Cryptospace News Digest, June 20 – 26

Bitcoin rollercoaster and the cryptocurrency’s near future, the continuing the DAO drama, new investment in bitcoin industry, partnerships and initiatives regarding blockchain technology and fintech – all in ForkLog’s weekly overview.

Bitcoin Price

Over the course of past seven days, Bitcoin has shown the best of its famous volatility.

A mere week ago, Bitcoin was traded above $760, which, probably, caused many to believe the growth would continue. However, a series of events has amended the expectations. Tuesday, July 21, Bitfinex suddenly suspended trading, and thus dropped the cryptocurrency’s price by around $90. Bitcoin has lost 8% of its cost having descended from $750 to $660.

Simultaneously, Australia’s auction to sell 24,518 BTC previously seized from one of Silk Road users kicked off as scheduled. The results of the auction remain undisclosed, however, the injection of such serious amount could also promote the cryptocurrency’s descent.

However, that wasn’t all: over the course of the next 24 hours Bitcoin lost $100 more. Having reached $555, the cryptocurrency has effectively cheapened by $200 in a few days and became close to early June’s prices.

This dramatic decrease in price is mainly linked to Brexit and the expectation that remain would win the referendum. However, the expectations have never fulfilled. The leave evangelists won by a slender majority, and Bitcoin started climbing back. The exchange rate began growing Thursday evening, and continued the growth overnight as the referendum results were being published. In the next 48 hours, bitcoin peaked at $680, however, it never went any higher.

As of Sunday morning, average price of Bitcoin comprises $640, with a loss of around 2.5% of its cost over last 24 hours. More broadly, the loss against recent numbers comprises around 14%. Bitcoin’s market cap currently stands at $10.21 billion.

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Segregated Witness

Friday, the news the community has been waiting for, has finally arrived: SegWit has successfully undergone the prolonged testing and got integrated in Bitcoin protocol. The advantages of the solution proposed in late 2015 by Peter Wuelle, are well known, so here’s only a brief reminder: SegWit, as many expect, will make bitcoin network more efficient by shrinking transaction size and expanding the number of transactions the network is capable of processing in a second. Even though it doesn’t solve the bitcoin scalability problem, the implementation seriously relieves its burden.

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Peter Wuelle introducing SegWit at Scaling Bitcoin Hong Kong, late 2015

However, SegWit will be effectively implemented only once 95% of miners support the softfork. This condition means that the patch’s activation may take longer than the community might wish. Anyway, the first step in the direction is made, and the news is by all means positive.

Halving & Lightning

There are some other events the future holds for Bitcoin. The most important of them is probably mining reward halving in July. The community also banks on Lightning Network, an elegant solution for bitcoin network scaling.

This week, ForkLog published an expanded analysis of the ongoing processes, including possible scenarios and bitcoin price behavior in their wake.

Coinbase & Paypal

Another notable news item is Coinbase’s novelty allowing users to withdraw their crypto-assets to PayPal. The wallet also added an option of buying cryptocurrency with plastic card. PayPal integration may become a major step in cryptocurrency acceptance. Even though currently the service is available only to US residents, Coinbase promised to add other countries later.

Cryptocurrency Experiments

A spokesperson for Dutch central bank stated at Dutch Blockchain Conference that it had run two experiments to determine how bitcoin’s blockchain is applicable for government bank institutions. Those experiments implied modelling bitcoin’s life at its early stages and in the year 2140, when the last coins are to be mined.

While the two aforementioned experiments were to show how central banks could use virtual currencies, there also is the third experiment to research other blockchain’s options. The areas subject to researching include digital assets, trust, failure proofing, and artificial intelligence to manage transactions.

Investment

Bitcoin startup Circle raised $60 million from Chinese and American investors. Following one of the year’s biggest deals, Circle will start expanding in the market of China, where it intends to deploy the social payment app prohibited in the UK. The app allows sending money by converting fiat into crypto.

Another interesting deal of the week involves Israeli startup Colu. The Tel Aviv-based company raised nearly $10 from venture funds Aleph and Spark Capital, as well as Digital Currency Group and former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glosser. The startup’s colored coin technology was earlier used to create digital counterpart of Barbados dollar. According to Amos Meiri, Colu CEO, the company intends to launch local currencies not only in Israel, but also in Amsterdam and the Silicon Valley.

Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) has expanded its share in Blythe Masters’s Digital Asset Holdings to 8.5% having invested additional $7.1 million therein. Digital Asset Holdings develops a post-trading service based on distributed ledger technology for the exchange. Initially, ASX invested $14.9 million having thus purchased 5% of its shares.

As for investment in blockchain in general, according to Greenwich Associates, financial and technological companies are to invest upwards of $1 billion in development of the technology in the year 2016 alone. Most of those surveyed believe that the investment will bring on important advantages like cutting operational costs and faster transactions. The payments, according to those surveyed, are the most promising area for blockchain technology development.

Partnerships

Ripple expanded its list of partners with seven major financial institutions, including Santander, UniCredit and UBS. Other new partners of the California-based startup are ATB Financial, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, and Reisebank.

Interesting news came this week from Moscow. BioViva CEO Elizabeth Parrish, the world’s first human being to have undergone genetic rejuvenation therapy, announced partnership with blockchain platform Waves, that will issue the company’s shares. BioViva is developing medicines seeking to prolong the span of human life.

Initiatives

BitFury partnered with a non-government National Institute for Demography to launch a project dubbed Blockchain Trust Accelerator Initiative. The project will seek to use the technology for such social issues as tackling corruption, public management, land property, digital identification, and voting. Additionally, there are projects related to pharmaceutics, like tracking and timely shipment of vaccines.

Consortiums

Last week, Russian payments processor QIWI announced its plans to create a local blockchain consortium. This week brought some intermediary results to the project: several major local banks are expected to join the consortium at the first phase, including Sberbank, Binbank and Alpha Bank, and the Bank of Russia as a regulator. The QIWI’s project is a take on R3CEV, which had refused to accept Russian institutions earlier.

Speaking of R3CEV, this week, Toyota Financial Services, the financial branch of Toyota Motor Corporation, joined the world’s most famous blockchain consortium. Thus, the overall number of R3CEV members now stands at 48.

The Moscow Exchange surprised many by becoming Russia’s first financial organization to join an international blockchain consortium, this time HyperLedger developed under the auspices of the Linux Foundation by such major players as J.P Morgan, Fujitsu Limited, SWIFT, IBM, Cisco, Intel and Red Hat, among others.

Finally, at the end of the week, some news came from China, where upwards of 30 companies engaged in technological development and finance created so-called Financial Blockchain Shenzhen Consortium to share their experience and research blockchain technology for finance.

Events

Thursday, June 23, Ukrainian city of Lviv hosted an event on blockchain dubbed Blockchain Session Lviv. The event was held under the auspices of Waves and Livecoin exchange. ForkLog representatives also participated in the event.

The DAO Soap Opera: Ethereum Soft Fork and a Counter-counter-attack

Last week, the attacks on the DAO continued.

The developers of the world’s first decentralized venture fund proposed to perform a soft fork (so that the DAO’s assets would be suspended for safety reasons) and then a hard fork (to bring back the assets to the investors) on Ethereum network. Notwithstanding the fierce discussion in this regard, miners have preliminarily agreed to do the soft fork, so that the community would continue its search for alternate solutions. On Friday, the soft fork’s released dubbed DAO Wars was posted on GitHub. Now it’s up to the miners to make the final decision.

On Tuesday, Ethereum developers and anonymous hackers effected a white hat counter-attack on the DAO to keep the assets safe in case of a new attack or the community’s refusal to accept the proposed forks.

However, later it turned out that the hacker who had attacked the DAO is not the curator for the child DAO, so the Robin Hood team, as the counter-attackers dubbed themselves, may have access to the hacker’s DAO. This might enable them to bring the assets back without any hard forks. The dramedy continued with a counter-attack of the Attacker against the initial counter-attack, and the attackers managed to obtain some tokens of the white hat DAO. According to one of the Robin Hood team’s members, Lefteris Karapestas, this would allow the attackers to attack the white hat DAO later, so accepting the soft fork would be the best available solution.

ForkLog continues monitoring the turns of events in this soap opera.

  • Leopolis

    круто, когда руководство биржи открыто дает комментарии. а то на некоторых биржах даже саппорт отвечает неделями…

    • Спасибо. Минимум раз в год мы также обязательно учавствуем в разного рода публичных биткойн мероприятиях, чтобы дать возможность нашим клиентам “пощупать” нас )