Survey: Cryptocurrency Adoption to Grow Significantly This Year in Latam

Survey: Cryptocurrency Adoption to Grow Significantly This Year in Latam

latamA new cryptocurrency-related survey presented by Sherlock Communications highlights the growth that Latam countries are expected to experience this year, due to the particular traits the region has compared to other areas of the world. The results of the survey make projections that see crypto adoption growing by triple digits in some countries like Argentina […]
Read More
DeFi to reach mass adoption via institutional participation, DEX founder says

DeFi to reach mass adoption via institutional participation, DEX founder says

The DeFi industry must address scalability, liquidity and gas issues before serving more users, said Eric Chen, CEO and co-founder of Injective Labs.

While decentralized finance (DeFi) token prices may be going down, new forms of utility like liquid staking are on the rise and some believe that more people may be drawn to DeFi as more institutions jump into the fray.

According to Eric Chen, CEO and co-founder of Injective Labs, while the DeFi sector has witnessed massive growth since 2020, there are still issues to solve such as gas fees, scalability and liquidity. Chen said that the entire DeFi industry is focused on building infrastructures to address these problems.

“It still has a lot of problems to solve before being able to serve billions of users. Scalability, miner extractable value and gas costs will become more and more important to improve over time.”

The DEX founder also believes that the sector’s growth can be attributed to the development of new primitives and user growth. Moreover, Chen also told Cointelegraph that adoption may be driven by the participation of traditional finance entities. “With many traditional institutions joining the space, DeFi will gradually reach mass adoption,” said Chen. 

Permissioned DeFi, a form of DeFi that combines decentralization with centralized mechanisms like whitelisting for KYC and AML purposes, may give institutions a push to adopt DeFi. Chen explained that:

“Permissioned DeFi certainly allows traditional institutions to be much more comfortable in participating in the ecosystem. It will play an important role in fostering global mainstream adoption.”

Earlier in 2022, liquidity protocol Aave launched a permissioned DeFi pool. The pool allows institutions to access decentralized finance features while being compliant with existing regulations. 

Eric Chen, CEO and co-founder of Injective Labs. Source: Injective Labs

Related: Gas-free transactions will revolutionize Web3

When asked about DeFi regulation, Chen mentioned that DeFi is easier to regulate than legacy infrastructures. The DEX founder emphasized that the mission of DeFi is to “provide decentralized, secure, and transparent financial services.” Because of this, Chen believes that proper research will give regulators an easy way to regulate DeFi.

“With proper research and understanding, regulators will find a much easier time regulating DeFi and preventing malicious behaviors compared to the legacy financial infrastructure.”

Read More
'Millionaire' stablecoin wallet addresses surpass 12 million

‘Millionaire’ stablecoin wallet addresses surpass 12 million

It appears the number of ‘stablecoin millionaires’ has been growing steadily throughout the year.

According to data compiled by Coin Metrics, the number of stablecoin wallet addresses with account balances over an equivalent $1 million USD has recently surpassed 12 million — up from 4 million one year ago. The stablecoins counted in the analysis include Tether ERC-20 (USDT), Tether TRC-20, Binance USD, DAI, GUSD, HUSD, PAX, and USD Coin (USDC).

The vast majority of addresses holding more than $1 million came from Tether TRC-20 (approx. 8 million), followed by Tether ERC-20 (approx. 3.4 million), and USDC (approx. 1 million). Save for a sharp but brief decline last May, such addresses have increased regularly in the past 12 months.

The number still pales to the number of major cryptocurrency wallets holding more than $1 million. Data from Coin Metrics indicate that there are over 102 million wallet addresses meeting this criteria, denominated in either Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), or XRP. Most notably, the number of “millionaire” BTC wallet addresses has largely remained stagnant since May 2021. But the same cannot be said for ETH or XRP.

Limitations of the data include its basis on all wallet addresses, not unique ones, meaning that the number of individuals holding such wallet balances is likely significantly lower than north of 12 million. The use of stablecoins has advanced drastically in recent years. First starting out as a way for investors to cash out during volatile periods, they can now be used, among other items, for interactions with various types of decentralized finance protocols, such as that of Terra’s Anchor

Read More
Samson Mow leaves Blockstream, plans to focus on ‘nation-state Bitcoin adoption’

Samson Mow leaves Blockstream, plans to focus on ‘nation-state Bitcoin adoption’

“Now is a pivotal point in Bitcoin’s evolution — we’re on the verge of mass adoption, and I think that I can make it happen faster,” said Samson Mow.

Blockstream chief strategy officer Samson Mow has announced he will be leaving the blockchain firm after five years.

