The Bitcoin (BTC) price, which is currently sitting at $16,320, has only been at this level or higher for 12 days in the coin’s entire 4,332-day history, representing just 0.28% of the cryptocurrency’s life.
Crypto analytics platform Messari published data stating that the closing price had exceeded $16,320 only on 12 other days, 10 of which occurred between Dec. 7 to Dec. 20, 2017, with the highest close occurring on Dec. 16 at $19,378. Any investor who bought at the all-time high of $20,089 would still be down 18.35%. In contrast, investors who bought at this cycle’s low of $3,126 on Dec. 15, 2018, would be up 424%.
Of the other top 10 coins, only Chainlink (LINK) comes remotely close to Bitcoin with the coin sitting above the current price of $12.70 for 2.7% of its life.
By contrast, the majority of altcoins are yet to enter proportionally rare price ranges. Ether’s (ETH) current price of $464 has been exceeded 201 days in the past, representing more than 10% of the entire 1,933 days since the Ethereum network went live.
XRP, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Binance Coin (BNB), Polkadot (DOT) and Cardano’s (ADA) prices all vary between 9.7% and above 30%. BCH exceeds all other coins sitting above the current price of $258 for at least one-third of its life.
Bitcoin’s strong rise past $16,000 has also seen record volumes recently. With more than $5.5 billion in Bitcoin trading volume recorded on Nov. 5, only nine days have seen stronger volume in Bitcoin’s history.
Compared to this day in previous years, investors have seen profits of 88%, 2,275%, 4,326% and a staggering 5,833,991% for the years of 2019, 2016, 2013 and 2010, respectively.
In other words, investing $1 into Bitcoin on November 13, 2010, would have increased to $58,339 today.
6 Questions for Kain Warwick of Synthetix – Cointelegraph Magazine
We ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and we throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!
This week, our 6 Questions go to Kain Warwick, the founder of Synthetix.
Kain Warwick is the founder of Synthetix, a derivatives liquidity protocol on Ethereum. Synthetix has processed billions of dollars in trading volume. Warwick previously founded Blueshyft, Australia’s largest cryptocurrency payment gateway.
1 — What’s a problem you think blockchain has a chance to solve but that hasn’t been attempted yet?
I might just still be a 2017 idiot here, but I still feel equity settlement, having a decentralized ledger for equity settlement, is a sensible thing that will happen. But it can’t happen until regulators are comfortable with it happening, etc. The efficiencies it will add are just too obvious to be avoided. There are certain things that come with that, that mean it’s gonna take a while before we see that. There have been weird little experiments, but I think a large-scale transition to something like that is still a ways away. But it will be hugely impactful when it happens.
2 — Which is sillier: $500,000 Bitcoin or $0 Bitcoin? Why?
$0 Bitcoin. There is just zero chance — it’s literally impossible for Bitcoin to go to zero. There is not a market where someone would not have a buy price for every Bitcoin above zero. It’s just functionally impossible. Whatever the canonical Bitcoin is, even if it’s not the one that it is right now — that specific chain or whatever — it has a price above zero. There’s always a market for something, there’s always a buyer of last resort for something, and Bitcoin has way more buyers of last resort — it’s never going to zero.
3 — What should we be teaching our kids?
I think we should teach our children to not blindly accept authority, which is a hard thing to do because there are so many things in children’s lives that are structured and controlled that they don’t have control over. And so, to teach them to be respectful of certain things while also being mindful that they should be questioned is a delicate balance to strike.
4 — What’s the silliest conspiracy theory out there… and which one makes you pause for a moment?
Probably the silliest conspiracy theory is the Bill Gates microchip vaccine theory, and probably the one that gives me pause for a moment is the Elon Musk microchip conspiracy theory.
5 — Which people do you find most inspiring, most interesting and most fun in this space?
I feel like Andre Cronje is an easy and obvious one. You never know what the fuck he’s going to be doing. Larry Cermak’s good, Anthony Sassano is good, Mariano Conti is good, he’s always high value. Obviously, G (DegenSpartan) is always good.
