Robinhood launches Crypto Wallet Beta for Bitcoin, Ethereum transfers

US-based financial services firm Robinhood has launched a cryptocurrency wallet beta program for 1,000 selected clients on a waiting list. By March, the company plans to expand the number of participants to 10,000 users who applied earlier. Robinhood customers will be able to send and receive their crypto (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin) from Robinhood to external crypto wallets.

Crypto prices today: Bitcoin crashes 7%, ETH down 8%

Bitcoin is currently trading at $39,090, a 6.88% decline over the previous day. Ethereum has crashed 8% over the last 24 hours to $2,882. Solana is down 8% to $126.06, while Cardano has crashed 9.4% to $1.24. Polygon (MATIC) fell 7.5% to $1.92. The global crypto market cap stands at $1.85 trillion, a 7% decline over the previous day. The crash in the crypto market follows the sharp sell-off in the US markets on Thursday.

Bank of Russia calls for complete ban on crypto

The Bank of Russia has called for a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies, citing them as “volatile and widely used in illegal activities”. It has also termed crypto a threat to the country’s financial stability, citizens’ wellbeing, and the sovereignty of its monetary policy. In a report titled “Cryptocurrencies: trends, risks, measures”, the central bank observed that cryptos make it harder for regulators to maintain optimal monetary policies.

El Salvador plans to offer crypto-based loans for SMEs

The Government of El Salvador plans to offer small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) $10 million in crypto-based loans in the first quarter of 2022. Acumen, a Solana-based lending and borrowing platform, will provide US dollar funding to El Salvador’s National Commission for Micro and Small Enterprises (Conamype). This entity plans to allocate financing to local informal entrepreneurs and self-employed workers.

Twitter users can now add verified NFTs as profile pictures

Twitter users can now use a non-fungible token (NFT) as the profile picture on their account. This is part of the company’s push to allow more users to show off digital art. It also aims to encourage people to sign up for the company’s subscription product. Users who pay for Twitter’s $2.99 monthly subscription product, Twitter Blue, can connect a crypto wallet to their account and select an NFT from their wallet as a profile photo.

Bitcoin mining difficulty sets new all-time high

Mining difficulty on the Bitcoin network increased by 9.32% and hit an all-time high of 26.64 trillion on Jan. 21. It has beat the previous record set on May 13, 2021. The difficulty is automatically adjusted based on the amount of computational power on the network (or hash rate) to keep the time it takes to mine a block roughly stable at 10 minutes. The higher the hash rate, the higher the difficulty, and vice versa.