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El Salvador’s Largest Bank Will Support Bitcoin for Loans, Credit Cards and Other Services

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Bancoagricola is supporting a broad variety of Bitcoin-related services in El Salvador thanks to a partnership with payments startup Flexa.

The use of Bitcoin in El Salvador has not had the best of starts. Still, financial institutions are already doing their best to comply with the law.

Bancoagrícola, the country’s largest financial institution, is among the first banks to include Bitcoin-compatible technology solutions and is already adapting its infrastructure to offer Bitcoin services thanks to a partnership with digital payments startup Flexa.

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Bancoargícola and Flexa Partner to Bring Bitcoin to the Banks

According to an official Press Release shared by Flexa, the integration of both parties will allow Salvadorans to use basic banking services regardless of whether they choose Bitcoin or dollars.

The startup mentioned that Bancoagrícola began supporting Bitcoin for loans, credit cards, and merchant goods and services in an attempt to comply with the Bitcoin Law as soon as possible.

The Bitcoin Law, introduced by President Bukele in June and approved a few hours later by the country’s pro-Bukele congress, stipulates that Bitcoin will be recognized as a legal tender, being of mandatory acceptance by any economic agent with the minimal means necessary to use it.

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Since Bitcoin operates outside the banking structure, the government created the Chivo wallet and airdropped $30 in BTC to all Salvadorans who download it. The Chivo wallet is custodial, does not depend directly on any bank, and allows immediate and allegedly zero-fee exchange between Bitcoin and dollars.

But Bancoagrícola would be going a step further from the point of view of integrated financial services. The partnership will even serve to offer Bitcoin compatibility at Bancoagrícola’s points of sale without the need to use the Chivo Wallet.

Banks in El Salvador Are Not The Only Ones Innovating

Bancoagrícola is a subsidiary of Bancolombia, Colombia’s leading bank. In that country, Bancolombia is working on an integration with US-regulated cryptocurrency exchange Gemini to offer similar services thanks to the regulatory sandbox currently in place since 2019.

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The integration with Flexa would be a unique innovation worldwide. Carlos Mauricio Novoa, COO of Bancoagrícola, said they are excited about the future prospects and hope to continue improving their services in this new economic stage that is beginning in the country.

“We are excited to be the first financial institution in El Salvador to enable bitcoin access for our customers across our entire suite of financial products and to enhance financial inclusion. Flexa has been instrumental in helping us prioritize our customers’ experiences using bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador; we look forward to continuing to innovate alongside them for a long time to come.”

Thanks to this solution, Salvadorans would have full Bitcoin-to-fiat compatibility even if they use a third-party wallet beside the government-sponsored Chivo wallet.

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VanEck

VanEck Filed for Digital Assets Mining ETF

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Global investment manager VanEck, with more than $60 billion assets under management, has filed an application to establish an exchange-traded fund that will track the price and yield performance of the Global Digital Asset Mining index.

Fund’s investment principles

The Global Digital Asset Mining index is being used to track the performance of companies that are somehow engaged in digital assets mining activities, including Bitcoin or altcoin mining operations. Additionally, companies that provide various services like software development, as well as hardware suppliers, also fall into the category of mining operations providers.

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The fund will invest at least 80% of its total assets in securities in the DAMC but, at the same time, the company is not allowed to invest in digital assets by using derivatives products like options or futures. Hence, the fund is not going to track the price movement of any cryptocurrency.

The VanEck ETF will be able to provide exposure to companies that are in fact operating with digital assets or holding them on their balance sheet and are also being presented in the Global Digital Assets Mining index.

Risks for investors

The application also contains a section related to the risks behind the digital assets mining industry. According to the filing, the main risks for investors are technological obsolescence, supply chain issues and certain issues with obtaining new hardware.

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Additionally, the fund agrees that most digital assets mining companies are exposed to the issue of relying on third-party companies that are located and functioning overseas.

Bitcoin Daily Chart
Source: TradingView

In addition to risks tied to hardware wearing, digital assets miners generate revenue from selling their assets on various cryptocurrency exchanges, and the price of their assets is a subject of high volatility that could lead to the value loss of their holdings.

