It’s been a wild ride for the crypto market over the past six months. Bitcoin prices have soared astoundingly due to increased institutional confidence, but that’s only been part of the story. NFTs are the newest trend to captive the digital world, as some bet big on the value of digital ownership in the future. As the industry continues to blow up with news of new developments breaking every day, we at Wisly keep you up-to-date weekly with the most intriguing movements in the crypto landscape.

A Bitcoin Winter Ahead? 

Bobby Lee, the founder of the cryptocurrency exchange BTCC, told “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday that 2021 is a bull market for bitcoin; the kind typically comes around every three or four years. Lee, who runs the crypto wallet app Ballet, said 2013 and 2017 were also bull-market years in which the bitcoin price increased significantly by 10 or 20 times.

He predicts the bitcoin price could surge as high as $300,000 in this current bull-market rally but then plunge by 80 – 90% in a “winter” lasting years. Lee said, “bull-market cycles come and go,” and that “after a bull-market peak inevitably it can go down by quite a bit – that’s when the bubble bursts.”

Advocates say the world’s number one cryptocurrency by market value will continue its remarkable run as institutional investors flock to enter the world of crypto. They also argue that bitcoin can act as a hedge against inflation, which many institutional investors expect to rise.

Critics still believe bitcoin’s volatility could limit institutional adoption. Many feel the price is currently in a bubble driven by a huge stimulus and could experience a similar price crash to 2018 when bitcoin dropped below $4,000 from about $20,000 in just over a year.

“I don’t know if history will repeat itself, but what we do know is that bitcoin bull-market cycles typically come around every four years, and this is a big one,” Lee said.

Pre-launch Of Crypto Social Network, BitClout

The recent wave of hype around NFTs or non-fungible tokens has been relentless. It’s been most visibly manifesting in high-dollar art auctions or digital trading cards sales. There’s also been an audacious string of chatter among bullish investors who see a possibility to tie tokens to the future of social media and creator monetisation.

Much of the most spirited conversation has focused on a pre-launch project called BitClout, a social crypto-exchange where users can buy and sell tokens based on people’s reputations. The app, which launched out of private beta this morning, has already created plenty of controversy inside the crypto community. It has also amassed quite a capital war chest as investors sink millions into its proprietary currency.

BitClout falls into an exploding category of crypto companies that are focusing on tokenised versions of social currency. Others working on building out these individual tokens include Roll and Rally, which aim to allow creators to directly monetise their internet presence and enable their fans to bet on them. Users who believe in a budding artist can invest in their social currency and earn returns as the creator becomes more famous and their coins accrued more value.

Creators can opt-in to receive a certain percentage of transactions deposited into their BitClout wallets to benefit from their own digital popularity. The most significant point of controversy for BitClout is that they are not strictly an opt-in user platform, unlike most other social currency offerings.

The startup has taken an aggressive growth strategy to turn the standard model on its head, pre-populating its network with 15,000 accounts by scraping information from popular public Twitter profiles. As a result, BitClout users can now buy shares of Kim Kardashian’s or Elon Musk’s social coin without them ever having signed up for a profile. This hasn’t been well-received by those who unknowingly had accounts set up on their behalf, including many crypto-savvy users who got identified in the initial wave of seeding.

The project’s founder says that these efforts were mainly to prevent handle squatting and user impersonation. He believes that as the platform opens, a sizable pre-purchase of creator coins reserved for these account owners will entice them to verify their handles to claim the funds.

Robinhood’s Vlad Tenev Chats Crypto Growth Fireside

Robinhood is working on expanding its crypto trading capabilities on its platform and repairing the reputational damage it suffered in the wake of the trading restrictions it imposed during the GameStop frenzy.

These were the sentiments expressed by the online brokerage’s CEO Vlad Tenev in a video dubbed a “fireside chat“. The aptly named video featured Tenev in front of a virtual fireplace backdrop talking about Robinhood’s growth plans within the crypto space. He said they are working to ensure that an oft-requested wallet feature is safe before launching it.

He said the company is already hiring loads of new people for its crypto operation, with over 6 million new customers trading crypto for the first time on their platform since February. Despite the apparent demand for further crypto offerings, Tenev reiterates that Robinhood’s top priority is to make sure it can scale the service and handle the joining customers.

He also mentioned he believes it could still take a few more months for Robinhood to recover from the reputational hit it took earlier in the year. This came after it had to restrict certain stocks’ trading at the height of a Reddit-fuelled frenzy of meme stock trading.