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Party-to-earn: Blockchain breaking down the doors in electronic music community

With access getting more exclusive and ticket prices rising, electronic music fans are at the heart of a new push to rebalance the scene.

Electronic music is big business. According to a report by the International Music Summit, in 2021, the electronic music sector was valued at $6 billion dollars and that sector is poised for significant further growth. That $6 billion dollar figure marks a 71% increase from the industry’s valuation in 2020, which was understandably much smaller due to the effects of the pandemic. While revenue is down from where it was in 2019, barring further massive disruptions, the industry is on pace in 2022 to surpass its pre-pandemic heights.

This should be great news for artists and music lovers alike, but there is a caveat. As electronic music continues to flourish, access to festivals and concerts — the heart of the electronic music scene — has become increasingly exclusive. The price of concert tickets is up across the board throughout the entire music industry. Earlier this year, a furor was sparked when tickets to see Bruce Springsteen, an artist with a committed following among working-class people, went on sale for astronomical prices. The high prices were blamed on algorithms used by ticket-selling platforms, but this wasn’t an isolated incident.

Take Tomorrowland, one of the biggest electronic music festivals. In 2022, a general admission ticket to the festival cost about $280. These tickets get sold out very fast, leaving only the more expensive packages, which can cost several thousands of dollars. And that base price doesn’t take into account travel, food and all of the other expenses that go into attending one of these events. The total cost of going to one of these events can be anywhere from $1,500 to $50,000. That is simply not something that the vast majority of people can afford.

Restoring the Electronic Music Scene to Its Roots

Electronic music festivals are about more than just the music. These are events that are supposed to bring together people from all walks of life in a communal setting. The way things currently operate, going to these events is becoming more of a privilege.

However, one blockchain project has decided to do something about this and use its platform to bring electronic music back to its roots. Klubcoin bills itself as the “1st cryptocurrency for all clubbers, festival goers and electronic music fans.” The project’s goal is to create a currency that is accepted by everyone in the electronic music scene. By using the Klubcoin currency, music fans get rewards that include access to VIP events, meet-and-greets with famous DJs and artists and more.

Klubcoin and the Pary-to-Earn Model

The model of operation is called “party-to-earn,” and has been positioned as a means of decentralizing the music and festival scene in a similar fashion to how play-to-earn games have shaken up the gaming industry. Klubcoin gives clubbers and festival goers the ability to earn rewards and gain access to exclusive events by doing what they love. Now, fans will not only be able to get into sold-out events for reasonable prices, once there, they will also be eligible for discounts on food and drinks, get cashback on all their purchases and have access to parties and meetups exclusive to the Klubcoin community. By introducing a means of exchange tailored to electronic music creators and fans, the project is aiming to bring those creators and fans back into focus.

Klubcoin has already met with some success in its efforts, forging partnerships with some of the biggest music festivals and DJs in the world. The project’s roster of partners now includes Amnesia Ibiza, Bootshaus, Caprices Festival, DJ Mag, Pacha Barcelona, Opium, Motel Particulier and many more. As it progresses, Klubcoin will be looking to integrate into even more festivals and partner with more artists to expand its ecosystem and offer more people alternatives to the current status quo.

For music creators, Klubcoin represents a unique opportunity to expand their audience and contribute to a more direct relationship between fans and artists. The sustained success of Klubcoin could have a profound impact on an industry that is becoming increasingly unrecognizable to its original creators.

Material is provided in partnership with Klubcoin

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you with all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor can this article be considered as investment advice.

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Socios boss’ goal? To knock crypto out of the park

What is a sports fans dream come true? To be the announcer at an AC Milan home game, in front of 75,000 roaring Rossoneri fans?

To play a football match on the hallowed turf of your beloved FC Barcelona?

To tour the garage of an F1 team pre-race, then watch the Monza Grand Prix from a VIP box?

These are some of the biggest rewards handed out as incentives to join Chiliz, or CHZ-based, fan token schemes on Socios.com. There are also lesser, but still desirable prizes, like meeting your sports idols, choosing the music to be played when your team scores a goal, or voting on the design of next years team strip.

