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Taproot, Bitcoin’s latest upgrade, will be active soon

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  • A new bitcoin upgrade is expected this weekend.
  • Taproot upgrade will enable more innovations on bitcoin. 
  • The development marks the beginning of better innovations within the network.

Bitcoin is expecting a significant upgrade known as Taproot this weekend. All eyes are on this considerable development as it will be a significant mark in history. The coin’s last major upgrade was in 2017. The change will take place on block 709,632 and will improve the blockchain‘s functionality.

With Taproot, programmers will be allowed to introduce modern features that will address stability issues. The upgrade also targets remodeling privacy on the network. Smart contract functions will also see significant enhancements to compete with Ethereum‘s programmable smart contracts.

Bitcoin has been taking its time to implement upgrades. Taproot came to being in 2018 and was locked in back a few months ago. The majority of miners signaled their approval for the new development on Bitcoin. Several bitcoin investors are excited and optimistic about the impact it will have on the network.

Bitcoin Core version 21.1, which has the merged code for Taproot, is close, and everyone is eager. Node operators and miners now have a lock-in and activation period to upgrade to the latest version fully.

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Once they have upgraded, the network will implement new regulations and better features. Taproot will also introduce Schnorr signatures that will make transactions affordable. Moreover, the feature will improve confidentiality in the network.

Some experts are uncertain whether Taproot will trigger bitcoin to surge. However, many people are optimistic that it will improve the network in the long run.

Smart contracts 

Taproot has brought in several proposed upgrades to introduce one superior one. Katherine Dowling, general counsel, and chief compliance officer at Bitwise Asset Management, says the most significant change from the development is smart contracts.

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According to Dowling, schnorr signatures have an advantage in letting bitcoin users enforce multiple options for smart contracts. Moreover, there will be more complex use cases. She notes that it will be a first of its kind in the network. 

Dowling added that bitcoin had taken a lot of time accommodating smart contracts compared to Ethereum. However, she noted with Taproot that the gap would be smaller since the daily usage of bitcoin will go up.

Privacy and affordable transaction fees

The Taproot upgrade will also increase privacy using Schnorr signatures. Bitcoin will enable multi-signature transactions to appear like one transaction. Multi-signature transactions will look like standard transactions. As a result, there will be greater anonymity for addresses involved. This will further ensure the privacy of transactions. Schnorr signatures would also cut down the amount of data used for multi-signature transactions. These transactions are usually more complex to execute than single transactions.

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Tyrone Ross, CEO of Onramp Invest, noted that transactions would run faster. Moreover, the upgrade would lead to energy being saved with limited data involved. This will, in turn, lead to affordable processing fees, leading to cheaper transaction fees. The development is expected to unleash more innovation in the network focused mainly on smart contracts.

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Bitcoin

Wen moon? Data shows pro traders becoming more bullish on Bitcoin price

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MicroStrategy’s purchase of 7,002 BTC might have helped boost Bitcoin price today, but derivatives data also shows that pro traders are becoming more bullish.

The $4,700 Bitcoin (BTC) price spike on Nov. 29 was likely a great relief for holders, but it seems premature to call the bottom according to derivative metrics. 

This should not come as a surprise because Bitcoin price is still 15% below the $69,000 all-time high set on Nov. 10. Just 15 days later, the cryptocurrency was testing the $53,500 support after an abrupt 22% correction.

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Today’s trend reversal was possibly encouraged by MicroStrategy’s announcement that it had acquired 7,002 Bitcoin on Monday at an average price of $59,187 per coin. The listed company raised money by selling 571,001 shares between Oct. 1 and Nov. 29, raising a total of $414.4 million in cash.

More bullish news came after German stock market operator Deutsche Boerse announced the listing of the Invesco Physical Bitcoin exchange-traded note or ETN. The new product will trade under the ticker BTIC on Deutsche Boerse’s Xetra digital stock exchange.

Data shows pro traders are still neutral-to-bullish

To understand how bullish or bearish professional traders are positioned, one should analyze the futures basis rate. That indicator is also known as the futures premium, and it measures the difference between futures contracts and the current spot market at regular exchanges.

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Bitcoin’s quarterly futures are the preferred instruments of whales and arbitrage desks. Even though derivatives might seem complicated for retail traders due to their settlement date and price difference from spot markets, the most notorious benefit is the lack of a fluctuating funding rate.

Bitcoin 3-month futures basis rate. Source: Laevitas.ch
The three-month futures typically trade with a 5%–15% annualized premium, which is deemed an opportunity cost for arbitrage trading. By postponing settlement, sellers demand a higher price and this causes the price difference.

Notice the 9% bottom on Nov. 27, as Bitcoin tested the $56,500 support. Then, after Monday’s rally above $58,000, the indicator shifted back to a healthy 12%. Even with this movement, there is no sign of excitement, but none of the past few weeks could be described as a bearish period.

