Uber CEO: We Won’t Invest in Bitcoin, Would Rather Keep the Non Existent Cash Safe

Uber CEO: We Won’t Invest in Bitcoin, Would Rather Keep the Non Existent Cash Safe

PepsiCo also doesn’t have any interest in investing in Bitcoin either, due to the digital asset being “speculative” and just like UBER share prices fell, PEP’s also took a hit, that too in spite of better-than-expected earnings and revenue.

Uber chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi says the company has discussed the idea of buying Bitcoin with corporate cash but “quickly dismissed” it.

After Tesla announced a $1.5 billion purchase of BTC and Twitter is also considering the option of adding Bitcoin to its balance sheet, Uber took the route that General Motors (GM) is taking, no investing in the cryptocurrency.

“It’s a conversation that’s happened that has been quickly dismissed,” Khosrowshahi said in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “We’re going to keep our cash safe. We’re not in the speculation business.”

However, unlike GM, Uber doesn’t have any cash to spare with their free cash flow running in the negative.

The company’s decision not to invest in Bitcoin saw the share prices of Uber taking a hit initially only to rise to $63.53 but still just 0.5% up from Wednesday’s close. Khosrowshahi said,

“The upside in our company is in the business that we’ve built, not the investments that we invest in.”

Like Uber, PepsiCo CFO, Huge Johnston, said the beverage giant has “had the conversation” but is not going to follow in Tesla, MicroStrategy, and Square’s footsteps. Johnston said,

“The conclusion we came to pretty quickly was bitcoin is too speculative for the way we manage our cash portfolio.”

Just like Uber, PepsiCo’s shares also dropped by 1.22%; they have actually been falling ever since the beginning of 2021, despite the company’s better-than-expected earnings and revenue.

The ride-hailing and food-delivery provider, Uber, however, is interested in considering the option of accepting cryptocurrencies as payment, something GM is also evaluating. Khosrowshahi said,

“Just like we accept all kinds of local currency, we are going to look at cryptocurrency and/or bitcoin in terms of currency to transact.”

“That’s good for business. That’s good for our riders and our eaters. That we’ll certainly look at and if there’s a benefit there, if there’s a need there, we’ll do it. We’re just not going to do it as part of a promotion.”

The company reported mixed fourth-quarter earnings with revenue of $3.17 billion, below what Wall Street expected. The company’s overall loss for 4Q20 was $968 million, down from a $1.1 billion loss in the same period last year.

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Author: AnTy

Deeper Pullback in Precious Metals Indicates Flows Are Moving Towards Bitcoin

However, if the dollar rally continues on “that would sink a few boats.”

Cryptocurrencies are already leading the market gains in 2021.

On Friday, Bitcoin price nearly hit $42,000 and is currently holding strongly above $40k with over $14 billion in ‘real’ volume.

This week, BTC started with a dip to about $28,500 and since then has seen a 42% increment in its value.

“The surge in Bitcoin is indicative of froth but not only in that market, in many other areas where risk premiums have come down sharply in the past year despite a recession,” said Kevin Caron, portfolio manager for Washington Crossing. “We view Bitcoin as a proxy for risk appetite.”

Besides Bitcoin, altcoins also enjoyed a good week with notable mentions including Nano (256%), Pundi X (146%), YFL (130%), Stellar (128%), Loopring (126%), ROOK (118%), Nexus (107%), Verge (96%), ALPHA (87%), YFI (82%), SOL (78%), MATIC (67%), KIMCHI (62%), KP3R (60%), IOTA (58%), and Ethereum (58%).

These gains led to the total cryptocurrency market capitalization to climb to $1.09 trillion.

Bitcoin awakening

While cryptocurrencies are enjoying just another green week, the same is not the case for metals.

As we reported, precious metals have been taking a beating for three days in a row. Since Wednesday, spot gold has lost 6.6% of its value and is now seeing a slight relief to $1,847 per ounce. The same is the case for silver, which slid a good 12.8% during the same period.

These losses have been the result of the US dollar index rising and keeping above the 90 level. Unlike the traditional safe-haven asset, Bitcoin and the stock market remained unaffected by the greenback’s strength.

