Ukraine Is the Most Crypto-Aware Country Followed by Russia and the US: Survey

According to a resent research, the population of the Eastern European state – Ukraine – is the most interested in digital assets. Russia and the USA ranked respectively second and third.

Surpassing The Giants

The cryptocurrency brokerage firm BrokerChooser took into account several factors such as the total number of digital asset owners and the global adoption index to determine which is the most crypto-aware country across the globe.

Google searches with the phrases “cryptocurrency,” “compare cryptocurrency,” “what cryptocurrency to invest in,” “cryptocurrency to buy,” “cryptocurrency trading,” “cryptocurrency trends,” and “cryptocurrency brokers” also played a significant role in the survey.

Despite its financial problems, war issues, and a high percentage of poverty, Ukrainians have reportedly shown major interest in digital assets recently and topped the chart with a 7.97 score (out of 10). The largest nation by landmass – Russia – ranked second, while the biggest economy – the USA – landed in the third position.

It is worth noting that the fourth place belongs to another country that experiences economic difficulties – Kenya. This should not come as a surprise since, as the research outlined, people from emerging markets often turn their sight towards the digital asset industry to protect their savings in the face of currency devaluation.


On the other hand, adoption in well-developed areas like North America, Western Europe, and Eastern Asia is powered mainly by institutional investors, BrokerChooser noted.

Ukraine Ready for Crypto

The cryptocurrency environment in the ex-Soviet state is somewhat confusing, as of the moment, since digital tokens are neither legal nor prohibited. While Ukrainians cannot use bitcoin or the altcoins as payment options for goods or services, traders and investors can buy and sell them on exchanges within the country.

Last month, though, the local parliament passed a bill that could legitimize and regulate digital assets within Ukraine’s borders. Once approved by President Volodymyr Zelensky, the new legislation will offer protection to investors and trading venues from fraud.

Mykhailo Fedorov – Minister of Digital Transformation – highlighted the popularity of the asset class among the Ukrainian population. He raised hopes that the Eastern European nation could become one of those where it has legal status.

In his turn, Oleg Kurchenko – CEO of the platform Binaryx – opined that if successful, the bill “will reduce stereotypical attitudes towards cryptocurrencies and will help them become normal financial instruments.” There was a concern that mistrust of the state could drive some investors away, Kurchenko added.


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On Confidently Misunderstanding Bitcoin: A Response To Steve Hanke

Economist Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins University is well-known in the Bitcoin community for posting innumerable variations of the same tweet — “Bitcoin is too volatile and has a fundamental value of 0.” (I suspect he still hasn’t read my essay on how to think about Bitcoin’s value.)

But in a recent opinion piece, “How Innovative Is Crypto?”, Hanke tried his hand at some new arguments. The essay is subtitled, “The case for crypto as a driver of innovation is thin.” In it, Hanke purports to show that cryptocurrencies aren’t that innovative. Here, I’ll show how he fails.

There are three main problems with his essay. The first is that he considers only two features of cryptocurrencies: they’re digital and they’re private. The second is that he relies on an exceptionally narrow and unstated definition of the word “private” and pretends that then invalidates Bitcoiners’ focus on what true financial privacy entails. The third is that his statistics are outdated; more recent data paints a very different picture.

I’ll tackle the problems in turn.

First, he purports to show that cryptocurrencies aren’t innovative. He attempts to do this by showing that digital, private money already exists. But even if he’s right that it does (which is the focus of the second problem), he ignores all the other interesting features of cryptocurrencies that proponents point to. With respect to Bitcoin, those features are that it’s cryptographically secured, censorship-resistant, inclusive, borderless, unseizable, supply-capped, decentralized and permissionless. Even if Hanke is right about his claims, he has failed to make the case that Bitcoin isn’t innovative in these other ways.

Second, he invokes the word “private” but fails to define exactly what he means and which guarantees his usage implies.. He begins by saying, “readers with bank accounts may be tickled to learn that they have been using private, digital money for a long time.” He goes on to point out that bank accounts are increasingly digital. This is true. A lot of money these days only exists digitally.

The sense of “private” that Bitcoiners care about is that financial information is “not to be shared with or revealed to others.” People with bank accounts have not been using private money in this sense; their bank account information is regularly shared with or revealed to authorities. Another sense of “private” is that an asset is “provided or owned by an individual or an independent, commercial company rather than by the government”. Private in this sense exists as a contrast to “public”; your house is your private property while the park across the street is public property. In this case, people have been using private money; the money in their bank accounts is often created by private banks and is owned by the individual, not the government.

