Shopify joined Facebook's Libra Association View in browser

“Bitcoin is the next generation of gold and will overtake it in aggregate value, in the next two decades.” ~ Brendan Blumer, CEO of block.one, the company behind EOS cryptocurrency

Market State

The cryptocurrency market has experienced quite a volatile two weeks, seeing both notable gains and sharp declines. The overall crypto market ranged between $245 billion and $307 billion. The price of Bitcoin briefly reached $10000 several times, but failed to stay above. Bitcoin recorded its fifth largest hourly price drop in history in terms of the US dollar on the 19th of February: Within an hour Bitcoin dropped from $10200 to $9200. Since then it dropped further. It’s currently trading around $8670. Ether have experienced huge growth and almost doubled its price since the start of the year, despite Ethereum’s DeFi (decentralized finance) tools have been manipulated. Someone has pocketed a whopping $954 000 profit by manipulating the illiquid market of bZx, an Ethereum based lending system, in a single smart contract transaction.

Cryptocurrencies received significant mainstream exposure last week. Vodafone Germany released an ad featuring Bitcoin which debuted on the 17th of February, 2020. Bitcoin appeared as a future payment system. Also cryptocurrencies were featured in the Simpsons, one of the most popular and the world’s longest running TV shows in America since 1989. The show dedicated over 60 seconds to educate its viewers on the basics of cryptocurrencies and referred to them as cash of the future.

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Quiz of the week

What is the difference between non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and fungible tokens?

  1. Fungible tokens are not divisible, while NFTs are indivisible - you can buy a fraction of a non-fungible token
  2. Fungible tokens are interchangeable, while NFTs are not interchangeable
  3. Fungible tokens are not interchangeable, while NFTs are interchangeable

Scroll down to see the answer at the end of the newsletter.

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Top stories of the week
Shopify Joins Facebook's Libra Association

The Canada-based e-commerce giant Shopify has joined the Libra Association, just a month after Vodafone quit the organization. According to an announcement from Shopify, the firm will be working on building "a payment network that makes money easier to access and supports merchants and consumers everywhere." The Libra Association is the governing council for the Facebook, founded Libra stablecoin backed by a basket of fiat currencies. Libra was announced in June 2019, with 21 founding members. The Facebook project had its share of criticism from regulators and policymakers worldwide. Several other high profile partners such as MasterCard, Visa, eBay, Stripe, Vodafone, PayPal have left the Libra Association over regulatory and viability concerns. Facebook is still looking to launch its stablecoin. If Libra manages to assuage international regulators’ concerns, which are currently blocking its roll out, Shopify, could gain a way to process transactions without paying credit card fees. Libra cryptocurrency is designed to move between wallets with zero or nearly-zero fees. That could save money for Shopify and the 1 million merchants running online shops on its platform. Many have argued that Libra was the reason that central banks have accelerated the development of their own central bank digital currency. Meanwhile the European Union is unsure how to regulate Facebook’s Libra without more detail. According to a memo released on the 19th of February, 2020 by Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis on behalf of the European Commission,the Commission sent the Libra Association a set of questions to get further details on the project and expressed the commission’s intention to act swiftly to set up a regulatory framework that will facilitate harnessing the opportunities of crypto-assets.

Sweden Is Testing One of Europe’s First Central Bank Digital Currency

The Riksbank, Sweden’s central bank has announced that it had begun testing digital currency e-krona. Sweden is the leading cashless society in the world. The bank is developing blockchain based e-krona in partnership with Accenture, a consulting firm. Riksbank stated, “the main purpose of the project is for the Riksbank to increase its knowledge of a central bank digital krona.” E-krona will be tested in an isolated test environment on simulated users (for example simulated members of the general public and simulated banks). Simulated users would hold e-krono in a digital wallet, make payments, deposits and withdrawals via a mobile app and make payments via wearables, such as smart watches, and cards. The pilot project runs until the end of February 2021, thereafter the bank will make the decision whether to issue an e-krona on the blockchain technology. In January, six central banks including the Riksbank, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Swiss National Bank have created a working group to explore central bank digital currency (CBDC) and assess use cases.

