LONDON/HONG KONG, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit $60,000 for the first time in six months on Friday, nearing its record high, as traders grew confident that U.S. regulators would approve the launch of an exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on its futures contracts.

Cryptocurrency investors have been waiting for approval of the first U.S. ETF for bitcoin, whose recent rally has been fuelled in part by anticipation of such a move, which is seen as speeding up the mainstream adoption of digital assets.

Bitcoin , the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, rose 4.5% to its highest level since Apr. 17 and was last at $59,030. It has risen by more than half in value since Sept. 20 and is now close to its all-time high of $64,895.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to allow the first U.S. bitcoin futures ETF to begin trading next week, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

“It is widely expected that Q4 will see significant progress around a bitcoin ETF in the U.S.,” Ben Caselin, head of research and strategy at Asia-based cryptocurrency exchange AAX, said.

Friday’s moves were spurred, he said, by a tweet from the SEC’s investor education office that stated: “Before investing in a fund that holds Bitcoin futures contracts, make sure you carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits.”

Several fund managers, including the VanEck Bitcoin Trust, ProShares, Invesco, Valkyrie and Galaxy Digital Funds have applied to launch bitcoin ETFs in the United States. Crypto ETFs have been launched this year in Canada and Europe.

“We have seen more institutional build up, especially in the past few weeks, than we have at any time since the (bitcoin price) crash back in April,” said Noelle Acheson, head of market insights at Genesis Global Trading.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler has previously said the crypto market involves many tokens which may be unregistered securities and leaves prices open to manipulation and millions of investors vulnerable to risks.

The Bloomberg report, citing people familiar with the matter, said that proposals by ProShares and Invesco are based on futures contracts and were filed under mutual fund rules that Gensler has said provide “significant investor protections”.

The SEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Bloomberg report.

Reporting by Mrinmay Dey and Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru, Alun John in Hong Kong and Tom Wilson in London; Editing by Vidya Ranganathan, Sam Holmes and Alexander Smith

This content was originally published here.

Damn. Good Guy Steam is (sort of) back. The developer of an upcoming NFT-based PC game revealed in a tweet that Steam is no longer allowing games built on blockchain technology or that “issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs.” Indeed, Valve’s onboarding rules page now says exactly that.

Non-fungible tokens are digital assets that represent “ownership” of specific image files, and this ownership is recorded in an electronic ledger called a “blockchain.” The NFT scene is famous for scammers who bail after the money is paid in, and there are multiple cryptocurrency projects in which the developers just expect investors to trust them on a spit handshake. Not to mention that NFTs (and cryptocurrency in general) are environmental disasters. But as long as high-profile NFTs can potentially command sales prices of millions of dollars, crypto bros will continue peddling the snake oil.

Steam’s formal ban of cryptocurrency games and NFTs wasn’t completely unexpected. On September 30, NFT-based game developer Satoshis Games announced that Valve would not allow its NFT game Light Nite to be released on Steam. No explanation was given until today, when the developers behind Age of Rust (another NFT game) explained that Steam does not allow games that “have real-world value” to exist on the platform.

Light Nite is a game in which players can earn NFTs by playing the game, which they can then sell in a bitcoin marketplace. Similarly, Age of Rust has a mechanic in which players can use NFTs to unlock certain kinds of in-game rewards. Since both of these games allow players to redeem digital assets for real-world value, they would be running afoul of Steam’s new stance against such features.

It’s pretty funny that Steam thinks that NFTs contain real value, but I’m not complaining. The less closely video games align with NFTs, the better off we’ll all be. And it seems like I’m not the only one who agrees. Steam’s main competitor is the Epic Games Store. CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted that the company was “[not] touching NFTs as the whole field is currently tangled up with an intractable mix of scams, interesting decentralized tech foundations, and scams.”

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Even if the technology itself wasn’t based on selling people on beachfront property in Florida, the NFT market is notoriously volatile. This past June, the NFT market suffered a 90% collapse from its peak.

Now that two of the largest games distributors in the world have rejected this particular mixture of games and crypto, the future for cryptocurrency- and NFT-centered games looks a little less bright.

This content was originally published here.

Spending Cryptocurrency: Where to Spend Bitcoin

Since the creation of Bitcoin in 2008 and its release in 2009, a lot has changed over the years. From it surmounting the security challenges of 2011 to surpassing the $40,000 mark in 2020, Bitcoin remains the largest digital currency in the world. Despite the many government regulations at different levels to weaken its acceptability, the continuous advancement of technology has made more people interested.

