Ethereum hits a new All-Time High
Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has finally pierced its previous ATH to set a new record near the $1,440 per ETH. The coin skyrocketed in a surprising bullish run that took its price to a new level, albeit not too far from its previous milestone - $1,432.88, as per data from CoinGecko
The cryptocurrency co-created by Vitalik Buterin has been struggling to achieve new heights for the past ten days, when it climbed to $1,346.54, only to suffer a new correction that would pull it back to sub-1K levels the very next day. Looks like bulls were not ready to give up, however, as they pushed back over the following days until yesterday, Tuesday 19, when its price briefly touched its new ATH. At the time of writing, the ETH sits at $1,366.56, and with a market cap of $155 billions.
On a side note, Bitcoin also hit a new ATH, albeit a couple of weeks earlier — on Jan 08, to be more precise. The #1 cryptocurrency by market cap saw its price per unit floating around the $40K levels for a couple of days after setting the bar over $41,880.65, and before sliding back to sub-36K levels. Some people noted the disparity of performance between these two coins, and tried to explain this by pointing at Ethereum’s 2020 DeFi craze, which contributed to the surge of the ether with its $20.5 billion in total value locked.
Conservatives in search of censorship-resistance amid political unrest
Following the storming of the U.S. Capitol, most American tech giants including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, Discord, and Reddit suspended Trump accounts and some pro-Trump communities, sparking heated discussions around the world about the freedom of speech on privately owned social media platforms.
A few days later, Google and Apple removed right-leaning alt-tech microblogging platform Parler from their app stores, and Amazon banned Parler from its web hosting service, reminding many crypto entrepreneurs about similar crackdowns on cryptocurrency apps and ads in the past.
Gab, another American alt-tech social media platform known for its far-right userbase, has proven to be more resilient during the crackdown. According to its CEO Andrew Torba, Gab experienced an unprecedented influx of new users amid an exodus from mainstream media platforms. Since Gab has long been banned from Big Tech services and payment processors, the platform runs its own servers and embraces Bitcoin as “free speech money”. Users can access the platform via third-party mobile apps, because it uses a software infrastructure of open-source federated social network Mastodon.
While many conservatives flock to Parler and Gab in a search for a safe haven, it’s important to remember that these are still centralized platforms owned by individuals, who can impose their own rules. Even though content moderation on Nevada-based Parler is outsourced to volunteers, the platform has been criticized for censoring left-leaning users. Both Parler and Gab can provide some temporary relief to the conservative audience, but they are not censorship-resistant and will create echo chambers on a long-run.
Politics aside, cypherpunks were working on creating privacy-focused, censorship-resistant money and means of communication for decades. A large chunk of early Bitcoin adopters consists of darknet users and organizations like WikiLeaks, which were barred from the traditional financial system. Unfortunately, even though decentralized money saw a huge wave of adoption in the last few years, censorship-resistant social media platforms that could provide an avenue for public debates are still in their infancy.
Last year we’ve reported on the Steem vs. Hive saga, when Justin Sun, the founder of TRON, colluded with large crypto exchanges Binance, Huobi, and Poloniex (which is partially owned by Sun) in order to take a full control over a blockchain-based blogging website. TRON, Binance, and Huobi were founded in China, where state-imposed censorship has been traditionally tolerated by the society. TRON-owned video streaming platform DLive has also joined the crackdown on right-wing content after Trump supporters broke into the U.S. Capitol Building. Last year we’ve reported on the Steem vs. Hive saga, when Justin Sun, the founder of TRON, colluded with large crypto exchanges Binance, Huobi, and Poloniex (which is partially owned by Sun) in order to take a full control over a blockchain-based blogging website. TRON, Binance, and Huobi were founded in China, where state-imposed censorship has been traditionally tolerated by the society. TRON-owned video streaming platform DLive has also joined the crackdown on right-wing content after Trump supporters broke into the U.S. Capitol Building.
In other news
Co-founder and now former CTO of Block.one Daniel Larimer has announced his departure from the company to pursue his own projects. Block.one raised $4 billion in 2017-2018 for the development of the EOS blockchain. Larimer has long been criticized for leaving a long trace of unfinished projects that includes BitShares, Steem, and now EOS. Following the recent Big Tech crackdown, Larimer called for his followers to boycott Twitter.
The first NFT (Non-Fungible Token) index funds have been created on the NFTX platform in order to increase liquidity and accessibility to NFT markets. Such index funds provide DeFi investors - who don’t have enough time, expertise, or capital to trade individual NFTs - an easy exposure to the digital collectibles industry. The top-level funds are backed by well-known NFTs such as CryptoKitties and CryptoPunks.
Google searches for ‘Ethereum’ hit a new all-time high amid growing crypto market volatility. Bitcoin and Ethereum networks experience periodical congestion with average transaction fees skyrocketing to almost $20 mark on both blockchains.