This month the ‘Merge’ for the Ropsten testnet took place, meaning that the Ropsten test network underwent a transformation to the Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism. This merge event happened successfully and it’s a positive sign for the upcoming merge event of the Ethereum mainnet, which is scheduled for later this year. The importance of this particular testnet should not be underestimated since it’s the testnet which most closely resembles the Ethereum network and will therefore be helpful in preparing for the mainnet merge event. In anticipation of the mainnet merge, another testnet called ‘Sepolia’ started its own Proof-of-Stake chain already and is scheduled to have its own merge event in July, another milestone on the move towards Proof-of-Stake.
The Norwegian government announced earlier this month that they will use Arbitrum, one of the main layer 2 scalability solutions for the Ethereum network, to create a new type of financial market for inclusive trading. The new platform will allow Norwegian citizens access to shares of companies that have not gone public yet in the form of a token. The announcement is a demonstration of the critical mass these Ethereum scalability solutions are gaining.
Proshares, the company which launched the first Bitcoin ETF on the American stock exchange, has launched another product which allows investors to bet against the price of Bitcoin. The product is called the ProShares Short Bitcoin Strategy (BITI) and started trading earlier this month on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). This new product listed on the NYSE is yet another step for Bitcoin in maturing as a financial asset.
In real-world adoption news, eBay has announced that it has acquired the marketplace called ‘KnownOrigin’. The company stated that ‘NFTs represent a significant area of growth for its business’ and the acquisition is in line with the release of their first NFT collection last month. Cryptocurrencies also made another step forward this month in gaining broader adoption as a form of payment method. Chipotle, which is one of the biggest fast food restaurants in the United States, announced that they will be accepting over 95 different cryptocurrencies as a form of payment method.
Payment provider Mastercard has announced new partnerships with seven big blockchain projects including Immutable X and The Sandbox, both focused on decentralized gaming and the metaverse. Mastercard is working together with these companies to increase ongoing NFT commerce by allowing its cardholders to purchase NFTs with their Mastercard on marketplaces of their partners as well as a direct integration of their payment solution within crypto services of their partners.
Solana announced that they will release their own smartphone dubbed the ‘Solana Saga’. The device will offer functionalities just like a regular Android smartphone and has the same functions as any other Android smartphone, also featuring a built-in hardware wallet. However, Solana also announced their new xNFTs for the mobile device, which are NFTs that contain entire apps, meaning users will actually have ownership over the codebase of the apps on their phone, potentially ushering in an interesting new period in the mobile industry.
Our portfolio company, Fuel Labs, hosted its first ‘Fuel Hackathon’ and the objective of this event was to create infrastructure which enhances the user experience on the Fuel Network and lay the foundations for a thriving ecosystem as well. The hackathon got followed with the release of another project built on top of the network called ‘SwaySwap’ which is a Uniswap-like AMM. Also, this month our venture investment in Backd was announced as well. Backd is a trustless reactive liquidity protocol which users can use to deposit collateral to automatically top-up borrowing positions while maintaining the ability to generate on that collateral.
Our portfolio company, Maple Finance, has issued over 1.5 billion USD in loans as of this month. Our newly launched Ethereum pool issued more than 10 million USD worth of Ethereum loans this month, while the USDC pool issued over 20 million USD in loans. Due to the recent turmoil in the crypto markets we have been monitoring the pools extensively and are happy to share that our pools have not been affected and are steadily continuing operations. For a more in-depth explanation, you can read about our extensive update here. If you would like to learn more about being a lender on Maple Finance, you can reach out to us directly.