Celebrities Keep Making Their Way Deep Into Crypto Territory

It appears that the cryptocurrency space is so eager to gain trust that it’s willing to do anything to push itself into mainstream territory. This includes spending loads of money to get celebrities to take part in their advertisements.

Celebrities Are Becoming Crypto Ambassadors More Often

Cuy Sheffield – head of crypto for credit card giant Visa – said in a recent interview that crypto isn’t that much different from how the internet appeared and operated in the early 90s, and that bringing celebrities and famous figures onboard to promote it gets people to see it in a stronger light. He says:

It’s not that different from the early days of the internet, where it was very much a Wild West. Going online in the ’90s, it was hard to just figure out how to dial up, and how to have a connection, and how to surf the web, and can you trust, like, putting your card in on a website? What we’re seeing is that crypto is becoming cultural. It’s becoming ingrained within popular culture and starting to appeal to a wider range of consumers. Where before there were only early adopters interested in bitcoin or trading or finance, now with NFTs, it is appealing to people who are interested in art or music.

Some of the biggest companies recruiting celebrities include Coin Flip, a digital currency ATM provider that now boasts “How I Met Your Mother” actor Neil Patrick Harris as its primary spokesman. CEO Ben Weiss stated in a recent interview:

In order to reach real mainstream adoption, I think the power of celebrity can convert skeptical consumers, or consumers who haven’t heard enough about cryptocurrency.

FTX COO Sina Nader has also brought in the assistance of several celebrity names to pump the exchange’s presence into people’s heads. Nader says:

People generally hesitate when it comes to the unknown. Working with trusted people and institutions, people will look and say, oh, if [Golden State Warriors star] Stephen Curry, or Tom Brady, or Gisele, or [Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback] Trevor Lawrence, or the entire MLB are comfortable with crypto and FTX, then maybe I can get comfortable with it too.

This Has Been Going On for a While

The idea of trying to get your new technology advertised on television and similar mediums has been going on for some time. In the late 80s, for example, CompuServe – one of the first internet companies to ever be established – introduced the American population to the world of modems and digital speeds with a series of ads it purchased for television. One of the first ads for the firm explained:

CompuServe combines the power of your computer with the convenience of your telephone. Bringing you hundreds of online services, like a complete set of encyclopedias, and the AP newswire. It helps you decide on investments, banks, make airline reservations, and shop in online malls.

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Teens In India Are Becoming the World’s Next Big Crypto Fans

Teenagers in India are becoming the world’s newest cryptocurrency fans.

India Has Had a Weird Relationship with Crypto

India has had a very up and down relationship with digital currency. In the year 2018, for example, the nation’s central bank decided that crypto companies could not get access to bank accounts, and that standard financial institutions would not be permitted to work with any firm that delved in bitcoin or blockchain technology.

After two years, however, the ruling was labeled unconstitutional, and the ban came to a sudden end. From there, it was believed that India would be the next big crypto trading haven, and for a while, it certainly was… Until the Indian Parliament announced that it was suddenly looking into a full crypto ban that would ultimately bring an end to trading and many other digital currency-related activities.

Despite all these issues, the younger crowds of India have grown rather fond of bitcoin and its digital counterparts and have become the latest generations to become big digital currency investors. In 2021 alone, residents of India have plunked down approximately $6.6 billion into digital currencies. This is up from the already impressive $923 million recorded in 2020.

It seems that many of these younger investors are drawn to the fact that while volatile, cryptocurrencies can ultimately lead to one garnering huge profits and rewards. In addition, they say that crypto investing is a great way to beat the boredom that has stemmed from being locked in thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Hashir Hussain is a 17-year-old student from Kolkata. In a recent interview, he talks about why he’s so attracted to the world of crypto as of late:

As an investor, I think cryptocurrencies are a good way to exponentially grow your wealth. High volatility is a risk factor, but the profitability is a great plus.

As it turns out, many cryptocurrency exchanges based in India do not allow traders to engage in digital currency activity if they are less than 18 years of age. Many teenagers are finding ways to get by this rule by utilizing the credentials of their parents. Hussain is one of those people, stating:

I saw that the blockchain system is convenient and futuristic. It’s better to invest at an early age in new innovations.

A Little Goes In, a Lot Comes Out

Another big attraction is that many of these exchanges allow one to invest very little. This way, traders can experience less risk and thus garner more for the money they put in. Prabh Simran is a 19-year-old medical student based in Punjab. He recently stated that some of the trades he’s engaged in have brought him “1,000 percent returns.” He says:

Bank deposits hardly give us five percent in a year. I made sure my parents believed in cryptocurrency via small initial investments. Obviously, they’re liking the gains.

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Robinhood Is Debuting Its New Crypto Wallet System

Digital trading platform Robinhood is unveiling a new line of crypto wallets. The company has gotten heavily into the digital currency space over the past few years and is allegedly looking to capitalize on its newfound popularity in the field.

Robinhood Is Pushing Its Crypto Division Forward

The wallets will be rolled out in phases. In the beginning, they will only be available to select customers, though Robinhood has stated that should things work accordingly, the wallets will then be offered to general traders. The wallets are designed to give customers a little more control over their assets. They can use their wallets to trade, send, and receive cryptocurrencies.

Following the news, shares in Robinhood rose as much as five percent. The wallets come following direct complaints from Robinhood crypto traders, particularly those who engage in Doge trades. Several have claimed that while the company ultimately gives one exposure to the crypto market, traders do not actually own the currencies they purchase.

Robinhood chief product officer Aparna Chennapragada explained in an interview:

We’re not first to the market. We’ve been taking our time to make sure that we build this in a phased approach. We’ll have a few customers come in, iterate on the product, get the customer feedback and then expand from there.

The customers who will initially take part in the testing period for the wallet system will utilize the products and provide feedback on both Twitter and the Robinhood blog. Depending on the things people comment on, the team will work to change and perfect the wallet from there, after which it will likely go through a second period of testing.

Once this is complete, customers will be able to join a wallet waiting list.

Robinhood debuted its crypto trading options roughly three years ago. Arguably, 2021 has been the biggest year for the company in that Robinhood stirred controversy over its reaction to Doge and bitcoin price jumps that occurred in January. During that time, both assets were experiencing heavy spikes within relatively short periods.

A Big Year for the Company

Claiming it was looking to keep its customers safe from potential manipulation, Robinhood saw to it that all trading in these areas stopped, which ultimately angered customers who later claimed that they were cut out of potentially taking advantage of the price jumps and raking in profits. A lawsuit was later initiated by several traders.

This didn’t stop the company from moving forward with other plans, as Robinhood later announced that it was going to be expanding its cryptocurrency division and that it would be going public. The growth of its crypto department comes at a time when Gary Gensler and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced an agenda that would look to enforce greater crypto regulations so that traders could be protected from the volatility that reportedly comes with digital assets.

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Decentralized Exchange Portal Gets a Lot of Money from Coinbase

Portal – a layer two wallet system and cross-chain decentralized exchange centered around bitcoin – has received approximately $8.5 million in new funding from Coinbase, one of the world’s most popular digital currency platforms. Portal works to establish defi products using bitcoin that cannot be censored and enables private cryptocurrency trades.

Portal Snags a Lot of Dough

In addition to Coinbase, funds came by way of some of the biggest capital venture funds in the digital currency industry. Some of the names mentioned in the recent funding round include Republic.co, Shima Ventures, Autonomy Capital, B21 Capital, LD Capital, and Monday Capital. Money also came from the creators of staple crypto firms such as Tether and Ethereum.

Founder of Arrington XRP and TechCrunch Michael Arrington commented in a statement:

Decentralized cross-chain bridging is one of the hardest problems in crypto right now, especially as multiple blockchains gain real traction. We’re excited to see Portal’s bitcoin-native approach to multichain transfers go live and provide an alternative bridging mechanism to the growing number of active on-chain users.

Brian Johnson from Republic Capital also provided his two cents, mentioning:

Interoperability is a necessity for blockchain to bridge into the mainstream finance world. Republic Capital invested in Portal with this future in mind. Utilizing bitcoin’s security as an anchor, we believe that Portal and its team are in a unique position to build one of the leading bridges in defi.

Portal boasts a wide array of tools and services for those getting involved in the world of digital currency trades. These products include options, P2P lending and borrowing. The big clincher is that the platform is fully decentralized, meaning there are no third parties playing a role in transactions or getting involved in the financial activities of traders.

