Dubbed as “the largest Bitcoin event in history,” Bitcoin 2021 consisted of 12,000 attendees from across the globe. Undoubtedly, Bitcoin (BTC) adoption is growing at an impressive rate. Yet judging by the attendance at Bitcoin 2021, men still appear to be the primary audience for Bitcoin.
While the lines to the bathroom made it obvious that there were nowhere near as many female attendees as there were males, there were also fewer women speakers than men at Bitcoin 2021. For example, only 27 women are featured on the Bitcoin 2021 website, which consists of over 150 speakers in total.
Although this was the case, the 27 women who did speak at Bitcoin 2021 left a lasting impact. The female speakers at Bitcoin 2021 discussed a number of different topics including regulations, technical aspects, legal requirements and more.
Wyoming sets the stage for Bitcoin innovation
United States Senator of Wyoming Cynthia Lummis discussed how regulators can encourage Bitcoin innovation in the country. Lummis was joined by Representative Warren Davidson for the panel “Bringing Bitcoin Innovation Home to America.”
Lummis kickstarted the discussion by explaining how she got involved with Bitcoin, saying: “I got into Bitcoin after being Wyoming State Treasurer. I was looking for great stores of value.”
Lummis mentioned that the “fun” thing about Bitcoin is that it’s very non-partisan and bi-partisan at the same time. As such, she noted that it’s a great space for those struggling with other issues that are decisive in Congress. “Bitcoin is a great ‘Switzerland’ kind of a place for us, where we can work on these issues and put aside some of the political consequences.”
While Lummis made a number of notable points, the audience applauded her comment regarding Bitcoin’s use as an asset to interconnect with the U.S. dollar:
“It can be the underlying network worldwide to keep the dollar the global reserve currency, but still allow people to transact in a very freedom-loving way. Whether you’re in Venezuela, where inflation is outrageous and you’re trying to get your wealth out of the country, you can get it out through Bitcoin. And, the United States, if we get to the point where we’re experiencing the kind of inflation that we’ve seen this year, we may want that alternative as well.”
Given Wyoming’s friendly stance toward Bitcoin, it was no surprise to also see Caitlin Long, CEO and founder of Avanti Financial Group — a Wyoming bank formed to bridge digital assets with the U.S. dollar payment system — speak at Bitcoin 2021. Long spoke on a panel entitled “Evolutions of Exchanges” and made a number of insightful points.
For instance, when asked about centralization risks associated with exchanges, Long noted that the digital asset industry is making some of the same mistakes as traditional financial services:
“You cannot have perfect markets if you don’t have perfect information. The intermediaries in this industry are not doing proof-of-reserves and are not voluntarily disclosing financial statements to understand the counterparty risk associated with them. In some cases, with 100-to-1 or 125-to-1 leverage future contracts, the probability of loss is in the high 90th percentile. Would people actually trade those if they knew they were virtually guaranteed to lose money?”
When asked about the ethos behind Avanti Financial, Long further remarked that “Satoshi gave us money that isn’t debt,” noting that Avanti is committed to solvency instead of liquidity. “A lot of folks are obsessed with liquidity, but Satoshi didn’t create anything designed to be leveraged and didn’t care about liquidity,” she said. Long additionally advised the audience to learn about circulation credit.
Bitcoin’s network effect explained
The “Bitcoin for Billions, Not Billionaires” fireside chat featuring Elizabeth Stark, co-founder and CEO of Lightning Labs, and Lyn Alden, founder of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy, was also interesting. The discussion focused on the importance of Bitcoin’s network effect, something which both Stark and Alden are very passionate about.
Alden explained that Bitcoin’s network effect is important to understand when considering Bitcoin as an investment asset. The economist shared that, initially, she was wary of covering Bitcoin as an asset class due to its open-source nature, which could easily be replicated, along with its giant price run in 2017. However, after watching Bitcoin’s network effect over time, Alden noted that the digital assets could withstand its competitors while also maintaining its strong, devoted community. “Over time, my conviction kept growing and growing. By the time we had the early 2021 liquidity issue, that’s when I finally said ‘I’m in,’” she said.
