Ethereum Tokens Put On Notice By Dencun Hard Fork

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2024/02/12/ethereum-tokens-put-on-notice-by-dencun-hard-fork/

Vitalik Buterin’s creation is about to get a major upgrade. Photographer: Chet Strange/Bloomberg

© 2022 Bloomberg Finance LP


Overview

Scalability challenges have long plagued blockchains. Bitcoin and Ethereum can only process a few dozen transactions per second, and the network fees can surge to exorbitant levels during peak use periods. Within Ethereum, a galaxy of complementary networks known as ‘Layer 2s’ emerged to overcome these bottlenecks. Some have grown so quickly that they are among the largest blockchains in the world in their own right. They each offer tokens that have garnered multibillion-dollar valuations from investors as well.

There has always been a question about how these blockchains would exist in a world where Ethereum can scale, as it has long planned, and the resulting impact on these tokens vis-a-vis ether. That question is about to be answered. Next month Ethereum will undergo a significant update, known as Dencun, that could boost its throughput to 100,000 transactions per second.

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Key Background

Layer 2 protocols boost the performance of Layer 1 blockchains, such as Ethereum, by offloading and batching transactions to a secondary layer. These transactions then get cryptographically linked together and posted to the main network as a single entry. Other networks, such as Bitcoin have their own L2 protocols, but their size is comparably smaller than Ethereum’s counterparts.

Not all L2s are built the same way. The largest category is rollups, where transactions are bundled and added to Ethereum en masse. Still, there is significant variance in how these approaches operate. They subdivide into optimistic rollups and ZK-rollups.

  • Optimistic rollups group transactions into a single block, assuming by default that each transaction is valid (thus the ‘optimistic’ moniker), and then anchor them back onto Ethereum every minute or so.
  • ZK-rollups bundle multiple transfers into a single cryptographic proof that is then verified to be accurate by the base Ethereum chain. The significant difference between the two is that zk-rollups transactions can be proven correct. In contrast, optimistic ones provide a challenge period for users to dispute something (similar to how someone can dispute a credit card charge).

Optimistic rollups are far more popular today, the biggest being Optimism and Arbitrum in terms of the total value of assets locked on the network. Among ZK-rollups, some of the prominent ones are Loopring, StarkWare and Matter Labs zkSync, which house a much smaller amount of assets.

Forbes

zkSync Era is posting the highest throughput numbers of any L2, including market leader Arbitrum. However, it is interesting to note that Ethereum currently posts faster transactions per second than any L2s. Their max daily TPS numbers are many multiples higher than what Ethereum can process.

Forbes

There are some other notable L2 networks, the largest of which is Polygon, which has grown to become its own ecosystem and has a token, matic, with a market capitalization of $8 billion.


Key Statistic

Over the past year, ether has outpaced its L2 competitors, with the notable exception of ImmutableX (IMX), a platform focused on gaming that surged on the back of a few big announcements in December.

Forbes

However, most of these tokens have surged past ether over the past three months, likely due to investor anticipation of a spot ether ETF this spring. L2s can trade as high-beta plays on top of ether.

Forbes


Outlook and Implications

As the anticipation of an ether ETF grows, associated tokens will likely continue to surge along with the base asset. Given that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has until May 23rd to decide on the first application in the queue, there could be a halo effect for the next few months. Conversely, if the SEC denies an ether spot ETF, the entire world of Ethereum tokens could struggle.

But before that happens, the Dencun update will be adopted by Ethereum. Kavita Gupta, a venture capitalist and founder of Delta Fund, tells Forbes that if L2s are just going to serve as excess capacity for Ethereum, they could struggle after the update, which could be weeks away. However, she is sanguine about their prospects, saying that many top projects such as Polygon, Optimism, and Arbitrum “have all moved into offering something beyond providing excess capacity for Ethereum.”

Cosmo Jiang, a portfolio manager at Pantera Capital, a blockchain investment firm in Menlo Park, California, agrees. For starters, he points out that Dencun is not designed to cannibalize L2 volume but to make it cheaper for L2s to post transactions to the network.

“Its basic economics will make it 10x cheaper for L2s to settle transactions on Ethereum. If one pays on average 10 cents a transaction, it will only have to pay one to 2 cents moving forward,” Jiang said.

But within the world of L2s, fortunes will vary. Jiang is particularly bearish of zk-rollups, which he says are still largely experimental, adding “there’s no measurable organic activity on those chains. Part of the reason is because they all claim to still be in beta. But they just haven’t been able to get many defi applications to go there.”

It’s not all doom and gloom, as zk-rollups, in theory, should be much cheaper and faster than their optimistic counterparts at scale, but that remains far off in his opinion.

Both Jiang and Gupta agree that Arbitrum is head and shoulders above the competition, as it has staked a strong claim to the world of decentralized finance applications. It is not just taking advantage of the faster transactions for simple trades, but the cheaper fees also make it possible to put in more complex operations that require more computation power, such as options trades. So that is an important area for growth.

Although Optimism has yet to see quite the same growth so far, its technology stack has been used by other developers to launch their chains, notably Coinbase with Base. When Base launched in August 2023, it saw a dramatic influx in activity, but it quickly tapered off. Aside from challenges in getting users, Jiang noted that Coinbase might need help to attract growth because it conducts anti-money laundering and knows your customer checks on users as a regulated institution.


Decision Points

Investors bullish on the outlook for a spot ether ETF may consider branching out into L2 tokens as a high-beta play on the broader market. Regarding a longer investment, the highest weighting of an L2 portfolio is best served by focusing on optimistic rollup platforms such as Arbitrum and Optimism. zk-Sync could be a good diversifier, but it does not have a token right now, and the team has yet to announce any plans to launch one. ImmutableX (IMX) could play a small role in portfolios, but given that blockchain gaming has not gone mainstream yet, investors should be cautious about buying into too much hype. Potential IMX investors should wait until the price reverts to the mean before making an allocation.

Top Browser Extensions To Shield Your Digital Wealth

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2024/01/12/top-browser-extensions-to-shield-your-digital-wealth/

(Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Future Publishing via Getty Images

In today’s digital age, where cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated, protecting your digital assets has never been more crucial. Whether you are a cryptocurrency enthusiast or a regular internet user, ensuring the security of your online transactions is paramount. One effective way to enhance the security of your digital assets is by utilizing browser extensions. These powerful tools provide an added layer of protection, enabling you to safeguard your crypto transactions and prevent unauthorized access to your valuable assets.

The benefits of using browser extensions for digital asset security

Using browser extensions for digital asset security offers numerous benefits. Firstly, these extensions provide real-time monitoring and alerts, notifying you of any suspicious activities or potential threats. Secondly, they offer enhanced encryption and authentication mechanisms, ensuring that your transactions are secure and tamper-proof. Most importantly, browser extensions often come with built-in anti-phishing features, protecting you from fraudulent websites that attempt to steal your sensitive information.

Crypto-related browser extensions come equipped with a wide range of features and functionalities designed to enhance your digital asset security. One common feature is the ability to generate and store unique cryptographic keys securely. Another useful functionality is the integration with popular cryptocurrency wallets, allowing you to seamlessly manage your digital assets within the extension itself. Additionally, many browser extensions offer password managers and two-factor authentication, further bolstering the security of your online activities.

How to choose the right browser extension for your digital asset security needs

“While browser extensions make it really easy to participate in crypto and Decentralized Finance, users need to understand good browser and computer hygiene,” explains Adam Blumberg, a Certified Financial Planner and Founder of crypto education company Interaxis. “The browser extension wallets should generally be used for smaller transactions and holdings, and not for large holdings.”

