Fantom Deep Dive: The Supercharged Ethereum
Issue summary: In our 50th issue, we take a deep dive into Fantom, the fastest growing blockchain in DeFi over the last two months. We also discuss what we expect the digital asset market to do in 2022, and summarize the most important crypto news, stats, and reports.
In This Week’s Issue:
Fantom Deep Dive: The Supercharged Ethereum By Mike Gavela & Ryan Allis
Latest Market Forecast: A Cycle Top in Q1 2022? By Ryan Allis
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🏦 Fantom Deep Dive: The Supercharged Ethereum
By Mike Gavela & Ryan Allis
You can think of Fantom as a supercharged version of Ethereum.
Fantom is a fast, scalable, and secure layer-one blockchain platform. Developers can deploy smart contracts, just like on Ethereum, and use the same tools and programming languages since Fantom is EVM compatible.
At the moment it costs around $120 in Ethereum gas fees just for a token swap on Uniswap. While gas fees in Ethereum are currently prohibitive for most transactions, with Fantom, you pay a fraction of a cent, around $0.001 and transactions are confirmed immediately.
The Fastest Growing Blockchain in DeFi the Last 60 days
In the last two months since September 1, Fantom has grown 6x in Total Value Locked (TVL) in DeFi and 4.5x in market cap.
It is the fastest-growing major blockchain in DeFi since September 1, 2021. Take a look at the numbers below…
Below in this deep dive, we will be reviewing the Fantom protocol, its core architecture, tokenomics, and ecosystem.
Today, the only original team member left in Fantom is Michael Kong. Kong serves as the CEO and CIO of the Fantom Foundation, a nonprofit based in the Cayman Islands, which coordinates the development of Fantom. Fantom gained recognition because of its connection to DeFi architect Andre Cronje, who created Yearn finance. Michael recruited Andre in late 2018 to develop Fantom, though Andre stepped back to become an advisor to Fantom in 2019. He recently returned to serve as one of Fantom’s core developers. During Fantom's first developer conference back in October, Kong detailed the Fantom project's state before Andre came aboard.
"Yeah, so it started, I think, in May 2018, or June 2018, was the first time I met Andre. We found him through our mutual networks, and back then, Fantom was not a good project, to be honest. A lot of work had to be done. So we had to work together to press the restart button, develop the technology from scratch, and build up the team. As I said in my earlier presentation, the core technology is what is the most important thing because that's the foundation that allows applications to build and use the platform."
In the beginning, Fantom’s focus was to create a cryptocurrency suitable for smart cities. To that end, Fantom touted its theoretical speed of 300,000 transactions per second. It seems that this goal was a bit too ambitious, however, and the high transaction speeds the Fantom team promised have decreased significantly over time.
Today, Fantom has focused on DeFi and other enterprise solutions relating to supply chain tracking, healthcare tokenized assets, and central bank digital currencies. Fantom has had a degree of success in all these categories, with billions of dollars in total value locked and dozens of partnerships with prominent tech firms and government agencies in Central Asia such as Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Fantom owes these achievements to the project's academic guidance, the DeFi designs crafted by Andre, and the strong institutional connections of the Fantom Foundation's diverse and talented team.
Fantom’s mainnet went live in December 2019, but it was not until the tail end of 2020 that Fantom began to implement most of its core features and functionalities. The last piece of the Fantom puzzle was placed earlier this year with the release of Fantom’s on-chain governance process.
How Does the Tech Work?
Fantom is a fast, scalable, and secure layer one platform built on a permissionless, aBFT consensus protocol.
Lachesis is Fantom's aBFT based consensus algorithm. aBFT stands for Asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerance. In an aBFT network, nodes can reach consensus independently and they do not need to exchange finalized blocks. For this reason, aBFT consensus mechanisms are completely leaderless, increasing security with no round-robin or Proof-of-Work.
Leveraging aBFT, the Fantom team developed the Lachesis consensus. Lachesis is a DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph)-based aBFT consensus algorithm that offers tangible improvements over both Classical and Nakamoto models of consensus. Lachesis is asynchronous, leaderless, and final while also being Byzantine Fault Tolerant.
