23/03/2021 - 4/04/2021


The Biggest Stories...

Global payments giant Visa conducts its first crypto transaction on Ethereum...

Visa, the global payments giant which processes over $11 trillion in transactions a year, has announced it has completed its first transaction settled in USD Coin (USDC), in partnership with Crypto.com.

Visa had previously announced their intention to offer cryptocurrency settlement services, but this pilot test represents the first concrete step towards realizing that vision, with the stablecoin USDC fulfilling Visa’s criteria for crypto adoption of “Stability”, “Security”, and “Demand”. Visa has also stated that move is seen as the first step in “enabling our ability to one day support new Central Bank digital Currencies” as they are introduced.

Whilst the move represents a major stride towards mainstream financial adoption of cryptocurrencies, bumping up the price of Bitcoin by roughly 5%, it should be noted that Visa’s own criteria indicate that more volatile cryptocurrencies (essentially all of them) are some distance from proper integration into existing payment and settlement services. Despite this, Visa-crypto cards, such as Crypto.com, already exist, although the key settlement layer remains Fiat only.

Other market players, such as PayPal are also repositioning themselves towards the changing financial landscape. PayPal recently enabled Bitcoin payments for its merchants and bought out crypto-custody startup Curv for $200m last month, although yet again, settlement is still handled in Fiat.


Tesla and Bitcoin - a match made in heaven?

In what can only be described in retrospect as inevitable, Elon Musk has announced that Tesla will be accepting payments in Bitcoin.

Having bought up its own $1.5bn stash of Bitcoin in February, it comes as no surprise that the technology company has moved to accept payments in Bitcoin as well. Though some commentators have questioned the reasoning behind an eco-friendly car company involving itself with such an energy-inefficient payment network.

Whilst Bitcoin has always fulfilled its function as a store of value, admittedly a very volatile one, it has fallen short of being an accepted means of exchange, the second requirement of a true currency. This move may help change that – although scalability and volatility remain big obstacles.

The bullish news triggered an unsurprising surge the price of Bitcoin, pushing up the price by as much as 17% and setting a record high in the process. In response to the CEO’s frequent market interventions, one user on reddit even published an open-source trading bot which buys Bitcoin whenever Elon Musk tweets positively about crypto.


Love used to be in the air, now its on the blockchain...

Rebecca Rose and Peter Kacherginsky, both employees of Coinbase, decided to use the blockchain to tie the knot and seal their commitment to each other, incurring a $587 transaction fee in the process. Describing their special moment in a tweet thread, Rebecca Rose explained how the couple exchanged their rings not only by hand, but also via Ethereum digital wallet, sending each other a unique NFT art token representing their wedding rings.

However, Rebecca’s holy matrimony doesn't hold the record as the first blockchain marriage. That honor goes to David and Joyce who married in 2014 and recorded their union on the blockchain with the heart-warming message

“For better or worse, ‘til death do us part, because the blockchain is forever”

There have been efforts to rethink both marriage and family law through the use of smart contracts, with one service offering the ability to record prenuptial agreements on the blockchain. However, questions remain over the legal status of smart contracts.

Nevertheless, you can read an interesting breakdown of possible marriage related smart contracts in this medium article, ranging from the marriage itself, to budget management etc.

If you’re asking yourself why anybody might want to record their wedding on the blockchain, I’ll leave you with a wonderful quote from the bride Rebecca Rose herself…


Policy & Regulation

  • Marathon Digital Holdings, one of the largest Bitcoin mining companies in North America, has announced it will be launching the first fully US regulation compliant mining pool, Yahoo Finance reported. The move raises questions over Bitcoin’s censorship resistance in the face of government regulations.
  • S. Korea has announced the use of blockchain-enabled digital vaccination passports, Ledger Insights reported, citing Yonhap news. Blockchain technology offers many advantages for digital certificate issuance, primarily to prevent forgery and falsification.
  • European Central Bank President, Christine Lagarde, has outlined the ECB’s roadmap for a future digital Euro, Bloomberg reported. A decision to conduct practical experiments will be made in the coming months, with a final decision on digital Euro implementation due next year.

Technology

  • Cosmos has voted to enable inter-blockchain communication (IBC), reported Coindesk. IBC is designed for interoperability, enabling secure inter-blockchain data exchange. Whilst any blockchain can integrate IBC, those based on the Tendermint Architecture, including BSC, are the most likely to follow suit.
  • The founder of Yearn Finance, Andre Cronje, has published details of a new payment software system for DAOs, Coordinape. The system allows DAO members to allocate points to their team members based on their perceived contributions, Decrypt reported. At the end of the month, team members receive grant funds proportional to the points they receive.

Institutions

  • According to the CEO of New York Digital Investment Group, Robert Gutmann, several sovereign wealth funds have been enquiring about Bitcoin investment opportunities, Cointelegraph reported.
  • PwC, one of the ‘Big Four’ consultancy firms, has released a report predicting increasing “institutionalization” for crypto as traditional players look to enter the space by buying up crypto startups, Decrypt reported. Earlier last Month, PayPal acquired crypto-security firm Curv for nearly $200 million.

Markets

  • The ‘Kimchi premium’ on bitcoin reached a whopping 15%, reported The Block. The ‘Kimchi Premium’ refers to the price spread between Korean and Western crypto exchanges. The spread is caused by rising demand and financial controls in Korea making arbitrage difficult.
  • Uniswap is generating over 50% more transactions fees than the entire Bitcoin network, reported Cointelegraph.
  • Nigeria-based startup, Xend Finance, are using BSC to give credit unions in Africa the opportunity to access DeFi, and the higher interest rates it can offer, reported TechCrunch.
  • The company behind the Tether stablecoin, has provided an assurance from Moore Cayman accountancy firm that its assets exceed liabilities, reported Bloomberg. However, the assurance does not represent a proper audit, as required by its New York legal settlement and due to take effect from June.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it!