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Lending markets provide additional insight

Margin trading allows investors to borrow cryptocurrency to leverage their trading position, therefore increasing the returns. For example, one can buy Bitcoin by borrowing Tether (USDT), thus increasing the exposure. On the other hand, borrowing Bitcoin can only be used to short it or bet on the price decrease.

Unlike futures contracts, the balance between margin longs and shorts isn’t necessarily matched.

OKEx USDT/BTC margin lending ratio. Source: OKEx

When the margin lending ratio is high, it indicates that the market is bullish—the opposite, a low lending ratio signals that the market is bearish.

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The chart above shows that traders have been borrowing more Bitcoin recently, because the ratio decreased from 21.9 on Nov. 26 to the current 11.3. However, the data leans bullish in absolute terms because the indicator favors stablecoin borrowing by a wide margin.

Derivatives data shows zero excitement from pro traders even as Bitcoin gained 9% from the $53,400 low on Nov. 28. Unlike retail traders, these experienced whales avoid FOMO, although the margin lending indicator shows signs of excessive optimism.

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Bitcoin, Ethereum and Two Smart Contract Competitors Are the Winners Among Institutional Investors, According to Crypto Asset Manager CoinShares

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Leading digital asset manager CoinShares says institutional investors have a strong appetite for Bitcoin (BTC) and three leading smart contract platforms.

According to the firm, the overall crypto market correction has left investors hungry for more.

“Digital asset investment products saw inflows of US$306m last week suggesting [a] continued appetite for digital assets.”

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As usual, BTC led all digital assets in terms of capital inflows, this time in the wake of a new exchange-traded product (ETP) set to launch on the Deutsche Borse exchange.

“Bitcoin saw the largest inflows in 5 weeks totaling US$247m following the launch of another investment product in Europe. This brings the 11 week run of inflows to US$2.7bn.”

BTC is trading at $58,475 at time of writing, up nearly 6% on the day.

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The leading smart contract platform Ethereum (ETH) concluded a strong month of inflows with a week totaling over $23 million.

“Ethereum saw inflows totaling US$23m last week, marking its 5th consecutive week of inflows.”

This week’s big winners in inflows relative to assets under management (AuM) also include the scalable smart contract platform Solana (SOL) and the interoperable blockchain Polkadot, which is designed to support multiple layer-1 smart contract protocols.

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“In terms of inflows relative to AuM, Polkadot and Solana continue to be the winners, with inflows representing 8.6% (US$11.5m) and 5.9% (US$14.6m) of AuM respectively last week.”

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Source: CoinShares

Ethereum is currently trading at $4,453.79, up 7.5% in the last 24 hours. SOL and DOT are trading at $211.48 and $36.82, respectively, at time of writing.

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Nayib Bukele sends cryptic response to Bank of England over Bitcoin law criticism

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  • Nayib Bukele questions England love for El Salvador over Bitcoin adoption.
  • England expreses concern over El Salvador Bitcoin law.
  • Outside England IMF also criticized El Salvador over Bitcoin law.

After he expressed concerns over Bitcoin adoption in the country, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has sent a cryptic response to the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey.

Over the weekend, Bailey said he is not a fan of bitcoin or its growing adoption in countries like El Salvador. He expressed concerns while speaking at Cambridge University, asking if Salvadorians are aware of Bitcoin’s volatility.

“It concerns me that a country would choose it as its national currency,” Bailey said in response to a question at an appearance at the Cambridge University student union on Thursday. “What would worry me most of all is, do the citizens of El Salvador understand the nature and volatility of the currency they have.”

Bank of England is not the only international body to express concerns over Bitcoin adoption by El Salvador. Since June, when the Central American country announced its Bitcoin intention, numerous global financial organizations have tried to warn the country not to do it.

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Outside the Bank of England, the IMF also criticized the move by the country.

Nayib Bukele’s cryptic, Ironic response

While addressing Bailey’s most recent comments, President Bukele responded in a tweet pointing at the “genuine” concerns that the BOE has for the people of El Salvador.

“Bank of England is “worried about El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin? Really?

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I guess the Bank of England’s interest in the well-being of our people is genuine. Right?

I mean, they have always cared about our people. Always.

Gotta love Bank of England,” he wrote.

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El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as its legal tender months back, and according to Nayib Bukele, there has been progress since the country made the move.

For instance, the nation has used the aforementioned volatility, especially when the price dips, to accumulate more portions of the asset and to use the profits when the price increases to make plans for buying pet hospitals or new schools.

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El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as its legal tender months back, and according to Nayib Bukele, there has been progress since the country made the move.

For instance, the nation has used the aforementioned volatility, especially when the price dips, to accumulate more portions of the asset and to use the profits when the price increases to make plans for buying pet hospitals or new schools.

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