What an exciting start to the week and ending of the first quarter of 2021. In the last 24 hours, the industry has begun to reveal more about our financial future around payments & transactions that had been anticipated this early in the year.
We began yesterday, Monday, March 29th with Visa announcing that they have completed payment settlements in the stablecoin USDC on the Ethereum blockchain. Why is this important one may ask? Well, it makes Visa the first major payments network to use a stablecoin as a settlement currency. Until this moment payments were settled in fiat currency only. On a partnership level for the USDC settlements (& others in the future), the company has partnered with the company, Crypto.com, with who’ve they’ve to continue to integrate.
For further context on this, the global payment giants Visa & Mastercard have been aggressively pursuing their agendas in the blockchain & payments industry with multiple investments, fast track programs, and partnerships preparing for a fully digital & virtual economy, while Discover Financial (third largest globally) and American Express work to get started.
Today, the game changed, however, as PayPal announced that all U.S. users of its digital wallets will have the ability to now spend their digital currencies holdings making purchases throughout their 29 million global merchant network. The service will be expanded to non-U.S. users in the coming months according to the company. Additionally, the company will not charge any transaction fees to pay with crypto, but users must use a single currency for purchases and will not be able to combine different holdings. This is a massive move for the company as they only open the ability for buy/sell activity at the end of 2020.
Here’s a quick summary of more happenings today around the industry.
More Around The Industry:
📖 ConsenSys announces layer-two (L2) NFT platform, Palm, to compete with Flow. Palm, is an environmentally friendly NFT (non-fungible tokens) scaling solution. Palm will be a sidechain designed to be “fully connected” to Ethereum, sporting faster settlement times, lower fees, and an especially light carbon footprint. Read more.
📖 Bakkt, the crypto custodian, has launched its mobile app to the general public, enabling its users to buy, sell and spend Bitcoin (BTC). The app will also let you aggregate rewards, send cryptocurrency to your friends, and will let you buy discounted gift cards. At launch, 200 brands are supported within the application. Read more.
📖 CME Group, the derivatives exchange giant, is launching micro Bitcoin (BTC) futures on May 3, subject to regulatory review. The micro bitcoin futures will be 1/10th the size of one bitcoin and are aimed at providing a cost-effective way to bitcoin exposure. Earlier this month we also had announcements from Goldman Sachs & Fieldity Investments filing for Bitcoin ETFs. Read more.
📖 Mogo, the publicly-traded & Canada-based listed mortgage brokerage will now reward users in cash to let them buy Bitcoin (BTC). As users take out a new mortgage or refinance one with Mogo, the firm rewards them with up to CAD 3,100 (USD 2,460) as free cashback in their Bitcoin & Rewards accounts. The firm already lets people buy and sell bitcoin via its MogoCrypto service. Read more.
🌯 Chipotle Mexican Grill is giving away $100,000 worth of Bitcoin as part of its recently announced “Burritos or Bitcoin” game to celebrate National Burrito Day. Read more.