BI-WEEKLY WEB3 NEWS UPDATES! – 04/06/2023

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Bi-Weekly Web3 News

Hello there!

Welcome back to our bi-weekly edition of Web3 News Updates. 

This keeps you in the loop with the blockchain industry’s happenings and whatnot, ranging from startups, funding, adoption, and partnerships.

Here’s a rundown of events and news over the last two weeks:

TL;DR (QUICK TAKE)

  • MakerDAO Clears Path for Massive $1.28B U.S. Treasury Purchase
  • Nvidia Corp. Makes History As Market Valuation Soars Past $1 Trillion Mark
  • OpenAI Empowers AI-Driven Cybersecurity Initiatives With A $1m Commitment
  • May Records Lowest Crypto Exchange Volume Since November 2020 At $307 Billion
  • Taurus Embraces Polygon Blockchain For Asset Tokenization And Custody Deployment
  • Circle Announces Native Launch Of ‘Official Version’ Of USDC On Arbitrum


MAKERDAO CLEARS PATH FOR MASSIVE $1.28B U.S. TREASURY PURCHASE

The MakerDAO community has conducted a vote and approved the addition of a new real-world asset vault. 

This vault will invest an additional amount in U.S. Treasury bonds. 

The community’s decision enables the decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) behind the stablecoin DAI to partner with BlockTower Capital, a crypto asset manager, to purchase up to $1.28 billion worth of U.S. government bonds.

The vote concluded on Thursday, resulted in unanimous support for establishing a new real-world asset (RWA) vault named BlockTower Andromeda. This vault will focus on investing a maximum of $1.28 billion in short-dated U.S. Treasury bonds. 

The funds for these investments will come from Maker’s over-collateralised DAI stablecoin, as outlined in the proposal.

Under the arrangement, Maker will pay a 0.15% arranger fee to BlockTower. Celadon Financial Group will be the broker, while Wedbush Securities will be responsible for asset custodial services.

MakerDAO has acquired $1.1 billion of government and corporate bonds through its partnership with asset manager Monetalis Clysdale. 

Additionally, Maker has extended loans to prominent financial institutions like Huntingdon Valley Bank and Societe Generale-Forge, a subsidiary focused on crypto-related activities.

This recent development aligns with Maker’s strategic vision to diversify the reserve assets that back its stablecoin DAI, currently valued at $5 billion. In addition, by investing in yield-generating strategies, Maker aims to bolster its protocol revenues. 

Furthermore, Maker’s investment plan reflects the increasing demand among cryptocurrency-native entities, including decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs), for traditional financial instruments. 

These entities seek stable yields on their treasuries, and traditional financial instruments provide an attractive avenue to achieve this objective.

NVIDIA CORP. MAKES HISTORY AS MARKET VALUATION SOARS PAST $1 TRILLION MARK

Nvidia Corp. briefly joined an exclusive group of American companies with a market valuation exceeding $1 trillion, thanks to its thriving prospects in artificial intelligence. As a result, the stock experienced a significant surge, climbing as high as 7.7% during early trading. 

However, it retreated from the milestone later in the day. Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., and Microsoft Corp. are the only other US companies with trillion-dollar valuations. 

Globally, less than ten companies have reached this distinguished status. At the close of the market in New York, Nvidia’s stock stood at $401.11, resulting in a market capitalisation of $990.7 billion.

Nvidia stands out as the epitome of Wall Street’s AI obsession. With its specialised chips powering the latest AI products, it has surpassed competitors like AMD and Intel. 

Moreover, founder Jensen Huang’s risk-taking philosophy and early investments in AI have paid off, making Nvidia the industry’s golden goose.

Following Nvidia’s impressive AI-driven sales forecast, the company’s shares have experienced a significant surge. 

The momentum continued on Tuesday as Nvidia unveiled a range of new products related to artificial intelligence, spanning diverse areas such as robotics, gaming, advertising, and networking. 

Additionally, CEO Jensen Huang introduced an AI supercomputer platform, enabling tech companies to develop their iterations of ChatGPT.

Nvidia’s remarkable success has further dampened investor sentiment toward Intel, a renowned Silicon Valley pioneer and a dominant player in the computer chip industry.

While several chipmakers experienced stock gains following Nvidia’s impressive earnings report, Intel, on the contrary, saw a decline. Notably, Nvidia’s valuation now surpasses Intel’s by over eightfold, despite Intel having significantly higher revenue.

OPENAI EMPOWERS AI-DRIVEN CYBERSECURITY INITIATIVES WITH A $1M COMMITMENT

In response to the increasing threat posed by criminals who leverage AI for malicious purposes, OpenAI remains steadfast in its commitment to equipping defenders with the necessary tools. The potential adverse impacts of AI technology falling into the wrong hands, enabling the creation of deep fakes and malware, have underscored the need for immediate action.

OpenAI, renowned for innovations such as ChatGPT and Dall-e, has now unveiled a Cybersecurity Grant Program worth $1 million. The program aims to bolster and assess the impact of AI-driven cybersecurity technologies.

The company has consistently stressed the importance of AI regulation to counter potential malicious applications. 

