Feb. 7-13, 2021
Amentum Capital's Steven McKie took to Medium back in August to predict an "explosion" for the decentralized web.
I just belatedly caught up on his post, which was and is very much worth revisiting since it's held up remarkably well. Since McKie published it, the global crypto market's size has nearly quintupled, crossing $1.5 trillion for the first time recently.
In particular, the adoption of blockchain by some of the biggest companies in the world continues to undermine the old narrative of crypto as just some wacky sideshow.
There were some setbacks for the industry last week, to be sure. But for the most part, the trend continues to be three steps forward for each one back.
The latest developments:
- Buying from Tesla supercharged bitcoin. The electric carmaker disclosed in its annual report that it has put $1.5 billion into the token to hold in its corporate treasury, as several smaller public companies have done recently. Tesla will also begin accepting bitcoin as payment for its vehicles soon, the company said. That endorsement, combined with further steps by Wall Street firms to adopt bitcoin, produced a weeklong rally that pushed bitcoin to new records just shy of the $50,000 milestone as of this morning. The token is up almost 25% over the last seven days, pushing its market cap over $900 billion.
- Ethereum futures began trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The launch saw trading volume worth $33 million on the first day and helped push ETH token prices to a new record above $1,800.
- BitPay announced new integration with Apple Pay. The move will enable crypto-based payments on iPhones and iPads, with expansion to Google Pay and Samsung Pay planned by the end of March.
- Should Apple launch a crypto exchange? Mitch Steves, an analyst at Canada's RBC Capital Markets, thinks so. He estimates in a new report that the company could generate $40 billion in additional revenue per year by serving as a more user-friendly crypto on-ramp for the masses.
- PayPal is eager to distribute central bank digital currencies. With China and other countries around the world preparing to launch "official" national currencies on-chain soon, the payments provider wants in as a service provider to help the new tokens reach consumers. In remarks to investors, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman called the move to national digital currencies "once in a multi-decade opportunity where the fundamental rails of the system are going to be redefined."
- Two big developing nations are cracking down on crypto. Legislators in India seem poised to ban crypto usage in the country altogether. Current crypto holders would likely be given a three- to six-month transitionary period to divest under the new law, according to Bloomberg News. Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria, which has recently seen heavy adoption of bitcoin in particular, banned banks from servicing crypto exchanges.
- Miami's mayor detailed his vision to turn his city into a global crypto hub. In a new interview with Forbes, Republican Francis X. Suarez laid out further details of his vision. He's recently been publicly courting widely followed blockchain influencers and touting his city on Twitter as a lower-tax alternative to Silicon Valley.
- Rapper Jay-Z and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey formed a new bitcoin fund. The two announced they are giving 500 bitcoin, now worth $24 million, to a new endowment named Btrust. The entity will fund development of the Bitcoin network, with an eye toward making it "the internet's currency."
- A non-fungible token issued by actress Lindsay Lohan sold for more than $50,000. She's become the latest on a growing list of celebrities offering fans an NFT, which is essentially a digital collectible akin to a baseball card. Most NFTs, including Lohan's, are built on the Ethereum blockchain. However, in promoting the offerings, the celebs often incongruously tend to shout out bitcoin, Decrypt reports.
That's it for now. Thanks for spending some time with the newsletter today! If you'd like to get updates like this in your inbox every Sunday, please join our email list here.
— Peter A. McKay
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