A “backdoor” in Bitmain’s mining equipment was found (and fixed) this week, and the SEC is reviewing its decision to reject a Bitcoin ETF. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 17:
- A mining chip vulnerability that could potentially be used to remotely shut off bitcoin mining machines was revealed this week – with a fix from the manufacturer following shortly after. Involving controversial mining chip manufacturer Bitmain, the issue is what some are calling a “backdoor” in the code that controls its hardware, offering the company a way to remotely shut off the miners. The fear is that bad actors could exploit the vulnerability to switch off bitcoin mining equipment in bulk, and with Bitmain supplying such a large number of machines to the market, the impact could have catastrophic implications for the bitcoin ecosystem. Bitmain quickly responded with a fix that erases this part of its mining firmware. Further, its team claimed that the feature was never finished, and that it was intended to help customers recover stolen miners, a past problem for industry firms.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced it is reviewing its decision to reject a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. Last month, the SEC denied an application by the Winklevoss twins to list the ETF, which would have made it the first product of its kind in the U.S. for Bitcoin. The proposal involves listing the ETF on the Bats BZX exchange, one of the largest U.S. equities market operator. Bats filed a notice of petition to review the SEC decision which has now been accepted. It means the SEC will look into its initial decision to reject the ETF. Traders are hoping that this at least opens the doors to the ETF getting a second shot at being approved.
- Gnosis, a decentralized platform for prediction markets that uses “crowdsourced wisdom” sourced globally and built on Ethereum technology, has set a new record by raising $12.5 million (m) in a token offering via a Dutch auction, the first successful one of its kind in crypto, and the fastest crowdsale to date to sell out more than $10m. With investors snapping up the supply of Gnosis (GNO) tokens – equivalent to 250,000 Ethereum (ETH) – in a mere twelve minutes after today’s launch, it becomes one of three to sell out in under fifteen minutes along with FirstBlood and SingularDTV.
- Segregated Witness will activate on Litecoin in about twelve more days. The activation has “locked in” as a supermajority of Litecoin’s miners signaled support for the proposed change over the past week. Litecoin miners and developers had previously reached an agreement to activate segregated witnesses (segwit) and to increase Litecoin’s blocksize of 1MB once its blocks are over 50% of the currency’s capacity. The agreement was signed by Charlie Lee, Litecoin’s founder, F2Pool, BW, Bitmain, LTC1BTC, Huobi, OKCoin and others a little over one week ago.
- Compared to the previous week the price of Bitcoin has increased by more than eight percent, with the exchange rate currently at about $1,321 per BTC. The price of Ethereum increased by more than 40 percent over the same period, taking Ether up to a rate of $69.08 per ETH. Ethereum Classic gained more than 50 percent, with the price increasing to $4.95 per ETC. Zcash gained around 30 percent. One ZEC is now trading at roughly $89 per coin.