LATAM E-Commerce Giant to Allow its Millions of Users to Buy, Store, & Sell Crypto via Digital Wallet

LATAM E-Commerce Giant to Allow its Millions of Users to Buy, Store, & Sell Crypto via Digital Wallet

MercadoLibre is the latest company to join crypto as soon it will offer its customers in Brazil the ability to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies using its digital payments app.

MercadoLibre is the largest Latin American company by market cap, and through crypto, it is expanding its financial products.

The crypto feature was already available to a select small group of clients earlier this month and will be rolled out broadly in the coming months, said vice president Tulio Oliveira. Mercado Pago’s digital wallet has 16.8 million unique users as of the third quarter of 2021.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg, which was retweeted by Mercado Libre co-founder and CEO Marcos Galperin, who also said that users of both Mercado Livre, the Brazilian branch, and its fintech arm Mercado Pago would be able to “buy, store and sell crypto” starting this week.

The company has been planning its crypto move for months now as back in August, President Osvaldo Gimenez said Bitcoin and Ethereum “could be a revolution in finance.”

Before that, in May, MercadoLibre had also disclosed its $7.8 million Bitcoin purchase as part of the treasury strategy. Prior to that, its Argentine real estate platform started accepting BTC for the purchase and sale of properties.

In a statement on Monday, MercadoLibre said that it was entering the crypto space in Brazil together with “a world-class custodian” but didn’t mention who it is partnering with. The company is “analyzing all financial and regulatory aspects surrounding this technology,” it added.

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Author: AnTy

Australia’s Largest Bank to Allow its 6.5 Million Users to Buy, Sell, & Hold 10 Crypto’s via its App

Australia’s Largest Bank to Allow its 6.5 Million Users to Buy, Sell, & Hold 10 Cryptocurrencies via its App

BTC, ETH, LINK, UNI, COMP, AAVE, MATIC, and other cryptos are allowed for now, with CBA planning to offer shopping with crypto next year.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is the latest banking giant planning to integrate cryptocurrency into its CommBank app, allowing nearly 6.5 million customers to hold and use cryptocurrencies.

Currently, the pilot is only available “for CommBank staff members” with plans to “expand to a small number of pre-selected customers in the coming months,” said the bank on Twitter.

Australia’s biggest lender is partnering with New York-based exchange Gemini to offer crypto exchange and custodial service through a new feature in its mobile banking app. It would also work with the blockchain data platform Chainalysis for compliance efforts.

“We believe we can play an important role in crypto to address what’s clearly a growing customer need,” Commonwealth Bank Chief Executive Matt Comyn said in a statement.

Joining In

CBA, along with its “Big Four” peers, National Australia Bank (NAB), Westpac Banking Corp, and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, dominate the country’s banking sector, but it is the first one in Australia to start offering crypto services.

In September, the group faced criticism for refusing to do business with crypto providers.

“I am pleased the tide is turning as digital assets are mainstreamed,” said Liberal party Senator Andrew Bragg, who led an inquiry into the sector.

“For too long, banks have cast aside cryptocurrency as an illegitimate fringe pursuit.”

During hearings of the Senate committee, CBA said the blockchain technology that underpins bitcoin “will have a far-reaching impact for financial services” and recognizes that the fintech sector is growing rapidly.

“As the sector grows, there is both local and global interest in better understanding the growing risk of [money laundering/terrorism financing], particularly in relation to crypto-assets.”

More Features Coming

CBA said the growing demand from its clients drove this move to crypto and because local crypto services are being offered by fintechs like Paypal, Revolut, and Square.

“Nothing that I know, particularly from a bank of this size, enables retail clients to directly buy crypto through their platform, to the best of my knowledge. So it’s really exciting,” said Caroline Bowler, CEO of Australian crypto exchange BTC Markets.

CBA can’t afford to be left behind in the race to build “super apps” attractive to younger customers as an estimated 600,000 taxpayers have invested in crypto assets in recent years, according to the Australian Tax Office.

The bank will offer the ability to buy, sell, and hold selected ten cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Chainlink (LINK), Uniswap (UNI), Compound (COMP), Aave, Polygon (MATIC), Filecoin (FIL) Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC), as part of the pilot this year. The bank said that more features would be rolled out next year with plans to explore crypto payments and options.