After monitoring Bitcoin’s network effect for some time, Alden noted that her fascination extended to the Lighting Network, a layer-two payment protocol. She explained that in some ways, the layer-two aspect is more reliant on the network effect than Bitcoin’s base layer since the key limitation of the second layer is liquidity:
“The stronger this gets over time, the more usable the network gets as a protocol of value. It’s been important to monitor the network effect to see it continue to grow. This is separate from Bitcoin’s price fluctuations, as the underlying fundamentals here are use cases and technology improvements, which are the key things for Bitcoin’s success.”
Investing in the Bitcoin space for growth
Another notable female speaker at Bitcoin 2021 was Hong Fang, CEO of OKCoin. Fang spoke on the “Giving Back to Bitcoin” panel, where she discussed how to prioritize investments in the Bitcoin space, who to invest in, and how to make the Bitcoin community scalable. “As to date, our investment in sponsoring the developers is up to $1 million, which is about $500,000 a year. To us, this is a significant amount of money, but when you think of the funding needs of developers, this is a small amount,” she said. As such, Fang noted that it’s important to keep Bitcoin developer funding diversified and flexible.
An interesting point regarding Bitcoin and decentralization was further made by Alyse Killeen during the “Investing in the Bitcoin Ecosystem Panel.” Killeen told Cointelegraph that the panel mainly focused on the risks that can occur when money is centralized, such as inflation. With this in mind, she explained the importance of Bitcoin’s decentralization:
“One of the necessary things for a thriving decentralized finance environment to exist is for decentralization to be present at the base layer. It doesn’t make sense to build decentralized finance on software controlled by rulers. Bitcoin is a system of software enforced by rules, but absent of rulers.”
New legal requirements for Bitcoin
To Killeen’s point, there are a number of rules associated with Bitcoin. Hailey Lennon, partner at Anderson Kill law firm, and Teana Baker-Taylor, general manager for Crypto.com U.K., made this clear during the “Bitcoin Makes the Laws” session.
For example, Baker-Taylor explained how the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF, relates to Bitcoin. Specifically, she explained the privacy issues brought about by the Travel Rule, which aims to require individual crypto users to provide information when sending or receiving Bitcoin across any blockchain network. “How are we supposed to record and store this information, and who is responsible for storing it? Several things have to be put in place to allow virtual asset service providers to be compliant with the Travel Rule,” she said.
Lennon further touched on the topic of secondary market regulations, noting how great it is for companies to now have different licensing options:
“What all the oversight is looking to do is to be a supervisory role and to ensure there are consumer protection rights in there and that companies are well-capitalized and have a compliance program. The process of getting these licenses is tedious and expensive, but there are different options now.”
It’s also important to mention that there was one female artist featured at the event’s Bitcoin art gallery, which showcased an elaborate collection of Bitcoin-inspired artwork from various creators.
Trew Love, a muralist and mixed media artist, told Cointelegraph that she was discovered by NFT Glee — a nonfungible token platform for artists and creators — and was curated within its collection by Evie Phillips, chief marketing officer of NFT Glee.
Love noted that when she heard about the opportunity to join the NFT curation, she began to mint her collection. “I jumped on it and created an exclusive one-of-a-kind piece featuring Mike Tyson and a Bitcoin champion winning belt. I believe Bitcoin is the coin to rule it all,” she said.
While a handful of female speakers discussed relevant topics on stage at Bitcoin 2021, notable female attendees had news to share with Cointelegraph.
Vanessa Grellet, head of portfolio growth at CoinFund, told Cointelegraph that she plans to achieve two main goals moving forward. Grellet noted that CoinFund will take a multi-strategy approach to launch various vehicles related to different strategies such as NFTs, DeFi, farming and more. “We want to create specific vehicles for investors and to focus on those activities,” she commented. Secondly, Grellet explained that CoinFund will be expanding to become bi-coastal, including a location in Miami.
