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Shrimpers are sweeping BTC off the market faster than at the peak of the 2017 bull market

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In cryptocurrency slang, shrimpers are holders who have less than 1 BTC in their wallet. Right now, the number of shrimpers in the market is growing as fast as possible. Even at the peak of the historic bull market in late 2017, they weren’t arriving in such numbers.

Shrimp are near the bottom of bitcoin’s joke food chain, just above plankton. The lowest kind of cryptocurrency organisms are holders with less than 0.05 BTC. This is not the only classification of bitcoin holders, but it gives an idea of the size and importance of the various market participants.

Bitcoin shrimp are gaining ground

Previously, the number of small bitcoin addresses is steadily growing despite a deep correction in the market. The number of wallets with balances of over 0.01 BTC and over 0.1 BTC has been steadily increasing since early 2021.

However, this trend accelerated in mid-June 2022. During previous market cycles, such dynamics in the bitcoin network indicated a bull market acceleration. In contrast, during major market corrections, onchain analysis generally indicated a slight increase, stagnation, or even a decrease in the number of addresses with a balance of less than 0.1 BTC.

Well-known analyst in cryptocurrency circles @WClementeIII tweeted a 90-day graph of changes in the number of coins in the hands of small holders (no more than 1 BTC in the wallet). It shows the strong growth of bitcoins in shrimp wallets. The current values have left behind the levels of late 2017, when the market was dominated by bullish sentiment and the BTC exchange rate reached an all-time high of $20,000 at the time.

During that time, BTC managed to plummet to $69,000, fall 70% in price, and return to the landmark level of 2017. Bearish sentiment and extreme fear are in stark contrast to the euphoria and exorbitant greed that reigned over the market in late 2017. And yet the shrimpers are behaving just as they did then. Moreover, they are buying bitcoin even more willingly, believing that now is the right time to do so.

Why shrimp are buying BTC

The classic market axiom is that “retail is never right.” With 2017, it’s clear: Small investors were buying at the peak and big whales were dumping coins. They sold at the best possible time. But the situation is different now. Shrimp accumulates bitcoin in large quantities after it has already lost 70% of its value.

But there is a third possibility: the increase in the number of holders with a balance less than 1 BTC, does not indicate an influx of small private investors. It’s possible that people are simply splitting their investments, opening many wallets with small balances. This was pointed out by another well-known crypto analyst @woonomic. He wrote:

“Keep in mind that such data on the number of holders is extremely unstable and tends to be overly optimistic on short intervals. It takes a couple of years for the statistics to settle down. For example, it is assumed that small transactions are made by new people and then it turns out that they belong to an existing investor who has more than 1 BTC.”

Cryptocurrency podcast host @VentureCoinist, thinks the influx of shrimp is still a sign of an impending downturn.

“I’ll pretend I didn’t see what happened the last time this metric went up this much.”

Finally, another user @fusillifadi, posted data that seems to support Clemente’s assumption of organic shrimp growth. Citing data from, he provided a graph of the average daily growth rate of wallets with balances under 1 BTC.

Since the end of 2021, year, we have seen a clear trend of shrimp growth that can only be compared to 2017. Although the last period of 2017 saw a much larger increase, the current numbers are ahead of the trend recorded in 2018-2021.

Shrimp buy bitcoins mostly from miners. In 2017, 49% of bitcoins sold by miners went to wallets with a balance of less than 1 BTC. In 2022, that figure rose to 75%. Other onchain statistics confirm the surrender of miners. Thus, we get the answer to the question of who supplies bitcoins to the shrimpers.


Swiss bank UBS launches tokenized money market fund on Ethereum

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Leading Swiss bank UBS has launched a live pilot of a tokenized version of its variable capital company (VCC) fund as part of Project Guardian, an initiative led by Singapore’s central bank. 

In a press release, UBS Asset Management announced that the fund is part of a broader VCC umbrella designed to bring different types of real-world assets (RWA) to the blockchain. According to Thomas Kaegi, the head of UBS Asset Management for Singapore and Southeast Asia, the project is a milestone in understanding funds tokenization. Kaegi said:

“Through this exploratory initiative, we will work with traditional financial institutions and fintech providers to help understand how to improve market liquidity and market access for clients.”