According to Charlie Morris of ByteTree, the deep slide in precious metals could be the result of flows moving towards Bitcoin. “If this continues, expect a dollar counter-rally. That would sink a few boats,” he said.

Much like gold, treasuries also sold off as investors focused on further stimulus. The sell-off in 10-year US Treasuries pushed their yields to their highest levels since March. Despite the UK economy losing 140,000 jobs in December, the first time in eight months. Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Swiss wealth manager Prime Partners, said,

“Investors are buying the end of an erratic Trump administration and looking forward to something new, which is a Biden presidency and the prospect of a significant spending program.”

The Biden administration is expected to be good for cryptocurrencies with the expectations for more stimulus and money printing. Frank Spiteri, chief revenue officer at CoinShares, said,

“It seems like we’re in the middle of a simultaneous awakening among institutions to Bitcoin as an uncorrelated store of value assets with the possibility of serving as an inflation hedge in the face of a highly unconventional monetary policy environment.”

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Author: AnTy

Crypto is the Only Way to Pay for Pornhub After Mastercard & Visa Drops Adult Platform

Last week, Mastercard and Visa announced that they would no longer allow their cards to be used on the popular adult website Pornhub.com. The decision came after the payment processors’ review of the website found unlawful content. Mastercard said in a statement,

“Our investigation over the past several days has confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content on their site.”

“We instructed the financial institutions that connect the site to our network to terminate acceptance.”

Both the companies started the investigation after a New York Times column accused Pornhub of videos depicting child abuse and non-consensual violence, which the company said to be untrue.

In response, this week, Pornhub enacted safeguards including banning unverified uploaders from posting new content and eliminated downloads and partnered with non-profit organizations to combat illegal content. The company’s latest update reads,

“It is clear that Pornhub is being targeted not because of our policies and how we compare to our peers, but because we are an adult content platform.”

Regarding Mastercard and Visa severing its ties with the company, Pornhub said the move was “exceptionally disappointing,” adding that it affects hundreds of thousands of models who rely on the platform for their livelihoods.

Now, the website exclusively supports cryptocurrency as it has become the default payment method.

Currently, the supported digital currencies include Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Dash, Monero (XMR), Ripple (XRP), NEM (XEM), Tron (TRX), Tether (USDT), Verge (XVG), Waves, and Zcash (ZEC).

This development is expected to help digital currencies gain further adoption as Nic Carter of Coin Metrics states, “financial infrastructure is already thoroughly politicized, from top to bottom.”

Pornhub attracts 3.5 billion visits a month, which is more than Amazon, Netflix, or Yahoo. Venture capitalist Paul Graham, co-founder of startup accelerator Y Combinator tweeted,

“Possible future scenario: Credit card companies become increasingly picky about who they’ll process transactions for, and this becomes the thing that tips the general public into using cryptocurrency in transactions, ultimately killing credit cards.”

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Author: AnTy

Binance Drops BGBP Stablecoin; Citing Challenges in the Issuance and Redemption Process

Binance crypto exchange announced that it would discontinue its GBP-backed stablecoin ‘BGBP’ as of Nov 17 at 12:00 PM UTC. This coin was tied on a 1:1 ratio against the British pound and launched by Binance back in June 2019.

According to the announcement on Nov 16, the BGBP stablecoin is among a list of trading pairs that will either be removed or cease trading on the Binance exchange. The announcement noted that BGBP’s last trading pair against BUSD marks its final use case within the exchange’s trading ecosystem.

Notably, users who will still hold their BGBP after trading stops will have an option to leverage Binance’s convert function to exchange their stablecoins to GBP on a 1:1 basis. The blog post by Binance reads,

“Please note that BGBP/USDC is the last trading pair for BGBP. For users still holding BGBP after trading ceases, they will be able to use the Convert function to convert their BGBP to GBP at a 1:1 ratio.”

A Binance rep who spoke to theBlock, revealed that the BGBP was the exchange’s first fiat-pegged stablecoin experiment, hence more like a proof-of-concept. According to the spokesperson’s comments, BGBP posed some challenges in issuance and redemption,

It worked, but the issuance/redemption process was not the most friendly for users.”

