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Author Ric Edelman discusses Bitcoin adoption in the US

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The financial author detailed in his latest publication that he is optimistic the US SEC will finally give the green light to a Bitcoin ETF

In an interview on CNBC’s Halftime Report, the founder of Edelman Financial Engines backed his projection that a third of American adults will be bitcoin holders by the end of the year. Edelman, author of several books in the personal finance space, penned in his latest book titled The Truth About Crypto his predictions for the crypto sector this year.

Edelman weighs in on bitcoin adoption and spot bitcoin ETF decision

Notable among his predictions is that the number of American adults that own bitcoin will grow from nearly a quarter to a third. Edelman noted that the bitcoin adoption rate is high, and many people are being drawn to digital assets.

“It won’t be that much of a stretch to see us get to a third [ from 24%], and it’s because Bitcoin is becoming more and more mainstream. People are hearing about it everywhere, and it isn’t going anywhere […] We are seeing governments, corporations, foundations, pension funds all investing,” the Ric Edelman Show host said.

Edelman added that the entry of more institutional clients into the bitcoin market would encourage other investors to consider taking the advice of their investment advisors who favour crypto investments.

On a Bitcoin ETF, Edelman backed other crypto proponents who are rooting for the Securities and Exchange Commission to approve a Bitcoin ETF. There has been little hope of a crypto-backed ETF being given the go-ahead in recent days. The US financial regulator is still reluctant to give the green light to Bitcoin ETFs from digital asset managers. Last week, the commission punted again on the spot Bitcoin ETF proposal from the NYDIG.

However, the Edelman Financial Engines founder believes that the top regulator will finally bow to the increasing pressure.

“The SEC is running out of excuses to say no. A lot of the concerns they have been resolved by the industry […] The SEC will yes because it will realise this [approving the ETF] is a step towards consumer protection,” he stated.

Adam Curry: Bitcoin is a better crypto asset than Ethereum

Elsewhere, in a podcast session on The Joe Rogan Experience, techprenuer Adam Curry revealed his liking for Bitcoin and explained his preference for the crypto over Ethereum. Curry backed Bitcoin as the superior asset in investment in the session held on January 8th, citing its limited supply as a swinging factor.

“The difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum is that in Bitcoin, there will only be 21 million, it cannot be changed. It cannot be inflated, and you cannot say the same for Ethereum,” he said.

He averred that he is pro-Bitcoin and doesn’t care much about the majority of other crypto assets because they lack scarcity, which he considers, crucial.

“I’m just on the Bitcoin train because I believe my money is safer there. The money system is broken, it causes inflation, misery, it causes wars because it’s linked to oil, so we have to protect all that.”

Curry also added that the Bitcoin network doesn’t have a chief executive or any hierarchical structure, making it more decentralised.

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Crypto Corner: The Sports Slice

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The NFL is approaching crypto sports deals with caution, but the abundance of potential revenue is keeping the league engaged. Meanwhile, one storied football club across the pond is looking to build the first-ever ‘metaverse stadium.’ And a popular NBA player is shutting down shop on his NFT project, leaving many with a bad taste in their mouth.

It’s all in a week’s worth of action when it comes to sports and crypto. Let’s review the past seven days of activity.

The Sports Slice

De’Aaron Fox Abandons NFT Project

De’Aaron Fox is arguably the most talented player on the admittedly lowly Sacramento Kings, and has been a long-time fan favorite for the Bay Area-adjacent club. Fox was one of the first NBA players to release their own NFT projects, titled SwipaTheFox, and despite roughly $1.5M in NFT sales, it’s all coming to a screeching halt this past week.

It’s another NFT project to join a long list of celebrity-started or sponsored mints that provided a detailed roadmap, but failed to deliver. Below is a screenshot from the project’s Discord that shows Fox’s announcement of discontinuing the project:

FTX Launching Gaming Unit, Expanding Marketing Push Beyond Sports

A new report from Front Office Sports has unveiled that crypto exchange FTX is launching a dedicated gaming unit focused on blockchain network and NFT integration. The full scope of the unit is yet to be disclosed, however the move is certainly on par with FTX’s positioning. The exchange has partnered with powerhouse esports org TSM in a first-ever naming rights deal, and has spent substantial funds around GameFi and related areas.