UBS Asset Management launched the controlled pilot of the tokenized money market fund through the company’s in-house tokenization service called UBS Tokenize. Using a smart contract on Ethereum, the firm carried out various activities, including redemptions and fund subscriptions.

The pilot is also a part of the company’s global distributed ledger technology strategy, which focuses on using private and public blockchains to enhance fund distribution and issuance.

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The new development realizes previous predictions on the tokenization of RWAs. In a panel discussion at the World Token Summit 2023, United Arab Emirates government adviser Ellis Wang told Cointelegraph that tokenization of RWAs gives various advantages like transparency and security, which are features embedded into blockchains. According to the executive, the tokenization of RWAs may catch on, as it presents significant opportunities for many industries.

Earlier this year, protocols focusing on RWAs became a hot topic as they outperformed other subsectors of decentralized finance. On June 9, token gains of RWA tokenization platform Centrifuge had surged by 32% year-to-date.

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Grayscale submits SEC filing to convert Ethereum Trust to spot ETF

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Following the approval of the first Ether (ETH) futures exchange-traded fund (ETF), Grayscale Investments is looking to convert its Grayscale Ethereum Trust to a spot Ether exchange-traded fund (ETF). 

The New York Stock Exchange Arca filed for the conversion with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Oct. 2. Grayscale’s existing trust invested in Ether futures contracts as an indirect means of exposure to ETH, but a spot ETF will invest in the underlying asset itself. 

Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein announced the move on X (formerly Twitter) and highlighted the firm’s intent to provide conventional investment products offering exposure to cryptocurrency assets:

“As we file to convert ETHE to an ETF, the natural next step in the product’s evolution, we recognize this as an important moment to bring Ethereum even further into the U.S. regulatory perimeter.”

The Grayscale Ethereum Trust was launched in March 2019 and went on to become an SEC reporting company in October 2020, giving the public direct insight into the performance of its cryptocurrency investment vehicle.

At the time of writing, the Ethereum Trust is valued at $4.9 billion and accounts for around 2.5% of circulating ETH. Grayscale also reports that 250,000 investor accounts have exposure to the trust.

Grayscale also indicated that it remains committed to taking its cryptocurrency products through an “intended four phase lifecycle” ending with a conversion to an ETF. The platform currently offers 17 different cryptocurrency investment products.

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AI a powerful tool for devs to change gaming, says former Google gaming head

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The world embraced artificial Intelligence (AI), hoping to see it transform complex and day-to-day processes. While generative AI models won millions of users, discussions around the transformative potential of AI in all walks of life became mainstream. 

Today, AI is being tested across all business verticals as entrepreneurs challenge the status quo, streamlining and automating processes in varying industries. This drive also resurrects ecosystems that have lost their vigor over years of trial and error.

In the quest to find the true potential of this technology, humanity continues to infuse AI elements into existing systems in the hopes of outperforming current limitations.

The gaming ecosystem sees AI as a means to supersede incremental upgrades. From reutilizing seasoned hardware to squeezing out the price-performance ratio from the latest graphics processing units (GPUs), the gaming industry sees AI’s potential to redefine how gamers of the future will consume their products.

“AI will be one of the most important tools for game developers to improve their work output and production, and unlock rich and new experiences for gamers,” said Ryan Wyatt, the former global head of gaming partnerships at Google and former head of gaming at YouTube.

Wyatt’s exposure to gaming — on both professional and personal fronts — allowed him a special viewpoint at the intersection of a gamer’s wishful thinking and an entrepreneur’s reality check.

Wyatt garnered over two decades of gaming experience before entering crypto as the CEO of Polygon Labs, eventually retiring as the president to take up an advisory role for the blockchain company.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Wyatt reveals how AI could potentially transform the gaming ecosystem and what it could mean for the future of blockchain gaming.

Cointelegraph: What is the role of AI in the gaming ecosystem?

