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Taproot Is Here

Big news to start the week! Taproot, the first update to the bitcoin protocol in four years, is now live. The upgrade is expected to improve privacy, scalability, and security on the network — read more about it below. 

Even with that launch, the upgrade didn’t really affect $BTC.X, which stayed flat most of the day. Following a small bump, the largest cryptocurrency is currently valued at around $64,000. The price of $ETH.X didn’t move much either, fluctuating between $4,400 and $4,500. TBF, most major cryptos were pretty sluggish all day.

Let’s hope the week picks up in excitement. For now, check out these pieces around what is driving the crypto market today: 

  • Bitcoin’s long-awaited upgrade, Taproot, has begun
  • Discover how ConstitutionDAO is purchasing a first-edition copy of the Constitution
  • Investors are taking notice of a few altcoins
  • Anti-money laundering rules are enacted by Israel

Check how the major cryptocurrencies are performing: 

Bitcoin (BTC)
Ether (ETH) $4,565.23 -0.64%
Binance Coin (BNB)
Solana (SOL) $236.79 -0.63%
Cardano (ADA)
Polkadot (DOT)
Dogecoin (DOGE)  $0.2577 -1.72%
Shiba Inu (SHIB)
Terra (LUNA) $48.40 -4.70%

HODL For A Second

Everything you should know about Bitcoin’s major upgrade. 

The long-anticipated Taproot code upgrade, aimed at improving Bitcoin’s privacy and security, is live! The upgrade launched when the Bitcoin blockchain reached block 709,632 at 5:15 UTC on Sunday. This marks the first major upgrade to the network’s code since the introduction of Segregated Witness in 2017.

Taproot introduces Schnorr signatures that can handle more complex Bitcoin transactions, such as multi-signature wallets. It will help bitcoin transactions become more private, efficient, and less expensive. In addition, the upgrade improves bitcoin’s ability to execute smart contracts, which are digital agreements written in code and stored on the blockchain. 

More than half of known Bitcoin nodes are supporting the upgrade so far. Some are still running on old software, which means they are unable to enforce Taproot’s new rules. Miners who have not upgraded to the new software will be unable to mine on the network. Similarly, users will not be able to send or receive the new transaction type until their bitcoin wallets support it. In short: wallet developers will need to update their code to allow such transactions.

It’s too early to determine whether or not this upgrade will affect the price of $BTC.X. Some experts say that Taproot will have a minimal impact, but it’s important that investors understand its effects. $BTC.X traded around $64,000 today.

Keep An Eye On

Buying the Constitution: Where It’s Going DAO(N)

In July 2021, the sole copy of the Wu-Tang Clan’s “Once Upon A Time In Shaolin” was auctioned. The buyer was actually a group of people who banded together and raised the money to acquire the one-of-a-kind record. 

This group was unlike traditional institutions such as venture capitalists, private equity, money managers, and their wealthy ilk. In fact, many of them didn’t even know each other.

The group, PleasrDAO, was a Decentralized Autonomous Organization. DAOs use blockchain apps to help distribute power among stakeholders, where equity or “power” is often represented in the form of tokenized ownership. DAO tokens can be used to represent membership in a club, raise money for a project or item, or signify ownership in a decentralized app.

In many ways, PleasrDAO’s $4 million purchase put the mainstream media’s spotlight on the burgeoning ecosystem for DAOs. Now, another DAO is looking to up the ante by buying the U.S. Constitution.

Yes, you read that right. The ConstitutionDAO is pooling millions to buy one of the few remaining first-edition copies of the U.S. Constitution. In the first 12 hours of their campaign, they have raised over $3 million. However, they’ll likely need closer to $20 million to win the auction at Sotheby’s.

Don’t be mistaken: this is not an investment. Constitution-loving crypto maxis can contribute money to the fund, but it does not represent ownership in the Constitution. 

According to Julian Weisser, a co-founder of OnDeck and a contributor to the ContstitutionDAO core team, it represents ownership in the DAO — expressed in $PEOPLE token — which has a purely advisory role to an LLC which will bid on and own the LLC.

And if the DAO loses the bid? Well, the masses will get their money back, less the astronomical fees for transacting on Ethereum (which can vary from $40-$100/transaction, so worst case you lose $80 for trying to buy a share in the Constitution.)

