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Mastercard, BNY Mellon Embrace Crypto; Amazon Floats ‘Digital Currency’ Project

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Daniel Kuhn

Three trends

1. Crypto infrastructure is being laid down across the banking, tech and financial sectors.

  • BNY Mellon, the world’s biggest custodian bank, will allow customers to custody crypto by the end of the year. It’s working with unnamed outside partners to build out the offering, according to CoinDesk’s Ian Allison.
  • Mastercard plans to support digital currency transactions directly on its massive network, and allow merchants that opt in to participate directly in the crypto economy, CoinDesk’s Danny Nelson reported. “Our philosophy on cryptocurrencies is straightforward: It’s about choice,” Mastercard Executive Vice President for Blockchain and Digital Asset Products Raj Dhamodharan wrote in a recent blog.
  • Amazon is preparing to launch a “digital currency” project in Mexico, Nelson also reported. The e-commerce giant has posted a number of job offerings, describing the project, spearheaded by Amazon’s Digital and Emerging Payments (DEP) division, as a way for customers “to enjoy online services including shopping for goods and/or services like Prime Video.”
  • Uber is considering adding crypto payment options, if there is a clear benefit, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said on CNBC Thursday. The ridesharing giant is a member of the Diem (formerly Libra) Association, which is developing a payments network. Khosrowshahi shot down the idea of adding bitcoin to the company’s balance sheet.
  • Enterprise software provider R3 has launched a new computing platform called Conclave to bring privacy to sensitive business data, aimed at financial institutions. “[Conclave] paves the way for a new generation of trusted services that can detect fraud, reduce cost, build high-value multi-party analytics and more – where the owners of the data control how it is processed,” R3 said.

2. U.S. regulators are flexing their crypto knowledge.

They’re showing both an appreciation for blockchain technology as well as concern for what these new tools mean for the global economy.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said, for the third time in recent weeks, that there’s a “growing problem” with crypto being used for illicit purposes, including terrorist financing. “I see the promise of these new technologies, but I also see the reality: Cryptocurrencies have been used to launder the profits of online drug traffickers; they’ve been a tool to finance terrorism,” she said at a financial sector innovation policy roundtable.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissioner Hester Peirce said the U.S. capital markets are ready for a bitcoin exchange-traded product on CoinDesk TV Thursday. She also pushed back on the idea that crypto is primarily a tool for illicit finance, adding, “There is more illegal activity happening in cash.”

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) halted trading of Virginia-based Blue Ridge Bank’s stock (BRSB) after a spike in trading activity Wednesday driven by its entrance into the bitcoin ATM game.

Perennial skeptic Nouriel Roubini said yesterday the SEC should investigate people like Tesla CEO Elon Musk for “market manipulation” after the meme-posting billionaire became interested in bitcoin and dogecoin.

3. What’s going on in altcoin-land?

  • Centralized exchanges – such as FTX, Binance, Huobi and OKEx – are all seeing breakneck use and appreciation of their native utility tokens. CoinDesk markets reporter Muyao Shen wrote that bitcoin’s rapid appreciation is driving volumes on these crypto gateways. As a result, FTX’s FTT, Binance’s BNB and Huobi’s HT have grown 249%, 238%, and 161% on the year.
  • Dogecoin developers are pushing out the first network updates in two years as the meme-coin barks at their heels. Dogecoin is now worth over $9 billion after influential handlers – from Elon Musk to rock star Gene Simmons – “endorsed” the joke. CoinDesk’s Colin Harper gives an impressive rundown on the technical fixes in store.

At stake

Larry Flynt
Every day brings a new example of the world waking up to the power of decentralized tools. Bitcoin being added to balance sheets, banks announcing custody solutions and payments monoliths like Visa and Mastercard planning to integrate crypto all point to a future where crypto is a major part of the economy. Some would go as far as saying it’s the future of money itself.

It’s not just a financial or technological revolution, but a cultural one. Crypto has a central thesis: There are certain basic services to which everyone should have access. That’s a liberal idea. All men and women are born equal, have equal claims to be heard, to build and to congregate. The difference between crypto and a document like the U.S. constitution, which ensures these inalienable rights, is that crypto is a technological foundation to encode them. It removes the eternal gatekeepers that have historically bent this frame.

Yesterday, Larry Flynt, the renegade publisher and speech activist, passed away from heart failure. The founder of Hustler is a complicated man. He was a purveyor of smut, but also one of the 20th century’s greatest civil liberties champions. His story is fundamentally a crypto one.

In 1983, Flynt was sued for libel by television evangelist Rev. Jerry Falwell after Hustler published a satire in which the Moral Majority crusader was said to have kissed his mother in an outhouse. The case wound up before the U.S. Supreme Court – though not before Flynt graced a district court wearing an American flag as a diaper and a purple heart medal – where the charges and penalties were dismissed.

The meaning of the case, and its legacy for strong U.S. speech protections, is summed up by something Flynt allegedly said: “If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, then it will protect all of you. Because I’m the worst.” (I think this line was invented for “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” the 1996 biopic.)

