samedi 7 décembre 2019

SEC Approves Bitcoin Futures Fund

SEC Approves Bitcoin Futures Fund

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved an investment fund that will invest in bitcoin futures contracts. SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce calls this move “a bit of progress.” The SEC has also revealed why it decided to approve such a fund.

Also read: Swiss Licensed Crypto Bank Expanding Into 9 Markets

Bitcoin Futures Fund Cleared to Launch

The U.S. SEC declared the registration statement filed by Stone Ridge Trust VI for the NYDIG Bitcoin Strategy Fund effective on Monday. The company filed Form N-2 with the SEC on Oct. 2 and amended it twice, on Oct. 16 and Nov. 26. This form is used by closed-end management investment companies to register and offer their shares under the Securities Act. Stone Ridge Asset Management Llc will be the fund’s investment adviser. As of Aug. 30, the company managed approximately $15 billion of assets.

The NYDIG Bitcoin Strategy Fund “is a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company that continuously offers its shares,” the filing details, adding:

The fund pursues its investment objective primarily by investing in bitcoin futures contracts … The only bitcoin futures in which the fund will invest are cash-settled bitcoin futures traded on commodity exchanges registered with the CFTC.

“The fund will not invest in bitcoin or other digital assets directly,” the filing emphasizes. “The fund will seek to purchase a number of bitcoin futures so that the total value of the bitcoin underlying the bitcoin futures held by the fund is as close to 100% of the net assets of the fund.” Its shares are being offered initially at an offering price of $10 per share. Only institutional investors, their clients, and certain eligible investors as specified in the fund’s prospectus can invest in the fund. Currently, CME is the only CFTC-approved exchange offering cash-settled bitcoin futures contracts.

The fund has an interval structure; it aims to conduct quarterly share repurchase offers, which it expects to be for a maximum of 5% of the fund’s outstanding shares at net asset value per quarter. The initial quarterly repurchase offer is planned for May 2020. This fund will not be a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), however, as its filing states:

The fund’s shares are not listed and the fund does not currently intend to list its shares for trading on any national securities exchange.

‘A Bit of Progress’

At the 2019 ICI Securities Law Developments Conference on Tuesday, Dalia Blass, Director of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management, talked about cryptocurrency ETFs and the SEC staff’s decision to approve a fund investing in bitcoin futures contracts. “We welcome and value constructive industry engagement regarding new products and novel investment strategies,” she said. “A prime example of such engagement involves registered funds seeking to invest substantially in digital assets and related investments.”

Blass explained that she issued a public letter last year calling on the fund industry to discuss issues presented by such investments, elaborating:

As a result of this engagement, we are at the point that a registered closed-end interval fund with a bitcoin futures strategy is preparing to launch. To reach this point, the fund first responded to each of the issues identified in the staff letter.

Commenting on Blass’ speech, Commissioner Hester Peirce, aka Crypto Mom, tweeted on Wednesday that the agency’s move is “A bit of progress.”

Without naming the fund, Blass explained that it expects “to generally value its bitcoin futures holdings at daily settlement prices reflected on a CFTC-registered futures exchange, consistent with the principles of the Investment Company Act of 1940 and U.S. GAAP.”

As for custody, the director clarified that since the fund will invest in cash-settled bitcoin futures, it “will not face the challenges presented by direct holdings of digital assets.” In addition, it is a closed-end interval fund which means it “will not offer daily redemptions and will not be subject to potentially large, unexpected liquidity demands over short periods.” Blass further described that “as an unlisted fund, its pricing will not depend on an efficient arbitrage mechanism and the willingness of market makers to make markets in a fund pursuing a digital asset strategy,” noting:

The fund also has taken steps to address issues related to potential manipulation in the digital asset markets.

“This includes prominent risk disclosures, offering the product only through registered investment advisers, and limiting the size and future growth of the fund, with an initial cap of $25 million,” the director concluded.

What do you think of the SEC approving this bitcoin futures fund? Do you think the Commission will approve a bitcoin ETF soon? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Image credits: Shutterstock and Twitter.


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Boerse Stuttgart’s Crypto Exchange Live for All Traders in Germany

Börse Stuttgart's Crypto Exchange Now Live for All Traders in Germany

Germany’s second-largest stock exchange, Boerse Stuttgart, has opened up its cryptocurrency trading platform to all interested traders in the country. This move follows the passing of a bill allowing banks in Germany to sell and hold cryptocurrencies for their clients starting next year.

