Aker ASA Considering Accepting Bitcoin as Payment; Elon Musk’s Remarks Change Nothing

Aker ASA Considering Accepting Bitcoin as Payment; Elon Musk’s Remarks Change Nothing

The company that invests in oil and gas, renewable energy, and green technologies and is interested in Bitcoin for the long term is focused on understanding how Bitcoin “will change behavior patterns and the markets.”

Aker ASA, an industrial investment company, is open to the idea of accepting payment in Bitcoin, a decision in opposition of Elon Musk announcing this week that Tesla won’t be accepting BTC as payment for its car purchases.

“Energy usage trend over past few months is insane,” said Musk about Bitcoin mining.

Earlier this year, Oystein Olsen, Governor of the Central Bank of Norway, had also called Bitcoin “far too resource-intensive, far too costly, and most importantly, it doesn’t preserve stability.”

But Aker ASA is unperturbed.

“We’re curious about this technology,” Oyvind Eriksen, chief executive of Aker, said in an interview. That includes understanding how Bitcoin “will change behavior patterns and the markets we are in.”

The firm isn’t reconfiguring its payments system just yet, but “things happen very quickly here,” Eriksen said. “I’m no stranger” to the idea of receiving payment in Bitcoin, he added.

And Musk’s latest comments “haven’t changed anything,” Aker said.

Founded in 1841, the Oslo stock exchange-listed company owned by billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke has ownership interests concentrated in oil and gas, renewable energy, and green technologies.

In March, the company announced that they would use Bitcoin as a treasury asset and be long-term HODLers. Roekke also created a Bitcoin invited company Seetee AS and injected 500 million kroner ($60 million) in it.

“Bit­coin may still go to zero. But it can also be­come the core of a new mon­e­tary ar­chi­tec­ture. If so, one bit­coin may be worth mil­lions of dollars,” said Roekke at the time. Now, they are interested in accepting BTC as payment.

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Author: AnTy

Square CFO: “No Plans” to Buy More Bitcoin At This Time After Losing $20M Due to Price Drop

Square CFO: “No Plans” to Buy More Bitcoin At This Time After Losing $20M Due to Price Drop

Jack Dorsey’s Square will focus on “other opportunities” to learn with bitcoin and will be part of the crypto needing “innovation in terms of renewables and clean energy.”

Jack Dorsey’s payments company Square has no plans to buy more Bitcoin for its corporate treasury, says chief financial officer Amrita Ahuja.

“We don’t have any plans at this point to make further purchases,” Ahuja told Financial News in an interview. However, there are still “lots of other opportunities for (Square) to learn with bitcoin,” she added.

The company has invested $220 million in Bitcoin, on which it lost $20 million in the last quarter due to Bitcoin price ranging between $45k and $65k in the past few months after surging 1,610% in a matter of thirteen months.

As a corporate treasury, one should buy bitcoin on the spot market and hedge it with futures that have been up until recently locking in 30%-40% annualized, noted trader and economist Alex Kruger. By holding the crypto assets, corporations are turning a “winner into a loser,” he said.

“If going to hodl blindly, corporates should go for cryptos that produce yield,” said Kruger, adding that why these corporates “are going to love Ethereum.”

Innovation in renewables and clean energy

Square’s Cash App had a record Q1 2021, generating $3.51 in Bitcoin revenue, up 11x from a year earlier at $306 million. Its gross profit from Bitcoin transactions was also a new all-time high of $75 million, which is the fees that Square collects and represents 2% revenue from cryptocurrency.

CEO Dorsey is a Bitcoin proponent whose long-term focus for Bitcoin is enabling it to be a “native currency” of the internet.

Last year, Square bought $50 million worth BTC for its portfolio, and then in February this year, another $170 million were added. This $220 million investment represents about 5% of its cash on hand. But that is all for the company.

“There’s no plans at this point to re-evaluate where we are from a treasury standpoint,” said Ahuja.

“We’re always evaluating, and as ever, I think we’d be customer-led,” she said. “As we see the evolution of the bitcoin product or crypto products in general, I think we’ll make further assessments at that point.”

Earlier this week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had announced that the company would no longer accept BTC for its car purchases citing environmental concerns but is not selling any BTC from its corporate treasury either.

Square meanwhile has launched a $10 million initiative to promote the usage of clean energy for Bitcoin’s supply chain. It also published a joint report with Ark Invest to solve this clean energy problem. Ahuja said,

“Our position has always been that this is an area that needs innovation in terms of renewables and clean energy, and we want to be a part of that.”

