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How Charities Adapted to the Crisis and Made Donations ‘Smarter’

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Many philanthropic organizations initially suffered due to the cancellation of in-person donations. However, the initial pause in traditional donations caused by the pandemic was seemingly momentary, as charity donors began shifting to crypto donations.

Major fundraisers across the United States had to be cancelled, causing them to lose massive amounts of tickets and revenue that would have been generated by the events. Organizations backed by government contracts feared the repercussions of the epic loss once the fiscal year ended. Furthermore, the need for social services like food banks were outpacing revenue. 

Officials of Eve’s Place — a non-profit that provides empowerment-based programs to victims of domestic, sexual, and teen dating abuse — had to shut down their annual charity event when the nation was placed on lockdown, and needed to find a way to counteract the loss of revenue.

Initially, the thought of welcoming digital currency had been a conversation that arose but was not considered a high priority until the lockdowns happened, sending their fundraising initiatives to a screeching halt. Then the organization received a generous $65,000 donation in cryptocurrency.

Charities are now proliferating, having adapted to the crisis and evolved their methods by accepting cryptocurrencies, because fiat is by no means the only option.

Since adapting to the current climate, there has been momentous progress in adopting cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in the philanthropic sector by some governments and intercontinental organizations.

Overflow, an organization that helps charities accept online donations of publicly-traded stock, told BeInCrypto that it sees non-cash asset donations continuing to grow, noting the changes that have taken place this year:

“As a stock donation platform, one significant change that we noticed is that stock gifts tend to be much larger than cash donations. Compared to traditional donation platforms, we’re seeing a higher average gift per person — $2,150 vs $128 — which shows that people are much more generous when they donate stock instead of cash.” 

It’s no longer thought of as a “fringe” method of support, but is evolving into a donation method that is becoming more mainstream. In January, Deutsche Bank reported predictions that there will be 200 million global crypto users by 2030, with the crypto hardware wallet industry anticipating a continued growth by an annual 25 per cent.

Blockchain facilitates donors to view and analyze the migration of their donations, from the moment it was given to the instance the charity spent it, which purportedly safeguards a greater element of transparency and eradicates the possibility of misreporting.

The beauty of digital currencies is that it ostensibly has shown resilience during the pandemic when social-economic conditions have negatively affected nearly all facets of the natural rhythm of things. Because of its borderless, neutral nature — not to mention its ability to transcend censorship — crypto has an all-inclusive choice for use in philanthropic enterprises. 

Global crypto donations are rising

According to the Global NGO Technology Report, which interviewed over 5,000 non-profit organizations around the world, digital currency donations represent 2 per cent of payment methods used in the US and Canada, which is up by 1 per cent from the previous year. It was also found that they reach 5 per cent in Africa, 4 per cent in Asia, 2 per cent in Australia and Europe, and 1 per cent in Latin America.  

The expansion of digital currency donations, which also encompasses both bitcoin (BTC) and altcoins, is something worth mentioning. In 2018, this form of payment reportedly covered 1 to 4 per cent of donations, while this year alone it has advanced intercontinentally, reaching up to a 100 per cent increase in contrast to the previous amount in the US, Europe and Australia.

Overflow explained from their experience which is the most popular way to donate, saying:

“After cash, some of the most common ways to give are stocks and Bitcoin. Donating stock and Bitcoin can drive significant tax savings and since donors are becoming more and more tax-savvy, stock and crypto donations are also becoming more popular.”

While these payment methods remain the least used in comparison to digital wallets such as Paypal, credit and debit cards, cryptocurrencies are gaining momentum.

Benefits with tax implications

For non-profit organizations, crypto donations come with a variety of perks that go beyond the most obvious, i.e. revenue — more precisely, it is another source of revenue that supersedes dollar bills. 

Even though cryptocurrency is taxable by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), it isn’t regulated by the Federal Reserve, nor by the stock market and other platforms fiat performs on. Accepting cryptocurrency contributions could keep non-profit organizations from sinking, possibly protecting a layer of protection against the fluctuation of traditional markets.

However, most laws that apply to other assets do apply to BTC. This means people are still accountable to tax laws, though BTC and altcoins are normally considered an intangible personal property as opposed to being thought of as currency. Therefore, they are not generally recognized as legal tender in the US or most other countries. 

The IRS explains that if the charity is recognized under IRS rules, crypto donations will not result in income, gain or loss, and thus crypto is treated as other capital assets, including stocks. Elaborating on the issue, Overflow said:

“Consider non-cash contributions to drive more tax savings and make a bigger donation to a non-profit of your choosing.”

More money goes to non-profits due to low-to-nothing processing fees. Receiving crypto donations ultimately means that more money ends up with the organization, and less ends up in taxes.

