Weekly Recap
January 27, 2024

Crypto Fundamentals #61

Scientists utilize blockchain to simulate the origins of life on Earth

Jimmy Zheng

This week, BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF reaches $2B in AUM, Classic Shooter “Doom” is now available on the DOGE blockchain network and Bitcoin ETFs see first trend of outflows since launch.

🌞 Scientists utilize blockchain to simulate the origins of life on Earth

💫 Pantera and Sequoia lead Series B for EDX Markets to expand presence in international markets

The week saw continued declines across major tokens as average and median W/W prices fell by 1.3% and 0.2%, respectively. ETH saw the largest week over week drop with a decline of ~8.7% after the SEC delayed two spot Ethereum ETF decisions until May. The rest of the ecosystem chopped sideways, with other layer 2s and alt l1s including OP and NEAR saw single digit declines of 3.1% and 2.7%, respectively. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Index grew by 0.7% and 0.4% WoW, respectively, with the S&P continuing to break all time highs amidst solid Q4 US GDP growth figures and strong consumer spending.

🌞 Scientists utilize blockchain to simulate the origins of life on Earth

This week, a team of polish scientists from the Institute of Organic Chemistry in Poland published research in the scientific journal “Chem,” claiming that they have have simulated the origins of life on Earth. More explicitly, they claim that they have generated the “largest-known network of prebiotic reactions,” which translates into creating a chain of chemical reactions to trace how early compounds such as water and nitrogen eventually led to the existence of humans.

How did they perform this feat? Typically, this type of analysis would require substantial computing power to calculate billions of possibilities of potentially relevant reactions. This exercise would require access to supercomputing resources and be very expensive to execute.

However, these scientists were able to utilize the Golem Network, a blockchain network that allows users to rent spare computing power in exchange for the network’s native GLM token. The researchers were able to simulate 11 billion reactions generated by 20,000 CPU cores on Golem. This entire exercise cost 82,000 GLM tokens, which translated into $38k at the time of the experiment. In the journal article, the research team noted that running the simulation with Web2 cloud providers would have cost $80k.

This experiment is an early proof-point of how blockchain networks could help provide resources for academic research. BlockWorks notes that Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has been utilizing proceeds from COIN equity to fund ResearchHub, “GitHub for Scientists” which is attempting to advance research through methods such as funding peer reviews.

The paper’s senior author Bartosz Gryzybowski noted that “if you asked me two years ago, I’d be thinking we’d need years for this type of work… but for a fraction of the cost, in two or three months, we finished a task of 10 billion reactions, 100k times bigger than we did previously.” He went on to note that he hopes that blockchain technology can be utilized in a way that can transform the way that large-scale calculations are executed in his field.

💫 Pantera and Sequoia lead Series B for EDX Markets to expand presence in international markets

EDX Markets, a digital asset marketplace previously backed by Citadel Securities, Fidelity Digital Assets and Charles Schwab, raised additional financing from Pantera Capital and Sequoia Capital to build new trading technology and expand EDX’s presence in international markets such as Singapore.

EDX CEO Jamil Nazarali stated that “Singapore will allow us to expand our products, where we will be able to trade more tokens and perpetual futures… its also a great place to hire financial talent, and we want to built a proper, trusted team.” EDX’s exchange model provides a venue for institutional capital to trade cryptoassets such as BTC and ETH, but outsources custody of the assets in order to to avoid any potential co-mingling of funds (which led to the demise of its predecessor FTX). In this non-custodial model, EDX doesn’t require registered investors to pre-fund trades in fiat currency or crypto to execute buy or sell orders, and requires users to deposit net obligations at its custodial partner Anchorage during the settlement cycle.

While EDX has built out its platform with the intention of reflecting traditional financial infrastructure outside of crypto, EDX also plans to build out crypto-native technology that will allow for spot and perpetual futures trading. As part of EDX’s expansion into Singapore, the platform expects to offer spot and perpetual futures trading which will require approval to operate an exchange from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

In December 2023, EDX’s clients traded in excess of ~$1.4bn in notional volume, while its clearinghouse has cleared more than $3.1bn of transactions since launching in October 2023. Since the Bitcoin ETFs were approved, EDX customers have already transacted more than ~$100mm within a 24 hour period in January 2024. As a platform with strong ties to traditional financials institutions and robust financial market operations, EDX Markets appears well positioned to grow if the global regulatory environment continues to support the institutionalization of digital assets.

Detailed dashboard for people who love more numbers in smaller font:

Note: Revenue represents fees that go to the protocol’s treasury or are returned to tokenholders via a burn mechanism (source: Token Terminal). Weekly commits and weekly dev activity as of 1/6/23.

The content is for informational purposes. None of the content is meant to be investment advice. Use your own discretion and independent decision regarding investments.

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