Značka: Bitcoin Payments

Strike wallet is 5th most popular finance app in Argentina, but where’s the BTC?

Strike’s digital wallet has become the fifth most popular finance app in Argentina within a week of its launch.The firm, led by hoodie-wearing CEO Jack Mallers, rolled out its crypto payment services for the Argentinian market on Jan 12. Strike is famed for enabling Bitcoin (BTC) payments via the Lightning network, particularly in El Salvador. However, according to local media and user reports, the firm’s app in Argentina reportedly currently only supports the use of Tether’s stable coin USDT for transfers via Lightning. Users are able to purchase Bitcoin via the app though, and send it to a third party wallet. Mallers tweeted on Jan. 18 that Strike’s app is currently ranked as the fifth-highest finance app and the top new app overall on the Argentinian Apple app store, as he emphasized the importance of the Bitcoin network: “The best monetary network in human history is here, it’s open, and will disrupt the world quicker than anyone thinks. Open networks win.” Mallers stated earlier this week that Strike is working to bring additional BTC support and features to the app soon, noting that the company is taking the “exact same” same approach to El Salvador. Since launch we’ve already been approached by many new partners.We have meetings next week to find sufficient partners and are working on bringing the #Bitcoin tab and other features in the US to Argentina, one step at a time.The exact same approach we’ve taken in El Salvador— Jack Mallers (@jackmallers) January 15, 2022Neither Strike nor Mallers highlighted the use of Tether as part of the company’s initial announcement, however the CEO did note that the app would enable the Argentinian people to “hold a stable cash balance that can be spent both instantly and with no fees.” According to a rough translation of a Jan. 11 report from local media outlet iProUP, the terms of service for Strike’s app states that it is partnered with the Bittrex exchange for asset custody and fund transfers, and specifies that the app will provide “a currency that users can use to protect themselves” from inflation. “Although the solution is being promoted as being based on BTC technology, it is actually based on the Ethereum network, as it is the Tether USD (USDT) stablecoin, under the ERC-20 token technology standard,” the publication wrote. Related: Uruguay reportedly installs its first Bitcoin ATMA local Strike user named “Nico” on Twitter stated that he able to receive Bitcoin via the app but it was instantly converted into USDT, while Argentinian crypto Journalist Luis David Esparragoza responded the same thing happens on the reverse transaction, where users send USDT to Bittrex which is then converted in BTC. One function that reportedly supports Bitcoin directly in Argentina, is the BTC tipping feature on Twitter, with Mallers alluding to such via a screen recorded via on Twitter last week. Cointelegraph has reached out to Mallers for comment regarding the use of USDT, and will update the article if he responds.

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Heavyweight champ to take 50% of his UFC 270 purse in Bitcoin

