Finance Redefined: Maverick Vitalik in Time Mag, Sept. 13–17

Vitalik in Top-100 innovators, Cardano’s smart contract launch and carbon NFT’s — all coming to you this week in Finance Redefined.

Welcome to the latest edition of Cointelegraph’s decentralized finance, or DeFi, newsletter.

Despite Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson’s claim that the DeFi space is now “up for grabs,“ it was rival Vitalik Buterin who stole the headlines this week with a feature in Time Magazine.

What you’re about to read is the smaller version of this newsletter designed for brevity. For the full version of DeFi’s developments over the last week — released a whole lot quicker than Cardano’s smart contracts — drop your email below.

Buterin’s Time to Shine

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin was listed in Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2021 this week for his distinguished contributions to the growth of the Ethereum network to over $420 billion in market capitalization, as well as fostering the emergence of decentralized apps and nonfungible tokens, or NFTs.

Nominated by Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, Buterin featured in the esteemed innovators’ category alongside vaccine pioneer Barney Graham, AI entrepreneur Sara Menker, and Tesla and SpaceX titan Elon Musk — who is also a notorious meme-coin shiller.

Ohanian applauded the ingenuity of Buterin in his profile piece, stating:

“No one person could’ve possibly come up with all of the uses for Ethereum, but it did take one person’s idea to get it started. From there, a new world has opened up, and given rise to new ways of leveraging blockchain technology.”

Back in April, the 2.3 million subscriber magazine began accepting crypto payments for its 18-month digital subscriptions in partnership with Crypto.com following a surge in demand for the asset feature.

Fork in the Road 

After years of painstaking deliberation over the prospect of implementing smart contract functionality on its platform, Cardano announced the success of its Alonzo hard fork this week, stating:

“This is where the mission truly begins as we — the whole community — start delivering on the vision we have all been working towards for so long. Building a decentralized system that extends economic identity and opportunity to everyone, everywhere.”

What began four years ago as a touted Ethereum rival has garnered criticism for its repotedly endless “peer-reviewed research, bumpy DApp launch, and perceived lack of innovation in the smart contract sector.

It remains to be seen whether Alonzo can revive ambitions to conquer the biggest players of this market, or will fall short of expectation.

Carbon-conscious NFT’s

Layer-two NFT protocol Immutable raised $60 million this week from firms, including Sam Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research and Gary Vaynerchuk’s VaynerFund, to scale its native NFT gaming projects, among other plans.

The protocol boasts 9,000 transactions per second for ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens, zero gas fees, near-instant transactions, and greater scaling capabilities through the utilization of StarkWare’s zk-Rollup.

Alongside this, Immutable has also expressed a passion to sustain the carbon neutrality of all NFT assets, marketplaces and games launched on its platform through the implementation of zero-knowledge proofs, and the purchase of carbon credits.

Token Performances

Analytical data reveals that DeFi’s total value locked has increased 6% across the week to a figure of $125.3 billion — partially rebounding from the sharp pullback of 10.2% recorded the previous week.

Technical analysis conducted on Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView reveals that DeFi’s top-20 tokens by market cap performed sporadically across the last seven days, with some surmounting a challenge to re-establish key levels lost over the previous week.

Synthetix took the top spot on the podium for bullish gains, recording an impressive 25.5%. Curve came a close second with 22.9%, while Sushi took third with 16.7%. The fourth and fifth places were claimed by Aave and Thorchain with 11.6% and 7.8%, respectively.

Insatiable for stories? Feast your eyes on these delights:

Thanks for reading our conspectus of DeFi’s biggest stories this week. Join us again next Friday for a batch of new stories, insights and witty headlines from this dynamically evolving ecosystem.

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