Here are this week’s top headlines in crypto news:
- Cardano vs. Algorand: Cardano’s lead architect leaves IOG to join the Algorand Foundation as a consultant. What does this mean for ADA and ALGO?
- Dollar dynamics: The euro approaches parity with the USD and the Japanese yen continues to plummet. Here’s how it’s affecting the crypto market.
- Decentralized stablecoins: Terror’s collapse, Aave and Shiba Inu announce plans for their own decentralized stablecoins two months after Terra’s collapse. Is this the beginning of a new trend?
- Elon’s Twitter update: The Dogefather looks to pull out of buying the social media platform, while Twitter’s board of directors demand to seal the deal. Why does Elon want to exit?
- Calls for crypto regulation: The Treasury Department reveals a framework for global crypto regulation as the vice chair of the Federal Reserve calls for a crypto crackdown. This is everything you need to know.
- Countries in crisis: citizens of Sri Lanka, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Argentina, Turkey, Norway, and the United Kingdom, all face extreme uncertainty. When will the global chaos will end?
- A closer look at last week’s top performing cryptos and where they’re headed next
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Cardano vs. Algorand
Last week, IOG’s director of Cardano Architecture, John Woods, announced that he would be leaving IOG to join the Algorand foundation as chief technology officer. For context Input Output Global, IOG is one of the two companies that are building Cardano. John’s departure seems to have taken the Cardano community by surprise, though die-hard Cardanians will know that John had only joined IOG in October last year to fill in for Duncan Coutts, who’d been away on paternity leave and returned to his post earlier this month.
Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson took to Twitter to congratulate John on his new role, noting that it could open the door for collaboration and partnerships between projects in Cardano’s and Algorand’s expanding ecosystems. John likewise thanked the Cardano community for their support, noting that he had a wonderful time contributing to building Cardano.
Some of you may know that John was a regular guest during Cardano’s mid-month development updates and end-of-month 360 ecosystem recaps. What’s interesting is that in a response to a tweet by the Algorand foundation announcing John’s edition, he noted that he’s intent on making Algorand a top 10 cryptocurrency by market cap, which begs the question of whether we will see competition rather than cooperation between his new and former employers.
This seems to be more than speculation as well, since Cardano and Algorand are both working on eerily similar scaling technologies, namely pipelining. Whatever knowledge John gained while working with Cardano is likely to be shared with Algorand, which could accelerate its scaling development. By contrast, Cardano could see a slowdown in development momentum due to the change in staff, but I don’t imagine this slowdown will be all that noticeable.
After all, Cardano will soon be completing its latest hard fork combinator called Vasil, which should significantly improve its scalability. Ardana founder Ryan Matovu recently mentioned in April’s Cardano 360 that Vasil will scale Cardano’s Layer 1 blockchain to its limit.
With Algorand expected to roll out its scalability upgrades in the coming months. Expect to see lots of fireworks for both ADA and ALGO. Just be aware that we are still in a crypto bear market, so these bullish developments could end up being sell the news events in the short term.
Most of you will know that the reason why crypto trading is in a bear market is basically because of the Federal Reserve. The Fed has been aggressively raising interest rates to reduce inflation, and this has effectively sucked trillions of dollars out of the economy as debts are paid back in the face of said rising rates. What some of you may not know is that the effects of the Fed’s monetary policy are even being felt by national currencies around the world as well, namely the euro and the Japanese yen, which are the world’s largest currencies alongside the US dollar and the Chinese yuan. This is for a few reasons.
For starters, the US dollar is still the world’s reserve currency and is therefore seen as the safest fiat currency to hold during the turbulent times we find ourselves in. Next, there’s the Fed’s constant rate hikes, which are making U.S. government debt more attractive to hold relative to the government debt of other countries and regions like the European Union and Japan, where interest rates remain at or below zero. Given the massive debt burdens of Greece, Italy, Spain, and other EU countries, there are doubts that the European Central Bank will be able to raise rates at all.
In the case of Japan, the Bank of Japan is still actively printing money and keeping interest rates low. This is because Japan hasn’t seen nearly the same amount of inflation as other developed countries. That’s because Japan’s macro trends are deflationary, a declining population being an obvious one. Not only that, but Japan imports 94% of its energy from other countries. Given how much the cost of oil and gas has been going up lately, this has put extreme pressure on the yen as more of it must be sold to acquire the same amount of oil and gas.