In a Tuesday Twitter thread, Mow said he would continue to be a “#BlockstreamSpy” following his departure from the Canada-based firm where he had worked since April 2017. He said he would stay on as CEO of game development company Pixelmatic, a position in which more “attention is being demanded,” but planned to focus on “nation-state Bitcoin adoption” in the future.

”With everything happening at light speed in El Salvador, and more and more countries interested in adopting #Bitcoin, I found my time each day just no longer enough anymore,” said Mow. “So with @Blockstream in a very good place and well capitalized after a successful B round, it was the right time to move on. It also feels like now is a pivotal point in #Bitcoin’s evolution — we’re on the verge of mass adoption, and I think that I can make it happen faster.”

Mow has been involved in plans to build a Bitcoin City in El Salvador. The project aims to use geothermal energy from the country’s Conchagua volcano to power Bitcoin (BTC) mining in the innovative city, which will be built at the foot of the mountain. According to the Pixelmatic CEO, a $1 million BTC price could help make the Latin American nation “the financial center of the world.”

Related: Bitcoin Core developer Samuel Dobson decides it is ‘time to go’

The now-former Blockstream chief strategy officer added he would continue to “support and advocate” for Blockstream’s sidechain-based settlement network, Liquid, as “It has an important role to play in the reformation of the legacy financial system.” He previously worked as the chief operating officer of BTCC, the crypto exchange behind one of the largest mining pools in the world at the time, and as the director of production and executive producer at Ubisoft.

An advocate of Bitcoin for many years, Mow also recently made the Cointelegraph Top 100 for his work at Pixelmatic, Blockstream, the El Salvador project and more. The full list of some of the most influential in crypto and blockchain is now available.

Read More

Ukrainian Parliament Adopts Amended Virtual Assets Law

Ukrainian Parliament Adopts Amended Virtual Assets LawUkrainian lawmakers have approved an updated version of legislation tailored to regulate the country’s crypto economy. The bill, which was first passed last year, was later returned to the legislature by President Volodymyr Zelensky who requested some changes. Majority of Ukrainian Deputies Back Law ‘On Virtual Assets’ Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, has adopted new legislation […]
Read More
Low Millennial financial well-being drives crypto adoption: report

Low Millennial financial well-being drives crypto adoption: report

Millennials are most likely to seek alternative financial services and assets such as crypto, and younger generations are hopping on to the bandwagon leading researchers to expect a crypto boom in 2022.

Data shows that Millennials in the United States are flocking to alternative financing methods such as crypto assets to boost their financial well-being.

A report titled The State of Consumer Banking & Payments by Morning Consult in January found that Millennials are adopting new technologies to help them make financial decisions at a higher rate than any other generation. The author of the report, financial services analyst Charlotte Principato, combined data from 50,000 different respondents to monthly surveys conducted in the U.S. and internationally from July to December 2021.

Principato stated in email comments to Cointelegraph today that the increase in the use of cryptocurrency in 2021 was an outlier among the statistics that jumped out to her while putting together the report. She said,

“Although a volatile asset, cryptocurrency has successfully held the interest of consumers around the world and continued to grow.”

By last December, about 48% of Millennial households owned cryptocurrency, up from only about 30% in June. During the same time period, 20% of all U.S. adults reported owning cryptocurrency.

Source: Morning Consult

Millennials’ use of alternative financial services such as cryptocurrencies may be due to the fact that they suffered from financial well-being scores which remained “persistently lower than the national average” since June 2021, according to the report. The global average by last December was 50.98, but the Millennial group lingered at 49.54. 

Principato told Cointelegraph that reduced financial well-being was a trend she noticed over the last seven months. She attributes the decline to “the Delta and Omicron variants, and rising inflation in the U.S., which has not fully recovered.”

Morning Consult’s website states that The financial well-being score is determined by a scale that “includes 10 questions for gauging present and future security and freedom of choice, touching on consumers’ control over their finances, their capacity to absorb financial shocks and their trajectory to meet their financial goals.”

Source: Morning Consult

While Millennials in general are the leaders, crypto owners are “disproportionately high-earning Millennial men.” 70% of Millennial men use crypto, 25% of them earning over $100,000 annually. 

Interestingly, Hispanic people have a higher rate of crypto use than their representation in the general adult population. About 16% of all U.S. adults are Hispanic, but they account for 24% of all crypto owners.

Source: Morning Consult

As cryptocurrency became more mainstream throughout 2021, respondents from every generation polled from Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Z adults were increasingly likely to consider making purchases from U.S. exchange Coinbase. 

Related: 70% of US crypto holders started investing in 2021: Report

The results from the report led Principato to conclude that “Cryptocurrency will boom in 2022.” The report stated that the adoption of crypto and onboarding younger generations will be two main factors leading to the boom.

