In this latest installment of our fortnightly roundup series, we’re delivering the world’s crypto stories in one convenient location. In this edition, we’re looking at recent polling into crypto in the US, a major upgrade to the Bitcoin network, and Australia’s largest bank launching crypto services.
Poll: the overwhelming majority of Americans have heard about crypto
This week, new insight provided by Pew Research Center shed light on how Americans are making sense of, and interacting with, the crypto movement. Notable among its findings: 86% of Americans had heard “at least a little” about cryptocurrencies. Of this group, 24% said they had heard a lot about them.
Further, 16% of Americans reported having ever invested in, traded, or used crypto. Filtering to just 18 to 29 year olds, this same figure skyrocketed to 31%. Reflecting a gender divide, looking at just men within this same age range sees this figure jump to 43%. Among the random sampling of 10,371 adults, the overall likelihood of buying, trading, and/or using crypto decreased with age.
Back in 2015, the Pew Research Center polled sentiments towards Bitcoin—rather than crypto as a whole. While this means we can’t draw direct data comparisons, it is worth noting that just 50% of American respondents at the time said that they had heard of Bitcoin. Further, only 1% said that they had ever held, traded, or used the asset.
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Bitcoin reaches new all-time high; Miners vote in favor of Taproot
Bitcoin sets a new all-time high
Bitcoin recently made headlines for two major reasons. Catching the public’s attention, the currency set a new all-time high by reaching around $68,950 per coin. As CoinDesk reported, however, the asset’s price soon retreated from this high.
Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market as a whole reached a $3 trillion dollar valuation last Monday, according to Al Jazeera. This, the outlet reported, means the crypto market roughly quadrupled its 2020 year-end value.
Bitcoin activates its first major upgrade since 2017
Yesterday, Bitcoin’s recent Taproot update received significant coverage across many outlets both within and outside of the crypto news sphere. Among these outlets, CNBC reported that “Bitcoin’s biggest upgrade in four years just happened.”
Taproot is the name of a collection of Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs) that aims to tackle a few issues within the network. It will supposedly introduce increased transparency by making complex and simple transactions less distinguishable within the network. In addition, it aims to aid in the network’s scalability. Perhaps most notably, proponents of this upgrade claim that it will allow for more smart contracts to be created directly on the Bitcoin blockchain.
For context, at the current point in time, the overwhelming majority of smart contracts are not handled on the Bitcoin network. Rather, they are handled on other blockchains such as Ethereum.
The upgrade has been largely uncontentious, having received “signaled” support from over 90% of mined blocks back in June of this year. As a decentralized network, whether or not these types of proposals are implemented is entirely within the hands of network participants who have to reach agreements through a process known as consensus.
Australia’s largest bank launches crypto services
Australia’s largest bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, recently announced that it is expanding its offerings to include a range of crypto services. This, the bank claims, makes it the first bank in Australia to make this jump into crypto
Through a partnership with US-based cryptocurrency exchange Gemini and the data platform Chainalysis, the Commonwealth Bank will allow users to buy, sell, and hold digital assets through its existing mobile banking app.
“Research from CBA has found a large number of its customers want to access crypto assets as an investment class and are already buying, selling and holding crypto assets through a variety of crypto exchanges,” the bank said, in a press statement.
In order to cater to these users, Commonwealth Bank says its pilot will begin in the next few weeks. In 2022, it plans to gradually introduce new features. For the time being, the bank has said it will offer the ability to trade and hold ten cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash.
Notably, while the Commonwealth Bank of Australia is purportedly the first bank to launch these types of services in Australia, other major fintech players in the country have also expressed interest in doing so. In a previous World News Roundup, we covered Zip Co’s announcement that it would launch native crypto trading in order to satiate its users’ demand for crypto services.
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