trial. With this method, 90 percent of miners “have to signal for readiness” within 2016 block intervals. The lock-in for this event was achieved back in July this year. But, this is the last time this approach is used to make upgrades to the largest blockchain.

Sjoberg noted that future updates will require the participants to look for other deployment approaches.

Bitcoin core developers such as Pieter Wuille took to social platforms to congratulate the Bitcoin community for their support. In a tweet, Wuille thanked “everyone involved for getting us this far.”

However, he noted that protocols and wallets need to be developed “on top of” the soft fork to harness “its advantages.”

While answering a question on whether things will change immediately, the Bitcoin core developer said that “unless you’re a wallet/protocol developer, probably nothing. Taking advantage of these new features requires software to make use of it. […] Happy tapping those roots, everyone!”

Bitcoin is “Litecoin’s Testnet”

Bitcoin supporters like Anthony Pompliano led the community in appreciating Bitcoin developers for such a great milestone. Pompliano tweeted, “congratulations and thank you to every developer, miner and Bitcoiner who made this happen.”

As expected, some took the chance to promote other coins such as Litecoin (LTC), a Bitcoin hard fork. For example, Litecoin’s creator, Charlie Lee, congratulated Bitcoin and thanked it “for being Litecoin’s testnet. If no issues are found with Taproot on Bitcoin, we will launch it on Litecoin.”

As Bitcoin enjoys the Taproot upgrade, Skybridge Capital’s founder, Anthony Scaramucci, has advised investors to buy BTC at current prices before it skyrockets to $500,000 per coin.

The Skybridge executive made the comments on CNBC when addressing the state of the United States economy, inflation rates, and the leading cryptocurrency. At one time, Scaramucci was the White House communications director.

“No question about that,” he said while responding to a question on whether he would urge investors to put money in BTC at prices above $64k.

Bitcoin (BTC) Will Rise “Tenfold of Where it is Today”

According to him, even at the current price levels, we are still “very, very early” to the BTC party. The Skybridge Capital founder observed that if Cathie Wood’s forecast of one billion “wallets at the end of 2024” comes to fruition, Bitcoin “will easily” change hands at 500,000 USD per piece.

He added that total Bitcoins available aren’t even enough “for every millionaire in our society.”

Recently, Cathie Wood, Ark Invest’s chief executive, also predicted a Bitcoin price of $500,000. According to wood, the price would be supported by more institutional investors including Bitcoin in their portfolios.

Wood placed the minimum portfolio allocations for corporate investors at five percent. If this happens, the Ark Invest CEO believes the price will rise “tenfold of where it is today.”

Apart from an increasing value, the Skybridge CEO said that the leading cryptocurrency also acts as a hedge against rising inflation in the United States.

Scaramucci’s sentiments were also shared by Kevin O’Leary, Shark Tank star, in a recent interview with Bitcoin Magazine. When asked whether people interested in BTC should join the ecosystem, he said he would “really advise them to explore this asset.”

 

Bitcoin is currently trading at around $58k at press time. The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization posted a small recovery after going further below earlier today to as low as $56k at one point. Altcoins on the other hand made stronger recoveries and are now faring better than Bitcoin’s progress during the day. More on that later on.

In other news, seasoned traders believe that Bitcoin’s latest price tank below $57k may be a cause of concern for short-term traders but none whatsoever for the long-term HODL groups. More on that later on.

A group of US lawmakers have sponsored a bill to remove an anti-crypto provision in the recently passed infrastructure legislation. While much of the legislation focuses on rebuilding the communications infrastructure within the US and shifting energy to more green generation resources, a provision buried within it allowed bigger surveillance of the crypto sector by the US government. All transactions above $10,000 are supposed to be reported to the tax department of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) starting from 2024. This new bill aims to limit the impact of this provision by redefining the term “broker” and to allow certain sectors an exemption from reporting crypto transactions.

The US Treasury secretary was also in the news and he claimed that the digital currency sector isn’t going to affect US sanctions, especially state sponsored digital currencies like Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). Wally Adeyemo, the current deputy treasury secretary stated that the USD will remain the dominant currency in the world even in the face of the rising tide of cryptocurrencies. 

The Non Fungible Token (NFT) sector is seeing more and more sales but the general public and investors are yet to enter it as a report shows that ownership remains highly concentrated. The findings from various analysts show that despite a big rise to $5.6 billion in NFT sales, top 16% of the NFT collectors now own a whopping 81% of the total NFT sales. While this is asymmetric and needs to be addressed, the art sector is generally very concentrated when it comes to ownership with the world’s elite owning more than anybody else. The NFT sector is apparently following the fine arts model right now. 

The Reserve Bank of Australia has warned Australian citizens against investing in digital “fad” cryptocurrencies. The bank singled out meme coins like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu and stated that the sector could collapse if the regulators stepped in.

Bitcoin Recovers Slightly to $58k

Bitcoin is currently trading at around $58k at press time. The cryptocurrency was entrenched throughout the day and looked to fight another big bearish charge but survived it for today at least.

The last 24 hours started with the index at around $58k and had little net change at the end of the day. However, in between there were some considerable price movements, almost all of them trending downwards. At 10:15 PM last night, the index began to drop. It kept dropping steadily and recorded a 24 hour low of around $55.8k at 4:50 AM in the morning. It made a weak recovery above $57k afterwards and has remained largely above it ever since. At press time, it is trading at around $58k.

