Beth Saradarian Initiates Crypto Donations for Rutland County Humane Society

The Rutland County Humane Society has agreed to accept crypto as a donation method. In an interview, Beth Saradarian – executive director of the organization – says that while she doesn’t expect a lot of people to take advantage of the option, it pleases her to know that the non-profit is moving forward in the world of digitization and technology, and that the method is there for anyone who wants to use it.

Saradarian: The Method Is There for Whoever Wants It

The move is pushing the goals of bitcoin and its digital counterparts closer to being achieved. What many people likely forget is that while bitcoin and many of its crypto cousins have taken on either speculative or even hedge-like statuses in recent years, many of them were initially designed to serve as payment tools. They were built to push checks, credit cards, and fiat currencies to the side, but this has been a relatively slow journey given the volatility that continues to drag them down.

It is extremely hard to understand when bitcoin and its crypto family will go up or down when it comes to their prices. Many stores and companies have been reluctant to say “yes” when it comes to accepting crypto payments for this reason, and to a degree, we can’t blame them.

Consider the following scenario: someone walks into a store and buys $50 worth of merchandise with bitcoin. For one reason or another, the store doesn’t trade the BTC into fiat right away and about 24 hours go by. From there, the price of BTC goes down and that $50 becomes $40. The customer gets to keep everything he or she bought, but the store has lost money in the end. Is this a fair situation? Not everyone thinks so.

That’s what makes enterprises like the Rutland County Humane Society so important. They understand the initial purposes of bitcoin and digital currencies and are trying to transform them into usable tools that everyday people can benefit from.

Things Are Off to a Good Start

Saradarian says the donation page was launched in mid-May. Not long after that, the organization got its first crypto donation of roughly $39, so perhaps the option will prove to be more popular than she initially imagined. Saradarian commented:

For me, it started with a better understanding of our donors in terms of how they like to communicate. Some people like regular U.S. mail, some people like e-newsletters, some people like text messaging, you’ve got to figure out what’s the best way to communicate with your donors of all different kinds of age groups, and how they like to donate… I’m happy we’re able to offer it, and it’s there. If somebody chooses not to use it, that’s fine. They can donate online, they can send us a check, whatever, but at least it’s there for somebody who wants to donate through that avenue.

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David Rubenstein: Congress Will Never Regulate Crypto

Despite a recent crypto executive order from Joe Biden and California announcing it’s going to examine crypto risks billionaire investor David Rubenstein says Congress isn’t likely to implement wide-scale regulation of the crypto industry.

David Rubenstein on the Future of Politics and Crypto

In a recent interview, Rubenstein said crypto – despite what many analysts claim – is not that different from many of the world’s other emerging new technologies, and as those technologies aren’t being subjected to mass regulatory tactics, he doesn’t think crypto will be placed in a separate category.

He stated:

Anything that comes along when people don’t really know what it is at the beginning – the Internet, e-commerce, Twitter, whatever it might be – it takes time for people to get used to it. Now, cryptocurrencies are well known. They’ve been around for quite some time, more than a decade.

Rubenstein also said one of the big reasons crypto has gotten so big in recent years is because young people seem to really be interested in it. They are not necessarily into trading stocks or precious metals, but they have really shown affection for bitcoin and its altcoin cousins. He says:

I think people who are younger tend to feel it’s a good investment or good to own some of it. Many younger people think people in my generation have managed to devalue the currency or have borrowed so much money that the currency isn’t worth what it’s supposed to be worth.

This is a sentiment echoed by Nicole Valentine, the fintech director of the Center for Financial Markets at the Milken Institute. In a recent statement, she commented:

Millennials and Gen Z are the influencer generations, and they’re also the social generations, the community generations, and it just makes sense that now they’re the crypto generations. So, with respect to fintech, the digital demand, the digitized demand in fintech is coming from the millennials and gen Z.

Rubenstein’s comments go against those of people like Gary Gensler, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Gensler has always been a huge advocate for crypto regulation, mentioning not too long ago:

We need additional congressional authorities to prevent transactions, products, and platforms from falling between regulatory cracks. We also need more resources to protect investors in this growing and volatile sector.

There Will Be Resistance

Rubenstein concluded by stating that it would be a huge problem if regulation hit the industry. He said:

I think if the U.S. government said it was going to increase regulation – it’s talked about it for some time – you’re likely to get a firestorm from Congress. Congress has a lot of people who seem to like cryptocurrencies, or at least they are close to the people who like cryptocurrencies, and I suspect you’ll find a lot of resistance.

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U.S. Sanctions Blender, a Crypto Tool Utilized by North Korea

The U.S. Treasury Department has announced it is sanctioning an online crypto tool known as Blender. Allegedly, the tool is being used by North Korea to steal and launder digital currency funds.

Blender Is Being Targeted by U.S. Regulators

North Korea has long been the subject of crypto speculation amongst U.S. regulators. The country was recently labeled the guilty party behind the Axie Infinity hack – a crypto gaming system – that saw more than $600 million in digital funds disappear overnight. In addition, the country is also home to hacking groups such as Lazarus, which are amongst the deadliest hacking organizations across the globe. Thus far, Lazarus has carried out attacks on countries in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Blender – or Blender.io, as it’s also called – is a tool that’s known as a “mixer.” In other words, it is digital currency software designed to anonymize the source of any crypto funds that cross its path. The tool is allegedly being used to hide stolen funds or swap stolen crypto units out for “cleaner” or washed money.

Brian E. Nelson – undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence – explained in a statement:

Today, for the first time ever, [the] Treasury is sanctioning a virtual currency mixer. Virtual currency mixers that assist illicit transactions pose a threat to U.S. national security interests. We are taking [necessary] action against illicit financial activity by the DPRK and will not allow state-sponsored thievery and its money-laundering enablers to go unanswered.

On the Blender website, the tool is described as something that “breaks the connection” between transactions. It is also advertised as something that will make authorities “unaware” of where the crypto in question comes from and who owns it. The website reads:

You send bitcoins from your address to the mixer address. After that, the mixer sends you bitcoins from its premixed reserve. Bitcoins in this reserve have no connection to your addresses [sic]. An observer analyzing the chain of transactions [sic] in the blockchain is unaware of the change in ownership of bitcoins. Therefore, any following bitcoins passed through the mixer is no longer practical. This way, the mixer ensures the anonymity of your transaction in blockchain.

The U.S. Is Focusing on North Korea and Russia

The Treasury concluded its statement by mentioning:

While the purported purpose is to increase privacy, mixers like Blender are commonly used by illicit actors… OFAC [Office of Foreign Asset Control] is identifying four additional virtual currency wallet addresses used by the Lazarus Group to launder the remainder of stolen proceeds from the March 2022 Axie Infinity heist.

North Korea has long been the subject of U.S. sanctions, though now American regulators appear to be focusing their sights more on Russia, which recently invaded its neighbor Ukraine and is alleged to be using cryptocurrency to avoid U.S.-based financial rules.

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Mike Novogratz: The Correlation Between Bitcoin and Stocks Will Soon Vanish

Early May bore witness to a rather devastating string of losses for bitcoin, the world’s number one digital currency by market cap. The currency – which had briefly traded in the high $40,000 range just a month before – experienced many dips that saw it trading in the high $30,000 range (about $10,000 less than where it had been in April) before hitting another big barricade that saw it drop briefly below $35,000 on or around May 6 of this year.

Mike Novogratz on Bitcoin: It Will Mature

The fall accompanied a major stock selloff that saw the NASDAQ trading at its lowest point in about two years. Not since the early days of the coronavirus have the U.S. financial markets been in such dire straits. The news suggests that while many analysts choose to believe there is no correlation between stocks and bitcoin, the opposite is being proven true.

Mike Novogratz – a billionaire investor, bitcoin bull, and the CEO of Galaxy Digital – commented in an interview that he believes this correlation will eventually break down over time as bitcoin becomes more mature and comes into itself more. He says:

That correlation will, over time, break down. You’ve already seen the beta breakdown, i.e. [if] the Nasdaq falls three percent, crypto doesn’t fall nine percent like it would have last year, but I do think there’s more pain to come… What’s different from 2008, different from 2001, different from the COVID crisis, is the cavalry isn’t here. There’s no giant injection of liquidity to create the V-shape. We’re going to go down, and then we’re going to grind until there’s a new story that shows up and then take back off again. It’s not going to be nearly as pleasant to plunge in and buy the low. If you did that after COVID, you looked like a hero eight weeks later. There’s not a lot of hero trades out there.

