In mid-April bitcoin achieved a fresh all-time high of $64,805, scarcely a year after plunging below $4,000 during the worst stock market sell-off since 1987. Ethereum, meanwhile, hit its own ATH of $4,196 a month later.
While it’s fair to say the crypto hype machine has died down a little since then, adoption has continued at an encouraging pace, buoyed by rising institutional interest, NFT mania, and falling barriers to entry. Here are 4 of the most important signals since the spring market top.
El Salvador makes bitcoin legal tender
It was only a matter of time before a sovereign nation adopted bitcoin. On June 9, El Salvador etched itself in crypto history by adopting the asset as legal tender nationwide, provoking instant criticism from the IMF and a tsunami of goodwill from the industry’s true believers.
With 70% of the country’s citizens unbanked, and many reliant on dollars sent by Stateside relatives – a notoriously slow and costly process – El Salvador seems like the perfect proving ground for bitcoin’s decentralized network.
Citizens are encouraged to use the government’s forthcoming official wallet application, which will let them convert bitcoin into USD (and vice versa), and make and receive payments using QR codes. Interestingly, the Bukele government has pledged to take the hit on all conversion costs, claiming they are far cheaper than the administration of the existing USD system. Now that’s something else right in the middle of the move from hyperinflation tormented currencies to the likes of Bitcoin.
Time will tell whether the El Salvadorian government’s decision was a prudent one. For the time being though, it’s hard to see their support for crypto as anything other than a net positive for the industry.
Who would bet against a cascade of small nations following suit? Those who effectively outsource their monetary policy to the U.S. Federal Reserve are surely watching El Salvador with rapt interest…
PayPal extends crypto services, hires 100+ experts
When PayPal announced that its users could buy, sell, hold and spend cryptocurrencies in-app, many saw it as a game-changer for crypto adoption. After all, this is a global platform with close to 400 million active users.
Although PayPal drew criticism from many within the crypto community (users can’t move their funds into cold storage like NGRAVE’s ZERO), the industry has certainly benefited overall. Not least because those who might’ve previously resisted opening an exchange account or downloading a hot wallet, can now experiment from within the safe haven of their PayPal app.
In this sense, PayPal can act as a gateway drug to the crypto world and all it has to offer. One minute you’re buying $50 of BTC through PayPal, the next you’re trading memes on Telegram, FOMOing into a degen yield farm, and railing against Chairman Powell.
Lest PayPal’s commitment to crypto be doubted, there are currently over 100 job openings connected to blockchain on the company’s website, with vacancies ranging from crypto engineering managers to legal directors. Clearly they’re in for the long haul.
Demand for stablecoins soars
Shortly after ETH hit its ATH in April, relentless stablecoin demand pushed the total supply of US-pegged digital assets past the $100 billion mark.
The growth of so-called crypto dollars (mainly USDT and USDC) reflects the continued success of decentralized finance, a parallel financial system dealing with trading, lending, borrowing and savings products.
Stablecoins enable crypto users to move faster between trades without needing to wait for transfers to clear. They’re also used to ‘lock in’ profits due to their inherent stability.
Circle, the parent company of USDC, last month pledged to become the first stablecoin operator to list on the New York Stock Exchange. Incredibly, the circulation of USDC has increased by over 3,400% since January.
Buying and cashing out crypto gets easier
650 U.S. banks, including popular credit unions and community banks, will soon offer bitcoin purchases to an estimated 24 million customers. The deal, between banking technology provider NCR and the New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG), gives clients access to crypto trading via a purpose-built mobile application.
This expansion of digital banking services suggests legacy institutions are growing tired of seeing clients make crypto purchases with third-party exchanges. It’s likely PayPal’s decision to support crypto also expedited the move. “Change or die.”
Dominant U.S. exchange Coinbase is making it easier than ever before to buy crypto and cash out, too. The publicly-listed firm has just introduced support for crypto buys with linked debit cards on Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as instant cash-outs of up to $100,000 per transaction. Unlike with traditional withdrawals, which can take 5 working days to process, Coinbase’s new cash-out feature utilizes Real Time Payments – meaning users get their money in seconds.
New Top When?
Given the above, it’s easy to see why the number of people using crypto has more than doubled since January. At present there are over 220 million users interacting with digital assets, and despite a never-ending onslaught of FUD from central banks, regulators and the legacy media, the outlook is overwhelmingly positive.
Co-Founder & CEO NGRAVE | www.ngrave.io | Protecting Your Private Keys From A — Z. The Coldest Wallet.