The element of transparency is revolutionary in many ways. Blockchain enables ordinary people to trace the movement of money, and makes it insusceptible to tampering without somebody noticing, as the flow of crypto is open to all eyes, without third party involvement.

Even though blockchain meticulously keeps track of transactions. The beauty of the technology is that the specific personal identities of individual crypto holders is not a necessary component in transactions.

The unique characteristics of cryptocurrencies are quite attractive, such as a layer of anonymity within a decentralized arena, which provides the opportunity to curtail banks and government regulations, which have no power over the digital currencies, since they are not regarded as legal tender.

When non-profits meet crypto

Bitcoin, as well as other digital currencies, have even begun assuming leading roles in facilitating payments that are not associated with banking systems. 

For example, Bail Bloc founder Rachel Rosenfelt launched a unique charity initiative to employ monero (XMR) mining to give underrepresented and undocumented immigrants a better opportunity at fair treatment in the US courts. 

The initiative allows the project to collect XMR to help individuals avoid pretrial incarceration for cases involving US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Unlike traditional charity initiatives, Bail Bloc isn’t focused on utilizing the usual means to finance a charity operation, but rather the computer processing power of those who participate.  

Earlier this year, Irvine Valley College began accepting cryptocurrency donations, which put them among the first colleges that can accept donations through BitPay, a Bitcoin payment solution. Since 2017, BitPay has reportedly managed over $50 million in donations.

As per Alex Wilson, a co-founder of charity-related startup The Giving Block, “universities have received some of the largest cryptocurrency donations in the non-profit sector; however, not many universities accept Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency donations yet. According to a Coinbase study, 56 per cent of the top-50 universities now have at least one course on blockchain or cryptocurrency.”

Wilson revealed that the project has seen hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crypto donated to non-profits over the last few years, with a large portion going towards universities.

GiveTrack is another blockchain-fueled project that is supported by Bitcoin non-profit organization BitGive. It was created with the precise goal to empower donors with the ability to follow transactions on a public platform in real time, providing total transparency for donors to know where their money is going. 

Earlier this year, BitGive announced that they had partnered with Direct Relief, GiveDirectly, and One Fair Wage Emergency Fund in an effort to collectively leverage blockchain technology in administering financial assistance to individuals impacted by the pandemic.

The initiative dubbed the BitGive COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund works to provide personal protective equipment for medical professionals, financial help to individuals, whose employment was impacted, as well as global funding for people in need.

The American Red Cross is one of the biggest and certainly most identified humanitarian organizations, and has been accepting BTC donations since 2014. This opened up the doors to allowing charity givers more flexibility in their opportunities to contribute.

Though the American Red Cross has been accepting BTC donations for a while now, earlier this year, the Italian Red Cross announced that they would also now be accepting BTC donations to raise relief funds for individuals impacted by the pandemic. All donations received from the enterprise will reportedly be utilized to establish a second-level advanced medical post.

In 2019, the International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), which is an agency of the United Nations, launched an experimental crypto fund, empowering the organization to accept contributions in BTC and ether (ETH). The organization is tasked with the responsibility of rendering humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and young people around the world. 

The first donation received by the UNICEF came from the Ethereum Foundation, which gave somewhere around $150,000 worth of BTC and ETH to UNICEF, in October 2019. Then, in January 2020, Ethereum Classic Labs donated $1 million dollars to the non-profit. UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore said, at the time: 

“The creation of our Cryptocurrency Fund is a significant and welcome step forward in humanitarian and development work.”

The future of philanthropy

“Due to the rise of the stock and crypto markets, we believe that philanthropy will become accessible to everyone. In the past, philanthropy was mostly popular among high net worth individuals, while now more and more people are turning to charitable giving to support the causes and charities they are passionate about,” Overflow offered the projection, conceptualizing the future of philanthropy.

The company further listed three main reasons why the philanthropy world started changing so rapidly:

  • Millennials are more socially aware than the prior generations as they grew up in the age of digital and social media. As a result, donating to charity makes people feel more connected to their communities and gives them a higher sense of purpose.
  • It is now possible to make donations online and choose from numerous donation types, such as cash, stocks and cryptocurrencies. An abundance of donation options is making philanthropy accessible to people of all income brackets and asset classes.
  • People are becoming more aware of the significant tax benefits that charitable donations can drive. Charitable giving is becoming a popular way for people to support their favorite causes and save on taxes.

Speaking about how to make donations “smarter,” Overflow said that there are several strategies that can help people maximize their impact as well as their tax deductions. According to the organization, it is necessary to “always check whether your company offers a matching gift program. This way, you’ll be making two donations instead of one!”