While most cryptocurrency miners remain in high profit from their operations, rapid change of assets like Bitcoin may potentially lead to additional losses of those companies and, therefore, losses for investors that receive direct exposure to the aforementioned index.

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Bitcoin Senator Rallies For Support Against Powell’s Renomination As Federal Reserve Chair, Here’s Why

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Popular Bitcoin Senator, Senator Cynthia Lummis is reportedly soliciting for the support of her fellow Republicans in her stance against Jay Powell after the latter got renominated to chair the Federal Reserve.

Bitcoin Senator Wary of Crypto-unfriendly Nominees

As reported by Decrypt who first broke the news, a source in Lummis’ office says her reasons border on her belief that there is an unlawful treatment of crypto-based institutions in her home state, Wyoming.

Meanwhile, the Bitcoin senator is not only against the nomination of Powell. The source still claims that Senator Lummis is also asking her Republican colleagues to help block Leal Brainard’s nomination as well. Brainard is another nominee of President Biden’s for the Fed positions.

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Lummis’ skepticism might be as a result of the Special Purpose Depository Institutions or SPDIs as they are otherwise called. They are a new type of crypto-based bank that Wyoming lawmakers granted a special operational license to, just last year.

Two crypto-based companies that received the license in 2020 include Kraken exchange and Avanti — the stablecoin issuer. However, the Federal Reserve’s decision to not approve their applications for central bank-issued accounts has placed a hold on their banking ambitions.

Speaking about the Federal Reserve’s delay in a Wall Street Journal feature article by Lummis on Wednesday, she says it is an intentional and unlawful obstruction. She added that the Fed’s reasons are ambiguous at best. According to the Bitcoin Senator, Lummis claimed that the Wyoming entities have met all requirements for being a bank under the Federal Reserve Act.

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Lummis insists that Powell and Brainard are only avoiding their legal obligations in their continued treatment of SPDIs and like many other U.S lawmakers, she wants to know why.

Could Lummis’ Pressure Affect Powell’s Confirmation?

As Lummis continues to apply even more pressure on her colleagues, the possible extent to which this pressure can truly go in affecting the confirmation process of both Powell and Brainard, remains to be seen.

But with the chair of the Senate Banking Committee, Sherrod Brown, reportedly holding a vote on the pair sometime this month, both of them could be confirmed.

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Also, there’s a possibility of a potential tight vote now that some progressive Democrats — most notably Elizabeth Warren — are saying they will not be voting for Powell.

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PlanB’s Floor Model First Miss: Bitcoin Price Closed Way Below $98K In November

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PlanB’s floor model was wrong about BTC’s November closing price. The stock-to-flow model, though, is still on track.

Bitcoin’s closing price for November below $60,000 meant that PlanB’s floor model, which was particularly accurate until now, was finally broken.

At the same time, though, the analyst confirmed that the more popular stock-to-flow model was still valid as BTC is on track towards $100,000.

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PlanB’s Floor Model Fails

PlanB is among the most popular analysts in the cryptocurrency space, predominantly known for the Bitcoin stock-to-flow model, which he published in early 2019. However, he also posted another model, which he referred to as the “worst-case scenario,” in July this year.

Also known as the floor model, it’s based on technical aspects, such as the 200-day moving average, and saw BTC closing August at $47,000, September at $43,000, and October at $63,000.

The first two months were spot on. BTC closed in October at $61,000, which was still very near to the model’s predicted price, and PlanB said it was “good enough” for him.

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However, November’s closing actual closing price of way below $60,000 was quite different from what the model envisioned – $98,000. As such, the analyst admitted that this was the model’s first miss after nailing the previous few months.

S2F on Track

As mentioned above, the floor model works separately from the stock-to-flow model, which sees the stock as the size of existing reserves (or stockpiles) and the flow as the annual supply of new bitcoins to the market.

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It’s actually even more bullish as the original version sees bitcoin tapping $100,000 by the end of the year. The upgraded stock-to-flow cross-asset model, which introduced different phases of bitcoin’s development, predicted a price tag of $288,000 until 2024.

Although bitcoin still struggles below $60,000 at the time of this writing, PlanB believes that the original S2F hasn’t been broken as the asset is on its way towards $100,000. If BTC is indeed to go into a six-digit price territory, it would have to increase its USD value by more than 66% in the next 30 days.

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