He points to a lot of good things happening in the crypto market as of late, a big one being that Fidelity is now allowing people to trade and invest in crypto through their 401Ks and retirement accounts. He commented that this is going to open many doors for people who would otherwise have never thought to diversify their portfolios with digital assets.

In addition, he points to the many companies out there – such as Luna – that are now buying billions of dollars-worth of the digital asset. He says the currency continues to grow in popularity and suggests that this is just a minor setback.

So Many Companies Buying In

He commented:

It’s amazing how much institutional capital is starting to come into the place. Black Rock, Black Stone, Citadel, Apollo are all building major crypto efforts, and so it’s completely intuitive to me that there’s a backstop somewhere in crypto.

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Bitcoin.com Sells $33 Million Worth of VERSE Tokens

Bitcoin.com has undergone a private sale for the new VERSE token it’s created. The currency went for a record $33.6 million and saw the participation of several digital currency foundations and enterprises from all over the world including Blockchain.com, Digital Strategies, and Redwood City Ventures. It also saw the participation of several crypto influencers including Roger Ver and Jihan Wu.

Bitcoin.com Engages in VERSE Token Sale

Through VERSE, the Bitcoin.com universe is planning to expand its crypto presence into the worlds of products and services. The idea is that VERSE will eventually be a currency that everyday people can use for purchasing goods, services, and necessary survival tools.

Dennis Jarvis – the CEO of Bitcoin.com – explained in a recent interview:

Since 2015, Bitcoin.com has been a leader in introducing newcomers to crypto and guiding them along their crypto journey. So far, we’ve built an incredible portfolio of products and services that count more than four million monthly active users and 30 million self-custody wallets created. Today, we’re proud to announce VERSE, a utility and rewards token for everyone who participates in the ready-built Bitcoin.com Verse ecosystem. VERSE is user-centric and adds tremendous value across our range of crypto products and services including the Bitcoin.com self-custody wallet app, the Bitcoin.com Exchange, the Verse DEX, Bitcoin.com News, and our upcoming crypto-enabled debit card. We’re also extremely excited to announce the Verse public token sale, which is scheduled to begin in June.

VERSE is set to be minted this summer as an ERC-20 token, meaning it will be built atop the Ethereum network. At the time of writing, analysts say the asset is quite comparable to altcoins such as BNB, CRO, and FTT, which are the official tokens for exchanges Binance.com, Crypto.com, and FTX.com, respectively. In addition, many of the currency’s features can be compared to those of centralized finance (cefi) tokens, like those of Celsius or Nexo.

Eric Weiss – the managing partner of Digital Strategies, which took part in the sale – stated:

In our view, the utility of the Verse token in conjunction with the Bitcoin.com brand and broad suite of tools will create a powerful moat for its ecosystem. We’re thrilled to be part of this journey with Bitcoin.com and Verse.

Another Public Sale Will Soon Happen

Justin Chou – chief investment officer of Ku Coin Ventures, which also had a role in the event – said:

The next wave of growth in crypto will be led by strong global brands that create real-world products for millions of people. Bitcoin.com will accelerate the development of products and partnerships that expand their reach globally.

VERSE is all set to be the subject of a public token sale that will happen in the summer. Roughly six percent of the coin’s total supply (about 12 billion units at this time) will be available for purchase.

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Luna Buys More Than $1 Billion in BTC

The Luna Foundation has gotten its hands on $1.5 billion in bitcoin to boost the reserves of U.S. Terra, its most popular stable currency.

Luna Gets Its Hands on a Lotta Bitcoin

Do Kwon – the co-founder and CEO of Terraform Labs, the group that launched the Terra blockchain – says that by the end of September, he expects to garner as much as $10 billion in new funding through BTC. He commented in an interview:

For the first time, you’re starting to see a pegged currency that is attempting to observe the bitcoin standard. It’s making a strong directional bet that keeping a lot of those foreign reserves in the form of a digital native currency is going to be a winning recipe. The jury’s still out on the effectiveness on the subject, but I think it is symbolic in the sense that we live in a time where there’s excess money printing across the board and when monetary policies highly politicized that there are citizens that are self-organizing to try to bring systems back to a sounder paradigm of money.

At the time of writing, Luna now holds more than $3.5 billion in crypto. It is amongst the top ten largest bitcoin holders in the world. It also holds more than $100 million in Avalanche – another altcoin – and U.S. Terra has joined the top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap.

This is the second time in a row the company purchases more than $1 billion in BTC, the previous time occurring earlier in the year. At the time, bitcoin was trading for around $48,000 and Luna hit an all-time high. By contrast, bitcoin – this time around – is trading for around $35,000, having recently taken a dip into rather low territory.

Joel Kruger – market strategist for LMAX Group – commented:

The corporate buying of bitcoin can greatly influence the value of the currency and the space itself. With more demand from institutions comes added liquidity and longer-term interest, while validating the asset class at the same time.

Terra Has Taken a Huge Step

Josh Lim – head of derivatives at Genesis Global Trading – also threw his two cents into the mix, saying:

There’s traditionally been this gulf between where crypto native market participants are participating and Terra is on the far end of that, it’s designed by crypto-native people for crypto-native people. There’s another corner of the market that’s mostly institutional. They’re still waiting on things like buying bitcoin, inserting it in cold storage, or doing CME futures on bitcoin. They’re very disjointed parts of the market, and Genesis is trying to bridge that gap and allow more institutional capital to come into the competitive world… Because we’re more of an institutional counterparty they’re familiar with – trading with more on the spot, OTC side of things – we’re able to source this in large size and then parcel it out to people.

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New York Suggests Two-Year Moratorium on Crypto Mining

The state of New York has introduced a new bill that if passed, would officially end all future proof of work (PoW) mining operations that want to call the Empire State home.

New York Could End Crypto Mining for a While

Right now, the bill is being discussed by the New York State Assembly in Albany, the region’s capital. The bill calls for a moratorium of not less than two years on all crypto mining operations within the state’s borders. The idea is to further study the crypto mining sector and see if emissions are, in fact, a danger to the environment.

New York is clearly a state that cannot seem to make up its mind on crypto. On the one hand, it clearly has a problem with the large number of mining firms that now call the state home. In addition, it implemented what’s known as the BitLicense back in 2014. The document is widely referred to as one of the most damaging pieces of crypto legislation around, as it required heavy fees and vast amounts of paperwork from any blockchain or crypto firm seeking to do business in the Empire State.

But while New York itself appears rather strict when it comes to limiting crypto prospects, Eric Adams – the mayor of the region’s largest city (NYC) – wants to do away with the BitLicense and turn New York into something of a modern-day tech hub that will allow it to compete with growing crypto hotspots like Miami. Not long ago, Adams said he wants to rid the state of the BitLicense and that he wants crypto taught in public schools, claiming that bitcoin and blockchain were the ways of the future and that kids need to be properly prepared.

There’s a chance that Adams’ plans won’t come to fruition if the New York Assembly winds up getting its way. The moratorium would disallow any crypto mining company from setting up operations in New York unless it agreed to use 100 percent renewable energy.

Amanda Fabiano – head of mining at Galaxy Digital – hates the idea of a moratorium and says that New York would assuredly fall behind when it comes to technological and financial growth should the bill be turned into law. She commented in an interview:

New York will be left behind, losing to other states at best, and at worst, other more progressive nations. New York is setting a bad precedent that other states could follow.

Headed for Disaster?

Perianne Boring – the founder and president of the Digital Chamber of Commerce – also expressed disdain with the bill, commenting:

If it passes, it will make New York the first state in the country to ban blockchain technology infrastructure.

At the time of writing, roughly one third of energy utilized in New York stems from renewable sources.

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Elizabeth Warren Attacks Fidelity for Allowing Crypto Retirement Investing

Fidelity Investments has opened its retirement services to those who love crypto. Fans of digital currencies like bitcoin and Ethereum can now purchase these assets and many others like them through their Fidelity-based 401Ks and retirement funds.

Fidelity Is Stirring Concerns Amongst US Lawmakers

Naturally, the move leads to many questions, a main one being, “How big will the crypto space become from here on out?” The maneuver is likely to lead to new levels of legitimacy and mainstream appeal, though there are several politicians and industry leaders out there who are rather concerned that Fidelity could take such a big step towards saying, “Go ahead and spend the money you’ll likely use in your old age and plunk it into volatile assets.”

