It’s been a week of ups, downs and total shockers in the crypto world – most notably the sad loss of longtime crypto advocate, John McAfee. On a brighter note, Central America continues to show love for bitcoin, with an exciting announcement from Paraguay, and some free dosh for El Salvadorians.
Here’s the lowdown.
El Salvador gives $30 worth of Bitcoin to users
During a national address last week, Bukele announced government plans to use the Chivo e-wallet when it goes live with its plans to make Bitcoin legal tender. This will be preloaded with $30 of bitcoin for everyone who downloads it. The $30 will be sent to a user’s wallet once they verify their identity via the app’s face recognition software.
Earlier this month, the law to adopt bitcoin as legal tender was passed by a supermajority in the country’s legislature, with 62 members voting in favour of the bill. Only 19 opposed, and three abstained.
Another country rumoured to be considering making Bitcoin legal tender is Paraguay, where lawmaker Carlos Rejala is pushing a bill to regulate cryptocurrencies. Rumours abound that it could follow El Salvador, but for the moment the most exciting news is that local university, Universidad Americana has said it will begin accepting cryptocurrencies as payment from August 2021. The university’s 17,000 students will now be able to pay for their tuition in bitcoin, ether, dash and XRP.
According to the university’s general director Jiménez Agüero, its crypto wallet is ready to receive payments but won’t be activated until the new term begins. Students will see a BTC payment button on the school’s website.
Unlike many organisations that accept crypto, the university won’t immediately convert its crypto into fiat. Instead, it’ll decide after receiving the payments. Following the university’s Twitter announcement , a number of competitors asked for help implementing crypto payment methods.
Agüero said, “The challenge is to expand the adoption of crypto and migrate to more efficient payment channels.
Which Central American country will be next?
Andreessen Horowitz raises $2.2bn crypto fund
Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has announced plans for “Crypto Fund III”, which will be backed by an additional $2.2 billion of investment capital.
Andreessen Horowitz’ Crypto Fund III is by far the biggest fund dedicated to crypto to date. Investments from its first two crypto funds include renowned startups from Uniswap to Protocol Labs. The new fund will be allocated to projects of all stages, from new startups to established companies.
A16z partners Chris Dixon and Katie Haun wrote in a blog post announcing the new fund: “We are radically optimistic about crypto’s potential to restore trust and enable new kinds of governance where communities collectively make important decisions about how networks evolve, what behaviors are permitted, and how economic benefits are distributed," said a16z partners Chris Dixon and Katie Haun in a blog post announcing the new fund.
The move is just the latest of Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto ventures. Back in 2018, it made a big bet on crypto with a $300 million investment fund and in 2020, it created a $510 million crypto fund.
The firm, known in the tech world as a16z, also revealed a series of high-profile appointments, including that of former SEC official Bill Hinnman. Hinnman is well-known in the crypto world for his ruling that Ethereum is not a security.
NYC mayoral frontrunner Eric Adams: “New York will become the center of bitcoins”
Democratic frontrunner Eric Adams revealed his enthusiasm for crypto on the eve of New York City’s mayoral race on Tuesday. He said, “I’m going to promise you in one year … you’re going to see a different city. We’re going to become the center of life science, the center of cybersecurity, the center of self-driving cars, drones, the center of bitcoins.”
Adams leads in every borough across the city, apart from Manhattan, and has campaigned on promises to promote the city’s economic prosperity. As of the 24th, he holds a lead of 75,000 votes ahead of his closest rival, Maya Wiley.
Former Democratic presidential candidate and fellow bitcoiner Andrew Yang dropped out of the mayoral race in its early stages, having accrued only 11.7% of total votes.
Bipartisan crypto bills pass US House of Representatives
The US House of Representatives passed two crypto bills on Tuesday evening.
The first is the The Consumer Safety Technology Act, which directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission to establish a pilot program to explore use cases for artificial intelligence in commerce. The second – the Blockchain Innovation Act, as well as parts of the Digital Taxonomy Act – direct the Secretary of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to study and report on the use of blockchain technology and digital tokens.
The blockchain bills form part of a series of attempts to provide regulatory clarity on digital asset ownership and management.
Rep. Darren Soto explained that a lack of governmental guidance puts the US at risk of falling behind other nations, like China. “Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain technology and cryptocurrency are playing a growing importance in our daily lives and are going to be an economic driver for the 21st-century economy.
“It’s essential that the United States continue to be a global leader in these emerging technologies to ensure that our democratic values remain at the forefront of this technological development.”
McAfee found dead in Spanish prison
Longtime crypto advocate and controversial antivirus software pioneer John McAfee was found dead in a Spanish prison on Wednesday. His death has been put down as a suicide, but prison sources have said an autopsy is being planned.
McAfee was arrested at Barcelona’s El Prat airport in October 2020 on allegations of tax evasion. He was awaiting extradition to the US to stand trial, which the Spanish High Court had approved hours before he was found dead.
According to the October 2020 indictment from the US Department of Justice, “McAfee earned millions in income from promoting cryptocurrencies, consulting work, speaking engagements, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.”
McAfee was well known in the crypto space for his bombastic Tweets and vivacious approach to life. Love him or hate him, the crypto community has certainly lost a legend. RIP John.