As a cherry on top, many individuals and institutions around the world hold lots of dollar-denominated debt called euro bonds. So when interest rates in the United States rise, all these foreign individuals and institutions that borrowed need to pay off their debt in dollars. This results in a mass sell-off of just about everything to acquire dollars, including their own national currencies. This is ultimately why a strong dollar is associated with declines across all asset markets.
As you can see, the dollar continues to climb. If this trend continues, we can expect to see more declines in stocks and cryptocurrencies in the near future. So keep your eye on the dip before you buy it.
Another reason why a strong dollar is so relevant to the crypto market has to do with stable coins, whereas getting your hands on actual US dollars requires jumping through a series of regulatory hurdles. All you need to get your hands on some stable coins is an internet connection and some ETH.
The demand for US dollars via stable coins is the crux of my bullish case for smart contract cryptocurrencies in the event of a global recession. Some would say we’re starting to see this bullish case play out in slow motion in some countries. I’ll quickly note that this bullish case could apply to almost every smart contract cryptocurrency that supports stablecoins. That’s because if we do see truly unprecedented demand for dollars, most, if not all, smart contract cryptocurrencies could be pushed to their limits due to stable coin demand.
Now there’s just one problem with this spicy stablecoin theory, and that’s that it assumes governments around the world would allow this stablecoin adoption to occur, especially if the stablecoins being adopted are pegged to the US dollar. If the recently passed crypto regulations in the EU didn’t give it away, they almost certainly won’t let this adoption occur because it would obviously undermine their own national currencies. It would also give control of the money supply to private companies based in the United States, namely Circle and Paxos.
Funnily enough, it looks like the U.S government wouldn’t allow this stablecoin adoption to occur either. This seems counterintuitive at first, because it’s clearly beneficial for the U.S government that U.S denominated stable coins are adopted, especially since they’re backed by U.S government debt.
However, U.S. officials are hyper aware of the financial stability risks that could arise if the market cap of USDC stablecoin grows to hundreds of billions of dollars on the back of foreign demand. Being mostly backed by U.S government debt means that if everyone came in to redeem their USDC for dollars, then this could create tens of billions of dollars of cell pressure for said dead bank. This would be difficult for the bond market to absorb and could therefore cause serious financial instability in the United States. This is why many crypto-interested macro analysts like Jim Bianco believe that U.S regulators will set limits on how large centralized stable coins can grow in the same way that the EU is in the process of doing, and that means there’s only one solution, and that’s to create a decentralized stable coin.
Although there are a few decentralized sable coins in existence already, it’s safe to say that they’re not all decentralized. They haven’t seen all that much real world adoption either. The massive hole in this niche left by Terra has also left many investors and traders looking for new alternatives. This is why it’s no coincidence that Aave and Shiba Inu recently announced that they’re in the process of developing their own decentralized stablecoins. Both projects can see that the demand is there, and they may even be aware of the dollar dynamics that could arise in the event of a global recession.
Elon Twitter Update
Now, once a viable decentralized table coin has been developed, the next step will be finding a way to make these decentralized stable coins usable outside of cryptocurrency. When Elon Musk confirmed that he would be acquiring Twitter for $44 billion back in April, many believed that it would become the platform to supercharge the adoption of crypto payments given Elon’s crypto aspirations and explicit intentions to turn Twitter into a western version of China’s WeChat. In a blow to those hopes.
The news broke last Friday that Elon is now looking to terminate the Twitter deal according to his legal counsel’s letter to the secretary. He took issue with Twitter’s view of how common spam, scams and bot accounts are and demanded data from the company to assess just how many fake accounts are actually out there. Well, it seems that Elon wasn’t happy with what he found because in their letter to the Sec, his legal counsel argued that Twitter ‘appears to have made false and misleading representations regarding its fake account numbers’.
