Weekly Roundup: BTC At All Time Highs, Microsoft Adopts Ethereum, US Crackdown On “Illicit Finance”
We explore some of the investor rationale behind what is driving the continued uptick in the price of bitcoin. We also explain Microsoft’s extraordinary, one-of-a-kind movement to universalize blockchain technology for businesses everywhere and highlight the little-mentioned part of a bill signed by Donald Trump authorizing the use of sanctions against specific countries who do not take steps to monitor their cryptocurrency transactions, illicit or otherwise.
BTC Price Continues to Soar, Astound
Bitcoin did it again this week, setting fresh new highs of $4,225 before settling back down just above the $4,000 mark. While the price of BTC has quadrupled in 2017 alone, an investor buying bitcoin at 8 cents a coin in 2010 would have netted a whopping 52,800-fold return had they kept it and not sold until today. Bitcoin transaction fees continue to wind down thanks to the deployment of SegWit, which is now currently active on the bitcoin network.
Though fears of a “crypto bubble” still abound, the idea of bitcoin continues to gain popularity worldwide, thanks to financial analyst estimates that place it at mammoth levels into the foreseeable future. A 100% rise in price over the last 30 days has also helped exchange giant Coinbase become bitcoin’s first billion-dollar company, as venture capital funds rush to pour money into its upcoming IPO. It should be noted that almost every spectacular rise in the price of a given commodity is followed by a devastating crash, with the majority of investors losing money during the process.
Microsoft Chooses Ethereum to Debut New Blockchain Product
Tech giant Microsoft is among the first of Wall Street’s industrial titans to announce formal plans to integrate blockchain technology into their business development models. The Coco Framework is an open source system for highly customizable blockchain-based solutions to corporate governance, production and finance. Microsoft is hoping to lead the way in standardizing blockchain use as a ledger for businesses, offering a flexible array of intra-compatibility options. By helping the construction of “off-chain Ethereum Blockchain ecosystems,” Microsoft is the first major company to adopt Ethereum – or any cryptocurrency for that matter – into their plans for development. The technical whitepaper for the Coco Framework can be read here.
What’s the impact of COCO by Microsoft?
The move is big in the world of cryptocurrency because it signifies a shift in public and corporate opinions of the use of blockchain technology. Starting as a fringe experiment in cryptography and digital currency, the idea of the blockchain has now officially entered the mainstream.
Bitcoin is turning 8 years old & it’s impact on the world is just starting
Bitcoin is about to have its 8th birthday. In all its phases of growth – from complete obscurity, to nerd bait, to being mocked as only useful to criminals, and now finally acceptance as a legitimate form of currency – bitcoin has never actually been hacked or compromised in any way. From the extreme losses of MtGOX in 2014, blamed by CEO Mark Karpeles as the result of a “transaction malleability” issue, up until today, when bitcoin wallet owners still report their wallets being drained due to malware on their systems, there exists a common misperception that bitcoin is hackable. This simply isn’t the truth of the matter, and if it were true, why would it be so valuable, or have any value at all?
The price of one bitcoin has now surpassed the price of one ounce of gold by over 3-fold in just the last 12 months. Through planned or incidental genius of its design, bitcoin is now commonly referred to as “digital gold,” meaning that it is a very real commodity, tamper proof and certifiable, and when stored properly can in theory last forever, just like real gold. Though the blockchain may be terabytes in size someday, computing power and hard drive size was expected by Satoshi Nakamoto to keep up with Moore’s Law, meaning that as bitcoin grew, so would the average users’ computer. As of April 2017, Moore’s Law is decidedly not slowing down. This puts to rest the idea that bitcoin will become so bulky that it will be unmanageable – at least in the minds of some very serious investors.
Trump’s Crackdown on Terrorism Also Includes Crypto
President Trump recently signed into law a bill that would require foreign governments to monitor cryptocurrency transactions or else face the penalty of sanctions. The bill is specifically aimed at the governments of Russia, Iran and North Korea as an anti-terrorism measure. It is suspected by the US government that these may be places where terrorist organizations are using cryptocurrency to launder money needed to conduct operations, or may otherwise be demonstrating “illicit finance trends.” The bill is still in draft form and could require up to a year before implementation.
While it is unknown whether any or all of these countries will comply with US requests – or are even capable of doing so – such a move is not likely to reduce tensions among these countries with the United States. Through what is known as the art of blockchain forensics, it was detected that fallen exchange BTC-E was used heavily as a crypto laundering service because of the relatively lax restrictions it had on user registration and trading regulations. It is thought that most of the 650,000 stolen bitcoins from MtGOX were laundered through there over the course of the last 3 years, leading to the arrest of Russian man Alexander Vinnik last month.
Also in the News
- FileCoin, a project involving the decentralization of data storage, is on track to have the biggest ICO ever, currently hovering around $200 million raised as of the writing of this article, with 22 days left to go. The ambitious program has attracted hundreds of high-profile investors with its plans to create a secure new method of data transfer and storage, unlike anything currently in existence.
- TheNextWeb published an opinion article that helps explain the inherent trustworthiness behind blockchain technology, how it shapes communities, and why it will be valuable to the future of society. It is predicted that this revolutionary technology will continue to gain public traction as people become more aware, familiar and understanding of the idea.
- Because of its rather sudden leap in value, bitcoin will attract even more government attention in the future as well, and there is little doubt that federal governments worldwide will move even harder to clamp down on cryptocurrency-driven darkweb activities that are in violation of national laws.