The spokesperson further highlighted that Binance would instead direct users to its alternative GBP on-ramping services to derive similar utility.

“As such, to offer our users with better services, we have discontinued BGBP and will direct users to our other available fiat on-ramps that offer GBP.”

While Binance issued BGBP, its dollar-backed BUSD stablecoin has thrived more despite being a Paxos stablecoin white-label. According to coinmarketcap metrics, the BUSD stablecoin supply is cool $662 million compared to a mere $700,000 by the BGBP counterpart.

It is noteworthy that the BGBP stablecoin was primarily bought through Binance Jersey, a subsidiary that the exchange is shutting down this month. This also coincides with upcoming U.K stablecoin regulations that seek to implement oversight on these digital assets to be at par with rival payment methods.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Tezos ‘Delphi’ Upgrade Makes it More Attractive For Defi Projects; Reducing Gas Price By 75%

Tezos has completed the Delphi upgrade, which many believe would make the blockchain a hub for defi projects. As per the official announcement, the Delphi upgrade has brought down the gas fees significantly, allowing users and developers to deploy more complex smart contracts on the platform.

The Delphi upgrade is believed to bring down the gas fee by a whopping 75% along with a four-times lower storage cost.

Tezos network makes use of gas just like Ethereum, but with a different implementation. While the Ethereum blockchain uses gas as a transaction fee, the Tezos network uses it as a limit setter for the consumption of computing power for a transaction. However, the transaction cost is determined by the amount of gas used for that transaction.

Gabriel Alfour, the lead developer at Marigold—and one of the core development teams that worked on Delphi, explained the importance of the lower gas fees and how it can propel the Tezos network to be a leading blockchain when it comes to the deployment of complex smart contracts. He said,

The motivation for such an interim proposal is straightforward. The size and complexity of smart contracts is limited by gas constraints, and so people attempting to build contracts with rich functionality have needed improvements to those constraints for some time.

Thus, such improvements are crucial to enable novel applications on Tezos that target areas like DeFi (“Decentralized Finance”), collectibles, and gaming.

Luckily, in August, we finalized some long-standing work on improving the performance of the Michelson type checker and interpreter, and on refining the cost model, thus mitigating the gas problem.

Growing gas fees due to the network congestion has been a substantial problem for Ethereums mainnet since defi gained traction, and its volume increased significantly. While the launch of ETH 2.0 is believed to solve many of the scaling problems for Ethereum, in the meantime, other blockchains such as Tezos can attract higher numbers of customers to its platform.

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Author: Hank Klinger

ECB’s President ‘Hunch’ is EU Might Push Forward with CBDC Plans; Decision in January, 2021

European Central Bank (ECB) president, Christine Lagarde, said on Thursday that the EU would make its decision on whether to pursue a digital euro in January 2021. This comes as more jurisdictions pay closer attention to Central Bank Digital Currencies, given the accelerated paradigm shift to virtual payment networks amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lagarde shared her sentiments during the virtual ECB Forum on Central Banking. In-attendance were other prominent monetary authority figures, including the Fed Reserve chair Jerome Powel and Andrew Bailey, Bank of England governor.

While all the three figures commented on the ongoing developments in CBDC, Lagarde hinted that the EU might decide to move forward with a CBDC, although the decision will be made collectively. She stated that,

“We might well go in that direction … My hunch is that it will come.”

Lagarde was also keen to highlight that the ECB is not in a race to be the first but rather seeks to derive value from a CBDC. She noted that if the CBDC option is fast, cheap, and highly secure, then the ECB should explore the possibilities of joining other nations that have forged ahead with CBDC plans.

“If it is going to contribute to better monetary sovereignty, a better autonomy for the euro area, I think we should explore it. If it is going to facilitate cross border payments, which are very laborious in quite a few corners of our big world, then we should explore it.”

Per Lagarde’s time-frame estimates, a digital euro will take at least 2-4 years before it is finally launched. This will allow the ECB to adequately prepare and get it right once the project is ready for mainstream adoption. Some of the ECB issues are still trying to figure out include Anti-money laundering, terror-financing, and users’ privacy.