Read More

President Lukashenko Signs Decree to Create Crypto Wallet Register in Belarus

President Lukashenko Signs Decree to Create Crypto Wallet Register in BelarusPresident Alexander Lukashenko has signed another decree regulating the crypto economy of Belarus. It envisages the establishment of a register for cryptocurrency wallets and addresses certain legal aspects pertaining to the circulation of cryptocurrencies in the country. Presidential Decree Aims to Prevent Use of Crypto Wallets in Criminal Activities Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has signed […]
Read More
Report: 74% of stolen funds from ransomware attacks went to Russian-affiliated wallet addresses in 2021

Report: 74% of stolen funds from ransomware attacks went to Russian-affiliated wallet addresses in 2021

Russian hackers allegedly netted a profit of more than $400 million through crypto-ransomware in 2021.

According to a new report published by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis on Monday, approximately 74%, or over $400 million USD, of ransomware revenue last year were funneled into high-risk wallet addresses that are likely to be based in Russia. The report analyzed ransomware hacks throughout 2021 and determined their affiliation to Russia through three key charactersitics:

  1. Traces of Russia-based cybercriminal organization Evil Corp being behind a given breach; the group has alleged ties to the Russian government.
  2. Ransomeware programmed only against victims of non-former-Soviet countries.
  3. Ransomware strains that share documents and announcements in the Russian language.

In addition to the selection criteria, it appears that web traffic data confirms the vast majority of extorted funds are laundered through Russia. Another 13% of funds sent from ransomware addresses to services went to users who were likely in Russia — more than any other region. Such ransomware strains typically infect a user’s computer via a program exploit, or when downloading unknown files, etc. They then encrypt the victim’s files and demand payment through, most often, Bitcoin (BTC) or Monero (XMR) to a wallet address to make the files accessible.

One famous case occurred last year when Russia-based hacking entity Darkside, through exploiting a single leaked password, infected the computer systems of Colonial Pipeline. As a result, the pipeline’s operators were forced to pay over $4 million in crypto ransom (of which $2.3 million was recovered) to regain access to their encrypted files, but not before causing a brief fuel crisis during the ordeal.

Russian ransomware encryption hack | Source: Reuters

Read More
El Salvador relaunches Chivo wallet, plans to deploy 1,500 Bitcoin ATMs

El Salvador relaunches Chivo wallet, plans to deploy 1,500 Bitcoin ATMs

Seeking a permanent solution for over 4 million BTC users, the government of El Salvador focuses on Chivo wallet’s stability and uptime, scalability and social impact.

El Salvador, the first country to adopt Bitcoin (BTC) as a legal tender, has relaunched its in-house Chivo wallet to address the existing challenges of BTC transfers locally. With AlphaPoint integration, the updated Chivo wallet is expected to carry out instantaneous low-fee Bitcoin transactions while fixing concerns related to stability and scalability.

Within the first month of establishing BTC as a legal tender, President Nayib Bukele announced that Chivo wallet onboarded 2.1 million Salvadorans, which by the end of the year amasses 75% of the population. However, the mass adoption met with numerous roadblocks, including system issues and missing funds.

Seeking a permanent solution for over 4 million BTC users, the government of El Salvador partnered with a white label infrastructure provider, AlphaPoint, focusing heavily on Chivo wallet’s stability and uptime, scalability, and social impact.

According to the official statement, Chivo intends to expand its current consumer-faced use cases to other day-to-day transactions such as simplifying payments of home utilities, taxes and many other daily transactions in Bitcoin:

“The project has aspirations to Chivo is also in the process of deploying 1,500 Bitcoin ATMs around the country to more readily serve the Salvadoran population.”

The latest AlphaPoint integration will extend support for point-of-sale systems, websites and the Salvadoran government’s administrative console. In addition, the update includes improved “Lightning integration for nearly instantaneous low-fee Bitcoin transactions via QR and Lightning addresses.” AlphaPoint CEO and co-founder Igor Telyatnikov said:

“El Salvador and President Bukele are truly leading globally with this first major experiment in Bitcoin adoption at a country-wide level. We are honored to be involved in the process and provide the scalable and reliable solutions needed for this massive undertaking.”

Related: El Salvador explores low-interest loans backed by Bitcoin

In pursuit of exploring greater use cases for BTC, the government of El Salvador is exploring the possibility of BTC loans with lower interest rates.

As Cointelegraph reported, Mónica Taher, El Salvador’s Director of Technology and Economy International Affairs, hosted a Facebook Live event to share the agenda of providing low-interest BTC loans to small and micro-businesses. Speaking to Cointelegraph, she said:

“The Bitcoin small loans will provide access to digital money for the unbanked while helping them create a credit history. El Salvador’s economy will strengthen by empowering its small businesses.”

Read More