Coming every Saturday, Hodlers Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
Top Stories This Week
Theres plenty to discuss in the crypto markets, but this week, nonfungible tokens have stolen the limelight for multiple reasons.
Digital artist Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, has made history after his latest piece Everydays: The First 5000 Days sold for a whopping $69.3 million following an auction at Christies.
Only two other living artists, Jeff Koons and David Hockney, have created more expensive works and as you might expect, this is the priciest NFT ever sold.
Its a pretty special one at that. Everydays consists of 5,000 unique images, produced every day for 13-and-a-half years. The collage shows Beeples evolution as an artist and his shift to becoming a political cartoonist.
Beeple isnt the only one laughing all the way to the crypto exchange. A group of crypto investors known as Burnt Banksy has made a tidy profit after a daring stunt involving one of the graffiti artists creations.
They bought a real-life Banksy painting for $100,000 last month. Morons satirizes the art industry and depicts a bustling auction for a framed canvas, adorned with the words: I cant believe you morons buy this shit.
Last week, they set the painting on fire during a Twitter livestream in Brooklyn and turned it into an NFT instead. Now, its sold on the NFT marketplace OpenSea for 228 ETH worth over $400,000 at the time of writing.
Other big sales this week included a former DC Comics artist who made $1.85 million in four days by selling Wonder Woman NFTs. But not everyone has a price. A collector turned down a staggering $1 million for an NBA Top Shot moment they originally bought for $100,000.
Kings of Leon have reportedly made a cool $2 million through sales of their tokenized album with $600,000 going to a fund thats designed to support live music crews affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Alas, the event hasnt been without teething problems. Many of the bands fans are complete newcomers to crypto and NFTs and it can be a steep learning curve. This prompted Kings of Leon to extend their sale to March 20.
The NFTs have been released in collaboration with YellowHeart, a blockchain-based ticketing platform that is handling the auction on NFT marketplace OpenSea.
Six golden tickets have been released giving fans front row seats for life, their own driver to gigs, and the chance to enjoy meet-and-greets with the band. One of the golden tickets fetched a whopping 89 ETH.
In other music news, the Russian punk feminist group Pussy Riot has revealed it is releasing four NFTs for its latest single to support a shelter for victims of domestic violence.
What a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago, Bitcoiners were licking their wounds after a devastating flash crash that took it below $4,000. Fast forward to now, and BTC has now set a new all-time high above $59,000.
It took a couple of weeks to reach this milestone, with BTC falling below $45,000 along the way. But the bounceback indicates that bullish momentum remains unshaken. What remains to be seen is whether this spike is the product of weekend volatility, or the start of something bigger.
Of course, there are reasons to be cautious. ExoAlphas David Lifchitz said this week that, despite Bitcoins price being in a long-term uptrend, there are some reasons for a more bearish outlook for the short term.
Tax season in the U.S. could prompt investors to sell off their holdings. Its also March, traditionally a bearish month for the crypto sector.
With DeFi protocols flocking to rival blockchains with Binance Smart Chain a big beneficiary of this exodus Ethereum needs to take swift action to boost capacity and clamp down on sky-high transaction fees.
Eth2 remains some time away yet, but Vitalik Buterin has revealed that a temporary fix may be just around the corner: rollups.
Speaking on The Tim Ferriss Show podcast, he said Optimisms layer-two solution could help Ethereum scale by a factor of 100. And by the time any additional capacity is needed, sharding will have already been ready for a long time by then, Buterin added.
Rollups process and store transaction data on a designated sidechain before bundling batches of transactions together onto Ethereums mainnet. This helps mitigate the blockchains scaling woes, where fierce competition for bandwidth on the Ethereum mainnet has resulted in exorbitant fees.
Optimisms solution is set to launch in about a month, and the rollups are expected to be embraced by industry leaders in DeFi, with rumors suggesting the feature will be heavily utilized by V3 of Uniswap.
Winners and Losers
At the end of the week, Bitcoin is at $60,539, Ether at $1,936 and XRP at $0.44. The total market cap is at $1.8 trillion.
Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Chiliz, Theta Fuel and Ankr. The top three altcoin losers of the week are NEM, Fantom and Voyager Token.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraphs market analysis.
Most Memorable Quotations
Golds ability to hedge against inflation has been somewhat exaggerated. While it is a reasonable store of value over the very long-term think centuries it is less reliable across most investment horizons.
Russ Koesterich, BlackRock portfolio manager
The fact that Oracle hasnt bought yet is very bullish and signalling how early it still is.
Jeff Booth, entrepreneur
Tesla in Rear View, About $80,000 Bitcoin Eyes Amazon Market Cap Once Bitcoins back-and-fill process around the $1 trillion market cap is complete, we see internet pioneer Amazon.com as a potential next threshold.
Mike McGlone, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst
Lets Make History together with the first ever NFT for REAL ESTATE!
Ivan Malpica, investor
Youd have over $10,000 if you bought #bitcoin with your stimulus check.
DOGE does certainly already have a use case as a niche currency with avid fans, and adoption can certainly grow from here. But for it to genuinely be considered future money, the narrative of DOGE as a meme coin will have to erode.
