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Luno Hits 8M Users, Adds 1M Users In Seven Weeks

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Luno, a cryptocurrency company, has hit eight million customers (wallets). This is coming immediately after the company announced in April that it had reached seven million customers, with one million added in seven weeks.

The company has said it witnessed a major surge in customers from four million in December 2020 to 5.1 million in May 2021. Africa is Luno’s largest market, and its recent figures reinforce this.

In a statement, Luno’s General Manager for Africa, Marius Reitz said, “Across Africa, we’re witnessing a huge wave of retail investors step into the crypto market for the first time and that’s potentially due to easier access or the lower minimums required to purchase crypto.

“However, this isn’t just a trend that’s been taking off in Africa, it’s something that’s being replicated across all of our emerging markets but what sets the continent apart is a rapidly growing awareness of how crypto could be the ideal solution for Africa’s unique challenges.”

In May, Luno said it recorded trading volumes of $7bn in Africa alone, and its app installs have soared by 271 percent on the continent since January 2020.

“Our research last year found 54 percent of Africans are ready to adopt a global digital currency compared to 41 percent in Asia and 35 percent in Europe. This growing demand stems from an understanding that crypto can effectively solve major problems in Africa such as volatile currencies, costly payments and high inflation.

“At Luno, we believe the core utility of cryptocurrencies to address these issues not only has the potential to completely upgrade Africa’s financial system but will be a key driver in transforming cryptocurrencies from a niche technology to an essential feature of everyday life for all Africans,” Marius added.

Earlier this year, the company announced the launch of USDC, which is pegged to the US dollar. It marked a major breakthrough specifically for African users by not only enabling them to hedge against the volatility of local currencies but also delivered an upgrade on the functionality of the US dollar by being faster and easier to move across the world.

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Bitcoin and Other Major Cryptocurrencies Braced For a $2.1T Inflow as Germany Institutional Investors Eyes Crypto Investment

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Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have seen a violent return to volatility over the last two weeks with the combined crypto market losing then gaining around $300 billion.

The bitcoin price, currently trading comfortably around the psychological $40,000 per bitcoin level, remains significantly down from its peak of almost $65,000 set in April.

Now, amid reports institutional investors are gearing up to reenter the bitcoin and crypto market, a new law in Germany will allow institutional investors that currently manage a staggering 1.8 trillion euros ($2.1 trillion) to invest in bitcoin and crypto for the first time.

So-called Spezialfonds, only available to institutional investors such as pension companies and insurers, will be able to invest up to 20% of their holdings in bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies from Monday.

“Most funds will initially stay well below the 20% mark,” Tim Kreutzmann, an expert on crypto-assets at BVI, Germany’s fund industry body, told Bloomberg, which first reported the news. “On the one hand, institutional investors such as insurers have strict regulatory requirements for their investment strategies. And on the other hand, they must also want to invest in crypto.”

Earlier this week, some $2.5 billion in bitcoin moved off crypto exchanges including Coinbase, Kraken and Binance, according to market data provider Glassnode in what was described by CNBC as “a signal that institutional investors are getting off the sidelines.”

Some 63,000 bitcoin were transferred off major exchanges, Glassnode data reportedly showed.

“Trading activity has been higher in the past few days than what we’ve seen recently,” Jeremy Welch, chief product officer at U.S. bitcoin and crypto exchange Kraken, said in comments sent via Twitter DM and predicted “greater participation from regulated entities … If the narrative holds, this could ultimately prove to be highly price-positive for the crypto space.”

The recent bitcoin price rally was kickstarted by reports that online retail giant Amazon plans to roll out bitcoin and crypto support as soon as this year. The company denied the City AM report but said it’s “exploring what [crypto support] could look like on Amazon.”

“Regardless of whether [Amazon adoption] materializes or not, the point is that adoption from institutions and corporations remains one of the market’s driving narratives,” added Welch.

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Bitcoin, Ethereum Hash Rate Slowly Recovers as Chinese Miners Redeploy Overseas

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The hashing power securing the world’s two largest blockchains is on track of a slow recovery, as some Chinese miners have gradually completed their relocation after the crackdown.

Based on The Block’s Dashboard, the seven-day moving average of Bitcoin’s hash rate has slowly climbed up to and remained at the 100 exahashes per second (EH/s) level over the past three weeks.

