Recent headlines that have seen China ‘banning’ Bitcoin have been misleading consumers and causing a significant drop in Bitcoin’s price this September. Bitcoin reached a peak of over $50,000 United States Dollars (USD) this month, but since the speculative release of much press and media announcing China’s ‘ban’, has dropped to around $40,000 USD in the last week of September 2021.
Whilst not entirely false, the headlines have been definitely exaggerated. Henri Arslanian, PwC crypto leader and partner, took to Twitter to clear up the matter: “whilst this is not a surprise as China has “banned” crypto many times in the past, this time there is no ambiguity. Crypto transactions and crypto services of all kind are banned in China. No room for discussion. No grey areas.”
The new directives from China do not go as far as to make owning cryptocurrency illegal, but they do make it much harder for those in mainland China to hold assets. Huobi Global and Binance are two of the biggest cryptocurrency service providers in China, and both have already made moves to host the majority of their business offshore to protect from interference from the Chinese authorities. Both companies have immediately stopped registering new users as a result of the legislation, and Huboi Global says it aims to close all existing accounts on the mainland by the end of the year 2021.
In a statement released by the Chinese government, it claims cryptocurrency activity has been “disrupting economic and financial order”. It went on to describe cryptocurrency as enabling illegal activities such as “gambling, illegal fund-raising, fraud, pyramid schemes, and money laundering, seriously endangering the safety of people’s property.”
Cynics of the ban cite China’s plan to launch its own digital currency as a key motivation for the legislation. It seems China’s government may be clearing competition from the market, ready for the Central Bank to launch an official cryptocurrency in the future.
This past year saw further leaps and bounds in the prices of well known cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. For those of us less familiar with the digital currency landscape, Dogecoin is one coin we might be yet to hear of. The chances of that are getting less and less likely however, as Dogecoin has made some surprising gains in 2021 that have made headline news around the digital currency world.
So let’s take a look at this latest crypto phenomenon!
What is Dogecoin?
Simply, Dogecoin is another form of cryptocurrency similar to more well known coins such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. Unlike Bitcoin or Ethereum however, there is no limit on the number of Dogecoins that can ever be made. As a result the price of Dogecoin has traditionally stayed relatively low. As of June 2021, Dogecoin has seen highs of $0.35 United States Dollars and lows of $0.09 United States Dollars per coin. As of the 16th June 2021 and the time of writing this article, its price is currently $0.31 United States Dollars a coin.
Where does the name come from?
The name is one of the more unusual parts of Dogecoin, and does its part to explain the coin makers’ philosophy. The coin was made initially as a joke by Billy Marcus and Jackson Palmer. The two software engineers started the coin as a joke back in 2013 and the name services from the once-popular meme with the dog breed of the same name. The joke was meant to be on the various cryptocurrencies and their uses, however the increasing popularity of the coin in 2021 means it is now the fifth largest cryptocurrency on the digital market. Dogecoin unexpectedly has seen a 5,000% increase in its market value in 2021.
Dogecoin uses similar blockchain technology to Bitcoin or Ethereum and uses a ledger to record and secure all transactions made. The ledger is then retained by all holders of the coin in a decentralised digital currency market.
The art world has been going wild recently over a recent surge in interest surrounding NFTs. But what is an NFT? The acronym stands for non-fungible token. Yes, non-fungible… the basic meaning of this is, unlike bitcoin that can be traded for other bitcoin and you’ll have the exact same thing, an NFT is more like a trade of playing cards. This means you could trade something of equal value but end up with a different token at the end.
The application of this type of blockchain technology to digital art has been heralded and critiqued widely. While some people see NFTs as a way to deprivigalise more traditional forms of art and open up the art market to those outside of its traditional centres, others cite moral and environmental arguments for why such cryptocurrencies are a bad idea.
One particular argument against the use of NFTs for digital art is that it affects the experience of the viewer. A benefit of digital art currently is that it retains the aura of the original work with each viewing, unaffected by what number of copies it is. Some are arguing that inscribing an NFT to a work would fix an original of the piece in such a way that the aura of the work subsequently viewed elsewhere as a copy would be destroyed, and experience of the audeineed diminished.
The hype for NFTs in the artwork has increased so much that even high-end auction houses such as Christie’s have been getting in on them. Though initially traded between friends for at most $100 USD, a secondary market for digital artwork NFTs made from files such as MP4s, GIFs and JPEGS, has quickly emerged.
The digital artist Beeple is the pseudonym of NFT innovator Mike Winkelmann who, until October 2020, had never sold a work for more than a hundred dollars. Come March 11th 2021, a recent digital collage from Beeple titled ‘Everydays – The First 5000 Days’ sold for a staggering $69 million USD at a Christie’s online auction. The price was far beyond the estimated $35 million and $15 million more than the painting Nymphéas by Monet which was sold via the auction house in 2014.