MercadoLibre, Argentinian E-Commerce Giant Embraces Bitcoin Payments
MercadoLibre (NASDAQ: MELI), an Argentinian e-commerce giant, became the latest company to embrace crypto payments. Its CEO appears to have had a rather dramatic change of heart in regards to bitcoin (BTC) – as not even a year ago he was seen publicly bashing BTC’s payment capabilities.
MercadoLibre, the Argentinian Amazon and Ebay in one, is one of the country’s richest and most well known companies. In addition to product sales, users can even sell their houses, while the platform also hosts online auctions, automobile sales and offers lines of credit.
Last week, the firm announced that its real estate arm would begin accepting BTC in a special new section of the platform devoted to crypto deals. Unlike most other firms that accept BTC payments but list prices in fiat, MercadoLibre groups properties together by their BTC price.
Juan Manuel Carretero, MercadoLibre’s Real Estate business lead was quoted as enthusing:
“Bitcoin offers multiple advantages for real estate operations, both for the buyer and for the seller. Within a few hours of launch, there are already 75 properties available. We expect many more in the future. [Bitcoin pay is] a trend that will consolidate over time.”Juan Manuel Carretero, MercadoLibre Real Estate business lead
But this sentiment is considerably different from that of Carretero’s boss Marcos Galperin last year. On Twitter in September 2020, Galperin responded to a comment on one of his tweets about the early days of the internet. Person he was replying to had drawn a parallel between the current early yet promising stage of Bitcoin ecosystem and the web in the early 1990s.
To which Galperin replied,
“Hmm… People have been saying that about bitcoin for the past five years. It seems to have an endless childhood!”Marcos Galperin, MercadoLibre CEO (Sep 28, 2020)
And in an interview conducted by PayPal in October last year, Galperin opined that while crypto might have worth as a store of value, it was not cut out to make it in the world of payments.
He stated that “scaling” problems beset the idea of crypto pay, dues to “very high energy costs.”
And he added,
“Crypto is great as a substitute for gold, let’s say as a store of value. But I don’t think it’s a good method for transactions because it basically doesn’t scale.”MARCOS GALPERIN, MERCADOLIBRE CEO (October 2020)
This kind of change of heart appears to be becoming a trend among successful businesspeople that were still not long ago either skeptical of or totally opposed to bitcoin and crypto in general, yet are now more or less fully on board.
The Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was as recently as last year seen claiming that although he does own some bitcoin, he still thinks the cryptocurrency is just as “terrible” an investment as gold.
However, in an appearance on Anthony Pompliano’s Pomp Podcast (April 2020), Cuban adjusted his position, stating that he would be prepared to change his mind if bitcoin became a “no-brainer” to interact with, that was “completely friction-free” – to the point that “grandmas” could use it.
“It needs to be understandable by everybody first and then and then you can say it’s an alternative to gold as a store of value.”Mark Cuban, April 2020
“You’ve got to be able to spend [bitcoin], because right now you still have to convert it for anything that you want [to buy]. And as long as you have to convert it, you’re still dependent on fiat – no matter what you say. I can trade bananas easier as a commodity than I can trade bitcoin. And I can still eat those bananas before they goes bad.”MARK CUBAN, APRIL 2020
But now, it appears Mark Cuban not only has large BTC holdings (that he intends to further expand), but is also prepared to make public USD 1 million bets on its growth and seems to be the latest celebrity Dogecoin advocate.
Meanwhile, JPMorgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon has also been bashing BTC this week – despite the fact that his firm is reportedly on the verge of launching its own BTC fund.
CumRocket and the Power of Elon Musk Tweet
When Elon Musk tweeted “Canada, USA, Mexico”, spelling out an acronym “CUM”, many assumed he was referring to the “United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement” (former NAFTA), but with an Elon Musk twist. Because you know… it would make for a totally better acronym than what they came up with (USMCA).
Or maybe it was just me?
Low and behold, barely a day later Musk decides to bless us with yet another tweet, this time dispelling any doubts one might’ve had regarding the meaning of his previous tweet.
