Author Archives: Bradley Taylor

MicroStrategy Recruits New CFO Amid Bitcoin Push, Wider Losses

MicroStrategy Incorporated, one of the few crypto-holding companies, has named a new finance chief. This comes after the analytics-software company said last week that it would allow employees to invest their 401(k funds in bitcoin.

MicroStrategy, Tysons Corner, Va., announced Tuesday that Andrew Kang will be its next chief financial officers, with effect from May 9. Mr. Kang was previously the CFO at GreenSky Inc. home-improvement lender GreenSky Inc. and will succeed Finance Chief Phong L. Mr. MicroStrategy stated that Le, who had been in the position since July 2020, would remain president.

Before joining GreenSky, which Goldman Sachs Group Inc. purchased in March, Mr. Kang was a corporate treasurer for Santander Holdings USA. This bank-holding company. He held finance and Treasury positions at several banks.

MicroStrategy reported that revenue dropped 2.9% to $119.3million in the first quarter compared to the previous-year period. The quarter’s net losses increased to $130.8million from $110 million in the previous year, partly due to an impairment charge related the bitcoins.

Along with Block Inc., a payment company, and auto maker Tesla Inc., the company is one of a few businesses that have substantial bitcoin holdings. MicroStrategy reported that it had $2.9 billion in cryptocurrency book value as of March 31 compared to $1.95 billion one year ago.

The company reported last month that it had purchased approximately 4,167 bitcoins at $190.5 million cash, bringing its total bitcoin holdings to 129.218.

MicroStrategy announced that it would allow its employees to invest part of their retirement savings from 401(k), in bitcoin under a new offering by financial-services giant Fidelity Investments Inc.

The Securities and Exchange Commission sent a January letter to MicroStrategy requesting that it revise how it discloses its Bitcoin holdings in future filings. When it applied measures that were not consistent with U.S. generally accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), the firm was able to remove bitcoin trading volatility. Mr. Le had previously told the SEC that such impairment losses could distract investors from analysis of company’s operating results. However, the company changed its disclosures accordingly.

Although Mr. Kang is a strong financial professional, it will take him some time to transition into software, according to Brent Thill, a senior analyst with Jefferies Group LLC. This financial-services company.

“His job is to keep the company focused on core operations, rather than being distracted by bitcoin,” Mr. Thill stated.

Survey: Adoption in Argentina Grows, With 12 out of 100 Adults Having Invested in Crypto

Recent shared data from Americas Markets Intelligence shows significant growth in cryptocurrency adoption Argentina. A survey of 400 people via smartphones was conducted last year and found that 12 percent of 100 Argentinians had made investments in crypto. This number is lower than other South American countries’ statistics. Brazil had an adoption rate of 7% and Mexico, 6%.

This country also had a higher adoption rate than the Latam average of 8%. This can be explained by several factors. The country’s economic characteristics, which have seen inflation and monetary restrictions for many years, are the main reasons. The adoption rate in Argentina is lower than the 16% in the U.S.

The Growth Factors

The study examined the reasons why Argentina’s growth was greater than that in South America. identified three factors that could explain the crypto boom in the Argentinian and Latam Markets. First, the high level of digitalization in these societies compared to low levels of bank adoption. The report says:

The persistent mistrust of banks has slowed the growth of digitalization and kept cash in use even though consumers are more comfortable using digital tools.

The inflation and high monetary volatility of the country are another important factor. This makes cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum attractive investments and savings options, even though they can be highly volatile. Third, remittances. This is the 5.5% that Argentinians must pay to send or receive remittances. This is because cryptocurrencies allow users to move funds almost without any fees.

Study also suggests potential for the future growth and use of crypto as an investment product. 18% of those surveyed indicated that they are interested in investing in cryptocurrency in the future. 54% of those surveyed stated that crypto-currencies are a great way to protect their savings.

Bitpay Adds Lightning Network, Youth Fashion Brand Pacsun to Accept Payments via Lightning

Bitpay now allows bitcoin payments via Lightning Network (LN). This is to enable bitcoin users to pay using the second layer network of the crypto asset. Bitpay previously accepted bitcoin ( BTC) via the onchain. This was in addition to bitcoin cash, ethereum and wrapped bitcoin. Bitpay claims that merchants and users can now use the LN payment rail to access wallets such as Cashapp or Strike.

The company announced Wednesday that consumers now have a low-cost option when paying with Bitcoin at Bitpay-enabled merchants. According to the announcement, merchants do not need to make any changes to accept LN payments. The Atlanta-based crypto payments firm explained that customers will only need to select from more than 100 LN-enabled wallets.