When selecting a browser extension for your digital asset security needs, it is crucial to consider a few key factors. Firstly, ensure that the extension is developed by a reputable company or individual with a track record of providing reliable security solutions. Look for extensions that have been audited by third-party security experts to ensure their integrity. Furthermore, check for compatibility with your preferred browser and operating system to ensure a seamless experience. Finally, read user reviews and testimonials to gauge the overall satisfaction and effectiveness of the extension. By taking these steps, you can make an informed decision and choose the right browser extension to safeguard your digital assets.

One tool gaining popularity for digital asset security is the Fire browser extension. The service offers a comprehensive set of features designed to protect your crypto transactions and prevent unauthorized access to your digital assets. It offers real-time transaction monitoring and alerts, enabling you to stay informed about any suspicious activities. The extension also utilizes industry-standard encryption algorithms to secure your transaction data, making it virtually impossible for malicious actors to intercept or tamper with your transactions.

Other providers in the space worth investigating are Blowfish, Wallet Guard, and Aegis Web3.

Limitations of browser extensions

While browser extensions are a valuable tool in enhancing the security of digital assets, it is important to recognize their limitations. Firstly, they operate within the confines of your browser, which means that any security flaws in the browser itself could potentially compromise the extensions. Additionally, extensions are software programs that require regular updates to address new vulnerabilities; if not updated promptly, they can become a security liability. Users should also be aware that extensions can conflict with each other, leading to potential security gaps or decreased browser performance.

The convenience of managing digital assets through a browser can introduce risks, as browser-based wallets may not offer the same level of protection as dedicated hardware wallets. Reliance on extensions can lead to complacency, making users less vigilant about other critical security practices, such as avoiding suspicious links or verifying the authenticity of websites. Remember that browser extensions are part of a broader, multi-layered approach to digital security.

Best practices and expert tips for maximizing the security of your digital assets with browser extensionsWhile browser extensions can significantly improve the security of your digital assets, it is essential to follow best practices and implement expert tips to maximize their effectiveness. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Use Trusted Extensions: Only install browser extensions from trusted sources, such as official app stores or reputable websites. Avoid third-party extensions with unknown developers.
  2. Regularly Update Extensions: Keep your browser extensions up to date with the latest security patches and bug fixes. Developers often release updates to address newly discovered vulnerabilities.
  3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication: Whenever possible, enable two-factor authentication within the browser extension. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a secondary verification step.
  4. Use Strong Passwords: Ensure that your account and associated wallets have strong, unique passwords. Avoid reusing passwords across different platforms or accounts.
  5. Educate Yourself: Stay informed about the latest security threats and best practices in the crypto community. Regularly educate yourself on emerging trends and potential risks.

Browser extensions offer a powerful solution for enhancing digital asset security, providing real-time monitoring, encryption, and anti-phishing features. By following best practices, choosing the right browser extension, and utilizing additional tools, you can create a robust security framework for your digital assets. Prioritize your digital asset security and leverage the power of browser extensions to safeguard your online transactions and prevent unauthorized access to your valuable crypto assets.

Are DeFi’s High Yields On Stablecoins Worth The Risk?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/11/29/are-defis-high-yields-on-stablecoins-worth-the-risk/


Yields on stablecoins such as USD Coin are growing, but they are not without risks

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Overview

Just as investors got used to record-high risk-free returns from short-term U.S. Treasurys, yields on stablecoins such as Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC) have jumped over the past few weeks. With crypto starting to stir as investors get ready for spot ETFs for not only Bitcoin but also Ethereum, where most of DeFi resides, stablecoin holders suddenly have multiple options to put their money to work.

Borrowing yields for USD Coin are surging on Aave

Aavescan

Subscribe now to Forbes’ CryptoAsset & Blockchain Advisor and successfully navigate the bitcoin and crypto market roller-coaster.


Key Background

DeFi surged in popularity in the summer of 2020, primarily driven by the innovative concept of yield farming, first introduced by lending protocol Compound’s governance token. Yield farming, a speculative, high-risk, high-return practice of earning ‘free money’ through depositing tokens in various DeFi protocols, triggered a massive capital inflow into the DeFi ecosystem, which topped $175 billion in November 2021. The most prominent decentralized lending protocols, Aave and Compound, saw nearly 40% of deposits in stablecoins.

More than $180 billion worth of crypto was locked up in DeFi during the 2021 boom.

DeFiLlama

As background, stablecoins are digital representations of a dollar that reside on a blockchain such as Ethereum, Tron, BNB Smart Chain and many others. Their fungibility has made these assets key sources of liquidity across crypto. Dollar-pegged stablecoins are a $127 billion industry, with the two largest players being Tether’s USDT ($88 billion) and Circle’s USDC ($24 billion).

The unsustainability of these returns became glaringly evident in mid-2022 with the collapse of the stablecoin ecosystem TerraUSD, which relied on its own DeFi lending project called Anchor to encourage people to lock up tokens. With $50 billion in the Terra ecosystem vanishing in a matter of days, investors began withdrawing funds from yield farming protocols on all blockchains. Centralized custodians like Celsius and Voyager also advertised double-digit returns on stablecoin deposits, which they then lent out to trading desks or put into the DeFi ecosystem. Those practices fell considerably when the market crash exposed the improper use of customer funds. This led to the ultimate bankruptcy of both companies along with many other notable industry participants such as FTX, and Genesis Global Trading, among others.

The loss of confidence in centralized custodians combined with decades-high interest rates in the U.S. has increased the demand for TradFi solutions on-chain that provide yield to stablecoin holders but give them optionality to trade in crypto markets as desired. One solution has been tokenized Treasurys, which have ballooned from $104 million invested at the beginning of the year to $675 today. Granted these figures are still a very small percentage of the $23 trillion dollar Treasury market, but it is trending upward.


Key Statistic

The table below shows current lending yields on Ethereum protocol Aave for popular cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.

Current lending yields on Ethereum protocol Aave for popular cryptocurrencies and stablecoins

Forbes


Outlook and Implications

On-chain/off-chain treasury yields are likely to remain elevated at their current rate due to a number of factors. For one, the full-pain of the inflationary cycle introduced by pandemic-driven stimulus measures is yet to be felt, which would rule out any rate cuts next year. But that does not mean that the target rate will change from 525-550 basis points either because it would be difficult for the ostensibly apolitical Fed to raise rates again during an election year.

It is more difficult to predict future DeFi rates for stablecoins, which like any other product rely on a supply/demand balance. From a demand perspective, industry insiders are suggesting the new demand drivers for stablecoins are centered on investors looking to go long on spot crypto, specifically bitcoin or ether. Spencer Hallarn, head of OTC Trading at market maker GSR says that many traders looking to go long on bitcoin, which is up 120% this year, are tapping DeFi markets as a cheap and relatively easy source of stablecoins to fuel these bets.

Another market participant suggested that traders are utilizing stablecoin pools on DeFi to go long on ether with leverage. They can deposit ether into a lending pool on a DeFi protocol such as Compound to take out more stablecoins, swap them for ether again, and repeat the cycle over and over. While ether has underperformed bitcoin so far this year, investors taking this approach are betting on a surge next year after spot bitcoin ETFs begin trading and ether fund applications, led by one from the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, will then be up for consideration by the Securities and Exchange Commission. This trend suggests that demand for stablecoins will remain elevated. But, given crypto’s wild volatility, their outlook will likely be riskier than U.S. Treasuries.

Bitcoin has gained on ether throughout 2023

Forbes

One final point, it is important to note that while stablecoins are meant to be fungible, the risk profiles of various assets depend on their issuer. For instance, Boston-based Circle Financial Ltd, the issuer of USDC, claims to embrace regulation and positions its asset as the safest possible stablecoin. On the other hand, market leader Tether has been beset by controversy since its inception, has never produced an audit, and refuses to name its banking partners. However, this does not necessarily mean that USDC is ‘safe’ and USDT is ‘unsafe.’ During the March banking crisis, Circle was revealed to have $3.3 billion in unsecured deposits at Silicon Valley Bank while Tether was unaffected.

