Bitcoin falls below $1,000 USD A 5% Drop
The price of bitcoin took a nose dive this past week, dipping to numbers that have not been seen in quite a long time. The price of Bitcoin, which was averaging right around $977, fell 5% to $969.35. While it is uncertain as to the cause for the price decline, speculations point at the possibility of a hard-fork and what it could mean in terms of supremacy between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Unlimited.
As prices continue to gradually fall lower and lower, it is apparent that something has investors worried. The number of Sell orders now outnumber the buy orders on most exchanges, causing the sluggish downward trend. This activity is in stark contrast with the developments from earlier in the month. While the future is never certain, most agree that the price of Bitcoin will soon again climb out of the gutter.
Bitcoin Core Developers Not Worried About Hard Fork
Eric Lombrozo, a bitcoin Core contributor says that there is nothing to fear, and that we have all seen this before. He is speaking of the failed attempts of both Bitcoin XT and Bitcoin Classic, who both tried to create a new set of rules on the Blockchain in recent years. While they did emerge, both have steadily declined over the past couple of years.
Bitcoin Unlimited, in his opinion, is just another attempt to try and do the same thing, the same way and he foresees the same results. It’s simply a twist on the old alternatives, according to Lombrozo.
Of course, there are two sides to every story and Bitcoin Unlimited chief scientist, Peter Ruiz, believes that Bitcoin will see the block size increase, giving Bitcoin a competitive edge once again, in the cryptocurrency market. He feels there is a 75% chance we will see this increase sometime this year.
While there are opinions on both sides of the debate, the one thing that has stood out the most is the fact that no hard fork would be welcomed at this point by either side. Bitcoin Core has its obvious reasons for not wanting the fork, but Bitcoin Unlimited who would benefit from a fork would get no play on the major exchanges, after the big 20 Bitcoin exchanges announced last week that they would not tolerate the type of aggression that is being proposed by the Bitcoin Unlimited methods that are currently taking place.
While uncertainty fills the air, the one thing everyone agrees on is that there does need to be an increase in block size, if for no other reason, to speed up the time it takes to complete a transaction.
Bond Trading with Hyperledger Now Open Source
The Hyperledger’s Sawtooth Lake Distributed Ledger, which hosts the bond trading platform announced this week that the project has went open source and it came with a demo of the technology. The platform, which boasts no frills or advanced features allows for the tracking and categorizing of transactions , including holdings, settlements and receipts.
The source code for the project is now listed on GitHub and will allow users to do things like tracking the name, coupon rate and principal values of their portfolios and even search users to look up bonds by CUSIP code, yield and price. While the code is now available, the company did release a statement saying that it would need more investment before being taken live.
Social Media Scams Involving Bitcoin On The Rise
The research and subsequent report was done by ZeroFOX and found a total of 3,618 Bitcoin Scam URL’s, each shared on average of 24 times per day over a 1 month period. They began collecting the data around the time Bitcoin became more valuable than an ounce of gold.
The report also found that curated Bitcoin scam URLs had been shared over 126 million times in total. Of all of the scams that were uncovered by ZeroFOX, the first involves emailing or messaging people with a malicious URL, the second was a Bitcoin key Phishing scheme and the third, the most popular and well known, was the promise to investors of huge returns on their investments in a very short period of time. Of course, there was also a Ponzi, or pyramid, scheme out there, as well.
The increase in these types of scams is attributed to the growing popularity of Bitcoin and the mainstream attention it has been receiving in television and movies. As more people begin to test or try the digital currency, the scam artists are there to get what they can. To protect yourself, they recommend avoiding transactions that begin through any type of social media platform.
There’s A Ripple In The Water and It Keeps Getting Bigger
The digital currency, Ripple (XRP) surged overnight climbing to a 4 month high. The digital currency climbed to a high of $0.008288 back on March 23rd in the midafternoon. The increase in value is attributed to the broader view that digital currencies in general are enjoying some new found success due to the media and mainstream attention they have received.
Bitcoin Unlimited Recover’s From Second Bug
On Tuesday, the would-be Bitcoin replacement came under attack in the form of DDoS, or Denial of Service. This is the second time in as many weeks that the Altcoin was hit hard and had nodes taken down due to the effort. This instance of the attack focused on a bug in the system and ended up having 100 of the nodes disconnecting from the network.
The coding errors were quickly fixed and as soon as the binary patches were released, the nodes were back online quickly. The debate on social media seems to be more focused on the capabilities of the Bitcoin Unlimited team, rather than the most recent attacks on the network. It became an even more hostile situation when the Bitcoin Unlimited team released the patches via a private repository and kept the changes that they had made private and made worse due to the fact that no one signed as the responsible party for the changes that were made. It was later discovered that the changes that were made actually were leaked via Launchpad, further heightening tensions.
New York Approves Coinbase to Sell Litecoin and Ether
With the approval from the New York State Department of Financial Services, Coinbase is the first company to offer residents of new York Litecoin, and the second, after the Winklevoss brothers, to bring Ether to the tightly regulated state.
The decision, released only a couple of days ago, states that,
“DFS has proven that the state regulatory system is the best way to supervise and cultivate a thriving fintech industry, like virtual currency. New York will remain steadfast in pushing back against federal encroachment efforts like the OCC’s proposal to impose a one-size-fits-all national bank charter that increases risk and seeks to usurp state sovereignty.”