We’re facing a similar moment in time now with the rise of crypto. In giving anyone access to financial services, or a web platform in the case of the decentralized web, naturally questions will arise about what sort of behavior society should condone. That’s what Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is wrestling with when talking about the promises of crypto as well as its use in illicit finance.

The last time Blockchain Bites covered the porn industry, CoinDesk Executive Editor Marc Hochstein raised questions about PornHub’s privacy policies after the adult entertainment site switched to accepting crypto as its primary payment form. The site also began requiring users to identify their accounts before posting any material. He wrote:

“If this prevents monsters from using the site in abusive ways, all the better. But it will create risks for those who only post lawful content.”

With intermediaries entering into the crypto economy, similar questions will arise. Gatekeepers, such as Mastercard, will once again be required to make decisions about who has access to these novel payment rails. It’s not always so clear.

Flynt may have some wise words to consider: “Hypocrisy is a detriment to progress.”

Quick bites

  • Someone bought a Tesla Model 3 for 91 BTC in 2013. The car and coin are now at near-parity. (CoinDesk)
  • Tyler Cowen interviews Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong (Marginal Revolution)
  • The Men Who Pump Doge (Decrypt)

Who won Crypto Twitter?

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Altcoins To Watch: AAVE, LINK, ETH

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Historically, stimulus checks have been pumping the cryptocurrency market. Let us see if we see another round of bullish marathons this time. Today’s picks are AAVE, LINK and ETH.

There was a theory that whenever the US Stimulus bill was accepted, the cryptocurrency market will skyrocket and the signing of the Bill by President Biden will establish a new bullish cycle. Yesterday, March 6, the Senate approved the $1.9 trillion bill, on Tuesday the House Democrats are expected to pass the bill and President Biden is expected to sign the bill this coming week.

AAVE

As for the announcements and updates, Aave has partnered with a Lichtenstein-based crypto wallet and exchange Nash to integrate DeFi earning products by Aave and Aave token will be available to trade on Nash. As Nash currently supports Circle’s digital USD, it is assumed that the first tradeable pair will be AAVE/USDC, whereas adding other pairs such as AAVE/ETH is expected as well. The total value of AAVE locked in DeFi has significantly increased in the past 24 hour, adding 7.4% in USD, making $4.984B in total value locked.

Photo: TradingView

AAVE/USD shows strength by breaking out of the descending parallel channel. The best price action for the pair would be the test of the dynamic resistance (the upper edge of the channel) as support and continue upwards to test resistances at $495 and $594 above that.

LINK

Chainlink has partnered with yet another DeFi protocol Swingby. Swingby will use Chainlink to match prices in its inter-chain swaps. Chainlink is moving to FX now with expanding its oracle network to support price data of non-crypto currencies with the launch of EUR/USD. As the company declared on their blog, the FX EUR/USD pair is already used by derivatives protocol Synthetix. While exchanges pull data from FX liquidity providers to offer FX pairs on their trading terminal, Chainlink brings the most accurate FX data into DeFi and blockchain. The accuracy of the data is provided by the many oracles which aggregate the price and the network accepts the most accurate among all Oracles.

Photo: TradingView

LINK/USD stays above the dynamic support of the ascending channel and above the 50MA on a 4-Hour chart. The further advancement of the price was stopped by a strong resistance at $28.600, breaking of which will lead to a jump towards $31.4700 and $33.000. It is highly recommended to watch for the touching of the upper edge of the ascending channel by LINK/USD at any point, as there is a strong resistance.

ETH

Ethereum was one of the coins to highly cheer the Stimulus bill by adding 8.38% to its value yesterday. This week Ethereum hit another record with the total ETH locked in DeFi on March 5 reached $8.876B, helping ethereum price to jump after a decline of the price.

Ethereum price on Overbit

ETH/USD has made a significant advancement into turning it’s bearish sentiment to bullish by closing above the dynamic resistance of February 24. The same dynamic resistance also acts as a neckline of the inverted Head and Shoulders formation.

Ethereum price on Overbit

An hourly ETH/USD chart clearly demonstrates that Ethereum is on a bull phase. The pair has completed a breakout from the triangle, the move which supported the breakout is impulsive, the price retested the dynamic resistance as support. There is one obstacle to overleap at $1680 and Eth can advance upwards to test another strong resistance area laid at $1805 – $1825 area.

Altcoin News, Cryptocurrency news, Guest Posts, News

Kseniia Klichova
Author: Aziz Kenjaev

Senior Vice President at Overbit. Technical analyst, crypto-enthusiast, ex-VP at TradingView, medium and long-term trader, trades and analyses FX, Crypto and Commodities markets.



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How Could It Affect Bitcoin?

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While the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down markets worldwide, especially the US stock market, several investors and traders went after alternative assets and options that could provide them a better store of value.

The United States Senate approved by a 50-49 party-line vote a $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus check, a plan already announced by Joe Biden at the beginning of January. This COVID-19 package relief includes the third round of stimulus checks that will be passed to president Biden, with a deadline of March 14 to make changes to the package before Biden gets to it.

What Does the COVID-19 Package Relief Plan Provide?

The COVID-19 package relief will include a series of direct payments to help boost the economy, hit by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020:

  • Americans making over $75,000 per year will receive direct payments of $1,4000.
  • Jobless Americans will receive $300 per week
  • Couples who make over $150,000 will receive $2,900 as a household check
  • One year increase to Child Tax Credits, which is a tax credit check that could be worth up to $2,000, depending on the income of households.

Why Is This Vital for Crypto?

  • Investing in crypto: Americans are one of the most active cryptocurrency advocates in the world. While financial institutions and politicians are still debating and giving uncertain weather for cryptos, a good percentage of the population are trading or investing in them in some way, especially, Bitcoin. If Americans who received the check start using that money to invest in cryptocurrencies, the crypto market would likely see a boost by mid-year.
  • Inflation: Stimulus Checks also mean more money issued —meaning, more money printed. The more money is printed, the higher the inflation as the value of fiat decreases. This is also another vital point for Bitcoin and most cryptocurrencies.
  • Hedge against inflation: While the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down markets worldwide, especially the US stock market, several investors and traders went after alternative assets and options that could provide them a better store of value.

When institutional investors and companies, like PayPal, Grayscale, and Tesla, started hoarding Bitcoin, many realized that BTC together with several altcoins, changed from just being a medium of exchange to become a better hedge against value decreasing fiat.

While the weather in the US is uncertain regarding cryptocurrencies, this would likely act as a boost for most digital assets, reaffirming the need for better financial methods as changes are taking place in the world, and most economies can’t rely on the same classical methods of printing money every month for citizens.

Back in February, Janet Yellen made several mixed statements about crypto, specifically, Bitcoin, calling it a “special concern” by outlining how crypto-assets are being used for “shady businesses”. Yellen added that Bitcoin and other cryptos can be used for financing terrorism, but a report by Chainalysis highlighted how Bitcoin only accounts for 0.34% of terrorism-related transactions, keeping the US dollar as the preferred currency chosen by terrorists.

In the last 24 hours, Bitcoin has recovered 0.50% in price, trading in volumes of $49k, with a decent bullish index showing demand is still strong.

Bitcoin News, Cryptocurrency news, Market News, News

I’m a finance journalist and copywriter with a keen interest in the fintech field. I have keen on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency and I believe it can reshape the way we see money and financial freedom.



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Ethereum’s London Hard Fork with EIP 1559 Fee Market to Go Live This July

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The EIP 1559 is a welcome move for Ethereum users that standardize the transaction fee across the network and reduces volatility. However, mining pools have placed a strong opposition to it.

As per the latest development, July 2021 is the scheduled period when the Ethereum Improvement Protocol (EIP) 1559 will go live. As per Ethereum’s core developers’ call on Friday, March 5th, five other EIPs along with EIP 1559 are likely to join the London hard fork.

The Ethereum fraternity has been eagerly awaiting the launch of EIP 1559 amind issues of the transaction fee. The ongoing EIP 1559 helps to lower the volatility of transaction fees on the Ethereum blockchain. Besides, it also fixes several ongoing issues with Ethereum’s user experience.

Traditionally, a user sends the gas fee to the miner to include the transaction in the block. However, with the EIP 1559 implementation, the gas fee shall go to the network itself in the form of “burn”. The “burn” is also dubbed as basefee with only an optional tip paid to the miners.

The Ethereum algorithm sets the “burn” fee thereby making it easier for users to pay a fair price. Thus, EIP 1559 replaces the supply/demand auction-style system with a standard rate implementation across the entire network. Ethereum creators are confident that the proposal will be “positive ono the long term price” of Ethereum. They say that a lower and predictable gas fee ensures that Ethereum isn’t only for the rich.

This new proposal has received solid support from users and the creators of Ethereum. However, it has garnered strong opposition from the miners and the mining pools who have been on the receiving end.

ETH Miners Place a Solid Opposition

Ethereum miners have enjoyed solid revenues recently on the backdrop of the high DeFi activity on the Ethereum blockchain. In February last month, the total mining revenue clocked a massive $1.3 billion with the average transaction fee striking an all-time high of over $37. As per data by CoinMetrics, 50% of the revenue came from fees alone.

The surge in transaction fees and the ETH price has shot up the network has power to more than 100% in a year’s time. Flexpool, a minority mining pool, has launched a marketing campaign against the EIP. It has also received support from majority pools like sparkPool and Ethermine.

Nearly 60% of the Ethereum hash power is currently against the implementation of the new proposal. Interestingly, F2Pool is the only largest pool in favor of the EIP with 10% hash power.

However, mining pools have few options to stop the EIP 1559 implementation. The bigger danger that currently hovers around is the 51% attack on the Ethereum network. However, the chances of this remain unlikely at this moment considering different financial incentives for not attacking the network.

Altcoin News, Blockchain News, Cryptocurrency news, Ethereum News, News

Bhushan is a FinTech enthusiast and holds a good flair in understanding financial markets. His interest in economics and finance draw his attention towards the new emerging Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency markets. He is continuously in a learning process and keeps himself motivated by sharing his acquired knowledge. In free time he reads thriller fictions novels and sometimes explore his culinary skills.



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