The lightning-friendly Fold App, which allows users to spend bitcoin on goods like clothes and pizza and then earn bitcoin-back rewards, just added fiat capability after raising its first round as an independent startup.
Fold product lead Will Reeves told CoinDesk the startup spun out of Thesis with a $2.5 million raise led by Craft Ventures, CoinShares, Slow Ventures, Goldcrest Capital and Fulgur Ventures, among others. Reeves said that capital will go towards cementing partnerships, both in the cryptocurrency and retail space.
“We’ll be rolling out subscription options for merchants and consumers soon that will provide premium services and highest rewards,” Reeves said, adding:
“When people spend fiat at retailers they will receive BTC rewards. They can spend those rewards or withdraw them to an on-chain address. In the future, we are releasing an update that allows people to withdraw rewards directly to lightning, which will lower fees and make it more usable.”
In short, the app can be connected to a debit card for bitcoin-back on regular purchases through the app, or users can send bitcoin to the Fold App from their independent wallets. A mobile Fold App with the full features currently available via desktop, Reeves added, is slated for launch in October. Until then, the mobile app is also available to users that sign up through Fold’s website for early access.
CoinShares co-founder Meltem Demirors told CoinDesk Fold App is unique, compared to other retail-focused bitcoin apps, because it encourages users to use non-custodial wallets.
“I’m excited to work not only with Fold, but also with our community of portfolio companies, corporate partners, and other service providers to build an integrated user experience around bitcoin payments,” she said.
While there are several other retail-focused crypto apps gaining traction, like Lolli and Flexa, Fold is the most focused on lightning payments. Fold App is already integrated with two lightning-friendly wallets, BlueWallet and Breez. This is what attracted Fulgur Ventures partner Oleg Mikhalsky to the investment.
“We believe the lightning network has the ability to become an interesting payments rail for various applications due to features like instant final settlement, cost-efficient micro-transactions, the ability to ‘stream’ payments and the support of other assets over Lightning in the future,” Mikhalsky told CoinDesk, adding:
“We, as investors, are in a learning mode as well. We’re placing our bets on different types of applications and models and learning from them. Supporting startups that experiment with how to drive adoption is one of our priorities.”
Lolli told in July that it, too, was planning to eventually add lightning options. So it remains to be seen how the retail app race will play out.
In the meantime, Fold is offering a type of crypto training wheels to retailers like Macy’s, Target and Amazon. On the merchant side, they only see a payment processed by Fold, not the users’ credit card or bitcoin wallet address. This offers more privacy than directly shopping via the merchant’s website. Fold then cashes out the payment for merchants, which typically choose to receive the value in fiat.
“We can settle in fiat or bitcoin, yet all major merchants choose to settle in fiat now so they don’t take volatility risk or accounting overhead,” Reeves said, adding:
“Fold can seamlessly transition them when they are ready because we are already directly integrated into their point-of-sale systems.”
The Bitcoin (BTC) symbol will now appear on the shirt sleeve of Watford Football club players, and the team will also accept the cryptocurrency for merchandise purchases.
The football club announced in a post on its website published on Sept. 12 that the famous Bitcoin “B” logo will be featured on the player’s uniforms as a result of the club’s partnership with Bitcoin betting platform Sportsbet.io.
The team will also accept the leading cryptocurrency as a payment for its merchandise.
A public awareness campaign
According to the official post, the logo’s addition to the uniform is part of a wider campaign aiming to “improve awareness around Bitcoin and educate the public on the benefits of using cryptocurrencies.”
The head of marketing of the team’s main shirt sponsor Sportsbet.io Justin Le Brocque said that the company is giving back to the crypto community:
“The crypto community have been hugely supportive of us since we began, so putting the Bitcoin logo on the sleeve felt like a fun way to give something back while also showing them our support.”
The sponsorship will be crowdfunded and anyone can bid Bitcoin to access a public LED space shown live during matches and exclusive Watford FC merchandise. Le Brocque also added that he hopes the initiative “will create even more buzz around cryptocurrencies.”
As Cointelegraph reported in August, the Dallas Mavericks have become the second NBA team to accept Bitcoin as a means of payment for match tickets and merchandise.
The buzzy scavenger hunt for $1 million worth of bitcoin, Satoshi’s Treasure, is coming this fall to nearly two-dozen college campuses worldwide.
The game is operated by a small, mysterious company based on a tropical island (figuring out more about the game itself is part of the appeal) and is sponsored by Primitive Ventures and other prominent investors. Eventually, there will be hundreds of cryptographic keys around the world, shrouded in puzzles and riddles, and the first team to compile 400 of the key fragments will be able to claim the prize.
According to game co-creator Eric Meltzer, over 100,000 people are now on the email list for updates and announcements related to such clues, 40 of which have been released so far.
Now BlockVenture Coalition partners Tyler Wellener and Philip Forte are kicking off a North American campus tour with 20 universities, hosting educational meetups and mini hunts to help students join the game.