“There’s a broader supply chain question around how renewables and clean energy become a greater part of the blockchain in general and a greater part of the overall mining and transaction network…It’s the overall fixed footprint of the network that we need to address.”

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Is “One Of The Best Speculations Ever,” Says Billionaire Investor Bill Ackman

Bitcoin Is “One Of The Best Speculations Ever,” Says Billionaire Investor Bill Ackman

While kicking himself for not understanding cryptos, he warned that the inflation is “not temporary” and the Fed is “going to have to raise rates” because at the current level, “there’s a very good risk of the economy overheating.”

Billionaire investor Bill Ackman says he could kick himself “for not understanding” cryptocurrencies.

Speaking at a WSJ event, Ackman said he likes crypto and the technology behind it but at the same time said, “there’s no intrinsic value,” which to him is driven by cash generation.

“You have to be able to build a discounted cash flow calculation,” he said on why is not investing in Bitcoin, and as such, he advises not to put a lot of your net worth in one or more cryptos rather in something “more durable.”

“I think crypto is a fascinating phenomenon. I think it’s a brilliant technology, and I kick myself for not understanding it; it’s one of the best speculations ever… But it’s not a place where I would feel comfortable personally putting any meaningful amount of assets in. Therefore I wouldn’t invest our firm’s assets.”

During the event, while disclosing an investment in Domino’s Pizza, he also talked about Federal Reserve’s policies.

Ackman warned that inflation is “not temporary.” US inflation jumped 4.2% in April from 2.6% in the prior month — the highest since 2008. Everything from Copper, lumber, energy, housing, and Bitcoin is rising in value.

“Everything is inflating. That’s driven by a once-in-a-moment history. People are emerging from a pandemic with the endless spirit that comes from being locked up.”

And this is why the Fed may have to raise interest rates because “where they are, there’s a very good risk of the economy overheating.” At the Wall Street Journal Future of Everything Festival, he said,

“I think they’re going to have to raise rates, for sure. And I think they adjusted their policy, in my view, just at the wrong time. A pre-emptive policy toward inflation, I think, is a better approach, particularly in a world where we have massive, massive economic stimulus.”

Commenting on the unemployment numbers, he said that’s not due to any weakness in the economy, which is “crushing,” and businesses are booming. Adding that raising wages is good for workers and the economy, Ackman said,

“There are plenty of jobs; people haven’t had to work partially because of the stimulus…When unemployment benefits step back, and some of the stimulus wears off, there will be more of a supply of labor.”

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Author: AnTy

Almost 90% Respondents Interested in their Insurance Products Having Links with BTC: Survey

Almost 90% Respondents Interested in their Insurance Products Having Links with BTC: Survey

About 46 million Americans now own Bitcoin, representing about 17% of the population over the age of 18, according to an NYDIG survey.

Still, the majority, 53%, don’t own crypto assets, but 55% said that they would consider adding digital assets to their investment portfolio.

Another survey of 1,000 Americans by MagnifyMoney, a LendingTree division, found that 62% of crypto investors believe they’ll get rich.

The total cryptocurrency market cap has grown from $125 billion in March 2020 to more than $2.5 trillion.

A similar survey by Stone Ridge’s subsidiary New York Digital Investment Group from January stated that 80% of Bitcoin holders want to move their BTC to the bank. 71% are willing to switch their primary bank to the one that offers them Bitcoin-related products.

Conducted by Survey Monkey on March 22, a national sample of 1,050 US consumers with an annual income of at least $50k revealed that some of these crypto investors are looking to integrate the cryptocurrency into their personal financial plans, first reported Newsweek.

The survey findings say that respondents wanted to learn more about Bitcoin annuities and life insurance.

About half of the respondents said they want to receive some or all of their insurance benefits in BTC, while nearly 90% said they had some interest in annuity or insurance products with indirect links to BTC.

Furthermore, while 43% find it acceptable that their insurance carrier invested less than 2% of cash in Bitcoin, 42% also said they might be okay with it, with only 15% saying they didn’t like the idea.

“The finance industry is taking crypto mainstream by building Bitcoin into their insurance, banking, & investment products,” noted Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy.

NYDIG, which recently tapped the CFO of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates as its chief financial officer, has raised millions of dollars from insurance giants like New York Life and MassMutual.