There’s another sense of private money which is: money that isn’t, in general, controlled by a government (thanks to Aaron Segal for pointing this out). Some Bitcoin proponents care about this sense of private money very much. The U.S. government controls the U.S. dollar in the relevant sense, so U.S. dollars in any bank account — or any pocket! or under any floorboards! — are not private.

Hanke uses the word “private” six times in the next two paragraphs! Every single time it means “provided or owned by an individual or an independent, commercial company rather than by the government” (i.e. the public vs. private property distinction), which is decidedly not the kind of privacy cryptocurrency advocates are talking about. Here are the phrases:

1) “…convertibility of private deposit money.”

2) “The Federal Reserve stands ready to convert every private, digital dollar…”

3) “[the Fed] converts private dollars into reserve money…”

4) “…settle private money transactions.”

5) “Using the clearinghouse apparatus provided by the Federal Reserve and various private consortia.”

6) “Private, digital money is nothing new.”

Clearly none of these have either of the two meanings of “private money” that Bitcoin proponents care about (transaction privacy; free of government control). So, Hanke hasn’t shown that private, digital money existed before Bitcoin in the form of U.S. dollars in bank accounts.

Third, Hanke’s statistics are outdated. He says, “ Academic research has found that roughly half of bitcoin transactions involve illegal activity.” The paper he cites says it uses data “from January 3, 2009, to the end of April 2017”. That was four and half years ago! A third of Bitcoin’s existence! Things have changed. Looking more recently, Chainalysis finds that illicit cryptocurrency transactions are just 0.34% of all cryptocurrency transactions, and CipherTrace similarly they’re less than 0.5%.

So Hanke’s assertion that “cryptocurrency’s value proposition rests overwhelmingly on its ability to provide end-runs around the law” is false. More than 99.5% of transactions are legal.

Hanke has been banging the same drum since February 2014 and seems not to be bothered by any new developments in Bitcoin or the fact that Bitcoin has gone from $600 to $55,000 since he first started bashing it.

Which brings us to a lesson we can all learn. People rarely change their minds. It involves a lot of cognitive effort to do so, so we tend to seek out evidence to confirm what we already believe. Also, changing our minds involves admitting — even if only to ourselves — that we were wrong about something. It’s much easier mentally and emotionally to continue to believe what we’ve always believed.

But that doesn’t lead to the truth. Things change and we are presented with new evidence. Sometimes we’re looking for the evidence and sometimes we’re not. But whenever we encounter new evidence, we shouldn’t dismiss it. We should take it seriously and evaluate whether it should cause us to revise our beliefs. And if we care about believing true things in some particular area, perhaps because we’re teaching a lot of people about it or because it matters to our own lives, then we should go out looking for evidence that we’re wrong and evaluate it with the desire of getting to the truth and not with the desire of being right. Only when we do that should we be confident in what we believe.

This is a guest post by Dr. Bradley Ritter. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.


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‘Urgent’ Action Needed—‘Massive’ Bitcoin And Crypto Price Collapse Warning Issued Over Systemic Risk

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices have charged higher this week, propelling the combined crypto market to its all-time high of around $2.5 trillion.

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The bitcoin price has added 50% since its September lows, climbing to over $60,000 per bitcoin for the first time since May as Wall Street giants increasingly begin offering bitcoin and crypto services to clients—including a highly-anticipated bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund (ETF).

Earlier this week, influential central banker Jon Cunliffe, currently serving as the Bank of England’s deputy governor for financial stability, warned “a massive collapse in crypto-asset prices [is a] plausible scenario” and the fast-growing bitcoin and crypto market could pose a threat to the financial system if not urgently regulated.

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“You don’t have to account for a large proportion of the financial sector to trigger financial stability problems,” Jon Cunliffe said in a speech, pointing to the crypto market growing by “roughly 200% in 2021, from just under $800 billion to $2.3 trillion today.”

“As the [2008 global] financial crisis showed us, you don’t have to account for a large proportion of the financial sector to trigger financial stability problems—sub-prime was valued at around $1.2 trillion in 2008.”

While the bitcoin price has risen considerably over recent years it remains highly volatile. In May, after the bitcoin price rose to almost $65,000 per bitcoin, the market went into freefall with the bitcoin price losing almost half its value in a matter of days.

Cunliffe named major banks’ expansion into crypto services, the growth of crypto hedge funds, and payment companies looking into allowing people to settle transactions in stablecoins—cryptocurrencies pegged to traditional currency—as indicative of the growing risk.

Cunliffe, who has played a central role in monitoring cryptocurrencies over recent years as an adviser to the G20’s financial stability board and the Geneva-based Bank of International Settlements, called on regulators to urgently rein in the red-hot market with tough regulations.

