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Importing cars and sending money to family

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Bitcoin (BTC) is a tool for freedom and economic empowerment. For one young Zimbabwean, Ovidy, it turned his life around when he returned to his home country at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

An entrepreneur who first learned of Bitcoin while living in the United States, Ovidy has since built a business with Bitcoin at its core. Below, Ovidy (center) is pictured with Paco the Bitcoin traveler (left):

Ovidy imports cars using Bitcoin. “I really like to import BMWs,” he told Cointelegraph, as well as enabling peer-to-peer remittance payments to friends’ families in Kenya and overseas. In short, Bitcoin makes him hopeful for the future.

Ovidy told Cointelegraph that he “came across Bitcoin when it was around $10,000,” during the 2017 bull run. However, he didn’t invest “because I didn’t have any knowledge about it.”

“I thought that you could Bitcoin one day and have $500; the next day you have $1,000 and it goes up and up.”

He stacked some sats over this period, but it took a few years’ learning and small experiments tinkering with Bitcoin — such as using BitPay to pay for clothes on Amazon — before he could get to grips with the decentralized digital currency. However, it was no more than a hobby and an experience that was soon forgotten.

Jump to the dark beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and Ovidy was obliged to return to Zimbabwe from the United States. In an unfortunate twist of events:

“I didn’t have anything to do when I came back to Zimbabwe. There were no jobs, so I considered foreign exchange (forex) trading.”

The forex account asked for him to deposit some Bitcoin and Ovidy remembered he had some “Bitcoin in an old Coinbase account.” He checked, and to his delight, the $500 he bought during 2017 and 2018 was worth more than $2,000.

A eureka moment, Ovidy immediately realized he could leverage Bitcoin for payments and investments. He could create work, and more importantly, a salary for himself. The Ovidy E-Wallet transfer hub was born.

A flier for Ovidy’s money transfer business. Source: Facebook 

He tapped into his network of contacts and began facilitating the import of cars from Japan. From BMWs to Toyotas to off-the-shelf Hondas, his Zimbabwe clients give him dollars after which he sends Bitcoin to Japanese car dealerships. Weeks later, the cars arrive. He explained:

“It is impossible for me to send dollars to Japan as the only way to do so is through banks. When something gives me $5,000 in Bitcoin, I send the Bitcoin to Japan almost instantly, and I already have the cash here and the transaction is confirmed. Bitcoin is a faster and safer process.”

The process would take more than two weeks and involve high commissions if it were done through banks, he added.

Related: ‘We don’t like our money’: The story of the CFA and Bitcoin in Africa

Ovidy takes a small commission on the sale of cars and balances the dollars he earns with a money transfer service that uses Bitcoin remittance in reverse. As dollars are in scarce supply in Zimbabwe, Ovidy receives Bitcoin from “family members across Zimbabwe,” or from friends’ families in Kenya or overseas, and sends the dollars he makes on cars in return.

Two of the cars Ovidy imported recently, all paid for with Bitcoin. Source: Ovidy

Ovidy told Cointelegraph that while Bitcoin adoption in Zimbabwe is growing, it’s not plain sailing. Many people “really don’t trust Bitcoin,” and there is a significant education gap:

“At first people didn’t appreciate Bitcoin because most people investing get scammed. Even me, I was scammed $500 when I was learning about Bitcoin! A convincing “invest company” asked me for money, and I didn’t realize.”

He mentioned that the trickiest part about Bitcoin adoption — particularly for older generations — is that it is not tangible. A friend of his, William Chui, built a “Bitcoin house, using funds from Bitcoin,” as “a testimony to prove to people that with Bitcoin you can actually be financially free.”

Bitcoin House, built by Ovidy’s buddy William Chui. Source: Ovidy

While education remains a hurdle in the country experiencing hyperinflation, he is hopeful. “We start small and 10 to 15 years from now — and given that the younger generation appreciates Bitcoin — there will be a significant number of people adopting Bitcoin in Zimbabwe.” 



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What are Bitcoin covenants, and how do they work?

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Various prominent Bitcoin experts, including Adam Back, Jimmy Song and Andreas Antonopoulos, have raised some concerns over the implementation of restrictive covenants, in particular with the BIP119.

In particular, Antonopoulos has voiced concerns over “recursive covenants” that the new update could convey, thereby deteriorating the network. A recursive covenant occurs when a programmer restricts a transaction, but he does it in a way that restricts another transaction after that, starting a domino effect resulting in future limitless recursive covenants.

Blacklisting and risks of censorship and confiscation

While locking up where a Bitcoin can be spent is advantageous to ensure more security, it also provides grounds for censorship, and control by governments, which would hinder the very existence of Bitcoin. Authorities could potentially force exchanges to withdraw only to covenants with some control over the coin.

While this same risk already exists, since governments can ask exchanges to send only to addresses with a taproot spend path or multi-sig controlled by them, could the implementation of covenants facilitate malicious purposes where it would make it easier for governments to enforce a sort of on-chain KYC? 

Fungibility threats

Covenants might interfere with Bitcoin’s fungibility — the ability of each Bitcoin to be identical in function and quality.

