Estimated Reading Time: 12 minutes
Week 2 Feb 2019
11 Feb 2019
We need to look beyond the widely-reported headlines to see the bigger picture.
Just glancing at daily headlines will tell us that the Crypto Winter still has the market in hibernation. It is kind of irritating that this is all that news sites, crypto ‘pundits’, and all of our friends are talking about. However, by just focusing on this one topic, we miss the bigger picture: that crypto and blockchain are finally making real progress in building for the future.
For example, crypto exchange trading volumes have reportedly sunk to their lowest levels in two years. Even big exchanges like Binance, Coinbase and OKEx were hit. Despite this, the bigger exchanges are constantly developing new features and products. Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao said that 2018 was a year of building, and at Consensus Singapore last October, stated that Binance would launch 5-10 new fiat-supported exchanges in 2019. We’ve already seen the launch of Binance Jersey.
As further proof that blockchain companies are building, six blockchain companies have made the Forbes Fintech 50 list in 2019. These companies include Ripple, Coinbase, and Circle. Companies on the Forbes Fintech 50 are recognized for their innovation and for pushing global fintech adoption. All of these three companies have done more than their fair share to push crypto and blockchain into everyday business and life. The article is worth reading since it summarizes exactly what Ripple, Coinbase, and Circle have accomplished in 2018.
The point is crypto is defined by more than prices and bull/bear markets. Companies are building real solutions to bring crypto & blockchain into the mainstream. That is what will matter in five years when most of today’s Altcoins have been long forgotten.
US State of Wyoming Passes New Bill Recognizing Cryptocurrency as Money
Source: Invest in Blockchain
The U.S. State of Wyoming passed a new bill recognizing cryptocurrencies as legal tender which will be in effect by 1st March 2019. The bill categorizes cryptocurrencies within the intangible personal properties category and effectively provides it with the same treatment as fiat money.
There seems to be a growing wave of acceptance throughout the US for crypto and blockchain. The state of Ohio recently allowed businesses to pay state business taxes in Bitcoin. New Hampshire is working on a bill which will allow residents to use Bitcoin to pay fees and taxes. Colorado is also looking at blockchain technology to provide a secure data storage facility.
BitTorrent Token (BTT) Rises, Questions Remain
Sources: Invest in Blockchain, Hacked.com
TRON-based BitTorrent Token (BTT) briefly recorded a high of $0.00124 on 5th February before falling back to $0.000772 on 10th February. The all-time high was nearly a six-fold increase from its ICO price.
BTT is listed on exchanges such as Binance, Upbit, OKEx, and KuCoin. BTT’s major use case, BitTorrent Speed, may launch as early as the Q2 2019. BitTorrent Speed lets users receive BTT for seeding (sharing) files on the platform. This is expected to increase the availability of files for download. Users can also pay in BTT to enjoy faster downloads.
It will be interesting to see if BTT and BitTorrent Speed succeeds. Downloaders may ask why they should pay in BTT for faster downloads when they can just pay for Netflix or Spotify. Furthermore, plenty of Torrenting activity (music, movies) is illegal and BitTorrent could face legal pressure that puts off its users. Finally, BitTorrent users are not required to use BitTorrent Speed.
Zcash Team Reveals it Fixed a Coin Counterfeiting Bug
Zcash revealed that they have fixed a year-old bug that could have allowed users to print infinite coins. In a blog post, Zcash explained that users will not have to do anything since the counterfeiting exploit has already been fixed. The team claimed that vulnerability is unlikely to have been exploited since it would require a very high level of technical and cryptographic sophistication that few possess.
The bug was discovered in zk-SNARKS, the cutting-edge cryptography used by Zcash to obscure balances and user identities.
Facebook Acquires Blockchain Startup Specializing in Smart Contracts
Facebook is coming to Crypto!
Facebook’s crypto division has reportedly acquired Chainspace, a project specializing in smart contracts. Facebook’s spokesperson didn’t say much other than confirm that former Chainspace employees are working with Facebook. The purchase is more of an “aqui-hire,” which suggests Facebook is more interested in Chainspace’s research team than its technology.
There’s not a lot of info yet on what Facebook’s blockchain aspirations are. Some predict that Facebook might develop a stablecoin for use in Whatsapp. Bloomberg reported that the most likely use case is allowing Whatsapp users to transfer funds to each other across borders, initially focusing on the large remittances market in India.
Kraken Acquires Futures Startup in Deal Worth at Least $100 Million
Kraken has recently acquired Crypto Facilities in a “nine-figure” acquisition. Crypto Facilities is a futures crypto-trading platform regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It also provides indexing services at the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate.
Jesse Powell, CEO of Kraken, believes that this will help increase the competitiveness of the company in providing consumers the means to buy and sell crypto. The acquisition makes Kraken the only cryptocurrency exchange that lets users trade both spot and futures, and is a significant milestone in the evolution of crypto exchanges and the increase in features available to users.
Check back next week for more crypto highlights!
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