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Professional traders need a global crypto sea, not hundreds of lakes

Coinbase’s IPO announcement has been hailed as “a milestone for the crypto industry” by Fortune Magazine. Similar to the Netscape IPO announcement that signaled the legitimacy of the internet, Coinbase’s impending public offering signals to the public at large that cryptocurrency trading is legitimate, legal and secure in the eyes of the Securities and Exchange Commission. And now, investors have an opportunity to own stock on the largest crypto trading platform in the United States.
As a result, many see an investment in Coinbase as an investment in the future of crypto trading. It is the highest volume U.S. crypto exchange, with three times the volume of its next closest U.S. competitor. The largest of anything in the U.S. must be the world leader. Except, it’s not. And conventional wisdom and current market realities are very far apart.
In order to understand the nuances of the crypto trading platform market, one must understand some important facts.
These are important implications that shape current market maturity and the problems institutional crypto traders face today. There is no single exchange that enables traders to access global trading markets, cross-border price discovery, global best prices, global liquidity or decentralized trading markets.
The crypto trading market is still highly fragmented with no dominant player
Together, the top five crypto exchanges represent only 41% of the total global trading volume. Coinbase, the largest exchange in the U.S., generates only 2.1% of global volume. The number one ranked exchange in the U.S. ranks only 19th globally. In the global market, there is no dominant player as we’d expect to see in a more mature market.
According to the data above, the New York Stock Exchange’s share of global equity trading is more than 12 times higher than Coinbase’s, and the top two U.S. equity exchanges account for over 50% of global daily trading volume, while the top two U.S. crypto exchanges represent only 3% of the global trading volume.
Compared to traditional stocks, the crypto market is also highly fragmented. The top two stock exchanges represent 51% of daily trading volume, while the top three crypto exchanges represent only 27% of daily trading volume.
No unified global trading market exists
The crypto trading market is still in its infancy. Based on my conversations with institutional traders and independent professional traders, I’ve learned that institutions are still clamoring for institutional-grade capabilities that are not yet available on a single platform, such as:
Global price discovery — e.g., prices from global markets normalized for local currency.
Global Best Bid and Offer — global order book, normalized for foreign exchange and fees in local currency.
Global liquidity access — access to global liquidity, not just that of one exchange.
Each exchange is its own trading “lake” with no “canal” connecting them. In the U.S., a trader can only trade with 2.1% of global users, with an order book that is completely separate and distinct from other U.S. trading markets — e.g., Coinbase and Kraken.
Global trading volume, liquidity and price discovery are available only to those who are able to manage multiple accounts across multiple exchanges in multiple countries and continents. It’s a tall order that ties up both legal and technical resources.
Clearly, traders would benefit from a single, global order book normalized in a single currency to discover the best global prices along with the liquidity required to execute large block trades. The industry sorely needs crypto’s equivalent of traditional securities’ National Best Bid and Offer.
Centralized exchanges are only part of the trading picture
Binance and Coinbase are centralized exchanges that match buyers’ orders with sellers’ orders, executing trades and settling accounts. Customers’ crypto assets are held in custody by an exchange, and users only trade with other users on the same exchange. Even in aggregate, centralized exchanges don’t capture the entirety of digital asset trading volume.
This is because decentralized exchanges are on the rise, enabling peer-to-peer trades (or swaps), in which assets are exchanged directly between traders, typically without Know Your Customer. At one point during 2020, Uniswap’s trading volume exceeded that of Coinbase’s. It’s possible that DEXs will gain an even footing with CEXs, so one cannot gain a full picture of the crypto trading market without taking DEXs into account.
The CEXs that figure out how to incorporate DEX price discovery and liquidity into their trading will have an important advantage.
Decentralized exchanges are growing but lack infrastructure to scale
Decentralized exchanges generate approximately 15% of the total crypto trading volume (based on CoinMarketCap data on Feb. 16, 2021). DEX trading has been growing fast, with Uniswap’s trading volume surpassing Coinbase’s in 2020 — a feat achieved with only 20 employees. Today, Venus is trending alongside Binance, which leads the market in 24-hour trading volume at the time of writing.
Professional traders may value DEXs for the security of wallet-to-wallet, or peer-to-peer, trades. However, there are two issues. First, without counterparty KYC, institutional traders cannot trade on DEXs. Second, the public chain technology supporting DEXs is slower and more expensive than exchange trading.
Institutional investors will need DEXs that are faster, with lower fees and robust KYC procedures. A DEX must be built on a faster, less expensive blockchain in order to attract institutional traders.
There are no true centralized exchanges — only brokers