Related: Women-led events may encourage long-term female participation in blockchain
Lisa Nestor, senior director of enterprise ecosystem for the Stellar Development Foundation, told Cointelegraph about a new partnership with Wyre, a blockchain payments company. Nestor noted that the Stellar Network is powering a new Wyre Savings API where fintechs can access yield-earning savings products leveraging USD Coin (USDC) on the Stellar blockchain.
In addition to women discussing company growth and innovation, some ladies shed some insight on the quality of the conference. Mandy Campbell, head of content for OKCoin, told Cointelegraph that she had heard from a lot of inspiring women at Bitcoin 2021:
“It’s clear there are more and more brilliant women pushing Bitcoin forward every day, both building the technology and expanding how it’s used. I saw a lot of passionate female supporters in attendance as well. Bitcoin is for everyone, and the people who participated in the conference reflected that.”
Quality over quantity
Overall, while there were significantly fewer women speakers and attendees than men at Bitcoin 2021, the event was still high-level, informative and fun. Moving forward, though, the Bitcoin community may start to see more women participation at conferences as the topic gains momentum.
For instance, Teodora Atanasova, VIP relations manager and founding team member at crypto-friendly bank Nexo, told Cointelegraph that Nexo sponsored the Bitcoin art gallery at Bitcoin 2021. Atanasova mentioned that she wasn’t previously aware that only one female artist was featured at the gallery. As such, Atanasova said she would make sure that more women are present and featured at Nexo’s upcoming events.
“The Bitcoin 2021 Art Gallery started as a cause — physically bringing together the talent that already had a lot in common conceptually. As a company, Nexo supports various causes, but since we hold financial literacy — and, thus, freedom — for women especially close to our hearts, we’d love to see more female artists step forward and participate as exhibitors at the next Bitcoin Art Gallery going forward.”
Bulls aim to reclaim $40K ahead of Friday’s $520M BTC options expiry
Bitcoin (BTC) bulls have little reason to celebrate the 25% rally over the past nine days. After testing the $31,000 support on June 8, top traders’ optimism faded, and even the recent $41,000 high was unable to boost their expectations.
Contrary to market sentiment, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority has indicated a significant increase in cryptocurrency ownership in the country. A consumer survey found that 2.3 million adults in the U.K. now hold crypto assets, which is up from 1.9 million last year.
Another theory that has been proven wrong is the supposition that whales have been selling, causing the Bitcoin price to remain below $47,000 for 31 days. Counter to this narrative, data from Santiment shows that addresses holding between 100 and 10,000 BTC increased their positions by $367 billion during that period.
Regardless of investors’ long-term bullishness, there is $520 million worth of BTC options set to expire at 8:00 am UTC on June 18. While the initial screening shows the neutral-to-bullish call options with a 20% lead, a more granular view provides a different picture.
The neutral-to-bullish call (buy) option provides upside price protection to buyers, while the opposite occurs when holding the protective put (sell) options. By measuring each price level’s risk exposure, traders can gain insight into how bullish or bearish traders are positioned.
The total number of contracts set to expire on June 18 is 13,400, or $520 million at Bitcoin’s current $39,000 price. Bulls lead with 1,240 contracts, equivalent to $48 million, but it depends on what price Bitcoin will stand on Friday morning.
Bulls have a $60 million lead above $38,000
While the initial picture seems bullish, one must consider that the $44,000 call (buy) options are almost worthless, with less than sixteen hours left before expiry. A more balanced situation emerges when those bullish contracts are disregarded.
Less than 2,200 call options have been placed at $38,000 or below, an $84 million open interest. At $40,000, another 1,000 neutral-to-bullish options become active, raising the open interest to $128 million.
On the other hand, the protective put options at $38,000 and higher amount to 750 contracts are worth $28 million. This gives bulls a comfortable $60 million lead and an incentive to move the price above $40,000, increasing the difference to $120 million. In this case, 99% of the protective put options will become worthless.
