The Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and his cohorts have long banged the drum about creating a “crypto-powered economy” – but it appears that either the message has got through to citizens, or Venezuelans have been adopting crypto of their own accord.
Per monthly web traffic data from SimilarWeb and Alexa, some of the most-visited websites in the country are now crypto gaming sites, exchanges and crypto price trackers.
The heavily sanctioned Maduro regime, which has been at loggerheads with the United States and its allies for many years now, may not have gone so far as to adopt bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender, El Salvador-style.
But some may argue that it laid the groundwork for El Salvador’s move. Washington-led sanctions have essentially cut off above-board trade with most international players. And it seems that Maduro has given state-run firms the green light to conduct under-the-radar deals using cryptoassets rather than fiat, as a means of payment.
This has led to the Venezuelan state amassing a sizeable “stash” of both bitcoin and ethereum (ETH). Coffers have been further bolstered by crypto mining – with even the army ordered to get in on the act.
What is more, the government has issued its own, allegedly oil-backed coin named the petro (PTR), which it has claimed has found use in “international” locations.
Furthermore, a dazzlingly large array of businesses in the country – from fast-food eateries to gas stations, department stores, and supermarket chains – accept mainstream tokens such as BTC, ETH, and major altcoins.
Overseas Venezuelans and family members have also been encouraged to remit crypto to relatives in the country using the state-operated Patria platform.
Indeed, only Facebook.com, the Google homepage, and YouTube placed higher than Patria on the Alexa site, beating out Google Venezuela, Instagram, Amazon, and Wikipedia.
The crypto exchange Binance‘s site made number 21 on the Alexa list, followed by the price tracker CoinMarketCap. Other standouts were the crypto games Block Farm Club and Axie Infinity (at #28 and #30 respectively, and the bitcoin advertising network CoinPayU at #33.
In the SimilarWeb list, Patria featured outside the top 10 at #12, but CoinMarketCap, which last month featured at #12, placed higher than it did on Alexa’s list – at #19.
There was also a place at #28 for the BTC price tracker PooCoin, while Binance ranked at #23. Other price trackers like CoinGecko also featured – and FreeBitcoin.in ranked at #41, several places ahead of the likes of LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Pinterest.
By contrast, not a single crypto-themed site made the SimilarWeb global top 50, nor the corresponding Alexa list.
Executives From Coinbase and Other Crypto Firms To Testify at Hearing on Digital Assets in News Source
Executives from the top crypto firms in the US will be testifying in an upcoming hearing on digital assets to the House Committee on Financial Services, led by Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
In a statement, Waters names six executives in the digital asset space who will testify at the hearing on December 8th.
The names include:
- Jeremy Allaire, co-founder, chairman and CEO of blockchain-focused financial services firm Circle
- Samuel Bankman-Fried, CEO and founder of crypto derivatives exchange FTX
- Brian P. Brooks, CEO of full-service blockchain tech firm Bitfury Group
- Charles Cascarilla, CEO and co-founder of blockchain infrastructure firm Paxos Trust Company
- Denelle Dixon, CEO and executive director of non-profit organization Stellar Development Foundation
- Alesia Jeanne Haas, CFO of popular crypto company Coinbase Global Inc.
The hearing is entitled “Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Understanding the Challenges and Benefits of Financial Innovation in the United States.”
In an interview with CNBC, Bitfury CEO Brian Brooks says that one of the things he hopes is discussed at the hearing is the lack of clarity behind the issuance of stablecoins.
“First of all, are we or are we not going to resolve some of the contradictions in US crypto policy?
Just to give you an example of that, we’ve got an administration that is taking the position that only banks should be able to issue stablecoins.
But it seems like the posture of the administration is also that companies that issue stablecoins can’t be banks, so my hope is we’ll talk a little about how do we resolve these Kafkaesque contradictions.”
Brooks also mentions that he hopes Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto mining can be sold as something that can be a part of an environmentally sustainable future, rather than an obstacle to it.
