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

Decentralized exchanges explore alternatives as Ethereum continues to be overloaded. Is this the beginning of the end for the blockchain?

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2021 has been a great year for Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto in general. However, Ethereum and the decentralized finance, or DeFi, sector have outshined other niches of the cryptocurrency space, dazzling the community with enormous growth in terms of popularity, engagement and sheer volume, with the total value locked currently sitting at around $56 billion, according to DappRadar.

The nonfungible token, or NFT, space is also seeing unprecedented growth. Many believe 2021 is shaping up to be the year of NFTs. However, DeFi continues to thrive, especially on the Ethereum blockchain where developer and user activity surpasses that of any other blockchain.

However, it’s no secret that Ethereum is currently at a decisive point. Congestion and high gas fees are plaguing the network and making decentralized exchanges, or DEXes, almost impossible to afford for common users who want to make small to medium-sized trades. Even simple transactions can cost more than $10. Banks aren’t so jealous anymore.

DeFi is looking for alternatives

On March 3, SushiSwap, the popular Uniswap fork known for its contentious inception through a vampire mining attack, announced that the DEX had added multiple Ethereum alternatives to its platform, deploying contracts on xDai, Moonbeam, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon (previously called Matic) and Fantom.

SushiSwap has received a lot of negative criticism from the community and even from Hayden Adams, founder of Uniswap, who has expressed little appreciation for the fork and even less for the conduct of its pseudonymous founder, Chef Nomi, who exited the project early on with a pocket full of tokens, only to return them soon after. In a recent Twitter thread, Adams stated:

“I’ve seen tons of comments about sushi being a high quality dev team building a differentiated product. While I really wish this was true, I’ve seen no evidence of this whatsoever to date. Just liquidity mining and marketing so far.”

Nevertheless, the project has seen major success, being the second biggest DEX in terms of volume, according to Dune Analytics. Now, SushiSwap is providing users with new alternatives to Ethereum and allowing them to move away from the huge gas fees that have recently become a norm, even if reluctantly so.

It’s not just SushiSwap

It seems that projects are generally looking for alternatives even though they don’t intend to fully give up on Ethereum. While these are not “moving away” from Ethereum, they are adding multiple alternatives to their platforms, which will be a major game changer for some of these blockchains, especially Binance Smart Chain, which seems to be the most popular choice.

Balancer recently announced it will be deploying ports onto Moonbeam and Polkadot. Furthermore, exchange aggregator 1inch recently added support for Binance Smart Chain. Users can change networks with the simple click of a button and enjoy lower fees and faster transaction times.

Although 1inch has added support for BSC, the team doesn’t seem to be moving away from Ethereum anytime soon. Sergej Kunz, co-founder of 1inch, told Cointelegraph:

“We don’t plan to move completely away from Ethereum. Our expansion to BSC is just an add-on as we’ve gotten a lot of requests from the 1inch community because there’s a lot of money and activity on BSC.”

Projects haven’t removed Ethereum as the main option for their platforms, and while Binance has been standing out among the rest, Ilya Abugov — an advisor at DappRadar, an aggregator of decentralized application statistics — believes that the future will hold a multitude of options for DeFi users. He told Cointelegraph: “This is an indication that the multi-chain future is much more likely. BSC projects have achieved significant enough TVL where it makes sense for new projects to consider BSC as a viable ecosystem.”

Binance is certainly the most popular alternative at the moment. Recently, DappRadar also added support for Binance Smart Chain in its portfolio tool, but there are other projects that are growing and becoming viable alternatives, and these may begin to gain more traction as time passes. Abugov continued:

“There is also Polkadot, Flow and a number of others that are showing viable ecosystems. Before projects were almost forced to build in ETH, now they have an actual choice. As bridges become more developed this trend should become stronger.”Layer-two options are also gaining traction

While Ethereum alternatives like BSC and others are becoming popular, layer-two options are also being integrated at lightning speed. SushiSwap chief technology officer Joseph Delong noted that the decentralized exchange is planning additional future deployments, including on Optimism.

