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Cryptoverse: ‘Layer two’ tokens enjoy new life as bitcoin soars

Cryptoverse: ‘Layer two’ tokens enjoy new life as bitcoin soars

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Cryptoverse: 'Layer two' tokens enjoy new life as bitcoin soars

“Layer 2” cryptocurrencies native to projects built on top of “layer 1” blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum – have found a new lease of life after a year in the doldrums, buoyed by a rising crypto tide.

Anticipation of easing U.S. borrowing costs and a possible U.S. spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund have lifted crypto prices since the summer, with market bitcoin gaining by about half since the end of August.

Tokens associated with layer 2 projects – which typically aim to speed up transactions and cut costs – have a combined market cap of about $14.3 billion, about a tenth of the total crypto market, according to data from CoinMaketCap.com.

Matic, the largest layer 2 token with a market cap of $6.90 billion, has jumped 20% to $0.74 over the past 30 days, according to CoinGecko. It’s used on Polygon, a platform that reduces congestion on the Ethereum network.

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The next four largest coins – immutable, mantle, arbitrum and optimism – have leapt between 9% and 105% over the past month and trade between $0.5 to under $2 apiece.

All five tokens are down between 16% and 86% from their all-time highs hit over the past two years, though.

Ether, the layer 1 token linked to the Ethereum blockchain on which most layer 2 tokens are based, has leapt 13.8% to $2,028.80 in the past month.

Layer 2 tokens, which have proliferated in recent years, can be a risky business. They are small and thinly traded, meaning they can be highly volatile and unpredictable. Picking long-term winners is tough.

“On average, the growth is not sustainable for those tokens … 100 try and one wins,” said Matteo Greco, research analyst at digital asset and fintech investment firm Fineqia International (FNQ.CD).

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“There’s always a bit of thin air behind the moves.”

Price performance is also patchy.

Matic has fallen about 3% in 2023, while gaming token immutable has more than tripled in price, versus bitcoin’s 123% and ether’s 69% gains.

SPECULATIVE CHARACTER
Layer 2 tokens are a gauge of sentiment towards the projects they are linked to, but their extreme volatility also lends them a speculative character. They are often among the last ones to catch a bid when broader crypto market rises and among the first ones to sell off when sentiment is shaken.

While layer 2 tokens are tiny in comparison to big guns like bitcoin, their volatility makes them a favorite among active traders trying to capitalize on market momentum.

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“They can be very attractive investments even though they can be very speculative,” said Joshua Peck, chief investment officer at hedge fund TrueCode Capital, whose fund invests in matic. “For a token that’s down 97%, it doesn’t take a lot of capital inflow for it to go three times, four times, five times in price.”

“Active trading is the right approach for these tokens because the market is moving so much,” Peck added.

The future of layer 2 tokens is unclear.

Some analysts see the projects as vital to increasing the practical uses of blockchains like Ethereum, in areas such as finance to gaming.

Yet the market is crowded. Numerous projects and their tokens were launched as the crypto market boomed in 2020, before sinking during the crypto winter of 2022.

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“The space feels ‘unserious’ right now … in terms of being able to point to an example of something you’d like to run your business or family’s personal finances on,” said Alyse Killeen, managing partner at venture capital firm Stillmark.

Many investors agree that only projects with useful practical applications will survive.

“In these macro phases, the use cases are not really so important. The real difference between assets that have decent use cases and assets that don’t is (in) the bear market,” said Fineqia International’s Greco.

“Assets that have good use cases are able to resist the downtrend even though they get hit hard.”

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WhatsApp unveils new text formatting feature for enhanced communication

WhatsApp unveils new text formatting feature for enhanced communication

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WhatsApp unveils new text formatting feature for enhanced communication

WhatsApp has unveiled a groundbreaking feature that revolutionizes text messaging by allowing users to customize their messages like never before.

Prior to this update, users were limited to basic text modifications such as bold and italic; however, the new feature introduces a plethora of formatting options, including numbers, bullets, block quotes, and text highlighting.