6 — What talent do you lack and wish you had? How would you use it if you had it?
I lack the talent to draw things, and I would be starting my own NFT project if I had the ability to draw.
Tesla buys BTC, Mastercard supports crypto, DOGE founder speaks out
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
Bitcoin hits all-time highs as Tesla invests $1.5 billion
The past week is going to go down as one of the best in Bitcoin’s history. It all began when an SEC filing revealed Tesla has invested $1.5 billion in BTC and planned to start accepting crypto as a payment method.
BTC’s price immediately leaped to record highs on the news, surging by 20% in 24 hours. The announcement came weeks after Elon Musk added #bitcoin to his bio and revealed he supported the cryptocurrency.
Tesla’s Bitcoin exposure represents about 7.7% of its gross cash position, and the news has sparked hopes that other major corporations will follow suit. Galaxy Digital’s Michael Novogratz predicted that “every company in America” will emulate the electric vehicle maker by allocating part of its balance sheets to BTC.
But some treasury experts have been left scratching their heads over the change in Tesla’s investment strategy, with critics describing the move as “unusual” and “risky.” JPMorgan also piled in and said the purchase might not trigger a ton of similar investments.
Mastercard announces support for crypto on its network in big week for adoption
Tesla was just the tip of the iceberg, with a flurry of announcements proving that Bitcoin is now firmly in the mainstream.
Mastercard unveiled plans to start supporting crypto this year, paving the way for almost 1 billion people to spend digital assets at more than 30 million merchants. The company said the move was about giving its customers choice.
Elsewhere, PayPal revealed that its crypto service is going to be rolled out in the U.K., making it the first international market since a successful launch in the U.S. last fall.
Twitter, home to crypto-friendly CEO Jack Dorsey, confirmed it is looking into how it might pay employees who wish to be compensated in Bitcoin. Chief financial officer Ned Segal added that the social network is exploring whether it needs to have BTC on its balance sheet.
There was more to come. BNY Mellon, America’s oldest bank, announced that it will offer crypto custody services for institutional clients. Its chief executive, Roman Regelman, told the WSJ: “Digital assets are becoming part of the mainstream.” Other major banks, such as JPMorgan, now believe they’ll eventually have to get involved in BTC.
Speculation is now growing that Apple will be one of the next companies to embrace Bitcoin. The cherry on top of the cake came when the crypto-focused fintech platform BitPay revealed that card owners can now pay for goods and services using Apple Pay.
Key Bitcoin price metric signals traders are positioned for $50,000
BTC surged beyond $43,000 without breaking a sweat on Monday, besting last month’s all-time high of $42,000. As the week progressed, Bitcoin managed to hit $48,900.
Many high-profile analysts openly predicted last year that $50,000 was a realistic price target for 2021. Just six weeks into the year, BTC has come tantalizingly close to this level.
Despite Bitcoin’s value trebling in the space of just three months, several crypto traders believe that the scene remains exceedingly bullish… and those looking for a local top might end up being disappointed.
One analyst, Cheds, told Cointelegraph: “In my view, bulls are still in complete control, and every day, we get more news of institutional adoption and demand and that, more than anything, will be the driving force.”
Another, CryptoWendyO, described $50,000 as “inevitable,” adding that a Bitcoin tweet from Musk could send BTC to $54,000.
Ethereum hits a new all-time high as CME futures go live
ETH broke $1,800 this week, setting new records several times along the way. All of this came as Ether futures made their long-awaited debut on CME.
It’s also been a very lucrative few days in the altcoin markets. Cardano has surged 71% over the past seven days, and Polkadot is up 49%, with Binance Coin crushing the competition after clocking gains of 103% in the space of a week. Even XRP managed to break $0.60 once again, which has the Sword of Damocles hanging over its head.
