Decentralization, DAOs and the current Web3 concerns

Decentralization, DAOs and the current Web3 concerns

Decentralized autonomous organizations are a central function of interaction across the Web3 space, where creators are earning more than ever before.

What we call Web3 will be centered on an ecosystem of technology products that are decentralized, based on blockchain networks, interoperable, and without a traditional trusted validator (such as corporations, institutions and government bodies). But exactly what does this mean? 

What is Web3?

Web3, a term coined by Gavin Wood, Web3 Foundation president, is the next phase of the internet and, perhaps, of organizing society as a whole. Web1 was the era of open, decentralized protocols, where most online activity involved browsing individual static pages. Web2, which we are now experiencing, is the era of centralization, in which a large part of communication and commerce occurs on captive (closed) platforms and is owned by a handful of technology corporations, subject to centralized control by regulators and government agencies.

In contrast, Web3 aims to solve all the problems that have arisen in Web2 by giving data ownership and power over digital identity, which now belongs to large technology companies, to individual users.

Put another way, Web3 refers to a decentralized online ecosystem based on blockchain. To better understand this, see the figure below for a comparison of the architecture of a Web2 application versus that of a Web3 application.

This means that platforms and applications created on Web3 will not be owned by a central gatekeeper, but by the true owner of the data: the human being. In short, human beings will be the main focus of Web3.

Decentralization and trust on the Web3

Instead of relying on a single, centralized server, Web3 is being built on top of blockchain networks, powered by cryptography that makes it possible to store data across distributed devices (also known as “nodes”) around the world.

And such distributed devices can be anything — computers, laptops or even more robust servers. These devices serve as the framework of blockchain networks, communicating with each other to enable the storage, dissemination and preservation of data transactions without the need for a trusted third-party validator (such as an institution, corporation or government).

In other words, thanks to nodes running blockchain software, a decentralized record of property transfer is now possible, which is unlike anything we have seen before. Now, the way Web2 was built, we had no choice but to hand over our data to technology companies, governments, and their respective centralized storage servers.

So, we needed to trust that these traditional third party validators would use our data in an ethical and secure way. And we were taken by surprise when scandals, such as the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal, came to light.

Related: A letter to Zuckerberg: The Metaverse is not what you think it is

In the current structure of the web, it is very easy for our data to be transacted on “behavioural futures markets” without us having any idea this is happening and what impact it has on our lives. Not surprisingly, ownership of our data and decentralized identity, also known as self-sovereign identity, are considered prerequisites to Web3.

The automation of trust with Web3 interoperability

In Web3, self-sovereign identity and data ownership are managed by the indvidual users themselves via digital wallets such as MetaMask (compatible with Ethereum blockchain) or Phantom (compatible with Solana blockchain). These digital wallets work more or less like a wallet in the real world. Thus, a digital wallet serves as proof of your Web3 identity, securely holding both your currency and your data.

This wallet is interoperable, meaning that it can easily be created on the internet and work with various products and systems, allowing the user to choose which decentralized applications have access to their data and identity. Also, all transactions and interactions on the blockchain network are permissionless; they do not need the approval of a trusted third-party validator to be completed. But how important is this?

Today, individuals must use their Facebook or Google login to access many online applications, which forces them to hand over their data to these companies. In Web3, by contrast, individuals will own their digital identities. By replacing third parties with blockchain technology, Web3 unlocks entirely new business models and value chains where centralized intermediaries are no longer favored. Ultimately, Web3 takes power away from intermediaries and gives it back to individuals. And now, surely, you must be wondering if this power shift is really possible.

In fact, we are already seeing this firsthand with nonfungible tokens (NFTs). As I commented in another article in this column, content creators have recently begun experimenting with ways to receive the bulk of the revenue from their work. And much of this can be credited to the function of smart contracts, which, specifically with NFTs, enable secondary royalty structures, meaning that creators get paid every time their work changes hands on the open market. Thanks to this fundamental change in the value chain, creators are earning more than ever before.

Alongside this new value chain, Web3 has created entirely new economic organizations — DAOs. These decentralized autonomous organizations are a central function of interaction across the Web3 space. Let’s understand why.

Related: DAOs are the foundation of Web3, the creator economy and the future of work

DAOs in Web3

A DAO is a unique, self-managed organization run solely and exclusively by blockchain smart contracts, with their own bylaws and rules of procedure, that replace day-to-day operational management with self-executing code. The main advantage of a DAO is that, unlike traditional companies, blockchain technology provides the DAO with complete transparency.

All of the DAO’s actions and funding can be seen and analyzed by anyone. This transparency significantly reduces the risk of corruption, illicit activity or fraud by preventing important information from being censored.

Furthermore, it is blockchain technology that ensures that the DAO maintains its purpose. This is because, like NFTs, DAOs also work with smart contracts that can trigger an action whenever certain predetermined conditions are met. For example, in the case of a DAO, a smart contract can ensure that proposals that receive a certain amount of affirmative votes are automatically enacted.

And, unlike traditional organizations that operate from the top down, DAOs operate with a flat hierarchical structure, allowing all members to have a say in crucial decisions that affect the broader group — rather than just the primary shareholders.

In addition, DAOs are much more accessible to the average individual, as the barrier to entry is not as high. Usually, the only people who can invest in an organization early on — and reap most of the financial returns as a result — are incredibly wealthy and well-networked individuals.

In DAOs, this is not the case. They are globally accessible and available at a much lower cost.

Currently, DAOs have already been used to govern communities and fund projects, like managing a basketball team in the NBA and even trying to buy a first-edition print copy of the U.S. Constitution. However, the path to Web3 is not always easy.

Related: Fan tokens: Day trading your favorite sports team

What are the current concerns with Web3?

Today, a lot of learning and experimentation is required in the average user’s journey in using Web3 technologies. The lack of current user-friendly design in Web3 applications hampers the user experience and results in a steep learning curve.

In fact, such factors are a significant barrier to entry for most people. And when we consider the time required for software code exploration and development, as well as the current focus of developers, we realize just how far from a priority the user experience is.

While Web3 platforms are difficult to use, it is worth noting that this is only because things are so new that most developers are still focused on developing the underlying technologies.

Where does the future of the web lie?

Every significant change comes with a high risk. While one of the great advantages of Web3 is that it intends to return the ownership of data to its true owner — the human being — this “advantage” is also its greatest challenge.

Better explained, the fully matured Web3 space is still a long ways off, and nobody has a clue what exact form it will actually take. As the Web3 infrastructure is intended to be fully decentralized and use peer-to-peer networks, dispensing with traditional trust validators (or intermediaries), people will be fully responsible for their data and their crypto actives.

