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U.S. investors have been driving the recent surge in Bitcoin's price as institutional demand for the cryptocurrency increases, according to a report by crypto analytics firm K33 Research. Bitcoin has gained 30% during U.S. market hours and accounted for half of all trading volume. The cryptocurrency has seen an 85% rise this year, outpacing most of the crypto market, with significant involvement from financial heavyweights such as BlackRock, Fidelity, and Citadel Securities. Smaller cryptocurrencies have struggled amid regulatory scrutiny. U.S. activity spiked after BlackRock filed for a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund on June 14, which rejuvenated institutional interest. Open interest on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange futures market, popular among sophisticated investment firms, is nearing its all-time high. Digital asset funds saw $199 million of inflows last week, the largest in nearly a year, with Bitcoin-focused funds receiving 94% of all inflows. This activity signifies a turning point in crypto's institutional adoption, said Samir Kerbage, CIO at Hashdex, who believes that we may be witnessing a "generational moment" in individual crypto investment.
French fashion brand Lacoste has broadened its non-fungible token (NFT) ecosystem with the introduction of a rewards and co-creation feature for its UNDW3 community. This development comes after Lacoste's release of its UNDW3 collection of 11,212 profile picture NFTs in June 2022, which included "Genesis Passes" granting access to limited-edition merchandise and real-life community events. The latest expansion enables Genesis Pass holders to convert their NFTs into UNDW3 cards and connect their wallets to a dedicated site for access to creative sessions, contests, video games, and interactive conversations. In addition, the platform rewards active users with points, enhancing the rarity of their NFTs. Deputy CEO of Lacoste, Catherine Spindler, highlighted that the new release aligns with Lacoste's long-term Web3 vision, viewing blockchain as an accelerator towards a more inclusive and experiential digital realm. This initiative follows Lacoste's previous efforts to digitize its apparel, along with other fashion brands like Nike, Adidas, Dolce & Gabbana, and Gucci who are also expanding their NFT offerings.
Decentralized exchange (DEX) PancakeSwap is set to launch on the Polygon zkEVM network as part of its wider strategy to increase its user base and generate more protocol revenues, according to developer “Chef Cocoa”. PancakeSwap, a DEX that employs smart contracts for trading, lending, and lottery services across the BNB Chain, Ethereum, and Aptos blockchains, currently holds over $1.54 billion in tokens. The move to Polygon zkEVM aims to offer users lower fees and faster transactions. PancakeSwap already boasts some of the lowest fees among DEXs, with rates as low as 0.01%. Since its beta mainnet launch in March, Polygon zkEVM, a privacy-focused layer 2 blockchain that sits atop the Polygon blockchain, has attracted more than $28 million in total value locked (TVL).
Digital collectibles firm Candy Digital and Web3 production company Palm NFT Studio have announced a merger to expand their non-fungible token (NFT) projects in sports, entertainment, art, and culture. The companies will operate under the Candy Digital brand, creating digital experiences for sports franchises such as Major League Baseball, NASCAR, and World Wrestling Entertainment, and entertainment giants including Netflix and Warner Bros Discovery. Candy Digital, backed by Michael Novogratz's Galaxy Digital and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, raised $100 million in a Series A round in October 2021 at a $1.5 billion valuation. Palm NFT Studio, funded by Microsoft's venture fund M12 and Warner Bros, participated in a $27 million funding round in December 2021. Scott Lawin, CEO of Candy Digital, will manage both entities post-merger, with Daniel Heyman, co-founder and CEO of Palm NFT, serving as president of Candy Digital. The merger aims to leverage the combined infrastructure of both companies to build digital brand experiences and create transformative experiences for fans.
Polygon, an Ethereum blockchain scaling solution, plans to unify liquidity across its networks as part of its rebranding to Polygon 2.0. The roadmap includes restaking tokens, allowing investors to stake the same tokens on multiple projects simultaneously, and the ability for developers to add new decentralized chains on demand. Polygon will connect its chains through a shared crypto bridge powered by zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs, a cutting-edge blockchain technology. Brendan Farmer, Polygon's co-founder, emphasized that despite unlimited scalability, the entire Polygon 2.0 ecosystem should feel like using a single chain with seamless bridging and cross-chain transactions guaranteed by ZK proofs posted to Ethereum. A coordination layer will confirm cross-chain transactions, and native Ethereum tokens will be deposited into a single contract on Ethereum, eliminating the need for wrapped tokens. Restaking, a feature that lets users repurpose their staked crypto to secure other applications on a blockchain, will also be emphasized. The announcement comes after Polygon's proposal to upgrade its Polygon PoS chain to a zkEVM validium and ahead of further announcements about its token, $MATIC, and governance process.