Also read: Regulatory Roundup — Germany to Let Banks Sell and Store Crypto, Laws Changing in Asia

Regulated Crypto Trading Platform

Boerse Stuttgart announced Friday that its digital asset trading platform is “now open to any interested persons in Germany.” The BSDEX platform was launched in September but only for selected users. The company described:

At Germany’s first regulated trading venue for digital assets, users can currently trade bitcoin against the euro. Additional digital assets are to be added.

To access the BSDEX platform, the user must be at least 18 years of age, a resident of Germany, a European Economic Area (EEA) national, and have a German bank account. The platform offers free cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals with varying trading fees based on the order type.

Boerse Stuttgart's Crypto Exchange Live for All Traders in Germany
The Boerse Stuttgart’s building.

“The BSDEX is a multilateral trading system that brings together buyers and sellers of digital assets through an open order book,” Boerse Stuttgart explained, adding that customer orders are executed directly against each other. The company elaborated:

At the moment our offer is limited to Germany. However, our goal is to make it available in other countries in the future.

The digital asset platform complies with the regulatory requirements of the German Banking Act. The Baden-Württembergische Wertpapierbörse, which also acts as a holding company of the public stock exchange, regulates and monitors the compliance of the platform. The technical operator of the BSDEX is the Boerse Stuttgart Digital Exchange, a joint venture between the Boerse Stuttgart Group, Axel Springer, and Finanzen. Blocknox, a subsidiary of the Boerse Stuttgart Digital Ventures, acts as the custodian holding customers’ cryptocurrencies.

Boerse Stuttgart's Crypto Exchange Live for All Traders in Germany

Early this year, Boerse Stuttgart launched a crypto trading app called Bison, developed by Sowa Labs, a fintech subsidiary of the Boerse Stuttgart Digital Ventures. The smartphone app can be used to buy and sell BTC, ETH, LTC, and XRP from financial services provider Euwax AG, a subsidiary of Boerse Stuttgart.

Germany’s Crypto-Forward Bill

Germany has recently emerged as a crypto haven following the passing of a bill on Nov. 29 which allows banks to sell and hold cryptocurrencies for their clients starting next year. The new rules have been adopted as part of the implementation of “Directive (EU) 2018/843 of 30 May 2018,” the fifth AML Directive, explained global law firm Dentons.

Under the new rules, crypto assets qualify as financial instruments, the law firm continued, emphasizing that this was disputed in the past. According to the firm, the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bafin) took the view that utility tokens did not qualify as financial instruments, but investment tokens qualify as securities and currency tokens qualify as “units of account” — both of which fall under the definition of financial instruments pursuant to the German Banking Act.

Boerse Stuttgart's Crypto Exchange Live for All Traders in Germany

The new rules also include licensing requirements. Companies wanting to provide crypto trading or custody services are required to obtain a license from Bafin as a bank or an investment firm, the law firm further detailed. “Entities that provide no other financial services than custody are exempted from certain rules that apply to other investment firms.” Among other requirements, companies seeking a license for only the crypto asset business must have an initial capital of 125,000 euros ($138,234). Dentons added:

The new law will enter into force on January 1, 2020, subject to certain transition periods.

Entities wanting to obtain a license for crypto-related services should notify Bafin of their intention to obtain a license on or before March 31, 2020. The law firm clarified that “In such case, the license will be deemed to be awarded on a preliminary basis, provided that they will submit a complete application for a license no later than November 30, 2020.”

What do you think of Boerse Stuttgart opening its crypto trading platform to all traders in Germany? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Boerse Stuttgart.


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vendredi 6 décembre 2019

Ross Ulbricht Clemency Petition Gathers 250,000 Signatures

Ross Ulbricht Clemency Petition Gathers 250,000 Signatures

On Friday, the Clemency for Ross Ulbricht petition hosted on Change.org surpassed 250,000 signatures. The solicitation for signatures started in July 2018 and gathered roughly 6,200 signatures during the first three days. Now with a quarter of a million signatures asking U.S. President Donald Trump to commute Ulbricht’s sentence, the message clearly shows how people have continued to fight for his freedom and hope one day Ross will be a free man.