Confusing matters even more, today’s crypto exchanges are more like regional brokers than true, global exchanges. For example, compare and contrast trading Apple (AAPL) on E-Trade versus trading Bitcoin (BTC) on Coinbase.
A professional trader in the U.S. seeking to trade BTC accesses only a small portion of the global market via Coinbase. Price discovery and liquidity are only by Coinbase’s BTC/USD order book. Over 97% of the world’s world’s supply, demand, price discovery and liquidity are only accessible via hundreds of other exchanges.
To sum up, selling Apple on E-Trade compared to selling Bitcoin on Coinbase:
E-Trade places orders on Nasdaq, which captures nearly 100% of AAPL spot trades.
Coinbase places orders on its own order book, which captures 2.1% of all global trades.
There is no truly global crypto trading market but rather hundreds of smaller, local markets. Imagine AAPL selling on 300+ different exchanges, each with its own buyers and sellers. This is the current state of the global crypto market.
The problems with this are twofold. First, trading on a CEX strips away many of the benefits of decentralized assets. Second, crypto trading is segregated into hundreds of discrete trading “lakes” — each with its own local fiat/crypto supply and demand.
Decentralization ensures no single entity can fully control a cryptocurrency. Users cede significant control when depositing in centralized exchanges that manage token listing privileges, custodianship, order matching and execution, and brokerage services.
This centralized power presents security and compliance hazards, which has led to market criticisms. In fact, Asia–Pacific traders have launched several coin withdrawal campaigns to show their resistance to CEX trading. The younger generation is averse to centralized power and daring to challenge it, as evidenced by the recent retail shorting war in the United States.
Centralized exchanges are also limited in their access to the global market and are severely limited. Why? Exchanges, such as Coinbase and Gemini, accept users from limited regions (the U.S. only) with limited fiat currency trading pairs (the United States dollar only) unlike E-Trade, which opens the doors for its traders to a multitude of exchanges, equities, exchange-traded funds and more. In contrast, CEXs close the doors to all others, severely limiting price discovery and liquidity, which leads to higher spreads, lower fill rates, higher slippage and, generally, inefficient markets. The concept of Best Bid and Offer does not yet exist in the crypto world, as the BBO on Coinbase is not the same as Gemini’s, Binance’s or Huobi’s.
Professional traders are underserved
From the perspective of professional traders, the market maturity and global trading capabilities required are not yet available. Cryptocurrency trading market segmentation is in its infancy, and the needs of professional traders are far from being met because: (1) they cannot efficiently access a global market; (2) they cannot access the best prices in a global market, and they cannot access institutional-grade liquidity.
Furthermore, DEX trading is not yet viable for institutional traders due to the lack of KYC during onboarding. Yet, the average Uniswap trader is far more active. Uniswap users are completely on-chain, open and transparent, and its 300,000 users trade more than Coinbase’s, which claims to have 35 million users. Therefore, an entire market of whales is trading outside of centralized exchanges, completely overturning the market misperception that Uniswap and DEX users are mainly retail investors.
No trading market exists that provides true global coverage, and retail and institutional traders cannot access a truly global market. And no trading market exists that provides institutional-grade DEX trading.
Asset digitization will drive growth
Industry consensus is that the continued digitization of assets is inevitable. Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) are blockchain-native tokens that constitute the main trading volume of the current cryptocurrency trading market. Yet the cryptocurrency market cap is less than half of Apple’s.
The stock market is almost negligible compared to the untapped digitized asset market. While the opportunity is large, it is also too early to predict the outcome.
Many exchanges expose traders to compliance risks
Some of the world’s leading exchanges allow trading in a large number of controversial tokens. Many exchanges’ Anti-Money Laundering regulations are not robust enough. Despite claiming to have licenses in some countries, it is hard to imagine the legitimate compliance of offering derivatives trading to users all over the world by using an exchange license in a single country. These compliance risks pose a serious challenge to the stability of the position of some exchanges, and not long ago, the market landscape for derivatives changed rapidly after BitMEX was indicted, resulting in a loss of users and a decline in trading volume.
Innovation in institutional-grade exchange technologies is not yet widely available. Volume rankings tell today’s story. Tomorrow’s story will be told by the trading markets that provide a true, global Best Bid and Offer price discovery, institutional access to DEX pricing and liquidity, and the ability to execute global trading strategies on a single platform.
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Haohan Xu is CEO of Apifiny, a global liquidity and financial value transfer network. Prior to Apifiny, Haohan was an active investor in equities markets and a trader in digital asset markets. Haohan holds a Bachelor of Science in operations research with a minor in computer science from Columbia University.

