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China’s crypto landscape: How CBDCs drove blockchain adoption in 2020

As a developing tech power, China is one of the fastest countries in adopting blockchain technology.
2020 has been a year full of challenges for the world, but for a country like China with such a large population base and rapid devel

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As a developing tech power, China is one of the fastest countries in adopting blockchain technology.

2020 has been a year full of challenges for the world, but for a country like China with such a large population base and rapid development, it has also been a year of opportunities.

On Oct. 24, 2019, China officially upgraded its blockchain technology to be a national strategic priority. One year later, the development of China’s blockchain industry has been at the forefront of the world in many ways.

The number of China’s disclosed blockchain projects ranks highest

According to a research report from Gyro Research, a Chinese blockchain media company, from Oct. 24, 2019 to Sept. 1, 2020, the number of global blockchain projects was on a downward trend. Approximately 345 new blockchain projects around the world were disclosed — a decrease of 163 compared with the same period the previous year. China ranks first with 252 projects, which is about 73% of the world and a 12% increase year-on-year, and its number of use cases far exceeds the United States, which ranks second with 27.

Meanwhile, it’s clear that China’s blockchain policy plays a significant role in this area. The increasing number of projects peaked after the release of the policy. Among the 252 projects, 56 were added in November 2019 after the policy was released, and 48 were disclosed in December 2019, after which the number of projects gradually flattened out.

From the perspective of regional distribution, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Zhejiang and Guangdong are the five major Chinese provinces that actively promote the implementation of blockchain. According to the incomplete statistics from Gyro Research, technology projects are mainly concentrated in the fields of government affairs, public services and finance.

In addition local governments, some publicly listed companies — such as Tencent, JD.com, Xiaomi, Huawei, Baidu, etc. — are also actively promoting the design and adoption of blockchain technology. Speaking on the status of blockchain adoption this year and the plan for next year, Claude Jiang, general manager of Xiaomi Digital Fintech, told Cointelegraph:

“This year, we have already launched government industry and finance platforms in Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Ningbo, etc., and made a variety of innovative industry-side financing products based on blockchain technology. Next year, based on these products, innovative industry support will be provided to the industrial structure to help the industry make use of blockchain and other technical capabilities to complete digital and intelligent upgrades.”

Blockchain-based Service Network promotes blockchain adoption in China

On April 25, the national-level blockchain platform “Blockchain-based Service Network,” or BSN, was put into worldwide commercial use by the State Information Center, a Chinese government institution. 

According to its official introduction, the BSN is a cross-cloud, cross-portal, cross-framework global infrastructure network used to deploy and operate all types of blockchain-based decentralized applications. It is going to become the only global infrastructure network that is independently innovated and access-controlled by China.

One of the biggest obstacles to the implementation of blockchain technology is the cost to build a platform. There are many blockchain platforms, and in the future, the same data-island problem as is seen with the traditional internet may also arise. Currently, the BSN ecosystem covers the underlying architects, developers, cloud service providers, portal providers, and operation and maintenance parties, and the ultimate goal of the BSN is to become an internet that unifies the fragmented blockchain market.

So far, there have been 136 public city nodes deployed on the BSN. Among them, 98 are already-connected Chinese nodes, 30 are under construction and 8 are overseas. In terms of the network’s framework, there are four alliance chains, 12 public chains and two cross-chains. The cloud service providers include China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Baidu Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Twelve well-known public chains have been integrated, including Ethereum, Tezos, EOS, Solana, Algorand, Polkadot, Nervos, Neo, IRISnet, ShareRing, Bityuan and Oasis.

When reviewing the achievements made by the BSN in 2020, Yifan He, CEO of Red Date Technology — the operating entity of the BSN — told Cointelegraph:

“Next year, China’s blockchain industry will flourish. However, because blockchain technology is still in its early stage, in addition to vigorously promoting the possible applications, we also hope to see more companies follow and participate in infrastructure and the underlying technology. Next year will be the first year of the central bank’s digital currency, which will be one of the main driving forces in promoting the development of the blockchain industry. I also hope that companies in the industry will pay more attention and have discussions.”