Socios.com has now partnered with over 170 sporting clubs across 25 countries and 10 sports, including American football, soccer, basketball, cricket, esports, ice hockey, mixed martial arts, motorsports, tennis and rugby. Eighty of these organizations have already launched their official fan tokens on the Socios.com app, and it has high-profile deals with giants, such as Manchester City, Barcelona and the Aston Martin F1 Team. 

Alex Dreyfus chats with Magazine from his office. Source: Julian Jackson

The team captain behind this is Socios CEO Alex Dreyfus. Im French, 45 years old right now. And Ive been an internet entrepreneur for the last 25 years. I left school before [I was] 18 years old. I created my first company in 1995 at the beginning of the internet. Im the generation of the Web 1.0. So, for the last 25 years, my journey always has been to try to use the technology to create something that does not exist and try to embrace it before the others.

He started by developing a French city guide that first covered Paris, then 36 other French cities. A serial entrepreneur, he moved on to an online gaming project, with sports betting and online poker. While there are fewer regulations in France, unlike in the United Kingdom, there arent betting shops everywhere. He moved to Malta 17 years ago and, 10 years ago, cashed out his betting ventures to raise capital for his next project.

Amusingly, he started out as a Bitcoin skeptic. Coming from the highly regulated world of online gambling, he had difficulty wrapping his thoughts around a decentralized system with no supervisory body.

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Bitcoin skeptic at first

In Iceland for his honeymoon, Dreyfus came across a shop that took Bitcoin, which sparked something in the back of his mind. When he came home, he found the gaming space was full of crypto enthusiasts making money. I saw my Twitter feeds all of my friends trading crypto, talking about it.

And so, in 2017, I spent a lot of time to educate myself. He followed Andreas Antonopoulos and some other crypto influencers.

As an entrepreneur, I always try to find new opportunities not as an investment but to develop. At the end of 2017, I started to look at crypto from a sports angle.

An idea was percolating in his mind. Sports are global an international language. This means many, if not most, supporters dont live in the originating country. According to one survey, there are 253 million Manchester United soccer fans in China or nearly four times the entire population of the United Kingdom! 

Alex Dreyfus dreamed up fan tokens as a way to engage with a teams global fanbase.

To be sure, sports like F1 travel the world with races in different countries, but to attend sports like American Football, soccer or the National Basketball Association, you usually need to be in the host country.

Yet these worldwide fans are devoted to their teams, too, which is a huge base for a business.

Dreyfus notes that sports was ripe for disruption.

The industry hasnt been disrupted for the last 30 or 40 years, unlike most of any other industry in the world. Travel booking, dating, of course, taxis, banking they have all been more or less disrupted. Sports is still the same pretty much it was years ago. Management of these global brands can be quite risk-averse.

Fan tokens are a way to create a new revenue stream for the many supporters who live abroad.

On Jan. 6, 2018, I decided to come back to the office after Christmas and say, Lets do it. We are launching our business in that space. And at that time, we are 10, maybe 12, employees. It was a leap of faith, he says.

Fast forward to today, we are 300 employees in nine offices in the world. We are the biggest company in the blockchain/sports sector, but we are also one of the biggest mainstream blockchain products that is not an exchange or wallet. We created the concept of fan tokens.

Essentially Chiliz (CHZ) is the entry point, allowing fans to go onto socios.com and buy tokens for their favorite National Basketball League, Formula 1, rugby or other sports team. It is just like trading on any ordinary crypto exchange, except the tokens main utility is theoretically, at least to allow fans to have deeper engagement with their favorite club. The utility tokens are primarily a social investment, not a financial one.

Fans meet international soccer stars Rafa Mrquez and Javier Zanetti. Source: Socios

Leveling up the fan experience

Fan tokens enable fans to vote or participate in decisions to do with their team e.g., to choose the music played when a goal is scored, scarf designs or the number a player will wear.

There is a certain similarity to DAOs: where everyone with the token has input into governance for decisions that matter to them. Dreyfus describes this as a share of governance, not ownership a kind of sports influencer. Its making fans more a participant than a passive spectator. Their top prize for soccer/football fans is Living the Dream, where fan tokenholders get to play soccer in their teams colors on the home stadium with a star player, photographers and commentator the full works.

If I had to define this experience in one word, it would be: spectacular. Barcelona soccer BAR fan tokenholder on playing on her teams pitch with fellow fans and Spanish La Ligas top player, Samuel Etoo.

