Bitcoin Goes Global as Twitter CEO Takes Aim at Africa
So far, Bitcoin’s popularity has been limited to speculators and idealist startup founders...but it’s long had the promise of ‘banking the unbanked.’ And what is the perfect setting to achieve this? Africa. It is one of the continents that could use an alternative financial system – 66% of Africans living in the sub Sahara region are unbanked. Now Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, has been sighted in Nigeria, meeting with local Bitcoin trailblazers and community figures.
What’s he doing there? No one knows the details, aside from meetings with various people who are big in crypto in Nigeria. It’s also interesting to note that Nigeria ranks as the top country for keyword searching bitcoin, according to Google Trends.
Any other notable global developments? On the adoption front, in China – and since China has been good to Bitcoin lately, there’s been a lot of China news – their biggest online retailer, Alibaba, has partnered with the bitcoin rewards app Lolli, with a promotion that customers can earn 5% in Bitcoin per purchase. And they’re focusing on the US, for the biggest online shopping day – Singles Day.
This could result in a lot of people with a small amount of Bitcoin! Yep! It’s similar to a popular concept in Bitcoin’s early days, a Bitcoin faucet, though on a much larger scale. And that’s far from the only rewards program in Asia – Wirex, a payment company, is launching a crypto reward Visa card, starting in Singapore.
Wut We Think: Bitcoin’s always faced criticism for not living up to its promise of a global, border friction-free currency. But Bitcoin’s popularity in developing countries, and it’s growing involvement in retail, shows that that criticism may not be relevant for long. And with powerhouses like Twitter and China on board, change is definitely coming.
Bitcoin Continues Financial Ecosystem Integration with Futures Options and New Funds
Slowly but surely, the broader financial world is finally accepting Bitcoin as a typical instrument...considering the launch of Bakkt, a Bitcoin custody warehouse offering Bitcoin futures, is now settled in Bitcoin. And now the first broker to offer Bitcoin futures (though settled in USD), is angling to open up options.
Options on Bitcoin futures? Yep. The CME – Chicago Mercantile Exchange – group is looking to offer options due to what they say is customer demand. This will help savvy investors increase their exposure to Bitcoin while still managing the risk that comes with trading a volatile asset.
What about these new funds? While a Bitcoin ETF still looks to be a ways away, one of the first-ever crypto firms to be listed (in Australia), has launched a new investment fund for Bitcoin, due to increasing interest. They aim to let professional investors and high-net-worth individuals invest in Bitcoin without holding it themselves.
Why is a Bitcoin ETF so anticipated, anyway? One of the main reasons is that regulator acceptance of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund would signal that Bitcoin has officially ‘made it’ as an investment instrument. It would make Bitcoin investment no different than real estate or equities. But so far, the US SEC hasn’t seen a Bitcoin ETF that meets their requirements.
Wut We Think: Of course, Bitcoin isn’t yet a part of the standard financial world, but it is undeniable that it’s getting there. New funds, options, and the continued optimism of firms applying for ETF acceptance mean that Bitcoin enthusiasts are set on making Bitcoin a typical financial instrument. And importantly, this optimism secures Bitcoin’s future, aside from the daily ups and downs of trading.
Trading Spotlight: Options
Options represent another way to trade underlying assets, without being exposed to the same amount of risk from holding the asset itself. Options are also sometimes used as part of an employee compensation package. But, options perform a different function than stocks – a buyer of an option can never lose any more money than it’s price, known as the premium.
Options: Options give their owners the right, but do not require, to buy or sell a given asset at an agreed price and date. They are split into two types – put and call. Call options allow their owners to buy a stock, while put options allow selling. Options can expire and are settled the next day.