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First Mover Asia: What Holiday? Bitcoin Soars Past $59K Amid Brisk Trading – Coindesk

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(Jared Schwitzke, Unsplash)
Good morning. Here’s what’s happening this morning:
Market moves: Bitcoin broke above $59,000 with at least one analyst expecting a “healthy” holiday rally.
Technician’s take (Editor’s Note): On account of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, today’s First Mover Asia will include a column in place of the usual Technician’s take.
Catch the latest episodes of CoinDesk TV for insightful interviews with crypto industry leaders and analysis.
Bitcoin (BTC): $59,118 +3.5%
Ether (ETH): $4,530 +6.4%
The crypto market on Thursday, the U.S. Thanksgiving day holiday, was not as quiet as some anticipated, after bitcoin prices briefly broke past $59,000, and trading volume remained at a level similar to the previous three days. Ether soared past $4,500, a more than 6% gain.
Credit: CoinDesk/CryptoCompare
As bitcoin’s price finished Thursday (HKT/SGT) in the green, the rest of the crypto market experienced high price volatility with major winners of the day including gaming tokens GALA, SAND, and MANA and dog-themed meme token SHIB. These tokens all saw high daily trading volume on Thursday, a bullish sign for a token’s price when it accompanies a price rally.
One analyst expects this bullish sentiment will continue during the December holiday season, particularly now that a few macroeconomic uncertainties have abated, including Jerome Powell’s reappointment as Federal Reserve chair.
“The period after U.S. Thanksgiving is traditionally very bullish for risky assets and I would not be surprised to see a healthy Christmas rally for cryptos during the holiday season,” Changguang Zheng, co-founder and chief investment officer at crypto hedge fund ZX Squared Capital, told CoinDesk.
Yet there were also less optimistic signs in investors’ activities. “Bitcoin put options, derivatives offering downside protection, continue to become pricier, implying bearish sentiment,” CoinDesk’s Omkar Godbole reported on Thursday.
El Salvador: Who Needs the IMF When You Have Bitcoin?: The IMF is a brutal bully constantly declaring its virtue. It’s about time someone pushed back.
Christopher Nolan’s third Batman film, “The Dark Knight Rises,” is generally considered the weakest entry in the series, in part because it’s so easily read as a celebration of neoliberal authoritarianism. The film’s plot has the villain, Bane, take over Gotham City, wipe out all financial ledgers and reign over a kind of mega-Occupy movement. To fight back, Batman engages in a series of moral compromises that he justifies as, more or less, necessary exceptions to defend a more broadly just system.
The International Monetary Fund has been playing the Batman role in the global order for decades. Though nominally aimed at supporting democracy and free markets, reforms mandated by the IMF in exchange for its loans have historically included serious cuts to social spending and industrial policy. The fallout is often devastating: The IMF’s (real world) body count is considerably higher than Batman’s.
El Salvador, a country with low income and high debt, has been in negotiations with the IMF for one of its loans in the amount of $1.3 billion. One roadblock has been the country’s recent adoption of bitcoin as legal tender. The IMF signaled it wasn’t too happy with that idea.
On Monday, El Salvador introduced a $1 billion “Bitcoin Bond” that could present at least a partial end-run around the IMF, highlighting why bitcoin made the IMF so queasy in the first place. “The Dark Knight Rises” contains a notorious moment, drawn from the Batman comics, in which Bane pummels Batman so badly that his back is broken, leaving him paralyzed and vulnerable. That’s about how the IMF is going to feel if El Salvador finds a way to raise large sums of international financing, as a developing country with a troubled economy, without the IMF or corruption-riddled global banks.
