Monthly report of October
This monthly report examines the most important cryptocurrency news in October and delves into the fact that cryptocurrencies are going mainstream.
October in the cryptocurrency market
October was a really positive month for cryptocurrency prices. The prices of the two largest cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum, were on a strong rise. The price of Ethereum shot up nearly 45 percent, while the price of Bitcoin rose about 40 percent. In October, both cryptocurrencies also exceeded previous all-time high prices that were more than six months old. The price of Ethereum peaked in October at around 3,850 euros and the price of Bitcoin at around 57,500 euros. The prices of Litecoin and Chainlink, on the other hand, increased by about 25 percent. The price of Aave went up just under 15 percent in October.
News about cryptocurrencies going mainstream
In October, several positive news items appeared regarding the fact that cryptocurrencies are going mainstream. Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin, in particular, established themselves in traditional financial markets when the first two Bitcoin ETFs began trading in the United States. Also, Mastercard, a major player in the traditional financial world, is bringing the opportunity for banks and merchants to integrate cryptocurrencies into their services. In addition, technology giant Google and retail chain Walmart took significant steps forward in the cryptocurrency world. The following is a review of these issues and their implications for the fact that cryptocurrencies are going mainstream.
Bitcoin ETFs to the United States
Long-awaited Bitcoin ETFs ie. exchange-traded funds began trading in the United States in October. The Bitcoin futures ETFs of exchange-traded product provider ProShares and cryptocurrency investment service provider Valkyrie started trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Bitcoin futures ETF includes Bitcoin futures instead of real bitcoins. A future is a derivative contract between two parties that commits to buy or sell an underlying asset at an agreed price at a specified point in time in the future.
ProShares’s ETF was the first Bitcoin ETF to be released in the United States and it gained tremendous popularity in the early days. ProShares's ETF was actively traded on the first day, with a trading volume of approximately EUR 850 million. This made it the second-largest ETF ever when measured in trading volume. On the other hand, based on the assets under management, the popularity of ProShares’s ETFs was the highest ever. ProShares’ ETF raised more than $ 1 billion in funds in just two days. The second Bitcoin ETF, the Valkyrie Bitcoin ETF, did not reach as high numbers on the first days.
Bitcoin ETFs bring Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to the attention and availability of an even larger audience. ETFs make investing in cryptocurrencies easier for institutional investors, in particular. This is due, for example, to the fact that Bitcoin-related regulation and accounting practices are still relatively undeveloped. Moreover, purchasing and storing bitcoins is not yet very simple for a large institutional player at this stage. Buying an ETF is easier from the perspective of an institutional player because ETFs are tightly regulated, they can be bought on the New York Stock Exchange, and their accounting practices are well established.
Mastercard's plans for cryptocurrency infrastructure
According to the US media house CNBC, Mastercard is developing a large cryptocurrency infrastructure in cooperation with Bakkt, a US provider of cryptocurrency trading, payment and custody services. According to Mastercard’s plans, thousands of banks and millions of merchants would have the opportunity to integrate cryptocurrencies into their services. According to information received by CNBC, Mastercard's plans include a Bitcoin wallet, as well as credit and debit cards that allow payments in cryptocurrencies and earn rewards in cryptocurrencies. Also, Mastercard is planning loyalty programs where airline and hotel points could be converted into bitcoins. In addition, banks and merchants using the services of a payment service giant could offer their customers the opportunity to trade in cryptocurrencies using Bakkt’s integrated trading platform.
Mastercard’s plans could be a huge leap forward for cryptocurrencies, as there are around 2.8 billion Mastercard cards in use worldwide. By comparison, cryptocurrencies had about 220 million users in June of this year, according to a study by a cryptocurrency trading platform Crypto.com. Thus, Mastercard’s cryptocurrency infrastructure has the potential to bring tremendous global attention to cryptocurrencies. Moreover, plans like this tell us that leading players in the traditional financial world see the potential of cryptocurrencies. Therefore, it makes sense for such players to create cryptocurrency services rather than opposing and competing against cryptocurrencies.
Walmart and Google are taking steps forward in the cryptocurrency world
Also, Google announced in October that it had partnered with Bakkt. Bakkt’s virtual debit card users can now add their card to Google’s payment application Google Pay. This allows Bakkt debit card users to pay for their purchases in cryptocurrencies, for example, on their phone with Google Pay, wherever contactless payment or Google Pay is accepted. However, it is important to note that when paying with cryptocurrencies, the cryptocurrencies are exchanged, ie sold in a payment situation to a fiat currency such as the euro or the dollar.
Walmart, the world's largest company by revenue, has installed 200 Bitcoin ATMs in its stores in the United States. These 200 ATMs are part of a pilot program and in the future, Walmart plans to install a total of up to 8,000 Bitcoin ATMs in the United States. With a Bitcoin ATM, it is possible to buy and sell bitcoin in cash. Walmart is installing the machines in partnership with Coinstar, which provides coin-cash machines, and Coinme, which provides cryptocurrency-cash exchange services. Walmart’s Bitcoin ATMs will bring more attention to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in the U.S. and lower the threshold for new people to buy bitcoin for the first time as it’s possible with cash on a casual shopping trip.
In October, the position of cryptocurrencies improved in the financial markets, among traditional financial world players and major companies. Bitcoin futures ETFs will improve the position of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in the financial markets and, in particular, among institutional investors. On the other hand, the increased involvement of Mastercard, Google and Walmart in the cryptocurrency world can significantly increase the global cryptocurrency coverage and improve the use of cryptocurrencies in different payment situations. The improving position of cryptocurrencies among traditional financial market participants and major companies has been a clear trend this year. This trend is likely to continue in the future, as there are currently no factors to suggest that the trend is slowing.Ville Viitaharju Cryptocurrency specialist