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World Economic Forum Releases Very Pro-Cryptocurrency Report

The World Economic Forum has recently released a report that suggests cryptocurrencies have a very prosperous future. The report, titled “Crypto, What Is It Good For? An Overview of Cryptocurrency Use Cases,” is rabidly optimistic about the future role of cryptocurrencies in the world’s economic and financial systems.

Here are some various quotes from the report:

Over a decade ago, a white paper by Satoshi Nakamoto was distributed to a cryptography mailing list outlining a novel proposal for a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system” called bitcoin. This innovation spurred a new, global industry and asset class that has created hundreds of billions of dollars in value, and inspired a generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.

From the foreword

Another pro-crypto statement:

The World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Cryptocurrencies represents a broad cross-section of experts working to make cryptocurrencies useful across a wide range of use cases.

From the foreword

And one more:

Cryptocurrencies have reached a point of inevitability. We have dedicated our careers to advancing the adoption and use of cryptocurrencies because we believe they represent an enormous opportunity to grow the global digital economy and benefit consumers and businesses across the world.

From the foreword

When on reads the report, it becomes very clear that the World Economic Forum clearly believes that cryptocurrency will permeate all economic and financial transactions globally.

These specific cryptocurrencies each have a dedicated segment in the report: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Tezos, Celo, Litecoin, Zcash, Filecoin, and Arweave. These second layer protocols also have their own segments in the report: Bancor, Lightning, Compound Protocol, Uniswap, Etherisc, and OMG Network.

This report is more evidence that the world is heading towards mass adoption of blockchain.

Got crypto?

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It’s Not Just Institutional Thirst, Retail Demand For Crypto Reaches ‘Unprecedented’ Levels

There’s just not enough Bitcoin to meet demand.

That’s not just some hopium-based fantasy by the leader of a fringe crypto cult.

No, it’s simple fact from tallying just a couple places where Bitcoin can be bought.

We’ve reported that institutional money is moving into cryptocurrency assets, and that institutional demand is higher than it has ever been.

Retail demand is also currently at “unprecedented levels.”

Unprecedented levels

Israeli trading and investing platform Etoro warned customers in Europe on Friday of possible limitations on crypto purchasing over the weekend. In an email, the exchange said: “The unprecedented demand for crypto, coupled with limited liquidity, presents challenges to our ability to support buy orders over the weekend. In light of this, it may be necessary for us to place limitations on crypto buy orders.”

eToro’s statement acknowledging unprecedented demand is just one of many that point to the fact that there isn’t enough Bitcoin available at today’s prices to meet demand.

Pantera Capital’s recent monthly letter to investors states that:

In last month’s investor letter we discussed that after 30 months of operation, Square’s Cash App is estimated to be buying around 40% of all newly-issued bitcoin.

PayPal just launched their new service that enables customers to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrency directly from their PayPal accounts. It’s already having a huge impact.

The bitcoin community is proud to have grown to 100 million users over twelve years. PayPal has 300 million active users. As we’ve argued — and will argue more fully in our December investor letter — this rally is much more sustainable than 2017. One of the main differences is the ease of investing in bitcoin now — via PayPal, Cash App, Robinhood, etc.

Previously the friction to buy bitcoin was pretty onerous: take a selfie with your passport, wait days to a week to get activated, daily limits.

Three hundred million people just got instant access to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies.

BOOM! The results are already apparent.

PayPal’s crypto infrastructure provider is Paxos. Prior to PayPal’s integration of crypto, itBit, the Paxos-run exchange, was doing a fairly constant amount of trading volume — the white line in the chart below.

When PayPal went live, volume started exploding. The increase in itBit volume implies that within four weeks of going live, PayPal is already buying almost 70% of the new supply of bitcoins.

PayPal and Cash App are already buying more than 100% of all newly-issued bitcoins.

Only 900 New Bitcoins Created Each Day

Bitcoin supply is growing daily. Literally, it’s growing by 6.25 newly created Bitcoins with each new block mined. By design, one Bitcoin block is mined every 10 minutes, resulting in an average of 144 new blocks every day. 144 x 6.25 equals 900 new Bitcoins created each day.

Genuine Bitcoin Investor Demand

As we reported above, just Paypal and Cash App are responsible for buying more than 900 Bitcoin per day.

Let’s look at another rather obscure place to buy Bitcoin: LocalBitcoins.com. This is a site outside of the massive mainstream crypto exchanges. It is sort of a peer-to-peer classified ad site that matches buyers with sellers on an individual level.

