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Default auditing for DeFi projects is a must for growing the industry

DeFi needs to match or, preferably, beat the security guarantees offered by the legacy financial system to get institutions into the space.

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The radical opportunity presented by decentralized finance has garnered significant attention from investors and speculators alike. The total value locked in DeFi protocols grew over 2,500% in 2020, from around $700 million in January 2020 to over $20 billion in December 2020. TVL is a more useful metric than market capitalization when it comes to DeFi, as it accurately represents the equity that investors are willing to commit to these protocols. And their commitment didn’t end in 2020; this year alone, DeFi’s TVL more than doubled, reaching $40 billion in February.

Related: Was 2020 a ‘DeFi year,’ and what is expected from the sector in 2021? Experts answer

While DeFi’s growth over the last year can be largely attributed to retail investment, 2021 is shaping up to be the year institutions start getting in on the action. As yields from fixed-income assets continue to drop to historically low levels and unprecedented stimulus packages ratchet up inflation expectations, a massive amount of money is now seeking higher returns.

Forward-thinking asset managers are turning to DeFi. Circle — the issuer of popular stablecoin USD Coin (USDC) — is set to launch the first high-yield digital dollar account to be aimed at institutions. By lending out to the capital-hungry crypto markets rather than oversaturated traditional markets, the account can offer up to 10.75% annual percentage yield. While it will initially serve only businesses, there are plenty of options that cater to individual investors.

How to bring institutional investors into DeFi

During DeFi’s explosive growth in 2020, dozens of separate attacks drained investor funds, with half of all crypto attacks in crypto were of DeFi protocols. Many of these exploits made use of tactics as new and creative as the protocols themselves. Others were repeats of previous exploits that remain frustratingly easy to prevent. While any loss of funds is unfortunate, the security of DeFi has improved greatly over the last few years.

Getting listed on any major exchange now requires a project to have passed auditing, as it’s simply too risky for exchanges to compromise on the safety of their customers’ money. But meaningful security doesn’t end there.

Related: The code is key: Solutions for overcoming DeFi security breaches

Worryingly, in 2020, there were attacks that resulted in money stolen from protocols that had passed a security audit. While auditing focuses on a snapshot of code prior to its deployment, the process cannot take into consideration the interactions of a contract once it’s released into the wild. The dynamic rate of change in DeFi means that new tools and programs can pose new risks.

Related: As faith in audits falter, the DeFi community ponders security alternatives

The possible solution

Automatic security tools can continuously monitor smart contracts against a wide range of known vulnerabilities, even after they’re deployed onto a public blockchain. Users can protect individual transactions, too, by requiring the contract with which they’re interacting to meet a certain security threshold before the transaction can be confirmed and funds are committed.

It’s important to be protected while your contract is running, even if everything seems to be going smoothly.

In addition to real-time security tools, there are a few options for decentralized insurance alternatives on the market today. There are solutions that can provide protection for user funds locked in many DeFi protocols, which give DeFi users peace of mind, knowing that their capital is secure in the face of unforeseen events.

We envision a world of decentralized finance where protecting your assets is as simple as checking a box before placing a transaction, where on-chain technology protects transactions before they happen, and where security is a foundational pillar of every platform.

In combination with its unparalleled yields, a reputation for this kind of comprehensive security will help take DeFi from its current share of around 8% of cryptocurrency’s total market capitalization to a level rivaling the legacy financial system.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

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.

Daryl Hok is the chief operating officer of CertiK. Previously, he spearheaded corporate development at FiscalNote, a global machine-learning GovTech unicorn. He obtained a dual B.A. in economics and psychology from Yale University, concentrating in behavioral economics.

During DeFi’s explosive growth in 2020, dozens of separate attacks drained investor funds, with half of all crypto attacks in crypto were of DeFi protocols. Many of these exploits made use of tactics as new and creative as the protocols themselves. Others were repeats of previous exploits that remain frustratingly easy to prevent. While any loss of funds is unfortunate, the security of DeFi has improved greatly over the last few years.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/default-auditing-for-defi-projects-is-a-must-for-growing-the-industry

default-auditing-for-defi-projects-is-a-must-for-growing-the-industry

Cointelegraph

The future of DeFi is spread across multiple blockchains

Creating interoperability, not competition: Multichain solutions will positively impact the blockchain space in terms of accessibility, innovation and economic viability.

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Long stuck in the shadows of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) finally took hold of the market in 2020 during the decentralized finance summer. Designed to recreate traditional financial systems with fewer middlemen, DeFi is now being used across lending, borrowing, and the buying and selling of tokens. The majority of these decentralized applications (DApps) are run on Ethereum, which saw activity on the network increase during 2020. This activity also trended upwards due to yield farming, also known as liquidity mining, which enables holders to generate rewards with their crypto capital.

But as activity on Ethereum increased, so too did the network’s transaction fees. In May, it was reported that Ethereum gas fees were skyrocketing. It’s intuitive that engaging in DeFi is only worthwhile when handling capital that exceeds any network fees. Consequently, it soon became clear to users that the blockchain was verging on unusable.

