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September 13, 2021

Bitcoin Dives as El Salvador Makes History

September 13, 2021

A positive week of cryptocurrency news was set against a minor crash in the cryptocurrency markets this week. While bitcoin was adopted as legal tender in El Salvador, it experienced a 19% crash, which spilled across to several altcoins. As bitcoin prices steadied throughout the remainder of the week, the SEC fired shots that could disrupt crypto-innovation, Standard & Chartered outlined views for the future of Ethereum, and Mastercard acquired a blockchain intelligence partner. 

  • El Salvador purchases over 400 bitcoin as the cryptocurrency becomes legal tender
  • SEC threatens Coinbase with legal action
  • Ether staked in Ethereum 2.0 surpass 7.5 million
  • Mastercard continues to invest in the blockchain sector
  • Big-ticket reports to watch out for this week

Bitcoin dives on the same day as bitcoin adoption in El Salvador

Anticipated as a major bullish event for bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies in general, last Tuesday bitcoin became legal tender in El Salvador. The new Bitcoin law means that bitcoin is now a legal currency, alongside the US dollar, and can be used to make purchases and repay debts. Unexpectedly, the news was met with a minor crash in cryptocurrency prices.

Ahead of the law taking effect, the government of El Salvador had already begun to purchase bitcoin. A tweet posted by the President, Nayib Bukele, detailed the acquisition process. “El Salvador has just brought its first 200 coins. Our brokers will be buying a lot more as the deadline approaches.” By Thursday the government held over 550 coins. Alongside the bitcoin purchases, the President is also pushing the use of the new ‘Chivo’ cryptocurrency wallet app among residents. Residents will be able to send BTC to intended recipients almost instantaneously using the app.

The move to bitcoin is hoped to increase the amount of disposable income for residents, who usually lose large sums to cross-border transaction fees. Many are frustrated with the high-cost, and long process that is currently offered by most payment providers. $6 billion worth of remittances flow into El Salvador each year and a large proportion of that is collected by the companies transferring funds. It is believed that organizations such as Western Union and MoneyGram will lose out on $400 million per year if the use of bitcoin scales.

The ex-intelligence consultant for the National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Edward Snowden, commented on El Salvador’s bitcoin adoption during the week. The analyst expects that other countries will quickly follow El Salvador, which means those that hesitate will find it harder and harder to acquire bitcoin. He elaborated that Bitcoin’s “design massively incentivizes early adoption.”

While positive for the cryptocurrency industry, and celebrated by many in the crypto community, the markets took a sharp turn lower during Tuesday’s trading. The price of bitcoin, which had been steadily climbing, crashed from $52k to $43k in a matter of minutes. For the remainder of the week, prices steadied between the $44k to $46k range.

btc on el salvador flag


The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) provoked questions last week by targeting one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide. Coinbase, which is now listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, announced on Tuesday that the company had received a Wells Notice – official documentation that states the SEC intends to sue a company in court.

The announcement was made via Coinbase’s public blog. Titled, “The SEC has told us it wants to sue us over Lend. We don’t know why”, the article outlines the details of the complaint. Within the article, Coinbase outlined that the company had been corresponding with the SEC for several months, and that the Wells Notice was unsurprising. 

Lend, the product in question, is a savings feature that will allow users to deposit cryptocurrencies on the platform and accumulate interest. The SEC believes one, or more than one of the cryptocurrencies involved in Lend, contains a security. Details of which cryptocurrency they are referring to has not yet been released. 

Alongside a set of documentation requested by the SEC, the organization also asked Coinbase for a list of those pre-registered for the Lend product. So far, Coinbase has not provided them with such a list. As described in the blog post, the result of the Wells Notice means that the Lend product will not be launching until at least October. 

Seen as another unsurprising move from most of the cryptocurrency community, the SEC continues to angle for tougher crypto regulation. The SEC is currently battling Ripple, the company behind XRP, and the XRP Ledger blockchain, in the courts.

US SEC buildings facade

Ethereum 2.0 surpasses 7.5 million staked

The Ethereum community continues to work towards the upcoming Ethereum 2.0 upgrade, which will see the network move from a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism to Proof-of-Stake (PoS). The new PoS network will be more efficient, require less computing power, and should help Ethereum become more competitive against younger development blockchains such as Cardano and Solana.

A PoS system relies on users staking cryptocurrency to secure and validate the network. The process for staking Ether began with Vitalik Buterin, one of the co-founders of Ethereum. Buterin deposited $1.4 million worth in 2020. Since then, the staking wallet has grown exponentially, with more and more users staking ETH to become a validator in the network and earn future rewards. Users must have 32 ETH to become a validator in the upcoming Ethereum 2.0. 

Last week, the amount of ETH coins staked surpassed 7.5 million. At the time of writing, data collected from Etherscan highlights that the Eth2 Deposit Contract contains 7,639,436 ETH. It is the largest ETH wallet globally. The staked amount currently equals $25.25 billion. 

The Ethereum blockchain was also highlighted by Standard and Chartered analysts during the week, who are extremely bullish on the native ETH coin. Analysts from the international banking giant released a report titled the ‘Ethereum Investor Guide’ which focuses on the two leading cryptocurrencies, bitcoin and ethereum. 

Analysts at Standard and Chartered believe that the price action of bitcoin and ethereum follow similar patterns. Within the report, analysts express views that one bitcoin will reach $175k in future years. If bitcoin reaches $175k, they believe ethereum could reach between $26 and $35k. While bitcoin is believed to be a less risky asset, the returns could be higher with ethereum.

ETH coins silver on a table with US dollar bills in the background
Ethereum logo surrounding by digitalized graphics


Mastercard purchases blockchain intelligence firm Ciphertrace

The global payment provider, Mastercard, continued to show its long-term crypto-focused hand last week as the company confirmed that it would be acquiring a blockchain intelligence firm. Ciphertrace, a company built for tackling crypto-crime, is set to be acquired as part of Mastercard’s focus on establishing cryptocurrency cyber security solutions.

Ciphertrace is a blockchain intelligence firm that specializes in tracking cryptocurrencies. The company is the owner of several cyber security patents and has focused on cryptocurrency crime for many years. The solutions provided help other companies “enhance their security and fraud monitoring activities for crypto-related programs”. 

The CEO of Ciphertrace, Dave Jevans commented on the upcoming partnership during the week. “Our two companies share this vision to provide security and trust throughout the ecosystem. We are thrilled to join the Mastercard family to scale CipherTrace’s reach across the globe.” 

While the cost of acquiring Ciphertrace is not yet known, it marks the last in a long line of cryptocurrency investments made by Mastercard, and highlights, once again, the company’s future commitment to the sector.  

mastercard flag with buildings in the background


Big-ticket reports to watch out for this week:

Tuesday – Australia NAB Business Confidence, UK Employment Change & Unemployment Rate, US Inflation Rate (YoY) 

Wednesday – Australia New Home Sales (MoM) & Westpac Consumer Confidence, China Unemployment Rate & Retail Sales (YoY), UK Inflation Rate (YoY), Canada Inflation Rate (YoY)

Thursday –  Japan Balance of Trade, Australia Unemployment Rate, Canada ADP Employment Change, US Retail Sales (YoY) & Initial Jobless Claims 

Friday – UK Retail Sales (YoY), US Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index

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