This Week In Crypto is a weekly segment from the Live Coin Watch News team, providing readers with a fun, succinct, and pertinent summary of the most important Bitcoin-related events in the past seven days. 

Honestly, the Bitcoin market wasn’t that exciting this week. Cryptocurrencies mainly trended lower, with no days seeing gains or losses of above 7%. Though, there were some interesting developments made on the fundamental front of the crypto and blockchain ecosystem.

This Week in Crypto

  • Pro-Bitcoin PAC For Andrew Yang to Accept Lightning Network Transactions: After the incumbent President of the United States, Donald Trump, talked crypto, a political action committee for an up-and-coming candidate, Andrew Yang, has revealed that it will be accepting Bitcoin. Through the Lightning Network no less. Starting now, the Humanity Forward Fund will be accepting Bitcoin transactions through the second-layer scaling solution through OpenNode. Yang is a pro-innovation entrepreneur-turned-candidate that has announced that he is supportive of the rise in cryptocurrency and blockchain.
  • Bakkt Starts User Testing for Bitcoin Futures Contracts: The most notable tidbit this week is the launch of Bakkt, the crypto exchange/startup backed by the New York Stock Exchange, Microsoft’s venture arm, and Starbucks. On Monday, the exchange started a “user testing acceptance” phase for its Bitcoin futures contracts, slated to be one of the first U.S.-regulated, accessible physically-deliverable BTC investment vehicle. It is unclear how exactly the products are being tested — meaning whether or not cash and Bitcoin are being exchanged — and who is involved in the beta. But, should nothing go wrong, Bakkt’s team have claimed that by the end of this quarter (Q3 2019), the Bitcoin futures product should be live for a global audience.
  • Bitcoin Earning Service Lolli Bags Partnership With Safeway: Just days ago, Lolli, a Bitcoin rewards service, revealed that it had teamed up with Safeway, a subsidiary of American grocery giant Albertsons. While the details of the partnership have yet to be fully released, the firm is expected to be offering up to a 3.5% rebate on transactions at the grocery chain’s website, pretty much allowing for investors to rack up dozens of dollars worth of Bitcoin over the course of a year’s digital grocery shopping trips. Safeway joins Hotels.com, Banana Republic, Best Buy, Adidas, GoDaddy, and countless other large online retailers.
  • Tron CEO Justin Sun Cancels Lunch With Warren Buffett: This week, Justin Sun, the chief executive of Tron and BitTorrent, revealed that he would be postponing his lunch with Warren Buffett — one of the most wealthy men on Earth. Sun cited kidney stones, claiming that the health ailment would prevent him from making it to the charity lunch, which the cryptocurrency entrepreneur had paid $4.5 million for. Then, reports arose that Sun was under investigation by certain authorities in China, and thus thought it best to fly under the radar by leaving the ballyhooed lunch to a later date. The details around this debacle as still up in the air, but the lunch didn’t happen — that’s for sure.
  • Norwegian Air to Launch Crypto Exchange, Accept Bitcoin For Airfare: According to a recent report from Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv, the fittingly-named Norwegian Air, which is marketed as a low-cost, budget airline, is looking into directly accepting Bitcoin payments for airfare. Per the publication, this move stems from a pro-crypto attitude from the son of Bjørn Kjos, Lars Kjos. The junior Kjos purportedly has invested over $400,000 into the cryptocurrency market since at least late-2017.
  • Mark Zuckerberg Tries to Reassure Regulators About Libra: Speaking in a recent earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, to try and tackle the concerns his shareholders have with Libra.  Speaking on the matter, Zuckerberg made it clear that his company will spend “however long it takes” to make sure that the end product abides by the rules and regulations set in place by the world’s economic and political bodies. You see, over recent weeks, some of the world’s most powerful individual and bodies have claimed that the Facebook-backed cryptocurrency, which has also been supported by Visa, PayPal, Mastercard, Uber, Spotify, amongst other giants, could be used maliciously and to threaten traditional finance.
  • TD Ameritrade CEO Claims There is Client Demand For Crypto: The launch of Facebook’s Libra, coupled with the total resurgence in the cryptocurrency market, has awoken something in the public. As Tim Hockey, the soon-to-depart chief executive of TD Ameritrade, told The Street in an interview, “clients are asking for it.” By it, he means Bitcoin and other digital assets. As to why this trend is occurring, Hockey looks to the mass media coverage that Libra has received, which has materialized in comments on cryptocurrencies from global regulators and investors — most notably Donald Trump. He adds that the sudden bout of renewed interest in cryptocurrencies can also be attributed to “active investors”, most of which are looking for alternative asset classes to outperform the indices and the ever-decreasing yields of government bonds and other portfolio staples. TD Ameritrade has been reported by some outlets to be looking into offering spot Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrency trading mechanisms through its retail brokerage.
Title Image Courtesy of Unsplash.com

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