The idea of California seceding from the United States has been floating around for years. It gained attention in 2016 after Donald Trump became the president, but it ultimately failed to make a bigger impact. Now, with the 2020 presidential election just months away, the movement is once again picking up speed.
This time around, Yes California — the organization that started the movement — is using cryptocurrency as a potential foundation for secession. “Calexit” – or a California exit — comes from the popular term, “Brexit,” which occurred when the United Kingdom left the European Union.
In 2014, only 20% of Californians supported a secession. However, in 2017, Reuters followed up with a survey where that number jumped to 32%. Further, these numbers came before Trump’s full first term, the coronavirus pandemic and the current ongoing wildfires throughout the state.
With the U.S. in a state of disarray, California organizations and activists are searching for a way to support citizens and create a better way of life. Trump has upheld a strained relationship with the state of California, threatening to withhold resources and funding for the wildfires.
California is also currently the state with the highest level of COVID-19 cases within the U.S. On top of the pandemic and wildfires, power outages and unemployment are prominent issues throughout the state. The continuous turmoil throughout the state, and the country, is giving the Calexit movement new steam.
Further, to help resolve some of the issues California currently faces, cryptocurrency could be the way forward. Its decentralized nature could pair well with a state secession.
During the 2018 midterm election, Yes California failed to get a preliminary vote about secession on the ballot. Once it gets the voting attention it needs, though, it can move on to the next steps. What, then, would Calexit look like if it does happen?
Cryptocurrency uses blockchain technology. This tech allows the distribution of crypto funds in a secure way. It stores information in blocks that keep the transaction private and under layers of security. Still, there are concerns that call back to the U.K.’s exit.
For instance, with Brexit, many feared the collapse of currency value. What’s different with Calexit cryptocurrency, though, is that it’s an up-and-coming form of money. It shows promise as a brand new introduction for a brand new country. A fresh start may have less of a chance of collapsing than the U.S. dollar.
Yes California’s president, Marcus Ruiz Evans, has followed up on these ideas as a viable path for secession. He suggests that modernizing California’s country-sized economy would be a progressive move with the organization’s plans for the state.
Working with blockchain expert Alastair Caithness, the two believe that having a crypto-based nation could lead to free education, free healthcare and a form of universal basic income. If these feats become reality, individuals and businesses in the new nation would drastically benefit.
In California, for example, nonprofits have generated $200 billion in revenue. Translating this number to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum could kickstart the blockchain basis in California. Businesses and organizations would then be contributing to a more circular economy — where the money goes back into community resources, like free healthcare.
This move would be a first for the world. Cryptocurrency is growing more popular but still doesn’t have the wide-spread integration that California could provide with this secession.
Will It Work?
The question that’s now on your mind is whether or not these plans will come to fruition. Will cryptocurrency function as a foundation for a new California? Will California be able to secede in the first place?
The state must jump through some hurdles first. Initially, Yes California must get on the public’s favor. With the increase in interest and the instability of the current U.S. government, this step may not be difficult. What comes next, though, will be harder.
Getting on the ballot for a vote is a feat of its own. Then, California could propose a constitutional amendment regarding its secession. It would also need two-thirds approval from Congressional houses. Finally, the last step is ratification from three-quarters of the rest of the United States.
The future is uncertain, but with backing from cryptocurrency and unrest in the U.S., Yes California has a growing possibility of creating a new nation where its citizens can thrive.
The crypto market has been affected massively by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, as has every other form of asset class. Bitcoin trading has suffered a large dip on LocalBitcoins with a 37% decrease, with £537,318,670 traded between March 2019-June 2019 and only £337,300,758 traded in the same period during 2020.
This may seem like a bleak thing for the industry as a whole, however, there have also been some promising signs coming out of the cryptocurrency market too.
A report from the Head of Research for CoinShares highlighted the fact that Bitcoin has been performing better in the wake of the pandemic than many other assets, including gold – between March 12th (Black Thursday) and August.
Furthermore, individuals’ trust in financial institutions has greatly diminished in the previous decade, whereas trust in cryptocurrencies over banks has actually been nicely increasing over the previous three years. The increase between 2017 and 2020 was highlighted at 29%. The ongoing problems of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic meltdowns have accelerated the process of banks losing and cryptos gaining trust.
On an organizational level, there have been several instances this year of organizations turning to cryptocurrencies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unicef has invested 125 ether (approx, $28,500) in eight different companies that can assist with the global challenges brought by a coronavirus. Additionally, on March 12th the Italian Red Cross established a bitcoin-fundraiser to create a medical facility for coronavirus patients.
