TIL, or “today I learnt” for those who still believe in full sentences, is one of the few useful phrases in the urban dictionary. Particularly so if you are trying to stay up to speed with all that’s going on in the crypto economy.
It all started last week when the $69 billion NFT purchase of Beeple’s art sent us digging into all that we may have missed while obsessing about old-world issues like inflation and bond yields. We came away with a bunch of TILs.
To the under-40 readers of Thinkpad, apologies if this is all old news. Roll your eyes and move on. To any over-40 readers, read on.
TIL #1: NFT Mania Is Everywhere
The NFT news is so last week already. Actually, it’s so last month. Google Search trends will tell you that NFT searches picked up at the end of January and it’s been a vertical climb ever since.
But it’s not just the art world that’s taken in with NFTs, the music world is getting in on the action and so are the Reddit stock forums, which apparently buzzing with NFT stock names like Takung Art, Oriental Culture, Liquid Media.
The NFT frenzy is everywhere.
Now, after an initial sense of disbelief, the finance folks are trying to make sense of what’s going on. “NFTs stand a reasonable chance of being an entirely new art form, and this may be the beginning of their long, noble and (yes) controversial history,” writes Tyler Cowen in this tongue-in-cheek Bloomberg Opinion piece.
TIL #2: DeFi’s ‘TVL’ Is Now $44 Billion
You may be forgiven for having had to google NFT, but DeFi you have surely at least heard of even if you don’t fully understand it.
DeFi, or decentralised finance, has been the next big thing in crypto for some time now. But what you may not know is that the “total value locked” under DeFi is apparently at $44 billion, according to DeFi pulse. What is total value locked? It is essentially the U.S. dollar value of tokens locked in smart contracts.
The DeFi world is looking more and more like a parallel financial system. You can collaterialise your tokens to raise funds, your deposits earn you interest, there are exchanges and platforms offering derivatives.
#TIL 2 (a): You might be interested to know that one part of the DeFi universe is a decentralised exchange called ‘Sushi Swap’ and Coindesk tells us it is eating ‘raw market share’. That will make it to the bad headlines hall-of-fame.
TIL #3: The Sophisticated Investors Like Cardano
You’ve all been reading breathless coverage of the rise in Bitcoin, Dogecoin and the likes. But it appears that action is moving. To something called Cardano.
Cardano has moved to a market value of about $34 billion from about $5.6 billion at the start of this year, according to Bloomberg. It’s six-fold surge since the middle of December that briefly made it the third-biggest cryptocurrency by market value after stalwarts Bitcoin and Ethereum, the article informs us, going on to tell the story of its 33-year old founder, who says his goal is “to run countries on this blockchain”.
Maybe he will. Who are we to doubt the possibilities of the impossible in these times.
We’ll end on a relatively less surreal note. Between Bitcoin and its near and distant cousins like stablecoins and now central bank digital currencies, it looks like the nature of money is changing. We tried to delve into some of the issues that connect the old world of money to the new world in this conversation with Neha Narula, director of the digital currency initiative at MIT Media Lab. You can watch / read that here.
Till next week, when we will return to the real world.