This means the necessary overcoming of cultural barriers and a change in behavior on the part of users, who will need to learn what digital wallets are, how public and private keys work, which cybersecurity practices are most appropriate, be constantly alert for phishing scams, never give their private key to a third party, among other things. In short, users will not delegate the security of their identity and data to third parties; they themselves will be responsible for keeping their vigilance at all times.

In short, security is still not a universal truth in Web3. You may trust the blockchain, but do you trust yourself? There are also scalability issues. While few would argue that decentralization is a bad thing in and of itself, transactions are slower on Web3 precisely because, at the current stage of developments in blockchain structures, decentralized networks do not yet scale satisfactorily.

In addition, there are the gas fees — payments that users make to use the Ethereum blockchain, one of the two most popular blockchain platforms in the world. Put another way, “gas” is the fee required to successfully conduct a blockchain transaction. These fees can drive up the value of a transaction to hundreds of dollars during peak times.

Then there is the conundrum of decentralization. Even though blockchain networks and DAOs may be decentralized, many of the Web3 services that use them are currently controlled by a small number of private companies. And there are valid concerns that the industry that is emerging to support the decentralized web (Web3) is highly centralized.

In any case, it is important to remember that while there is still a considerable list of concerns and obstacles to overcome, Web3 is still in its infancy, and brilliant people are actively working to solve the current problems.

What about you? Do you think we will enter a new era with a truly decentralized and privacy-focused web? Do you think that if the developers working on the current Web3 problems are successful, we will eventually get there?

Knowledge is power!

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Tatiana Revoredo is a founding member of the Oxford Blockchain Foundation and is a strategist in blockchain at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. Additionally, she is an expert in blockchain business applications at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is the chief strategy officer of The Global Strategy. Tatiana has been invited by the European Parliament to the Intercontinental Blockchain Conference and was invited by the Brazilian parliament to the public hearing on Bill 2303/2015. She is the author of two books: Blockchain: Tudo O Que Você Precisa Saber and Cryptocurrencies in the International Scenario: What Is the Position of Central Banks, Governments and Authorities About Cryptocurrencies?
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Jamaica’s central bank digital currency and the problems it hopes to solve

Jamaica’s central bank digital currency and the problems it hopes to solve

Jamaica’s new central bank digital currency, slated for launch early this year, aims to help address economic issues on the island nation.

The Central Bank of Jamacia recently announced that it would be launching its central bank digital currency (CBDC), dubbed the Jamaican Digital Exchange, or Jam-Dex, in the first quarter of 2022. According to the Jamaican government, the national digital currency will help to lower transaction costs while allowing the unbanked to access financial services.

It is estimated that over 17% of Jamaicans are unbanked, but it is feared that many more are underbanked. This is largely due to systemic financial sector impediments. High transaction costs, in particular, are a huge limitation. Consequently, many Jamaicans believe that banks are a preserve of the rich.

That said, internet penetration in Jamaica boasts impressively at over 55%, while mobile phone usage is at 100%. The Jamaican government is banking on these positive technological dynamics to catalyze the adoption of its national digital currency.

As things stand, the Jamaican banking sector is highly centralized. Two banks dominate over 60% of the nation’s entire banking sector. The situation has brought healthy competition and led to the compounding of retrogressive oligopoly issues such as high interest rates.

Jamaican banks have also hiked up transaction fees which “penalise depositors for having monies in the bank,” according to local Member of Parliament Fitz Jackson. The Jamaican government seeks to subvert these suppressive financial service trends by introducing the Jam-Dex digital currency. It will help devolve the country’s financial system away from the control of monopolistic banking giants.

Uptake in the next couple of years

Over 70% of the Jamaican population is expected to take up the new digital currency within the next five years. The country’s central bank, the Bank of Jamaica, is hoping to replace at least 5% of Jamaican dollars in circulation each year for the next couple of years.

The establishment has hailed Jam-Dex as a solution to greater transparency. All transactions done on the Jam-Dex network including government welfare payments will be traceable to enhance accountability.

The Jamaican central bank recently issued a total of around six million Jamaican dollars, or $44,000, to two major banks to carry out real-world testing of the Jam-Dex network before its official debut.

Customers looking to use Jam-Dex will be required to sign up for a digital wallet and make a deposit via an accredited Jamaican financial institution.

Problems facing the unbanked in Jamaica

Due to their avoidance of regulated financial institutions, many unbanked Jamaicans miss out on progressive socio-economic opportunities. Some government and nonprofit assistance programs, for example, make use of regulated financial institutions to distribute monetary aid. Because the unbanked lack bank accounts, many of them are left out.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Daniel Polotsky, the founder of CoinFlip, the largest Bitcoin (BTC) ATM network in America, said:

“Users looking to open traditional bank accounts undergo tedious approval processes and usually expose themselves to potential overdraft fees or other hidden expenses that they often cannot afford to pay.” 

Another problem that the unbanked face is the reliance on exploitative credit sources. Many of them are likely to take out payday loans due to a lack of access to formal credit institutions. Payday loans are incredibly expensive to finance. 

1,000 Jamaican dollar banknote featuring former Prime Minister Michael Norman Manley. Source: Bank of Jamaica.

Many Jamaicans are hooked on such services because the loans are easy to access, especially during emergencies. This ultimately leads to a vicious borrowing cycle.

The lack of a credit history among the unbanked in Jamaica further contributes to their economic segregation. Credit history is typically needed by employers, insurance companies and landlords when making assistance and compensation considerations. Because unbanked individuals rarely have these records, they cannot get the help they need.

Many unbanked people also lack substantial savings and when they do, they keep the funds in unsafe places, usually at home. This makes the money more susceptible to risks such as theft.

The Jamaican CBDC aims to provide financial services to the unbanked, helping them overcome many of the aforementioned problems.

Greater inclusion with a CBDC

The Jamaican digital currency is set to have a disruptive effect on Jamaica’s financial sector, particularly for its unbanked citizens. 

The financial inclusion of unbanked Jamaicans calls for the implementation of a radical financial system that promotes inclusivity, and Jam-Dex has the necessary properties needed to achieve this.

Polotsky highlighted the importance of such CBDCs:

“Central Bank digital currencies like Jamaica’s are an important step in building widespread familiarity around digital currencies. They also allow underbanked and unbanked individuals the opportunity to digitally hold and send cash for a lower fee than traditional banks, which can be crucial. While they won’t replace cryptocurrencies, these currencies can seamlessly co-exist in our digital world.”

He also explained that the new Jamaican digital currency would help popularize the use of prime deflationary cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which are typically used to hedge against inflation. 

