Last month, luxury hospitality icon, George Residence, announced that it would be the first hotel in Nigeria to accept Bitcoin. Most reviews of this announcement came using the lens of brand awareness, both for the property, as well as cryptocurrency. But, Richard Gardner, today, offered a different take on what’s unfolding in Nigeria.
“When we see news like this, it’s easy to trumpet the mainstream appeal of Bitcoin, and, over the past six months, there certainly has been a huge increase in familiarity with the alternative to fiat currency. Between business icons like Mark Cuban and Elon Musk openly supporting the growth of cryptocurrencies, it is easy to read news like this as just one in a line of businesses moving to accept a form of payment that’s becoming more and more popular. But, there’s something else at play here,” noted Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.
In his announcement, George Residence CEO Yanju George said that, not only was he accepting Bitcoin, but that he planned to make Bitcoin the company’s primary reserve asset, noting that “[w]e have allocated around 50% of our cash reserves to Bitcoin… We hope to increase that as time goes on. Bitcoin is the currency of the future and it is only right that we are strongly positioned so we do not get left behind.”
“I think if you look at the policy behind the move, you’ve got to see this as a hedge against inflation. The Naira has had significant struggles. We’ve seen a surge in Bitcoin in 2021, but, at the end of the day, the surge means different things in different places. In the United States, folks may be looking at Bitcoin as an investment opportunity, but in places like Nigeria, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies offer more than that. They are really a way to make sure that the assets you have today aren’t devalued over the next six months. Unchecked inflation is not just an economic problem; it’s a problem that deeply affects the citizenry when the fiat currency they rely on to purchase food and energy and life essentials is worth a fraction of what it was last year. In places with rampant inflation, Bitcoin is being considered by the populace as a potential solution to a number of institutional problems,” explained Gardner.
Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable exchanges, with a client list which includes NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.
“As Nigeria looks towards the future, there is a lot of work to be done, to be sure. But, there is much to be optimistic about, as well. The fact that the citizenry is so engaged in cryptocurrencies means that, if the country can put the pieces together and get a handle on infrastructure-based issues, not the least of which is inflation, then it can begin to look at how it can invite innovation and enhance technology’s role as a tool in its economic engine. The interest is already there,” noted Gardner.
Microstrategy Buys $489M Worth of Bitcoin —Now Holds 105,085 BTC
The independent, publicly traded business intelligence company Microstrategy announced the acquisition of 13,005 bitcoin on Monday, at a purchase price of approximately $489 million in cash.
The company’s CEO Michael Saylor revealed the latest purchase on Twitter, and the firm now has more than 100,000 bitcoins on its balance sheet.
Michael Saylor’s firm Microstrategy now has approximately 105,085 bitcoins which it bought for around $2.741 billion. Using the purchasing average, the company says it purchased all the BTC at around “$26,080 per bitcoin, inclusive of fees and expenses.”
As usual, Microstrategy CEO Michael Saylor tweeted about the purchase telling his 1.2 million Twitter followers. “As of 6/21/21 we #hodl ~105,085,” Saylor noted on Monday morning.
Not everyone was impressed with Microstrategy’s bitcoin buy announcement and a few people like Peter Schiff made snide comments. “That’s pretty bearish that you already bought all that bitcoin and the price kept dropping anyway,” Schiff replied to Saylor’s tweet on Monday.
“Consider where the price of bitcoin would be today if Elon Musk, Michael Saylor, Barry Silbert, and all the other bitcoin elites and their friends in the financial media hadn’t spent the last six months convincing retail and institutional investors to buy their worthless tokens,” Schiff said the day prior, as bitcoin’s price began plummeting.
Northman Trader’s Sven Henrich also responded to Saylor’s announcement. “Understand the conviction. Question though: As the price average and employed leverage have both been rising what’s the risk profile/consequence if bitcoin were to drop below the average holding price?” Henrich asked the Microstrategy CEO.
When someone asked Henrich if Saylor’s choice turned out to be a good bet the Northman Trader further commented. “Not saying he’s wrong,” Henrich replied. “Just asking what the risk profile is if [the] price drops below the average holding price.”
Microstrategy’s purchase of 13,005 BTC follows recent news stemming from China’s central bank. On June 21, 2021, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) issued a notice to a number of financial institutions concerning crypto transactions.
