When the world’s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin (BTC),
made its debut in 2009, no one yet accepted it as a bona fide currency
. Disbelief in the potential of cryptocurrency
was so engrained that a man named Laszlo Hanyecz acquired 10,000 BTC
, only to sell it for two pizzas! His story became legendary and the date of this transaction – May 22 – is now celebrated as Bitcoin Pizza Day
by crypto enthusiasts each year.
Hanyecz’s story is not unique, as many people at the time thought that cryptocurrencies were worthless and unlikely to ever be taken seriously. However, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies soon took off and now, in 2021, everyone is talking about investing in the world of digital currencies.
All this excitement has persuaded major business actors to invest, with the aim of taking the lion’s share of the market and controlling it in the long term.
Below is a list of some of the top business players today that are engaging with the crypto space:
The founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, is perhaps the most influential personality in the world of crypto. His influence is such that a single tweet from the multi-billionaire has sparked wild price swings in the crypto market.
For example, in June Bitcoin lost over 7% in value
after Musk posted a single meme about the coin.
Tesla bought $1.5 billion in Bitcoin holdings
in early February 2021, stating that it had acquired Bitcoin
in order to achieve “more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on our cash.”
After this announcement, the price of Bitcoin jumped nearly 50%. The company also revealed that it planned to accept payments in Bitcoin very soon, “subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis.”
However, in May 2021, Musk announced that Tesla had stopped accepting payment in Bitcoin due to concerns about the negative environmental impact of Bitcoin mining.
This announcement caused Bitcoin and the whole crypto market to plummet: a whopping $365.85 billion was wiped off
the entire cryptocurrency market!
However, in July 2021, the multi-billionaire hinted that Tesla would "most likely" again accept Bitcoin
as a means of payment if the cryptocurrency's mining relies on renewables for 50% of its power. Lo and behold, this announcement caused a rise in the price of Bitcoin, as well as that of other coins in the market.
Musk’s love affair with cryptocurrencies is most likely to continue. Some speculate that a renewed acceptance of Bitcoin payments by Tesla could cause the price of Bitcoin to break its price record, which currently stands at $64,804.72.
It came as a shock to many when the ex-Microsoft chief, Bill Gates, revealed that he has not invested
. The multi-billionaire said that his investments are not chosen based on their value for other people. On the contrary, the founder of the popular Windows Operating System stated that his major interest lies in making investments in companies that create malaria and measles vaccines.
Nonetheless, the company Microsoft is making a steady shift towards cryptocurrencies.
Microsoft has been granted a patent in the United States
for software that it claims may assist users in developing blockchain
applications by facilitating the more efficient creation of crypto tokens for various distributed ledgers
Due to a lack of uniformity across blockchains, generating and managing tokens can be complex and burdensome. Microsoft’s patented software therefore outlines a ledger-agnostic method that can assist users in creating tokens and maintaining them across several networks.
In July 2021, London-based fintech Wirex used Microsoft Azure to build its cryptocurrency payment platform
. Through Microsoft Azure, Wirex has made 10 integrations with currency providers, crypto exchanges and brokers. Wirex co-founder and co-CEO Dmitry Lazarichev
has said that the firm’s goal is “to reach 15 million customers 5 years from now and we believe we can achieve this with Microsoft.’’
In July 2021, rumors swirled that Amazon was going to begin accepting Bitcoin
payments soon. However, a company spokesperson denied the claims, while affirming that Amazon is inspired by the world of crypto and plans to explore it further.
Speculation about Amazon making a big move towards crypto intensified when the e-commerce giant announced that it was looking to hire a digital currency and blockchain expert
Amazon now has over 70 vacancies for blockchain professionals, which suggests that the corporation may be developing a blockchain business for Amazon Web Services (AWS) clients.
This could indicate that cryptocurrency will be accepted on the site in future.The tech giant already has ‘’Amazon Coins,’’
which are currently available on Amazon at a current price of $4.75 for 500 coins
. As the site outlines, these coins can be used to make in-app purchases of various items on the Amazon platform. Another hint that Amazon could eventually embrace the world of crypto is the fact that the tech giant bought 3 cryptocurrency websites back in 2017
Our advice for cryptocurrency holders is to keep an eye on Amazon Coins, as there is a chance that the e-commerce giant will debut with a crypto spin-off of this existing product in future.
Google made headlines in June 2021, when it lifted its blanket ban on crypto ads for its advertising platforms
– a move that was welcomed in the blockchain world. However, this ban is still in place for many companies, as only a few select companies will be allowed
to advertise on the world’s largest search engine. According to Google’s official statement
Google Pay also supports the Coinbase card
, which functions as a digital wallet for storing and spending cryptocurrencies
. Coinbase converts its users’ crypto into fiat currencies and allows them to complete transactions as they would normally with a debit or credit card.
The recent change in Google’s advertising policy has been interpreted as a sign that the tech giant might make a pivot towards crypto, possibly by the end of 2021.
As with Google Pay, users can also use Apple Pay to pay for products and services using crypto with their Coinbase card.
Although Apple has banned cryptocurrency mining on iPhones and does not allow users to purchase cryptocurrencies using its Apple Card, some expect a change of direction in 2021, as blockchain continues to become ever more widely adopted.
Interestingly, a recent court case between Epic Games – the company behind the popular game Fortnite – and Apple has opened a loophole that may allow users to purchase cryptocurrencies on the iOS ecosystem.
