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The past year has been an exciting one for the crypto industry, with no shortage of notable developments regarding both the decentralized and traditional financial markets. In this regard pendulum, a fiat-optimized blockchain infrastructure project, recently made history by securing the fastest parachain crowd loan in the history of Polkadot’s fledgling network. More specifically, the loan was funded within an hour and a half, showing not only the growing market power of Pendulum, but also the growing popularity of DeFi.
Developed on “Substrate”, a popular blockchain building framework, Pendulum seeks to facilitate and link the operations of various DeFi applications and protocols with the forex market. In addition, the project delivers a holistic digital infrastructure for today’s DeFi dApps and protocols to enable high-quality Automated Market Makers (AMMs) such as e.g Amber, which allows them to leverage Forex-focused fiat liquidity pools that are scalable. Finally, it also allows them to unlock different revenue generation opportunities for those people who hold different fiat tokens.
Essentially, Pendulum seems to aim to become the leading Layer-1 for onboarding forex traders onto the blockchain, which could mean that Polkadot has the potential to become the chain of choice for forex enthusiasts in the near future.
2022 – The year that was for Polkadot
Right off the bat, it’s worth mentioning that Polkadot completed a whopping 15 forkless upgrades over the course of 2022, a number that is significantly higher than many of its contemporaries, including Ethereum, which only hard-forked 3 major upgrades in the past year has.
In addition, regarding adoption, Polkadot’s smart contract parachain Astar partnered with NTT Docomo, Japan’s best-known mobile operator, as part of a $4 billion adoption program for Web3. Not only that, Polkadot’s NFT Parachain Efinity, signed an agreement with gaming giant Square Enix, the company behind the legendary video game franchise Final Fantasy.
Similarly, Polkadot’s decentralized identity solution, KILT, has garnered widespread traction in 2022, with the project forging successful partnerships DENA (Federal Ministry of Energy), energy web (a platform to create a uniform identity register for the German energy market) and DeBio (a data protection-oriented ecosystem that enables the storage of medical and bioinformatic data).
Another major development worth noting is Polkadot’s integration of various popular stablecoins, including Tether (UDST and USDC) into its framework, as well as the launch of its two decentralized exchanges, viz balance and Polkadex. Finally, since the network’s inception, 74 projects have secured parachain slots through auctions on either Polkadot or Kusama (a public pre-production environment for Polkadot), with a total of 550 projects either released or in development on the network.
A few unwelcome incidents also reared their ugly heads last year. First, Polkadot’s flagship project, Acala, was under attack, causing the value of its native stablecoin supply to plummet by 99%. Not only that, after weeks of persistent rumors in early January 2022 that Polkadot was set become a sponsor of soccer giants FC Barcelona, it later turned out that the deal had fallen through.
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As Polkadot’s network continues to grow rapidly, experts believe 2023 could be a pivotal year for the project, one that might herald the first true merging of the burgeoning decentralized finance economy with that of the traditional financial market. Additionally, Polkadot could enable the first true pilot of trad-fi with executive transactions on a decentralized blockchain in the coming year, which could eventually lead to the revival of the DeFi economy (whose reputation has suffered badly in recent months).
The future of the forex industry looks decentralized.
In recent months, some crypto networks have made a concerted effort to integrate the forex industry’s blockchain. Despite its ongoing legal troubles, Ripple has done so worked with some Financial institutions and payment providers to use their technology to accelerate/decrease the cost of their cross-border payments.
Similarly, Stellar (XLM) has signed agreements with several established institutions, including IBM, to explore the use of its blockchain technology in the forex industry. In fact, over the past year, the company announced the creation of Spacewalk, a trusted and decentralized bridge connecting Pendulum and Stellar’s network. The offering helps open a flow of stable fiat tokens between two networks while maintaining the ability to plug into any substrate-based L1 in Polkadot’s relay chain. This can ultimately create several forex-related opportunities for the global economy.
Other projects exploring similar activity include Chainlink, a decentralized oracle network that provides real-world data for smart contracts on the blockchain. It connects off-chain information sources such as forex market data with smart contracts on the blockchain, enabling the creation of decentralized trading and financial applications. After all, EOS is too building a platform where forex traders can trade in a trusted and transparent environment.
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Heading towards a future powered by decentralized technologies, it stands to reason that the traditional forex industry will be drawn to the use of blockchain technology in the near future as it can enable much faster transaction speeds as well as lower trading fees. Indeed a newer one World Bank study has shown that by merging the Forex industry with the fledgling DLT ecosystem, the global economy can save up to $16 million in transaction fees per year. So it will be interesting to see how the future of this space unfolds from here.
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