Return-hungry insurance companies have actually been buying bitcoin for their general accounts through the firm with interest rates hovering near zero and a depreciating dollar making bitcoin appear more attractive, said Ross Stevens, the founder and executive chairman of NYDIG, in December.

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Author: AnTy

Palantir says Bitcoin Is ‘Definitely on the Table’ to be Put on the Balance Sheet

Palantir says Bitcoin Is ‘Definitely on the Table’ to be Put on the Balance Sheet

The company, co-founded by Peter Thiel, Joe Lonsdale, and CEO Alex Karp that makes software and analytics tools for large corporations and the defense industry, announced that it accepts Bitcoin during its 1Q21 earnings call, reporting a 49% revenue growth.

Palantir, the maker of software and analytics tools for the defense industry and large corporations, said in its earnings calls that it was considering adding Bitcoin to its balance sheet.

The trillion-dollar market cap cryptocurrency was “definitely on the table,” it said. Palantir also accepts Bitcoin as a form of payment.

Meanwhile, Tesla, which invested $1.5 billion in Bitcoin earlier this year and later announced that it accepted BTC as payment, is now considering accepting DOGE too. This is being decided through a poll conducted by CEO Elon Musk on Twitter. DOGE 10.65% Dogecoin / USD DOGEUSD $ 0.50
$0.0510.65%
Volume 14.58 b Change $0.05 Open $0.50 Circulating 129.56 b Market Cap 64.27 b
7 h Palantir says Bitcoin Is ‘Definitely on the Table’ to be Put on the Balance Sheet 7 h Tesla’s Elon Musk Considers Accepting Dogecoin As Payment For Cars in New Twitter Poll 10 h Ethereum is Literally Unusable; Fees Surge to New ATH as Dogs Take Over the Network

Do you want Tesla to accept Doge?” has received nearly 2.27 million votes so far, with 76.8% in favor.

Meanwhile, the announcement from Palantir comes on the day it reported 49% revenue growth for its first quarter, beating Wall Street estimates. Shares still fell over 10% in the premarket, amidst the tech stock rout continuing since Monday.

Co-founded in 2003 by Peter Thiel, CEO Alex Karp, Joe Lonsdale, and others, the company said its government revenue hit $208 million. It also strengthened its commercial segment, which hit $133 million.

As of this past quarter, it had 140 customers, up from 125 in the first half of 2020. The growth was partly attributed to economic recovery in the US and UK.

Palantir said it expects $360 million in revenue in the second quarter and anticipates an adjusted free cash flow of over $150 million for the full fiscal year.

The company went public last September through a direct listing on the NYSE and is currently worth $30.44 billion.

Bitcoin is a risky investment, said Palantir co-founder Lonsdale last month, adding that it is a bet against the fact that “we have a centralized financial system run by crazy people at the moment.”

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Author: AnTy

Risk-on Sentiment Sending Bitcoin, Ether, & Gold Higher as President Biden Declares ‘We Can’t Let Up’

Risk-on Sentiment Sending Bitcoin, Ether, & Gold Higher as President Biden Declares ‘We Can’t Let Up’

While the S&P 500 hit a new record high after the disappointing jobs report, the market is now expecting Bitcoin to make its way past $70k and Ether to get ready to hit several new levels.

President Joe Biden called on lawmakers this week to approve his massive infrastructure and jobs package following the disappointing jobs report.

While economists were forecasting 1 million new jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.8%, the actual results were a huge letdown, with nonfarm payrolls increasing by only 266,000 in April and the unemployment rate rising to 6.1% even as states began relaxing coronavirus restrictions.

“We can’t let up. This jobs report makes that clear. We’ve got too much work to do,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “We have to build back better.”

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Meanwhile, Republicans and business owners are complaining that federal unemployment benefits are preventing laid-off workers from taking new jobs. Congress added $300 per week to state benefits.

“Today’s disappointing jobs report is a result of the federal government incentivizing people to stay at home and seek enhanced unemployment benefits rather than finding a job, even as employers are actively looking for more workers,” Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said in a statement.

Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan calls for spending over $2 trillion to rebuild the roads, bridges, and airports along with the long-term care for the elderly and the disabled. His other proposal, the American Families Plan, is spending nearly as much to provide cheaper child care, free pre-kindergarten, and paid family and medical leave.

Biden’s dovish call and disappointing employment report pushed the S&P 500 to a new record high. While the US dollar index continues its way downwards to 90, gold is finally showing some strength, aiming for $1,850 per ounce.