Among the doubters and haters out there is Elizabeth Warren, a democrat senator from Massachusetts. Warren, in many ways, has always been there to jab a stick into the side of crypto, especially when it seems to be doing well. In recent news, she called for many crypto exchanges to fully cut off their services to Russia given that the country had invaded Ukraine, though many individual residents in Russia have nothing to do with the incident.

Warren is worried that Fidelity is not thinking hard enough about the implications of crypto. She says that the space is too risky, and that Fidelity needs to turn back and consider how it plans to protect people from making wrong or hazardous financial decisions before opening Pandora’s money box.

Not long ago, she and fellow lawmaker Tina Smith – a democrat of Minnesota – penned a letter to Fidelity asking how the monetary organization will manage “conflicts of interest” with its own crypto mining operation and how it plans to keep risks under control. The letter states:

Bitcoin’s volatility is compounded by its susceptibility to the whims of just a handful of influencers. Elon Musk’s tweets alone have led to bitcoin value fluctuations as high as eight percent. The high concentration of bitcoin ownership and mining exacerbates these volatility risks. One study estimates that just ten percent of bitcoin miners are responsible for processing 90 percent of bitcoin transactions and that 1,000 individuals control three million bitcoins, about 15 percent of the current bitcoin supply. In short, investing in cryptocurrencies is a risky and speculative gamble, and we are concerned that Fidelity would take these risks with millions of Americans’ retirement savings.

Trying to Stop Russia

In the past, Warren has made her harsh stance on crypto rather clear. Not long ago, “Pocahontas” drafted a new bill that would see all crypto exchanges defying sanctions set in place by the U.S. or its allies financially penalized.

The document was written to ensure no crypto exchange does business with Russia or its many sanctioned oligarchs.

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Luxury Enterprise Gucci Says “Yes” to Crypto Payments

Italian luxury brand Gucci – which specializes in fashion and leather goods – is allowing customers to pay for items with digital currencies like bitcoin and Shiba Inu, a popular spinoff of meme cryptocurrency Dogecoin. The company says its customers have been showing heavy demand for crypto in recent years, and thus executives want to adhere to their needs and wants.

Gucci Will Begin Accepting Crypto Payments for Luxury Items

The move is pushing the goals of bitcoin and its digital counterparts closer to being achieved. What many people likely forget is that while bitcoin and many of its crypto cousins have taken on either speculative or even hedge-like statuses in recent years, many of them were initially designed to serve as payment tools. They were built to push checks, credit cards, and fiat currencies to the side, but this has been a relatively slow journey given the volatility that continues to drag them down.

It is extremely hard to understand when bitcoin and its crypto family will go up or down when it comes to their prices. Many stores and companies have been reluctant to say “yes” when it comes to accepting crypto payments for this reason, and to a degree, we can’t blame them.

Consider the following scenario: someone walks into a store and buys $50 worth of merchandise with bitcoin. For one reason or another, the store doesn’t trade the BTC into fiat right away and about 24 hours go by. From there, the price of BTC goes down and that $50 becomes $40. The customer gets to keep everything he or she bought, but the store has lost money in the end. Is this a fair situation? Not everyone thinks so.

That’s what makes enterprises like Gucci so important. They understand the initial purposes of bitcoin and digital currencies and are trying to transform them into usable tools that everyday people can benefit from.

The first Gucci stores set to accept crypto payments will be in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. This is the start of a pilot program that if successful, could expand to all Gucci stores in North America. Fuad Fatullaev – founder and CEO of We Way – explained in an interview:

The news of Gucci announcing its acceptance of cryptocurrencies as payments later this month means there will be a growing demand for crypto-to-fiat conversion, as Gucci will be ultimately accepting fiat funds. This means banks and other payment services will be viewing crypto-to-fiat services as a new dimension of financial services. It will consequently allow such service providers to expand their clientele… It will also show a larger audience, especially in North America, that cryptocurrencies can be actual everyday payment means.

A Huge Step Forward

Alexander Mamasidikov – co-founder of mobile digital bank Mine Plex – also stated:

Gucci’s crypto adoption is a huge step forward for the broader crypto market.

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FTX to Process Crypto Rent Payments for Luxury Miami Condos

FTX – one of the largest and newest crypto exchanges in the world – has partnered with Diesel Wynwood Condominium, a luxury residential apartment complex in Miami. The partnership will allow residents to pay their rents and respective living fees with crypto.

FTX Joins Hands with Disel Wynwood

At the center of the partnership is a firm known as West Realm Shires Services, a payment processing division of FTX. This company will convert any crypto used for rent payments into fiat currency to ensure apartment managers, owners, and assorted personnel receive their due funds.

Bel Invest is the development firm that constructed Diesel Wynwood Condominium. The company’s CEO Maximilian Beltrame explained in a recent interview:

We are aligned with Miami’s mission to establish itself as a national tech and financial powerhouse.  With FTX as our partner, we look forward to joining key real estate players at the forefront of the digital arena while expanding investment options for our global buyers, many of whom are ‘cryptonaires.’ With all that said, this is only the beginning, with more news to come.

John “Jake” Lecce – sales manager of Diesel Wynwood – also threw his two cents into the mix, saying:

With the addition of FTX’s cryptocurrency exchange capabilities and expertise, the project continues to defy conventionality, from its design to now a swift and secure closing process for each residence.

Avi Dabir is the vice president of business development for the U.S.-based division of FTX. He stated:

Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology can play a big role in the real estate industry. Our partners at Bel Invest are forward thinking and recognize the opportunity here. We’re excited to work with them on the Diesel Wynwood Condominium to facilitate transactions in cryptocurrency.

The great thing about the partnership is that it will be pushing bitcoin and its altcoin cousins closer to reaching their initial goals. Many of these assets have taken on speculative shapes in recent years, so it is easy to forget that most of them were built to push things like credit cards, fiat currencies, and checks to the side and serve as the ultimate payment tools for those seeking goods and services.

Reaching the Initial Goals

Sadly, this has been a slow journey for many reasons, the main one being that bitcoin and its crypto counterparts tend to be rather volatile. It’s hard to predict if or when the prices of these assets will go down, and thus stores that accept crypto payments are at risk of losing profit unless they trade the crypto in for fiat right away which ultimately defeats the purpose of being open to crypto.

Diesel Wynwood Condominium is eight stories tall. The properties in the building range in price from $400,000 to $6 million. Units of several sizes – including small studios to three-bedroom condos – are available for purchase.

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Coinbase NFT Division Experiences Dismal Debut

Coinbase – one of the largest and most popular crypto exchanges in the world – opened its new non-fungible token (NFT) division to dismal results. The department has been in beta mode since late April and finally opened on May 4, yet experienced little traction.

The NFT Coinbase Market Isn’t Doing Well

Many are wondering if this is a sign that the NFT market has reached its peak. The NFT space has grown exponentially in recent years and now boasts a market cap exceeding $10 billion. There are many traders out there willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the several tokens being offered in the NFT world, yet there are many people out there who question if these prices are justified and if the NFT space is just another bubble set on bursting soon.

Coinbase only witnessed around 110 transactions during the first few hours of NFT trading. This amounted to less than $60,000 in total sales, a low number for a company this large. Garry Krugljakow – founder and CEO of GOGO Protocol – says that the world of NFTs is not shrinking and offered his take on what may have gone wrong. He said:

Volumes on the big NFT platforms, like Open Sea and Magic Eden, are soaring also thanks to integrations with layer-2 chains such as Polygon, which have drastically brought down transaction fees. We are still in the early innings of this technology, and it’s clear that more people are buying from a wide variety of NFT collections and in greater numbers.

While he doesn’t feel the world of NFTs is suffering in any way, he did comment that there may be a consolidation happening in which users are purchasing what are known as blue-chip projects. He said:

So, they might be receiving the bulk of the volume. I just don’t think the apparent flop of the Coinbase NFT platform is a good example of gauging the health of the NFT market. Its competitors already have a huge advantage in being first movers, after all.

One of the big problems facing Coinbase is that despite its growing innovation and its many attempts to branch into different sectors of the crypto space, several people still view the company as a traditional trading exchange and thus don’t think of it unless they’re in the mood to purchase or trade assets.

Does the Exchange Ask for Too Much Data?

Toni Caradonna – CTO of Cross the Ages – says that Coinbase also requires heavy amounts of information from its customers, which may be turning them off given that crypto is built on the notions of decentralization and privacy. He commented:

When you use Coinbase, all your data is captured… I should also note that FTX launched an NFT platform a while back, and it also did not do well.

