Blockchain Bites: Square's Patent Posse, Binance's DeFi Bridge, SushiSwap's Co-Founder Speaks

Square is pushing back against crypto patent hogs, Binance is doubling down on DeFi and the ECB's Lagarde says Europe is losing the CBDC race.

AccessTimeIconSep 11, 2020 at 4:01 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:55 a.m. UTC

Square is pushing back against crypto patent hogs, Binance is doubling down on DeFi and what's the story with crypto's latest attempt at a backdoor public listing.

Top shelf

Patent posse
Square, the bitcoin-friendly payments company, is building an “alliance” to pool crypto patents and preserve the industry’s open-source spirit. The non-profit Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) aims to stop companies from locking up useful technologies in patents, a practice Square says hamstrings innovation and stifles crypto adoption. Members must pledge to make their patents freely available to all other members using a shared library. 

DeFi attraction
Binance is connecting its decentralized Binance Smart Chain (BSC) to its centralized exchange (CeFi) and pumping $100 million into decentralized finance (DeFi) projects built on BSC. This “bridge” between DeFi and CeFi will essentially offer DeFi access to Binance users who don’t want to leave the exchange, CoinDesk’s Muyao Shen reports. 

European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde said Europe has fallen behind in the digital currency (CBDC) race. Speaking at a Deutsche Bundesbank’s conference, Lagarde said a digital euro would allow the bloc to be at the cutting edge of innovation, but the lack of payments integration in Europe indicated that foreign providers have taken the lead. Separately, France’s central bank governor said a public/private partnership would be the best way to issue a CBDC to retail users.

Uniswap volumes
Uniswap topped August’s record high trading volume in the first 10 days of September, reaching $6,729,691,041 mid-morning on Thursday, leaving almost three weeks to push further into record territory. Last month’s $6.7 billion in traded volume was the leading decentralized exchange’s fourth consecutive all-time monthly high. Liquidity on Uniswap, however, has dropped by over 60% to $619 million since Tuesday as the popular SushiSwap project successfully migrated from Uniswap to FTX’s decentralized exchange, Serum.

Matching engine
Cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp has implemented a new matching engine from Nasdaq’s technology vendor that it says greatly speeds trading. The upgrade is said to be 1,250 times faster, allowing the firm to add additional trading pairs and better manage periods of volatility. 

Quick bites

At stake

SPACs are back?
Earlier this week MarketWatch announced 2020 as the year of the SPAC, citing 82 firms using this “backdoor” approach to public listing to raise more than $31 billion so far. 

Another firm, Hong-Kong based Diginex, may become the 83rd. CoinDesk’s Nathan DiCamillo reports that this blockchain services firm could be publicly traded by Sept. 23.

SPACs, special purpose acquisition companies, are used to conduct initial public offerings (IPO) and hold that capital in trust to later be put to work to acquire other companies, giving the acquiree listed status. 

Diginex, which hopes to list on Nasdaq, will merge with publicly traded 8i Enterprises Acquisition Corp., a British Virgin Islands-based company, after a final shareholder vote later this month. If all goes as planned, Diginex should bypass many of the usual regulatory barriers associated with an IPO and list on Nasdaq around Sept. 23, said Diginex CEO Richard Byworth, a former investment banker.

While a number of factors, including pandemic-induced economic uncertainty and a growing awareness of the costs of traditional listings, have cut into the IPO market, crypto has its own reasons for finding alternatives. 

INX is conducting an initial public offering live over the Ethereum blockchain, while Coinbase is reportedly looking into a “direct listing.” 

While Diginex’s is certainly not a “top-tier” exchange, going public is noticeable, DiCamillo said. The Nasdaq listing would raise its profile among investors and potential customers, said George Zarya, CEO of digital asset services firm Bequant. 

Market intel

Bitcoin is struggling to gather upside traction despite repeated defense of support at $10,000. The top cryptocurrency's sell-off from the August high of $12,476 looks to have come to a halt near $10,000 over the past seven days. "If $10,000 is breached, the cryptocurrency could drop to $8,100," crypto trader and analyst Josh Olszewicz tweeted earlier this week. So far, however, bitcoin's rebound has been capped around $10,500.

Tech pod

Nym, a privacy-centric startup, will pay people in bitcoin for running its nodes. The software project’s mixnet, used to obscure metadata tracking, will now support bitcoin transactions and enable plugins for wallets and applications. One way Nym will compensate node operators is through L-BTC on the Liquid sidechain using the Blockstream Green wallet. It is also launching a reputation system, NYMPH, that lets participants keep track of which mixnodes are online and mixing data packs, even across multiple chains, CoinDesk privacy report Ben Powers said. 


Learning from Graeber
Shiv Malik, author, co-founder of Intergenerational Foundation and Head of Growth at Streamr, thinks DeFi proves we have learned nothing from the ICO-mania of years past. Looking at crypto markets through the lens of recently-deceased anthropologist David Graeber’s theory of debt, Malik says, “Trying to make money out of nothing by believing other people will fall for the trick is, in the end, still trying to make money out of nothing.”

Podcast corner

How Monetary Policy Undermined American Resilience
Nathaniel Whittemore looks at how the Federal Reserve’s policy of artificially low interest rates has led to the death of savings and perpetual growth machine for financial assets. 

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