The bond allows purchases in units of $100, using bitcoin or tether. It will be issued by Bitfinex, an essentially stateless and unregulated platform. So there are probably few if any controls on who can buy into this bond, either by source or by amount.
That means one simple thing: El Salvador will absolutely sell out of this bond, and will probably be able to issue another round. It will replace that $1.3 billion from the IMF without breaking a sweat, even taking into account that about half of the first bond sale will go into a bitcoin fund.
There doesn’t need to be any further explanation of this than “Bitcoiners are nuts and rich,” and would gladly pump money into this small country for the lulz. More seriously, every one of these experiments that pans out is another win for bitcoin, so pitching in is also a matter of enlightened self-interest. Remember that an Ethereum DAO just raised $40 million for what was essentially a vaguely civic-minded prank – $1 billion for an actual bond with an actual return is nothing.
Let’s leave aside the touted “Bitcoin City” El Salvador says it wants to build using the other half of the first bond. That’s mostly a marketing stunt: For $500 million, at best the country will get a couple of power plants, a server farm and an IHOP. And that’s actually fine! Assuming El Salvador follows through in broad strokes, you do need some kind of infrastructure to support the mining facilities, so whether or not it’s a “city” right off the bat is a matter of semantics. And $500 million of new capital in the small country will have a major impact regardless of how it’s spent.
So, kudos to El Salvador for burning down Wall Street and building a throne out of the skulls of predatory bankers. That said, the bond might not be a terribly great investment.
For one thing, it introduces political counterparty risk to your bitcoin strategy. This is a country that only emerged from near-anarchy in 1994, and while President Nayib Bukele seems to have sturdy popularity, a disruptive change in leadership or the political order could mean creditors don’t get paid back. That’s not necessarily likely, but it’s on the table in a way that it’s not with, say, U.S. Treasury bonds (or just buying bitcoin yourself).
Also, Blockstream’s projection that the bond will return 165% annually over 10 years is based on the bet that bitcoin will be trading at $1 million by that time. I consider that completely possible, but also completely unknowable. A 10-year projection for literally any asset is pretty much always going to be a made-up number. Invest accordingly – unless your real priority is to change the world.
8:30 a.m. HKT/SGT (12:30 a.m. UTC) Australia retail sales (Oct. MoM)
3:45 p.m. HKT/SGT (7:45 a.m. UTC) France consumer confidence (Nov.)
4 p.m. HKT/SGT (8 a.m. UTC) Speech by European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde at the ECB Legal Conference 2021
In case you missed it, here are the most recent episodes of “First Mover” on CoinDesk TV:
Is El Salvador’s Bitcoin City All a Fantasy? Ambassador of El Salvador to the US Explains Country’s Bitcoin Ambitions
El Salvador is doubling down on its bitcoin adoption by planning to build a bitcoin city and issue a bitcoin bond. Will El Salvador succeed? “First Mover” hosts spoke with Milena Mayorga, ambassador of El Salvador to the United States. Plus, First Mover covered markets insights from Greg King, Osprey Funds founder and CEO. His firm is planning to launch NFT funds by early next year.
Crypto: The Gift That Keeps On Giving (to Charity)
Decentraland’s MANA Token Hits All-Time High After Sale of Virtual Real Estate
Elrond Leapfrogs Into DeFi’s Top 10 as Users Chase Ridiculously Large Incentive Program
Canada Needs a Loonie-Linked Digital Currency, Policy Experts Say
Soccer Star Andrés Iniesta Warned by Spanish Regulator After Promoting Binance
‘Crypto-States’ Will Compete With Corporates in the Metaverse
Today’s Crypto Explainer: What is Bitcoin’s Lightning Network?

