Homestead Release, Troubles at Exchanges, and Propagation of Blockchain Tech. Cryptospace News for March 12-19
This week’s ForkLog overview features news from leading crypto-exchanges, the continuing battle for markets between various projects, and, most certainly, fintech news.
As compared to last week’s achievements, Bitcoin’s price has dropped a bit to nearly $408 at the time of publishing. During the week, the cryptocurrency managed to reach as much as $419 on Thursday, but lost almost 3% of its price in 24 hours, and was worth $404 on Friday.
Last two days were marked by decrease of bitcoin trading volumes, with credit for the week’s biggest amount going to BitFinex.
Bitcoin exchanges, including BitFinex, were in the limelight this week. The Hong Kong-based platform added Ether trading to its services. A bit earlier, it published new use conditions incorporating updated confidentiality policy. It featured several interesting items, including the exchange’s right to block customers using proxy servers or Tor.
Sudden problems stroke BTC-e. Sunday morning, the platform halted operations out of the blue, while clients faced withdrawal problems. The panic, however, never reached crest values, as by the same night the exchange restored its operations.
Earlier this week Cryptsy claimed it was going to hire hackers to bring back the money, which, according to the exchange’s administrator Paul Vernon, had been stolen. The loss resulted in January’s halting. While the very wish to recover the loss is definitely laudable, the agreement presented to the community looks, at least, weird.
Another troubled platform of the week is American BitQuick. On Monday, the platform fell victim to a cyber attack. The hackers managed to access the exchange’s server. According to BitQuick, personal data and assets of the customers are safe, however, the exchange halted operations. Additionally, BitQuick’s owners claimed they didn’t mind to hear from those wishing to buy the platform.
In addition, popular crypto-exchange Poloniex also faced some issues this week. In this case, the platform suffered from a serious DDoS attack. It certainly caused much inconvenience to users, but the problem has been eventually solved. Notably, the attack on Poloniex coincided with the release of Ethereum’s stable version, which would have resulted in an increase of transactions on the platform. A coincidence? Fat chance.
The release of Homestead, the first stable version of Ethereum protocol, took place on Monday with live stream in Google Hangouts. Most definitely, it has been one of the most long-awaited events for the whole crypto-community. The project continues developing and garnering support, with its native token Ether used in smart contracts. However, contrary to what one might expect, ETH did not skyrocket following Homestead’s release. Moreover, while just a week ago 1 ETH was worth 0.032 BTC, it has dropped since then down to current 0.026 BTC.
Anyway, one of the project’s founders, Canadian bitcoin entrepreneur Anthony di Iorio is convinced that Ethereum is a success.
“We’ve seen Microsoft and IBM doing projects on Ethereum. There’s a lot of coders. It’s exciting to see something you were in on in the early stages growing and bearing fruit,” he said.
Back in October 2015, Microsoft rolled out Blockchain as a Service on Azure. BaaS uses Ethereum protocol and gains popularity amidst cryptospace projects.
Microsoft, which, by the way, has denied it removed Bitcoin options from its online store, is featured in Jenny Aysgarth’s special article.
The startup known as the wealthiest in the cryptospace has proceeded with building a unique ecosystem around the company’s basic product 21 Bitcoin Computer.
News from 21 Inc. come on an incredibly regular basis these months. When sales of the device launched beyond the US, the company announced two interesting initiatives.
The first of them is a service dubbed 21 Micropayments Marketplace, which offers the creation of applications to sell digital goods for bitcoins. Initially, the project will be developer-focused, so that the developers could buy and sell payable access to app API’s for cryptocurrency
A bit later, the company announced Ping21, a service considered a competitor to various hosting monitoring services.
Blockchain and Financial Technologies
This week, consulting company PricewaterhouseCoopers published a report warning banks and major finance players that their failure to implement blockchain technology may eventually play Old Harry with them and leave them behind in terms of global competition. Banks, the report states, still prefer easier solutions to optimize their routine operations. However, simple solutions aren’t always the best. They may provide temporary relief in short-term, however, they are likely to lose any worthiness as the time goes by.
New instances of blockchain applications or, at least, researching pop up nearly every day. Thus, this week Australia’s post service has announced it considers using blockchain technology to identify its customers. Meanwhile, Japan-based technological concern Hitachi has opened a research lab in the Silicon Valley to focus on blockchain-based applications development.
Distributed ledger technology is actively developing in Ukraine with increasing number of use-cases. The processes around the technology are covered in ForkLog’s interview with Dr. Pavel Kravchenko, co-founder of Distributed Lab.
Several Ukraine-based exchanges compete around the right to call themselves the country’s first. ForkLog covered several such projects, all of which position themselves as Ukrainian projects in a way.
This week, Alexei Arkhipov, director of cryptotechnology development at Russia-based payments processor QIWI commented to ForkLog about the company’s project BitRuble, which, in his opinion, isn’t subject to the possible ban of cryptocurrencies in Russia.
Finally, we contacted Bulgarian bitcoin community and got a glimpse of the country’s cryptocurrency market.
by Andrew Asmakov
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