Kadan Stadelmann, Komodo chief technology officer
Last year, @Ripple and I sued @YouTube for failing to enforce its own policies by allowing fake accounts (impersonating my/Ripples verified accounts) to conduct XRP giveaway scams. Weve now come to a resolution to work together to prevent, detect and take down these scams.
Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple CEO
Rollups are coming very soon. Were fully confident that by the time that we need any more scaling of that, sharding will have already been ready for a long time by then.
Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum co-founder
Gold will always have a place in jewelry and coin collections, but most indicators point to an accelerating pace of Bitcoin replacing the metal as a store of value in investor portfolios.
Mike McGlone, Bloomberg senior commodity strategist
Its so cool to see women and girls in the cryptocurrency space. Its important for us to have empowered financial futures.
Lily Knight, three-year-old Bitcoin educator
If blockchain designs and infrastructure get done at the enterprise level and there arent enough women, there wont be anything created by female thinking patterns. This is the biggest issue we face today.
Efi Pylarinou, blockchain and fintech adviser
Even if you dislike Bitcoin, you should still buy it just in case it pans out.
Dan Held, Kraken
Prediction of the Week
Just three days after the Dallas Mavericks started accepting Dogecoin for merchandise, the basketball teams billionaire owner, Mark Cuban, was exceedingly bullish.
The Shark Tank star is predicting that DOGEs price will eventually hit $1 meaning Elon Musk isnt the only megarich entrepreneur whos in love with the joke coin.
Last weekend, he said customers had used more than 20,000 DOGE in transactions with the Dallas Mavericks, making it the largest Dogecoin merchant in the world.
The Mavericks were one of the first NBA franchises to recognize crypto as a form of payment for tickets and merchandise, having started accepting Bitcoin through wallet company BitPay two years ago.
Fans can also pay for gear and souvenirs with Bitcoin Cash, USD Coin, Gemini Dollar, Paxos Standard and Binance USD.
FUD of the Week
Returning to NFTs now, and some are expressing fears that the market is overheated and engaging in daring stunts to prove their point.
A crypto artist known as Neitherconfirm listed 26 NFTs for sale on OpenSea, featuring people and animal faces in a stained glass style. But things took an unexpected turn on Tuesday when they changed the images associated with each token into photos of literal carpets.
Neitherconfirm said no one was hurt by the move, explaining: All discussions about the value of NFTs are meaningless as long as the token is not inseparable from the artwork itself. What is the meaning of creating an unforgeable token on a highly secured network if somebody can alter, relink or destroy your possession? As long as the value of your artwork is reliable on a central service you do not own anything.
Weve known for a long time that Peter Schiff is a crypto skeptic and a gold bug. But this week, his son made a powerful statement that shows he couldnt agree less with his father.
Spencer Schiff seems to have decided to move his portfolio investments into Bitcoin, with his dad expressing concern after he went all in. Peter wrote: If my own son is this brainwashed imagine how vulnerable most kids are. Hes HODLing to infinity or bust.
Snarky comments came in thick and fast, with Morgan Creek Digital co-founder Anthony Pompliano replying: At least someone in your family is growing their wealth this year.
Schiff went on to suggest that he needs to disinherit his son: Otherwise he will squander my hard earned wealth on more Bitcoin.
His criticisms of BTC have often proven to be well off the mark. Indeed, in 2019, he confidently declared that the worlds biggest cryptocurrency would never hit $50,000.
As the SEC lawsuit over the sale of XRP tokens rumbles on, Ripple is dialing down its legal action elsewhere. This week, the company announced that it has ended its lawsuit against YouTube for the video-sharing sites alleged complicity in a spate of XRP giveaway scams.
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse had taken YouTube to task for failing to enforce its own policies by allowing fake accounts to conduct XRP giveaway scams fraudulent profiles that often impersonated his official page or other verified Ripple channels. Both sides have now reached a resolution that will see them work together to prevent, detect and take down these scams.
On Twitter, he added: Social platforms are starting to acknowledge their role in allowing crypto scams to persist and recognize the need to be part of the solution.In other developments, Ripple and Moneygram have officially terminated their partnership, but both companies expressed hope that theyll get to work together again in the future.
Best Cointelegraph Features
Decentralized exchanges explore alternatives as Ethereum continues to be overloaded. Is this the beginning of the end for the blockchain?
The market may witness flash crashes in the near term, and another March 12 drop is not completely off the map.
NFTs are coming under scrutiny as more attention is drawn to the carbon footprint of PoW blockchains.
We ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and we throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!
This week, our 6 Questions go to Harumi Urata-Thompson, chief financial officer and chief investment officer of Celsius
Harumi Urata-Thompson is the chief financial officer and chief investment officer of Celsius. Additionally, she is the founder of Hut Consulting and the former chief operating officer for the CFA Society New York, for which she completed a successful turnaround during her tenure. Urata-Thompson held multiple senior-level positions at Thomson Reuters and worked at Morgan Stanley and CitiGroup in investment banking. Her expertise is leading and advising organizations on taking innovative paths to achieve strategic, operational and marketing success. Among her busy work schedule, Harumi manages to find to speak on various topics of interest, including blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, Big Data, outer space, among others.
