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Highlights of the week:

-       Another bullish week in the crypto space

-       Ethereum 2.0 staking has reached a new record

-       XRP skyrocketed past the €1 mark

-       Cardano’s smart contracts are set to be released on the 12th of September

-       Football star Messi paid in crypto following transfer to Paris Saint-Germain

-       Major altcoins rally led by LINK and DOT

Another bullish week in the crypto space

Cryptocurrencies were flying once again as investors' appetites for high risk pushed the prices higher. August has been one of the best performing months this year, as the world’s largest crypto has been changing hands for around €39,000, up some 60% since the low in July. The total market cap of cryptocurrencies exceeded €1.7 trillion for the first time since May. Bears have had a tough time keeping the market down for long. As a reminder, on the 20th of June, the overall crypto market cap sank to €1.02 trillion as markets plunged during the correction.

Bitcoin is leading the market back on its way to the top and some coins have seen large pumps as investors are moving more and more money back into the market. Bitcoin’s dominance fell to just below 45%, while ETH’s dominance increased to 20% which matches the highest value of this level in the last two years. At €40,000, Bitcoin experienced some consolidation which was expected after such a bullish run, upwards pressure from that level remains significant, with bulls currently lacking the momentum to absorb their positions.

Ethereum 2.0 staking has reached a new record

Ethereum 2.0 staking has now reached 6.73 million ETH, which is worth about €17.5 billion and surpasses the total amount of wrapped Ether on the network. The locked and staked quantity of ETH currently represents 5.7% of the circulating supply. The price is consolidating around €2,600, after having reached €2,800, its highest level in three months.

The rising volume of staked ETH signals confidence among Ethereum users before the much-anticipated Ethereum 2.0 network update, when the current Proof of Work system is replaced by Proof of Stake. Unlike when staking most other cryptocurrencies, staked Ethereum remains locked up until that milestone, which doesn’t yet have a fixed date; but is expected to happen sometime early in 2022.

In the last few weeks we have seen a bullish breakout of ETH/BTC pairs, which could be a sign of a major altcoins rally as investors are searching for alternative cryptocurrencies that could outperform BTC. The trend looks set to continue if the market sentiment stays positive. Altcoins are more riskier assets in comparison to BTC, and rising ETH/BTC pairs could reflect an improved risk appetite in the crypto market.

XRP skyrocketed past the €1 mark

XRP was one of the best-performing assets in the last seven days, gaining some 60%, before settling around €1. The sixth biggest cryptocurrency is now trading at its highest price in the last three months.

XRP is one of the most liquid currencies which is fast (settles in three to five seconds), scalable (can handle 1,500 transactions per second), decentralised (140+ validators), stable (seven-year track record) and with a negligible energy consumption thanks to its consensus protocol. At its current price, XRP is still down 42% from this year's intraday high of €1.64 set on April 14. The recent rally could be connected to the latest development of a lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Ripple, the company behind XRP as investors see the case moving in Ripple’s favour. As a reminder, back in December, the SEC charged Ripple with offering unregistered securities starting in 2013.

Cardano’s smart contracts are set to be released on the 12th of September

Cardano's native token, ADA, surged as much as 20% last weekend after the announcement that its much-anticipated upgrade would be released on the 12th of September. The token is up by around 60% for the last seven days alone. The network developers will release its "Alonzo Purple" which is the last phase after Alonzo Blue and White were already completed. The completed Alonzo upgrade will enable it to run advanced smart contracts and DeFi applications on the Cardano blockchain. The upgrade will help Cardano to match Ethereum's capabilities. Learn more about Cardano, the popular Ethereum competitor.

Football star Messi paid in crypto following transfer to Paris Saint-Germain

Lionel Messi's transfer to French club Paris Saint-Germain included a payment in PSG fan tokens which skyrocketed after the news that the football superstar was joining the team. Fans must purchase CHZ before exchanging them for PSG fan tokens. That is the first high-profile signing that included crypto in the history of football and is a major step towards mass adoption. Want to know more? Ready why fan tokens are the future of the sports industry.

Zooming out to a seven-day period, most altcoins in the top 20 by market cap had outstanding returns and most of them outperformed Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s dominance dropped some 3% last week, hinting at a trend of BTC being swapped for altcoins. Some altcoins saw massive gains. LINK was one of them with a 30% weekly gain, followed by DOT with a 25% increase in price.

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