In our latest installment of ‘Blue Chip NFTs 101,’ we’re taking a dive into non-Ethereum chain NFTs; we’ll be working our way through top 10 blockchains and their biggest NFT projects, all while still highlighting major noteworthy projects that are on Ethereum.
In our first piece in the series, we covered the remarkable rise of ‘Moonbirds,’ the latest NFT project that has seemingly skyrocketed to blue chip status practically overnight. Let’s take a look at
The Fundamentals: Solana’s NFT Status
Solana has had it’s fair share of critics in recent years – the chain has had periods of intermittent downtime, and it is often criticized as carrying more centralized qualities relative to comparable and competing chains. The objective of this write-up isn’t to evaluate the nature of the chain, but rather to hone in on one of the biggest NFT projects in the ecosystem. We’ll leave a deep dive of Solana’s blockchain structure for another day, because one thing leaves little questioning – Solana was an early mover in being an Ethereum competitor that offered an NFT ecosystem with affordable gas prices.
At current standing, the hot trending topic in Solana NFTs is undoubtedly Okay Bears – a newer PFP NFT project that has gained traction as the Solana ecosystem has grown.
DeGods: Current Standing
DeGods have far and away the highest floor price in the Solana NFT ecosystem, consistently commanding north of 200 SOL while routinely maintaining a top 5 position in daily volume. The 10,000 mint project has a market cap that encompasses nearly 20% of the total Solana NFT market cap, according to data from Solana NFT aggregator Hyperspace.
DeGods has a bit more of a ‘legacy’ standing in the Solana ecosystem, but as with any early mover, it can be difficult to maintain the standing as challengers emerge. The biggest challenger in recent weeks has undoubtedly been Okay Bears, which have been the face of Solana on communities like NFT Twitter, and has blown away Solana volume over the past week with over $40M worth of Okay Bears being bought and sold. DeGods certainly have a higher ceiling, but having less than 10% of that volume over the same timeframe suggests that Okay Bears could be gunning for the top spot as the Solana landscape continues to grow.
Solana (SOL) doesn't have the legacy standing in NFTs that Ethereum has, but the blockchain has seemingly secured the #2 spot when it comes to NFT communities. | Source: SOL-USD on TradingView.com
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Recent Buzz: A Major Acquisition
What is DeGods doing to cement it’s positioning as a Solana ‘blue chip’? It’s easier said than done, but the DeGods community recently made a splash and made some headlines by dishing out roughly $625,000 for a team acquisition in Ice Cube’s ‘BIG3’ basketball league. The league brings 3×3 half-court basketball with a twist, and has consistently hosted ex-NBA athletes and ex-college stars (some of which have even returned to the NBA floor after appearing for the BIG3, a la Joe Johnson).
DeGods purchased 25 NFTs of the BIG3’s ‘Killer 3s’ team at $25,000 a piece, in a decision made by the NFT community’s DAO late last month. Almost equally impactful could be the moves that follow suit. Announced over the weekend was a similar move from music mogul (and well-known crypto fan) Snoop Dogg, who teamed up with PayPal co-founder Ken Howery to purchase 25 NFTs of their own, this team for the league team ‘Bivouac.’ This sponsorship model from the BIG3 is especially unique, and the league has opened up it’s own Ownership Model Twitter page, as well as a dedicated whitepaper outlining how the sponsorship model operates. Crypto and blockchain technology is running rampant through the BIG3 and DeGods can safely consider themselves ‘early.’
There’s plenty more on the horizon for DeGods as well. In a recent ‘State of the Union‘ address, the team addressed a native token (and some of the comments of skepticism around it), events, and a dedicated clip around the logic behind the DAO purchasing the BIG3 team.
Little is certain in the NFT landscape, but DeGods is seemingly well-positioned to be a Solana staple with it’s current engaged community and active, aggressive approach.
