Welcome to the first weekly briefing presenting developments in blockchain and fintech industry. We hand pick the most important news from the last week - but we decide what's important from the Billon's unique point of view. Apart from the usual updates on crypto prices and BTC swings you can expect much about CBDCs, enteprise DLT adoption and using blockchain in such areas as COVID-19 vaccination credentials. The first briefing starts with the growig importance of NFT and the worrying energy consumption of bitcoin. Let's go!
On Friday Kings of Leon released their new album, titled When You See Yourself, in the form of a non-fungible token, becoming the first band to ever do so. The band’s revolutionary tokens will unlock special perks like limited-edition vinyl and front row seats to future concerts. Kings of Leon are not the only musicians to embrace NFT technology. Musician Grimes has sold several pieces of digital artwork at auction, raising a total of $6M. However, as new "owners" do not own the work itself, meaning it can still be seen and shared online, what real value does it have? BBC investigates this recent surge in digital art auctions.
Few days ago a Nyan Cat NFT sold for $600K. Why would anyone pay as much for a cat meme? Is it all a scam, or is this the future of the art world?
Beside NFT another topic occupying not only crypto, but mainstream media as well, was the energy demand for bitcoin mining. The energy used to create the asset has continued to soar during its epic rise, climbing to the equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of Argentina, according to Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, a tool from researchers at Cambridge University that measures the currency’s energy use. This vast energy use could burst the pricing bubble. Alex de Vries, the founder of the Digiconomist website and an expert on bitcoin, speculates that"if bitcoin were to be adopted as a global reserve currency, its price will probably be in the millions, and miners will have more money than the entire US federal budget to spend on electricity. We'd have to double our global energy production - for bitcoin." This leaves us with a question, is that even feasible. You can read more on bitcoin energy consumption issues in The Guardian and BBC.
The crypto climate debate continues - watch this conversation by Bloomberg about bitcoin mining and its effetct on the environment
Issues with bitcoin affects its advocates, as Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla has lost $200B - more than 25% of its total market value - after investing in the currency. The sudden decrease in Tesla’s value even led to Musk losing his six-week-long title as richest person in the world, handing the top spot back to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Whoops! 🤷♀️
On a more positive note, Citi says that bitcoin is at a tipping point and could become 'currency of choice' for global trade. In a research note issued last Monday the bank claims that BTC cryptocurrency is “at the tipping point of mainstream acceptance or a speculative implosion.” So it's boom or bust!
In the meantime Financial Times released its fifth FT1000: annual list of Europe's fastest-growing companies. Green energy supplier takes top spot and London remains the city with the most high-growth businesses. However, Europe’s high-growth companies are facing another year of slower progress as the pandemic continues to constrain business activity.
Finally, some good news from the European startup community. Klarna, the Swedish buy now, pay later behemoth and upstart bank, has raised $1 billion in new funding at a post-money valuation of $31 billion. That sees the company retain the crown as the highest-valued private fintech in Europe. Nice!
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