UFC heavyweight title holder Francis Ngannou has announced he will take half of his UFC 270 prize purse in Bitcoin (BTC) via Cash App.The French-Cameroonian MMA fighter will take on the undefeated Ciryl Gane on Jan. 23 and is set to earn a guaranteed $750,000. In a tweet published on Jan. 18, Ngannou noted that:”After doing a lot of research on Bitcoin, I really believe it is the future of money, man. Bitcoin is valuable, secure, and no one can mess with it.”The event will take place inside the 18,000+ capacity Honda Center in Anaheim, California. In what is the first defense of Ngannou’s title reign, the fight is an intriguing heavyweight clash in which both fighters will enter the arena fresh off their best performance to date and the winner could very well be the new face of heavyweight for years to come.Tickets are still up for grabs and the fight will be broadcast on ESPN + PPV in the US. Cash App is spending big on the fight, with another $300,000 giveaway for followers who post about the campaign on Twitter. I believe bitcoin can empower people everywhere. So I’m excited to partner w/ @CashApp to take half my #UFC270 purse in bitcoin. I want to make bitcoin more accessible to my fans, so I’m giving out $300K in bitcoin! Follow @CashApp + drop your $cashtag w/ #PaidInBitcoin pic.twitter.com/8JEvJ1UYu1— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) January 18, 2022The Cash App marketing campaign has witnessed eminent personalities give away Bitcoin to their social media followers. Earlier in December, Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow announced that she was giving away $500,000 in BTC to her Twitter and Instagram followers via a Cash App partnership. Ngannou is also not the first professional MMA fighter to receive earnings in Bitcoin. In a Dec. 17 interview, Kevin Lee said the Russia-based Eagle Fighting Championship will pay him in BTC. Related: Crypto.com partners with Los Angeles’ Angel City Football ClubBillions of people watch sports and crypto brands are leveraging the power of sports partnerships to target mainstream users.In one of the biggest crypto sports partnerships in Australia, the Aussie Rules women’s division called the AFLW has just secured a $25 million deal with Crypto.com. Crypto.com also secured a $700 million deal in mid-November to rebrand the Staples Arena, Los Angeles to the Crypto.com Arena for 20 years. The crypto company also signed hefty sponsorship deals with Formula 1 and UFC as well, in June and July respectively. Cash App has formed partnerships with several NFL players, including Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The partnership will allow them to receive their salary in BTC. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady took an equity stake in FTX Trading and will receive crypto as part of the endorsement deal. He is acting as an ambassador for the crypto exchange. FTX also has deals with Miami Heat and Major League Baseball.

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From tuk tuks to COVID tests, YouTuber tests Bitcoin use cases across multiple countries

A YouTuber started a journey in September to see whether he could survive solely on Bitcoin as a means of payment while traveling to 40 different countries.Speaking to Cointelegraph on Monday, YouTuber Paco De La India — or “Paco from India” — said though the spread of omicron had somewhat altered his original travel plans, he was still surprised at how many people had accepted Bitcoin (BTC) in countries where crypto was in a legally or regulatory grey area. Beginning his journey in the Indian city of Bengaluru, Paco sold his belongings in September 2021 and mostly relied on BTC donations to fund his trip — which, so far, has taken him across India, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, and Cambodia.The YouTuber, who said he preferred to use non-custodial wallets and Lightning for BTC transactions, originally planned to visit 40 countries for 10 days each, but COVID restrictions had somewhat altered his itinerary. Paco is working around mandatory quarantines, many countries’ requirements for tourists to stay within their borders for at least 14 days, and additional costs for polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests.Paco, speaking from Siem Reap, CambodiaAccording to Paco, two people conducting his COVID test in India for travel to the UAE accepted BTC in lieu of fiat rupees without hesitation. In addition, he was able to negotiate with test takers in Thailand for a PCR test to travel to Cambodia. The YouTuber attributed part of the reason behind the acceptance of crypto payments to officials more concerned with verifying vaccine certificates than COVID tests.“At the end of the day, it’s a piece of paper,” said Paco. “It’s just a piece of paper which is no way possible to verify. The only thing that they’re checking right now is the vaccine, because of the QR code.” Related: Cryptocurrency Adoption: How Can Crypto Change the Travel Industry?Though many countries have announced plans to verify the authenticity of COVID-19 test results using blockchain technology, there does not seem to be an international standard for immigration officials to recognize tests conducted in foreign nations. For example, travelers flying to the United States are required to complete a rapid COVID test within 24 hours of arrival, but not all health passport apps recommended by U.S. airlines can recognize QR codes provided by foreign testing centers.In addition to COVID tests, Paco said he had been able to survive on Bitcoin as a method of payment often by sheer chance, never forcing crypto on an unsuspecting party and surprised at how many random vendors were open to it. According to the YouTuber, he had been forced to avoid most public transportation in these four countries and use his debit card to fuel his bike, but was connecting with more people on the ground.[embedded content]“Thailand is super crypto-friendly,” said Paco. “Cambodia is another [super friendly] place. UAE, it looks like that but I feel it’s just between the richest people.” He added:“I have changed my approach a lot. I’ve gone more from talking to the old people who have already lived their life to finding young people who are really tech savvy […] They’re really curious about [Bitcoin]. It’s always: they want to make money. Everyone just looks at Bitcoin as making money.”

