Weekly News (Bitcoin Hits the $1,000 USD Mark, Blockchain, Litecoin )

It was another exciting week, full of surprises, expected events and relatively successful endeavors among the Blockchain Community in general. As always, we saw brand new, but well-known faces emerge into the light that is Bitcoin and we saw a long time partner jump ship for deeper waters. Bitcoin flirted with, and then surpassed the one-thousand-dollar mark, yet again this past week and more and more governments are talking Bitcoin in everyday life. Let’s recap some of the bigger stories that happened within the last week.

Bitcoin Hits the $1,000 USD Mark, Yet Again!


At the beginning of the past week, Bitcoin was trading, relatively stable at approximately $918/USD. In just 4 days’ time, the crypto currency king rose to just over $1,024/USD. That is a gain of 11 and a half percent. According to most chatter around the markets, it was thanks to more bullish trends, with sentiment returning to higher numbers among bitcoin users.


After the Chinese government’s move to regulate the Chinese exchanges, most thought that Bitcoin’s volatility would calm down some, but that has yet to happen. Many people speculate that until the ‘No-Fee’ markets all acquiesce to some regulatory measures, the volatility of bitcoin will be hard to predict and an ever present possibility.


How long will the + $1,000 value last? That is tough to say, but as of the time of writing this exact sentence, the price is at $1,030.14, so it could likely go up even farther before we see a return to three digit values. Once the bullish attitude settles a bit, the price will slowly start to return to somewhat normal conditions. Of course, that is only until the next time.

True Privacy & Actual Fungibility at Last! Monero’s Rise to The Top


Forget about the Price Monero is trading at. Forget about Alphabay’s adoption of the currency a while back. Forget all of the news about the tech behind Monero and forget about anything else you may know and the one thing that should tell you that Monero has made it to the big leagues is this:

Riccardo Spagni, creator of Monero and it’s blockchain, were invited and welcomed to the Satoshi Round Table in Cancun, Mexico.


Yes, you did read that right. I did not mistype, place a sentence in the wrong place or jumble my words. The same Elite Bitcoin group that has at times appeared ready to tell the world that Altcoins were like aliens, they simply don’t exist. These guys have never been very supportive of anything but Bitcoin. That is their passion, that is all they have time to concentrate on, it is their baby. So, hold the phone! Now they are making time for Monero? Welcome to the big leagues kid!

Blockchain Gets a Big Aloha from Hawaiian Democrats


Two Hawaiian Democrat Representatives have put forth legislation, that if enacted would bring the blcokchain to the islands in an effort to streamline and boost tourism within the state.


E Komo Mai, Bitcoin! The islands await you. An excerpt from the proposed bill states:

“The legislature finds that highly innovative technologies such as blockchain require an educated and measured approach so that regulations do not stymie innovation and growth in this State.”


If passed, the bill would cause for the creation of a working group that’s focus will be on how the blockchain can benefit Hawaii specifically.


This is just one of dozens of recent legislative measures to be pursued by many state, provincial and even national governments in the last few weeks. As more and more governments turn to the blockchain to solve a problem, create an opportunity or empower growth, the rest of the world starts following suit at a much faster rate.


The bill is now before the Hawaiian Senate and the decision will not be made for some time yet. I will report on it once there is more news.

Litecoin Boards the SegWit Train as Bitcoin Miners Turn to ‘Unlimited’


Litecoin has made its move to the new Blockchain and has boarded the SegWit train, hoping to utilize the way that the new technology stores data, allowing for larger block sizes and fast transaction times.


This comes just as more and more Bitcoin Miner’s, who have had the option to utilize SegWit available to them are jumping off the train and running full steam right to Bitcoin unlimited, the biggest opponent to SegWit. After its initial availability to Bitcoin Miner’s, as many as 25% of them gave SegWit a try. Now, that number is dwindling down and is currently right around11% according to CoinDesk.


Why? Bitcoin Unlimited, who many feel, offer a much better solution to the problem of block size and transaction times, as well as improved privacy and security. Litecoin, however is giving SegWit a chance. In order for SegWit to gain a permanent foothold, the Litecoin network must reach a threshold of 75% of all Miner’s utilizing the tech. Bitcoin has set that bar at a whopping 95% and requires it to remain at that level or higher for a 2-week period of time.