Overflow continued, saying:

“Imagine a scenario in which you sell your securities first and donate the proceeds to a non-profit. After selling the stock, you will have to pay a capital gains tax, which can be anywhere from 15 per cent to 20 per cent depending on your tax bracket. As a result, you will end up paying a massive tax and making a donation that is 20 per cent less than you would have made had you donated your securities directly to the charity.”

“Always research the organization you’re supporting. It’s important to know how your donations will be used and what portion of the non-profit’s budget is going towards their charitable programs. One of the most transparent non-profits we know is the New Story Charity that separates all donations for their home building programs from any operational expenses.”

The world has changed, and is changing. While the future at this juncture in time still remains uncertain, innovators around the globe have pushed the envelope, so to speak, escalating yesterday’s technological limitations, breaking barriers and opening up the door to new possibilities. So that life can continue moving forward undeterred, while we experience what appears to be a new era in innovation.

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Jesse McGraw is a writer, information security researcher, and a prison reform activist. He is also a former black hat hacker and founder of the hacktivist group known as the Electronik Tribulation Army. He is also known by the moniker “Ghost Exodus.” He has holdings in stocks and in Bitcoin, but nothing worth writing home about.

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Source: https://beincrypto.com/how-charities-adapted-to-the-crisis-and-made-donations-smarter/

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Marathon invests $150 million in Bitcoin

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Bitcoin mining firm Marathon has purchased 4,812.66 BTC for a total of $150 million, according to a press release shared with Coin Rivet.

The Nasdaq-listed company executed the trade in collaboration with financial services provider NYDIG.

“By purchasing $150 million worth of Bitcoin, we have accelerated the process of building Marathon into what we believe to be the de facto investment choice for individuals and institutions who are seeking exposure to this new asset class.

“We also believe that holding part of our Treasury reserves in Bitcoin will be a better long-term strategy than holding US Dollars, similar to other forward-thinking companies like MicroStrategy,” said Merrick Okamoto, Marathon’s chairman & CEO.

Okamoto goes on to state that Marathon is contracted to purchase 103,060 miners that will be fully operational by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

Robby Gutmann, co-founder and CEO of NYDIG, added: “We deeply admire Marathon’s commitment to the Bitcoin ecosystem, and we are very pleased to add them to the list of companies who utilise NYDIG as the institutional choice for Corporate Treasury Solutions.

“NYDIG is uniquely positioned to help corporations navigate the challenges they face around executing and structuring the holding of large Bitcoin positions, and our ability to deliver Marathon a tailored and custom solution, with a quick turnaround, and no market impact, is why corporations and insurance companies choose NYDIG.”

Marathon is the latest in a long list of companies to put respective balance sheets into Bitcoin, with MicroStrategy holding more than $1 billion while Square purchased $50 million late last year.

For more news, guides and cryptocurrency analysis, click here.

Source: https://coinrivet.com/marathon-invests-150-million-in-bitcoin/

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PayPal allows Bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions

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Just a few years ago, Paypal used to categorically oppose Bitcoin as a payment method. For those who used to buy Bitcoin during the prior bull run, in 2017, you might remember the large interest of Paypal users in finding ways to obtain cryptocurrency. Paypal did not only take an opposing stance but they even closed accounts associated with cryptocurrency purchases.

 

Fast forward to 2020, and we are seeing an incredible development taking place – Paypal finally supports cryptocurrency transactions. While the new feature of the payment system is only a few weeks old, many people are not yet aware of the specifics. And that’s exactly why we wrote this article.

 

Over the next few paragraphs we will break down the new offer of Paypal, and how it affects the industry as a whole. Let’s get started.

Paypal enables cryptocurrency storage

As of November 2020, users are now able to purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash directly through Paypal.

 

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Now you can buy, hold and sell <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Crypto?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Crypto</a> with PayPal. Start with as little as $1 in the PayPal app today. Terms apply. <a href=”https://t.co/ydl63Q5kGB”>https://t.co/ydl63Q5kGB</a> <a href=”https://t.co/ArZP2FgrSk”>pic.twitter.com/ArZP2FgrSk</a></p>&mdash; PayPal (@PayPal) <a href=”https://twitter.com/PayPal/status/1330919854724026373?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>November 23, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

 

The offer initially rolled out for users who reside in the United States, and was later enabled to more than 380 active Paypal users around the globe.

 

Here’s how the process works:

  • Users can select to either buy or sell the cryptocurrency they want from the dashboard of Paypal.
  • After making a purchase, the coins remain in their account and cannot be transferred elsewhere. Paypal thus offers “paper crypto”, also known as a representation of cryptocurrency backed by the real asset.
  • Due to being unable to transfer the funds. Users are eventually prompted to sell their coins back to the platform.
  • While this limits the use of cryptocurrency obtained through the platform there is some great news as well. Until 2021, users do not need to pay any fees when buying or selling coins through the platform.

