On this episode of the Unhashed Podcast, we talk AMC accepting bitcoin, infrastructure bill shenanigans, Ee-lawn Musque’s take on mining energy mix, how ETFs might or might not track the BTC price, half a billion dollars in a DeFi hack, and then finish off with some movie reviews.
AMC Theaters will accept the cryptocurrency bitcoin for movie tickets and concessions in the U.S. by the end of 2021, according to CEO Adam Aron, who first made the announcement during an earnings call on Monday. The theater chain will also start accepting Apple Pay and Google Pay, but there are still plenty of important questions about AMC’s bitcoin bet that haven’t yet been answered. “I’ve had to learn more in the past six months about blockchain and cryptocurrency than I learned about it in the entire decade before that,” Aron told members of the conference call. “This increased knowledge has given me the confidence to tell you all today that AMC is hereby formally announcing on this call that by year’s end we will have the information technology systems in place to accept bitcoin,” Aron continued. Aron noted that all bitcoin purchases of movie tickets and concessions would need to happen online, leaving some question about whether customers would be able to change their purchases after they showed up to the theater.
A compromise crypto amendment between senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and the U.S. Treasury failed to make it into the final version of the infrastructure bill. Today in the Senate, Senator Toomey introduced a process known as Unanimous Consent, which required zero objections to pass a motion. Although support for the compromise agreement was widespread, it failed on the objection of Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), who objected with the request of including a $50 billion defense amendment to the bill. Then in a last-ditch effort Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked for Unanimous Consent on his own amendment, which would have stricken the crypto language from the bill altogether. However, Shelby objected for the same reasons. There had been optimism this morning when the bi-partisan group of senators, which had been promoting competing agreements over the past few days, that the ‘problematic’ language from the original bill would be struck before a final vote. In particular, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OE), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Pat Toomey (R-PA), objected to vague language that would require any node or miner, as well as software developers, to be categorized as a ‘broker’ and produce 1099s for crypto users. The compromise language would have exempted these entities to primarily focus on crypto exchanges, such as Coinbase. The failure comes on the back of widespread crypto industry rallying, including more than 40,000 calls reportedly made to Senators by the non-profit Fight for the future. With no more paths to alter the bill’s language, the next step in the process is for the $1.2 trillion bill to be voted on in its entirety by the Senate, which could happen anytime. Given the bi-partisan nature of the bill, it is expected to pass. It must then be reconciled with a version produced by the 435 member House of Representatives before getting signed by President Biden and becoming law. Actual implementation of the law is expected in 2023.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company will likely start accepting bitcoin for vehicle purchases again. “It looks like bitcoin is shifting a lot more toward renewables and a bunch of the heavy-duty coal plants that were being used…have been shut down, especially in China,” said Musk on Wednesday at The B-Word conference, an event hosted by the Crypto Council for Innovation. “I want to do a little more due diligence to confirm that the percentage of renewable energy usage is most likely at or above 50% and that there is a trend toward increasing that number. If so, Tesla will most likely resume accepting bitcoin,” he said. In May, Musk said on Twitter that the company would suspend vehicle purchases using bitcoin out of concern over the “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining.” Since then, Beijing has cracked down on crypto, expelling the country’s crypto miners, who have since begun to patriate elsewhere. New data from Cambridge University shows many miners are headed to the U.S., which is now the second-biggest destination for the world’s bitcoin miners. The U.S. is home to some of the cheapest sources of power on the planet, which, more often than not, are renewable. Fred Thiel of Marathon Digital said most miners new to North America will be powered by renewables, or gas offset by renewable energy credits, and Compass CEO Whit Gibbs estimated that bitcoin mining in the U.S. is more than 50% powered by renewables. “Long-term, renewable energy will be the cheapest energy, but it doesn’t just happen overnight,” Musk said. “But as long as there is a conscious and determined, real effort by the mining community to move toward renewables, then obviously Tesla can support that.”
French regulators have approved asset manager Melanion Capital to begin offering a bitcoin-tied exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the European Union. Though this asset does not have full correlation to the price of the world’s number one cryptocurrency, its wide international market and 90%+ correlation marks major progress for investors’ ability to gain bitcoin exposure. The struggle to create a legal, regulator-approved Bitcoin ETF has been a major ongoing development for years now. An ETF is a type of derivative that has its own value set to correspond with the value of some outside tangible or intangible asset, such as gold bullion or the growth in stocks of a specific private firm. The mechanisms of keeping this valuation on target can be a challenge, with slight fluctuations from the actual value to be expected, but complicated systems of arbitrage exist for most ETFs so that the asset managers can respond to changes in the financial world with speed and precision.
Hackers allegedly breached blockchain-based platform Poly Network and extracted more than $600 million in cryptocurrencies on Tuesday, the company announced on Twitter, marking the biggest hack ever in the decentralized finance space that’s heating up among investors. Crypto-exchange operators spoke out soon after the massive hack. Changpeng Zhao, the billionaire CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance said in tweets that the company, which serves as the primary operator of the blockchain on which binance coins are built, will coordinate with its security partners and “do as much as [it] can” to help. Meanwhile, Jay Hao, the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange OKEx, said the company is “watching the flow of coins and will do [its] best to manage the situation.” According to a series of tweets by Mudit Gupta, the contract with the funds on Ethereum was essentially controlled by a single key, so the “hack” may have been as simple as a custodian losing their key.