Ethereum Classic, Blockchain Investments and Charlie Shrem Freed. Cryptospace News, July 17 – 24

Ethereum hard fork and advent of Ethereum Classic, the ecosystem of bitcoin and altcoins, state regulation and private business’s interest towards blockchain technology, as well as a few stories from the dark side – all in ForkLog’s traditional weekly overview.

Bitcoin Price

This week kicked off with a slight decrease of bitcoin’s market price. As a reminder, last Sunday the cryptocurrency was worth around $665, with a minor growth to $687 on Monday. However, the coin’s further track proved to be descending.

On Friday night, bitcoin touched the bottom line at $641, and never went any higher than $655. At the time of writing, the cryptocurrency is traded around $654.

This state of affairs might have something to do with this week’s Ethereum hard fork which had attracted much of traders’ attention. This week, other altcoins also headed upwards.

The summit of G20’s finance ministers held in China also might influence the market, as it deals with global economy issues. The decisions made at the event along with predictions voiced there may have both positive and negative effect on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Ethereum

This week’s most notable event is the hard fork effected by Ethereum developers this Wednesday, July 20, as a response to June’s withdrawal of funds from The DAO. Technically, the hard fork was perfect and resulted in ETH price’s growth. On Friday, it even reprised the parameters from this June’s last decade and reached 0.0229 BTC.

Ethereum. It’s hardly a secret that many community members weren’t welcoming the hard fork. One of the most popular opinion is that the code is the law, and changing it in an attempt to redeem money means that theoretically Ethereum developers’ hands are untied to do the same again anytime and with any money. Charles Hoskinson, one of Ethereum co-founders, was especially dismissive about the hard fork solution.

The situation took an interesting turn when a group of developers refused to upgrade the software and continue working with the original blockchain. The project dubbed Ethereum Classic seeks to retain the original Ethereum featured by its resistance to censorship, decentralization, and immutability.

This Sunday, ETC token was unexpectedly added to Poloniex, and made it to the second traded currency there in just a couple of hours. The token is extremely volatile, which complicates any attempts to model a pattern for it. However, most traders must be happy about that.

The news was even more dramatic, as Ethereum Classic, after the addition to Poloniex, suffered from 51% attack undertaken to halt transaction confirmations in the ‘old’ blockchain.

ForkLog is keeping its finger on the development of affairs, just like many others from the cryptocommunity.

Other important Ethereum news include the cryptocurrency’s addition to Coinbase and all its products, including the online wallet.

Additionally, U.S. SEC registered the application for the first exchange trust fund focused exclusively on Ethereum. Ether Trust was registered by EtherIndex LLC based in Delaware. The project seeks to provide its shareholders with access to Ether vs USD operations.

At the moment of writing, Ether is traded at around 0.02 BTC ($13.08). Over the course of the last 24 hours, the token’s price dropped by 8.5. Ether market cap is estimated at around $1.107 bn.

Bitcoin Ecosystem

As for Bitcoin, one of China’s biggest mining companies Bitmain has acquired bitcoin startup Blocktrail. The latter is known as an online wallet and analytics provider. After the acquisition, the Chinese company hopes to revive its BTC.com project, which includes block explorer and other analytic data.

Blockchain startup Blockstream has made a step important for the entire ecosystem by presenting a new patent protection strategy seeking to guarantee free access to blockchain technology for anyone.

Meanwhile, CEO of Barbados-based startup Bitt Gabriel Abed stated that the company intends to present a set of advanced products and finance tools by the end of the year. The startup seeks to integrate bitcoin in financial infrastructure of the Caribbean. Considering the massive exodus of major banks, Abed believes that bitcoin might become a part of the region’s routine.

A new service by U.S.-based iPayYou might become another way to popularize bitcoin. The service offers cryptocurrency payments in Twitter. The company intends to integrate the same option in all other popular social networks.

Anyway, the world would become a very boring place without bad news. Residents of Chelan county in the state of Washington definitely consider it bad news that their electricity bills will become more expensive starting January 2017. The county has been one of the most popular locations for bitcoin miners due to its low electricity costs.

Wallets

Mycelium and Dash have announced a partnership to enable the wallet users to buy and sell the cryptocurrency in question within the app. Dash’s integration in Mycelium Wallet is to take place this October, once the new version of the wallet is released.

Meanwhile, Breadwallet announced the release of an Android version. However, only users of Android Marshmallow (6.0) and higher may enjoy the release.

Altcoins

Bitwala has recently integrated tools by cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift. According to the project’s team, the platform’s users will be able to access the cheapest bank remittance service on the market.

This Tuesday, Poloniex added trading pairs of Steem/BTC, Steem/ETH and SBD/BTC. Now users may trade STEEM and Steem Dollars by Steemit platform.

Business Delves into Blockchain

One of the entire Asia’s biggest finance groups Mizuho Financial Group has become the first banking structure to apply blockchain technology for cross-border payments. The remittances were effected with Ripple protocol, which cuts transaction cost and time, and provides real-time access to transactions.

South African bank Absa in cooperation with six other African banks is developing a banking blockchain platform to create a more efficient and less cost-intensive financial system.

Australian telecommunication market leader announced its intent to invest in blockchain companies. Telestra’s management hopes that these blockchain investments will help the company to profit from mobile banking boom.

Bitcoin and Blockchain: the Government Interest

This week, UK House of Lords’ commission on economy met to discuss the blockchain technology’s possible application in public services. Ben Broadbent, Deputy Governor for Monetary Policy at the Bank of England, spoke about the technology’s impact on financial markets and their structure, and about possible issuance of a cryptocurrency by the Bank of England itself. According to him, however, in case anything like that is released, it won’t have a thing in common with bitcoin.

Meanwhile, a motion urging the U.S. government to develop a national policy on technology, including digital currency/blockchain support, was presented to the House of Representatives. The document’s preface describes bitcoin as an alternate non-fiat currency, while the blockchain technology is described as being capable of fundamentally changing the trust and security levels in online transactions.

Russia once again hit the news thanks to yet another statement from the country’s deputy minister for finance, Alexei Moiseev, who said that the authorities intend to allow nationals to buy and resell and exchange cryptocurrency, and use it abroad. In fact, it pairs bitcoin with a regular foreign currency.

In addition to that, ForkLog received an official response from Russia’s Federal Tax Service to an inquiry by a cryptocurrency user. The tax service was asked if a statement on buy/sell operations with cryptocurrency between the country’s residents and non-residents is required. In a word, yes it is.

News from the Dark Side

The U.S. secret service has seized upwards of 25 BTC from a Coinbase user and automatically converted them into USD thus obtaining $13k. No additional details as to the seizure or reasons for that are available.

There are lots of questions here. Some answers, however, may come from the rumors that Coinbase was involved in capturing of Artem Vaulin, creator of Kickass Torrents. He was arrested this week in Poland pursuant to a request from U.S. authorities.

There’s only one piece of advice here: be responsible when it comes to storing your bitcoins.

Also in the U.S., the South district court of the state of New York has completed reviewing the world’s first case of a bitcoin-based Ponzi scheme. The prime defendant to the case, Trendon Shavers, was found guilty and convicted to 18 months of imprisonment.

Meanwhile, EUPIO, the EU’s intellectual property authority, has prepared a report in cooperation with Deloitte, which states that bitcoin and Tor may create troubles for intellectual property owners, and also may be used as tools to conceal illegal profits.

Charlie Shrem Is Free

Former BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem has been prematurely released from Pennsylvania State Prison, where he had been imprisoned for money laundering via Silk Road.

ForkLog keeps the finger on the pulse of events.