Bitcoin (BTC) dropped 6% last week as the standoff between Russia and Ukraine continues to spook investors globally. BTC briefly traded above $44,500 mid-week before escalating geo-political tensions affected financial markets. BTC is now trading just below the psychological level of $40,000 with the overall crypto market cap at $1.81 trillion.
Ethereum (ETH) continues to be affected by BTC’s price movements and has shed nearly 7% this week to trade around $2,700 level. All the top 20 cryptocurrencies are in the red on a weekly timeframe except Avalanche (AVAX) with a 3% increase.
While this uncertainty plays out over the next few weeks, the news from around the world continued to be optimistic for the industry. We track key themes that played out last week:
Crypto bowl hits US, installs grow 300%
This year’s Super Bowl, the highly watched annual playoff match of NFL in the US, was all about crypto. Evoking memories of the dotcom bowl of 2000 post which tech stocks crashed, many crypto platforms including Coinbase, Crypto.com, eToro and FTX spent millions advertising on this event. Coinbase’s notable ad with a QR code $15 giveaway crashed its website though led to a 309% increase in installs in the week according to Sensor Tower.
More action in the US
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has indicated plans to launch a marketplace for NFTs and cryptocurrencies just like stocks. NYSE has filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office last week representing a major sign of acceptance by Wall Street.
US state Georgia’s lawmakers have introduced a bill that would exempt local crypto miners from paying sales and use tax in the state. This bill, when passed, will encourage crypto miners to set up shop in the state. Other US states Illinois and Kentucky have also proposed tax incentives for crypto mining.
Ukraine approves Bitcoin
Amidst its standoff with Russia, Ukraine has legalized Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies paving the way for the business to run under a regulatory ambit. Bitcoin is not, however, being recognized as legal tender. Ukraine is already one of Europe’s leading hubs for crypto trading.
Bitcoin’s difficulty, representing the complexity of computation required to mine it, has reached an all-time high of 27.97 this week. Higher difficulty means there is more competition among miners to confirm a block and extract a block reward. Its hash rate has seen an increase of 45% in the last 6 months.
JPMorgan and Sequoia invest in blockchain’s future
Sequoia Capital, having announced an investment round in Ethereum layer 2 Polygon last week, has set aside $600 million for a crypto fund as part of its ongoing efforts to bootstrap the next generation of blockchain startups.
JPMorgan has become the first of the major banks to open a lounge in the metaverse which it sees as a $1 trillion opportunity in the future. The lounge is situated in the Decentraland blockchain based world. JPMorgan has also initiated research on Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) blockchain network that is resistant to quantum computing attacks.
A 100-year fun experiment
A Reddit user has hidden $100 worth Bitcoin in a public library in Europe for 100 years as a time capsule experiment. The user has locked up 0.003 BTC along with its public and private key. In 100 years, Bitcoin block reward from mining will be at 0.00000019 BTC meaning 0.003 BTC will be about 15,000 block rewards.
Top 5 gainers for the week
⦁ Neo (NEO) : 18% up
⦁ Rally (RLY): 15% up
⦁ Klaytn (KLAY): 8% up
⦁ Avalanche (AVAX): 3% up
⦁ Waves (WAVES): 3% up
Top losers this week
⦁ Elrond (EGLD): 21% down
⦁ The Sandbox (SAND): 19% down
⦁ Theta Network (THETA): 19% down
⦁ Flow (FLOW): 18% down
⦁ Quant (QNT): 17% down
(Note: Data as of 8.15 am IST, February 20, 2021; Source: Coinmarketcap.com)