SushiSwap would be just one of the latest to do so. Other projects such as Synthetix, a decentralized derivatives trading platform, are also experimenting with layer-two options, the most popular of which seems to be Optimism. Kain Warwick, founder of Synthetix, told Cointelegraph:

“Every project currently on Ethereum will need to adopt a Layer 2 solution. There are fast-moving teams that now have considerable treasuries and highly skilled engineers, and allowing more users to interact with a protocol is a huge incentive to move quickly into scalable solutions.”Will Ethereum 2.0. restore trust, or will it be too late?

While Ethereum is currently facing scalability issues and becoming very hard to use, Ethereum 2.0 is currently in development, and its staking and sharding features will allow the experience to return to normal for the common user and improve on many other aspects. Not only will the network be able to handle more transactions without congestion, which results in lower fees, but staking will also improve on the wasteful proof-of-work model that requires miners to burn electricity to validate the network.

However, the current issues experienced in Ethereum are opening doors for others to become popular alternatives. This means that Eth2 may not be enough to regain Ethereum’s previous market share, according to Abugov: “ETH 2.0 is significantly far away that competing blockchains can establish their own ecosystems. When ETH 2.0 launches it will likely be just one of the options for project teams.”

While projects are now exploring other options, Ethereum’s network effect is still standing strong. Developers don’t seem to be moving away from the blockchain, but they appear willing to look for additional options that can give Ethereum 2.0 developers more time to perfect the upcoming launch and present users with new, exciting options for DeFi interaction.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/too-little-too-late-ethereum-losing-defi-ground-to-rival-blockchains

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Cointelegraph

Ethereum loses key support level as ETH price falls to two-month lows against Bitcoin

Ethereum’s value against Bitcoin dropped below its 200-day exponential moving average for the first time since March 2020, raising risks of further declines in the coming sessions.

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Ethereum’s native token Ether (ETH) rallied by more than 15% in the first twelve days of October. But, compared to Bitcoin’s (BTC) 30% gains in the same period, the second-largest cryptocurrency is currently in a downtrend when priced in BTC.

So far into October (and the fourth quarter of 2021), the ETH/BTC exchange rate has plunged by over 12%, reaching 0.060215 BTC for the first time in more than two months on Tuesday.

ETH/BTC daily price chart. Source: TradingView.com

The drop also pushed ETH/BTC below one of its longest-standing support zones, the 200-day exponential moving average (200-day EMA; the orange wave), as shown in the chart above. This raises the risk of more downside with 0.055304 BTC serving as the next possible target.

Bitcoin dominance rises on ETF hopes

More evidence for ETH/BTC’s weakness came from rising Bitcoin’s dominance in the crypto market.

In detail, the Bitcoin Dominance Index (BTC.D), which measures the flagship cryptocurrency’s capitalization against the rest of the crypto market, surged from 42.39% on Oct. 1 to 46.64% on Oct. 12. On the other hand, Ethereum’s dominance (ETH.D) dropped from 18.15% to 17.57% in the same period.

Bitcoin dominance index daily chart. Source: TradingView.com

That shows that more capital flew/rotated into the Bitcoin market than altcoins so far into October.

Related: Institutional crypto products eye record AUM as investors pile into Bitcoin

The rising Bitcoin dominance coincided with expectations that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would approve four Bitcoin-based exchange-traded funds (ETF) in a matter of weeks. The applicants are Global X Bitcoin Trust, Valkyrie XBTO Bitcoin Futures Fund, WisdomTree Bitcoin Trust, and Kryptoin Bitcoin ETF.

SEC chair Gary Gensler hinted at an optimistic outcome for Bitcoin ETFs despite the securities regulator’s history of rejecting similar applications for eight years in a row. Gensler noted that this time, however, the Bitcoin ETF applicants filed under the Investment Company Act of 1940, which offers higher investor protection.

Earlier this week, two “light” Bitcoin ETFs started trading in the U.S., named Invesco Alerian Galaxy Crypto Economy ETF under the ticker SATO and Invesco Alerian Galaxy Blockchain Users and Decentralized Commerce ETF (BLKC). However, the funds invest 80% of their assets in crypto-related companies, not Bitcoin itself.