Just as Chiliz and Socios were starting to take off, COVID-19 hit, and clubs had to ponder what their businesses were going to do when the stadiums were empty. So, fan tokens made a lot more sense at that point.

Strangely, first COVID-19 and the current crypto winter have worked to the advantage of Socios. Dreyfus feels that the contraction of the crypto sector is removing some of the more impractical projects, but fan tokens, with their global base in sports lovers, will be able to continue to develop without distractions.

However, the World Cup has not worked in its favor so far as many expected, and the token actually fell in the first week.

More of a marathon than a sprint

Dreyfus feels that Socios real goal (haha) at the moment is to engage the non-crypto-native fans, to convince them that fan tokens have real value to them, as they are likely to be a bit skeptical at first. Currently an Ethereum token, he says there are plans to launch its own blockchain for the sports industry.

The company is in the process of developing a sports club-based blockchain Chili Chain 2.0, which is to be based in the sports industry, with them as nodes and validators, he says. 

The first iteration of this is planned for late this year, or early next. The idea is that there would be a whole ecosystem of sports clubs and fans (and Socios.com) interacting and trading with each other, and generating revenue and rewards.

Lets give a fan the last word: To live what your idols experience is priceless there is no possible comparison.

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What is tokenization and how are banks tapping into its design principles?

Financial services organizations can use tokenization to solve several friction points and have better risk management in place.

Tokenization is the process of converting something with tangible or intangible value into digital tokens. Tangible assets like real estate, stocks or art can be tokenized. In a similar vein, intangible assets like voting rights and loyalty points can be tokenized, too. We see Avios as an example of tokenized loyalty points by the traditional credit card industry.

However, when tokens are created on a blockchain, they add a level of transparency that previous iterations of tokens couldn’t achieve. There are several banks that are experimenting with tokenization. But, before diving into the use cases in banking, it would be useful to understand the qualitative advantages that tokenization brings to financial services.

As major financial institutions enter the crypto space, they pay special attention to issues like custody and Anti-Money Laundering analytics and compliance. Now, with the dramatic collapse of FTX, the key qualitative benefits of tokenization are in the spotlight yet again. 

Liquidity

Real estate is one of the most illiquid asset classes. When a property is worth a few million dollars, buying and selling the property can take time. Now, imagine a $1 million home is tokenized, with each token representing property ownership. When these tokens are available for purchase in the market, 100 buyers can each invest $10,000 to buy ownership of the property.

This naturally increases the ease with which illiquid assets can be sold, as fractionalized ownership is possible with tokenized assets. Fintech firms like Yielders already implement fractional ownership of real estate without using blockchain tech. Also, illiquid asset classes like private equity and venture capital can benefit from tokenization.

When an illiquid asset like real estate or art is tokenized, the entire asset class benefits from the liquidity created. It also allows for a healthy secondary market and creates more data for better valuation of these assets. Platforms like Reinno and Realt offer global investors access to tokenized real estate.

As a property owner, this opens up options of selling just part of the property through tokens instead of selling the entire property. From an investor perspective, someone in Brazil with $1,000 can invest in property in Manhattan.

For instance, Realt offers investors tokenized properties. While the properties listed on their platform cost from several hundred thousand dollars to a few million, they are tokenized and each token can be valued at less than $50. This makes it extremely affordable for interested investors in most places of the world.

Similarly, fractional ownership of nonfungible tokens (NFT) is being rolled out for the more expensive NFT and art collections. As a result of a liquid secondary market for an illiquid asset, pricing also becomes easier due to transparent supply and demand dynamics.

Liquidity risk management

In addition to these benefits, liquidity risk management within financial services organizations can also benefit from tokenization. That benefit is a lot clearer from the FTX collapse and how tokenization could have helped there.

The FTX collapse had several underlying issues, not the least of which came from its business model using the volatile FTX Token (FTT) as collateral. However, if there were checks and balances in place that were transparent for customers to see, mitigating actions could have been taken in time.

Recent: Festivals in the metaverse: How Web3 projects are taking culture virtual

At no point in their journey did FTX create transparency around how much liquid assets they had to service their liabilities. As a result, FTX managed to repurpose user funds (liabilities) for their investments (illiquid assets). Tokenizing both assets and liabilities would have shown a liquidity gap in real-time and cautioned the market of the looming crisis.

