Here are the three biggest cryptocurrency stories of the past week

Quick Take

  • Bitcoin mining difficulty jumped by 9.26%, its biggest adjustment since January.
  • Bitcoin futures volume hit a 21-month low as ether surpassed it for the first time.
  • Snoop Dogg and Eminem performed live from the Otherside at the MTV awards.

As the crypto space geared up for The Merge it was calmer throughout the broader sector. Here are some of the key developments the week. 

Bitcoin mining difficulty saw its biggest adjustment since January, bitcoin futures volume was eclipsed by ether as it hit a new low and Snoop Dogg and Eminem appeared at the MTV awards as Bored Apes.

Bitcoin mining difficulty soars 

Last week it was revealed that bitcoin mining difficulty had increased by 9.26%, its biggest adjustment since January.

This was the third increase in a row and was reflected in data published Thursday by BTC.com. According to The Block Research data, the network's hash rate had also increased by more than 12% since August 18.

The growth in hash rate was attributed to "a combination of heat waves finally subsiding (on a global level) and facilities slowly coming online," according to Kevin Zhang, senior vice president of mining strategy at Foundry. "There's also the added kicker of the higher efficiency Bitmain S19 XP's finally hitting the market as well!"

Mining difficulty is the complexity of the mathematical process behind mining. The difficulty adjusts every 2,016 blocks (roughly every two weeks) in sync with the network's hash rate.

Bitcoin futures hit 21-month low

Bitcoin futures trading volume clocked its lowest levels since November 2020. In dollar terms the volume came in at $941.5 billion across exchanges, per The Block's data dashboard .

This was the first month it was under $1 trillion since December 2020 — when volumes were $970.1 billion — and the lowest since November 2020, when volumes were $779 billion. 

The decline in bitcoin futures volume came as trading in ether futures boomed ahead of The Merge: A September date for Ethereum's big move to proof of stake was confirmed last month. Trading in ether derivatives soared in August as traders bet on the Ethereum blockchain's impending move.

For the first time the volume of ether futures was bigger than bitcoin futures. Meanwhile, open interest in ether options surpassed bitcoin open interest for the first time,  as ether hurtled past $8 billion to an all-time high.

Metaverse meets MTV

MTV's Video Music Awards (VMAs) featured a performance from rappers Eminem and Snoop Dogg, beamed from Yuga Labs' game Otherside 

Snoop Dogg and Eminem perform at the VMAs. Credit: VMAs

The Bored Ape Yacht Club's (BAYC) virtual land was the main setting for the video; the pair's journey into the metaverse began after they smoked a comically oversized spliff (cannabis cigarette). 

The performance also included cameos from Kodas, mysterious virtual creatures created by Yuga that live in the Otherside. The Yuga Labs project was probably the most highly anticipated metaverse project since "metaverse" became a buzzword. 

 
 
 
 

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