Barclays is testing the Bitcoin blockchain and the Bitcoin network has survived a surprise stress test by CoinWallet. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 26.
- Bitcoin demanding ransomware has been popular over the past year. Ransomware owes its name to the fact that it concerns malicious software that effectively holds the victim’s data hostage by encrypting it. If a certain amount, often in Bitcoin, is not paid in a limited time period then the software will destroy the encryption key. Bitcoin is a preferred method of payment as it provides the criminals with a sense of heightened security/anonymity. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has received reports of more than $18m in losses as a result.
- The corrupted former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges has pled guilty last week to stealing about $820,000 worth of Bitcoin from online drug market place Silk Road. Federal prosecutors now say former US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Carl Force has also agreed to plead guilty to stealing from Silk Road and extorting its owner. Both agents committed their crimes during the federal government’s investigation into Silk Road.
- Barclays is trying to explore how the blockchain technology that underpins Bitcoin can be used in the traditional banking process. To this purpose, Barclays has signed a deal with the Swedish Bitcoin exchange Safello. Barclays is certainly not the first financial institution to do so, for example the NASDAQ preceded Barclays by announcing it was testing the Bitcoin blockchain for its pre-IPO markets.
- The Bitcoin network has survived a surprise stress test by Bitcoin brokerage CoinWallet. The stress test, however, did not work out as expected as CoinWallet’s server’s failed. The company posted a statement on Reddit saying: “The servers were restarted but failed to meet our planned transaction volume. The max pending backlog was 15MB. Far short of the 200MB goal. By late evening the test was considered complete. Approximately 15% of our planned transaction volume occurred.” A new test will be launched next week.
- Bitcoin’s price has increased by almost three percent, or $7 per coin compared to the previous week. Most of the gain can be attributed to the past 24 hours, which could be due to the collapse of negotiations between Greece and its creditors. The exchange rate is currently at about $249 per coin.