After the FTX collapse, there has been a rushed effort to provide proof of reserves from several centralized crypto exchanges. However, proof of reserves only shows that a firm has some assets to service its debts.

An equally important capability is proof of liabilities. If a firm can transparently demonstrate that it has $1 billion in reserves/assets, but its liabilities, which could be $10 billion, are not clear for everyone to see, its solvency is under question.

The challenge in creating transparency around liabilities is that, often, firms capitalize themselves through debt raises in fiat currencies. As these instruments are not tokenized, real-time solvency cannot be demonstrated. Therefore, in order to avoid an FTX-like incident in the future, exchanges will need to provide proof of assets and liabilities.

One of the key qualitative aspects of tokenization that is apparent from the FTX saga is the “proof of solvency.” The transparency that tokenization brings can also help assess the solvency of a firm in real-time. If both assets and liabilities of a bank can be tokenized, on-chain analytics can be used to understand if the firm has enough assets to service its liabilities.

Democratization

The tokenization of assets makes them more accessible to retail investors. In the example given earlier, an investor with $10,000 could own a share of a million-dollar property in a prime location and benefit from a rise in its value. Without tokenization, they wouldn’t be able to participate in big-ticket assets that offer good returns.

This is particularly true with high net worth individuals who want access to products that are only available for private banking clients. In the past, products with attractive returns profiles were offered exclusively to institutional investors. Even high-net-worth and sophisticated investors would struggle to get access to these assets. 

Efficiency

As financial services firms and banks tokenize their asset base, the instant finality that blockchain offers can help them see where they stand with their capital health in real-time. Settlements which used to take two days, referred to as (T+2), can now be instant. This offers both operational and capital efficiencies.

Organizations can assess their precise level of capitalization and make quick and profitable decisions to deploy their capital. In times of market crisis, the same capability can help manage capital and reduce risks.

With all these purported benefits, what are banks and financial services firms experimenting with tokenization? 

JPM Coin

JPM Coin is JPMorgan’s version of a United States dollar stablecoin. JPM Coin is currently in its prototype stage and is being trialed and tested for money transfer across JPMorgan’s institutional customers. JPM Coin may be launched in other currencies should the dollar prototype prove successful.

As described by the bank, institutions that participate in this exercise typically follow a three-step transaction process. 

Institutions open a deposit account with JPMorgan and deposit USD in it. They receive an equivalent amount of JPM Coins. Institutions can transfer JPM coins globally to other institutions that are JPMorgan clients. This can be just a currency transaction or a security transaction paid in JPM Coins.The recipient institution can redeem JPM Coins for USD.

Regulators are yet to approve JPM Coin. Only after comprehensive regulatory approval is obtained can it launch for retail use.

The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC)

The DTCC is a U.S.-based organization that acts as a centralized clearing and settlement company for different asset classes.

In Q4 2021, the DTCC announced a platform to streamline the issuance, transfer and servicing of private market securities through tokenization. Apart from implementing the platform, they also provide a common market infrastructure and standards across private market assets.

As discussed in the qualitative aspects of tokenization, asset classes like private equity and venture capital can be quite illiquid and inaccessible. As a result, the secondary market for private securities is quite nascent. 

Tokenizing these securities and providing market standards could help improve liquidity within these asset classes and also help with efficiencies in settlements. The DTCC has started with the Ethereum blockchain, but the platform can be blockchain agnostic. It plans to offer both public and private blockchain support based on market demand.

ADDX

ADDX is a Singapore-based blockchain startup that is currently pioneering efforts in tokenizing private market securities for which both accredited investors and institutional investors are eligible to participate.

Recent: How stable are stablecoins in the FTX crypto market contagion?

Assets include venture capital funds, private credit funds, real estate funds, ESG bonds and more. Access to such institutional investment vehicles was limited to a select few in the past. Thanks to fractional ownership through tokenization, accredited investors with a net worth of 2 million Singapore dollars ($1.47 million) can participate in these assets.

The end of banks?

Some claim that digital assets and Web3 are going to be the end of banks, but it is unrealistic to expect that such financial institutions will be relegated to the past. And yet, while banks are likely to remain strong, banking as we know it today is likely to change for the better.