1 When you tell people youre in the blockchain industry, how do they react?
I get contrasting responses from two different groups of people. If they are already involved with blockchain in one way or another and especially if they already know the company I work for, I get thats so cool! every time. From the other group, and unfortunately more people are in this group, I either get a blank look, get a question of what is Bitcoin good for? or worse yet, oh, and you support the criminals. Regarding the first group, I agree with them I wake up excited every day still. For the second group, this can be addressed with education. Financial literacy, which includes cryptocurrency, is a big part of me; I am a career financial services professional and a CFA charter holder. I like sharing my knowledge and experience, so regardless of the venue, I am asked to come to present. I always enjoy doing that.
2 What do you think will be the biggest trend in blockchain for the next 12 months?
I am not sure if I can call this the biggest trend or even trend for that matter, and it certainly will not be limited to the next 12 months, but questioning the use case of blockchain, as we are past the initial excitement of what is blockchain. That or billions of dollars raised from ICOs came and went is definitely something that we absolutely have to take a hard look at as we move forward.
I have been involved in the startup and product management world for a while now, and there is always one question I have to ask myself: Whose problem am I (you) solving? The applicability of blockchain technology is endless. This is just an enabler, and it was developed into different needs of multiple industries. I do not believe that we have heard the it is definitively adopted by the masses statement yet. So, whose problem should we solve that provides us the mass adoption path? I like to address this question from the angle of if I were to invest in a blockchain-based business in the next 12 months, what I might look for in the solution. First, lets think through some of the problems that are blocking us from making these technology-based solutions to become mainstream. Regulations uncertainty. This is really a thing and without any bias, if I am investing in one business, I will try to see if I can find a solution that doesnt have to deal with as many regulations or on the side of being able to influence or work with the regulators to avoid this issue. Performance. It is not what it can be yet, and it probably will take a while, so I likely avoid solutions that require extremely fast transactions or requirements to settle millions of transactions at once. Blockchain not being the face of the solution. Unless we can find a way to use blockchain Intel Inside way, I will not pick a solution whose marketing point #1 is we are a blockchain company. When I combine these thoughts together, and again, if I am investing in only one business at the moment, then I would pick a solution that solves a government i.e., regulator side issue where we actually do have a known problem that can be solved by leveraging blockchain nature, such as immutability, transparency and security. How about we solve the problem where the government must send out massive checks like stimulus checks, social benefits, tax credit, so on? I would investigate this kind of solution provider business. I do not believe that it is a coincidence that we have begun to focus on central bank digital currency recently, and a lot of talk in the blockchain fintech [industries] is around this topic.
3 Whats the unlikeliest-to-happen thing on your bucket list?
500 places to see before you die kind of has become a thing. For me, the more places I go, the more places I add to the list, and I think my list might be 5,000, if not 50,000. I can take one or two vacations per year maybe? I try to knock out multiple places each time I go away, but my ever-expanding list makes it a bit of a challenge to make the visit every place I want to go to bucket list a very challenging one. But I always accept the challenge, and my glass is always half full, so I am sure I have not given up on the idea yet!
4 What is the single most innovative use case for blockchain youve ever seen? It may not be the one likeliest to succeed!
Diamond supply chain. For expensive goods like diamonds (or this can be leveraged into other gems, vintage wines or artwork by famous artists from centuries ago), putting the origin and authenticity is extremely tough, and diamond in particular, which even gem amateurs like myself do think about where the blood diamond might be circulating in the economy although I personally have no way of figuring it out on my own. This opaque supply chain, amongst other things, of course, has prohibited diamonds from becoming a major commodity in the financial services industry or having more derivatives beyond becoming someones necklace or ring. For the industry whose last innovation was to claim a diamond is forever (and thus your love should be, too, if you engage with it), I think this was an amazing innovation to adopt this technology to connect the whole supply chain from mining all the way to retail by creating a thumbprint of diamonds and a record and put that into the blockchain. While I have no strong opinion why the commodities market developed the way it did, there is no reason there is a market for palladium, weather, or but not for diamond. Gems are hard to have a solid price? None of these do. The regulators and financial professionals did not want to create a product out of conflicted products? Blockchain can now solve that. Although the use might be limited to jewelry, there is a fair amount of demand for this gem. While mass adoption of this technology remains to be seen, this is an interesting development Id love to address as we progress forward.
5 What do your parents/significant other/friends/kids tell you off for? Feel free to offer more than one answer.
I like working and I like getting things done. This means there are times when I might be disregarding some of the needs in life, and probably my significant other gets the worst end of that. He is the most patient on the planet, but at some point, he starts coming around trying to take away my laptop and things as I write this, I have put down dinner food on the table and still writing this!
6 Whats the silliest conspiracy theory out there… and which one makes you pause for a moment?
The earth is flat! If the science is not by my side telling me otherwise, it does feel flat, it looks flat it smells flat, so why not??? The one that makes me pause is things like Area 51. Do we really have something completely covered up in this society?