Cryptocurrency News Weekly Roundup

Cryptocurrency News Weekly Roundup

By Hassan Maishera - min read
Shiny physical bitcoins on golden background

Bitcoin broke the $50k barrier earlier this week, with the total market cap closing in on $1 trillion

Bitcoin sees new all-time high above $50k; ETH approaches $2,000

The leading cryptocurrency continued its record-breaking start to 2021 by setting a new all-time high (ATH). Bitcoin (BTC) broke the $50,000 barrier earlier this week and set a new ATH price above $52,000. This latest rally meant that the BTC price is up by nearly 100% since the start of the year. BTC began 2021 trading at $29,000 per coin. It is now trading above $50,000 on cryptocurrency exchanges, and the market cap is closing in on $1 trillion.

Ether (ETH) also experienced a record-breaking week as it approached the $2,000 mark. ETH set a new ATH at $1,900 this week. It is the second-largest cryptocurrency, with a market cap above $200 billion.

The cryptocurrency market has benefitted from retail and institutional investments this year. The massive adoption by institutions and retail investors has helped push prices higher.

Bill Gates changes stance on Bitcoin

Bill Gates changed his stance on Bitcoin yesterday. In an interview with CNBC, the Microsoft founder said he had a neutral view on Bitcoin. Gates previously said he didn’t believe in Bitcoin and would short the cryptocurrency if there was an easy way to do it. However, he doesn’t hold those views anymore as he believes it is important to bring down the cost of moving money.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have significantly decreased the cost of monetary transactions, especially cross-border remittances. Cryptocurrencies have made cross-border transactions faster, easier and cheaper than the traditional payment methods. Despite his neutral view on Bitcoin, Gates admitted he still doesn’t own the cryptocurrency.

Coinbase gets $77 billion valuation

Coinbase is the latest cryptocurrency company looking to go public. The cryptocurrency exchange is preparing to list its shares on the stock market over the next few months. The NASDAQ private market currently values Coinbase at $77 billion, making it one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency companies.

The company’s clearing price was $303 per share at the end of the third trading week last Friday. The cryptocurrency exchange would have around 245 million shares by the time it goes public, giving it a total valuation of $77 billion.

Coinbase is fast becoming the cryptocurrency exchange of choice for institutional investors as it processed a $1.5 billion BTC transaction for Tesla. The cryptocurrency exchange reportedly has five Fortune 500 companies as clients, indicating it could play a crucial role in handling cryptocurrency transactions for institutional investors.

Crypto crime revenue down by 50% in 2020

Revenue generated from cryptocurrency-related crime declined by more than 50% last year. According to a Chainalysis report, crypto cyber-criminals stole $5 billion from victims in 2020. This represents a 50% decline from the 2019 figures.

Overall, illegal cryptocurrency transactions accounted for just 0.34% of the total cryptocurrency transaction volume in 2020. This is an upgrade compared to the 2.1% recorded in the previous year. Revenue from scams and darknet activities led the way while hackers are starting to use cryptocurrencies for ransomware attacks.

According to Chainalysis, recent advancements in regulatory and compliance processes by companies in the crypto space are responsible for the dip in cryptocurrency-related crime. The trend might continue as more companies adopt security and regulatory protocols to curb crime.

Crypto valley now accepts BTC and ETH for tax payments

Switzerland’s Crypto Valley is now accepting BTC and ETH for tax payments. This announcement came after local firm Bitcoin Suisse decided to partner with the canton of Zug to process all cryptocurrency tax payments in the region. Bitcoin Suisse will convert the cryptocurrency tax payments into Swiss francs.

According to the official announcement, citizens and companies based in Zug can pay up to 100,000 CHF (around $111,300) of their taxes in ether (ETH) or bitcoins (BTC). The aim is to simplify the use of cryptocurrencies in everyday life.

Residents can request to pay their taxes in cryptocurrency and will get an email link to the crypto payment option. Zug is dubbed the Crypto Valley due to its friendly blockchain and crypto regulations that attract numerous cryptocurrency companies.

Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and UBS trade Polkadot ETP

Institutional investors are gaining an appetite for other cryptocurrencies aside from Bitcoin and Ethereum. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and UBS traded an exchange traded-product (ETP) tied to Polkadot (DOT).

According to Bloomberg terminal data, these investment banks and other brokerages acquired a small number of shares in 21Shares ETP. The shares were made public on 4 February on the SIX Swiss Exchange. They were initially trading between $22—$23 but have since surged to $30 per share.

Institutional investors have been pumping money into the cryptocurrency market, mostly into investment vehicles tied to Bitcoin and Ethereum. However, this latest development shows that institutions are gaining exposure to other cryptocurrencies. Polkadot is the fifth-largest cryptocurrency, with a market cap of over $28 billion. By investing in the ETP, these banks are investing in a security that tracks the cryptocurrency’s performance.

BitPay adds supports for Apple Pay

Blockchain payment processing firm BitPay is adding support for Apple Pay. This latest development will allow BitPay prepaid Mastercard holders in the US to make secure purchases in stores, online and through apps by adding their card to Apple Wallet.

The firm is looking to support Google and Samsung Pay soon and make it easier and convenient for thousands of cryptocurrency users to pay for goods and services using the BitPay card.