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While Washington dithers, Wyoming and other US states mine for crypto gold

The United States is divided politically these days into red states and blue states, and increasingly, it seems to be fracturing into cryptocurrency-friendly and crypto-wary locales, too. On Feb. 21, it was revealed that San Francisco-based Ripple Labs had registered as a Wyoming business. Wyoming is arguably the most blockchain and cryptocurrency-welcoming state in the United States. 
Meanwhile, several days later, New York State’s attorney general announced a settlement of the office’s long-standing investigation into crypto trading platform Bitfinex for illegal activities. As a result, Bitfinex and affiliated Tether must pay $18.5 million for damages to the state of New York and submit to periodic reporting of their reserves.
Wyoming and New York — poles apart on the crypto regulatory spectrum — were both making industry headlines in the same week in other words. The irony wasn’t lost on Timothy Massad, former chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and now a senior fellow at Harvard University at Kennedy School, who told Cointelegraph:

“Federal regulation of crypto assets is like swiss cheese — full of holes — and that has meant a smorgasbord at the state level, with Wyoming actively luring crypto businesses and the New York attorney general bringing aggressive enforcement actions as we saw this week with Tether and Bitfinex.”

Whether this “smorgasbord” is a good thing is a matter of some debate. Crypto havens like Wyoming can be centers of innovation, pushing a potentially revolutionary technology further forward, as Wyoming’s recently elected U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis emphasized this week in a Chamber of Digital Commerce panel discussion with Miami’s Mayor Francis Suarez, another crypto enthusiast.
A complex fabric
But it also leads to regulatory uncertainty that gives entrepreneurs a case of hypertension. As Stephen McKeon, an associate professor of finance at the University of Oregon, told Cointelegraph: “Our regulatory system is a complex fabric of multiple agencies at both the state and federal level.” He further emphasized that “they need to coordinate on the topic of crypto assets because this asset class doesn’t map cleanly to the existing regulatory structure.”
Asked if, from a business standpoint, Ripple and others were making a smart business move registering in crypto-warm states like Wyoming with a higher degree of regulatory certainty and freedom — as well as lower taxes — McKeon added: “Businesses strive to reduce regulatory uncertainty. If moving to Wyoming helps to achieve that objective, then it’s a smart move.”
Others could follow Ripple. Zachary Kelman, managing partner at Kelman Law, told Cointelegraph: “Many crypto projects fled New York after the introduction of the onerous BitLicense back in 2015. I expect more projects to relocate in Wyoming, as well as other crypto-friendly states like New Hampshire.”
Wyoming created a stir in 2019 when its legislature authorized the chartering of special purpose depository institutions, or SPDIs, that can receive both deposits and custody assets, including cryptocurrency. The state’s banking division itself acknowledged that “it is likely that many SPDIs will focus heavily on digital assets, such as virtual currencies, digital securities and utility tokens,” though they could also deal with traditional assets. SPDIs can’t make loans like traditional banks, however.
Kraken Bank was the first business to receive a Wyoming SPDI bank charter in September 2020, followed by Avanti Bank and Trust in October, and there are “three more [SPDIs] in the pipeline” said Lummis at the Chamber of Digital Commerce’s Feb. 25 event. Avanti founder and CEO Caitlin Long had earlier suggested that Wyoming’s SPDIs potentially were “a solution to the #BitLicense problem” faced by crypto companies because “New York law exempts national banks from the BitLicense.”
But even though the Wyoming SPDI’s are state-chartered institutions, not national banks, “federal law protects parity of national banks and state-chartered banks,” continued Long, and following that logic, she concluded that SPDIs represented “a passport into some 42 U.S. states without the need for additional state [crypto] licenses.”
An accident waiting to happen?
Not all are enthralled by Wyoming’s new special-purpose banks, though. The Bank Policy Institute suggested that Wyoming’s SPDIs could be an “accident waiting to happen.” The BPI noted in September that Kraken was “the first digital asset company in U.S. history to receive a bank charter recognized under federal and state law” but warned that its business model “is inherently unstable under stress” because the new bank is funded by uninsured, demandable retail deposits “and relies on a pool of assets such as corporate bonds, munis and longer-term Treasuries to fund redemptions under stress.”
David Kinitsky, CEO of Kraken Bank, in a conversation with Cointelegraph, said that he believes the BPI blog post “comes from a lobbyist group funded by, and working on behalf of, the world’s biggest banks” and rests “on a slew of faulty assumptions,” adding further:

