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The year gone by has been an exciting one for the crypto industry, with no shortage of noteworthy developments taking place in regard to the decentralized and traditional finance markets. In this regard, Pendulum, a fiat-optimized blockchain infrastructure project, recently made history by securing the fastest parachain crowd loan in the history of the Polkadot’s young network. To elaborate, the loan was funded within an hour and a half, thereby not only showcasing Pendulum’s growing market clout but also DeFi’s surging popularity.
Devised atop ‘Substrate,’ a popular blockchain-building framework, Pendulum seeks to facilitate and link the operations of various DeFi applications and protocols with the forex market. Moreover, the project delivers a holistic digital infrastructure for today’s DeFi dApps and protocols so as to create quality automated market makers (AMMs) such as Amber, enabling them to utilize forex-focused, fiat liquidity pools that are scalable. Lastly, it also allows them to unlock various yield-generation opportunities for those individuals in possession of different fiat tokens.
In essence, Pendulum seems to have its sights set on becoming the premier layer-1 for onboarding Forex traders to the blockchain, which could mean that Polkadot has the potential to become the preferred chain for forex enthusiasts in the near term.
2022 — The year that was for Polkadot
Straight off the bat, it bears mentioning that during the course of 2022, Polkadot concluded a whopping 15 forkless upgrades, a figure that is substantially higher than many of its contemporaries including Ethereum, which only completed 3 major upgrades via hard-fork last year.
Moreover, in terms of adoption, Polkadot’s smart contract parachain Astar partnered with NTT Docomo, Japan’s most prominent mobile phone service provider, as part of a $4b Web3 adoption scheme. Not only that, Polkadot’s NFT parachain Efinity, signed an agreement with gaming behemoth Square Enix, the company behind the legendary Final Fantasy video game franchise.
Similarly, Polkadot’s decentralized identity solution KILT garnered a lot of traction in 2022, with the project forging successful partnerships with DENA (Germany’s ministry of energy), Energy Web (a platform forging a uniform identity registry for Germany’s energy market), and DeBio (a privacy-focused ecosystem that allows for the storing of medical and bioinformatics data).
Another key development worth noting is Polkadot’s integration of different popular stablecoins, including Tether (UDST and USDC into its framework, as well as the launch of its two decentralized exchanges, namely Equilibrium and Polkadex. Lastly, since the network’s inception, 74 projects have secured parachain slots through auctions on Polkadot or Kusama (a public pre-production environment for Polkadot,) with there being a total of 550 projects that have either been released or are under development on the network.
Some unwanted incidents also reared their ugly heads last year. Firstly, Polkadot’s flagship project Acala was attacked, taking the value of its native stablecoin offering down by 99%. Not only that, after weeks of continued rumors earlier in January 2022 that Polkadot was set to become a sponsor of soccer giant FC Barcelona, it subsequently came to light that the deal had fallen through.
That said, with Polkadot’s network continuing to grow at a rapid rate, experts believe that 2023 could be a pivotal year for the project, one that could perhaps usher in the first real merger of the burgeoning decentralized finance economy with that of the traditional financial market. Moreover, the coming year could see Polkadot facilitate trad-fi’s first real pilot with executive transactions on a decentralized blockchain which could eventually lead to the resurrection of the DeFi economy (whose reputation has taken a major hit in recent months).
The future of the forex industry looks decentralized.
In recent months, a few crypto networks have made concerted efforts to onboard the forex industry blockchain. Despite its ongoing legal woes, Ripple has partnered with a few financial institutions and payment providers to use its technology in order to speed up/lower the cost of their cross-border payments.
Similarly, Stellar (XLM) has signed agreements with several mainstream institutions, including IBM, to explore the use of its blockchain technology in the forex industry. In fact, last year, the firm announced the creation of Spacewalk, a trustless and decentralized bridge connecting Pendulum and Stellar’s network. The offering helps open up a flow of stable fiat tokens between two networks while also holding on to the capability of being plugged into any Substrate-based L1 on Polkadot’s relay chain. This can ultimately establish several forex-related opportunities for the global economy.
Other projects exploring similar activities include Chainlink, a decentralized oracle network providing real-world data to smart contracts on the blockchain. It connects off-chain information sources, such as forex market data with smart contracts on the blockchain, enabling the creation of decentralized trading and financial applications. Lastly, EOS is also building a platform where forex traders can trade in a trustless and transparent environment.
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Thus, as we head into a future driven by decentralized technologies, it stands to reason that in the near future, the traditional forex industry will gravitate toward the use of blockchain tech since it can allow for much faster transaction speeds as well as lower trading fees. In fact, a recent study by the World Bank has revealed that by merging the forex industry with the fledgling DLT ecosystem, the global economy stands to save up to $16 million in transaction fees per annum. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how the future of this space continues to play out from here on end.
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