Meanwhile, the exchange also brought on a new head of global luxury partnerships as FTX looks to build outside of it’s current sports-sponsorship heavy strategy. Lauren Remington Platt will fill the role and has a resume tailored in fashion and business development that will be tough to top. Platt previously built her own beauty service and established premiere partners such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Vogue.

Nielsen Report: Blockchain Sports Sponsorship To Hit $5B By 2026

A new global sports sponsorship report from Nielsen that was released this week reveals that the analytics and data firm is projecting massive spend from crypto competitors to continue to flood in to the sports sponsorship space. Nielsen is forecasting sports sponsorship deals from blockchain players to amass to $5B by 2026, a nearly 8-fold increase over last year’s spend. The report cites ‘legitimacy’ and ‘fan engagement’ as the two key factors to contribute to future deal’s success in sport.

We’ll have a deep dive on the Nielsen report in the days to come.

MLS: DC United Finds New Blockchain Partner

MLS club DC United has found a new blockchain technology partner this week in XDC Network, who have signed a three-year deal and will find brand assets on United’s home and away jerseys and training tops.

The XDC Foundation’s Executive Director Billy Sebell said in a release:

“This partnership is about bringing the value of blockchain to the D.C. United fanbase to elevate their experience, drive deeper engagement, and connect the growing crypto ecosystem to the club.”

Related Reading | NFTs In A Nutshell: A Weekly Review

XDC Network is the latest blockchain technology firm to find a partner in the MLS. | Source: XDC-USD on TradingView.com

The NFL’s Latest Perspective On Crypto Sponsorship Deals 

Last week’s Sports Slice highlighted the NFL’s latest lobbying efforts with the SEC and other U.S. federal agencies. This week, a new report from the Sports Business Journal states that the NFL is still proceeding with care; despite massive success in the Super Bowl commercial execution from crypto companies like Coinbase, the league isn’t ready to go all-in quite yet.

League representatives told SBJ that they are “hopeful” that a league-wide crypto policy can come into place in the next 30 days, admitting that it realistically “may or may not happen.” The league’s current hesitance lies within the lack of current regulatory framework, and SBJ reports that the league is “is more confident in products based on the blockchain that don’t require cryptocurrencies to function,” citing the deal with Ticketmaster to produce NFTs. In present day, the league is certainly more prone to revenue-driving opportunities that don’t require the league to take on the level of risk that current hands-on crypto engagement is exposing.

The First-Ever Metaverse Stadium?

Manchester City has been one of the more aggressive Premier Club teams, and now the club is working with Sony’s VR team to build a “virtual duplicate of the Etihad Stadium” that will serve as the team’s virtual HQ. The club already has a fan token established with Chiliz, and despite rocky relationships at times with potential blockchain partners, it’s bullish to see Man City still pursuing new avenues to engage with fans.

Featured image from Pexels, Charts from TradingView.com
The writer of this content is not associated or affiliated with any of the parties mentioned in this article. This is not financial advice.
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Ponzi Scam: BitConnect’s Indian Founder Charged In $2.4 Billion Bogus Scheme

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A federal grand jury in San Diego charged the founder of a cryptocurrency startup Friday in a broad indictment that claims he cheated investors of more than $2.4 billion in a Ponzi scam.

Prosecutors say the fraud is the largest of its sort ever prosecuted criminally.

Satish Kumbhani, 36, of Hemal in Gujarat, India, swindled investors regarding BitConnect’s “Lending Program,” according to court filings.

Based on the indictment, Kumbhani founded BitConnect in 2016 as a “classic Ponzi scam.” he US Department of Justice said the exchange reached a peak market valuation of $3.4 billion.

Prosecutors allege that BitConnect’s proprietary technology made misleading promises about returns based on phony “volatility software” that monitored bitcoin exchange markets.

Another Major Ponzi Scam

According to court filings, the program was allegedly created to trade automatically and successfully by buying and selling Bitcoin’s volatility.