Since then, BTC has dropped 4 percent in 24 hours and rests just above the $32K handle. In other words, the price has actually dipped below the price Microstrategy paid per coin for this most recent BTC acquisition.
Other bitcoin proponents also responded to Saylor’s tweet. “Time to deploy the next billion,” software developer Jameson Lopp tweeted. An individual commented on Lopp’s statement and jokingly said: “Fixed it: Time to deploy the next borrowed billion.”
“Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief one just can’t keep infinitely buying the dip,” an individual said to the many enthusiasts telling the Microstrategy CEO to “keep buying the dip.”
The US Government Auctions $377K Worth of Bitcoin and Litecoin
The U.S. government sold Bitcoin and Litecoin worth $377K via the General Services Administration (GSA). The auction closed at 5 p.m. on Monday. The government auction house has sold digital assets in 11 lots and so far, the lots have seen active bidding.
From June 18 to Monday, June 21, the General Services Administration, otherwise known as the GSA, auctioned two types of crypto assets. GSA auction bidders buy 11 lots of crypto that hold approximately 8.93 BTC and 150.2 LTC.
The U.S. government estimates the value to be in the ballpark of $377,000 for the aggregate BTC and LTC lots. The GSA announcement notes that the entity has sold crypto assets on behalf of the U.S. government since the beginning of 2021.
To date, the GSA has auctioned crypto assets three times and sold 16.99 BTC in total. The three previous GSA auctions settled at $937,092 for the bitcoin assets sold on the platform. The GSA advertisement also tries to entice the reader by saying: “Become a part of the growing cryptocurrency community by placing a winning bid during GSA Auctions’ next cryptocurrency sale.”
“Experienced investors recognize a good opportunity when they see it, which is why our auctions have generated so much enthusiasm among the crypto community,” Thomas Meiron, Regional Commissioner for GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service said in a statement. “With the addition of a new type of cryptocurrency, this promises to be one of our most exciting auctions of the year.”
The new type of digital asset Meiron refers to is Litecoin (LTC), as prior auctions only saw the sale of BTC. The GSA was created in 1949 and is a solution for government-owned surplus, forfeited goods, and federal personal property they no longer require.
The independent agency of the U.S. government allows the general public, businesses, and other government agencies to bid on items in an exclusive fashion. Local and international GSA auction buyers are mandated to purchase electronically.
The electronic only-purchasing arrangement is due to the President’s declaration of a national emergency on March 23, 2020. Since then, the GSA no longer accepts payments made by cash, money order, cashier’s check, and official or personal checks.
The description of the crypto lots being sold explains that when a bidder wins they must accept the responsibility of paying the mining network fee. Bidding has been active so far and dozens of offers have been made on the GSA’s current stash of digital assets.
Banking Giant BBVA Opens Bitcoin Trading and Custody Service in Switzerland
Spanish banking giant BBVA’s swiss entity, BBVA Switzerland, has started offering bitcoin trading and custody services.
Announcing the news on Friday, BBVA Switzerland said the services will be available to all of its private banking clients from Monday, June 21. The launch comes six months after the bank began trialing the services in Switzerland.
“This gradual roll-out has allowed BBVA Switzerland to test the service’s operations, strengthen security and, above all, detect that there is a significant desire among investors for crypto-assets or digital assets as a way of diversifying their portfolios, despite their volatility and high risk,” said Alfonso Gomez, CEO of BBVA Switzerland.
While the bank currently only supports bitcoin, it said the aim is to also offer other cryptocurrencies in the future. As for the launch of the services in other countries, BBVA Switzerland said that would depend on maturity, demand, and regulation in those markets.
BBVA said its bitcoin services are novel as clients can manage their investments alongside traditional assets in the same portfolio. Customers willing to convert their bitcoin into fiat and vice versa can do so “without delays and without the illiquidity that affects other digital wallets or independent brokers,” said BBVA. That’s because the bank operates with several sources for converting cryptocurrencies, it said, without disclosing those sources.
BBVA’s services come as more mega-banks open up to the crypto space. In recent weeks, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of New York Mellon, and other financial institutions have moved to provide crypto services to their clients.
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