Get to Know some of the Crypto Autopilot's Picks of September 2021

"Under The Hood" doesn't tell you everything. Dive deeper and get extra background and performance information on a selection of the assets that Autopilot was holding.

August was all about layer ones and twos and NFTs and so that is what we had looked into. We reviewed Solana(SOL), CARDANO(ADA), Polygon(MATIC), and Axie Infinity (AXS)September was all about politics and, since the fundamentals had not changed, neither had the Autopilot Portfolio. So let’s look at the assets we had not had a chance to take a look at last time and discover ThetaFuel(TFUEL)Celo(CELO)Hedera(HBAR), and Waves(WAVES).

ThetaFuel(TFUEL)

Theta is a blockchain for a specific vertical: it is designed to improve how we create, stream and watch videos online. The ThetaFuel(TFUEL) token is used to incentivize participants to share computing and bandwidth resources with others. You can read all about the problems they are solving on their website.


It’s important to note that Theta also has another token, Theta Network(THETA)


Since mainnet 2.0 launched in mid-2020, ThetaFuel(TFUEL) and Theta Network(THETA) have had pretty different performances. TFUEL is up about 14000% whereas THETA is up about 5000%. They are also meant to do very different things as the THETA tokens are used to secure and govern the blockchain whereas ThetaFuel(TFUEL) is for payments, and to remunerate the THETA stakers. 

Since June, ThetaFuel(TFUEL) can also be staked.

TFUEL in orange, THETA in blue. % gains

Funding

Theta started in 2017 through an ICO with an ERC-20 token which raised about US$ 20M. They then moved to Mainnet 1.0 in 2019 and Mainnet 2.0 in 2020 and Mainnet 3.0 in July 2021, which added smart contract capabilities. That new capability offers more social interactivity on top of the video and data delivery.

Several venture rounds since ICO have allowed it to raise US$ 113M according to Crunchbase.


They have some of the biggest names in Media (Sony), Tech (Samsung), and Blockchain (Aelf, IBC) amongst their investors.


Why is ThetaFuel(TFUEL) whitelisted as an investable asset for Autopilot?

Theta is one of those 2017 ICOs that actually worked to deliver on their promise. Additionally, their approach of starting with a specific vertical and then expanding the platform, while a little uncommon for Blockchain (where a lot of players wanted to do a “smart contract L1 platform to compete with Ethereum(ETH)), is a tried and tested “traditional” business strategy.  And it is undoubtedly true that it’s very hard to deliver video streams worldwide and that there is a lot of unused capacity that could be tapped into to do it in a decentralized manner. It’s the same basic idea as Filecoin.

We think they clearly have a shot at cracking the problem.


THETA, in terms of market cap, is the #1 in the content and content distribution category and the third-largest Web 3 project. So if you want to bet on the space, it’s easy to argue that some THETA and/or some ThetaFuel(TFUEL) makes sense.


The Theta Network was considered desirable from the very beginning. ThetaFuel(TFUEL) specifically was suggested first in March of this year and was included in the investable universe in mid-May 2021.


It made an appearance in the Autopilot model basket in June 2021 and has been part of the portfolio since then.


If you want to see it in action, it’s this way: http://theta.tv/


ThetaFuel(TFUEL) Market commentary for September 2021

The general context is that Layer 1 blockchains and use case-specific blockchains have been doing well for a couple of months. Ethereum is crippled by its throughput problem - or victim of its success - and so everyone is scrambling to find alternatives.


THETA has been around “forever” (4 years in Crypto is forever. Ethereum is from 2015 and Bitcoin is from 2009), and they have been delivering regularly and is one of the largest assets by market cap, so it’s seen as a promising, if not safe, bet (relatively speaking). 


Volumes for ThetaFuel(TFUEL) have been very good in 2021, especially in late March, June, and, to a lesser extent, September. While it has not been doing very well over the past 3 months (it’s down 20%), it’s up over 3000% since a year ago. The addition of ThetaFuel(TFUEL) staking end of June will probably be a positive contributing factor in the long term.


Adoption indicators for THETA and TFUEL

This map from late August shows that Theta has built a diversified ecosystem of partners.

Recent news also shows them partnering with Decentral Games for live streaming metaverse events, partnerships for sports NFTs,... Which is already impressive. Their June announcement, however, seems to indicate that they think that they can do better and that, now that they have the basic infrastructure in place (which took 4 years, because building decentralised layer 1 blockchains is hard!), they will now focus more on building the broader ecosystem and global adoption.


One to watch.

