Hello and welcome to this Week's edition of Overbit News.
Today marks the 13th anniversary of Bitcoin's launch, and so we'll use our first story to quickly run through some of the biggest highlights from this past year.
In many ways, Bitcoin enjoyed a record year in 2021, despite yet another ban from China, greater governmental scrutiny, and extreme volatility. With multiple firsts, including all-time highs in Bitcoin's price and hashrate, this past year marked the beginning of widespread usage for Bitcoin.
Bitcoin's market value surpassed $1 trillion for the first time on February 19. Morgan Stanley made Bitcoin funds available to high-net-worth individuals. According to CNBC, Morgan Stanley became the first major US bank to sell Bitcoin money to its customers in March.
The Central American country of El Salvador has made Bitcoin legal money. El Salvador became the first country to embrace Bitcoin as legal cash when it enacted a new law in June. El Salvador's law permits Bitcoin to be used to pay for products and taxes.
In October, the ProShares futures-based Bitcoin ETF, which trades under the ticker "BITO," debuted on the New York Stock Exchange. The Bitcoin futures ETF monitors contracts that bet on the digital asset's future price rather than the cryptocurrency's current or "spot" price. Despite this, CNBC stated that the ProShares Bitcoin futures ETF had one of the "largest opening days on record for ETFs."
Bitcoin's price has also reached an all-time high. The price of Bitcoin hit a new high in November, just as the total worth of the cryptocurrency market crossed $3 trillion.
CoinGecko said Bitcoin reached an all-time high of approximately $69,044 on November 10.
Bitcoin also received its first update in four years. In November, Taproot, a much-anticipated improvement to Bitcoin, became operational.
Lastly, the hashrate of Bitcoin has reached an all-time high. According to data from cryptocurrency analytics site BitInfoCharts, Bitcoin's hashrate reached an all-time high of 203.5 exahashes per second on Sunday.
All in all, it was quite an eventful year for the world's largest and first cryptocurrency.
In our second piece of the Week, we look at the increasing restrictions imposed on the burgeoning crypto marketplaces. Over the last three years, we have already witnessed that the overall number of jurisdictions with an outright ban or severe limitations on cryptocurrency has more than doubled, and there are few signs that this trend is stopping.
Even though 2021 was a positive year for the cryptocurrency industry in terms of market performance, the number of jurisdictions prohibiting Bitcoin has doubled since 2018.
The Library of Congress (LOC) released a paper detailing the nine areas that have now implemented an absolute ban on crypto, as well as the 42 that have an implied ban.
This increased from eight and fifteen in 2018 when the study was initially published. The LOC is the research library for the United States Senate and the country's national library. Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, Oman, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Bangladesh, and China are among the nine new countries with a total ban.
In 2021, the most focus was paid to China's crypto ban.
Aside from the 51 jurisdictions with a crypto prohibition, 103 have implemented anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CFT) regulations, a threefold increase from the 33 jurisdictions that had such laws in place in 2018.
In November, a Swedish financial watchdog and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency recommended a ban on Proof of Work (PoW) mining due to the power requirements and environmental costs of maintaining networks. However, Melanion Capital, a Paris-based investment firm, slammed the charges against mining as "completely misinformed." "
Estonia, Sweden's EU neighbour, plans to implement AML/CFT rules in February. These new regulations are likely to alter the definition of a virtual asset service provider (VASP) and impose an implicit prohibition on decentralised finance (DeFi) and Bitcoin (BTC).
When politicians in India considered a crypto prohibition last year, they made a stir. The result was not an outright ban but a movement to regulate cryptocurrencies as crypto assets through India's Securities and Exchange Board (SEBI), which governs local crypto exchanges. On the other hand, an outright prohibition is not out of the question.
As the crypto markets continue to expand, officials attempt to balance innovation and regulation. That concludes this Week's episode of Overbit News; thank you for reading, and see you next Week.