Related: Where does the future of DeFi belong: Ethereum or Bitcoin? Experts answer

Without a doubt, Ethereum remains the most active and populated blockchain, but other potential players are popping up, providing a viable alternative to Ethereum. For example, layer one protocols such as Binance Smart Chain (BSC) and Solana (SOL) are attracting billions in assets under management, whereas layer two solutions such as Polygon (MATIC) are capturing Ethereum’s disgruntled users’ attention due to their compatibility with Ethereum-based protocols. This is in addition to delivering low fees and quick transaction speeds. However, despite Ethereum gas fees reaching a high over the past year and the growth of faster networks, none of these chains have killed Ethereum yet.

It’s because of this, as we enter the second half of 2021, that the narrative of “Ethereum vs. the rest” is starting to change — developers are realizing the value of a cross-chain future rather than having to pick one blockchain to build on. It’s no longer a case of creating a chain with a competitive edge, but of ensuring all chains can work interchangeably to improve the industry.

Related: A multichain future will accelerate innovators and entrepreneurs

Benefits and drawbacks of a multichain future

Due to its prominence and longstanding presence in the market, Ethereum has the first-mover advantage and remains the most significant blockchain within the DeFi ecosystem as of Q1 2021. But with other chains gaining momentum, it is these alternatives to Ethereum that are providing the benefits of faster transaction speeds and significantly lower fees.

The introduction of other chains isn’t necessarily a bad thing, even for Ethereum fans. After all, a multichain ecosystem brings additional space for new protocols to enter, each with a strong user base. Each new chain also creates a new community, vacancies for services, and an individual identity and culture.

Related: Too little, too late? Ethereum losing DeFi ground to rival blockchains

One possible drawback, depending on how you look at it, is that some blockchains require unique programming languages, such as JavaScript, Rholang, Simplicity, Rust or Solidity, which may present a barrier to entry for developers. At the same time, however, different coding languages can present a new way for developers to solve a problem. And as the blockchain space moves further towards multichain, it may inspire developers to create and innovate as they witness the diversity in viable blockchain projects. It’s for this reason that projects which don’t innovate could be seen as lagging and abandoned by their community.

Not only that, but separated blockchains create innovation silos, presenting challenges to progress and adoption. Joining the multichain future together can be seen as seamlessly connecting these specialized groups. This could be seen as a difficult objective to achieve in the traditional tech world, but cryptocurrency and blockchain are challenging these existing infrastructure monopolies, and this industry has the ability to pioneer an ecosystem that works cohesively rather than competitively.

Related: Life beyond Ethereum: What layer-one blockchains are bringing to DeFi

More blockchains, more value

It’s inevitable that projects will eventually connect multiple blockchains, making the transfer of information from one chain to another seamless. In fact, the cryptocurrency market and multichain adoption is less of a zero-sum game than is often cited. And, as the multichain future becomes more apparent, it will only become clearer that the additional functionality, usability and scalability it brings is contributing to the onboarding of new users.

Related: The great tech exodus: The Ethereum blockchain is the new San Francisco

Rather than viewing the existence of a multichain future with doubt, it should be looked on positively. There are plenty of different smart contract platforms in the crypto ecosystem, all of which impact the blockchain space in terms of accessibility, economic viability and innovation. Blockchains may be separated right now, but everything will come together in the end, creating an interoperable and fast network of protocols that fulfils our daily needs. The beauty of this is that we won’t have to worry about how we’re transacting or what we’re transacting on, as it won’t matter.

We’re still far from achieving the end goal of interoperability, but once it’s achieved mass adoption, the crypto industry will be unstoppable. And, as the sector continues to grow, projects are finding that they have to adapt to a multichain future soon or risk getting left behind.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

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.

Michael O’Rourke is the co-founder and CEO of Pocket Network. Michael is a self-taught iOS and Solidity developer. He was also on the ground level of Tampa Bay’s Bitcoin/crypto meetup and consultancy, Blockspaces, with a focus on teaching developers Solidity. He graduated from the University of South Florida.

Without a doubt, Ethereum remains the most active and populated blockchain, but other potential players are popping up, providing a viable alternative to Ethereum. For example, layer one protocols such as Binance Smart Chain (BSC) and Solana (SOL) are attracting billions in assets under management, whereas layer two solutions such as Polygon (MATIC) are capturing Ethereum’s disgruntled users’ attention due to their compatibility with Ethereum-based protocols. This is in addition to delivering low fees and quick transaction speeds. However, despite Ethereum gas fees reaching a high over the past year and the growth of faster networks, none of these chains have killed Ethereum yet.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/the-future-of-defi-is-spread-across-multiple-blockchains

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Chainalysis raises $100M in Series E funding led by Coatue

Chainalysis secures its second $100 million investment round in three months.

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Chainalysis has secured hundreds of millions of dollars in the second quarter as venture firms allocate more resources to the emerging blockchain sector.

Chainalysis raises $100M in Series E funding led by Coatue

Blockchain analytics company Chainalysis has secured $100 million in Series E financing, bringing its total valuation to a staggering $4.2 billion and highlighting once again the tremendous growth of the cryptocurrency industry.

