Ethereum releases Homestead, and Overstock announces it will issue new shares on its t0 platform. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 11:
- Ethereum has moved beyond its beta version this week with the release of Ethereum Homestead. Frontier’s successor is described as a more stable and secure version of the Ethereum platform. It is also expected that the new release will also cause the recommended number of confirmations per transaction to drop. The new version was implemented via a hard-fork, setting an example for Bitcoin where the community is currently strongly divided in opponents and proponents of a hard-fork to raise the block size limit. Despite being valued at 1/6th of Bitcoin’s total market capitalization, Ethereum managed to pull this off with careful planning, good communication and no controversy, making the future look bright for the most popular altcoin at the moment.
- Online retailer Overstock has announced that it will be issuing new shares on its blockchain-based t0 platform. The announcement was made at the 41st Annual International Futures Industry Conference in Boca Raton, Florida. The t0 platform is similar to NASDAQ’s Linq, with the main difference being that t0 is intended for publicly traded shares while Linq is aimed at private markets. A date for the new issue has not been determined yet.
- Microsoft was found to have silently removed the option to pay with Bitcoin from its Windows stores, less than 1.5 years after it was first added in December 2014. On the official Microsoft website, the following update was released: “You can no longer redeem Bitcoin into your Microsoft account. Existing balances in your account will still be available for purchases from Microsoft Store, but can’t be refunded”. This caused a big shock in Bitcoin’s community, as Microsoft has been the largest company in the world so far to accept payments in Bitcoin. Much to the community’s relief, Microsoft quickly backtracked just three days later, stating it would “continue to support Bitcoin for adding money to your Microsoft account which can be used for purchasing content in the Windows and Xbox stores”.
- Blockchain technology adaptation will take another five to ten years according to an opinion featured on The Economist. Moreover, the adaptation will not be led by disruptive fintech start-ups, as incumbents are said to have the advantage. The problem with the latter is that it requires a high degree of co-operation in a very competitive world. This makes it a lot harder to overcome technical hurdles such as Bitcoin’s scalability problem. Despite the former being nothing but a healthy dose of realism, the price of Bitcoin did drop several percentage points immediately after the article was published.
- Ethereum’s rally finally came to an end this week as the price of Ether dropped by almost 20 percent to a current rate of $10.81 per ETH. For a brief moment Ether even traded below $9 per coin, or more than 30 percent lower compared to last week. The price started to recover again at the moment most other cryptocurrencies were taking a hit as a result of The Economist’s article. Bitcoin lost more than one percent of its value, taking the exchange rate down to about $410 per BTC.