At the center of Portal is a product called Fabric, which features both layer two and layer three-level technology. The item works to limit and ultimately obliterate censorship, thereby providing private chains to developers who seek to utilize smart contracts or engage in activities like staking.

The Way Money Works in the Future?

Portal CEO Eric Martindale explained:

By bringing a fast, peer-to-peer, layer two exchange with the speed of centralized exchanges but with privacy, Portal is delivering on the promise of self-sovereignty for everyone. The current centralized exchanges, false ‘decentralized’ DEXs, custodially-wrapped tokens, and censorable ecosystems all threaten bitcoin’s promise of self-sovereignty. Fabric technology enables layer three privacy on cross-chain transactions and eliminates the need for centralized custodians… We believe bitcoin provides the much needed financial infrastructure that the free, uncensorable internet of the future will be built on, and although we are starting with a P2P exchange, our mission is to be the platform for decentralized, peer-to-peer human interactions… be it communications, financial transactions, or social media.

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Report: Crypto Mining Isn’t as Damaging as We Think

Well, here’s something that’s likely to anger a few environmentalists in the coming weeks. A new report issued by the New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) says that bitcoin and crypto mining are only likely to contribute to about 0.9 percent of global carbon emissions in the coming future.

Crypto Mining Isn’t That Bad, According to New Report

The topic of crypto mining has been a controversial one. Over the past several months, many high-ranking individuals with prominent positions in the world of trading and digital currencies have emerged to say that miners are irresponsible, and that they need to use more green energy. They say that in allowing for so many emissions, they are contributing to the death of the planet.

Many additional reports have also come out in recent years claiming that crypto mining now requires more energy than countries such as Iceland and Argentina, and that the carbon footprint of bitcoin and crypto mining is somehow equal to that of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Perhaps the biggest clincher comes in the form of Elon Musk, the South African entrepreneur behind billion-dollar companies such as SpaceX and Tesla. Earlier in the year, Musk announced that customers could buy his electric vehicles with bitcoin, a big first for the industry. However, this decision was later rescinded after Musk decided that the emissions caused by crypto mining were too damaging, and that he wasn’t about to push the mining agenda by accepting crypto payments.

Furthermore, major investors such as Kevin O’Leary from “Shark Tank” came out to say that they would no longer be purchasing any more bitcoin mined in China, given that the country was not known for its renewable energy use. From there, China began a major crackdown on all crypto mining operations within its borders as a means of becoming more carbon neutral. Many operators have had to shut down their projects and relocate to places like Kazakhstan, Florida, and Texas over the past few months.

Was Everyone Wrong?

But could it be, after all this time and worry, that people like O’Leary and Musk are wrong, and that China just purged itself of major mining revenue for nothing? According to the NYDIG, even if the currency were to hit a major price such as $10 trillion by the year 2030, the emissions wouldn’t be that bad. The report states:

Bitcoin’s absolute electricity consumption and carbon emissions are not significant in global terms… Over the longer term, the intensity of bitcoin’s carbon emissions (and with it, bitcoin’s absolute carbon emissions) will decline, as the development of renewables continues, and countries strive to decarbonize their electricity grids.

As the document states, bitcoin mining only accounts for about 0.1 percent of global carbon emissions at the time of writing. That’s less than what both aviation and air conditioners contribute.

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US Treasury Imposes Sanctions On Suex Crypto Exchange for Processing Ransomware Payments

Just a day or so after announcing sanctions on crypto exchanges that engage in illicit transactions or the processing of ransomware payments, it looks like the U.S. Treasury Department is taking regulatory action against Suex, a crypto trading platform that has allegedly taken part in facilitating ransomware in the past.

Suex Has Been Reprimanded

According to the Treasury, ransomware is becoming a serious problem. Payments totaled more than $400 million last year alone, which is about four times more than what was witnessed in 2019.

Ransomware situations usually occur when a malicious actor takes over a computer network or important data held by a company, government agency, or similar establishment. They hold the data hostage and encrypt it, refusing to let it go until the person(s) in charge agree to fork over a hefty sum in exchange for it. Typically, this sum is requested in bitcoin or some other form of cryptocurrency.

The Treasury claims that Suex helped facilitate illegal ransomware transactions “for their own illicit gains.” The company is reported to have done this at least eight times. The Treasury also stated that approximately 40 percent of all transactions occurring through Suex are illegal in some way.

By imposing sanctions on the company, The Treasury says it will be much harder for Suex to engage in business with companies stationed in the United States. Individuals or businesses based in the U.S. are not able to engage with firms that have been reprimanded or sanctioned by the Treasury. Should they attempt to do so anyway, they could also find themselves facing legal consequences in the future.

This news comes just a few days after the Treasury claimed it would be taking such action against firms that processed ransomware payments. In addition, the organization is also releasing new guidance for businesses to follow should they ever find themselves trapped in a ransomware-based situation.

For example, the Treasury suggests that all companies cooperate every step of the way with law enforcement. They should report any ransomware issues to agencies right away so that steps can be taken to ensure whatever’s been taken or encrypted is rightfully returned.

Ransomware Is Becoming More Common

One of the most recent examples of a ransomware attack occurred on the Colonial Pipeline. Hackers took the entity hostage and saw to it that all data was encrypted. They then demanded a bitcoin ransom of several million dollars if the system was to be restored.

However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was quick to get involved. It managed to redirect at least part of the crypto ransom payment that the Pipeline was forced to pay. It went into the hacker’s digital account and retrieved more than $2 million, making it so that the illicit actors were not entirely successful.

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Bust of BTC Creator Satoshi Nakamoto Unveiled in Budapest

Budapest – the capital of Hungary – has recently unveiled a new bronze bust of Satoshi Nakamoto, the alleged pseudonymous creator of bitcoin, the world’s number one digital currency by market cap.

Satoshi Nakamoto Will Always Be Remembered

For the most part, the bust is rather faceless and expressionless. This was done on purpose according to the statue’s designers Gergely Reka and Tamas Gilly. They mention on a website discussing the work:

We do not know the gender, race, age [or] height of the mysterious developer.

The entire statute is composed of a special bronze composite to allow viewers to see their own reflections in the face of Satoshi Nakamoto. The creators explained:

Every visitor can see their own face when looking at Satoshi. We are all Satoshi.

Satoshi Nakamoto has become one of the most controversial and admired figures in the digital currency space. As the alleged creator of bitcoin, he (or she) is arguably one of the richest people on planet Earth given that this person owns several thousand units of bitcoin, all of which are locked up in a wallet somewhere. The stash is said to be worth several billion dollars at the time of writing.

But the big clincher is that Nakamoto has never been identified by name or face. To this day, nobody knows if Satoshi Nakamoto is the person’s real name or just an alias, and no one has been confirmed as the official bitcoin creator. While several individuals – such as Australian computer scientist Craig Wright – have come forth to claim themselves as the mysterious creator, none of these claims have ever been verified.

One of the most intriguing stories in recent years came by way of antivirus software mogul John McAfee, who claimed not too long ago that he knew exactly who Satoshi Nakamoto was. Sadly, his life abruptly ended before he could inform the public.

Bitcoin Has Made a Huge Impression

Many are not even sure if Nakamoto is still alive, but even if this is not the case, his creation has made a serious dent in the financial space. Bitcoin came about in the year 2008 following the introduction of an anonymously written whitepaper. In early 2009, the currency underwent its first mining operation, and the currency then began getting traded over the years for a few cents here and there.

By April of this year, bitcoin reached a new all-time high of more than $64,000. While the currency has fallen a bit in price over the past few weeks, BTC is continuing to make waves throughout the financial space given that El Salvador has become the first country to declare it legal tender and many individuals are no longer seeing it as just a speculative asset but rather as a hedge tool that can keep one’s wealth stable during times of economic strife.

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Denelle Dixon: El Salvador Is Doing Well with BTC

El Salvador has been making huge headlines as of late. The country is among the first to declare bitcoin – the world’s number one digital currency by market cap – legal tender, meaning it can now be used to purchase items and services in the same way one might use fiat, credit cards, or even checks.

El Salvador Might Be Doing Something Right

However, the country has experienced some serious rollout issues, between people protesting that they don’t want life to change to the Chivo wallet crashing within hours of being implemented into El Salvador’s financial system. In addition, institutions such as the World Bank have refused to aid the country in the implementation of its bitcoin agenda.

Despite all these issues and more, many individuals and companies are sticking up for El Salvador, commending its bravery and its desire to ensure innovation and financial independence thrive within its borders.

