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Robinhood to Plan Testing Cryptocurrency Wallets, Speeding up Crypto Territory Escalation

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Robinhood Markets has announced that it plans to start testing cryptocurrency wallets next month, with a broader rollout in early 2022 to allows its customers to move supported crypto assets in and out of their brokerage accounts.

On September 22, the new public brokerage firm has stated that it plans to begin surveying its current crypto trading customers in the next few weeks, who constitute about 60% of the app’s 21.3 million active users and select a small group of respondents to start testing the new wallets and provide feedback.

Robinhood’s crypto lead Christine Brown talked about the development. She said that the firm would take the alpha users’ feedback and address it publicly via its blog and social media account on Twitter. Brown also stated that people on the waiting list will begin getting access to wallets by the end of 2021 and that Robinhood’s cryptocurrency wallets will generally be available in early 2022.

The Menlo Park-based retail brokerage firm allows holding, buying, and selling crypto assets at present, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin. Last quarter, Robinhood witnessed cryptocurrency transactions exceeded equities transactions for the first time.

RobinHood customers, who benefited from a boom in retail trading during the pandemic, have long asked for cryptocurrency wallets. Some community members feel that buying and selling cryptocurrencies on Robinhood does not let them own crypto. For example, customers of Robinhood currently can’t use their Bitcoin holdings in the app to buy an NFT and cannot use the Robinhood app to buy stocks with Bitcoin. 

The so-called cryptocurrency wallet will allow customers to receive, trade, and spend digital currencies, as well as move them in and out of the Robinhood app. Furthermore, the crypto wallet will enable customers to buy stocks, digital assets like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and other products using cryptocurrencies and transfer or spend their crypto coins without converting them into another fiat currency first.

Brown stated that the wallet will initially only support holding the Robinhood Crypto’s coins, covering major coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin.  Furthermore, Robinhood is planning to expand the currencies available on its platform in the future.

Companies Earn Millions in Revenue from Crypto

Last month, Robinhood Markets announced that cryptocurrency accounted for more than half of all transaction-based- based sales in the second quarter and disclosed that 62% of cryptocurrency revenue came from dogecoin, a meme-inspired digital coin.

The company stated that its revenue from cryptocurrency transactions in the second quarter was $233 million. It accounted for 52% of transaction-based revenue, up from $5 million in the second quarter of last year and an increase from 17% in the first quarter this year.

While Robinhood has gained popularity by offering free stock trading to a new generation of investors, the firm has also been a big beneficiary of the surge in the cryptocurrency market. Robinhood app allows customers to sell and buy seven cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.

Coinbase, which went public earlier this year, Square’s Cash App, and PayPal are also other popular services used by US consumers to sell and buy cryptocurrencies.

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Source: https://Blockchain.News/news/robinhood-plan-testing-cryptocurrency-wallets-speeding-up-crypto-territory-escalation

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Zimbabwe Plans to Support Crypto ETFs, Calming Lower the Cost of Remittance

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As many countries make advances toward supporting digital currency innovations, Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube, has confirmed that the government is exploring ways to let cryptocurrencies thrive.

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Speaking to the country’s citizens at an event in Dubai last week, Ncube said the country is already creating an avenue to make digital currencies like Bitcoin legal, but not to become a legal tender, as in the case of El Salvador.

The minister pointed out the fact that digital currencies are now too big to ignore and that the embrace of digital currencies can help lower the cost of remittance to the country. This inflow is on track to hit $1 billion this year. Amongst the major considerations, Ncube noted the country is working on the launch of a crypto ETF. According to him, the plans for these products are already underway, and private investors are fronting the initiative.

While acknowledging that the nation has no plan to ban digital currencies, he explained, “but our view is that we do not want it to be a currency. Want this to be an investment class. So,… through the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange platform, we will try to create crypto-based products there, which is ring-fenced within the offshore zone.”

He reassured that the ministry “has taken the first step already and created a sandbox, at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), where the idea and everything else is being tested in a safe regulated, environment where it will then migrate to this safe Victoria Falls environment.”

There are no timelines for these crypto ETF pursuits. However, he noted that the active partners helping to develop the index weighting the ETF products will be based on are from Dubai, one of the growing financial hubs in the world today.

Crypto ETF products are becoming popular today. While relatively new, countries like Canada, Brazil, and Germany have active Bitcoin ETF products. The current move from Zimbabwe may place the country as the first in Africa to float the country’s first crypto ETF.

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Source: https://Blockchain.News/news/zimbabwe-plans-to-support-crypto-etfs-calming-lower-the-cost-of-remittance

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DeFi Trails Broader Market Uptrend to Hit New TVL at $223 Billion

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The Total Value Locked (TVL) in decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols have crossed the biggest range in history. It is trading at its highest value of $223 billion, according to data from DeFiLlama.

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The current uptick in DeFi’s TVL is marked as an encompassing growth in the broader digital currency industry, whose market cap now sits at $2.42 trillion at the time of writing.

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By ranking, Curve Finance comes off as the most prominent protocol in the space and currently holds a total of $17.14 billion in Total Value Locked. As an interoperable decentralized exchange liquidity pool on Ethereum, the protocol’s uptrend growth is similar to the broader ecosystem, with the largest bit of assets locked on the Ethereum protocol.