BNB’s gains are undoubtedly linked to the record levels of traffic coming to the Binance exchange, with the platform suffering an outage on Thursday as it went down for maintenance.
The total value locked in decentralized finance also managed to crack $40 billion this week. However, much of this surge is likely down to the soaring value of Ether rather than a dramatic explosion in activity.
Founder of Dogecoin sold everything in 2015 for “a used Honda Civic”
Not everyone is rolling around in $100 bills as a result of the crypto bull run. Dogecoin founder Billy Markus has revealed that he sold off his DOGE stash in 2015 for an amount equivalent to a used Honda Civic.
All of that means that he missed out on the Dogecoin mania that has helped the joke cryptocurrency gain 900% since late January, fueled by tweets from Elon Musk.
Writing on Reddit, Markus said that he can’t comprehend the prospect of DOGE ever reaching $1, writing: “That would make the ‘market cap’ larger than actual companies that provide services to millions, such as Boeing, Starbucks, American Express, IBM.”
Musk recently revealed that he had bought some DOGE for his nine-month-old son so he can be a “toddler hodler,” but there are fears that his days of tweeting about crypto could be numbered. Legal advisors have warned the billionaire that his social media activity and public statements could come under scrutiny from the SEC.
Winners and Losers
At the end of the week, Bitcoin is at $47,592.20, Ether at $1,836.68 and XRP at $0.60. The total market cap is at $1,477,578,548,979.
Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Avalanche, BitTorrent and The Graph. There’s just one altcoin loser in the top 100 this week: Ampleforth.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Most Memorable Quotations
“Cryptocurrency has become a worldwide transaction of which you cannot even identify who owns what. The technology is so strong that I don’t see the kind of regulation that we can do. Bitcoin has made our currency almost useless or valueless.”
Sani Musa, Nigerian senator
“Elon Musk has exposed Tesla to immense mark-to-market risk.”
Peter Garnry, Saxo Bank head of equity strategy
“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.”
Janet Yellen, U.S. Treasury Secretary
“New account registrations are still open, not sure for how long. Also seeing ATH on this. Better get an account soon.”
Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO
“It would not be surprising — given the focus on the chief executive’s tweets, Bitcoin pricing and recent dramatic market moves — for the SEC to ask questions about the facts and circumstances here.”
Doug Davison, former SEC enforcement official
“Digital assets are becoming a more important part of the payments world. We are here to enable customers, merchants and businesses to move digital value — traditional or crypto — however they want. It should be your choice, it’s your money.”
“Bought some Dogecoin for lil X, so he can be a toddler hodler.”
Elon Musk, Tesla CEO
“The main issue with the idea that mainstream corporate treasurers will follow the example of Tesla is the volatility of Bitcoin.”
“We’ve done a lot of the upfront thinking to consider how we might pay employees should they ask to be paid in Bitcoin, how we might pay a vendor should they ask to be paid in Bitcoin, and whether we need to have Bitcoin on our balance sheet.”
Ned Segal, Twitter chief financial officer
“Markets are going up heavily, but we’ll be seeing some downwards momentum as well. Nothing goes up in a straight line.”
Michaël van de Poppe, Cointelegraph Markets analyst
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see there being almost some sort of a race now — you have Elon Musk, you have Michael Saylor, Jack Dorsey. You’re gonna see a lot of other visionary leaders in disruptive companies actually realizing that it’s really moved from ‘why’ to ‘why not.’”
Michael Sonnenshein, Grayscale CEO
“The target for consolidation is near $52k, where I’m expecting a bit of a correction but the measured move overall should take us towards $63,000.”
filbfilb, Cointelegraph Markets analyst
“Any wallet that won’t give you your private keys should be avoided at all costs.”
Elon Musk, Tesla CEO
“Central banks should ban the trading of it, and force anyone who holds Bitcoin and wants to use it in any transaction, to exchange it for another currency that does not have such a damaging side effect.”