Using the digital currency would enable relevant government agencies to monitor purchases of subsidized goods and detect pricing anomalies.

Setting consumer prices and countering price gouging

The rollout of the Jamaican digital currency will enable the government to counter price cartels, especially in instances where there is a need to regulate prices. Such scenarios usually occur when government subsidies cover certain products.

In recent years, Jamaican legislators have had to move swiftly to enact laws preventing the price cartels, especially in times of calamity. Price gouging in the nation is particularly rampant during the hurricane season when opportunistic traders hike the prices of building materials such as lumber, tarpaulin and zinc sheets.

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, disinfectants, hand sanitizers and masks were targeted by Jamaican price-gouging cartels forcing the government to intervene. Fines of up to 2 million Jamaican dollars, or $13,066 at the time of writing, were imposed on retailers found to be price gouging.

Of course, verifying each reported price gouging case is a time-consuming process. The Jamaican digital currency will make it easier for the authorities to verify such reports by analyzing point-of-sale records on the blockchain.

Countering money laundering

Jamaica had a Basel AML Index score of 5.77 in 2021. The nation’s index has been on a downtrend since 2017. The current rating means that Jamaica is highly prone to money laundering and terrorist financing schemes. The composite index score considers numerous factors including the nation’s corruption levels, its financial standards, adherence to the rule of law and political disclosure.

In 2020, Jamaica was added to the European Union’s blacklisted countries after the EU found that Jamacia’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) protocols were lacking.

The country was also included in the Financial Action Task Force gray list, a move that led to Jamaican merchants and clients being blocked from transacting on major international retail platforms.

The introduction of the Jamaican digital currency is expected to improve transaction transparency and help the nation overcome its current AML issues.

More effective monetary policies

The rollout of the Jamaican digital currency will enable the country’s central bank to track transactions with an aim to improve monetary policies.

The central bank, for example, would be able to establish overall credit scores compared to debt when formulating relevant regulatory rules.

James Bond Beach in Oracabessa. 

CBDC surveillance will also help the authorities crackdown on businesses involved in tax evasion schemes. This is thanks to Jam-Dex’s transaction traceability.

The Jamaican digital currency is bound to bring many benefits to the Caribbean island nation. Still, its adoption is likely to take a long time due to resistance by politicians and a population that is apprehensive of government surveillance.

A section of politicians has already accused the Jamaican government of bribery after it recently announced a 2,500 Jamaican dollars incentive to the first 100,000 Jam-Dex users.

Full adoption of the Jam-Dex digital currency is expected to take several years due to teething problems.

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Top coins to buy in a bear market | Find out now on The Market Report live

Top coins to buy in a bear market | Find out now on The Market Report live

On this week’s episode of “The Market Report,” Cointelegraph’s resident experts discuss which coins you should consider buying in a bear market.

“The Market Report” with Cointelegraph is live right now. On this week’s show, Cointelegraph’s resident experts discuss which are the top coins to buy in a bear market.

But first, market expert Marcel Pechman carefully examines the Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) markets. Are the current market conditions bullish or bearish? What is the outlook for the next few months? Pechman is here to break it down.

Next up, the main event. Join Cointelegraph analysts Benton Yaun, Jordan Finneseth and Sam Bourgi as they debate which are the top coins to buy in a bear market. Going up first will be Bourgi, he’s decided to go with Monero (XMR), initially launched in 2014, it focuses on keeping your finances confidential and secure. His second pick is Flux (FLUX) which is a cloud based decentralized Web3 application and for his third pick he’s gone with Stacks (STX) which as of January was the #1 Web3 project on Bitcoin. Apps built on Stacks inherit all of Bitcoin’s advantages, marketability and network effects.

Yuan is next with his first pick of Dai (DAI), of course someone had to pick a stablecoin. It’s main advantage however is that it is a multicallateral stablecoin, which means there is more than one asset backing it. His next pick is (TOMB) which is an algorithmic stablecoin that is pegged to the price of Fantom (FTM). His last pick for the week is The Sandbox (SAND) which has proven to be a massive player in the metaverse space with major partnerships with Adidas, Snoop Dogg, Atari to name a few. Seems like Yuan has done his homework, will it be enough to win your vote though?

Last but not the least we have Finneseth whose first pick is going to be Algorand (ALGO) which boasts fast transaction speed, low costs and a simplified staking experience and managed no major network outages or technical problems, quite the achievement. His second pick is DeFi Chain (DFI), a blockchain dedicated to fast, intelligent and transparent decentralized financial services, accessible by everyone with a total value locked (TVL) approaching $1 billion. His third and final pick of the week is The Graph (GRT) which has released modules designed to help companies easily create data graphs and get started with their Web3 experience. The competition is going to be tough this week so stick around till the end to cast your vote in the live poll and find out who comes out on top.

After the showdown, we’ve got insights from Cointelegraph Markets Pro, a platform for crypto traders who want to stay one step ahead of the market. The analysts use Cointelegraph Markets Pro to identify two altcoins that stood out this week: Biswap (BSW) and Origin Protocol (OGN) token.

Do you have a question about a coin or topic not covered here? Don’t worry. Join the YouTube chat room, and write your questions there. The person with the most interesting comment or question will be given a free month of Cointelegraph Markets Pro, worth $100.

The Market Report streams live every Tuesday at 12:00 pm ET (4:00 pm UTC), so be sure to head on over to Cointelegraph’s YouTube page and smash those like and subscribe buttons for all our future videos and updates.

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Gemini receives license to provide electronic money services in Ireland

Gemini receives license to provide electronic money services in Ireland

The license does not allow Gemini to operate as an exchange in the country, but it will let it passport e-money services throughout the EEA.

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has received an electronic money license from the Central Bank of Ireland. It was the 18th organization to receive the license, and the first since October 2020. Gemini joined such license holders as Coinbase, Stripe, Square and Meta. 

The e-money license, for which Gemini applied in early 2020 and received oMarch 14, will allow it to issue electronic money, provide electronic payment services and handle electronic payments for third parties. It will also enable the company to passport those services to European Economic Area countries, which are European Union members, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Gemini already provides exchange services in those countries.

Gemini also provides exchange and e-money services in the United Kingdom, thanks to its authorization by that country’s Financial Conduct Authority.

There is increasing consciousness in the country of the need for cryptocurrency regulation. The Oireachtas Finance Committee agreed to consider regulation in February when it requested briefing documents from the Central Bank and the Revenue Commissioners tax authority. The Central Bank already enforces European Anti-Money Laundering laws for virtual asset services providers.