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Bukele’s Bitcoin trade raises El Salvador’s sovereign credit risk: Moody’s

El Salvador’s historic embrace of Bitcoin (BTC) could have negative consequences on the country’s sovereign credit outlook, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Moody’s analyst Jaime Reusche told Bloomberg this week that El Salvador’s Bitcoin gambit “certainly adds to the risk portfolio” of a country that has struggled with liquidity issues in the past. Under the leadership of President Nayib Bukele, El Salvador has recognized Bitcoin as legal tender and issued a state-run crypto wallet to facilitate payments, transfers and ownership. Along the way, El Salvador has amassed a treasure chest of 1,391 BTC, with President Bukele famously “buying the dip” on several occasions by using Bitcoin’s volatility to add to his country’s holdings. Buying the dip 150 new coins added.#BitcoinDay #BTC— Nayib Bukele (@nayibbukele) September 7, 2021However, Reusche warned that accumulating more BTC would elevate El Salvador’s risk of default. “If it gets much higher, then that represents an even greater risk to repayment capacity and the fiscal profile of the issuer,” he said.PREDICTION: The El Salvador bitcoin bond will be ridiculously oversubscribed pic.twitter.com/2Kj0urm0SN— Pomp (@APompliano) November 23, 2021

In addition to downgrading El Salvador’s credit rating, Moody’s has warned that the country’s so-called Bitcoin volcano bond could limit its access to foreign bond markets. Proceeds of the volcano bond, which is expected to raise roughly $1 billion, will be used to fund El Salvador’s Bitcoin City project. Related: Tonga to copy El Salvador’s bill making Bitcoin legal tender, says former MPAttacks on El Salvador’s Bitcoin gambit by legacy financial institutions are nothing new. In November 2021, the Washington-based International Monetary Fund warned El Salvador against using Bitcoin as legal tender. Meanwhile, the World Bank has rejected the country’s request for assistance in implementing its Bitcoin Law over alleged environmental and transparency concerns. Nevertheless, El Salvador has remained steadfast in embracing Bitcoin and in creating an attractive environment for crypto investors and entrepreneurs. Last week, finance minister Alejandro Zelaya said the country’s Bitcoin Law has already attracted foreign investment.

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Northwest Arkansas offering $10K in Bitcoin to attract remote workers

The Northwest Arkansas Council, consisting of business leaders aimed at promoting development in the region, has announced a crypto incentive program to bring in tech professionals and entrepreneurs willing to work remotely.In a Wednesday announcement, council president and CEO Nelson Peacock said the area would be looking to expand its range of talent in the tech industry by offering $10,000 in Bitcoin (BTC) — roughly 0.23 BTC at the current price of $43,610 — in addition to a bicycle or membership to arts and cultural facilities. The “Bitcoin and a Bike” program, the next stage of the area’s Life Works Here initiative, is specifically aimed at embracing professionals in blockchain-related fields. The program will offer the crypto incentive to qualifying individuals willing to live for at least a year in Northwest Arkansas — presumably close to the cities of Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville.“Northwest Arkansas is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country, and we’re now seeing more explosive growth in our tech sector,” said Peacock.“This expanded incentive offer […] not only embraces the growing trend toward the use of cryptocurrency as a payment option by employers, but also helps increase our pipeline of talent to benefit tech employers, startups, cities, local businesses and the region overall.” Bentonville, Arkansas from above. Source: Northwest Arkansas CouncilAmong the requirements for applicants are the ability to work remotely, moving to the area within six months of acceptance and two years of experience at their current position in the tech industry. Northwest Arkansas is already home to major retailer Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville — the Walton Family Foundation is contributing to the Bitcoin and a Bike program and Walmart founder Sam Walton was a founding member of the council — as well as the University of Arkansas’ Blockchain Center of Excellence, offering education in blockchain-enabled tech. “Next-generation talent is essential to further transform our region into a hub for up-and-coming tech innovators and businesses,” said Blockchain Center of Excellence director Mary Lacity. Many reports have seemingly touted Northwest Arkansas as an alternative to growing tech hubs in the United States like Austin, Texas — while the number of businesses in the city has significantly increased in the last year, the growing interest has led to surging rent and housing costs. It may be premature to observe an exodus to the midwest state, but companies including electric vehicle manufacturer Canoo have announced plans to set up headquarters in the state’s northwest region.Related: Walmart seeks crypto product lead to drive digital currency strategyBefore and during the pandemic, many mid-sized U.S. cities offered similar programs with cash incentives for transplants to work remotely, seemingly in an effort to promote the local economy. The NWA council started the Life Works Here initiative in November 2020, but Tulsa, Oklahoma was one of the first to offer certain individuals $10,000 to move starting in 2018, with areas of West Virginia, Kansas, Vermont, Connecticut, and Alabama following its lead.Disclosure: this reporter applied for the Bitcoin and a Bike program.