“We remain committed to reimagining banking and will continue to bring more functionality into the CommBank app including investing and shopping.”

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Author: AnTy

Mastercard Will Now Allow Banks and Merchants to Buy, Sell, and Pay with Crypto

Mastercard Will Now Allow Banks and Merchants to Buy, Sell, and Pay with Crypto

Payment giant Mastercard is now preparing to allow millions of merchants and thousands of banks on its network to integrate cryptocurrency into their products soon announced the company on Monday.

This will cover bitcoin wallets, debit and credit cards that enable spending crypto assets and earning rewards in crypto, and loyalty programs where the airline or hotel points can be converted into digital currency.

For this, Mastercard is partnering with Bakkt, which will provide custodial services. Sherri Haymond, Mastercard’s executive vice president of digital partnerships, in an interview, said,

“We want to offer all of our partners the ability to more easily add crypto services to whatever it is they’re doing.”

“Our partners, be they banks, fintechs or merchants can offer their customers the ability to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency through an integration with the Baktt platform.”

The company has more than 20,000 financial institutions as part of its network. Also, there are 2.8 billion Mastercards in use.

The growing interest in crypto this year has Mastercard clients also asking them to help in providing crypto services, said Haymond. According to her, this will allow banks to keep customers on their platforms instead of having their dollars migrate to crypto exchanges. Bakkt CEO Gavin Michael said,

“We’re lowering the barriers to entry, allowing people to take something like your rewards points and trade them into crypto.”

“It’s an easy way to get going because you’re not using cash, you’re putting something that’s an idle asset sitting on your balance sheet, and we’re allowing you to put in to work.”

This is in line with earlier findings that nearly half (48%) of respondents purchased crypto in the first half of 2021, and 32% of those who didn’t are either very or somewhat interested in doing so before year-end.

77% of millennials are also interested in learning more about crypto, with 75% saying they would use cryptocurrency if they understood it better.

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Author: AnTy

NYDIG Collaborates with Q2 to Allow its 18.3M Registered Users to Buy, Sell and Hold Bitcoin

NYDIG Collaborates with Q2 to Allow its 18.3M Registered Users to Buy, Sell and Hold Bitcoin

Bitcoin services provider NYDIG is now collaborating with banking and lender provider Q2 holdings. This collaboration will allow Q2 to provide its more than 18.3 million registered users to buy, sell, and hold Bitcoin.

The digital banking platform Q2 powers about 30% of the top 100 banks in the US and enables one in ten digital banking customers to transact.

With this latest step, Q2 will be able to provide its customers with integrated Bitcoin services and further drive end-user acquisition, retention, and engagement along with increasing its fee revenue opportunities.

In the official announcement, Jonathan Price, EVP of Emerging Business, Corporate and Business Development, Q2 noted that a December 2020 study by Cornerstone Advisors found that 15% of US consumers own Bitcoin or some other form of cryptocurrency and that majority of these crypto owners would use their banks to invest in crypto if they had the choice to do so.

As such, they are now enabling “financial institutions to take advantage of this market opportunity and meet the demands of their account holders.”

This week, NYDIG also collaborated with Fiserv, a payments and financial services technology solutions provider with 74.84 billion in assets as of March 31, 2021. With this integration, Fiserv customers can manage bitcoin transactions directly within their customer bank accounts. Nic Carter, founding partner at Castle Island Ventures said,

“Quietly, one of the most important developments in the ongoing integration of bitcoin and financial services is happening right now.”

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Author: AnTy

To Acquire Even More Bitcoin, MicroStrategy will Now Sell up to $1 Billion of its Shares

To Acquire Even More Bitcoin, MicroStrategy will Now Sell up to $1 Billion of its Shares

MicroStrategy Inc. has filed a “shelf” registration with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to sell up to $1 billion in common shares for general purposes.

These funds will be used to purchase more Bitcoin. The filing reads,

“We intend to use the net proceeds from the sale of any class A common stock offered under this prospectus for general corporate purposes, including the acquisition of bitcoin.”

