The predictions of bitcoin spot ETFs have paid off. With billions flowing into these vehicles, the BTC rate has risen to new highs this week, surpassing the previous record at around $69,000. Prognosticators who have been vindicated may say that there is now enough proof to show that normies will invest in crypto if they can do so easily. It’s a question of whether novices understand the complexities of decentralized governance and decentralized networks or if they realize that technology is still in its nascent stages. Perhaps that’s why it makes sense to get in early.

This week’s edition of The Protocol includes:

  • Ethereum conferences, like the ETHDenbver of last week, are now attracting Bitcoiners and Solana acolytes as well as Polkadot representative – perhaps a testament to how influential this second-largest chain has become.
  • Luke Dashjr, a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal editor and the sole maintainer of Bitcoin Core, the software that runs the original blockchain, has asked for help.
  • The top picks of the last week’s Protocol Village blockchain project update column: Marathon Digital (Metis), Chainlink (a Bitcoin layer-2 networking), Tea Protocol, BOB a Bitcoin layer-2 networks, Wormhole.
  • Blockchain projects have raised more than $50M.
  • Token Terminal ranks blockchains by daily average users. Tron is at the top of this list.

The Protocol is our weekly newsletter that explores the technology behind crypto one block at a tim. Subscribe here to receive it every Wednesday. Please also check out the weekly The Protocol Podcast.

News Network


This is not a Solana event, but rather the Solana stand at the ETHDenver Conference, held last week to promote the Ethereum blockchain ecosystem. (Sam Kessler)

ETHEREUM’S BIG TENT: Ethereum conference are no longer just for Ethereans, reports Sam Kessler of CoinDesk . The ETHDenver event in Colorado last week, which was one of the largest gatherings of developers and users of Ethereum’s blockchain in the past year, attracted a wide range of people from the blockchain industry. This broad range of attendees could be a sign that Ethereum has influenced other blockchain ecosystems by attracting observers from other crypto tribes. It could also be a sign that rival systems are trying to take advantage of Ethereum’s success at making blockchains more programable. This is because its ecosystem of software developers wants to create new applications. Bitcoin, which is experiencing a developer boom with its NFTs and DeFi services, attracted a large number of developers to the conference. Polkadot was also well-represented at the conference. It is a “hub-and spoke” blockchain that Gavin Wood created, an Ethereum cofounder who marketed his project as an upgrade to the Ethereum model. Solana, a speed-focused network which has long positioned themselves as an “ETH Killer”, had a very well-attended exhibit at Denver’s National Western Complex. John Paller, founder of the conference and executive steward told CoinDesk that “there are probably seven or eight layers 1s here and we have about 12 layer 2s.” Officials at the conference claim that there were around 20,000 “festival participants.”

BITCOIN PSA : Last week, we discussed how the governance of blockchain software still relies on volunteers or pro developers who moonlight. It’s a labor-of-love, to be sure. Luke Dashjr is the only editor who can handle what he calls the “boring and thankless job” of managing all the Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs) that are sent over the transom. His cries for assistance were apparently heard. Ava Chow acknowledged that adding more BIPs Editors might be prudent in a posting on the Bitcoin-Dev list. Chow said: “this will help us get through the backlog BIPs PRs and respond to them in a timely fashion to reduce the friction when getting BIPs changed merged.” She added that any new BIP editors “should be people with a history of following Bitcoin development and being involved, as well as those who are known to evaluate proposals in an objective manner and, of course, willing to do the work.” Bitcoin Optech Newsletter stated that “no clear resolution has yet been reached.”

  • Bitcoiners won a major victory against the U.S. Department of Energy statistics unit’s “emergency order” to ban bitcoin mining. According to court documents the Energy Information Administration is dumping its mandatory survey that was sent to hundreds miners, in favor of the notice and comment period as required by law.
  • Bernstein Research stated in a recent report that global asset managers would be logical to consider a DeFi ETF as well as active DeFi funds. They noted that Uniswap and Aave are six of the top 10 revenue-generating blockchain protocol.
  • According to Immunefi’s “Cryptolosses in February 2024 report , $200.5 million was lost in hacks and rug pullings from 2024 to date, which is a 15.4% rise compared to the same period of 2023.
  • “Alien Hoodie”, or #2769, is a low-res version of “Alien Hoodie”, a “monke” that was part of the NodeMonkes “collection” of Bitcoin Ordinals inscriptions . It sold for $1.08 million (17 BTC).


This “Alien Hoodie” sold for over $1 million. (NodeMonkes/X)

Protocol Village

The top picks from our Protocol Village Column, which highlights key blockchain technology upgrades and news.