Notably, the ECB intensified its efforts in CBDC research this year and recently published a report on the possibilities and implications of a digital euro. The central bank also applied for a trademark the name ‘digital euro’ as part of its effort to hedge, should it chose to roll out a CBDC.

The Fed Chair & Bank of England Governor’s Takes

Jerome Powel, who also shared his comments during the virtual policy panel, said that the U.S is committed to looking at the ‘potential costs and benefits of a central bank digital currency.’ However, he reiterated that it is more important to get it right than being first, especially with the U.S dollar’s position as the world’s reserve currency.

Andrew Bailey, the BoE governor, touched on private stablecoins in what seemed to be a warning to issuing authorities. According to him, the bar is very high for stablecoins, given the users’ expectation of value certainty. In fact, he went on to highlight that the bar or answer might actually be CBDCs.

“They haven’t met that bar in my view. And it may be that the answer to that bar is actually central bank digital currency.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

FinTech Revolut to Leverage Fireblocks’ Wallet & Network Tech to Launch New Crypto Services

Revolut, the mobile-only trading app, has announced that it would be utilizing Fireblocks’s technology to offer a new range of crypto services. Fireblocks is popular for helping big institutions to shift cryptocurrencies between exchanges. However, neither of the two firms revealed exactly what these new crypto services would be.

Fireblocks currently support three exchanges, namely Huobi Global, OkCoin, and Bithumb. Big companies use Fireblocks technology to move funds between smart contracts both on and off-chain without logging in and out of each exchange.

Revolut started as a mobile banking service offering cross-border remittance services starting in 2018. In the beginning, the mobile banking app allowed only the purchase and sale of bitcoin; however, now it offers multiple digital assets.

Revolut this year expanded to the US as well, which expanded its user base significantly. It is being believed that its recent association with Fireblocks is only going to help it scale its crypto services further.

As per Revolut’s yearly financial report released in August this year, the customers on the mobile banking app held $121 million in crypto by the end of 2019, seeing an increase of 2.5 folds from 2018. In the financial year of 2018, the total amount of crypto held by the mobile banking service stood at $48 million.

Ed Cooper, Revolut’s head of crypto, commented on their association with Fireblocks but did not reveal any detail of the partnership and how both the firms plan to scale bitcoin services.

“Fireblocks will enable us to add more advanced crypto features rapidly, ” they are also exploring “all the new experiences that we can offer our customers shortly.” He added,

“Wish I could give more info here. They haven’t announced the services yet, but Revolut is planning to announce this themselves in the next few weeks.”

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Author: James W

Riot Blockchain Targets 2.3 EH/s Hashrate by June 2021; Adds 2,500 Bitmain S19 Pro Miners

Riot Blockchain announced on Oct 6 that it would be expanding its S19 Pro Antminer fleet following a recent purchase of 2500 units from Bitmain. The firm also highlighted progress in previous S19 Pro miners’ orders [1,000 in April, 1,040 in May, 1,000 in July, and 8,000 in August] and an update on their deployment. Currently, Riot’s deployed hashrate capacity stands at 519 PH/s; they are now looking to quadruple this to 2.3 EH/s by June 2021.

According to the announcement, the newly purchased Bitmain S19 Pro miners were acquired at the cost of $ 6.1 million with delivery and deployment scheduled for December. Notably, this operational expansion comes barely a month since Riot ordered 13,100 S19 Pro miners, delivery for these is slated for the first 6 months of 2021.

With this aggressive scaling, Riot, a Nasdaq listed firm, is looking to take the lead in the Bitcoin mining space. As far as stats go, this will be the first listed Bitcoin mining firm to achieve a hashrate above 2 EH/s. The blog announcement reads,

“As far as the Company is aware, no other publicly traded bitcoin mining company has disclosed a hashing capacity exceeding 2 EH/s.”

Riot anticipates that it will have deployed up to 22,640 miners by the end of June 2021. However, this year’s target is 9,540 miners, which will boost the firm’s hashpower by 14% to 842 PH/s. Going by these developments, the race for Bitcoin mining domination seems to have taken the next level as industry titans play catch up with the latest BTC mining difficulty.