One of the people praising the country the most is Denelle Dixon, the CEO and executive director of the Stellar Development Foundation. In a recent interview, she commented that this recent move from El Salvador is going to put it at the front of the line when it comes to financial growth. She also believes that this will make other countries follow suit, and that in the not-so-distant future, many additional forms of crypto – including stable currencies – will be utilized to pay for goods and services.

She states:

Any country that decides [crypto] is going to be legal tender sort of changes the idea of the digital coin from just being a thing that is ‘out there’ that only a certain segment of the population focuses on, to something that everyone needs to pay attention to. Getting this right is important.

She said that two of the biggest problems El Salvador is likely to face in the coming weeks will involve trust and volatility. She said it is extremely difficult to use bitcoin for purchase options at this time given how much the currency’s price hops up and down. She also mentioned that until people fully trust the asset, the currency is going to experience serious hurdles and delays and given how many protests have occurred in the streets of El Salvador over the past month, it is clear many are still not open to giving BTC a try.

Stable Coins A Better Option?

She also stated that many countries are likely to benefit if they permit stable coin payments, given that they are tied to fiat currencies and thus do not incur the same swings that bitcoin, Ethereum, and other more mainstream forms of cryptocurrency experience. She stated:

They’re not volatile. They don’t have the challenges associated with other cryptocurrencies. The transfer happens pretty seamlessly, and in three to five seconds, it’s done.

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Crypto Companies in Australia Get Shunned By Banks

What occurred in India’s cryptocurrency space a few years ago is now at risk of also occurring in Australia. The country’s financial laws have failed to keep up and include cryptocurrency, and thus many startup ventures delving in blockchain and in digital currencies are now at risk of losing the money and support they receive from standard banks.

Australia Is Having Trouble in Its Crypto Space

India saw a situation like this occurring just a few years ago. Many news outlets falsely reported that cryptocurrency activity was outlawed in the nation, though this wasn’t quite true. Rather, what happened was crypto businesses in India were not allowed to get support from banks. They could not utilize bank accounts or the tools or products these institutions offered, and many were forced to either shut down or move elsewhere.

In Australia, the same situation is occurring due to a lack of crypto regulation within the company’s borders. Many crypto entrepreneurs are now turning to banks to find the necessary funding for their businesses – only to be viciously turned away. Michael Juric is one such person. He has already been denied service from approximately 91 banks, and he doesn’t think things are going to get any better.

As the CEO of a crypto exchange, his business is registered with a firm known as AUSTRAC, which is the financial crimes monitoring network in Australia. He doesn’t feel this will be enough given how he’s been treated by so many banks. In a recent interview, he stated:

When I started my business in 2014, I originally opened a bank account with Commonwealth Bank. It was shut down around six months later, and since then, it’s been a domino effect of account closures.

According to Senator Andrew Bragg, the situation is not unique, and this is occurring throughout the digital space in Australia. Due to the lagging regulation in the country, many banks are using current loopholes to deny services to digital currency firms. Bragg commented:

There has been some very troubling behavior exhibited by banks, where there has been competition… Cryptocurrency is very popular, but it is not regulated, so at the moment people are purchasing cryptocurrency, but they’re doing that without any kind of consumer protection.

Being Registered Is Not Enough

Per data from AUSTRAC, there are currently about 400 separate digital currency exchanges stationed throughout the country of Australia. It is also estimated that about one in every six people in the nation own cryptocurrency. Overall, it is stated that individuals in Australia own as much as $8 billion in crypto between them.

Some firms are beginning to fight back in favor of crypto entrepreneurs. Fintech firm Finder, for example, has submitted a request with regulators that digital currency transactions occurring through accredited exchanges be insured in a manner similar with bank deposits.

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AMC to Accept Additional Forms of Crypto for Movie Tickets, but Will This Help the Chain?

Not too long ago, AMC announced that it was going to allow crypto fans to purchase concession items and tickets with bitcoin. Now, it looks like the company is adding several additional digital currencies to its list of accepted payment methods hoping this will potentially attract more movie goers.

AMC Says “Yes” To ETH, BCH, LTC

No doubt theatre chains have taken serious hits over the past year and a half following the coronavirus pandemic. Theatres require people to arrive in person and sit down to watch their favorite films. This couldn’t happen for the longest time given that individuals had to engage in social distancing and couldn’t sit close to one another, and this put movie theatres out of commission for a while.

AMC is hoping to get things back on track and has announced that fans of Ethereum, bitcoin cash and Litecoin can use these tokens to pay for merchandise. In addition, the company has also stated that it will even honor expired coupons. They just want moviegoers coming back in droves.

Adam Aron – an AMC Entertainment Holdings executive – wrote on Twitter last week:

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts: you likely know @AMCTheatres has announced we will accept bitcoin for online ticket and concession payments by year-end 2021. I can confirm today that when we do so, we also expect that we similarly will accept Ethereum, Litecoin and bitcoin cash.

The situation is unique in that it pushes the crypto agenda forward big time. Many cryptocurrencies were initially designed to serve as payment options – ways to push fiat currencies, checks, and credit cards to the side. This journey has been slow given how volatile many of these assets are, though the fact remains that they were initially designed to allow individuals to purchase goods and services.

Movies Aren’t All That Great, Lately

However, one could potentially be wrong in assuming that the coronavirus is fully to blame for the lack of revenue AMC and other movie theatre chains have lost over the past 18 months. For one thing, the prices of movie tickets have skyrocketed in recent years. Between the ticket itself, popcorn, and other refreshments, one can expect, in some cases, to pay as much as $50 or more to attend a movie. This is likely making a lot of people think twice about attending – especially when they can just stay at home and watch Netflix for about $10 a month.

In addition, one could also argue that there isn’t much to see nowadays at movie theatres given the lack of innovation that has seemingly struck Hollywood over the past ten years. What is supposed to be the most creative industry in the world appears to have had all its creative juices sucked dry given that practically every film nowadays is a remake, a prequel, or the umpteenth sequel in a franchise that is sometimes 20 years old or more. Perhaps people aren’t going to movie theatres not because of social distancing rules, but because they are starved for originality.

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El Salvador Continues Its Crypto Push, Buys a Lot More Bitcoin

Despite all the bitcoin rollout issues the country has been having as of late, El Salvador is not giving up on its crypto agenda, and the country has recently purchased as much as 150 additional BTC units.

El Salvador Has Bought a Lot of BTC

At the time of writing, the country boasts a stash of more than 700 individual bitcoin units, which are worth approximately $31 million at press time. This may not sound like much at first but considering that El Salvador is new to the world of crypto, it can be argued that the country has moved fast and has experienced a fair amount of success in its latest plans.

The purchase was initiated following the recent price dip incurred by bitcoin, which began over the weekend following the problems of Evergrande in China. As the country’s second largest property developer, the company has more than $310 billion in debt, and is required to pay much of it back by the end of the week. This is not likely to happen, and with the firm unable to meet its present bond obligations, many assets – bitcoin included – are taking hits.

El Salvador is using the situation to its advantage and has decided to purchase more BTC. President Nayib Bukele explained in a tweet:

They can never beat you if you buy the dips.

The primary reason for adopting bitcoin as legal tender within the country has a lot to do with remittance payments. Bukele has stated that he is confident bitcoin can make these payments easier and less expensive for residents working abroad.

Several citizens of El Salvador are working out of the country in regions like the United States. They send money home to their families, but due to exchange rates and transaction fees, sending money back in USD or other forms of fiat can often see much of that money vanish before it’s even doled out.

Not Everyone Is Happy

Bukele believes that bitcoin, which is less costly, will allow many of these workers to keep most of their money, which in turn will result in their families getting to keep much of that money. Thus far, El Salvador has installed more than 200 separate bitcoin ATMs on its home turf and in the U.S. to allow for these remittance payments.

Despite these good intentions, several individuals in El Salvador have taken to the streets to protest the maneuver, which they say is going to take the Central American nation down the wrong path. Up to this point, the country has been reliant on USD, and many citizens have grown comfortable with the currency. Thus, they do not see the need for change, and instead have expressed concern over the connection bitcoin allegedly shares with illicit activities like money laundering and terrorist financing.

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Following Evergrande Issues, Bitcoin Is Suffering Big Time

The bitcoin price is suffering today after the Evergrande Group in China took a hard fall. As the nation’s second largest property developer, the firm has too much debt – more than $310 billion – and is struggling to pay it back. The situation is causing many assets to experience nasty drops, bitcoin being one of them.

