Bitfinex is adding Ether support and the number of complaints by Bitcoin users is exploding. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 10:
- The massive surge in Ethereum’s Ether trading volumes on Poloniex and Kraken has other exchanges scrambling to catch up. Bitfinex has announced it will be supporting Ether trading as of Monday March 14, 2016. Bitfinex supports only a very limited number of cryptocurrencies, and is now adding Ether because it is “hard to ignore the Ether trading volumes at other exchanges and the many requests we have received from our customers to add Ether trading pairs”. Bitfinex is the largest exchange in terms of USD/BTC volumes, giving it a good position to break Poloniex’ dominance on the USD/ETH market. Bitfinex also adds that shorting and margin trading could subsequently be enabled in less than a week if the addition proves to be a success.
- Bitfinex’ announcing Ether support resulted in a rally that had Ethereum becoming the second altcoin to ever to pass $1 billion in total market capitalization. Only Litecoin had previously succeeded at achieving this milestone in November 2013. Technically the Icelandic digital currency Auroracoin touched the $1 billion mark as well, but it did so at the time that only 1 percent of all coins in existence was tradable while the remaining 99 percent was pre-mined and held to be distributed to Icelandic citizens. Litecoin has lost more than 85 percent of its market capitalization since its peaked, and Auroracoin has even lost more than 99 percent. Whether Ether will suffer the same fate remains to be seen, as many prominent members of the digital currency community consider Ethereum to be the first altcoin that is actually interesting.
- Blockchain.info’s CEO Peter Smith revealed that last week’s transaction volumes on Bitcoin resulted in a significant amount of user complaints, as limited processing capabilities by Bitcoin’s network led to serious delays. During this period, transaction fees almost doubled, although this did not lead to a decrease in delays. During the first week of March, the wallet service received more than complaints that it did in the whole month of February. The number of complaints had already doubled in February compared to January, and the increase is likely to keep going as Bitcoin’s blocks are increasingly full without a serious solution anywhere near.
- The Russian Ministry of Finance already banned the use of Bitcoin, and is now planning to establish severe penalties on those issuing digital currencies such as Bitcoin. Under the latest amendments issuing “money substitutes” would become punishable with up to seven years in prison. The maximum sentence would apply to the directors and managers of institutions that facilitate digital currencies, while others will still be facing up to four years in prison. Financial penalties would also be upgraded to amount to up to three years’ worth of salary.
- For a brief moment it looked like Ethereum value had peaked last week until Bitfinex’ announcement pushed it to a new high. The price of Ether is roughly 10 percent higher than it was one week ago, with the current exchange rate at $13.20 per ETH. Bitcoin also experienced a good week, as its price increased by a little more than three percent to the current exchange rate of about $416 per BTC.