ALPEX Global Weekly Newsletter — March Week 1
While Airbnb continues to focus on providing free housing to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, the company is planning to support cryptocurrency. Gavin Wood, the founder of Polkadot, donated $5 million in DOT to Ukraine. Find out more in this week’s newsletter.
Starting off with — Airbnb confirms that it is interested in supporting cryptocurrency in our first newsletter. Airbnb has also offered to house up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. An estimated four million people may try to flee Ukraine due to the Russian invasion, according to the European Union. Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, spoke with the media Tuesday about cryptocurrency and the company’s efforts to aid Ukrainian refugees. According to its website, Airbnb has approximately 6 million active listings worldwide with over 4 million hosts. Airbnb has listings in approximately 100,000 cities and towns.
Airbnb has been considering cryptocurrency for a considerable period of time. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies were listed as some of the technologies the firm is considering in its prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in November last year.
Another development is that Gavin Wood, the founder of Polkadot, recently donated $5 million worth of DOT to support Ukraine’s defense against the military aggression of Russia. The founder agreed to provide the funds so long as Ukraine provided a publicly available DOT address, which it has now done.
As a result of Russia’s invasion of the country, Ukraine took to Twitter on February 26th to appeal for help through crypto donations from the international community. At the time, the country provided a public Bitcoin and Ethereum address to accept Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and Tether (USDT).
Gavin Wood presented a proposal to their account manager the following day. He would donate $5 million worth of Polkadot to their cause if they supplied a public Polkadot address. The Polkadot platform is an open-source platform for connecting assets from different blockchains. It was founded in 2016, and its native cryptocurrency, DOT, is currently the 11th largest in terms of market capitalization.
EBay, an American multinational e-commerce giant, plans to integrate cryptocurrency payments. In a recent interview, Jamie Iannone stated that the firm might leap very soon. eBay is primarily interested in capturing millennials and GenZ audiences. The company is one of the oldest in the online marketplace industry. It was established in 1995. In an exclusive interview with renowned media, Iannone indicated that the official announcement for the much-anticipated crypto integration platform may take place on March 10. A spokesperson for the company stated that the marketplace will become a go-to place for millennials and Gen-Z.
The eBay platform has so far been enabled with Google Pay and Apple Pay. It has also partnered with a fintech company, Afterpay in Australia, “which is a platform that appeals to Generation Z,” Iannone said, hinting that now may be the best time to evaluate other forms of payment. Additionally, the founder expressed an interest in exploring new opportunities.
Although eBay has not yet rolled out the crypto payments feature, it placed significant bets on the burgeoning NFT sector in May of last year. It has been reported that the company has enabled the sale of non-fungible tokens on its platform. Only whitelisted sellers were permitted to list and sell NFTs.
It was not only eBay that interfaced with emerging technologies such as NFTs and blockchains. Last year, PayPal and JD.com, a Chinese e-commerce firm, also entered the NFT market.
Every day, ALPEX Global provides market wrap — following analyses are based on keeping an eye on the markets and what we anticipate.
Throughout this week, BTC’s price fluctuated between US$45,000 and US$38,000. The value of the ruble is falling in Russia, and the upcoming Fed interest rate hike seems to be spooking investors. A see-saw week in the crypto markets has ended with a steep decline that saw the price of Bitcoin (BTC) rise just 4% for the week following a strong start that saw BTC jump 15% in 12 hours.
BTC’s price increased by almost 20% on Monday to $45,000, a three-week high. The increase is attributed to speculation that Russians will turn to cryptocurrencies as a result of financial sanctions and a falling ruble.
BTC and other digital assets were predicted to be successful in this environment, and this was not unfounded. Rubble-denominated Bitcoin volumes reached a new all-time high in Russia on Tuesday. The spike in volumes is attributed to the decision by the EU, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom to disconnect numerous major Russian banks from the SWIFT interbank messaging service. SWIFT facilitates most of the world’s cross-border payments between banks in different countries.
Parallel to the rise in the price of Bitcoin in Russia, the ruble’s value against the dollar has plummeted. At the beginning of February, 1 US dollar was worth 77 RUB. Now, 1 US dollar is worth 124 RUB. Russian citizens have suffered a 61% decline in purchasing power as a result of this decline in value.
During the current geopolitical storm, many Russians have turned to BTC as a safe haven. A Bitcoin alternative was created as a response to global citizens who had been failed by their governments, central banks, and private banks. As a result of its decentralized, permissionless, and censorship-resistant architecture, it can be used practically regardless of global political conditions.
The situation in Russia with its fiat currency serves to illustrate both the inherent value and the utility of bitcoin. BTC may be utilized by both the ultra-wealthy and the general public in Russia to circumvent banking sanctions and protect against a weak local currency. In the second half of last week, excitement regarding BTC’s utility in Russia began to wane. On Tuesday, Bitcoin was trading near US$45,000, but on Sunday, it was trading close to US$38,000. This drop demonstrates the volatility of digital assets and the fickle nature of investors.
- Disclaimer* Investment in cryptos carries various risks and is not suitable for all investors. Be sure to do your research thoroughly before making any decisions to invest.
The digital RMB has the potential to replace SWIFT. Zhang Jingwei, a guest researcher at Chongyang Institute of Finance of Renmin University of China, points out that the digital RMB can replace SWIFT by avoiding interference in finance and trade at the political level through digital means in addition to a simplified authentication process, fewer intermediate links, and low transaction costs. As a means of creating a truly neutral international settlement system, the digital RMB can contribute to the construction of a new global financial system infrastructure.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange will offer micro Bitcoin and Ether options. The new micro options contracts will be one-tenth the size of the respective base specifications for Bitcoin and Ether and are designed to provide more trading options to a wider range of market participants, including both institutional and retail investors. Currently, they are awaiting regulatory approval before they launch on March 28. Options contracts are used by traders to protect themselves against large swings in stock prices and speculate on stock price movements. While cryptocurrencies are moving into the mainstream, their prices have varied dramatically over the past year as central banks signalled an end to epidemic-era economic stimulus measures and revealed their intentions to raise interest rates to curb unmanageable inflation.
This concludes our weekly newsletter. We thank you for reading. We hope it was informative and helpful for you. We look forward to bringing you more news about crypto and blockchain next week.
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