Evergrande Is Leading to a Drop in Crypto Prices

At the time of writing, bitcoin has fallen to roughly $44,000 per unit. Over the weekend, the asset was trading for about $47,000. Aside from BTC, Ethereum has also incurred a heavy slump, dropping by nearly ten percent in the past day or two. The currency is trading for just over $3,000, while Dogecoin – hit even harder – has dropped by 11 percent and is trading for around 21 cents.

The problem surrounding Evergrande is that it is currently caught in what’s called a “liquidity squeeze” that could cause the company to file bankruptcy in the coming future. The company is having trouble paying back its bond obligations, which are due at the end of this week. If the company cannot meet its financial obligations soon, Evergrande may be forced to sell off hundreds of commercial properties at serious discounts.

In an interview, cryptocurrency specialist James Edwards commented:

Bitcoin is like a very tightly coiled spring right now, but it’s still unclear whether it will shoot forward or buckle under the pressure. Record amounts of bitcoin have been taken off exchanges, with levels being at their lowest point in the past 12 months. Low liquidity typically leads to choppy price volatility, which can easily swing in either direction… The reduction of bitcoin held on exchanges suggests that there is very little appetite for selling, with the market now focused on the next leg up before another wave of profit taking. Unfortunately, the uncertainty surrounding Evergrande may spill out into cryptocurrency markets, which could see bitcoin retest support at $42,000 in the immediate future.

This is now the second time in the past few months where bitcoin tanks hard thanks to activity that is occurring in China. Not long ago, the currency dropped into the low $30,000 range after the country announced that it was purging itself of all crypto miners as a means of becoming more carbon neutral. The order was issued by Beijing – China’s capital city – and all other regions were required to comply.

China Is Sending BTC Miners Away

A mass exodus occurred that saw hundreds of bitcoin and cryptocurrency miners being forced to leave the nation they called home for so many years. Many found themselves relocating to regions such as Kazakhstan to the north, as well as Texas and Florida in the west.

Winston Ma – the managing director and head of North America at China Investment Corp. – has stated the nation is now looking to create a new bank-issued digital currency known as e-CNY, which is set to be launched following next year’s winter Olympics in Beijing.

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Christine Lagarde Is Not a Big Fan of Digital Currencies

Christine Lagarde – the president of the European Central Bank – has issued a warning about cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum, calling them highly speculative and saying that they are “suspicious.”

Lagarde: Crypto Is NOT Cash!

Bitcoin and digital assets have shot up like crazy over the past year. The idea is that these assets are becoming hedge tools against inflation and other economic problems caused by the current presidential administration and ongoing coronavirus fears. While many people have garnered newfound respect for these assets, Lagarde feels very differently, and says that they are not cash and should not be treated as such.

In a recent interview, Lagarde commented:

I think we have to distinguish between cryptos that are highly speculative and suspicious occasionally, and high intensity in terms of energy consumption assets, but they’re not a currency.  Cryptos are not currencies, full stop. Cryptos are highly speculative assets that claim their fame as currency, possibly, but they’re not. They are not.

Among the big price highlights to occur for digital assets over the past several months include bitcoin reaching a new all-time high of approximately $64,000 per unit in April. In addition, Ethereum also experienced a new high of about $4,000. Other assets, such as Solana, Ripple’s XRP and Binance’s BNB, have also incurred triple-digit gains.

These currencies – and many others like them – are not garnering affection from Lagarde, though she was rather praising of stable currencies in her interview, claiming:

You have those stable coins that are beginning to proliferate, which some big techs are trying to promote and push along the way, which are a different animal and need to be regulated, where there has to be oversight that corresponds to the business that they’re actually conducting, irrespective of how they name themselves.

Many banks and governments across the globe have been looking at stable coins as of late, recognizing that cryptocurrencies are becoming much more prominent and that they need to stay current to compete. The ECB itself ultimately launched a digital euro project earlier in the year under Lagarde’s direction and guidance. She continued her praise of the stable currency space with:

And in all that, you have the central banks who are prompted by a demand of customers to produce something that will make the central bank and central bank digital currencies fit for the century we are in. I was keen to push the issue, the CBDC issue, on our agenda because I believe that we have to stand ready for that.

Stable Currencies May Provide Solid Answers

One figure sharing this sentiment is Benoit Coeure, the head of innovation at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). He recently stated of stable currencies:

CBDC (central bank digital currencies) will be part of the answer. A well-designed CBDC will be a safe and neutral means of payment and settlement asset.

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Study: Crypto Mining Has Already Used More Energy in 2021 Than It Did Last Year

According to a recent study conducted by Bloomberg, the amount of energy used for crypto and bitcoin mining purposes in 2021 already outdoes all the energy used in 2020, and we’re not even three quarters of the way through the year.

Crypto Mining Is Using a Lot of Electricity

Some environmentalists are taking this as a bad sign. It suggests that people are not only mining more but may be increasing the carbon footprint that already stems from the mining industry. So far this year, bitcoin mining has surpassed the 67TWh of electricity used over the previous year.

The study explains:

By the end of this year, it looks set to have used 91TWh of energy – as much as Pakistan.

The problem likely comes from the spikes that the bitcoin price has incurred in recent months. Last April, for example, the currency rose to its highest point of $64,000 per unit. This prompted many additional people to step into the cryptocurrency mining sector in the hopes of garnering riches for themselves. However, many of them do not possess energy-efficient machines, and thus contribute more to the carbon emissions that are released into the atmosphere when digital currencies are extracted from the blockchain.

The arguments against digital currency mining have taken serious precedence over the past several months, and many high-ranking individuals in the space have ultimately emerged to suggest that the problem is more dire than originally thought. One of the biggest arguments stems from Elon Musk, the South African entrepreneur behind billion-dollar companies such as Tesla and SpaceX.

Musk commented about six months ago that he was looking to allow individuals to purchase electric vehicles with bitcoin. However, not long after, he rescinded this decision, claiming that he could not vouch for such a move until emissions were lowered and miners made greener decisions.

In addition, Kevin O’Leary from “Shark Tank” fame commented that he was no longer seeking to purchase bitcoin mined in China given that the country did not engage in energy-efficient extraction methods. From there, China engaged in a whole “mining exodus” agenda designed to get crypto miners out of the country and allow China to become more carbon neutral.

Some Think Things Aren’t So Bad

Despite all this, bitcoin mining continues to earn defense from notable figures in the bitcoin and blockchain spaces. One of the biggest arguments in favor of mining comes from Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO and founder of popular crypto trading platform FTX. He stated in a recent Twitter battle with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren that the hazards of mining do not compare to the great benefits bitcoin can bring to modern-day society.

Others – such as Yassine Elmandjra of Ark Investment fame – see the impact of bitcoin mining as a good thing, as it will allow companies and project managers to transition faster to renewable energy.

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Fidelity to the SEC: Come On, Just Approve Our BTC ETF!

Fidelity Digital Assets – the cryptocurrency division of Fidelity Investments – has recently sent representatives of the firm to secretly meet with agents of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a means of pushing its new crypto-based exchange-traded fund (ETF) further along the way.

Fidelity Wants the SEC to Move Quickly

Fidelity believes that the cryptocurrency industry is now large enough to push such a product, which has been making its way across SEC desks for the past four years. Many companies – from Van Eck to Bitwise – have been trying since early 2017 to get bitcoin and crypto-based ETFs approved for trading purposes, though none have been successful, as the SEC argues that crypto is simply too volatile to be taken seriously.

Tom Jessup – the president of Fidelity Digital – attended a virtual meeting with the regulating agency about two weeks ago to discuss how much investor demand has grown in the bitcoin and crypto spaces. Jessop and his team even cited recent surveys and additional material to show the growing appeal. Some of these items discussed how much institutional investing in BTC has increased over the past year alone, with companies such as MicroStrategy and Square investing hundreds of millions to billions of dollars in digital currency.

In addition, the company also showed evidence of the success of the new bitcoin and Ethereum-based exchange-traded funds in Canada, while similar products – known generally as ETPs – have also seen a boom in regions such as Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Despite all this, however, the SEC has continued to reject the prospects of bitcoin ETFs and has frequently delayed all decisions when it comes to approving these products. This has proved frustrating for many companies, who simply withdraw their applications early when the process takes too long.

Recently, Gary Gensler – the current head of the SEC – has stated that he is willing to open his mind to bitcoin ETFs granted they take on the form of tradable futures. This would place them under a 1940s rule that generally applies to mutual stocks, a choice that has garnered heavy criticism from industry analysts. They say that the rules need to be molded to fit the product in question and that futures are inferior products.