With Lachesis, participants have the freedom to process comments at different times. For example, transactions get confirmed when they enter the network; there is no waiting for block confirmations. It supports 1/3 of faulty nodes, and it is leaderless, meaning no participant plays a special role.
Fantom’s Two-Pronged Approach to Network Adoption
Fantom has a two-pronged approach when it comes to network adoption. One of those two teams is assigned for enterprise solutions, while the other is assigned to further on-chain development. The profits from the enterprise solutions fund on-chain development. Which in turn further enhances the enterprise solution with its innovation and research.
Of these enterprise solutions, the Fantom Foundation is focused on strengthening its presence in Asia, where the project has seen the most traction. A few members of the Fantom Foundation have close connections to institutions in the region, specifically Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan. Fantom focuses on these regions essentially because Fantom is the only crypto project looking to forge partnerships with these countries, and it has succeeded in securing a partnership with each government.
The Fantom Foundation wants to expand those partnerships, particularly in supply chain tracking and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). In its July AMA, the Fantom Foundation specified that its institutional partners leverage permissioned versions of Fantom’s technology provided by the Fantom Foundation's enterprise arm, not Fantom’s publicly available cryptocurrency blockchain. This is not surprising, given that almost every other institutional partnership you see in cryptocurrency is structured in the same way. It is extremely rare to see an institution use a public cryptocurrency blockchain, especially governments.
Fantom has also had great success in DeFi, as we discuss below, becoming the native layer for multibillion-dollar TVL apps like AnySwap (ANY) the Fantom equivalent of Uniswap and Geist Finance (GEIST), the Fantom equivalent to Compound.
FTM is Fantom’s native token. It is used for staking, governance, network fees, and collateral in the Fantom finance ecosystem. Since you can earn income from staking rewards and it is required to use the Fantom blockchain, the token itself has inherent utility and real economic value to holders.
FTM also exists as an ERC-20 token on Ethereum and as a BEP-2 token on Binance. Fantom has created bridges within their native wallet to ease this transition and worked with Anyswap for cross-chain NFT bridges.
Beyond the bridges, Fantom also has a native DeFi ecosystem called Fantom Finance. This ecosystem is designed to be a one-stop shop for everything DeFi related. Instead of porting over wrapped tokens and coins from other cryptocurrency blockchains, Fantom Finance features synthetic versions of popular cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum. These synthetic cryptos can be bought using fUSD, a synthetic stable coin collateralized by the FTM token at a five-to-one ratio. This collateral can come from your stake in the form of sFTM, which is a tokenized version of the FTM you're staking. Once you've put up the necessary collateral to mint the amount of fUSD you want, you can use it to trade over 176 assets with no slippage.
FTM Supply Breakdown
FTM’s total supply across all chains is 3.175 billion. The entirety of the supply, including staking rewards, was minted at launch with the following breakdown.
40% was allocated to Public and Private Sale investors, including private sale bonuses. Those FTM have no vesting schedule.
15% was allocated to advisors, with a 3-months lockup
10% was allocated to the founding team. This allocation features a 24-months vesting period with monthly-cliffs
3.6% was allocated to a strategic reserve. Those FTM have no vesting schedule.
31.4% was reserved for staking rewards
FTM’s Developer Incentive Program
On August 30th, the Fantom Foundation announced their 370M FTM incentive program to any dev team deployed on Fantom. Protocol teams will be able to apply for rewards from the Fantom Foundation based on their total value locked (TVL), scaling from 1,000,000 FTM up to 5,000,000 FTM in its first iteration, and to be changed accordingly depending on the needs of builders. Moreover, developers have complete liberty to choose how they wish to leverage these funds, whether it be to pay for expenses or implement liquidity mining rewards.
During the recent Fantom Developers Conference, Andre Cronje described his reasoning for rewarding the developers over the dapp users like other chains.