“[It’s] comical and hypocritical that they think their fractional reserve model along with its total reliance on asset exposure and interest rate environment is somehow less risky than a full reserve custodian bank that won’t do any lending and has a diverse set of adjacent revenue streams.”

Others have opined that innovation centers like Wyoming were merely filling the void left by the federal government, which has yet to take a coherent stance vis-a-vis the burgeoning crypto market. Benjamin Sauter, a lawyer at Kobre & Kim LLP, told Cointelegraph: “Wyoming is showing that individual states can play a meaningful role in crafting a coherent legal framework for the crypto/blockchain industry — particularly when it comes to state taxation as well as commercial and some banking issues.”
By comparison, according to him, the U.S. federal government “hasn’t really made an effort to create such a framework, and this has led to a lot of regulatory inefficiencies and general confusion.”
Innovator or loophole?
So, what about the notion that Wyoming merely created a means for its new banks to lure firms and investors based in more regulated states like New York? Kelman told Cointelegraph on the matter: “Many institutions operate entities all over the world, not just the United States. New York has jurisdiction over New Yorkers — but not any company related to a company that has had operations there.”
“Wyoming can and is becoming a center for crypto business and innovation,” Kinitsky told Cointelegraph, adding: “Certainly, there are ready similar examples within financial services like the credit card industry in South Dakota and ILC banks in Utah….SPDI banks have similar frameworks for being able to operate across the country and indeed internationally.”
McKeon agreed that Wyoming was following the South Dakota playbook: “South Dakota created favorable legislation for banks around interest rates and fees in the 1980s and now has one of the highest concentrations of bank assets in the U.S.,” adding further:

“By creating an environment that allows crypto projects to operate with a higher degree of regulatory certainty and freedom, Wyoming is likely to attract similar relocation within crypto.”

Will others join in?
Of course, other states could follow Wyoming’s lead. Kelman said: “I also expect larger states, like Florida, to follow suit with more crypto-friendly guidance, especially after Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s overtures to the crypto community.” However, he further stressed that “given Wyoming’s small size and relative obscurity, I don’t know if it will remain a haven for an entire industry in the way Delaware has been for incorporations and corporate governance.”
As reported, Mayor Suarez is looking to develop some of “the most progressive crypto laws” and proposing within his jurisdiction innovations like paying city workers’ wages in Bitcoin (BTC) and purchasing BTC for the municipality’s treasury. Senator Lummis applauded the mayor’s initiatives at the Chamber of Digital Commerce’s panel, inviting him to “look at Wyoming’s legislative framework as a template and then build on it” by developing new Bitcoin “components,” including a pension plan for Miami workers that includes Bitcoin — something Suarez is looking into.
Multiple innovative centers like Miami and Wyoming, among others, could advance technological progress generally, she suggested. Suarez, for his part, said: “One of the things that we want to do is imitate Wyoming’s very successful integration of crypto into their community.”
Meanwhile, Avanti’s Long remains an ardent booster for her state: “Why should crypto companies redomicile to Wyoming?” she asked rhetorically on Feb. 21 following the news that Ripple Labs had registered as a Wyoming limited liability company, adding:

“No state corp tax, no franchise tax, crypto exempt from property & sales tax, our commercial laws clarify crypto legal status, crypto-friendly banks opening soon, access to crypto-open gov/legislators/US senator — all laws open-source.”

