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Asia-Pacific’s solarized digitalization agenda in pandemic times

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the Asia-Pacific region, and sustainable digitalization of the economy has become the solution.



The virtual 7th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum was jointly hosted by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network with the theme “Enabling Resilience for All: The Critical Decade to Scale-up Action.” The forum took place in March and was held to formulate national adaptation planning for science and technology, and energy and fiscal policies that consider the interlinkages between climate change, health and biodiversity.

These nature- and ecosystem-based policies will serve as the basis for the Asia-Pacific region’s contributions to the Leaders Summit on Climate in the United States; the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) in Kunming, China; and the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Asia-Pacific region accounts for 60% of the global population (around 4.3 billion people). It has the world’s fastest-rising economies, which are supported by innovations in technology and cryptocurrency that are energy-intensive. This results in the highest growth in electricity generation, fueled predominantly (85%) by fossil fuels.

Three out of the six largest carbon dioxide-emitting countries in the world — China, India and Japan — are in the Asia-Pacific region, an area that produces about half of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. As a result, the region is also increasingly impacted by extreme weather events.

With 2020 witnessing the COVID-19 pandemic and being the warmest year on record, there is an urgent need to decouple economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions in order to transition the Asia-Pacific region toward carbon neutrality. A few countries in the Asia-Pacific region — including Japan, South Korea, Bhutan, Fiji, the Maldives, the Marshall Islands and Nepal — have declared their aim to be carbon neutral by 2050; and China has set its target as 2060. These commitments are incorporated in their nationally determined contributions.

Related: The pandemic year ends with a tokenized carbon cap-and-trade solution

A newly released International Monetary Fund departmental paper makes fiscal policy recommendations for the region focused in three areas:

  • Increase in the use of carbon taxes
  • Increase in the ability to adapt to climate change;
  • Increase pandemic spending for greener activities.

These recommendations are aimed at addressing climate change in the Asia-Pacific region.

Turning digital technology innovation into climate action in the Asia-Pacific region

With the COVID-19 pandemic, industrial digitalization has entered a new phase of explosive development.

Houlin Zhao, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union — which organizes events and publishes reports to raise awareness around the role of frontier technologies with regard to the environment, climate change and the circular economy — explained:

“Today, we are faced with not one but two deep transformations. The first one, driven by emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, the Internet of Things, 5G and many others, is changing how governments, businesses and individuals will act in this new century. As for the second transformation, climate change, it disrupts ecosystems, jeopardizing biodiversity, food and water security and the future of life on our planet. The question for us is whether humanity can turn this digital revolution into climate action and, most importantly, whether we can do it before it is too late.”

As Zhao continues: “With more and more people coming online, more data being generated and more devices connecting to the network, the digital ecosystem’s carbon footprint is growing.”

The Asia-Pacific region boasts tremendous potential, owing to the growing prominence of mobile payments and the development of central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, in countries such as Australia, China, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and others. China’s Blockchain-based Service Network is developing a global network that will support future CBDCs from multiple countries.

Related: How the digital yuan stablecoin impacts crypto in China: Experts answer

The adoption of 5G technology is a catalyst for the implementation of blockchain to improve scalability and interoperability. And China’s Huawei and ZTE; South Korea’s Samsung and LG Electronics; and Japan’s Sony and NEC are leading the way in 5G technology.

Huawei was the world’s first company to offer 5G technology and ranks number one as a global telecommunications equipment maker. However, the United States is restricting the company’s access to American technology that is key to producing modern 5G handsets and new 5G-capable mobile telecommunications infrastructure. As a result, the company has seen its market share decline outside China.

This has also had a spillover effect on blockchain technology adoption, which enables telecommunications infrastructure to meet unprecedented service-level requirements by bolstering operations, data sharing and customer identity verification, and detecting telecom fraud. According to Denian Shi, deputy chief engineer of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, the development of the global blockchain industry saw reduced investment/financing and cooled down during 2019 and 2020.

The role of digitalization has become central to continued economic and societal activity and to lessening the pandemic’s impact. According to recent reports, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to contribute about 19.3% of the overall global spending on blockchain technology, fueled by increased investments by the fintech sector. Integration of biometrics in smartphones amid the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to grow blockchain-based digital identity solutions by 21% annually.

The ever-increasing demand for connectivity and bandwidth by billions of devices in the region has made it important for wireless networks, blockchain platforms and computing devices to limit the total communications energy consumption and associated carbon footprint. With 5G being commercially deployed worldwide, LG Electronics and Huawei have already begun working toward launching 6G networks, which will be “50 times faster than 5G” in spectrum efficiency, positioning capabilities and mobility. Studies show that 6G could provide energy self-sustainability to the massive so-called “Internet of Everything,” with blockchain technology central to addressing significant challenges.

