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You’ll soon be able to pay the mortgage in Bitcoin — but should you? – Bankrate.com

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The nation’s second-largest mortgage lender aims to give borrowers the option to pay their mortgages in Bitcoin by the end of the year. United Wholesale Mortgage says it’ll be the first mortgage company in the U.S. to accept cryptocurrency in exchange for monthly payments.
“UWM is planning to accept Bitcoin because we have nearly one million consumers who pay us a monthly mortgage payment, and we’re always trying to find a way to make things easier for our clients,” says Mat Ishbia, the company’s chairman and CEO.
The move raises familiar questions about cryptocurrency, and whether this virtual money can function as a means of exchange — in addition to its well-known role as a vehicle for speculation. Financial experts don’t expect a rush of people paying their mortgage this way.
“It is nice to know that individuals can pay off their mortgage with cryptocurrency, but because of operational issues for the individual investor, I think very few will,” says Clark Kendall, a financial advisor who runs Kendall Capital Management in Rockville, Maryland.
United Wholesale Mortgage is the nation’s No. 2 mortgage lender. It originated more than 560,000 loans in 2020, a tally that trailed only Rocket Mortgage, according to a Bankrate analysis of federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data.
Ishbia says United Wholesale Mortgage will open by accepting Bitcoin, the most prominent cryptocurrency. Its total market value is approaching $1 trillion.
Ishbia said his company is looking into accepting other virtual coins as well. He didn’t name names, but Ethereum, Cardano, XRP and Litecoin are among the most widely held cryptocurrencies.
United Wholesale Mortgage has released no details about how the payments might work. Will consumers pay from accounts with Coinbase or other cryptocurrency brokerages? It’s unclear.
The company is still ironing out those issues with federal authorities. “The great part of working in such a carefully regulated industry is that we are able to work directly with regulators to ensure we’re doing right by everyone before a change like accepting cryptocurrency comes to pass,” Ishbia says.
Bitcoin has been a subject of intense interest in the past year, and its price has moved accordingly. In September 2020, a single bitcoin traded for a bit more than $10,000. By April 2021, the price was flirting with $65,000.
Within months of reaching that high point, Bitcoin plunged below $30,000. It’s on the rise again, nearing $50,000. That roller-coaster ride is the opposite of the stability that is the hallmark of such major currencies as the dollar and the euro.
Bitcoin’s volatility raises a number of challenges. For one, there’s a mismatch between a debt payment denominated in a stable currency and a means of exchange whose price fluctuates wildly.
“If your monthly mortgage payment is $1,000, do you send in $800 or $1,200 worth of Bitcoin for this month’s payment?” Kendall asks.
Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst, is similarly wary. “I wouldn’t recommend basing the certainty of next month’s mortgage payment on the price of a stock you’re holding now, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing so based on a speculative asset,” he says.
Bitcoin can move so sharply that borrowers might even fret about a jump in value in the moments between the time the payment is made and the account is credited.
For true believers in Bitcoin, the concept of using cryptocurrency to pay the bills is counterintuitive. If you think the price of Bitcoin will rocket past $100,000, why would you use it to pay the mortgage when boring old dollars will accomplish the same task?
Taxes are another stumbling block. While tax policies around cryptocurrency are a work in progress, the IRS considers using cryptocurrency to buy something or to pay an expense a potentially taxable event. So the seemingly simple act of trading bitcoins for a mortgage payment could trigger the capital gains tax, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants says.
“I could only see recommending using cryptocurrencies to pay off debt if the investor was looking to unload their cryptocurrency and pay off their mortgage in full,” Kendall says. “Using cryptocurrencies to make monthly mortgage payments does not make operational sense in my book.”
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The 10 Fastest-Growing Cryptocurrency Ecosystems In 2021 – Forbes

