Crypto Tidbits: Bitcoin Taps $10,000, President Xi Endorses Blockchain, Libra Under Fire

Another week, another round of Crypto Tidbits. What a week for Bitcoin (BTC). Over the past seven days, the cryptocurrency market has incurred massive volatility as Bitcoin has found itself at a crossroads between a resumed macro uptrend and a redux of 2018’s “Crypto Winter.” For now, it seems as though the market is choosing the latter option.

After plunging from $8,000 to $7,300 earlier this week, the leading cryptocurrency shot higher by some $3,000 in a 24-hour period on Friday and Saturday, tapping $10,500 in the process. This marked Bitcoin’s fourth-largest daily move. Ever.

Regardless of the volatility, the industry continued to chug along, so to speak. China’s President, Xi Jinping, announced that he endorses the adoption of blockchain in the most populus nation in the world; Bitmain revealed the “world’s largest” Bitcoin mining facility in Texas; and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame appeared on Capitol Hill to talk Libra amongst other topics.

Related Reading: Crypto Tidbits: Fidelity Expands Bitcoin Ops, Ripple’s XRP Sales Fall, Grayscale Sees Growing Altcoin Demand

Bitcoin & Crypto Tidbits

  • President Xi Endorses Blockchain: According to Chinese state media, President Xi remarked at a committee session on blockchain technologies that he sees the benefits of this industry. According to a rough translation of Xi’s comment, the world leader said that blockchain should be treated as an “important breakthrough” for innovation of “core technologies,” meaning that China must “clarify the main directions, increase investment, focus on a number of key technologies, and accelerate development.” The Chinese president made no mention of Bitcoin, presumably because cryptocurrencies are largely a banned or taboo activity in China.
  • Libra Could be the Western World’s Counter to China: Speaking to the Financial Services Committee in Washington, D.C., Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said that his firm’s Libra project could help deter Chinese innovation. The Facebook chief was appearing on the Hill to discuss Libra amongst other topics. Unfortunately for the partners of Libra, the reception was extremely negative, with many Congressmen and Congresswomen bashing the project because of what they see as risks to citizens, corporations, and monetary sovereignty.
  • Mike Novogratz to Launch Bitcoin Funds: Mike Novogratz of Galaxy Digital isn’t taking the recent downturn lying down. Speaking to CNBC in a recent interview, the Wall Street veteran said that his firm, a crypto merchant bank, is looking to launch a Bitcoin fund that will allow investors to easily gain exposure to BTC holdings. “It is just a fund that takes care of custody, takes care of pricing,” Novogratz explained.
  • Bitmain Launches Massive Bitcoin Farm in Texas: Chinese cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain has launched a massive Bitcoin mining operation in Rockdale, Texas. The farm’s current capacity is 50 megawatt (MW), but Bitmain looks to scale up operations to over 300 MW in the future, thus making it the “world’s largest [farm] for Bitcoin mining.” In a comment, Clinton Brown, Bitmain’s lead project manager for the Texan region, said: “The stable and efficient energy resources in Texas are fundamental to the inevitable scale of growth for the cryptocurrency mining industry.”
  • Opera Launches Bitcoin Payment Support: Revealed in a press release published on Tuesday morning, the Norway-headquartered Opera, the popular desktop and mobile browser developer, has revealed that it has added TRON (TRX) wallet integration into its mobile browser. The web browser’s 350 million users will be able to send and receive TRX directly within Opera, and to access TRON DApps listed on the built-in DApps Store,” the release read. This update also allows Opera users to  make Bitcoin e-commerce payments directly within the application.
  • FinCEN Chief Confirms Crypto Firms Need to be AML-Regulated: Speaking to an audience at a fintech event at the Georgetown University Law Center, Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Kenneth Blanco said that cryptocurrency firms are not above AML laws. Firms dealing with digital assets, he remarked, are still subject to the Bank Secrecy Act, “whether you are a stablecoin, centralized, decentralized crypto.” He asserted that this has to be the case due to the potential that individuals on the other side of cryptocurrency transactions might be “dealing in some kind of illicit activity,” be it “opioids or human smuggling.”
  • Bakkt Bitcoin Market Volume Sets New All-Time High: On Friday, as the cryptocurrency market jumped by billions of dollars, Bakkt’s Bitcoin futures suddenly became popular amongst institutional traders. The upstart’s market ended the day with around 1,200 contracts traded, approximately $10 million.
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