Celo(CELO)

Celo(CELO), founded in 2017, is a mobile-first smart-contract platform that wants to make financial decentralized apps and crypto payments accessible with a mobile phone, relying on phone numbers as public identifiers (public keys). One of their core focus is on building algorithmic/decentralized stablecoins to enable fast and efficient value transfer.


Their stablecoins are backed by a mix of their native asset ( Celo(CELO) and other Crypto assets: BTC, Ethereum(ETH), and DAI)


Celo(CELO) is used both to pay for network fees as well as for Governance. Celo(CELO) is a Proof-of-Stake chain, and the native token is also used to secure the network.


Interestingly, the Celo(CELO) protocol is carbon negative.


Funding


Celo - through the foundation, company, ICO - managed to gather an estimated US$ 65M. It is from Silicon Valley and is well connected, so it raised from big names such as A16Z, Electric Capital, Polychain, Reid Hoffman, Jack Dorsey, and Coinbase Venture.


Why is Celo(CELO) whitelisted as an investable asset for Autopilot?


Because it’s a layer 1 blockchain with a clear vision, excellent funding, and a good team. Like Terra(LUNA), it’s a smart-contract platform built for DeFi with one main product: Stablecoins.

It is doing well, has excellent partnerships and, we think, definitely has a shot at going somewhere. It is up about 200% since it started trading in May 2020.


It came on our radar in late 2020 but was effectively whitelisted on Aug 30, 2021. The AI immediately took a position and has been holding it since then. 


Like Terra(LUNA), if Celo(CELO) manages to get its stablecoins across various blockchains by using bridges (and it has optics), it could become a new standard. Terra(LUNA) would seem to have a bit of an advantage because it can connect via IBC more easily and it can scale more easily because doesn’t need to have reserves in other assets than Terra(LUNA), but this is all very new stuff so it’s really hard to know anything at this point.


There are US$ 91M Celo Dollars (cUSD) and € 28M Celo Euros (cEUR) in circulation today, which put Celo(CELO) in the top 20 stablecoin issuers. While the cUSD market capitalization is dwarfed by most of the other stables, the cEUR is 12% of the market cap and 2% of the volumes of € stablecoins, where Terra’s doesn’t even register.


Celo(CELO) does have the advantage of being EVM-compatible (Ethereum Virtual Machine), meaning that it’s easy for Dapps to move from Ethereum to Celo(CELO).

Stablcoins ranking as of Oct 2021

Celo(CELO) Market commentary for September 2021


As mentioned before, and last month, layer one blockchains are having a moment. And with regulators looking at stablecoins, decentralized stablecoins are having a moment. Because, as Do Kwon said, the stablecoin is what best serves the function of “currency” in “crypto”, and it’s one of the best ways to build for censorship resistance


And if you look at the news from September, you can see that the team was hard at work and had a lot of new things to announce. Collaboration with Central Banks looking for Digital Currencies amongst them.

Adoption indicators for Celo(CELO)


One big news for Celo(CELO) recently was that Deutsch Telecom was going to run a node and had invested. That’s meaningful for a company that wants to build payments based on phone numbers.


And courtesy of Coin98Analytics this map shows that as of Sept 2021, Celo had plenty to offer. Governance is doing just fine too.


If you are looking for a conclusion: Celo is on its way to building one of the most usable blockchains around one of the most important primitives, the censorship-resistant stablecoin. It has made some unique strategy & tactical choices compared to some of its competitors and we’re curious to see who was right. 

It’s the first time in history that things like that get built; so no one really knows. Hence the importance of diversification.

Hedera Hashgraph(HBAR)

We call it Hedera, but Hedera Hashgraph is its full name. It is a distributed ledger with the objective of achieving decentralization. It’s already public, but it’s not quite permissionless yet. And it has a Governing Council. Interestingly, it’s a distributed ledger but NOT a blockchain. It uses a directed acyclic graph (DAG) which records information on unique data structures instead of in a linear chain as with blockchains

.

It’s in no way a Cypher Punk’s dream, but it does offer an interesting middle ground between public and permissionless and private & permissioned blockchains. Hedera(HBAR) sacrifices decentralization and censorship resistance to be faster and more easily compliant to ease enterprise adoption. 


It started in 2018, launched its mainnet in 2019 and its certification service (HCS) in 2020 before the Token service (HTS) in 2021.


The token, HBAR, is used to pay for transaction fees, secure the network via staking, and for staking rewards. 


It’s the 14th largest smart contract platform by Market Capitalization as of early Oct 2021. Its price is up over 1000% since a year ago.

