Study shows the total number of crypto users has doubled during the first six months of 2021, mainly due to institutional adoption and the fever for memecoins like DOGE and SHIB. The report identified over 220 million users by the end of June. February and May were the months when the inflow of new users reached their peak: 203 million. The altcoin market also gained considerable growth during the first months of 2021, witnessing an increment in user count to an all-time high. Interestingly enough, the report highlighted that Ethereum outpaced Bitcoin’s growth this year. SHIB and DOGE were responsible for the surge in interest in the altcoin market. It is hard to find the exact returns of SHIB, but on-chain data shows DOGE has surged over 3,663% in the first half of 2021. Ethereum’s trading volume surged by more than 1,400% during the first six months of 2021, catapulting ETH’s trading volume to $1.4 trillion.
The Consumer Technology Association announced a new initiative at CES that will exhibit and highlight non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other blockchain-based technologies. The initiative will include digital asset exhibits, as well as talks that discuss the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), initial coin offerings (ICOs), and other blockchain businesses and technologies. The digital asset exhibits and programming will be hosted at the Aria in Las Vegas, Nevada. Several industry leaders and innovators will lead the discussions surrounding the emerging technologies.
Zodia Custody, a digital asset joint venture operation between Standard Chartered and Northern Trust, has received regulatory approval from the Financial Conduct Authority. The registration means that Zodia Custody is now providing commercial services to clients as a cryptoasset business. Aimed at the institutional market, Zodia Custody will initally provide safekeeping for the most commonly traded crypto currencies – bitcoin and ethereum, followed by XRP, litecoin and bitcoin cash – which collectively account for around 80% of the total assets traded on the major crypto exchanges.
State Street is to offer crypto and digital asset fund administration services to its private fund clients. Working in partnership with software provider Lukka, State Street will offer collection, reconciliation, processing and reporting related to cryptocurrency and other digital assets. State Street will use Lukka’s middle and back office software to incorporate digital assets alongside private clients’ other alternative investments. This news is the latest sign of the incremental adoption of crypto assets among Wall Street’s vanguard, following on from State Street’s recent launch of a cryptocurrency division.
Fintech platform COTI revamped the Crypto Volatility Index (CVI) to offer a set of new features including USDC support for staking. The gauge is designed to indicate the level of implied volatility in the crypto market through a decentralized index from crypto options prices. It is similar to the VIX volatility index, often called the fear index, on the S&P 500. Staking is fundamental to how the index works because users must be incentivized to make it work. With the enhancement, users can open USDC positions and stake CVI USDC through the index. the index initially supported trades and deposits in either ether or tether. Volatility tokens have also been introduced as part of CVI 2.0 to be used as a hedging tool by investors. The first such token is USDC-ETH, which can be traded on all Ethereum-based decentralized exchanges. CVI 2.0 also includes margin trading on the Polygon network, allowing users to access greater sums of capital.
Blockchain infrastructure platform Paxos has added Bank of America, Coinbase Ventures, Founders Fund and FTX to its recent $300 million Series D funding round. Bank of America joined the Paxos Settlement Service earlier this year. Paxos uses blockchain technology to achieve same-day settlement of stock trades. Paxos started providing infrastructure for PayPal’s crypto service last year, which has extended to PayPal’s Venmo payments app. Credit Suisse, fintech Revolut and Societe Generale are among other customers.
There’s a lot going on inside Robinhood’s dedicated crypto business unit: the development of new lending and staking products and meetings with Uniswap to start. That’s not surprising, given the sizeable role crypto has played in Robinhood’s bottom line. In a prospectus filed ahead of the firm’s much-anticipated IPO, nearly one-fifth of its transaction-based revenue is derived from its crypto business. More than one-third of that revenue came from the meme-themed cryptocurrency dogecoin. Robinhood outlined a number of prospective products, including a new wallet, a lending product, debit rewards and staking. The company has also added staff to its crypto unit, including the hire of a new dedicated CFO. And in a nod to the growth happening around decentralized finance or DeFi, Robinhood is taking a look in that particular direction as well. Robinhood has held talks with the development studio Uniswap Labs that supports the protocol. Uniswap Labs and Robinhood have held high-level talks centered around an exploration of Uniswap to provide liquidity on the platform alongside centralized market makers. however, it would be surprising if Robinhood ends up integrating Uniswap given the strict approach to compliance and the onboarding of new market-making companies.
There’s a new way to invest in Bitcoin without actually buying any Bitcoin. But a new bitcoin mutual fund ProFunds is making it easier to invest in crypto. Profund is offering the product at a time when firms are clamoring to create ways for clients to grab a piece of the once-obscure digital asset. ProFunds, says, it is the first publicly available mutual fund correlated to the value of the largest cryptocurrency. The Bitcoin Strategy ProFund invests in Bitcoin futures contracts and aims for results that track the price of the digital currency — before fees.
Founders of the digital asset and blockchain companies participating in the new Start Path program aim to address a host of pain points including asset tokenization, data accuracy, digital security and seamless access between the traditional and digital economy. Each startup is focused on solving a unique industry challenge and, throughout the program, will leverage Mastercard’s expertise to support the continued growth and development of their solutions.
- Mintable: a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace where users can create, buy and sell digital and physical assets backed by the blockchain such as digital collectibles, avant-garde artwork and even music. The Mintable platform is packed with novel features such as gasless minting and credit card purchasing that are designed to empower the everyday person to get involved with NFTs without any prior knowledge in crypto or coding.
- GK8: a self-managed end-to-end institutional crypto custody platform that offers a true air-gapped cold vault. This means that the platform is capable of creating, signing and sending secure blockchain transactions without receiving input from the internet.
- Taurus: delivers enterprise-grade infrastructure to manage any digital asset with one single platform, including crypto assets, digital currencies and tokenized assets covering issuance, custody, asset servicing and trading.
- Domain Money looks to build a next generation investment platform, bridging the gap between digital assets and traditional finance for retail investors.
- SupraOracles, a powerful blockchain oracle that helps businesses bridge real-world data to both public and private chains, enabling interoperable smart contracts to automate, simplify and secure the future of financial markets.
- STACSprovides a blockchain infrastructure for the financial industry to unlock massive value and enable effective sustainable financing. Its clients and partners include global banks, national stock exchanges, and asset managers.
- Uphold, a crypto-native, multi-asset digital money platform offering investment and payment services to consumers and businesses worldwide. Uphold’s unique ‘Anything-to-Anything’ trading experience enables customers to trade directly between asset classes with embedded payments facilitating a future where everyone has access to financial services.
The number of crypto ATMs installed globally has increased by more than 70% to 24,030 this year, a jump of almost 120% for all 2020. The 10,037 machines installed so far in 2021 already exceed the 7,620 added in 2020, with five months of the year still remaining. Crypto ATMs are to be found in 75 different countries, over 21,000 of them in the U.S.