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NYC mayor getting paid in Bitcoin suggests buying the dip

Newly sworn-in New York City Mayor Eric Adams is already using his influence to speak publicly about buying the recent Bitcoin dip.In a Thursday interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, Adams said he had not yet received his first paycheck as the mayor of New York City, but reiterated his aim to make the city a Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto hub. When co-anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin pointed out that the price of the crypto asset has “come down” — dipping as low as $43,000 early Thursday — the NYC mayor seemed to be undeterred. “Sometimes the best time to buy is when things go down, so when they go back up, you made a good profit,” said Adams. “We need to use the technology of blockchain, Bitcoin, of all other forms of technology. I want New York City to be the center of that technology.””Sometimes the best time to buy is when things go down,” says @NYCMayor on #bitcoin. “I’m going to take my first three paychecks in #bitcoin. I haven’t received my first check yet.” pic.twitter.com/dqGkVYxOKg— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) January 6, 2022Adams, who has been in office five full days following a November election win, is replacing Bill de Blasio as the mayor of New York City. During his campaign, Adams pledged to make New York City a tech hub that will be ”the center of cybersecurity, the center of self-driving cars, drones, the center of Bitcoins,” beating out crypto-friendly businessman Andrew Yang to become the Democratic party nominee.As part of his efforts to promote crypto and blockchain technology — or perhaps inspired by a friendly feud with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez — Adams announced following the election that he planned to take his first three paychecks in BTC. Assuming the NYC mayor accepts a base salary of $258,750, his monthly paychecks would be roughly $21,562 each, a total of 1.51 BTC at a price of $42,948.Related: Miami mayor plans to accept next paycheck entirely in BitcoinNew York state is often the center of media attention related to regulation and enforcement for crypto firms in the United States. The New York Attorney General’s office was responsible for the settlement of the case against Bitfinex and Tether, which in February agreed to pay $18.5 million in damages, and ordered Coinseed to close its doors after the firm allegedly defrauded investors out of more than $1 million.

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El Salvador: How it started vs. how it's going with the Bitcoin Law in 2021

