BIP 91 Activation Awaits, Parity Hackers Bag $32 Million in Ether: BTCManager’s Week in Review July 24
The much anticipated SegWit implementation could be one step closer to reality by the second week of August now that BIP 91 has been signaled by over the 80 percent of hash power needed to lock it in, which means that the Bitcoin blockchain will soon be optimized by 75 percent. Transactions will become cheaper as their size will decrease with SegWit-enabled bitcoin blocks.
In light of the greater perceived likelihood of SegWit activation on the Bitcoin blockchain, the price of bitcoin experienced a substantial rally. On July 17, the price of the cryptocurrency surpassed the $2,000 mark again after bottoming out at around $1,830 in the week prior. In the seven days to follow, BTC-USD rallied to inch closer to the $2,900 mark, only $100 off the digital currency’s all-time high of $2,993.73; the market has settled around $2,760 on July 24. Key buy levels stand at $2,570.27 and $2,265.51 on the Bitstamp exchange.
However, it is important to highlight the fact that signaling is not the same as implementation; the miners signaling SegWit will need to stick to their “promise” and actually need to mine SegWit blocks for the implementation to be complete. The deadline for BIP 91 activation is July 29, where 80 percent of the blocks mined must signal SegWit for two days.
Despite the anticipated activation, bitcoin holders are still encouraged to move their coins off exchanges and take control of their private keys before August 1.
The other key event in the world of cryptocurrencies in the past week was the $32 million Parity hack, which led to the theft of over 153,000 ether from several ICO wallets, namely Edgeless Casino, Aeternity, and Swarm City. The hacker exploited a flaw in the Parity Multisig code, which led to access to the ICO funds.
The price of ether rallied over 40 percent in the past week from $158 to around $220. The Parity hack did not slow down ether’s rally. However, it could put pressure on the price when the hackers start selling their stolen ether tokens.
This week’s review is compiled from contributions by Alex Lielacher, Evan Sixtin, Jamie Holmes, Joseph Young, Michael Scott, and Nuno Menezes.
Filecoin, the long-awaited token for the IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) platform recently announced that its ICO will not be open to anyone, only accredited investors will be able to participate. Specifically, this means that only those with an income of at least $200,000 a year or with assets worth $1 million will be able to take part in this ICO.
Juan Benet, founder of IPFS and Filecoin, as well as the business entities Protocol Labs and Coinlist, which were developed to manage and direct the funds collected in the Filecoin ICO, tweeted that his reason for restricting the ICO is to be in compliance with United States government regulations.
Israeli blockchain technology startup CoinDash is the latest company to fall victim to hackers. During its initial coin offering (ICO) launched on July 17, an unknown hacker orchestrated the heist making off with over $7 million in ether (ETH).
As is explained by a statement on the company’s website, the ICO’s private sale proceeded well with no security issues. “The CoinDash Token Sale opened to the public on July 17 at 13:00 PM GMT, starting with a 15-minute heads up for whitelist contributors. During these 15 minutes, 148 whitelisted contributors sent 39,000 ETH to the token sale smart contract that were secured with a multisig wallet.”
However, a few minutes after the token sale was opened to the public, a hacker was able to gain access to CoinDash’s website and change the ETH smart contract address provided for the token sale. Subsequently, more than 2000 investors sent approximately 37,000 ETH to the malicious address.
All clues pointed to a permanent shut down of the dark net online marketplace AlphaBay due to the efforts of law enforcement agencies, which was later confirmed on July 20 by the U.S. Justice Department. It is unclear what will happen to the funds that the site was holding in escrow for its users but it is safe to assume that their money has been confiscated; it was later confirmed that the FBI made the operation looks like an exit scam.
As users flocked to Hansa, another dark net marketplace, the coordinated international efforts allowed the Dutch authorities to gain access, run the site as normal and eventually take it down from within in a successive fashion. An interview with Petra Haandrikman, leader of the police unit that infiltrated Hansa, revealed that the FBI and Europol wanted AlphaBay to look like an exit scam to swiftly take down the next trusted marketplace. Haandrikman also revealed Hansa's moderators wanted to ban Fentanyl, a poweful drug blamed by some for the increased attention on such marketplaces, and confirmed Dutch police actually conversed with them on this:
"One of the site’s employees or moderators started a discussion about this drug. We obviously also had our own opinion about it. It was a pretty good dialogue between us and the Hansa moderators to ban this from the site, and [that decision received] a lot of support from the community. But we didn’t instigate that discussion."
It seems that Ethereum’s blockchain technology is bound to transform many of the everyday industries, such as Music. Remix Artist Collective, known as RAC, recently announced a full album release using the Ethereum blockchain. Mostly known for their innovative remixes of alternative acts like Two Door Cinema Club, Lana Del Rey, and Foster the People, the group prepared to release a new album this year, but this time, they tried to do something innovative.
André Allen Anjos, a Portuguese music producer and the founder of RAC, thought that he should do something a lot more creative with its latest music production. The new album called EGO was released July 14. With this, RAC turns into the first musician releasing a full-length record distributed on the Ethereum blockchain.
RAC recently got acquainted with the blockchain technology and saw he could have a more creative approach to music. He decided to create a new way of making his music available by using the Ethereum blockchain. This would allow him to detach from the traditional music industry and present a new decentralized manner of distributing his musical productions.
Hyperledger, an open source collaborative project led by the Linux Foundation, released its first production-ready blockchain codebase that can be utilized by large-scale commercial companies.
Essentially, the ecosystem established by Hyperledger and its first production ready blockchain software Fabric is very similar to the infrastructure provided by the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance in that they both are focusing on allowing large-scale conglomerates to offer blockchain-based services using flexible blockchain networks.
More than 150 engineers from 29 organizations including JPMorgan Chase, Intel, and IBM contributed to the development of Hyperledger Fabric and 120 member companies within the Hyperledger blockchain consortium aim to continue collaborating in the development of Hyperledger Fabric and other blockchain codebases.
Like other blockchain networks such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, the Hyperledger Fabric needs to scale over time in order to handle transaction outputs of established financial networks such as Visa in an efficient manner.
While blockchain technology has seen a massive uptick in interest since 2015, rarely have we taken a step back to assess its true power and potential impact on our society — people, infrastructure, design, commerce and more. So how immersed could this technology become within our lives? Given the current trajectory, it is clear that from smart homes to blockchain-enabled future cities, the potential is huge.
For an in-depth look at the disruptive future of blockchain technology, we turn to two experts at SAP SE, a German multinational software corporation that makes enterprise software to manage business operations and customer relations.