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The SEC Is Looking to Police Digital Currency Activity in the U.S.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is hiring several new faces for its agency to examine cryptocurrency activities. These individuals and many others will be tasked with fighting illicit behavior in the space and ensuring all crypto trading occurring within America’s borders is clean and regulated.

The SEC Is Looking to Police Crypto Activity

Thus far, the SEC says it’s looking to add roughly 20 new positions to its cryptocurrency department. These positions are being hired out to auditors, investigators, and others who have served in positions of power in the United States financial sector. The crypto division of the SEC will be known as the Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit in the Division of Enforcement.

Gary Gensler – the current head of the SEC – explained in an interview:

The U.S. has the greatest capital markets because investors have faith in them, and as more investors access the crypto markets, it is increasingly important to dedicate more resources to protecting them… If you want to invest in a digital, scarce, speculative store of value, that’s fine. Good faith actors have been speculating on the value of gold and silver for thousands of years. Right now, we just don’t have enough investor protection in crypto. Frankly, it’s more like the Wild West. This asset class is rife with fraud, scams, and abuse in certain applications. There’s a great deal of hype and spin about how crypto assets work. In many cases, investors can’t get rigorous, balanced, and complete information. If we don’t address these issues, I worry a lot of people will be hurt.

Gensler was put into power under Joe Biden, who has stated he will work to ensure the U.S. imposes regulation at every corner. This is a massive departure from Donald Trump, who claimed during his campaign that the amount of regulation that had been set in place was hurting innovation in America. Trump worked hard to eliminate much of the red tape preventing businesses from operating properly. At the time, the 45th president stated:

I’m directing agencies to review the hundreds of regulations we’ve already suspended… and make these suspensions permanent where possible…to use any authority to waive, suspend, and eliminate unnecessary regulations that impede economic recovery. I’m also instructing agencies to use the emergency authorities to speed up regulation cuts or new rules that will create jobs and prosperity and get rid of unnecessary rules and regulations.

Many Steps Already Taken

Gensler says that hiring all the necessary individuals for the new division is proving to be a challenge, though he says the agency has already taken several steps. He commented:

By nearly doubling the size of this key unit, the SEC will be better equipped to police wrongdoing in the crypto markets while continuing to identify disclosure and control issues with respect to cybersecurity.

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Paul Chou of Ledger X Is Building a New Galactic Token

Paul Chou is the founding CEO of Ledger X, a crypto wallet system. At only 38 years of age, he is one of the most successful crypto entrepreneurs in the space, and he recently sold his company to Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX fame, suggesting the wallet protocols will now become part of this new and growing exchange.

Paul Chou Is Building a Universal Cryptocurrency

Now, Chou has his sights set on a new crypto project. He’s looking to create a new digital token called Foundation Coin, and he says it can be spent on Earth, Mars, the moon, and anywhere else in the universe. As the world plans future space exploration and even colonization in some cases, Chou anticipates that people are going to spread across the galaxy and will need a single unit of currency to keep them all connected regardless of what planet they’re on. This, he says, is where Foundation Coin will potentially be necessary.

In a recent interview, Chou commented that he thinks the Earth is heading towards a bleak and dismal future. With population spikes continuing all the time and resource limitations now spreading to even developed countries, he’s convinced humans will need to find new places to live. He says:

There’s a nonzero chance the Earth is doomed. We should have a backup plan.

He believes that Mars will be the next planet humans wind up traveling to. Much like in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Total Recall, he believes that the atmosphere of Mars will give humans an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and rebuild a new society knowing what they do now. He says:

Mars is a unique, blank slate starting point where we can try something from scratch, so we should treat it as such and then take all the advantages and use that speed that’s going to be necessary for those intrepid people that go there to move as quickly as possible, and we just need a financial bridge to do it.

It was these thoughts that ultimately laid out the plans for Foundation Coin. He and his team spent many months trying to uncover things like how the speed of light works so they can garner the data necessary to make a coin that would ultimately be purposeful regardless of what planetary system it was stationed on. He says:

We know how the speed of light works depending on how close Mars is to Earth at any given point. Now it’s a coding problem.

One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Crypto

Chou has not been silent about his plans, and those who know about it in the industry – including Sam Bankman-Fried – believe the asset is going to do wonders for the arena. Bankman-Fried commented:

It’s obviously going to be totally huge for the business if and when that happens.

The post Paul Chou of Ledger X Is Building a New Galactic Token appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

Fidelity Lets Customers Fund Their 401Ks with Crypto, but Not Everyone’s Happy

Not long ago, Fidelity Investments announced that customers would be able to invest in crypto like bitcoin through their 401Ks and retirement accounts. In addition, several businesses offering 401Ks to their employees could soon see these individuals purchase assets like BTC, ether, and maybe even Dogecoin through their company-funded retirement profiles.

Fidelity Moves Forward with Crypto

The news was widely welcomed in the crypto space, with many analysts saying it would be a huge step toward mainstream status and legitimacy. Financial advisor Ric Edelman – founder of the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals – announced in a statement:

This will be remembered as a seminal moment in the evolution of crypto. For the average American worker, their only place to save for retirement is through a company retirement plan. Millions of workers will now start to buy bitcoin who never would have otherwise.

However, while Fidelity appears to be rolling out several crypto holding options for its 401K customers, there are several individuals and industry heads out there who claim businesses are not likely to utilize or implement crypto retirement options for employees. Thus, people who gain access to 401K Fidelity accounts through their companies may not have access to bitcoin or its altcoin cousins just yet.

The fact remains that this is still very much a speculative industry, and many businesses are concerned about the well-being of their workers. They do not want them investing money into a space that could wind up scraping the bottom of the financial barrel the next day. Bitcoin and many other forms of crypto remain highly volatile, meaning their prices are extremely hard to predict. These swings come with little to no signs, and thus businesses may not likely want to take chances right away.

Now, several retirement professionals are emerging to say that if one is going to indeed fund their retirement accounts with crypto through Fidelity, they need to take necessary precautions and expect a little up-and-down behavior from time to time. One such figure is Rob Greenman, a financial advisor with Vista Capital Partners. He commented:

Returns are based purely on speculation with the hope that some future buyer is willing to pay a higher price than your purchase price.

What makes investing in crypto through one’s retirement risky is that these funds are utilized most often to care for oneself when they are elderly or infirm. Thus, this money is often kept aside for medical bills and utility payments, especially when one is no longer at an age where they can work.

Crypto Can Balance Some Things Out

Financial advisor Jim Shagawat of Advice Period also threw his two cents into the mix, saying about cryptocurrencies:

They don’t behave the same as equities, bonds, gold, or commodities, so adding it into your mix of investments can increase return and lower risk.

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Bitcoin Spikes After Fed Says It Won’t Hike Rates That Much

The bitcoin price has been going through some tough times in the month of May. The currency has been trading in the high $30,000 range after several market factors – including rumors that the Fed was going to hike rates and growing conflict in eastern Europe between Ukraine and Russia – took the world’s number one digital currency by market cap down nearly 50 percent from its November 2021 high. At that time, BTC was trading at nearly $70,000.

The Fed Won’t Hike Rates Too High

However, it looks like bitcoin has risen by about six percent at the time of writing. The currency has once again hit the $40K mark after the Fed stated that while it plans to hike rates, this hike will not be out of the ordinary.

There has long been talk that the Fed was going to enforce a 75-basis-point hike. This would have made things like homes, cars, and other items that typically require loans practically unobtainable. The measures being taken are purely designed to fight ongoing inflation, which is presently at a 40-year high, though the Fed has stated that it has no intention of making things jump that much.

Instead, the Fed has said Americans can anticipate a 50-basis-point hike, which would be equivalent to about half a percent. While this is still the biggest hike in roughly 20 years, buyers can expect interest rates to stay below the six percent line.

Jerome Powell, the man at the top of the Fed ladder, explained in an interview:

A 75-basis-point increase is not something that the committee is actively considering. I think expectations are that we’ll start to see inflation, you know, flattening out.

Nick Mancini – director of research at crypto sentiment analytics platform Trade the Chain – also threw his two cents into the mix, commenting:

Any FOMC guidance that does not include a 0.75 percent interest rate increase would be bullish for both crypto and equities. We believe that the market has priced in continued hikes of 0.25 percent to 0.50 percent moving forward for 2022. This gives the market certainty, which in turn, breeds bullish price action.

Inflation Has to Slow Down!