New Trends To Keep An Eye On
The impact of COVID-19 has assisted in the creation of new trends in the cryptocurrency market; with many of these trends being positive in the direction of cryptocurrencies being seen as legitimate.
Transitioning To A Cashless Society
In modern society, the reality of moving to a cashless society was already being entertained before COVID-19, however, it was the outbreak that has accelerated the process of moving towards a cashless society; of course, paying with a card is safer than paying in cash.
Canada is an example of a country that is rapidly approaching being cashless, with 90% of Canadians owning a credit and debit card.
Also, in the United Kingdom, cash withdrawals have been down 40% from the year before, showing a rapid change towards a cashless society, and card transactions had risen by more than three quarters in April 2020.
The benefits of cryptocurrencies are being more effectively explored in this transitioning cashless society as both individuals and institutions alike are increasingly using cryptocurrency wallets and most cryptocurrency apps will be simple enough whereby a customer can buy digital assets using their credit card.
Crypto is Entering The Mainstream
Cryptocurrency has previously had a reputation as a slightly underground, geeky endeavor; with few actually taking it and its applications seriously. This reputation has been changing rapidly, with Bitcoin and Ether no longer being considered a bubble. The market capitalization of Bitcoin has now eclipsed that of both Coca-Cola and Intel.
Furthermore, institutional involvement in cryptocurrencies is increasing as the demand for Bitcoin has increased over the COVID-19 pandemic. As the demand for cryptocurrency increases, mainstream users will need to have convenient interfaces to utilize cryptocurrency and these interfaces are on the way.
Crypto Debit Cards
During the middle of 2020, the Wirecard scandal rocked the Crypto Debit Card arena, after 1.9 Billion Euros went missing from the company accounts and the company soon after filed for insolvency. Later it was discovered the money didn’t exist and former CEO, Markus Braun was arrested on suspicion of market manipulation.
Out of the rubble of the Wirecard scandal, payment giants Visa and Mastercard have decided to jump into the Crypto Debit Card space. Mastercard has expanded their current cryptocurrency program, which should make it easier for crypto companies to issue cards with Mastercard. Visa is also currently planning to bridge the gap between merchants and cryptocurrencies. Finally, Binance has announced that their payment card will be available in the next year.
The race to dominate the Crypto Debit Card space has begun.
Blockchain Is Seeing Increasing Real Use Cases
In the fight against COVID-19, blockchain technology has seen increasing utilization by massive organizations around the globe; providing use cases for the technology, leading to it being taken more seriously.
A poignant example of this can be found in the World Health Organisation (WHO), which launched a partnership with several tech companies to launch a blockchain platform (MiPasa), which is aimed at facilitating private information sharing between a person, the state and health institutions. This is a great opportunity for blockchain technology to shine on the world stage.
Also, blockchain technology is being implemented into contact tracing to get ahead of potential outbreaks before they start; this project is being led by a professor with Villanova University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The project itself works by facilitating private information sharing between medical institutions to keep track of who is infected and allow for contacting the infected.
The Rise of CBDCs’
Previously seen as a prospect that wouldn’t come to fruition any time soon, Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) are either currently in the works or being fiercely discussed in many countries around the world, China is currently storming ahead with testing for their CBDC, the digital yuan whilst the Federal Reserve in the USA is partnering with MIT to build and test a CBDC.
The rise of CBDCs around the world can have incredible benefits to the countries that adopt them. For instance, technological efficiency can be improved by cutting out the middleman (banks and clearinghouses) and allowing direct payment from Payer to Payee. Also, offering free, safe bank accounts through a central bank can increase competition in the banking sector, which should in theory improve overall performance.
In conclusion, it can be seen that the COVID-19 pandemic had a similar effect on the cryptocurrency market as was seen in other markets; at least initially. Later on, the consequences and problems of the pandemic provided cryptocurrencies with an opportunity to become more popular and for blockchain technology as a whole to become a more popular technological solution.
Banks have historically balked at any involvement in cryptocurrencies. However, a change in sentiment could be on the way soon. In a July 22, 2020, letter, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) gave national banks a nod of approval to provide cryptocurrency custody services for customers. That means the institutions could hold a client’s cryptographic key for safekeeping. Here’s why that matters.
It Should Make More Banks Willing to Venture Into Cryptocurrencies
Perhaps the most significant aspect of this recent crypto news is that the OCC is the banks’ regulatory authority. Since that body approved financial institutions to offer custody services for cryptocurrency owners, nothing else stands in the way of it happening.