Ryan Wyatt: The term “AI in gaming” has been overused to the point of exhaustion. In my opinion, it is simply another powerful tool in the developer’s toolkit, which is already extensive and continues to grow. This expansion of toolsets — AI being one of them — will enable a variety of new gaming experiences that we have never seen before and allow game developers to do more. We often talk about AI as a replacement for the work being done in gaming, but I strongly disagree. I see it as a powerful tool that will allow game teams, both small and large, to do more than they ever could before, which may require human resources to be leveraged differently but not minimize or diminish the importance of the many roles required to make a game. And in return, gamers will get to experience games that were never deemed possible before.

CT: Can AI potentially take up the heavy computational tasks that currently rely solely on GPUs? Do you think AI could allow us to repurpose legacy systems that contribute to e-waste, or is it just wishful thinking?

RW: This is a tough one. I do think it is wishful thinking to assume that AI can repurpose all these legacy systems and reduce e-waste. Based on the track record of how hardware has grown and advanced so much over the last two decades, there’s no indication to believe we’re moving in the right direction here, as we’ve continued to increase e-waste over the last 10 years. From a technology standpoint, we’re constantly evolving, and the necessity and demand to expand on hardware, specifically with the GPU, continues to increase significantly. I believe there will be a number of optimizations that AI can introduce to the problem: offloading more resources to the CPU, optimizing for legacy systems, etc., but I think it’s wishful thinking to assume we can reduce e-waste as we continue to push the limits of technology and hardware to create things that were never imaginable before. This seems like a problem that isn’t going to be meaningfully resolved over the next decade, and, in fact, I anticipate it to get worse before it gets better, with AI exacerbating the issue in a 5–10 year time horizon. 

CT: If AI could be used for graphics optimization, unlimited (free world) map rendering or a storyline that never ends, but you could choose only one, which one would you choose as a gamer, and why?

RW: This is a matter of personal preference, but I hope we see both. I believe that storylines and NPCs [non-player characters] could evolve greatly from where they are today. We have seen amazing and beautiful open worlds expand in parallel with computational and hardware improvements. While not unlimited, expanding worlds have played a meaningful role in games over the last decade.

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To me, one area that needs to evolve is how we engage with NPCs in games. This has been rather archaic for quite some time and has largely relied on linear lines of pre-programmed communication and dialogue. This is already changing with companies like Inworld AI and the work they are doing; their tech helps a game developer craft unique and memorable AI NPCs with its fully integrated character engine.

Their engine goes beyond large language models (LLMs) by adding configurable safety, knowledge, memory and other controls in place. The characters then have distinct personalities and contextual awareness, which is insane to see from a gamer’s perspective.

We haven’t had these kinds of dialogue interactions inside of games before, so it’s hard to wrap your head around how it will change the industry because it’s just something that was once unfathomable. Once these developer tools are seamlessly integrated into proprietary engines of large AAA publishers, you’ll see a new era of immersive game experiences. I also believe you’ll see a huge burden lift on the game development cycle that will allow for expansive worlds by not just large studios with companies like Kaedim; you effectively reduce all of the hours lost in modeling by simply generating stunning 3D art with nothing more than an image. These are the types of tools that are going to advance and multiply game development and usher us into a new era of gaming.

The interesting thing is the collision of both of these topics over the next decade!

CT: What are your thoughts on blockchain gaming? How did you find it different from traditional/mainstream titles?

Blockchain gaming is another tool in the toolbelt for game developers and gamers to change the way we interact with games. By storing assets and information on a blockchain, which is not owned by any intermediary, we can expand upon value exchange between game developers, users and gamers (peer-to-peer). This is done inefficiently today, and although some examples come close, such as CS:GO, it is still far from perfect.

The entire crypto space is going through a much-needed reset, washing away bad actors, and from the dust, you will see true, well-intended pioneers and innovators emerge. The unfortunate abuse of the financial aspects of crypto has made many game developers, especially in the West, apprehensive about incorporating blockchain technology into their gaming infrastructure stack, which I believe is temporary.

