The week in review: Bitcoin recovers coronavirus losses
Stuck in quarantine? Self-isolating? Social distancing? Whatever your current status, have no fear – we’ve got plenty for you to read to pass the time. Kick things off with the latest headlines.
Bitcoin recovers losses as governments throw kitchen sink at economies
Bitcoin has surged above $6,000 and is heading towards $7,000 per Bitcoin (as of 13:00 GMT) – recovering slightly from heavy losses made during last Thursday’s global market turmoil.
Last week, Bitcoin prices tanked almost 50% from slightly shy of $8,000, briefly dripping below $4,000. The movement suggests that Bitcoin may have decoupled itself from the slowly recovering equities market – at least for now – having closely tracked equity performance amid fears surrounding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy.
The rise comes as governments across the world slash interest rates and inject huge stimulus packages into their economies.
Mining for a coronavirus cure
CoreWeave, the largest US miner on the Ethereum blockchain, is redirecting 6,000 specialised graphics processing units (GPUs) towards research by Stanford University’s Folding@home into therapy for the coronavirus.
The aim of Folding@home is to connect thousands of computers from around the world to create a distributed supercomputer for disease research.
CoreWeave co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Brian Venturo, explained that: “Their research had profound impacts on the development of front-line HIV defence drugs, and we are hoping our [computing power] will aid in the fight against coronavirus.”
“Their protein simulations attempt to find potential ‘pockets’ where existing [U.S. federal agency Food and Drug Administration (FDA)] approved drugs or other known compounds could help inhibit or treat the virus,” he continued. “[Ethereum mining ecosystem] is basically the largest GPU compute resource on the planet. We were able to redeploy our hardware to help fight a global pandemic in minutes.”
Ex-Bakkt CEO in hot water after appearing to cash in on Corona news
Former Bakkt CEO-turned-Senator Kelly Loeffler (Republican-Georgia) has come under fire after appearing to sell off millions in stock ahead of the recent coronavirus-induced market crash, according to financial disclosures.
According to The Daily Beast, Loeffler reported the first sale of stock on January 24, the same day her committee, the Senate Health Committee, hosted a private meeting on coronavirus.
Loeffler and her husband carried out 29 stock transactions through mid-February – all but two of which were sales. Her purchases include stock in Citrix, a technology company that offers teleworking software. They’re one of very few stocks to have seen a small bump in its stock price.
Loeffler denied the accusations in Tweets late Thursday night.
This is a ridiculous and baseless attack. I do not make investment decisions for my portfolio. Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband’s knowledge or involvement.
— Senator Kelly Loeffler (@SenatorLoeffler) March 20, 2020
She is the second senator found to have sold millions in stocks weeks ahead of the market crash. Senator Richard Burr (Republican-North Carolina), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, reportedly sold between $500,000 and $1.5 million in stock last month.
Steem to hard fork today
There’s been another twist in the Steem psychodrama following Tron founder Justin Sun’s takeover of Steemit. A Steem community group called Hive is set to hard fork to Hive.io in an effort to remove Justin Sun’s Steemit Inc. from the group.
Sun and the Steem community have been in an ongoing battle over who controls the social media and content-focused blockchain. And it seems the community also now has powerful support – Huobi and Binance previously supported Sun’s move to acquire Steem and used their token supply to back his moves, but it would appear that the exchanges have now changed their stance and will facilitate the Hive fork. Binance has said they will distribute the new hive tokens to steem holders in 1:1 ratio.
Steem is best known as a crypto alternative to Medium, in which bloggers share block rewards according to the popularity of their posts.
Kentucky distiller tokenises $20M of bourbon whiskey
In some non-corona-related news, tokenised whiskey! United States-based Wave Financial Group has announced that they will manage the tokenisation of up to $20 million worth of bourbon whiskey produced by Kentucky-based Wilderness Trail Distillery. The The “Wave Kentucky Whiskey 2020 Digital Fund” will see between 10,000 and 20,000 barrels of liquor offered through a specialised digital asset fund, whereby investors can purchase tokens linked to the inventory of whiskey barrelled this year.
The firm’s president and fund manager Benjamin Tsai said the approach made investing in the spirit much more accessible: “The [fund] provides investors a rare opportunity to access this unique asset class traditionally unavailable due to high upfront costs and purchase minimums, low liquidity, scarcity of production capacity, and technical know-how.”