Ireland has seen a growing crypto presence in the last year. Gemini opened its Dublin office in early 2021, and hired Gillian Lynch, a former executive at the Irish banking platform Leveris and Bank of Ireland, as head of Ireland and Europe. Kraken and Ripple (XRP) have also selected the country as their European base, and Binance (BNBopened three subsidiaries in Ireland in September.

Back in February, Gemini joined the likes of Coinbase and Block as part of the Crypto Council for Innovation. At the time, the exchange stated it had spent $120,000 on lobbying activities within the U.S. in the second half of 2021.

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$5.8 Billion Burned: Second Largest Crypto Network Records 2 Million Ethereum Destroyed in 7 Months

$5.8 Billion Burned: Second Largest Crypto Network Records 2 Million Ethereum DestroyedThis week, the Ethereum network’s burn rate reached a milestone by surpassing 2 million ethereum burned worth $5.81 billion since August 5, 2021. Metrics show the crypto network has a 24-hour burn rate of 1.74 ether per minute, which equates to roughly $5K worth of ether destroyed every 60 seconds. 2 Million Ethereum Burned, More […]
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Luna token price is soaring, but is the network's growth sustainable?

Luna token price is soaring, but is the network’s growth sustainable?

The last few months have seen Terra and its associated cryptocurrency LUNA surge in popularity. Is there more to this exponential growth than meets the eye?

Terra, an open-source blockchain platform for algorithmic stablecoins, has been on fire over the last half-year or so. The value of its native crypto asset Terra (LUNA) has risen from $24 to over $100 during the last six months, placing it in the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. 

And, even though LUNA has showcased minor corrections here and there, the currency and the Terra project, in general, have continued to grow from strength to strength. To this point, on March 4, LUNA flipped Ether (ETH) in terms of total staked value, with $29.5 billion worth of LUNA being locked up within the platform compared to ETH’s $25.9 billion.

Furthermore, Terra’s native data show that the ecosystem currently has over 230,000 stakers, making it the second-most staked crypto asset with more than four times the number of those staking ETH at 54,768. Lastly, in terms of its annual staking rewards, LUNA touts an average annual yield of around 6.62%, while ETH fetches 4.81%.

With LUNA up over 350% in the last 12 months, a number of pundits have continued to claim that Terra’s aforementioned growth may not be sustainable. In fact, individuals associated with the ecosystem — both for and against — have placed massive bets in regard to where LUNA will be trading around this time next year.

The $1 million bet that has the Terra community buzzing

With LUNA up over 350% in the last 12 months, a number of pundits have continued to claim that Terra’s aforementioned growth may not be sustainable. In fact, individuals associated with the ecosystem — both for and against — have placed massive bets in regard to where LUNA will be trading around this time next year.

Pseudonymous crypto trader “Sensei Algod” is so bearish on Terra’s token that he recently wagered $1,000,000 that by March 14, 2023, LUNA will be trading at a price point lower than what it was on the above said date at $88. Algod’s proposition was swiftly taken up by Do Kwon, CEO and founder of Terraform Labs, the firm behind Terra, who also put up the same amount claiming that the cryptocurrency will most definitely be trading at a price point higher than $88 by then.

As conversations between the two escalated via Twitter, the duo eventually decided to seek out the services of Cobie, co-host of the crypto podcast UpOnly, who will serve as an escrow agent facilitating the entire agreement. To elaborate, both Kwon and Algod have locked up a total of $1 million each in Tether (USDT) within an Ethereum address labeled “Cobie: LUNA Bet Escrow.”

Cobie: LUNA Bet Escrow. Source: Etherescan.

Kiril Nikolov, head of DeFi strategy at Nexo, a blockchain-based lending platform, told Cointelegraph that while bets like these can gather a lot of attention, they don’t “really matter” in the grand scheme of things. He added that developers will keep on building on Terra regardless of LUNA’s price or if Do Kwon loses the bet. 

A similar opinion is shared by Derek Lim, head of crypto insights for cryptocurrency exchange Bybit, who told Cointelegraph: 

“I don’t think that we can or should read too much into this. It will be a stretch to think that this wager between private parties can mean anything insidious or bullish. Instead, we should focus on other factors like the sustainability of the project’s yield reserve.”

Daniel Santos, CEO of Woonkly, a decentralized finance- (DeFi)-based social media network, believes that wagers showcase LUNA’s growing popularity. “The more popular a project is, the more fans and haters it has. One of the haters placed a bet against LUNA and Terra’s founder accepted the bet and why not — it’s that simple,” he told Cointelegraph.

Is Terra’s growth really sustainable?

While on paper, Terra’s rise seems extremely impressive, especially with LUNA flipping ETH in terms of staked value and their number of respective token stakers, Nikolov pointed out that there’s a major difference in the staking model of the two projects, given the inability of investors to withdraw their staked ETH and its rewards until Ethereum 2.0 is released. “Thus, it’s normal that only a small percentage of all ETH is staked, compared to LUNA,”’ he added. 

Furthermore, Nikolov noted that Terra has done a great job in recognizing that liquid staking solutions are needed in order to generate stable and composable demand that can further be used for collateral, adding:

“Once the Eth2 merge is complete, we can expect the percentage of staked ETH to become similar to that of LUNA, with liquid staking solutions such as Lido playing the main role of generating utility of the staked ETH, for example, as collateral).”

Lim believes that Terra’s existing staking yields are quite sustainable, adding that at a very baseline-type level, the staking rewards generated via the system’s Tobin tax and the spread fees from the LUNA/TerraUSD (UST) mintburn swaps are very practical.

Terra’s Anchor conundrum

The Anchor Protocol (ANC), a decentralized lending application built atop the Terra ecosystem currently allows investors in TerraUSD — the platform’s native United States dollar-pegged stablecoin — to accrue an annual percentage yield (APY) of nearly 20%. Theoretically, such high interest rates are made possible by the fact that the deposited stablecoins are pooled and lent out to borrowers to accrue interest.

Also, in order for an individual to borrow UST, they need to post staked tokens including staked LUNA and staked ETH as collateral. When the earned interest and staking rewards are not able to stay in line with the outlined interest rate of 20% — which is the case right now — Anchor is forced to take money from its “yield reserve” to compensate for the gap existing between its total earnings and payouts. 

In its current state, Anchor is being manipulated by some savvy users who, over the past few months, have been taking UST loans at an annual percentage rate (APR) of close to 2.5% and then depositing that same sum back into the Anchor protocol to accumulate 20% profits. Thus, there is a major imbalance within this setup because there is more demand for the 20% yields than for UST borrowers.

