Blockchain Bites: Crypto's Bailout Millions, Brazil's Binance Ban, Lightning's Bug

Crypto firms received at least $30 million in government-backed loans, Brazil bans Binance's derivatives trading and Mercedes Benz' parent tests blockchain.

AccessTimeIconJul 7, 2020 at 4:19 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. UTC

At least 75 crypto and blockchain firms received approximately $30 million in government-backed PPP loans during the COVID-19 economic crunch while Binance continues to donate personal protective equipment equipment through its charitable wing. Here's the story:

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Top shelf

Crypto Loans
More than 75 companies in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry collected at least $30 million from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a program meant to provide loans to small businesses affected by the COVID-19-led economic fallout, CoinDesk has found. According to information published Monday by the U.S. Small Business Administration, loan recipients include Zcash developer Electric Coin Company, Ethereum venture studio ConsenSys and several crypto venture firms. 

Binance: Wins and Losses
Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange by trading volume, has donated 27,000 KN95 masks worth more than $60,000 to the U.K. National Health Service’s Pru Trust. Binance Charity recently created the PPE Token stablecoin, which has been used to track the delivery of masks and other equipment to hospitals. That's as the exchange acquired crypto wallet app Swipes wallet is available in more than 30 countries and allows users to purchase items with crypto via a Visa debit card. In less positive news, the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) on Monday ordered Binance to immediately cease offering derivatives trading in the country. 

Lightning Bug
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have detailed vulnerabilities in Bitcoin’s Lightning Network that could lead to a loss of funds. The attack, explained in a paper called “Flood & Loot: A Systemic Attack on the Lightning Network,” games the slow confirmation times on Bitcoin’s network, Lightning’s “hash time-locked contracts” and the difference in settlement times. 

Benz on the Blockchain?
Ocean Protocol has completed a proof-of-concept with Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler, showing how blockchain can begin monetizing data streams within the company and across its supply chains. Announced Tuesday, the Singapore-based Ocean collaborated with Daimler AG to explore the decentralized sharing of internal sales and financial data among the multinational’s production hubs, and externally between some of its supply chain procurement partners. 

Mining Disclosures
Iran’s vice president issued a directive Monday that states crypto miners in the nation will have to disclose their identities, the size of their mining farms and their mining equipment type with the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade within a month.  

Quick bites

  • Confused what yield farming is? CoinDesk has an explainer
  • Viral TikTok video boosts the price of dogecoin by 20% (Decrypt)
  • Social network Voice, built on the EOSIO blockchain, has launched (The Block)
  • Alphabet subsidiary Loon launched a balloon-powered internet in Kenya (NYT)
  • Crypto entrepreneur Brock Pierce is officially a presidential candidate after filing paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Monday.

Market intel

Unique Addresses
The seven-day moving average of the number of active ether addresses rose to 405,014 on Friday – a threshold not seen since May 2018, according to data provided by the blockchain analytics firm Glassnode. Active addresses are the number of unique addresses that are active in the network either as a sender or receiver. The increased ether activity could be associated with the explosive growth of Ethereum-based decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, as well as the number of daily tether (USDT) transactions on the network. 

ADA Gains
Cardano’s ADA token has recorded a 170% return in the second quarter, propelling the crypto to its highest price level since June 2019. According to Daniel Ferraro, marketing director at blockchain intelligence firm IntoTheBlock, ADA’s impressive rally is the result of the excitement surrounding the “Shelley” upgrade, which would make Cardano 50 to 100 times more decentralized than other prominent blockchain networks, according to the company. Further, it will introduce an incentive scheme, or staking, designed to reach equilibrium around 1,000 stake pools.  

Exchange Losses 
Trading volumes on "top tier" crypto spot exchanges fell by 36% in June, according to a report from London-based data provider CryptoCompare, potentially related to bitcoin’s recent low volatility. Similarly, crypto derivatives exchanges experienced a 35.7% drop in volume to $393 billion – the lowest monthly volumes since the start of 2020.


The Pirate Bay Age of Money
Lex Sokolin, a CoinDesk columnist and Global Fintech co-head at ConsenSys, writes about a pyramid scheme called Forsage that is eating up 25% of Ethereum’s bandwidth. Currently the most popular decentralized app, Forsage is just one example of the type of software that can take advantage of a permissionless system and cheat people out of their funds. “[W]e are in the Pirate Bay age of money: There is nothing to shut down, many will argue,” Sokolin writes, but “white hat hackers should come together to protect their users against naked pyramid schemes. If we don’t, there may never be real money in the system. Or worse yet, there will be no real decentralized system at all.”

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