Blockchain Bites: Digital Yuan's 4M Transactions, Bitcoin's 33-Month High, Uniswap's Second Governance Vote

October saw the first time the total value locked in all DeFi protocols closed below the month’s starting value.

AccessTimeIconNov 2, 2020 at 5:09 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:26 a.m. UTC

October saw the first time the total value locked in all DeFi protocols closed below the month’s starting value. Square Crypto is sponsoring a bitcoin wallet designer. A new civil suit alleges BitMEX executives were looting profits.

At stake

DeFi contraction
In the last week of October, DeFi protocol tokens were bleeding red. 

MakerDAO, one the largest and most successful decentralized lenders, started the week at $2.1 billion locked in. By Friday, that had dipped to $1.96 billion, according to DeFi Pulse. Compound, Aave and Curve similarly shed a few million from their valuations. 

In aggregate, DeFi lost $1.5 billion in the last five days of the month, according to DeFi Pulse. With those losses, October marked the first time since the sector’s bull market began that the amount of cryptocurrency “locked in” DeFi contracted compared in the span of a month. 

It wasn’t a steep decline. DeFi’s cumulative valuation stood at $11.28 billion on Oct. 1, and only retreated to $11 billion locked up on Oct. 31. Industry publication Decrypt called the ecosystem’s monthly top at $12.4 billion.

It was this minor decline that may have triggered a more than $2.5 billion sell-off seen this weekend, where the ecosystem retreated to lows of $8.5 billion last seen in early September. 

With prices reverting back to over $11 billion (at press time), it doesn’t appear that DeFi is dead.

Top shelf

Digital transfers
Over 4 million transactions totaling more than 2 billion yuan ($299 million) have been conducted using China’s digital yuan, Yi Gang, governor of the People’s Bank of China, said. Speaking at the Hong Kong Fintech Week conference on Monday, Yi said the COVID-19 crisis has also accelerated the need for contactless banking, creating challenges for central banks looking to balance consumer needs and safety. That said, the central banker also played down the prospect of an imminent launch, saying the digital yuan project is still in the early stages.

Squaring the crypto
Square Crypto, the cryptocurrency arm of the payments company, has awarded a grant to a designer building easy-to-use bitcoin wallets. Announced via tweet Friday, Maggie Valentine’s development work will answer the question: "How can we provide an intuitive experience for non-crypto users while preserving the security of a user’s funds?" The award comes less than a month after Square said it had purchased 4,709 bitcoins for $50 million, representing 1% of the firm's assets.

Cayman consensus
The Cayman Islands, an autonomous British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, is building a regulatory framework for “virtual asset service providers” (VASPs). Announced Saturday, the Caymans' Ministry of Financial Services has entered "Phase One" of the framework, a set of rules spelling out the nation’s anti-money laundering (AML) and terrorist financing regulations. VASPs already working in the Caymans, or planning to, will need to notify and register with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) and comply with the AML/CFT rules. "Phase Two," slated to come into force next June, will look at licensing requirements and "prudential supervision" for VASPs.

Voted down
A proposal to distribute UNI tokens to those left out of a previous airdrop was not adopted in Uniswap’s second governance vote. While many votes were in favor, a quorum was not established, reports CoinDesk’s Zack Steward. Proposed by decentralized finance (DeFi) portal Dharma, “Prop 2” would have sent 400 UNI tokens each to 12,619 addresses that interacted with Uniswap through third-party apps, following a surprise airdrop on Sept. 17, that sent free tokens to anyone who had directly used the platform. A threshold of 40 million voted UNI tokens fell short by less than 2.5 million.

Corporate raiders?
The top officers of HDR, the parent company of crypto trading platform BitMEX, which has been charged with facilitating unregistered trading and other violations, systematically looted $440,308,400 from HDR accounts, a civil lawsuit claims. The suit, filed on behalf of plaintiffs BMA LLC, Yaroslav Kolchin and Vitaly Dubinin, alleges executives began diverting BitMEX's profits after becoming aware of possible charges in 2019. The U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Department of Justice both announced charges against BitMEX on Oct. 1. A spokesperson for HDR called the new civil claims “spurious.”

Quick bites

Blockchain could make dismantling nuclear warheads more secure, King’s College London claims in a recent report. (CoinDesk)

Nigerians protesting police corruption and concerns about a possible internet shutdown are adopting decentralized VPNs, along with bitcoin. (CoinDesk)

Following Coinbase’s announcement, peer-to-peer digital asset marketplace Paxful will launch a Visa debit card. (CoinDesk

Mongolia’s oldest bank will offer services including cryptocurrency remittance, custody, deposits, asset management and loans (Modern Consensus)

eToro has unveiled a free insurance scheme covering customers for up to £1 million if the firm should ever become insolvent. But crypto holders are left out in the cold. (CoinDesk)

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the agency is seeking public comments about a digital euro, implying a broad retail offering is now on the table. (Survey)

Market intel

Pop and drop
After October’s 28% bitcoin rally, the market appears to be cooling off. On Saturday, BTC notched a 33-month high of $14,093, but was unable to stay above that level. Trading in the mid $13Ks, this minor pullback has validated the short-term bull fatigue. "Unless the market can establish above $14,000, there is a risk that rally stalls here in favor of a healthy retreat," Joel Kruger, a currency strategist at LMAX Digital, told CoinDesk. At the low end, bitcoin could revisit the former hurdle-turned-support of $12,500.

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