SWIFT is feeling the pressure of blockchain technology, as it reveals its own plans to develop a distributed ledger. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 16:
- Ethereum’s creator Vitalik Buterin has revealed that he has sold 25 percent of all of the Ether he has held to date, as he confirmed on social network Reddit: “I’ve sold about a quarter of my ETH. Meh, I am not going to apologize for sound financial planning.” The reveal received mixed reactions, as some believe it shows Buterin being decreasingly confident about his own creation. On the other hand, Buterin is praised for his actions given his young age. Andreas M. Antonopoulos was found stating “diversification, especially at his age, is a smart move”. At the same time, the fact that Buterin is still holding on to 75 percent of his Ether should not be neglected either.
- In the meanwhile, Ethereum is nowhere near slowing down. Ethereum startup Ethcore managed to raise $750,000 in venture capital, making it the first official VC-capital funded Ethereum startup. Ethcore will be focusing on further developing the Ethereum blockchain, and assisting any partners that intend to use the platform. The announcement comes just several weeks after the Digix crowd sale, “the first decentralized crowd sale on the Ethereum Blockchain” according to DigixGlobal CTO Anthony Eufemio, which managed to raise the maximum amount of $5.5 million in a matter of hours after opening.
- Settlement network operator SWIFT is planning to develop a distributed ledger application platform. The plans were announced in a paper released by SWIFT this week, published in collaboration with Accenture, in which it investigates how the technology could be used for financial services. SWIFT’s plans raised some eyebrows, and could be interpreted as a sign of panic at the global provider of financial settlement solutions. American Banker was one of the websites that recently argued that blockchain technology could replace the antique “backbone of the banking industry worldwide”.
- The shares of the Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT), the first publicly traded Bitcoin fund, trading on the OTCQX exchange with symbol GBTC closed above $70 for the first time since its inception. The fund is known for providing investors with a way to invest in the digital currency without having to hold it themselves. Since the fund only invests in Bitcoin, holding one share of GBTC is the equivalent of holding approximately one tenth of a Bitcoin. This is what makes the $70 closing price quite remarkable, as the Bitcoin equivalent value would be $700 while the actual BTC/USD exchange rate is hovering around $450. In short, investors are willing to pay a 55 percent more than the actual market rate to invest in Bitcoin without actually having to hold it. This is also double the premium GBTC investors were paying just one month ago, and thus seems to signal increased investor interest.
- The news of Vitalik Buterin having sold a quarter of his Ether dented the price of the digital currency this week, but it quickly recovered to an exchange rate of $8.42 per ETH. This is slightly higher than last week, making it look like the Ether sell-off is finally coming to an end. The latest Bitcoin rally is nowhere near ending yet, as the price of BTC increased by more than three percent to a current rate of about $445.