Cryptospace News Digest, June 5 – 12
For the first time in two years, bitcoin price has surpassed the $600 mark.
Last Saturday, bitcoin’s market cap has reached $9 billion, and Sunday the exchange rate leaped to $590 from $576. The highest market cap at the moment comprised $9.225 billion.
On Tuesday, the exchange rate abruptly returned to $576, however, a bit later it restored at around $580. The price remained in the corridor until Friday night, when it started skyrocketing again, even though a slight correction occurred.
Saturday night, the price accelerated and surpassed $600 for the first time in two years.
According to Coinmarketcap, bitcoin price stands at $639 at the time of writing, which is nearly 11% as high the last week’s figures. Bitcoin’s market cap currently exceeds $10 billion.
Ethereum peaked at $14.7999 this Thursday (compared to $13.7266 on Monday), however, generally it crawls down. Current price stands at $14.83, with market cap comprising nearly $1,2 billion.
Ethereum Is Coming
Last week, two cryptoindustry leaders have announced they integrate Ethereum protocol in their services.
June 8, decentralized tools platform Counterparty announced it was testing EVMParty, a smart contracts protocol similar to that of Ethereum. Interestingly enough, the system’s code has been nearly copypasted from Ethereum Virtual Machine, which is the system protocol’s part responsible for internal states of smart contracts and calculations over the course of their execution. Notably, Counterparty founder Chris De Rose has Â been very critical about Ethereum recently.
Meanwhile, June 10, bitcoin blockchain apps startup BlockCypher has announced it expands functionality and adds an option of using Ethereum to create applications. Catherine Nicholson, CEO and co-founder of BlockCypher, said that the decision was justified by excessive demand for such by the company’s customers.
As ForkLog reported earlier, The DAO recently faced the problem of its voting system’s possible vulnerability inherent in the organization’s contract. We talked with Slock.it’s co-founder Stephan Tual to find out what future holds for the DAO, and how the organization expects to solve the problem. The DAO, with 12 million ETH raised (nearly $167m at the time of writing) is the most successfully crowdfunded organization to date.
The DAO, however, is not the only major project in the industry using the DAO concept. In particular, Antpool operator and mining equipment manufacturer Bitmain Technology has invested in Israel-based project Wings, which may evolve into a platform for creating customized DAO’s on the go. ForkLog talked with Wings’ core developer Stas Oskin about the project’s plans and its difference from The DAO.
Wallets and Software
Blockchain.infoÂ updated their watch-only address function, which implies importing addresses from third-party wallets enabling user to see theÂ aggregate balance of all their digital assets at once. Users may also transact from the imported addresses using their private key.
Satoshi Labs, theÂ manufacturer of Trezor, has announced a new product, Trezor Password Manager. The company states that the manager is a 100% reliable cloud solution without any need of master passwords. Currently, Trezor users may test the solution in beta via dedicated Chrome extension.
Meanwhile, 21 Inc. has opened the source code for Machine-Payable Web, a software package enabling any computer to earn bitcoinsÂ without any involvement from the company’s earlier product 21 Bitcoin Computer.
Gemini has announced it enters international markets, with the first foreign host country being Canada. However, the exchange also intends to become available in yet another unnamed country.
The Winklevoss twins should think twice if the third country of their choice is the Philippines, as local Central Bank has announced it considers introducing strict regulation framework for cryptocurrency exchanges.
Cryptoexchange Poloniex experienced a blackout, which resulted in the company’s data centre failure. Connection with central severs was lost, however, the power was soon restored. Currently the exchange operates normally, and user funds are reported to be safe.
Blockchain and Scalability
American Express published a report covering the issues of implementing bitcoin’s blockchain and possible scenarios of its usage across international financial markets.
Bitcoin scalability problem has drawn the report authors’ particular attention. The scalability issue, they believe, is the factor hindering the cryptocurrency’s integration in international mass markets. Ethereum competition is another factor menacing bitcoin’s future, as it has similar ‘anonymity’ level and provides smart contracts aside from simple payment options.
Government-issued cryptocurrencies may potentially compete with bitcoin as well. Blockchain is gradually becoming a viable option for regulators issuing traditional fiat money. Chain’s top manager Adam Ludwin recently called representatives of different central banks to develop their own cryptocurrencies and use the distributed ledger technology.