Before June 2021, news regarding Nayib Bukele was likely not even a blip on many crypto users’ radar screens. The Salvadoran president instead made headlines for allegations of corruption and dictator-like behavior after his party’s congressional majority sacked five members of the country’s Supreme Court and its attorney general.During the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, however, Bukele stunned many participants and garnered international attention by announcing he planned to have El Salvador adopt Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender. Within a week, a supermajority of the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly — most members of Bukele’s own party — had passed the Bitcoin Law, requiring all businesses to accept the crypto asset as a form of payment alongside the United States dollar. Bukele’s involvement in the crypto rollout seemed to extend further than many would have expected from a world leader. The Salvadoran president was already active on social media and presented himself differently than many politicians, often casually dressed in a baseball cap and jeans. Since the Bitcoin Law went into effect in September, he has used his Twitter account to announce several BTC buys totaling 1,391 BTC — more than $71 million, presumably from El Salvador’s national treasury. He also proposed having the country tap geothermal energy from its volcanoes to mine crypto.Locally, opposition to the Bitcoin Law manifested itself in the form of public statements from lawmakers not connected to Bukele’s political party as well as protests in San Salvador. Before the law went into effect on Sept. 7, a group of retirees, veterans, disability pensioners and workers marched through the capital city to voice their concerns about the crypto asset’s volatility and how the Bitcoin Law could potentially affect their pensions. Protesters calling themselves the Popular Resistance and Rebellion Block carried banners saying “No to Bitcoin” in the streets to demand a repeal of the law. Servicio social. Para los que quieran imprimir stickers de #NoAlBitcoin aquí les dejo vectores en SVG e imágenes en alta resolución. El vector de la derecha es para corte en Vinil.Me mandan foto de donde los peguen porfa. Descargas https://t.co/jNrBlW33ox pic.twitter.com/693Esr42ri— Señor del Caos (α) (@mxgxw_alpha) August 15, 2021Officials outside Bukele’s sphere of influence also expressed skepticism over the rollout. In June, the U.S. Department of State’s Victoria Nuland encouraged El Salvador to take a “tough look” at Bitcoin to ensure the crypto asset was “well regulated” and “transparent,” and the government offered protection “against malign actors.” The International Monetary Fund issued its own warning in July, saying the consequences of a country adopting Bitcoin as a national currency “could be dire.”In addition to helping establish the regulatory framework for adopting BTC payments, Bukele promoted efforts to build the infrastructure necessary for Salvadoran merchants and everyday citizens to use crypto. The country is already home to Bitcoin Beach, an area in the village of El Zonte, intended to be an experiment where Bitcoiners can use crypto to pay for anything, from utility bills to tacos. Officials have also overseen the installation of hundreds of Chivo ATMs, allowing Salvadorans to withdraw cash 24 hours a day without paying commissions on their crypto holdings. However, one announcement that will likely stand out as the most ambitious of Bukele’s crypto plans in 2021 was for the creation of Bitcoin City, funded initially by $1 billion in BTC bonds. Crypto exchange Bitfinex and Blockstream have already said they plan to support the initiative, which will reportedly aim for no capital gains, income, property or payroll taxes.Be on Mars by 2032 gonna be amazing, but the future is being built also here on earth, in El Salvador to be specific. #Bitcoin City. pic.twitter.com/PGhJQ9FlrG— Jose Valdez (@JoseValdezSV) December 10, 2021

The criticism over Bukele governing like an authoritarian was necessarily been mitigated with the Bitcoin Law rollout, but coverage wa often paired with his statements on “buying the dip,” proposing a 24-hour Bitcoin news network, and other crypto-related developments in the country. There is little indication that the president has moved past self-identifying as the world’s “coolest dictator” — a Twitter bio that he later changed to the “CEO of El Salvador.” Prior to the passage of the Bitcoin Law, police detained a San Salvador resident who had spoken out against the country adopting Bitcoin as legal tender. In October, following several protests against Bukele’s policies, the government banned gatherings, claiming its actions were aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 — however, it still listed sports and cultural events as exemptions.“The crypto community embracing Bukele of all people shows that they need to think a little harder. […] This guy’s an authoritarian who can’t provide basic services to his citizens,” said Tommy Vietor, a political commentator from Pod Save the World. “[El Salvador has] one of the highest murder rates in the world. He seems to think you can get power by plugging your Apple charger into a volcano somehow. Don’t try to sell us on a literal volcano-fueled tech utopia city — let’s just start a little smaller.”At the end of 2021, it was still unclear whether the average citizen of El Salvador was reaping many rewards from the Bitcoin Law. Bukele did announce in October that animals would benefit from crypto with the construction of a $4-million veterinary hospital funded by profits from the country’s Bitcoin trust. However, it’s likely the Latin American nation is still struggling to cope with the crypto asset’s volatility when used as a medium of exchange as well as gaining mainstream understanding and acceptance from its populace. 