That just does not look to be the way things will go, at least for Bitcoin. Litecoin results are yet to be seen, but you can bet they will be monitored very closely by people on every side of the debate.

British Telecommunications PLC to Monitor for Mitigating Blockchain Attacks


The largest telecommunications company in the UK has submitted an application for a patent for a security system that they say will allow them to monitor for and prevent malicious attacks. The attacks listed included the 51% attack, where theoretically, anyone who controlled 51% or more of the hashing power required to mine Bitcoin could take control of, and reorder the transactions on the blockchain.


They also detailed possible DDoS attacks as being a major threat. They are proposing a system that would have users create a ‘Transaction creation profile’, which would suggest that only certain people would then be able to enter or interact with that transaction. While it seems to be a good idea, a lot remains to be seen. It is not even clear which blockchain the patent is referring to at this time.

IRS Puts Off Coinbase Court Date with Mysterious Hints of Possible New Petition


The IRS is asking the courts for more time, stating that there may not be a need for this upcoming hearing after all. The IRS insists that they are not implying a stall tactic of any kind and hinted that they are considering filing some action that would nullify the need for this one.


The IRS did state that both, Coinbase and Jeffry Bern both stipulated to the extension with no objections. The court date, original scheduled for February, 16th has been officially set back to March, 23rd; pending any actions or moments by either party that would preclude it from happening.

Bitcoin to Repeat Privacy Class Next Semester! Gets ‘F’ On Report Card


The Open Bitcoin Privacy Project (OBPP), an open source advocacy group released a new report which shows that Bitcoin users still face the possibility of many threats.


The group, comprised of Bitcoin researchers and developers, focused on 4 areas that they feel are of a serious threat nature. The four areas include inking addresses together via network activity, the ability to link a network identity to a specific bitcoin address, merging of co-owned Bitcoin into one transaction together and the practice of reusing Bitcoin addresses.


The OBPP suggests that users should use software like Tot, which bonces you around the globe, obfuscating your true location, to help to prevent these cyber security threats from happening to you. By doing so, it also helps to “muddy up” the waters and make it a more secure environment for everyone.


This is smart advice, especially after just last month, some the largest law enforcement agencies in the world are calling for a more stringent plan to crackdown on Bitcoin mixers, citing the impossibility of tracing transactions.


It almost appears to be a race between law enforcement and right-wing sentiment versus techies and liberals. The question is, who will get to the end first? Will lawmakers and law enforcement shut it down before true anonymity can be achieved or will the techies succeed in helping us all just disappear?

Ransom Chasers: The FBI’s Blockchain Crime Tracking Techniques


How do you catch someone who is using a brand new Bitcoin Address, utilizing VPN services for their connections and routing through software solutions like Tor? Simple. You wait for them to screw up. It’s true. According to FBI agent, Joseph Battaglia, it is only a matter of time before people get sloppy. When that inevitable time comes, Battaglia is there waiting, with a nice shiny, new pair of bracelets for the ransomware administrators.


So, how does the FBI do it? They track wallet addresses and use sophisticated analysis software to make connections. They find the patterns, groupings and similarities and sure enough, as expected, the one screw up by the perpetrator and the FBI swoops in.


Battaglia does go on to talk about how new currencies, like Monero, are making it more difficult but not impossible. It appears that no matter how great the tech gets, the one thing that will always be the downfall of any criminal will be the human factor.

Quickies & NameDropping


Quickies is a new section that I am dedicating to very short recaps. Why are they so short? Well because the story itself is not much of a story, just something that happened that was worth a mention really quick. So enjoy this new addition.


NameDropping is dedicated to the Big names that we all know that are in Bitcoin News this week. Every week, more and more large corporations and governments at all levels are announcing plans that include Bitcoin or the technology that drives it. Shorter than a quickie but with much more satisfying results!

New Hampshire Bill Moves to Exempt Bitcoin Startups from Money Transmission Laws


The State of New Hampshire has taken steps to introduce a new bill that would see Bitcoin Startup companies licensed within the North-Eastern state become exempt from the money transmitter laws that the state has imposed.