Regulation Coming Soon?

In its presentation with the SEC, Fidelity explained:

We believe bitcoin futures-based products are not a necessary interim step before a bitcoin ETP. Firms should be able to meet investor demand for direct exposure to bitcoin through the 1933 Securities Act.

As of late, Gary Gensler has been pressured by lawmakers in the United States to hurry things up and establish a new set of digital currency regulations that can potentially limit volatility, better classify where cryptocurrencies fall, and keep investors protected during the trading process.

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Ray Dalio: If BTC Works, Regulators May Destroy It

In the past, Ray Dalio – a billionaire investor that started the world’s largest hedge fund – has stated that the governments of the world could potentially try to ban or take one’s bitcoin units if the asset was to be successful enough.

Ray Dalio Warns Crypto Fans of Possible Government Action

Now, his warning has become even more dire, with Dalio saying that governments everywhere could potentially just try to “kill” bitcoin if it goes much further. He commented that the world’s number one digital asset by market cap could wind up being completely shut down by regulators who are looking to ensure banks stay in control and people’s financial futures remain in their hands.

While speaking at the SALT conference in New York, Dalio explained to an audience of listening crypto fans:

I think at the end of the day if it’s really successful, they will kill it and they will try to kill it, and I think they will kill it because they have ways of killing it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place. A value and so on.

Banks and governments everywhere are allegedly afraid of bitcoin because it does something that standard financial institutions were never designed to do, and that is to offer monetary freedom to the people of the world. With banks in power, access is potentially limited to services and products for many people that would be necessary to survive each day, and individuals do not have as much say in how far their money goes.

However, bitcoin does not care what your background is. It doesn’t care about your employment history or where you are situated. Rather, if you have access to the internet, anyone from anywhere can potentially open a digital wallet and start trading. Bitcoin makes finance easy, and banks are not crazy about this.

It’s a Good Diversification Tool

Dalio says that he is not an expert on bitcoin. In fact, he has often claimed he prefers gold in the long run, though he has sought bitcoin as a means of keeping his portfolio diversified, and over time, he has become more bullish on BTC, claiming:

I’m no expert on it … I think diversification matters. Bitcoin has some merit. The real question is how much [do you] have in gold versus how much you have in bitcoin. I think it’s worth considering all the alternatives to cash and all the alternatives to the other financial assets. Bitcoin is a possibility. It’s an amazing accomplishment to have brought it from where that programming occurred to where it is through the test of time.

Despite these thoughts, he was quick to warn his audience that everything could go south in a short period, warning that bitcoin could be “tulips in Holland” if people were not careful.

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Lawmakers Pressure Gary Gensler to Establish New Crypto Rules

Gary Gensler and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are really feeling the heat when it comes to developing new regulations surrounding the bitcoin and blockchain spaces. The agency is now working “overtime” as CNBC puts it to establish a new set of crypto-related rules designed to pause volatility and potentially keep traders (and their money) safe.

Gary Gensler Is Now Under the Gun

Gensler has commented in a recent statement that while he wants the space to be much safer than it is, he does not want to stifle innovation. With so many new assets entering the arena on a regular basis, Gensler says that there is no greater time than right now for regulatory tactics.

According to an SEC statement, there are more than 6,000 separate cryptocurrency projects in play at the time of writing. The organization is now looking to potentially increase its staff as a means of evaluating all of them to see if they would potentially fall under present securities laws.

Gensler commented:

Currently, we just don’t have enough investor protection in crypto finance, issuance, trading, or lending. Frankly, at this time, it’s more like the Wild West or the old world of ‘buyer beware’ that existed before the securities laws were enacted.

Senator Pat Toomey – a republican lawmaker out of Pennsylvania – is among those pressuring Gensler to hurry things along. During a recent hearing, Toomey questioned Gensler about stable currencies, claiming that since they are tied to fiat and do not necessarily return profits, they would not necessarily fall under security-based provisions.

While Toomey seemed to know the answers to these questions, he admits that regulation is not clear, and there are too many traders out there wandering into very vague territory every time they engage in a transaction.

Toomey commented:

My whole point is, I think we need clarity on this. I think you should publicly disclose this… And we certainly shouldn’t be taking enforcement action against somebody without having first provided that clarity.

What Republicans and Democrats Are So Nervous About

While Republicans are more about asserting guidelines for future trades, Democrats have mostly voiced concerns regarding the potential risks that come with digital asset trading. Senator Mark Warner, for example, is a Democrat representing Virginia. He stated humorously that Gensler should have said “wild” more than once to describe the circumstances surrounding the digital currency space. He says:

As someone who shares some of your concerns about crypto, I will acknowledge that you only put one ‘wild’ in front of ‘west,’ as opposed to two. As somebody who managed to do rather well financially because of innovation, I’m all in, but we do need some guidance. We do need some direction. I would go to the two ‘wilds’ in terms of the description of this area, as good as some of the innovation is.

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El Salvador Is Still Experiencing Digital Wallet Issues

El Salvador is reporting that more than half a million residents are using the new Chivo wallet system, which is designed to assist in the country’s rollout of bitcoin as an official legal tender.

El Salvador Doesn’t Have Much to Brag About

This would be fine and dandy except for one thing… El Salvador has more than 6.5 million residents. Thus, many individuals are either still not trusting bitcoin enough to use the wallet, or there are too many problems with the rollout, and at the time of writing, it looks like the latter may be the bigger reason.

El Salvador is touting this half-a-mill figure as something to brag about, but the fact remains that there are still many technical glitches preventing bitcoin from being utilized the way it should. It has been roughly two weeks since the country unveiled bitcoin as an official currency of the nation. However, things have gotten off to a slow start given that the Chivo wallet has crashed and been down for maintenance several times since it was installed.

Some have been unable to download the wallet completely, while others have obtained the wallet but cannot use the $30 in free BTC their wallets give them. One user named Cesar Estrada runs a street vending business and has had this problem himself. In a recent interview, he states:

After several attempts, I managed to download the Chivo wallet, but I haven’t been able to use the $30.

One of the big problems associated with the bitcoin rollout has been false information, according to one employee of the wallet system. While remaining anonymous, the speaker discussed some of the issues at hand:

The problems continue, but there has also been a lot of false information. People are saying that if someone downloads the app, the government can spy on them, or even empty their bank accounts. So many things have been said that it gets into people’s heads, and added to that is at first, the system collapsed, and the errors have continued.

It is hard to know if this is indeed false data, or if it’s just being touted as false data because regulators do not want residents to know what’s being done behind closed doors. Either way, there are certainly trust issues floating around town as of late, and despite months of alleged planning, the system is letting users – and the country – down in a big way.

A Message from the President

President Nayib Bukele commented about the recent rollout disasters on his Twitter feed, explaining:

We set ourselves a goal that was too ambitious and we made mistakes, but we corrected things, and hundreds of thousands of Salvadorians can now use their Chivo wallets with no problem. Soon, everyone who wants to can also enjoy the benefits.

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Altcoins Are Spiking Like Mad, and This Has Analysts Worried

As altcoins spike heavily in recent weeks, many analysts and crypto heads are worried that the digital currency space is heading into dangerous territory similar with what it saw last May.

Altcoins Are All the Rage Right Now

About four months ago, the digital currency arena saw many assets spiking unexpectedly. Bitcoin, for example, had just reached a new all-time high of approximately $64,000 per unit, while Ethereum also hit a new peak of about $4,000. Many altcoins and competitors to BTC saw their prices jumping to unprecedented levels, though this eventually came back to bite them in the butt.

It wasn’t long before the crypto space saw a nasty dive that ultimately took prices down to their lowest points in many months. Bitcoin lost more than 50 percent of its value at one point, falling (albeit briefly) into the $29,000 range, while ETH fell below $3,000. Many analysts are seeing rises in altcoin prices as of late that are comparable to what happened last May. Thus, there is heavy concern that the same falls could occur not too far down the line.

Assets like Cardano’s ADA, Binance Coin, and Ethereum-competitor Solana have jumped in recent weeks given that many traders are excited about their growing presences in the world of decentralized finance (defi). What’s interesting is that many of these altcoins remain in higher positions despite a recent market selloff that caused several mainstream cryptocurrencies to experience solid drops, so the big question is, “How long before these altcoins slip, and how big will those slips be?”