SATO ETF 15-minute price chart. Source: TradingView.com

The SEC also approved a third crypto equity ETF. Dubbed the Volt Crypto Industry Revolution and Tech ETF (BTCR), the fund will gain exposure “in entities that hold a majority of their net assets in bitcoin or derive a majority of their earnings from bitcoin mining, lending or transacting.”

Bitcoin to go “insane”?

James Seyffart, an ETF analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, said the news would be “very bullish” for Bitcoin. Similarly, independent market analyst Lark Davis also predicted “insane” market reactions should the SEC approve a Bitcoin ETF having exposure to actual BTC.

I don’t think people are fully prepared for how insane the markets will go once we get a #bitcoin ETF approved!

— Lark Davis (@TheCryptoLark) October 8, 2021

So it appears, the speculation over Bitcoin ETF approvals raised traders’ appetite for the top cryptocurrency in recent days with BTC outperforming its top rivals, including Ether.

Nonetheless, Ethereum boasts a strong decentralized application ecosystem and remains the key force behind the booming decentralized finance (DeFi) and nonfungible token (NFT) sectors.

David Gokhshtein, the founder of Gokhshtein Media and PAC Global, noted that Ethereum’s healthy network effect could send Ether to $10,000 by the end of this year. Meanwhile, as Cointelegraph covered, an ongoing supply crunch in the Ethereum market should remain a major talking point for the bulls moving forward.

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

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/ethereum-loses-key-support-level-as-eth-price-falls-to-two-month-lows-against-bitcoin

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El Salvador’s Bitcoin detractors: Opposition groups gather as crypto law rolls out

While President Bukele enjoys widespread popularity, his law that makes Bitcoin legal tender does not.

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The year 2021 will probably go down the history books as one of Bitcoin’s (BTC) most interesting years, given its recent uptake by billionaires and adoption by mainstream institutions, not to mention El Salvador’s move to make it legal tender.

In El Salvador’s case, it almost seems as if the whole world is watching this experiment to see whether it will be a success or a total failure for the Central American nation.

With Sept. 7 marking the official implementation of Bitcoin as a legal tender in El Salvador, a wave of protests in the country against the move has roused suspicions and uncertainty over how the new law will be enforced.

From the arrest of individuals criticizing the Salvadoran government over the new law, to the wave of citizens across the country protesting Bitcoin’s legal status, the seminal crypto is facing some headwinds.

How Bitcoin became legal tender

It all began in early June after Salvadoran president Nayib Bukele announced in a tweet that the country’s legislative assembly had passed a bill making Bitcoin legal tender. The law was set to be implemented on Sept. 7 and would see the country’s 4.5 million citizens able to make purchases with Bitcoin at stores nationwide.

In his announcement, Bukele said that once an official bill to make Bitcoin legal tender was passed, “Chivo ATMs” — Chivo being the name of the official BTC wallet for El Salvador — would eventually be “everywhere” in the country. This would allow El Salvadorans to withdraw Bitcoin in cash without incurring any commissions on their holdings, as is the case with services such as Western Union.

Moreover, Bukele assured citizens that no one will be forced to use Bitcoin. In a statement, the 40-year-old president said that “someone can always queue up at Western Union and pay a commission.”

“What if someone doesn’t want to use Bitcoin? [Well] don’t download the app and continue living your normal life. Nobody is going to take your dollars,” he said.

The first wave of resistance

Following the announcement, a group of protestors called the Popular Resistance and Rebellion Block (BRRP) block emerged to protest against the Bitcoin law.

“President Nayib Bukele passed the law making the cryptocurrency legal tender in the country without proper consultations with the people,” one activist said.

Although the protest group highlighted complexities such as Bitcoin’s volatility as reasons for caution, their main claim is that the law mainly serves large businesses linked to alleged money laundering to the benefit of corrupt officials.

“Bitcoin only serves some large businessmen, especially those linked to the government, to launder ill-gotten money,” one protestor said.

A letter from the BRRP group said that “entrepreneurs who put their capital in Bitcoin will not pay taxes on their earnings and the government would spend millions worth of taxes to execute the whole campaign.”

