In this week’s cryptocurrency weekly round-up: there are several negative stories that are not so inspiring when it comes to cryptocurrency mass adoption. First, it appears as though a Bitcoin ATM has been removed pretty much as soon as it has been installed in Dubai, and Twitch is abandoning cryptocurrency as a payment option. As if that wasn’t enough bad news - many are wondering whether Justin Sun, the founder of TRON, is buying Twitter followers.
This certainly might be the worst week in terms of news in recent memory for the cryptocurrency markets, although some might argue that these are all relatively small and isolated incidents. Mike Novogratz, the CEO of cryptocurrency investment firm Galaxy Digital, believes that Bitcoin can eventually overtake gold, in a more optimistic crypto news story. Odyssey is an annual hackathon that explores the potential of blockchain technology, and it will be taking place shortly, as well. Last but not least, Vietnam will soon be launching its first fully-authorized cryptocurrency exchange, which is great news for Asian crypto enthusiasts.
The Dubai ATM Fiasco
There are few places in the world that are as progressive as Dubai when it comes to technology. There are all sorts of articles and editorials about how the city has become so incredibly rich over the years, and has cemented itself as a city dedicated to the future, technology, and massive wealth. The city made international headlines last year when it was reported that the city was focused on autonomous flying taxis to help cement its reputation as a city of the future. While there are still regulatory and safety issues surrounding this particular initiative, the city is home to the Drone Grand Prix, which is representative of what Dubai is known for: the newest technology, and large amounts of money.
It makes sense that many had high hopes for Dubai when it came to cryptocurrency. A progressive and futuristic city might understand the potential of blockchain, and help to usher in a new era of mass adoption. That’s why it was big news when the first Bitcoin ATM was installed in Dubai. However, unfortunately, it appears as though the Bitcoin ATM was removed just days after the installation. The ATM was installed at the Rixos Premium Hotel, a 5-star hotel, on the Mezzanine floor.
The ATM was installed by blockchain search engine/explorer Amhora, in partnership with the well-known crypto ATM manufacturer Lamassu. Lamassu co-founder Zach Harvey has been vocal about the fact that banks have not made it easy on the company, which recently relocated to Switzerland as a result.
Many believe that more Bitcoin ATMs will help spur mass adoption, and Bitcoin ATM growth has been steady from year to year. While this one incident doesn’t mean that Bitcoin ATMs won’t be installed throughout Dubai in the future, one can certainly consider this a setback for cryptocurrency investors and enthusiasts.
Twitch And Crypto
Many believe that one way that cryptocurrency will be popularized is that it would be used increasingly to tip content creators. For those who might not be aware, Twitch is a platform that has gained a lot of traction when it comes to streaming. There are gamers and content creators of all kinds that consistently make massive amounts of money. One of the most popular gamers in the world, Ninja, makes somewhere around $350,000 a month from the platform by playing Fortnite, the immensely popular video game that has taken the world by storm.
Twitch was purchased by Amazon, and Google owns Youtube, which means that the war for content creators is between two of the most well-known and influential tech companies in the world. Regardless, it appears that Twitch is moving away for crypto, as users cannot pay for Twitch in Bitcoin (BTC) or Bitcoin Cash (BCH) any longer. This was made possible through Bitpay, the cryptocurrency payment provider. While this might change in the future, this certainly isn’t a sign that cryptocurrency is being utilized enough on the platform.
Justin Sun And Fake Followers?
There are many that consider Justin Sun one of the most respected and influential figures in the cryptocurrency world, as he is the founder of TRON (TRX), which some consider to be one of the cryptocurrency projects with the most potential in the world. Justin Sun has recently reached 1 million followers on Twitter, which is quite the landmark, considering that other well-known crypto influencers, such as John Mcafee, has not reached that milestone yet, despite the fact that he is known to have an effect on cryptocurrency markets. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin does not have 1 million followers either, and Ethereum (ETH) has a larger market capitalization than Tron (TRX).
Looks can be deceiving, and Justin Sun is being accused of purchasing followers, considering that many of his followers appear to be fake. Many of his new followers don’t actually have followers themselves, which many consider a red flag that these accounts are not actual people. A man by the name of Geoff Goldberg who researchers Twitter bots and social media influence pointed out how many of Sun’s recent followers were suspect, in a tweet that went viral within the cryptocurrency community.
Sun has feuded with many various cryptocurrency influencers, including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Litecoin creator Charlie Lee. Many are not concerned with whether Sun’s 1 million followers are real, or whether this is simply a marketing move, while others in the cryptocurrency community are alarmed about the idea that Tron would stoop so low. Sun has also come under fire for a recent tweet that responded to Buterin’s assertion that he would “lose faith in humanity” if Tron overtook Ethereum in market cap. Sun responded that he would build a statue to Ethereum, which some considered to be in bad taste.
Novogratz Still Bullish, Thinks Bitcoin Can Beat Gold
Luckily, there wasn’t all bad news this week. While it might not be anything other than an opinion, Mike Novogratz is still very bullish when it comes to the cryptocurrency markets. One of the reasons why Mike Novogratz is such a well-known figure in the cryptocurrency space is because he actually used to be an ex-hedge fund manager before he transitioned to the crypto world. This is significant because he was one of the first individuals to make the transition from finance to crypto, and many believe Novogratz helped the finance world look at the space differently, as he had a net worth of over a billion dollars in 2007 and 2008. Novogratz is now the CEO of Galaxy Digital, one of the largest cryptocurrency investment firms.
He recently sat down for an interview with Anthony Pompliano, a crypto influencer himself, and stated that he believes that Bitcoin (BTC) can “easily overtake” the market capitalization of gold. Gold currently has a 7.5 trillion market cap, which means that BTC would have quite a way to go. This isn’t the first time that someone has suggested this, as the Winklevoss Twins have also stated that they believe in this possibility as well.
It’s almost time for Odyssey, which is the self-proclaimed largest hackathon in the world. For those who might not know, Odyssey is actually backed by the Netherlands, where developers, regulators, and entrepreneurs, all meet up to try to come up with innovative solutions to real-world problems for cash prizes. This will take place in mid-April, and 100 teams are involved, with the focus being on twenty specific challenges. The challenges range from digital identity verification, to other issues such as financial security and food sustainability, as well.
Odyssey is focused on artificial intelligence AND blockchain as well, which means that it emphasizes two of the most discussed emerging technologies in the world. Other organizations and institutions involved in Odyssey include the Dutch Central Bank, Deloitte, KLM, and more. Another main challenge that Odyssey will be focusing on is data privacy and protection, especially in the midst of the GDPR, which involves new regulation in terms of data collection.
Vietnam’s First Crypto Exchange
There are many that are wondering what is going on with respect to cryptocurrency in Asia. After all, China, the most populous country in the region, has cracked down on the sector, and India still is unclear about regulation. Many have pointed out that this is quite the blow to mass adoption in Asia, considering that both China and India are superpowers, and also the two most populous countries in the world. This has led many to wonder which Asian countries will step up in terms of cryptocurrency markets.
Apparently, Vietnam will be launching its first regulated and authorized cryptocurrency exchange, with the help of Switzerland-based KRONN Ventures AG. Last year, the company formed a consortium with Vietnam and five other countries - Cambodia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, in hopes of galvanizing the region in terms of blockchain and crypto. The exchange will be launched in partnership with Vietnam’s largest distribution group, which is the Linh Tanh Group.