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BitMEX Mastermind Arthur Hayes Pleads Guilty, Avoids Jail Time
The picture is getting clearer for BitMEX co-founder Arthur Hayes. The judge called what he did “a willful violation of the Bank Secrecy Act,” but he still got two years probation. Hayes will serve the first six months of that sentence in home confinement, but that’s it. The banker and entrepreneur will not set foot in a cell. Why was anyone expecting otherwise, though?
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The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, Damian Williams, commented in a statement that Hayes “allowed BitMEX to operate as a platform in the shadows of the financial markets.” That’s according to Bloomberg, publication that summarizes the situation as:
“On Friday a federal judge sentenced Hayes to two years’ probation, after Hayes and BitMEX’s other founders were charged in 2020 with violating the Bank Secrecy Act, which requires the establishment of such safeguards, including verifying the identities of an exchange’s customers.”
His company, BitMEX, also “agreed to pay $100 million to settle civil allegations that it allowed illegal trades for years and violated rules requiring anti-money-laundering programs, without admitting to or denying the claims.” Some people are completely against the sentence, as they believe it sets a dark precedent.
Objections To Arthur Hayes’ Sentence
The publication quotes assistant US Attorney Samuel Raymond, who told US District Judge John Koeltl.
“This is a very serious offense. There were real consequences. When individuals like Mr. Hayes operate platforms without anti-money-laundering programs or know-your-customer programs, they become a magnet for people to launder money.”
Considering criminals are highly incentivized to circumvent the AML measures and KYC procedures, we can categorically say that John Koeltl’s assumptions are skewed. However, that doesn’t justify not complying with the law. According to Samuel Raymond, not sending Hayes to prison “would send a message to him that the cost of doing business is merely a fine, and he could continue to violate the law for huge amounts and pay any fine.”
What About The Other BitMEX Co-Founders?
The article is about Hayes, so, it doesn’t go into detail about the others. It summarizes their situation as follows:
“Hayes and co-founder Benjamin Delo pleaded guilty in February, and Samuel Reed in March, each agreeing to forfeit $10 million. Delo is scheduled to be sentenced next month and Reed in July.”
To close it all off, James Benjamin, Hayes’ lawyer, states the obvious. “Did BitMEX do a perfect and seamless job on its path from startup to a mature fintech company? No, it did not. There were some bumps in the road.”
LUNA price chart on FTX | Source: LUNA/USD on TradingView.com
Arthur Hayes On The Terra Luna Collapse
As many crypto-experts knew, Terra was a disaster waiting to happen. In his latest piece about the Luna collapse, Arthur Hayes tried to explain the underlying problem with algo-stablecoins.
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”Algorithmic stablecoins are not much different than fiat debt-backed currencies, save for one crucial factor. Terra and others like it cannot force anyone to use UST at any price. They must convince the market with their fancy designs that the governance tokens backing the protocol will have a non-zero value that rises more quickly over time than the amount of fiat-pegged tokens issued.”
Obviously, the model failed. The vulnerability was so big that maybe it wasn’t even a coordinated attack. The Terra Luna scheme wasn’t long for this world, in any case.
Featured Image by Ichigo121212 from Pixabay | Charts by TradingView
Litecoin [LTC]: Few hours till MWEB upgrade; here’s what investors should know
“Wen MimbleWimble [MWEB] update?”, you ask. Well, according to Charlie Lee, Managing Director of the Litecoin Foundation, the MWEB upgrade is estimated to activate on 19 May at 8:30 p.m. (5/20 3:30 a.m. UTC).
With the promise to enhance the user experience by providing users the option to make confidential transactions on the Litecoin network, here is what you should know about the performance of the LTC token so far.
Off goes the Lite
On 3 May, the Lite Foundation made an announcement confirming that the MWEB update was locked in for activation. However, the LTC token surprisingly plummeted and stood at $71.18 at the time of writing. The LTC token that stood at $101 on 3 May, recorded a 30% decline and was 82% away from its ATH of $412.96.