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Getting paid in BTC was a 'big part' of the reason this MMA fighter signed with Eagle FC

Kevin Lee, a professional mixed martial arts fighter, has said a major factor in his decision to sign with a new promotion company was Bitcoin (BTC).According to a report from MMA news outlet BJ Penn, the Russia-based Eagle Fighting Championship will be paying Lee in BTC as part of a four-fight contract. The fighter has reportedly been a HODLer since before the 2017 bull run, later using some of the profits to live off of after paying for knee surgeries.“To be paid in Bitcoin and not give me any pushback on it whatsoever, was huge in the decision [to sign with Eagle FC],” said Lee. “It gives me a lot more financial security and will help me fight better, too.”Уважение орёл #EagleFC pic.twitter.com/tgmCQyYK2R— Kevin MTP Lee (@MoTownPhenom) December 15, 2021Payments concerning the Eagle FC were not disclosed, but Lee has previously earned as much as $280,000 through his UFC fight with Tony Ferguson. In a Dec. 17 interview, Lee implied Eagle FC would pay more than he made while under contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, meaning a potential payout of 5.86 BTC or more at current prices. Lee, also known as The Motown Phenom, was recently suspended from fighting for six months and fined after testing positive for Adderall. He was later released from his UFC contract before Eagle FC attempted to add him to their roster — his first fight with the company is expected to be against Diego Sanchez on Mar. 11.UFC has been delving into the benefits of digital assets through partnerships with crypto and blockchain firms. In July, the organization inked a $175 million deal with Crypto.com for the next ten years, an agreement that eventually led to the release of UFC-licensed nonfungible tokens. In addition, the fighting championship has previously partnered with blockchain rewards app Socios and tokenization platform Chiliz to release a fan token.Related: How crypto is going to shake up the world of mixed martial artsIndividual MMA fighters have been expressing interest in BTC and other tokens since Jon Fitch became the first professional fighter to be paid in Bitcoin in 2015. Last year, former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez said he had purchased some BTC, while Ben Askren was paid to promote Litecoin (LTC) and supported the most recent BTC halving.

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Wallet provider Ledger launches crypto debit card

Cryptocurrency wallet and infrastructure provider Ledger has debuted a new debit card that enables users to buy goods and services with their digital assets, potentially opening the door to wider adoption of crypto payment services. The Crypto Life card, also known as “CL,” was introduced at Ledger’s biannual Op3n conference on Thursday. The debit card is linked to Ledger Live, a desktop and mobile application that enables Ledger users to buy, swap and stake cryptocurrencies. The CL card supports several cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and stablecoins USD Coin (USDC) and Tether (USDT).Cardholders have the option of instantly converting their crypto into fiat for the purpose of spending as well as obtaining a line of credit using their digital assets as collateral. The latter option gives cardholders the ability to use their debit card without having to sell their crypto. Users can also deposit their paychecks and select which percentage of their income they want to convert into BTC and ETH. The CL card is set for launch in the first quarter of 2022 for users in the United Kingdom, France and Germany followed by a second-quarter rollout in the United States.Ledger’s foray into the debit card market follows a strategic pivot into the decentralized finance, or DeFi, market. The company, which is known for its Ledger Nano S and Nano X hardware wallets, concluded a $380 million private financing round in June of this year, bringing its total valuation to $1.5 billion. Related: Building a path to sustainable finance and blockchain adoption starts with paymentsOnline electronics retailer @Newegg continues diving into crypto payments, officially accepting @Shibtoken for payments. https://t.co/VCxRoYW3yy— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) December 1, 2021Payments are a highly touted but underutilized use case of the crypto economy. However, that appears to be slowly changing now that major players such as Mastercard have entered the crypto payments landscape. Meanwhile, crypto payments provider BitPay recently entered into a partnership with browser and wallet extension MetaMask to provide a payment gateway to tens of millions of new users.

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