Compared to the big exchanges, such as Coinbase, this site is tiny. For instance, Binance alone had a Bitcoin trading volume in the past 24 hours of $2.77 billion at press time.

Contrast that to the average daily trading of Bitcoin at localbitcoins.com which is a mere $6 million. The difference in size is staggering. The point being, trading volume at localbitcoins.com is a tiny, extremely tiny, amount of Bitcoin being bought each day.

Now, be aware that most of the trading volume on Binance and other big exchanges is just that: trading, not investing. A trader can buy and sell multiple times per day with each of those trades adding into the cumulative total trading volume.

On localbitcoins.com it is definitely not “traders” doing the trading, it is mom and pop type of people buying Bitcoin to hold as an investment.

So let’s look at the numbers. $6 million worth of Bitcoin are being bought right now every day on localbitcoins.com.

How many Bitcoin is that?

$6,000,000/$37,000 each equals 162 Bitcoin.

Remember, there’s only 900 being created. And this tiniest little peer-to-peer exchange is responsible for its users buying up almost 1/5 of all newly created Bitcoin each and every day. This is purely Bitcoin volume, and does not include other cryptos such as XRP and Litecoin.

Paypal and Cash App are already buying more Bitcoin than are being created each day. This tiny little site is facilitating the buying of nearly 20% of all new Bitcoin being create. What about the customers of Binance? What about demand from the customers of Coinbase, Gemini, Kraken, Bittrex, Bitstamp, Huobi, Bitfinex, and hundreds of other exchanges are are many times lager than localbitcoins? Where will all the Bitcoin come from for those buyers to be able to purchase?

Only Existing Holders Can Supply Bitcoin To Match Soaring Demand

One thing is certain, there is no way to increase the supply of new Bitcoin being created each day and available on the market. With demand absolutely overwhelming new supply, that only leaves existing holders willing to sell in order to satiate buyer demand.

Which means only one thing: prices will continue to be bid higher.

There’s good reason for the crypto fear and greed index to be pegged on greed.

How high is high? Here’s our Bitcoin forecast for this year and beyond.

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Gemini Unveils Plans For Credit Card With Crypto Rewards

Gemini, a crypto exchange and custodian, today announced that it will launch the Gemini Credit Card, a credit card with cryptocurrency rewards. This effort has been accelerated by the acquisition of Blockrize, a fintech startup that has been building a credit card with cryptocurrency rewards. In preparation for launch later this year, Gemini has opened the Gemini Credit Card waitlist — providing Gemini customers, and those already on the Blockrize waitlist, with early access.

By combining Gemini’s simple, reliable, and safe platform with Blockrize’s rewards program, card holders will be able to seamlessly earn up to 3 percent back in bitcoin, or other cryptos, on every purchase they make with the Gemini Credit Card.

“The Gemini Credit Card will make it easier for any consumer to invest in bitcoin and other cryptos without changing their existing behavior, ” said Tyler Winklevoss, CEO of Gemini. “Rather than deciding how and when to buy crypto, customers can do so when making their everyday purchases. We’re excited to welcome the Blockrize team to Gemini and work together to continue to mainstream crypto.”

Those who join the waitlist, and the more than 10,000 people already on the Blockrize waitlist, will get early access. The Gemini Credit Card will work like a traditional credit card. It will be available to U.S. residents in every state and will be widely accepted wherever major cards are accepted. Rewards will be automatically deposited into a cardholder’s Gemini account.

For Gemini users or others interested in signing up to the waitlist, please visit: https://gemini.com/credit-card/waitlist. To sign up for a Gemini account visit: https://exchange.gemini.com/register.

This is Gemini’s second acquisition, following its acquisition of Nifty Gateway in November of 2019. Gemini continues to look for companies that align with its values and mission to empower the individual through crypto.

About Gemini

Gemini Trust Company, LLC (Gemini) is a cryptocurrency exchange and custodian that allows customers to buy, sell, and store more than 30 cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, litecoin, and Zcash. Gemini is a New York trust company that is subject to the capital reserve requirements, cybersecurity requirements, and banking compliance standards set forth by the New York State Department of Financial Services and the New York Banking Law. Gemini was founded in 2014 by twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss to empower the individual through crypto.

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Flare Networks Announces Smart Contracts For Litecoin

Ripple’s late 2020 rise was due partly to a massive airdrop of Flare (FLR) tokens. Now, the smart contract solution is actually adding support for Litecoin (LTC). An FLR airdrop to Litecoin users is actually in the works.