"It was a necessary evil to level the playing field because every chain was coming out with a new liquidity program, everyone was incentivizing liquidity, and, if you didn't have one, you weren't competing. So originally, I was quite against it. Because I have also been very vocal about how I feel about opportunistic liquidity, I mean, I've said it once, I'll say it again, they're liquidity locusts. They come in, they feed, they destroy, they leave. And, you know, one thing that we've always been focused on at Fantom since day one is a developer first. So it's creating an environment that is safe, is familiar, and is easy to use for devs, and that's why we made it a developer incentive program because it's not how do we incentivize the people that are providing liquidity? It's how do we incentivize the developers to build products that drive the metrics we want? So the lowest hanging fruit was just TVL because it is an agreed-upon measurement."
Many of the other smart contract platforms announce their user incentive programs designed to pump Dapp usage during this Fall. Fantom chose to incentivize its developers with rewards rather than the users, which caused the spike in its TVL and Market Cap.
The Top Fantom Dapps
Here are the top 5 projects we are watching that are a part of Fantom’s ecosystem.
Anyswap is a trustless MPC protocol to cross-chain any assets and data between any chain.
#2) Geist Finance
Geist is a decentralised non-custodial liquidity market protocol where users can participate as depositors or borrowers.
SpookySwap is an Automated Market Maker on the Fantom protocol.
Curve is a decentralized exchange liquidity pool designed for extremely efficient stablecoin trading.
Scream is a highly scalable decentralized lending protocol powered by Fantom.
Fantom is a high-speed EVM-compatible L1 blockchain with a focus on putting developers first.
Their incentive program differentiates them from the other chains that reward the users over the developers.
It is clear that Michael Kong and Andre Crojne are playing a long-term game with the growth of FTM.
They are not focused on changing the world or creating a new monetary system per se. They focus on creating a better tech environment for the developer who chooses to leverage the tools and systems they already use.
Fantom is unique in its mission to be “an Ethereum helper,” as it stands steadfast in its values of being a more efficient chain in a multi-chain world.
Overall, we recommend considering adding Fantom to your digital asset investment portfolio if you haven’t already.
📈 Latest Market Forecast: A Cycle Top in Q1 2022?
By Ryan Allis
The annual returns for Bitcoin (BTC) for the last decade are shown below.
We define the first year of a cycle as the year the Bitcoin halving occurs, when supply for miners gets cut by 50%. That happened in 2012, 2016, and 2020 — and will continue to happen every four years.
As you can see above, the 3rd year of the Bitcoin cycle has historically always been a down year.
In the year of a halving (2012, 2016, 2020) the mining supply gets reduced by half, which has historically driven price up for around 12-18 months after the halving.
Year 2 Of the Cycle = Big Upswings
The best years for crypto are usually the first full year after a Bitcoin halving (year 2), while the worst are after the inevitable bubble pops, which has always happened in year 3 of the Bitcoin cycle.
In the 2nd year of the cycle (2013, 2017, 2021) we have historically seen major irrationally exuberant upswings, always followed by major crashes (>80% in both 2014 and 2018 from peak to bottom).
2022 Is the Ominous Year 3 of the Cycle: Will We Break the Pattern?
In 2022, we are going into the very ominous 3rd year in the cycle -- the second full year after a Bitcoin halving. Historically, this has always been a down year for BTC and the digital token asset class.
Will we see a major pull back in 2022 like we saw in 2014 and 2018?
That is the trillion-dollar question.
While there is more institutional capital coming into the space than ever before, we expect this will rapidly drive up prices and create a speculative frenzy in Q1 2022, which we expect to pop by Q2 2022.
Yes, there is more utility and cashflows to holders via staking than ever before, so I remain very bullish about the long term picture -- simply cautious for the next 12 months.
Time to Be Cautious & Start Moving to Safety
While no one knows for sure when the next big pull back will happen, sitting at ATHs today, it’s time to start thinking about being cautious right about now. As BTC gets above $70k and Ether gets above $5k it’s definitely time to start moving to safety if your hold window is less than 36 months.
Anyone who says we’re in a continuous up-only supercycle and won’t ever see 50%+ crashes again has been on a bit too much hopium.
Yes, the four year Bitcoin halving cycles are becoming less and less relevant, but they still do affect the overall market and probably will for another 4 years or so until BTC gets under 10% market cap dominance.
