Crypto Weekly: In the footsteps of Ethereum
Summary: The competition for making a new and more scalable version of Ethereum is heating up, and both Cardano and Solana have surged this month. Ethereum is still by far the biggest within the NFT space, and both Visa, Budweiser, and NBA star Stephen Curry bought NFTs this week. Lastly, Bitcoin miners seem to have a more positive market sentiment now than three weeks ago.
Cardano and Solana follow in the footsteps of Ethereum
Considering the major cryptocurrencies, particularly Cardano and Solana have gained traction in August. From starting the month at $1.34, Cardano has experienced a positive market sentiment sending the cryptocurrency to $2.77. Solana was trading at $36.6 in the beginning of August and is now trading at $99.2. The two cryptocurrencies share the same key property, namely being made to handle decentralized applications with a substantial transaction output. The increasing prices are driven by investors looking at alternatives to Ethereum due to its scalability issues and steep transaction fees. As the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade will first happen somewhat next year, investors are afraid of Ethereum losing its significant first-mover advantages before the update has been launched. With fees averaging between $3 - $8, both developers and users on the network are not pleased, thus imaginably watching other cryptocurrencies to possibly let another network handle their decentralized activities.
Though, the question remaining unanswered is whether other cryptocurrencies over time can match Ethereum’s brand awareness, ecosystem, and more importantly, network effect. Cryptocurrencies wanting to create something similar to Ethereum will encounter the chicken or the egg paradox, as the users are not embracing the network until exchanges and developers have embraced it with e.g., decentralized finance protocols and NFT-marketplaces. However, these network shareholders will not use resources on the network until a substantial number of users are using it.
In terms of Cardano and Solana, Cardano has surged the past month on the news that the cryptocurrency will likely enable smart contracts this coming September, and Solana has surged on a growing institutional interest in the network. As of the time of writing, Cardano is the third - and Solana the eighth-largest cryptocurrency.
Visa, Budweiser, and Stephen Curry buy NFT’s
The market for non-fungible tokens (NFT) has experienced significant growth in the past months with the largest NFT marketplace OpenSea presently generating most transaction fees on Ethereum. On OpenSea, users have traded NFT’s worth $2.84bn the past 30 days. It seems like NFT’s have been the retail crypto-trend of the year comparable to when ICO’s were trending in the latest significant bull run in 2017. Last week two rather well-known companies and one individual joined the NFT-trend by buying their first NFT’s. At the beginning of last week, Visa bought a CryptoPunk, an NFT-based avatar, for $150,000 before sending out a press release stating: “We think NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment, and commerce”. Some days after, Budweiser joined Visa by buying a Budweiser NFT made by a fan for around $25,000. This comes after Budweiser bought the Ethereum domain beer.eth for roughly $95,000 earlier this month. Lastly, this weekend NBA star Stephen Curry spend $180,000 for a Bored Ape NFT before sending a selfie into the official Bored Ape Yacht Club community chat.
Bitcoin mining equipment sees its futures rise in priceMultiple Bitcoin mining equipment manufacturers have tradable futures with physical delivery of mining equipment on a specific date. The profitability of mining Bitcoins is highly influenced by the electricity cost, the Bitcoin price, and the cost of equipment. The last one is the futures price, and the electricity cost is rather stable. Thus, the most influential, but most volatile factor for the profitability of mining the cryptocurrency is the Bitcoin price. The Bitcoin price directly affects the profitability, and therefore, the willingness of miners to buy additional equipment, meaning these futures serve as an indicator of how the market sentiment for miners is. The futures have surged more than the Bitcoin price for the past three weeks, effectively signaling miners have a more positive sentiment on the future price now than three weeks ago due to their increased willingness to buy equipment. However, the futures are still not priced as high as at the beginning of May before the Chinese crackdown on mining.