Bitcoin’s record rally minting thousands of crypto millionaires…at least in virtual reality

The number of bitcoin-holding accounts has spiked lately as a result of the cryptocurrency’s price surge. Over 93,000 accounts currently hold bitcoins worth at least $1 million, according to data from BitInfoCharts.

Statistics also showed there are 8,214 accounts that own bitcoins valued at more than $10 million. That is 102,076 bitcoin accounts that can call themselves diamond hands, in the parlance of Redditors who refer to investment outperformance in that way. Also, 422,104 accounts can boast bitcoin accounts valued at more than $100,000.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency, bitcoin, broke above a $50,000 price milestone for the first time this month after Tesla announced a $1.5 billion bitcoin investment. Despite this week’s slide, bitcoin is up over 60 percent so far in 2021. 

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With a market cap of around $850 billion, bitcoin’s value is bigger than that of either Tesla or Facebook, and almost twice as large as Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. In 2021 alone, bitcoin added over $400 billion to its market cap, outperforming most traditional assets.

The digital asset’s surge was driven by signs it is winning broader institutional acceptance as it attracted a number of high-profile Wall Street investors, including Stanley Druckenmiller and Paul Tudor Jones. Earlier this week, Jack Dorsey’s financial services company Square extended its bitcoin holdings by $170 million as part of an ongoing commitment to the cryptocurrency.

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In another major step, America’s oldest bank, BNY Mellon, said it would transfer and issue bitcoin for its institutional clients. Credit card major Mastercard announced it will begin allowing clients to make payments in certain cryptocurrencies on its network this year. Visa also said it is considering allowing payments in crypto in countries where it is legal.

However, skeptics still say bitcoin’s rally is unsustainable and warn that the crypto market is another bubble ready to pop. JP Morgan recently called the token an “economic sideshow,” noting that mainstream adoption actually reduces the benefits of diversifying into bitcoin.

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‘Chinese finger puppet’: UFC motormouth Colby Covington rips into LeBron James as fans demand showdown

UFC welterweight Colby Covington has branded LeBron James a ‘Chinese finger puppet’ as the fighter weighed in on the row which kicked off when football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic criticized James’ political activism.

Swedish star Zlatan said in an interview this week that James should “stay out of politics” and “just do what you do best.”

That prompted the LA Lakers icon to vow that he would “never shut up about things that are wrong” and would never “just stick to sports.”

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UFC fighter Covington – a Donald Trump superfan and long-time critic of James – has now offered his take on the row, unsurprisingly coming out swinging against the four-time NBA champion.

“When are you gonna speak up about Hong Kong?” Covington wrote, tagging James and sharing a tweet of his riposte to Ibrahimovic.

“Oh, that’s right, you can’t. You’re a Chinese finger puppet! You make millions playing a kids game and talk about ‘social justice’ but have no problem paying Chinese women in sweatshops pennies to make your products. Slimeball.”

The ‘Hong Kong argument’ has been used frequently against James amid his spat with Ibrahimovic.

The basketball star was accused of remaining silent back in 2019 when the NBA was dragged into a row over anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

After Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey had tweeted the slogan “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong” – potentially endangering the NBA’s lucrative ties with China – James said that Morey had been “misinformed” and “not educated.”

That earned the basketball star opprobrium in some quarters for seemingly putting profits above principle, as his sponsors Nike also generate billions of dollars in sales in China.

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An avowed MAGA supporter, Covington has never previously held back against James, even calling him out for a fight.

Back in December, the 33-year-old UFC star said he would make James eat the canvas,” while earlier last year he labeled James a “spineless coward” in a diatribe against the Black Lives Matter movement.

After Covington’s latest broadside, some fans reignited calls for a showdown between the pair.  

However, some claimed Covington was the one guilty of hypocrisy for wearing clothing that was also made in China, while others said it was merely a desperate ploy for Covington to “stay relevant” now that his hero Trump had left the White House. 

Former UFC interim welterweight champion Covington stands 16-2 in his MMA career, and finished Tyron Woodley in the fifth round of their contest during his last octagon appearance in September.

Covington turned much of his media work surrounding that fight into an opportunity to attack BLM, calling Woodley a “terrorist sympathizer” and “woke little b*tch” over his support for the movement. 

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Vaccine passports to bolster British economy and combat impacts of Covid-19 crisis – finance minister

The idea of giving people certificates confirming their vaccination may help the British economy recover from an unprecedented crash due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to the country’s finance minister, Rishi Sunak.

