What has been happening around Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrencies this week? The most relevant local and international developments as well as appealing background reports in a pointed and compact way in retrospect in our weekly review.
The foundation for success of a technology is an underlying legal environment. As blockchain technology, including cryptocurrencies based on it, continues to mature, regulators have reacted accordingly. Until now, the regulatory authorities in the United States have been acting cautiously. This is also due to the fact that various national and state authorities treat crypto assets differently. Hester Peirce, Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has long been an advocate for a clear and standardized crypto regulatory landscape. According to her, the innovations and newly created opportunities around digital assets should not be fought, but rather be facilitated.
In Switzerland in particular, crypto assets are enjoying increasing adoption. Already half a year ago, the canton of Zug announced to accept tax payments in Bitcoin and Ether. Since then, companies have also followed and implemented various crypto payment solutions. Most recently, the insurance group AXA. Involved in several blockchain projects already since 2017, customers can now settle their bills with Bitcoin. The decision followed a market research study conducted by the insurer in 2019, in which roughly one-third of respondents were already in possession of or interested in cryptocurrencies.
A new area of adoption based on blockchain technology is the rapidly growing ecosystem around so-called non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs represent a unique asset in the form of a token on the blockchain. That might be a piece of art in real or digital form. In recent months, NFTs attracted increased attention from people beyond the crypto-universe. A work by the artist "Beeple," was sold for $69 million at world-famous auction house Christie's. Now the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the world's heaviest securities exchange by market capitalization, is venturing into the field. With the launch of its own collection of unique moments from individual stock exchange listings, the company aims to eternalize these moments.
Large-scale adoption of blockchain technology is fundamentally a positive trend for decentralized networks and enables new use cases. An undesirable side effect of the new technology is network congestion. For instance, there has been a sharp increase in dynamic transaction fees on the Ethereum blockchain. The competing smart contract platform "Polkadot" offers a different approach to the problem. The network consists of one central coordination-blockchain and connects "Parachains" to it. Parachains are individual and independent blockchains designed for a single purpose. The individual Parachains are able to communicate with each other. In this way, they form a high-performance network of blockchains that can minimize scaling problems to a lA history-making crypto sector IPO took place this week. The exchange Coinbase celebrated its stock market debut on Tuesday with a market capitalization of roughly $100 billion, overshadowing the valuations of traditional exchanges and seasoned financial institutions. It represents a significant step for crypto industry, giving it a long-awaited legitimacy.
In addition: Diving into the different segments of the cryptomarket, certain trends can be identified. Data provider Coingecko published a market study for the first quarter of 2021. There has been a revaluation of some sectors especially in the last few weeks. Thus, exchange tokens in particular gained shortly before the Coinbase IPO. But other market segments were also experiencing strong growth. One of these was the decentralized financial (DeFi) sector, particularly on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC). Furthermore, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) gained momentum and are currently exceeding the keyword DeFi in Google searches.
Selected articles in the weekly review:
SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce wants to encourage more innovation in the U.S. blockchain industry.
AXA now offers its customers the option of settling their bills in Bitcoin.
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is venturing into the world of NFTs.
An overview of the Polkadot Blockchain.
Coinbase went public this week with a valuation of roughly $100 billion.
A roundup view on the different segments and trends in the crypto markets during the first quarter.
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