To help meet these unsustainably high payouts, Anchor has been going through its native reserve pools at a furious pace, as is highlighted by the fact that the protocol’s crypto coffers, between late December and mid-February, shrunk from $70 million to just a little over $6.50 million.

Jack Tao, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Phemex, told Cointelegraph that even though Anchor’s extremely high yield ratio has helped push the demand for UST and LUNA — with the latter’s value increasing by 60% over the past month alone — the protocol’s current APR may be extremely hard to maintain, adding:

“We have to note that the crypto market is highly volatile and these high yield payouts are definitely hard to sustain in the long run, as much of it may be inflated due to speculation. Now that there’s more UST in existence than ever, there are already critics that believe LUNA won’t be able to sustain its price unless Terra changes its current model.”

Lim, too, believes that Achor’s current APR is pretty unsustainable. He pointed out that the protocol functions just like any other money market. If the yield reserve depletes, the APR is adjusted to a sustainable amount — around 12–15% per annum — which is pretty good for stablecoins. 

Terra (LUNA) six-month price chart. Source: CoinGecko.

On a more technical note, he stated that there are four key issues facing Anchor that need to be solved immediately in order for the project to move forward in a sustainable manner. These include deposit growth outpacing borrowing, difference in borrowing and spending ratios to maintain an APR of 20%, the slow rate at which the protocol allows for the addition of new collateral assets and existing friction between Anchor and other blockchain ecosystems.

Nikolov noted that while UST’s fluctuating rate of yield reserves on Anchor is unsustainable, it has allowed the stablecoin to become widely adopted. This is something he believes could play a big role in the asset’s long-term success.

The ecosystem needs to continue maturing

Santos is of the opinion that most projects entering the crypto market — especially the decentralized finance sector — tend to make use of a high APY model to attract investors, even though they know quite well that these inflated return rates are not very sustainable in the long run. 

He pointed to Wonderland, a project offering returns in excess of 80,000%, which eventually resulted in the project’s demise. That said, he does not believe the same will be the case with Terra because the platform offers users a number of use cases as well as a high degree of operational functionality, adding:

“Cardano is a good example, with tons of investors jumping on the ADA train over the last year. A big part of the crypto community was saying that Cardano had ‘nothing’ to offer, something that LUNA is now facing with its detractors.”

As we move into a future being driven increasingly by decentralized technologies, it stands to reason that the best way for the sector to grow is through continued maturity. This is to prevent those projects entering the fray from being forced to offer extremely high returns — often bordering on being ridiculous — in order to attract new clients.

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Blockchain Startup’s Digital Identity Solution Made Available to 50,000 Zimbabwean Patients

Flexid Technologies, a blockchain startup promoting the use of digital identities, said its solution was recently used by thousands of Zimbabwean households and patients that participated in a local health survey study. Using Technology to Drive Down the Cost of Healthcare A blockchain startup, Flexid Technologies, revealed it recently made its digital identity solution available […]
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SXSW 2022 showcased immersive NFT experiences, lacking crypto and Bitcoin sessions

SXSW 2022 showcased immersive NFT experiences, lacking crypto and Bitcoin sessions

SXSW 2022 was overrun with NFTs and all things Web3 but had little focus on the cryptocurrency and Bitcoin ecosystem.

South by Southwest — commonly referred to as “South By” or “SXSW” — has returned to Austin, Texas this year to showcase the latest trends in interactive media, music, art, film and technology. While SXSW runs through March 20, 2022, the entertainment and technology festival kicked off its first weekend with a large focus on Web3 and nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

NFT activations and panels

SXSW’s attendees’ interest in NFTs and the future of the internet was particularly evident at the venue hosted by Blockchain Creative Labs (BCL) — a business and creative unit formed by FOX Entertainment in 2021. On March 11, the first day of SXSW, a line consisting of hundreds of people wrapped around the streets of Fifth and Trinity in downtown Austin as SXSW badge holders anxiously awaited entrance to BCL’s interactive NFT venue that also showcased Web3-focused panels.

BLOCKCHAIN CREATIVE LABS AT SXSW: Atmosphere behind the scenes at the Blockchain Creative Labs House in downtown Austin, TX. © 2022 FOX Media LLC. Cr: Matt Lief Anderson for BCL

BCL CEO Scott Greenberg told Cointelegraph that the company was the exclusive blockchain sponsor of SXSW this year:

“SXSW is a place for independent musicians, filmmakers and content creators to come together to find a way to foster business entertainment innovation. Given this, Blockchain Creative Labs felt that SXSW was the perfect place to come and tell a story while serving as a center for activation.”

Indeed, BCL’s event space appeared to be one of the most widely attended SXSW spots, especially for those interested in nonfungible tokens. The venue, which was open through Sunday, March 13, included a gallery of NFTs created by leading content creators, exclusive NFT drops of music from official SXSW artists, NFTs from feature films premiering during the festival, along with a number of thought leadership sessions on Web3 development. “We had over 60 speakers and 40 panels on Web3, entertainment and how this provides new value to creators. SXSW 2022 was really about NFTs and the Metaverse, and our goal was to educate attendees. I think we achieved this,” said Greenberg.

Greenberg said that BCL’s SXSW activation space consisted of interactive rooms to provide attendees with hands-on educational experiences to learn about the decentralized internet, also known as “Web3.” For example, BCL allowed festival-goers to create proof-of-attendance-protocols (POAPs) to document their attendance at SXSW. BCL’s POAPs served as NFT badges given to attendees of both virtual and in-person events that took place during the first weekend of South By.

The venue also featured a “BCL_RecordBlocks” station, which enabled attendees to “listen and earn” music NFTs from over 30 musicians. “The concept here was to let attendees choose from over 100 songs to listen to. After listening, a QR-code would appear on the screen in front of them that could be scanned for a music NFT,” explained Greenberg. 

He said that the exhibit let attendees better understand how to obtain music NFTs while also enabling individuals to connect directly with the musicians featured. “In gaming, you have play-to-earn. This is listen-to-earn to show how we can connect artists and fans together using NFTs,” said Greenberg. Given that the Web3 space is still developing, BCL had staff members in white lab coats managing the exhibit to help onboard users to MetaMask, Coinbase or Rainbow wallets where they could then store their NFTs.

BLOCKCHAIN CREATIVE LABS AT SXSW: Atmosphere behind the scenes at the Blockchain Creative Labs House in downtown Austin, TX. © 2022 FOX Media LLC. Cr: Matt Lief Anderson for BCL

The BCL venue also featured an “SXSW x BCL NFT Ledger” room which showcased a visualization of all SXSW-related data being recorded in real-time. “This exhibit featured Polygon wallet addresses from people claiming our free NFTs like Record Blocks. Everything displayed comes from the BCL marketplace,” explained Greenberg. He said that data will be recorded during the entirety of SXSW and will then be minted into an NFT. Greenberg said:

“This serves as a time capsule of SXSW events. Data is updated on a regular basis to visually show how information is recorded on the Polygon blockchain. This is also an art exhibit, as we will mint this as a 1-on-1 NFT that we may eventually sell.”