OpenAI has proposed various project concepts, including developing honeypots to trap attackers, assisting developers in designing secure software, and enhancing patch management procedures for optimal efficacy.

OpenAI’s official blog post clearly outlines the program’s objectives: “Our aim is to foster the advancement of AI-driven cybersecurity capabilities for defenders through grants and additional assistance.” 

The focus lies on evaluating the effectiveness of AI models and identifying methods to enhance their cybersecurity capabilities.

This groundbreaking initiative strives to achieve three primary objectives. Firstly, it seeks to empower defenders by harnessing the power of AI and encouraging collaborative efforts to shift the balance in favour of those dedicated to enhancing overall safety and security.

The next focal point of the initiative is to measure capabilities. 

OpenAI aims to support projects that develop quantification methods to evaluate the effectiveness of AI models in cybersecurity. 

Additionally, the company intends to elevate the discourse by facilitating in-depth discussions on the intricate relationship between AI and cybersecurity.


MAY RECORDS LOWEST CRYPTO EXCHANGE VOLUME SINCE NOVEMBER 2020 AT $307 BILLION

Crypto Exchange Volumes Sustain Persistent Decline, The Block’s Data Dashboard Reveals

The Block Research’s Legitimate Volume Index indicates a notable decrease in crypto exchange volumes during May, amounting to $307.4 billion

This represents a significant drop of 23.2% compared to the previous month of April, affirming the ongoing trend of diminishing exchange volumes. 

Highlighting the severity of the decline, The Block Research director Lars Hoffmann stated that May’s figure is the lowest recorded since November 2020.

Regarding market share, Binance dominated with 71% for May, followed by Coinbase at 8.7% and BTSE at 5.1%.

TAURUS EMBRACES POLYGON BLOCKCHAIN FOR ASSET TOKENIZATION AND CUSTODY DEPLOYMENT

Taurus raises $65 Million in Funding and Enables Automated Digital Securities Issuance on Polygon Blockchain.

The digital asset infrastructure provider Taurus recently concluded a successful funding round, securing $65 million. 

Building on this achievement, Taurus has now integrated with the Polygon blockchain to enhance its European tokenisation efforts. With this integration, Taurus clients can automatically issue digital securities. 

The company boasts an impressive clientele, including renowned institutions such as Arab Bank Switzerland, CACEIS Bank, Crédit Agricole, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Pictet, Swissquote, and Vontobel, operating across nine countries.

Taurus spokesperson highlighted the popularity of tokenising debt, funds, and structured products, with the demand varying based on local regulations. The choice of Polygon as a blockchain solution was driven by its seamless integration with the Ethereum network. 

This decision aligns with Taurus’ goal of enabling the tokenisation of real-world assets through advanced infrastructure.

Colin Butler, Global Head of Institutional Capital at Polygon Labs, emphasised the significance of building a robust infrastructure to support asset tokenisation, stating, 

“The tokenisation of real-world assets is a no-brainer at the root of the idea. The challenge has always been to build sufficiently advanced infrastructure to enable it.”

Tokenisation involves converting tangible or intangible assets into digital tokens, representing assets such as real estate, stocks, art, loyalty points, and voting rights. 

The trend of asset tokenisation is driving the convergence of traditional finance with Web3 solutions across Europe, with central banks exploring the interaction of tokenised assets with different forms of money. For instance, the United Kingdom’s central bank examines how tokenised assets can interact with bank money, non-bank money, and central bank money.


CIRCLE ANNOUNCES NATIVE LAUNCH OF ‘OFFICIAL VERSION’ OF USDC ON ARBITRUM

Circle, the developer of the USDC stablecoin, has unveiled plans to replace the current version of its token with a native version running on the Arbitrum network. The launch of the new native USD Coin stablecoin is scheduled for June 8, as announced in a recent blog post. The existing Ethereum-based USDC token, bridged to Arbitrum, will be renamed “USDC.e,” while the new token residing on the Arbitrum network will retain the “USDC” name.

According to Circle, this transition’s primary objective is accelerating transactions by utilising cross-chain transfer protocols (CCTPs). These protocols facilitate the seamless transfer of assets between different blockchains, enabling users to unify liquidity and support various crypto and Web3 assets across portfolios.

With the native integration of USDC on Arbitrum, Circle aims to significantly reduce transaction times, allowing USDC to move natively to and from Ethereum and other supported chains within minutes. In addition, this enhancement eliminates withdrawal delays, providing users with a more efficient and seamless experience.

These updates to USDC come when the stablecoin market has faced challenges, with many companies experiencing negative trends over the past year. Circle’s strategic move to leverage the benefits of the Arbitrum network demonstrates its commitment to improving the stability and functionality of USDC in response to evolving market dynamics.

Over the past year, Circle has experienced a significant decline in its market share, mirroring the negative trend observed across the stablecoin market. According to CoinGecko data, the market capitalisation of Circle’s USDC stablecoin has decreased from $55 billion to $29 billion during this period.
However, Tether’s USDT stablecoin is one of the few exceptions, defying the trend with impressive growth. As a result, USDT’s market share has risen from 47.04% in 2022 to 65.89% in 2023, propelling its market capitalisation to over $83 billion. Tether’s success highlights its resilience and the increasing demand for its stablecoin.

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