China’s DCEP: From theory to practice

On Dec. 12, Suzhou, one of the four pilot cities for China’s Digital Currency Electronic Payment, or DCEP — otherwise known as the digital yuan — officially launched the project by giving away digital yuan “red envelopes.” Four payment scenarios have been implemented, including dual offline payment, offline payment, online payment and cash on delivery. 

It was in 2014, when Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China at the time, proposed the idea of building a digital currency. The central bank also established the world’s first official institution engaged in legal digital currency research and development, the Digital Currency Research Institute.

After six years of research and repeated practice, on Aug. 14, the Ministry of Commerce announced that the digital yuan would be piloted in 28 provinces and cities.

Because the vast majority of Chinese residents are already accustomed to electronic payments through Alipay and WeChat, the large-scale promotion of the DCEP may be quite easy in the future. However, the introduction of the DCEP is unlikely to cause any interference in China’s current electronic payment system; it will simply allow Chinese residents one more option. The DCEP’s offline payment experience could make Chinese people and companies pay more attention to blockchain technology, promote more corporate research and adoption of blockchain, and accelerate the development of the entire industry.

Regarding the development of China’s DCEP in 2021 and in the future, Huobi University president Jianing Yu said:

“We can see from the current pilots that the payment function of E-CNY has been relatively complete. It can support both online and offline payment scenarios, and even can finish transactions without internet. But the real meaning of E-CNY is more than that. In the future, the usage of E-CNY will extend to more retail scenarios, and it can embrace the challenges from advanced technology. In the 5G era, driverless cars, Internet of Things equipment, Industrial Internet will be widely used, and the demand for transactions among things will continue to increase, but the current currency and financial system cannot meet those future needs. In this situation, RMB must update to meet those potential demands for trade and finance."

He also said: "E-CNY is a kind of currency facing the future. Digital Era is the future, every asset including personal ID will be digitized. The popularization of E-CNY will accelerate the process of identity digitization and asset digitization, which will further expand the field of digital economy. E-CNY will bring a brand new business opportunity and empower for 'New Smart Business' transformation in the future."

Strengthened regulation by the Chinese government

On Oct. 23, the People’s Bank of China publicly solicited opinions on a revised version of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the People’s Bank of China. It is worth noting that in the new “draft for comment,” there are some provisions related to digital currency.

This may be the first time that China has included relevant provisions related to digital currency in the scope of the law. On the one hand, making it appear in the public eye in the form of a draft for comments affirms the legal status of the DCEP; but on the other hand, it implies that digital currencies in any other shape or form are not legal in China.

As the U.S. Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission intensify regulation of the crypto market, global regulation is also strengthened, and China is no exception. For some digital currency exchanges that are registered overseas while having physical operations in China, relevant regulation has been further developed.

China is one of the fastest countries when it comes to adopting new technologies. Chinese consumers are more likely to accept new technologies, and this willingness may give China an advantage. The significant population base and “netizens” base, the popularization of mobile internet and payments, a large number of talented developers, and government support for technology adoption are all factors that may contribute to the progress in China’s blockchain industry.

Especially in 2020 while the pandemic is going on, government demand for blockchain technology adoption in public services such as medical care, charity, epidemic prevention and traceability is much more urgent, which to a certain extent has promoted the development of China’s blockchain industry.

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Bitcoin Back Below $30,000 After A Record 8 Weeks In The Red

Bitcoin decoupled from equity markets to the downside on Monday after ending last week as the eighth consecutive weekly loss.

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Bitcoin decoupled from equity markets to the downside on Monday after ending last week as the eighth consecutive weekly loss.

Bitcoin has failed to hold the $30,000 level on Monday after scoring its eighth consecutive week in the red for the first time ever.

During these eight weeks, which began in late March and ended on Sunday, bitcoin has lost over 35% of its U.S. dollar value according to TradingView data. Before the beginning of the losing streak, BTC was trading at around $46,800.

Bitcoin has scored losses for eight consecutive weeks for the first time in its history and it is starting the ninth with yet another red candle. Image source: TradingView.

Bitcoin is changing hands slightly below $30,000 at the time of writing. The peer-to-peer currency climbed as high as $30,600 earlier on Monday to trade at around $29,400 as the trading in equity markets nears its end in New York.