The auction is expected to take place on Thursday, so we’ll be circling back around on this story on Friday to see if these blockchain maxis secure this historic document.

One to Watch

New Announcements and Features Boost These Altcoins

Thanks to new features and announcements, there are some altcoins to pay attention to as the week commences:

  • Kucoin: The KuCoin Token ($KCS.X) jumped 14% today to reach its highest price ever at $27.73. The native token of Kucoin (one of the top crypto platforms) has seen tremendous growth in recent months. This recent surge is a result of the launch of the KuCoin Fiat Account, which is gaining attention. The feature grants global users access to deposit US dollars using a credit or debit card and purchase major crypto assets, including $BTC.X, $ETH.X, $DOGE.X, etc. The platform plans to support 50 more fiat currencies such as EUR, AUD, GBP, and RUB in the near future.

Additionally, a recent token burning event also reduced the supply of $KCS.X, making it deflationary. Theoretically, token burning contributes to increasing the price.

With the crypto market poised for a bull run, new investors could contribute to the growth of the KuCoin platform, which will eventually benefit its native token.  

  • Ankr: Ankr coins have gained momentum following a breakout of the consolidation range. The token ($ANKR.X) is up 14%, hovering around $0.13, a little far from its peak at $0.21. Launched in November 2017, Ankr is a distributed network of nodes across 50+ proof-of-stake chains. It aims to make Web3 easily accessible to everyone.

Various developments contributed to $ANKR.X’s growth. Last week, Ankr announced their integration with Polkadot Parachain, enabling users to participate in the first batch of Polkadot Crowdloans and earn their share of $ANKR.X. Similarly, Binance announced the listing of $ANKR.X on its platform on Friday. 

  • Tron: This token ($TRX.X) is currently trending upwards, with a 10% surge today,  trading around $0.12. The surge comes a week after the launch of a new $1,111,111,111 ecosystem fund that is designed to attract developers to its network of blockchains and services.

Justin Sun, the founder of TRON, announced that the fund would be used to provide developers with more efficient and affordable development tools. 

The latest milestone in TRON’s story comes just weeks after the foundation launched BitTorrent Chain (BTTC) to help scale the ecosystem. Moreover, TRON’s VanEck’s VTRX exchange-traded note (ETN) has already seen an increase in demand.

  • UMA: Universal Market Access or $UMA.X which is considered the world’s largest asset manager for digital currency, saw a surge in price following the launch of its ‘Across’ protocol. UMA’s website describes it as being the quickest, cheapest, and most secure bridge between L1 and L2, which raises the value of the token to new heights. $UMA.X increased by 27% in the past 24 hours and 22% in the last seven days.

UMA, founded in 2018, describes itself as a ‘decentralized financial contracts platform’ that uses the Ethereum blockchain to create synthetic assets that imitate almost any other asset available in the market. 

Keep An Eye On

New Crypto Rules Passed in Israel to Combat Laundering, Terror Funding

Israel, a country known for its strict regulations regarding anti-money laundering and tax compliance, has introduced a new set of regulations related to cryptocurrencies to combat terror funding.

Per reports, Israel’s Authority for Combating Terror Financing and Money Laundering has increased regulatory oversight on cryptocurrencies, fintech companies, and credit providers. 

Authority director Shlomit Wegman said that the new rules would help combat the illegal use of digital assets while at the same time giving them more legitimacy and support. 

Israel has enacted new laws that comply with the Financial Action Task Force’s (FAFT) crypto travel rules. These laws are referred to as the Money Laundering Prohibition Ordinance. Under this law, digital asset companies are required to obtain licenses from the government. In addition, entities will have to implement a know-your-customer (KYC) procedure and comply with reporting requirements pertaining to their business. A system for tracking and recording all aspects of every digital transaction is also expected to be set up. 

Aside from this, banks will also need to develop policies to allow cryptocurrency transfers made by licensed entities that meet regulatory standards. As part of the updates to the FATF cryptocurrencies rules, the guidelines surrounding the illicit use of cryptocurrency funds were tightened last week. 

A major headache for Israel has always been crypto donations to Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist organization. Although it has tried to crack down on it, it’s been unsuccessful because it’s hard to regulate digital currencies. Among all terror financing transactions, Hamas raises the most funds using cryptocurrencies. It also accepts Bitcoin donations through its website and Telegram channels.