Sunak said the documents would potentially allow people to visit venues or events, thus, helping the economy to get back on track after a series of lockdowns imposed to contain the pandemic dragged it into its steepest crash in 300 years.

“Obviously, it is a complicated but potentially very relevant question for helping us reopen those parts of our country like mass events,” Sunak said in an interview with the BBC on Sunday.

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Last week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government would discuss the scientific, moral, philosophical and ethical issues of introducing vaccine passports for immunized people, stressing that the move may help entertainment and hospitality venues to reopen. 

The UK’s mass vaccination program was launched on December 8. Over 19 million people have reportedly received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine as of February 27. British authorities expect the immunization campaign to help in easing the third national lockdown and protect the most vulnerable groups by spring.

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Earlier this week, the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that Covid-19 levels have fallen across the UK to rates similar to mid-October 2020, with slightly more than 421,000 cases in the community for the week ending February 19.

The economy shrank 9.9 percent in 2020, the latest report by the ONS revealed earlier this month. Moreover, the UK was the first nation to face one of the new and more contagious variants of the coronavirus.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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WATCH: Wild scenes in Dagestan as junior judo event descends into mass brawl

A junior judo event in Dagestan erupted into a mass melee as competitors and dozens of fans traded blows.

The tournament at the Ali Aliyev Sport Complex in Kaspiysk witnessed ugly scenes as the brawl was captured on camera and quickly shared across social media on Saturday.

Footage of the carnage starts with one of the competitors seen leaning over the barriers, throwing punches.

By that point a broader punch-up is already underway as dozens of spectators trade blows.

The brawling competitor was then seen returning to the mat, where he throws out punches and kicks at several fans.

It’s unclear what exactly sparked the mass ruckus, although judo trainer Khabib Magomedov later claimed that the unrest had not been started by either of the competitors on the mat.

“It all started when the athletes wrestled for more than 10 minutes. One of the Dagestani spectators either shouted, or waved his hand, or shouted ‘Hurray!’, And the Ossetian fans did not like it,” Magomedov was quoted as saying.

“And a fight began which the athletes were dragged into, as an eyewitnesses explained to me.”

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The trainer added that those involved could likely expect sanctions.  

“In the end, no one will receive medals. On the contrary, maybe after that we’ll lose both athletes and coaches to disqualification,” he said.

The violent scenes played out a tournament for juniors organized by the North Caucasus Federal District.

Organizers were heard imploring those in attendance to stop fighting, although the requests appeared to have little effect.

The opening ceremony at the event had been attended by Russian Judo Federation director Kirill Denisov and fellow former judo star Magomed Dzhafarov.  

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Multitasking 101: California doctor appears at court hearing via Zoom DURING surgery

A plastic surgeon in California attended a virtual court hearing in relation to a traffic violation from an operating theater while a patient was on the table. The court was not exactly pleased with his multitasking, however.

The usually mundane traffic violation hearing at Sacramento Superior Court was spiced up this week when the defendant, Dr. Scott Green attended via Zoom from his surgery room, baffling other participants. The bizarre in-court surgery, which was livestreamed online, was first reported by the Sacramento Bee newspaper.

“Hello, Mr. Green? Hi. Are you available for trial?” the courtroom clerk asked the defendant, who was wearing a full surgical garb with a patient lying just out of the camera’s view.

“It kind of looks like you’re in an operating room right now?”

As a police officer who was summonsed for the trial raised her eyebrows in disbelief, the doctor acknowledged that he was operating but said he was ready to partake in the trial anyway.

Yes, I’m in an operating room right now. Yes, I’m available for trial. Go right ahead.

“I have another surgeon right here who’s doing the surgery with me, so I can stand here and allow them to do the surgery also,” Green explained, as he apparently continued to work while waiting for the judge to enter the group call.

When Court Commissioner Gary Link appeared, he was baffled by the scene as well, hesitating to proceed with the hearing. Ultimately, he postponed the trial, saying that he would set a new date when the defendant was “not actively involved or participating and attending to the needs of a patient.” Green signaled that the surgery had turned out to be more complicated than expected.

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The bizarre combination of surgery with legal proceedings did not escape the eye of California’s Medical Board, and now Dr. Green might find himself in more trouble on top of the alleged traffic violation. The board said on Saturday that it was “aware of the incident and will be looking into it, as it does with all complaints it receives.”

Green himself was not exactly talkative and ignored most requests for comment from the US media. Asked by NBC News about the affair and the Bee’s report, the doctor claimed it was “not accurate and I have nothing to say” before hanging up on the reporters.

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