According to Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou – a global market strategist at JPMorgan – says the current altcoin rally is not sustainable and may lead to a heavy period of gloom and doom for interested traders. In a recent interview, he stated:

There is a big question mark here. Is the hype with Cardano, Binance, Solana, [and other] alternatives to Ethereum justified? Will there be enough traffic in these networks [and] wallet addresses to justify these kinds of valuations?

He says that what’s common is for investors to rush mindlessly into the world of altcoins that are spiking as a means of capturing small gains along the way. He says that this behavior never leads to positive results, and that the market may fall in the coming weeks. He comments:

I think we could have a repeat of what we saw in May.

Maybe Things Aren’t as Scary as They Look

At the time of writing, Solana is up by approximately 318 percent. Cardano’s ADA is up by close to 30 percent, while Ripple’s XRP is trading for about 23 percent higher over the past few weeks.

Curtis Ting – managing director for Europe at crypto exchange Kraken – is one of the few analysts that doesn’t see this leading to anything negative. Rather, he feels that altcoins are helping the market to “reset itself.”

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The Crypto Mining Fight in China Is Not Over

It looks like China is still not done clamping down on the crypto mining space. Another region known as the Hebei province has agreed to comply with Beijing’s ruling that all crypto mining should be omitted from China’s workforce. The province is now claiming that the practice is illegal and must end within its borders no later than September 30.

China Is Still Kicking Miners Out

China shocked the world not too long ago when it decided that all crypto mining should cease. The idea was that energy used for crypto mining purposes was hazardous to the planet, and that it was setting humans on the wrong path. Thus, regulators stated that it was time to bring things to an official end.

What was most surprising about the ruling is that the country, at the time, was home to nearly 75 percent of the world’s total crypto mining operations. Thus, it stood to lose a lot of money and tax revenue by initiating the clampdown. In addition, the country is home to two of the world’s biggest developers and distributors of bitcoin mining equipment in Bitmain and Canaan Creative.

Nevertheless, China has moved forward in its decision. Many mining operators were forced to shut down their businesses and move elsewhere, and quite a few have popped up in countries such as Kazakhstan and in states like Texas and Florida. Both these regions in America have stated they are open to crypto mining projects given that they can potentially lead to healthier local and state economies, and they will create jobs for interested workers.

The Hebei province issued the following statement:

Cryptocurrency mining consumes an enormous amount of energy, which is against China’s ‘carbon neutral’ goal.

The arguments against crypto mining have become rather prominent in recent months. One of the most notable stemmed from Elon Musk, the South African entrepreneur behind billion-dollar companies such as SpaceX and Tesla. He stated early in the year that he was willing to permit bitcoin payments for electric vehicles. A few weeks later, however, he rescinded this decision, claiming that miners were not utilizing their energy correctly, and he could not condone bitcoin unless carbon emissions were brought down.

Too Much Bad Energy in the Air!

Another argument came from Kevin O’Leary of “Shark Tank” fame. The billionaire investor claimed that he would no longer be purchasing any BTC mined in China given that the country was not known to utilize green energy for mining purposes. China later took this issue to heart, it seems.

Starting in October of this year, bitcoin and crypto mining in China will be completely illegal. Regulators in the nation have stated that they will keep a close eye on the mining space and will work to punish all those who disobey the rules.

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Analysts Say Putting Crypto in an IRA Is Not the Best Idea

Over the past few months, the idea of adding bitcoin or crypto to one’s retirement account has really picked up steam. There are many individuals out there that are looking for ways to diversify their portfolios as a means of preparing for retirement later in life, and thus they are looking to add cryptocurrencies to an IRA or similar product.

a Crypto-Based IRA Doesn’t Have That Many Possibilities

For many, inflation has become a very scary reality. Prices of goods and services are going up every two minutes. The housing market has spun out of control, and governments around the world are printing money like it grows on trees and pumping it back into their economies following the COVID pandemic that has ultimately ravaged the world during the past year and a half.

However, some analysts claim that while crypto can serve several lofty purposes, putting it into an IRA or retirement account is not the best idea.

One of the big benefits of an IRA is that whatever goes into it becomes tax deferred. You do not have to pay taxes on the money that’s stored in the account until you pull it out. From there, you will owe whatever was not paid when it was initially put in. The same applies to crypto; those who put digital assets into their IRAs will not have to pay taxes on those crypto units for many years.

However, while this seems tempting in the short term, many analysts say that the costs associated with putting crypto in one’s portfolio can ultimately mean you wind up paying a lot more even before you’re ready to use the funds. In addition, most IRAs are self-directed, meaning you’re fully in charge and on your own. You don’t have an expert telling you what to do, so if you inadvertently break a rule, you may wind up paying for it.

Anjali Jariwala – a certified financial planner with Fit Advisors – commented on the prospects and risks associated with putting crypto in one’s retirement account. In an interview, he stated:

Self-directed IRAs usually require a specialized firm or custodian, and the costs can be sizable due to the additional compliance and IRA requirements. If you fail to abide by all the rules, then your account may lose its tax-deferred status.

Volatility Is Also a Problem

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has also warned of the heavy potential for fraud associated with crypto. The agency also commented on the volatility of these assets, meaning that they could ultimately sink so low they disappear in the future, which wouldn’t be good given that retirement funds are designed for one’s expenses after they leave the workforce. The agency said in a statement:

While a broader set of investment options may have appeal, investors should be mindful that investments in self-directed IRAs raise risks, including fraudulent schemes, high fees and volatile performances.

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Square Enters Pact Designed to Prevent Crypto Companies from Suing Each Other

Square – a payment firm run by the head of Twitter Jack Dorsey – is joining a non-aggression pact against cryptocurrencies. The pact is designed to reduce patent lawsuits against crypto and blockchain companies and push the world of digital currency more toward mainstream territory.

Square Wants Crypto Companies to Work Together

The pact is known as the Open Invention Network, in which members like Square can pledge royalty-free access to certain patents, data, and related information. The items contained within the pact are open source and are available to all at no extra costs.

In a recent interview, representatives of Square said that the kind of patent lawsuits that are hitting the crypto space every five minutes were once rather prominent in the world of smartphone technology. Back when these devices were new and emerging on the market, several companies were attacking each other in court over what they claimed was stolen property or data.

Hence, Square says it is looking to avoid similar scenarios in the digital currency arena, and thus formed what is called the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance about a year ago. Members make pledges in the beginning not to pursue legal action in court against each other or other firms delving in the same industry. In addition, all information they create or establish must be shared in a designated forum so that all members can gain access free of charge.

Max Sills – counsel at Square and general manager of the crypto alliance – explained in an interview:

We’re in just such a rapid time of growth, so many amazing things are happening without patents. We want to avoid long and drawn-out legal battles.

Square has been one of bitcoin’s largest and most prominent fans for some time. The company was one of the first to purchase BTC and add it to its balance sheet. The first purchase of roughly $50 million took place in October of last year, while the company later added another $120 million to its balance sheet in a second purchase in early 2021.

In addition, the company is also looking to step further into the crypto space by establishing a decentralized exchange and its own wallet system, as announced by Jack Dorsey at a recent BTC conference in Florida.

Some of This Technology Is Necessary

Keith Bergelt – the chief executive of the Open Invention Network – explained that much of the technology distributed via the pact cannot be “done without,” and thus it would be pointless to sue other companies over this technology given how important and necessary it was. He says:

When it has something to do with core functionality, you shouldn’t sue each other. The idea is you build your differentiation around the core. This won’t impair anyone from building a business. It just protects them from being sued on what’s fundamentally open.

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Tone Vays and Cathie Wood Think BTC Is Heading to the Moon

Many crypto analysts have emerged to state that despite recent dips in the bitcoin price, they believe the world’s number one digital asset is going to rise from the ashes and potentially reach a rather high number in the coming weeks or months. One such figure is Tone Vays, a known crypto analyst that believes bitcoin could reach $100,000 rather soon.

Tone Vays On BTC: It’s Going Down, Then Up

In a recent interview, Vays commented that bitcoin’s recent behavior is reminiscent of how it acted in July. During that time, the asset fell to a disappointing $29,000 after it had been trading for just over $64,000 a few months prior. However, it didn’t take long for the cryptocurrency to jump back up to $52,000, and he believes that bitcoin could incur a similar rally this time around.

He says:

We’re in a very similar environment to what happened back in July. It’s crazy how we’re already in the middle of September. A lot of time has passed and this, to me, looks incredibly similar… I would like to see a spike down tomorrow or the next day, taking us into that $43,000 range with a big follow through to the upside then after.

