Equinox Group, one of the most popular luxury health and fitness clubs in the United States, is now permitting its members to pay for their membership subscriptions in cryptocurrencies.
While ranking as the very first gym centre to accept Bitcoin, it is not the first luxury brand to lend support to the nascent asset class in North America.
Equinox Group has partnered with crypto payments service provider, BitPay for the service, and per the new push, crypto owners can largely take advantage of the new payment model through the digital assets that BitPay is supporting.
“More than ever, consumers are making luxury purchases through cryptocurrency, and offering cryptocurrency as a form of payment enables Equinox to continue to meet their community where they are,” the company said in a statement.
It is not uncommon to find businesses now accepting Bitcoin and stablecoins as a means of payment as the demand for these digital currencies is going mainstream. More than ever, a higher number of individuals now hold crypto, and many are exploring avenues to spend their digital assets.
By permitting users to pay in cryptocurrencies, Equinox Group will be setting a precedent that may be emulated by a number of other players in the fitness industry. Equinox has as many as 35 clubs in New York City, with over 100 scattered across the country. Subscriptions on a monthly basis can be as high as $250.
Luxury auto brand Tesla Inc also supports Bitcoin as payment for its electric vehicles. While the company, under the leadership of Elon Musk has halted this service citing the coin’s environmental unfriendliness, Tesla has shone its radar on Dogecoin (DOGE) which it accepts as a means of payment for Tesla merchandise.
While companies are notably adopting crypto payments, a select number are backtracking on their decisions to accept cryptocurrencies with Wikipedia being the latest of these firms.
Algorand protocol has been unveiled as the official blockchain sponsor of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
The partnership between the blockchain startup and the world’s football governing body was unveiled on Monday by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Algorand founder Silvio Micali in Los Angeles, USA.
The partnership has effectively positioned Algorand as the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Regional Supporter in North America and Europe, and a FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™ Official Sponsor. Algorand will help in developing the digital strategy for FIFA and provide the body’s official blockchain-supported wallet solution.
“We are delighted to announce this partnership with Algorand. The collaboration is a clear indication of FIFA’s commitment to continually seeking innovative channels for sustainable revenue growth for further reinvestment back into football ensuring transparency to our stakeholders and worldwide football fans” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
The partnership will provide media publicity for Algorand who will also take up advertisement slots as well as utilize promotional opportunities to make the move a mutually beneficial one. In addition to the digital wallet, Algorand will also help facilitate the movement of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) that may be produced during the forthcoming tournament in Qatar.
While the length and monetary valuation of the partnership remain undisclosed, Algorand will come off as the latest crypto-based startup that has inked a functional partnership with FIFA ahead of the Qatar World Cup. In a related move, FIFA has named Crypto.com as its official exchange partner.
The close interactions between blockchain entities and sports outfits are growing at a fast pace with Crypto.com officially sponsoring Formula 1 outfit, Aston Martin as reported by Blockchain.News back in March 2021.
Tech talent and HR consultancy Techlinker Asia has partnered with TripleA to allow clients to remit payments in cryptocurrencies or stablecoins.
Hong Kong and Singapore-based Techlinker Asia focus on recruiting tech talent in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors.
Techlinker Asia claims to be the first company in the recruitment business to accept cryptocurrency as payment.
Clients who choose to make payments in cryptocurrencies will be processed through TripleA – a Singapore-based crypto payment gateway through this partnership.
Techlinker Asia works with growing start-up and technology firms in Hong Kong and Singapore to set up or expand their cross-border operations.
With TripleA’s real-time fiat conversion and local settlement process feature, Techlinker Asia will receive payment in fiat currency.
Carrie Lui, CEO of Techlinker Asia, said 80% of her clients are in the FinTech, cryptocurrency, and blockchain space and have been asking for options with regards to crypto payments, saying that “the demand is so strong that we’ve even had to turn down some new opportunities in the past since we were unable to process crypto payments. We are proud to take this bold step and be the first to accept cryptocurrency payments in our recruitment business.”
“Our mission is to help technology and start-up clients expand their cross-border business in Hong Kong and Singapore; Since many of these companies do not have local bank accounts or business operations, they remit payments through traditional cross-border payment methods and we believe with the support for crypto payments, can help these companies to be competitive and optimize their cross-border payment while maintaining a fast and secure payment flow.”
TripleA helps businesses increase their revenue by enabling crypto payments and payouts, leveraging the fast-growing 300m+ global crypto users.
However, Monetary Authority of Singapore Managing Director, Ravi Menon, has defended Wednesday the need for strict crypto rules to mitigate potential risks facing retail investors and the use of digital assets for money laundering and terrorism financing purposes, Blockchain.News reported.
While the head of Singapore’s Central Bank has acknowledged that regulators need to provide clarity to the industry.
McLaren Racing, a British motor racing team, has inked a multi-year deal with crypto exchange OKX (formerly OKEx) as the primary partner of McLaren Shadow esports Team and McLaren Formula 1 (F1) Team from this year.
