Segregated Witness has been released and Zcash has been launched. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 43:
- A new version of Bitcoin’s Core code was released on Thursday, Bitcoin version 0.13.1 Final. The contentious alternative contains a patch known as Segregated Witness (Segwit). Although the code for Segwit was completed in April, by Blockstream developer Pieter Wuille Ph.D., getting a version for deployment has proven challenging, taking over 35 core Bitcoin developers. The end result could be a major change to Bitcoin, although it is backwards-compatible, and relies on miner adoption to become the new Bitcoin standard. To activate the Segwit code, it will take 95 percent acceptance after November 15, and must be sustained for a two-week period. There is also a one-year expiry period for Segwit adoption. If the code is not adopted by the middle of November next year, the project will be abandoned.
- Zcash, the much anticipated anonymous coin launched on Friday after years in development with the genesis block mined around 17:10 GMT. The currency has a slow start, with only a few coins mined at the beginning to see that everything is operating as intended. Thereafter, block reward reaches 12.5 ZEC every 2.5 minutes, halving every four years until a limit of 21 million coins is reached of which 10%, amounting to 2.1 million Zcash, will be given to the currency founders.
- While Ethereum Classic’s (ETC) was implementing its own replica of the recent Ethereum hard fork, the DAO hacker was quietly moving the funds he stole months ago. After the hardfork, the hacker immediately started moving funds. At block 2500181, the hacker moved 1100 ether. At block 2500228, 5000 Ether was moved. Then at blocks 2500611 and 2501408, 10,000 Ether was moved during each. In total nearly $100,000 worth of digital currency associated with the DAO hack was converted into Bitcoin. The hacker also made another “donation” to the Ethereum Classic Development fund. Seemingly the DAO hacker is trying to cash out his or her Ethereum Classic while the coin is still worth something.
- Bitcoin experienced one of the best weeks of the year due to a depreciating Chinese currency, which has boosted demand for the cryptocurrency as investors sought protection from the falling yuan. With the yuan hitting a six-year low against the US dollar on Monday, Chinese investors rushed to buy Bitcoin. Experts say the Chinese are using the digital currency as a way to circumvent capital controls.
- The price of Bitcoin increased by almost eight percent this week to a current rate of about $710 per BTC. The price of Ethereum crashed, taking Ether down to a rate of $10.15 per ETH. Ethereum Classic lost a similar percentage, taking the price to $0.89 per ETC. After launching Zcash is now trading at about $3,900 per coin on a total available supply of 400 ZEC.