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Weekly Flip Thru: Retail Crypto Payments Debut at Pharmacies in Europe and Gemini Founder Calls Out DCG Owner in Public Spat Over Customer Funds

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The new year is starting off with a fresh crop of crypto news. Join us as we journey through this bounty of crypto news headlines, including news about Europe’s first pharmacies to accept crypto payments and a spat between the Winklevoss twins and crypto conglomerate DCG.

Here are the top crypto news stories for the week of January 9, 2023.

‘First Pharmacies in Europe to Accept Crypto Payments’ Enable Binance Pay for Customers in Ukraine (Cointelegraph)

Crypto payments will soon be available at pharmacies in Ukraine. ANC Pharmacy, one of the country’s largest pharmacy chains, announced a partnership with Binance Pay that will enable customers to pay for online purchases with popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. ANC Pharmacy locations in the capital city of Kyiv will be the first to accept crypto payments. Crypto adoption is strong in Ukraine. Chainalysis, a blockchain data and analytics firm, ranked Ukraine third overall in its 2022 Global Cryptocurrency Adoption Index, placing them ahead of larger economies like the United States and China in terms of crypto adoption.

While the country remains embroiled in war with Russia, calls went out for aid in the form of cryptocurrency. Millions of dollars were donated to crypto wallets in Ukraine following pleas for donations. This new retail payment option may shore up the eastern European nation’s reputation as a crypto-forward country.

Cameron Winklevoss Leads Crypto Exchange Gemini in Attempt to Recoup $900 Million in Frozen Funds (CNBC)

Entrepreneur Cameron Winklevoss penned an open letter to Barry Silbert, founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group (DCG), in which he accused Silbert of engaging in “bad faith stall tactics” as Winklevoss’ Gemini crypto exchange seeks to recoup $900 million in customer funds that were loaned to DCG subsidiary Genesis Global Capital.

This is a complex web of co-mingled funds. But to sum things up briefly, the public spat between Winklevoss (of Facebook fame) and DCG’s Silbert stems from Gemini’s sizable loan to Genesis, which was then loaned out to other borrowers. After FTX declared bankruptcy in November of 2022, Genesis' ability to repay the Gemini loan was impacted because of exposure to the fallen crypto exchange. Gemini made the call to halt withdrawals from its Gemini Earn product shortly after the FTX bankruptcy. This has (understandably) rankled those who used the Gemini Earn product, as the product had touted 8% yields for customers.

Ethereum Transactions Outpaced Bitcoin in 2022, But Bitcoin Still Most Popular Cryptocurrency by Search Volume (Cointelegraph)

There were nearly four times as many transactions of ethereum (ETH) than bitcoin (BTC) in 2022. Ethereum’s network provided a glimmer of optimism amidst a prolonged crypto winter with its successful switch onto a proof of stake mechanism that is already improving energy efficiency on the network. Still, despite the banner year that ethereum had with the Merge and greater transaction volumes, bitcoin proved to be the top cryptocurrency that people searched for online.

Further, BTC transactions were steadier throughout 2022 and experienced less volatility than ETH. The chart from Bitinfocharts illustrates this neatly: ETH had higher peaks due to events like NFT launches, while the BTC chart looks like a steady heartbeat.

bitinfochart btc vs eth 2022

Feeling the Crypto Winter? This Space Heater Can Mine Bitcoin While Keeping You Toasty (CoinDesk)

Will crypto winter finally thaw out? It’s too soon to tell, but this new space heater can keep chilly temperatures at bay while mining bitcoin. Tiny circuits inside this space heater process BTC transactions on the blockchain and earn rewards in the form of satoshis, the fractional units that comprise a bitcoin. The heaters are made by a startup called Heatbit and can heat a small apartment, or about 500 square feet of space, according to Heatbit’s co-founder Alex Busarov.

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