Just this week, MicroStrategy completed a $500 million offering of 6.125% Senior Secured Notes due 2028. The company will be using the funds to buy BTC.

As of now, the company has a stash of 92,079 BTC, representing nearly 0.5% of Bitcoin’s circulating supply, which is held by a newly formed subsidiary of MicroStrategy, MacroStrategy.

MicroStrategy’s shares are currently trading at $546, down from Monday’s high of just above $600. MSTR’s share price is still down 58.5% from its all-time high of $1,315 in early February.

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Author: AnTy

CryptoPunks Creators Launch New NFT Platform, Meebits; Sell Over 20k 3D Art Pieces in 24 Hours

CryptoPunks Creators Launch New NFT Platform, Meebits; Sell Over 20k 3D Art Pieces in 24 Hours

Larva Labs, creators of CryptoPunks non-fungible tokens (NFTs), announced the launch of a new NFT platform, Meebits, Ethereum-based 3D characters tradable on the blockchain. The platform consists of 20,000 uniquely created NFTs that aim to capture the market and ride with the current demand for these collectibles.

Meebits are randomly generated NFT 3D avatars created using voxels (pixels with volume) which differs from the 2D pixelated CryptoPunks avatars. The team believes the Meebits platform is the ‘next big thing’ in the NFT marketplaces targeting CryptoPunks’ success, which has made over $550 million in sales collectively.

According to a statement from Larva Labs creators, Meebits will serve as avatars for “online gamers, virtual worlds, and virtual reality” in the future. Adding to its 3D features, Larva Labs has also made changes to the no-fee marketplace whereby users and holders of Meebits have the ability to customize trades and exchange Meebits in more complex transactions.

All of the 20,000 Meebits have been minted already, with a Dutch auction company facilitating the distribution of the 3D characters. Potential owners of Meebits raised an average of 2.49 ETH (or ~$8,000) to mint a Meebit at random. The Meebits will be stored in a file hash stored on a smart contract, similar to CryptoPunks.

In the blog post, LarvaLabs co-founders Matt Hall and John Watkinson explained the storage process writing,

“Once all 20,000 Meebits have been minted, we’ll release the file matching that hash on IPFS. This will contain all the attribute and voxel data for each Meebit, so they can live on in perpetuity.”

The launch of Meebits comes less than a month after Larva Labs announced the auctioning of CryptoPunks at Christie’s auction house on 13 May during Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Guggenheim CIO Urges Market to Sell Bitcoin Ahead of Company’s Investment in GBTC

Guggenheim CIO Urges Market to Sell Bitcoin Ahead of Company’s Investment in GBTC

After calling for $400k the day BTC broke $20k, Scott Minerd is now calling to take off profits as the market records a pullback.

“Time to take some money off the table,” is what Scott Minerd, Global Chief Investment Officer at Guggenheim Partners, is advising Bitcoin traders and investors.

According to Minerd, “Bitcoin’s parabolic rise is unsustainable in the near term. Vulnerable to a setback. The target technical upside of $35,000 has been exceeded.”

Minerd’s comments came in the middle of the market correction that saw Bitcoin falling to nearly $32,000, a pullback of just under 25%, which took the entire crypto market down with it.

Interestingly, since December, while the address with small BTC holdings saw a drop, those holding big amounts of BTC grew even during the current dip, noted Elias Sim of BisonTrails.

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Just last month, the day Bitcoin price broke past its 2017 peak of $20k, Minerd predicted $400,000 per BTC driven by the digital asset’s scarcity combined with the Federal Reserve’s “rampant money printing.”

“Our fundamental work shows that Bitcoin should be worth about $400,000,” Minerd told Bloomberg, adding, ”Bitcoin actually has a lot of the attributes of gold and at the same time has an unusual value in terms of transactions.”

Minerd’s comments to take off profits came while Guggenheim’s SEC filing to invest $500 million in Bitcoin via Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust Fund (GBTC) becomes effective on Jan. 31. The firm hasn’t received a green light from the SEC yet.

Guggenheim has actually been looking to buy BTC since it was trading around $10k, and Minerd called it “a little more challenging” when the digital asset was at $20k.

