Volcanoes, remote forests in Central America, and a brand new financial system — these might sound like the makings of a Bond film, but they are actually just part of Salvadoran Nayib President Bukele’s latest bitcoin update. It was a busy week for crypto, as institutional adoption gained more momentum, and a small town mayor’s plans to give his citizens BTC takes shape.
Here’s our pick of the biggest crypto stories to come from last week.
Visa reveals stablecoin ambitions
- Payments giant Visa has announced outlines for a “universal payments channel” to facilitate transactions between various stablecoins and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). CBDCs are digital versions of fiat currency backed by a central bank.
- The idea is to create a payment experience that allows users to pay for something in a foreign country with a debit or credit card that draws funds from their home country by using digital currencies.
- While the “universal” payments channel revolves around digital currencies, its infrastructure will be built on legacy software and not blockchain.
- Visa’s product lead for CBDCs, Catherine Gu compared the new payments channel to the “Layer 2” solutions being developed on Bitcoin and Ethereum — software that is helping scale transaction processes on the respective networks.
El Salvador edges closer to mining BTC with volcanic energy
- El Salvador President Nayib Bukele tweeted a short video showing the progress being made to harness geothermal energy for BTC mining. The plant has since mined one bitcoin.
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) September 28, 2021
- The video showed workers from state-owned geothermal electric company LaGeo connecting mining rigs and a large shipping container inscribed with “Government of El Salvador.”
- Earlier in June, El Salvador approved a bill making bitcoin legal tender. This was implemented in September.
- Residents use a government sanctioned digital wallet called Chivo to store and make payments in BTC. To date, there are over 2.2 million Chivo users compared to the 1.8 million traditional bank accounts.
Bank of England goes back to school
- The Bank of England has arranged to receive a lesson in cryptocurrency from big names in the tech and finance space.
- The UK central bank announced that members from two of its forums, including PayPal and Google, will start to research a potential CBDC.
- "The Forum will help the Bank to understand the technological challenges of designing, implementing and operating a CBDC," the announcement read.
- Other members of the CBDC Engagement Forum and CBDC Technology Forum include Edwin Aoki, the CTO of blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital currencies at PayPal, Matthieu Saint Olive, payments manager at ConsenSys, and Ashley Lannquist, the project lead for blockchain and digital currency at the World Economic Forum.
Miami’s mayor Francis Suarez sees China’s Bitcoin crackdown as “opportunity for America”
- Miami mayor Francis Suarez last week said China’s crackdown could be “the turning point” that “creates an incredible opportunity for America.”
- “Their loss is our gain and America can and will lead the future by providing a clean power home for bitcoin miners and all who are building on/with/for bitcoin,” said Suarez. “China banning bitcoin is a massive mistake with impacts that will be felt for generations.”
- Suarez also has ambitions to make Miami the “crypto mining capital” and insists it can be done “sustainably and incorporate solar.”
- The Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has also weighed in on China's fallout with crypto. Testifying before the House Committee on Financial Services, Powell said he has “no intention” of banning crypto currencies.
Cool Valley residents can expect BTC soon
- Cool Valley Mayor Jayson Stewart wants to airdrop $1,000 in BTC to Cool Valley residents. This comes after his announcement that enough funds have been secured for each of the 1,500 inhabitants.
- Stewart previously planned to give every Cool Valley resident $500, but news of his plan spread quickly and opened the donation floodgates for his Bitcoin initiative.
- “It’s given me hope, and optimism that we can overcome some of the worst parts of the system that we’re born into, and actually create a future exactly how we want it to be,” said Stewart. “There’s a certain level of hope and optimism that I get from Bitcoin.”
- Stewart said Cool Valley residents can expect to receive their bitcoin by the end of the year.