Outbreak of Coronavirus May Speed Up Chinese Digital Currency Issuance

Li Li­hui, for­mer pres­i­dent of the Bank of China (BOC) and cur­rent head of the blockchain team at Chi­na’s Na­tional In­ter­net Fi­nance As­so­ci­a­tion (NIFA), said in an interview with China Daily, that the current cir­cum­stances caused by the coronavirus outbreak will likely ac­cel­er­ate the issuance of dig­i­tal yuan. Li said “Elec­tron­ics pay­ments plat­forms are al­ready ex­tremely ma­ture in China. WeChat and Ali­Pay are al­ready first and sec­ond in the world in terms of on­line pay­ment plat­forms. However, there should be more measures to encourage online banking, mobile banking and other channels to provide customers with financial services.” Li Lihui argued that a digital currency's efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and convenience make it especially desirable during an epidemic. The Chinese government has taken extreme actions in an attempt to stop coronavirus spreading. Not only millions of Chinese people have been restricted to their homes, but old bank notes are also quarantined. Chinese banks have been ordered to disinfect cash using ultraviolet or heat treatments, then seal and store the cash for seven to 14 days – depending on the severity of the outbreak in a particular region before recirculating them. The government has also distributed 600 billion yuan ($85.9 billion) of new banknotes throughout the country since January 17, including 4 billion yuan (US$572 million) in fresh notes sent to Wuhan at the center of the outbreak before the Lunar New Year.

Tickets for 2020 UEFA European Football Championship to Be Distributed Via Blockchain-Based Mobile Ticketing System

UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) will distribute tickets for 2020 UEFA European Football Championship via a groundbreaking new blockchain-based mobile ticketing system. The goal is to make entry into the stadium smooth, safe and secure and help prevent the replication and duplication of tickets and protect the environment by not printing paper tickets. The QR codes on the tickets will be activated by Bluetooth once the ticket owners approach the stadium. In June 2019, delivering tickets via mobile phones had been successfully implemented for four matches during the UEFA Nations League finals. At the time, only 11,000 tickets were distributed via mobile phones, which represented 80% of the tickets available. Those who purchased tickets will receive their tickets via the UEFA EURO 2020 mobile app. The app will be available for download in May 2020 for Android and iOS phones. Mobile tickets will be delivered to the app no later than seven days before the match. UEFA expects to deliver approximately one million tickets to fans across all 51 matches. Sports event organizers are increasingly turning to blockchain for distributing tickets, as the technology provides an effective way to prevent forgery.

FC Barcelona, Spanish Football Club to Launch Its Own Token

FC Barcelona, a Spanish Football Club has announced that it will launch its own crypto token this spring in collaboration with sports-focused blockchain startup Chiliz. The token will be called Barca Fan Tokens (BAR) and launched on Chiliz's Ethereum-based blockchain platform. The BAR token will allow fans to take part in certain club decisions, as the token holders will also receive the right to vote (such as decisions for signing a new player). FC Barcelona has an estimated 300 million fans worldwide. The token launch is all about fan engagement and how to offer a voice to fans. The BAR token will be initially issued at €2 per token, with a total supply of 40 million. Italian Football Club, Juventus which boasts Cristiano Ronaldo as a team member, has also announced the launch of their own token, called JUV. There is a growing trend for partnerships between football clubs and crypto platforms.

MetaMask Wallet Has Been Downloaded By More Than 1 Million Users

MetaMask is a Google Chrome browser extension that acts as an Ethereum wallet. MetaMask makes Ethereum dApps (Decentralized Applications) and tokens as easy to use for as many people as possible, as it allows users to run Ethereum dApps right in the browser without running a full Ethereum node. MetaMask can be used as a wallet for storing Ether and ERC20 tokens (MetaMask uses a password chosen by the users to encrypt the private keys, however this is not the safest way to store your cryptocurrencies!). This recent milestone suggests that MetaMask on the Chrome Web Store has been downloaded by over 1 million individual users till 2020 February. (It is worth noting that Metamask had already announced its one million installs in February 2018, the new milestone is more important in terms of real adoption.) Related news: the total value of the cryptocurrency locked in decentralized finance (DeFi) applications has reached the $1 billion mark in February, 2020. 

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Quiz answer

What is the difference between non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and fungible tokens?

The correct answer is “B”.

Thank you for reading :) 

Have a great day!

Cheers, 
MrCoin

💌 hello@mrcoin.eu
📞 +36 16 555 333

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MrCoin

96 Kensington High Street, London, W8 4SG, UK

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