The purpose of this discussion is to point out that stablecoins can be lent/borrowed at different rates across DeFi. However, as one can see in the chart below, where lending rates for USDC and Tether flip flop over the course of the past three months, there is no consistent pattern between the two. Hallarn says that there is typically a lot of “noise” in these markets. Another potential explanation for these fluctuations is that traders are arbitraging spreads between these assets to make incremental profits on their existing trading strategies.

USDC and USDT yields throughout 2023

Forbes

Decision Points


Investors looking to deploy cash on-chain must decide if they want the consistent return of a TradFi-based product, or ride a DeFi yield roller coaster.

There are several excellent options for investors who want to remain in stablecoins and conserve their dry powder for the next bull market, which may be just beginning. Reputable custodians like Coinbase offer interest rates on USDC comparable to national banks. In the world of tokenized Treasurys, Franklin Templeton is the leader in the TradFi space, with over $300 million now invested in the Franklin OnChain U.S. Government Money Fund launched on the Stellar Network.

The net expense ratio is a reasonable 20 bps, and the yield is currently over 5%. For the DeFi purists, a cash management offering from Maple Finance has attracted $20 million in assets. The pool accepts USDC deposits on Ethereum and invests in US Treasurys through a related entity, charging 50 basis points and delivering an APY of just under 5%. It is also worth noting that these projects offer daily liquidity to investors that want the ability to revert holdings back to stablecoins in order to trade.

If you choose to let your assets ride on DeFi protocols, be sure to check lending and borrowing rates on a daily basis, because they can suddenly change in either direction on short notice. Potentially positive stimuli could include news of a bitcoin or ether ETF being approved by the SEC, while on the other hand unexpected thefts or hacks from a DeFi protocol or regulatory clampdowns on DeFi itself or key tokens that it supports could weaken demand. The two most well-established and secure DeFi lending protocols are Aave and Compound, so investors looking to participate in DeFi for the first time might want to look at those options first.

Ultimately, investments should align with your time frame and risk tolerance. When a bull market arrives it’s always better to be early than late. The biggest gains are made early in the cycle. If your digital assets aren’t for speculation, and might be used in the real world, don’t be shy about enjoying the increased yields and even a few TradFi products.

FTX Takes Its Place Among History’s Most Infamous Financial Scandals

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/11/09/ftx-takes-its-place-among-historys-most-infamous-financial-scandals/

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 11: Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. (Photo by Michael M. … [+] Santiago/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Last week marked a significant event in the world of cryptocurrency as Sam Bankman-Fried, the once-lauded founder of FTX, a leading cryptocurrency exchange, was found guilty of fraud by a New York jury. The verdict came after an exhaustive month-long trial that gripped the attention of the crypto industry, with prosecutors accusing him of turning his customers’ accounts into his “personal piggy bank,” with up to $14 billion disappearing.

Bankman-Fried, who was celebrated for his innovative vision and entrepreneurial spirit, had seen a meteoric rise in the sector which was as riveting as his precipitous downfall. The verdict has sent ripples across the industry, raising questions about the broader implications for cryptocurrency exchanges.

Bankman-Fried launched his first venture in the crypto world, a hedge fund called Alameda Research, in 2017. With a keen understanding of the market dynamics and a hunger for success, he quickly made a name for himself in the industry. Just two years later, he founded FTX, his cryptocurrency exchange platform. FTX promptly gained prominence and was hailed as a game-changer in the crypto space.

His conviction has sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency industry and business world, painting a cautionary tale for young executives dreaming of becoming the next big corporate disruptor. This case has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the world of finance, drawing parallels with some of the most notorious financial fraud scandals in recent history, including those involving Bernie Madoff, Enron, Wells Fargo
WFC
, and Theranos.

Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme

The financial fraud case of Bernie Madoff is one that still resonates today. Madoff, a former chairman of the NASDAQ
NDAQ
stock exchange, ran the largest Ponzi scheme in history. His sophisticated scheme promised investors high returns while he used their funds to pay out withdrawal requests, creating the illusion of legitimate trading activities.

When the truth surfaced in 2008, Madoff was found to have defrauded thousands of clients to the tune of an estimated $64.8 billion. He was sentenced to 150 years in federal prison, where he died in 2021.

Enron’s Accounting Scandal

The Enron scandal is another infamous case of financial fraud. In 2001, it was discovered that Enron, a massive energy corporation, had engaged in shady off-the-books accounting practices. This ultimately led to the company’s collapse, costing Enron stock and bondholders $74 billion and leaving thousands of employees unemployed.

Enron’s bankruptcy filing was the largest in U.S. history at the time. Several of the company’s leaders, including CEO Jeffrey Skilling, ultimately served time in prison.

Wells Fargo’s Fake Accounts

Wells Fargo has had its fair share of regulatory troubles. In 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined the bank $100 million for opening approximately two million fake accounts under customers’ names.

The scandal damaged the company’s brand and alienated customers. However, it wasn’t until 2023 that the bank agreed to pay $1 billion to settle a class action lawsuit that accused it of defrauding investors about the progress it had made toward cleaning up its act after the 2016 fake accounts scandal.

Theranos’ Blood-Testing Scandal

The downfall of Theranos and its founder, Elizabeth Holmes, is another classic case of financial fraud. Holmes, a Stanford University dropout, founded Theranos with the aim of revolutionizing blood tests. However, by 2015, it was revealed that the company’s highly touted automated compact testing device was a sham.

Holmes and her business partner, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, were found guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy charges. In May 2023, they were ordered to pay restitution of $452 million to fraud victims.

Fallout From Bankman-Fried And FTX Scandal

While the scale and nature of these financial fraud cases vary, they all share a common thread of deceit and betrayal of trust. Just as Madoff, Enron, Wells Fargo, and Theranos were once seen as respected names in finance and technology, Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX were also held in high regard in the cryptocurrency industry.

Yet, their reputations have been tarnished by their fraudulent activities. The impact of such scandals extends beyond individual companies and their investors. They undermine the public’s trust in financial institutions and can lead to tighter regulatory scrutiny.

The FTX scandal, in particular, has cast a shadow over the cryptocurrency industry. It has raised serious questions about the industry’s regulatory oversight and the vulnerabilities that exist within this relatively new financial field.

The conviction of Sam Bankman-Fried is a cautionary tale of ambition gone astray. His story, along with those of Madoff, Enron, Wells Fargo, and Theranos, serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers when greed, ego, and hubris go unchecked.

While these scandals underscore the need for vigilance and efficient regulatory oversight, they should also prompt us to exercise due diligence and caution with any meaningful investment decision.

3 Strategies For Finding A Certified Crypto-Friendly Advisor

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/11/02/3-strategies-for-finding-a-certified-crypto-friendly-advisor/

A financial advisor certified in crypto advising reviews investment strategies with current clients. … [+]

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The world of cryptocurrency has emerged as a lucrative investment opportunity, attracting both seasoned investors and newcomers alike. Having a certified advisor with crypto expertise is crucial because of the high returns and ever-evolving nature of the market. This article will explore three strategies to help you find the perfect advisor to guide you through the intricate crypto landscape.

The Benefits of Working With A Certified Advisor

Finding a competent, licensed financial advisor who is also crypto-friendly is like finding a needle in the digital haystack. Bitwise’s recent study shows that while 90% of advisors receive questions about cryptocurrency from clients, only 15% invest in it.

Many Americans are new to crypto and may need help understanding the value a financial advisor can provide. Joe Kelly, co-founder and CEO of Unchained has launched Sound Advisory to address this gap in the market. “As bitcoin and legacy finance continue to intertwine, it’s critical for the industry to offer a bitcoin-native solution for professional financial guidance.”