Nick Boles, former British MP
“ETH futures go live on the CME today. This is huge. This is a bridge to institutions. This is a green light from U.S. regulators. ETH is becoming globally accepted commodity money.”
Ryan Sean Adams, Ethereum researcher
“If [Apple] decides to enter into the crypto exchange business, we think the firm could immediately gain market share and disrupt the industry.”
Paul Steves, Royal Bank of Canada Dominion Securities
“We expect to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for our products in the near future.”
Prediction of the Week
Bitcoin price poised to hit $63,000, says trader filbfilb
The popular analyst filbfilb has declared that “the game has changed” for Bitcoin — and has revealed what he thinks will come next for the world’s biggest cryptocurrency.
The Cointelegraph Markets contributor has said that he’s anticipating “a bit of a correction” once BTC hits $52,000 but believes “the measured move overall should take us towards $63,000.”
And on the matter of corporate adoption, he wrote: “I really don’t think people understand that S&P 500 companies owning Bitcoin means that by default people’s pensions are exposed to Bitcoin. The % of people invested in Bitcoin has already reached the masses, they just don’t even know it.”
FUD of the Week
Ethereum-based social media project shuts down as ETH fees approach new highs
An Ethereum-based project has ceased development due to rising gas prices, as the cost of transacting on the blockchain continues to push new highs.
Unite, which aimed to offer social media tokens, said the original idea for the project has been rendered unfeasible by the recent spike in fees, with the average cost of using Ethereum rising by a staggering 35,600% since last January.
The startup intended to allow social media users on sites such as Twitter and Discord to distribute Ethereum ERC-20 tokens to their audience and community. Developers also confirmed that they have decided against building the platform on a layer-two solution.
FTX CEO claims competitor responsible for racist messages delivered to Blockfolio users
Blockfolio’s Signal feed was briefly compromised this week, with some users receiving racist messages within the company’s app.
Now, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who acquired Blockfolio for $150 million last August, has shed light on what happened following a security review.
He claimed that the offensive content was produced and published by a competitor exchange that maliciously gained access to someone’s account.
Bankman-Fried didn’t name the culprit but stressed that funds were not jeopardized at any time. He also confirmed that Blockfolio has now fixed the vulnerability that led to this situation.
The executive has been praised for his handling of the situation, and he has apparently added $10 to the trading accounts of affected users, as well as donating to organizations dedicated to fighting racial and societal injustice.
India’s crypto ban is coming, hodlers to be given transition period: Bloomberg
An unnamed senior finance ministry official has claimed that India will soon completely ban crypto assets.
It’s reported that the use of cryptocurrency in all forms will be prohibited under the new law — meaning transacting through foreign exchanges won’t be allowed either.
Crypto exchanges have reacted with dismay to the news. Unocoin co-founder Sathvik Vishwanath said: “If government goes ahead with banning all cryptocurrencies, except the one backed by the state, it will not make sense to continue our business in India. But we’ll have to wait and watch.”
The Indian government has been determined to clamp down on crypto use after the supreme court overturned the RBI’s blanket ban on local banks providing services to businesses dealing with crypto.
Best Cointelegraph Features
Moment of truth? Tesla purchase is the moment Bitcoin has been waiting for
Despite some expected near-term volatility, Tesla’s exploration of the crypto realm will likely help the industry scale up to new heights.
Coincidence? Company stocks rise after they buy Bitcoin as a reserve
The market caps of most companies that bought Bitcoin have increased recently, but is that solely thanks to BTC?
A new trend? Non-crypto CEOs and celebrities embrace Bitcoin on Twitter
Are business leaders signaling the technological future they believe is coming to pass — an international and decentralized one?
Necessity is the mother of adoption – Cointelegraph Magazine
Binance’s Changpeng Zhao describes the Philippines as “one of the most active crypto communities in Asia” and it’s the perfect way to sum up the country’s blend of high adoption amid relatively low affluence.
