Wisly Wednesday Industry News — 4 May 2022
With May already upon us, there have been some incredible developments in the world of crypto that are sure to dominate talk amongst crypto circles. Central African Republic makes crypto official tender; Wikipedia stops accepting crypto donations; Argentinian banks to allow crypto trading; and New York fitness club accepts crypto payments from members.
Central African Republic makes Bitcoin official tender
The Central African Republic (CAR) has become just the second country in history — after El Salvador — to make Bitcoin official tender. The use of digital currencies has been legalised and all cryptocurrency exchanges in the country will be exempt from tax.
This ground-breaking announcement was made by the office of the President of CAR where it stated that the country’s legislators unanimously voted to adopt BTC as legal tender alongside CAR’s traditional currency — the CFA Franc — after which the CAR President signed it into law.
The statement issued by the office of the president reflected its delight as it stated that the new law “places the Central African Republic on the map of the world’s boldest and most visionary countries.”
Members of the opposition were not too happy, however, as they said that the new crypto law aimed to undermine the regional currency that was backed by France and pegged to the EURO. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also slammed CAR citing “large risks for financial stability” — mainly due to the highly volatile nature of the crypto market.
These are certainly exciting times indeed for citizens of CAR as new payment and transaction options make it easier for the world’s unbanked to engage in the economy. Wisly will keep you posted on the latest developments with this story.
Wikipedia stops accepting crypto donations
The Wikimedia Foundation — a non-profit organisation that operates Wikipedia and other Wiki-branded online tools — has announced on 1 May that it would no longer be accepting crypto donations of any form. This decision was based on ethical and environmental concerns about the payments using blockchain currencies.
The Wikimedia Foundation held a vote to determine if crypto donations should be stopped, with 232 in favour of canning crypto donations while 94 voted to continue with it. All new and unregistered accounts had their votes discounted from the final result.
Crypto donations were introduced by the Wikimedia Foundation in 2014 and contribute a small portion of the organisation’s income. It is estimated that around $130k in crypto donations were received from 347 donors last year — constituting only 0.08% of its total revenue.
The organisation said, “The Wikimedia Foundation has decided to discontinue direct acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of donating. We began our direct acceptance of cryptocurrency in 2014 based on requests from our volunteers and donor communities. We are making this decision based on recent feedback from those same communities.”
This decision follows a trend of online companies pausing crypto donations while they evaluate if blockchain technology would be consistent with climate and environmental goals. Wisly will keep you informed of the very latest with this.
Argentinian banks to allow crypto trading
Two of Argentina’s largest banks — Banco Galicia and Brubank — have announced that they will soon allow their clients to make crypto purchases with 4 crypto assets initially. After a recent poll by the banks about greater access to crypto, more than 60% of the respondents indicated that would like more access to it.
This played a large part in fast-tracking both banks’ decision to begin allowing crypto trading. Clients of the banks will be allowed to trade Bitcoin, Ether, USD Coin and Ripple while other altcoins are in the pipeline. Argentina currently has the sixth-highest crypto adoption rate in the world with an estimated 21% of citizens having owned or used crypto by 2021.
There is hope that by allowing clients to trade and buy crypto through the banks, Argentines can stay ahead of massive inflation in the country — currently at 55%. The Argentinian town of Sorraduno recently bought mining rigs and planned to start crypto mining operations to earn Bitcoin to fight inflation.
In addition, mayor of Buenos Aires — Haracio Rodriguez Larreta — announced that the city would accept crypto payments for public finance services while also launching a blockchain-based digital identification platform for residents.
Crypto adoption in the South American country is really gaining traction with wider adoption of crypto across many industries highly anticipated. Wisly will keep you in the loop with the latest news on this.
New York fitness club accepts crypto payments from members
A luxury gym in New York — Equinox — has revealed that it will soon start to accept cryptocurrencies for gym memberships — much to the delight of those who want to get in shape in the Big Apple. By doing so, Equinox will become the first gym in the city to accept digital currencies for membership fees.
A well-placed source close to the deal said, “Equinox wants to meet members where they are both digitally and physically, and is partnering with BitPay, a major bitcoin and crypto payment service.”
Gyms in the city have been hard-hit by the effects of the pandemic and are doing everything in their power to boost the numbers. Equinox sales in Q1 for 2022 were up 122% when compared to Q1 of 2019, and with membership fees upwards of $250 per month — the luxury gym hopes to attract elite clients with a penchant for crypto.
Crypto lovers in New York will certainly be eager to part with their crypto at Equinox — giving them the opportunity to shed some pounds in style while mingling with the rich and famous in the crypto community. Wisly will keep you up to speed on the latest with this.