As digital assets become more popular, it’s important to have financial advice that covers both traditional and cryptocurrency investments. The competency of crypto-friendly advisors in tackling issues unique to the crypto domain, such as security best practices, wallet selection, and account funding, enables an investor to navigate the rapidly evolving crypto ecosystem confidently.

“Investors clearly want to invest in crypto, but volatility and security of their funds are a worry,” Adam Blumberg told me in an interview, based on his experience providing crypto education for advisors through his company Interaxis. “A crypto-certified advisor can help them understand how crypto can fit their portfolio based on their life and risk profile, and how to do so safely.”

Strategy 1: Researching Certifications And Qualifications

When searching for a certified advisor, it is essential to delve into their certifications and qualifications. Look for professionals who hold certifications, such as Certified Digital Asset Advisor or Certified Blockchain Expert. These certifications demonstrate a deep understanding of crypto and adherence to industry best practices. Additionally, explore their educational background and any relevant degrees or courses they have completed.

It is also crucial to consider the ongoing professional development of a potential advisor. Look for individuals who participate in continuous education and stay updated on the latest developments in the cryptocurrency world. A competent advisor will actively seek opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills, ensuring they can provide accurate and up-to-date guidance.

Strategy 2: Seeking Recommendations And Referrals

One of the most effective ways to find a certified advisor with crypto expertise is by seeking recommendations and referrals from trusted sources. Start by reaching out to fellow investors or professionals in the financial industry with cryptocurrency experience. They can provide valuable insights and suggestions based on their interactions with advisors.

Online forums and communities dedicated to cryptocurrencies are also excellent resources for gathering recommendations. Engage with these communities, ask for advice, and seek out individuals who have had positive experiences with advisors. However, always exercise caution and verify the credibility of the sources before making any decisions.

Strategy 3: Evaluating Experience And Track Record

When evaluating potential advisors, assessing their experience and track record in the crypto market is crucial. Finding data on investment performance is unlikely, but you can look for advisors who have been actively involved in the industry for a significant period. Experience brings valuable insights and the ability to navigate the volatile market successfully.

One obvious strategy that is often overlooked is the advisor’s website. Publicly advertising cryptocurrency services indicates the advisor has a business model to deliver advice and the confidence to market their knowledge. A reputable advisor will be transparent about their achievements and be willing to provide references or case studies.

Questions to Ask When Interviewing A Potential Advisor

During the interview process, it is essential to ask relevant questions to gauge the expertise and suitability of a potential advisor. Consider asking the following:

  1. What certifications and qualifications do you hold?
  2. How do you stay updated on the latest developments in the crypto market?
  3. Can you provide references or case studies of your past successes?
  4. How do you approach risk management in cryptocurrency investments?
  5. How do you customize your advice to align with individual investment goals and risk tolerance?

Asking these questions will allow you to assess the advisor’s knowledge, communication skills, and ability to tailor their advice to your needs.

Working with a certified advisor offers numerous benefits, including knowledge, compliance assurance, and mentorship. Using the strategies above, you can conduct thorough research, seek recommendations from trusted sources, and evaluate potential advisors based on their experience and track record. Remember to ask relevant questions during the interview process and remain vigilant for any red flags that may indicate potential issues.

Disclosure: I am the Co-Founder of PlannerDAO, a non-profit that manages the Certified Digital Asset Advisor designation. The views and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PlannerDAO. This article is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

Bitcoin Suddenly Leaps To $30K Following Refuted IShares Spot ETF Approval Report

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/10/16/bitcoin-suddenly-leaps-to-30k-following-refuted-ishares-spot-etf-approval-report/

The headquarters for BlackRock, an Investment management and financial services firm, in New York … [+] City. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Cryptocurrency markets experienced a sudden surge in bitcoin prices following a now-debunked report on a bitcoin ETF approval by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The erroneous report initially propelled bitcoin’s value to the $30K mark. However, the momentum was short-lived as the digital currency’s price soon plummeted to around $28K, stirring volatility within the market.

The now-deleted X post prompting this reaction came from the cryptocurrency news site Cointelegraph. It claimed that BlackRock’s
BLK
iShares division, dedicated to exchange-traded funds, had secured the SEC’s approval for a pioneering bitcoin spot ETF. The news spread like wildfire, triggering the market reaction that pushed bitcoin prices to $30K within the hour.

Now-deleted screenshot of Cointelegraph’s tweet: “BREAKING: SEC APPROVES ISHARES BITCOIN SPOT ETF.” … [+] (https://x.com/Cointelegraph/status/1713908025520538079?s=20)

X Corp.

The news quickly gained traction and was further propagated by coverage appearing in Reuters, among other outlets. This sequence of events led to a significant market reaction, prompting bitcoin’s price to briefly soar to the $30K mark.

However, official confirmations from both the SEC and Nasdaq refuted these claims. BlackRock itself issued a statement clarifying that their proposed bitcoin spot ETF was still under review by the SEC, as reported by Blockworks. As this morning’s events unfolded, it catalyzed a sharp rise in liquidations, nearing a staggering $100 million.

The Impact Of A Bitcoin Spot ETF Approval

In June, BlackRock’s iShares division, a giant in the fund management sector, submitted documents to the SEC proposing the establishment of a bitcoin spot ETF. As detailed in the submission, the proposed entity, the iShares Bitcoin Trust, plans to primarily hold bitcoin via a custodian representing the trust. The documents designate the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase as the expected custodian.

The approval of a bitcoin spot ETF by the SEC could significantly augment mainstream acceptance of bitcoin investing, increasing its accessibility to a broader investor base. While its status is still pending, BlackRock’s decision to file for a bitcoin spot ETF marks a critical juncture in the evolution of the cryptocurrency market. When the SEC does make its decision, it will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for the market and could potentially shape the future of cryptocurrency investments.

The recent bitcoin price surge and subsequent fall, triggered by the now-debunked report, underscore the potential volatility in the cryptocurrency market. While the incident has highlighted the market’s sensitivity to news about ETF advancements, it also serves as a reminder of the ongoing anticipation and speculation surrounding the approval of a bitcoin spot ETF. As the SEC continues its review process, all eyes will be on this potentially game-changing development in the cryptocurrency market.

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Embracing Collaboration Over Isolation: Navigating The Shift In Global Cryptocurrency Regulations

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/10/08/embracing-collaboration-over-isolation-navigating-the-shift-in-global-cryptocurrency-regulations/

An image of Bitcoin and US currencies is displayed on a screen. (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP) … [+] (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The rapidly evolving nature of the crypto market has posed stark challenges for regulators in understanding the underlying technology and subsequently devising informed policies and procedures. This evolution is also characterized by a shift from isolation to collaboration in terms of global regulation.

In an exclusive interview with global regulatory expert and author Nirvana Smith, she said, “There’s really been a push for international cooperation, which I think will continue and really establish some kind of common standards.” This transformation has been necessitated by the global demand for oversight in the cryptocurrency markets, particularly from regulators in the United States.

In fact, Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank fame, in a recent Fox Business appearance, voiced concern that US regulatory obstacles incongruent with international norms could drive crypto innovation out of the US. He said, “Where do you think all this innovation is going to go? It’s going to go to the UAE
UAE
. It’s going to go to Abu Dhabi.”

Regulatory Challenges In The Cryptocurrency Market

The international landscape for cryptocurrencies presents diverse regulatory obstacles. Given their unique nature and technological underpinnings, a primary challenge is determining their legal classification. “Many countries have grappled with how to apply traditional financial regulatory structures to these distinct digital assets,” stated Smith. “Should they be categorized as currencies, securities, as was done in the US by the SEC with regards to ICOs; or perhaps they warrant an entirely new classification tailored to their uniqueness?”

