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9/18 News Roundup: Coinmotion, The Merge, USDM, Vitalik Buterin, Coinbase

The Finnish crypto exchange Coinmotion got a new CEO and added Cardano to its selection. It’s been exactly one year since Ethereum’s The Merge update. USDM stablecoin will pay interest to its holders. Vitalik Buterin and Mark Cuban were victims of cyber criminals. Coinbase adds support for the Lightning Network!

Coinmotion got a new CEO and added Cardano

The first piece of news is about Coinmtoion, Finland’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. Coinmotion is also one of Finland’s official virtual currency providers, approved by the Finnish FSA. Read more about the service from our Coinmotion review.

Coinmotion released two pieces of news last week. First of all, the company got a new CEO. Pasi Matilainen has been acting as interim CEO since the spring, when Heidi Hurskainen, who had the position in recent years, moved aside.

Antti-Jussi Suominen was appointed the new CEO at the beginning of September. Suominen has worked for two years at Adecco Group as Head of Transformation.

“I am excited to join the Coinmotion team at a time when the cryptocurrency industry is developing rapidly. I look forward to serving our current and new customers and taking the company towards its full potential,” says Suominen in a recent blog post on Coinmotion.

Last week, Coinmotion also announced an expansion to its crypto offering. The latest addition is Cardano!

According to the company, Cardano (ADA) is a welcome addition to the selection.¬†With Cardano, Coinmotion now has 11 popular cryptocurrencies in its selection.¬†Like other cryptos, Cardano can be bought either with a web browser or with Coinmotion’s mobile app.¬†If you are interested in buying Cardano, there is a detailed guide for beginners: How to buy Cardano (ADA).

Cardano staking is also very popular globally. Cardano is a PoS-based cryptocurrency, so its blockchain is maintained by validators. You can become a validator by staking enough ADA tokens. Cardano already has more than 3,000 staking pools, and more than 920,000 people delegate their tokens to these pools.

We asked Coinmotion for comments regarding the Cardano staking. This is also interesting to many customers, and Coinmotion is researching the best implementation methods to enable staking. We also received information from Coinmotion that there are plans to add a new cryptocurrency! Polygon (MATIC) will soon be available at Coinmotion as well.

Cardano’s staking is available on the most popular crypto exchanges and crypto wallets.

Anniversary of The Merge update

Last week marked the anniversary of Ethereum’s The Merge update. This is Ethereum’s most significant technical update and arguably one of the most important updates in the crypto industry.

The Merge was completed on September 15, 2022, without the slightest problem. You can read¬†in this article how we reported on what happened last fall. Now it’s a good time to look at some of Ethereum’s statistics. Has The Merge had the kind of impact that was previously thought?

The Merge was never supposed to impact Ethereum’s transaction capacity. The most visible effect was the end of mining and a major change in Ethereum’s monetary policy. The Proof of Work consensus was switched to the Proof of Stake consensus, and mining has now been replaced by staking.

Ethereum was touted to turn into a deflationary currency after The Merge, and it has. At the time of writing, the Ethereum total supply has dropped around 298,000 ETH since The Merge, which means -0.24% annual inflation.

eth supply

As you can see from the graphic above, Ethereum has been deflationary for a long time. This is even though the network use has been low due to the bear market. The more transaction fees are paid, the more the system burns Ether (ETH).

Staking has also grown in popularity. As many as 11.6 million Ether have been staked by 362,000 new validators during the past year. In total, 802,000 validators have staked 25.6 million Ether. They currently receive a 3.6 % annual yield.

Earlier this year, we also received an important Shapella update. It unlocked Ethereum staking, enabling the transfer of staked ETH back to your wallet.

With The Merge and Shapella, Ethereum’s fundamentals are better than ever. The end of mining also made Ethereum an ESG-friendly investment for institutions, and now its monetary policy is deflationary. On top of that, institutions are always interested in the yield you can receive from staking.

The effect of The Merge will be seen in Ethereum’s price after a longer period. The general market trend is preventing Ethereum’s price increases, just like other cryptocurrencies.