Also read: Film Reveals Never-Before-Seen Information About the Silk Road Case

A Petition for Ross Ulbricht’s Clemency

Ross Ulbricht is serving two life sentences in prison, plus 40 years, for a website he designed when he was 26. Not to mention, there’s lots of evidence pointing to the fact that Ulbricht gave up leading the Silk Road marketplace well before he was arrested. Also, law enforcement’s investigations into the Silk Road (SR) and Ross Ulbricht are tainted and riddled with unconstitutional issues and two federal agents who went rogue. These agents had “keys to the kingdom,” which included access to high-level SR administrators’ accounts, access to passwords and PINs, the ability to commandeer accounts including the Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR), and many other types of unwarranted access.

“[These] two corrupt federal agents (now in prison) had unfettered access to the Silk Road site, with the ability to do all kinds of mischief, including tamper with material that was later used in evidence,” Ross’s mother Lyn Ulbricht told news.Bitcoin.com in 2016.

Then after years of fighting in the higher courts and after being denied a post-conviction relief extension in February 2018, the family and Freeross.org initiated a Change.org petition for Ulbricht’s clemency. “My son, Ross Ulbricht, is serving a double life sentence plus 40 years, without the possibility of parole, for a website he made when he was 26 years old and passionate about free markets and privacy. Ross, an Eagle Scout, scientist, and peaceful entrepreneur had all non-violent charges and no criminal history,” the petition says. The Clemency for Ross Ulbricht petition further adds:

He was never prosecuted for causing harm or bodily injury and no victim was named at trial. This is a sentence that shocks the conscience. There is a growing consensus that Ross’s case is a miscarriage of justice and over 100 eminent organizations and individuals have voiced their support.

250,000 Signatures Is No Small Task

Just before the petition gathered 250,000 signatures on Change.org, venture capitalist Tim Draper discussed Ross Ulbricht’s sentence on the Crypto Finder video podcast with Fred Schebesta. “Free Ross, baby,” Draper said on the broadcast. “Get him out. We need entrepreneurs like that guy. Get him out of jail. Why do we put these really extraordinary people in jail? We need their minds, their energy, their life force. Get him free. Who knows what else he could’ve come up with?” Draper remarked further:

I get that he’s got to be an example, and he stepped over the line, but he’s been in jail for a while. Get him out. I cry when my cat goes into a cage, it tears my heart out when these prisoners go into cages.

The Clemency for Ross Ulbricht petition crossed 250,000 at 7 p.m. EST on Friday, December 6.

The 250,000 signature petition is quite a milestone for the Clemency for Ross Ulbricht movement. A quarter of a million signatures is a lot compared to most petitions on Change.org. According to statistics, the average Change.org local petition usually only garners 2,000 signatures. On the national level, top petitions typically earn 12,700 signatures. Only really high-profile petitions have done what the Clemency for Ross Ulbricht petition has gathered so far support wise. There are not many people who believe Ulbricht’s double-life sentence was justified and at the rate it’s headed the Free Ross petition could easily gather a million signatures.

What do you think about the Clemency for Ross Ulbricht petition gathering 250,000 signatures? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Freeross.org, Clemency for Ross, and Change.org.


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IstanBlock 2020 – bringing Turkey and blockchain together

Istanbul will host its first-ever Turkey blockchain week from April 6-10, with the main event IstanBlock 2020 being held on April 9-10. Throughout the week the focus will be on Turkey’s rapid and growing adoption of the technology, and the opportunities it presents. The event has already attracted big names, including government speakers and Turkish institutions, as well as a host of blockchain media, businesses, and influencers.

Turkey is enjoying a strong relationship with blockchain and cryptocurrencies. A recent survey conducted by ING, found Turks were helping drive the adoption of cryptocurrencies, with a second survey showing that 20 percent of the population use or own cryptocurrency.

This is more than three times the percentage of the UK population who use or own cryptocurrencies and over double the percentage of Germans.

Erhan Korhaliller, CEO of blockchain PR firm EAK Digital, has organized the event to raise awareness of Turkish blockchain projects and cryptocurrencies and to connect businesses and start-ups with Istanbul’s vibrant crypto scene.

“This isn’t just a conference, it’s a celebration,” Erhan said. “As the ING report found Turkish people are already heavily invested in cryptocurrencies.

“We have developed IstanBlock 2020 to be a showcase of the amazing technologies that are changing the world in which we live. This is a chance to put Turkey on the world stage, and to share everything that is so exciting about blockchain.”