What am I planning on doing? Moving Slowly to Safety
I plan to start selling about 5% of my stack each week that BTC is above $70k and Ether is above $5k -- until I get to 50% into USDC (which would take 10 weeks -- and thus I’d be 50% into Stablecoins by February).
The other 50%? I’m letting it ride till 2031.
Cycle Top Guess?
I do think Bitcoin will eventually reach $250k+ and Ether $25k+, but I think we will see those prices in the next cycle in 2024/2025, not 2022.
What’s my prediction? I think BTC will top out this cycle somewhere between $90k and $130k during Q1 2022 and then have a healthy 60% correction by mid-2022 and then slowly start to recover into early 2023. It’s incredibly difficult to predict this exactly of course and there are many factors that can shift this in a moment (like the China mining ban of May 2021 for example).
Know that no one can know exactly, and this is only my best guess with the market data and historical patterns I have available and my understanding of the human psychology of irrationally exuberant markets.
We’re getting pretty close to euphoria, so now is the time to be cautious.
The last time markets were this euphoric (excluding the temporary elevated prices of March 2021) was almost exactly four years ago on November 1, 2017 when there were exactly 45 days left before the market peak.
And when we last hit this level in January 2021 we had 3 months left to go until the peak.
What Are My Expectations?
I’ve been on point this year about Bitcoin calling the Summer bottom on June 23, 2021 at $30k and writing July 5 that I thought BTC would have a double peak and reach ATHs by the Fall and then reach $90k-$100k by December 31, 2021.
I did however get completely blindsided by the April/May 2021 BTC drop of 58% due to the renewed Chinese mining ban -- so take my expectations with a big grain of salt. I didn’t at all see that coming.
We’ll see where we actually end up and whether my more aggressive friends prevail with a $150k+ blow off top.
I See the 4 Year Bitcoin Cycle Influence Waning By 2025
Thankfully, with Bitcoin becoming less and less of the total digital asset market cap (currently at 43% and declining from 71% at the beginning of 2021) the four year supply cycle of Bitcoin mining likely won’t be much of an influence on the market by 2025.
This Bitcoin dominance level will continue to decline the next decade pretty steadily as Bitcoin becomes less and less technologically innovative and loses ground in the quickly growing sectors of DeFi, NFTs, gaming, and Web 3.0 which primarily happen on faster/newer/cheaper blockchains. Ethereum, Solana, Avalanche, Fantom, and Polkadot are eating Bitcoin’s lunch in DeFi right now.
So yes, there is always another crash around the corner in crypto markets. The moment you stop remembering that is the moment you get burned. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Now’s the Time to Be Cautious, Not Greedy
Be cautious when others are getting greedy -- and greedy when others are running away.
The time to invest is when the crypto market is at <50% its ATHs. The time to sell (some of your holdings) is when the crypto market is at ATHs.
I suggest keeping 50% of your holdings as a long term 10 year bet till 2030+, and the other half consider de-risking as the market valuations get higher and higher — a little bit each week.
The time to invest in crypto was a year ago (or in June 2021 in the temporary pullback). The time to hold is now. And the time to begin to reduce exposure is coming very soon.
So what to do? Consider starting to take some gains this Winter and gradually look to move partially either into stablecoins like USDC (which you can generate yield on in DeFi or CeFi) or into market-neutral crypto yield funds (like HeartRithm for example), that do well regardless of market conditions.
For me, I will be selling 5% of my crypto holdings every week for the next 10 weeks, moving to stablecoins, and generating yield on those stablecoins in DeFi. You can do this easily on a CeFi platform like Nexo, BlockFi, or Celsius — and with a little more work you can get much higher yields in DeFi.
CeFi stablecoin yields tend to be 6-10% while DeFi stablecoin yields are current in the teens.
If you’re up 5x or more on the year, don’t be greedy. Consider taking some gains and live to invest more at the inevitable next 50%+ market dip.
Yes, I remain VERY bullish on digital assets in the 4-10 year period — but I am starting to see prices get too overheated and that we may soon be heading for a major pullback.