This change did not represent a major shift in OCC regulations, but it showed a formal instance of a federal regulator recognizing cryptocurrency and how banks can handle it. Since institutions now have that clarification, they may be more eager to expand their services to cater to people who have crypto now or are interested in investing in it.
It Could Help Crypto Businesses That Need Banking Assistance
The OCC’s interpretive letter about crypto custody services “also reaffirms the OCC’s position that national banks may provide permissible banking services to any lawful business they choose, including cryptocurrency businesses, so long as they effectively manage the risks and comply with applicable law.” That reminder could decrease the friction that some crypto companies have when interacting with banks.
Many people appreciate cryptocurrencies because they do not require dealing with banks. However, cryptocurrency businesses often need to engage with them at times, such as to get loans or open corporate accounts. The crypto industry is relatively new, and the unfamiliarity led to it having more trouble than others when accessing banking services.
It Shows the OCC Understands the Modern Landscape Is Changing
Another key part of the OCC’s response says, “The OCC recognizes that, as the financial markets become increasingly technological, there will likely be increasing need for banks and other service providers to leverage new technology and innovative ways to provide traditional services on behalf of customers.” One recent example of what may be on the horizon concerns Novi Financial, a Facebook subsidiary that wants to streamline person-to-person payments.
Subsidiaries must follow state and federal requirements while operating. They need taxpayer-identification numbers from the Internal Revenue Service and must also register with local tax authorities. Novi Financial recently sent a letter to the OCC about the digital wallet used for its services. The company stated it wants to cooperate with regulators. It also recommended that banks manage traditional funds and crypto and suggested how they might do it.
It Positions Crypto Custodial Services as Extensions of What’s Already Available
These developments about OCC regulations for crypto custodial services are also crucial because they emphasize that banks have a long history of safeguarding their customers’ assets. The OCC noted that it recognized digital assets and authorized banks to keep them in 1998. These entities also hold physical items, such as valuable documents and rare coins.
The OCC repeatedly clarifies in its letter that banks must continue serving customers’ current needs. In this case, that means holding crypto for some of them. If financial institutions take that view of the matter, it should be easier to realize that this new move is not a drastic departure.
It Could Provide an Additional Revenue Stream for Banks
A 2019 study showed that 14.4% of Americans — approximately 36.5 million people — own cryptocurrency. Moreover, those statistics represent an 81% year-over-year increase from 2018’s numbers. Cryptocurrency is taking off. Since banks can now provide custodial services associated with it, they have chances to boost their bottom lines.
Third-party services provide crypto custodial assistance for clients, but banking brands could bring some of that business their way. The situation could especially work in their favor if a person already has a certain level of trust in their bank due to a longstanding relationship. Some people believe banks will not rush into offering these new services. However, this crypto news sparked a much-needed conversation about the possibilities.
Exciting Options on the Horizon
A portion near the end of the regulatory guidance reminded readers of some of the OCC regulations associated with custodian services, and what parties should do before storing cryptocurrency keys for clients. It’s too early to say how many entities will go through the steps required to offer that new service, but the regulatory approval is undoubtedly a promising step.
Since the beginning of the year, the world as we know it has been turned upside down by a virus from the coronavirus family, known as COVID-19. In the months following the alarming outbreak of this deadly new disease, financial markets have been left in ruins and many people have lost their jobs. The UN has speculated that the total cost of the pandemic will surpass $1 Trillion by its end. This presents a challenging and interesting picture of the crypto market, which is well-known for its volatility and we will soon learn how coronavirus is changing the way the world sees and uses crypto.
Like with almost all assets at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, Bitcoin and the crypto market experienced a crash as a result of a “liquidity crisis” which affected all other assets classes. This is where investors tried to convert as much of their assets into cash as possible.
Despite these initial lows, the value of Bitcoin has even rebounded, whilst other asset classes are still creeping upwards or losing their value. Many cryptocurrency exchanges are currently experiencing a large increase in users and trading volume on their platforms. This is indicative of a new faith being found in the crypto market, especially Bitcoin, which is being seen as an uncorrelated asset.
How COVID-19 Impacts The Way We Use Crypto
The increased ease and development of trading and utilizing cryptocurrency has happily coincided with the coronavirus pandemic, as has the rise of digital banking. Specifically, this year, the majority of cryptocurrency trading and wallet apps have made it easy to purchase digital currencies with the use of a credit card. This allows for people to send small sums of money, without KYC protocols and stable coins are currently in high demand as a replacement for cash and cards, with Tether specifically experiencing an explosion in popularity; making it the third-largest cryptocurrency.