Related: Traders look for Bitcoin price daily close at $41K to confirm bullish reversal
Bears need to wait for until last minute to salvage their position
Options contracts at Deribit, OKEx, and Bit.com happen exactly at 8:00 am, so there is no benefit in trying to manipulate the price ahead of that event. However, bears may have thrown the towel, concentrating efforts on the monthly expiry on June 25. Bulls, on the other hand, have strong incentives to boost their profits on June 17.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.
Bitcoin slips below $39K as Fed sends gold to 6-week lows
Bitcoin (BTC) edged closer to $38,000 support on June 17 as comments from the United States Federal Reserve sparked a mass sell-off for gold.
Bitcoin escapes gold’s fate
Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView followed BTC/USD as it bounced at $38,400 during Thursday, failing to regain $39,000 in what could shape up to be its anticipated “leg down.”
Wednesday’s Fed meeting and subsequent comments from Chair Jerome Powell stopped Bitcoin from drifting higher, taking its toll on progress across cryptocurrency.
At the time of writing, $38,900 formed a focus as resistance set in but a tight wedge of support remained nearby. Data from Binance showed a large wall of bids lined up at $37,000 and above.
More conspicuous losses on the day came from gold, however, which sank to a six-week low after the Fed’s inflation message.
The dollar saw a major boost, but the combination of predicted higher interest rates combined with future tapering of coronavirus measures formed a perfect storm for the precious metal.
At the time of writing, XAU/USD traded below $1,800, having lost almost $100 over the past 24 hours.
Fighting all the way dow
While traditionally adversaries, Bitcoin and gold remain part of the portfolio recommendations for many major investment names. Last week, it was Paul Tudor Jones giving tip-offs to the public, telling mainstream media that a 5% Bitcoin and gold allocation respectively was what he “wanted” currently.
Related: Bitcoin sell-off likely played a key role in boosting gold’s appeal
Gold bugs nonetheless held their ground. Peter Schiff, founder of SchiffGold, accused the Fed of misunderstanding macroeconomic forces.
“The only thing transitory about these prices is that they’re getting worse,” he said in a new episode of his Peter Schiff Show.
“We’re transitioning from bad inflation to horrible inflation and the Fed is completely oblivious to what’s going on.”
For Tudor Jones, Schiff, ever the Bitcoin opponent, had a classic warning.
“Based on the extremely dovish statements made by Powell during his press conference and recent statements made by Paul Tudor Jones… should now go ‘all-in on the inflation trade,'” he tweeted.
“Welcome to the party Paul. But you won’t truly be all-in until you sell your Bitcoin.”
What to expect from Bitcoin as a legal tender
For much of its life, Bitcoin (BTC) has been viewed mainly as a speculative financial instrument, but El Salvador’s dramatic move in making BTC a legal tender is a reminder that cryptocurrencies can play a role in uplifting the world’s less-well-off citizens.
Two surprising facts emerged on the global stage at the start of June: First, 70% of El Salvador’s population do not have bank accounts, and second, remittances — i.e., money sent home from workers abroad — are fueling El Salvador’s economy, accounting for an astonishing 23% of the gross domestic product.
In this regard, Chainalysis was prescient last year when it described the global remittance problem in a blog — perhaps even anticipating a move like El Salvador’s: “Given the importance of remittances in the region, Latin America is one place we would expect to see such activity.”
El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, declared that as a result of the new law, “Bitcoin will have 10 million potential new users” in El Salvador, adding that BTC is the “fastest-growing way to transfer $6 billion a year in remittances.”
The new law was met with skepticism among some mainstream economists, however, who deemed it unworkable. Johns Hopkins University’s Steve Hanke went so far as to say that it could “completely collapse the [Salvadorian] economy.”
But within the cryptocurrency and blockchain community, the move was applauded. Sergey Nazarov, co-founder of Chainlink, commented to Cointelegraph, “The legalization of Bitcoin as a national currency is a uniquely significant event in the history of money, society and globalization,” while Wladimir van der Laan, a Bitcoin core developer and “maintainer,” told Cointelegraph that El Salvador’s action “is absolutely a milestone, also in the sense it is something never tried before. I hope it will be for the best.”