While bitcoin turns south, major U.S. stock indices have been in the green. The Nasdaq, which is said to be highly correlated with bitcoin, decoupled from the digital money along with the S&P 500 to denote modest gains near market close on Monday, per TradingView data.

While bitcoin, Nasdaq and S&P 500 were trading in tandem for some time on Monday, the P2P currency saw a sharp sell-off decouple it from the two indices and take it to a more than 3% loss for the day. Image source: TradingView.

A Tough Year For Bitcoin

Despite making two new all-time highs in 2021, bitcoin already erased nearly all of those gains in 2022.

Bitcoin’s choppy trading year so far can be partly attributed to a broader sentiment of economic uncertainty as the Federal Reserve tightens the U.S. economy, withdrawing liquidity from the market after almost two years of quantitative easing.

The central bank has already raised its basic interest rates two times this year, the last of which was double the magnitude of the previous one and represented the largest hike in two decades: While the Fed increased interest rates by 0.25% in March, it raised them by 0.50% earlier this month.

Image source: Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED).

When the Fed raises or lowers interest rates through its Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC), what it is actually doing is setting a target range. The graph above depicts the lower and upper bounds of that target range in red and blue, respectively.

While the U.S. central bank system sets the target, it cannot mandate that commercial banks use it — rather, it serves as a recommendation. Therefore, what banks end up using for lending and borrowing excess cash between them overnight is called the effective rate. This is shown by the green line in the graph above.

The Fed previously hiked interest rates consistently from 2016 to 2019, until plunging it near zero in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, as noted in the graph.

Bitcoin’s higher sensitivity to liquidity and therefore interest rates can be explained by a greater participation of institutional investors in the market, whose allocations are based on the availability of capital and broader economic conditions, Morgan Stanley reportedly said.

Therefore, while Bitcoin was able to sustain a bull market in the midst of the Fed increasing interest rates in 2017, raising nearly 2,000% from January to December that year, the odds aren’t on the side of the bulls this year.

For two weeks, bitcoin has now closed below a level of weekly support it formed over a year ago and had respected since, indicating it might be turning into a zone of resistance. Image source: TradingView.

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WEF 2022: Terra were offering unsustainable yields; DeFi can support financial inclusion

Industry experts share insights and commentary with Cointelegraph on the first day of the Blockchain Hub 2022 conference in Davos, Switzerland.

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Industry experts share insights and commentary with Cointelegraph on the first day of the Blockchain Hub 2022 conference in Davos, Switzerland.

Reporting from the inaugural day of the Blockchain Hub Davos 2022 conference, Cointelegraph’s editor-in-chief, Kristina Lucrezia Cornèr hosted a panel discussion centred around decentralized finance (DeFi) titled ‘Programmable Money is Here — and It’s Changing the World as We Know It’.

Panelists included Chief Partnership Officer of SwissBorg, Alexander Fazel; Global Markets Lead of Kraken Europe, Lucian Aguilar; Co-founder and CEO of CasperLabs, Mrinal Monahar; and Managing Partner of Coral Capital, Patrick Horsman.

In the opening remarks of the conversation, Aguilar reflected upon his attendance of the event two years ago, assessing the differences in receptiveness and attitude to crypto. He also noted how the prevailing narrative has evolved, stating: “Last time [there were] a lot of projects here that were trying to sell and present. This time when I look around it’s more talking about building, adopting, and innovating.”

All of his fellow panelists concurred with this viewpoint. Horsman shared that DeFi’s total value locked (TVL) was $1 billion in May 2020, but has since grown 150 times — a healthy barometer of success for the industry by his account.

Engaging the audience in a hand-raising exercise to determine their entry-point into the space, SwissBorg’s Fazel stated that “in TradiFi people are thinking [that] I don’t want to lose money — how can you help me keep my wealth regardless of markets? So, it’s very risk-management orientated. While in DeFi, the degens are like ‘gimme those triple-digit yields wooo!’”

He argued that protocols within the space should adopt higher transparency standards for the risk associated with annual percentage yields (APYs), advocating that additional education could also support in balancing the expectations of investors.

