Blockchain Bites: 'Bitcoin Billionaires' and Buying a Coke With Crypto

Is mass adoption back on the agenda with the announcement of a feature film based on the Winklevoss twins and new crypto payment option for vending machines "down under?"

AccessTimeIconJun 9, 2020 at 4:10 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:49 a.m. UTC

The possibility of mass adoption, or at least mass awareness, of crypto was on the agenda today with the integration of a crypto payment option for vending machines in Australia and New Zealand and the announcement of a coming feature film looking at the Winklevoss twins' involvement with crypto.

Elsewhere, Chainalysis added tracking for two privacy coins while the U.S. Marshalls hunt for a contractor to help manage the cryptocurrency it seizes in operations against criminals.  Here's the story:

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Top shelf

Mass Market
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss will help produce a film based on the best-selling book that featured their entrance into the world of bitcoin. Elsewhere, digital payments startup Centrapay has been integrated into about 1,200 vending machines selling Coca-Cola in Australia and New Zealand. (Decrypt) Conversely, cryptocurrency-focused media startup BlockTV has shut down operations due to the economic strains of the COVID-19 crisis, according to two former employees. Following an initial round of layoffs in March, and a lackluster token sale in November, all remaining members of the 35-person Tel Aviv-based firm have been laid off. 

DeFi Growth
ConsenSys launched the Codefi Compliance software suite to provide compliance and analytics for exchanges and DeFi projects across a range of different regulatory buckets, such as counter-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering. The tool can track 280,000 tokens, including those based on the ERC-20 or ERC-721 standard. That is as the value of tokens locked in DeFi smart contracts has surpassed $2 billion this weekend, Decrypt reports.

Going Public?
Mining hardware manufacturer Ebang, which previously filed for a $100 million initial public offering, could use a financial boost. An in-depth analysis of the firm, which has gone from $300 million in Q1 revenues to essentially $0 in Q2, looks at Ebang's IPO prospectus, revenue write-downs and competitive position relative to market leaders Bitmain and MicroBT. Meanwhile, shares of the cryptocurrency retail broker Voyager Digital, listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange, have seen triple the year-to-date returns of bitcoin. “Crypto stocks straddle cutting-edge digital-asset technology and traditional Wall Street markets,” CoinDesk’s First Mover team writes. Unlike investing in private companies like Binance and Coinbase, where disclosures on the companies’ underlying financial health are harder to find, public companies are more easily vetted. You can get First Mover in your mailbox here.

Infrastructure-as-a-service firm Bison Trails has added support for NEAR Protocol to help host the base-layer protocol’s 150 validator nodes. The NEAR Foundation recently announced a successful $21.6 million NEAR token sale, led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). Liechtenstein-based Bank Frick now supports payments processing in USDC stablecoin, its first stablecoin addition, and says it’s slightly faster than the classic SWIFT procedure. (The Block)

Law Enforcement
Chainalysis is now able to track privacy coins zcash and dash with its Reactor and Know Your Transaction (KYT) products. The firm said that it can partially trace over 99% of zcash transactions and perform “successful investigations” on PrivateSend dash transactions. Meanwhile, the U.S. Marshals Service is on the hunt for a contractor to help manage the cryptocurrency it seizes in operations against criminals. 

Addressing Concerns
Brave, a privacy browser, was called out this weekend when users noticed that typing in the name of the leading cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, resulted in an auto-complete that ended in a referral link, creating the appearance that Brave is tracking visits to the exchange’s website. Brave launched with the idea to reinvent online advertising, where users would receive ads without being followed around the web. Brave founder Brendan Eich said the issue will be remedied, but also suggested the need for Brave to run a profitable business. Meanwhile, Bail Bloc, a service that passively generates Monero to distribute to bail funds, has seen a 20% increase in its hashrate as protests continue to roil across the country.

Market intel

Forking Off
Bitcoin’s forks, including bitcoin cash (BCH), bitcoin gold (BTG) and bitcoin sv (BSV), have outperformed bitcoin itself this year. Individually, bitcoin sv and bitcoin gold have outperformed bitcoin by 61 and 37 percentage points, respectively, since the start of 2020. Cryptocurrencies with low and middle market capitalizations like these bitcoin forks “tend to outperform bitcoin during marketwide bull runs,” said Aditya Das, market analyst at research firm Brave New Coin, and are largely correlated with bitcoin. 

Easing Volatility
Bitcoin’s 30-day volatility has fallen to 40%, the lowest level since March 6, while 60-day volatility declined to 52.18%, its lowest since March 11. The decline in volatility may be associated with the lack of clear directional bias in the market. Bitcoin rallied by over 150% in the two months leading up to the May 11 mining reward halving. Since then, however, the buyers have repeatedly failed to establish a foothold above $10,000. At the same time, downside has been restricted to around $8,600. 

Options Increase
Bitcoin options trading is growing faster than the futures and swaps market, according to data from Skew. Though bitcoin options are roughly 35% that of futures and swaps, a historical trend signals a rate of growth in options that exceeds growth in that of bitcoin futures and swaps. In traditional financial markets, options open interest and trading volumes are “generally a multiple of futures,” said Su Zhu, co-founder of cryptocurrency hedge fund Three Arrows Capital.


What Fintech Can Learn From Elon Musk and SpaceX
Lex Sokolin, a CoinDesk columnist and Global Fintech co-head at ConsenSys, thinks SpaceX’s recent successful launch carrying two NASA astronauts contains useful lessons for the emergent technologies of fintech. “What Elon Musk knows, and what many fintechs naturally understand, is brand and story matters,” he writes. But perhaps most importantly, Musk delivers, rather than merely participating in “innovation theater,” or the phenomenon of “hyping up the same old thing with a new interface.”

CoinDesk podcast network

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