While useful for security and scalability, covenants would change the properties of specific Bitcoin units, essentially creating different types of digital currency, distinct according to what could be spent or where it could be sent. 

As a result, those who oppose the change argued that limiting how you can spend your Bitcoin would ultimately limit Bitcoin’s use as a digital currency, with inevitable consequences in its value.

There are strong opinions on covenants’ pros and cons; however, debates are healthy and necessary to improve a decentralized and leaderless network. Ultimately, the final decision will be down to the users and node operators who will download the software that better reflects their viewpoint.

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BTC price tops 10-day highs as Bitcoin whale demand sees ‘huge spike’

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Bitcoin (BTC) made the most of weekend volatility on June 26 as a squeeze saw BTC/USD reach its highest in over a week.

BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView

“Unusual whale activity” flagged

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView followed the largest cryptocurrency as it hit $21,868 on Bitstamp.

Just hours from the weekly close, a reversal then set in under $21,500, Bitcoin still in line to seal its first “green” weekly candle since May.

The event followed warnings that volatile conditions both up and down could return during low-liquidity weekend trading. On-chain data nonetheless fixed what appeared to be buying by Bitcoin’s largest-volume investor cohort prior to the uptick.

“Unusual whale activity detected in Bitcoin,” popular analytics resource Game of Trades observed.

“The supply held by entities with balance 1k-10k BTC just saw a huge spike in demand. Let’s watch if the trend confirms.”

An accompanying chart from on-chain analytics firm Glassnode showed shifting up markedly from around the time BTC/USD hit lows of $17,600 this month.

BTC supply held by entities with 1,000-10,000 BTC annotated chart. Source: Games of Trades/ Twitter

As Cointelegraph reported, whales had eagerly purchased BTC below $20,000, forming new support clusters in the process.

CME futures gap looms large

For others, however, conservative views on price action remained the norm.

Related: Bitcoin gives ‘encouraging signs’ — Watch these BTC price levels next

Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe eyed the need to crack $21,600 definitively in order to secure the chances of further upside. Additionally, last week’s closing price of $21,100 on CME Group’s Bitcoin futures could provide a short-term target.

“Standard weekend fake-outs happening and probably ending at CME close at $21.1K for Bitcoin,” he forecast on the day.

“No clear breakout above $21.6K at this point, yet.”

CME Bitcoin futures 1-hour candle chart. Source: TradingView

The monthly close was still on course to cement Bitcoin’s worst June on record with monthly losses of almost 33%.

Along with May 2021, this would also be the worst-performing month since before the 2018 bear market bottom, data from on-chain monitoring resource Coinglass confirms.

Bitcoin monthly returns chart (screenshot). Source: Coinglass

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.



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Small-time investors achieve the 1 BTC dream as Bitcoin holds $20k range

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Ever since early Bitcoin (BTC) investors woke up millionaires as the ecosystem gained tremendous popularity alongside the mainstreaming of the internet, investors across the globe have been in the rush to accumulate as many of the 21 million BTC — one Satoshi at a time.

With BTC recently trading at the $20,000 range for the first time since 2020, small-time investors found a small window of opportunity to achieve their dream of owning at least 1 BTC. On June 20, Cointelegraph reported that the number of Bitcoin wallet addresses containing one BTC or more increased by 13,091 in just 7 days.

While the total number of addresses holding 1 BTC saw an immediate reduction in days to come, the crypto community on Reddit continues to welcome new crypto investors that hodled their way into becoming a wholecoiner.

A Reddit post announcing the procurement of 1 Bitcoin. Source: Reddit

Redditor arbalest_22, who shared the above screenshot, revealed that it took him around $35k in total to accumulate 1 BTC over several months since February 14, 2021. Showing further support for the Bitcoin ecosystem, the Redditor aims to continue procuring Satoshis or sats until he accumulates over 2 BTC. 

Arbalest_22 started purchasing BTC from crypto exchange Coinbase but later started using Strike owing to lower fees. Sharing a peek into his future plans, they stated:

“I’m hoping in the future I can treat it more like rich people treat real estate and take loans out against it. Then as it appreciates just pay off the old loan with a new one. Boom, tax-free income.”

Following suit, another Reddit user Evening-Main-5860, too, posted about being able to 1 BTC after largely following a dollar-cost averaging (DCA) strategy, wherein they regularly bought smaller amounts of BTC over a long period of time, stating:

“I was able to catch the falling knife and buy enough to get me over the finish line. This was no easy feat. I’m just an ordinary guy with an ordinary life.”

Data on number of wallet addresses with at least 1 BTC. Source: Glassnode

Between June 15 to June 25, the total number of Bitcoin wallet addresses holding more than 1 BTC grew by 873, according to Glassnode data.

Related: ‘Bitcoin dead’ Google searches hit new all-time high

While falling BTC prices are seen by many as an investment opportunity, Google search trends highlight the tendency of other investors to speculate about its demise.

The Google search results reflect peak anxiety for the cryptocurrency markets following weeks of relentless selloffs in asset prices.



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