 

So is this a good thing for the growth of the industry?

Many claims that the somewhat “centralized” approach that Paypal adopts when it comes to cryptocurrency transactions gives the wrong message towards the public. Several authoritative cryptocurrency investors believe that new users should be able to use their coins as they please, and not be forced to hold onto them within the platform of Paypal.

 

However, there are some very good news for the industry as well. These are the developments you need to keep in mind as we are entering 2021 with a nearly fully recovered Bitcoin:

1.   Paypal now buys ±70% of all new BTC

Since their recent announcement, more than 20% of Paypal’s users have already bought some form of cryptocurrency. To support this extremely large user demand, Paypal is now forced to purchase nearly 70% of the daily minted supply, which equals roughly to 630 BTC. This move sharply increases the difficulty of obtaining new Bitcoin, which in turn increases its scarcity and price.

2.   Paypal improves accessibility to crypto

New technologies always take time to develop, especially when the majority of people are not very accustomed to decentralized technology. Paypal’s decision to support cryptocurrencies massively expedites this process, making the UX/UI issues disappear. Every Paypal user has now full access to cryptocurrency and can purchase however much they like.

3.   Cryptocurrency will soon be used when paying all Paypal-supported merchants

Starting from early 2021, Paypal users will be able to use their cryptocurrency to make payments to all 26 million merchants that support the payment system on a global scale. This brings cryptocurrency one step closer to being adopted as a fully capable and globally adopted payment system.

Wrapping up

Paypal’s move towards cryptocurrency support and mainstream adoption makes perfect sense when looking at the recent economic and geopolitical developments. With Bitcoin making a full recovery over the past two years, there is now concrete proof that cryptocurrency is here to stay. Those who welcome new technologies will be the ones that benefit most from it, and Paypal seems to have a low time-preference when it comes to their enhanced business model.

For now, we will need to patiently wait until more payment systems and institutions decide to join the BTC revolution. Who knows what the future may hold? We may soon see Bitcoin climbing to new highs, satisfying even the most demanding Paypal users.

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Cryptocurrency Journalist

Santa is a Latvia-based cryptocurrency journalist with a passion for covering the latest happenings in the cryptocurrency and tech world. In addition to being the analytics specialist of Paybis, Santa is also into consulting, reading,

 

 

 

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Reef Finance Review: The Gateway To DeFi

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Decentralized finance (DeFi) projects have been increasingly common recently as the space has become wildly popular, but each one suffers the same problem of a lack of interoperability.

This creates some frustration from users, since they have to interact with a number of different applications if they want to take advantage of all that DeFi has to offer. A simple interface allowing a user to interact with all their preferred DeFi applications in one place would be an excellent solution, and that’s exactly why Reef Finance was created.

The Reef Finance project is attempting to create a platform that combines all of the various DeFi applications in one place, easing user access to the DeFi ecosystem. With Reef Finance it becomes possible to buy, trade, stake, loan and borrow a variety of assets in one platform.

What is Reef Finance?

Reef Finance is a liquidity aggregator and multi-chain smart yield engine that allows the integration of any DeFi protocol. It has been created with Polkadot, and shares its security model across the ecosystem while enabling cross-chain integrations. Reef will allow retail investors a way to access DeFi without significant technical barriers, while also aiding in the decision making process.

Reef Logo

Reef is the newer, simpler way to do DeFi. Image via Reef.finance

Denko Mancheski, CEO and co-founder of Reef Finance, envisioned a solution to the psychological barriers that have held back adoption of DeFi products. According to Mancheski the average person is just overwhelmed when looking at the DeFi space due to the large number of overlapping products. This makes adoption by newcomers unlikely. Mancheski has stated that at Reef their

job as a global development community is to abstract away complexities.” He further adds, “from a technical point of view, we’re moving towards being able to onboard a simple non-tech savvy user.

That would be a huge leap forward for the DeFi space.

The underlying infrastructure of Reef is a chain of smart contracts that compose and integrate the ecosystem This is the base component of the system and is known as the “basket engine.” It communicates with the analytics engine and liquidity aggregator to allow a user the ability to enter and exit positions on multiple DeFi platforms from one easy to use interface.

It also does away with the need to manage the outputs (e.g. LP tokens) of all the various platforms manually. In addition to its basic functionality the engine is also being extended to allow for multi-hop strategies, and to extend insurance cover for the basket engine. Ultimately the infrastructure will support Ethereum and a number of other blockchain networks to give users the greatest access to DeFi.