The process is simple and intuitive, requiring users to incorporate specific symbols to achieve their desired text format. For monospacing text, users can enclose their message with three backticks on both sides. Adding a quote is as easy as placing an angle bracket and a space before the text.

To strike through a message, users need to flank their text with tilde symbols, while bolding requires asterisks on both sides. One of the standout additions is the ability to create bulleted lists effortlessly. Users can precede each word or sentence with an asterisk or hyphen and a space to generate a neatly organized list.

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Moreover, numbering and spacing at the beginning of text with “1.” facilitates the creation of itemized lists, enhancing the overall clarity and structure of messages.

Inline code can now be seamlessly integrated into messages by enclosing the text with backtick symbols at the start and end. This provides users with a practical way to share code snippets or emphasize specific phrases within their conversations.

The accompanying image showcases the versatility of this new feature, illustrating the various formatting options available to users. WhatsApp users across iOS, Android, and web devices can now leverage this advanced text formatting feature to elevate their communication experience.

The update reflects WhatsApp’s commitment to continually enhance user experience and foster more expressive and organized conversations. Whether you’re conveying information, emphasizing key points, or sharing code snippets, the new formatting options provide a dynamic and engaging communication platform for users worldwide. 

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Meta to set up team to counter disinformation, AI abuse in EU elections

Meta to set up team to counter disinformation, AI abuse in EU elections

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Meta to set up team to counter disinformation, AI abuse in EU elections

 Facebook owner Meta will set up a team to tackle disinformation and the abuse of generative artificial intelligence in the run-up to European Parliament elections in June amid concerns about election interference and misleading AI-generated content.

The rapid growth of generative AI, which can create text, images and video in seconds in response to prompts, has triggered fears that the new technology could be used to disrupt major elections, across the world this year. 

European Parliament elections will take place June 6-9. Its 720 lawmakers, together with EU governments, pass new EU policies and laws.

“As the election approaches, we’ll activate an Elections Operations Center to identify potential threats and put mitigations in place in real time,” Marco Pancini, Meta’s head of EU affairs, said in a blogpost.

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He said experts from the company’s intelligence, data science, engineering, research, operations, content policy and legal teams will focus on combating misinformation, tackling influence operations and counter the risks related to the abuse of generative AI.

Meta, which currently works with 26 independent fact-checking organisations across the European Union covering 22 languages, will add three new partners in Bulgaria, France, and Slovakia, Pancini said.

Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI and 17 other tech companies earlier this month agreed to work together to prevent deceptive artificial-intelligence content from interfering with elections across the globe this year.

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‘X’ faces prolonged suspension across Pakistan

‘X’ faces prolonged suspension across Pakistan

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'X' faces prolonged suspension across Pakistan

The popular microblogging site ‘X,’ formerly known as Twitter, has been inaccessible across Pakistan for over a week. 

Despite a brief interval when the site was accessible, users are now reporting a persistent outage, even when using Virtual Private Network (VPN) services.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the government agency responsible for overseeing telecommunications, hasn’t released any official statement regarding the suspension of the service.

This lack of transparency has only intensified the frustration among users who heavily rely on ‘X’ for information and news updates. Users who initially turned to VPNs as a workaround have also hit a roadblock, as the microblogging site remains inaccessible. 

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The situation has raised concerns about the government’s stance on digital freedom and freedom of speech. The outage has not gone unnoticed by the public, with many expressing their discontent on various platforms. 

Criticism has been directed towards the government and the IT minister for what is perceived as an attack on freedom of speech and a hindrance to the revenue generated by the country’s thriving IT professionals.

Earlier, the Sindh High Court issued a directive to restore access to ‘X’ across Pakistan, recognising the site’s significance for information dissemination. However, despite court’s order, there has been no implementation, leaving users and advocates of digital freedom in a state of dismay.

The suspension of ‘X’ has broader implications, impacting not only the general public but also businesses and professionals who rely on the platform for communication, networking, and staying informed about the latest developments. The longer the outage persists, the more severe the consequences may be for the nation’s digital landscape.

As the public awaits an official statement from the PTA and the government, concerns about the potential ramifications of such a prolonged suspension continue to grow.

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