Tony Gallippi (Bitpay co-founder), stated in a statement that ‘Bitpay’s integration with Lightning Network gives customers more choices and merchants more options to be paid using blockchain technology. Bitpay announced that Pacsun, a youth-focused retailer of clothing, will become the first merchant to accept LN payments through the integration.

On October 5, 2021, Pacsun announced that it would accept 11 cryptocurrency assets via Bitpay. Pacsun stated that it was seeing a growing demand for cryptocurrency payments and had made the announcement on October 5, 2021. Mike Relich, Pacsun’s co-CEO, stated that Pacsun was excited to become one of the first Bitpay Partners to accept bitcoin payments via the Lightning Network. Relich added:

Lightning Network [support] offers our customers instant payments and extremely low network fees. It also gives Pacsun more opportunities for bitcoin holders to shop online at Pacsun.

The Lightning Network, a layer 2 (L2) payment protocol, was created by Joseph Poon in February 2015 by Thaddeus dryja. There are both advantages and disadvantages to the L2 network. Some of its benefits include privacy, granularity enhancement and speed. The L2 routing network’s total value locked (TVL), at the time of writing is approximately $164.6 Million or 3,700 .

Russia considers accepting Bitcoin for oil and gas

Pavel Zavalny believes that ‘friendly’ countries might be allowed to pay in crypto-currency, or their local currencies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated earlier this week that he wants ‘unfriendly’ countries buy its gas using roubles.

It is believed that the move was made to boost Russia’s currency, which has suffered a loss of over 20% this year.

After the invasion of Ukraine, sanctions imposed by the UK and the US on Russia have put pressure on its rouble and raised its living costs .

Russia remains the largest exporter of natural gases and second-largest supplier of oil in the world.

Russian State Duma chairman on energy, Mr Zavalny, stated that Russia has been looking at alternative payment methods for exports of energy.

He stated that Turkey and China were both ‘friendly’ nations but were not subject to the sanctions pressure.

Mr Zavalny stated that ‘we have been proposing China for a while to switch to settlements for roubles or yuan in national currencies’. It will be liras and roubles with Turkey.

Mr Zavalny said that you can also trade Bitcoins.

‘More risk’

Analysts believe Russia could benefit from the acceptance of the popular cryptocurrency, despite its risks.

David Broadstock, senior research fellow at Singapore’s Energy Studies Institute, said that Russia is already feeling the effects of the unprecedented sanctions. “There is a need for economic stability and Bitcoin is considered a high-growth asset in many ways.

He noted, however, that Bitcoin’s value has increased by up to 30% in the past year. Comparatively, the dollar traded within 5% of the euro.

Broadstock stated that Bitcoin accepts significantly more risk than traditional currencies when it comes to natural gas trade.

He added that China is a major trade partner for Russia and that cryptocurrency is prohibited for use in China. “This clearly restricts the potential for Bitcoin payment.

It is possible that Russian oligarchs might be using virtual currencies in order to circumvent sanctions.

This has prompted both the Ukrainian government and US politicians to ask crypto-currency platform to ban all Russian users.

“Some ordinary Russians are turning to crypto as a way of saving their currency,” said Brian Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer at cryptocurrency firm Coinbase.

He stated that many of them would oppose the country’s actions and that a ban would be detrimental to them.

The currency hit a three-week high after Mr Putin’s remarks about making “unfriendly” countries pay in rubles.

Many gas contracts that are in place are settled in euros, and Russia cannot change them. 40% of the EU’s gas comes from Russia.

Report: Softbank’s Internet Firm Z Holdings Plans to Launch NFT Mall in 180 Countries

According to a Bloomberg interview, Softbank’s internet company Z Holdings intends to launch a NFT marketplace called “NFT Mall”, according to Kentaro Kawabe, the company’s coCEO. Last year, Z Holdings was formed from Line and Yahoo Japan. Kawabe stated in the interview that Z Holdings intends to leverage Web3, metaverse and NFT to boost the company’s growth.

Kawabe, co-chief executive officer at Z Holdings , stated that Web3 could bring a new world to life and that it’s possible Web3 might be the beginning of a new era. The co-CEO stated that he would not hesitate to make mergers and acquisitions to increase our presence.

Metaverse Wellspring Has Significant Competition

Z Holdings’ entry in the NFT space follows Rakuten , a Japanese online retailer that launched its NFT marketplace. Rakuten announced that the peer to peer service for selling and minting NFTs was planned for next year after the launch in February. Rarible and Looksrare are also competing in the NFT marketplace.

According to reports, Z Holdings has a budget for five years of growth initiatives at 500 billion yen (or $5.9 billion). Kawabe’s interview is similar to the statements Softbank CEO Junichi Miyakawa made in his 2022 New Years message. Miyakawa spoke about the metaverse in the New Year’s message and said that it will be a “wellspring that generates services and new business models”.