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As the cryptocurrency industry grows more fragmented, new data shows which platforms software developers are flocking to.
Two years ago, bitcoin dominated the cryptocurrency market, gobbling up 70% of its market value. But as crypto has ballooned to exceed $2 trillion in assets, the industry has fragmented. Today, bitcoin’s share sits below 40%, and new crypto networks are popping up every day. One way to sift through the clutter and see where the industry is going is to follow the software developers who build and maintain crypto networks. 
“Developers tend to be pretty rational. If there’s something they can play with that has real utility, developers have this ability to go find that thing,” says Avichal Garg, a managing partner at crypto-focused venture firm Electric Capital. He views the number of developers who are working on a crypto network “as a leading indicator of where value will be created and accrue over the next 10 years.” 
Garg co-authored a report with Electric Capital partner Maria Shen that reveals which cryptocurrency platforms attracted the most developers in 2021. They used data from GitHub, the go-to online repository where developers store their code, to estimate how many engineers work on each platform. Their data underestimates the total number of developers, since it doesn’t capture code that’s written privately or the many engineers that work at companies like Coinbase. 
Their research says 18,000 active developers (including both full and part time contributors) are working on cryptocurrency platforms, up from roughly 10,000 a year ago. Garg sees that surge as a validation of the industry’s growth and longevity. Kinjal Shah, an investor at Blockchain Capital, agrees: “When people are voting with their feet and their time, it’s a strong signal that there is something they’re building for the long term,” she says. 
Electric Capital’s research analyzed nearly 500,000 sets of code and 160 million code updates. It compared December 2020 to December 2021 to calculate growth. For the list below, it counted a developer as full time if he or she made at least 10 software updates in a month. 
 
The fastest-growing platforms are all competitors to Ethereum, the second-largest crypto network launched in 2015 that has 1,300 full time developers creating applications on it. Ethereum acts as a decentralized computer that applications can be built on, and it’s maintained by more than 5,000 “nodes” or computers that help validate transactions. One downside of being so widely distributed is that Ethereum can only process about 15 transactions a second (the Nasdaq stock market averages about 20,000 transactions per second), and a single transaction fee can sometimes exceed $100.
All of these fast-growing crypto networks take different approaches than Ethereum to decentralization and “consensus,” the algorithmic process of validating a transaction. They settle transactions faster and have lower fees, and most aren’t as widely decentralized as Ethereum. 
Korea-based Terra was founded by entrepreneur Do Kwon, 30, and launched four years ago. Its UST “stable coin”—a cryptocurrency pegged to the value of a U.S. dollar–has grown quickly to reach a market value of $10 billion, putting it in the top five stable coins in the world, according to crypto data site Messari. San Francisco-based Solana surprised many crypto insiders over the past year as it attracted hundreds of developers and vocal support from crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried. A variety of applications built on Solana, ranging from crypto trading exchanges and lending products to music apps, have become very popular. Solana’s SOL token went from $1.85 in January 2021 to $170 by the end of the year, hitting a market value of $53 billion. 
Near, a protocol founded in the Bay Area in 2017, was launched by Alexander Skidanov and Illia Polosukhin, two engineers who worked previously on the highly regarded MemSQL distributed database system and Google’s TensorFlow machine learning platform. Both Solana and Near were built in Rust, a popular programming language that’s more widely used than Solidity, which Ethereum is based on. Solana and Near have also been aggressive about offering grants to software developers if they agree to build applications on their respective systems. Near announced an $800 million grant program in October, and former Circle CMO Marieke Flament became the Near Foundation’s CEO this year. 
One platform that lost a significant number of developers was EOS, which dropped from about 125 total active developers (including full and part time) in December 2020 to 80 a year later. In 2018, EOS famously ran a $4 billion “initial coin offering” fundraise and was later fined $24 million by the SEC for running an unregistered security offering. The company didn’t admit or deny wrongdoing.  
In addition to the fastest-growing networks, Electric Capital’s research shows which have the largest number of total developers. Ethereum has long retained the top spot, and about one in every four new crypto developers who entered the industry over the last year chose to build on Ethereum. 
 

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Crypto scams are the top threat to investors 'by far,' say securities regulators – CNBC

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Crypto scams are the top threat to investors ‘by far,’ say securities regulators  CNBC
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World's Top Bitcoin Mining-Rig Maker Halts Sales as Clients Flee – Bloomberg

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Bitcoin mining machines operate at a mining facility by Bitmain Technologies Ltd. in Inner Mongolia, China.

Bitmain Technologies Ltd. has suspended sales of machines for spot delivery globally, aiming to prop up local prices after crypto miners fleeing Beijing’s crackdown dumped used mining rigs on the market.
The world’s biggest maker of Bitcoin machines told the local mining community Wednesday it has stopped selling new equipment after prices for top-tier rigs plunged by about 75% since April. By postponing sales, it could help miners exiting the industry get better prices for their machines. Bitmain could also benefit if the reduced supply buoys prices over the longer term for new machines.

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