As Bitcoin tries to find support above $50k, proof-of-stake altcoins are stealing the spotlight. For years, crypto investors speculated about the future utility of crypto and now, in 2021, we're beginning to see its full potential start to bloom.
Cardano (ADA), a popular proof of stake network since inception, is leading the pack. The asset saw an unprecedented spike this week, hitting an all-time high of nearly $3.00 for the first time in its history.
The surge came following the announcement of the network’s long-awaited upgrade, Alonzo, set to take place on September 12th. This upgrade will add smart contract capabilities to the network, making it an ideal place for DeFi developers and those wishing to build non-fungible assets or NFTs. This is just one in a series of planned upgrades to the network that promises to make it “truly decentralized.” (Cointelegraph)
Cardano has hit several delays in the past, and patient investors are ready to see how these new features materialize on the platform. Ongoing belief has held steadfast in Cardano’s future, which is clearly demonstrated by its staking metrics. Nearly 72% of all ADA tokens are staked in the network. For perspective, that’s roughly 30 billion of its approximately $90 billion market cap. (Cointelegraph)
“As of now, the two main functions of the ADA tokens are staking and governance,” Marie Tatibouet, CMO of Gate.io, told Cointelegraph. “In that regard, it is a very good sign that so many holders have faith in the network and have staked their tokens in the ecosystem.”
As many proof of stake protocols look to find their footing in the market, Ethereum’s migration to ETH 2.0 continues to draw near. This week it was reported that the Ethereum Eth2 contract now holds over 7.14 million Ether tokens—valued at around $23 billion—making ETH the third most staked crypto in existence. (Cointelegraph)
“This shows growing confidence the Ethereum Foundation is going to successfully complete the transition to Ethereum 2.0,” said CEO of Staked, Tim Ogilvie. (Coindesk)
Ethereum 2.0 can’t come soon enough, because right now NFTs are absolutely booming. New NFT projects are being minted every day, dispersing thousands of pieces of art onto the blockchain. Each mint is usually a set of 10,000 unique and rare pieces of art, which are becoming a market of sought after collectibles.
Each time a new mint is dropped on Ethereum, the network gets congested and gas fees spike. Eager collectors often spend hundreds of dollars in gas fees per transaction, and sometimes it costs them more than the art piece they are buying. One can only imagine how fast the NFT market would move on a faster and cheaper Ethereum network.
Tezos (XTZ), one of the original proof of stake networks, is looking to disrupt the NFT space. Tezos is taking big steps in the NFT game with its F2A standard which, similar to Ethereum’s ERC-1155 standard, supports a multitude of tokens. The network became popular for spearheading “green NFTs” when these assets were finding their prominence in the market, giving artists and distributors a chance at environmentally-friendly crypto adoption. Just this week, the network partnered with Golden Goals, an NFT platform for football enthusiasts, which caused the asset value to shoot up a modest 13%. (Cryptoslate)
The NFT trend has been moving so fast that older projects, like EtherRocks, are resurfacing and gaining traction—some of which have been selling for over $1 million. Even Visa bought a Cryptopunk this week for $150,000 worth of ETH, which sounds like something you would hear about in some utopian sci-fi movie.
“We think NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment, and commerce,” stated Cuy Sheffield, Visa’s head of crypto. “To help our clients and partners participate, we need a firsthand understanding of the infrastructure requirements for a global brand to purchase, store, and leverage an NFT.” (CNBC)
Everyone is getting in on the hype. While many are concerned about the stability and volatility of the NFT market, it’s an exciting and early trend that truly shows the potential of blockchain. With adoption rising, the platforms need to keep up. This is a high stakes game.
Top market movers as of August 27, 2021
- Avalanche (AVAX) +53%
- Tezos (XTZ) +40%
- Celo (CELO) +23%
- Enjin Coin (ENJ) +21%
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