Joe Orsini – director of research at Eagle Brook Advisors – says he thinks the market is likely going to be made tighter than ever so long as inflation continues. He stated:

These expectations set up for a ‘not all that bad’ rally should the Fed turn less hawkish than feared. The first sign of this was today when Powell ruled out a 75-basis-point hike. This kicked off the rally we’re seeing this afternoon… If there are signs that inflation is peaking, the Fed has some room to show patience. A less aggressive tightening policy would be bullish for bitcoin, ether, and digital assets, which continue to bounce harder than traditional equities.

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Despite Dips, Michael Saylor Is Still a BTC Fanatic

Despite the many losses his company has incurred due to bitcoin’s price swings, Michael Saylor of MicroStrategy says he remains a bitcoin fan and he’ll never doubt the asset’s abilities.

Michael Saylor Still Trusts Bitcoin

At the time of writing, bitcoin – the world’s largest and most popular cryptocurrency by market cap – has dropped to around $39,000 per unit. This may not seem bad on paper, but when one considers the fact that the asset was trading for just shy of $70,000 about six months ago, things aren’t looking so good, and Saylor has lost quite a bit for investing so much of his company’s money into the asset.

MicroStrategy is arguably one of bitcoin’s biggest institutional supporters. The software giant first began trading and buying bitcoin in August of 2020, a time when very few companies – especially ones as big as MicroStrategy – were taking such steps. The company purchased around $250 million in BTC and then added to this purchase just a few weeks later.

In September of that year, the currency incurred a brief bearish bout that saw the price of one BTC fall from $12K to around $10K. It’s easy to assume that in most cases, companies that had engaged in trades similar with MicroStrategy’s would decide to cut their losses short. They would likely sell their units of bitcoin and get out while they still could, but not MicroStrategy.

Instead, the company decided to weather the storm. Executives held firm and even bought additional units. This move proved correct in the end as later in October, PayPal – one of the world’s biggest digital payment firms – announced that users would soon be able to hold and trade digital currencies like BTC through its platform.

This caused the price of bitcoin to jump to about $13K which was huge at the time, and to be fair, the asset has only gotten larger since then. MicroStrategy has held onto its bitcoin and at the time of writing, owns just under $4 billion worth of the asset.

This is great news, except that at one time, the firm held roughly $5 billion. That means that over the past several months, MicroStrategy has lost more than $1 billion in BTC holdings. This isn’t deterring Saylor, however, who has sworn up and down that his company will continue to buy BTC for as long as the currency exists.

Taking The Love of BTC to a New Level

Phong Le – the chief financial officer of MicroStrategy – said in an interview:

To reiterate our strategy, we seek to acquire and hold bitcoin long term. We view our bitcoin holdings as long-term holdings and we do not currently plan to engage in sales of bitcoin… We raised $205 million as an interest-only loan for a term of three years, which is collateralized by bitcoin. The loan matures on March 23, 2025.

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ETHAX: 75% of Traders Want Nothing to Do with BTC Unless Regulation Is in Place

A new research study conducted by ETHAX – a regulated and licensed crypto firm – suggests many adults are in favor of crypto regulation and aren’t looking to trade any bitcoin without proper protocols in place.

ETHAX Sets the Tone for Regulatory Compliance

Regulation is something of a two-sided coin (pardon the pun). On one hand, the crypto space has been riddled with crime since it first came about. We all remember the early days of Coincheck and Mt. Gox, which occurred in Japan four years apart in 2014 and 2018. Both are listed among the deadliest attacks to occur on crypto exchanges. Together, both account for more than $1 billion in crypto losses.

In addition, scams are occurring in the crypto industry on an individual level. There are several incidents of traders and other individuals believing what they are told about certain investment opportunities and schemes. They forward funds to specific accounts and try to get involved in new trading platforms they hear about on social media only to find that they are controlled by scammers that have no intention of giving them their money back or allowing them to make withdrawals when their investments expand.

With certain rules and regulations in place, one can assume that incidents like these would become a thing of the past. With organizations like the BBB now labeling crypto scams to be the second most hazardous scams in the world, one can only feel these regulations aren’t coming fast enough.

At the same time, crypto has long billed itself as a world without third parties and prying eyes. One should have full financial freedom and autonomy when it comes to their unique monetary decisions. That has long been the message provided by the crypto space, and it’s this message that has ultimately brought so many people to the crypto forefront. They want to be able to engage in transactions and other financial behaviors without having anyone looking in on what they’re doing.

This survey suggests there is great comfort to be had in regulation and that many investors are willing to trade financial independence for that comfort. Data from ETHAX shows that roughly 75 percent of adult traders are not willing to step into the crypto space unless regulators become serious and implement proper safety protocols.

Are Investors Missing Out?

Dan Da Rosa – CEO and co-founder of ETHAX – said in an interview:

We have always known there is a massive potential for a crypto brand that instils legitimacy, quality, and accessibility at the heart of its services and products, and this research shows there is a much-needed alternative to unregulated brands alienating potential new investors from the industry. We are excited to launch a unique licensed and regulated platform that opens up the crypto market to new investors whilst offering a trustworthy, technology-driven, professional platform.

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Opinion: Bitcoin Is Slowly Establishing Its Truest Form

Over the past few days and weeks, there have been several articles published on Live Bitcoin News discussing companies and enterprises that are saying “yes” to bitcoin payments. Whether they are schools, yacht manufacturers, or rent collectors, these firms – and many others – are finally open to the idea of customers paying for items and bills with digital currencies.

Bitcoin Payments Are Slowly Coming to the Surface

What we are finally seeing is that bitcoin and its altcoin cousins are stepping into their primary forms. Some may forget that while these currencies have largely been speculative over the years (and in some cases, such as with bitcoin, even hedge tools), the initial goal of cryptocurrencies was to serve as payment tools that individuals could utilize to garner the items and services they needed to live.

Many of these assets were built to push things like credit cards, fiat currencies, and checks to the side and take over the payment arena. This has been a slow journey, however, given that volatility is continuing to strike down prices and make currencies like bitcoin as unpredictable as ever.

BTC was trading in the high $60,000 range last November, the highest it had ever been. Now, thanks to unforeseen market factors, the world’s number one digital currency by market cap is trading for around $30,000 less. This has caused many stores, businesses, and other enterprises to reject the idea of accepting something like bitcoin in lieu of fiat. They are concerned about losing revenue.

Many crypto fans and analysts want to blame these firms for not stepping up to the plate and accepting what they are calling inevitable technology, but the blame cannot be placed entirely on their shoulders. There are several things at stake here, and many companies – rightfully so – have not had the will to say “yes” to crypto given many of them are likely run by people – just like us – who need to make certain funds each month to feed themselves and their families.

Don’t Hate the Companies That Still Say “No”

Technology trends may be ongoing, and they may be strong, but if they are not fully developed or in place yet, one cannot be expected to simply roll over and accept them without question. If bitcoin, for example, continues to be volatile and this presents problems for those looking to make a living, they cannot be pointed at with disdain and labeled as weak or inefficient.

So, when companies such as the ones mentioned in prior articles have the guts to accept crypto and take a chance on this adapting, yet growing industry, we should not cross our arms, smirk, and yell, “told you so” at the ones that aren’t taking this step. Instead, we should show these accepting companies the respect they deserve and be patient and hopeful that their bravery will soon pass onto others.

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California Is Looking to Regulate Cryptocurrency

California governor Gavin Newsom is taking a page right out of Joe Biden’s playbook and demanding that agencies in the Golden State examine crypto and the potential risks and benefits it presents to users.

California Is Taking Crypto to the Next Level

California has stated it is open to crypto and wants to be part of the growing trend that will potentially take the financial space to new heights. Newsom has now signed an executive order asking that regulators in California examine cryptocurrency thoroughly and see where the risks are and where the potential growth factors lie. The idea is to appropriately adopt crypto usage throughout the state but not without having the proper safety measures in place.

The move comes after Joe Biden issued a similar executive order just a few months ago. The order called for agencies throughout the U.S. to look at cryptocurrency’s risks and benefits. It also opened the door for a digital version of USD.

Dee Dee Myers – senior advisor to Newsom and director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development – explained in an interview:

So, there are a lot of opportunities. There’s also a lot of unknowns in the industry, and so that’s another reason we want to engage early.

Democrat governor Newsom added to this by releasing the following statement:

Too often, government lags behind technological advancements, so we’re getting ahead of the curve on this, laying the foundation to allow for consumers and business to thrive.

At the time of writing, California has one of the largest economies not just in the country, but in the world. The state houses close to 40 million residents and its economy is measured to be more than $3 trillion, larger than nations like India and the United Kingdom.

