Open Bazaar Release, Ripple Alliances and Factom Upsurge. Cryptospace News for February 29 – March 5
Falling of bitcoin, rise of Ethereum, continuation of the block size debate, and events fintech industry and blockchain development have shaped this week for crypto-space.
While Bitcoin was worth nearly $430 last week, seven days later its price reached $440 at a brief moment, but then came dangerously close to $400. Notably, the cryptocurrency was traded even below the mark at some exchanges like Coinbase.
Experts agree that continuing fall in Bitcoin price reflect the lasting block size debate. In addition, recent days were marked by numerous complaints for transaction processing delays and increased fees.
However, the community believes it is capable of finding a consensus, and therefore those network failures are a temporary phenomenon.
On the contrary, some altcoins have hit the stride on the background of falling Bitcoin. Certainly, the most prominent is Ethereum, which had achieved yet another historical record this week.
The cryptocurrency’s rally began Tuesday evening, when ETH token grew from 0.015 BTC to 0.017 BTC in a short time.
Having made a lodgement at the new high, Ethereum continued growing on Wednesday to reach 0.019 BTC. However, this was not the limit, and ETH managed to consolidate at 0.027 BTC by Saturday.
Ethereum’s market cap has thus grown; currently it comprises just a little less than $900 million, with $1 billion mark to be possibly reached in no time. There is every reason to believe Ethereum’s cap would hit the one-billion mark anytime soon.
Altcoins like Monero, Dash and MaidSafeCoin have also gained some steam, while Factom rose substantially from opening at about 0.00246 on Monday to closing at 0.00480 BTC for FCT on Saturday night (at time of publishing FCT exchange rate is ~0.00640 BTC).
One of possible reasons for Ethereum’s continuing growth is the news on forthcoming release of Homestead, the first officially stable version of Ethereum protocol. Homestead’s release is scheduled for Pi day commemorated on March 14, and will incorporate several essential amendments to the protocol.
Another notable release of the week is the test versionÂ of decentralized marketplace OpenBazaar. The platform has some similarities with Etsy or eBay, however, some believe it may become a notable rival for them as it excludes intermediaries from transactions.
Another project, Lisk, is also worth mentioning. In late February the platform has announced ICO, and managed to raise in excess of $500,000 in a week’s time.
Much attention was drawn to bitcoin wallets this week. Thus, a new version of popular wallet Electrum was released for Android. A bit earlier, a wallet of Ukrainian origins dubbed Coinessa was released; however, it would be mostly aimed at Russian-speaking part of the community.
Those who for some reason still lack a product of choice may use a new annual rating of bitcoin wallets published by Open Bitcoin Privacy Project. The report covers the most popular wallets available today. However, the researchers pointed out that insufficient security for user’s confidential data is a commonplace for most of the wallets in question.
Blockchain Open Ledger Operating System (BOLOS). Anyway, leading the rating is Ledger Nano, with its supplier hitting the headlines for a different reason, as it has released a blockchain-based operating system BOLOS, which stands for Blockchain Open Ledger Operating System.
The week was important for several projects somehow related to blockchain-based solutions, and major financial organizations in the first place. Thus, R3CEV announced a major research of the technology to assess its applicability in exchange trade in bonds. The experiment featured five different technologies provided by Ethereum, Chain, Eris Industries, IBM and Intel.
Bank of America has also engaged in testing the technology for trade settlements. The bank hopes it may replace the outdated manual processes. The Korean exchange has also proceeded with creating a trading system based on open ledger technology.
Ripple, a financial services provider, has announced partnership with British company Crypto Facilities to create a derivatives market for XRP. Meanwhile, the Russian Central Bank came upÂ with an idea to use the technology for de-criminalizing micro-finance market and enhancing its transparency.
German experts saw a great potential in blockchain technology, especially when it comes to instant payments. However, they warned that the technology may threaten traditional financial institutions.
Data protection startup Guardtime announced a partnership with Estonian eHealth Foundation. The partnership in question would use a blockchain-based system for ensuring safety of more than a million of medical records.
Finally, consulting firm Deloitte published a new report describing the technology’s development in Israel. The current state of affairs empowered the report’s authors to call the country a full-fledged center of blockchain technologies.
Several interesting investment tools were released or announced this week. While the first of them, a foundation for bitcoin mining Logos Fund announced by Genesis Mining founder Marco Streng, may be useful for major investors in the first place, the second one, a cryptocurrency investment app developed by New York-based startup Keza, is available for regular users. The app in question would allow them to invest bitcoins in portfolios and bids with stable income. Currently it is available only for iOS, however, a release of an Android version is expected as well.
Getting back to the future of bitcoin and its community, last weekend’s closed conference Satoshi Roundtable has gathered almost all prominent figures in the industry to discuss the block size problem. Assessing the outcome of the meeting, one may say that while the general direction is fine, consensus is still far off.
Evan Duffield, the creator of Dash who had also attended the meeting, said that the decision has to be made soon.
“Bitcoin simply can’t keep up with user adoption from this point forward and that leaves users two choices: either leave the decentralized ecosystem and use fiat, or start working with alternative projects like Dash,” he said.
This point of view certainly has every right to exist, however, it may create another layer of discussions. However, Evan is right when stating that some changes are necessary, not least because Bitcoin is still considered an effective tool of helping the world’s unbanked.
This is especially true for such a thickly-peopled continent like Africa, featured in this week’s ForkLog editorial overview.
by Andrew Asmakov
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