XRP wallets included in the December snapshot will receive a Flare tokens (worth a great amount of money, potentially).

In a Jan. 8, 2020 tweet, Flare says that they will “reduce” the number of Flare tokens for the project’s founders by five billion. This extra will be distributed to “Litecoin participants.” The Tweet promises clarification in the coming week.

A Flare for airdrops Tokens on the Flare network, known as Spark, will be used for governance and as collateral following the expected token drop in Q2, 2021. The business plans to bring smart contracts to Ripple’s XRP. Previously, Ripple was seen as a vehicle for funds transfer, and Flare claims that Spark tokens will add value.

With this tweet, the company is actually announcing what was somewhat unexpected: that the network will support other cryptocurrencies besides XRP, namely Litecoin.

Flare received a large amount of hype and press before the December snapshot for the airdrop to XRP holders.

For what it is worth, the company is naming their FLR tokens XFLR tokens (for XRP) on their site. There can probably be LFLR tokens for Litecoin. But it may not stop there. Flare could add support for other cryptos.

The rationale for choosing to integrate with Litecoin, over some other similarly sized digital assets, may have come right down to the fact that after XRP, LTC was the next biggest asset currently with no smart contract capabilities.

The Litecoin Foundation has stated it is “very excited to see the capability of smart contracts and interoperability coming for Litecoin through Flare.”

This also opens up the possibility of more such integrations that would bring the DeFi ecosystem to all non-ETH coins in the near future.

Flare has said it may support other networks in the future, but this was given little attention. Support for, say, the Bitcoin network could have implications that are huge and give ETH a run for its money.

Smart contracts and Ethereum competition? The short version of the purpose of Flare is actually to facilitate smart contracts on protocols that don’t have them built in. Flare is backed by XRP, and the airdrop to most XRP-hodling wallets cast Flare into the spotlight.

The very last several weeks have seen insane interest in Ethereum, and as the time tested and secure smart-contract chain, that is no surprise. The #2 crypto may have new investors interested in case they feel like they “missed the boat” with Bitcoin.

But the tech backing Ethereum’s value is the smart contracts. Though there are actually lots of other similar protocols that are potential rivals (DOT, EOS), ADA, Ethereum still reigns supreme.

Nevertheless, if other networks (like XRP or LTC) could support smart contracts, that would widen their appeal. In case these protocols could be interoperable via the Flare network, that would be a coup for Spark tokens (Flare hasn’t suggested they’ve plans for this).

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Litecoin and XRP Battle It Out For Spot In Top 5 Cryptocurrencies

Litecoin (LTC) and XRP traded places in market capitalization rankings over the weekend, highlighting the impact of the recent lawsuit against Ripple filed by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

The so-called “flippening” happened early Sunday when Litecoin’s market cap hit $9.95 billion following a more than 11% surge in price. XRP, meanwhile, had declined in excess of 40% over a 24-hour trading period

The battle for a spot in the top 5 cryptocurrencies by market cap continues to rage on.

As of yesterday, XRP was back in the fourth position with a market cap of $10.5 billion. Litecoin, meanwhile, was worth just over $10 billion. In the last week, Litecoin’s price has gained more than 30% while XRP during the same time period has only risen by about 8%.

Litecoin’s price has more than doubled since mid-December, climbing to $163 at the time of this writing from a low of about $70 on December 11, 2020. XRP was also on a tear before the SEC announced a lawsuit against Ripple for allegedly violating securities laws. From its peak to its low, XRP price tumbled more than 73%, according to CoinMarketCap data. XRP has only recovered a portion of what it lost.

XRP’s road to recovery is likely to be a bumpy one as investors await the outcome of the litigation — a process that legal experts say could take several years to play out. We do have the opion – just our opinion – that a settlement will be reached sooner rather than later. Without a settlement with the SEC, the value of XRP could struggle to regain momentum. A wave of delistings at major exchanges has also dampened enthusiasm for XRP.

Meanwhile, Litecoin’s ascendancy likely has more to do with Bitcoin than any change in the project’s underlying fundamentals. Being the oldest of the cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin has assumed the role of the leader. Where Bitcoin goes, the altcoins follow.

The total market cap of all cryptocurrencies rose to all-time high today, surging past $950 billion.