Hilary Allen – a financial regulation professor at American University in Washington, D.C. – is a crypto skeptic that has expressed positive thoughts regarding California stepping forward to implement proper regulation. She commented that the maneuver is likely to further legitimize the crypto space and help to make it mainstream.

However, she still doesn’t think the approach is what’s best for California or its residents, claiming that the technology behind crypto is both “very complex” and “inefficient.” She commented:

While this approach will create more of a market for crypto… it is unlikely to produce the best outcomes for users of public services in California.

While California is potentially the first state to work towards implementing statewide regulation for crypto, it is not the first to introduce a comprehensive digital currency plan. States like Ohio and Colorado, for example, have tried to push crypto use primarily for government purposes.

Getting to Know the Space Early

Amy Tong – secretary of California’s Government Operations Agency – said:

It is critical that we engage early with the industry and start learning the pros and cons of innovative technology.

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Brian Armstrong: Crypto Will Be Huge in 10 Years

Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many other assets are down for the count at the time of writing. BTC for example, is priced at around $30K less than its recent all-time high last November (the currency exceeded $60,000 back then), but this isn’t causing Brian Armstrong of Coinbase to have any less confidence in the asset or its altcoin cousins.

Brian Armstrong Believes in Crypto’s Growth

At a recent conference, Armstrong commented that over the next decade, the crypto space is going to see a huge influx of users, and he estimates that roughly one billion people will have used some form of cryptocurrency by the year 2032. He commented:

My guess is that in 10-20 years, we’ll see a substantial portion of GDP happening in the crypto economy.

Based in San Francisco, California, Coinbase is one of the world’s largest and most prominent crypto exchanges, having roughly 90 million users at press time spread across more than 100 countries. Armstrong says that the crypto economy has grown rapidly to include decentralized finance (defi) applications, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and many other elements that nobody could have potentially predicted ten or even five years ago.

In addition, some of the world’s largest conglomerates and individuals have gotten involved in crypto trading, with software giant MicroStrategy now owning roughly $4 billion worth of the world’s leading digital currency by market cap. Elon Musk – the South African entrepreneur behind companies like SpaceX and Tesla – also purchased a huge stake in bitcoin last year, buying roughly $1.5 billion worth of the asset.

Cathie Wood – the chief executive of Ark Investment Management – commented at the same conference as Armstrong that companies and traditional investors everywhere now have no other choice but to consider crypto and take it seriously given how large and popular the space has become in recent years. She said:

In the case of defi and next-generation internet, we are seeing a lot of financial companies losing talent to crypto, so they have to take it seriously or else they are going to be hollowed out.

Thus far, we have seen a huge influx of global governments begin to accept crypto as the new financial wave. Matt Senter – chief technology officer at bitcoin rewards app Lolli – said that countries from El Salvador to now the Central African Republic have declared bitcoin legal tender, while several others are looking to take similar measures.

More Countries Declaring It Legal Tender

He said:

An increasing number of countries are legalizing bitcoin as a currency, embracing its ability to strengthen financial infrastructure, facilitate wealth creation, and afford direct access to financial resources. With the devaluation of the U.S. dollar due to inflation, we are now finding ourselves in the perfect storm catalyzing global mainstream adoption of bitcoin as an anti-inflationary, disintermediated alternative to our legacy financial system in crisis.

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Elon Musk Hints Tesla May Accept BTC Again Soon

Elon Musk – the South African billionaire and entrepreneur behind large companies like SpaceX and Tesla – has hinted that the latter enterprise may potentially accept bitcoin in the future for payments again given his confidence that the entire industry is moving closer towards renewable energy.

Elon Musk Shines Light on BTC Usage

Musk caused a lot of controversy in the first half of 2021 when he announced that his company was going to accept bitcoin for electric vehicles. The move sparked a lot of speculation and joy amongst crypto traders, as Tesla was one of the biggest companies in the world, and Musk was one of the globe’s richest individuals. The fact that he was such a crypto fan was hitting home with a lot of digital traders, and they were sure that bitcoin was likely to hit new heights.

At first, this is exactly what happened. Bitcoin rose to a whopping $57,000, which at the time was its new all-time high. Things were really looking up when suddenly, just a few weeks later, Musk announced that he was rescinding the decision, as he was concerned about the mining prospects of bitcoin and what the environmental hazards were.

This made a lot of people mad, and it allegedly sparked a new series of dips in the bitcoin price. Explaining his reasoning in a recent interview with Cathie Wood of ARK Invest, Musk stated:

Tesla’s mission is to accelerate renewable energy. Tesla is into renewable energy, being a player in solar energy, and we are in interaction with wind energy for our battery packs. We knew that one cannot generate that much increase in power using renewable energy that quickly, but one can by shoveling coal. The entire thing looked sketchy to me.

Bear in mind that the announcement surrounding bitcoin’s use for buying Tesla vehicles came after Musk made a $1.5 billion purchase of the world’s largest and most popular digital currency.

Musk is now confident that the world of bitcoin is transitioning more and more towards renewable energy. In a follow up to the interview above, he commented that he thinks the amount of clean energy being used to mine BTC today exceeds 50 percent, and so long as this number keeps going up, he says Tesla will easily accept BTC again without issue.

Possibly Changing His Mind?

He commented:

It appears that bitcoin is shifting a lot more towards renewables and a lot of the heavy-duty coal plants have been shut down, especially in China. After some due diligence, I would confirm that the percentage of renewable energy usage is most likely about over 50 percent and that there is a trend towards increasing that number and if so, Tesla will start resuming payments in bitcoin.

At press time, BTC is trading for around $40K.

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Camper & Nicholsons Will Accept Crypto for Yacht Services

Camper & Nicholsons – a company that sells, manufactures, and charters luxury yachts – has teamed up with Bit Pay to permit companies and individuals in need of boating services to pay with crypto assets like bitcoin.

Camper & Nicholsons Says “Yes” to Crypto Payments

The move is pushing the goals of bitcoin and its digital counterparts closer to being achieved. What many people likely forget is that while bitcoin and many of its crypto cousins have taken on either speculative or even hedge-like statuses in recent years, many of them were initially designed to serve as payment tools. They were built to push checks, credit cards, and fiat currencies to the side, but this has been a relatively slow journey given the volatility that continues to drag them down.

It is extremely hard to understand when bitcoin and its crypto family will go up or down when it comes to their prices. Many stores and companies have been reluctant to say “yes” when it comes to accepting crypto payments for this reason, and to a degree, we can’t blame them.

Consider the following scenario: someone walks into a store and buys $50 worth of merchandise with bitcoin. For one reason or another, the store doesn’t trade the BTC into fiat right away and about 24 hours go by. From there, the price of BTC goes down and that $50 becomes $40. The customer gets to keep everything he or she bought, but the store has lost money in the end. Is this a fair situation? Not everyone thinks so.

That’s what makes enterprises like Camper & Nicholsons so important. They understand the initial purposes of bitcoin and digital currencies and are trying to transform them into usable tools that everyday people can benefit from.

The company believes it’s going to increase its sales numbers and bring several new customers to the fray. In addition, executives are convinced their crypto maneuvers will open the firm up to entirely new markets. Paolo Casani – CEO at Camper & Nicholsons – explained in an interview:

We decided to accept crypto to expand our market, cater to new consumer preferences, and give customers more options, flexibility, and freedom. Bit Pay manages the entire process and makes it easy and safe to receive crypto from the customer and deposits cash into our account.

Moving the Space Forward

Merrick Theobald – vice president of marketing at Bit Pay – also threw his two cents into the mix, commenting:

Camper & Nicholsons realizes the potential for crypto to transform the yachting industry, making payments faster, more secure, and less expensive on a global scale. With the total market cap of crypto approaching $2 trillion, Camper & Nicholsons is well-positioned to take advantage of this wealth by helping crypto holders who are looking to purchase luxury items like yacht sales and yacht charters.

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Van Eck Seeks to Enter the NFT Market

Van Eck – a company that at this point, every diehard crypto trader and fan should know about – is entering the non-fungible token (NFT) space.

Van Eck Is Establishing an NFT Division

Van Eck made a name for itself many years ago when it became one of the first companies to try and get a bitcoin-based exchange-traded fund (ETF) approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The company went through heavy rigamarole trying to earn a greenlight on its application, which apparently started in the year 2017.

During that time, the SEC was completely closed minded to anything crypto related, and the company was given a resounding “no” right at the beginning. However, after several more tries, Van Eck at least got the SEC to consider its application, though problems then arrived when the agency decided to continually delay its decision-making process. Eventually, Van Eck had no choice but to pull the plug on its own application and end things prematurely.