What’s odd is that Twitter’s board of directors is resisting Elon’s attempt to exit the deal, even going as far as to say they’re going to sue him if he doesn’t follow through with the acquisition. This is odd because Twitter’s board initially fought tooth and nail to prevent Elon’s taking control. What’s even more odd is that Elon seemed to be aware of Twitter’s fake account issue well before the acquisition. I mean, with over 100 million followers, I’m sure he must have noticed that not all of them were real.
This is why some are starting to wonder whether Elon’s focus on fake accounts is just an excuse to exit the deal. If this is the case, then the obvious question is why would he want to exit the deal? I wanted to buy Twitter so badly and the answer seems to be that the US government. Allow me to explain.
In August last year, a controversial journalist named Alex Benson was suspended from Twitter for violating its pandemic policies. Last week, Alex was reinstated by Twitter after winning his court case against the company. Something that has apparently never happened before. Alex explains the details of his suspension and settlement in a sub-stack post, admitting that he can’t tell you because the statement is all I can say about the settlement.
Alex then said, “Except I need to add one thing. The settlement does not end my investigation into the pressures that the government may have placed on Twitter to suspend my account”, which resulted in a response from Elon Musk on Twitter, who wanted to know more about these pressures.
This has led to speculation that Twitter has been served something called a “national security letter,” which allows the FBI and other three-letter agencies to access and potentially control information on the grounds of national security. Naturally, national security letters come with extremely strict gagging orders.
The story goes that Elon saw, or even just heard, about this national security letter and realized it meant that he would not be able to turn Twitter into the free speech platform he envisioned, leading him to back out of the deal. Either that or he’s just trying to get a better price, which is also possible.
In any case, it’s clear that the only solution to the creeping censorship we’re seeing on social media is to create decentralized alternatives. That’s something that Aave is working on as well as Polka dot, which recently announced its own decentralized social media platform.
Calls For Crypto Regulation
Meanwhile in Washington, the treasury department has created a framework for international crypto regulation in response to the executive order from the U.S president earlier this year, which called on U.S agencies to address the crypto industry. What’s annoying is that the Treasury department didn’t actually provide any details about international crypto regulations but instead published a laundry list of things such a framework would need to address, including the regular buzzwords like consumer protection.
What stuck out to me was the frequent talk about central bank digital currencies, or CBDC’s, and all the international bodies that the treasury department wants to be involved with, including the world bank, the International Monetary Fund, and, of course, the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF. Its end game is to essentially turn crypto into another centrally controlled financial system.
Then there’s the good old Federal Reserve, whose vice chair, Lael Brainard, is calling for faster crypto regulation because of the financial stability risks the industry presents. This is strange given that Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said earlier this year that crypto doesn’t pose a threat to financial stability. Not surprisingly, Lael’s comments on crypto regulation were related to centralized crypto lending platforms like Voyager Digital, which recently filed for bankruptcy.
Lael is also concerned about stable coins following a Terra’s collapse and doesn’t like the idea of a bank run on centralized stable coins. Lael also took some time to shill CBDC’s and how they could be used to increase the stability of the financial system, which is really just code for more centralized control that inevitably ends up creating even more volatility than there would otherwise have been.
All I’m wondering is why calls for a regulatory crackdown on crypto are coming right at this moment. Yes, crypto platforms like Celsius are causing chaos and yes, Terra did collapse, but this is really nothing new nor is it all that important relative to the other issues going on around the world.
If you ask me, the reason why these calls for crypto regulation are coming now is precisely because of all the issues going on around the world, centralized systems are becoming unstable. As I mentioned earlier, many citizens of more troubled countries are turning to decentralized cryptos for survival.
Countries in Crisis
There is really no shortage of countries that are going through crises these days. The first country I need to mention is Sri Lanka, where citizens recently stormed the presidential palace after months of food and fuel shortages caused by a combination of corruption, incompetence, and global supply chain issues. The president has stepped down, and we have to hope that better times lie ahead for the country.
The second country that needs some spotlight is Canada, whose largest telecom provider suddenly stopped providing internet and telephone services, even to the point that it affected emergency services and debit card transactions. To add insult to injury, it wasn’t even a cyber attack, just maintenance.
The third country in trouble is Germany, which is running low on oil and gas to the point that it’s calling on its citizens to start rationing hot water and heat, and let’s just say it’s not asking nicely.