The world’s top solar energy adoption is in the Asia-Pacific region

The energy sector is the world’s number-one pollutant, accounting for 72% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. With energy demands continuously increasing — pushing CO2 emissions to their highest levels in history — methods of generating large quantities of clean energy have become a survival concern for the Asia-Pacific region. As a result, the region has shifted its focus to the decarbonization of the grid and the production of electricity from renewable energy. During March alone, 65 new renewable power plant contracts were announced in the region, and nearly 80% of these plants are solar.

China leads the world as the top producer of solar energy, seeking to transform its industrial structure, economy and society with disruptive innovation in the next-generation photovoltaic module for earth and space applications. India ranks second, Japan third and Vietnam fourth in the region. Three out of these four countries are also conducting research on space-based solar power and power beaming as a solution for the region’s transition toward carbon neutrality, with Japan and China emerging as international leaders in this area.

Recently, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory conducted its Photovoltaic Radiofrequency Antenna Module Flight Experiment, or PRAM-FX, to transform solar power into radio frequency microwave energy aboard the U.S. Space Force’s X-37B robotic space plane. According to Paul Jaffe, innovation power beaming and space solar portfolio lead at NRL, PRAM-FX is a 12-inch (30.5 centimeters) square tile that collects solar energy and converts it to microwave power, but does not beam it anywhere. Instead, the experiment gauges the performance of sunlight-to-microwave conversion.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Selva Ozelli, Esq., CPA, is an international tax attorney and certified public accountant who frequently writes about tax, legal and accounting issues for Tax Notes, Bloomberg BNA, other publications and the OECD.

Related: The pandemic year ends with a tokenized carbon cap-and-trade solution




Polkadot-centric derivatives exchange raises $6.4M in seed funding

The successful private investment round highlights growing conviction in the Polkadot ecosystem.



DTrade is planning to build the first derivatives exchange on Polkadot following a highly successful private investment round.

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Polkadot-centric derivatives exchange raises $6.4M in seed funding

Decentralized exchange dTrade is bringing derivatives trading to the Polkadot ecosystem after concluding a $6.4-million seed investment round, setting the stage for wider decentralized finance use cases on the developer network.

The private investment round was led by some of the biggest names in the blockchain venture capital world, including Three Arrows Capital and DeFiance. Polychain Capital, ParaFi Capital, Huobi, Mechanism Capital, Bixin Ventures, IOSG Ventures, Hypersphere Ventures and Fenbushi Capital also participated.

Several companies have also stepped up to support liquidity on dTrade, including Alameda Research, CMS Holdings, MGNR, Kronos and Wintermute.

Alameda Research has invested heavily in Defi this year, allocating $20 million toward Reef Finance and $4 million toward Coin98 Finance.

As a decentralized exchange, dTrade allows for the trading of perpetual swaps and options with on-chain settlement. In theory, the platform can accommodate unlimited derivatives markets without custodial and counterparty risks. The trading platform is not available to United States-based traders.

“Derivatives are on track to become the largest market in decentralized finance, similar to how they are the largest asset class in traditional finance,” said Nikodem Grzesiak, co-founder of dTrade. “Derivatives are an exciting use case of blockchain. Entirely new perpetual swaps for blockchain-based assets within Polkadot’s multi-chain architecture can be added through a simple governance proposal.”

The popularity of crypto derivatives has exploded over the past year as participants seek additional exposure to the rapidly growing market. CoinMarketCap’s 2020 annual report found that crypto derivatives accounted for 55% of the total cryptocurrency market last year.

Polkadot’s developer network has also grown rapidly, with 435 projects having launched on the platform at the time of publication.



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Dfinity’s ICP token sees violent first day of trade on major exchanges

Following five years of development, Dfinity’s Internet Computer token is trading on major exchanges.



Dfinity’s “Internet Computer” tokens are finally tradable after five years in the making.

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Dfinity's ICP token sees violent first day of trade on major exchanges

The launch of the Internet Computer utility token has seen a wild first day of trading after its long-awaited debut on exchanges.

The ICP token from Dfinity was listed on Coinbase Pro and several leading exchanges including Binance, Huobi Global, and OKEx on May 11.

Over four hours, prices for the newly launched token have swung from an early intraday high of $700 down to $250, before recovering 70% over 10 hours to trade for $425 at the time of writing. Coingecko estimates $1.8 billion worth of ICP tokens have traded just 14 hours since trade commenced.

ICP/USD chart, 24 hours: Coingecko

The Internet Computer is a decentralized blockchain project by the Dfinity Foundation. Dfinity describes the protocol’s mission as expanding the functionality of the public internet from a network that connects billions of people through standard protocols to a publicly accessible global supercomputer based on its own ICP protocol.

It has the lofty ambition of replacing the trillion-dollar legacy internet and IT industry by allowing developers to install their code directly on the public internet — dispensing with hosting companies, servers, commercial cloud services, and tech monopolies.