Going forward, Bitcoin is reeling from this latest price decrease and that has led to some bulls becoming unsure about its immediate short-term bullish setup. However, the bulls can negate this move with a solid move above $60k and then carrying on further. The bears on the other hand can smell blood and they would fight tooth and nail to bring the index further down below $56k.

The total market capitalization of Bitcoin was around $1.1 trillion at press time and its share of the proceedings dropped to 42.67%.

Altcoins Post Stronger Recoveries

As Bitcoin dived below $57k earlier in the day, altcoins followed suit but as BTC recovered slowly from these multi-month lows, alts recovered fast enough, many outperforming it in the process. The biggest gainers of today were Binance Coin (BNB, 8.5%), Solaan (SOL, 9.5%), Shiba Inu (SHIBA, 10%), Avalanche (AVAX, 10%) and Stellar (XLM, 8%). Much of the rest of the market also fared better than Bitcoin too.

In Other News…..

“Fear” Returns to Bitcoin as Traders Believe Long-term HODLers Remain Unaffected

According to the Crypto Greed and Fear Index, Bitcoin has slid back into the fear territory after spending a lot of time in the greed section. However, elite traders are unsure about the matter and gave mixed responses. 

According to popular Dutch Trader Michael Van de Poppe, we are in for a quick rebound from this. Delphi Capital also echoed the same thing and said that a quick response was expected from the bulls. However, another much followed trader named after movie character John Wick said that many traders were worried as the bears appear strong enough.

However, everyone agrees that long-term HODLers need not panic from the latest decrease in prices. They can continue to stand strong.

 

Bitcoin vs Ethereum 

The CEO of Citadel, billionaire Kenneth Griffin, has observed that an Ethereum-powered crypto is likely to dethrone Bitcoin (BTC) from the top seat. Griffin’s firm is a hedge fund handling more than 40 billion USD in assets under management.

In a summit organized by The New York Times, the executive noted that “the next generation of cryptocurrencies” will revolve around an “Ethereum-based” currency rather than BTC.

According to him, the second-largest blockchain offers better “transaction speeds” while keeping the cost of sending transactions across the network low. At current rates, the ETH-powered network is slightly faster than Bitcoin.

For instance, Ethereum takes roughly five minutes to complete a transaction, while Bitcoin takes 40 minutes.

Presumably, the Citadel CEO was banking on high transactions speeds targeted by moving Ethereum from a proof of work (PoW) system like the BTC-driven network to a proof of stake (PoS) platform. Ethereum refers to its PoS version as Ethereum 2.0 or Eth2. Apart from an increase in transaction speeds, Eth2 brings low transaction costs.

Bitcoin Isn’t Commercially Viable, and Blockchain Can’t Solve “Most Problems”

The Citadel executive has on some occasions expressed his reservations towards the leading crypto. According to Griffin, the king coin isn’t commercially viable. However, he appreciates the power of the technology that underpins virtual currencies, blockchain. But, it can’t provide the solutions we need “for most problems.”

Griffin observed that despite individuals focusing on new creations, some “passion is misplaced,” especially when it involves virtual currencies.

While speaking at the NYT-hosted event, the executive noted that crypto has failed to solve “a number of issues.” Some of them touch on high electricity usage and fraud.

It costs roughly 4.1 USD for each transaction on the BTC-powered network, while Mastercard, American Express, and Visa charge between 1.4 and 3.5 percent per transaction. That’s not all. A debit card surcharge is about 0.5 percent.

Apart from the high costs, the network also contributes immensely to environmental degradation compared to other forms of payments in “use around the world today in aggregate.”

A Single BTC Transaction Has the Same Carbon Footprint as Over 2 Million Visa Transactions

Data on Bitcoin’s energy consumption show that a single BTC transaction emits harmful gases equivalent to those released by more than two million transactions on conventional platforms such as Visa. But, it’s near impossible to quantify the negative impact caused by financial institutions like banks.

BTC mining operations have been appreciated for tapping into excess power and other low-cost energy forms that would otherwise be unutilized.

While responding to whether he missed investing in crypto in the early days, Griffin said that the cryptocurrency train is “in some sense, still in the station,” implying that the crypto industry is still in its early days, and there’s a long road ahead.

As Griffin bets on Ethereum to produce the king crypto in the next generation of cryptos, the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) hit a billion-dollar valuation a few days after conducting an airdrop.  ENS provides a distributed way to crisscross the internet.

On Monday this week, ENS gave its users free tokens of the platform’s governance coin. The total coins airdropped amassed a valuation of close to 600 million USD within the day.

You Have Until May 4, 2022, To Claim Your Free ENS Tokens

Two days later, their market capitalization breached the $1 billion mark. Despite the token trying to find the right footing on prices, it’s changing hands at 55 USD. At the time of writing, the ENS token market cap had dipped to slightly above $800 million.

The free tokens went to all ENS name-holders as of October 31. Qualifying individuals have up to May 4 next year to claim their share. Note that the tokens are meant to power a decentralized autonomous organization or DAO. The DAO can vote on how the treasury is used, pricing, among other issues affecting the ENS protocol.

ENS can be thought of as a domain name service (DNS) powered by Web 3. However, ENS uses censorship-resistant .eth domains, making it a superior version of DNS.

An ENS name can also be used as an address to send or receive ETH or assets powered by the second-largest blockchain.

According to Nick Johnson, the ENS founder, the ENS token allows the project to fund itself instead of relying on grants.

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