Is Wyoming good for BTC adoption?
What exactly do these tech-friendly states and cities mean for cryptocurrency adoption? Sauter was cautiously optimistic: “It’s possible that Wyoming’s efforts will have some trickle-up effects, should the federal government ever get its act together.” He stated further that there is also a major risk as businesses may be “lulled into a false sense of security and potentially conflating Wyoming’s regime for compliance at the federal level.”
Kinitsky told Cointelegraph that the convergence between crypto and banking, as is happening in Wyoming, “portends an important step toward mainstream adoption,” while McKeon added that crypto users “are primarily concerned with access to products and features. Better products translate to increased adoption.” Therefore, if Wyoming-type legislation enables crypto projects “to provide new and desirable features by mitigating regulatory risk for the providers, then it will be a positive force for general public adoption.”
Many, though, still seem to be treading water until the federal government acts to provide some legislative/regulatory structure to the nascent blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. According to Sauter, “as great and encouraging Wyoming’s recent actions are, there is only so much one state can do.” Massad also told Cointelegraph:

“This regulatory confusion creates higher costs and uncertainty. There’s still plenty of money and talent in this country flowing into crypto innovation, but we need greater regulatory clarity to ensure investor protection, financial stability and responsible innovation.”

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What DeFi needs to do next to keep institutional players interested