With GDP spending power of less than $10,000 per head each year, this nation of 7,100 islands is far from a major contributor to worldwide exchange volumes. But in terms of day to day use and enthusiasm, a significant proportion of Filipinos appear to be leapfrogging directly from a cash-based economy to the future of fintech.
The country boasts 17 licensed digital currency exchanges, and tens of thousands of pawn shops and convenience stores happily accept cash deposits and withdrawals for various crypto exchanges and apps. You can buy Bitcoin with cash at any of the 3,000 7/Elevens in the land via Abra, and one in seven adults use the blockchain-based crypto and digital payments app Coins.ph. That’s a level of market penetration comparable to some of the most well-known payments apps in the world.
Crypto regulations are clearly defined and broadly favorable, and special economic zones such as the ‘Crypto Valley of Asia’ in Cagayan, and the Clark Freeport Zone, compete to attract international blockchain projects. In fact, the International Monetary Fund named the Philippines one of the ten best countries in the world in which to develop a blockchain or cryptocurrency project. Widespread high-level English language skills and relatively low wages have also seen Filipino workers become a favored choice as remote staff for blockchain projects.
Swapping cash for crypto
The growing embrace of fintech and blockchain comes as much from a pressing need to modernize as anything else. It’s still a cash-based society where 71% of adults don’t have a bank account. Even before the pandemic, one in five people lived below the poverty line, with many relying on cash in hand jobs and living from day to day.
But with more active cell phone connections than people, there are big opportunities to change the game. By 2019, 10% of the population was already using cryptocurrencies to make payments. Leah Callon-Butler, the director of Emfarsis Consulting in Clark, says fintech can dramatically change lives in the country:
“People are just like, ‘Whoa, mind blown — this is going to save me half a day because I don’t have to go all the way to the bank during business hours and take three journeys on public transport and then wait in line for an hour and cash the damn thing and then go all the way home. I could do this on my phone.’”
Callon-Butler was herself unbanked when she arrived in the Philippines in 2018 to work with the local staff for an international crypto project. Like many, she turned to the blockchain based Coins.ph platform. “Coins.ph changed my life,” she says, adding: “I realized I could use it to deposit Bitcoin or Ethereum and I could buy mobile load, I could pay bills, transfer money to other people, it was just a lifesaver. It’s very easy to use and very customer centric.”
Crypto makes life easier
In the past two years alone, Coins.ph claims to have doubled its user base to 10 million people, out of a total adult population of 72 million. Founded in 2014, it seeks to make digital transactions easy, with users able to sign up quickly with a mobile phone, email address and ID selfie and then withdraw or deposit cash at 33,000 retail partners. The app offers banking, bill payments, remittances and online shopping, all using either pesos or cryptocurrency.
A spokesperson for the company told Magazine that more people had started using the platform since the beginning of the pandemic: “We’re starting to see a positive shift as digital payments gain traction – a trend accelerated by the global pandemic,” they added: “More people are adapting to crypto, online banking and more.”
Blockchain is also helping undercut the high cost of remittances. Around 10% of the GDP of the Philippines comes from the 10 million expatriate Filipinos who work overseas and send money back home to support their families. But wiring money via traditional routes comes with high fees — an average of 6.9% for a $200 transfer — leaving a big market opportunity for companies including PDAX, BloomX, SendFriend, Rebit and Coins.ph to transfer funds for a fraction of the cost using crypto, that can be withdrawn as cash at thousands of shops. The spokesperson says:
“We’re seeing growing interest amongst users in using crypto as a convenient option to transact – particularly cross-border. We see digital remittances – including blockchain-based remittance – as a significant opportunity. COVID-19 is a key driver of the growth we’re seeing, but we expect this trend will continue beyond the pandemic.”
Coins.ph would not provide a breakdown on the number of users who transact in cryptocurrencies, versus those who use fiat. But Mike Mislos, founder of the local Bitpinas crypto news website, estimates that it’s a significant proportion. “I’m also part of some groups on Facebook and like half the people are using it for normal financial transactions and half the people are also using it for cryptocurrencies,” he told Magazine.