Reef Ecosystem

Reef simplifies the DeFi ecosystem for all users. Image via Reef blog.

The platform also includes an AI driven system that makes crypto asset management much easier for the beginner. It corresponds to various risk levels, is customizable, and can be set to help achieve the financial objectives of individual users.

The system also includes a utility token – REEF – that can be used for the governance of the system and to pay for fees within the ecosystem.

Reef Finance was created as a non-custodial platform as well, meaning users do not need to worry about giving up access to their private keys. And thanks to the underlying use of Polkadot the entire platform is hardened against attacks. Taken together there is a diminishingly small chance of any loss of funds due to theft from the platform.

Why was Reef Finance Created?

Reef came about organically as a result of the founders observations of the same problems related to complexity that have repeated over and over in various industries. They then applied those observations to the DeFi ecosystem.

The Current DeFi Landscape

Any time a new industry moves too fast it can easily become fragmented, and the same has been true for DeFi. For users that means whenever you want to do something that involves more than a single aspect you need to find a way to piece it together yourself. Some people like this type of challenge and can thrive, but most people will balk at the complexities involved in bringing together a number of disparate systems and platforms.

DeFi Complexity

DeFi becomes complex very quickly. Image via Medium.com

Imagine trying to create a system of bank accounts in a number of countries and different currencies, and then using those accounts to shift money around. It’s going to be complex and it’s going to encompass not only a number of banks, but also all the infrastructure behind those banks, which isn’t necessarily connected (such as SWIFT and IBAN).

Now include the purchase of bonds and equities from those accounts and things become even more complex. That’s why bringing new retail investors into the stock market has been an arduous process until quite recently. Previously the only way for an individual to participate in global equity markets was to use the broker middlemen who were charging exorbitant fees.

With the revolution in finance however we now have apps like TransferWise for banking, and Robinhood for trading which connect everything together seamlessly, freeing the user from the troublesome experience of figuring it all out themselves.

DeFi Stack

The DeFi ecosystem is increasingly large and complicated to maneuver. Image via Medium.com

A similar thing is happening now with DeFi. Currently there is a high bar for entry into the ecosystem. New investors are confused by the need to work with so many different platforms and manage wallets across all of them. The fear of making a mistake is real, and many stay away simply because of that.

In addition to the issue of using multiple platforms to accomplish many strategies, there’s also the inherent complexity in the technology behind the systems. All of this combines to freeze many investors, keeping them from participating. It’s Reef’s plan to change this.

Validation for Creating Reef Finance

Despite the fact that there were no others envisioning a way to leverage blockchain technology and DeFi to enable interoperability between all the platforms, the team at Reef did. They began working on a solution without any validation, understanding inherently that a solution to the complexity of DeFi was needed.

Fortunately the Reef team members have a long history of working together, which has created strong relationships and synergies. Many team members are already experienced with building trading algorithms and analytic tools for crypto firms. Others have experience in creating the software that runs blockchains.

Reef Founder

Denko Mancheski – the brains behind Reef Finance. Image via Reef blog

The project was named Reef because the founders saw it as similar to the reef ecosystem in the sea. In looking at a coral reef you can see how all the individual components of an ecosystem work together to create a whole. Reef Finance wants to bring together all the individual projects in DeFi to make it simple for the user to see how the whole works together.

Reef Aids Mainstream Adoption

One of the problems with many applications is that developers become immersed in the technology, and they miss out on how an average user views and interacts with the application.

Later the developer community continues building on existing tech, and soon you find an ecosystem of technological complexity, new concepts and terms that are only understood by the development teams, and a lack of approachability. At some point, developers need to step back and view their systems from the perspective of the users.

Instead developers have the assumption that users will adapt to their creations and learn new ways to interact with technology, however that rarely happens. This is why so many projects struggle with adoption. It doesn’t matter how the new tech is presented from a value standpoint when much of it is too complex for the average user to ingest.

Reef Mainstream

Reef Wants to corner the mainstream

This creates resistance, and as time passes complexity increases until adoption becomes nearly impossible until someone can abstract the complexity to make the tech approachable again. This is where Reef comes into the DeFi ecosystem. And once the complexity is removed it is possible for innovation in the space to accelerate alongside adoption and the increased stability of the entire ecosystem.

Currently it is primarily the tech-savvy who are participating in the DeFi revolution, but Reef will make it possible for everyone to reap the benefits provided by DeFi, which is the intention and reason for DeFi in the first place. Reef is the force abstracting the DeFi landscape so everyone can participate as intended.

Why Polkadot?