The hearing can be watched live, here.
BitTorrent Token Surges as Mainnet Launch Date Gets Confirmed
The file sharing token bittorrent (BTT) surged higher in the crypto market today, following the news that the mainnet of its own BitTorrent Chain will be launched on December 12, along with a redenomination of all circulating tokens.
At the time of writing (10:00 UTC), BTT traded at USD 0.003947, up a whopping 67% for the past 24 hours. The strong gains positioned BTT as today’s second-best performing token among the top 100 coins by market capitalization, behind only the game-like decentralized finance (DeFi) token SPELL.
BTT price last 14 days:
The price gains today came with sharply rising trading volumes across exchanges. As of press time, the 24-hour trading volume for BTT stood as USD 2.6bn, representing more than a tripling from USD 712m yesterday.
Upbit was the most active exchange for trading in the token, followed by Binance.
According to an announcement from BitTorrent Inc. – the company behind the token – the new BitTorrent Chain, shortened BTTC, will become a “heterogeneous cross-chain interoperability protocol” that leverages various sidechains for improved scaling of smart contracts.
The new blockchain will be based on the Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism, and is said to enable interoperability between Ethereum (ETH), Tron (TRX) and Binance Smart Chain (BSC), with more chains to be supported in the future.
At the same time, the announcement said that old BTT tokens starting from the same date will be exchangeable for new ones at a rate of 1:1,000. Accordingly, the total supply of tokens will also be increased from the current 990bn to 990trn, while the total market capitalization will remain the same.
Once the new mainnet is live, BitTorrent Inc. says use cases for its BTT token will include staking in return for rewards, participation in governance over the protocol, and payment of gas fees for token transfers on the BTTC blockchain.
At press time, BTT is ranked as the 51st most valuable cryptoasset, with a total market capitalization of USD 3.465bn, per CoinGecko.
The token, which originally was built on the Tron blockchain, is intended to be used as an incentive for users of the file sharing clients BitTorret and µTorrent, for example as payment in exchange for faster download speeds between users.
The developer behind the two mentioned software clients, BitTorrent Inc., is a US-based company founded all the way back in 2004. BitTorrent / µTorrent today represent major peer-to-peer network for decentralized file sharing. It has an active user base of more than 90m people globally, according to the company.
BitMart CEO Addresses Hacking Concerns, BitMart Keeps Top 30 Rank
- BitMart CEO addressed hacking concerns via tweet.
- BitMart remains one of the top 30 exchanges.
Crypto hacking is one of the common cyber threats that the crypto world has endured in the past years. In fact, hacking is a word that is not new anymore in the crypto world. For example, these past days, unknown hackers have successfully penetrated the blockchain of the BitMart exchange. As a result, the exchange lost more than $150 million worth of digital currencies such as ETH and BSC tokens.
The incident came as a shock to the BitMart community, especially the holders of the affected tokens that were stolen. Also, this event spread like wildfire in the crypto space and gathered different opinions. This made the CEO of BitMart, Sheldon Xia react in a tweet post:
2/4 BitMart will use our own funding to cover the incident and compensate affected users. We are also talking to multiple project teams to confirm the most reasonable solutions such as token swaps. No user assets will be harmed.— Sheldon Xia (@sheldonbitmart) December 6, 2021
The tweet explains how the BitMart company plans to compensate its losses for the hacking incident. Furthermore, Sheldon Xia also stated that they are creating multiple teams to work on a project that will ensure the protection of its users. Indeed, this tweet made by the exchange CEO addressed the incident and provided peace of mind to its investors and traders.
On the other hand, despite the hacking event, BitMart remains one of the top 30 crypto exchanges in CoinGecko. The exchange ranks along with the biggest exchanges such as Bithumb and KuCoin, to name some. With this, we can say that BitMart remains competitive in spite of the hacking challenges it faced lately.