Decentralized finance surpasses 3 million users ahead of major Ethereum upgrade

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CryptoCompare’s data shows that the price of Bitcoin (BTC) went sideways throughout the week, starting at around $38,000 and dropping to a $36,000 low before surging and testing the resistance at $42,000, which it failed to break through.

Ethereum’s ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, moved in a similar way throughout the week, from around $2,100 to $2,600. It’s currently at the upper limit of its range as investors eagerly await a major upgrade to its network.

This week started with Amazon revealing it’s exploring cryptocurrencies, but denying reports suggesting it would start accepting bitcoin payments later this year before launching its own cryptocurrency in 2022.

An Amazon spokesperson said:

·       “Notwithstanding our interest in the space, the speculation that has ensued around our specific plans for cryptocurrencies is not true. We remain focused on exploring what this could look like for customers shopping on Amazon.”

The online retail giant’s news came at about the same time Shopify president Harley Finkelstein revealed his company was adding support for the sale of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for its merchants.

Finkelstein noted that the company is making it easier for merchants to sell NFTs through their stores, and pointed to a pending NFT drop from the Chicago Bulls basketball team. Those NFTs are reportedly being created via the Flow blockchain.

Over the week, a poll conducted by American analytics firm Gallup has found that since 2018, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have gained momentum among U.S. investors. It found that 6% of its 1,037 respondents own BTC, a 4% rise from 2018.

Gallup’s Investor Optimism poll defines U.S. investors as “adults with $10,000 or more invested in stocks, bonds or mutual funds.” Of the survey’s respondents, 13% under fifty hold BTC, with the number being 3% among senior investors. The poll also revealed awareness about cryptocurrencies has been growing.

While most still don’t own bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, data has revealed decentralized exchanges like Uniswap have helped the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector surpass the 3 million unique address mark.

The figure represents a 160% rise since the beginning of the year, when little over one million addresses had interacted with DeFi protocols. The main drivers behind the space are Uniswap, with 2.5 million addresses, Compound with 326,000, and 1inch with 276,000.

Uniswap is a clear leader in the number of addresses interacting with it, and it currently has around 63.8% of the market share of all decentralized exchanges. It’s followed by SushiSwap, which has a 9.6% share of the market.

The DeFi sector is mostly built on top of the Ethereum blockchain, which is set to undergo a major upgrade later this month. The upgrade, codenamed London, will slow down the supply growth of ETH tokens by burning the base fee users pay to process transactions in the network. Interest in the network has been such that its trading volume surged 1,461% in H1 2021, while Bitcoin’s moved up 489%.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs is seemingly taking advantage of the hype surrounding DeFi, as it has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that would offer exposure to public companies “aligned with the themes” of blockchain technology and the “digitalization of finance.”

The Goldman Sachs Innovate DeFi and Blockchain Equity ETF is set to invest at least 80% of its assets into these publicly traded companies and seeks to provide investment returns that correspond to the performance of the Solactive Decentralized Finance and Blockchain Index, minus fees and expenses.

PayPal to Roll Out Cryptocurrency Trading in the UK

PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman has revealed in the company’s Q2 earnings call the firm is looking to expand its crypto buy and sell functionality to the United Kingdom as soon as next month. While the call contained no direct mention of Bitcoin, it mentioned cryptocurrency services offered via its Venmo app. Schulman said:

·       “We’re also seeing strong adoption and trading of crypto on Venmo. In this quarter, we expanded the Venmo value proposition to allow merchants and consumers to pay for goods and services and receive buyer and seller protections for commerce transactions.”

Further helping investors gain exposure to cryptocurrencies, Maryland-based firm ProShares has launched what it says is the first publicly available mutual fund tracking the price of the flagship cryptocurrency bitcoin. The Bitcoin Strategy ProFund invests in bitcoin futures and, before fees and expenses, aims to track the price of bitcoin.

CryptoCompare’s Chart Of The Week

Following the recent cryptocurrency mining crackdown that occurred in China, Bitcoin’s hash rate plummeted by a staggering 52.5%, the lowest recorded level in two years. As a result of this decrease, Bitcoin’s average block time also spiked –  the amount of time it takes to create the next block in a chain – exceeding the twenty-minute mark for the first time ever. 

On the 13th of May, a maximum hash rate of 181.61 Mn TH/s was recorded, which then proceeded to fall to 86.19Mn TH/s on the 2nd of July – levels not seen since December 2019. 

The first chart provides a look at the correlation between Bitcoin’s hash rate and price, dating back to January 2017,whilst the second looks at a more micro time period, detailing specific events and the influence they have had on both hash rate and price over the last five months. 

Francisco Memoria is a content creator at CryptoCompare who’s in love with technology and focuses on helping people see the value digital currencies have. His work has been published in numerous reputable industry publications

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