DISCLOSURE
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.
Muyao Shen
Muyao is a reporter on the markets team. She is based in Brooklyn, New York. She owns a marginal amount of bitcoin.
Follow @MuyaoShen on Twitter
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The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.
@2021 CoinDesk

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Coinbase CFO's outlook on the future of cryptocurrency – CNBC

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Coinbase CFO’s outlook on the future of cryptocurrency  CNBC
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Coinbase acqui-hires team behind BRD crypto wallet – TechCrunch

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As crypto proponents look to onboard a new generation of users, one of the major consumer onramps has been a host of consumer wallet apps with slick interfaces.
Today, Coinbase announced that it is bringing on the team from BRD — a crypto wallet startup that first launched its mobile wallet back in 2014. While the team is transitioning over to Coinbase, BRD’s co-founders say nothing will be changing for BRD users for the time being, and that their wallets will continue to operate normally and that user “funds are safe and secure.”
The wallet startup was an early player in the mobile crypto wallet space that started as a place for users to store bitcoin, but grew to support a wide network of tokens and the ability to buy, sell and swap cryptocurrencies thanks to partnerships with exchanges. The startup claims to have more than 10 million users.
“The team brings deep expertise in self-custody for crypto wallets, which will help Wallet enable more people to safely and securely access the decentralized world of crypto,” a tweet from the Coinbase Wallet Twitter account reads.
BRD raised a hefty amount of venture capital funding, banking nearly $55 million in venture funding from firms like SBI Crypto Investment and East Ventures.
Coinbase and BRD did not reveal terms of the acqui-hire.
Co-founder Adam Traidman and Aaron Voisine note that they plan to build out a “migration path” for users to transfer their wallet contents to the Coinbase Wallet app but that it will be entirely optional for users.
Cryptocurrency wallet BRD reaches 6 million users, driven by growth in Latin America and India

 
 

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You Can Buy Crypto on Venmo and Robinhood. Read This Before You Do – Money Magazine

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For proof of investors’ growing interest in cryptocurrency, look no further than the financial apps already on your phone. 
Digital payment giants PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App — along with mobile stock-trading platform Robinhood — are making it easier to invest in cryptocurrency than ever before, with options to buy and trade coins within their apps.
But even if you feel more secure buying crypto with an app you might already use over a cryptocurrency exchange you’ve never heard of, the risk and volatility remains. Some of these mainstream players are also far more limiting in what they offer than traditional cryptocurrency trading platforms. 

Here’s what you need to know about buying crypto outside of cryptocurrency exchanges, and how to decide what makes the most sense for you.

Mainstreaming Cryptocurrency

Apps like PayPal and Venmo make accessible entry points for crypto novices to dip their toes in the water. And, depending on how you already use the apps, their offerings may be well-suited to your knowledge base and interests. 
For example, someone with zero knowledge but a few dollars to spare might find an exchange like Gemini confusing, but may be willing to buy some Bitcoin through their Venmo account just to experiment as they start to learn.
In general, experts say these apps can be great places to start if you’ve decided it makes sense to invest in cryptocurrency, but don’t quite understand all the different types of crypto, how an exchange works, or different storage options
Whereas using a more traditional exchange might seem complicated, you can just log into your account and buy what you want without having to worry about it, says Tyrone Ross, financial advisor and CEO of Onramp Invest, a crypto investment platform for financial advisors. “For newbies, I really suggest going to PayPal, Venmo, Cash App types of places, because they make it as simple as possible.”
Even for investing pros, cryptocurrency can be daunting. Personal finance expert Suze Orman recently told NextAdvisor about her first attempt. “Truthfully, I didn’t really know how to buy a large amount of Bitcoin and crypto,” she says. “Coinbase was aggravating me, I had bought a little bit of it and then I sold some, but it was just too complicated for me — even though it’s not complicated at all.”

She instead decided to invest indirectly, through stock in companies with crypto holdings, but she’s recently come back around to buying crypto, this time on PayPal. “I own now $5,000 in Bitcoin, and I do it through PayPal because it was just easy to do it,” she says.
There are some important distinctions between using a fintech app to buy crypto versus a traditional exchange like Kraken or Crypto.com, largely involving ways you can (or can’t) transact, and limitations on where you can keep the crypto you buy. 

