‘If this is your first cryptowinter, then welcome’

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The founder of Cardano – also a co-founder of Ethereum – has ‘welcomed’ new cryptocurrency investors to the bear market and blamed the collapse in part on ‘Wall Street types’.

The crypto market has recovered by 15% in the last 24 hours following a prolonged nosedive since the weekend which has seen Terra (LUNA) wiped out. 

Charles Hoskinson, one of the co-founders of Ethereum, launched Cardano and its ADA token in 2017 via parent company IOHK. 

A Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain platform which considers itself to be an updated version of Ethereum and allows developers to create decentralised applications, the open-source project has a goal of helping to create a society that is more secure, transparent and fair.

Its stated aim is to allow “changemakers, innovators and visionaries” to bring about positive global change and “redistribute power from unaccountable structures to the margins to individuals”.

ADA is designed to allow owners to participate in the operation of the network, with those holding the cryptocurrency possessing voting rights over any proposed changes to the software.

Recognising that Proof-of-Work (PoW) networks like Ethereum are limited by the infrastructure burden of growing costs, energy use and slow transaction times, mathematician Hoskinson based it on PoS.

ADA, its native token, hit all-time high of $3.10 last year following the launch of smart contract capability, but is down to just 58 cents today.

“If this is your first cryptowinter, then welcome. Been through many since 2011 and they always hit like a cold ice bath,” Hoskinson tweeted, linking to music from Game of Thrones.

“We are in the panicked blood in the street phase. It clears in weeks to months as a bottom is found. Then a long climb up the ladder.”

Crypto adoption has skyrocketed this year, with daily news of massive VC investment into blockchain startups and ever greater numbers of people investing into tokens.

Institutional investors backing tokens to make money in the short term, rather than back projects in the long-term, could be having an effect.

Hoskinson said: “This was always the danger of inviting the Wall Street types in… and when the markets go not in the direction they want, they dump it. 

“They tread crypto just like any other asset and label it as an exotic high-risk one. When the markets do not go in the direction they want, they dump it.”

BVNK raise $40m to fuel crypto-powered payments

BVNK, a crypto-powered payments and banking platform for businesses, has secured $40 million in Series A funding to drive growth as it brings traditional finance and crypto together. 

The investment will fuel London-based BVNK’s launch into new markets, including the USA, accelerate its acquisition of regulatory licences, and support the expansion of product capabilities. 

While traditional payments running on legacy infrastructure suffer from excessive fees and slow processing times, the attributes of cryptocurrencies – digitally-native, offering almost-instant transactions and requiring fewer intermediaries – provide a foundation for more efficient financial services. 

BVNK has leveraged these capabilities to build infrastructure that powers online, treasury and cross-border payments for both crypto and fiat currencies.  

It currently processes over $2 billion in annualised payments volume and has more than doubled monthly payment volumes since January 2022.  

The fundraising round was led by Tiger Global alongside other notable investors including The Raba Partnership, Avenir, Kingsway Capital, Nordstar, Concentric, and Base Capital. Angel investors included the founders of Anchorage Digital, Coinlist, Eco.com and TrueLayer; Microsoft’s ex-head of strategy and former Stripe and Jump Trading executives. 

BVNK co-founder and CEO, Jesse Hemson-Struthers, said: “We are excited to partner with Tiger Global given their in-depth understanding of the global crypto, payments and banking landscape and with them having backed key crypto infrastructure companies, such as NEAR protocol and TRM, and payments companies Stripe and Revolut.

“Mainstream adoption of crypto is skyrocketing. As more transactions are carried out in cryptocurrency, there is growing demand among businesses for a banking platform that can accept crypto payments, settle crypto assets and bridge seamlessly between fiat and crypto economies. 

“BVNK launched to address this demand and plug a gap in the market. The demand for crypto payment services has far exceeded even what we were expecting, and this Series A funding will enable us to expand our services, markets and operations.”

LUNA collapses to a fraction of a cent

Terraform Labs halted the Terra blockchain for two hours yesterday, preventing people from selling Terra (LUNA) or the TerraUSD (UST) stablecoin. 

