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The past few weeks have seen rapid developments in the digital currencies scene from Paypal supporting crypto to banks setting up their own crypto divisions. Here are some notable highlights:

2018: Paypal CEO: Bitcoin is the greatest scam ever   

2020: Paypal supports crypto

I always believed PayPal to be anti-crypto, especially when its ex-CEO Bill Harris called Bitcoin “the greatest scam ever” just a couple of years back. But things did take a wild turn in 2020 when PayPal announced that its US consumers will be able to buy, hold, and sell cryptocurrencies within the PayPal digital wallet. 

This news seems to be well received throughout the world of tech and finance with crypto enthusiasts like Justin from Quidli calling it ‘the biggest endorsement of crypto by an incumbent tech company’.  It’s clear this is a significant step forward for crypto and it may bring in greater regulation.

Banks don’t want to be left out either

Paypal’s recent developments seem to have persuaded JPMorgan to create a new business to house its blockchain and digital currency efforts called Onyx.

Georgakopoulos, Bank’s global head of wholesale payments said

“We are launching Onyx because we believe we are shifting to a period of commercialization of those technologies, moving from research and development to something that can become a real business,” 

 

Also, JPM Coin is being used commercially for the first time this week to send payments around the world. 

When Bitcoin investments rake in more profits than your company

We all have heard of unusual uses of corporate cash (👀 WeWork's $60 million private jet) but companies like MicroStrategy and Square have decided to bet even bigger by investing their reserves in Bitcoin.

But MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin investment is paying off in a big way, with an estimated $100 million in profit. 

In fact, MicroStrategy has earned more from its Bitcoin (BTC) investment than it did through its actual business for the last three years!

 

Square also bought $50 million worth of Bitcoins which represents about 1% of Square’s total assets. Square’s Chief Financial Officer, Amrita Ahuja said 

“We believe that bitcoin has the potential to be a more ubiquitous currency in the future,” 

It clearly evident that digital currencies will be the future of transactions and payments. With the mainstream adoption of digital currencies, I believe it will not only be used for holding assets, but also as a form of payment for, say, groceries, or probably your next movie tickets.

What do you think of these recent moves by companies?

 


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    Great write-up Shahul - love it.

    I think @justin-465 will have a ton of views on all of this 😆

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      In fact, too much to synthesize in a response post 😅

      But in general, I think in terms of greater mainstream adoption, these are cool indicators that a crypto future is bright. Regardless of how it happens, it's clear digitization of monies, currencies, financial systems on blockchain is inevitable/already happening in many cases. And while blockchain may be a buzzword in some circles, it's at least certainly a great underlying technology to build future fintech.

      Now what do moves like this mean in the contexts of regulation,compliance, and decentralization? These are entirely different conversations altogether. But I do believe the earlier people get exposures to the technologies (like in the case of the world wide web in the 90s) and assets (particularly anchors like bitcoin), the more they'll be able to participate in these conversations as active stakeholders (and maybe even shareholders). And at the very least, you'll be diversifying your own portfolios with some exciting assets in this time of uncertainty.

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        Great insights Justin. I am still quite a noob and haven't put in a lot of effort into understanding the dynamics in this market. So, this kind of "talking to me like a 5-year-old" helps me learn at least a little 😅

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          Always happy to discuss with you & the RC community on these topics any time. Will the answers be good is another story though 😂

          And aren't we all just 5-year-olds in some way or another?

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            Hahaha, well I was 60 mentally when I was 20 :P. So, doubt I am close to being a 5-year-old in any aspect now!

            You, on the other hand my friend, very likely qualify at being super young at heart!

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      @justin-465, @taras-481, @karthik: Look what's cooking here 👀

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        Very interesting, Shahul. Totally true that things are advancing quickly in the crypto space. Recently, just saw that Coinbase launched a cryptocurrency debit card in the US. 

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          That's great! Another win for the crypto community 😎

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          To remain in the league you need to be a part of that league. Companies today are not going to do the mistakes like Yahoo did. 

          Everyone is changing and upgrading with advancement in technology.🚀

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            So many developments in the past few weeks - after what can be considered a bear market year (2019), 2020 has proven to be quite bullish for the crypto space!

            There's clearly more work to be done before adoption can be considered mainstream, but I think moves by big corporates and institutions into crypto assets demonstrates there's more to the tech and assets than just darknet transactions and digital ponzi schemes. A lot of fintech today is great design and UX but in the end it's still built on top of legacy systems from the mid 20th century (something like 50% of banks today still use cobol, created in the 1960s 🤯), which creates a lot of limitations for consumers, particularly when we live in a more interconnected, digital world. And what moves like this indicate is that more people, companies and institutions are ready to shift to a more digital system(s).

            Can this future of money be more fair, inclusive, affordable, etc.? This is a big question mark, particularly when the larger players who enter are governments, banks, large corporates. But for the time being, really looking forward to more developments and progress 🚀

            It clearly evident that digital currencies will be the future of transactions and payments. With the mainstream adoption of digital currencies, I believe it will not only be used for holding assets, but also as a form of payment for, say, groceries, or probably your next movie tickets.

            ^ And by the way, @shaul - for these points, you can already do them online via Quidli 😉

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              Great points, Justin. I was also surprised to hear that a billion-dollar Bitcoin transfer last week just had about $1.31 in fees- explains why Paypal and other banks are very much interested in this space. 😅 And yes, Quidli is already future-ready 💪

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                Yea, one of the most infamous ones I'm aware of is the Litecoin (LTC) transfer from a couple of years back - $99m in less than 3 minutes with just $0.40 in transfer fees 🤯

                Certainly not every intermediary, middleman and or fee should be immediately considered bad or unnecessary. But there's definitely a lot of fat and bloat that can be trimmed for the way money is transacted with and transferred today.