It is estimated that there will be more than 20 events throughout the week, with the showcase, IstanBlock 2020, rounding off events on April 9-10, at Istanbul’s prestigious Hilton Bomanti Hotel.

More than 2,000 delegates are expected to gather for the event which will feature more than 100 international speakers, and some of the biggest names in blockchain including Youtubers Ivan on Tech and Datadash, among many others.

As a leading blockchain PR Agency, EAK Digital is also bringing its pedigree in blockchain communications and media to the fore and will be expecting to bring some of the biggest and best media from both mainstream and blockchain media outlets to the event, including CryptoSlate, Cointelegraph, Coindesk, CNBC, Forbes, The Next Web, and many more.

Reporters and editors from these respected publications will be joined by representatives from Turkish government departments and leading Turkish businesses.

Erhan said this was the perfect time to bring blockchain and Turkey together.

“Turkey has such a thriving market for cryptocurrency and blockchain startups that remains relatively untapped from leading international projects in this industry.“

He elaborated:

“By launching the first-ever Istanbul Blockchain Week, we are giving the opportunity for international projects to come in and stake a claim in one of the most thriving crypto/ blockchain communities in the world.”

“I am hugely passionate that IstanBlock 2020 will inspire a generation of Turkish people, to enable them to find jobs in this industry, build strategic partnerships between Turkish and international projects, and finally for the eyes of the international media to shine a light on Turkish projects and the Turkish blockchain ecosystem as a whole”

“In doing so, we can make a real difference and provide an unforgettable experience, and in doing so cement Turkey’s status as a leader in blockchain and crypto adoption. ”

You can find out more about the event, and sign up for updates at: www.istanbulblockchainweek.com or join the Telegram community here

Sponsorship

The event promises a range of sponsorship options across four distinct tiers: Diamond, Gold, Silver, and Bronze.

To find out more about what sponsorship includes, please email istanbulblockchainweek@eakdigital.com

Disclosure: CryptoSlate is a media partner for IstanBlock 2020.

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Chicago Company Mines at Oil Wells, Educates Producers About Bitcoin

Chicago Company Mines at Oil Wells, Educates Producers About Bitcoin

Utilizing stranded gas to power bitcoin mining rigs at oil and gas wells is a promising business opportunity. It is profitable for all participating parties and beneficial for the environment. Not without challenges, this young industry is growing in energy-rich North America. Several companies are working to expand the niche and U.S.-based EZ Blockchain shared details about their progress.

Also read: Canadian Company Commissions 3 Bitcoin Mining Units to Restart Oil Well

When Markets Are Far

Oil production has certain byproducts, one of which is natural gas. When drilling sites are located in remote places, oil companies are often forced to flare or even vent the fuel into the atmosphere as transporting it to markets is rarely a cost-effective option. Selling it close to the well or using it onsite, on the other hand, can be a solution, provided there are consumers nearby.

Chicago Company Mines at Oil Wells, Educates Producers About Bitcoin

EZ Blockchain is a Chicago-based company designing and building datacenters that can mine cryptocurrencies based on proof-of-work blockchains. It manufactures, deploys and operates mobile units at oil and gas extracting facilities, which run on what would otherwise be totally wasted energy to mint digital coins.

The company promotes its products and services in a couple of regions in the U.S. where oil and gas producers operate and significant quantities of excess gas are being released every day. “Appalachian Basin is interesting to work because we partner with gas producers. And small gas producers are struggling with current gas prices on the market and they are forced to close their wells,” EZ Blockchain founder Sergii Gerasymovych told news.Bitcoin.com. He further elaborated:

With bitcoin mining, however, they can actually stop selling gas to the pipe but use it for mining and eventually the price per MCF can be as high as $10, which is 10 times more than they sell it now.

Educating an Old Industry

It sounds like a no-brainer for oil producers but the crypto company is facing all sorts of obstacles. “There is a hurdle for sure, which is they have to be educated about bitcoin mining in general, even though those risks in their case are low,” Gerasymovych explained. “There are a few reasons people go to conferences: networking, selling, education and after-parties, but mostly for the after-parties. Right now at EZ Blockchain, there are heavy projects going on and there’s no way I can just fly to Houston for a conference with less than one-week notice. But after an hour of checking out some incredible talks from the 2018 Blockchain Oil and Gas conference, my reservations and tickets were booked,” Sergii writes in an article about a recent event that gathered representatives of the two industries in America’s oil and gas capital.

