• Defi madness as Uniswap token drop to thousands of users sends ETH fees to all-time high
  • Kraken becomes the first crypto exchange to become an official US bank

Bitcoin finishes the week on a strong note with prices close to USD 11,000. Even though a failure to retake that resistance level will temper expectations, the fact that it has survived and rallied from a temporary fallback to below USD 10,000 will ensure many Bitcoin holders ease back this weekend to prepare for consolidation.

The effect of Bitcoin correlation was certainly felt by Ethereum, who spend most of the week battling around USD 360, 25% away from its high just weeks ago, but all eyes have turned to its recovery this week, fueled by yesterday’s surprise announcement from Defi leader Uniswap, who launched its own governance token UNI and airdropped hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of free tokens to its platform users.

For the Defi commentators, this only sets the scene for an even fiercer battle between the two biggest Defi players in the space, SushiSwap and Uniswap, the former starting out as a mere copy paste version of the latter. SushiSwap had changed its block reward post migration over last weekend and Uniswap then broke forward ahead in terms of total value locked, but this Uniswap announcement now means it is getting even farther ahead of the pack.

As tens of thousands of users scrambled to pick up their free tokens, many decided to cash out immediately. It appears the average user received as much as 400 tokens worth around USD 1,300 yesterday and swapped out — but today, that same amount has already risen to about USD 2,000, rewarding holders patient enough to wait just 24 hours.

Long-term crypto and blockchain supporters will also have been boosted by yet another milestone in crypto adoption as Kraken has now officially become the first crypto exchange to become a US bank. It isn’t a direct route, of course, as what really happened is that they have received approval to become what is called a Wyoming Special Purpose Depository Institution (SPDI). Essentially, it means that Kraken now has all the benefits of being a bank since it now has access to all 50 US states’ banking markets, it can also act as a custodian for institutional assets, and many more, with the caveat that they cannot conduct fractional reserve banking.

In other words, Wyoming’s SPDI are actually more crypto than normal banks, since every dollar they have must be fully backed by reserves. According to the Wyoming Division of Banking’s general counsel, Chris Land, it will also be the first time in 14 years that a newly chartered (de novo) bank was welcomed by the state, as the last time this happened was in 2006. Kraken managing director and CEO of the new Kraken Financial reflected:

“By becoming a bank we get direct access to federal payments infrastructure, and we can more seamlessly integrate banking and funding options for customers.”

On a side note, not everywhere was friendly for Bitcoin this week. In Germany, a proposal to use blockchain to make the nation’s expensive mega projects transparent was flatly denied by those in the government.

The center-right Free Democrats had said major state projects were bleeding out the country’s coffers and needed to be more accountable but their plea went decidedly dead after not a single other parliamentary group agreed. Had it been passed, the new bill would have asked Germany to host big budget projects on an open blockchain that would allow citizens to view audit trails and provide feedback easily.

This all comes on the back of the country’s latest financial scandal, with the Berlin Brandenburg Airport due to open next month after nine years of delay and an expenditure exceeding its original budget by EUR 4 billion due to design failures and over-costings. It stands to be the most recent classic example of national mismanagement of public funds.

Whatever it is, stay safe out there, watch out for Defi promises, and keep your ships steady, Bitcoiners. Stay safe.

 

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