by Jamie Holmes
Bitcoin saw further gains over the weekend, extending above $650 across exchanges as the cryptocurrency was supported by positive sentiment out of China. At the time of writing, BTC-USD has held onto these gains, trading just above the $650 psychological handle on the Bitstamp exchange. Also, the ECB decided to encourage European regulators to take a tough stance on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, while the Zcash blockchain will see the genesis block come into existence this week, on Friday 28 October; the project will enhance Bitcoin by including privacy features, amongst others.
This week’s review is compiled from contributions by Alexander Lielacher, Farzana Begum, Jamie Holmes, Joseph Young, JP Buntinx, and Michael Scott.
The price of bitcoin jumped sharply on October 22 in response to the conclusion of the biggest ever conference of miners in China, where the participants discussed scaling issues. In the first ever event that included all of the major miners in China, Huang Shiliang, a famous Bitcoin advocate, delivered an important talk which could be a pivotal moment for the future development of Bitcoin. While BTC-USD surged to a fresh high of $650 on American and European exchanges, there were notably higher volumes driving BTC-USD as high as $670 on Chinese exchanges.
The European Central Bank (ECB) is not a big fan of virtual money. That is quite an understatement, as the financial institution urges EU regulators to “curb the growth” of virtual money solutions. While there is no indication these pleas will lead to additional regulation in the European Union, it is another example of how the ECB is afraid of losing control. In fact, they have something to fear from Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as they make a central authority such as the ECB somewhat obsolete.
The team behind Zcash, an extension of Bitcoin, have shared their vision on how to evolve Zcash as well as the hardware requirements for running the ‘Sprout’ release, allowing anyone to mine the cryptocurrency. With the genesis block coming into existence on October 28, anyone will be able to mine this cryptocurrency and the privacy features will no doubt attract a lot of interest from cryptocurrency traders, investors, and enthusiasts.
As ViaBTC, a major bitcoin mining pool, shifted toward Bitcoin Unlimited and the eventual execution of a hard fork to increase the bitcoin block size by 8 MB, the debate between the supporters of Core solutions and Unlimited has become the main source of attraction for many bitcoin enthusiasts. Bitcoin experts argue that increasing the block size is unnecessary, as bitcoin was not designed to handle small payments.
The Securities Exchange Commission has lived up to the community’s expectations once again by delaying the approval of the Winklevoss ETF for additional “public comment,” whereby Gemini has sought the help of State Street to move forward. SolidX, another highly anticipated bitcoin ETF provider which gained serious momentum by granting insurance to its investors, also had its approval delayed by the United States SEC on September 14.
For more on the ongoing vulnerabilities associated with the cybercrime landscape, we here at BTCManager turned to Hong Kong-based, IT security expert Leonhard Weese. In addition to his work as a FinTech and Blockchain advisor, Weese is the President of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong. One of the highlights is that he expects identity theft to become a huge unmanageable pain given that personal identity is not at all made for the digital age, and as a result, we can be easily impersonated online.
Given the historical outperformance of index tracker funds over actively managed funds in traditional capital markets and several, upcoming cryptocurrency index funds, we have to look at whether such an approach would also work in the cryptocurrency sphere or whether simply putting your money into the largest and most prominent digital currency, bitcoin, is still the way forward. Entrepreneur and cryptocurrency enthusiast Willy Woo looked closer at this question by running a set of price performance simulations of an index of altcoins versus the bitcoin.
Emirates NBD and ICICI Bank will be the first banks to pilot a network for international remittances and trade finance built on blockchain technology in the Middle East region, following an announcement on October 18 that they will be launching the pilot through working in partnership with Infosys. By collaborating with Infosys’ subsidiary, EdgeVerve Systems, the banks will be able to capitalize on its strong presence in the financial sector.