Following China’s crackdown on the bitcoin mining industry, power stations across multiple provinces have been ordered to suspend energy supply to mining facilities. Bitcoin’s hash rate initially plunged to below 90 EH/s, a level not seen since early 2020. With the slow recovery, bitcoin’s mining difficulty is expected to post a 4 percent growth in its next adjustment, after having recorded four consecutive drops since mid-May.

Although China’s initial crackdown comment specifically said it was about bitcoin mining, the shutdown orders that were eventually handed down locally also affected the mining farms that housed graphic cards and ASIC miners securing the Ethereum network. That situation sparked Ethereum miners to dump their used GPUs on the secondhand marketplace.

Similarly, the hash rate on Ethereum also took a hit by over 20 percent after China’s crackdown orders but has steadily recovered to above 500 terahashes per second.

The hash rate rebound suggests that at least some Chinese miners have completed their relocation process and subsequently plugged in.

For instance, Shenzhen-headquartered BIT Mining, previously known as online sports lottery firm 500.com, had over 50,000 bitcoin ASIC miners in Xinjiang and Qinghai as of April this year. It also owned two operational mining facilities in Sichuan.

After the crackdown, the New York Stock Exchange-listed bitcoin miner said it would ship 3,000 units to Kazakhstan by July. In a statement on Wednesday, BIT Mining said it has shipped and deployed 3,819 units of bitcoin mining equipment with a total hash rate of 172 PH/s at facilities in Kazakhstan. It announced earlier this week that it has completely exited its lottery business to focus entirely on mining.

“A further 4,033 bitcoin mining machines with a total hash rate capacity of 121 PH/s have been shipped to data centers in Kazakhstan and are awaiting deployment,” BIT Mining said. In addition, it has signed a purchase agreement to acquire 2,500 new bitcoin miners that are expected to be delivered within seven days and it plans to deploy them in Kazakhstan as well.

Apart from bitcoin mining equipment, BIT Mining has started Ethereum mining operations outside of China with 86.4 gigahashes per second (GH/s) deployed. “An additional hash rate capacity of 4,713.6 GH/s is expected to be deployed by the end of October 2021,” the firm said, which accounts for about 0.7 percent of the total hash rate on Ethereum.

BIT Mining purchased 2,000 Ethereum miners for $30 million in February that are due for shipment throughout this year.

Russia-headquartered colocation provider BitRiver told The Block that after China’s shutdown orders, it signed contracts with Chinese mining clients for a capacity of 150 megawatts, which are expected to go online in batches over the coming four months.

Taking a step back, BitRiver’s founder and CEO Igor Runets said with a worldwide supply crunch for bitcoin mining hosting capacity, it may take much longer for bitcoin’s hash rate to fully recover to the all-time-high 180 EH/s level.

Meanwhile, BIT Digital, another U.S.-listed bitcoin mining firm that previously had operations in China, is in the process of shipping over 14,500 units of bitcoin miners to the U.S.

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Burger King Accepts DOGE In Brazil

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Burger King is now accepting Dogecoin in Brazil… for something rather unexpected.

The fast-food chain says DOGE can be used to purchase Dogepper, a snack that has been purposely designed for four-legged friends.

Buying one of the dog treats will set you back 3 DOGE, which is worth about $0.62 at the time of writing.

All interested users need to do is check the availability of the dog treats in their region, select how much Dogepper they would want to purchase, transfer the DOGE to Burger King’s wallet, and get the delivery schedule.

Dogepper — which, of course, is named after the outlet’s Whopper burger — is meat flavored and can also be ordered alongside value meals.

An advertisement that’s doing the rounds in Brazil says: “What is the best way to pay for a product aimed at dogs? Obviously, Dogecoin.”

Dogecoin’s publicity stunts are nothing new, and the joke cryptocurrency has certainly gained a higher profile around the world thanks to endorsements from the likes of Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Burger King plans to use a portion of the profits generated by the sale of Dogpper to support non-governmental organizations protecting animals — and the treats will be available for a limited time only.

The chain added: “We know that enjoying a Whopper in peace, in the comfort of your home, is not an easy task for a mother or father of a pet. But also, how can we blame them? The smell of grilled barbecue meat goes far and gives the dogs a stir.”

Burger King has dabbled briefly with Bitcoin payments in a number of countries where it operates — including Germany, Venezuela and Russia. However, in most cases, this has ended up being short lived.

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