It’s fifty shades of adoption as institutions across industries respond to consumer demand for crypto. Meanwhile, digital currencies show their empowering side and step in to help an ailing Afghanistan recover some financial stability. And, NFT popularity continues to soar as beer stalwarts and payment giants spend tens of thousands of dollars on digital artwork.
A lot happened in crypto last week. Here are our top picks to come from it.
Citigroup could be set to trade CME Bitcoin futures
- According to sources familiar with the matter, Citigroup is awaiting approval that will allow it to trade Bitcoin futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
- In January, the CME became the largest Bitcoin futures trading platform which is indicative of institutional adoption spurred on by rising consumer demand.
- A Citigroup spokesperson shared more on the bank’s crypto roadmap: “We are presently considering products such as futures for some of our institutional clients, as these operate under strong regulatory frameworks.”
- They added, “Given the many questions around regulatory frameworks, supervisory expectations and other factors, we are being very thoughtful about our approach.”
- Should Citigroup be granted permission to trade CME Bitcoin futures, they will join the likes of banking behemoths like Goldman Sachs.
Bitcoin mining difficulty on the road to recovery
- Bitcoin’s mining difficulty has increased by 13%, signalling an uptick in network health since China’s crackdown.
- China’s Bitcoin mining exodus slashed hash rates and BTC prices as miners were forced to look beyond Chinese borders for mining opportunities. In the time since, mining has become more decentralised, and the hash rate has rebounded some 25%.
- Resets in mining difficulty typically occur every two weeks or so, with the latest (25/08/2021) being the network's third consecutive increase.
- Despite the increase in mining difficulty, experts still believe now is as good a time as ever for miners.
- “Bitcoin mining has never been more profitable,” said Dave Perrill, CEO at crypto mining colocation company Compute North. "Look at the percentage of price run that bitcoin had over the last 12 months and look at the hash rate percentage increase, and it's nowhere near in line."
Crypto offers financial stability for Afghans
- As Afghanistan’s financial system faces crisis, cryptocurrencies could help bring stability to the middle-eastern country.
- After the Taliban’s recent takeover of Kabul, citizens have been buying up cryptocurrencies as a way of avoiding bank runs and as a means to provide for their families.
- Those who are leaving the country are using their wallets to take their money with them, while others are using crypto as a form of financial security should they wish to remain in Afghanistan.
- In a recent Chainalysis report, statistics show that crypto adoption in Afghanistan is on the rise. The country sits 20th out of 150 countries in terms of overall crypto adoption, and is seventh when looking at peer-to-peer exchange trade volume.
- Last year, Afghanistan’s crypto use was so minimal it was excluded from the 2020 ranking.
Budweiser and Visa all for NFTs
- Budweiser has hopped on the NFT train in style, having spent 8 ETH (roughly $26,000) on a hand-drawn beer rocket NFT.
- The picture was drawn by artist Tom Sachs and is part of the Rocket Factory NFT Series.
- Meanwhile, payments giant Visa has been making its own NFT investments, having spent $165,000 on a CryptoPunk, one of a series of 10,000 pixelated avatars.
Over the last 60 years, Visa has built a collection of historic commerce artifacts - from early paper credit cards to the zip-zap machine. Today, as we enter a new era of NFT-commerce, Visa welcomes CryptoPunk #7610 to our collection. https://t.co/XoPFfwxUiu
— VisaNews (@VisaNews) August 23, 2021