Payment Expert’s Blockchain Bulletin analyses how the world of blockchain is constantly evolving and heavily impacting the payments industry, with cryptocurrencies, NFTs and the metaverse revolutionising the space. 

This week is a Bitcoin-heavy week. The world’s largest cryptocurrency is currently enjoying high’s it has not seen in one-and-a-half years whilst the recent ETF approval has drawn praise and criticism from both sides. 

Bitcoin’s resurgence indicative of ETF growth

Once the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the Bitcoin ETF last January, many crypto analysts believed this would be the catalyst for the coin’s breakthrough into the mainstream. 

And so far, it looks as if those theories are proving to be true as Bitcoin surpassed the $60,000 price mark for the first time since November 2021, coming off the back of the surge in investment into ETFs such as BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust and Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust. 

As of 29 February – 10:00am (GMT) – Bitcoin’s price currently stands at over $62,000. It remains to be seen if the cryptocurrency can surpass its all-time high of over $69,000 from November 2021. 

“Fair value of Bitcoin is still zero” according to the ECB

Whilst Bitcoin is currently riding a new high, officials from the European Central Bank (ECB) have warned that the cryptocurrency still remains highly volatile and that its ‘fair value is still zero’. 

In a blog post this week, three ECB officials criticised Bitcoin ETFs in particular, whilst also addressing its concerns in regards to its payment viability, as well as its rampant usage as a means to commit fraud. 

The ECB blog said: “For society, a renewed boom-bust cycle of Bitcoin is a dire perspective. And the collateral damage will be massive, including the environmental damage and the ultimate redistribution of wealth at the expense of the less sophisticated.”

Bitcoin mining concerns addressed in Texas

The Texas Blockchain Council (TBC) has initiated legal proceedings against the US Department of Energy‘s Energy Information Administration (EIA) regarding Bitcoin mining.

Alongside one of its members, Riot Platforms, the state-level crypto and blockchain industry representation body has challenged ‘an alleged unprecedented and illegal data collection demand’ against Bitcoin miners.

This relates to an EIA survey requiring Bitcoin miners to provide information such as machine specifications, locations of mining operations and contractual information relating to commercial energy partners.

Is crypto at fault for Nigeria’s Naira collapse? 

After attempts by the Nigerian government to block crypto exchanges, such as Binance and Coinbase, from activity in the country, this has led to belief that crypto has contributed to the downfall of value to the country’s national currency. 

Whilst Binance and Coinbase have both asserted that their operations are still active in Nigeria, there is belief within the government that the exchanges are “blatantly setting exchange rates for Nigeria” during the Naira’s valuation decline. 

The Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission has already warned investors of the dangers of using exchanges like Binance in the past. 

Lloyd’s Bank dives deeper into blockchain

UK bank Lloyd’s was the first to join the WaveBL platform, to offer clients electronic Bills of Lading (eBLs) for faster and more sustainable trade transactions, backed by blockchain technology. 

eBLs aim to eliminate the risks associated with forgery, loss, and theft of paper documents and reduce the environmental impact by eliminating the need for paper products and physical document transfers.

OANDA Crypto opens for service in the UK

Oanda Global has announced the launch of its new crypto exchange service for private investors and traders in the UK.

Traders will gain access to Oanda’s cryptocurrencies on the platform that is backed up by OANDA’s reputation as a global leader in online multi-asset trading services, currency data, and analytics.