But while one crypto venture has not been successful yet, Van Eck is not willing to give up fully. The company is now developing a whole new branch devoted specifically to NFTs, a new token class that has taken the crypto world by storm. Known as Va Neck, the division will unveil what it’s calling the first ever “institutional NFT” collection.

This collection will consist of roughly 1,000 separate tokens. Many were airdropped on May 2 of this year, which ultimately gave specific investors the chance to access Van Eck’s digital asset research, events, and other perks early.

Matthew Bartlett who works with the company announced in a statement:

We’ve designed the Van Eck community NFT to function like a digital membership card, providing NFT holders with exclusive access to a wide range of events, digital asset research, and the insights of an inclusive community of digital assets enthusiasts and investors.

At press time, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the NFT market. While many individuals are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for them in the hopes that they will potentially gain value and increase their wealth over time, many analysts claim the NFT space is just another bubble bound to pop at any moment. Many of these tokens, they say, are not worth the money they are charging as their uses are quite limited, with some only giving users access to specific protocols and platforms.

Things to Get Bigger from Here?

But Van Eck CEO Jan van Eck believes that the NFT space is about to get much bigger. Jan commented:

It looks like blockchain technology will completely revolutionize Wall Street. The only reason it is taking so long would be the regulators. The whole NFT phenomenon, I mean, I’m wowed by all the technology. That’s the positive.

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Ajeet Khurana On the Future of Crypto in India

Ajeet Khurana is a crypto expert looking to bring positive change to the digital currency world of India.

Ajeet Khurana Discusses India’s Crypto Future

The nation has continued to have a very rocky relationship with crypto and apparently cannot decide if digital currency activity should be banned. Not long ago, Khurana offered an interview about the development of crypto in the nation and where he thinks the future of the space is headed.

Khurana started off by talking about the influence of Web3. He says that never has this kind of technology been so in demand, and he thinks it’s going to do great things for the development of assets like non-fungible tokens (NFTs). He stated:

As Web3 revolves around decentralization, it requires mechanisms of governance and incentives, which are fulfilled by cryptocurrencies or non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Cryptocurrency is the driving force behind Web3 and related technologies such as decentralized finance, whereas NFTs are not necessarily Web3 oriented. A trading card, a comic book, or some memorabilia could be converted into an NFT token. This can exist out of the Web3 space. For example, one of the world’s NFTs named after the National Basketball Association (NBA) of the USA cannot be used outside its website. Cryptocurrencies have influenced and led to Web3, [which] created an outlet for NFTs.

Right now, there is a huge argument between what is better: proof of work (PoW), a module employed by BTC, and proof of stake (PoS), which networks like Ethereum are trying to implement. Regarding what works best, Khurana had this to say:

Both have their pros and cons. The discussion around blockchain technology, in the absence of a human side, makes both the mechanisms an academic discussion. Having said that, I think new systems are adopting the proof-of-stake mechanism. This discussion which started four to five years ago is concluding that bitcoins will move with the proof-of-work mechanism, whereas everything else will adopt the proof-of-stake mechanism.

He also talked about whether startups could potentially benefit from crypto-based seed fundings. He mentioned:

This question probably explains why there are three to nine different public issuances happening every day. Issues such as enforceability of contract, investors’ protection, among others, are addressed in a regulated environment to some extent, but some issues would be inevitable. So, raising money via the use of tokens wouldn’t be easy.

Taxation Can Hurt

Beginning on July 1 of this year, India will allegedly be implementing new guidelines that require crypto traders to pay 30 percent taxes on their capital gains and one percent TDS. He said:

These two provisions came along with the non-setting of cryptocurrency losses. A rough estimate stated that ten to 20 percent crypto investors were already in the 30 percent taxation space, which meant their taxes didn’t increase. Secondly, the one percent TDS will be a problem for cryptocurrency traders.

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Equinox Health Club Says “Yes” to Crypto Payments

If you’re a crypto fan and you fancy bringing your heart rate up on the treadmill or bench pressing and pumping iron, you may want to give Equinox a try. As a luxury fitness center in New York, the company recently announced it’s going to permit crypto payments for gym memberships and merchandise.

Equinox Is Allowing Crypto Payments for Memberships

The move is pushing the goals of bitcoin and its digital counterparts closer to being achieved. What many people likely forget is that while bitcoin and many of its crypto cousins have taken on either speculative or even hedge-like statuses in recent years, many of them were initially designed to serve as payment tools. They were built to push checks, credit cards, and fiat currencies to the side, but this has been a relatively slow journey given the volatility that continues to drag them down.

It is extremely hard to understand when bitcoin and its crypto family will go up or down when it comes to their prices. Many stores and companies have been reluctant to say “yes” when it comes to accepting crypto payments for this reason, and to a degree, we can’t blame them.

Consider the following scenario: someone walks into a store and buys $50 worth of merchandise with bitcoin. For one reason or another, the store doesn’t trade the BTC into fiat right away and about 24 hours go by. From there, the price of BTC goes down and that $50 becomes $40. The customer gets to keep everything he or she bought, but the store has lost money in the end. Is this a fair situation? Not everyone thinks so.

That’s what makes enterprises like Equinox so important. They understand the initial purposes of bitcoin and digital currencies and are trying to transform them into usable tools that everyday people can benefit from.

Equinox is now the first health club in the Big Apple to permit bitcoin and crypto payments. The company has been accepting said payments since early May, and the company announced in a statement that it’s looking to attract customers that are both “physically and digitally” fit.

Getting Back to the Way Things Were

To process future payments, the firm has partnered with digital currency payment enterprise Bit Pay, which is known for processing transactions for businesses centered around bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and several other digital assets.

Equinox and many other gyms throughout America suffered heavily during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 and 2021. Equinox is apparently in a rather large state of recovery, having recorded a sales jump of roughly 122 percent in quarter one of this year. This is more than double the 60.9 percent jump it experienced during the same period in 2019. Apparently, everyone is eager to mingle on the yoga mat again and return to normal life.

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Cross Tower Seeks to Make a Difference in India’s Crypto Scene

Cross Tower – a cryptocurrency exchange in India – regulates trading and investing in crypto for institutions. Not long ago, the company launched a set of over the counter (OTC) services, hoping to help high net-worth individuals to get involved in this growing space.

Cross Tower Is a Leading Crypto Exchange in India

Vikas Ahuja is the chief executive officer of Cross Tower. In a recent interview, he talked about how the company is planning to grow despite the crypto environment being so unpredictable and wild in India at the time of writing. Overall, the company is doing quite well, having seen heavy trading increases in 2022 thus far when compared to 2021, and he thinks 2023 will be the company’s biggest year yet given parliament does not move forward on a full ban.

He stated:

We have been in the Indian market for just six or seven months, as our products were launched on September 7, 2021. The products are taking time to stabilize because we are adding features to them. Still, in this span of time, we have acquired almost [five million] customers. In terms of trading volume and revenue growth, it is at the preliminary stage as we haven’t started with our marketing campaigns, but we are anticipating growth.

Right now, he says that Cross Tower is doing all it can to market itself and establish its presence as a leading financial institution in India. When talking about marketing strategies, he said:

The areas we will focus on include digital, social media, webinars, podcasts, print and TV, amongst others. In fact, we plan to have a session with industry veterans soon. The objective is to educate customers and traders.  Neither do we give investment advice, nor do we market cryptocurrency as a getting rich scheme. Cryptocurrency needs to be treated like any asset class, with thorough analysis and study before one invests. So, the core message behind our mentioned marketing strategies would be to educate the customers. At Cross Tower, we believe that customers should be acquainted with details before buying and selling tokens. For the coming quarter, we want to focus on marketing.

Helping People Make Smarter Investing Decisions

Cross Tower is also implementing a new crypto investment plan (CIP) that he believes will greatly assist customers in the future. He says:

We have launched two schemes. The asset-bucketing scheme has been created for using mutual funds so customers can utilize their digital wallets, and the real-product scheme for customers to keep their cryptocurrency tokens as collateral which would reward them with a rate of interest. In addition, we are working on a simulation platform where people would be able to buy and sell using simulated digital currency.

The company is also working to help newcomers to the crypto development space, commenting that all the company’s technology is based purely on blockchain.

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Could Bitcoin Drop Another $10K? Analysts Weigh In

With the price of bitcoin dropping even further and further down (at the time of writing, the world’s leading digital asset is trading for just under $38,000), many are wondering what kind of rough factors await the crypto space.

