#Web3 Weekly: April 11–17, 2021

Photo by Pierre Borthiry via Unsplash

Re-sharing below the latest edition of #Web3 Weekly, my regular newsletter about decentralization. If you’d like to get it in your inbox every Sunday, subscribe here.

The crypto exchange Coinbase is now worth $63.6 billion following its public listing on Wednesday, which dominated the week’s tech news.

To put that number in context of more familiar stock-market names, Coinbase’s valuation is now greater than that of Twitter ($56 billion) but a notch less than CME Group ($74.5 billion), which operates the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

In other words, Coinbase’s listing is undeniably a big milestone for the crypto industry as a whole. Could the stock be overvalued right now? Sure. The same could be said of bitcoin or other tokens that trade on Coinbase and its competitor marketplaces. Or these things could go to the moon from here.

(Full disclosure: I do not own Coinbase shares. I do own some bitcoin, as well as smaller amounts of a couple of altcoins.)

The bigger point that I think should come across loudly is that crypto is here to stay. The extreme bearish narrative that it’s all puffery and will go to zero is just as delusional as some of the outsized profit claims made by less savory characters in the space. (The stock market and every other corner of conventional finance have such miscreants as well, by the way.)

As in many things, the truth probably lies somewhere inbetween. Crypto could go down from here, yes, but not to zero. There is clearly some value there that will be significant for the longer term, probably a dollar figure that at least starts with a b, if not a t. In such an environment, fortunes will continue to be made and more businesses of significant scale, like Coinbase, will be built in the decades to come.

A few other numbers to put the big picture in perspective. All factoids here based on CoinMarketcap.com data unless otherwise noted:

  • $2 trillion: Total global market cap of all crypto tokens at present, up almost 3x so far in 2021.
  • 52.1%: Bitcoin’s share of all global crypto market value. It’s been on the decline this year even as bitcoin has set fresh price records because altcoins have been rallying even faster. “BTC dominance” could even soon drop below 50% for the first time since August 2018.
  • 190%: Year-to-date gain in Ethereum, the second biggest token after bitcoin.
  • 11.4%: Year-to-date gain in the S&P 500, the benchmark U.S. stock index.
  • 9,268: Crypto tokens tracked by CoinMarketCap.
  • 91: Tokens with over $1 billion in valuation, the market cap traditionally considered “unicorn” status among Silicon Valley venture investors.
  • $62.8 billion: Total market cap of the top three dollar-based stablecoins (Tether, USDC, and DAI). In essence, these tokens allow users to conduct dollar-based transactions without traditional banks as intermediaries.
  • 2: Autonomous regions in China that appear to control half the bitcoin blockchain’s hash rate, or generation of new coins, according to an analysis by venture investor Dovey Wan. She made her estimate upon noticing that a power outage in Xinjiang last week coincided with a drop in the BTC hash rate. The incident underscores how Xinjiang, along with Sichuan, dominate BTC mining right now, Wan says.

That’s it for now. Thanks for spending some time with the newsletter today! A full revision history of it, including earlier drafts, is available here if you’re interested. If you’d like to get updates like this in your inbox every Sunday, please join our email list here.

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