Eloisa Cadenas, co-founder of PXO Token — a stablecoin pegged to the Mexican peso — also underlined the new law’s importance. “It marks a different way of looking at Bitcoin and the crypto industry. For much of its history, Bitcoin has struggled against the notion that its principal use is to launder money or ‘commit fraud,’ with relatively little said about its positive qualities,” she told Cointelegraph. But here, “Bitcoin is helping people who really need it.”
But making Bitcoin legal tender — which means it can be used to pay taxes, discharge debts and buy goods in stores — carries certain risks. Eswar Prasad, a professor of economics at Cornell University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Cointelegraph:
“Relying on a cryptocurrency that has unstable value and high transaction costs as a nationally sanctioned medium of exchange seems an act of desperation. A stablecoin backed by a major reserve currency would be a better option for a country whose currency and central bank lack credibility.”
Prasad wasn’t ruling out all blockchain-related solutions with regard to cross-border payments, acknowledging that “new financial technologies that hold out the promise of reducing costs and frictions of international payments would certainly be a boon for poor countries that rely on remittances from their citizens working abroad,” including “blockchain technology and its variants,” but decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin “are unlikely to become the main vehicles for cheap, quick and efficient cross-border financial transfers.”
What is legal tender?
Legal tender is a somewhat archaic term and often misunderstood, and it can mean different things in different parts of the world. In the United States and the United Kingdom, for instance, retailers are not required by law to accept legal tender — i.e., the dollar and pound sterling, respectively — but El Salvador’s retailers must accept BTC for payment under the new law. As president Bukele explained, as reported by Reuters:
“If you go to a McDonald’s or whatever, they cannot say we’re not going to take your bitcoin, they have to take it by law because it’s a legal tender.”
Legal tender basically “means that a government has declared a type of money receivable for taxes, and it is legal to use the money in contracts and to denominate goods and services in it,” Franklin Noll, a monetary historian and the president of Noll Historical Consulting, told Cointelegraph.
A nation typically brings in a foreign currency as legal tender for three reasons, Noll continued, “The native currency is too volatile in value, there is a shortage of the native currency, or the native currency is not useful in foreign transactions or trade.”
But El Salvador has no currency of its own, it is “dollarized” — i.e., it uses the U.S. dollar for all transactions — so currency volatility or foreign trade is not an issue. “This suggests the problem is a shortage of cash” and the country’s lack of banking structure, speculated Noll, further adding:
“Probably, El Salvadoreans have been gravitating to Bitcoin for some time as an alternative currency, which ameliorated the cash/electronic cash shortage while providing for lower-cost remittances at the same time. I have to stress that I do not know this for certain.”
Is volatility still an issue?
But Bitcoin is notoriously volatile, and this could introduce some problems. People don’t want to spend BTC when its price is rising, and retailers don’t want to accept Bitcoin when its price is falling. For this reason, economist John Hawkins, writing in The Conversation, surmised that “making Bitcoin legal tender could help destabilise El Salvador’s economy,” adding, “Things would have been simpler if El Salvador had adopted a ‘stablecoin’ whose price is fixed at one US dollar.”
It may be difficult to find a workable exchange rate, too, Alistair Milne, crypto skeptic (not to be confused with Alistair Milne, a Bitcoin evangelist based in Atlanta, Georgia) and a financial economics professor at Loughborough University, told Cointelegraph.
If the law doesn’t require a particular exchange rate against the U.S. dollar, then, according to Milne, “firms will protect themselves against the risks of accepting BTC by setting a quite adverse exchange rate. […] So, technically, they accept BTC, but no one would actually pay with BTC.”
But if the law specifies a particular exchange rate, for example, “the average exchange rate over a period of, say, 10 minutes before the time of the transaction as obtained from the many standard crypto websites,” then “the costs and risk of exchange then fall on the firms receiving BTC” — though that might appeal to those receiving BTC as a remittance payment from overseas. Milne continued:
“Bottom line, even if the law is enforceable with a stated exchange rate favorable to the purchaser, I doubt even then that many transactions in El Salvador will take place in BTC.”
