Crypto Biz: Mastercard opens network to USDC, OKX departs Canada, Bitcoin climbs

Take, for example, the recent issues that Circle-issued USD Coin (USDC) faced when it depegged from the U.S. dollar following Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse. Two weeks later, Mastercard boldly integrated the stablecoin into its infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, allowing users to spend USDC through its network. It’s happening, folks!

And let’s not forget about Bitcoin (BTC) — that digital gold is still on the rise and decoupling from Wall Street, once again proving its value proposition and prompting calls for a hedge against equity markets in the long run.

This week’s Crypto Biz documents the latest developments on worldwide crypto adoption, and how banking system fears impact the crypto space.

Banks turmoil and regulatory crackdowns happening worldwide have not slowed down the ongoing blending of traditional and decentralized finance (DeFi). The on-ramps connecting the two sides seem even stronger despite the wild winds of change.

Mastercard to settle transactions for stablecoin wallet in APAC

Global payment provider Mastercard has made another move into the crypto space to allow retail customers in the Asia-Pacific region to spend stablecoins anywhere Mastercard is accepted. This move was made possible by a partnership with Stables, an Australian stablecoin platform. Users can spend and save USDC by converting it into fiat and settling on the Mastercard network. The wallet will accept deposits in several stablecoins, including Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD), with all deposits automatically converted into USDC.

MetaMask enables direct crypto purchases in Nigeria

On-ramps for digital assets are also increasing in Nigeria, as crypto wallet MetaMask expanded direct transactions with local banks. MetaMask’s parent firm ConsenSys has partnered with crypto fintech MoonPay, enabling users in the country to purchase crypto via instant bank transfers without requiring a credit or debit card. The integration is estimated to reduce the decline rate for direct crypto purchases in Nigeria from 90% to 30%. Nigeria is a major market for MetaMask, ranking third in mobile monthly active users. Chainalysis ranks Nigeria as one of the top 20 countries in cryptocurrency adoption.

OKX to cease operations in Canada by June 22, 2023

In a “temporary” bye-bye, crypto exchange OKX emailed Canadian users that the firm “will no longer provide services or allow users to open new accounts in Canada starting on March 24, 2023.” OKX cited “new regulations” behind the move, saying it is only temporary while it works with regulators. By June 22, OKX’s customers in the country must close open options, margins, perpetuals and futures positions. Fiat or tokens must also be withdrawn by that date. In February, The Canadian Securities Administrators published a notice requiring crypto exchanges to sign new, legally binding undertakings while they await registration with regulators. 

Bitcoin’s banking crisis surge will ‘attract more institutions’: ARK’s Cathie Wood

With fears of a global banking crisis on the rise, Bitcoin’s value proposition is on full display as its price continues to climb following the collapses of Silvergate, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood believes the current decoupling of BTC’s price to the equity markets may attract more institutional investors into Bitcoin over time. As for the impact on Bitcoin’s price from institutional interest, Wood expects that most firms would allocate between 2.5% to 6.5% of their investment portfolios to BTC by 2030, taking the leading cryptocurrency’s price to $1–1.5 million.

The impact of the Credit Suisse bank crisis on the crypto market

How to analyze banks and avoid inaccurate market capitalization indicators — such as the $15.8 billion value of Silicon Valley Bank? Crypto analyst Marcel Pechman delves into the enterprise value metric and how it provides a better picture of a bank’s balance sheet terms by subtracting net debt from market cap. Of course, Pechman first explains the relationship between banking valuation and cryptocurrencies, specifically Bitcoin’s ethos. 

Crypto Biz is your weekly pulse of the business behind blockchain and crypto, delivered directly to your inbox every Thursday.

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