LUNA, worth as much as $117 little more than a month ago, has collapsed to a fraction of a cent, while UST lost its $1 peg this week and is currently at 17 cents. 

“Terra validators have decided to halt the Terra chain to prevent governance attacks following severe $LUNA inflation and a significantly reduced cost of attack,” the company tweeted.

A visit to the LUNA page on CoinMarketCap offers up this warning, followed by a link to the tweet: “Due to the de-pegging of UST, LUNA is experiencing extreme volatility. Please proceed with caution. The Terra blockchain was also halted.”

dApps ‘the most in-demand tech skill globally’

Decentralised applications for blockchain are the most in-demand technology skills this year, according to EdTech Udemy.

The Nasdaq-listed online learning provider’s latest Workplace Learning Index revealed the most popular technology training leveraged by users of Udemy Business globally.

Skills such as dApps and Binance saw a more than 450% increase in global usage compared to Q4 of 2021.

“For British employees, we’re seeing a rapid rise in blockchain upskilling, which demonstrates that this continues to be one of the fastest growing areas within the employment market,” said Bill O’Shea, Udemy EMEA vice president.

“Learners are being savvy in preparing themselves for further developments and understanding of this area as it continues to dominate.”

Cryptocurrency shorts

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, has donated $4 million worth of USD Coin (USDC) to the University of New South Wales to support the development of a pandemic detection tool – with the aim of identifying future viruses before they emerge and cause devastation.

Crypto security startup Solidus Labs has raised $45m in a Series B funding round led by Liberty City Ventures.

Blockchain development platform QuickNode has acquired icy.tools, a non-fungible token analytics platform. 

TRG Datacenters research has identified Ethereum and Bitcoin as the ‘most hated’ cryptocurrencies. It said 29% of all tweets about Ethereum have a negative sentiment, while 27% of those about Bitcoin are negative.

Crypto prices

The overall market cap of the more than 19,400 coins is at $1.32 trillion, an 14.6% increase in the last 24 hours, following a huge nosedive since last weekend.

Market leader Bitcoin – the original cryptocurrency created by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto – regained 12% in the last 24 hours to around $30,550 at the time of writing (7am UK). BTC is down 16% in a week.

Ethereum, the second most valuable crypto coin – created as a decentralised network for smart contracts on the blockchain – regained 14% to around $2,100. ETH is 23% down over the course of a week.

Binance Coin is a cryptocurrency created by popular crypto exchange Binance to assist its aim in becoming the infrastructure services provider for the entire blockchain ecosystem. Its BNB token grew 31% to $305, leaving it 20% down over seven days.

The XRP token of Ripple, a payment settlement asset exchange and remittance system, acts as a bridge for transfers between other currencies. XRP added 23% to 45 cents, which leaves it 26% down over seven days.

Cardano is an open source network facilitating dApps which considers itself to be an updated version of Ethereum. Its ADA token, designed to allow owners to participate in the operation of the network, regained 39% to 58c. It is 27% down over the course of a week but has moved back above Solana in the market cap valuation table.

Solana is a blockchain built to make decentralised finance accessible on a larger scale – and capable of processing 50,000 transactions per second. Its SOL token gained 23% to $52 and is down 37% compared with a week ago.

Meme coin DOGE was created as a satire on the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies but is now a major player in the space. DOGE added 25% to 9c, leaving it 28% down in a week.

Polkadot was founded by the Swiss-based Web3 Foundation as an open-source project to develop a decentralised web. Its DOT token, which aims to securely connect blockchains, gained 27% to almost $10 and is 32% lower than its price a week ago.

Avalanche is a lightning-quick verifiable platform for institutions, enterprises and governments. Its AVAX token grew 33% to $35 and is 41% down in a week. It moved back above TRON (TRX) and Shiba Inu (SHIB) in the valuation table.

Terra (LUNA), described as a programmable money for the internet and as high as $117 little more than a month ago, has plummeted to just a fraction of a cent. 

To see how the valuations of the main coins have changed in recent times – and for round-ups of recent cryptocurrency news developments – click here.

For valuations of the top 100 coins by market cap in US dollars, plus 24-hour price change, see below.