🗞️ Crypto News Recap: The Top 10 Stories
Welcome back to This Week in Crypto… everything you need to know in one scannable format. Here are the top 10 stories of the week...
⚡Ethereum Sets New All-Time Price High as Crypto Market Cap Nears $3 Trillion - Ethereum reached a new all-time price high of $4,766 earlier today, flying past its previous all-time high record of $4,634 set last week. (Source)
😮 Bakkt Expands Cryptocurrency Offering To Include Ethereum - Ethereum’s new record comes after digital asset marketplace Bakkt Holdings, which listed on the New York Stock Exchange last month, announced that it would expand its crypto offerings to include the coin. (Source)
🏧 BlockFi, Neuberger Berman File for Spot Bitcoin ETF - The BlockFi NB Bitcoin ETF would provide direct exposure to bitcoin, if approved. (Source)
💰 Mastercard Launches Crypto-Linked Payments Cards in Asia - Consumers and businesses in the Asia Pacific region will be able to instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat currency (Source)
🤑 Zimbabwe Considers “Unstoppable” Crypto As Legal Tender - Zimbabwe acknowledges crypto may have a role to play in the future of the country's financial infrastructure. (Source)
🏦 UK Treasury and Central Bank Will Consult on CBDC, Potentially Launching by 2030 - "The earliest date for launch of a U.K. CBDC would be in the second half of the decade,” said the Bank of England, adding no final decision has yet been made. (Source)
🇺🇸 SEC Releases Report Urging DeFi Operators to Reach Out - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has published a report on the regulations, risks, and opportunities in the decentralized finance ecosystem. (Source)
📈 ConsenSys Founder Joe Lubin Teases MetaMask Token $MASK - Joseph Lubin, founder of Ethereum incubator ConsenSys, set off speculation a token for the non-custodial wallet MetaMask is imminent after tweeting, “Wen $MASK? Stay tuned.” (Source)
🎆 Solana Powers Up Web3 Gaming Projects With $100M Funding Deal - Solana Ventures, the strategic investment arm of Solana Labs, has joined forces with Lightspeed Ventures and FTX to finance a studio for games that will live on Web3 (Source)
💳 10% of China’s Population Have Opened Digital Yuan Wallets, per PBoC Official - The number of users of China's digital yuan, also known as the e-CNY, has increased by more than six times over the past four months. (Source)
💬 Tweet of the Week
💵 Weekly Crypto Fundraises & Deals
Here are all the crypto fundraises we heard about this week, ranked by size…
📊 Key Stats of the Week
Here are the most important and interesting stats in crypto this week...
1. DOT Holders Have Pledged $1B Ahead of First Polkadot Parachain Auction
2. Outflows Accelerated This Week, Reaching Over 5k BTC in Net Withdrawals on a Daily Basis
3. Ethereum Cracks Top 15 Assets by Market Cap Amid Reaching a New ATH This Week
4. The Mean Ethereum Transaction Fee Over the Last Week Averaged Roughly $50, With a Median of $26
5. Axie Infinity’s Katana Breaks $1.2B in TVL After Launch of Governance Token
6. ETH’s Price Movements Continue To Have a Correlation Above 50% With BTC
7. Total TVL Reaches a New ATH of $273B This Week
8. Ethereum Name Service (ENS) Cracks Top 10 Most Actively Used Dapps Based on 1 Day Fees
📝 Highlights from Crypto Reports
Here are the top highlights from the best crypto research reports this week…
1. Don’t Fight the Fed
Dan Moorhead, Pantera Capital’s Managing Partner, writes this month’s investor letter tackling inflation at what it means for the cryptomarkets.
"It’s a brave new world — when central bankers are promising to increase inflation. I’m old enough to remember when they used to fight it. Over the decades, not all central banks have been successful in fighting inflation. It’s complicated — it takes commitment. However, every central bank that has tried to create it has succeeded. Venezuela is the current title belt holder, followed by Zimbabwe. These countries have shown that when you increase the quantity of paper money, it takes more pieces of paper to buy things of real value."
