Today’s Crypto Events A Recap of What Transpired

Crypto Daily Recap: VanEck to Delist Bitcoin Strategy ETF, ProShares Files for Multiple Bitcoin ETFs

Asset manager VanEck has announced its decision to delist the futures-based Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) less than two years after its launch. The board of trustees approved the liquidation and closure of the Bitcoin Strategy ETF, with shareholders having until January 30 to sell their shares, and full delisting scheduled for February 6. The move is seen in response to the recent approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs, including VanEck’s.

In a separate development, ProShares, a major U.S.-based ETF issuer, has filed for five Bitcoin ETFs with indirect exposure to BTC. The proposed ETFs include ProShares Plus Bitcoin ETF, ProShares Ultra Bitcoin ETF, ProShares UltraShort Bitcoin ETF, ProShares Short Bitcoin ETF, and ProShares ShortPlus Bitcoin ETF. The filings come amid the initial days of spot Bitcoin ETF trading on local stock exchanges.

The 10 recently approved spot Bitcoin ETFs have experienced over three times the daily volume compared to all 500 ETFs launched in 2023. On January 16, these ETFs saw a total volume of over $1.8 billion, with Grayscale, BlackRock, and Fidelity accounting for $1.6 billion. BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust attracted significant net inflows, leading with over $497 million in the past three days. Grayscale’s Bitcoin fund led in total trading volume, surpassing $5.1 billion, despite experiencing notable outflows as investors sought to reduce exposure following a discount narrowing to the lowest levels in nearly three years.

A Novel Privacy Protocol Enhances Security in Blockchain Transactions

Addressing the perpetual concern of privacy in the cryptocurrency realm, a groundbreaking protocol introduces a versatile approach to privacy, offering a solution to the challenge of balancing privacy and simplicity.

Privacy has consistently posed a challenge in the cryptocurrency space, but Firo’s privacy protocol has emerged as a solution, providing a flexible approach to address this concern.

The inherent transparency of most blockchains, exemplified by Bitcoin and Ethereum, allows users unrestricted access to the complete transaction history of any address, facilitating the tracking of fund movements. This transparency raises adoption concerns, as individuals hesitate to publicly disclose their financial activities, and it gives rise to issues like miner extractable value (MEV), which exploits transparency for manipulative transaction reordering, ultimately imposing hidden costs on users.

Privacy protocols are crucial for the mainstream adoption of Bitcoin, safeguarding user privacy. However, integrating these protocols into major blockchains has been sluggish due to complexity and heightened regulatory scrutiny, leading to the delisting of privacy-focused cryptocurrencies from centralized exchanges (CEXs).

Striking a balance between privacy, simplicity, and accessibility

Privacy technologies like RingCT, Zerocash, and Mimblewimble, employed in Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC), and other privacy coins, have long been fundamental to on-chain privacy. However, these protocols often exhibit drawbacks such as complexity, reliance on trust assumptions, or the leakage of sensitive information.

Innovating beyond existing privacy protocols, Firo, formerly known as Zcoin, has been a pioneer in developing privacy protocols. The journey began with the deployment of Zerocoin, followed by the creation of Sigma and Lelantus, inspiring subsequent privacy protocols like Lelantus-MW in Beam and Triptych.

Elevated privacy, flexibility, and security

After years of meticulous research, Firo is introducing the Lelantus Spark protocol to its mainnet on Jan. 18, following its initial launch on the testnet in July 2023. This protocol empowers users with high levels of privacy, surpassing protocols like RingCT and Mimblewimble.

While Spark utilizes zero-knowledge proofs, it deviates from the traditional circuit design approach by employing specialized zero-knowledge proofs in a modular construction, concealing distinct aspects of the transaction. This architectural choice makes Spark easier to formally verify, comprehend, and enhance with future components.

Furthermore, Spark eliminates the need for a trusted setup, a common limitation of many zk-SNARK constructions.

Firo’s work on Spark has influenced Seraphis, Monero’s next-generation privacy protocol still in development, sharing many design concepts. Firo’s team has collaborated with Monero contributors to enhance each other’s privacy protocols.

Lelantus Spark significantly improves privacy by concealing transaction amounts, sender identities, and recipient information. The protocol introduces Spark Addresses, a new addressing system enhancing recipient privacy and supporting efficient multisignature operations, fostering secure collaboration and transaction authorization. Lelantus Spark also enables users to grant third parties access to transaction details without compromising privacy, using incoming and full view keys.

Endless possibilities for improvement and growth

Firo remains committed to enhancing the privacy capabilities of its ecosystem through curve tree research, providing global anonymity sets. This ensures that every private transaction becomes part of the anonymity pool, not just a subset.

Additionally, Firo has designed Spark to support multi-assets through its Spark Assets technology, hiding the asset type being transacted. This forms a foundation for Firo’s upcoming privacy token layer called Elysium, allowing others to create assets with privacy benefits while contributing to the privacy of every other asset.

Firo’s steadfast commitment to research, development, and community engagement promises to propel its privacy protocol to new heights

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