Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin promises environmentally friendly upgrades.
Bitdeer becomes the latest to block Chinese miners.
Petition demands South Korean financial regulator steps down.
We’ll have more on that story — and other news shaping the cryptocurrency and blockchain world — in this episode of The Daily Forkast, May 27.
Welcome to the Daily Forkast, May 27th, 2021. I’m Angie Lau, Editor-in-Chief of Forkast.News. Let’s get you up to speed from Asia to the world.
Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin making waves in Asia, saying the big story for the protocol at the moment is its transition to Ethereum 2.0. Key to that, he says, is a move from using a proof of work consensus mechanism, as Bitcoin does, to proof of stake. And proof of stake is much less computational consuming than proof of work, which is version one blockchain technology that Bitcoin also runs on.
But with greater computational demand, like proof of work also means latency or lag, in other words, slower. Those comments made Thursday at the virtual Fintech Fair, part of the StartmeupHK Festival, come amid concerns over the environmental cost of cryptocurrencies. Estimates suggest the upgrade could offer a huge improvement, reducing energy consumption of ETH by up to 99.95%. Speaking at the Hong Kong event, Buterin also explained how important it is to get things right for the future.
“Recently, especially with the rapid rise of everything crypto this last bubble, I’ve definitely been feeling more of this sense of responsibility that this thing that we’re building isn’t just a game anymore. It’s a significant part of the new era. There is an opportunity and, therefore, a responsibility to take this opportunity and actually use it to turn it into something that provides a lot of positive value for people.”
So how does Buterin feel about DeFi? Well, the evolution of that space, he says, is very exciting.
But excitement was not what we saw in Ethereum today. It ended the day in the red, falling by almost 5.6%. That theme pretty much continued across the board with Bitcoin ending below the key US$40,000 also dropped just over 5.5% by the close of trading hours in Hong Kong. In the top 10 for cryptocurrencies, the biggest loser was Internet Computer, which fell just under 10%.
Over in China, more fallout from the crypto crackdown — the latest to make a move is Bitdeer, one of China’s top mining companies spun off from Crypto mining company Bitmain. Bitdeer announced on Wednesday night that it will block users with mainland Chinese IP addresses from accessing its system to “cooperate with the regulatory requirements in related countries and regions.”
It caused a chain reaction across China’s crypto-mining industry, with other smaller miners including Bitmain invested BitFuFu and Okex-invested MClouds also following suit.
Meanwhile, in South Korea, democracy reigns after receiving more than 200,000 signatures from furious crypto investors, the government now has to respond to a national petition. The petition demands that Eun Sung-soo, the chairman of the financial services regulator, step down. Petitioners flooded in after Eun said crypto investors should not be protected.
Now, the FSC chair has changed his stance. Speaking at Korea FinTech week 2021 earlier this week, he said the FSC will help protect investors and their money to be covered in the crypto exchange law taking effect in September. However, he’s still holding firm that the government can’t bail people out from extreme losses in a volatile crypto market.
Will this be enough to appease the petitioning crowd? Well, the Korean government has 30 days to respond.
Finally, I want to leave you with this. Getting paid in crypto to game in the Philippines. That’s right. Axie Infinity, a blockchain game that has provided Filipinos, a source of income throughout the Covid pandemic, is still going strong. Users can earn crypto by winning battles or selling their characters as NFTs.
But to get started in the game, you need to purchase a team of three Axies or Pokémon-inspired characters, and that can be costly — more than US$400. It’s an amount many people who have lost jobs due to the pandemic simply can’t afford. But that’s where real-life Covid medical responder who goes by the name of Porky in the virtual world comes in.
He’s offering a scholarship program that allows people to use his Axies in exchange for a cut of the profits.
“I decided to make a scholarship program to help more people here in the Philippines, giving food in their table. Some Filipinos had bought their computer, some people bought their tricycle, and even they bought some houses because of Axie Infinity.”
Over US$23,000,000 worth of trading volume in the Axie world during the past month, it is now the most popular NFT collection ahead of CryptoPunks and NBA Top Shots, and it’s generating wealth for a lot of people who don’t have any other option.
That’s The Daily Forkast from our vantage point right here in Asia. For more, visit Forkast.News. I’m Editor-in-Chief, Angie Lau. Until next time.