In the case
, Epic claimed that Apple has maintained a monopoly over its App Store, which has allowed it to engage in anti-competitive practices: all in-game purchases must go through Apple's in-built system, which charges a significant commission of 30%. However, this restriction has now been overturned by a California-based District Judge, and Apple has to give its users the choice to either buy digital goods on its app or to buy it elsewhere,
i.e., directly from the app’s developers.
However, this may become a hassle for many users, as in order to save the commission they will have to open a separate browser and go to the app’s official website in order to download it. If Apple doesn’t want to compromise the quality of its users’ experience, then this is the time for the tech giant to allow cryptocurrency purchases, which could serve as an incentive for users to opt to buy their apps from the App Store.
It should also be noted that if Apple continues its ban, its rivals like Samsung may introduce cryptocurrency support and take the lead. This is unlikely to happen, as Apple has usually found a way to cater to the needs of its users and keep ahead of the competition. If Apple wants to keep its dominance, a rapprochement with cryptocurrencies could be on the cards.
The stage is set for Diem, a Facebook-backed cryptocurrency, to launch before the end of 2021
. Facebook aims to create a new revolution within the finance industry and it sees Diem as a major step towards this goal. Formerly known as Libra, Diem has faced a lot of resistance from regulators
, and two of its major supporters, namely Visa and Mastercard, backed away from the project.
However, despite losing several key backers, Diem is currently in the process of a complete makeover
and is trying to secure a payment license from Swiss financial regulators. In addition to the Diem cryptocurrency, Facebook also plans to introduce the Novi wallet,
which will work like other cryptocurrency wallets
in the market. The wallet will be launched with the aim of reducing transfer times and transaction fees when Diem is traded between crypto users.
Although the Diem project has struggled to date, Diem enthusiasts can hopefully expect good news by the end of 2021
. If Diem gets approved, Facebook would be able to scale its products to billions of users worldwide
and there is a chance that Diem would provide a strong competition for Bitcoin
, owing to the power of Facebook advertising and the fact that Facebook is used by so many.
The CEO of Ark Invest, Cathie Wood, believes that Bitcoin will hit $500,000 in the next five years
. Heading a firm with over $60 billion worth of assets, Wood has always been a strong supporter of cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin
Even when China banned Bitcoin in June, Wood took a stance not held by many, which is that China's ban of cryptocurrencies is a good move in the long run
. She also went against Elon Musk's famous stance regarding Bitcoin's negative impact on the environment and claimed that Bitcoin is an ''environmentally conscientious" currency.
Her strong views about Bitcoin are a major reason why her company, Ark Invest, provides consultation on investing in cryptocurrencies. Not only that, but Ark Invest is also planning to launch a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF
Recently, Ark Invest included an option for “exchange-traded funds domiciled in Canada” in its prospectus, another sign of the company’s firm commitment to Bitcoin and the world of crypto.
Michael J. Saylor, the CEO of MicroStrategy, is always in the news
, and usually for one thing – buying a lot of Bitcoin
! In September 2001, MicroStrategy acquired a total of 5,050 BTC valued at $243 million, which put the company’s total Bitcoin holdings at $5.1 billion. This is such a large amount that it has transformed MicroStrategy into one of the top market leaders in Bitcoin. This means any significant move by the firm can potentially shift the momentum of the cryptocurrency market in any direction.
Furthermore, Saylor, who is followed by over 1.5 million people on Twitter, endorses Bitcoin in every other tweet
, and even his cover image and profile photo advertises the veteran cryptocurrency.
Galaxy Digital Holdings
Galaxy Digital Holdings is a merchant banking institution that has shifted its interest towards the blockchain sector and the world of digital currencies
. The founder of Galaxy Digital, Michael Novogratz
, sees Bitcoin hitting the $100,000 mark by the end of 2021 and is often dubbed the ‘’Warren Buffett of crypto.”
Recently, Galaxy Digital Holdings filed an application to launch a Bitcoin futures ETF with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission,
in a bid to cater to the growing consumer demand in the cryptocurrency world.
The Chairman of Twitter and CEO of Square, Jack Dorsey, recently announced his plans to create a decentralized financial services platform on Square
that focuses on Bitcoin
Square has already announced its new ‘’Bitcoin business,’’ which is named TBD. Whether or not they keep the name TBD remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure – Square announced its entry into the crypto market with style.
Square also provides its users with the option to purchase cryptocurrencies via the Cash App. Cryptocurrencies are stored in Square’s digital wallet, which is available both on- and offline. The drawback of this wallet is that it does not always support Bitcoin withdrawals to external wallets, due to security reasons. In order to bypass this restriction, users must undergo an internal review and ID verification from the Square team.
In summary, Square is right up there with the tech giants when it comes to embracing change and it’s well positioned to become a leading player in the crypto payments space, unless other tech firms offer a more competitive alternative.
With the soaring popularity of cryptocurrencies in 2021, many of the world’s top companies have already laid the groundwork and could easily enter the blockchain space. Big names like Amazon, Google and others are being closely watched, as if and when they launch signature cryptocurrencies, it’s highly likely to spark a bull run in the market. Meanwhile, users should take the opportunity to educate themselves and explore the world of crypto
so that they can benefit from the market’s evolution in the long term.