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Market Wrap: Bitcoin Tests $11K; Uniswap Passes $1.5B Locked

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Bitcoin has lost its market momentum. Meanwhile, the amount of cryptocurrency locked in decentralized exchange Uniswap was nearly doubled on Friday.

  • Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $10,867 as of 20:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Slipping 0.42% over the previous 24 hours.
  • Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $10,812-$11,039
  • BTC below its 10-day and 50-day moving averages, a bearish signal for market technicians.

Bitcoin trading on Coinbase since Sept. 16.
Source: TradingView

Bitcoin was only able to eclipse the $11,000 level briefly Friday before dropping to as low as $10,812 on spot exchanges such as Coinbase. 

“Markets are looking weak on drying-up liquidity on exchanges while BTC hardly managed to reach back above the $11,000 level and couldn’t sustain it,” said Jean Baptiste Pavageau, partner at trading firm ExoAlpha. 

Indeed, major USD/BTC exchange volumes are looking feeble, with Friday tallying a $211 million total so far while daily averages the past month have been $364 million. 

skew_btc_spot__aggregated_daily_volumes-39
BTC/USD spot volume on major exchanges the past month.
Source: Skew

Rupert Douglas, head of institutional sales at crypto brokerage Koine, is concerned stock markets are in for a correction, potentially hurting crypto as investors look to unload risky assets. 

“I think equities are headed lower and if that happens digital assets will get sucked down, too,” Douglas told CoinDesk. “The tech shares are too frothy,” he added 

Stock markets globally were mixed to cap off the week:

Another factor crypto investors are tracking: Bitcoin dominance, a measure of its market capitalization as a percentage of total cryptocurrencies. September has seen bitcoin hit 2020 dominance lows, hovering around 60% Friday.

bitcoindom2020
Bitcoin dominance in 2020.
Source: TradingView

“So far, bitcoin dominance has largely been sliding downwards since the beginning of 2020,” said Andrew Tu, an executive at crypto quant trading firm Efficient Frontier. “It will be interesting to see if we see a short-term reversion of the bitcoin dominance back upwards.” 

ExoAlpha’s Pavageau says decentralized finance, or DeFi, is captivating the crypto market, and that is causing weakness for bitcoin.

Read More: This DeFi Group Wants to Bring Maturity to the Yield Farming Craze

“The market is focused on DeFi. It seems that locking value is also draining liquidity from exchanges as traders are noticing higher slippage when executing in the market,” Pavageau said. “A question to ask might be: Is the total value locked a threat to market liquidity for active traders?”

Uniswap crosses $1.5 billion locked

Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was down Friday, trading around $379 and slipping 2.3% in 24 hours as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET). 

The amount of cryptocurrency “locked” in decentralized exchange Uniswap has crossed $1.5 billion for the first time since Sept. 7. Investors have been quickly plowing crypto into Uniswap’s smart contracts over the past 24 hours, an 80% increase in value locked for that time period.

uniswaplocked
Total value, in USD terms, locked in Uniswap.
Source: DeFi Pulse

The dynamics of Uniswap have changed due to the decentralized exchange’s decision to release its own token, known as UNI, said Brian Mosoff, chief executive officer for investment firm Ether Capital.

Read More: Uniswap’s Newly Launched UNI Token Has Already Doubled in Price

“Users are likely locking ETH into Uniswap because they want to farm the $UNI token,” Mosoff said. “Many crypto users see Uniswap as the category leader, and rightfully so given the team and its backers. Users want to participate financially in the growth of the platform.”

Other markets

Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are mixed Friday, mostly in the red. Notable winners as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):

Notable losers as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):

Read More: Uniswap’s $5B Token Valuation Cements Comeback From ‘Vampire Mining’ 

  • Oil is flat, in the red 0.10%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $40.90.
  • Gold was in the green 0.34% and at $1,950 as of press time.
  • U.S. Treasury bond yields were mixed Friday. Yields, which move in the opposite direction as price, were down most on the two-year bond, in the red 2.8%.
https://www.coindesk.com/coindesk20
The CoinDesk 20: The Assets That Matter Most to the Market



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Tourism Industry to Adopt Crypto Payments as They ‘Will Really Matter for Travel’

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The list of tourism companies accepting crypto payments is constantly growing. You will find the names of tourism players currently transacting in crypto below.