USDM stablecoin pays interest to its holder

Nothing interesting has happened in the stablecoin market in a while. However, there was news last week about a stablecoin that could start a new trend.

The news concerns the Mountain Protocol project and the USDM stablecoin it will launch. A week ago, Nic Carter, one of the financiers of Mountain Protocol, tweeted an X thread that contains all the key things about this stablecoin.

Stablecoin companies make a lot of money due to the interest that U.S. government bonds pay. Stablecoin reserves are invested in short-term U.S. government bonds, which pay over 5.5 percent annual interest.

A stablecoin holder does not benefit from the situation in any way, and USDM wants to change this. It intends to pay the interest income from the bonds almost in full to the holder of USDM. In practice, USDM is a proxy for US government bonds using cryptocurrency. Nic Carter commented on X:

I believe interest bearing Stables will change the game.¬†Today, incumbents don’t pass along interest, for regulatory reasons in the US, or because they simply like to keep the NIM for themselves.¬†But it doesn’t have to be this way.¬†They will be disrupted.¬†Users deserve yield.

USDM is also a regulated stablecoin by the Bahamian authorities.

It is an interesting new experiment where value is created for the holder from a real source and not through various buy/sell algorithms. USDM has not yet been launched on the market.

Vitalik Buterin and Mark Cuban were hacked

Hacking and phishing attacks are commonplace in the crypto industry. The victims are not only careless amateurs, as we saw a good example of last week. The founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, was attacked by cybercriminals. It wasn’t his crypto wallet but the X (Twitter) account.

You could imagine that Buterin, if anyone, understands the importance of two-step authentication (2FA). That’s true, but Buterin didn’t know about a feature of X: the password can be reset using a phone number, even if 2FA is in use!

A phone number is automatically added to the account information if the person has paid for the Premium service and has not deleted the number afterward. Cybercriminals did a classic SIM swap, which they used to gain access to Buterin’s phone number. They then reset 2FA and made an NFT-themed scam many Buterin’s followers fell for.

The victims lost about $700,000 worth of cryptocurrency before Buterin got access back to his account. Below is a picture of a post made by criminals.

vitalik X hack

Note: You can remove the phone number from X’s settings after signing up for a Premium account!

Billionaire Mark Cuban, who has become known as a big fan of NFTs, also fell victim to cyber criminals. Cuban’s Ethereum wallet suddenly began to get emptied, and X user WazzCrypto first noticed it. Cuban hadn’t used his wallet in months, but a couple of days ago, its contents started moving to an unknown address.

Nearly $900,000 worth of cryptocurrency disappeared quickly. Cuban eventually managed to save two million dollars worth of USDC stablecoins by transferring them to his Coinbase account. The reason for the hack is unclear, as Cuban has not discussed it in detail.

Coinbase adds support for the Lightning Network

Coinbase is the largest crypto exchange in the United States. Along with Binance, it is also one of the world’s leading exchanges. Coinbase has been operating in the industry for more than ten years and has offered the possibility of buying and selling Bitcoin since the beginning. The exchange and CEO, Brian Armstrong, have still been criticized as anti-Bitcoin, at least from the point of view of Bitcoin maximalists.

Coinbase has also fiddled with introducing support for Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. Last week, however, that changed, as CEO Brian Armstrong shared some good news for all Bitcoin fans: Coinbase is finally integrating the Lightning Network!

As Armstrong writes, integration takes time, so Lightning transfers will certainly not be available for a few months. At least the decision has finally been made!¬†Market leader Binance added support for the lightning network earlier this summer. Coinbase’s American competitor, Kraken, made the same move in April.

The Lightning Network is a Layer 2 solution built on the Bitcoin blockchain. It offers virtually real-time and cost-free Bitcoin payments. This allows Bitcoin to be used as a means of payment in the same way as fiat currencies. The Lightning Network was a prerequisite, e.g., For El Salvador’s historic decision in 2021 to make Bitcoin legal tender.

Read more from our Lightning Network beginner’s guide.

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