BLOCKCHAIN CREATIVE LABS AT SXSW: Atmosphere behind the scenes at the Blockchain Creative Labs House in downtown Austin, TX. © 2022 FOX Media LLC. Cr: Matt Lief Anderson for BCL

NFTs main topic of discussion at “The AlgoRanch”

NFTs were also widely discussed at “The AlgoRanch,” a pop-up event hosted by Algorand, a blockchain network designed to solve security, scalability and decentralization issues. Algorand has also taken an interest in NFTs, specifically when it comes to ensuring sustainability since the network uses a Pure proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus protocol.

In order to demonstrate recent NFT innovation, Algorand featured a number of sessions during its SXSW pop-up focused on nonfungible token projects. For instance, Shrina Kurani — a Democrat running for Congress in California’s 41st District — appeared on a panel to shed insight on the launch of her NFT collection. Known as “Kurani for Congr3ss,” she explained that this is a collection of 230 NFTs designed to raise awareness for her campaign while highlighting climate-friendly solutions in the Web3 space.

In order to detail the importance of her NFT collection being carbon neutral, Kurani was on stage alongside Priya Samant, CEO of Abris — a sustainable NFT marketplace built on Alogrand that partnered with Kurani on this particular drop. “The main collection featured 230 NFTs that represent the 230 billion tons of carbon remain in the world‘s ‘carbon budget,’” explained Kurani.

Kurani further told Cointelegraph that she is the first-ever federal candidate to launch NFTs for a congressional campaign:

“We are leveraging NFTs as a way to support a campaign to make a real impact on the future. It’s important to be connected to both Web3 and the real world to bridge the gap between politics and crypto — NFTs are a way of doing this.”

Kurani added that NFTs allow congressional candidates to represent the American population, claiming that 3 out of 10 Americans under the age of 30 engage with cryptocurrency. “This is a way to get those individuals involved. We can also reach more people and educate the population on financial literacy. The main thesis of Web3 is about decentralization, consumer empowerment and ownership, which is why we are excited about NFTs,” she remarked.

In addition to Kurani’s NFT collection, the American Rapper Darryl McDaniels also known as “DMC,” announced the tokenization of his song Million Scars at Algorand’s SXSW pop-up event. For this launch, McDaniels used, a technology platform built on the Algorand blockchain that features a carbon-neutral footprint and low transaction costs. McDaniels told Cointelegraph that blockchain technology allows musicians to solve common problems in the music industry:

“Run DMC has always brought people together for the better. What I’m doing with Algorand will help us manifest solutions needed to put power back into the creator‘s hands. Everything in the music industry has been exploited and separated, and now we have solutions to make it inclusive for everyone involved.”

NFTs made a splash at Ripple

The Ripple House, hosted by fintech firm Ripple, also featured a variety of NFT projects to highlight the company’s new Creator Fund. Monica Long, general manager of RippleX — Ripple’s innovation arm — told Cointelegraph that the fund is a $250 million commitment to help creators with their NFT projects:

“While creators are starting to understand the benefits of NFTs, they typically don’t know how to go about developing these projects. They either lack funding or marketing and technical expertise, so we wanted to launch the Creator Fund to solve these three challenges. We’ve already had over 4,000 applications, most from independent creators looking to grow their audiences.”

According to Long, Ripple’s Creator Fund examines a variety of NFT use cases, but the company plans to focus primarily on sustainability, real estate, music and entertainment moving forward. Long added that developers can currently experiment with NFT functionality on the XRP Ledger using NFT-Devnet, a beta environment for developers to use XLS-20d — the native NFT standard RippleX is proposing.

“We are working on a new standard to make the NFT minting, management and burning experience more natively built into the protocol. Other chains have NFTs programmed through smart contracts, so a lot of these capabilities are now built into the XLS-20d standard,” said Long. The executive added that Ripple anticipates the standard to go up for mainnet amendment voting in early April.

In the meantime, some were already demonstrating how the XRP Ledger could be used for NFTs. Kaj Leroy, co-founder and CEO of Xpunks — an NFT project built on the XRP Ledger — gave a glimpse into the project by creating custom JPG avatars for attendees. Leroy told Cointelegraph that Xpunks is currently waiting for the XLS-20d standard to be released before minting the actual Xpunk NFTs. “These are just JPGs now, but once XLS-20d launches we will make a big collage of all these JPGs, mint it, then send it to everyone who came to our booth at SXSW.” 

Ripple House at SXSW 2022. Source: Ripple

Stellar hosted an NFT artist challenge

Stellar also jumped on the opportunity to showcase NFT development during SXSW this year. The open-source decentralized protocol hosted a 48-hour NFT hackathon during the first weekend of South By, bringi newcomers and experienced developers together to build a project on the Stellar network that incorporates nonfungible tokens.

According to the prompt, artists were instructed to create NFT artwork that “embodies the metaverse.” Stellar then sent XLM funds to users’ Litemint wallet addresses to cover the minting fees. Participants had the opportunity to win $1,500 worth of XLM prizes for participating in the challenge.

Fluf World highlighted a “Metaverse Manifesto”

Another major topic of conversation during SXSW this year was Web3 and the rise of the Metaverse. Some of the most in-depth conversations regarding metaverse development took place at Fluf World’s Fluf Haus.

Alex Smeele, co-founder and CEO of Non-Fungible Labs and Metaverse environment Fluf World, told Cointelegraph that the company wanted to use SXSW as an opportunity to discuss plans for the launch of its “Metaverse Manifesto.”

Fluf World venue at SXSW 2022. SourceL Fluf World

While there are a number of different definitions for the Metaverse, Smeele explained that he believes it represents the future of the internet and how people will engage with it. As such, Smeele noted that the Metaverse requires standards that Web3 companies must address:

“The Metaverse Manifesto is a call to arms for industry leaders to address the wider issues we are facing. Everyone is charging headfirst into this space with big ideas, but there are still questions that need to be answered if we are going to drive things forward correctly. If we can bring the smartest people in the industry together to define these standards, it will save hassle moving forward.”

Smeele said that the sessions hosted at Fluf Haus focused on sustainability, inclusion, diversity and other topics shaping the Metaverse. “We had about seven ecosystem partners present to discuss these topics. Altered State Machine, Carbon Click, The Seekers, Silo team and a number of others came together to address important issues. Decentralization is about putting power back in the hands of individuals, but with great power comes great responsibility,” commented Smeele.

