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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Retail trading apps are using the holidays to recruit more crypto adopters.

Driving the news: Robinhood said this week it would launch a crypto gifting feature just ahead of Christmas. 

  • Cash App, owned by Block (formerly Square), updated one of its similar features this week.

Why it matters: Crypto trading makes up a big part of their business. Gifting crypto could lure newcomers, as TechCrunch notes.

How it works: Robinhood users “can send as little as $1 worth of one of seven cryptocurrencies.” Recipients have 14 days to accept gifts through their own account on the app.

  • Cash App lets users send bitcoin using their balance or debit card now.

Go deeper

Jan 6, 2022 - Technology

Report: Illicit activity actually a tiny part of cryptocurrency use

Expand chart
Data: Chainalysis 2022 Crypto Crimes Trends Report; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

Illicit activities like cybercrime, money laundering and terrorist financing made up only 0.15% of all crypto transactions conducted in 2021, according to a new report from Chainalysis, a blockchain data platform.

Why it matters: This is a sign of crypto's growing mainstream popularity — and a rebuke to critics who say digital currency is mainly for criminals.

Tech is finally killing long lines

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Startups and big corporations alike are releasing technology to put long lines online.

Why it matters: Standing in lines has always been a hassle, but the pandemic has made lines longer, slower and even dangerous. Now many of those lines are going virtual.

14 mins ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine.