Bitcoin exchange Gemini got off to a flying start and Blockstream has announced its first production sidechain. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 42:
- Gemini, the new exchange from the Winklevoss brothers, got off to a flying start in its first week after opening. The trading volume soared to 500 BTC per day, which is in the same range as Coinsetter and HitBTC for USD markets. Both of these exchanges are much older though, as they were launched in 2012 and 2013 respectively. At the current pace, it might not take long before Gemini can compete with some of the bigger and well-established exchanges such as Coinbase and itBit.
- Another company is moving away from Bitcoin. This time it is Bitreserve that is relaunching as Uphold. CEO Antony Watson no longer believes in Bitcoin, and even stated he would “be surprised if Bitcoin is [still] here in five years” and that “the value of bitcoin is not the currency, but the technology.” The news comes just one week after Singapore-based remittance startup Cryptosigma relaunched as Toast, while also leaving Bitcoin behind because “it is still not mass market suitable.”
- Sidechain-focused company Blockstream has announced Liquid, it’s first production sidechain aimed at “improving capital efficiency and market liquidity.” Liquid addresses current market inefficiencies such as latency and (long) confirmation times. With Liquid these are a thing of the past, as it allows for nearly instantaneous settlements across all participants. Initial partners include Bitfinex, BTCC, Kraken, Unocoin and Xapo.
- The EU is about to reach a verdict on the question whether Bitcoin purchases will be subject to VAT. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has announced that the decision will be made next Thursday October 22, 2015. The outcome will most likely be favorable for Bitcoin in Europe, as in July the ECJ’s Advocate General, Juliane Kokott, recommended that the digital currency should be exempted from VAT. The ECJ typically follows the Advocate General’s advice, although it should be noted that the ECJ may still choose to reach a different verdict.
- The price of Bitcoin rallied this week, increasing by more than 11 percent to a current rate of about $271 per BTC. The rally also briefly pushed Bitcoin’s total market capitalization above 4 billion for the first time since the start of August this year. While Bitcoin’s gains are accelerating, so is Ethereum’s ongoing decline. One ETH is now trading at roughly 54 cents, 15 percent lower than it was one week ago.