“A lot of these students want to learn about blockchain and crypto, but their universities haven’t caught up to them yet,” Wellener told CoinDesk. “We’re looking to provide resources for a lot of these different student groups.”
There will be smaller rewards associated with campus scavenger hunts and self-custody workshops starting mid-September, although organizers are still working out the details.
Image of Tyler Wellener (left) and Philip Forte (right) via BlockVenture Coalition
IDEX CEO Alex Wearn told CoinDesk his exchange will also sponsor some campus workshops focused on bitcoin wallets and decentralized exchanges.
Jonathan Calso, head of the blockchain group at the University of Michigan, told CoinDesk these sponsored meetups benefit the student body by bringing hands-on learning opportunities to campus and giving student clubs like his more credibility among faculty. His college is one of the many Wellener referred to – those that lack courses and official resources related to bitcoin.
“This helps us get more visibility from the engineering department, economics and computer science departments as well,” Calso said, adding:
“The clues incentivize you to discover new websites and tools … to play around with a bitcoin wallet a bit, to see what the technology can do.”
Meanwhile, Satoshi’s Treasure co-founder Jessica Wang told CoinDesk she’s helping student groups at several universities in China and Australia get involved with the fall semester campaign, including Shandong University.
“Students are the future of this industry, so we’re going to put small prizes, like one bitcoin, into this game to attract more students,” she said. “We’re going to hide more physical location puzzles globally.”
Wang said that, according to Google Analytics data from the game’s main website, so far roughly 60 percent of traffic comes from the United States and Canada, followed by Russia, France and Indonesia. As such, these custody-focused seminars in North America will also aim to connect students around the world.
“We’re going to have one [key] piece at a university in Asia and another in a university in the U.S. So they’re going to need to network with each other,” Wang said.
Thanks to a small grant from the Tezos Foundation, Satoshi’s Treasure organizers will also hire cryptography experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, plus external foundations, to keep up with demand for more keys by ramping up the puzzle-making process.
“Top cryptography foundations and teams will create more puzzles on their end,” Wang said. “We want the ecosystem to bring more stakeholders into the game.”
Eugene Leventhal, former head of Carnegie Mellon University’s blockchain club and a current member of the university’s CyLab Security & Privacy Institute, told CoinDesk these seminars and campus scavenger hunts could also help engage a wider range of students. CMU Blockchain Group events typically attracted around 30 students each in 2018, with the highest turnout being roughly 80 students.
“For the humanities side, we hope something like this will be a way to get more students involved,” Leventhal said, adding:
Bitcoin (BTC) now has the highest share of the overall cryptocurrency market since before its record-breaking $20,000 bull run in 2017.
According to data from major monitoring resource CoinMarketCap, Bitcoin now accounts for 70.5% of the total cryptocurrency market cap as of Sept. 3.
Bitcoin market cap hits pre-$20K high
That figure has not been seen since March 2017, and comes as BTC/USD makes gains at altcoins’ expense.
As Cointelegraph reported, continued underperformance in cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin has triggered warnings from traders and analysts alike.
Among them are Peter Brandt and RT host Max Keiser, the latter again claiming this week that altcoins would never recover from this downturn.
“Alts never coming back… Sorry,” he tweeted on Sept. 3, also referencing market cap statistics. Brandt reiterated similar warnings.
“When will altcoin junkies understand that $BTC is the crypto with real and lasting value,” wrote Brandt, who added:
“Altcoins are to Bitcoin what lead is to Gold.”
Some sources had reported Bitcoin hitting the 70% mark as early as last week.
Market cap readings set highs across the board
Bitcoin itself delivered a sudden return to form late on Monday, having previously dropped to just $9,350. At press time Tuesday, BTC/USD was circling $10,360, bringing 24-hour gains to 6.2%.
Altcoins in the top twenty, however, mostly failed to achieve more than 4%, meaning they, in fact, lost value in Bitcoin terms.
Some commentators voiced caution about placing faith in Bitcoin’s strength. Market cap, they argued, is a poor measure of performance, as it includes many altcoins which do not even have any trading volume.
Earlier, Cointelegraph reported on the phenomenon of Realized Market Cap, a metric designed to solve those inconsistencies which has also set new records in recent weeks.
- Bitcoin’s defense of the 100-day moving average and a bullish divergence of an hourly chart indicator suggest scope for a minor price bounce to $10,300
- Bitcoin will remain in the hunt for a drop to $9,467 (Aug. 13 low), as long as the rising wedge breakdown seen on the 4-hour chart remains valid.
- A UTC close above $10,956 would shift risk in favor of a rally to $11,850-$12,000. A weekly close above $12,000 is needed to confirm bullish revival.
Bitcoin (BTC) sellers are again struggling to force a sustained break below a widely-followed support level, but the outlook would turn bullish only above $10,956.
The premier cryptocurrency by market value fell by $600 in the Asian trading hours on Wednesday, confirming a rising wedge breakdown on the intraday charts.