Litecoin vs XRP


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More Signs That Institutional Money Is Flowing Into Cryptocurrency

Bitwise Asset Management, a leading provider of crypto index funds, became the most recent example of the influx of institutional money into cryptocurrency by announcing today that it recently surpassed $500 million in assets under management (AUM), up $400 million from its previous report of $100 million in AUM on October 28, 2020.

The Bitwise 10 Crypto Index Fund (OTCQX: BITW), which seeks to track an index of the 10 largest cryptoassets—including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin—has seen the strongest demand, recently crossing over $400M in AUM.

The Bitwise Bitcoin Fund and Bitwise Ethereum Fund—which provide low-cost, professionally managed exposure to Bitcoin and Ethereum, respectively—have seen increased demand as well.

“The speed at which professional investors are moving into crypto right now is remarkable,” said Hunter Horsley, cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of Bitwise. “While adoption of crypto as an asset class and conviction around its role in portfolios rapidly expands, we continue to urge all investors to consider the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies in general and the Bitwise Funds in particular.”

Bitwise saw record inflows into its funds during Q4 2020, surpassing the total cumulative inflows of 2018 and 2019 combined. The increased demand came primarily from Bitwise’s core audience, investment professionals, including financial advisors, hedge funds, corporate balance sheets, and other institutional investors.

Bitwise specializes in educating and supporting professional investors, with a senior team and staff from firms like BlackRock, Fidelity, Eaton Vance, Wealthfront, Facebook, J.P. Morgan, and iCapital. The Bitwise Funds offer ongoing private placements to accredited investors via www.bitwiseinvestments.com.

About Bitwise Asset Management

Bitwise Asset Management is a leading provider of index and beta crypto funds. Based in San Francisco, Bitwise’s team combines expertise in technology with decades of experience in traditional asset management and indexing—coming from firms including Facebook, Google, Wealthfront, BlackRock, Fidelity, Deutsche Bank, IndexIQ, and ETF.com.

Bitwise is backed by leading institutional investors and asset management executives, and is a frequent commentator on crypto in the press. It has been profiled in Institutional Investor, CNBC, Barron’s, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and many other leading publications. The firm is a trusted partner to financial advisors, RIAs, multifamily offices, hedge funds, and other professional investors as they navigate the crypto space

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Bittrex Announces Delisting 3 Privacy Coins

Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex announced impending delistings of three privacy cryptocurrencies as of Jan. 15.

As privacy coins, the three fit into a category that is increasingly under threat from government regulators worldwide.

A not-so-Happy New Year for privacy enthusiasts?

On Jan. 1, the Bittrex cryptocurrency exchange posted a notice on their website that effective Jan. 15, Monero, Dash, and ZCash would be removed from their trading platform. These three are privacy tokens, which anonymize transactions.

The notice states:

You must perform any trades with these tokens no later than Friday, January 15, 2021, 23:00 UTC.

After the markets are removed, Bittrex generally seeks to provide users up to 30 days to withdraw any delisted tokens, but in certain instances the withdrawal period may be shortened. Users should withdraw any tokens before the posted withdrawal deadline.

Privacy tokens, as the name suggests, are relatively difficult for investigators to track. Their use is rising, and some tokens have been in regulators’ sights for a while.

Back in November, Bittrex announced the delisting of 23 tokens for a variety of performance or regulatory issues. The exchange also singled out Grin at that time as a possible target for future delisting. Readers should note that Bittrex also pointed to MEME and VRC for possible delisting.

Bounty program

 In Sep. 2020,  the Internal Revenue Service of the US government offered  up to $625,000 to the team(s) that could crack Monero’s or the Lightning Network’s encryption. The announcement carried a sense of urgency, considering that tight time frames were included in the rules. In particular, Monero seems to be a thorn in the regulators’ side. The request for proposals specified that a Lightning Network on Bitcoin monitoring tool already existed. However, tools for Lightning on Litecoin and on Ethereum were needed. 

Europe is seriously determined to thwart privacy.

In October, EUROPOL, the EU’s united policing body, released the Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) for 2020. Privacy coins ranked among the top threats. Mixing services and anonymization are evolving, the report noted. Moreover, crypto-enabled crime adapts quickly to the changing landscape.

Communications encryption 

Governments focused their attention on more than privacy coins in 2020. They turned to encrypted communication as well, and saw a threat. The European Union emphasized this in early November. The EU Council of Ministers issued a proposal regarding a resolution forbidding end-to-end encryption of communications. This proposal affected What’s App and Signal in particular. 

While the proposal was non-binding, it shows where the EU is heading in terms of privacy. The rest of the world is following close behind.