“Sounds like he wants everyone to dump so his firm may buy the dip,” said trader and economist Alex Kruger about Minerd’s commentary. Kruger further noted that “No money manager with the capacity to move the market announces is going to sell.”

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Author: AnTy

Citi Cuts MicroStrategy’s MSTR Due to CEO’s ‘Disproportionate Focus on Bitcoin’

Calling the recent rally “overextended,” Citi has downgraded MicroStrategy from neutral to sell in its latest report.

MSTR shares are up 168% over the past six months, climbing to a level not seen since 2000. These gains were made on the back of MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin bet. In August, the company first adopted Bitcoin as its primary reserve asset, and last Friday spent another $50 million on 2,574 BTC. During the time, the largest digital asset has rallied a whopping 150% YTD.

MicroStrategy’s commitment to Bitcoin turned the company and its CEO into a fully blown celebrity in cryptocurrency market participants’ eyes. This also got Citron research short on the company to say MicroStrategy is the best way to own Bitcoin in the stock market.

It also had many wondering if MicroStrategy is a software company or a Bitcoin hedge fund. This raises concerns for the company as it will raise questions from regulators who refuse to approve a Bitcoin ETF.

And now, MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin bet that has Citi getting bearish on the company, resulting in the company’s shares losing over 17% of its value in a single day.

Citi’s remarks came after MicroStrategy announced on Monday that it will be issuing $400 million convertible senior notes, proceeds of which will yet again be used to be even more BTC.

The price of Bitcoin also experienced a correction, which extended today. However, currently down around $18,000, a pullback has been expected after the recent rally from $10,000 to $20,000.

Analyst Tyler Radke sees “incremental risks to the story” following the debt issuance to buy more Bitcoin, which has been described as “aggressive” and possibly a “deal-breaker for software investors.” The analyst said,

“MSTR’s bitcoin investment has returned $250M (or worth $26/share or +20% towards stock) since August ’20. While impressive, it pales in comparison to the 172% return in the stock. At the current stock price, our analysis suggests that the market is pricing in much more optimistic valuation scenarios for the core business and Bitcoin.”

Radke further noted that the recent insider selling in MicroStrategy has been “significant and broad-based,” adding its shares may be overvalued.

The analyst also questioned Saylor’s “disproportionate focus on bitcoin.” Radke said,

“We are also concerned that the company could be losing focus on execution with CEO Saylor’s disproportionate focus on Bitcoin vs. running the business and signs of deteriorating employee sentiment.”

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Author: AnTy

Popular Exchange Adds Three More Cryptos; CVC, DNT, and MANA Experiencing ‘Coinbase Effect’

  • Coinbase continues its listing spree, adding three more tokens.
  • Users can now buy, sell, convert, send, receive, or store CVC, MANA, and DNT.

U.S. largest cryptocurrency exchange announced the listing of Civic (CVC), Decentraland (MANA), and distric0x (DNT), allowing users to start trading, converting, and storing them on their platform. These three tokens joins a string of recent listings on the exchange in the past few months as Coinbase competes with other heavyweights including Binance and Huobi.

At launch, CVC and MANA will be available to customers in every Coinbase-supported region while DNT is not available for trading in New York State.

Coinbase seems in a rush to onboard new tokens after the recent decentralized finance rush. In mid-October, Coinbase announced they are currently progressively looking at 39 DeFi tokens that could be listed on the ‘prestigious’ exchange in the coming weeks.

Civic is an identity verification platform that allows users to privately provide identities to authorities for verification without re-verifying on every other service provider. Service providers incentivize their users and verifiers by paying CVC tokens.

Decentraland is a decentralized and virtual land market that offers prime “virtual plots” of land for the MANA token. District0x powers a network of decentralized marketplaces and communities called districts.

Coinbase also released a strategic process to listen to its customers, who have relentlessly asked for more tokens to be added to the exchange.

As you can imagine, the typical ‘Coinbase effect’ hit each of these coins as soon as the announcement went live. CVC is currently up 124% with a price of $.0571 while DNT is up 347% with a price of $.0419; unfortunately, MANA didn’t experience quite the jump that the two other coins did. Seeing a 32% jump with a price of $0.0875.

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Author: Lujan Odera