“When something in the financial system is growing very fast, and growing in largely unregulated space, financial stability authorities have to sit up and take notice,” Cunliffe said, adding: “Regulators internationally and in many jurisdictions have begun the work. It needs to be pursued as a matter of urgency.”

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This week, San Fransisco-based bitcoin and crypto exchange Coinbase called for the creation of a single dedicated body to regulate the crypto market, arguing existing regulators are too fragmented and U.S. securities law outdated. Gary Gensler, the chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has been charged by lawmakers to address their crypto market concerns.

Coinbase and Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by volume that currently doesn’t have a fixed headquarters, have both clashed with regulators around the world this year as watchdogs wrestle with how to police the new digital asset class that transcends many traditional systems.

Many bitcoin and crypto companies are calling for regulatory clarity that they think will help bring fresh funding and innovation to the burgeoning crypto space.

“We welcome further regulation in the space as it will attract more capital and interest, and this is already happening,” Martha Reyes, head of research at digital asset prime brokerage and exchange Bequant, said in emailed comments. “However, it is a stretch to say that the sector threatens financial stability.”

Cunliffe isn’t the first to warn the blisteringly hot bitcoin and crypto market could spark a future meltdown. Earlier this year, Viktor Shvets, a managing director at Macquarie, told the Odd Lots podcast the next financial crisis could originate in the mania for cryptocurrencies.


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Grayscale Investments Set to File for Bitcoin Spot ETF as Competition Heats Up

Grayscale Investments, known for its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), is planning on filing an application to convert its flagship fund into a spot ETF early next week. Grayscale, which has been the dominant player in the digital asset space, is now looking to revamp its fund due to competition. 

First Bitcoin Futures ETF Set to Trade Early Next Week, Adding More Competition for Grayscale

Last Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the first ever Bitcoin futures ETF, which is set to trade on the New York Stock Exchange early next week. The move has been hailed as a “watershed moment” by many, where Bitcoin is finally solidifying its legitimacy as an asset class to Wall Street and mainstream investors. 

Related Reading | Bitcoin ETF Receives Approval from SEC, Marking Historic Day for Crypto 

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The ETF, managed by investment firm ProShares, will feature a low management fee of 0.95%, compared to Grayscale’s 2%. Another benefit that the new ETF provides is the lack of redemption periods – something that has plagued GBTC’s investors since its very inception. 

Why Grayscale’s Potential Spot Bitcoin ETF May Outperform Futures ETFs

The Bitcoin-futures ETF is a step in the right direction in making cryptocurrencies more accessible for the everyday investor; however, many crypto investors have argued that the ETF’s utilization of derivative contracts, which are traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), would prove to be far inferior compared to a spot ETF holding actual Bitcoin. 

Related Reading | Grayscale Looks to Bolster Investment Offerings with 13 more Cryptos, Including Polygon, Solana, and ICP 

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Contango, which is a phenomenon that occurs when futures prices are above expected future spot price, means that investors will lose out potential gains due to the Bitcoin futures contracts expiring higher than the cryptocurrency’s spot price. Joe Orsini, director of research at Eagle Brook Advisors, explained the following disadvantages in his Twitter thread: 

If approved, Grayscale’s spot Bitcoin ETF would be backed by actual Bitcoins, rather than derivatives that track the cryptocurrency’s price. Grayscale already has a significant portion of the world’s circulating Bitcoin supply. 

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust

Barry Silberts, the founder of Digital Currency Group and Grayscale Investments, took to Twitter to hint at upcoming changes for GBTC. He joked, “[f]riends don’t let friends buy and hold futures-based ETFs.” Though, there may be some truth behind the statement yet. 

Featured image from UnSplash


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Top 5 cryptocurrencies to watch this week: BTC, ETH, SOL, MATIC, FTM

On Oct. 15, news that a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) could start trading as early as next week sent Bitcoin price to $62,933 but the rally has cooled off since then.

Some market participants believe that traders who bought the rumor of approval for a Bitcoin ETF product may sell on the news. Crypto trading firm QCP Capital said in an update that the approval of futures-based ETFs is unlikely to provide a long-term boost for Bitcoin prices similar to the one seen in the fourth quarter of 2020.

While high volatility cannot be ruled out in the near term, investors should focus on the major trend and not get caught in minor corrections that are part of the path to new all-time highs.

Crypto market data daily view. Source: Coin360

According to Foxbit founder João Canhada, his daughter has earned a 6,500% profit on the one Bitcoin gift she received when she was born in 2017. Although she couldn’t have traded the coin at such a young age, the returns show that patient investors who are not perturbed by a minor fall can end up with huge returns.

Could Bitcoin’s rally to a new all-time high pull altcoins along with it? Let’s study the charts of the top five cryptocurrencies that could outperform in the short term.