Similarly, within the same period, the market capitalization for the LTC token took a 29% beating. Standing at $7.05 billion on 3 May when confirmation was made, the decline put the market cap at $5 billion at press time.
Positioned below the 50 neutral region at the time of press, the bulls attempted to push the RSI into the overbought region on 4 May following the announcement.
However, the bears have since had an upper hand and forced the RSI in a downward direction. At the time of writing, the RSI stood around the 36 region, approaching the oversold position.
Already in the oversold position, the MFI stood at 22 at the time of press. Despite the MWEB being just a few hours away, investors appeared to be distributing the token.
Some highs and then some lows
Data from the chain also suggested that the LTC token recorded significant strides in some respects and made no traction worthy of note in others.
The index for the development activity showed that the LTC token made some progress in that regard. Maintaining an upward trend since 3 May, the development activity stood at 1.75 at the time of writing.
However, a closer look at the chain did not reveal an all-round impact. After reaching a high of 1.92 billion in transaction volume on 12 May, the number took to a downtrend and shed over 85% by press time. The transaction volume stood at 767.93 million at the time of writing.
Similarly, the past few days have been marked with very few whale activities. Following a high of 100 transactions count for transactions over $1 million on 15 May, a decline was spotted.
The transaction number stood at 13 at the time of press. Similarly, for transactions over $100k, standing at 124 at press time, the transactions count showed no significant growth. This kind of figure might be an indication of a lack of interest from the whales especially when the MWEB update is about 24 hours away.
Importantly, a look at the active addresses on the network showed a spike in the number of unique addresses transacting the token.
How The Tether Peg Could Predict Raging Bitcoin Volatility
The whole UST debacle has seen traders emboldened in the market against stablecoins. The result of this had been more investors going after the pegs of other stablecoins such as USDT and trying to see if they can destabilize the coin. Most prominent of this had been Tether USD, whose peg saw the most opposition as its peg to the U.S. dollar was heavily challenged. This challenge suggests that there could be more volatility coming.
Tether Challenge Ramps Up
One thing to note is that periods of challenges like these are mostly arising from periods of extreme market stress and liquidations. Such were the market conditions for the last week after the UST de-pegging. This ultimately leads to large deviations in the price of stablecoins such as USDT and USDC when it comes to the $1 peg. Although in this case, the majority of the deviations were recorded in USDT alone as USDC held up better in the market.
Related Reading | Bitcoin Marks Seven Consecutive Red Candles, Paints Gruesome Picture For Market
Tether (USDT) which has always operated under high scrutiny from some in the market had begun trading below its $1 peg after the UST news broke. This gap would grow a bit wider with time although the stablecoin would regain its peg once more. However, the scrutiny that accompanies the stablecoin explains why it was the obvious target of the market.
USDT loses dollar peg following UST crash | Source: USDT/USD on TradingView.com
This had inadvertently created an opportunity for funds that had access to Tether redemptions. These funds had been able to take advantage of this slight de-pegging and presumably profited off it until the digital asset could return to its 1:1 peg.
More Volatility Coming?
On Thursday, the market saw one of the highest yearly volatility trends in a one-day period. This volatility had been brought on by the massive sell-offs that rocked the market, although this volatility has since declined since then.
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However, with the USDT peg being continuously challenged in the market, there may be more volatility yet to come. If a stablecoin such as USDT, which is currently the largest stablecoin in the market, were to lose its peg, it would no doubt have an even worse impact on the market than UST did. Basically, a de-pegging such as this could see the market dive deeper given that more than 50% of all open interest in the derivatives market are USDT collateral-based.
The asset also shares the most trading pairs of any other stablecoin. So a de-pegging could lead to historical level short squeezes which would essentially cripple the market. Also, an event like this would set mainstream acceptance back years as more people would become fearful of the market.
Loss of USDT peg could lead to extreme volatility | Source: Arcane Research
Featured image from CoinGeek, charts from Arcane Research and TradingView.com
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