Ethereum Classic is on the rise, and European Union is trying to end Bitcoin pseudonymity. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 30:
- Ethereum (ETH) hard-forked recently to dismantle The DAO and turn it into a refund contract at block number 1,920,000. A small part of the network that refused to embrace this change continued as Ethereum Classic (ETC), which gained substantial support this week as several exchanges started to enable trading of the new digital currency, starting with Poloniex as the first big exchange to add ETC. As trading was enabled, the value of ETC quickly rose and even peaked over 20% of the price of ETH. Initial enthusiasm seems to have disappeared quickly as well though, as ETC is now trading at around 10% of the price of ETH.
- The European Union intends to end Bitcoin’s pseudonymity by creating a central database for Bitcoin and virtual currency users’ identities and wallet addresses, accessible to government financial intelligence units. If accepted, the member states should comply with the new directive by January 1, 2017. In Bitcoin all transactions are recorded on a publicly readable blockchain, on which identities are hidden only behind anonymous wallet addresses. With the new database, governments would thus be able to see all transactions you are doing and have done on the blockchain once your identity has been linked and logged.
- Bitcoin’s mining difficulty suddenly dropped this week by around seven percent due to a decrease in the total network computation power, causing blocks to be created every 11 minutes on average rather than the normal 10 minutes. The sudden drop was rather surprising, given that the reward Bitcoin miners receive for mining a block had already been halved from 25 coins per block to 12.5 coins per block several weeks ago. It is speculated that both extreme weather conditions around the globe, as well as BitFury endings its tests with its new containerized data centers, are the primary cause for the drop.
- Blockstream has acquired GreedAddress, a European-based bitcoin wallet software provider. On its own website Blockstream comments on the acquisition: “Today’s announcement is not a signal of our intention to begin acquiring companies in the Bitcoin or blockchain technology space. As we looked at our sidechain technology roadmap, the addition of an open source, well-tested, production quality wallet was a natural choice. It increases the reach of our platform and allows us to meet the requirements of our enterprise applications.’
- Due to a holiday price updates weren’t included in the recent weekly cryptocurrency highlights. The last update was at the start of this month, when the Bitcoin price was still at $695 per coin. Since then the price has dropped by almost six percent to a current exchange rate of about $655 per BTC. Ethereum on the other hand had a good month in terms of price, as the value of ether increased from $12.06 to $12.60 per ETH (an increase of more than four percent).