Alex Smeele, co-founder of Fluf World on a panel at Fluf Village during SXSW. Source: Fluf World 

Little attention for Bitcoin and crypto overall

Although it’s notable that NFTs and Web3 were major topics of discussion during SXSW 2022, cryptocurrency and Bitcoin (BTC) were largely left out of the conversation. Dan Held, growth lead at Kraken and a serial Bitcoin entrepreneur, highlighted this point in his recent recap of SXSW. In his post, Held noted:

“On Sunday morning at 10AM, I was the moderator of the ONLY Bitcoin panel at the conference called ‘Bitcoin DeFi’ where I chatted alongside Pomp, Alyse Kileen, and Tony Cai about the basics of Bitcoin, DeFi, and the intersection of the two. Pretty wild to think that we were the only Bitcoin talk!”

A few pop-up events during SXSW focused on the crypto ecosystem. The Grit Daily host featured a fireside chat on March 10 with Alex Mashinsky, CEO of Celsius Network. Tal Bentov, vice president of lending at Celsius told Cointelegraph that she believes there was a genuine interest in crypto at SXSW, which is why it was important for Celsius to be one of the few crypto companies that showed up. 

So, there were very few official SXSW panels related to cryptocurrency. One of the panels that did discuss crypto in-depth was entitled Financial Surveillance in a Cashless Society. Sheila Warren, head of data, blockchain and digital assets at the World Economic Forum, was one of the panelists for this session. 

Warren told Cointelegraph that the discussion focused on policy and how regulators think about central bank digital currencies versus cryptocurrency. “We didn’t necessarily conclude anything specific, but the more we go digital, the more opportunities there are for tracking and tracing. There are ways to mitigate the ability for private and public sectors to track what you are up to online, though,” said Warren.

She added that an impressive number of SXSW attendees were present for this panel, demonstrating how important this topic is for many people, along with those who work in policymaking. Warren further remarked that while she thinks NFTs are the gateway into crypto, she hopes that South By attendees realize that a lot more is happening within the crypto ecosystem aside from NFTs:

“There is a lot going on in the ecosystem and, now, the industry is getting taken seriously by many different people all over the world. I’m happy to see this activity and that people are realizing it can be a fun technology, but it’s also serious and life-changing. I hope next year at SXSW we get more opportunities for discussion within the crypto world as a whole.”

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The metaverse will change the paradigm of content creation

The metaverse will change the paradigm of content creation

The metaverse is a new frontier for business, and creators will be the first to benefit from showcasing products and services to followers.

Content constitutes the essence of the internet and comes in many different forms that the current Web2 internet iteration supports — text, audio, video or a mix of all three. However, content is scarcely a free resource. It is content creators who are now becoming opinion leaders, influencers and the cornerstones of so many of the critical services businesses rely on, such as advertising, marketing and public relations management.

The need for content and its strive for independence — embodied by thousands of bloggers and indie performers — has spawned an immense online economy that trades talent and often rakes in sales volumes many a top-level artist would salivate to earn. This economy has been dubbed the creator economy: a financial framework that allows independent individuals to earn on their self-expression by feeding audiences the type of content they are willing to pay to consume.

A rising force

The creator economy is a tremendous force: a unique, online phenomenon that overstepped the $104-billion market size threshold at the end of 2021. Given the snowballing demand for new content on popular platforms, such as TikTok, that empower independent artists and performers, experts are hesitant to make forecasts about the potential market size of the creator economy in the near future.

The reason for the lack of tangible predictions is that the creator economy is an extremely young phenomenon that started with the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdowns evoked a wave of talent among people confined indoors, resulting in a release of creativity that others sharing confinement were eager to consume as much-needed entertainment.

Related: The best is yet to come: What’s next for blockchain and the creator economy

Considering that micro-entrepreneur creators are closely related to influencer marketing, which spots around $13.8 billion in market size, it is possible to understand the prospects that further expansion of the phenomenon can yield. More importantly, experts believe the transition to a new technological medium will allow content creators to overwhelm markets and industries with new opportunities for product and service promotion.

Decentralizing talent

More than 50 million creators are driving their own economy of talent, attracting in excess of $800 million in venture capital. Such figures are but a shadow of what they can become later, as new venues are rapidly becoming available.

The development of blockchain technologies has resulted in a sweeping revolution across financial markets, empowering individuals instead of institutions and channeling ownership of data and funds to their holders. The qualities of the blockchain — immutability, full transparency and the trustless nature of operations — have permeated many industries, swooning the balance of business orientation from centralized corporate reliance to decentralization. This shift in the basic concepts that govern relations between participants to transactions, facilitated by smart contracts, has not gone unnoticed in the creator economy.

With the decentralized finance and GameFi sectors marshaling across their respective industries and detracting droves of users from conventional approaches to banking and gaming, it was only a matter of time before influencers and content creators decided to shift the paradigm in their operating environments. The content creation model has been altered forever with the incorporation of blockchain technologies that allow users to incentivize content creators, while creators can actually monetize their talent without having to share the proceeds with centralized, often-unfair hosting platforms.

Related: DAOs are the foundation of Web3, the creator economy and the future of work

Going metaverse

The development of metaverses — fully digital environments powered by the blockchain on Web3 and virtual reality — will herald a new era in content creation. Never before has talent had access to such an advanced set of tools to embellish even the bravest of ideas on the threshold of the real and digital worlds.

Metaverses allow creators to visualize in stunning graphical detail anything from an opera concert in the void of space against a backdrop of nebulae to a blog stream on a deserted island. Anything creativity can fathom can be implemented in the metaverse for the benefit of all parties involved. By relying on the unlimited opportunities of the metaverse in its incorporation of virtual reality, content creators will be able to unleash their creativity and allow it to roam wild. Such promises of unseen quality of content can only be described as honeysuckle for an eager audience of viewers longing for more variety in types of content consumed — and, more importantly, new experiences.

The blockchain basis of the metaverse offers even more benefits for content creators, as it allows them to employ various mechanisms for monetizing their content through the versatile nature of internal cryptocurrencies. Users can stake their digital assets on specific creators, encouraging them to release more content of a certain type. Others can pay to access special content, while others can simply reward their favorite creators with donations. The monetization avenues are numerous, and content creators can always be sure that their talent will be paid for and no hosting platform can strip them of their earnings.