Most DeFi projects run on the Ethereum network, so why is Reef built on Polkadot? Reef made the choice to deploy on Polkadot as a way to benefit the user base in terms of speed and transaction costs. It avoids the problem of skyrocketing fees and excessive transaction times that have increasingly become the norm on the Ethereum network. While Ethereum 2.0 is meant to fix this problem it will be a long time until Ethereum 2.0 is fully deployed.

Reef Polkadot

Reef uses Polkadot technology to avoid the problem of skyrocketing fees and excessive transaction times. Image via Reef blog.

Polkadot doesn’t have the issues common with Ethereum and it never will. The use of parachains means network congestion can’t occur. It also helps to power the interoperability needed by Reef. By deploying on Polkadot Reef can bring in services and products from various networks.

The Reef platform is made of three major components that complement each other. These three are the Global Liquidity Aggregator, Smart Yield Farming Aggregator, and Smart Asset Management.

Global Liquidity Aggregator

The Reef platform has connected to some of the largest crypto trading platforms available to offer unparalleled liquidity. The unique factor is that all the aggregated liquidity goes through DEXs and CEXs. This allows users to hedge against the downsides of the two different sources, which include high slippage and high trading fees.

Reef Liquidity

Reef gets liquidity from everywhere – both CEXs and DEXs. Image via Reef.finance

Centralized exchange liquidity is accessed through broker services, while decentralized liquidity comes from online order books and AMMs. As an additional benefit, the liquidity aggregation protects Reef users from issues such as front-running and market manipulation.

Reef Trading Terminal

Reef uses the Polkadot atomic bridge in the aggregation of liquidity in its ecosystem. This includes the largest crypto exchanges in the world, such as Binance and Huobi. With the inclusion of decentralized and centralized exchanges users are able to access the greatest liquidity possible, keeping slippage and spreads low. This will make trading on Reef affordable as well as easy and diverse.

Smart Yield Farming Aggregator

Another feature of Reef is the way in which it simplifies yield farming, making this profitable, but complicated asset management activity accessible to the average user. The basket engine used by Reef allows anyone to earn yield rewards when creating a stake in various asset baskets.

It also automates other DeFi services such as mining, borrowing, and lending. The basket engine combines with the “Yield Engine” and the “Intelligence Engine” to make this happen. Users have little to worry about since the Reef AI will allow for asset management based on the needs and goals of individual users.

Reef Trading Terminal

Reef brings together liquidity from CEXs and DEXs alike. Image via Reef blog.

The Reef Yield Engine allows users to stake in any of the available asset baskets, and the entire process can be automated with the use of the AI, which is configured based on financial goals. Once the user configures the system and allocates assets to each basket the AI will dynamically adjust and rebalance the portfolio, moving assets to more appropriate basket as needed.

Smart Asset Management

The third major component of Reef is the Smart Asset management that’s provided by the Reef Intelligence Engine. It allows users of Reef to seamlessly rebalance their holding between the various baskets. Plus the AI engine will make recommendations based on all its available information.

Reef Intelligence Engine

The Reef Intelligence Engine works to enable the AI to appropriately manage assets based on the user’s needs and goals. With the Intelligence Engine anyone is able to automate staking and trading. Creating a profitable asset allocation is simplified so it is available to all. And the Intelligence Engine uses machine learning, which powers its growth and evolution over time.

Intelligence Engine

Machine learning improves the Reef platform over time. Image via Shutterstock

Because the AI is driven by data it requires off-chain data to function. That’s being provided by an oracle that serves the off-chain data to proxy smart contracts. The AI also monitors every online source of information that could be pertinent to the Reef Finance services. And Reef integrates with some Defi insurance protocols to provide coverage for its users.

The Reef Engine uses the data coming from this function to manage assets and determine investing opportunities. This way, theory can create profitable allocations through multiple asset baskets while keeping note of their risk levels.

REEF Token

The REEF token is the native utility token for the Reef Finance platform. It has several functions on the platform, which include powering the governance mechanism and the reward structure of the protocol. Of course it can also be used as a medium of exchange and it is available for trade on a number of exchanges.

Reef Token

Use cases for the REEF token. Image via Reddit.com

Here are the four primary uses of the REEF token:

  • Governance: vote on different proposals such as releasing new features and re-adjusting certain parameters in the system.
  • Protocol fees: pay fees for operations such as entering/exiting a basket, reallocation, rebalancing and other activities. This also helps in moving liquidity between pools.
  • Staking: stake into various pools to earn interests with preferred APR.
  • Yield Distribution: choose the payout ratio of the profit generated by the activities in your basket.

There is also a way to generate REEF tokens by helping to maintain the network. The group called “Network Collators” hold a full copy of the parachain and create the new blocks that help to form the Polkadot Ledger. In return for helping to maintain the reliability and accuracy of the network they are rewarded with REEF tokens.