CumRocket To the Moon
Within literal minutes of his “Cum Rocket to the moon” tweet on June 5, CumRocket (CUMMIES) skyrocketed from $0.067 to $0.284 (+330% instant gain) before crushing back down to $0.114 some half hour later, and is currently trading at $0.1746 (+168.95% 24hr gain).
Spaniards to Be Taxed on ‘Overseas’ Crypto Holdings
As reported by El Economista, the Spanish parliament has voted in favor of a controversial new law that will require Spanish citizens to report their overseas crypto holdings, as the government appears ready to impose more control and regulation over the growing crypto sector.
According to an official government release, the new law will require Spaniards “to report their holdings and operations with cryptocurrencies,” on crypto held both domestically and abroad if the transactions “affect Spanish taxpayers.”
According to the release, information will be required on the balances and holders of the coins, as well as on all types of operations that have been carried out with them.
“Due to their proliferation and popularity among investors and savers, it is necessary to take greater control over cryptocurrencies”
The new regulations will make it “mandatory to inform” the tax body on annual declarations of assets and property.
The bill, named the ‘Law on Prevention and Fight Against Tax Fraud’ (Ley de Medidas de Prevención y Lucha contra el Fraude Fiscal), also contains other provisions intended to fight tax avoidance, and will give tax bodies the power to conduct spot checks on “homes and businesses”.
The bill has been in the works since last year, when the Council of Ministers gave it the green light, and still needs to be ratified, now that the senate voted in favor in a majority vote.
Once ratified, it will see “overseas” crypto holdings integrated into the often criticized Modelo 720 system, which requires Spaniards to complete exhaustive declarations of their overseas real estate holdings.
Charles Hoskinson Explains Why He Believes Cardano Is Superior to Ethereum 2.0
While Cardano (ADA) supporters like to refer to it as an Ethereum killer, Charles Hoskinson, founder of Cardano, said that Ethereum is actually “killing itself” by replacing the current proof of work (PoW) version with Ethereum 2.0, a new proof of stake (PoS) iteration.
When asked if Ethereum 2.0 could also be seen as a Cardano killer, now that it’s switching to PoS as well, Hoskinson said that he does not see it like that since Cardano is the market leader in PoS, implying hat their longer experience with PoS gives it an upper hand over Ethereum in PoS space:
“We are leading that fight. We were first to the market… Engine doesn’t make a BMW a BMW. It’s a part of it, but you need a whole ecosystem, a whole collection of things.”CHARLES HOSKINSON, MAY 26, 2021
Subjective: Assigning such prominence to the fact that Cardano was the first to market with PoS over Ethereum sounds like a weak argument seeing as Ethereum, along with Bitcon is becoming a household name, whereas Cardano… well, is not yet. So this whole argument of “first to market” that is based solely on the validation protocol being used falls somewhat short and makes us seriously wonder why Mr. Hoskinson would spit in his own cup by implying that being first to market carries such weight, seeing as ETH is actually the grandfather of smart blockchain and the true pioneer of the said space.
Fun fact: The first cryptocurrency to adopt the PoS method was Peercoin. Next, Blackcoin, and ShadowCoin soon followed suit.
Governance, interoperability, and user bases
The creator of Cardano also touched the topic of governance, saying that Ethereum 2.0 has bowed out, which he said would make it hard for the ecosystem to evolve once its founders retire or lose prominence, whereas enabling on-chain governance is a vital part of Cardano’s roadmap.
He also compared Bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, and the grand father of all cryptocurrency, to a “wood-powered steam engine” due to its slow evolvement.
“You have those Bitcoin core developers who desperately want to evolve the system: even though core developers want to implement multiple improvements like smart contracts and side-chains, they can’t get anything done.”CHARLES HOSKINSON, MAY 26, 2021
Hoskinson also pointed out that Ethereum is not as interoperable for now as some other similar blockchain projects such as Cardano, Cosmos and Polkadot (among others) that made sidechains available on their network.
And finally, he claims that Eth 2.0 and Cardano on top of different technologies and philosophies also have different user bases:
“We are bringing millions of people in Africa that simply Ethereum doesn’t seem to care about… outside of South Africa and a few well developed places in Africa.”
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