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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The current stratospheric levels of cryptocurrencies in general, and Dogecoin in particular, can make it a lot easier to spend money.

Driving the news: Another part of the thinking behind the Tesla cryptocurrency announcement is that for someone sitting on a lot of bitcoin, it's psychologically easier to transfer a single bitcoin to Tesla than it would be to try to write a check for $40,000.

  • An economist would say that transferring the bitcoin is exactly the same as selling the bitcoin and spending the proceeds. Which goes to show the limitations of economics.

For instance: Vitalik Buterin, one of the founders of Ethereum, announced this month that he had transferred exactly $4,280,784.20 of his crypto assets to GiveDirectly, the nonprofit that gives cash payments to the neediest people in the world.

  • "They take crypto," he wrote — a decision on the charity's part that clearly paid off handsomely. Buterin then added cheekily: "They don't yet take DOGE directly but maybe that can change."

GiveDirectly didn't need to be asked twice — they immediately set up a wallet for Dogecoin donations.

  • The result: Elon Musk donated 150,000 Dogecoin, worth just over $11,000. His tweet helped precipitate a rash of other Dogecoin donations, too.

The bottom line: Crypto can feel divorced from reality, in an easy-come-easy-go kind of way. Weirdly, that can make them an excellent fundraising vehicle.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Feb 10, 2021 - Economy & Business

Interest in crypto remains low but is growing fast

Reproduced from CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

Use of and interest in cryptocurrency remains far from mainstream, but it's growing at a sizable clip. Companies like PayPal, Square and most recently Tesla are helping by launching crypto payment programs.

Driving the news: A survey from data firm CivicScience provided first to Axios shows that since the third quarter of 2019 the number of people investing in cryptocurrencies has risen 50% — to 9% from 6% — and the number of people who intend to use crypto has more than doubled, rising to 7% from 3%.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
29 mins ago - Economy & Business

The Fed could be firing up economic stimulus in disguise

Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard at a "Fed Listens" event. Photo: Eric Baradat / AFP via Getty Images.

Even as global growth expectations increase and governments pile on fiscal spending measures central bankers are quietly restarting recession-era bond-buying programs.

Driving the news: Comments Tuesday from Fed governor Lael Brainard suggest the Fed may be jumping onboard the global monetary policy rethink and restarting a program used following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Democrats' hypocrisy moment

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be facing explicit calls to resign from President Biden on down, if you apply the standard that Democrats set for similar allegations against Republicans. And it's not a close call.

Why it matters: The #MeToo moment saw men in power run out of town for exploiting young women. Democrats led the charge. So the silence of so many of them seems more strange — and unacceptable by their own standards — by the hour.