The REEF tokens allocated to the network collators come from the gas payments made as protocol fees. There are a number of transactions that require the payment of network collator fees, which include transaction processing, deployment of smart contracts, and submitting governance proposals, among others.

In September 2020 Reef held a private sale, raising $3.9 million. Tokens were sold for $0.0009 and $0.00125 at the time. When the REEF token began trading in late December 2020 it opened at $0.02792, giving those early private investors a massive return.

REEF Chart

REEF tokens really haven’t been trading for long. Image via Coinmarketcap.com

Price quickly dipped from that opening high, but began recovering again within weeks and as of late January 2021 the price is remaining above $0.02 for a return of more than 1,600% for the early investors. As a DeFi token further gains are expected for as long as DeFi remains popular.

Staking Yield in the REEF Pool

Those who stake REEF tokens in the Reef pool are rewarded with more REEF tokens. The APY that’s being generated by the Reef pool comes from the three income streams in the Reef ecosystem. These income streams are:

  • Basket engine.
  • Protocol fees.
  • Interest paid by power users borrowing REEF tokens to increase voting power.

In the future there are plans to introduce the Reef Treasury, which will receive these income streams too. Then the DAO can vote on the best way to use these funds, whether that be buybacks, grants, or something else entirely.

In addition to earning yield from the Reef pool, users can also generate yield through the use of the smart yield farming engine that gives exposure to a variety of DeFi activities and tokens from all the ecosystems included on the Reef Finance platform.

Reef Governance

Voting rights in the Reef platform are granted to those who stake REEF tokens. This allows the owners to also have a say in the decision making processes of the network. There are many things that could be voted on, but here are some of the more common possibilities:

  • Changing asset basket structure, including fees and new proposals;
  • Modifying reserve limits, as well as adjusting yield rewards and interest rates;
  • Amending liquidity pool attributes like voting power time function and dynamic interest;
  • Revising the structure of the DAO.

The voting power of any individual or entity is proportional to the amount of REEF they have staked. Because of this it is possible for users to borrow REEF tokens in order to increase their voting power.

Yield Distribution

While governance is important, one of the primary features that most users will be interested in is the ability to stake REEF tokens in liquidity pools to earn yield. Users can receive their rewards in ETH/USDC or they can receive rewards in REEF tokens for higher rates. This is to incentive platform users to hold more REEF, which allows for compound staking and greater interest payments.

Reef App

An early look at the Reef app. Image via Reef blog

There is an ETH/USDC pair kept in smart contracts. They are used to:

  • Pay interest fees for those who stake REEF tokens;
  • Buyback and automated market making functions;
  • Accumulate revenue and support the platform’s cashflow.

All of these processes are automated through the use of smart contracts, and users don’t need to be aware of what’s occurring in the background. This allows the platform to remain as user-friendly as possible, so anyone can begin to earn yield from the digital assets they hold.

Reef Finance & Binance Access

Reef Finance has many valuable partnerships, and one of the most recent and most talked about is the integration with Binance Access that will allow Reef users to purchase cryptocurrencies using fiat currency and trading in a non-custodial manner. The Reef team has also announced that the platform will soon be able to offer Binance Smart Chain support.

As one of the largest global cryptocurrency exchanges, Binance is expected to be an important partner for Reef Finance. Reef has chosen to work with Binance Access and Smart Chain for many distinct advantages, including the ease of use for fiat access, encompassing seamless user experience and low transaction fees, and access to liquidity that Binance offers.

Reef Binance Access

The collaboration with Binance brings a host of benefits to Reef Finance. Image via Reddit

Early in 2020, Binance launched the Binance Smart Chain , an Ethereum Virtual machine-compatible blockchain enabling the creation of smart contracts for tokens on the Binance blockchain. BSC seeks to create an ecosystem where validators, token holders, developers, and users benefit from a blockchain platform that offers high performance and opportunities for further innovations. Of course this meshes well with the goals of Reef Finance.

As you might guess, this partnership is expected to bring many innovations for Reef users. When users want to trade the Binance brokerage integration can be used, and an Access gateway will be created to allow for the purchase of cryptocurrencies with a credit card. Since Binance Access supports many different currency options the Reef platform will be able to span the globe, allowing users to transact in their own currency. Reef Finance CEO, Denko Mancheski said:

 We share the vision of Binance in ushering in mainstream adoption by making the fiat to crypto onboarding experience seamless

The Reef Roadmap

Reef Roadmap

The first quarter of 2021 is crucial to the development of Reef Finance. Image via Reef.finance

Or you can find a live version of the roadmap on Notion.so here.

