Starbucks joins NFT party, UK government seeks stablecoin regulations and Crypto Twitter rallies behind cancer fighter, Hodler’s Digest: Apr. 3-9
Coming every Saturday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
Top Stories This Week
Nonfungible tokens continue making headlines, with coffee giant Starbucks having recently signaled its intent on joining the NFT party. “Sometime before the end of this calendar year, we are going to be in the NFT business,” said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz via a Partner Open Forum on Monday.
The NFT talk surfaced in tandem with a rising interest in unionization led by workers of the chain’s U.S. stores. One of the folks heading up the union movement, Laila Dalton, was let go from Starbucks shortly after the NFT announcement. Comments from Schultz show he is not in favor of unions.
The U.K.’s HM Treasury expressed interest in crypto regulation on a number of fronts. Included in the mix was the recognition of the potential for stablecoins as commonplace payment vehicles, with the aim of fitting the asset type into current regulatory guidelines.
“It’s my ambition to make the U.K. a global hub for crypto-asset technology, and the measures we’ve outlined today will help to ensure firms can invest, innovate and scale up in this country,” HM Treasury Chancellor Rishi Sunak noted.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen said: “If crypto technologies are going to be a big part of the future, then we, the U.K., want to be in — and in on the ground floor.”
Part of the crypto industry since mid-2021, pseudonymous Twitter user “Yopi” is a cancer fighter. After trying chemotherapy, doctors told Yopi he needed stem cell treatment upon the return of the cancer. The treatment cost for Yopi: $50,000.
Yopi posted a tweet explaining the situation, which was met with significant response from the crypto community. He ended up receiving about $74,000 in crypto assets, as of the time of Cointelegraph’s reporting.
Tuesday saw a filing for a different type of Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) from ProShares — one that would allow investors to bet against BTC futures. ProShares has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for its Short Bitcoin Strategy ETF. Essentially, shares of the ETF would profit when Bitcoin futures go down in price instead of up. These so-called inverse ETFs, which are designed to perform the opposite of the benchmark in which they track, are relatively common in the futures market.
ProShares’ Bitcoin Strategy ETF, based on Bitcoin futures, was listed in October 2021 after the SEC approved the product. The newly filed ProShares Short Bitcoin Strategy ETF has a June listing goal, although a decision from the SEC could see this being delayed.
A new collaboration between crypto storage company Blockstream and Jack Dorsey’s Block (formerly Square) will see the development of a fully solar-powered, open-source BTC mining facility.
According to the announcement, the mining facility will be outfitted with a 3.8 megawatt Tesla solar PV (photovoltaic) array and 12 MWh (megawatt hour) lithium-ion battery Tesla Megapack. With this mining facility, the companies intend to investigate the feasibility of operating a zero-emission energy BTC mine.
The collaboration will also see the development of a publicly accessible dashboard, which will display key metrics including the power output, total number of mined BTC, storage performance, expenses and return on investment, to name a few.
Winners and Losers
Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Mina (MINA) at 17.56%, NEAR Protocol (NEAR) at 16.07% and Convex Finance (CVX) at 10.06%.
The top three altcoin losers of the week are Waves (WAVES) at -50.60%, Zilliqa (ZIL) at -37.08% and Axie Infinity (AXS) at -29.43%.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Most Memorable Quotations
“Under the global inflation backdrop, Bitcoin has the chance to become a broadly used currency in international settlement.”
Chen Li, CEO and co-founder of Youbi Capital
“While it is clear that the energy requirements of global Bitcoin mining have grown significantly since 2017, recent literature indicates a wide range of estimates for 2020 (47 TWh to 125 TWh) due to data gaps and differences in modelling approaches.”
“There’s no reason to treat the crypto market differently just because different technology is used.”
Gary Gensler, chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
“Just imagine where we could be in five years, where virtually everyone in the Western world will have a smartphone wallet on their smartphone and they‘ll likely be able to transact with every restaurant in the world.”
Anthony Scaramucci, founder and managing partner of Skybridge Capital
“The scarcity and pristine nature of Bitcoin as collateral may well be returning to the foreground once again.”
“El Salvador is an independent democracy and we respect its right to self-govern, but the United States must have a plan in place to protect our financial systems from the risks of this decision, which appears to be a careless gamble rather than a thoughtful embrace of innovation.”
Norma Torres, U.S. representative, on El Salvador making Bitcoin legal tender
“If people have an itch to contribute something or to do a side project in this space, I would say, ‘Throw your heart into it,’ because you’re going to get feedback and connections and insights and experiences from it that you just wouldn’t have dreamt of.”
MTC, founder of Sats Ledger
Prediction of the Week
Roughly every four years, Bitcoin’s mining payout per block cuts in half. Called the Bitcoin halving, this event has coincided with four-year price cycles, including bull and bear periods. This four-year cycle could be over, however, according to multiple industry participants.
The Santiment blog’s pseudonymous author “Alerzio” noted April 11 as a potential signal of changing times. BTC maintaining price action north of $50,000 per coin before or around that date may be evidence of a cycle that differs from previous four-year periods, Alerzio wrote. April 11 is the midpoint between the most recent BTC halving and the next one.
FUD of the Week
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) recently waved a red flag pertaining to influencers involved in finance. ASIC essentially warned influencers, both solo and companies employing influencers, of using language that might be seen as financial promotion. The warning from ASIC mentions finance as opposed to crypto specifically, but crypto is often grouped into the category of finance.
“If you present factual information in a way that conveys a recommendation that someone should (or should not) invest in that product or class of products, you could breach the law by providing unlicensed financial product advice,” the ASIC information sheet states.
Some comments of opposition regarding the move in part relate to the lack of clarity regarding what counts as financial influence.
A collection of Ledger hardware wallet users have brought a legal case against Ledger, Shopify and TaskUs. In short, the case alleges that the defendants did not take appropriate steps to prevent the leak of a significant number of Ledger buyers’ personal data in 2020.
The complaint alleges that Ledger and Shopify misled customers by advertising the “unmatched security” of their products – promises that are at odds with the current leak. The plaintiffs also claimed that Shopify and TaskUs were aware of the leak for over a week before alerting customers. Shopify was in charge of Ledger’s online store at the time of the leak, and TaskUs is a third-party data consultant responsible for handling customer service, as delegated by Shopify, according to the legal complaint.
The group of Ledger users behind the legal complaint seeks certain damages, as well as disclosure of what data was actually leaked.
In an attempt to further suppress Russian nationals from using cryptocurrencies to safeguard assets amid the war in Ukraine, the Council of the European Union announced its intent to prohibit “providing high-value crypto-asset services” to the country.
Some of the other restrictive measures proposed by the European Commission this Friday include banning transactions and freezing assets connected to four Russian banks as well as a “prohibition on providing advice on trusts to wealthy Russians.”
Just a day before the Council’s announcement, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin claimed that Russian entities and individuals hold more than $130 billion in crypto assets — an amount that nearly equals Russia’s total gold holdings, which is valued at roughly $140 billion as of March 2022.
Best Cointelegraph Features
“A CBDC is an authoritarian government’s dream and represents a giant step backward for consumer privacy.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently bought a 9.2% stake in Twitter, making him the largest stakeholder in the social media firm.
Regulators on both sides of the Atlantic seem to be nervous about people transacting with their wallets.