The second challenge is the understanding of the underlying technology, blockchain, that powers cryptocurrencies. This complex, decentralized, and distributed ledger technology requires a deep understanding for effective regulation. It is pivotal for regulators to comprehend this technology thoroughly, to avoid crafting regulations that could potentially stifle innovation or overlook potential risks.

The third challenge presents itself in the form of taxation. The quasi-anonymity that cryptocurrencies offer makes third-party reporting arduous, thus posing a significant challenge to the implementation of taxation. Policymakers are tasked with creating mechanisms that can effectively monitor and tax cryptocurrency transactions. Despite the potential revenue from cryptocurrency taxation, the risk of evasion of VAT and sales taxes poses a greater threat.

Consumer protection in the face of potential scams, specifically with the advent of initial coin offerings and decentralized finance platforms, forms the fourth challenge. The proliferation of these new financial technologies exposes consumers to new risks and potentially fraudulent activities. Consequently, regulators need to put the necessary safeguards in place to protect consumers against these possible risks.

The fifth challenge lies in the outdated mindset among regulators. There is a tendency to apply traditional financial services regulatory approaches to the cryptocurrency market. However, given the unique nature of cryptocurrencies, they necessitate a unique regulatory approach.

Lastly, the self-interest of individual countries and financial institutions poses a significant challenge to creating a fair playing field. Smith said, “We want to have smart regulations in place, not stupid regulations that suppress competition or stifle innovation. We still want to be innovating and having competition, because that’s how the economy’s going to churn.” The future of cryptocurrency regulation should focus on collaboration, global standards, and a balanced approach promoting innovation while ensuring responsible growth.

The Case For International Cooperation And Common Standards

In their recent joint report, the International Monetary Fund and the Financial Stability Board cautioned against blanket bans on cryptocurrency activities. They argue that such broad prohibitions could lead to the migration of activities to other jurisdictions, thereby creating spillover risks. Instead, they propose comprehensive regulations and targeted restrictions to mitigate the associated risks.

Due to the global nature of cryptocurrencies, cross-border coordination is crucial. According to Smith, each country has its regulations, but these could have global implications, thus highlighting the need for international cooperation and common standards. She adds, “Cryptos are inherently global, and obviously each country has its own regulations, but the international community is realizing those regulations could cause ramifications elsewhere.”

The shift from isolation to collaboration in the cryptocurrency regulatory landscape is a clear indication of the industry’s maturation. The persistent pursuit of self-interest is gradually giving way to a more cooperative approach, with a focus on establishing effective, intelligent regulations. With that said, recent progress indicates the future of cryptocurrency regulation will be characterized by increased international cooperation, the creation of global standards, and a balanced regulatory approach that does not stifle innovation but ensures its responsible growth.

FSB And IMF Caution Against Blanket Crypto Bans In Collaborative Report

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/09/12/fsb-and-imf-caution-against-blanket-crypto-bans-in-collaborative-report/

FSB And IMF Caution Against Blanket Crypto Bans.

getty

Last week, the International Monetary Fund and the Financial Stability Board published a joint report advising against implementing blanket bans on crypto-asset activities. Instead, they recommend comprehensive regulations and targeted restrictions to mitigate the associated risks. The news comes at a time when crypto is making significant regulatory strides, including a recent court victory for Grayscale vs. the Securities and Exchange Commission, so it’s essential to understand the substance of the report and its implications for the global crypto landscape.

The report emphasizes the need for a comprehensive regulatory approach to crypto-assets. It suggests that jurisdictions should build strong monetary policy frameworks, guard against extreme capital flow volatility, and adopt unambiguous tax treatment of crypto-assets. They believe this comprehensive approach, as opposed to ignoring consumer demand, will best address the macroeconomic risks associated with the crypto sector.

Roadmap For Implementation

The FSB and IMF have developed a roadmap to ensure the effective implementation of their recommendations. This roadmap includes ongoing efforts to build institutional capacity beyond G20 jurisdictions and into emerging markets, where crypto is needed most. It also aims to improve global coordination, cooperation, and information sharing while bridging the data gaps necessary to understand the rapidly evolving crypto-asset ecosystem.

The report also acknowledges that emerging markets and developing economies may wish to implement additional targeted measures that exceed the global regulatory baseline, stating: “Jurisdictional characteristics that may determine vulnerabilities to macro-financial risks of crypto-assets include: (i) size of the economy and financial system, (ii) regulatory priorities, (iii) institutional quality and capacity, and (iv) level of financial integration into the global economy.” These measures would address specific risks unique to their jurisdictions.

The FSB and IMF also highlight the potential risks of global stablecoins. If these become easier and cheaper to hold in large quantities, rapid capital flight could occur, posing a significant threat to financial stability. The report also warns that stablecoins may transmit volatility more abruptly than other crypto-assets.

Need For Targeted Restrictions

The IMF and FSB agree that blanket bans on crypto activities could lead to activity migration to other jurisdictions, thereby creating spillover risks. The report states, “[They]

also tend to increase the incentives for circumvention due to the inherent borderless nature of crypto-asset, resulting in potentially heightened financial integrity risks…” Instead, they propose targeted and temporary restrictions to manage risk factors during stressful times or while countries find better internal solutions. How and when these restrictions would be implemented on a permissionless blockchain is unclear.

The report, synthesizing the IMF’s and FSB’s policy recommendations and standards, considers the macroeconomic and financial stability implications of crypto-asset activities. “Crypto-asset issuers and service providers are conducting a wide range of functions and activities, which increases crypto-asset markets’ interconnectedness.” The report also explains how these activities might interact and how the IMF and FSB’s policy recommendations fit together.

Cooperation Among Jurisdictions

The FSB, whose core mandate includes coordinating the development of financial sector policies, was tasked by the G20 to promote cooperation among jurisdictional financial authorities. The aim is to ensure that crypto-asset activities are subject to robust regulation and supervision proportional to their financial stability risks.

The FSB and IMF also encourage implementing the Financial Action Task Force anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards. This move, they argue, will address risks to financial integrity and hinder criminal and terrorist misuse of the crypto-asset sector.

While addressing crypto-asset risks, the FSB and IMF underscore the importance of supporting responsible innovation “…while preserving financial stability.” They believe that a balanced regulatory approach can facilitate the growth of the crypto sector while ensuring financial stability and integrity.

The joint paper by the FSB and IMF reflects the growing recognition of crypto-assets and the need for a balanced regulatory approach. It serves as a valuable guide for jurisdictions worldwide as they grapple with the challenges and opportunities of the crypto revolution. As the crypto landscape continues to evolve, the insights from this report will undoubtedly play a vital role in shaping future regulatory policies.

Grayscale Lands Massive Court Victory Over SEC In Battle For Spot Bitcoin ETF

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/08/29/grayscale-lands-massive-court-victory-over-sec-in-battle-for-spot-bitcoin-etf/

Bitcoin on display. (Photo illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Today Grayscale Investments, a leading crypto investment firm, landed a huge victory in its legal tussle with the Securities and Exchange Commission, with a federal appeals court ruling in favor of Grayscale and compelling the SEC to reevaluate its earlier denial of Grayscale’s proposal to convert its Bitcoin
BTC
Trust (GBTC) into an ETF. This judgement has sent ripples across the crypto industry, leading to an immediate surge in Bitcoin prices and offering hope for the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs in the U.S.

The legal conflict was initiated when the SEC blocked Grayscale’s attempt to convert its Bitcoin Trust into an ETF. Grayscale retaliated by suing the SEC in June 2022, arguing that the SEC had acted arbitrarily in approving ETFs investing in bitcoin futures contracts while rejecting products that aimed to hold bitcoin directly.

he three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Grayscale, ruling that the SEC must review its rejection of Grayscale’s proposal. The court’s decision signals a monumental step forward for American investors and the wider bitcoin ecosystem. The ruling also raises the prospects of other asset managers winning approval for their products.

