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This Week in Coins: Leading Coins Rise Again as Florida to 'Figure Out' Accepting Bitcoin For Taxes

Meanwhile, Thailand banned crypto, and Russia signaled to allies it would begin accepting Bitcoin for natural gas exports.

5 min read
This week in coins. Illustration by Mitchell Preffer for Decrypt.

This week, leading cryptocurrencies didn't just hold onto gains recaptured last week, many kept growing. 

The world's largest, Bitcoin, broke the critical $40,000 threshold in the middle of last week, and as of this writing was trading for $44,283, a gain of well over 5% in the last seven days.

Rival coin Ethereum managed to stay on the optimistic side of its $3,000 threshold, trading at around $3,116, also a seven-day gain of more than 5%.

Cardano easily had the most explosive upward price trajectory among the top 10 currencies by market cap, posting an eye-watering rally of better than 27% over the last seven days to reach $1.12.

Like Ethereum, Cardano is smart-contract enabled, but Cardano has a super energy-efficient proof-of-stake consensus (PoS) mechanism unlike the environmentally unsound proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanisms used by Ethereum and Bitcoin miners.

Among the top 30 coins, Cardano's growth still trailed Ethereum Classic (ETC), which rose 55% over the last week and traded for $47.

Ethereum Classic spun off from Ethereum in 2015 after a large group of users decided to keep the record of Ethereum’s infamous $55 million DAO hack on their public ledger despite majority assent to its removal.

As Ethereum gradually transitions to an energy-efficient proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, Ethereum Classic will remain a proof-of-work blockchain.

Other notable price movements among leading coins this week all were positive: Solana was up 8% to $100.10 as of this writing, while Litecoin added 9.2% to reach $123.26.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin Cash and Near Protocol both grew around 15%, to be valued at $361 and $13, respectively.

The Week's News

In Malaysia's parliament on Monday, Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia Zahidi Zainul replied to a question from the opposition about crypto legislation, and said that Malaysia should adopt Bitcoin and other crypto as legal tender, before adding, "We hope the government can allow this."

That same day in the U.S., institutional crypto broker-dealer Galaxy Digital announced that it facilitated Goldman Sachs’s first over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency transaction. Goldman Sachs is the first major U.S. bank to have made such a crypto transaction. The bank purchased a Bitcoin non-deliverable option (NDO)—essentially a contract betting on the future price of Bitcoin—rather than the asset itself.

Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis has almost finished drafting a bill to incorporate crypto into the U.S. tax code. The Bitcoin HODLing Senator has been working on the Responsible Financial Innovation Act since last year, and, according to sources familiar with the matter, the bill likely will attract support from one or two Democratic senators from coastal states.

On Wednesday, Thailand's Security and Exchange Commission announced it was implementing a ban on crypto as a payment method starting April 1. The official announcement cited concerns that cryptocurrencies may destabilize the nation's economy. 

Also on Wednesday, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell spoke to a panel organized by the Bank for International Settlements, a global organization of central banks. Powell reiterated his well-known concerns that crypto could destabilize existing financial institutions. Powell called on states to overhaul their existing regulations.

Some of Miami Mayor Francis Saurez's crypto bullishness must be rubbing off on greater Florida, because on Wednesday Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, reportedly "told the state agencies to figure out ways" to accept business tax payments in crypto. DeSantis added: "We will accept Bitcoin, we're working on doing that, for payments in the state of Florida."

This week, it was reported that Meta (formerly Facebook) had previously filed eight trademark applications for its logo to cover a wide range of digital purposes, six of which explicitly refer to cryptocurrency and blockchain-based technologies, including tokens, wallets, and exchanges.

On Thursday, the chair of Russia's State Duma Committee on Energy, Pavel Zavalny, said during a videotaped press conference that Russia will accept Bitcoin payments for its energy exports from countries that have a neutral stance towards its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. China and Turkey were mentioned by name.

Crypto's utility in helping Russia circumvent sanctions may be limited, but clearly it has its uses. On the other side of the conflict, crypto has helped channel dozens of millions of dollars into Ukraine's resistance.

On the same day, Bloomberg reported that international oil and gas giant ExxonMobil is running a pilot cryptocurrency mining program powered by excess natural gas from wells in North Dakota.

Finally, in an interview with CNBC, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Andrew Ross Sorkin her thoughts on crypto after news broke of Russia saying it would accept Bitcoin for exported natural gas. Yellen in 2018 famously said she was "not a fan" of Bitcoin, and earlier this month said the U.S. will monitor crypto channels for signs of attempts to evade sanctions.

While telling Sorkin crypto wasn't a fad, she said she still has "a little bit of skepticism because I think there are valid concerns about it." She added: "On the other hand, there are benefits from crypto, and we recognize that innovation in the payment system can be a healthy thing."

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