Bitcoin (BTC) fell 6% last week as the standoff between Russia and Ukraine continues to scare investors around the world. BTC briefly traded above $44,500 mid-week before escalating geopolitical tensions hit financial markets. BTC is now trading just below the psychological $40,000 level with the overall crypto market cap at $1.81 trillion.
Ethereum (ETH) continues to be affected by BTC price movements and has lost almost 7% this week to trade around $2,700. All of the top 20 cryptocurrencies are in the red on a weekly basis, except Avalanche (AVAX) with a 3% increase.
As this uncertainty plays out over the coming weeks, news from around the world continues to be upbeat for the industry. We’re tracking the key themes that unfolded over the past week:
Crypto bowl comes to the US, installs increase 300%
This year’s Super Bowl, the NFL’s highly-watched annual playoff game in the United States, was all about crypto. Evoking memories of the 2000 dotcom bowl after which tech stocks crashed, many crypto platforms including Coinbase, Crypto.com, eToro, and FTX spent millions advertising the event. Coinbase’s notable announcement with a $15 QR code crashed its website, but resulted in a 309% increase in installs over the week according to Sensor Tower.
More action in the United States
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has announced plans to launch a market for NFTs and cryptocurrencies, just like stocks. NYSE filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office last week in a major sign of acceptance by Wall Street.
Lawmakers in the US state of Georgia have introduced a bill that would exempt local crypto miners from paying sales and use taxes in the state. This bill, once passed, will encourage crypto miners to settle in the state. Other US states Illinois and Kentucky have also offered tax incentives for crypto mining.
Ukraine Approves Bitcoin
Amid its standoff with Russia, Ukraine has legalized Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies paving the way for business activity within a regulatory framework. However, bitcoin is not recognized as legal tender. Ukraine is already one of the main European hubs for crypto trading.
Bitcoin’s difficulty, representing the computational complexity required to mine it, hit an all-time high of 27.97 this week. Higher difficulty means there is more competition between miners to confirm a block and extract a block reward. Its hash rate has seen a 45% increase in the last 6 months.
JPMorgan and Sequoia invest in the future of blockchain
Sequoia Capital, after announcing an Ethereum Polygon Layer 2 investment round last week, has earmarked $600 million for a crypto fund as part of its ongoing efforts to start the next generation of blockchain startups.
JPMorgan has become the first major bank to open a lounge in the metaverse which it sees as a $1 trillion opportunity in the future. The living room is located in the world based on Decentraland blockchain. JPMorgan has also launched research into the Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) blockchain network that is resistant to quantum computing attacks.
A fun 100 year experience
A Reddit user hid $100 worth of Bitcoin in a public library in Europe for 100 years as part of a time capsule experiment. The user has locked 0.003 BTC with their public and private key. In 100 years, the Bitcoin block reward from mining will be 0.00000019 BTC, which means that 0.003 BTC will be around 15,000 block rewards.
Top 5 winners of the week
⦁ Neo (NEO): +18%
⦁ Gathering (RLY): 15% more
⦁ Klaytn (KLAY): 8% more
⦁ Avalanche (AVAX): 3% more
⦁ Waves (WAVES): 3% more
Top losers this week
⦁ Elrond (EGLD): 21% drop
⦁ The Sandbox (SAND): 19% reduction
⦁ Theta Network (THETA): 19% decrease
⦁ Flow (FLOW): 18% decrease
⦁ Quant (QNT): 17% decrease
(Note: Data as of 8:15 a.m. IST, Feb 20, 2021; Source: Coinmarketcap.com)