Feb. 14-20, 2021
The latest headlines about decentralization:
- Crypto markets saw new records and round-number milestones all around. Bitcoin's market capitalization topped $1 trillion for the first time as it neared $58,000 per token. Nevertheless, its share of the global crypto market has actually slipped from about 70% at the start of 2021 to 60% now as altcoins' gains have been even more rapid. Ether has led the way among alts, setting a new all-time high above $2,000 last week. Those gains have helped push the valuation of the global crypto market within reach of $2 trillion.
- Canada launched an exchange-traded fund tracking bitcoin. The Purpose Bitcoin ETF, listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, saw more than $400 million in trading volume in its first two days of availability. Wall Street watched the successful launch with some envy as the Securities and Exchange commission has so far been hesitant to approve similar bitcoin-related ETFs in the U.S.
- MetaMask added a browser feature to its mobile app. The addition effectively gives iDevice and Android users easier access to blockchain-based apps, games, and other products.
- New details emerged about recent tensions between tech titan Jack Ma and China's government. The Wall Street Journal reports that regulators recently blocked the initial stock offering of Ma's company, the Ant Group, after uncovering a surprisingly complex ownership structure. It included offshore investments by individuals viewed as potential political threats to Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinpging.
- Coinbase facilitated Tesla's big bitcoin buy. The exchange quietly executed the carmaker's $1.5 billion purchase of bitcoin during the first week of February, according to The Block. The move exemplifies Coinbase's push to attract big institutional customers looking to get involved in crypto for the first time.
- Christie's said it will accept ether as a form of payment for an upcoming digital art auction. Noah Davis, the Christie’s specialist who’s organized the sale, told Bloomberg News it's a way for the venerable British auction house to "dip its toe" in crypto.
- Minneapolis banned facial recognition software by police. The move by the city council was hailed as a victory for privacy advocates and people of color. Other cities have enacted similar laws recently, including Portland, Ore., Boston, and Alameda, Calif.
- NASA's new rover took the first ever selfie from another world. After landing on Mars on Thursday, Perseverance sent back the first full-color images from the planet's surface, including one of itself with the camera positioned at a distance. Sound familiar?
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— Peter A. McKay
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