2023 goals you can bank on
The increase in user numbers at Coins.ph comes in the context of a wider drive to overhaul the economy. Realizing how inefficient the current cash-based, unbanked economy is, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has unveiled an ambitious roadmap with a goal for 2023 of getting 70% of citizens a bank account, and switching 50% of retail payments to digital.
The pandemic has accelerated progress on this front, due to the “general community quarantine” and “enhanced community quarantine” restrictions that have kept many people at home since March. Around 14 million people in Manila have been under strict rules for almost eleven months now with the latest deadline due to expire, and likely extended once again, on January 31. The Philippines has seen half a million cases and just under 10,000 deaths.
“It appears the target has been accelerated because of the pandemic because there’s absolutely no choice but to do the transactions online because of lockdown,” as Mislos explained.
Bigger than payments
The local blockchain industry isn’t just confined to exchanges and remittances though. There’s payroll service Paylance, real estate transaction platform Qwikwire, and a coworking space BlockchainSpace, that also offers industry events and training. Manila gaming company Altitude Games is fast becoming a local leader in blockchain-based virtual worlds, creating the NFT-powered Battle Racers game for Decentraland and has Mushroom Mania for The Sandbox in development.
One of the most well-known companies is Satoshi Citadel Industries which has been developing its blockchain ecosystem since 2014. Services include remittances (Rebit) crypto purchases and a wallet (Buy Bitcoin, BTC Wallet) and international stock purchasing platform (Keza).
Even Binance is making a push into the Philippines, having hired Coins.ph’s former head of cryptocurrency Colin Goltra as country director, and launching P2P Bitcoin trading with pesos in the summer of 2020. Binance also acquired a local payments company Swipe, to launch crypto to fiat credit cards in various regions around the world.
Mislos says there was probably more interest in crypto in the Philippines than elsewhere in the region, with the exception Singapore and Vietnam. He cites favorable regulations, including a regulatory sandbox for emerging companies, as part of the reason. “I think more people are interested in cryptocurrencies than other countries here in South East Asia,” he says, adding:
“The regulations from the central bank are more welcoming. I don’t think there are many more countries in the world who have as much potential and regulatory clarity at the moment as the Philippines.”
In July, Union Bank teamed up with exchange PDAX to enable everyone, including the unbanked, to invest in retail Treasury bonds with as little as $100 via blockchain at Bonds.ph. The government is also in the process of fine turning regulations with the Blockchain Digital Technology Act.
But not everything is full speed ahead for cryptocurrency in the Philippines. While the central bank has seriously examined a CBDC or ‘digital peso’ it recently shelved plans to launch one until at least 2023.
There was also considerable excitement in 2018 over a partnership between a developer and the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority to build the ‘Crypto Valley of Asia‘, situated about 400km north of Manila. While dozens of international blockchain and fintech companies have reportedly received licenses, and an $80 million airport was announced in early 2020, things have gone quiet in recent months.
“During this pandemic, I don’t think they are able to focus on that,” Mislos says. “But the last time I checked they were still on.” So it seems this will be a long term project, with three phases planned to roll out over ten years.
What does this year hold?
With 2021 already upon us, will this year see an improvement in the country’s fortunes? Sadly, the signs don’t appear that promising with Moody’s Analytics predicting that due to “deep recession and uncertain fiscal support of policy makers”, the Philippines will be the last country in the Asia Pacific to recover from the pandemic’s economic effects.
Adding to their woes, the Philippines is pinning its Covid-19 relief hopes on 50 million doses of the Chinese made Sinovac, which is reportedly not only less effective than other vaccines, but only a third of Filipinos are willing to take it. So for the time being, the shift to remote work and digital transactions seems to be a necessity rather than a choice.
Part Two of our ‘Crypto in the Philippines’ special report lands next week and looks at the ethics of hiring offshore Filipino employees for international blockchain projects.
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