Following the court’s decision, Bitcoin prices rose by more than 5%, exceeding $27,000. This price surge underlines the market’s anticipation and the significant impact such a decision holds. Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the U.S., soared by over 13%, while bitcoin mining companies Marathon Digital and Riot Blockchain leaped by 18% and 24% respectively.

The SEC has long been skeptical about approving spot bitcoin ETFs, citing concerns over market manipulation. However, the court’s decision could compel the SEC to reassess its stance, potentially opening the doors for a spot bitcoin ETF in the U.S.

This ruling could bolster the chances for other asset managers to win approval for their products. BlackRock
BLK
, the world’s largest money manager, filed paperwork with the SEC in June to create a spot bitcoin ETF. Other institutional players like Invesco
IVZ
and WisdomTree Investments have also renewed their spot bitcoin ETF applications.

The court’s ruling requires the SEC to review Grayscale’s application, which it had previously rejected. Grayscale’s legal team is currently reviewing the court’s decision and will be pursuing the next steps with the SEC.

The SEC has been engaged in a broader crackdown on the crypto industry. Since the start of 2023, the SEC has charged 17 different crypto actors with violating securities laws. These include several exchanges that allow investors to trade digital currencies and individual issuers of digital tokens.

While the court’s ruling represents a significant victory for Grayscale and the wider crypto industry, the next steps remain uncertain. The SEC could potentially deny Grayscale’s proposal via different reasoning. However, the court’s decision has undoubtedly set a precedent that could have far-reaching implications for the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs in the U.S.

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Exploring BlackRock’s Bold Bitcoin Venture

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/08/25/exploring-blackrocks-bold-bitcoin-venture/

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES – 2022/05/25: BlackRock offices in New York City. (Photo by Erik … [+] McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

LightRocket via Getty Images

Cryptocurrencies are set to witness a pivotal moment as BlackRock
BLK
, the world’s largest asset manager, takes a daring step toward establishing a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund. An ETF is an investment vehicle traded on stock exchanges, akin to stocks. Therefore, a Bitcoin
BTC
ETF is designed to mimic the Bitcoin market, allowing investors to engage in Bitcoin price movements without directly owning the cryptocurrency.

This streamlined investment process attracts investors ranging from those curious about cryptocurrencies to seasoned investors seeking a more straightforward way to access the Bitcoin market. Despite the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s history of rejecting Bitcoin ETF applications, BlackRock has entered the fray with its own proposal.

The distinguishing factor of BlackRock’s application is its stature as the world’s largest asset manager, with almost $4 trillion in assets under management via iShares, the largest family of U.S. ETFs. This standing imparts a considerable degree of legitimacy and confidence to the proposed Bitcoin ETF.

BlackRock’s track record hints that CEO Larry Fink might know of movement behind the scenes that the average investor does not. Because of that, the general consensus among market analysts is that BlackRock’s ETF application will likely be approved within the next six months or so.

The Current State Of BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF

The concept of a Bitcoin ETF has been around for some time. Still, BlackRock’s recent proposal has sparked fresh discussions and speculation about the probability of such an ETF becoming a reality. However, it’s crucial to remember that the path to launching a spot Bitcoin ETF will likely be riddled with regulatory obstacles and opposition.

Until now, the SEC has given the green light to several Bitcoin ETFs and other crypto exchange-traded funds. However, these have only been funds monitoring cryptocurrency futures or owning shares in companies with indirect crypto exposure. A spot Bitcoin ETF, like the one BlackRock has proposed, would track the spot price of Bitcoin, which is the current price of Bitcoin at any given moment.

Other Contenders In The Crypto Sphere

BlackRock’s proposal has also spurred other players in the crypto industry to action. Following BlackRock’s filing, several financial institutions, including Fidelity and Invesco
IVZ
, have refiled their spot Bitcoin ETF applications, proposing solutions to address the SEC’s concerns. This could further strengthen the case for a spot Bitcoin ETF.

If the SEC approves BlackRock’s proposed iShares Bitcoin Trust, it could trigger a wave of similar products in the market. The entry of BlackRock could lend a new level of legitimacy to the Bitcoin market and compel the SEC to rethink its stance on spot Bitcoin ETFs.

What Investors Can Expect

The approval of a Bitcoin ETF by the SEC could significantly enhance mainstream acceptance of Bitcoin investing, increasing its accessibility to a broader investor base, including institutional investors who have typically seen Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as risky ventures.

A Bitcoin ETF could also unveil new types of investment opportunities, such as short-selling, where investors can bet against Bitcoin. This could add another dimension to Bitcoin investing and open up additional ways for investors to profit from the cryptocurrency market.

The Future Of Bitcoin ETFs

BlackRock’s decision to file for a Bitcoin ETF marks a significant moment in the evolution of the cryptocurrency market. Whether or not the firm’s application will be approved remains to be seen. However, its audacious move has already stirred the market and reignited interest in Bitcoin ETFs.

As we continue to observe this space, the future of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general hangs in the balance. The SEC’s decision will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for the market and could potentially shape the future of cryptocurrency investments.

In the ever-evolving realm of digital currencies, BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF proposal stands as a landmark development that could significantly alter the landscape of cryptocurrency investments. As we await the SEC’s decision, it is clear that the approval of such an ETF could validate Bitcoin as a legitimate investment and open up new avenues for investors to profit from the cryptocurrency market.

Yet, the road to approval is fraught with challenges, and the outcomes of this endeavor remain uncertain. As the crypto industry continues to watch this space, the future of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies hangs in the balance, awaiting the SEC’s potentially game-changing decision.

How Apple’s App Store Hurdles Are Hindering DApp Development

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/07/25/how-apples-app-store-hurdles-are-hindering-dapp-development/

App Store icon displayed on a phone screen. (Photo Ilustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty … [+] Images)

NurPhoto via Getty Images

In the realm of decentralized applications, or dApps, the dream of creating a borderless, permissionless ecosystem is clashing with the realities of tightly controlled, centralized platforms like Apple’s
AAPL
App Store. This friction is creating unique challenges for the development and distribution of dApps, particularly on iOS devices.

Deciphering DApps

A dApp is an application that runs on a decentralized network, eliminating the need for a centralized authority. Powered by blockchain technology, dApps are changing the dynamics of the digital world, promising a future where innovation and access to services are not stifled by gatekeepers.

This decentralized architecture is the heart of the dApp philosophy and what makes it fundamentally different from traditional applications. dApps operate on a peer-to-peer network, with no single entity controlling the network. This makes them transparent, open-source, and resistant to censorship.

The Rising Popularity Of DApps

Even though the dApp market is still in its infancy, it has managed to carve out niches in various sectors, including decentralized finance, non-fungible tokens, and the Metaverse. The growth of the dApp ecosystem is facilitated by platforms like DappRadar, a leading dApp analysis tool that helps users track the ongoing development in the dApp space.

Launched in 2018, DappRadar has quickly become a reliable source of information on top-performing dApps and growth trends in the market. The platform’s analytical tools cover all major blockchain platforms, with a specific interest in DeFi and NFT applications.

In addition, DappRadar recently introduced a Dapp Store, which functions similarly to the Google Play and Apple App Stores. However, DappRadar’s store is designed for decentralized applications within various blockchain platforms, aligning with the growing demand for Web 3.0 applications.

The Clash With Apple’s App Store

While the advancement of dApps is promising, developers are facing significant hurdles when it comes to Apple’s App Store. Apple’s tightly controlled ecosystem and stringent app review process present a major roadblock for dApp developers.

Apple’s rigorous review process requires every app to comply with its guidelines before they are allowed on the store. This process is in stark contrast with the decentralization ethos of dApps, which oppose any form of centralized approval or control.