The bearish reversal pattern opened the doors for a retest of the Aug. 15 low of $9,467, as discussedyesterday. So far, however, that target has remained elusive and the dips below the 100-day moving average (MA), currently at $9,900, have been short-lived.
It’s worth noting that the long-term MA worked as strong support earlier this month. The cryptocurrency ran into bids below the 100-day MA on Aug. 15 and closed (UTC) that day with gains above $10,300. The average was again defended on the following day and the subsequent price bounce ended up hitting highs above $10,950 on Aug. 20.
So, if the 100-day MA continues to hold ground over the next few hours, chart-driven buying could lead to a price bounce.
As of writing, BTC is changing hands at $9,970 on Bitstamp, representing a 1.7-percent loss on the day.
Daily and hourly charts
The lower wick attached to today’s candle (above left) represents a failure on the part of the bears to keep the cryptocurrency below the 100-day MA. The average also proved a tough nut to crack on Wednesday.
The repeated defense of the key MA, coupled with the bullish divergence (higher lows) of the hourly chart relative strength index (above right) indicates scope for a rise to $10,300 over the next few hours.
The path of least resistance, however, will remain to the downside as long as prices are held below $10,956 – the bearish lower high created on Aug. 20.
The bulls will likely have a tough time forcing a break above $10,956, as the daily chart indicators are biased bearish. For instance, the RSI is holding below 50 and the moving average convergence divergence (MACD) histogram is printing negative values.
Further, the 5- and 10-week moving averages have produced a bearish crossover, as discussed earlier this week.
The fact that last week’s bounce from the 100-day MA ended up charting a bearish lower high indicates a weakening of bullish sentiment.
The case for a drop to the Aug. 15 low of $9,467 put forward by the rising wedge breakdown will remain valid as long as prices remain below $10,807 – the high of the candle confirming the breakdown.
Daily line chart
The line chart of daily closing prices helps investors look through the noise created by daily highs and lows.
If prices close above $10,000 today and end up rising above $10,927 (Aug. 16 close) in the next day or two, then a double-bottom bullish breakout would be confirmed. That would open the doors to $11,850.
BTC has failed at least four times in the last eight weeks to close (Sunday, UTC) above $12,000. So, a weekly close above that level is needed to confirm a complete bullish revival.
Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency assets at the time of writing.
Bitcoin image via Shutterstock; charts by Trading View
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This article is intended as a news item to inform our readers of various events and developments that affect, or that might in the future affect, the value of the cryptocurrency described above. The information contained herein is not intended to provide, and it does not provide, sufficient information to form the basis for an investment decision, and you should not rely on this information for that purpose. The information presented herein is accurate only as of its date, and it was not prepared by a research analyst or other investment professional. You should seek additional information regarding the merits and risks of investing in any cryptocurrency before deciding to purchase or sell any such instruments.
Bitcoin maximalist and former Wall Street trader Max Keiser has recently claimed that Bitcoin (BTC) dominance is heading to 80% and that altcoins are dying, further urging the public to rotate out of other crypto assets and into BTC.
Keiser announced his latest views in a Twitter post on Aug. 6:
“#Bitcoin dominance 68.2% — heading to 80% — as alts die in favor of BTC. The 2014-2017 era of alts and hard forks is dead. Don’t be the last to rotate out of alts into BTC.”
According to data provided by Coin360’s summary table, BTC is sitting at a dominance of around 69.2% at press time, as its market cap is $210,422,145,970 out of a total $303,923,701,331.
In regards to Keiser claim that altcoins are dying, recent analysis from the San Francisco Open Exchange (SFOX) suggests that perhaps this is compatible with Ether (ETH) continuing to thrive. In the SFOX report, the author wrote that BTC has a much larger correlation with ETH than other altcoins, further arguing:
“This may support the idea that Ethereum is coming into its own as a blockchain that is publicly recognized as an asset on its own terms, much like Bitcoin. If this trend continues, it may become inappropriate to categorize Ethereum as an ‘altcoin’ on a par with other cryptoassets that are not Bitcoin.”
Another prediction from Max the maximalist
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Keiser made a bullish BTC price prediction on Aug. 3. Keiser also addressed his audience on Twitter, claiming that he believes BTC will cross $15,000 this week. Keiser wrote:
“I’m sensing #Bitcoin will cross $15,000 this week. Confidence in central governments, central banks, and centralized, fiat money is at a multi-decade low.”
While perhaps not agreeing with Keiser’s claim that the public’s confidence centralized governments and financial institutions are at an all time low, Circle CEO Allaire similarly commented that geopolitical conflict boosts BTC growth:
“You can very clearly see some macro correlation there. I think the broader theme of, you know, Bitcoin specifically, crypto more broadly participating in these global macro forces is becoming more and more clear. Rising nationalism, rising amounts of currency conflict, trade wars, these all obviously are supportive of a non-sovereign, highly secure digital store of value.”