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CoinDesk Is Spinning Up an Ethereum 2.0 Node. Here’s How to Follow Our Journey

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CoinDesk just snagged a front-row seat to a seminal event in the crypto industry. Ticket price: 32 ETH.

As a media outlet covering nascent technologies, we believe we can sometimes chronicle their development more effectively by participating in them. To that end, we’re spinning up a validator for the upcoming launch of Ethereum 2.0 as part of a fact-finding mission. This required us to acquire the minimum amount of ETH (for about $15,000) to stake on the new network.

The goal is to deepen CoinDesk’s editorial coverage to better serve our readers. Running our own validator will give us a direct, real-time window onto Ethereum’s transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. We will gain an unvarnished perspective on the network at its most untested and potentially vulnerable phase of development, gleaning vital insights about the process for our audience. 

The launch of Ethereum 2.0 will mark the beginning of the network’s transformation into the world’s largest proof-of-stake (PoS) protocol by market capitalization. The pivot to PoS is intended to radically improve network scalability, which throughout Ethereum’s history has been an ongoing pain point for both users and developers. 

To be clear, this is not the start of a day-trading division within our newsroom (and for the record, we have strict limitations on such activity). All profits from running the validator will be donated to a charity of our choosing once transfers of ether are enabled in phase 1.5 of the network’s development, roughly a year and a half from now.

We’re also paying out a cut of our staking rewards in modest fees to service provider Bison Trails. Bison Trails announced its support for Eth 2 staking back in July. The company provides a fully managed infrastructure for validators backed by a 99% uptime guarantee and enterprise-grade monitoring support. 

You can follow us on our staking journey as an Ethereum 2.0 validator by signing up for our free, limited-run newsletter, Valid Points. Each week, starting the week of the Ethereum 2.0 launch (expected around early December), our emails will feature high-level statistics and charts illustrating the health of our validator and network operations. We’ll also discuss the wider ramifications of the network’s development progress for industry stakeholders (no pun intended) and investors. 

Sign up for Valid Points today.

Crucially, this is not just a story about code and network design. This is also an investor story. 

We believe having skin in the game puts us in a unique position to adopt the mindset of existing and prospective investors. That’s important because the decision to stake or not involves a trade-off. Should I tie up my funds in a validator node or should I earn interest on them via a decentralized finance (DeFi) lending app? 

The pros and cons of such decisions will vary due to a host of factors. We are looking forward to exploring the ever-shifting cost-benefit analysis that investors go through in this environment by putting ourselves in their shoes.

Many questions remain, including how exactly Ethereum will merge into Ethereum 2.0, what impact the merger will have on Ethereum’s growing DeFi ecosystem and the extent to which Ethereum 2.0 will solve the platform’s congestion issues over the long run.

It’s going to be a fascinating ride, and you’re invited to join us.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/ethereum-2-validator-node-valid-points-newsletter

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Optimism ‘Soft Launches’ Ethereum Throughput Solution With DeFi’s Synthetix

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Optimism has “soft launched” its solution to Ethereum’s transaction problem, the Optimistic Virtual Machine (OVM).

The startup announced Friday that OVM is now live, at a time when gas fees have reached near all-time highs for decentralized finance (DeFi) traders. Indeed, the cost to send a single Ethereum transaction has hovered in the low single-digit dollars for the last month – a bit steep for the “internet of money.”

First on the docket is DeFi exchange Synthetix, which has been working on an integration for some weeks now. The platform allows traders to exchange Ethereum-based synthetic contracts of real-world assets including oil futures.

The transition will roll out in four phases to limit risk to the platform, Synthetix co-founder Kain Warwick wrote in a Jan. 14 blog post. Staking the platform’s native token, SNX, is now possible on OVM, the team said.

“We have opted for initiating the transition with the absolute minimum risk to [layer one], and then adding functionality over the course of the next few months as we build confidence in [Optimistic Ethereum],” Warwick wrote.

Optimism, formerly known as Plasma Group, has pioneered one implementation of what are known as Optimistic Rollups (ORs). ORs – or other rollup variants such as ZK-Rollups – are layer two solutions that act as throughput boosters for blockchains. (These are not dissimilar in a general sense from Bitcoin’s Lightning Network.)

A rollup allows a blockchain to settle more transactions across the whole network by sending transactions off-chain, validating them and then settling the lump value on the main Ethereum blockchain. Most dapps have a rollup solution on the agenda.

