Welcome to Issue 20 of Popular Crypto, a newsletter about the mainstream products and services taking crypto to the masses.
In this issue:
- Zap lets merchants take USD over the Lightning Network
- Handshake goes live allowing top-level decentralized domain ownership (and enabling decentralized income)
- How to stream social money using Roll & Sablier
- PoolTogether announces a daily no-loss USDC prize
We also cover Maple Loans, a protocol taking a community-based approach to undercollateralized crypto loans.
All that and more in this week’s issue. But first, here’s some…
🚀 Updates From Nomics
- #1 Upgrades for Bit-Z, EXX, KKCoin, BKex, Digifinex & CoinAll: This week, crypto exchange Bit-Z was upgraded to include derivatives markets, and EXX, KKCoin, BKex, Digifinex, and CoinAll were all upgraded to “C” Transparency Ratings. This means that each now provides us with recent candle data, which we’ve made available on Nomics.com and via our market data API. To learn more about our crypto exchange rating system, check out the following essay.
- #2 Ethereum’s Untold History & Defying Future: Flippening episode #69, Ethereum’s Untold History & Defying Future, is live on our blog. This time, we’re joined by Camila Russo, founder of The Defiant, a daily newsletter focused on decentralized finance or DeFi. We discuss her upcoming book on the history of Ethereum (ETH) and how DeFi has become the network’s most promising use case.
- #3 HitBTC IOU Markets Removed From Tezos Trade History at the Request of Reddit Community: In response to user feedback that HitBTC IOUs were skewing historical price data for Tezos (XTZ), Nomics decided to exclude HitBTC markets from XTZ pricing. For more on the decision – and why excluding these markets was the “clearest and cleanest approach” – read the Reddit post by Nomics CTO Nick Gauthier.
Meanwhile, if you have feedback for Nomics, visit any page on our site and click the Feedback tab, located on the right-hand side.
- #4 Nomics CEO Clay Collins Moderates the Traditional Asset Tokenization Panel at 0xpo: At 2:05pm PST today (February 7th) Nomics CEO Clay Collins will be moderating the Tokenizing Traditional Assets panel at 0xpo, a San Francisco conference hosted by the 0x (ZRX) Core team. The panel will feature Hart Lambur (UMA), Josh Stein (Harbor), and Michael Oved (Airswap). To learn more about security tokens, check out our 3-part documentary, Tokenize the World.
And now, let’s see what the cryptocurrency world has brought us this week.
🙏 Thanks To Our Sponsor: CryptoTrader.Tax
- 🚀 Updates From Nomics
- 🙏 Thanks To Our Sponsor: CryptoTrader.Tax
- 🏇 This Week’s List
- #1. Zap’s Strike Enables USD Transactions via the Lightning Network
- #2. Lightning Labs Launches Merchant Solution Loop
- #3. Handshake Goes Live Allowing Top-Level Decentralized Domain Ownership (and enabling decentralized income)
- #4. How to Stream Your Own Personal Token With Roll & Sablier
- #5. Unlock Enables Content Creators and SAAS Products to Earn Subscription Revenue
- #6. Maple Enables Undercollateralized DeFi Loans
- #7. PoolTogether Debuts a Daily USDC Drawing
- #8. Helium Hits 3,000 LongFi Hotspots
- 🏆 Our Poll
🏇 This Week’s List
#1. Zap’s Strike Enables USD Transactions via the Lightning Network
Zap, the company behind the Zap Lightning wallet, has launched Strike, an app that enables consumers to spend U.S. dollars over the Lightning Network, an application layer built on Bitcoin (BTC) that allows users to transact quickly and cheaply. The app was designed to simplify the way people interact with Lightning. Beyond scanning a QR code (the Lightning invoice), there is no technical expertise needed. Neither the consumer nor the merchant actually touches any Bitcoin. The payor just scans the QR code, sends money from a linked bank account or debit card, and the merchant gets paid in dollars. Fiat-to-BTC conversions happen under the hood.
Strike could be a boon for merchants in industries with high payment processing costs. For example, marijuana dispensaries (which face fees as high as 10-15% for payment processing!) can use Strike to transact cheaply over the Lightning Network without requiring customers to master any new technology.
Strike is available for iOS, Android, Desktop, and as a browser extension. [Link]
#2. Lightning Labs Launches Merchant Solution Loop
In related news, Bitcoin startup Lightning Labs has launched the beta version of Loop, a product that helps merchants manage capacity in their Lightning payment channels.