The last few months’ frenzy of institutional money flowing into Bitcoin (BTC) has seen crypto hitting the headlines — at the least as a novelty asset, at the most as a must-have. There is undoubtedly a trend in the market toward greater awareness and acceptance of digital assets as a new investable asset class.
A June 2020 report by Fidelity Digital Assets found that 80% of institutions in the United States and Europe have at least an interest in investing in crypto, while more than a third have already invested in some form of digital asset, with Bitcoin being the most popular choice of investment.
A good starting point for institutional investors would be to differentiate between crypto (Bitcoin, in particular) and decentralized finance products. To date, most institutional interest has involved simply holding Bitcoin (or Bitcoin futures), with few players dipping into more exotic DeFi products.
There are a plethora of reasons for the recent Bitcoin rage. Some would cite the relative maturity of the market and increased liquidity, which means sizable trades can now take place without resulting in excessive market movement. Others would cite the unusual high volatility, high return and positive excess kurtosis (meaning a greater probability of extreme values compared with the stock market) of the asset class. Bitcoin’s backstory and its limited supply that makes it akin to digital gold have also been highlighted, making it more and more attractive in a world of inflated asset prices and unruly monetary and fiscal policies.
However, the main reason for the recent institutional interest in crypto is much less philosophical, much more practical and has to do with regulations and legacy infrastructure.
Financial institutions are old behemoths, managing billions of dollars’ worth of other people’s money, and are therefore required by law to fulfill an overabundance of rules regarding the type of assets they are holding, where they are holding them and how they are holding them.
On the one hand, in the past two years, the blockchain and crypto industry has made leaps forward in terms of regulatory clarity, at least in most developed markets. On the other hand, the development of the high-standard infrastructure that provides institutional actors with an operating model similar to that offered in the traditional world of securities now allows them to invest directly in digital assets by taking custody or indirectly through derivatives and funds. Each of these represents the real drivers in giving institutional investors enough confidence to finally dip their toes into crypto.
Keeping institutional interest alive: What about other DeFi products?
With U.S. 10-year Treasurys yielding a little higher than 1%, the next big thing would be for institutions to look at investing in decentralized yield products. It might seem like a no-brainer when rates are in the doldrums and DeFi protocols on U.S. dollar stablecoins are yielding between 2% and 12% per annum — not to mention more exotic protocols yielding north of 250% per annum.
However, DeFi is in its infancy, and liquidity is still too thin in comparison with more established asset classes for institutions to bother upgrading their knowledge, let alone their IT systems to deploy capital into it. Additionally, there are real, serious operational and regulatory risks when it comes to the transparency, rules and governance of these products.
There are many things that need to be developed — most of which are already underway — to ensure institutional interest in DeFi products, whether on the settlement layer, asset layer, application layer or aggregation layer.
Institutions’ primary concern is to ensure the legitimacy and compliance of their DeFi counterparts at both the protocol level and the sale execution level.
One solution is a protocol that recognizes the status of a wallet owner or of another protocol and advises the counterparty as to whether or not it fits its requirements in terms of compliance, governance, accountability and also code auditing, as the potential for malicious actors to exploit the system has been proved over and over.
This solution will need to go hand in hand with an insurance process to transfer the risk of an error, for example, in validation to a third party. We are starting to see the emergence of a few insurance protocols and mutualized insurance products, and adoption and liquidity in DeFi need to be large enough to caution the investments in time, money and expertise to fully develop viable institutional insurance products.
Another venue to be enhanced is the quality and integrity of data through trustful oracles and the need to increase the confidence in oracles to achieve compliant levels of reporting. This goes hand in hand with the need for sophisticated analytics to monitor investments and on-chain activity. And it goes without saying that more clarity on accounting and taxes is needed from certain regulators who haven’t emitted an opinion yet.
Another obvious issue concerns network fees and throughput, with requests taking from a few seconds to double-digit minutes depending on network congestion, and fees twirling between a few cents and 20 bucks. This is, however, being resolved with plans for the development of Ethereum 2.0 in the next two years and also the emergence of blockchains more adapted to faster transactions and more stable fees.
A final, somewhat funny point would be the need for improvement in user experience/user interfaces in order to turn complex protocols and code into a more user-friendly, familiar interface.
Regulation matters
People like to compare the blockchain revolution to the internet revolution. What they fail to remember is that the internet disrupted the flow of information and data, both of which were not regulated and had no existing infrastructure, and it is only in the last few years that such regulations were adopted.
The financial industry, however, is heavily regulated — even more so since 2008. In the United States, finance is three times more regulated than the healthcare industry. Finance has a legacy operational system and infrastructure that makes it extremely hard to disrupt and tedious to transform.
It’s likely that in the next 10 years, we will see a fork between instruments and protocols that are fully decentralized, fully open source and fully anonymous and instruments that will need to fit in the tight framework of the heavy regulation and archaic infrastructure of financial markets, resulting in a loss of some of the above characteristics along the way.
This will by no means slow down the fantastic rate of creativity and the relentless, fast-paced innovation in the sector, as a large number of new products in the DeFi space — products we haven’t even predicted — are anticipated. And within a quarter of a century, once DeFi will have first adapted to and then absorbed capital markets, its full potential will be unleashed, leading to a frictionless, decentralized, self-governing system.
The revolution is here, and it is here to stay. New technologies have undeniably shifted the financial industry from a sociotechnical system — controlled through social relations — to a technosocial system — controlled through autonomous technical mechanisms.
There is a fine equilibrium to be reached between tech-based, fast-paced crypto and antiquated, regulated fiat systems. Building a bridge between the two will only benefit the system as a whole.
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Amber Ghaddar is the founder of AllianceBlock, a globally compliant decentralized capital market. With a vast amount of experience across the capital markets industry over the last decade, Amber began her career at investment banking giant Goldman Sachs, before moving to JPMorgan Chase where she held a number of different roles in structured solutions, macro systematic trading strategies and fixed income trading. Amber obtained a B.Sc. in science and technology before graduating with three master’s degrees (neurosciences, microelectronics and nanotechnologies, and international risk management) and a Ph.D. She’s a graduate of McGill University and HEC Paris.

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NFTs based on STARZ show ‘American Gods’ coming soon from Curio

Curio, a platform which sells non fungible tokens, is helping to bring to life NFTs based on the TV series American Gods. The show is based on a novel of the same name by author Neil Gaiman. 
“We are working with Fremantle on creating officially licensed digital collectibles for the hit TV show American Gods, which airs on STARZ in the U.S. and Amazon Prime Video internationally,” Curio’s CEO, Juan Hernandez, told Cointelegraph, adding:

“This is a first-of-its-kind use of NFTs with mainstream media, and it shows how larger marquee brands are starting to embrace them as an integral piece of their broader digital strategy. Curio enables Fremantle to modernize how they engage with fans, to develop emotional connections for a more digital native generation of viewers who are hardwired to do more with the things they love. Now they can own a piece of the action wherever they go, in a manner that is certified and authentic.”