Advancing that thesis, Coral Capital’s Horsman shared that the Terra (LUNA) crisis partly occurred because “they were essentially offering yields that were unsustainable, and [that] there were venture capital firms that were bootstrapping those yields in order to bootstrap an ecosystem.” He noted that his firm decided to withdraw funds from the project in Nov-Dec 2021 after their reserve modelling data predicted worrying calculations for the future.

Related: Why did Terra LUNA and UST crash? | Find out on The Market Report

In response to that anecdote, Aguilar shared his belief that protocols with vastly significant APYs in the triple-digit range are mostly likely seeking to mitigate their own high risk factor, stating:

“A lot of these APYs, I see them as a risk premium because the underlying is so underpredicted and unstable that it’s needed to offset the risk for a traditional investor.”

Transitioning to the World Economic Forum’s (WEFs) ambitions in tackling modern global challenges — climate change and the pandemic being some of the most prominent examples of recent times — Cornèr asked the panelists how they assess the status of financial inclusion, and how DeFi can empower communities to reduce the prejudicial disparity in the current system.

Monahar stated that “I think DeFi has a huge potential to create financial inclusion”, but that to achieve visions of decentralization there needs to be “interoperability at a true fundamental algorithmic level.” This, he argued, will cultivate a frictionless experience which promotes commonality and fosters incentives for inclusion.

He recognized the recent convergence of developers to the programming language Rust as a positive signal, as well as its similarities to the software synonymous with the internet, HTTPS.

Furthering the conversation around financial inclusion, Fazel stated that "there's no better way to earn wealth than in DeFi" and that data monetization services such as Brave Browser, play-to-earn games such as Axie Infinity, and play-to-move platforms such as Sweatcoin and the soaring trend of STEPN, are granting the opportunity to "generate wealth without necessarily having wealth in the beginning."

The airdrop incentives that some of these platforms provide can support inclusion of wealth across less developed country's argued Fazel, disclosing a personal story of his father — a resident of Iran where the monthly salary averages $250 — immensely benefitting from the 300 Uniswap (UNI) airdrop.

Related: WEF 2022, May 23: Latest updates from the Cointelegraph Davos team

Cointelegraph representatives are extensively reporting on the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Blockchain Hub 2022 this week. Read our live action blog to follow along with all the highlights and best moments of the global events!

Readers of this article can watch the full interview of 'Programmable Money is Here — and It’s Changing the World as We Know It’ on Youtube via this link.

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Best Penny Stocks To Buy According To 4 Analysts & Targets Up To $8

Best penny stocks to buy according to analysts.
The post Best Penny Stocks To Buy According To 4 Analysts & Targets Up To $8 appeared first on Penny…

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Want to buy penny stocks? You might have thought about starting by following analysts. Today we look at 4 penny stocks to buy according to a few Wall Street analysts with bullish price targets to go with them.

The thing to remember about analyst ratings is that they usually have an outlook beyond “today.” These firms will dig into things like recent financials, development or product pipelines, and the current industry or market conditions that could contribute to the success or failure of the companies.

Penny Stocks To Buy [According To Analysts]

  1. EOS Energy Enterprises Inc. (NASDAQ: EOSE)
  2. Porch Group Inc. (NASDAQ: PRCH)
  3. FTC Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FTCI)
  4. Ginkgo Bioworks Holdings Inc.(NYSE: DNA)

1. EOS Energy Enterprises Inc. (NASDAQ: EOSE): +498%

Energy stocks have recharged bullish traders looking for pockets of opportunity. Even with the stock market crash this year, shares of oil & gas and even alternative energy stocks have jumped. EOS Energy focuses on clean energy systems using its Znyth aqueous zinc battery platform. It is being designed to compete with traditional lithium-ion batteries already in the market.

EOS reported first-quarter earnings and worse than expected EPS and sales results earlier this month. However, based on comments from company CEO Joe Mastrangelo, it appears that EOS is looking at just a simple bump in the road. Mastrangelo explained in a May update that, “We are building a company ready to deliver safe, scalable, flexible, and affordable energy storage. Our manufacturing capacity expansion is on plan, we are seeing improved first-pass production yields, and we are proud to be working towards a cleaner, brighter energy future.”