Like Ethereum, the platform would allow developers to run computing applications on decentralized infrastructure. However, Dfinity claims superior scalability over Ethereum’s Layer 1 mainnet.

While Dfinity has been focused on building this Internet Computer since 2016, much of the project’s inner workings have been shrouded in mystery due to its policy of closed-source development. The platform’s Mercury genesis launch event took place on May 7, marking the public launch of the platform after its completed mainnet initialization in December 2020.

ICP tokens can be staked into its governance system to earn “voting rewards” or be converted into “cycles” that can be used to power smart contract computation. The Internet Computer platform runs on a Network Nervous System (NNS), which is an open algorithmic governance system that oversees the network and the token economics.

The system is broken down into several subsections which include the ICP tokens in addition to “neurons” and “canisters” which govern the network autonomously and are explained in much more detail on the Dfinity blog.

The project started fundraising before the 2017 ICO boom under the DFN ticker but has since rebranded to ICP.



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Binance CEO says volatility ‘is not unique to crypto’: Data shows it’s Bitcoin’s jet fuel

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said Bitcoin’s volatility is “probably less volatile” in comparison to some stocks, but data shows Bitcoin is the incontestable winner when adjusting the metric based on returns.



During an interview with Bloomberg TV on May 3, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao suggested that Bitcoin (BTC) “is probably less volatile” than the stock prices of Apple (AAPL) and Tesla (TSLA).

Zhao argued that crypto’s volatility was not unlike the stock market, adding: that “volatility is everywhere” and that “it is not unique to crypto.”

However, those involved in cryptocurrency trading probably know that cryptocurrency prices fluctuate a lot more than listed trillion-dollar companies. This begs one to question whether or not Zhao is detecting a trend that some may have missed?

60-day historical volatility, BTC vs. stocks. Source: Cointelegraph

The first obvious reading from the chart above is that both Bitcoin and Tesla share different volatility levels when compared to trillion-dollar stocks like Apple and Amazon.

Moreover, stocks seem to have experienced a 60-day volatility peak in November 2020, while Bitcoin was relatively calm.

Tesla is an exception rather than the norm

Another thing to consider is that Tesla’s market capitalization is $633 billion, and it has yet to post a quarterly net income above $500 million. Meanwhile, every single top-20 global company is incredibly profitable. These include Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG), Facebook (FB), Saudi Aramco (ARAMCO.AB), Alibaba (BABA), and TSM Semiconductor (TSM).

The 12 most volatile $200 billion market cap stocks. Source:

The list above shows the top-12 and bottom-12 most volatile stocks to show how Tesla’s (TSLA) price swings are far off the average of other $200 billion market cap companies. The volatility seen in cryptocurrencies has been the norm, given that there is a lack of earnings, a very early adoption-stage cycle, and a lack of an established valuation model.

One doesn’t need to be an expert in statistics to ascertain that the S&P 500 index performance has been pretty much stable over the past year, apart from a couple of weeks back in September and October 2020.

12-month S&P 500 performance, 5-day chart. Source: TradingView

Zhao may be the founder of the leading crypto exchange, but he doesn’t personally trade. On the contrary, he actually recommends holding (HODL) instead of trading in every instance possible.

Lol, I don’t do leverage or loans. I don’t even trade. I just hodl #bnb.

— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) January 12, 2021

If you feel stressed out during every dip, you probably should not trade much, or at least change your trading strategy. Maybe just #HODL?

Not the best advice for our business (trading fees), but probably good advice for many new “traders”.

Not financial advice.

— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) April 22, 2021Volatility does not measure returns

Exclusively analyzing volatility presents another big problem. The indicator leaves out the most important metric for investors, the return. Whether an asset is more or less volatile doesn’t matter if, on average, one asset consistently posts higher gains than others.

MicroStrategy has listed almost every currency, stock index, and S&P 500 index component, and curious analysts can compare returns and the sharpe ratio side-by-side with Bitcoin’s.

As explained in the footnotes:

“The Sharpe ratio is a measure of risk-adjusted (really volatility-adjusted) returns. It is a way to measure how much return an investment generated for the risk (volatility) endured over some time horizon.”Bitcoin return and sharpe ratio vs. major assets and indexes. Source: Microstrategy

As the data clearly states, Bitcoin is the winner on risk-return metrics against every major asset and index over the past 12 months. A similar outcome also takes place when using a 5-year timeframe.

Therefore, Zhao may have simply incorrectly stated that Bitcoin’s volatility is similar to the stock of trillion-dollar companies. However, when adjusting the metric based on returns, it is the incontestable winner.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The first obvious reading from the chart above is that both Bitcoin and Tesla share different volatility levels when compared to trillion-dollar stocks like Apple and Amazon.



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