There are several elements of banking that could undergo operating and business model changes over the next couple of decades, largely inspired by digital assets and their underlying design principles.

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Russia’s Sber bank integrates Metamask into its blockchain platform

Russia’s largest lender is moving into DeFi and Web3 by integrating its blockchain platform with the Ethereum blockchain.

Russia’s largest bank Sber — formerly known as Sberbank — continues developing its blockchain platform by integrating it with the Ethereum blockchain.

On Nov. 30, Sber officially announced new opportunities for its proprietary blockchain platform, including compatibility with smart contracts and applications on the Ethereum network. This would allow developers to move smart contracts and entire projects between Sber’s blockchain and public blockchain networks, the bank said.

Sber’s latest additions also bring an integration with major software cryptocurrency wallet MetaMask, which is used to interact with the Ethereum blockchain. The integration allows users to make operations with tokens and smart contracts placed on Sber’s blockchain platform, the announcement notes.

“Sber Blockchain Lab works closely with external developers and partner companies, and I am glad that our community will be able to run DeFi applications on Sber’s infrastructure,” head of blockchain lab Alexander Nam said. He noted that the newly integrated features will help Sber to unite developers, corporations and financial institutions to explore practical business applications of blockchain, Web3 and decentralized finance.

As previously reported, Sberbank has been actively developing blockchain products in recent years, filing an application with the Bank of Russia to launch a blockchain platform for its “Sbercoin” stablecoin in early 2021. After receiving the central bank’s approval in spring 2022, Sber finally announced its first digital currency deal in June. Sber’s majority shareholder is the government of Russia, holding 50% + 1 share.

Sber’s announcement came shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an open blockchain-based settlement network. He criticized the monopoly in global financial payment systems, expressing confidence that digital currencies-based technology will drive independence from banks. At the same time, Putin’s government does not allow its citizens to use crypto as payment, putting a blanket ban on payments with Bitcoin (BTC) in early 2020.

Related: Telegram founder wants to build new decentralized tools to combat power abuse

In late November, Russian lawmakers also discussed potential legal amendments in order for the government to launch a national crypto exchange. This effort is reportedly supported both by the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Russia, which are known for having a lot of disagreement when it comes to regulating the local crypto market.

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The solar wind rushes to Earth at a monstrous speed

On December 1, the Earth will feel the first blow of a gale-force solar wind that has burst from a giant crack in the Sun’s atmosphere. The gap was formed the day before – November 28, 2022 – it was noticed by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

At the same time, the “draft” began – powerful streams of charged particles flew towards the Earth at a speed of 2.5 million kilometers per hour.

Upon reaching the planet, they will cause a geomagnetic hurricane – not the strongest – level G1, but it will be felt by weather-dependent people and equipment that responds to changes in the electromagnetic field.

Interruptions in communication, failures in the operation of navigation systems are possible. The Northern Lights will flash in the northern regions.

The hurricane, caused by “draft”, will last until December 2 inclusive.

The solar wind is a stream of charged particles released from the upper atmosphere of the Sun, called the corona.

These charged particles breeze through the solar system at speeds ranging from around 250 miles (400 kilometers) per second to 500 miles (800 km) per second, in a plasma state, according to the National Oceanic and Administration Space Weather Prediction Center(opens in new tab) (SWPC).

The post The solar wind rushes to Earth at a monstrous speed appeared first on Anomalien.com.

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Hidden Text May Finally Solve the Mystery of Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance

The 1937 disappearance of Amelia Earhart while nearing the end of her attempt to become the first woman to fly around the world continues to be one of the most baffling missing person cases in history. Countless clues have been followed without success, numerous regular theories and conspiracy theories continue to pop up, and an occasional plane part, clothing scrap or human remains have been discovered without any leading to the plane, her body or that of her navigator, Fred Noonan. That quest may have finally taken a turn towards possible success recently when researchers used new technology on an old aluminum panel found near where Earhart’s plane possibly went down and discovered what may be hidden letters and numbers that could place the panel on Amelia’s plane … and positively place the plane and the end of the Earhart disappearnce search on the island of Nikumaroro.

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What If The Dinosaurs Hadn’t Gone Extinct, But Evolved?

Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid hit the Earth with the force of 10 billion atomic bombs and changed the course of evolution. The skies darkened and plants stopped photosynthesising. The plants died, then the animals that fed on them. The food chain collapsed. Over 90% of all species vanished. When the dust settled, all dinosaurs except a handful of birds had gone extinct.

But this catastrophic event made human evolution possible. The surviving mammals flourished, including little proto-primates that would evolve into us.

Imagine the asteroid had missed, and dinosaurs survived. Picture highly evolved raptors planting their flag on the moon. Dinosaur scientists, discovering relativity, or discussing a hypothetical world in which, incredibly, mammals took over the Earth.

This might sound like bad science fiction, but it gets at some deep, philosophical questions about evolution. Is humanity just here by chance, or is the evolution of intelligent tool-users inevitable?

Brains, tools, language and big social groups make us the planet’s dominant species. There are 8 billion Homo sapiens on seven continents. By weight, there are more humans than all wild animals.

We’ve modified half of Earth’s land to feed ourselves. You could argue creatures like humans were bound to evolve.

In the 1980s, palaeontologist Dale Russell proposed a thought experiment in which a carnivorous dinosaur evolved into an intelligent tool user. This “dinosauroid” was big-brained with opposable thumbs and walked upright.

It’s not impossible but it’s unlikely. The biology of an animal constrains the direction of its evolution. Your starting point limits your endpoints.

If you drop out of college, you probably won’t be a brain surgeon, lawyer or Nasa rocket scientist. But you might be an artist, actor or entrepreneur. The paths we take in life open some doors and close others. That’s also true in evolution.

Consider the size of dinosaurs. Beginning in the Jurassic, sauropod dinosaurs, Brontosaurus and kin evolved into 30-50 tonne giants up to 30 metres long – ten times the weight of an elephant and as long as a blue whale. This happened in multiple groups, including Diplodocidae, Brachiosauridae, Turiasauridae, Mamenchisauridae and Titanosauria.

This happened on different continents, at different times and in different climates, from deserts to rainforests. But other dinosaurs living in these environments didn’t become supergiants.

The common thread linking these animals was that they were sauropods. Something about sauropod anatomy – lungs, hollow bones with a high strength-to-weight ratio, metabolism or all these things – unlocked their evolutionary potential. It let them grow big in a way that no land animals had ever before, or have since.

Likewise, the carnivorous dinosaurs repeatedly evolved huge, ten-metre, multi-tonne predators. Over 100 million years, megalosaurids, allosaurids, carcharodontosaurids, neovenatorids and finally tyrannosaurs evolved giant apex predators.

Dinosaurs did big bodies well. Big brains not so much. Dinosaurs did show a weak trend towards increased brain size over time. Jurassic dinosaurs like Allosaurus, Stegosaurus and Brachiosaurus had small brains.

By the late Cretaceous, 80 million years later, tyrannosaurs and duckbills had evolved larger brains. But despite its size, the T. rex brain still weighed just 400 grams. A Velociraptor brain weighed 15 grams. The average human brain weighs 1.3 kilograms.
Dinosaurs did enter new niches over time. Small herbivores became more common and birds diversified. Long-legged forms evolved later on, suggesting an arms race between fleet-footed predators and their prey.

Dinosaurs seem to have had increasingly complex social lives. They started living in herds and evolved elaborate horns for fighting and display. Yet dinosaurs mostly seem to repeat themselves, evolving giant herbivores and carnivores with small brains.

There’s little about 100 million years of dinosaur history to hint they’d have done anything radically different if the asteroid hadn’t intervened. We’d likely still have those supergiant, long-necked herbivores and huge tyrannosaur-like predators.

They may have evolved slightly bigger brains, but there’s little evidence they’d have evolved into geniuses. Neither is it likely that mammals would have displaced them. Dinosaurs monopolised their environments to very end, when the asteroid hit.

Mammals, meanwhile, had different constraints. They never evolved supergiant herbivores and carnivores. But they repeatedly evolved big brains. Massive brains (as large or larger than ours) evolved in orcas, sperm whales, baleen whales, elephants, leopard seals and apes.

Today, a few dinosaur descendants – birds like crows and parrots – have complex brains. They can use tools, talk and count. But it’s mammals like apes, elephants and dolphins that evolved the biggest brains and most complex behaviours.