However, in the East, we are seeing top gaming developers (e.g., Square Enix and Nexon) fully commit to blockchain gaming due to the new game mechanics and relationships that can be created between gamers and developers. I fully expect the re-emergence of blockchain conversations being driven by the application layer in 2024 to 2025, which will do a better job of illustrating the power of launching games on blockchain infrastructure stacks, even if only certain aspects of games are built on them. The last three years of crypto have been dominated in conversation at the infrastructure (blockchain) layer and finance (decentralized finance (DeFi) sector, and ironically, the abuse has come from bad actors of centralized platforms (such as FTX) that don’t even embrace the core values of decentralization.

CT: From a gamer’s perspective, what do you think AI can do to help the widespread adoption of blockchain gaming?

RW: I’m not sure if blockchain gaming will become widely adopted anytime soon; we’re still years out from this, and there are great companies that are pushing the envelope here, like Immutable, but I do think that as AI becomes materially indistinguishable from reality, there is value in blockchains holding accountability over the advancement of AI. This is because blockchains are transparent and immutable, meaning that they can be used to track and verify the provenance of AI-generated content. This is important because it will help to ensure that AI is used ethically and responsibly and that it does not create harmful or misleading content.

I am certain that we will see blockchains in the future host authentic and verifiable information in a world where things coming from AI become indistinguishable from reality. This is because blockchains provide a secure and tamper-proof way to store data, which is essential for ensuring the authenticity and reliability of AI-generated content.

CT: Despite the involvement of the people behind mainstream titles, the blockchain gaming industry has not taken off, unlike other crypto sub-ecosystems. What could have been done differently?

RW: I think this is largely misguided due to timing expectations and the underwhelming first iteration of blockchain games. Game development cycles are so long, and the first batch of blockchain games were either rudimentary, rushed to market, had the wrong incentive mechanisms, were not highly produced or had other issues. There also have been blockchain infrastructure woes that have needed time to overcome, [such as] gas costs, difficult user journeys to navigate and other infrastructure challenges that are just now starting to be resolved by layer-1 and layer-2 protocols.

However, I’ve seen a lot of amazing blockchain games in development that will be released in 2024 to 2025. These games will truly explore the uniqueness that blockchain games have to offer. Games are such a monumental lift to create, and the ones that go deep with either small or large teams will ultimately need more time to show their work. There has been an outsized amount of capital deployed into blockchain games, in the several billions of dollars, and we’ve only seen a single-digit percentage of releases from that cohort of investment.

CT: What went wrong with blockchain gaming? Why don’t gamers buy into the idea of play-to-earn?

Play-to-earn as a philosophy isn’t that crazy. Game developers are always looking to reward gamers for spending more time in their game because longer session times equate to more value, which is captured by the game developer. So, conceptually, this idea of putting time into a game and being rewarded for it isn’t a new game mechanic.

Play-to-earn in blockchain games tries to expand upon this concept of value exchange from developer to player.

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However, the economies are really difficult to balance when you don’t have the autonomy over every aspect of them due to the nature of them being decentralized. Ultimately, this has either led to pure abuse of the category, unfortunate attempts to do right and fail or will need more tinkering to ultimately find the right token and economic strategy.

CT: Speaking from a different angle, what benefit could AI and blockchain bring to mainstream gaming? What could compel developers to adopt and infuse the tech into their existing gameplay?

RW: There is certainly a chicken-and-egg issue here. Game developers need to push the limits of what these technologies can do, learn from it, iterate on it and then showcase it to gamers to see if this is what they truly want. But at the end of the day, the large games continue to dominate viewership on YouTube and Twitch.

Steam’s top games, such as DotA and CS, have remained juggernauts, and breakout hits like Minecraft and Roblox are generational unicorns. Both of these games took over a decade to materialize into what we know them to be today. In order to achieve mass adoption, you will need to see these games permeated with the technology. I believe that both of these technologies — AI and blockchain — will have breakout moments from native app developers and indie game devs. However, for true mass adoption, larger players will inevitably need to incorporate the technology.

Disclaimer: Wyatt is an angel investor in many AI, Gaming and blockchain companies, including Immutable and Kaedim, both of which are mentioned in his responses.

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