Meanwhile, Tendermint has released a new architecture dubbed GnuClear seeking to solve the scalability problem. The solution implies a central blockchain connecting so-called shards and transferring tokens from one shard to another via specific protocol.
US-based BTM network Athena Bitcoin has bought BitQuick, a platform for instant bitcoin trading. The team of the latter will keep their jobs. BitQuick stated that the line of business will remain the same.
Canaan Creative, theÂ manufacturer of the first bitcoin miners Avalon, was bought by China-based electronics manufacturer Shandong Luyitong Intelligent Electric PLC for around $466 million worth of currency and securities. The purpose of the deal and further development plans remained undisclosed.
Meanwhile, Korea-based Kakao, local internet leader, funded Satoshi Citadel, a Philippines-based startup engaged in development of blockchain solutions for banks. Kakao is known mainly for its mobile app KakaoTalk with upwards of 100 million active users. The amount of the deal is also undisclosed.
IBM funded a business accelerator focused on developing prototypes using Watson AI tools and blockchain technology in Singapore. Watson Centre will provide customized solutions for Asia-Pacific.
Meanwhile, the US government has awarded grants to the tune of $600,000 overall to six blockchain companies working for public customers.
There were two nominations:
â€” For the “applicability of blockchain technology to identity management and privacy protection”, grants were awarded to four companies: Digital Bazaar, Inc., Respect Network Corporation, Narf Industries LLC and Celerity Government Solutions LLC.
â€” “Blockchain applications for homeland security analytics”, was given to BlockCypher and RAM Laboratories LLC.
Even though corrupted officials, dishonest entrepreneurs, and notorious terrorists prefer something else than bitcoin to hide their bloody money, politicians keep on speculating about cryptocurrency-related risks. Some of them, like French right-wing, or Russian only-wing, even call for total prohibition of cryptocurrency operations. However, saying that bitcoin is totally innocent, would not be true as well. For instance, Leaked Source has found that one may buy access to nearly 33 million hacked Twitter accounts for just 10 BTC.
However, crypto-extortion becomes a much greater menace these days. In particular, Citrix research has proved that most British companies don’t heed internet security, preferring to buy bitcoins in advance in order to pay future cryptocurrency racketeers. This week’s editorial feature gives a closer look on cryptocrimes.
However, cryptocurrency isn’t the only popular option for hackers. Cash is way harder to track down, as evidenced by the instance of Calgary University which had paid 20,000 CAD to unblock its research data.
From Russia with Good News
We are very surprised ourselves, but this week there were no bad news from Russia. Maybe, not everything is rotten there.
Deputy minister for finance, Alexei Moiseev, stated that bitcoin mining wouldn’t be subject to punishment. Even though the ministry still seeks total prohibition of cryptocurrency payments (which they perceive as exchanging cryptocurrencies for rubles only), they opted to leave internal bitcoin operations alone.
Russia’s Central Bank has announced it intends to use blockchain technology to form a ledger of local depositors. Good news as iut may seem, it still may cause some worries as blockchain is perfect not only for service decentralization, but also for exercising total control over personal data.
Concluding the Russian block, there is news on the new chairman of the country’s Blockchain community, Artem Tolkachev. Having held the appointment, he told ForkLog about the community’s immediate plans.
Events: Decentralization Decentralized
The week was full of meetings on internet liberty and personal data encryption.
Creator of the internet, sir Tim Berners-Lee stated at Decentralized Web Summit that the existing level of user activity monitoring and advertisement policy does not match the original concept of creation. Most attendees of the summit agreed that a new, more decentralized internet is required to provide users with greater degree of freedom.
Meanwhile, speaking at videoconference Decentralized and Encrypted, Edward Snowden stated that anonymous cryptocurrency Zcash could become the solution to the problem of bitcoin’s excessive transparency.
Next week, fifth conference d10e on decentralization will kick off in San Francisco. The list of speakers include Lisa Chen of Vanbex, Andreas Antonopoulos, Brock Pierce, and Evan Duffield. The conference will become the industry’s first event to be broadcasted in virtual reality.
June 23, Blockchain Session Lviv will launch in the aforementioned Ukrainian city. The meetup will cover reforms in Ukraine, blockchain crowdfunding, and what comes after Lightning Network.
Have a nice week!
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