March 31, 2021 | Issue #162

Editor's Note: We wanted to send this issue a little bit ahead of schedule because of tonight's event.

If you haven't signed up yet, here's your link. Tonight, at 8 pm ET, Big T is giving out the name of his next top pick… for free.


PayPal Opens Crypto Payments

PayPal, which recently added the ability to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency, is now pushing it as a payment method for its 29 million online merchants.

Now let's be clear, although PayPal’s Checkout will allow bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH), and litecoin (LTC) to be used, they will merely be converted into USD or other currencies when making purchases, meaning merchants will not actually be the recipients of cryptocurrencies.

Regardless, this is huge news in the direction of mass adoption.

Goldman Sachs to Offer BTC Services

Following recent news that Morgan Stanley will be providing BTC fund access for its wealthy clients, Goldman Sachs has announced the company is close to offering bitcoin and other digital assets to its wealth management clients.

Mary Rich, who was recently named global head of digital assets for the bank's private wealth management group, suggested that Goldman plans to offer investment options for bitcoin and digital assets sometime in Q2 2021.

"There’s a contingent of clients who are looking to this asset as a hedge against inflation."

Remember, this is the company that famously said "cryptocurrencies are not an asset class."

As they say... slowly, then all at once.

🏀 Dapper Labs Raises $305M from NBA Legends

A few months ago, we reported that Dapper Labs, the creators of Cryptokitties and NBA Top Shot, were raising ~$250 million. Well, they ended up closing a bit more than that, with $305 million ultimately raised at a $2.6 billion valuation.

To recap, NBA Top Shot, Dapper Labs latest release, is one of the fastest-growing marketplaces on the internet, with over $400 million in sales since launching just six months ago.

Interestingly, the new round of funding includes investors outside of the crypto space such as Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, Stefon Diggs, Ashton Kutcher, Shawn Mendes, and Will Smith.

Dapper Labs expects to use the new funding to help finish developing a mobile app for NBA Top Shot and expand the company’s platform to serve other developers and creators.

In other NFT news, SuperRare has announced their $9 million Series A financing round.

Bitcoin Booms in Developing Economies

Millions of workers around the world are now using Bitcoin as a way of sending money across borders — often in the form of remittances to relatives back home.

In Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, the central bank is so concerned about crypto’s popularity that it has been offering to pay citizens who live overseas to use traditional channels for transfers instead.

As Quartz reports: “the minimal transaction costs of cryptocurrency exchanges beat exorbitant transaction fees of traditional money wire companies like Western Union and MoneyGram, whose dominance of the remittances market has long troubled international development institutions concerned with economic growth.”

There's a lot of hype these days for DeFi, NFTs, institutionalization, inflation hedge, etc. But let's not forget that remittance payments are still one of the most promising use-cases for crypto due to low fees and near-instantaneous payments.


Full Transparency About Tonight's Event

Yes, yet another Teeka Tiwari event is here.

For what it's worth, Teeka has single-handedly onboarded tens of thousands of new investors to the world of crypto. He's been doing it since 2016 and has made people a whole lot of money over the years, to say the least.

However you want to spin it, he's a legend in our book.

If you want to follow someone who has been consistently providing actionable crypto research for the common investor, there are few other people we could point you to.

So again, be sure to attend tonight's event. It starts at 8 PM EST.


A Tale of Three DeFi Indices

An easy way for investors to gain exposure to the world of DeFi is by investing in either (1) Index Protocols/ Tokens, or (2) Index Funds.

This report (and twitter thread) by CoinGecko takes a closer look at both options.

The first section will compare the top-3 protocols under four different metrics: AUM, valuation, protocol income, and strategies.

The second section looks at indices funds in terms of performance, fund fees, and yield farming opportunities.

Microsoft Launches Decentralized Identity System on Bitcoin

As of last week, Microsoft has deployed v1 of the "ION" decentralized identity platform that the company spear-headed, on top of the Bitcoin network.

ION provides "decentralized identifiers" - things like usernames, email addresses, or anything online that can be pointed to - in a way that doesn't rely on any third party (including Microsoft). ION accomplishes this by fundamentally anchoring the system to the Bitcoin blockchain, due to its unmatched neutrality and decentralization assurances.

Bitcoin's potential use as a foundational non-monetary infrastructure is likely underestimated. h/t @case4bitcoin

Podcasting 2.0 on Breez: Streaming Sats for Streaming Ideas

Breez – a self-hosted Lightning node that fits in your pocket – is adding a native podcast player allowing listeners to stream sats to their favorite creators.

Let Co-Founder and CEO of Breez, Roy Sheinfeld, tell you how and why he is taking this bold first step to expand the Lightning economy.


NY’s Blockchain-Based COVID-19 Passport Is Now Live

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a new app to prove vaccination results. The health app built with IBM has been named the Excelsior Pass and will be tested at Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The health app uses blockchain technology and will allow individuals to voluntarily share their health status through an encrypted digital wallet stored on their smartphones (see images here).

Further Reading: Gradually, then suddenly: Authoritarianism by Marty Bent

🇺🇸 U.S. Begins to Pursue Digital Dollar Project

The boom in cryptocurrencies over the last year has pushed central banks around the world to work on digital versions of fiat currencies.

According to Bloomberg, the U.S. has begun research into creating a digital dollar, with researchers from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and MIT preparing to demonstrate a prototype digital-dollar platform as soon as July: “The fire has been lit,” said Josh Lipsky, director of the GeoEconomics Center at the Atlantic Council. “The world is moving very quickly on these projects.”

Curious about which countries are pursuing a digital currency of their own? The Belfer Center, part of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, has been tracking them.


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