Why Bitcoin Mining Inside The US Federal Reserve Is Not Such a Great Idea


An employee of the United States Federal Reserve was fired last week for Mining Bitcoins from his desk inside the Reserve. Nicholas Berthaume was fired and sentenced to 12 months’ probation on the charge of “Unlawful Conversion of Government Property”, which is a misdemeanor offense.

Hack-Credit value hits New Record High


Hack-Credit, the digital token created and issued by Bitfinex to users who lost Bitcoin due to a hack in August has reached an all-time high value this past week. The token traded at &.0768, up more than 50% from December. The token has seen a steady increase as people buy it in anticipation of future leveraging.

NameDropping

  • Switzerland to open a ‘sandbox’ to entice more Bitcoin Startups into establishing business within the Swiss borders.
  • Abu Dhabi Bank partners with Ripple to provide cross-border payments.
  • Germany’s Central Bank says that blockchain technology worked well in their trading test run, but still faces implementation challenges.
  • The MIT digital currency effort got a boost this week in the form of Bitcoin Lightning Network Creator, Tadge Dryja.
  • Microsoft to partner with blockchain startup, Tierion to corroborate on new decentralized identity initiative.
  • American Express has joined the Hyperledger project, which is led by Linux-Foundation in hopes of developing new services for its customers.
  • The International Monetary Foundation IMF), along with the Dubai Minister of Finance will be co-hosting a FinTech Seminar that focuses on digital currencies and the blockchain. This seminar will take place in Dubai next month.

Conclusion


I am no statistical analyst, nor have I ever even tried to remotely perform such a task on the level of a 10-year-old. I am sure my numbers are probably a little skewed, but still, I did a little research project and wanted to share the results.
I searched for 10 specific names.
The parameters I used for the results to be valid were as follows:


  • Searched only within Financial news.
  • Name had to be specifically mentioned in the Headline of the story.
  • The news source had to be a major news outlet.
  • Only searched within the past 7 days..
  • Filtered out duplicate stories..
  • Number of stories found all rounded up to the nearest 100,000.


(note: these are the top ten largest (by volume) stock exchanges in the world)

World Rank Exchange Name(Location) Total Volume(in trillions) News Stories(estimated)*
10 Deutsche Börse (DE) $1.71 58,000
9 Shenzhen Stock Exchange (CN) $1.91 71,000
8 TMX Group (CA) $2.20 19,000
7 Shanghai Stock Exchange (CN) $2.86 259,000
6 Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HK) $3.14 299,000
5 London Stock Exchange Group (UK) $3.39 554,000
4 Euronext (FR, NL, BE, PT) $3.50 56,000
3 Japan Exchange Group (JP) $4.48 1,100,000
2 NASDAQ (US) $6.68 357,000
1 New York Stock Exchange (US) $18.77 173,000

*(news stories that features the exchange in the headline over the last 7 days.)


That makes a total of 2,946,000 news stories in news headlines over the past week. The top ten financial markets in the world, representing all of the largest corporations and over 88% of the entire global currency value. So essentially, almost every single unit of fiat is represented by these 2,946,000 stories.


Why did I tell you this? Simply because I searched for one more item, with the same parameters, taking results only from relevant news outlet headlines, over the last 7 days only, worldwide. The Term was:

Bitcoin


I followed exactly the same parameters as above:

  • Searched only within financial news (Same exact search as the above).
  • Name was specifically mentioned.
  • Only relevant news outlet stories were counted.
  • Only stories that appeared within last 7 days are included.
  • Filtered out duplicated results.


The number of stories from relevant news sources that included “Bitcoin” in headlines for the last 7 days was

3,450,000


The world’s financial movers and shakers report on, read about and/or discuss Bitcoin at a ratio of nearly 3.5:2 to all other fiat currencies combined!


1 year ago exactly, you would have been hard pressed to name one single news corporation who had run a story on bitcoin for its finacial merits alone. Now, you cannot avoid those stories.


As time goes on and the world begins adopting Bitcoin and blockchain technologies more frequently, it will slowly start to overcome the financial markets of the world. Never before has there ever been a single entity, instrument or form of currency that has had the level of global support as Bitcoin has garnered already. And it can only grow from here.


Gene

Writer

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.

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