Additionally, the current definition of “in-app purchases” in Apple’s App Store guidelines does not translate well to blockchain fees. This discrepancy can lead to confusion and potential policy violations for dApp developers.

Lastly, Apple can limit the wallets and blockchains a dApp can interact with, defeating the purpose of many dApps. This limitation is a significant issue because the power of dApps lies in their ability to interact with various wallets and blockchains freely.

These challenges highlight the friction between the decentralized nature of blockchain technology and the centralized control exercised by platforms like Apple’s App Store.

Impact On Crypto Games

Apple’s App Store policies are particularly concerning for crypto game developers. Recently, Apple declared that it would charge an “Apple Tax” of up to 30% on NFTs sold within iOS apps. Already facing court challenges, this policy has drawn criticism from developers and industry leaders, who argue that it is detrimental to the growth of the NFT app business.

For instance, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney criticized Apple, stating that it is “killing” the NFT app business and “crushing another nascent technology that could rival its grotesquely overpriced in-app payment service.” As a result, some developers, such as the leading NFT marketplace on Solana
SOL
, Magic
MAGIC
Eden, have decided to withdraw their services from the App Store.

Despite the challenges, some crypto games have managed to thrive on the App Store. Games like Axie Infinity, NFL Rivals, and Cross The Ages have found success on iOS by carefully navigating Apple’s constraints. These games have incorporated Web3 elements and managed to provide engaging experiences for players while complying with Apple’s policies.

However, the question remains: How will Apple’s policies affect the future of crypto games and dApps on the App Store?

Looking Ahead

The tension between the principles of decentralized applications and the regulations of centralized platforms like Apple’s App Store is a major hurdle for the dApp industry. However, it is also a catalyst for innovation and change.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how this dynamic evolves. Will Apple relax its stringent policies to accommodate the growing dApp ecosystem? Or will the dApp industry find alternative ways to reach iOS users?

Ultimately, the resolution of this conflict could shape the future of the dApp industry and have far-reaching implications for the broader blockchain and cryptocurrency space.

What Is A DAO? A Beginner’s Guide To Joining A DAO

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/08/03/what-is-a-dao-a-beginners-guide-to-joining-a-dao/

UKRAINE – 2021/12/20: In this photo illustration, the logo of the Decentralized Autonomous … [+] Organization (DAO) is seen displayed on a smartphone screen. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Decentralized Autonomous Organizations have gained significant popularity in recent years, allowing individuals to participate in a new era of work, community, and profit. Before diving into the world of DAOs, it’s essential to clearly understand what they are and the various types available.

DAOs operate on blockchain technology, utilizing smart contracts to automate decision-making processes and enable community governance. There are different types of DAOs, including social DAOs, protocol and project-based DAOs, and even former companies that have transitioned into DAOs.

To familiarize yourself with the DAO
DAO
ecosystem, conducting thorough research is essential. While there isn’t an official repository of all DAO information, Messari has assembled a comprehensive list. You can also explore platforms like Medium, X (formerly known as Twitter), Discord which can provide valuable insights into the different DAOs and their respective communities.

Finding The Right DAO For You

Once you grasp the DAO landscape, the next step is to find a DAO that aligns with your goals and values. Each DAO has its unique culture and community, making it crucial to find a place where you feel comfortable and can contribute effectively.

Most DAOs operate through communication platforms like Discord, making it necessary to research how to join. X is an excellent resource for finding information on joining DAOs, as many communities actively share updates and links to their Discord channels. Additionally, some DAOs might have public websites or repositories that provide insights into their operations and values.

DAOs thrive on community participation, so assessing a DAO’s vibe and culture before joining is crucial. Connect with existing members, attend meetings, and engage in conversations to gauge whether the community resonates with your values and interests.

Each DAO has its unique set of goals, projects, and skill requirements. Assess whether your skills, expertise, and interests meet the DAO’s needs. This will ensure that you can contribute meaningfully and find fulfillment in your work within the DAO.

From there, it’s time to take the plunge and start actively participating. As a new member, it’s essential not to get overwhelmed by the frequent activity within the DAO.

Being Active Within The DAO

Instead of absorbing all the information at once, focus on finding one specific area where you can add value. This could be as simple as taking notes during meetings or assisting other members in brainstorming sessions. Starting small will allow you to gain confidence and build momentum.

Attending meetings is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the DAO’s ongoing projects and connect with other members. It allows you to introduce yourself and have meaningful conversations that might be harder to initiate through text channels.

Don’t be afraid to jump into projects early on. While it may seem intimidating, taking on a low-stakes project will help you overcome initial hesitations and actively contribute to the DAO. Seek guidance from other members to identify suitable projects and start making an impact.

Contributing To DAO Governance

As you settle into your role within the DAO, it’s crucial to understand and participate in the governance process. Governance allows DAO members to collectively make decisions and shape the organization’s direction.

To participate in voting, you’ll need to hold a certain number of governance tokens specific to the DAO. These tokens can usually be bought on decentralized exchanges like Uniswap
UNI
or SushiSwap. Alternatively, some DAOs offer the opportunity to earn tokens through active contributions to the organization.

Once you have acquired the necessary governance tokens, you can actively engage in voting on proposals and decision-making processes. Stay informed about ongoing discussions and proposals within the DAO to make well-informed decisions.

Your participation in governance is closely tied to your involvement in projects and initiatives within the DAO. By actively contributing to projects, you demonstrate your commitment and value to the community, increasing your influence in the governance process.

Other Considerations When Joining A DAO

The payment structure varies across different DAOs. Some DAOs offer unpaid entry into their communities, while others require the purchase of governance tokens. For example, BanklessDAO provides guest passes and read-only Discord channels to allow potential members to experience the DAO before committing financially.

Additionally, DAOs require individuals with a diverse range of skills and expertise. Whether you are a writer, designer, marketer, developer, translator, artist, or community lead, there is a place for you in a DAO. The key is to find a DAO that values your skill set and aligns with your interests.

Lastly, the beauty of DAOs lies in their flexibility. Unlike traditional jobs, DAOs allow you to contribute as much time as desired. Whether you can spare a couple of hours or want to dedicate yourself full-time, there is a place for you within the DAO ecosystem.

Joining a DAO is an exciting opportunity to be part of a decentralized community, contribute to meaningful projects, and shape the future of work. By researching the DAO ecosystem, finding the right community, actively participating, and engaging in governance, you can embark on a fulfilling DAO journey. Remember to stay curious, embrace continuous learning, and foster meaningful connections within the DAO.

How Actor Ben McKenzie Emerged As Crypto’s Unlikely Antagonist

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/07/17/how-actor-ben-mckenzie-emerged-as-cryptos-unlikely-antagonist/

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 14: Ben McKenzie Schenkkan listens while testifying Senate Committee on … [+] Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing on cryptocurrency on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Ben McKenzie, best known for his roles in popular television series like “The O.C.” and “Gotham,” is on a mission. His target? The complex world of cryptocurrency.

McKenzie’s foray into the world of crypto started during the early days of the pandemic. With TV production on hold and a lot of free time on his hands, he began reading about crypto out of curiosity. The more he learned, the more he grew suspicious. He saw similarities between the crypto craze and the economic bubbles of the past.

His background is in acting, not finance, although he does hold an economics degree. But in 2021, as crypto and NFTs had reached a fever pitch in the U.S. and across the globe, McKenzie saw an opportunity to leverage his fame and emerge as one of crypto’s most recognized critics.

Early Skepticism

A seasoned actor, he recognized the power of a compelling story. He concluded that crypto, much like a Hollywood blockbuster, was being sold on the strength of its narrative rather than its substance. McKenzie told CBS Mornings, “Crypto, at the end of the day, is just a story, or rather a collection of stories.” In McKenzie’s view, it was marketed as a way to build wealth and democratize finance, but he felt that these promises were empty.