Even more lucrative are the prospects for businesses in terms of content-creator economy permeation in the metaverse. Marketing, advertising and promotion in general gain a new lease on evolution with content that can be tailored in an endless variety of ways and seamlessly integrated into the channels of select creators. The metaverse provides businesses with an entirely new frontier for deployment and audience reach, and the creators are the takeoff ramps that can showcase products and services before their followers — for a price.

In digital hindsight

The metaverse is the next iteration of the internet we know today: a fully user-centric environment serving the purpose of elevating creativity to a new level. However, audiences will not be the only sources of revenue for content creators, as businesses are eager to tap into this lucrative niche and leverage the possibilities offered by native, organic and highly versatile ad integrations in virtual reality content.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Johnny Lyu is the CEO of KuCoin, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, which was launched in 2017. Before joining KuCoin, he had accumulated abundant experience in the e-commerce, auto and luxury industries.
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Real health benefits will come when medicine and the Metaverse collide

Real health benefits will come when medicine and the Metaverse collide

As mental health continues to decline, what will happen when medicine and virtual worlds come together in the Metaverse?

The world is becoming more connected as cryptocurrency, blockchain, nonfungible token projects, the Metaverse and other online communities gain popularity. However, we’re also seeing rates of depression and feelings of isolation and loneliness skyrocket. This development is certainly not causal, but it is something to consider as younger generations become more involved in virtual spaces. The global COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a national mental health crisis. Mental Health America reported that 47.1 million people in the U.S. are living with a mental health condition. That’s one in five Americans, folks. 

Unsettling as those figures may be, progress is being made with modern therapies and treatments in and out of virtual worlds. Would you consider logging onto your computer to meet with your cryptographically certified doctor or therapist? How about receiving a prescription delivered to your door? Many young people actually feel more comfortable in a virtual setting, surrounded by peers and represented by their chosen avatar.

So how does this dream become reality? It all starts with innovation and nature. Researchers and doctors have been exploring the medicinal world of fungi and their power to heal and regenerate. Fungi have been core to this planet’s wellbeing for billions of years, and we’re just beginning to understand the psychoactive effects that certain fungi have on the human psyche.

Related: The next generation of data-driven healthcare is here

The war on drugs

President Richard Nixon put a halt to all research on psychedelics in 1970 when he deemed renowned psychologist and writer Timothy Leary the most dangerous man in America. He began the war on drugs and convinced society that these psychoactively medicinal fungi were the devil’s work. Scientific research into the benefits of psychedelics was set back twenty years before researchers could start back up and resume their studies. Now, psychedelics are making headlines, and the efficacy of the treatments is showing possibly the best results known to science. It’s the right place to be.

Through psychedelic therapies, such as those being professionally performed in research being conducted by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics, the Center for Psychedelic Medicine in NYU Langone’s Department of Psychiatry, the Center for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London, the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, and other institutions, patients are learning how to process their trauma instead of suppressing it. With minimal doses of psychedelic medicine, recovery rates trend upwards and patients continue to get better on their own.

Related: The crypto world should know about longevity

Where healing happens

The beauty of psychedelic treatment is that it’s not a daily prescription. By studying psilocybin, the hallucinogenic alkaloid found in so-called “magic mushrooms,” with regard to the treatment of depression, PTSD, and anxiety, researchers are identifying the root causes of the patient’s problem in just a few sessions. Psychiatric drugs that reduce symptoms, on the other hand, must be used on a daily basis and can have serious side effects. They’re not cheap, either.

MAPS founder Rick Doblin said: “Psychedelics work by reducing activity in what’s known as the brain’s default mode network — it’s equivalent to our ego. Our ego filters incoming information according to our personal needs and priorities. During a dose of psilocybin, our ego shifts from the foreground to the background. It’s part of a larger shift of awareness. This shift is the most important experience, and patients feel more altruistic.” This is where healing begins.

Neurogenesis in action

The fact that psychedelic research is now being welcomed and practiced is a huge win for the medical world. In the next two years, it is likely that MDMA-assisted therapy to treat PTSD and psilocybin-assisted therapy to treat depression will be legalized in the United States. Dr. Owen Muir, co-founder of Brooklyn Minds Psychiatry, said, “In the first MDMA phase three trial, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD was found to be more effective than any medication for any condition for psychiatry. It’s literally the most effective drug we have for anything.” Change is coming, and it’s needed now more than ever.

The Metaverse and medicine

On top of this news, excitement is brewing around the Metaverse. Dr. Muir is developing programs for psychoeducation and group therapy in the virtual world with a focus on meeting patients where they are and supporting them through their journey in the most secure fashion. Dr. Muir’s team wants to break cultural barriers and stigmas often found in doctor-patient relationships. One way of accomplishing this is by using an avatar to represent patients and doctors. Perceptions change about who a person is, where they come from, and what they need when the doctor is both a licensed professional and represented by a panda avatar. It’s the first time — dare I say — in the history of the United States that patients are going to get reliable, transparent and affordable healthcare. As Dr. Muir explained:

“The metaverse is changing the landscape of healthcare by using blockchain technology to build trust among patients.”

He continued: “When something like a payment happens in the blockchain, it’s recorded and that record can’t be altered. […] And in keeping with the ethos of Web3, code for transparent payments will be available to everyone, so big insurance can feel free to use it if they’d like to disclose their costs as well.”

Related: Making the Metaverse the key to a better future instead of a dystopian prison

Empowering virtual communities with medical professionals

There are different NFT projects that are making a splash in the mental health world. A Discord community for the AstroMojis NFT project allows users to get a mental health support ticket. Psilo, a 3D avatar NFT project, is donating a portion of proceeds to nonprofits that are studying psychedelics for mental health therapies. Other NFT projects, including Psychedelics Anonymous, offer community support for exploring the Metaverse — creating online networks where everyone is equal and egos are checked at the door.

To the traditionalist, this may all seem silly. But after decades of failed treatments, and the continuous suffering — physically, emotionally, and financially — it’s time for innovation. Depression is the primary reason why someone in the U.S. dies of suicide about every 12 minutes — over 41,000 people a year. Think of future generations who will benefit from healthy minds, the families who won’t know the heartache of losing a loved one to depression, the peace of mind one gets once anxiety’s grip is gone, and the boundaries people can push past when they don’t fear their own limitations.

We’re moving into a new era where community, technology and mental health meet in the virtual world, providing us with IRL benefits. Our worlds are about to be much better places.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Chelsea Pyne is a certified Brain Longevity® specialist who advocates for holistic living and the healing power of nature. She has been a writer, editor and photographer in the United States, Europe and the Caribbean for the last decade. Beyond her work in magazines, she has written a children’s book that questions the afterlife, has covered world-famous regattas and maritime events, and is a meditation and brain health educator.
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