Bitcoin began the week at $39.5K, and after a week of tumultuous volatility, it’s pretty much where it started, despite several attempts to break out. One could argue this was caused by Dollar’s strength given that BTC managed to lock in at least modest gains against EUR and GBP. Raging war in Europe and threat of stagflation are making investors revisit their categorisation of risk vs. safe asset. With BTC and ETH pitching a new version of safe haven assets free from government control, it would still appear that good old gold has an upper hand, gaining 5.5% on USD since the war started compared to Bitcoin’s 2.3%.
Despite many altcoins mirroring Bitcoin’s movement, Dogecoin has seen an increased whale activity according to its on-chain data tracked by the popular analytics platform, IntoTheBlock. About 2,240 transactions were above $100,000, just a few hundred shy of January 14th's high. One of the plausible reasons for the traction is Elon Musk’s imminent purchase of Twitter. Doge rallied about 19% that Monday after the news came out, a rally it last had in October 2021. Some users were excited enough to suggest the change of the Twitter logo to Dogecoin.
Bitcoin Becomes Legal Tender in the Central African Republic
On Wednesday, the Central African Republic's President, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, has signed a bill that introduces Bitcoin as legal tender and sets a legislative framework for the use of cryptocurrencies as a whole. Subsequently, Central African Republic (CAR) parliament voted unanimously to enact this law.
According to a World Bank report from 2020, CAR has a population of about 5 million people, with 71% of them living in abject poverty. The Central African Republic's GDP is around $2.4 billion, which is low compared to other African countries. At first glance, it may seem counterintuitive that such an underdeveloped country would make Bitcoin its official currency, as we’ve covered in another article this week, it became quite clear that the most troubled economies are the ones where crypto makes biggest difference.
Airdrop for Early Adopters as OP Token Launches
Optimism, a popular Ethereum Layer-2 protocol, is launching several new features to put more control in the hands of its users. One of these is the Optimism Collective, an experimental governance model that seeks to develop the Optimism ecosystem through collaborative efforts.
Two ‘houses’ will equally be in charge of the project. The Token house will be the arm involved in incentivizing token holders, upgrading the protocol, and updating the treasury. In contrast, the Citizen house will coordinate the “distribution of retroactive public goods funding, generated from the revenue collected by the network.”
There will be a series of airdrops of the OP token and Optimism’s governance token, with the first one going live in the second quarter of 2022.
The news of these plans has sparked positive reactions from the crypto community, with Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s co-founder, also endorsing this effort.
Edward Snowden Played Key Role in Zcash Privacy Coin’s Creation
Edward Snowden, a well-known US whistleblower, has said that he was the sixth person involved in the launch of the Zcash privacy coin. Previously, the sixth person was referred to as John Dobbertin, a pseudonym, but Snowden's appearance as John has shocked the crypto community. Knowing who the sixth guy was is significant because each of the six participants was issued a private key at the time of the coin's debut. Anyone with the key may smoothly clone the Zcash protocol, and to demonstrate honesty, each member of the group is to burn his end of the key.
Zcash is a cryptocurrency that features shielded transactions via “privacy pools" where transactions are not visible to observers.
ZCash shielded transaction relies on zero-knowledge technology to verify transactions revealing no information about the sender, such as the recipient's public address or the amount being sent.
The currency was created to address transparency-related weaknesses in the open-ledger architecture. Since Putin invaded Ukraine, privacy coins have grown in popularity. ZCash, for example, has increased by 67%.
Blackrock Has Launched a Crypto ETF
The world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, has announced the launch of its crypto ETF called the iShares exchange-traded fund. The fund will focus on crypto industry via shares of the crypto, blockchain, and tech companies. This way, BlackRock customers can indirectly gain exposure to cryptocurrencies. With $10 trillion under management, Blackrock wouldn’t be wasting time if there was no significant demand from its customers.
A little over 10% of the fund was allocated to Coinbase and other companies like PayPal and Riot, a Bitcoin mining company. This is a bold move from traditional financial companies following Fidelity’s announcement at the start of the week on giving their customers the possibility to add Bitcoin to their retirement fund. This is the second time BlackRock is making the headlines this year, following the news surrounding its request to manage the 50bn reserves for the USDC stable coin.
Senator Kevin Thomas Proposes Criminalizing Rug Pulls and Other Crypto Frauds
It's terrible enough to lose money to fraud, but it's even harder to see the fraudsters walk away free. In 2021, about $2.8 billion was lost to crypto rug pulls, and a New York senator has had enough.
Senator Kevin Thomas, representing New York State, submitted a proposal (known as bill S8839) to the senate to mete out severe punishments on crypto scammers or facilitators of rug pulls.
The New York state senator has proposed a bill that would make crypto fraud a felony offense. If passed, the bill would penalize anyone who knowingly engages in so-called "rug pulls" and other deceptive practices. According to Thomas, he wants to offer prosecutors a clear legal framework for combating crypto crimes that are in line with the spirit of the blockchain.
Crypto fraud has been on the rise in recent years, as the growth of cryptocurrencies has attracted malicious actors looking to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.
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