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Switzerland took another step to clarify its roadmap for integrating central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, into the current financial system.
The Swiss National Bank (SNB), the country’s central bank, completed the second phase of Project Helvetia with its partners by integrating a wholesale CBDC into the existing back-office systems and processes of five banks: Citi, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg and UBS.
The Bank for International Settlements and Swiss financial infrastructure service provider SIX joined as partners of SNB in Phase 2 of Project Helvetia, which took place during the fourth quarter of 2021.
Envisioned as a multi-phase investigation into the settlement of tokenized assets in central bank money, Project Helvetia aims to prepare central banks for a future where distributed ledger technology-based tokenized financial assets are the norm. The project focuses on solving operational, legal and policy-related issues regarding settlements. The official announcement states that the lack of an existing systemic DLT-based platform doesn’t mean that there won’t be such platforms in the future.
Switzerland was an ideal country to proceed with the experiment since issuing a wholesale CBDC — which is specifically used to settle interbank transfers and related wholesale transactions — on a distributed DLT platform operated and owned by a private company is possible under the law.
The second phase of Project Helvetia explored the settlement of interbank, monetary policy and cross-border transactions on the test systems of SIX Digital Exchange, SIX Interbank Clearing — the Swiss real-time gross settlement system — and core banking systems, according to the announcement.
“To continue fulfilling their mandates of ensuring monetary and financial stability, central banks need to stay on top of technological change,” noted SNB governing board member Andréa Maechler. She continued:
“Project Helvetia is a prime example of how to achieve this. It allowed the SNB to deepen its understanding of how the safety of central bank money could be extended to tokenized asset markets.”
The first phase of Project Helvetia took place in December 2020 and focused on issuing a wholesale CBDC.
With so many blockchain networks appearing all the time, new or even experienced crypto enthusiasts may feel overwhelmed when it comes to deciding which are the best to invest in.
In this guide, we’ll outline the most important aspects of any blockchain project, and why one should pay close attention to such details when assessing the different chains on the crypto market.
Arguably the most important part of any blockchain project is its use case. What is the project’s reason for existing? Is the project here to enhance payment processing? To improve on a business supply chain or to entertain users?
There’s technically no such thing as an invalid use case, but some are certainly more applicable than others. For example, a project meant to assist millions in acquiring food is likely to earn more support than a meme coin. If one decides that a project is valuable to them and that this value can translate over to a wide audience, then that’s a point in the project’s favor.
When examining use cases, it’s best to look at the project’s white paper. For example, we can take a look at Polygon’s whitepaper, which details potential use cases associated with the platform.
A project is nothing without its community. Blockchain technology is an open-source and user-driven solution, after all. When assessing a blockchain, it’s often best to check into the community and see how much power they have.
Reliable projects are generally as decentralized as possible, providing users from all over with the ability to hold tokens and have their say in governance. These users are usually outspoken, with public conversations happening on platforms like Reddit, Twitter and Discord. It’s usually best to join a project’s Discord server to gauge both the size and contributions of its community.
One’s blockchain project of choice might have the best intentions, but if the technology can’t scale or reliably process transactions, it’s at a severe disadvantage. What good is a platform that can’t serve the hundreds of thousands of customers it hopes to gain?
When assessing a blockchain, it’s best to examine the network’s typical transaction speeds alongside how it intends to scale en masse. Is it possible to implement upgrades down the line? Will it, or does the network already utilize a layer-two solution? Does the solution sound realistic in the long term?
The Ethereum website contains extensive documentation on its current and future scalability methods.
One can pair this factor alongside the community one, as dedicated community members would have public discussions surrounding their favorite project’s use cases and potential upgrades, as well as how it’s currently running.
The two most common blockchain consensus methods are proof-of-work and proof-of-stake. Proof-of-work (PoW) networks require miners that are users who dedicate their computing power to solve complex equations and validate transactions. Miners are paid for their efforts with each block mined, though the computer power required is harmful to the environment.
Proof-of-stake (PoS), on the other hand, provides power to users who hold and stake, or lock in, their digital assets. Generally, the more assets a user stakes, the more power they have within the network.
By staking, users typically become validators who then validate transactions, removing the need for miners. This process is more environmentally friendly than mining and rewards users in interest for their efforts. While both PoS and PoW have their pros and cons, many believe PoS is the future of blockchain and that PoW networks are on their way out.
After all, PoS is the more scalable option and Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, is making the upgrade to PoS over the coming months. Consensus directly affects network governance and is something to consider when assessing different blockchain networks.
The team behind the project is just as important as the technical aspects of any blockchain. Projects should be very open regarding who’s developing a project, as well as the history and skillset of the team.
Failing to disclose the details about the development team can be a significant warning sign while assessing blockchains, as a lack of information could mean they’re looking to scam users. While this isn’t always the case, it’s recommended to stick with projects that are open about their development process.
The Polkadot project has some of its key members available on its website, including their real names and history. That said, it could be improved by including relevant social links to the team’s profiles so that users can conduct their own research to verify the project and the team behind it.
Not only should a blockchain have a solid reliable use case, but it should have a roadmap planned out regarding future developments and product feature additions.
A thorough roadmap generally means that the team has thought long-term about their project and how it can benefit the world. It also provides users with more knowledge about what they’re investing in, and whether or not the network aligns with their values.
The Cardano roadmap features detailed sections for each part of its roadmap, ensuring that all users can understand what to expect in the network’s future.
When it comes to decentralized finance (DeFi) projects specifically, one vital factor to consider is its total value locked (TVL) and its market cap.
