Africa’s Crypto Push Encourages Jay-Z and Twitter’s CEO To Create A Bitcoin Fund

Hip-hop and finance have collided with Business Mogul Jay-Z along with Twitter (TWTR +3.71%) and Square’s (SQ -4.30%) CEO Jack Dorsey have teamed up to create ₿trust, an endowment fund dedicated first to the development of Bitcoin in India and Africa. They added 500 BTC, worth roughly $23 million, to ₿trust and maintain that the blind irrevocable fund will have “zero direction” from them. As the two men embark into the cryptocurrency space, particularly in African nations, that are well ahead of many countries, including the U.S. will this experiment also be tested stateside?

Cryptocurrency is more commonly used by financial traders in places like the U.S., but countries like Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa primarily use it for commerce. This difference opens the gate to financial equity on a continent that has been historically pillaged. Nigeria, the continent’s leading economy, recently made cryptocurrency legal, with regulatory guidelines in place for crypto-based companies. 

Jay-Z and Dorsey are entering a crypto-environment that has a strong foundation. Dorsey’s portfolio has included Bitcoin for a few years now. His company Square launched bitcoin trading in 2018 with Cash App. In 2019, the company formed Square Crypto and launched the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA).

“Cryptocurrency basically takes what money is to many people and uses technology to make it more transparent and less centralized, so that everybody has a seat at the table when it comes to the future of finance,” said Owusu Akyaw, a Ghanaian-based cryptocurrency marketer.

Digital currency has allowed some African people to start businesses, telecommute, and send money to relatives, at virtually no cost. This is a huge win amid high unemployment, hyperinflation and currency uncertainties across these developing countries.

(SOURCE: CULTUREBANX)

Why Bitcoin Is More Like a $100 Bill Than Gold…

Why Bitcoin Is More Like a $100 Bill Than Gold

Data and headlines on bitcoin’s use in commerce point to an attribute that sets it apart from the yellow metal.

Galen Moore

Why Bitcoin Is More Like a $100 Bill Than Gold

This week, two developments point toward continued interest in bitcoin as a medium of exchange, the reason the “commerce on the internet” meme may be more accurate than the “digital gold” narrative. 

One of the developments is the debut of a service allowing use of Lightning – a protocol built to scale transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain – for payments with online merchants that use the Visa network. The company behind the service is called Moon, and it uses a similar mechanism to that used by other bitcoin commerce startups, such as Fold. 

The other is PayPal’s announcement that it acquired Curv, an Israeli startup developing crypto asset custody technology. The PayPal announcement, which confirmed a CoinDesk scoop, may be more about PayPal’s support of bitcoin as an investment, but it’s impossible to separate what PayPal does from commerce, which is the backbone of that company.

In this article, I’ll take a look at two data points: one is a metric worth watching as a bellwether for bitcoin’s use in commerce. The other is a macroeconomic indicator that can be instructive for those who are confused about whether bitcoin is money or not, and highlights one of the ways in which bitcoin is nothing like gold, despite the strength of bitcoin’s “digital gold” meme.

Lightning Network is a Layer 2 protocol that sits atop Bitcoin, allowing for faster and cheaper transactions. The overall capacity of Lightning – the bitcoin available for use on the protocol – is a good proxy for interest in using bitcoin for everyday commerce. 

Unfortunately for bitcoin’s use in commerce on the internet, this metric remains stuck at a ceiling set in 2019.

Source: Bitcoin Visuals

The chart shows that as bitcoin has appreciated, more dollars are available for Lightning transactions. But in bitcoin terms, capacity is at a ceiling. It remains stuck at about 0.008% of bitcoin’s free-float supply (a Coin Metrics measure that counts bitcoin held by addresses active within the past five years), a high first reached in March 2019. 

This is fodder for cryptocurrency critics like U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, whose remarks on bitcoin last month gained attention for their focus on crime, but were really a slap at bitcoin’s negligible use in commerce. “I don’t think that bitcoin … is widely used as a transaction mechanism,” she said. “To the extent it is used I fear it’s often for illicit finance.”

Read more: Money Reimagined: Bitcoin’s Road to Gold

The $100 bill is not used widely in commerce, either. The estimated lifespan of the average C-note is 22.9 years, nearly three times the life of a $20. “Larger denominations such as $100 notes are often used as a store of value, which means they pass between users less frequently than lower denominations,” the Federal Reserve notes

The $100 bill also gets little use in commerce

DenominationEstimated lifespan
$16.6 years
$54.7 years
$105.3 years
$207.8 years
$5012.2 years
$10022.9 years

Source: U.S. Federal Reserve

Nonetheless, the $100 bill in the past 20 years has become the U.S. Federal Reserve’s most popular paper product. As the chart below shows, its popularity has grown. In 1999, the circulating value of the $100 bill was $390 billion, about 3.4 times that of the $20 bill. Twenty years later, the Fed estimates $1.42 trillion worth of $100 bills in circulation, more than seven times that of the commerce-friendly $20 bill. 

The Fed’s most popular product

Source: U.S. Federal Reserve

Bitcoin skeptics who point to its lack of use in commerce are making a mistake comparing bitcoin to the dollar. Bitcoin is not like the $5 bill or the $20. It’s like the $100. Essentially, investors are speculating that, in the future, bitcoin will become like the $100, an asset held as a bearer instrument and a store of value. 

In this way, bitcoin’s usefulness for “commerce on the internet” remains crucial to its value. Like the $100 note, bitcoin isn’t valuable necessarily because it is spent, but because it could be spent. In this way, it is unlike gold. And, in this way, Lightning’s capacity, though limited, remains an important data point for bitcoin.