It is quite difficult to name at least one sphere that has not been touched by blockchain. The impact of cryptocurrencies on our life has been inevitable, and now industries can not but accept this fact and think of ways to get deeper involved in crypto-related activity. One of the industries that have been recently adopting cryptocurrencies is tourism. Now, when travel companies are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, all of them are looking for ways to expand their activity and get back to pre-pandemic revenue. And cryptocurrencies can serve as a means of doing that. Therefore, the tourism industry is adopting crypto payments, with more and more travel providers warming to this idea.

According to many industry experts, cryptocurrency, first of all, appeals to younger generations of travelers. As Johannes Reck, CEO and co-founder of GetYourGuide, stated, cryptocurrency transactions “will really matter for travel”. He explained:

“People want to put their crypto back into the system [and] travel is one of the biggest categories there is. We take dogecoin now into the real world; you can apply it and actually get a real-world, kinetic experience.”

The list of tourism companies accepting crypto payments is constantly growing. You will find the names of tourism players currently transacting in crypto below.

Who Accepts Crypto Payments?

There are a lot of travel companies that allow you to purchase your plane ticket or hotel via Bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptocurrencies.

An American online travel agency that finds affordable rates for flights, hotels, and car rentals by searching through significantly more low-fare options that other websites might miss. CheapAir lets you pay with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin through BTCPayServer processor.

The world’s leading full-service online travel company was the first major travel organization to have payments in digital currency. It started accepting Bitcoin payments back in 2014. The cryptocurrency payment option was available until June 2018. Then, the company stopped it. However, Expedia Partner Solutions (EPS) partnered with crypto-friendly travel booking platform Travala.com. As a result, more than 700,000 Expedia Group hotels and accommodations became available via Travala.

Travala accepts several cryptocurrencies including BTC, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Binance Coin (BNB). It also distinguishes itself by hosting a native cryptocurrency on its platform, the AVA token. It incentivizes the use of the token with benefits such as discounts on your bookings, bonus rewards, and a loyalty program to foster a healthy internal economy.

Alternative Airlines is a website that offers over 600 global airlines that accept cryptocurrency payments for secure and verified transactions. You can complete your booking entirely through its website and find the best prices due to alternative flight options through small airline carriers in lesser-known regions.

Destinia allows you to use cryptos to book hotels, flights, cars, buses, trains, or even skiing trips in more than 90 different countries. This website also lets you enter your budget parameters and organize activities and locations to create thematic vacations ranging from festivals to honeymoons.

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Daria is an economic student interested in the development of modern technologies. She is eager to know as much as possible about cryptos as she believes they can change our view on finance and the world in general.



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Lloyds Banking Group Set to Acquire Embark for £390 Million as Q2 Pretax Profits Rise

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In line with the move, Lloyds increased its net new money target to around £40 billion in 2023.

British financial institution Lloyds Banking Group PLC is set to buy major WealthTech player Embark Group for £390 million. The UK banking giant will acquire £35 billion of assets under administration from the Dundee-based retirement solutions provider. The deal, which is Lloyds’ biggest since it returned to private ownership four years ago, will also see it inherit about 410,000 customers. However, Embark’s Rowanmoor SIPP and SSAS administration are excluded from the package deal and will be retained by existing shareholders.

Lloyds Banking Group’s Plans to Buy Embark

The newly acquired business consolidates Lloyds’ existing partnerships which caters to the more complex financial planning and investment requirements of mass-affluent and high net-worth customers. It currently provides this offering through Schroeders Personal Wealth and Cazenove. The banking group hopes to leverage the technology platform that Embark provides to increase its investment offerings using WealthTech. Under the arrangement, Embark will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Scottish Widows Group, with the acquisition expected to complete in the fourth quarter, subject to regulatory approval.

Lloyds 2021 Financial Numbers Against Past Results

On Thursday, Lloyds posted a 2.1 billion pound ($2.92 bn) pretax profit for the second quarter of 2021. This figure was substantially higher than the projected profit estimate of £1.23 billion for the said period, according to its compiled consensus. At the same time last year, the financial institution lost £676 million, considering the prevailing circumstances with the pandemic. In 2019, the British bank reported a profit of £1.29 billion for the same period.

