Overstock’s CEO Patrick Byrne has announced an indefinite medical leave, and Bitcoin Core version 0.12.1 has been released. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 15:
- Bitcoin Core 0.12.1 was released this week, marking an important step to getting Bitcoin ready to implement the Lightning Network at a later stage. The latest version includes a soft fork to implement BIP9, BIP68 and BIP112. This means the new version includes support for “CheckSequenceVerify” (CSV), allowing users to lock coins for a pre-defined number of blocks after a CSV transaction. This functionality will be used on the Lightning Network in order to open payment channels, as the latter will require the users to lock in a certain amount of Bitcoin.
- Bitcoin suffered a major blow this week with Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne announcing that he would be taking an indefinite medical leave of absence to battle stage 4 hepatitis C. Apart from this being sad news on a personal level, it is also a big hit to the Bitcoin community in general as Byrne made Overstock.com the first major retailer to accept Bitcoin. More importantly, Byrne also founded a subsidiary called TØ.com, which uses (Bitcoin) blockchain technology for the exchange of financial securities. The Bitcoin community wishes Byrne a speedy recovery.
- More positive news came from Europe, where a group of Bitcoin legal experts launched the European Digital Currency & Blockchain Technology Forum (EDCAB) in Brussels. EDCAB will be an independent and non-profit organization that seeks to ensure fair Bitcoin and blockchain regulation in Europe. The first action of the new organization has been assisting with organizing a conference on digital currencies in the European Parliament from 18 to 21 April 2016. This event is intended to introduce EU Parliament members to the technology. EDCAB founder Siân Jones considers this an important first step, stating: “For a strong and comprehensive policy and regulatory framework, collaboration based on in-depth understanding of the technology and open debate is vital.”
- This week’s highlights also include a non-event for a change, as we still don’t know the real identity of Bitcoin’s mysterious founder Satoshi Nakamoto. According to the Financial Times the Australian Craig Steven Wright would confirm that he is indeed the man behind Bitcoin’s founder Satoshi Nakamoto somewhere between April 7 to April 14. It was said that during this period Wright would “publicly perform a cryptographic miracle which proves his identity once and for all”. This already sounded farfetched upon the initial release, and has now turned out to be nothing more than a poor gossip article by a renowned news agency.
- Ethereum continued to collapse this week with another 13 percent drop in the price of its digital currency. Ether’s exchange rate even bottomed below $8 before recovering to a current rate of roughly $8.40 per ETH. On the other hand, Bitcoin finally managed to hold on to some gains for a change. After weeks of virtually no price movement, the price per BTC increased almost three percent this week to an exchange rate of about $430 per coin.