Goldman Sachs Says Client Demand for Bitcoin is ‘Rising’

Goldman Sachs Says Client Demand for Bitcoin is ‘Rising’

Sebastian Sinclair

Mar 11, 2021

Goldman Sachs Says Client Demand for Bitcoin is ‘Rising’

Goldman Sachs has been seeing more demand for bitcoin (BTC, -0.25%) among its clients, according to its president and chief operating officer.

In a report by Reuters on Wednesday, John Waldron said that, while Goldman was “regulated” on what it could do, the bank continues to “evaluate” bitcoin and “engage” with clients.

“Demand is rising,” said Waldron, who is also Goldman’s bank president.

The comments come as the bank relaunched its cryptocurrency trading desk with the intention of supporting futures trading for bitcoin, three years after shelving plans to do so.

The move also opens the possibility for Goldman to pursue a bitcoin exchange-traded fund as it strengthens its push into digital assets. Meanwhile, the multinational investment bank has issued a request for information to explore digital asset custody, as CoinDesk previously reported.

Waldron said that while the bank can custody digital assets, it “can’t principle” them and added Goldman was discussing with watchdogs how banks should be regulated in regards to digital currency, according to the report.

The executive also said Goldman believes online commerce spurred by coronavirus pandemic-related buying will continue and cause an “explosion” in the use of digital currency.

“There is no question in our mind there will be more digital commerce … and [use of] digital money.”

Why Is Cryptocurrency Important?

Featured image by r.classen

In this post, we examine the origins of cryptocurrency and look at why various cryptocurrencies are gaining traction in the world today. We also lay out why you should become accustomed to operating with cryptocurrency.

The world is visibly changing day by day, especially when it comes to values and beliefs. Generation after generation, people become more aware of their impact on the environment and more concerned about their purpose in life.

From the look of it, the way the world is heading toward a digital lifestyle is mainly due to Millennials. Having access to a wide array of information in an instant led them to a lack of patience. Everything needs to be quick.

But what are people doing with their time now?

They think. They analyze. And they discover.

And now, they see what effect the government’s activity has on the world. They see the flaws in the economy. And they act upon what they see.

But what exactly caused Millennials’ “rebellion”? In short, it was the global economy. Operating with cryptocurrencies may turn out to be Millenials’ answer to that dilemma.

Which Are the Most Used Fiat Currencies in the World?

Right now, the leading currencies are represented by USD and EUR.

USD is used in around 80% of worldwide trading. As we speak, the Federal Reserve has 4.87 trillion dollars in its monetary base.

EUR comes in second, being used in 32% of worldwide trading. The European Central Bank’s capital reached 10.8 billion euro by the end of January 2020, and it is the official currency in 24 countries.

It is easy to see that if something happens with one of them, all the countries that use them would be affected. And since we are talking about the most traded currencies, the entire world will most likely suffer.

And we are not relying on assumptions but history. Take the Great Depression, for example.

When the US’s external trade dropped by 70%, so did trade for the UK, France, and Germany. Thousands of banks collapsed, unemployment skyrocketed, and it was not just Americans’ problem anymore.

Most of the world is dependent on trading USD or EUR. If the Great Depression happened when USD was not that powerful, imagine what its downfall can do in the present.

This alone is a powerful argument for learning to operate with cryptocurrency.

Why Are People Interested in Operating with Cryptocurrency?

When you look at past events, you wonder how these things could have happened. And the answer is quite disappointing.

The truth is, many government leaders don’t know what they are doing. People can go into politics without having economic studies, without understanding how inflation is caused by over coinage, and without understanding the role of international trade.

It’s clear that most countries aren’t in good hands, and it seems they will never be. As long as people depend on the activity of politicians, the world will be very fragile.

This is not the only reason people are rebelling. It is also a lack of transparency. There are many cases where banks have blocked people’s accounts and gave them no explanations. This is one of the downsides of having a centralized system.

And therefore, Millennials have come up with the best counterattack: operating with cryptocurrency.

What Is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrencies are, in short, digital money, whose development has gotten a lot of attention. The main reason Millennials are so hyped is because of their decentralized nature. When you operate with cryptocurrency, nobody has control over your income.

Not just that. Since most of history’s economic problems were caused by over coinage, cryptocurrencies cannot induce inflation. This is because once they are released, nobody can create more of them.

It is also tough to forge them, and hacking is just as tricky. It is the answer to the need for independence people have had for years.

How Do Companies and Governments See Cryptocurrency?

Even if the technology is just 12 years old, cryptocurrencies have evolved massively. It all started with Bitcoin, and now we have around 7,000 cryptocurrencies, according to Coin Market Cap.

Their popularity grew among companies, starting with Microsoft, which made possible the purchasing of Xbox games with crypto. And now you can even use coins to buy houses in cities such as New York or Denver.

Now, regarding governments, most countries don’t see cryptocurrencies as legal tender yet. Some countries like Bolivia, Denmark, or India have banned them, considering them a threat to their economies.

But some countries fight to make blockchain technology more popular. Look at the European Mediterranean seven. When these countries found out about this innovative financial solution, they immediately started to sustain it.

And it is not just about Europe. The United Arab Emirates initiated a national strategy to conduct 50% of government transactions using blockchain next year. Cryptocurrencies’ future starts to bloom.

Learn to Operate with Cryptocurrency and Be Part of a Better Future

Having time to look at how the system works is the best thing that could happen to people. If Millennials and following generations continue to bring such innovations, the world will come around.

People are starting to choose crypto over fiat currencies. Therefore, you need to keep up and become accustomed to operating with cryptocurrency if you want to be part of a better future.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.