F2Pool is now supporting segregated witnesses, and Russia is seeking to regulate Bitcoin. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 15:
- In a surprising move, F2Pool, which has around 9% network hardware share, began signaling for segregated witnesses (segwit), a controversial proposal that aims to increase capacity while facilitating layer two protocols such as the Lightning Network and sidechains. The move is remarkable given that F2Pool’s co-founder Wang Chung had just made the following statement two days earlier: “Segwit will be a disaster. I am not going to support it on BTC because I am a bitcoin HODLER. Meanwhile, I do not have a single litecoin”. As a result, both segwit and Bitcoin Unlimited now have the support of around 36 percent of Bitcoin’s hashrate.
- Russia, one of the strongest opponents of bitcoin is seeking to regulate the digital currency. Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev told Bloomberg in an interview this week that the authorities hope to recognize bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a legal financial instrument in 2018 in a bid to tackle money laundering. “The state needs to know who at every moment of time stands on both sides of the financial chain,” Moiseev told Bloomberg. “If there’s a transaction, the people who facilitate it should understand from whom they bought and to whom they were selling, just like with bank operations”. A Russian Central Banker quickly added that Bitcoin’s legal recognition isn’t guaranteed.
- Privacy-centric cryptocurrency Monero was found to have some serious privacy issues, as a new research project has led to the development of a heuristic that can be used to guess the real input of a transaction, with 80% accuracy over all transactions with 1 or more mixins. The paper identifies two weaknesses in total. The first being that “many Monero transaction inputs contain deducible mixins, and can be linked to prior transactions via “chain-reaction” analysis”. The second weakness is that “Monero mixins are sampled from a distribution that does not resemble real transaction inputs, and thus the real inputs can usually be identified”.
- The blockchain company Nchain and its affiliated companies have announced it was recently acquired by the High Tech Private Equity Fund SICAV plc. The firm is a EU regulated investment fund managed by Accuro Fund Solutions. Not much more is known about who the owners or investors involved are, and questions towards this subject has so far remained unanswered. The Nchain organization claims to be a group of companies with a team of over 60 scientific researchers, engineers, and other professionals based in Europe and Canada. According to the press release, the amount paid for the recent purchase of Nchain is undisclosed. However, sources familiar with the transaction say it was well over the capital injected into 21 Inc., making the claim that Nchain is the largest acquisition in the Bitcoin and blockchain development space yet.
- Compared to the previous week the price of Bitcoin has increased by more than one percent, with the exchange rate currently at about $1,187 per BTC. The price of Ethereum increased by a little over six percent over the same period, taking Ether up to a rate of $47.57 per ETH. Ethereum Classic lost almost four percent, with the price decreasing to $2.66 per ETC. Zcash gained around fifteen percent. One ZEC is now trading at roughly $75 per coin.