Conclusion

Ever since DeFi burst on the scene developers have struggled to find ways to make their services responsive and understandable for users. Unfortunately their tech backgrounds often made that unworkable.

Thankfully the Reef Finance platform has been developed, allowing newcomers to enter the DeFi ecosystem without needing to fully understand what’s happening in the background. This is helping to promote increased adoption of DeFi applications and services in general.

Reef is a ground-breaking platform since it finally opens DeFi to anyone who wants it. Experience and knowledge of blockchain will no longer be a block to those just starting out in the realms of DeFi. Through the reliable automation provided by Reef users now have a simpler method for earning yield and managing digital assets.

Institutional investors are also seeing the immense benefits Reef can offer to the DeFi ecosystem and have been throwing their support behind Reef in increasing numbers. Of course their investment will grow if Reef becomes a successful platform.

More importantly, Reef can increase the numbers of newcomers entering the cryptocurrency and DeFi space dramatically if it becomes successful. That’s the ultimate goal of the project.

Featured Image via Shutterstock

Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.

Source: https://www.coinbureau.com/review/reef-finance/

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Blockchain

5 DeFi-Related Projects to Watch During Alt Season

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As Bitcoin dominance falls and the alt-market picks up speed, here are five DeFi cryptos to watch out for during the impending alt-season

DeFi: 1. Polkadot (DOT)

The Polkadot network is a web-based platform designed for blockchain interoperability. Its mission is to “enable a completely decentralized web,” giving control to web users.

It also aims to allow developers to easily build web-based, decentralized apps (dApps) and connect them to businesses or other organizations.

Several projects use Polkadot’s network as a foundation, including distributed ledger consultancy ChainSafe, and recently launched DeFi project Reef Finance.

Its token sale took place in July last year. The network’s native token DOT launched at just $0.29 a coin. Since then, the price has surged to $17.22, a more than 59x increase.

This price puts DOT’s market capitalization at $16.4 billion, making it the fourth-largest cryptocurrency behind only Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Tether USD.

2. Aave (AAVE)

Aave, formerly LEND, is a “decentralized non-custodial liquidity market protocol” that allows its users to lend or borrow crypto-assets without the need for a third party.

The concept works by allowing individuals to stake several crypto-assets in return for interest paid in Aave-based assets. The staked assets become part of a pool that borrowers can tap into by using other crypto-assets as collateral.

The protocol’s native token AAVE is currently worth $188.31 and has a market capitalization of $2.32 billion. It’s currently ranked number two in DeFi in terms of Total Value Locked (TVL), with over $3.23 billion staked.

3. yearn.finance (YFI)

yearn.finance is a DeFi portal that aggregates several staking opportunities into one easy-to-use platform. This allows its users to stay on top of the cryptocurrencies that provide the best farming yields.

The platform also collaborates with some of the top DeFi applications in the cryptocurrency space, including Cream Finance and Cover Protocol. YFI, the platform’s token, led last year’s “Summer of DeFi,” rising from its launch price of $3,000 to today’s price of $31,016.96.

That may just be the start. Founder and lead developer Andre Cronje was named DeFi person of the year in 2020 by analysis portal DeFi Prime. There is still more to come with yearn.finance, including the second version of its flagship vaults service.

4. SushiSwap (SUSHI)

SushiSwap is a decentralized platform that allows crypto-holders to provide liquidity in return for interest. The platform then uses this liquidity to facilitate “swaps” between different cryptocurrencies.

SushiSwap is a type of automated market maker (AMM) and is a fork of the original AMM, Uniswap. Its lead developer goes by the pseudonym Chef Nomi.

The sushi theme continues with the platform’s latest product under development, Bentobox, which will add a lending platform to its list of products.

Its native token, SUSHI, currently sits at $6.72 after climbing almost three-fold in just under a month and has a TVL of over $1.87 billion.

5. Alpha Finance Lab (ALPHA)

Alpha Finance Lab combines several DeFi products from lending to AMMs. Its objective is “to maximize returns while minimizing risks” for its users. It also seeks to make it easier for people to engage with DeFi projects by integrating a user-friendly interface in an often complex space.

Alpha Finance Lab’s latest product, Alpha Homora, will allow users to use leverage to stake tokens such as SUSHI. With Homora set to be launched in the next few days, ALPHA has gained over 300% in the past month.

The platform currently has $452.7 million in TVL, with ALPHA currently sitting at $0.81.

Disclaimer

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

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Emmanuel entered the cryptocurrency space in 2013 as a cryptocurrency broker. He is a crypto-enthusiast, entrepreneur, and investor, who has built and led several projects and communities in the space. Interests include: DeFI, CBDCs and investing.

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Source: https://beincrypto.com/5-defi-related-projects-to-watch-during-alt-season/

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