In conjunction with other technical solutions, the expectation is Ethereum will be able to execute and settle about 100,000 transactions per second (TPS) with rollups.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/optimism-soft-launches-ethereum-throughput-solution-with-defis-synthetix

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Six-Figure Bitcoin Price Predictions Back on The Table

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This has resulted in the renewal of six-figure price predictions for this market cycle, with some suggesting a top of $300,000 this time around.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin was trading at $37,900 after reaching an intraday high of $40,000 according to Tradingview.com. The asset had started to fall back during the Asian trading session on Friday and had failed to break its previous high of $42,000 but the sentiment is still very bullish.

Total crypto market capitalization has topped a trillion dollars again as some of the altcoins, such as Polkadot, make monumental 24-hour gains.

When Will Bitcoin Top $100K?

Popular traders and analysts are back in the game of predicting prices and they’re largely in agreement that this market cycle will result in six figure Bitcoin prices.

Josh Rager said that he thinks Bitcoin will see a six-figure price by early 2022;

He added that at this peak, the name of ‘Bitcoin’ will be mentioned on every TV, phone, and tablet around the world.

“This could certainly be the cycle that leads to Bitcoin becoming a household name along with serious adoption from those who once mocked peer-to-peer digital money,”

Fellow trader ‘TraderKoz’, who has 28k followers on twitter added that at a guess he would say that this cycle takes us to $250k to $350k.

“From there, we have 3 years of accumulation in the $60-90k range before Bitcoin takes over the entire financial system. That bull run will take us to over $1,000,000,”

Michael Saylor, who’s institutional investment firm MicroStrategy has been buying up large swathes of Bitcoin, continues to post bullish tweets about the asset to his 330k followers;

The Institutional Effect

Aggregated derivative exchange data provider Bybit reported that Bitcoin institutional inflows are showing no signs of slowing down, adding that there may be a new round of buying by Grayscale.

Grayscale itself reported an assets under management (AUM) figure of $27.7 billion in its most recent update. The company has also just released its fourth-quarter report revealing that there was record investor demand in the period, with approximately $3.3 billion in inflows.

The story made such an impact that even Reuters picked it up.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/six-figure-bitcoin-price-predictions-back-on-the-table/

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$500K Bitcoin Donation Funneled to Groups Involved in US Capitol Riot: Analysis

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Blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis has tracked simultaneous Bitcoin (BTC) donations to wallets associated with right-wing extremist groups in the U.S., which might have helped fund the recent riot at the U.S. Capitol. The news marks yet another pivot towards pseudonymous money transfer means by alt-right groups in the U.S.

Alt-Right Agitators Received $500K in Bitcoin Prior to US Capitol Riot

Publishing its findings on Thursday (Jan. 14, 2021), Chainalysis revealed that several notable alt-right personalities who were present at the Jan. 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol received substantial Bitcoin donations.

According to Chainalysis, a single donor funneled 18.15 BTC to addresses belonging to entities with right-leaning affiliations on Dec. 8, 2020. At the time, this figure was worth over $500,000.

In its report, Chainalysis also revealed that popular far-right political commentator Nick Fuentes received 13.5 BTC. There are a few photographic pieces of evidence placing Fuentes at the riot with a megaphone in hand though Fuentes has denied entering the building itself.

Apart from him, alt-right podcaster Ethan Ralph and VDARE — an anti-immigration organization — also received BTC sums from the donor. While Chainalysis did not reveal the identity of the person responsible for funneling the Bitcoin, the crypto forensics outfit did mention that there strong evidence that the donor is a French computer programmer.

An examination into the donor’s wallet shows that the person is likely an early Bitcoin adopter. Further investigation into the donor shows a history of donations to extremist causes with an alleged suicide note referencing known alt-right talking points.

Based on these findings, U.S. law enforcement officials are reportedly investigating possible links between the donations and the assault on the Capitol. Prosecutors also say that they are approaching the investigations from a counterterrorism and counterintelligence standpoint.

Financial Censorship Triggering Crypto Adoption

Alt-right groups receiving donations in Bitcoin is only the latest example of political and social groups with dissident ideologies embracing cryptocurrencies. Indeed, Bitcoin’s early history is somewhat intertwined with WikiLeaks especially after the establishment was cut off from mainstream funding sources.

Even countries facing economic sanctions are also adopting cryptocurrencies. Venezuela is a popular example, with the Maduro administration even creating its own oil-backed Petro “coin.”

Nations like Iran are actively supporting Bitcoin mining with tax breaks for BTC miners. As previously reported by CryptoPotato, the output from three power plants has been offered to miners in the country.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/500k-bitcoin-donation-funneled-to-groups-involved-in-us-capitol-riot-analysis/

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