In addition to its reported Q2 pretax profit for 2021, Lloyds also indicated impairments of £333 million, showing a recovering economy up from £323 million in the previous quarter. There was an increase in net income from £3.46 billion to £3.90 billion at the same time in 2020, and to £4.40 billion back in 2019. This was higher than the 3.69 billion pounds projected by the bank’s compiled consensus. Lloyds ended the period with a common equity Tier 1 ratio of 16.7%, a key measure of balance sheet strength. It also declared an interim dividend of 0.67 pence per share.

Lloyd’s WealthTech Ambitions With Embark

In line with the move, Lloyds increased its net new money target to around £40 billion in 2023. This is in line with its 2021 strategic review,  to reflect its increased growth and potential.

The new Lloyds arrangement will see Embark a new chief executive. The new CEO will be Widows Group managing director for pensions, stockbroking, and distribution, Jackie Leiper. Furthermore, Lloyds also intends to “work closely” with Embark’s existing asset management partners, BlackRock and Franklin Templeton. The banking group intends to a top-three position in different facets. These include direct-to-consumer, robo-advice, and self-directed businesses. 

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Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge.
When he’s not neck-deep in crypto stories, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie lover.



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Volkswagen Reports Record First Half Earnings Encouraging Car Manufacturer to Raise Profit Margin Target

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Volkswagen posted first half earnings of $13.5 billion and now expects operating return on sales to go as high as 7.5%.

German automaker Volkswagen AG (XETRA: VOW) on Thursday, July 29, posted record first half sales of 11.4 billion euros ($13.5 billion) after experiencing a surge in demand for its products. The increased demand for premium cars in Europe and the Americas, and the tripling of electric car sales majorly contributed to the company’s sales volume. As a result, Volkswagen has now raised its projected profit margin target for the second time in three months. The company’s expected operating returns on sales is now between 6% and 7.5%. This is higher than the previously projected range between 5.5% and 7%.

The German car maker’s second-quarter deliveries were pegged at 2.55 million vehicles. This is an increase from the 1.89 million reported in the first half of 2020. Quarterly group sales revenue came in at 67.29 billion euros, up from 41.08 billion euros for the same period the year before. Furthermore, Volkswagen posted operating results before special items at 6.55 billion euros, up from -2.39 billion euros the previous year.

Volkswagen reports that it expects half of its sales in 2030 to battery-electric hybrids by 2030. It also stated that almost 100% of its new vehicles in major markets by 2040, will be zero-emission.

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess is happy with the realized first half operating profit before special items. In a recent statement, he attributed this to “…clear proof of how strong our brands are and how attractive their products are.” Diess suggested double-digit returns in the premium division of the company as well as rising demand for electric cars. The recent report suggests remarkable growth, considering that only last year the automakers had to lower their delivery expectations amid growing uncertainty.

The Volkswagen First Half Earnings Aside

Despite the recent sales optimism, Volkswagen expects to brave a peculiar and ongoing industry issue: a shortage of semiconductors. These semiconductors, also called ‘chips,’ are highly integral to the manufacturing of cars. The crippling effects of COVID 19 and rising demand have created a deficit of these said ‘chips’ in the industry. An effect so severe that even Nissan CEO, Makoto Uchida, has weighed in on it. The Japanese automaker’s top exec expects his company to manufacture half a million fewer vehicles in 2021, as released in a statement. As it stands, there’s also a shortage of factories making the older, less advanced chips that used in cars.

Volkswagen believes that there will still be hurdles to overcome in the future. In its earnings report, the carmaker cited economic challenges of the supply chain variety that will arise from a recovering global economy. Other issues it expects to tackle head-on include an increase in competition intensity and volatile commodity and foreign exchange markets. Lastly, there is the obligation to produce ‘greener’ vehicles that emit less carbon in the face of stringent emissions-related requirements.  

Regarldess of the possible problems, the recent development is an improvement on the company’s situation exactly a year ago. At the time, the COVID-19 pandemic severely affected its sales volume.

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Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge.
When he’s not neck-deep in crypto stories, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie lover.



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