The round was led by global investment manager Coatue, with additional participation from 9Yards Capital, Altimeter, Blackstone, GIC, Pictet, Sequoia Heritage and SVB Capital, Chainalysis announced Thursday.

Chainalysis said the funds will go toward expanding its blockchain data capabilities, which includes investing in new data tools, software and APIs.

“We believe blockchain data is the asset that can help public and private sector organizations understand the risks and opportunities surrounding this asset class and promote its adoption safely and successfully,” the company said.

Chainalysis’ valuation has more than doubled in the last quarter thanks to several strategic investments. As Cointelegraph reported, the company closed out a $100 million Series D round in March led by Paradigm, a crypto-focused investment firm. At the time, Chainalysis’ director of communications Maddie Kennedy told Cointelegraph that the funds will be used to expand the company’s enterprise data offering.

Related: Crypto-finance company Amber Group valued at $1B following $100M raise

Mega-million-dollar funding rounds have become commonplace in the cryptocurrency industry over the last six months. Venture firms have poured billions into crypto startups this year alone, with the likes of Andreessen Horowitz going a step further by announcing a new $2.2 billion crypto venture fund.

What’s more, dealmaking seems to be happening irrespective of current market conditions, which marks an important evolution from the 2017 bull market that saw venture funding dry up once the initial coin offering mania faded.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/chainalysis-raises-100m-in-series-e-funding-led-by-coatue

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Crypto miners eye cheap power in Texas, but fears aired over impact on the grid

Can Texas meet the electricity demands of migrating Chinese Bitcoin miners?

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The recent crackdown on crypto mining in China has seen concerns expressed over the potential impact a hashrate migration could have on Texas’ unreliable electricity market, as an increasing number of dislocated miners eye the Lone Star State.

Texas’ abundant sources of renewable energy and highly deregulated power grid make the state an obvious choice for migrating miners from China and elsewhere, with 20% of Texan electricity being generated by wind as of 2019.

Speaking to CNBC, Brandon Arvanaghi, a former security engineer at crypto exchange Gemini, predicted Texas will see “a dramatic shift over the next few months” as miners look to set up shop.

“We have governors like Greg Abbott in Texas who are promoting mining. It is going to become a real industry in the United States, which is going to be incredible,” he said, adding:

“Texas not only has the cheapest electricity in the U.S. but some of the cheapest in the globe.”

Castle Island Ventures’ founding partner, Nic Carter told CNBC that half of the world’s hashing power could ultimately exit China’s borders and will need new homes, stating:

“Every Western mining host I know has had their phones ringing off the hook. Chinese miners or miners that were domiciled in China are looking to Central Asia, Eastern Europe, the U.S., and Northern Europe.”

Global hash rate has fallen by one-third since early May following reports that China’s mining industry would be subjected to stricter supervision.

But is the Texan power grid up to the challenge of providing power for an influx of more crypto miners? The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has just requested that Texans curb their electricity usage amid the recent heatwave that saw many residents turning up their air conditioners earlier this week.

Roughly 12,000 megawatts of generation capacity was offline as of Monday — enough to power 2.5 million homes. ERCOT described the scale of forced outages as “very concerning.”

The regulator warned that a failure to heed the request could result in a repeat of the widespread winter power failures that left 69% of Texans without electricity, and roughly half without water in February. According to Buzzfeed, February’s outages could have resulted in up to 700 deaths in the state.

Angela Walch, a Texas research associate at University College London’s Centre for Blockchain Technologies, tweeted her concerns regarding the share of Texas’ electricity being devoted to Bitcoin mining, emphasizing that her family has been “asked to reduce our air conditioning use, not run washing machines & dryers, etc.”

Obviously, Bitcoin is not the sole cause of this cluster*^% that our poor political leadership in Texas has caused.

But, I am curious to know the portion of the grid it uses. Maybe Bitcoin miners are the first to be shut down in times of grid stress.

— Angela Walch (@angela_walch) June 15, 2021

However Tierion CEO Wayne Vaughan responded by asserting that much of the electricity used to power Texan mining operations comprised stranded resources that “would never be able to reach your home to power your appliances.”

Others argued that wholesale Bitcoin mining operations could actually alleviate Texas’ power issues, with Texas’ seasonal surges in electricity demand incentivizing miners to sell power back to the state’s grid that otherwise go uncaptured.

In September 2020, the Peter Thiel-backed crypto miner Layer1 in West Texas reported it had reaped profits exceeding 700% by selling renewable electricity back to the grid amid surging summer demand.

While up-to-date data for global hashrate distribution is not available, the Cambridge University’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (BECI) estimates that China represented 65% of the world’s hashing power as of April 2020.

Earlier this month, district regulators in Western Xinjiang and Yunnan issued notices mandating the suspension of virtual currency mining enterprises. BECI estimates the two regions account for 40% of the country’s hash rate.

Castle Island Ventures’ founding partner, Nic Carter told CNBC that half of the world’s hashing power could ultimately exit China’s borders and will need new homes, stating:

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/crypto-miners-eye-cheap-power-in-texas-but-fears-aired-over-impact-on-the-grid

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