The litepaper shows a diagram of the “Anduro”, or Marathon’s network design. (Anduro)

  1. Marathon Digital Holdings is a publicly traded bitcoin mining company that has revealed it’s been developing Anduro a multi-chain layer-2, programmable network on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. According to a release, it’s “a platform built on the Bitcoin Network that allows the creation of multiple Sidechains”.
  2. Metis is an Ethereum layer-2 blockchain that plans to integrate Chainlink’s interoperability solutions, Chainlink CCIP. “This will enable the Metis ecosystem expand its cross-chain foot print, enhance the user and developer experience, and accelerate adoption,” says the team.
  3. The Tea Protocol was founded by Max Howell. He is the creator of Homebrew, an open-source package management system. Max Howell said his “latest initiative leverages blockchain technology in order to address longstanding issues in OSS development. This marks a significant step toward a more sustainable, equitable, and equitable ecosystem for developers.”
  4. BOB announced at the “Bitcoin Renaissance”, a side-event of ETHDenver, attended by over 1,500 people, its innovative hybrid solution that combines Bitcoin and Ethereum. According to the team, “This solution uses an advanced merged miner technique to inherit Bitcoin PoW security.” BOB is planning to allow settlements via BitVM and Ethereum in the future.
  5. Wormhole is a protocol that allows communication to occur between blockchains. The team has just released ” Wormhole native Token Transfers“, a framework designed for the secure and efficient transfer of tokens from one blockchain to another while maintaining their intrinsic properties. NTT, compared to wrapped assets is simpler and decentralized. This marks a significant step forward for interoperability.


Wormhole’s “native token transfers” architecture. (Wormhole)


Ethereum fees set to drop for Starknet Polygon Arbitrum Base But how much?


Steven Goldfeder, CEO Offchain Labs and the main developer of Arbitrum, spoke at the ETHDenver Conference last week. (Danny Nelson)

Next week, Ethereum developers will be preparing for Dencun – the next major upgrade to the blockchain.

The rollup network, which aims to provide faster and cheaper transactions on the main Blockchain than “layer-2” chains, is supposed to usher in a new age of lower costs. How much lower can it go?

Dencun is the largest upgrade, or “hard fork”, in blockchain terminology that the network has seen in the last year.

The main component in Dencun is called EIP-4844, or more commonly “proto-danksharding,” which will bring in a new type of transaction class that reduces the costs of publishing data of transactions on rollups, through the introduction of data “blobs.” These blobs are a separate place in a transaction where rollup networks or other protocols could temporarily stash data – sometimes described as a “side car” that doesn’t take up space in the main car.

The cost for layer-2 networks to store data on Ethereum is expected to be reduced significantly as a result of the increased number of blobs. This reduction will likely trickle down to the users through lower fees.

Many Ethereum experts are still uncertain about how the future will unfold. We asked the leading layer-2 teams including Polygon and Arbitrum as well as StarkWare, Coinbase’s Base and StarkWare to make their predictions after Dencun.

Money Center


Fundraisings

  • Sahara is the latest startup that combines crypto and artificial intelligent. It claims to be able to help workers and businesses get paid for their expertise, knowledge and data, in the age AI. Polychain Capital led a $6 million seed round for the Los Angeles-based startup. Sandeep Nailwal is the co-founder and CEO of Polygon’s blockchain ecosystem. The project was founded by Sean Ren. He is an AI researcher at the University of Southern California and a tenured computer science professor.
  • Taiko is a provider of layer-2 scaling solutions for the Ethereum blockchain. Taiko has raised 15 million as part of a series A round. This adds to the growing number investments made by venture capital firms in crypto projects. According to a press statement, Lightspeed Faction led the fundraise, which was also supported by Hashed, Generative Ventures, and Token Bay Capital.
  • Baanx is a cryptocurrency payment specialist licensed by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority. The company announced on Tuesday that has raised $20 million in a Series A financing round.
  • stack is a platform that allows to create and manage point systems. According to the team, it has raised $3M in funding from Archetype Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, and other angels and VCs.
  • Synnax is a protocol which generates AI-driven ratings and credit intelligence for the digital assets industry. No Limit Holdings led a pre-seed round of $1 million.


Grants and Deals


Policy, Regulatory and Legal


Tron Blockchain is reported to have the most daily active users

There are many ways to determine which blockchains will be the most relevant and gain the largest market share. These include: total value locked up, transaction fees (fees charged for transactions), network capacity, speed, token prices, the size of the developer’s community. Another one is the number of users. In the chart below we present Token Terminal data on daily active users. The data is susceptible to manipulation as with all data. However, the Tron Blockchain was ranked first, followed by Binance’s BNB Chain, and Polygon, which came in third.


The number of daily users for each blockchain. (Token Terminal)

  • March 12-13: Sub0 Asia, Polkadot developer conference, Bangkok
  • Amsterdam, June 11-13, Apex and the XRP Ledger developer summit.
  • The EthCC , Brussels.

Bradley Keoun is the editor.