ProBit Bits — ProBit Global’s Weekly Blockchain Bits Vol. 71

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 Visa Bets on Solana & Stablecoins to Revolutionize Payments

Visa is expanding its crypto settlement capabilities, now allowing partners to send and receive USDC payments over the Solana blockchain. This is part of Visa's pilot programs with merchant acquirers Worldpay and Nuvei.

Industry observers say Visa facilitating business-to-business USDC settlements could increase stablecoin adoption, while Visa's crypto head says that the company sees blockchain's potential and expects its network will rely on "multiple blockchains, stablecoins, and CBDCs." Visa is also conversing with major cross-border e-commerce players like Airbnb and Uber that could benefit from faster, cheaper blockchain payment rails. Thanks to Solana's high speed and low fees, this could attract businesses looking to optimize costs.

Overall, Visa aims to be a bridge between traditional finance and crypto, despite recent industry turmoil. The company previously integrated USDC on Ethereum and by expanding its blockchain settlement capabilities with USDC, suggests that it is committed in the long-term to crypto.

 Court Denies SBF’s Bid for Release From Jail

Sam Bankman-Fried's request to be released from jail ahead of his October criminal trial was denied by a federal appeals court on Wednesday. The court said it will have a three-judge panel review his plea, adding complexity to the high-stakes case.

Bankman-Fried was arrested in December for allegedly misusing billions in FTX customer funds, with allegations that he diverted customer funds to his hedge fund Alameda Research to offset losses. His $250 million bail was revoked last month over likely witness tampering. He is on record complaining about jail conditions like a 'flesh diet' of bread and peanut butter instead of vegan meals. His lawyers have also argued he needs computers and medication to prepare his defense properly. But the appeals court rejected immediate release, though the judge has signaled openness to a trial delay.

 88,000 Crypto Millionaires in the World, Nearly Half Hold Bitcoin

A new study reveals the extent of Bitcoin's dominance among crypto millionaires and billionaires. According to crypto wealth reports by Henley & Partners, nearly half of the world's estimated 88,200 crypto millionaires hold their wealth in Bitcoin.

Moreover, 6 out of the 22 crypto billionaires globally made their immense fortunes primarily through Bitcoin trading and investments. This highlights Bitcoin's endurance as the first cryptocurrency, despite the thousands of altcoins now available. In total, there are 78 Bitcoin centi-millionaires with over $100 million worth of holdings just in BTC. The reports attribute Bitcoin's appeal to its pioneering status and early hype as an emerging asset class like the early internet.

Overall, crypto's total market value stands at $1.18 trillion with 425 million estimated global crypto owners. Countries like Singapore, Switzerland and the UAE rank as top crypto hubs with favorable policies.

 Base Onchain Summer Draws 268K+ Users and 700K+ NFT Mints

Coinbase's layer 2 network Base saw over 700,000 NFTs minted by more than 268,000 unique wallets during its "Onchain Summer" promotion event in August.

The month-long campaign featured exclusive digital art NFT drops on Base from over 50 partners. New art sets released on staggered dates drove users to return to the network repeatedly. Base also hit record levels of total value locked, peaking above $400 million. However, the network did suffer an outage and scam promotions amid the hype. Overall, however, the Onchain Summer event succeeded in spurring significant adoption and activity on the fledgling Base layer 2 network. The big user and NFT minting numbers are a promising start for Base's efforts to gain traction.

 Texas Heatwave Leads to Lower Bitcoin Yields for Riot, Marathon

The extreme summer heat in Texas has impacted bitcoin mining operations for companies like Riot Platforms and Marathon Digital Holdings. Both reported fewer bitcoins mined in August compared to July.

Riot's bitcoin production dropped 19% while Marathon's fell 9% month-over-month. The companies attributed this mostly to curtailing mining at times to ensure stability of Texas' electricity grid during peak demand when temperatures exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, Riot secured over $31 million in power credits from grid operator ERCOT by powering down, far exceeding earnings from its bitcoin mining. Marathon also participated in curtailment programs but said credits were not a major revenue source. Other miners like CleanSpark, without Texas exposure, saw hashrates and bitcoin output increase in August. Most companies, however, expect the temporary summer setbacks in Texas will be offset long-term by new facility openings.

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