2. Stablecoin Lending Yields More Than Twice That of US Junk Bonds
The team at Arcane Research published their latest weekly report highlighting Bitcoin’s realized market cap surpassing the previous all-time high back in April.
“The average interest rate on a US savings account is 0.06%. If you want to take more risk to yield your capital, you could purchase junk bonds - paying 4% on average, close to an all-time low. If you want more than twice as high yields as that of junk bonds, you could leverage stablecoins by lending USDC on centralized crypto lending platforms, with interest rates ranging from 7.5% - 8.9%. Total Value Locked (TVL) in DeFi is increasing fast, with almost $14 billion being locked in Aave, up from $2 billion in January. With the increasing demand for stablecoin lending, how long will these high yields last?”
3. Why Goldman Sees Ethereum Soaring To $8,000 By Year End
ZeroHedge, Nov 1, 2021
ZeroHedge’s Tyler Durden was leaked a note from Goldman Sachs Global Markets managing director Bernhard Rzymelka showing that crypto assets have traded in line with inflation breakevens since 2019.
“This, according to Goldman, lines up well with the Ethereum chart. In the past few days, the price of the crypto broke out to new all time highs, rising just shy of $4,500 with a narrowing wedge, which to Goldman is "either a sign of exhaustion and peaking... or a starting point of an accelerating rally upon a break higher." To Goldman, the answer to this rhetorical question is easy, and the bank hints that Ethereum could surge as high as $8000 in the next two months if the historical correlation with inflation fwds persists. And while some could argue that ETH is due for a pullback, Goldman counters that while the recent surge may appear stretched, "the RSI has yet to hit the overbought levels seen at past market highs.”
🎧 Top Crypto Podcasts of The Week
Here are the crypto podcasts that are worth listening to this week...
📈 Top Performers This Week
Here are the top 10 performing digital assets this week, out of the top 100 by market cap.
And here are the top 15 performers in the last week from all tokens with a market cap of $20M+.
The Top Performers This Month from the Top 100: Kadena is an L1, Loopring is a zkRollup, Livepeer is a video streamer and Decentraland is a metaverse.
🎧 Latest Episodes of The Coinstack Podcast
We have a new Coinstack podcast. So far we’re at 9,898 listens and growing!
Here are the episodes we’ve released so far...
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We really appreciate you listening and sharing the link with your friends.
📈 Our Top 30: A Long-Term Crypto Portfolio
Each week we include our top 30 list. If we were creating a portfolio from scratch right now that we didn’t want to touch for 5-10 years, we would be sure to include our top 5: ETH, DOT, SOL, AVAX, & FTM. Here’s our current top 30 for a well-rounded long-term crypto portfolio…
To see which exchanges to buy these on, use Coinmarketcap or Coingecko. We recommend using dollar-cost averaging and holding for a 5-10 year time horizon for any crypto investor as prices can fluctuate a lot in the short term.
💬 Join The Coinstack Telegram Community
Join our Telegram Channel here to chat with our community, ask questions, and learn more about the future of money as we move to a decentralized internet and the creation of a new open global monetary system that works for everyone. We now have over 1700 members on our Telegram.
💬 The People We’re Following Closely on Twitter
📚 How To Get Started With Crypto Learning
Crypto: Explain It Like I’m 5 (Article)
Bankless - The DeFi community (Substack + Podcast + Discord)
Blockgeeks Video Tutorials (Video)
The Coinstack Website (Website)
2008 Bitcoin Whitepaper (PDF)
2013 Ethereum Whitepaper (PDF)
📰 The Coinstack Newsletter:
Tracking the most important blockchain stories of the 2020s including a decentralized internet and the creation of a new open global monetary system that works for everyone. As always, published for informational purposes only. Please do your own research. Just our opinions. Not intended as financial advice as we are not financial advisors. We may be long on many of the digital assets we write about as we believe strongly in the sector. Please do your own research. Published and written weekly by Ryan Allis and Mike Gavela.
The information above does not constitute an offer to sell securities or a solicitation of an offer to buy securities. Further, none of the information here is a recommendation to invest in any securities. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Any historical returns, expected returns or probability projections may not reflect actual future performance. All investments involve risk and may result in loss.
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