However, a large portion of the technology remained unknown to investors. When someone requested a demo at a 2017 event, Kumbhani was evasive:

“So you’re asking me a pretty difficult question,” he explained to one journalist. Later, as described by the Los Angeles Times, he stated, “We are not sharing anything for privacy concerns.”

BitConnect halted operations in January 2018 after receiving cease-and-desist letters from North Carolina and Texas state regulators.

Total crypto market cap at $1.766 trillion in the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com

The global repercussions was fast, with South Korean investors becoming “paranoid” and one promoter informing Kumbhani that people were discussing suicide in chat rooms, the indictment stated.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges against Kumbhani on September 1 for securing more than $2 billion in an unregistered offering.

Glenn Arcaro, BitConnect’s main promoter in North America, pleaded guilty that day.

Long Prison Time

Kumbhani is facing charges for conspiracy to commit price manipulation and wire fraud, as well as operating an unregulated money transfer business and conspiracy to launder money in foreign shores.

Kumbhani also violated US financial industry regulations, including those imposed by the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

For instance, despite the fact that BitConnect transacted money through its digital currency exchange, BitConnect never registered with FinCEN, as required by the US Bank Secrecy Act.

As bitcoin grows in popularity and encouraging foreign investors from all over the world, “alleged fraudsters like Kumbhani are deploying increasingly complicated methods to deceive investors,” Ryan Korner, special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Office in Los Angeles, disclosed.

Kumbhani, who is still at large, faces a maximum sentence of 70 years behind bars if convicted on all charges.

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Russian Politicians’ Crypto Wallets Targeted By Ukraine – Hefty Reward Up For Grabs

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Ukraine is exploring more means of thwarting Russia’s onslaught on their country by running after government official’s crypto wallets.

Ukrainian authorities are attempting to stay ahead of crypto-savvy Russian officials who may shift to digital currency in order to evade rising efforts to financially isolate the Kremlin and its allies.

Wars can be waged on numerous fronts, as few stones are left unturned in the pursuit of the most effective techniques for gaining the upper hand.

Ukraine demonstrates resourcefulness in this aspect, as it fights Russia’s recent unprovoked invasion with conventional military techniques.

The country – which is unparalleled in terms of military capacity – is now hellbent on crippling Russian political figures by actively pursuing information about any digital wallets they may possess.

Ukraine Dangles Reward For Crypto Wallets Info

Vice Premier Mykhailo Fedorov announced on Saturday that the Ukrainian crypto community will reward those who give information.

The government has already begun soliciting cryptocurrency donations via social media and has advertised in online hacker forums that it is seeking assistance in defending against cyberattacks.

Federov also indicated that Ukraine is assembling an “IT army.”

Russia’s policy of combating adversaries using digital assets and online means has been in place for a long time, and the Ukrainian hope is that it may be turned around on them in a significant way.

Total crypto market cap at $1.731 trillion | Source: TradingView.com

Sanctions are among the most potent measures available to the United States and its Western allies for influencing the behavior of states they regard as threats.

And in this instance, a bounty for anyone who can provide information about crypto wallets belonging to Russian and Belarusian politicians can be a very effective instrument.

Bounty To Be Paid By Private Donors

According to Artem Afian, a Ukrainian attorney in charge of the project, the incentives for politicians’ crypto wallet information will be paid by private donations rather than by the Ukrainian government.

Afian did not disclose the total amount raised thus far, but said that donations were made primarily in Ether (ETH), but also in Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies.

Ukraine’s actions demonstrate how cryptocurrencies can cross borders and be used by both those seeking assistance and those attempting to evade the law.

Afian said he intends to publish a list of politicians’ addresses over the next two to three days and distribute it to major cryptocurrency exchanges.

Putin May Not Fall Into The Trap

The primary goal is to flag these addresses as “unsafe” and to deter individuals and businesses from transacting with them.

However, it is unlikely that Russian President Vladimir Putin will fall victim to this dragnet.

According to credible grapevines, Putin is notoriously averse to technology and reportedly does not own a cellphone.

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