This is our new format of Staff Picks where we section articles by their topics. We want to give you our picks about news, adoption, top stories and so much more. You always have a chance to let us know what you like to read most on Twitter and Facebook. We’ll check out your suggestions and try to deliver more stories that fit your interests.

Read away!

Regulation news

Cointelegraph reported earlier this month that we may be heading towards new crypto bans in India. This comes after a reversal of the ban from 2018 in March of 2020 and after news that India might be pursuing a state supported digital currency (CBDC). The competition is fierce between cryptocurrencies and the ban seems to be aimed at clearing a path for a government sponsored effort.

The SEC has been in the news a lot since announcing its intent to prosecute Ripple and XRP in December 2020. Some are speculating that certain exchanges are reporting technical issues in order to conform to SEC warnings. We saw sensationalist headlines of broken partnerships and delisting of XRP but the reality is that XRP trading has been halted on some exchanges mostly to US customers only. In the meantime Ripple reports positive news even after SEC’s announcements including registering a LLC entity in Wyoming. On February 22, SEC and Ripple held a preliminary hearing with some fascinating revelations.

Institutional adoption

Mastercard made their intentions clear in a recent blog post to support merchants and customers in accepting and utilizing crypto currencies. Their goal is to let merchants accept payments in select stablecoins and recognize the growing need for crypto utility by letting end-users utilize crypto cards. These offer various perks like spending and cashbacks in crypto.

Tesla made themselves visible in the world of crypto primarily by way of Elon Musk’s tweets regarding BTC and Doge coin. More importantly Tesla announced first that BTC can be used to purchase their cars and later that they added $1,5B in BTC to their balance sheet.

Deutsche bank also revealed their plans and speculations in the 2021 WEF report. The key takeaways are plans to launch digital asset custody and services, a predicted end to fiat currencies by 2030 and a move towards adding utility in payments. For a deeper understanding of the upcoming trends, we strongly recommend to have a look at the WEF report linked above.

Lastly, there have been reports that Tifon, a notable gas retailer in Croatia is enabling customers to pay directly with cryptocurrency. The country is a popular tourist destination in the summer months. Tifon offers 46 locations where users can pay for gas using Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Stellar Lumen (XLM), XRP and EOS.

Top stories

Everyone has heard of the Bitcoin pizza story by now, but a new story has popped up. A Redittor reports that he paid a pizza delivery guy $5 in BTC by way of a paper wallet in December 2013. The recent surge in BTC price prompted the driver to get in touch with said Redittor for help recovering the tip now worth about $400.

A Twitter user pointed out that a StarCraft tournament in 2011 included BTC in their reward structure. Participants placed from 5th to 8th would receive 25BTC which is a hefty amount by today’s standards but was only worth about $25 back then. No awardee has come forward to tell their story yet.

Much of January was dominated by the drama around Gamestop stocks. There were some bitter takeaways but some feel-good stories also made the news. Here’s our top two picks:

Ups and downs

January and February saw unprecedented levels in the price of Bitcoin that managed to hit the $58k mark and surpass the price of a pound of gold. Ethereum reached its previous ATH this month and later also passed the $2,000 mark. Other assets performed well too and XRP managed to hold its levels despite the legal pressure it faced. The last week of February brought a long awaited correction to the prices of most assets with daily changes in the -10% to -20% range at some points.

Ripple published its 2020 Q4 report in late January as mentioned before and revealed that their partner list continues to grow despite all the legal pressure. The price of XRP, while highly volatile, has seen increases over the previous resistance levels.

In case you missed it

Gamestop revealed some reasons why retail investors are reluctant to enter the traditional financial markets. Hacker Noon breaks down what happened with the GME stock and how it all evolved. Their article is full of hot takes on DeFi by industry leaders including GateHub. Check it out!
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