Bitcoin also surged to $59,400, and although it is yet to be seen if it will continue to new highs, the market is calling for the momentum to take us to $70k. Ether is also keeping the bulls around $3,550, ready to double here.

Amidst the risk-on sentiment, the Fed warned of the increasing threats these rising asset prices are posing to the financial system. In its semiannual Financial Stability Report, the central bank said future dangers are rising, in particular, should the aggressive run on stocks tail off.

“Asset prices may be vulnerable to significant declines should risk appetite fall,” is the central bank’s wonderful judgment on the market.

As for crypto, SEC’s new commissioner Gary Gensler said more protections are needed amidst the rise in “crypto tokens.” “We need to update and freshen our rules,” he said.

Cryptocurrencies were especially ripe for regulation to help eliminate fraud, manipulation, and other bad actors, he said.

“Bringing investment protection to that market is relevant if this is going to continue, and it brings confidence and trust to the overall markets.”

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Author: AnTy

South American MercadoLibre Adds $7.8 Million worth Bitcoin to its Treasury

South American MercadoLibre Adds $7.8 Million worth Bitcoin to its Treasury

The online marketplace company also posted a larger quarterly loss, hit by a higher tax bill. Meanwhile, its fintech arm, Mercado Pago, reported a surge of 81.8% in total payment volume during the pandemic.

Argentina-based online marketplace MercadoLibre Inc incorporated in the US is the latest company to invest in Bitcoin. The SEC filing reads,

“As part of our treasury strategy this quarter, we purchased $7.8 million in bitcoin, a digital asset that we are disclosing within our indefinite-lived intangible assets.”

The South American company’s move to Bitcoin in order to protect from currency debasement came as MercadoLibre posted a larger quarterly loss on Wednesday, hit by weak margins and a higher tax bill.

The income expense of the company soared to $43.5 million in the first quarter ended March 31, from $4.4 million a year earlier, while its gross profit margin shrunk by about 5% to 42.9%. Meanwhile, net loss rose over 61% to $34 million, and excluding income tax expenses; the company posted a net income of $9.5 million.

MercadoLibre’s foreign currency losses were $15.1 million due to additional costs for buying U.S. dollars following restrictions imposed by Argentina’s government.

The company is also increasing investment in key areas like fintech services and warehouses as it faces competition from the giant like Amazon.

Quarterly revenue meanwhile more than doubled to $1.4 billion. With the second wave of Covid-19 hammering Brazil, which comprised 56% of the company’s total revenue, the surge in online shopping and digital payment in the region and neighboring countries, including Argentina, sustained.

Its fintech arm, Mercado Pago, reported a surge of 81.8% to $14.7 billion in total payment volume as the company revs up its digital payments engine during the pandemic.

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Author: AnTy

Gold ETF Records Biggest One-day Reduction in Over 4 Years

Gold is losing its appeal, is what the bitcoin proponents say time and again. But it looks like it’s not just what the crypto enthusiasts have been saying; rather, it has actually been happening.

The latest data from Bloomberg shows that gold ETF holdings have had their biggest one-day reduction since November 2016. An exchange-traded fund (ETF) tracks an asset, commodity, or index that can be purchased or sold on an exchange like a regular stock.

Reportedly, total holdings have dropped 23.5 tons to 3058 tons, the lowest since last May.

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This makes sense given the price of spot gold is trading around $1,770 an ounce, in a downtrend ever since hitting a new all-time high in August last year at $2,075 per ounce.

Compared to gold’s -6.50% performance this year, so far, Bitcoin, aka ‘digital gold,’ has increased 88% in value YTD, while still being down over 16% from its ATH of almost $65,000.

“Bitcoin is stealing gold’s shine,” noted Mike McGlone of Bloomberg. “Accelerating trends in decarbonization, electrification, and digitalization.”

Even the largest gold ETF, SDPR Gold Shares (GLD), is recording a decline in its assets under management (AUM) at $58 billion, last seen in May 2020, down from $84.24 billion in August.

This has been despite the fact that “we’re in an everything bubble,” in which we are seeing asset inflation increasing.

This bubble can be overwhelmingly attributed to one singular trend, QE, which makes asset prices go up, notes Travis Kling, who runs the Ikigai fund.

With the Federal Reserve continuing to add trillions of dollars to the market, everything is running hot, and “Bitcoin appears to have been purpose-built for a time such as this. A perfect mirror reflection of monetary and fiscal policy irresponsibility. Money printer go brrr and number go up,” he said.