McKenzie told The Guardian he reached somewhat of an epiphany while reading his daughter a bedtime story. The story was The Emperor’s New Clothes, and McKenzie said, “I’d forgotten that the tailor’s trick is to appeal to ego and status worship.” That is how McKenzie viewed crypto’s swift rise in 2021 and the aggressive advertising and marketing tactics fueling the surge.

McKenzie’s anti-crypto conviction led him to take a bold step. According to The Guardian, he essentially bet $250,000 that the crypto market would collapse. As it turned out, he was not necessarily wrong, but he miscalculated the timing, leading to a sizable loss he would have to explain to his wife.

“It was an expensive lesson. But it was a luxury that I had the money to speculate with. What makes me most angry is the selling of this junk to people who cannot afford to lose the real money they have, and the complicity of the people that did that,” said McKenzie.

Capitalizing On The Crypto Collapse

Armed with newfound knowledge and a sense of purpose, McKenzie started writing articles criticizing celebrities who endorsed crypto companies and warning the public about the risks of investing in digital currencies. His activism culminated in his testimony before the Senate banking committee in late 2022, a remarkable event in his unlikely career pivot.

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 14: (L-R) Hilary Allen of American University Washington College of Law, … [+] investor and television personality Kevin O’Leary, Director of Financial Regulation Studies at the Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives of Cato Institute Jennifer Schulp, and actor and author Ben McKenzie Schenkkan testify during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee at Dirksen Senate Office Building December 14, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on “Crypto Crash: Why the FTX Bubble Burst and the Harm to Consumers.” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Getty Images

In my opinion, the cryptocurrency industry represents the largest Ponzi scheme in history. In fact, by the time the dust settles, crypto may well represent a fraud at least ten times bigger than Madoff. The fact that it has roped in tens of millions of Americans from all walks of life, as well as hundreds of millions of people worldwide, should be of concern to us all,” McKenzie testified.

He told CBS Mornings, “The reason that I used the word ‘Ponzie scheme’ in front of the Senate is that an investment scheme without value is a Ponzie scheme. I mean, that’s the definition, and Ponzie schemes are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

From there, his momentum prompted him to co-author a book titled “Easy Money: Cryptocurrency, Casino Capitalism, and the Golden Age of Fraud” with journalist Jacob Silverman. The book is billed as a deep dive into the rise and fall of the cryptocurrency industry.

Kirkus Reviews calls the book “A well-reasoned, occasionally shrill critique of the crypto universe.” The review explains, “Writing with financial journalist Silverman, McKenzie charges that since crypto behaves like a security, and an unregulated one at that, its price ‘jumps up and down like a rabbit on amphetamines.’ Furthermore, the technology doesn’t scale well enough, it’s environmentally disastrous because it requires so much electricity to ‘mine,’ and it’s surrounded by ‘fraudsters’ and ‘con men.’”

While McKenzie’s crusade against crypto is far from over, his journey from Hollywood to the heart of the crypto world serves as a call to action for the crypto community to combat these negative narratives with honesty, transparency, and enhanced education around decentralized finance and crypto’s greater application to the world of finance.

“Easy Money: Cryptocurrency, Casino Capitalism, and the Golden Age of Fraud” is set to publish on July 18.

Gates, Buffett Prefer Farmland To Crypto As Blockchain Gains Steam Across Agriculture

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/07/11/gates-buffett-prefer-farmland-to-crypto-as-blockchain-gains-steam-across-agriculture/

While Warren Buffett, the esteemed CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
BRK.B
, and Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft
MSFT
, have both been vocal critics of cryptocurrency as an investment option, they have chosen to invest in farmland instead.

Both billionaires have shown an affinity for farmland investments, with Buffett purchasing his first farm in Nebraska for about $10,000 before high school and Gates owning over 269,000 tillable acres. Ironically, their investments coincide with the rapid adoption of blockchain technology in the agricultural industry, revolutionizing agricultural processes and potentially improving efficiency.

NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 27: Bill Gates and Warren Buffett speak with journalist Charlie Rose at an … [+] event organized by Columbia Business School on January 27, 2017 in New York City. Gates and Buffett spoke on a range of topics including their friendship, business, philanthropy, global health, innovation, and leadership. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Major retailers like Walmart
WMT
, Unilever, and Carrefour currently use blockchain to track the origins of food products, greatly reducing the time it takes to trace a product’s source. As blockchain gains steam across agriculture, several companies have emerged as leaders in implementing the technology in the sector.

Some of the top companies using blockchain technology in agriculture in 2023 include AgriDigital, IBM Food Trust, AgriLedger, TE-FOOD, Ripe.IO, Demeter, AgriChain, Ambrosus, GrainChain, and Etherisc. These companies are leveraging blockchain technology to address various challenges in the agricultural sector, such as food safety, traceability, efficient transactions, crop insurance, and more.

Even if investors aren’t interested in buying cryptocurrency directly, they might want to consider stock options or angel investing in companies that offer exposure to the upside of blockchain technology.

Why Farmland?

The reason behind the billionaires’ investments in farmland can be traced back to the famous quote by early 20th Century American humorist Will Rogers, who said: “Buy land. They ain’t making any more of the stuff.” Over the past 50 years, the average return on farmland, adjusted for inflation, has been around 6%.

This represents a stable investment for long-term investors, particularly those who can buy and hold vast amounts of land. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that 30% of U.S. farmland is owned by landlords who don’t farm themselves, suggesting that many investors share the same sentiment as Buffett and Gates.

While average investors may not have the deep pockets of billionaires to purchase vast amounts of farmland, they can still participate in farmland investing by buying farmland shares or agricultural mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, or real estate investment trusts. These investments can be purchased through brokerage or retirement accounts, and with some research, you can find one that meets your investment objectives.

Accredited investors also have the option to invest in farmland through investment platforms like AcreTrader, with minimum investments ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 for most offerings. Meanwhile, the rise of blockchain technology in the agricultural sector has further reinforced the value of farmland investments.

Blockchain Technology In Agriculture

Blockchain offers several benefits to the agricultural industry, such as supply chain transparency, traceability, smart contracts, payment systems, and quality control.

Blockchain technology can significantly improve the food supply chain by providing transparency and traceability. This enables consumers to trace the origins of their food, ensuring that the products are genuine, safe, and sustainably produced. In fact, a recent report published in Heliyon states, “Food industries can minimize food frauds by real-time detection and relating outbreaks to their definite cause. In this way, the distributed ledger technique like blockchain technology permits more determined and feasible control of food safety and quality.”

Blockchain can also simplify transaction processes and increase efficiencies for small-scale farmers and crop growers, particularly in low-income areas. Farmers can establish trust among market participants and ensure fair prices for their produce by providing access to blockchain-based platforms for trading agricultural products. The Helivon report explains, “The ground-level participants (farmers), the food processing industry, and the supply chain management system can all move to a single track using a blockchain platform.”

Smart contracts, powered by blockchain technology, can assist farmers in insuring their crops and filing claims with insurance companies. By automating the claims process, blockchain can make insurance more accessible and efficient for farmers, protecting them against unpredictable weather events and crop losses.

Blockchain technology enables farmers and producers to track their products throughout the supply chain. This provides valuable information about when and how a product was harvested, who produced it, and its journey from farm to table. The unalterable nature of the information recorded on the blockchain ensures its credibility and resistance to forgery.

The preference of billionaires like Buffett and Gates for farmland investments over cryptocurrencies highlights the potential of this asset class in the long term. With the growing adoption of blockchain technology in the agricultural sector, farmland investments offer promising opportunities for those looking to diversify their portfolios and invest in a stable, growing market. By understanding the various applications of blockchain in agriculture and exploring different investment options, you can capitalize on this trend and potentially reap the benefits of a thriving industry.