When using Lightning, the amount you can receive is set by the amount you’re capable of sending. Loop Out helps users increase their receiving capacity by offloading funds from the Network to crypto exchanges or wallets. Loop In does the opposite: it lets users refill channels to increase their sending capacity. [Link]
This same week, Lightning Labs announced that they raised $10 million to fund the continued development of what CEO Elizabeth Stark envisions as the “Visa of Bitcoin” – a fast, reliable transaction layer built on top of existing infrastructure. [Link]
For more, check out the following interview:
#3. Handshake Goes Live Allowing Top-Level Decentralized Domain Ownership (and enabling decentralized income)
The Handshake blockchain is now live. The proof-of-work protocol will support human-readable addresses for sending cryptocurrency and interacting with smart contracts – much like Ethereum Name Service (ENS). [Link]
However, that is where the similarities end. Unlike ENS, which runs on Ethereum, Handshake is its own blockchain, powered by the Handshake token (HNS), which is used to bid on domain names. Owners of TLDs, or top-level domains, earn HNS whenever someone registers a sub-domain.
And while ENS views itself as a complement to ICANN, the authority charged with maintaining Internet domains, Handshake hopes to decentralize ICANN’s role, effectively replacing the organization.
Bidding opens on February 17th. [Link]
#4. How to Stream Your Own Personal Token With Roll & Sablier
The Roll network has joined forces with real-time finance protocol Sablier to let content creators and influencers stream social money tied to their respective personal brands.
It works like this: an individual mints a personal ERC20 token with Roll. The first 2 million (of 10 million) are immediately available and can be streamed to the wider crypto community using Sablier’s Ethereum-based streaming protocol. The remaining 8 million become available over the next three years.
In the wild, tokens will rise or fall in value according to the products and services they can buy. Followers who acquire tokens could stream them back to token owners in exchange for their time, expertise or to pay for a subscription. Token owners could stream tokens to their followers as rewards. [Link]
#5. Unlock Enables Content Creators and SAAS Products to Earn Subscription Revenue
Unlock, a blockchain-based protocol that enables publishers to “lock” online content (except to those with the right key), is already compatible with social money.
The protocol recently announced SwapAndCall, a feature that lets users unlock content – or purchase a key – with any ERC20 token. For example, a consumer could use ETH to purchase a key priced in Dai (DAI). The ETH would simply be converted to DAI behind the scenes. According to Unlock, a frontend is in development which will present users with prices in terms of each cryptocurrency held in their wallet, including social tokens. [Link]
#6. Maple Enables Undercollateralized DeFi Loans
These days, most DeFi loans are overcollateralized, meaning that the collateral must exceed the loan amount. While there is a niche for overcollateralized crypto loans, it doesn’t include the average consumer.
Enter Maple Finance, which seeks to bring crypto-backed loans to the masses. Its new protocol, Maple Loans, provides the infrastructure for decentralized, self-organizing groups or “Communities” to offer undercollateralized crypto loans to their members. The protocol handles the requesting, funding, and repayment processing, leaving Communities to experiment with identity and risk assessment.
Maple expects groups to test a variety of metrics including credit scores, social media activity, and address transaction histories. The goal of the protocol is to facilitate this experimentation in order to fast-track the adoption of decentralized finance by everyday folks. [Link]
#7. PoolTogether Debuts a Daily USDC Drawing
Ethereum-based lottery PoolTogether has launched a new daily prize powered by USD Coin (USDC). Like the weekly lottery, which continues to set records for participation and prize money, the daily game is “no-loss.” It is funded with interest earned on USDC deposited by participants. At any point – even after the winner is announced – losers can take their principal back. [Link]
PoolTogether has also announced a successful $1 million fundraise to boost security, increase prize pools, and remain fee-free. The app was scheduled to implement a 10% fee on accrued interest. That can now be avoided. [Link]
#8. Helium Hits 3,000 LongFi Hotspots
Helium has reached a major milestone: 3,000 Hotspots – with at least one in each U.S. state. The peer-to-peer network relies on Hotspots, which are small, square routers that use LongFi technology to provide wireless coverage to low-power IoT devices like smart pet collars and bike trackers. While they relay data across distances, Hotspots also mine Helium Network (HNT) tokens, rewards for participating in “The People’s Network.” [Link]
For a live coverage map, see here. For more on Helium Hotspots, check out the following video:
🏆 Our Poll
In our last poll, we asked about blockchain-based games. Here are the results: