Get the top stories, funding deals, technical analysis, cryptocurrency jobs and much more delivered to your inbox, every Monday morning.

February 27,2022

Global Economy Continues To Suffer As Russia-Ukraine Conflict Continues

Indeed, financial markets throughout the world plummeted when Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine, highlighting growing fears that a lengthy conflict may devastate the worldwide economic system. Shares in IT titans Microsoft and Apple, for example, fell on news of the invasion along with global stock markets. Furthermore, Bitcoin (BTC) fell drastically when the conflict began before making a slight comeback.

Are things as bad as they seem?

Nevertheless, it's doubtful that the global economy would plummet to the rapid, frightening lows experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, when markets panicked about the unexpected stoppage of global supply chains and a fatal virus for which the public lacked prophylactic immunizations at the time.

Surprisingly though, Western European nations paid Russia for gas routed from Russia via Ukraine in a bizarre turn of events, even as Russian tanks occupied Ukrainian territory and war erupted. Investors quickly decided that this would not be the case for long.

Russia's conflict against Ukraine prompted the price of oil to skyrocket by nearly 10%, while other markets continued to drop. Simultaneously, European natural gas futures have risen by 50%, owing to analysts' fears about future Gazprom exports. The consequences might be far-reaching, as the increasing price of oil, for example, may result in high gas costs for automobile owners in the United States, something which President Joe Biden recently acknowledged.

In related news, a surge of crypto donations have been flooding into Ukraine which are helping cover costs related to medicine, drones, military equipment, and other needs. An increasing number of people are looking toward crypto assets and alternative currencies as traditional banking and financial systems continue to be under threat from the Russian onslaught.

What about inflation?

Inflation has startled experts and the Biden administration by reaching levels not seen since the early 1980s when COVID vaccinations unleashed waves of economic spending which supply-chain bottlenecks have been unable to keep up with. Concurrently, detractors have said that the Biden administration simply produced too much money too quickly, and that it will take time for it to be taken out of the system.

A war in Ukraine, no matter how brief, will thus undoubtedly disrupt supply networks even further. The battle may cause inflation to surge at greater levels than we anticipated only a short while ago. This means that the costs of energy, gas, food, and other basic raw materials might become considerably greater than they are now. Additionally, if prices rise amid mounting worries of a prolonged and unpredictable conflict, customers may hoard their monetary assets rather than spend them, thereby harming the economy even more.

Ultimately, one can only hope for a swift and decisive end to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Meanwhile, global markets will try their best to hold on as things will undoubtedly get worse before they improve.

February 25,2022

Donations of Bitcoin (BTC) to the Ukrainian army have skyrocketed

Donations of Bitcoin (BTC) to the Ukrainian army have skyrocketed since Moscow started a large-scale operation against Ukraine yesterday.

Currently, approximately $400,000 in BTC has been contributed to Come Back Alive, a Ukrainian non-governmental organisation that supports the armed troops.

The new batch of crypto donations builds on a previous trend in which hundreds of thousands of dollars have poured into Ukrainian NGOs and volunteer groups attempting to stave off a Russian invasion, with the contributions only increasing now that the country is officially under attack.

Many activists have used BTC for a wide range of purposes, including providing military weapons, drones, and medical supplies to the Ukrainian army, in addition to supporting the creation of a face recognition tool meant to ascertain whether someone is a Russian spy or mercenary.

Another organisation, the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance, has received about $100,000 in BTC, LTC, ETH, and a variety of stablecoins in the last year. Since 2016, Alliance activists have often carried out different cyberattacks against potential Russian targets.

Pro-Russian separatists, on the other hand, have been soliciting funds in BTC from the beginning of the conflict.

February 22,2022

Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) Is Considering New Digital Asset Exchange Connected With Crypto

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is considering developing a new digital asset exchange connected with the crypto market.

The SET therefore intends to build its own respective digital asset exchange later on this year, which will potentially bring in additional exposure possibilities such as utiliy and investment tokens.

Although the SET's planned digital asset exchange will not be directly tied to crypto markets, the platform will nevertheless have some connection to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), among others.

Furthermore, the SET will also be openly linked to a crypto exchange, enabling investors to successfully convert their cryptocurrency assets into fiat prior to trading on the stock exchange.

February 20,2022

Crypto Super Bowl Ads

During this year's Super Bowl event, Coinbase unleashed an unorthodox ad which was essentially just a QR code floating around the screen similar to how the old DVD screensavers used to work.

While it might seem like a strange strategy at first, Coinbase nevertheless experienced a massive 280% increase in app downloads following the ad and a whopping 300% increase in installations week-over-week.

Coinbase was not the only one to experience success at the annual event either. 3 of the top 5 applications whose marketing drove a significant increase in downloads were indeed crypto apps. Aside from Coinbase, crypto trading site eToro increased app downloads by 132% week over week on February 13th and by 82% on the next day.

Meanwhile, FTX, whose commercial featured 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' actor Larry David, reported a 130% increase in downloads week over week on February 13th, followed by an 81% increase on February 14th.

February 20,2022

Dubai Looks To Become A Hub For The Crypto Industry As The UAE Prepares To Provide Federal Licenses

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is attempting to capitalize on the cryptocurrency boom. As such, the nation is developing a licensing framework for digital asset service providers in order to legitimize the cryptocurrency economy and establish itself as a worldwide industrial hub.

UAE to provide federal licenses

Various government officials have stated that the UAE is preparing to provide federal licenses for digital asset service providers in order to attract some of the world's best crypto enterprises. The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) is therefore in the final stages of drafting a licensing system which could allow virtual asset service providers such as crypto exchanges to begin operations in the UAE.

Abu Dhabi reportedly reviewed the Financial Action Task Force's recent recommendations on overseeing cryptocurrencies, as well as the techniques used by the United Kingdom, the United States, and Singapore, in drafting the new laws. It eventually agreed on a hybrid structure in which the SCA along with the central bank will be in charge of regulation but regional financial centers would have control over daily licensing processes.

All eyes on the UAE

The UAE is the Middle East's third biggest crypto market, after only Turkey and Lebanon. It was also one of the world's most rapidly growing markets, with a massive 1,500% growth in activity from 2020 to 2021.

The planned federal crypto licensing framework would hence help the UAE compete with other financial hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong, which are also preparing to develop fully regulated cryptocurrency-friendly environments. Aside from licensing, the UAE wishes to foster a business-friendly atmosphere for crypto miners while taking into account the industry's possible environmental consequences.

Binance, the world's biggest crypto exchange, is already seeking to expand its footprint in the Middle East. The exchange stated in December that it has reached a deal with the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority to fully identify the aim of advancing the establishment of a new industrial hub for global digital assets.

Additionally, the upcoming World Blockchain Summit shall take place from the 23rd to the 24th of March in Dubai and will feature leading crypto and blockchain projects, influencers and pioneers. Meanwhile, Crypto Expo Dubai will occur from the 16th to the 17th of March and will serve as the event where industry leaders and experts can network with one another and explore crypto-related business opportunities.

February 20,2022

SEC Filings Citing Bitcoin On The Rise, Indicating Widespread Institutional Adoption.

The SEC and Bitcoin (BTC) have been the topic of several conversations in recent years, and the most recent evidence shows that this will continue in 2022 as we grow ever closer to the inevitable shift to Web 3.0.

As such, the frequency of 13F filings mentioning Bitcoin by quarter drastically increased this year, while it reduced somewhat to 60 mentions in the second and third quarters of 2021. The number of times the SEC cited the flagship cryptocurrency in its filings for the fourth quarter that concluded at the end of January 2022 climbed by 158% to 155 mentions, which was a direct consequence of the increasing level of Bitcoin's increasing mainstream relevance, usage and global popularity.

Growing interest in institutional assets

It's worth noting that SEC filings can help determine institutional interest in crypto assets. Investment funds with a minimum of $100 million in AUM (Assets Under Management) which operate and conduct business within the U.S, for example, are obliged to make a 13F filing with the SEC every quarter, disclosing the holdings of each individual fund to the public.

Furthermore, it is not essential to publish all of a fund's assets as instead a subset of those investments inclusive of any and all positions in spot BTC must be reported. In contrast, trusts and various other crypto-based investment institutions were frequently referenced.

Increase in exposure to Bitcoin

GBTC (Grayscale's Bitcoin Trust) is the largest BTC trust by net asset value and it has become a popular method for institutions to gain exposure to the world's largest cryptocurrency asset by market capitalization. With that being said, GBTC's BTC holdings increased dramatically between 2020 and 2021, paralleling the increase in the amount of investment funds which included BTC as part of their respective 13F filings during that particular time period.

GBTC holdings had in fact stagnated until late 2021, when 13F filings mentioning Bitcoin increased. Nevertheless, this represented the debut of Bitcoin ETFs like the ProShares' Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) and Valkyrie's Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BTF) last year which are now disclosed on 13F filings and account for a portion of the growth in specific organizations.

As a result, examining public SEC filings may be beneficial in gauging the growing presence of Bitcoin in the U.S economy, as well as help determine which direction the SEC and the United States government might take going forward. The rise of NFTs and the metaverse have also necessitated the need for increased regulation as DeFi is indeed here to stay.

February 20,2022

Manchester City F.C. Planning Fan Metaverse

Earlier in 2022, it was rumoured that Manchester City F.C. were aiming to explore the increasingly popular metaverse phenomenon as the next big thing in fan involvement.

The Premier League team had previously advertised for positions in their Strategy and Ventures department for potential candidates who could discover development prospects in the VR (Virtual Reality) sector.

According to various reports, Manchester City has therefore begun the process of constructing the world's very first football stadium within the metaverse with the assistance from VR pioneers, Sony.

In related news, Manchester United F.C. and Tezos, one of the world's most sophisticated and sustainable blockchains, recently announced a significant multi-year agreement that will see Tezos featured on the team's men's and women's training uniforms.

February 18,2022

Bitcoin (BTC) Is Officially Legal In Ukraine

Bitcoin (BTC) is officially legal in Ukraine after the countrys parliament adopted a bill in final reading that complies with the Presidents guidelines. The nation, however, has not declared BTC legal tender as of yet.

This new law provides an extra chance for the countrys commercial development, and both foreign as well as Ukrainian crypto enterprises shall be allowed to operate lawfully. Moreover, Ukrainians will have simple and safe access to the worldwide market for digital assets, according to Ukraines Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhaylo Fedorov.

With over 270 votes, the Ukrainian parliament enacted the new Law on Virtual Assets earlier this week. The bill specifies the rules that Bitcoin service providers, such as exchanges, must follow and establishes sanctions for infractions of the laws terms, in addition to establishing that the cryptocurrency market be regulated by Ukraines National Securities Commission.

February 16,2022

JPMorgan Just Took A Significant Move Into The Metaverse

JPMorgan just took a significant move into the metaverse, opening a virtual lounge in the popular blockchain-based realm Decentraland (MANA).

The new Onyx lounge was thus revealed alongside a bank report explaining metaverse-related development potential for businesses and outlined the reasons for the sudden explosion in interest.

According to JPMorgan, the metaverse offers a $1 trillion annual revenue market opportunity as artists use Web 3.0 to commercialize their work in innovative ways.

Adidas, Gap, Nike, Walmart, Hulu, Atari, PWC, and Verizon are among the early users and investors in the blockchain and metaverse economy, according to the bank. Many more are expected to become involved as time progresses.

In related news, long-time anti-crypto advocate Warren Buffett recently revealed a $1 billion investment into Nubank, Brazil's biggest fintech bank which is also very popular among the nation's BTC investors, while simultaneously dumping both Mastercard and Visa stocks.

February 16,2022

Binance Smart Chain (BSC) Announced Binance Chain And Binance Smart Chain Will Be Merging Under New Moniker, BNB Chain

Binance Smart Chain (BSC), a decentralized blockchain ecosystem, has announced that the Binance Chain and Binance Smart Chain will now be merging under a new moniker, BNB Chain. This is being done to represent their continuing relationship with the ecosystem's native asset, Binance Coin (BNB).

As per the latest reports, BNB is now an abbreviation for Build and Build, rather than Binance Coin. The BNB Chain, powered by BNB, shall hence deliver enhanced capabilities while focusing on the development of Web 3.0 infrastructure.

Moreover, the Binance Chain, where staking and voting takes place, has been renamed BNB Beacon Chain under the newly named BNB Chain umbrella. Elsewhere, the EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine)-compatible, multichain-supporting Binance Smart Chain will now simply be known as BNB Smart Chain, and it is still abbreviated as BSC.

As such, the BNB Chain will consolidate all of its Web 3.0 work under the banner of MetaFi, which will bring together metaverse developers and projects alongside SocialFi and GameFi. The BNB Chain shall therefore include large-scale applications and development tools, as well as an expansion of the validator set from 21 to 41 validators, with a strong emphasis on scalability.

February 15,2022

Florida Property Recently Auctioned Off As An NFT

In what seems to be a first for both real estate and cryptocurrency, a Florida property was recently auctioned off as an NFT (non-fungible token).

The four-bedroom property in Gulfport sold for $653,163 in ETH, and the victorious bidder now has the NFT, indicating ownership on-chain. 50 people signed up for the auction however only 2 actively participated in the bid during the sale.

The deal was hosted and completed by Propy, a blockchain real estate business. "This is only the first sale in our pipeline, and we're seeing a lot of demand," Propy CEO Natalia Karayaneva said in a statement.

According to Karayaneva, the home's property rights were minted as an NFT, which reduces closure time. The property will be owned by the NFT holder through a LLC (Limited Liability Company) that stores the crypto asset.

Propy previously sold TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington's Ukrainian studio apartment for around $113,176 in ETH in 2021.

February 15,2022

Antonio Velardo on the Past, Present, and Future of the Blockchain

Antonio Velardo Comments on the Timelines of the Blockchain: Where It Was and Where Its Going

The blockchain is commonly known as the foundation of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but its specifics and how it works are not nearly as ubiquitous. Antonio Velardo is an expert on this subject, and he delves a little deeper into how it all works and what the past and current timelines can tell us about its future.


Why did the blockchain garner its response when it first came out?

 Velardo says that the blockchain has solved many problems that people have struggled with for years. It was exceptionally secure, which everyone could get behind after the countless financial hacks and data loss we were seeing. And it was accessible, which gave us a glimpse into a future where you might not have to pay a $.35 charge for a $.50 transaction.

Did people rail against it at all?

 Yes and no. Of course, plenty of people would dismiss anything about cryptocurrency as nothing more than "fake money", which is an exciting phrase considering that nothing has financial value unless humans bestow that value.

Yet Antonio Velardo comments that it was a little surprising how much even the skeptics of crypto were won over by the many (many) benefits of the blockchain. It was just too practical to ignore (even when people wanted to) in many ways.

What are some of the current applications of the blockchain? 

This question drives to the heart of what the blockchain is. Antonio Velardo says that you can use it in just about every industry.

Construction workers can use the public ledger to track complex projects. Families can use it to trace their lineage. Medical practices can improve privacy without compromising patient care. So while it may have been initially developed for finance, it can be derived for a practically limitless array of applications.

What about regulation? 

Well, thats the million-dollar question. How different countries eventually regulate the blockchain will ultimately determine where it heads. Its not being regulated right now, but theres no reason to assume that it will always be this way.

The point of cryptocurrency was to get the public to police the system, not the government. Of course, best-laid plans don't always go the way that inventors want them to in the real world. This in no way detracts from the promise of the blockchain. More becomes an issue to watch like a hawk for anyone who wants to predict the following stages.

Antonio Velardo Talks Blockchain of the Future

Where do you see the blockchain going? Antonio Velardo explains that he doesnt know the blockchain is slowing down despite the potential roadblocks. Exactly what it will look like in the future depends on everything from everyday citizens to CEOs to government officials. There's no denying, though, that the blockchain can offer us a very different perspective of what money can be. In addition, it can offer us an entirely new solution to how we store data as a whole.