Crypto Confab Weekly: Walmart’s Wild Wish for Crypto

August 5 — Litecoin Halving 

Litecoin, the world’s fourth biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, has halved its block reward for miners. This means that miners will earn less Litecoin for their efforts than before, which translates to fewer Litecoin coming onto the market. Before today’s halving, miners earned 25 coins per block. After today, miners will only receive 12.5 Litecoin per block resolved. 

Previously, 14,400 LTC were generated every 24 hours. That figure will halve to 7,200 LTC. The idea behind halving a currency is to introduce scarcity into its network, and push up prices. In the last 24 hours, Litecoin’s price has jumped by 8.4%, according to Messari’s index. 

Litecoin’s price touched a high of $141.44 in June, but the halving is unlikely to have much impact on price. Eric Turner, director of research at Messari, told Bloomberg that investors have already priced in the halving. “Now that halving is here, some investors are starting to exit the trade… the event isn’t the positive catalyst [for price] that many expect,” he said. 

Also This Week: 

Crypto at Walmart  

Walmart has applied for a patent to design a digital currency for use at its retail locations. The Arkansas-based retail giant intends to use its own coin to provide services: from low-interest financial products to providing discounts to customers in its rewards and loyalty programs.

The idea is to serve low-income households by supplying “the majority of their day-to-day financial and product needs,” according to its application. The digital currency will be a stablecoin, meaning its value will remain stable with respect to a fiat currency. Based on the filing, Walmart will probably use the U.S. dollar as a backup for its stablecoin. 

Despite being the world’s biggest retailer, Walmart’s ambitions are considerably less grand than digital media giant Facebook. The social media behemoth’s Libra is intended to be used across borders and businesses, assuming it ever makes it to market. Walmart, meanwhile, is planning use cases for its cryptocurrency only within its own network of locations and sites.

It’s worth noting that Walmart’s 2005 application to become an Industrial Loan Company (ILC) was thwarted by banks and lawmakers who didn’t trust the retail giant to act as its own bank. Will their stablecoin face similar headwinds?  

LedgerX Offers Physically Settled Bitcoin FuturesUntil it Doesn’t

Trading platform LedgerX announced last week that it had become the first platform to offer physically settled Bitcoin futures. The New York-based startup was competing against Bakkt and ErisX for first-mover advantage. The CEO said the move was aimed at enabling retail investors to trade in Bitcoin futures.

“We are Bitcoin-in, Bitcoin-Out,” he said.

But the bombshell report turned out to be false. After it was published, the CFTC clarified that LedgerX had not been approved to offer Bitcoin futures on its platform. In a subsequent interview with Coindesk, LedgerX’s COO, Juthica Chou, said the conversation published in the original report had been regarding the launch of Omni — a platform that allows retail users to trade in Bitcoin. 

LedgerX’s volte-face means that the race to offer the world’s first physically settled Bitcoin futures is still on. Bakkt and ErisX have also filed applications with the CFTC to provide similar services. Launches “World’s Fastest” Crypto Exchange, which has the world’s biggest collection of crypto wallets, has launched a trading platform that it claims is the “world’s fastest.” The London-based company has taken up warehouse space in a data center in the cit,, and claims to have co-located its servers with those for some of the world’s biggest crypto exchanges. Co-location reduces latency or the amount of time required by systems to execute a trade by shortening the distance that it has to travel. Co-location is often used by high-frequency traders. 

Some claim that high-frequency trading (HFT) is becoming an increasingly important part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Given the volume of trading within the crypto network, speed may not be that important for crypto trading services, some traders opine. Products and services offered for OTC trading may, in fact, be more important. 

Interestingly, these discussions have veered slightly from one of crypto’s biggest original missions — empowerment of the individual retail investor. But, liquidity in the form of institutional investors who work with high-frequency traders, are critical for tackling crypto’s volatility problem.

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