Investors and cryptocurrency enthusiasts from around the globe converged on Gotham this week to partake in the myriad of industry events and meet-ups around Blockchain Week NYC. Despite a year and a half of unrelenting “crypto winter,” the ice seemed to thaw a bit with Consensus selling over 4k tickets, and The Ethereal Conference, Digital Asset Summit, and Token Summit all filling their seats.
And, of course, after being declared dead earlier this year for the millionth time in its life, Bitcoin went on another face-melting parabolic bull run that saw the cryptocurrency rise from $3,500 just a month ago to nearly $8,400.
But the biggest announcement during BlockChain Week has been accomplishing what skeptics said would never be possible – you can now officially pay for your Starbucks latte with Bitcoin! (instantly to boot - no waiting 45 minutes for Bitcoin chain confirmation). Regulated cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has teamed up with crypto payment startup Flexa to make real-time digital asset payments possible at retailers like Nordstroms, Whole Foods, Crate & Barrel, and Starbucks.
The benefits extend beyond just the consumer. Retailers are protected against fraudulent transactions (no potential charge backs) and they can eliminate much of the MDR (merchant discount rate). The solution also doesn’t require retailers to do any point-of-sale upgrades – stores can use the same QR code scanners and integrations they already have installed.
So as crypto payments seem to be reaching actual merchant adoption just as BTC is "mooning", we advise you not to spend all your precious Satoshis all in one place…
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Bitcoin For Coffee
Flexa and Gemini partner to make it easy to use cryptocurrency- Consumers can now easily spend their Gemini dollars (GUSD), bitcoin, ether, and bitcoin cash using the SPEDN mobile wallet app (SPEDN is available in the iOS Apple store). Read more
Indexes to unleash flood of money into Chinese stocks - MSCI and FTSE Russell, two of the largest index providers, will soon begin increasing exposure to companies listed in China. The increases will force asset managers to purchase shares of Chinese companies to match their changing benchmark. Read more
Goldman Sachs makes biggest acquisition in nearly 20 years- Goldman has acquired Newport Beach based financial advisory boutique United Capital for $750m in a bid to bolster its wealth management business. United Capital boasts 22k clients and $25b of AUM. Read more
Coinbase is in advanced talks to acquire Xapo - Crypto custodial solution Xapo is likely to be acquired for $50m plus an earn-out by Coinbase - the company is reported to have nearly $5.5b in assets, or 700k bitcoin, under custody. Read more
SEC approves new Silicon Valley stock exchange backed by tech heavyweights - The U.S. government on Friday approved the formation of a new Silicon Valley stock exchange following a regulatory criticism late last year. The net new exchange intends to help companies go public while alleviating scrutiny and demands over short-term profits. Read more
Mastercard acquires Transactis - Mastercard has agreed to acquire Transactis, the New York based electronic and billing and payment processing platform. The company raised its Series A in 2007 and has raised over $70m in total from investors such as Capital One and QED Investors. Read more
Lee Equity Partners to acquire insurance services provider K2 - Private equity firm Lee Equity Partners has agreed to acquire a majority stake in K2 Insurance Services, a San Diego based property and casualty services provider. Read more
Bitcoin futures & custody: Bakkt’s differentiated approach - In July, Bakkt expects to begin user acceptance testing for bitcoin futures contracts developed in collaboration with Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). Read more
Bitcoin comes to Whole Foods, major retailers in coup for digital currency - Crate and Barrel, Nordstrom, Amazon, and other retailers have partnered with payments startup Flexa and Gemini to attempt to bring Bitcoin and three other forms of digital money to retail – piggybacking on the POS payment systems they already use. Read more
OTC traders mull instituting crypto trading "white list" - Jump Trading, Mike Novogratz's Galaxy Digital, and DRW Cumberland are some of the participants in the 50 member group (dubbed Cora) looking to establish standards and certifications around the trading and settlement of OTC crypto assets. Read more
ClickSWITCH - Minneapolis based infrastructure platform for direct deposits and recurring payments has raised $13m in Series B financing led by Commerce Ventures and Point72 Ventures. Read more
Greensill - UK based working capital finance platform has raised $800m in venture financing from Softbank's Vision Fund, valuing the company at $3.5b. Read more
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