Penny Stocks To Buy Now? 4 To Watch Under $1

Though analysts have lowered price targets, firms including B. Riley appear to remain bullish based on price targets. Its analysts have a Buy on EOSE stock and a $7 price target. Despite this being much lower than the previous $13 target, the new outlook is still nearly 500% higher than current price levels.

2. Porch Group Inc. (NASDAQ: PRCH): + 74%

penny stocks to buy Porch Group Inc. PRCH stock chart

Shares of Porch Group continued trading higher on Monday. This extended a move that began earlier this month after the company announced earnings. Porch’s specialty is software development for the home services and insurance industries.

Total revenue for the first quarter reached $62.6 million, equating to a jump of over $35 million compared to the first quarter of last year. “Porch is off to a strong start in 2022…Our vertical software and insurance segments are performing very well and reported substantial revenue increases. This strong performance early in the year gives us confidence in affirming our previously disclosed guidance and highlights why the team is excited about the remainder of the year,” said Matt Ehrlichman, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Porch Group, Inc.

With new approvals in Arizona, Georgia, and Virginia, the company is also on track to leverage particular insights from its current data into its underwriting models. Adding to this, JP Morgan analysts recently initiated coverage of the company. The firm set its rating at Overweight and gave a price target o $8. Based on current trading levels, this target sits roughly 74% higher.

3. FTC Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FTCI): +80%

penny stocks to buy FTC Solar Inc. FTCI stock chart

Like EOS, FTC is also focused on alternative energy applications. In this case, as the name suggests, the company is part of the solar industry. In particular, FTC provides solar tracking systems and solutions, including engineering and software.

Shares slipped earlier this month after the company reported its latest round of earnings. In addition to headwinds from the broader stock market sell-off, FTC also missed estimates and gave a revenue forecast that reflected delays by solar developers. Regardless, FTCI stock has made some headway going into the end of May. Shares have made a rebound from lows of $2.12 to over $4 at the end of last week.

What to Know About Buying Penny Stocks on May 23rd

What do analysts think about FTC right now? Missed earnings aside, many analysts have remained bullish on the stock. The most recent firm, Northland Securities, initiated coverage on the stock this week. It started FTCI with an Outperform rating and a $7 price target. Considering the penny stock sits just under $3.90, this target is 80% higher right now.

4. Ginkgo Bioworks Holdings Inc.(NYSE: DNA): +200%

penny stocks to buy Ginkgo Bioworks DNA stock chart

Shares of Ginkgo Bioworks have been channel-bound for weeks, but that hasn’t stopped traders from taking advantage of the volatility. Earlier this month, the cell programming company announced plans to develop global biosecurity capabilities in Qatar alongside First Serv. This new partnership aims to build Doha as a critical access point for a pathogen monitoring network.

Considering the uncertainty surrounding numerous viruses, including COVID and now, monkeypox, this news seems to have come at a reasonable time. “Biosecurity in this new era is about applying the cutting edge tools of the biotech age to prevent the next pandemic or infectious disease threat. Proactive pathogen monitoring is an essential part of this effort—we need a robust global weather map to identify and track emerging biological threats,” said Matt McKnight, General Manager, Biosecurity at Ginkgo Bioworks.

What do analysts think about DNA stock? If you look at KeyCorp’s rating, it appears to have taken a bullish stance on the beaten-down biotech stock. The firm has an Overweight rating on the penny stock and a price target 200% higher at $8.

Penny Stocks To Buy

Starting with analyst coverage may be an interesting first step if you’re looking for penny stocks to buy. These firms make a point to dive into company specifics beyond market hype. But, it’s important to remember that they are not always the final say in what the market or stocks will (or won’t) do. With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to have a plan in place and a strategy perfected. According to analysts, these are just a few of the penny stocks to buy right now. Do you agree? Drop a comment if any of these are on your list of penny stocks right now.

The post Best Penny Stocks To Buy According To 4 Analysts & Targets Up To $8 appeared first on Penny Stocks to Buy, Picks, News and Information | PennyStocks.com.

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