How Much Lower Will Bitcoin Go?

2022 has been a rough year for BTC and its altcoin cousins, especially when one considers the fact that roughly six months ago, the granddaddy of all crypto was trading for about $30,000 more than where it presently is. Now that the Fed has announced plans to potentially hike rates by as much as 50 basis points, some analysts believe bitcoin could fall to around $10,000… maybe even less.

This is a very dramatic drop, though it’s not implausible to assume this could happen not only because of the volatility that often comes with bitcoin, but also because the asset is now taking on more of a hedge form against inflation, which is at a 40-year high. These rate hikes are designed to control inflation, and with prices once again under control, bitcoin could find itself in a rather gray area.

Peter Brandt – the chief executive of trading service Factor – is one of the people that thinks bitcoin could experience even further drops. While he doesn’t suggest $10K for the asset, he does think that the currency could wind up falling into the low $30,000 range or even the high $20,000 range. In a recent interview, he commented:

The completion of a bear channel typically results in a decline equal to the width of the channel, or in this case a hard test of $32,000 or so. My guess is $28,000.

Eric Chen – chief executive of decentralized exchange platform Injective Labs – commented that whenever the Fed plans something rather dramatic, bitcoin is likely to be affected in some way. He mentioned in a statement:

Fed meetings always signal uncertainty and volatility, which may impact not only digital assets but also broad markets, but crypto markets are more attached to the underlying technology and value behind the projects, and larger market trends over time have proven that… I still believe crypto is the most optimal hedge against these macroeconomic issues, which is why institutional interest in the industry has continued to grow. Both venture capital funding and fund deployments into crypto are soaring at one of the fastest levels since the inception of bitcoin.

This Could Still Be a Good Month

Alex Kuptsikevich – senior market analyst at FX Pro – also threw his two cents into the mix, saying that it’s likely May could be a recovery period for bitcoin, which is typically what has happened in the past. He mentioned:

In terms of seasonality, May is considered a relative success for BTC. Over the past 11 years, bitcoin has ended the month up seven times and down four times.

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Bentley University Students Can Pay for Tuition with Crypto

Bentley University – a private higher education institution in Massachusetts – has announced that it’s going to start allowing students to pay for their tuition with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

Bentley University Says “Yes” to Crypto Payments

University president E. LaBrent Chrite explained in an interview:

Bentley University is at the forefront in preparing business leaders with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the changing world economy. We’re proud to embrace this technology that our students are learning about, which will soon transform the global business landscape they’re about to enter.

The move is pushing the goals of bitcoin and its digital counterparts closer to being achieved. What many people likely forget is that while bitcoin and many of its crypto cousins have taken on either speculative or even hedge-like statuses in recent years, many of them were initially designed to serve as payment tools. They were built to push checks, credit cards, and fiat currencies to the side, but this has been a relatively slow journey given the volatility that continues to drag them down.

It is extremely hard to understand when bitcoin and its crypto family will go up or down when it comes to their prices. Many stores and companies have been reluctant to say “yes” when it comes to accepting crypto payments for this reason, and to a degree, we can’t blame them.

Consider the following scenario: someone walks into a store and buys $50 worth of merchandise with bitcoin. For one reason or another, the store doesn’t trade the BTC into fiat right away and about 24 hours go by. From there, the price of BTC goes down and that $50 becomes $40. The customer gets to keep everything he or she bought, but the store has lost money in the end. Is this a fair situation? Not everyone thinks so.

That’s what makes enterprises like Bentley University so important. They understand the initial purposes of bitcoin and digital currencies and are trying to transform them into usable tools that everyday people can benefit from.

Alex Kim – one of Bentley’s many technology students – says he was an early adopter of crypto. He’s been into it for many years, having first invested in BTC when he was in high school. While a student at the university, he began what’s called the Bentley Blockchain Association, which has since expanded to include more than 250 other students in just a few months.

He said:

Students have a real interest in knowing more about blockchain, decentralized finance and cryptocurrency investments. These technologies are influencing the industries where they will be working.

Working Harder for Crypto and NFTs

Kim is presently set to be a speaker at this year’s NFT.NYC conference, a leading annual event devoted to the development and understanding of non-fungible tokens.

Bentley was founded in 1917.

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Edward Snowden was Involved in the Development of Zcash

For many years, crypto traders were under the impression that someone named John Dobbertin was the elusive man behind the legendary Zcash, an anonymous form of cryptocurrency. It now looks like that name is nothing more than a pseudonym to hide the real identity of one of the coin’s main developers. That developer is Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who fled to Russia in 2013.

Edward Snowden and His History with Zcash

Snowden is a former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA) that leaked highly classified and sensitive information to the public roughly nine years ago. As a subcontractor, the information he revealed had to do with global surveillance programs and methods the U.S. government was using to spy on people throughout America and the world.

Before he could be prosecuted, Snowden fled to Russia where he was quickly granted asylum. He remains in Russia to this day. In the past, Snowden has often commented that bitcoin is nowhere near as anonymous as everyone thinks, and he has apparently taken this concern to an even greater level through the development of Zcash, which claims to hide all information pertaining to the transaction and the parties involved.

To be fair, Snowden is not the direct creator of the coin. In a video interview, the whistleblower revealed that the coin was created by an organization known as the Electric Coin Company. Ultimately, they needed additional help and reached out to him to see if he could potentially get involved given his knowledge of surveillance and how to avoid any security loopholes.

He was presented with various data about the Zcash project and commented in the video:

I thought it was a very interesting project because when we look at cryptocurrencies in general, we generally see the cryptographic properties of it being used to make sure it’s a fair ledger, but not that it’s been used to ensure it’s a private ledger. The problem with that is that you can’t truly have free trade unless you have private trade, and you can’t have a free society without free trade.

Zcash initially launched in the year 2016. Two years after the launch, Electric Coin Company sought to upgrade the currency. The project required the know-how of the company’s six initial members along with hundreds of additional persons given that Zcash – despite its anonymity – had failed to garner the trust that the initial executives were hoping for.

Sean Bowe – an engineer with the enterprise – ultimately found a way to grow that trust and end all setup requirements, thereby destroying any possibility for counterfeiting or other fraudulent activity.

No More Setups

In a statement, Zooko Wilcox – CEO of Electric Coin Company – said:

There will be no more questions on how you set it up because there is no set up. It’s just pure math.

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Connecticut Mansion Owner Is Selling Her House for BTC or ETH

A large, $6.5 million mansion on the coast of Connecticut is up for sale. What’s the big clincher? The seller is willing to accept cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or Ethereum, marking the first time something like this is being done in the area.

A Mansion Owner Will Sell Her House for Crypto

The property’s listing agent Kevin Sneddon affirms the media and any potential buyers that this is not a joke. The owner is serious about crypto offers, and all looking to trade their BTC or ETH in for a large mansion should come forward. Sneddon says:

It’s not like a gimmick. Not only does my client hold a lot of cryptocurrencies [but] she actively trades a fair amount of it.

The house is stationed on 4.3 acres of rural farmland which dates to the early 1800s. Thus, the mansion itself is roughly 200 years old or more, though it has garnered several upgrades since then.

One of the interesting things about this scenario is that many houses up for sale in the past have been part of cryptocurrency transactions, though nine times out of ten, the buyer must convert their crypto into cash before the transaction is completed. They must then give the cash to the seller to own the house in question.

This time, however, the mansion’s owner is willing to accept the crypto itself. Sneddon has made it clear that the seller is a regular crypto fanatic and trader, and thus she is open to garnering the digital currencies rather than the cash equivalent in exchange for the property. Sneddon says:

She’s not going to turn it over and convert it to anything else. She’s going to add it to her crypto portfolio. [Buyers would] want to come up and consider this house because we take their currency. Someone’s already asked me what kind of crypto she would take.

Right now, the person who owns the house has not been identified. Sneddon says she is trying to avoid all the attention that would likely come with such an unusual sale. Sneddon explained that many buyers have also been intrigued by the prospects and contacted him in secret, hoping to keep their identities secure as well. He explained:

They wouldn’t want their names out there.

The History of the Home

The mansion in question was last sold in 2009, meaning it’s now been under the ownership of the present person for about 13 years. At that time, the house went for just over $5.6 million, meaning the owner stands to gain close to $1 million in cash should a new buyer accept the present selling figure.

The owner of the home is listed as Bedford Road Holdings, LLC. Usually, limited liability corporations like these are created and used to purchase properties as means of hiding an owner’s initial identity.

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