Other than scaling its mining fleet, Riot recently moved its Antminers to the Coinmint data center domiciled in Massena, New York. The facility provides cheaper electricity for Riot’s mining operations, given that its geographical location has abundant wind power and hydroelectricity.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Digital Asset Trading Platform eToro Rolls Out Cardano (ADA) And Tron (TRX) Staking Service

Popular trading platform, eToro, announced on Thursday that it would provide staking rewards for cryptocurrencies starting with Cardano (ADA) and Tron (TRX).

The multi-asset exchange stated that clients that own these cryptocurrencies, ADA, or TRX, would have a chance to earn rewards by staking, which will be paid out monthly. The firm also revealed that it plans to introduce other assets later, but hasn’t revealed what the next digital assets would be.

According to the press statement, the system is fully automated, and users will not need to do anything extra but just trade these assets like normal.

The rewards will be calculated by taking a daily snapshot, which will be taken at 00:00 GMT. The automated system calculates the staking rewards based on the snapshot and distributes them at month-end according to the average daily position size. This means that traders who will change their positions on these cryptocurrencies over the course of the month will see their staking rewards change.

Like most proof of staking (PoS) tokens, investors will need to hold the assets for a certain number of days before they receive the first reward. However, the amount of time required is variable. For Cardano, one must hold the asset for nine days.

According to the press release, the rewards will be compounded on a monthly basis. It says:

“Clients staking on eToro benefit from doing so on a regulated and globally trusted platform. We also believe staking rewards on our platforms are among the most generous in the market, from a minimum of 75% of the staking yield.”

In late July, Cardano introduced staking on its mainnet following a successful trial using an incentivized testnet. In the recent past, staking as a service has gained prominence, and eToro will now be competing with various exchanges and independent staking providers such as Binance, Coinbase, Bison Trials, and many more.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Kadena to Launch DEX to Rival Uniswap; Touts Higher Speeds and Multiple Protocol Support

Kadena announced on Tuesday that it would roll out a Decentralized Exchange (DEX) dubbed ‘Kadenaswap’ towards the end of 2020 in a bid to rival Ethereum, which is currently struggling with high gas fees and congestion. This JP Morgan blockchain initiative noted that its pipeline multi-chain DEX will provide DeFi traders with an option capable of handling high volumes as part of its contribution to the burgeoning space.

For starters, Kadenaswap is set to facilitate around 480,000 transactions per second compared to a mere 13 Tps on Ethereum. This has been a significant issue for Ethereum recently, as markets rallied in favor of DeFi ecosystems. Gas fees hit all-time highs, with traders paying as much as $15 per transaction at the beginning of September.

Kadenaswap has since been touted as the game-changer by its stakeholders, including Kadena president, Stuart Popejoy. Speaking to Coindesk, he confirmed that the DEX would have no issues in handling 480,000 Tps based on the fundamentals of Kadena blockchain, a platform that debuted at the beginning of the year.

Furthermore, Kadenaswap, unlike Uniswap, will support various protocols to build within its DEX ecosystem. Kadena’s native bridge infrastructure, coupled with the pact smart contract language, will allow its prospectus clients to integrate a couple of protocols not limited to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cosmos, and Polkadot. Popejoy commented that,

“We already have production code with fully decentralized bridges, and so that creates an interesting opportunity to think of a multi-protocol, multi-venue DEX.”

Like most decentralized projects, Kadena is also considering launching its governance token ‘KDAX,’ used as the fuel to its DEX. This means that KDAX holders will get to vote on proposals intended to improve or keep Kadenaswap sustainable in the DeFi space.

While Kadenaswap stakeholders may be bullish, the DEX will face a tall order in trying to disrupt Uniswap, which currently enjoys $2.3 billion in liquidity and $271 million volume within the past 24 hours. Ethereum 2.0 will launch in the near future, according to the latest updates from the team. If successful, DeFi activity is more likely to continue thriving in this ecosystem.

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Author: Edwin Munyui