Crypto in the News – featuring Bakkt, Hamas, and Bots

This week, mainstream media discussed a variety of Bitcoin and crypto-related topics, from farming on the blockchain to the dangers posed by bots on decentralized exchanges. Join us as we trawl through this week’s take on the weird and wonderful world of crypto through the eyes of our friends the press.

Hamas’ Bitcoin Trial Falls Flat

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The New York Times discussed the recent research published by blockchain analysis firm Elliptic, which found that the militant wing of terror group Hamas has not only been experimenting with accepting donations in the form of Bitcoin, but is also developing ways in which it can reduce tracking – for example by creating different addresses for each transaction. The article reinforces the darker aspects of cryptocurrencies, although it also acknowledges that so far only raised about $7,400 worth of Bitcoin in four months, a drop in the ocean compared to the tens of millions of dollars it allegedly gets from supportive regimes such as Iran. When discussing crypto adoption in general, the article claims that “the risk of exposure to tainted coins has kept most big investors away”. Unlike cash of course, which is clean as a whistle.

IBM Has its Eyes on Your Dinner

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The Times also reported this week that IBM, through its blockchain-based IBM Food Trust, is collaborating with fertilizer maker Yara International to offer digital farming services to help boost crop yields later this year. They eventually hope to work with some 7% of the world’s arable land, providing hyperlocal weather forecasts and real-time actionable recommendations, tailored to the specific needs of individual fields and crops. They eventually hope to include the produce of this land into the Food Trust platform, which aims to tackle food fraud and waste and improve sustainability.

Bots Running the Game on DEXs

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The Financial Times posted an opinion piece on cryptocurrencies, which usually precedes a bout of anger and screen smashing, but this piece focused almost exclusively on the presence of bots in cryptocurrency trading, something BitStarz news also covered. Bots, for the uninitiated, are algorithms that traders employ to read charts, offer signals, and frequently conduct trades on what they see. Fortunately bots and algorithms are just as prevalent in traditional finance so the FT couldn’t single out crypto (although they do target its exchange fake volume, which is a fair cop), but it was nice to see a debate about the internal machinations of crypto taken seriously.

Bakk’s Delays Continue

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The Wall Street Journal discussed the delays that have hit the Bakkt platform in recent weeks. Interestingly they describe Bakkt as “A plan…to make it easier for consumers to pay for purchases in bitcoin…”, which is not the way Bakkt has described themselves. We know that Starbucks is a major investor in Bakkt, and a report in March stated that part of the agreement meant Bitcoin terminals would be placed into Starbucks outlets, but none of this has been confirmed by Bakkt or Starbucks. To this end, concluding that Bakkt’s ambition is to assist consumers in paying for purchases in Bitcoin is not really accurate, and ignores their physically-backed futures platform that was the initial selling point.

That’s it for this week’s Crypto in the News – we’ll see you next week for another round of generalizations and inaccuracies.

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