Starting at the 2022 Miami Grand Prix, OKX branding will be incorporated into McLaren MCL36 F1 cars, McLaren Shadow Team Kit, and McLaren F1 Team Kit.
Moreover, the OKX brand will be placed on the helmets of leading McLaren F1 drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.
Zak Brown, the CEO of McLaren Racing, pointed out:
“The first-ever Miami Grand Prix is the perfect occasion for us to launch this significant partnership, through which we will collaborate with OKX to take our fan experience to all new levels.”
Therefore, the strategic partnership will enable OKX to support McLaren’s global fan experience, enabling enthusiasts to enjoy product innovations and exciting opportunities.
Brown welcomed this collaboration and stated:
“We are thrilled to announce this primary partnership with OKX ahead of the Miami GP. In a rapidly evolving field, OKX is a long-established crypto brand that brings innovation, analytics and accuracy to accomplish great things.”
To render more innovation on the OKX platform, Haider Rafique sees the partnership as a stepping stone towards heightened trade execution speeds because this requires ‘pit-like’ team collaboration and instincts.
The chief marketing officer at OKX added:
“The McLaren brand stands for everything that is great about F1. Speed, reliability, and performance are at the core of any top-class crypto trading platform.”
McLaren has been flexing its muscles in the crypto space because it recently entered the metaverse to showcase its luxury hypercars and supercars in NFTs or other digital artworks.
With 80% of racing teams in the 2022 F1 grid featuring at least one crypto sponsor, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff recently opined that cryptocurrencies are part of modern technology that cannot be ignored.
Blockchain technology company TRST01 (Trust O One) has established a cooperation with the blockchain protocol Rubix to provide a Web3 green blockchain technology platform focusing on the field of climate and environment to governments, organizations, and citizens, creating a green and zero-carbon emission future.
Two parties will use their professional blockchain knowledge to synthesize more private sector resources by working with the government and other departments to capture original information. They will use decentralized and peer-to-peer (P2P) Web3 technology to identify these resources and create a sustainable green economy.
KC Reddy, chief architect and founder of Rubix, said adopting a unified approach to digitizing climate action will be a major obstacle to future implementation.
“Enterprises and their stakeholders need to have a comprehensive and holistic system to capture, track, inform, and validate information,” said Reddy, adding that “this will drive transparent business decision-making, which will improve organizational agility and accelerate climate actions. These next-generation efforts to digitize climate actions must be based on Web3 technologies.”
As climate change is considered a desperate problem in modern times, blockchain technology promises to be a stepping stone to economic complexity and interoperability in the transition to renewable energy.
In 2020, a Multinational professional service firm and one of the Big four auditing firms, KPMG, offered a blockchain-based tool dubbed the Climate Accounting Infrastructure (CAI) to help organizations measure, mitigate, and report more accurately and offset their greenhouse gas emissions.
“Globally, one in three (35%) internet users are likely to invest in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency as a short-term investment (USA 24%; Canada 17%).”
The preference for crypto is higher among Americans than Canadians based on varying reasons, like sheltering their wealth from taxes and avoiding cross-border banking fees.
One factor that makes Canadians lag behind Americans in crypto investment and usage entails differing attitudes.
Fen Hampson, Chancellor’s Professor at Carleton University, pointed out:
“Given the big differences in attitudes between Canadians and Americans towards cryptocurrencies, there may be diminishing political capital in the Canadian population at large for those who want to promote the idea that consumers will use cryptocurrencies instead of the Loonie. However, in the United States, it is a different story.”
Lower crypto intake noted in Canada
According to Sean Simpson, an Ipsos member:
“It is notable that intended uptake of cryptocurrencies is lower in Canada than in most countries surveyed. Conservative leadership hopeful Pierre Poilievre has advocated for cryptocurrencies and their ability to help users opt out of inflation.”
A contrasting scenario is observed in the U.S. because of a more receptive audience, with Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis leading the pack as a vocal crypto supporter. She seeks to have this sector regulated and normalized.
Meanwhile, the appeal for crypto use is higher among younger generations. Per the report:
“In the United States, four in ten (40%) Americans aged 18-34 are at least somewhat likely to use a cryptocurrency to buy a good or service in the next year. In Canada, those aged 18-34 are most inclined to say they’re at least somewhat likely (29%) to use a cryptocurrency in the next year to buy a good or service.”
A recent poll by NBC News revealed that one in five (20%) Americans had used, traded, or invested in cryptocurrency.
The online Ipsos Survey interviewed 14,519 internet users in 20 countries between November 10 and 24, 2021. The respondents were aged between 16 and 74 years.
The countries involved included Sweden, Turkey, the United States, Spain, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Poland, Mexico, Kenya, Japan, Israel, Indonesia, India, Great Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Brazil, and Australia.
The Emirate’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), Dubai’s new cryptocurrency regulator, announced on Tuesday that it has created a virtual headquarters in The Sandbox metaverse platform.
