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Distributed Ledger: Bitcoin paycheck from NFL? Here’s what it takes to happen, says Aaron Rodgers

Hello from Miami! Welcome back to Distributed Ledger, our weekly crypto newsletter that reaches your inbox every Thursday. I’m Frances Yue, crypto reporter at MarketWatch, currently covering the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Florida. I’ll walk you through what I’ve seen and heard here so far.

Find me on Twitter at @FrancesYue_ to send feedback or tell us what you think we should cover.

Crypto in a snap

Bitcoin
BTCUSD,
-0.22%

lost 6.6% over the past seven days, recently trading at around $43,404, according to CoinDesk data. Ether
ETHUSD,
-0.39%

is down 4.4% over the seven-day stretch to around $3,219. Meme token Dogecoin
DOGEUSD,
-0.56%

logged a 1.6% gain while another dog-themed token, Shiba Inu
SHIBUSD,
-0.36
,
traded 3.8% lower from seven days ago.

Crypto Metrics

Biggest Gainers

Price

% 7-day return

$33.30

46.1%

Mina Protocol

$3.40

27.9%

Convex Finance

$34.40

15.8%

NEAR Protocol

$16.22

15.1%

Celo

$3.86

12%

Source: CoinGecko as of Jan.20

Biggest Decliners

Price

% 7-day return

$30.15

-41.7%

Zilliqa

$0.13

-28.6%

ApeCoin

$11.01

-21.7%

Loopring

$1.01

-19.8%

Chiliz

$0.24

-19.6%

Source: CoinGecko as of April 7

Crypto Miami? 

Here I am in Miami, the city where crypto ads are displayed in the airport and alongside the highway, where an 11-foot, 3,000-pound bull statue with bitcoin “laser eyes” was recently installed, and where the hotel receptionist asked me why he’s been losing money on his bitcoin holdings. 

The receptionist said he bought some bitcoin and XRP following a friend’s suggestion a week ago. “Do you think the Russia-Ukraine war impacts bitcoin price?” he asked. “Russia invented bitcoin, no?”

The four-day Bitcoin 2022 conference kicked off in the city on Wednesday, with more than 35,000 people attending. At the Miami Beach Convention center that takes up a total 1.2 million square feet, people flood into different halls. It feels like another airport, a fellow reporter said.

It is obviously not a typical finance conference, as people in suits are the minority. Most attendees dressed casual, with shirts bearing slogans such as, “stack sats (satoshi, a fraction of bitcoin),” “Bitcoin vs. the world,” or “Anti-fiat social club.”

Almost every speaker seems exceptionally bullish on bitcoin, which probably doesn’t come as a surprise considering the topic of the conference and the sponsors. 

And here’s what people are saying: 

NFL paycheck in bitcoin? 

When asked whether it is possible to get a contract with the National Football League to be paid directly in bitcoin, Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, said he thinks there’s “a real possibility.” Rodgers partnered with Cash App to receive a portion of his salary in bitcoin in 2021. 

“As bitcoin becomes more mainstream, there’s no way of getting around it,” Rodgers said at a panel. “There’s gonna be a push.”

“It’s gonna take one kind of game-changer contract where the team with foresight, with creativity, work with a player who can be transcendent with the contract, being able to set the table of what a contract being paid in bitcoin looks like,” Rodgers said. 

“It always has to be one trailblazer, one specific thing that happens. It’s kind of the beginning, the kickoff point for all contracts to follow in kind,” Rodgers said.

Entry barriers for miners 

It is increasingly difficult for new bitcoin miners to enter the market, according to Fred Thiel, chief executive at Marathon Digital Holdings
MARA,
-1.72%
.
As bitcoin hashrate, which measures the total computational power securing the blockchain, hit an all-time high in February, miners face fierce competitions. 

“If you’re not very cost competitive or you’re not using the latest machines, then you’re going to be a bit upside down,” Thiel said at a panel. 

The capital markets have also tightened up over the past few months, according to Michael J. Levitt, chief executive at blockchain infrastructure provider Core Scientific, as the Federal Reserve moved to tighten monetary policy and the Russia-Ukraine war continues.

“It’s not that easy to actually develop infrastructure that works at scale and because all of those create barriers to scale,” Levitt said. 

Crypto companies, funds

Shares of Coinbase Global Inc.
COIN,
-0.39%

closed down 0.4% at $166.19 on Thursday. It has fallen 12.5% over the past five trading sessions. Michael Saylor’s MicroStrategy Inc.
MSTR,
+1.87%

gained 1.9% on Thursday to $463.61, while it was down 4.7% over the past five days.

Mining company Riot Blockchain Inc.
RIOT,
-1.36%

shares dropped 1.4% to $17.42, and it was down 17.7% over the past five days. Shares of Marathon Digital Holdings Inc.
MARA,
-1.72%

were down 15% to $23.8, with a 15% loss over the past five days. Another miner, Ebang International Holdings Inc.
EBON,
,
was unchanged at $1.18, with a 1.7% gain over the past five days.

Overstock.com Inc.
OSTK,
+0.37%
’s
shares are up 0.4% to $40.80. The shares have declined 7.3% over the five-session period.

Block Inc.
SQ,
-2.21%
’s
shares, formally known as Square, fell 2.2% to $125.93, with a 7.1% loss for the week. Tesla Inc.
TSLA,
+1.10%

‘s shares edged up 1.1% to $1057.26 while its shares lost 1.9% for the past five sessions.

PayPal Holdings Inc.
PYPL,
+0.49%

rose 0.5% to $113.04, while it was down 2.3% over the five-session stretch. Nvidia Corp.
NVDA,
-0.82%

lost 0.4% to $241.35, while was looking at a 11.3% loss over the past five trading days.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
AMD,
+0.05%

inched up 0.01% to $103.69 as of Thursday close, while it lost 5.1% from five trading days ago.

Among crypto funds, ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF
BITO,
-0.99%

lost 0.9% to $27.09 Thursday, while Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF
BTF,
-0.88%

was down 0.9% to $16.82. VanEck Bitcoin Strategy ETF
XBTF,
-0.94%

declined 0.9% to $42.5.

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust
BCHG,
-2.58%

closed at $30.4, up 0.6%.

Must Reads

Bitcoin mining could ‘save the world,’ as miners embrace green energy, ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Kevin O’Leary’ says (MareketWatch)

Crypto exchange Binance among investors to bail out victims of $615 mln heist (Reuters)

This crypto fund has outperformed bitcoin for the last five years. Here’s how (CNBC)

The Infuriating Reality of Traveling with Bitcoin in the World’s Crypto Capital (Bloomberg)

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