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Edinburgh-based digital-assets infrastructure platform Zumo is making waves in the crypto world, leveraging the city's rich computer science heritage and strong talent pool. Co-founded by Nick Jones and Paul Roach, Zumo offers Web2 companies an entry point into Web3. The choice of Edinburgh was influenced by the city's academic strength in informatics, its launch of a blockchain and AI accelerator, and its position as the UK's second-largest startup hub. Despite the challenges posed by a small local talent pool and Brexit, the co-founders remain optimistic about the future of the company in Edinburgh. They see potential for the UK to become a global digital-assets hub, drawing parallels with Singapore, Switzerland, and Abu Dhabi. This optimism extends to Zumo's expansion plans, which include establishing a secondary regulatory hub in Abu Dhabi this year to tap into the MENA and South Asian markets. Despite its global aspirations, Zumo maintains a primarily UK-focused business structure, with its Financial Conduct Authority-registered business listed in Scotland and its holding company listed in England.
The much-anticipated layer 2 blockchain, Shibarium, is slated to go live following a conference in Toronto in August, according to developer Shytoshi Kusama. Layer 2 blockchains are off-chain systems that help alleviate scaling and data bottlenecks by bundling multiple transactions into one. Kusama revealed that all Shiba Inu-branded projects, along with the completed Worldpaper and Treat, would be released at the event. The decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) DoggyDAO, which will fund projects on Shibarium, will also be introduced then. The Shibarium testnet has recorded substantial activity, with 20 million transactions from approximately 16 million wallets as of June, suggesting a strong demand for the network. Developers have indicated that Shibarium will primarily focus on metaverse and gaming applications, especially with the expected growth in the non-fungible token (NFT) sector. This launch could strengthen the fundamentals of the Shiba Inu (SHIB) token, which began as a meme coin but has since aimed to establish itself as a serious project with its own blockchain network and decentralized application ecosystem.
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink's newfound support for Bitcoin has drawn mixed reactions, with some suggesting it may pave the way for more Wall Street executives to embrace cryptocurrencies. However, critics argue his favored method of investment - the exchange-traded fund (ETF) - deviates from the original decentralized ideals of digital assets. Fink, previously known for his skepticism towards cryptocurrencies, recently stated that Bitcoin could "revolutionize finance." His endorsement, however, centers on making it easier and cheaper to trade and invest in Bitcoin through ETFs, rather than promoting the core concept of decentralization. Critics fear this approach undermines the primary feature of Bitcoin: the ability to control funds without needing a third-party manager. Despite these concerns, Fink's change of stance could help with Bitcoin's mass adoption and further embed it into mainstream consciousness. Paul McCaffery, managing director at Keefe Bruyette & Woods, views Fink's move as a "game-changer" that could encourage other Wall Street investors to allocate more money to the cryptocurrency.
Crypto storage tokens, specifically Filecoin's FIL and Storj's STORJ, led the market gains during the first week of July, outperforming larger cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether. Storj, a crypto-backed cloud storage platform often seen as an alternative to services like Amazon or Google, saw its native token increase by 15% over the week. Filecoin, another decentralized protocol for renting out spare storage, and a competitor to Storj with a nearly $2 billion market value, also saw a 12% gain in the same period. Meanwhile, Bitcoin dipped 0.7% and Ether fell 3.5%, with traders attributing the stagnant price movement to market uncertainty, conflicting economic data, and ongoing central bank deliberations about managing high inflation without triggering a severe recession. Solana's SOL token also made notable gains, rising 12% over the week, though the reasons behind the surge remain unclear. The CoinDesk Market Index, a measure of crypto market performance, dropped 1.3% over the past week, with only the Indices' Computing Sector posting weekly gains.
The number of large Bitcoin holders, also known as whales, is on the rise while the amount of Bitcoin sent to exchanges is decreasing, suggesting bullishness among investors. This comes amid recent market fluctuations that saw Bitcoin dip below $30,000 following strong ADP private sector jobs reports and ISM Services Index, before rebounding back above this threshold. The positive jobs data may prompt the U.S. central bank to implement further rate cuts to control inflation, a move that typically impacts crypto and other asset markets negatively. Despite these market dynamics, many investors remain hopeful that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will reverse its pattern of rejecting spot Bitcoin ETF filings. Ether followed a similar trend, dropping after the ADP report, which showed an addition of 497,000 jobs, exceeding forecasts. Other major cryptos also experienced significant declines before recovering some ground. According to Richard Mico, U.S. CEO of Banxa, Bitcoin's support at $30,000 signals an increasingly optimistic sentiment among investors. Despite the increase in Bitcoin whales, these large holders appear hesitant to move their assets to centralized exchanges, possibly due to exchange risk or regulatory concerns.