The Sandbox is a platform linked to the Ethereum-based blockchain in which users can purchase and sell play games, plots of land, and earn digital currency.
Sebastien Borget, COO and Co-founder of The Sandbox, disclosed firstly the development on Tuesday. Borget said: “We are thrilled to witness the progressive mission of Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) and the UAE, establishing itself at the forefront of innovation to enable the current global movement by being the first regulator in the open metaverse.”
The Emirate’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) claims that it is the first regulatory authority in the virtual world to develop its headquarters in the metaverse. In a statement, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council stated: “Today, VARA joins the metaverse to become Dubai’s — and the metaverse — first government authority, ushering in a new era in which Dubai Government utilizes modern innovations to extend its services.”
The Dubai regulator stated that the metaverse headquarters will serve as a primary channel that engages virtual asset service providers (VASPs) across the world to initiate applications, enable licensed individuals and entities to enter the metaverse, openly share knowledge and experiences with consumers, and regulators to raise awareness, drive global interoperability, and enable safe adoption.
A New Hub for Crypto Players
In March, the Dubai Virtual Asset and Services Authority (VARA) was established to award licenses to crypto companies seeking to set up in Dubai and to oversee activities related to cryptocurrencies.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has embraced a friendly regulatory approach, which is attracting crypto companies and boosting the domestic crypto sector. Dubai is competing with the likes of Singapore and the UK to become the global hub for cryptocurrency and appears to be very well-placed to do so.
Riot Blockchain, Inc, a Colorado-based Bitcoin mining company, announced Tuesday that its Bitcoin production and mining operations have surged in April.
Riot said that it produced 508 Bitcoins last month, an increase of about 150%, compared to 203 Bitcoins produced in April 2021.
As of April 30, the crypto mining firm stated that it held approximately 6,320 Bitcoins, all produced by the company’s self-mining operations.
Riot further mentioned that last month, it sold 250 Bitcoin generating net proceeds of about $10.0 million.
The firm also disclosed that currently, it has deployed a fleet of approximately 46,375 miners, with a hash rate capacity of 4.7 exahash per second (“EH/s”).
Besides, Riot revealed that last month, it received an additional 5,070 new S19j Pros and deployed approximately 3,456 S19j Pros in its immersion-cooled building. The company said that it expects to receive an additional 7,240 mining machines to deploy in its operating plants. The firm ordered a shipment of 1,702 S19j Pros from Bitmain and is expected to be received this month. After the deployment of the anticipated mining machines, Riot disclosed that it expects to have a total of 55,317 miners deployed with a hash rate capacity of approximately 5.6 EH/s.
In April, Riot disclosed that it continued expanding its 400-megawatt (“MW”) infrastructure project at its Whinstone US, Inc., (“Whinstone”) facility in Rockdale, Texas.
Jason Les, CEO of Riot, talked about the latest satisfactory achievements and said: “April marks yet another incredible milestone for Riot, with the announcement of the Company’s 1 gigawatt (GW) Expansion in Navarro County, Texas. Our ability to source and manage this second significant expansion opportunity in Texas exemplifies the Company’s partnership-driven approach with all stakeholders, including the Company’s business partners, ERCOT, and all levels of government, to commit to sustainable economic development. We are excited to build upon our demonstrated ability to develop high-quality, large-scale digital infrastructure, leveraging our experienced employee base and opening the doors to new jobs and economic opportunities in Navarro County.”
Despite being founded in 2020, Riot Blockchain has made great success. The crypto mining company’s achievements have been partly contributed by better management, acquisitions of talented teams, and continued expanding and upgrading its mining operations by securing the most efficient miners currently available. Riot is headquartered in Castle Rock, Colorado, and the firm’s mining facility operates out of upstate New York.
Crypto investment platform Q9 Capital has launched the industry’s first integrated portfolio performance analytics solution.
To provide an all-in-one crypto portfolio performance service, Q9 Captial introduced its analytics solution, which provides an interactive digital front-end with data visualisations that allow clients to view reports and dashboards. It will enable clients to easy access to a summary of performance, P&L, position data and transaction history across multiple products.
Q9 Capital said that the customer-centric solution will inform stakeholders of key data they require to help them construct their crypto portfolio.
James Quinn, Managing Partner of Q9, said:
“With traditional asset investment platforms, the first thing you expect to see is how much money you’ve made. However, most crypto exchanges don’t even provide any P&L information, meaning most people are investing blind.”
The aim of Q9 Capital’s solution is to provide crypto investors with clear portfolio data visualisations of profit and loss.
Q9 Capital has also released a mobile application consisting of a portfolio dashboard, key statistics, profit and loss, benchmarking, views across multiple and customisable timeframes, performance charts and data, drawdown figures, net deposits, P&L by crypto assets.
The new performance and benchmarking capabilities will allow crypto investors to “determine if they are outperforming or underperforming the market, optimise their performance, and assess risks and exposures,” Q9 Capital stated.