The fourth country in crisis is the Netherlands, whose government is trying to push through green energy policies that could see thousands of farms go to the wall despite the fact that we’re in the middle of a food crisis. Obviously, farmers are turning the country upside down in protest.
The fifth country getting wrecked is Italy, where an unprecedented drought threatens to slash food production in the country by a third. All these food disruptions are really something else.
The sixth country on the cusp of collapse is Argentina, where demand for stable coins is soaring after its economic minister resigned. For those who don’t know, the Argentinian peso has basically collapsed over the last decade, leading to lots of demand for crypto and stable coins. You can see what I meant earlier.
Turkey is the next country to face hyperinflation, with official figures claiming the lira is losing value at an 80% annual rate. Like Argentina, the Turkish government has attempted to crack down on crypto to protect its national currency, but it’s clear to see that it’s not working.
The eighth country facing a conundrum is Norway, of all places. That’s because oil and gas workers are starting to go on strike in response to the rising cost of living, yet the government is forcing them to go back to work because not doing so would do even more damage to other European countries.
It’s a similar situation in the UK, where strikes are affecting the transport sector and prime minister Boris Johnson has stepped down, but don’t get me started on that one.
As to when all this chaos will end, the truth is that it will end once countries start producing their own oil and gas instead of pretending to be green while importing oil and gas from totalitarian governments and burning coal while closing nuclear plants. A failure to do so means a Sri Lankan type situation, and it looks like western governments are starting to wake up to this fact. Let’s just hope that it’s not too late before they act.
Top Performing Cryptos
Turning to the charts, we can see that BTC finally had its first green week since March, but don’t get too excited because this is painting a bear flag pattern. The pattern is similar to the one we saw in previous weeks and a pattern that can also be seen on Bitcoin’s daily chart with a target of $10-12k with a few stops along the way.
Last week’s top performing cryptos were Convex Finance, Quant Network, Aave, THORChain, and Uniswap, an interesting combination with an obvious trend. DeFi is back, baby.
So start with Convex Finance, CVX seems to be rallying because of developments on the decentralized stablecoin front, be they from Frax, Aave or Shiba Inu. Without getting too technical, Convex Finance is closely related to Curve Finance, a stablecoin DeX that will benefit from any new stablecoin pairs. Unfortunately, CVX’s recent rise is barely a blip on the radar, but as DeFi developer André Cronier once said, DeFi tokens should not be bought, they should be earned. His words, not mine.
As for Quant Network, whose QNT token appears to be rallying because of an update to the ledger, a platform developed by Quant Network that makes it possible to create dApps using smart contracts using smart contracts from different blockchains. Like most altcoins, QNT is well below its all-time high and the technicals suggest it won’t go much higher from here. In other words, we are overdue for a correction. So think twice before apping in.
As for Aave, the Aave token is rallying for the reason I mentioned earlier, specifically Aave’s decentralized stablecoin, which I’ll be explaining in detail in my update about the project later this week. As amazing as Aave’s weekly rally appears to be stepping back, you can clearly see that the token remains in a long-term downtrend. It’s possible we could test the upper limit of the descending channel. It’s been there since last summer. That could bring the average all the way up to 120 dollars before a rejection.
Then there’s the Thor Chain, whose runecoin rallied on the news that the developers are in the process of creating a DeX aggregator which will make it possible to swap between just about any coin or token like you would on a centralized exchange but without KYC or third-party custody. It’s too bad that RUNE continues to tank, but if its past price history is anything to go by, we could see another massive speculative pump in the coming weeks once DeX aggregation is rolled out along with the other revolutionary features the THORChain is working on. Full disclosure: I hold RUNE in my portfolio.
Last but not least, we have Uniswap, which happens to be one of the DeXes the chain is looking to tap now. I actually couldn’t figure out why UNI is rallying, but there has been lots of trading volume on UNI swap lately. That’s probably why, like most other altcoins, UNI is basically back to what it was before the bull market. Note that this doesn’t mean it’s a good time to buy because, again, we’re still in the middle of a crypto bear market so this is a good time for bot crypto trading.
[This article is a transcription of a video made by Coin Bureau]
[Original video: https://youtu.be/rX7PWIoEhm4]