Chicago Company Mines at Oil Wells, Educates Producers About Bitcoin

Another challenge is that EZ Blockchain needs to adapt to the specific needs of its customers. To sell its products in the Appalachian Basin, for example, it has to scale down the capacity of its mining units so that they match the limited gas quantities there. “We have spent last year on developing mobile datacenters which can use 500 MCF of gas or 2 MWs of electricity, but Ohio producers are small and we have to develop a smaller unit for them,” the entrepreneur pointed out.

EZ Blockchain is also working with much bigger oil producers in the state of North Dakota. “Basically, we split the business in two directions now, working with big oil producers in ND and with very small gas producers in Ohio,” Gerasymovych shared in an email. Last time we spoke with him he was positive there was enough wasted gas in North Dakota alone to power a third of Bitcoin’s whole network. Bitcoin mining, he insisted, could be done completely off-grid, solving an environmental problem.

Chicago Company Mines at Oil Wells, Educates Producers About Bitcoin

The Bakken region, where Sergii’s company already has one customer and is working to onboard another, has its own specific challenges. The main problem there is that it is flooded by large-size producers only. Big companies are generally moving slowly because of various compliance and other requirements, Gerasymovych noted. Besides, each project, even a small one with a 1-1.5MW capacity, is usually handled by more people and has to be approved on multiple levels of management.

Business is business and taking caution is understandable when profits and livelihoods are on the table. Companies like the U.S.-based EZ Blockchain, Crusoe Energy Systems and the Canadian Upstream Data are trying to improve both, for themselves and for their clients, while blazing a trail in two industries and in two countries at the same time.

Do you think bitcoin mining with stranded gas has a bright future? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, EZ Blockchain.


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Bitcoin Cash 2019: Year in Review

Bitcoin Cash 2019: Year in Review

2019 is coming to an end and the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) ecosystem has matured a great deal. BCH has successfully upgraded twice this year, adding Schnorr signatures capabilities and most transactions on the BCH network are now non-malleable. Moreover, BCH has seen increased adoption this year, an SLP token explosion, a slew of helpful third-party applications, and has become a privacy contender with Cashshuffle and Cashfusion on the way.

Also read: Onecoin Websites Suspended as the $4 Billion Ponzi Crumbles

This Year’s Bitcoin Cash Growth

As the new year approaches, BCH proponents have been discussing all the benefits the Bitcoin Cash network has to offer. Marketwise BCH, like most coins in the top 10, saw little movement, but is still above (+30-40%) January 2019 prices. While markets had an interesting year, the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem saw a great level of development. From infrastructure to merchant adoption, BCH continued to see rapid growth in 2019. Moreover, the BCH chain has experienced two upgrades this year, which has improved overall functionality and strides toward the BCH roadmap. BCH supporters from all around the world wholeheartedly believe that the decentralized cryptocurrency is paving the way toward a global peer-to-peer electronic cash system.

Bitcoin Cash 2019: Year in Review

“In the last two years, BCH has become a much better peer-to-peer electronic cash system than it was 24 months ago, far superior to what BTC would be even if BTC wasn’t slow and expensive,” Cointext founder Vin Armani stressed on December 4.

2019 Upgrades

Every six months, the BCH chain upgrades in order to bolster the Bitcoin Cash roadmap toward scaling and technical improvements. On May 15, at block 582680, the BCH blockchain implemented the basic foundations of Schnorr signature functionality and Segwit recovery exemption. Schnorr signatures open the door to improved scaling and privacy and the first upgrade created the initial framework so developers can leverage the protocol. The Segwit recovery change made it possible for network participants to recover funds that have been sent to Segwit addresses by accident.

Bitcoin Cash 2019: Year in Review
The BCH chain successfully upgraded twice this year.

Six months later on November 15, at block height 609135, BCH developers implemented the Minimaldata rule change which removes the final bip-0062 malleability vector from the network. This change makes the majority of BCH transactions on the network non-malleable. The November consensus change also included Schnorr signature support extended to OP_Checkmultisig(verify), which means all signature checking operations will support Schnorr signatures.

Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP)

The Bitcoin Cash network saw an explosion of Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) usage this year as the SLP universe has grown quite robust. So far there’s been 6,141 tokens created using the SLP framework, accounting for 312,505 SLP transactions this year. Popular tokens built on the BCH network this year include Honk Honk, Spice, Official Honk, ACD coin, Flex coin, Honestcoin, SAI, Drop, and Gocrypto. Many of these SLP tokens have gained value and BCH proponents have watched token market capitalizations grow.

Bitcoin Cash 2019: Year in Review

SLP tokens are traded on exchanges now and can be swapped on trading platforms like Bitcoin.com Exchange, Cryptophyl, Coinsuper, Coinex, and Altilly. In July, the CEO of the Bitcoin Cash node Bitcoin Verde revealed that the local government from Dublin, Ohio plans to issue SLP-based tokens. Lots of wallets now support SLP tokens including Memo, Ifwallet, Electron Cash SLP, Badger, and Crescent Cash. During the summer, Bitcoin.com released the SLP Dividend Calculator and BCH supporters were introduced to paying dividends in BCH directly on the blockchain to the addresses holding a specific token type. “Bitcoin Cash has enabled all sorts of amazing things,” Bitcoin.com’s Executive Chairman Roger Ver explained. SLP developers also introduced nonfungible SLP token support this year and Cointext founder Vin Armani created a new system called the ‘Simple Ledger Postage Protocol.’ The postage service allows wallets to send SLP tokens without having to use bitcoin cash as ‘gas’ to forward transactions.

Bitcoin Cash 2019: Year in Review
Various wallets support SLP tokens including Memo, Ifwallet, Electron Cash SLP, Badger, and Crescent Cash

Merchant Adoption

BCH fans always enjoy getting retailers to support a peer-to-peer electronic cash system and 2019 was no different. Thanks to many people spreading BCH awareness, merchant adoption has grown a lot since last January. At the beginning of 2019, Acceptbitcoin.cash data showed 934 online merchants accepted BCH, 550 brick-and-mortar merchants were listed on Map.Bitcoin.com, and 889 merchants of all types could be found on Green Pages.

Bitcoin Cash 2019: Year in Review

The numbers were faithfully recorded by Redditor u/neonwasteland nearly every single week this year. This week u/neonwasteland wrote: “We’ve got 1,128 online merchants listed on Acceptbitcoin.cash, there are 1,772 brick-and-mortar merchants listed on Marco Coino (Map.Bitcoin.com), and you can find 1,148 merchants of all types on Green Pages.” Moreover, numerous well known retailers have partnered with Bitpay this year, adding more BCH acceptance to the overall landscape.

Privacy

Bitcoin Cash privacy improved a great deal this year as well and it really spiked after the full-featured version of Cashshuffle was introduced on March 27. The developer Acid Sploit’s Cashshuffle stats page shows there’s been 37,025 shuffles since the end of March. 189,760 BCH has been shuffled and at today’s market prices that’s over $40 million worth. Cashshuffle allows users to mix their bitcoin cash UTXOs with a pool of other users within the Electron Cash (EC) Wallet interface.

Bitcoin Cash 2019: Year in Review

Cashshuffle offers a deeper anonymity set, but it’s also being improved upon with an idea called Cashfusion. EC lead developer Jonald Fyookball explained on November 23 that the Cashfusion framework was working behind the scenes using alpha software and the beta software “is coming soon.” Moreover, independent software developer Mark Lundeberg detailed how both Schnorr and Cashfusion can create “a situation that’s ripe for doing batched signature validation.”

Bitcoin Cash 2019: Year in Review

Various Bitcoin Cash Milestones and New Applications

Bitcoin cash fans also saw the introduction of a local BCH marketplace called local.Bitcoin.com which allows people to trade in a peer-to-peer and noncustodial fashion. The dedicated SLP exchange Cryptophyl launched this year, which created an SLP-centric market that uses BCH as the base pair. Bitcoin.com also launched a cryptocurrency exchange this year and the trading platform has base BCH base pairs as well and supports SLP tokens too.

Bitcoin Cash 2019: Year in Review
In 2019, an SLP-centric exchange called Cryptophyl launched.

The application Sideshift.ai became a popular crypto swapping platform in 2019 and also introduced a native token called SAI which uses SLP infrastructure and two other blockchains. BCH proponents were introduced to concepts like Cashscript, Nimbus, a prototype smart card that produces Bitcoin Cash signatures, Spedn improvements, an offline Bitcoin Cash sending tool called Be.cash, cashchannels, and simple escrow contracts, a formal specification proposal. Bitcoin Cash meetups have swelled across the world and they continue to be created in various countries every single week.

