Cryptocurrency Highlights Of The Week

Bitmain is accused of exploiting a weakness in proof-of-work, and Bic Camera has started accepting Bitcoin. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 14:

  • Bitcoin is abuzz with fresh controversy following an inflammatory new post by Bitcoin Core developer and Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell in which he alleges some miners are engaging in unfair practices that may be harmful to the network. Posted to the bitcoin mailing list, the entry asserts that mining hardware maker Bitmain is secretly exploiting a previously known weakness in bitcoin’s proof-of-work algorithm that enables them to mine roughly 20% faster than competitors. The allegation is that this activity is ongoing, and that this has been proven by an analysis conducted on a mining chip. Bitmain replied by releasing a statement on Thursday, adding that they tested AsicBoost, but they never used it in a real mining capacity.

  • A new study by the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies reveals that “43% of the transactions are still not included in the Blockchain after 1h from the first time they were seen in the network and 20% of the transactions are still not included in the Blockchain after 30 days, revealing therefore great inefficiency in the Bitcoin system.” The bitcoin network was studied over a period of three months where some 12,000 unique nodes were found to be connected with confirmation times less inefficient for large value transactions. The study says: “In this case, we note that the process is still rather slow but most of the value is included in the Blockchain within 3h (93%) and after 30 days only 0:1% of value is left to be included.”

  • Bitcoin payment processor bitFlyer is partnering with a Japanese electronics retailer to test a new point-of-sale system (POS) that will allow customers to purchase goods with bitcoin. The company, Bic Camera, sells consumer electronics such as cameras, computers and dishwashers at more than 40 stores domestically. As a result of the integration, customers can now choose to pay with bitcoin for purchases up to a limit of ¥100,000 (around $900). The announcement comes during a period of heavy activity for Japan’s bitcoin market, which recently saw the recognition of bitcoin as a legal means of payment by the government.

  • Digital currency exchange Bitfinex announced it has bought back all of the remaining cryptographic tokens it used to reimburse investors who lost funds in its August 2016 hack. Citing increased equity conversions and strong operating results, Bitfinex reduced its internal reserves to purchase the remaining tokens at their $1 face value, and moved to shut down the markets associated with them. The move follows the August 2016 hack of the exchange, in which investors were given a 36% haircut to compensate for a hack that drained 120,000 BTC from the exchange’s reserves. The BFX tokens thus represented an equity obligation to return the 36% back to platform users sometime in the future.

  • Compared to the previous week the price of Bitcoin has increased by around eight percent, with the exchange rate currently at about $1,170 per BTC. The price of Ethereum decreased by a little over nine percent over the same period, taking Ether down to a rate of $44.71 per ETH. Ethereum Classic lost about one percent, with the price decreasing to $2.77 per ETC. Zcash lost roughly four percent. One ZEC is now trading at roughly $65 per coin.
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