Vays is confident that at some point, bitcoin is likely to drop a bit before the spike, and he believes traders will have an opportunity to purchase BTC at somewhere near the $40K mark. He says:

 I just think there will be one more low coming in… It’s very likely this support will break. I don’t like the fact how many times we’ve bounced off this support. I do think this is a bit of short-term support. One more swing low and a chance to pick up bitcoin in the middle of this week in the low $40,000 range.

Once the asset reaches $40,000, he feels rather certain that the currency is going to begin its ascension to six-figure territory, and that the currency could potentially reach $100K by the end of the year. He stated:

 A $40,000 low coming in either next week or it could get dragged out… into early October, and then we break this area of $50,000 in mid to late October. We break $65,000 by early November, and then we’re probably hovering above $100,000 by the end of December, so I’m still holding to my view that we break $100,000 in December.

Some Are Predicting Even Higher

While all this sounds great, it hardly compares with another prediction which is coming from Cathie Wood of Ark Invest. Not long ago, the bitcoin bull stated that BTC could reach half a million dollars, though a specific timeline was not given.

She commented that if companies continue to diversify their portfolios and add BTC to their balance sheets, the currency could reach this figure at some point in the future.

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Interactive Brokers Will Soon Allow Customers to Trade Crypto

Interactive Brokers Group Inc. – a trading firm based in Greenwich, Connecticut – is opening its new cryptocurrency division.

Interactive Brokers Says “Yes” to Digital Currency

Customers of the firm will soon be able to trade and buy up to four different cryptocurrencies. They are bitcoin, bitcoin cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The company has stated that competition is growing given that many standard banks, hedge funds, and financial institutions are seeing their clients demand crypto service more and more, and thus they are working to initiate crypto custody and trading options to keep whoever’s already onboard from moving their money.

Interactive Brokers will be offering crypto services through its new partnership with Paxos Trust Co. The company is looking to make most of its money primarily through transaction fees. They will amount to as little as 0.12 percent or as much as 0.18 percent depending on the transaction. Thus, the max 0.18 would require individuals to pay as much as $1.80 for every $1,000 in crypto traded.

This may not seem like much on paper, but when one considers that the company has more than 1.5 million customers and that many are already engaged in crypto trading, there is a good amount of money to be had. Steve Sanders – the executive vice president of marketing and product development at Interactive Brokers – explained in a recent interview that while the company is only starting out with four digital assets, there is always the chance that executives will add more in the future.

He says:

We started with four that we thought were the basics. It could be the case that we expand that. We view crypto as just another asset class.

The decision comes at a time when crypto is getting a lot more attention from U.S. regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Gary Gensler is the head of that agency, for example, and recently commented that crypto trading platforms and exchanges are not likely to experience high levels of trust in the future unless they are willing to comply with set regulations.

We’ll Comply If and When We Have To

Sanders is not worried about this, claiming that Interactive Brokers already offers many other asset classes that require it to follow tough regulations. He says:

As the regulatory environment emerges, we’ll be there to work with it. We offer all these asset classes: stocks, options, foreign exchange, futures, bonds, and metals. We work with a lot of regulators.

It is clear as of late that many standard financial enterprises are feeling the pressure to step into the crypto market. Recently, Allied Payment Network and Finastra announced that they were creating a digital currency wallet designed specifically for banks, while digital financial platform Money Lion is establishing a whole new digital currency division for its clients to enjoy.

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Sorry, Everyone. Walmart and Litecoin Have NOT Formed a Partnership

Walmart has been making a real name for itself in the crypto space. Many analysts were thrilled when the retailer announced not too long ago that it was looking to hire a crypto product specialist for its new blockchain division, suggesting that the firm was following in the steps of Amazon, one of its biggest competitors.

Walmart and Litecoin… If Only!

According to a recent news release, the company had engaged in a partnership with leading altcoin Litecoin, which emerged in the year 2011 following a hard fork of bitcoin, the world’s most popular digital currency. Following the issuance of the release, crypto fans celebrated on social media platforms and the price of Litecoin shot up by as much as 20 percent. It seemed like the asset was unstoppable… until it was revealed just moments later that the release was a hoax, and no partnership of any kind had been formed.

The initial nature of the press release was that Walmart would accept Litecoin for payments. Already, one had to assume that something was a little fishy about the statement. The company made no mention of bitcoin, meaning it was allegedly not willing to accept BTC – the largest and most powerful crypto asset in the world – but was willing to give the greenlight to payments initiated through a smaller competitor? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when one puts two and two together.

Either way, it looks like the release was widely distributed and believed before Walmart could get the news under control. At the time of writing, it is unclear who issued the release or who wrote it. It is also not clear how the news came about, though Walmart has explained on its website that it is now looking into the matter while also assuring its customers that there is no partnership whatsoever between it and Litecoin.

A Walmart spokesperson explained in an interview:

We are digging into it further to understand what happened.

The situation seems innocent enough. After all, if the perpetrator is found out, all he would have to do is issue an apology and promise never to do anything like that again, right? Well, as it turns out, situations like these can wreak havoc on the allegedly issuing company, in this case Walmart. As the retailer is a publicly traded business, Walmart could potentially face liabilities from organizations and agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which could open its own investigation into the company to discover what happened.

This Can Be a Serious Problem

Speaking with The New York Times, Andrew Calamari – a lawyer with Finn Dixon & Herling and a former securities director with the SEC’s New York office – mentioned in a statement:

It is a misrepresentation involving a public issuer.

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MicroStrategy Bought More BTC… Then the Price Fell.

Known software firm and institutional bitcoin investing company MicroStrategy has just purchased more than 5,000 additional units of bitcoin for a whopping $242.9 million. At the time of writing, the company – following this recent purchase – owns close to $6 billion in BTC, the world’s leading digital currency by market cap.

MicroStrategy Just Keeps Buying Bitcoin

In a filing documented earlier this week, it was recorded that MicroStrategy purchased as many as 5,050 separate units of bitcoin at an average price of about $48,099. Already, this move is coming back to bite MicroStrategy in the butt. The company is so adamant to purchase more bitcoin that it is often losing money on its investments. For example, the asset has since fallen by close to $5,000 since the enterprise engaged in this recent purchase. Thus, that $242 million has since fallen by quite a bit.

Still, MicroStrategy has not shown any inclination that it is bothered by this recent maneuver, and to an extent, we need to respect the firm and its executives for that. MicroStrategy has arguably proven itself to be the biggest bitcoin fan out there. The company first began purchasing the asset in August of 2020 – just over one year ago – to much speculation, as at the time, it was extremely rare for a business – especially one of MicroStrategy’s size and standing – to engage in crypto investments and trades.

Nevertheless, the firm did not allow people’s opinions to get in the way of its digital currency plans. The company purchased roughly $250 million-worth of the world’s leading crypto asset. During that time, the currency was trading for just over $12,000.

About a month later, bitcoin fell into somewhat bearish territory for the first time in a while. This is typical of September – as we are seeing now – and bitcoin dropped to about $10,000 per unit, but this did not discourage MicroStrategy in any way. The company decided to jump back into the fray and purchase more BTC, only this time at a much cheaper price. The move paid off as the following month, PayPal announced that it would soon allow crypto trading and digital currency buys through its platform.

A Long History of Crypto Fandom

The news was well received, and the price of bitcoin rose to about $13,500. Thus, MicroStrategy saw its investments grow heavily over the course of only 30 days or so, and the company has embarked on regular purchases since that time.

The company’s head executive Michael Saylor has since taken his love of BTC to new heights. He has engaged in hosting educational seminars and sought to teach other companies, both big and small, about how to get involved in crypto trading and why it is so important for enterprises to have bitcoin and cryptocurrencies be part of their balance sheets.

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Bitcoin Has Fallen, and Whales Are Zoning In

The price of bitcoin has taken a bit of a dip over the past few days. The world’s number one digital asset – which was trading for over $45,000 per unit late last week – is now trading in the high $43,000 range, meaning that the currency has lost a couple thousand dollars in a short period, and it looks like whales are trying to take advantage of the situation.

Whales Are Buying Up All They Can

Whales are individuals that are classified as “big bitcoin owners,” for lack of better terms. It is estimated that these individuals own the most bitcoin in circulation, and that their accounts are stacked to the gills with cryptocurrency units.

Whenever BTC drops in price, whales tend to zero in and buy more of it, ensuring they can add extra bitcoin units to their portfolios at a bargain, and this time was no exception. However, there were quite a few bitcoins purchased during this momentum, with roughly 50,000 BTC units being added to several accounts that already boast anywhere between 10,000 and 100,000 units. This money was added to the said accounts over a period of just four days according to Santiment, an on-chain analytics platform.