Coinbase CEO and cofounder, Brian Armstrong went on to say in response to the state’s approval,
“At Coinbase, our first priority is to ensure that we operate the most secure and compliant digital currency exchange in the world,” Armstrong said. “New York is an important market and we look forward to expanding our services for New York customers as swiftly as possible.”
Coinbase users in New York should see immediate availability of both currencies.
US Officials Worried at Increase in Bitcoin Drug Transactions
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) has said they have seen a steady increase in the number of drug transaction using Bitcoins. Before a congressional committee, the Assistant Director of an arm of Homeland Security, Matthew Allen, told Congress the disturbing news while testifying on opioid abuse.
Homeland Security’s Investigative division uses blockchain technology to analyses, track and record data involving digital payments sent and received in connection with the heroin and fentanyl trading arena.
The testimony is the first since it was announced that HIS would use the technology in this manner, that defines some of the ways that they are utilizing the block chain and the methods used to actually track and find the information.
“ICE has seen a substantial increase in cases in which private parties are acting as money service businesses to exchange digital currencies into fiat currency to enjoy the illicit proceeds of narcotics smuggling. The IFPCU also utilizes resources provided by the Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture’s Third-Party Money Laundering Initiative to support complex financial investigations.”
While the agency states that it has yet to find a way to locate and identify the money exchangers themselves, following the trail of money to a source that is involved in narcotics is becoming exceedingly more easy and regular. The agency has always been interested in block chain technology, especially within the fields of IoT and security applications.
Nevada Bill Would Make Blockchain Transactions Tax Exempt
A new bill filed with the state of Nevada’s Senate would make any transactions that are blockchain based exempt from paying or owing any taxes on those transactions. Nevada Senate Bill 398, filed this week and introduced by Senator Ben Kieckhefer also seeks to create a legal basis for blockchain-based records and contracts.
The bill will also exclude those transactions from state taxes and would prohibit local governments to require licensure for that purpose.
An excerpt from the bill reads,
“A local governmental entity shall not: (a) Impose any tax or fee on the use of a blockchain or smart contract by any person or entity; (b) Require any person or entity to obtain from the local governmental entity any certificate, license or permit to use a blockchain or smart contract; or (c) Impose any other requirement relating to the use of a blockchain or smart contract by any person or entity.”
The bill, if passed would no be limited to only those economic costs. The bill would also see blockchain records as a sufficient document, when the law calls for written documentation. The law also states that just because a contract or document was created by utilizing the blockchain and its technology, it may not be prohibited as an acceptable document based on that fact alone.
The same type of proposal, in the form of a state bill, was also put into action last month in Arizona and goes along with a slew of other states seeking to get blockchain tech language in the law books as the tech becomes more widely accepted and begins to be put in to use in everyday, real scenarios.
Dark Web Market To Support Ethereum
AlphaBay, probably the most well-known dark web market has announced it is seeking to add support for Ethereum. According to a marketplace moderator on Reddit last week, AlphaBay will begin accepting Ether on May 1st of this year.
The message, which was confirmed as valid via a pgp signature, went on to say that,
“We are currently laying out the framework to make ETH acceptance possible, and we will enable ethereum deposits and withdrawals starting May 1st, 2017. Vendors wishing to accept ethereum can edit their listings and set the ‘Accept ETH’ to ‘On’ in order to be able to be paid in ethereum.”
AlphaBay, just last year added the support for Monero as an accepted currency and looks to do even more beyond the Ether addition in May. With the Monero addition, AlphaBay became one of the leading factors in the rise of value in the coin and for Monero’s overwhelming acceptance due to the, so far, unbreachable privacy that Monero offers.
1st Commercial Blockchains Go Live, Thanks To IBM
When it comes to anything new in technology, it should be no surprise to anyone that the name IBM is somehow involved. For nearly 3 decades of consumer awareness towards advanced technology, every major released has had IBM, either as the forerunner that is ushering in the new tech or as a background player, who modestly steps back and allows others to take the spotlight.
Well, it seems that they have done it again, this time as the front runner. Utilizing the open source Hyperledger code base named Fabric will begin its debut in front of about 20,000 developers at the interconnect conference. The first two major deployments of the tech will also be detailed at that time according to IBM.
One of the deployments is a block chain identity solution built with SecureKey which has 6 large Canadian banks as investors and the other involves a Chinese energy company and the trading of carbon credits.
IBM released a statement that said,
“Hyperledger Fabric is the operating system for IBM Blockchain, and the IBM Blockchain built an environment to develop, govern and operate a production, permissioned blockchain.”
The implementation, for commercial parties will be available on a sliding price scale, depending on the size of the implementation needed. The new implementations will allow for more efficient work production and several never before seen capabilities that are sure to impress.
The week is over, Bitcoin is down and everyone is still doing okay by most accounts. While there may have been money lost, there sure was some money gained. Blockchain tech has been further advanced and more deeply ingrained into the proper channels to ensure that it will get the mainstream attention it needs to launch itself into our everyday lives. There is no stopping the beats that is known as blockchain now. Too many people in all the right places are in on it and want it. Welcome to the new age of blockchain.
Gene is an avid Bitcoin enthusiast and computer programmer who is currently studying to be a software engineer. He is 40 years old and lives in Daytona Beach, Florida with his girlfriend and their son.