Cryptocurrency and stock trading app Robinhood will roll out its digital wallet feature for 2 million additional users.
In a Thursday announcement at the Bitcoin 2022 Conference in Miami, Robinhood chief product officer Aparna Chennapragada said eligible customers who had been on the waitlist for the digital wallet — more than two million people — can now send and receive cryptocurrencies. In addition, the platform is planning to integrate the Bitcoin Lightning Network to reduce the time and cost of transactions as well as their carbon footprint.
According to Robinhood, the crypto wallets will not be available to users in Hawaii, Nevada or New York “due to local regulations.” The platform had been testing its digital wallet feature since September 2021, completing its first alpha transfer using Dogecoin (DOGE) in November 2021 and launching the beta version for tens of thousands of users in January 2022.
The reaction from many Robinhood users on social media after a seven-month wait seemed to be mostly positive, though some pointed out that the wallet will not support Ethereum (ETH)-based services like nonfungible tokens and ERC-20 tokens. According to the firm’s FAQ page, any NFTs or unsupported tokens sent to a Robinhood Ethereum address may be lost.
Chicago-based payment app Strike has integrated with global e-commerce giant Shopify so merchants can accept Bitcoin payments via the Bitcoin Lightning Network.
The Lightning Network (LN) is a Layer-2 scaling solution for Bitcoin designed to facilitate faster and cheaper transactions.
Strike CEO Jack Mallers revealed the new integration on stage at Miami's Bitcoin 2022 conference today. The move could allow Shopify’s almost two million global merchants to accept Bitcoin payments denominated in USD. However the only merchant partner cited in Strike's official release was Warren Lotas, an LA based streetwear brand — and that site was down at the time of writing.
Shopify is the world’s 18th largest ecommerce company with about $4.6 billion in annual revenue according to market research site Macrotrends. Its service enables merchants to set up an online store in 175 different countries.
“If I wanna walk into a whole foods, a McDonald's and use a different payment network, its this thing... As the merchant, you can receive in #BTC, take Starbucks points, I don't care." - Jack Mallers pic.twitter.com/6sW4U6cvaJ April 7, 2022
The Bitcoin 2022 official Twitter account stated the integration was already live and quoted Mallers chiding the modern payments system which started in 1949 with the Diners Club card:
“Any online merchant that uses Shopify can accept payments without the 1949 boomer network, receive it instantly, cash final, no intermediary no 3% fee.”
According to Mallers one of the main advantages to using Bitcoin via Lightning is that payments settle nearly instantly as opposed to the “late, two to 15 day settlement” he cited as a drawback of existing common electronic payment methods. He added that instant settlements help both consumers and merchants complete accounting work and know their exact balances faster.
Terraform Labs (TFL) and the Luna Foundation Guard (LFG) have announced they have purchased a combined $200 million worth of AVAX tokens from the Avalanche Foundation.
TFL, the company responsible for the development of the Terra blockchain, swapped $100 million worth of Terra’s native token, LUNA for AVAX tokens, in order to “strategically align ecosystem incentives”, according to Terra’s twitter.
LFG, a non-profit organization mandated to build reserves for Terra’s algorithmic stablecoin UST, used its own holdings of UST to purchase an additional $100 million worth of AVAX from the Avalanche Foundation.
These purchases are meant to reinforce the stability of Terra’s native UST stablecoin, which currently has a market cap of $16.7 billion.
Do Kwon, the founder of Terraform Labs, told Bloomberg that LFG selected AVAX for its UST reserves because of solid growth in the blockchain’s ecosystem as well as the stark loyalty of its users.
“Avalanche is still a growing ecosystem — a lot of it is fueled by loyalty to the AVAX token and users feel a lot of affinity with an asset that aligns itself with AVAX…whereas for the average Ethereum user, aligning yourself with Ether doesn’t really mean that much.”
As Terra continues to strengthen the position of UST, competitors are looking for new ways to dethrone the stablecoin. Near Protocol (NEAR), a Layer-1 blockchain and competitor to both Ethereum and Terra, is rumored to be releasing a stablecoin called USN, which will reportedly also offer a decentralized finance protocol capable of providing users with a 20% annual percentage yield (APY) on their USN deposits.
This is similar to the Terra ecosystem’s Anchor protocol which currently offers users a 19.49% APY on UST deposits.
In a Substack post detailing what he understands of the plans, Crypto Insiders Telegram group founder Zoran Kole argued that Near protocol was superior to both Etheruem and Terra, offering data from Electric Capital that outlined Near Protocol’s substantial growth in terms of development.
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