Lending protocol Aave also sits comfortably in the second position with a $16.69 billion TVL, with the top five largest protocols made up by MakerDAO, Wrapped Bitcoin, and InstaDapp. Despite the biggest contributors of Ethereum blockchain native protocols, other public blockchain networks, including the Binance Smart Chain (BSC), Avalanche, and Fantom, also have protocols that contribute their bit to the overall growth.

DeFi has grown to offer new assistance to a wide range of investors as mainstream investment offerings do not look promising. The advent of the coronavirus pandemic placed a massive burden on the global economy. Based on this situation, central banks around the world set extremely low-interest rates to ease off the pressures. Investment securities, including government and corporate bonds, interests in savings, and others, directly impacted the broad economic fallout.

The shakedown of the global economy presented an opportunity for decentralized finance to showcase itself, offering higher interest rates and correspondingly lowering the barriers to entry per crypto-backed loans. 

The growth of DeFi has seen the TVL climb from $13.7 billion back in November 2020 to the $223 billion it currently is today, a price point that showcases the blockchain offshoot is just getting started.

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Source: https://Blockchain.News/analysis/defi-trails-broader-market-uptrend-hit-new-tvl-at-223-billion

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This CryptoPunk Owner Refuses to Accept a $9.5M Bid for His Rare NFT

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Owning a piece of Non-Fungible Token (NFT) nowadays is not just a way to own bragging rights today, it has become a prominent way to store assets for many people. This has pushed a Twitter user with the handle @richerd to reject a 2,500 ETH (approximately $9.5 million) bid for CryptoPunk #6046.

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NFTs provide a new way to store a piece of art on the blockchain such that they prove authenticity, and are verifiable. NFTs have become one of the most important use cases of blockchain technology today, and the innovation has unleashed the creativity in digital artists around the world today, harnessing the opportunities NFT has brought.

Amongst the pioneering NFT collections are the CryptoPunks, a collection of 10,000 randomly generated images created by the startup Larva Labs. CryptoPunks is currently the top NFT collection of all time on the NFT marketplace OpenSea, with over 551,000 ETH (~$2.1 billion) in total sales volume.

A large NFT collection like CryptoPunks are often tagged by their rarities, and one of the extremely rare ones was Punk #6046 which Richerd said is “not for sale” no matter what bid was offered.

In justifying the rejection of the bid placed by poap.eth as seen on LarvaLabs page for the Punk, Richerd stated that his refusal was partly based on the fact that a huge part of his only identity has been built around the CryptoPunk.

“My identity along with the identity of other iconic Punks and apes have value beyond the NFT itself. We have our own brands similar to any other brand and that has value. Because I value my personal brand and identity, this was an easy rejection for me,” Richard tweeted, “I have huge conviction in the NFT space and in Punks. When it comes to NFTs space I think very long term. To me, my brand, identity, and what I’m building in the NFT space will be way more valuable in the long run.”

While Punk #6046 would have been the most valuable of all the CryptoPunks sold to date had the bid been accepted, Beeple’s “Everydays” remains the highest-grossing NFT piece of all time with a $69.3 million valuation when it was auctioned off in March.

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Source: https://Blockchain.News/news/this-cryptopunk-owner-refuses-accept-a-$9.5m-bid-his-rare-nft

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Google Search Trends Show a Strong Correlation with Bitcoin Price

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The crypto community has been waiting with bated breath for Bitcoin (BTC) to breach the psychological level of $60K as this would move it inches closer to the all-time high (ATH) price of $64,800 set in mid-April. 

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This milestone recently has been attained, given that the leading cryptocurrency has been enjoying a notable upward momentum. Data shows Google search trends are positively correlated with Bitcoin price. Data analytic firm IntoTheBlock explained:

“The correlation between Google search trends for “Bitcoin search trends” and BTC’s price has climbed to 0.91, indicating a very strong correlation.”

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Bitcoin nosedived to lows of $30K in May as Chinese authorities intensified their crackdown on crypto mining. Charles Edwards, the founder of Capriole Investments, believes that institutional investments have played a pivotal role in Bitcoin’s move from $30,000 to $60,000. He added that a surge from $60K to $100K would be prompted by retail’s FOMO (fear of missing out).

NewYork takes the lion’s share of US Bitcoin hashrate

According to a recent report by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, the United States was ranked as the largest Bitcoin mining hub with 35.4% of the global hash rate as of the end of August.

The study noted that Kazakhstan and Russia were positioned in the second and third places, respectively. On the other hand, China’s dominance which once peaked at a high of 75% back in 2019, had hit zero percent as of July, given that Bitcoin mining activities had become unwelcome on Chinese soil.

With the majority of Bitcoin’s hashrate shifting to the United States, New York emerged first with 19.9%. Digital asset firm Foundry USA acknowledged:

“Within the U.S, 19.9% of Bitcoin’s hashrate is in New York, 18.7% in Kentucky, 17.3% in Georgia, and Texas accounts for 14%.”

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The hashrate is used to measure the processing power of the BTC network. It allows computers to process and solve problems that would enable transactions to be approved and confirmed across the network.

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Source: https://Blockchain.News/analysis/google-search-trends-show-a-strong-correlation-bitcoin-price

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