The TVL represents the total amount of all funds locked into a DeFi platform’s smart contracts. The higher a TVL, the healthier a platform’s ecosystem, as more users are taking advantage of its offerings.
Alternatively, a project’s market capitalization constitutes the value of existing assets within its ecosystem, serving as an indicator of the project’s growth potential. This number constitutes not just those utilizing the platform’s tokens, but also those holding assets in a passive way.
One can consider market capitalization to be the indicator of the popularity of a project, while TVL can mark how much money is actually being moved around within its various protocols. Both statistics are important, but it’s important to understand what each means relevant to a project’s competition.
DeFi Pulse details the TVL of all sorts of DeFi projects, while CoinMarketCap lists the market capitalization of nearly any chain on the market.
Finally, take a look at how long the project has been on the market. If it has been available for years, what has the project accomplished? Has it stuck to its roadmap and been reliable, or suffered from consistent delays and failing to deliver? A project’s reliability can be a great indicator of its longevity.
Alternatively, if a project is new to the market, consider observing it for a few months and seeing how things play out. If development appears smooth and the group is making a fair amount of progress and announcements, it might mark a more reliable long-term investment.
Late Saturday, Spice DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization that owns a copy of an unpublished manuscript of Frank Herbert and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s never-completed film Dune, announced its roadmap going forward. In the tweet, Spice DAO said it would “Make the book public, produce an original animated limited series inspired by the book and sell it to a streaming service, and support derivative projects from the community.” The group had previously won the Christie’s auction in November for the copy’s sale at 2.66 million euros (a little over $3 million), or about 89 times its price estimates at the midpoint.
However, there was just one problem, buying a copy of a book does not grant the purchaser its copyright. In the United States and European Union, copyright typically extends throughout the life of the last surviving co-creator, and an additional 70 years after their death. Currently, the copyright owners Jean Giraud and H.R. Giger are deceased, while Jodorowsky is still in good shape at 92 years of age.
Twitter users and crypto enthusiasts alike seemed to respond to the post with ridicule. One exceptionally savage user by the name of @TheNinjaWhippet responded with a link to a free and publicly accessible copy of the book, which has existed online since 2011. The post garnered over 3,500 likes.
Anyway, if y’all wanna read a free and publicly accessible copy of the book, here’s one that’s been online since 2011 https://t.co/EQk8gUnDu4
— Alex (Boba Fett Era) | He/Him (@TheNinjaWhippet) January 16, 2022
Under copyright laws, Spice DAO must seek co-creator consent before making an animated series inspired by the book and selling it to a streaming service or wait 70 years after the death of Jodorowsky, which would be when the works enter the public domain. In addition, there is a great deal of uncertainty as to whether the copy can be resold at par, as auctions require works to be evaluated by an appraiser to determine their value. Spice DAO has approximately 1,236.12 ETH ($4 million) in its treasury at the time of publication.
— and enough champagne… to fill the nile!! (@GuyBeinDude) January 16, 2022
Nonfungible tokens (NFTs) skyrocketed in popularity over the course of 2021 as the wider public became enthralled with projects like the Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks, but these one-of-a-kind digital images are only scratching the surface of what NFT technology is capable of.
One project focused on expanding the functionality of NFTs beyond the digital art space is Propy, a protocol focused on the integration of blockchain technology with the real estate sector by automating the closing process of home buying to make the entire process faster, simpler and more secure.
Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows that after hitting a low of $1.12 on Jan. 12, the price of PRO moved 227% higher to hit a daily high at $3.67 on Jan. 14 as its 24-hour trading volume spiked 452% to $29.3 million.
Three reasons for the sudden surge in Propy price include the token being listed on Coinbase exchange, the successful completion of the first sale of a real estate NFT and growing potential of NFTs to be used in different use cases.
The surge in the price of PRO on Jan. 14 was in large part due to the token listed on Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States.
INV, LQTY, NCT and PRO are now live on https://t.co/iQARfimGvY & in the Coinbase iOS & Android apps.
— Coinbase (@coinbase) January 13, 2022
Prior to the Coinbase listing, the PRO token was only available on a limited number of exchanges including Huobi Global, Bitrue and the decentralized exchange Uniswap.
Coinbase is the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume globally and the main exchange serving U.S.-based investors who have historically conducted the highest volume of cryptocurrency trading.
A second development that is helping to boost the price and trading volume of PRO is the upcoming sale of the first real estate NFT in the United States.
According to Propy founder and CEO Natalia Karayaneva, the reason Propy chose Florida for its first U.S.-based real estate sales include a crypto-friendly state government, positive future price growth and demographic statistics, a growing job market and the state’s 0% individual income tax policy.
While the upcoming sale in Tampa marks the first real estate NFT sale in the U.S., Propy completed the first-ever NFT sale back in 2017 when TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington sold his Kyiv apartment for 36 Ether.
Another reason for the building momentum behind Propy is the overall growth in awareness of NFTs and blockchain technology.
The promise of integrating NFTs with things like house deeds and corporate contracts has been a topic of discussion for years, and last year’s explosion in NFT interest and trading volume raised the level of public awareness to the point where the concept can gain more traction.
On top of the usefulness of NFT technology, the increasingly dire state of the global financial system has investors looking for secure places to store their wealth, for which real estate has long been a preferred safe haven.
Best hedge against all of the chaos in the world:
2. real estate
3. investment in yourself
— Natalia Karayaneva (@NataliePropy) December 29, 2021
Now, the process of buying and holding real estate is about to enter the 21st century with the integration of blockchain technology and NFTs because the influence of middlemen will be reduced, helping to lower the cost of the entire process.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.
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