Which country could be next?
El Salvador is one of the few nations without its own sovereign currency and so has less to forfeit by making BTC legal tender, no loss of “seigniorage” — i.e., the profit made by a government by issuing currency, for example. So, maybe it won’t have many followers, but Nigel Green, CEO and founder of deVere Group, disagrees. “Where El Salvador has led, we can expect other developing countries to follow. This is because low-income countries have long suffered because their currencies are weak and extremely vulnerable to market changes and that triggers rampant inflation,” he said in a June 9 press release.
Will others follow? “Without a doubt,” answered Cadenas, especially those with emerging economies, though they are likely to wait for some first results out of El Salvador. “Nigeria could be the next,” though she would also like to see Mexico, her native country, commit to something similar “due to the amount of remittances entering the country.”
If remittances as a share of GDP were the only criteria, Honduras might also be a candidate. Like El Salvador, its remittances exceeded 20% of gross national product in 2019, according to Pew Research, “among the highest shares in the world.” Mexico, by comparison, had only a 3% GDP share, but its gross numbers are high, $42.9 billion in 2020, according to the World Bank, behind only China and India. Most Latin American remittances are sent from the United States.
Prasad, however, was dismissive of the notion that other nations might soon follow: “El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin is highly unlikely to set off a wave of the cryptocurrency’s adoption as national legal tender by other countries. The flaws and inefficiencies of decentralized cryptocurrencies are too great for them to become viable substitutes for fiat currencies issued by central banks.”
Noll, while doubtful that many other countries would adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, said that “crypto has opened up many options for smaller countries to pursue their own monetary agenda, one that is tailored to their needs.” He offered as examples the Bahamas’ Sand Dollar — the world’s first central bank digital currency — and the Marshall Islands’ blockchain-based currency, SOV. He added:
“There is no reason a country cannot establish their own legal tender stablecoin or adopt a pre-existing one. So, I would see El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin as part of a trend rather than a milestone.”
More Bitcoin adoption globally?
As noted, El Salvador’s president was projecting that Bitcoin could have 10 million new users as a result of the law — based on adding El Salvadorans working abroad to his nation’s 6.5 million population, one presumes.
Given that there are an estimated 71 million Bitcoin users worldwide — among 106 million global cryptocurrency users — according to a February 2021 Crypto.com report, that would mean 14% BTC adoption growth from just a single Central American country. What if some other Latin American countries with high remittance shares, including Mexico, were to follow? Would crypto adoption surge?
Related: Adopting the Bitcoin standard? El Salvador writes itself into history books
Chainlink’s Nazarov thinks just that, telling Cointelegraph, “Just like emerging markets leapfrogged past landlines straight to mobile phones, I believe that these markets’ new-found internet connectivity, combined with the internet native capabilities of Bitcoin, DeFi and smart contracts, makes them the perfect place for large-scale global adoption.” “This is just the beginning of Bitcoin, DeFi and smart contract adoption in emerging markets, and as the benefits of this historic decision are shown to be true, even more countries will follow El Salvador’s example,” he concluded.
Cadenas told Cointelegraph that Bitcoin is now evolving as a “common asset that is being used by all socioeconomic levels,” not just the wealthy, adding:
“It is wonderful to see that Bitcoin is helping people who really need it, that it is creating financial inclusion, and that it is not only to make money for the treasuries of companies.”
As NFT market cools, a chance to learn lessons from its explosive growth
Bulls aim to reclaim $40K ahead of Friday’s $520M BTC options expiry
“Bitcoin maximalists? They can’t stop innovation”, says Mati Greenspan
As NFT market cools, a chance to learn lessons from its explosive growth
Bulls aim to reclaim $40K ahead of Friday’s $520M BTC options expiry
“Bitcoin maximalists? They can’t stop innovation”, says Mati Greenspan
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