Across different continents, Bitcoin transactions have skyrocketed over the years. In addition, the introduction of blockchain technology has also addressed some of the challenges around security and brought about a more transparent cryptocurrency market. Today, we see how Bitcoin mining is becoming a thing, with miners making a lot of money from it.

However, there’s been the criticism that Bitcoin doesn’t fit into the regular everyday transactions carried out by people. Proponents of these criticisms opine that players in the cryptocurrency market cannot use Bitcoin to pay for items like they will with physical currencies. They have also cited the volatility of Bitcoin prices as a major challenge to its global acceptability.

That being said, the current reality we live in says otherwise, as we have many platforms and industries accepting Bitcoin payments for products and services they offer. So, yes, you can spend cryptocurrency as you do with physical currencies. You not only have the free will to buy Bitcoin Cash, but you can also pay for items with Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash.

Different sectors are beginning to see how accepting Bitcoin payments can help them scale up and put their business to a global audience. Interestingly, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, or any other cryptocurrency can be used to make payments via crypto-credit cards. There are also car dealers who accept payments in Bitcoins. The ease of making payments in Bitcoin and the low cost of transactions are major reasons these dealers and companies cited for accepting Bitcoin price.

Where Can You Spend Bitcoin?
As a newbie in the cryptocurrency market, you may be thinking all there is to Bitcoin is buying and selling. That is not entirely true because you can buy everyday items like groceries with Bitcoin. The challenge for many is knowing where to spend Bitcoin cash. As such, let’s examine some places where you can spend Bitcoin.

Musk, however, announced in May 2021 that when Bitcoin mining is done with 50% renewable energy, Tesla will start accepting Bitcoin payments again.

In conclusion, you can do more with Bitcoin than trading it alone. You can download software, buy an item online, purchase a music album, and perhaps a car with Bitcoin. You can pay for any of these products or services with your cryptocurrency credit card or find an exchange to help convert it to fiat currency. The future of money is Bitcoin, and businesses are already positioning themselves for that future by accepting Bitcoin payments.

This content was originally published here.

El Salvador has mined 0.00599179 bitcoin, or about $269, with power harnessed from a volcano.

President Nayib Bukele – who has banked his political future on a nationwide bitcoin experiment – tweeted early Friday morning that this is the country’s maiden voyage into volcano-powered bitcoin mining.

On Tuesday, the president posted a flashy 25-second teaser video, which includes shots of a government-branded shipping container full of bitcoin mining rigs, technicians installing and plugging in ASIC miners, as well as sweeping landscape aerials of an energy factory in the thick of a forest, bordering a volcano.

The video, which has since gone viral with more than 2.3 million views, is captioned simply with “First steps…”

If the Central American state is, indeed, minting new coin, it will mean that Bukele has made good on a promise first made in June, when he said that he had instructed state-owned geothermal electric company, LaGeo SA de CV to “put up a plan to offer facilities for #Bitcoin mining with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanos.”

Bukele indicated in his tweet on Friday that the mining project was still a work in progress and that they are in the process of “testing and installing” new mining equipment.

The president also provided a breakdown of the mining rewards so far.

Volcano-powered bitcoin mining has been a thing for a while.

“It’s just geothermal energy,” explained bitcoin miner Alejandro de la Torre, who recently made the move from China to Texas. “Iceland has been doing it since the very, very beginning of bitcoin mining.”

El Salvador is literally dubbed the “land of the volcanoes,” and already, geothermal energy accounts for nearly a fourth of its domestic energy production, according to official data.

The move by El Salvador is also a boon for the larger debate around bitcoin’s carbon footprint.

A fully renewable, untapped energy resource has been put to work strictly because of bitcoin,” said bitcoin mining engineer Brandon Arvanaghi. “Bitcoin is the greatest accelerant to renewable energy development in history.”

This foray into mining comes just weeks after El Salvador became the first country to declare bitcoin legal tender.

As part of the rollout, the government added hundreds of bitcoin to its balance sheet and launched its own national virtual wallet — called “Chivo,” or Salvadoran slang for “cool” — which offers no-fee transactions and allows for quick cross-border payments. 

CNBC reached out to President Bukele to ask about his future plans for state-sponsored bitcoin mining, and we didn’t hear back.

This content was originally published here.