Bitcoin now comes from satellites in space, and Ethereum has announced the Metropolis hard fork. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 33:
- The bitcoin infrastructure company has launched Blockstream Satellite, an ambitious attempt to use leased satellites to beam bitcoin nearly anywhere in the world. Now in beta, bitcoin users in Africa, Europe, South America and North America can already use the satellites to download a working bitcoin node capable of storing the network’s entire transaction history. According to Blockstream CEO Adam Back, the project is all about putting bitcoin into the hands of those who “desperately need” it.
- The Ethereum Developer team has released word that the Metropolis hard fork is set to occur in late September of this year. The hard fork has been widely anticipated after the Ethereum road map for 2017 was released earlier this year. The map indicated that the coming release would contain some major upgrades for the platform. First, increasing anonymity will come with new ‘zk-SNARKs,’ or Zero-knowledge proofs. Users will be able to perform anonymous transactions at higher levels than in the past. Furthermore, programming and smart contracts will be made far easier with the new upgrade, relieving some of the pressure on current programmers. Gas will also be adjusted for bill settling.
- Alibaba is partnering with Chinese authorities to launch the country’s first application of Blockchain technology in the medical sector. Taking place in the city of Changzhou, Ali Health will work with local government to use Blockchain to secure data in a pioneering approach. “Ali Health’s Blockchain technology connects information by using our current equipment and systems,” Zhang Zhihong, director at Zhenglu Town Health Center in Changzhou told local news resource Yicai Global. Full details of the scheme are still forthcoming, but will involve creation of “a number of data security nets” and storage of data in ciphertext with “strict access controls and operational privileges.”
- A private Swiss bank is expanding a digital asset management service it launched earlier this summer to include new cryptocurrencies. Falcon Private Bank, revealed that it would allow its customers to buy and hold bitcoin within their accounts through a partnership with brokerage service Bitcoin Suisse. The launch was said to come after consultations with Swiss regulators, including the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). Now, that product line is expanding to include ether, Litecoin and bitcoin cash. Customers of the bank will be able to start buying and holding those cryptocurrencies from August 22.
- Compared to the previous week the price of Bitcoin has increased by around six percent, with the exchange rate currently at about $4,090 per BTC. The price of Ethereum decreased by almost eight percent over the same period, taking Ether down to a rate of $290 per ETH. Ethereum Classic lost about seven percent, with the price decreasing to $13.95 per ETC. Zcash lost 14 percent. One ZEC is now trading at roughly $196 per coin.