In addition to this cryptocurrencies are currently garnering a different reputation for themselves. Whilst they are still seen as the gold standard for volatility and speculative vehicles; they are now gaining a reputation as assets that can provide shelter during a crisis. As a result of this, cryptocurrencies are going to be increasingly used as uncorrelated “safe haven assets” in addition to their potential as an investment.
With regard to newer traders, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided them with a new opportunity. Due to safely staying at home, a large number of retail investors are gaining the opportunity to more consistently monitor the overall market conditions; allowing them to better educate themselves on the market and improve their overall trading.
Interestingly, blockchain technology is already being utilized to assist with the global pandemic. International Business Machines Corp and Ernst & Young are among the companies exploring these options. Some of the proposed projects involve using the blockchain to efficiently connect healthcare providers with suppliers of vital equipment and Ernst & Young are attempting to create a blockchain whereby governments, healthcare providers, airlines, and other groups can keep track of individuals who have been tested and may be immune to coronavirus.
The healthcare benefits of blockchain are finally being sufficiently noticed.
Is COVID-19 Paving The Way To Global Adoption of Crypto?
It would not be a stretch to say that COVID-19 has changed the way that the world is viewing money. There has previously been a view that the banking system since 2009 has been working well and that banks should avoid risky and untested assets such as cryptocurrencies.
What the pandemic has shown us is that the new banking system is far from secure and scarce assets will be in demand and whilst a large number of banks will opt for gold as the asset of choice, an increasing number will choose Bitcoin, as demonstrated pre-pandemic in Germany where 40 banks have applied for cryptocurrency licensing.
Additionally, lawmakers and politicians are also beginning to take notice of digital currencies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. One month before the country went into lockdown, the Bank of England released a paper highlighting the advantages of a retail Central Bank Digital Currency.
Furthermore, in the United States, policymakers rushed to implement a digital dollar into the CARES Act; these efforts ultimately failed, but they have drawn attention to the concept of a digital dollar, which is now being widely discussed.
Finally, retail interest in cryptocurrencies is also skyrocketing as Bitcoin ATMs have surpassed 8000 functional units across the world during the coronavirus pandemic and as previously mentioned, cryptocurrency exchanges are currently experiencing surges in user interaction. Even in China, searches for Bitcoin on the country’s search engine increased by 183% in 30 days.
Despite the initial crash in value seen in cryptocurrencies due to the aforementioned liquidity crisis, cryptocurrencies quickly rallied and began to recover well against other asset classes. Additionally, there has been increasing talk of governments utilizing digital currencies as a result of the pandemic and even a large number of banks are beginning to consider the benefits of holding cryptocurrencies as a sheltered asset.
This combination of factors could see institutions that have traditionally rubbished cryptocurrencies and painted them as an unstable, unreliable and unsafe asset class make a U-turn and begin to see the inherent value in cryptocurrencies, particularly in volatile global situations.
Additionally, retail confidence in cryptocurrencies has also increased during the pandemic, as 66% of people in Europe believe that cryptocurrencies will still be around in ten years; Italy, a country whose struggle against coronavirus has been well-publicized is interestingly the most confident in cryptocurrencies, with 72% of people surveyed believing that the digital assets will still be around in ten years.
As both retail and institutional confidence in cryptocurrencies increases, we are still not at a stage where global adoption is on the horizon, but the COVID-19 pandemic may just push the crypto market in the right direction.
Crypto wallets are the foundations on which cryptocurrency transactions depend on, whether that be for receiving or sending funds to another cryptocurrency user. Cryptocurrency wallets have been around since the beginning of the market; when Bitcoin’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto developed the Satoshi client (later worked into Bitcoin Core) in 2009. The Satoshi client allowed users to create wallets and transfer Bitcoin between them.
Despite the success of the initial wallet generator, problems were common in the beginning.
Since the explosion of popularity of cryptocurrencies in 2017, the number of generated blockchain wallets has increased substantially from 17.2 Million in the third quarter of 2017 to 47.14 Million in the first quarter of 2020. In addition to this, with the bold predictions that the blockchain technology market will rise from $3 Billion in 2020 to $39.7 Billion in 2025, the number of cryptocurrency wallets that are generated is likely to continue to increase massively.
How Do Cryptocurrency Wallets Work?
One of the easiest ways to think about cryptocurrency wallets is to think of them as a safe. We use safes to store our most precious possessions and if you were to lose the key or code to your safe, you would end up losing access to those possessions.
