Cryptocurrencies are currently experiencing a rise in popularity; last month, Elon Musk, one of the world’s most influential businessmen, began promoting cryptocurrencies on his Twitter account, Apple Pay announced the support of Bitcoin and other selected cryptos on their platforms, and many different businesses started accepting cryptos as a payment method.
Elon Musk is on board
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, is a long-time supporter of cryptocurrencies and has constantly praised them on his social media accounts. Last week, for the fourth time in recent months, he tweeted about the meme-based cryptocurrency Dogecoin, causing another surge in its prices followed by an eventual downfall, in what is being called around the web “The Musk Effect”.
Musk constantly tweeting about the meme cryptocurrency had already led to an all-time high in February, when Dogecoin prices increased 35% in a 24-hour period following one of his posts. However, he also stated that he opposed high concentration in Dogecoin, tweeting “If major Dogecoin holders sell most of their coins, it will get my full support. Too much concentration is the only real issue, in my opinion”.
Brazil becomes second country in America to approve Bitcoin ETF
Brazil has become the second country in the Americas to approve a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), after Canada launched three funds earlier this year. The Brazil Securities and Exchange Commission approved a bitcoin ETF from blockchain investment firm QR Capital, which will trade on the São Paulo-based B3 exchange, under the ticker QBTC11. The ETF listing is expected to take place in June.
The U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) recently acknowledged VanEck’s application to launch a bitcoin ETF, which, if approved, would be the first in the United States.
An exchange-traded fund is a type of investment fund and exchange-traded product very similar to mutual funds. ETFs are traded throughout the day on stock exchanges and may hold several assets such as stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities.
Canadian firms working on sustainable bitcoin mining
Canadian blockchain company Neptune Digital Assets and mining firm Link Global Technologies have signed a letter of intent to co-develop a cryptocurrency mining facility, partially powered by sustainable energy. The partnership was announced last week, with a definitive agreement expected to be signed in April, followed by the immediate start of construction operations, and both firms will split the costs and revenue.
The facility will be built in Alberta, where Link Global operates most of its bitcoin facilities. The site will generate 5-megawatt and will be solar, wind and natural gas powered. The crypto mining industry is under strong criticism for the energy used in the process and its impact on climate change. Cale Moodie, CEO of Neptune Digital Assets stated: “We expect there to be substantial global pressure to develop sustainable bitcoin mining operations around the world.”.
Companies and markets supporting cryptos
Apple Pay, the digital wallet service provided by Apple, recently approved the use of BitPay on its platform. BitPay is a debit card for Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. Google Pay and Samsung Pay are also expected to introduce the functionality in the coming weeks.
Apart from that, Google has also announced multiple partnerships with crypto-focused companies, and became an enterprise network validator for Theta, a decentralized video streaming crypto project. More recently, a dedicated crypto tab was added to Google Finance.
In recent years, Microsoft made several moves towards supporting cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. In 2019, they launched the Identity Overlay Network (ION), the first decentralized infrastructure implementation by a major tech company, and, last year, they filed a patent for a mining system powered by human activity.
Several companies and retailers started accepting cryptocurrencies as payment in recent months. Expedia, an online travel agency and one of the top earning travel companies in the world, began taking Bitcoin as payment via a partnership with Coinbase. Lush, a popular beauty retailer in the UK and US, approved the use of cryptos on their website. And Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce giant, launched support for payment via bitcoin and other cryptos earlier this month.
One of the markets that recently took up cryptocurrencies is the online gambling industry. Bettors are now using Bitcoin to gamble online with many bookmaking companies and online casinos, as cryptocurrencies deposits are safer, due to its high levels of encryption, and faster.
After investing US$1.5 billion in Bitcoin in February, electric carmaker Tesla disclosed that the company will soon accept Bitcoin as a form of payment for its products, initially on a limited basis.
Tony Hawk’s NFT
Last week, skateboarding legend and entrepreneur Tony Hawk performed the 540 Ollie for the last time in his career. After performing the trick for more than 30 years, Hawk stated “Today I decided to do one more time… and never again. My willingness to slam unexpectedly into the flat bottom has waned greatly over the last decade”.
The feat will be immortalized as a NFT (non-fungible token) and will be sold on the marketplace Ethernity Chain. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will go to charity.