Payment Platforms and Cryptocurrency

PayPal, Venmo (which is owned by PayPal), and Cash App each operate a bit differently when it comes to crypto. Each of these apps offer different coins, and various fee schedules for buying and selling crypto. While Cash App does allow you to move your coins off the platform or move Bitcoin you hold elsewhere into your account, that’s not an option on PayPal or Venmo.
Robinhood offers a few types of cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and even Dogecoin), which you can buy and sell within the app. Like its other investment options, a big perk of trading crypto on Robinhood is a lack of fees, which can widely vary among traditional exchanges.
Its accessibility as an investment platform is a big draw for many — whether they’re investing in crypto or the stock market — but it’s also what can make Robinhood riskier. It’s been criticized for making trading too game-like and encouraging volatility through active trading, rather than long-term investment growth. Just like stock trades, approaching an already-speculative asset like crypto with that mindset can make your investment even more of a gamble. 
When it comes to crypto specifically, Robinhood recently announced it’s creating its own digital wallet for its crypto users. Previously on Robinhood, you couldn’t move your private key (the encrypted code that grants access to your cryptocurrency) into your own wallet, or trade on an exchange like Coinbase. For believers in the crypto mantra “not your keys, not your coins,” that was a major drawback.

Still, not many details have been released about Robinhood’s wallet, including fees, specifics around security and private and public keys, or any other features. 
Whether you’re considering Robinhood or an app like Venmo, remember that cryptocurrency is highly volatile. Even if you’re just putting in a few dollars to experiment, it’s smart to approach your investment with a long-term mindset — once you’re sure it won’t stand in the way of your other financial goals — and be prepared to buy and hold over time rather than participating in active trading.
Even the more popular cryptocurrency exchanges — like Coinbase and Gemini — may not be platforms you’ve ever heard of or trust with your financial information. And others are simply difficult to navigate, making the process of buying crypto even more complicated for beginners. 
Because there’s little federal regulation, it can be difficult to evaluate how secure or reputable a traditional crypto trading platform is. While apps like Venmo or PayPal can’t protect your crypto holdings under FDIC insurance like they can your cash, familiarity with these apps can make the experience a bit simpler — maybe you already have your financial information linked, or the user interface is just more familiar.
“How much transaction volume and transparency into their financials and business operations I really think is the stuff you want to look at,” says Douglas Boneparth, a financial advisor and president of Bone Fide Wealth in New York. “Are most people going to do that? No, they’re going to find the easiest app to download and link their bank account, and make it easy to buy crypto again. That’s kind of the appeal of mobile apps [like PayPal and Cash App] and the like.”

But many experts view the apps as a jumping off point, not necessarily somewhere they’d recommend you keep your coins long-term. 
“It’s going to be a great way to get people introduced to the crypto space,” says Spencer Montgomery, founder of Uinta Crypto Consulting, a program for new investors to learn about crypto. But as they become more involved, “I expect that a lot of them, as they see success with it, will want to learn more, and as they learn more they’ll realize that there are better ways to be buying Bitcoin and move off of that.”
At some point, you may decide you do want control over your keys and your coins after all — and that’s why a more traditional exchange may be a better choice. For example, if an initial investment later saw a significant increase in value, you might want to move your crypto offline for greater security from cyber threats — something that wouldn’t be possible on Venmo or PayPal.
If all your crypto is on a platform that doesn’t allow offline storage, your only option is to keep it and put more money in on another exchange — leaving your assets in multiple places —  or sell what you have at the current price before buying elsewhere. 
If you choose an exchange like Coinbase from the start, which offers the option to keep your coins on the platform or trade and store them on your own, it can be much simpler to ease into those activities if you want to in the future.

It all comes down to the learning curve. “Exposure leads to expansion,” Ross says. “As you’re exposed to the space and you learn more and you get into the crypto economy, you’re going to realize, oh wait, there are all these other things I can do.”    
Whatever option you choose, just remember that cryptocurrency is still a highly speculative asset. It can be a worthwhile way to diversify your portfolio, even if you’re just experimenting, but you should only invest what you’re prepared to lose. 
No matter whether you put a few dollars into Bitcoin through Venmo, or you’re prepared to buy on an exchange and hold your coins in an offline wallet, only do so after you have your other financial priorities in order, like an emergency fund and traditional retirement plan. 
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