Cryptocurrency wallets work in the same way, although the keys in this sense are digital rather than physical. These are known as private keys and they take the form hexadecimal codes.
Cryptocurrency wallets interact with various blockchains, providing the ability to send and receive cryptocurrencies.
For example, if someone was to send you some Bitcoin, they would be singing ownership of those coins over to your cryptocurrency wallet. To actually receive the funds, the private key in your wallet must match the public address that the wallet is assigned. When these keys match, the amount of cryptocurrency in your wallet will increase. The transaction is then recorded on the specific blockchain.
The hexadecimal code used by Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakomoto’s Bitcoin wallet can be seen below.
In essence, private keys work in a similar sense to your password with your bank. If you are sending money across to another individual or are partaking in some other activity, your password will be needed. This key will be linked to your specific wallet, so if you use multiple wallets you will need to keep track of your private and public keys. The public key is akin to your bank number, which is used to identify you as a customer.
No physical product or asset is stored within this process. Transactions are completely facilitated by the blockchain, which acts as a distributed accounting ledger; also taking note of the balances of each wallet on the blockchain. This blockchain can not be retroactively changed, which reinforces the legitimacy of transactions on the blockchain.
Some cryptocurrency wallets allow the user to store a variety of different cryptocurrencies within that wallet, whereas others may offer a more limited or even singular option in terms of cryptocurrency compatibility. Generally, a large number of cryptocurrency are built on the ERC-20 token; which means that there is a greater chance of finding a cross-currency wallet built for ERC-20 tokens. It is always recommended that you research the compatibility of each wallet before using it.
Some cryptocurrency wallets come with additional security features which decrease the likelihood of an attack on your cryptocurrency holdings. For example, many wallets support two-factor-authentication usage with Google Authenticator, which means even if an attacker gained access to your private key, they wouldn’t be able to access the wallet without the code.
The success of cryptocurrency wallets as a digital storage for a valuable asset has led some to speculate that there exists a much wider application for the technology, which can be used to store the value of other assets, securities and services. This has been seen with the resurgence of digital gold.
How To Choose The Best Cryptocurrency Wallet For Your Needs?
Each type of cryptocurrency wallet that is available to the public has their own sets of advantages and disadvantages and the best wallet for your needs will depend on your transaction habits and other requirements that you may have.
If you are using cryptocurrencies on a daily basis and you need fast access to your cryptocurrencies, then a mobile wallet may be the best option for you. These types of wallets work from an app on your mobile device and will allow you to pay for items or send transactions directly from your phone. Despite the convenience, you will need to do your due diligence when using a mobile wallet and choose one with a history of good security and fair practices. There are some privacy concerns over the use of the internet, however the internal security on these apps temper this.
Hardware wallets are physical devices run electronically that will generate your public and private keys by using a random number generator. These devices are incredibly secure against online attacks, although security may be compromised if the firmware is not correctly implemented. These types of wallets are useful if you are storing your cryptocurrencies for a long time, as they are not incredibly user-friendly and the act of accessing your cryptos can be more difficult.
Paper wallets are the safest method of storing your cryptocurrencies from online attacks as your keys are simply written or printed onto a piece of paper and never interfaces with the internet. Despite this, there are still risks associated with paper cryptocurrency wallets as they can easily be destroyed or stolen if they are not stored safely and appropriately. They can also be more complicated to use than the other wallets.
Desktop wallets are software programs that you can store onto your computer to access your cryptos. The keys for your wallets are stored on your hard drive and among offline options, they are considered to be a very reliable form of cryptocurrency wallet. Despite this, there are still security risks associated with this wallet type and they are not as convenient as other forms of crypto wallets. If your keys are not stored with an encryption, they can be stolen and your IP address can be hacked.
Web wallets, also known as online wallets, are the least secure form of cryptocurrency wallet, due to the fact that they are always exposed to the internet. Despite this, web wallets are very utilitarian and convenient for storing small amounts of cryptocurrency. Additionally, these types of wallets are able to facilitate rapid transactions and can often manage a variety of different cryptocurrency types. You should always ensure that if you are choosing to use a web wallet, that you do your due diligence as the third party will be storing your cryptocurrencies for you, as opposed to you doing it.
After discussing the advent of crypto wallets and how they work, it is clear that cryptocurrency wallets are critical to the successful widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies.
In line with this, it is estimated that the number of registered blockchain wallets will explode to new heights to cope with the growth of the market. Different individuals will have various trading habits and will benefit from some blockchain wallet types over others, depending on these requirements. From the discussion in this article, you should be able to identify the blockchain wallet type most suitable to you.