So did eliminating the dinosaurs guarantee mammals would evolve intelligence?

Well, maybe not.

Starting points may limit endpoints, but they don’t guarantee them either. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg all dropped out of college. But if dropping out automatically made you a multibillionaire, every college dropout would be rich. Even starting in the right place, you need opportunities and luck.

The evolutionary history of primates suggests our evolution was anything but inevitable. In Africa, primates did evolve into big-brained apes and, over 7 million years, produced modern humans. But elsewhere primate evolution took very different paths.

When monkeys reached South America 35 million years ago they just evolved into more monkey species. And primates reached North America at least three separate times, 55 million years ago, 50 million years ago, and 20 million years ago. Yet they didn’t evolve into a species who make nuclear weapons and smartphones. Instead, for reasons we don’t understand, they went extinct.

In Africa, and Africa alone, primate evolution took a unique direction. Something about Africa’s fauna, flora or geography drove the evolution of apes: terrestrial, big-bodied, big-brained, tool-using primates. Even with the dinosaurs gone, our evolution needed the right combination of opportunity and luck.

Nicholas R. Longrich, Senior Lecturer in Paleontology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Bath

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The post What If The Dinosaurs Hadn’t Gone Extinct, But Evolved? appeared first on Anomalien.com.

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Bitcoin sees worst monthly close in 2 years as traders watch $16.7K

BTC price action strengthens into the November monthly candle close, but traders are already warning over getting too “cocky” on Bitcoin.

Bitcoin (BTC) attempted to flip $17,000 to support on Dec. 1 after sealing its lowest monthly close in two years.

BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView

Bitcoin gains inch up as November end

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC/USD circling $17,100 in a second intraday charge at higher levels.

The pair managed to avoid losses as the monthly candle closed, instead seeing solid daily gains of around 4.5% for Nov. 30.

Nonetheless, Bitcoin shed 16.2% for the month, making November 2022 its worst since 2019.

BTC/USD monthly returns chart (screenshot). Source: Coinglass

The more buoyant mood coincided with comments from the United States Federal Reserve. In a speech on inflation and the labor market, Chair Jerome Powell openly stated that smaller interest rate hikes could begin as soon as December.

“Monetary policy affects the economy and inflation with uncertain lags, and the full effects of our rapid tightening so far are yet to be felt,” he said.

“Thus, it makes sense to moderate the pace of our rate increases as we approach the level of restraint that will be sufficient to bring inflation down. The time for moderating the pace of rate increases may come as soon as the December meeting.”

Powell characteristically cautioned on heralding a full turning point in policy, something markets had been keenly awaiting throughout the year.

“Given our progress in tightening policy, the timing of that moderation is far less significant than the questions of how much further we will need to raise rates to control inflation, and the length of time it will be necessary to hold policy at a restrictive level,” he added.

Nonetheless, stocks reacted positively, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index ending the day up 3.1% and 4.4%, respectively, in line with Bitcoin.

No euphoria among traders

In responses of their own, meanwhile, crypto market commentators were equally cool on the immediate prospects despite the moderate month-end gains.

Related: Bitcoin capitulation 4th-worst ever as BTC hodlers lose $10B in a week

Crypto Tony warned that bulls were “getting cocky” into December, and that now was not a suitable blind entry point.

“Now is not the time to go all in, thinking this is the bottom on Crypto,” he told Twitter followers.

“We have yet to see : – A macro higher high and higher low (Market structure trend change) – Bull volume coming in – Spot buys on the increase – Completed corrective structure.”BTC/USD annotated chart. Source: Crypto Tony/ Twitter

A key level to hold for continuation of the “bullish market structure,” he added, was $16,700.

Michaël van de Poppe, founder and CEO of trading firm Eight, agreed on the importance of an area focused on $16,700 for his own strategy.

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

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Binance hires audit firm that served Donald Trump to verify crypto reserves

Mazars’ U.S. division was the longtime accounting firm for former United States President Donald Trump’s company.

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is working with accounting firm Mazars as part of its proof-of-reserve (PoR) audits triggered by the fall of FTX.

Mazars, the accounting firm that worked for former United States President Donald Trump’s company, was appointed as an official auditor to conduct a “third party financial verification” as part of Binance’s PoR updates, The Wall Street Journal reported on Nov. 30.