Fremantle, a media production company, and Canada Film Capital serve as the producers behind the American Gods tv show, according to IMDB.
What is an NFT though? NFTs are non-fungible tokens, meaning they provide a provably unique sense of ownership over the property they represent. Fungibility refers to an item’s uniqueness, or lack thereof. If something is fungible, it can be traded or act interchangeably one-for-one with another item of its kind.
“Technically speaking, an NFT uses blockchain technology to prove that a digital item is unique (scarcity), or that it is what it says it is (verifiable authenticity),” Hernandez explained, adding:

“But many people simply think about NFTs as ‘digital Beanie Babies,’ with limited utility outside of collecting. However, we see the potential for NFTs to create unique digital experiences that weren’t previously possible before the advent of the technology; to modernize fan engagement. This is what we’re excited to enable for our brand partners.”

Last fall, a digital artwork NFT called “Right Place & Right Time” by artist Matt Kane fetched over $100,000. In the months since, NFTs have become an even hotter market. Bidders recently paid millions of dollars for NFT’s based on a former Major League Baseball second baseman’s artwork. Other NFTs have also recently hit multi-million dollar price tags as well.
Why is the crypto market’s interest in NFTs on the rise? Hernandez said the world is going more digital. “There are generational trends on the shift away from physical to digital, and certainly the COVID pandemic accelerated these trends as people have been forced to stay home,” he said.
“Philosophically, the same elements of verifiable scarcity and immutability that have given rise to Bitcoin’s market dominance are at play with NFTs,” he added. “The ability to have full sovereignty over a digital asset is a new experience for many, and it causes you to truly rethink your ‘ownership’ of goods within the digital economy.”

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Delphi Digital launches Labs wing to bolster portfolio company development

Why wait for one of your investments to release a new feature when you can just build it yourself?
Delphi Digital’s newly-announced expansion aims to do just that. The cryptocurrency investment, media, and research company is now adding a Labs department which will be focused on contributing to Venture portfolio company development.

0/ We’re happy to announce the next stage in @Delphi_Digital’s evolution: Delphi LabsOur goal with Delphi Labs is simple: to become the leading contributor helping to build out the decentralized futurehttps://t.co/DEmgfPORmQ
— Delphi Digital (@Delphi_Digital) February 26, 2021
The move will help expand Delphi’s current developmental wing, which presently houses 9 employees, according to Delphi Digital analyst José Macedo. Before they branched off from Research, the Labs team assisted with tokeneconomic design for multiple projects, and is currently spearheading an overhaul of Aave’s $1.4 billion Safety Module.
According to Macedo, the impetus for the new company wing is a lack of developmental and smart contract engineering resources endemic to the space.

“I think what led to this model was working with top projects and witnessing first hand how much work needs to be done and how there just isn’t the talent to do it. We realised the IP we’ve gained compounds and can be leveraged across the entire space.”

While Labs’ current focus will continue to be on tokeneconomics and governance proposals, as it expands it will eventually help to incubate younger projects, as well as potentially launch entirely new protocols under the Delphi brand, per a two-year timeline in the announcement.
Big money governance
Delphi isn’t alone in taking a more active role in the protocols they invest in. How venture capital funds interact with DAOs has been a hotly debated topic as of late, with some crypto community members arguing against preferential treatment (and/or governance token investment terms) for deep-pocketed investors, while others saying that fund are welcome like any other participant to become a part of public good governance. 
So far protocol founders remain resolutely in favor of VC involvement, particularly when the VCs make material contributions. Uniswap founder Hayden Adams argued as much in a long Twitter thread two weeks ago:

1/I think it’s worth briefly explaining the positive and mutually beneficial experience I’ve had working with @paradigm @a16z @usv and other investors.I’ve seen a lot of negativity and propaganda so I think it’s worth sharing my personal experience.Quick thread:
— Hayden Adams (@haydenzadams) February 12, 2021
Likewise, earlier in the month Synthetix announced a $12 million dollar raise from three venture capital funds, noting that the institutions would help with protocol development and participate in governance where able. 
It’s a model Macedo says makes sense: projects can leverage Delphi’s research and developmental heft, and Delphi will in turn see their investments flourish:

“We only want to work with projects whose tokens we intend to hold for several years and our goal is to be long-term participants with aligned incentives.”

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