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Last Week in Crypto Adoption: Lightning on the Apple Watch, Facebook Relaxes Ad Ban

While attention inside and outside the cryptoverse has been firmly focused on exchange hacks and the soaring price of bitcoin, the headlines can mask more subtle news about the adoption of bitcoin and other cryptoassets. If we are indeed in the early stages of another bull run, the injunction of the bear market to “BUIDL” might get lost in the cacophony of those shouting “HODL”.

In this article therefore, we take a look at some of the standout stories of adoption over the last week.

Facebook Softens Ads Ban

Last week, Facebook revealed that it is relaxing its ban on cryptocurrency and blockchain advertisements on the platform. Following an outright ban on crypto and blockchain ads in January 2018, the social media giant revised its policy in June to allow “pre-approved partners,” but still prohibiting ICOs from advertising on the site.

On Wednesday (May 8) in an update posted on its blog, Facebook announced that while it still requires pre-approval for many crypto ads, the policy has been narrowed so that “ads related to blockchain technology, industry news, education or events,” will no longer require approval. Importantly, the complete ban on ICO advertisement, or what the company terms “cryptocurrency token sales” is still in force. This language almost certainly means that those wanting to promote IEOs (Initial Exchange Offerings) – which seem to be all the rage in 2019 – will have to look elsewhere to get their tokens noticed.

Bitcoin’s Lightning Network on the Apple Watch is bound to increase adoption

Sunday (May 5) saw the release of the first ever Lightning Network-enabled Bitcoin wallet for Apple Watch Users. The new feature, from open-source mobile developers BlueWallet, adds to their existing Bitcoin app for iOS and Android. The free downloadable software now allows users to receive Lightning payments via the Watch, see the latest transactions from their wallets and easily generate invoices via a QR code, which can be scanned via smartphone. Users simply click on a Lightning wallet set up on the app, specify an amount in Satoshis, and can create an invoice with a name, in “5-10 seconds”:

With the Lightning Network currently standing at over 8,300 nodes according to Lightning monitoring site https://1ml.com/, and with a payment capacity of 1061 BTC – at the time of writing close to $8 million, this latest addition will likely contribute to the network’s strong growth. However, given the state of Lightning development and how early enthusiasts are considered to be “reckless”, the adoption rate looks promising and it can only get accelerated by such applications.

Abra App Adds Thousands of US Banks

In significant news for US crypto investors, last week saw Cryptocurrency wallet and investment app Abra announce the addition of “thousands” of banks to the app. Thanks to an integration with Plaid, a bank-connection solution from the San Francisco-based fintech company of the same name, users will now be able to purchase cryptoassets in-app.

Previously, users of the Abra app were required to make purchases via bank transfer in order to buy crypto with fiat. The new integration expedites the process allowing users to buy crypto entirely within the app.

Abra Head of Sales Paul Williamson explained that the expansion is particularly useful for customers of smaller banks, while CEO Bill Barhydt emphasized how the move takes them closer to bringing mass crypto adoption:

“With today’s announcement, Abra is taking yet another step closer toward our vision of democratizing access to financial services for our hundreds of thousands of customers around the globe.”

Abra also announced an expansion of crypto withdrawals to external crypto wallets. While app users so far had the ability to withdraw to Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ethereum (ETH) wallets, the app now supports over 30 cryptoasset withdrawals including Zcash (ZEC), Ethereum Classic (ETC) and NEO.

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