The accounting firm is reportedly already reviewing all Binance’s publicly shared information on Bitcoin (BTC) PoR and will also be verifying future updates and tokens, a spokesperson for Binance reportedly said. “The first verification update for BTC will be completed this week,” the representative added.

Mazars is an international accounting firm headquartered in Paris. Its U.S. division, Mazars USA, was the longtime accounting firm for Trump and had been involved in a controversy with a House Oversight and Reform Committee’s request for some of Trump’s financial records since 2019. The firm reportedly eventually cut ties with Trump and his family in 2022.

The news comes amid Binance moving large amounts of cryptocurrency as part of its PoR audits. On Nov. 28, Binance sent 127,351 BTC, or about $2 billion, to an unknown wallet, with CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao subsequently announcing that the transaction was part of the ongoing PoR process.

The action has triggered some concerns in the community as previously CZ argued that it’s bad news when exchanges have to move large amounts of crypto to prove their wallet address.

As previously reported, Binance launched a PoR process and mechanism in response to the crash and bankruptcy of the FTX crypto exchange. On Nov. 25, the firm also published Merkle Tree-backed proof of funds for Bitcoin, which was just one of many Binance’s measures to prove its transparency.

Related: OKX releases proof-of-reserves page, along with instructions on how to self-audit its reserves

Binance is not alone in putting major efforts to maintain trust of its customers in the aftermath of the FTX collapse, with many other exchanges like OKX and KuCoin rushing to release their PoR reports as well. In the meantime, some industry observers believe that the existing PoR process by exchanges is largely useless, unless they also provide liabilities, which are very hard to fake.

Binance did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

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Demand for liquid Ethereum staking options continues to grow post-Merge

Demand for liquid Ethereum staking options gains pace in the months following the Merge, according to blockchain data.

Blockchain data analytics carried out by Nansen highlights the ever-growing amount of Ether (ETH) being staked across various staking solutions in the months following Ethereum’s shift to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus.

The highly anticipated Merge has been a boon for decentralized finance (DeFi) in general, and staking solutions have been in high demand since Ethereum’s shift to PoS. This is according to blockchain data from a variety of staking solutions across the Ethereum ecosystem.

Nansen’s report highlights the impact of the Merge in introducing staked ETH as an out-and-out cryptocurrency-native yield-bearing instrument that has quickly outstripped other collateralized yield-bearing services.

The likes of Uniswap and other automated-market makers and liquidity providers remain popular but pale in comparison to the total value locked in staked ETH solutions. Over 15.4 million ETH is locked in Ethereum’s staking contract, which values the total staked ETH in the top six cryptocurrencies by market capitalization alone:

“Staked ETH is thus the first yield-bearing instrument to reach significant scale in DeFi, and has the potential to both significantly grow and radically transform the ecosystem in the coming years.”

Nansen provides some interesting insights from liquid-staked derivatives data. When Ethereum shifted to PoS, miners were replaced by validators who had to deposit or stake 32 ETH in order to propose new blocks and earn protocol rewards. Users that are unable or unwilling to stake 32 ETH can participate in pooled staking, also known as liquid staking. This also allows users to withdraw staked ETH at any time.

Nansen’s metrics reveal that liquid staking holdings are weighted toward long-term holders, while recently launched protocols are attracting new deposits faster than established services. 5.7 million of the total 14.5 million ETH is staked in staking pools like Lido and Rocket Pool, accounting for over 40% of the total staked ETH in the ecosystem.

Lido’s stETH dominates the space with a 79% share of the total market supply of staked ETH. 52% of the stETH tokens are found in Aave, Curve and Lido’s wrapped stETH contract indicating interest and utility for investors and DeFi applications. stETH has also seen a 127% increase in average daily trading volume since the Ethereum Merge.

Related: 64% of staked ETH controlled by 5 entities — Nansen

Meanwhile, Coinbase’s Ethereum staking pool cbETH has surpassed all other assets besides stETH in supply. Both Rocket Pool’s rETH and Coinbase’s cbETH have seen the most growth over the past three months, at 52.5% and 43.3%, respectively.

The growth of Coinbase’s ETH staking option also suggests that everyday users still trust centralized entities and are content earning yield from staked ETH as opposed to more complex, on-chain, yield-bearing strategies.

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