Dogecoin Image - Via Shutterstock

Blockchain This Week – Mercurial Markets Send Dog(e) to the Moon

It was an unprecedented and historic week for both Wall Street and Crypto markets. The retail investors have demonstrated that they can upend the institutional players’ game in the financial markets. The crypto markets were not spared as well. While a swarm of Redditors shot the parody crypto – Doge to the moon, Elon Musk ensured the original coin – Bitcoin is not left behind.

Dogecoin’s Meteoric Rise 

It started with a bunch of Reddit users from the WallStreetBets forum marching against the Wall Street investors over the stock value of the struggling video game retailer, GameStop. They were successful in goading scores of retail investors in trading the shares of GameStop, thereby pushing up its value. As a result, Wall Street investors who had heavily bet on its failure lost billions of dollars.

This new frenzy quickly spread to the crypto market. The “WSB Chairman” Twitter account, which says it is not associated with the Reddit group, tweeted, “A lot of you are talking about Dogecoin. What’s that? A meme crypto?” Another tweet followed, “Has Doge ever been to a dollar?” Meanwhile, SatoshiStreetBets, who call themselves the crypto version of WallStreetBets, reportedly started egging on the crypto users to pump up the price of the meme coin to one dollar. Elon Musk similarly spurred the craze with his tweet.

Whatever might have been the reason, the response was astounding. The price of Dogecoin spiked over 142 percent, from US $0.007 to $0.017. Within 24 hours, Dogecoin surged over 800 percent, making it the tenth most valuable cryptocurrency by market value. The volume of Dogecoin traded crossed US $5 billion, surpassing Bitcoin’s for the first time ever.

This erratic market activity led to several disruptions with trading platforms such as Robinhood and Binance, temporarily suspending deposits and withdrawals.

Meanwhile, The US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) released a notice on Wednesday stating that it is reviewing the ongoing market volatility.

Bitcoin Price Swings and Elon Musk

Bitcoin price dipped below US $30K to $29,563.98 earlier this week. It was attributed to several factors, including a market correction, a wait-and-watch approach by institutional investors, Bitcoin miners on a selling spree, a US Federal Reserve meeting, and confirmation of Janet Allen as the US Treasury Secretary. Later in the week, however, the price recovered, initially to US 32K due to the GameStop rally usurping the traditional-stock dealing Wall Street. But, Bitcoin surged to $37,351 when Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, added #bitcoin to his Twitter bio. Musk, who is very vocal in his dissent for short selling, had supported the GameStop and Dogecoin upheavals. 

A Website Dedicated to Crypto Jobs

Anthony Pompliano, a.k.a Pomp, the famous crypto evangelist from Morgan Creek Digital, launched PompCryptoJobs, a platform for Bitcoin and Crypto jobs, this week. The job site currently has over 100 openings from Coinbase, Gemini, and BlockFi. Pomp aims to list 10,000 openings by the end of the year.

Cancer Research with Crypto

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has set up a cryptocurrency fund to support cancer research. The non-profit organization has teamed up with the crypto donations platform, The Giving Block. The Cancer Society seeks to raise US $1 million by early 2021. Contributions in several crypto including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ether, are accepted.

Blockchain-Based Health Passport to Resume International Air Travel

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed a Blockchain-driven approach to reopen international travel. It will soon launch IATA Travel Pass, Blockchain-based health passports that will record the traveler’s COVID-19 test and vaccination status digitally. Singapore Airlines and British Airways have signed up for testing this application as early as in February 2021. Meanwhile, Etihad and Emirates plan to start by April this year.

A Digital Barter System

CoreLedger, the Blockchain Infrastructure company, is launching a peer-to-peer marketplace, Abakus, where Argentinian farmers can trade their tokenized farm assets. Farmers in Argentina are suffering due to the country’s economic crisis. This platform intends to enable the struggling farmers to exchange their tokenized assets with other farm equipment digitized on Abakus.

Reddit Partners With Ethereum Foundation

The social media site Reddit has teamed up with Ethereum Foundation purportedly to bring Ethereum to “Reddit-scale” production. As per the announcement, the partnership aims to increase Reddit’s commitment to Blockchain and improve the scaling of resources in Ethereum. The alliance is also intended to bring value and independence of Blockchain to millions of Redditors.

Quorum Blockchain Joins China’s BSN

The Blockchain Technology company ConsenSys has joined China’s Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN.) As a result of this partnership, Quorum, its enterprise version of Ethereum, will be available to about 80 cities through BSN’s over 100 public city nodes across mainland China.

Russia and Crypto

In a letter published on the government website, the Russian Ministry of Labor has proscribed the federal and local government officials from owning crypto and other digital assets issued outside the country. This ban applies to the bureaucrats, their spouses, and under-age children. They have to dispose of any digital asset holdings before April 1.

Meanwhile, the crypto donations to the Russian Opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, have surged since he was jailed upon return to Moscow. This week, he received 3.7 Bitcoin, which is triple the amount he raised since the beginning of the year.

Tech Firm Offers Salary in Crypto

Virginia-based Sequoia Holdings (no links with VC firm Sequoia Capital) announced this week that it is offering its employees an option to invest a portion of their salary in cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, or Ether. Notably, Sequoia Holdings is an employee-owned firm. The company has partnered with an unnamed third party payroll processor who will convert the opted amount to the chosen crypto after withholding the requisite taxes. The payroll processor will also be managing the digital wallet where the employees will hold their crypto earnings.

Coinbase Plans for Direct Stock Listing

Coinbase, one of the world’s prominent crypto exchanges, revealed its plans to become a publicly-traded company by pursuing a direct listing of its Class A common stock. Coinbase had earlier announced that they have submitted a draft registration statement on Form S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC.) The Form S-1 is likely to become effective after the SEC completes its review process.

Crypto Mining in a BMW

Simon Byrne, a crypto enthusiast, took his zeal for crypto to the next level. He has installed a mining rig in the trunk of his BMW i8. The miner setup consists of six Nvidia RTX 3080s graphics cards and runs on the vehicle’s hybrid electric power system.

Signal Exploring Crypto Options

The privacy-focused messaging app, Signal, is reportedly experimenting with crypto-based digital payments on its platform. It is believed to be working on a token related project using MobileCoin, a privacy cryptocurrency, built off Stellar Blockchain.

Ripple Encounters Another Lawsuit in the US

After the SEC’s lawsuit, Ripple Labs, the crypto firm behind XRP, is facing another legal battle. Earlier this week, a Florida-based XRP investor, Tyler Toomey, filed a class action suit against the company and its CEO, Brad Garlinghouse. Toomey charges the defendants of their alleged non-compliance with the Florida security laws by not registering with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.

And Finally, Bernie Sanders’ Mittens Immortalized on Blockchain

Since the US Presidential inauguration on Jan 20, Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, has taken the internet by storm. His picture wearing mittens have become quite a sensation, with memes circulated everywhere on the internet. Now, Blockchain has joined in on the fun and created an irrefutable record of the mittens’ existence. Topps Digital released its latest collection of nonfungible tokens, featuring Sen. Bernie Sanders and his mittens. The series features 18 unique depictions of Sanders’ now-famous Inauguration Day pose.

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