The week in review: Bitcoin bouncing back in India

It’s been another rollercoaster week in the world of crypto. We’ve got news from around the world, as well as updates on a couple of popular crypto projects. Get it while it’s hot.

Bitcoin trading in India on the rise

India has seen a surge in Bitcoin trading following the Supreme Court’s decision in March to reverse the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) longstanding ban on banks providing financial services to crypto firms.

Trading volume on Mumbai-based WazirX, one of India’s leading crypto exchanges, rose 400% and 270% month-on-month in March and April, respectively. The exchange is now facilitating around 60 million trades per day, up from 20 million before March. Analytics site Useful Tulips, meanwhile, found that the same was true for other local exchanges. The country’s two main exchanges, Paxful and LocalBitcoins reported $1.48 million and $1.25 million BTC traded respectively on 10 May alone. The combined total, roughly $2.7 million, is just shy of the $2.9 million traded in December 2017.

With a population in excess of 1.3 billion people – more than half of whom have internet access – the potential for growth is huge and it is likely that the country is just getting started on its crypto journey.

Brave Browser hits another milestone

It’s been another successful year for cryptocurrency-powered web browser, Brave. The privacy-focused Google alternative this week announced that its monthly active user count increased by a massive 125% over the past year, reaching 15.4 million by the end of May. Daily active users, meanwhile, were averaging 5.3 million – up 165% on 2 million users last year.

Brave Browser is an open source web browser created by Mozilla founder and JavaScript creator Brendan Eich. Its aim is to provide better privacy and put an end to intrusive ads and trackers. For crypto fans, there is also an opt-in advertisement system powered by the Ethereum blockchain and the firm’s proprietary Basic Attention Token (BAT), which you can earn for watching ads.

The browser was further buoyed this week by popular podcaster Joe Rogan’s revelation that he uses it. The endorsement came in a podcast with Reggie Watts, with Rogan saying he used Brave along with Duck Duck Go, which Watts said was “not as good” as Brave since “the search engine sucks”. Could Rogan’s endorsement mean even higher numbers next year?

Civil shuts its doors

It wasn’t such good news for Civil, though. The startup raised $5 million from ConsenSys in 2017 as it attempted to use blockchain to decentralise the funding and “vetting” of journalism, but is now shutting down after four years.

CEO Matthew Illes wrote in a blog post announcing the end of the company that “We built innovative technology, supported award-winning journalists, and inspired many people all over the world with our vision for a more participatory media landscape. But ultimately, we failed to sustain ourselves independently.

“This isn’t the outcome we had envisioned, but nevertheless, we’re proud of what we accomplished. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our passionate community.”

The firm was one of the bigger names to come out of the 2017 crypto rush, signing up more than 100 organisations across its network including established media firms such as The Associated Press and Forbes. But after two failed initial coin offerings, things just never seemed to take off, despite its admirable mission. Civil’s team will join Consensys and continue developing decentralised identity software for Ethereum.

Conference giveaway brings back memories

Ahh remember the early days of crypto. It was giveaway after giveaway after giveaway. Fortunately, that generous spirit is still alive and well among some in the space, including Tim Draper’s blockchain venture studio, Draper Goren Holm.

Draper Goren Holm is pledging to give away at least $1 million in Bitcoin payouts to attendees of its Los Angeles blockchain summit, which is now set to take place virtually later this year.

“There is no better time to learn more about crypto and blockchain than right now,” said Alon Goren, founding partner at Draper Goren Holm. “It’s going to be really, really exciting. We’re obviously true believers in the space.”

The firm currently has almost 1,000 sign-ups, which is equal to roughly $100,000 in expected Bitcoin payouts.

Keep reading…

Luno’s view on the regulation of cryptocurrency

Crypto in 2020: The year so far

A beginner’s guide to crypto market analysis

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