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Blockchain This Week – PayPal Boosts Bitcoin

PayPal to Offer Crypto Payments

In what is assumed to be one of the testaments to mainstream adoption of crypto, PayPal, a company that once made online payments easy, announced this week that it is entering into the cryptocurrency space. According to reports, PayPal customers will be able to use cryptocurrencies to shop at any of its 26 million merchant partners, starting early next year. It has partnered with Paxos to enable crypto buying and selling to its users. Initially, PayPal will allow purchases of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. 

Through Paxos, PayPal has obtained BitLicense, a conditional virtual currency license from the New York State Department of Financial Services. Merchants who accept PayPal crypto payments will be reimbursed, with equivalent amounts of fiat money, with PayPal taking care of the currency conversion. 

Although, at the moment, PayPal does not support deposit and withdrawal of cryptocurrencies, reports suggest that the payment giant is exploring purchasing crypto companies, including custodian service providers such as BitGo, signaling the possibility of custodian services sometime in the future.

Bitcoin Soars Above 13K

The PayPal announcement buoyed Bitcoin driving its price above US $13,000. Immediately following the news, the price jumped by 5 percent, reaching US $12,300 within hours of the announcement. By the end of the day, the Bitcoin price had reached new heights of US $13,093. It was the first time since July this year that the cryptocurrency price breached 13K. Incidentally, even PayPal price reached a new high of $215.87 on Wednesday, surpassing its previous all-time high of $212.38. 

Launch of the Sand Dollar 

This week, the Caribbean nation of Bahamas launched the world’s very first commercial CBDC, making it the first nation to move ahead from the pilot phases and initiate the mainstream use of digital currency. The virtual currency named ‘Sand Dollar’ is now available to all the residents of the Bahamas. As per reports, the citizens can make digital money transfers with their mobile phones using a Central Bank approved e-Wallet.

WordPress on Ethereum

At the London BlockDown 2020 event, the Blockchain company, WordProof, announced the launch of a timestamp plugin for WordPress. With the help of this plugin, WordPress publishers can timestamp their content on Ethereum, providing the necessary copyright protection. Timestamping the posts gives them a unique fingerprint in the form of a hash that can be used to establish the trail every time the text is altered. 

Bidding Adieu

Bitcoin Bar Is Closing Shop

Room77, a legendary bar and restaurant in Berlin, known as the first venture to accept Bitcoin as payment, is closing down. Room77 and its fame goes back to 2011 when it became the first private business to accept Bitcoin as payment. Joerg Platzer, the founder of the joint, announced this news in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy style in a Reddit post. He did not give any temporal reason behind the decision but stated that their mission is accomplished and it is time to go back to our home planet.

Binance Shuts Down Its Jersey Branch

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange had launched its platform in the European country of Jersey two years back with the aim to make Binance Jersey a major driving force in European markets. The exchange allowed fiat-to-crypto trading for European traders. However, Binance announced this week that it would shut down the operations of Binance Jersey on Nov 30, without giving any specific reason. Statistics indicate the performance of the Jersey-based subsidiary fell short of its goals. 

As per the official announcement, Binance will restrict deposits starting Oct 30. The trading and withdrawals will be allowed until Nov 9. The platform will finally close on Nov 30, after which all the user accounts will become inaccessible.

Using Twitter to Verify Crypto Addresses

One of the frequent worries that crypto users have is the fear of sending payments to the wrong recipients. The crypto accounts generally have lengthy numbers, and mistyping a single digit would result in sending crypto payments to unintended recipients. Most of the time, the senders lose money forever as the unexpected receiver of the funds will be unwilling to relinquish it and return it to the sender. 

The Blockchain firm, Unstoppable Domains that issues .crypto addresses and oracle network Chainlink have set out to solve this problem. On Tuesday, these companies announced a service that allows the users with .crypto domain addresses to authenticate themselves using their Twitter accounts. The users can then verify their address ownership via the MyEtherWallet app, thereby linking the crypto addresses to Twitter usernames. Chainlink’s oracles power this service and connect the Unstoppable Domains’ addresses to Twitter usernames.  

OKEx’s Problems Continue

OKEx, the beleaguered crypto exchange, is still struggling to get back on its feet. Last week, the platform suspended all withdrawals after its founder, who is one of the custodians of the private keys, was taken away by the Chinese authorities for an investigation. The news caused the price of both Bitcoin and OKB, the native OKEx token, to plummet. Bitcoin, however, bounced back, thanks to the PayPal announcement. But, the value of OKB has collapsed over 25 percent since. Additionally, there is still no clarity on when the firm plans to resume withdrawals. 

An Overwhelming Response to China’s CBDC Lottery

Earlier this month, the city of Shenzhen announced that it is giving away 10 million digital yuan (US $1.5 million) to its citizens in an effort to promote digital currency. The only catch was that the recipients were supposed to spend their allotted 200 digital renminbi by Oct 18, and any unspent amount will be taken back by the authorities. This week, the reports suggest that an overwhelming 95 percent of the winners have spent their digital yuan. Some of them have even purchased additional CBDC during the pilot. As of last Sunday, a total of 47,573 out of 50,000 lottery winners had received their prizes. The recipients had already spent 8.8 million yuan (US $1.3 million) via a total of 62,788 transactions.

And Finally, a Bunch of Robin Hood-Style Hackers

A hacking group called Darkside, who claims to have extorted millions of dollars from companies, have tried to give some of their bounty back to society. As per reports, they attempted to donate over US $20,000 worth of Bitcoin to two charities – The Water Project and Children International to make the world a better place. The gang allegedly posted two receipts of US $10,000 each on the dark web. One of the charities, Children International, however, has refused to keep the money as the donation is linked to hackers.

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