Popular applications have been introduced like the blogging project Read.cash and the uncensorable Memo platform has matured in 2019 as well. Bitcoin.com announced the launch of a $200 million fund to promote the growth of the BCH ecosystem. Merchant adoption in Australia has grown exponentially and there are plans underway to build a $50M Bitcoin Cash tech park in North Queensland.

Bitcoin Cash 2019: Year in Review

A new crypto resource emerged in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, called the Bitcoin Cash House for Venezuelans interested in learning about the benefits of BCH and cryptocurrencies. The Bitcoin Cash House initiative is also expanding to a number of countries in Africa. A video game called Realmx was built on top of the Bitcoin Cash blockchain this year. BCH charities grew significantly in 2019 and the nonprofit peer-to-peer food drive Eatbch celebrated its first anniversary. Eatbch has also made significant strides in Africa and the BCH community recently funded an Eatbch representative’s trip to Ghana.

Bitcoin.com launched the peer-to-peer marketplace Local.Bitcoin.com this year.

Overall, the Bitcoin Cash network has seen a slew of development and milestones this year and people are excited about what’s in store for 2020. A myriad of things happened this year when looking back at the BCH ecosystem’s growth over the last 12 months as it seems like something new is being announced on almost a daily basis. Despite what critics say about the network, there’s a whole lot happening in the BCH universe and proponents are quite pleased with the achievements.

What do you think about everything that happened within the BCH ecosystem this year? Do you think 2019 was a good year for Bitcoin Cash? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Various Crypto Company logos, Fair Use Pixabay, SLP, Cashshuffle, and Wiki Commons.


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Ethereum 2.0 gets a Sapphire Testnet explorer on Etherscan

Etherscan and Prysmatic Labs have released their Beacon Chain Ethereum 2.0 Testnet explorer. According to the company’s announcement, the explorer will allow users to view the Sapphire Testnet, a public network developed by Prystmatic Labs that implements the Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0 protocol.

New testnet explorer means Ethereum 2.0 could see the light of day

After the Ethereum community suffered a loss of faith due to the slow development process of the network’s second iteration, it seems that Ethereum 2.0 could see the light of day earlier than expected.

Earlier in October, during the annual Devcon conference, Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, said that Ethreum’s layer two solutions are proceeding “slower than expected,” despite nine teams working on the upcoming blockchain.

The lack of optimism regarding the project was partly caused by comments made by Ethereum Foundation developer Jamie Pitts. While speaking at a panel, Pitts said that there was a clear lack of strategy and coordination among teams that could cause delays with the project.

However, recent developments showed that Ethereum 2.0 is still very much alive. On Dec. 5, Etherscan, one of the most popular blockchain explorers for the Ethereum network, announced that it has released an explorer for Ethereum’s new testnet.

Etherscan Ethereum 2.0

The Beacon Chain Ethereum 2.0 Testnet explorer will be running on Prysmatic Labs’ Eth 2.0 node implementation called Prysm. The Sapphire testnet created by the company implements the Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0 protocol.

Blockchain explorer makes testnet participation accessible to everyone

Prysmatic labs said that the proof-of-stake blockchain will enable anyone holding ETH on the Goerli testnet to join and participate. The launch of the Sapphire Testnet in July followed the launch of the Nimbus and Lighthouse testnets in March and April.

The company said that those who join the testnet will act as validators and be able to participate in proposing and voting on blocks in the protocol. Network participant’s behavior will be subjected to rewards and penalties in order to facilitate a natural environment on the testnet.

Prysmatic Labs allows anyone to participate in the network, saying:

“To participate in the network, anyone can send 3.2 ETH from the Goerli ETH1.0 testnet into a validator deposit contract, which will queue in the user as a validator in the system.”

According to the Beacon Chain testnet explorer, there are 517 active and 213 inactive validators on the network at press time. Validators that remain dormant for a particular period are set to have their stake removed from the testnet, but the explorer shows that none of the stakers have been penalized yet.

Ethereum 2.0 Explorer
(Source: Etherscan.io)

Around 940 out of the 1,650 eligible ETH has been voted, the explorer showed.

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