Funding

Hedera is reported to have raised about US$ 125M, but its own treasury makes it much more valuable than that and it recently allocated US$ 5B in an effort to expand its ecosystem. That’s a lot of dry powder.


One of the objectives is for that newly financed foundation to finance initiatives not directly under the control of the council, furthering the decentralization efforts.

Why is Hedera(HBAR) whitelisted as an investable asset for Autopilot?

We generally like “Layer one” (base layer) smart-contract platforms. Hedera(HBAR) is a layer 1 platform and it has a unique twist on getting to decentralization while being cheap and fast.

It’s not (yet?) a Cypher Punk’s dream, but who’s to say that Ethereum’s roadmap was the only or best way to get there?


We were a little cautious with it at first because we don’t like private and permissioned blockchains for the Autopilot as we think they make little sense from an investment standpoint. But Hedera(HBAR) offers a unique take on enterprise friendliness and openness that might just see it succeed as one of the chains of the future.


We had been following the developments since 2019 but Hedera(HBAR) but it was only suggested as investable in Aug of 2020. Because it was overly concentrated in the hands of very few large hodlers who were all “in the money” when it started trading, we waited until the conditions improved a little (in Nov 2020) to whitelist it.


It really started making an appearance in the portfolio at the end of January 2021 and has been held almost continuously and its contribution has been quite positive. 


Hedera(HBAR) market commentary for September 2021


Hedera had a good - if pretty volatile - month overall. It hit an all-time high of US$ 0.5701 on September 16th and, while it could not hold it for very long, it still closed at US$ 0.3346 after having opened at US$ 0.25; a 33.84% gain.

Adoption indicators for Hedera(HBAR)

There is a nice summary from September from Coin98insigths.com on Twitter

As for the ecosystem, a look at their news page will give you an idea: it’s doing very well, especially in its target audience: companies a little scared of going with permissionless blockchains.


With half a million accounts and 2M transactions a day, Hedera(HBAR) has definitely managed to carve out a space for itself.

Waves

Waves(WAVES) is a public,smart-contract-enabled, blockchain. It started in 2016 after a successful ICO.

It uses “Leased Proof-Of-Stake” and, like all the blockchains of its generation, seeks to improve upon Ethereum in terms of speed. It also has an “enterprise division”


Waves technologies are supported by the Waves Association — a Berlin-based non-profit organization, which fosters Waves research, education, and provides grants for projects based on Waves stack. Neither controlling nor leading lies in the hands of the association — Waves is built and maintained by the community.


Waves' supply was initially fixed at 100 million tokens, created at launch. In 2019, Waves move to an inflationary monetary policy. The initial block reward has been set at 6 WAVES. Approximately every 70 days, Miners have a window to vote to increase or decrease the block reward by a bit or leave it unchanged. 


Funding

Waves(WAVES) raised 30,000 BTC during its ICO. About US$ 22M at the time, but at today’s prices, that’s closer to US$ 1B.


Why is Waves(WAVES) whitelisted as an investable asset for Autopilot?

Waves(WAVES) is a layer 1 blockchain, which is always something we think is interesting to look at. It has been part of the investable universe since the beginning and held by Autopilot nearly continuously since January 2020. 

In 2021, Waves(WAVES)’s contribution to the BTC performance has been positive almost every month, with the exception of September and June where it slightly underperformed. 


It has had an interesting roadmap from the stand and has been delivering improvements since its inception.


When we started in 2019 the price of Waves(WAVES) was US$ 0.83, it is now US$ 27.96. It even peaked at 35.9 before the May 2021 crash.


In early October 2021, Waves(WAVES) is the 51st largest in terms of market capitalisation and the 22nd largest smart contract platform.

Waves(WAVES) market commentary for September 2021


Waves(WAVES) didn’t have a very good month, opening at  $28.22and closing at $24.25. 

There has been a focus on NFTs recently with the Waves Ducks Game, combining NFT collectibles and yield farming, developed for active participants in the Waves ecosystem

Adoption indicators for Waves(WAVES)


Waves(WAVES) has seen quite a bit of activity recently, especially around its Duck game and DeFi. The Neutrino Stablecoin protocol (NSBT) especially has seen quite a bit of activity. The Waves.Exchange decentralized exchange is the 35th largest DEX with US$ 8M in volumes in the past 24h.


Waves.Exchange has also integrated with Polygon(MATIC)Ethereum(ETH), and Binance Smar Chain(BNB),  showing it is also gearing up for an inter-chain future.


It’s not the “hottest” of projects right now because it has been around for a while and newcomers are stealing a bit of the show, but it has definitely made a name for itself and has a lot of interesting things to offer.