Re-sharing below the latest edition of #Web3 Weekly, my regular newsletter about decentralization. This installment covers Aug. 1–7, 2021. If you’d like to get #Web3 Weekly in your inbox every Sunday, please subscribe here.
The mainstream is back, baby.
I’ve recently lamented the masses’ chilly attitude toward crypto compared to the bullishness of big institutions. But now that seems to be changing.
The most obvious signs are exploding trading volumes and prices of late, led by a second straight week of big gains for bitcoin. The token topped $45,000 this morning for the first time since mid-May, good for a weekly return of 7%.
Digging deeper, it took only four months for the number of crypto users worldwide to double, topping 221 million people, according to new research from Crypto.com analyst Kevin Wang. And Square reported that its users bought an eye-popping $2.7 billion in bitcoin in the second quarter.
Heck, Google even relaxed its longstanding ban on crypto ads on Wednesday. This puts them more in line with the approach of cable television, where spots from the likes of Grayscale and eToro have become a staple of financial newscasts this year. So expect to see similar promos popping up soon in your search results as well.
On to the week’s other news:
- The pending U.S. infrastructure bill could impose new reporting requirements on crypto brokers. Senators have been crafting exemptions for miners and other non-custodial players who don’t handle other people’s money. But the crypto industry’s consensus outlook concerning the legislation remains glum for now.
- Ethereum is on fire in multiple respects. As part of the network’s London upgrade, $14 million worth of ether tokens were removed from circulation, or “burned” in trader parlance. The decline in supply helped boost ether prices, pushing the token up 20% for the week. Ethereum mining revenue also hit a new monthly record, topping $1 billion in July. That figure has now beaten bitcoin mining revenue for three straight months, the longest streak ever, according to The Block.
- Weekly trading volume in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) topped $300 million for the first time. New product announcements in the rising category are continuing at a furious pace as well. The British fashion brand Burberry released its first NFTs in partnership with Mythical Games. The National Basketball Association said it will offer exclusive highlight clips packaged as NFTs for in-person sale at its summer league games. FTX is building a new marketplace for sports and entertainment NFTs. And CoinDesk reported that gamers have already pledged over $200 million to buy NFTs representing virtual land in “Ember Sword,” a pre-release video game.
- Crypto custody providers made some big acquisitions and personnel moves. Square bought payments provider Afterpay for $29 billion, the largest buyout ever of an Australian company, according to Reuters. Coinbase acquired Zabo, which makes software enabling cross-chain functionality, for an undisclosed sum. Meanwhile, the chief executive of Binance’s U.S. operations resigned after just four months on the job, citing disagreements with senior management over strategy. And Crypto.com hired a former Spotify executive to lead its growth efforts.
- Ukraine enacted a new law that will allow the country’s central bank to issue a digital currency.
- From a biomechanical standopoint, humans suck. In honor of the Tokyo Olympics, Wired decided to compare elite human sports performance to the movements of other creatures in nature. Turns out that even Usain Bolt in his prime couldn’t outrun a house cat.
That’s it for now. As ever, a quick disclaimer: This newsletter is intended for informational purposes only, not as investment advice. For the latter, please DYOR and consult appropriate financial professionals to make the most suitable choices for your particular needs.
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