Blockstream expands Liquid Federation, but LBTC adoption remains slow

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Blockstream has added six more members to the federation that governs Liquid, the firm’s Bitcoin sidechain for inter-exchange settlement network.

The six new Liquid Federation members include Bitcoin web wallet Coinos, crypto custodian Komainu, network privacy firm Nym, blockchain development company Vulpem Ventures, broker Watchdog Capital, and Liquid Network settlement platform Sideswap.

Liquid was announced at the end of 2015 as a Bitcoin sidechain designed to speed up Bitcoin transactions settlement for crypto exchanges. Liquid supports LBTC tokens that are pegged to Bitcoin. According to official data, there are currently 2,756 circulating LBTC, with the sidechain processing roughly 540 transactions each day.

The Liquid Federation now spans 59 members, including top cryptocurrency exchanges Bitfinex, OKEx, BitMEX, and Huobi, investment product provider CoinShares, and hardware wallet firm Ledger. Despite the federation’s expanding membership, Liquid’s volume and TVL is dwarfed by tokenized Bitcoin on Ethereum — with the Q3 2020 DeFi boom driving significant demand for tokenized BTC.

According to btconethereum.com, there’s now more than 148,000 BTC tokenized on the Ethereum network, worth more than $5 billion combined. As such, the value of Bitcoin on Liquid is equal to just 1.86% of the all Bitcoin tokenized on Ethereum.

With much of the supply of tokenized BTC on Ethereum being used by retail investors to access DeFi protocols, direct comparisons with LBTC may be problematic due to the small pool of users and applications for Liquid tokens.

While Blockstream has touted its Lightning Network sidechain for fast peer-to-peer transactions, Lightning’s adoption has also been overshadowed by Ethereum-powered BTC tokens in recent month.

Only 1,060 BTC been locked on the Lightning Network according to bitcoinvisiuals.com — equating to less than one-hundredth of the Bitcoin locked on Ethereum.

With Ethereum-powered BTC tokens representing 40 times the combined TVL of Blockstream’s two flagship sidechains, it appears much of the crypto community is opting to use the Ethereum network over Blockstream’s centralized sidechains to improve the speed and scalability of BTC.

Three quarters of tokenized BTC on Ethereum is locked in the Wrapped Bitcoin protocol, followed by HBTC with 12% and renBTC with nearly 9%.