The presence of whales tends to lead to both positive and negative results in the long run. On the positive side, whales tend to keep bitcoin moving, and the more they buy, the higher the price tends to run. However, what’s rough is that they can take heavy amounts of BTC out of commission. This tends to make things harder for those who are looking to build their stashes with limited financial resources or who are entering the space for the first time.

Ali Martinez – a known crypto analyst – explained on Twitter:

Whales are buying bitcoin. Addresses with 10,000 to 100,000 BTC have purchased roughly 50,000 BTC in the last four days. This significant number of tokens has been removed from known cryptocurrency exchange wallets, reducing the selling pressure behind bitcoin.

Glassnode was also quick to notice the whale activity over the weekend, commenting in a statement:

The relative supply held by LTH [long-term holders] and STH [short-term holders] tell us an interesting story about bitcoin. Firstly, more than 16.8 percent of the BTC supply was spent in the last five months and returned to profit at the recent $52.8K high. Secondly, long-term holders now own 79.5 percent of the BTC supply, equivalent to October of 2020.

Taking BTC Out of Circulation

Willy Woo – a known crypto analyst – also stated that whales are entering the fray to purchase as much as they can. On social media, he stated:

Contrary to common opinion, that latest price pullback was not from whale selling. They’ve been in a significant region of buying… Supply distribution of bitcoin update: whales added recently. Minnows continue to stack.

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Sveriges Riksbank Is Clearly Not a Bitcoin Fan

Not everyone is a bitcoin fan, and now it looks like Sveriges Riksbank – the governor of Sweden’s central bank – is adamant that the world’s number one digital currency is about to collapse, and thus holds no place in modern-day finance.

Sveriges Riksbank: Bitcoin Isn’t Going to Make It

The digital currency space has come quite far in recent years. The primary asset, bitcoin, has attracted some of the world’s largest and most prominent institutional investors, from software firm MicroStrategy to Square, a payment enterprise run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. The currency has exploded in price, starting out for a few cents just over ten years ago to reaching roughly $64,000 per unit last April.

But while bitcoin has become a popular asset amongst many individuals, not everyone is willing to drink the “digital Kool-Aid,” and there are some today that still speak ill of the asset. Riksbank falls into this category. While his qualms with bitcoin are not personal, he is adamant that private currencies have been known to collapse in the past, and he sees bitcoin incurring the same fate at some point.

At a recent conference in Stockholm, Riksbank commented that if a currency is not backed by a central bank, it is not likely to survive. This sentiment is shared by many other high-ranking finance experts including Gabriel Makhlouf, the governor of the central bank of Ireland. Not too long ago, he stated that putting one’s personal funds into crypto was a terrible mistake, and he likened the move to putting one’s money into tulips because they “thought it was an investment.”

Other central bankers, however, are more positive about the introduction of crypto into the modern world of finance. One such figure comes in the form of Benoit Coeure, the head of innovation at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). While he has not spoken much about specific or more mainstream assets like bitcoin, he has stated that stable coins are likely to one day become primary financial tools for both banks and individuals alike. He also stated that they are likely to challenge the way banks do business in the future.

He said:

Stable coins are knocking on the door, seeking regulatory approval. Decentralized finance (defi) platforms are challenging traditional financial intermediation. They all come with different regulatory questions, which need fast and consistent answers… Make no mistake: global stable coins, defi platforms and big tech firms will challenge banks’ models regardless.

 Banks Should Create Their Own Assets

To stay in play, he believes banks need to issue their own stable currencies. He comments:

 CBDC (central bank digital currencies) will be part of the answer. A well-designed CBDC will be a safe and neutral means of payment and settlement asset, serving as a common interoperable platform around which the new payment ecosystem can organize.

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No Taxes for Foreign BTC Investors in El Salvador!

El Salvador has announced that foreign bitcoin investors will not have to pay tax on the profits they make through cryptocurrency transactions.

El Salvador Makes Things Easy for Foreign BTC Investors

The news comes just a little over a week after the Central American nation declared bitcoin legal tender. El Salvador is the first nation to make such a move, and now it looks like several others – such as Paraguay – are interested in following in the country’s footsteps.

Government advisor Javier Argueta says that this is likely a move to encourage foreign investment in the country. In a recent interview, he states:

If a person has assets in bitcoin and makes high profits, there will be no tax. This (is done) obviously to encourage foreign investment… There will be no taxes to pay on either the capital increase or the income.

While there are steps in place designed to increase investment in El Salvador, Argueta – who also serves as a personal advisor to president Nayib Bukele – says that there are also measures being instilled to ensure that none of the foreign investments are illicit, and that money laundering does not take place within El Salvador’s borders.

He explained:

We are implementing a series of recommendations from international institutions against money laundering.

The road to bitcoin legalization in El Salvador has not been an easy one. The nation initially sought the help of major institutions such as the World Bank to implement its bitcoin agenda. The Bank ultimately said “no,” deciding that bitcoin was too risky and volatile. El Salvador then decided to move forward on implementing a digital future without assistance.

The country even built a whole new digital wallet system known as “Chivo,” which is slang for “cool” in the country. The wallet was designed to assist citizens interested in trading bitcoin learn about the world’s number one digital currency by market cap. It even gifted many eligible traders with approximately $30 in BTC to help them get started.

BTC Doesn’t Intrigue Anyone

However, there were several individuals heavily opposed to the bitcoin agenda that El Salvador is so adamant about instilling. Protests have been forming in the country’s capital of San Salvador over the past several weeks, with people holding up negative signs and honking bullhorns to state that they are “just fine” when it comes to using the U.S. dollar, which is the currency that El Salvador has been reliant on up until this point.

Bukele has since come out to let people know that bitcoin is not being forced up on them. They simply have the option of using it should they so choose. He says that bitcoin is being adopted primarily to ensure that remittance payments become easier for people sending money home to their families while working abroad in the United States.

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Lenny Moon Is Pushing Fly Coin, a Digital Currency Designed to Reward Frequent Fliers

We’ve all heard of frequent flyer miles. The more you fly, the more miles you’ll earn for future trips. Well, a cryptocurrency company is pushing a new digital asset known as Fly Coin, which will pay users in digital currency granted they engage in specific travel behaviors.

Fly Coin Will Reward Consistent Travelers

The company has recently brought on a new chief executive officer in the form of Lenny Moon. Moon will be tasked with overseeing the market launch of the company. He will also work to expand its horizons and develop a strong operational business plan that will see additional customers flocking to utilize its services and rewards.

Fly Coin has been around for some time already and has been available to flyers of the Ravn Alaska Airline. However, now it looks like Northern Pacific Airways is hopping onboard. The airline is responsible for flying customers of the U.S. to several airports in both Asia and Europe by way of Alaska. Fly Coin and Lenny Moon are looking to ensure more airplane companies “hop aboard” and that additional air travel routes can be utilized to offer customers digital rewards.

Josh Jones – the founder and chairperson of Fly Coin – mentioned in a statement:

Consumers deserve a better reward point system, and the time is now. Our mission is to empower travelers with a crypto-backed rewards system. Its open protocol and finite supply of tokens takes power from the airlines and puts it right into users’ wallets. Moon is the perfect person to accelerate our progress in this endeavor.

In an interview, Moon explained:

The traditional world of travel rewards programs is ripe for change. Fly Coin will provide consumers with a rewards program where the benefits are open and less confined. A cryptocurrency is the medium to reward our loyal customers for traveler participation, but not force their loyalty by constraining how they choose to redeem those rewards. I am excited to lead Fly Coin as we help provide a more customer-centric approach to travel rewards programs. With this organization, and Josh Jones’ experienced understanding and proven success with cryptocurrency, Fly Coin seeks to empower our customers to become decision makers.

Crypto and Travel… They Really Go Together!

Moon will also take on the role of serving as the new chief financial officer of FLOAT Alaska LLC, the parent company of Fly Coin. Tom Hsieh – president of FLOAT – was also quick to praise Moon and tout his experience, mentioning:

Moon brings over two decades of experience in startups, venture capital, investment banking, and fintech. He is an astute professional with strategic vision, financial clarity, and extraordinary operational acumen. With such extensive experience and expertise, Moon will accelerate the status quo of travel rewards programs.

Not long ago, it was alleged through a recent study that more people were utilizing bitcoin and crypto for travel purposes.

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