This is why in the last 11 years, as the total assets of the world’s central banks went straight up, BTC price went from nine cents to $65k. Kling said,

“Anyone in the world with an internet connection can buy $1 worth of Bitcoin & begin protecting themselves against monetary debasement & the rapidly increasing risk that the largest monetary experiment in human history will end poorly.”

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Author: AnTy

MicroStrategy May Purchase More BTC, But May “Sell” and “Decrease its Overall Holdings of Bitcoin”

MicroStrategy May Purchase More BTC, But May “Sell” and “Decrease its Overall Holdings of Bitcoin”

Publicly-traded business intelligence company MicroStrategy released its Q1 2021 financial results, revealing “one of the strongest operational quarters” in its business in years.

More importantly, MicroStrategy continues to HODL all 91,579 BTC that it has purchased so far. Michael J. Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy said,

“MicroStrategy’s first-quarter results were a clear example that our two-pronged corporate strategy to grow our enterprise analytics software business and acquire and hold bitcoin is generating substantial shareholder value.”

The company, however, is not done with its bitcoin buying spree and “may purchase additional BTC and increase its overall holdings.” But they may also “sell its bitcoins and decrease its overall holdings of bitcoin.”

Back in September, Saylor had famously said, “I Didn’t Buy It to Sell It. Ever,” and then this year, “If you owned the most desirable asset in the universe, why would you ever sell it?”

But of course, at some point, he has to sell, at least some.

This week, as we reported, Tesla sold 10% of its bitcoin holdings, but this trimming, as the electric car maker CEO said, was to prove the liquidity of the crypto asset while assuring that they believe in the long-term value of it.

Interestingly, at the time of the Bitcoin purchase, it made up 7.7% of Tesla’s available cash, which at the end of March, it had increased to 14.4%.

MicroStrategy meanwhile reported cash and cash equivalents of $82.5 million, up from $22.9 million at the end of the previous quarter.

The company reported a 10.3% increase in revenue at $122.9 million, with revenue from product licenses and subscription services amounting to $31.3 million, a 52.3% increase.

Gross profit for the quarter was $100.4 million while net loss was $110.0 million, or $11.40 per share on a diluted basis compared to net income of $0.7 million.

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Author: AnTy

Sean Culkin Becomes First NFL Player to Get Entire Salary in Bitcoin; Trevor Lawrence Also Joins in

Sean Culkin Becomes the First NFL Player to get His Entire Salary in Bitcoin, Trevor Lawrence also Joins in

Chiefs tight end has been interested in BTC for years, which he believes is the “future of finance,” and now he gets to have “real skin in the game.” Meanwhile, the former Clemson quarterback signed an endorsement deal with FTX and received his first payment exclusively in crypto into his Blockfolio account.

American football quarterback Trevor Lawrence is joining the small but growing number of athletes getting paid in Bitcoin.

This latest development is the result of Lawrence signing an endorsement deal with cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

“We’re really trying to get our name out a lot,” said Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of FTX. This isn’t’ the first time Sam has been trying to take FTX and, by extension, crypto mainstream.

Recently, FTX closed the $135 million deal with Miami-Dade County to name Miami Heat’s home court, FTX Arena, for a period of 19 years.

The former Clemson quarterback received his first payment exclusively in crypto, which was transferred directly into his Blockfolio account, a crypto trading app acquired by FTX in August last year for $150 million.

“Trevor was excited about crypto,” Bankman-Fried said. “That’s what drew us to him.”

The signing bonus that Lawrence received in crypto, a mixture of Bitcoin, Ethereum, & Solana, is reportedly already worth more than when it was deposited on Friday night. Future payments to him will be made in whatever combination of crypto and dollars Lawrence chooses.

“Crypto is on a lot of people’s minds,” Bankman-Fried told DealBook.

Joining Lawrence is Kansas City Chiefs player Sean Culkin who will be taking his entire base salary for 2021, $920,000 in BTC.

With this, Culkin becomes the first National Football League player to be paid entirely in BTC. Russel Okung, who famously declared “pay me in bitcoin,” receives only half of his salary in BTC.

Much like Okung, Culkin will be staking sats via Zap’s Strike.

Culkin, who first became aware of Bitcoin in 2016, shared his enthusiasm on Twitter and has been sharing his thoughts on crypto regularly. Culkin said,

“For me, it makes sense to get paid in the hardest form of currency, and it’s something that is resistant to inflationary pressures that I think is very relevant in this current economic environment.”

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Author: AnTy