Indeed, the bill to make Bitcoin legal tender includes some interesting proposals such as a zero capital gains tax on BTC. The bill also promised investors permanent residency in the country with a three BTC investment in El Salvador.

The arrest of Mario Gómez

As the controversial Bitcoin bill became a law on Sept. 7, both supporters and detractors continue to emerge with the latest in events around the law being the arrest of Mario Gómez.

According to several local news outlets in El Salvador, Mario Gómez — a computer and crypto expert as well as an avid critic of the government — was arrested by local police and held for a few hours before being released.

Gómez has been known to regularly post on social media opposing the government’s move to make Bitcoin legal tender. Observers such as Steve Hanke — an economist from Johns Hopkins University — criticized Gómez’s arrest as an “authoritarian police tactic in action.”

Hector Silva, a counselor of the mayor’s office in San Salvador, said, “the arrest of Mario portrays the fragility of the government in terms of the implementation of the Bitcoin law but confirms something even more dangerous.”

“They are willing to manipulate whatever institutions are necessary to push critical voices out of the way,” added Silva.

Although the police released a statement saying that Gómez was detained as part of a financial fraud investigation, news reports claimed that he was arrested without a warrant and an attempt was made to take possession of his phone and computer.

The citizens’ protest

Right before Gómez’s arrest, some retirees in El Salvador took to the streets to protest, worried about the government using the cryptocurrency to pay their pensions.

While speaking to reporters, one demonstrator from the crowd — which included veterans, disability pensioners, workers and retirees — said, “we know this coin fluctuates drastically. Its value changes from one second to another, and we will have no control over it.”

While Bukele has promised that the use of Bitcoin in the country will be optional and that salaries and pensions will still be paid in United States dollars, the protestors still highlighted a lack of knowledge of the technology.

Citizens have also complained that there has been too little explanation from officials about the pros and cons of Bitcoin. “We don’t know the currency. We don’t know where it comes from. We don’t know if it’s going to bring us profit or loss. We don’t know anything,” one Salvadoran added.

In response, Bukele’s administration has stated that the use of Bitcoin is not mandatory and that necessary training and other alternatives to Bitcoin will be provided.

Mixed opinions

Although President Bukele enjoys incredibly high approval ratings, recent polls concerning the Bitcoin law show a widespread lack of support for the measure. A recent poll conducted by El Salvador’s Universidad Centroamericana José Siméon Cañas shows that up to two-thirds of respondents are inclined toward a move to repeal the law, and more than 70% prefer the U.S dollar over Bitcoin.

International institutions like the International Monetary Fund have also warned about macroeconomic, financial and legal issues brought about by El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin.

Siobhan Morden, head of Latin America Fixed Income Strategy at Amherst Pierpont, said that “the plans for Bitcoin under an increasingly autocratic regime will likely only compound concerns about corruption.”

On the flip side, others remain optimistic that the new law will eventually benefit Salvadorans given that the country’s economy is heavily reliant on remittances sent home by migrants overseas. Last year alone, the country’s remittances totaled $6 billion, accounting for a fifth of gross domestic product.

“El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender by law offers the country some optionality in financial matters and sovereignty,” said Alexander Blum, managing director of Two Prime.

His sentiments were echoed by Alberto Echegaray Guevara — an artist and entrepreneur — who said, “President Bukele’s Bitcoin Law is not only trying to make international money transfer cheaper and easier for 70% of his unbanked population but also creating a new economic hub and new remittances platform in Central America.”

Adrian Pollard from HollaEx told Cointelegraph, “It is typical for new technology rollouts to have bugs and apposition but that’s exactly why it was made voluntary.”

“I suspect there will be more bumps along the road for El Salvador but it will be worth it long term. In fact, I believe other South American nations aren’t far behind and will follow,” added Pollard.

In his announcement, Bukele said that once an official bill to make Bitcoin legal tender was passed, “Chivo ATMs” — Chivo being the name of the official BTC wallet for El Salvador — would eventually be “everywhere” in the country. This would allow El Salvadorans to withdraw Bitcoin in cash without incurring any commissions on their holdings, as is the case with services such as Western Union.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/el-salvador-s-bitcoin-detractors-opposition-mounts-despite-crypto-rollout

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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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