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Bitcoin news roundup, August 6, 2017

This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:

New developments:

The Bitcoin network split, and Bitcoin Cash (BCC) is now the fourth cryptocurrency by market cap

On August 1, Bitcoin Cash (BCC) or Bcash (BCH) was created as a group of miners “forked” from the main Bitcoin blockchain, essentially running a new, incompatible software that changed the way the network would function, according to CoinDesk. Now, Bitcoin moves on to implement SegWit2x, the Segregated Witness (SegWit) part expected to lock in on August 8, and the 2MB block size coming later on. Bitcoin Cash is its own cryptocurrency and instead of moving transaction data outside of each block, its block size is of 8MB.

If you own your Bitcoin private keys, Bitcoin Magazine wrote a great guide on how to claim your Bitcoin Cash. If you hold your Bitcoins on a wallet or exchange, contact them regarding their current attitude towards the cryptocurrency. Most are known, although some might’ve changed since the list was updated.

Bitcoin Cash’s first block took about five hours to mine, while the second one took about 13 hours. Now the difficulty has adjusted so blocks are being found every two to three hours. At press time, one BCC token is worth $241.66, as Bitcoin Cash is the fourth biggest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $3.9 billion.

BTC-e claims it will refund customers, despite its domain being seized by the FBI

After BTC-e’s alleged admin Alexander Vinnik was arrested, and after the exchange’s domain showed that it had been seized, most started to believe their funds had been taken by the FBI. The exchange, through its Bitcointalk account, posted an announcement in Russian in which it let users know its data center was raided by the FBI on July 25, and that it didn’t update users for a while because it was waiting for a response from its hosting provider.

The exchange added in its post that in the next two weeks it’ll update users on its options to come back, or on how it will restore user funds if it is unable to do so. It also added that Alexander Vinnik was never an admin, nor an employee, at BTC-e. Notably, in the middle of the post the exchange restated the service works on trust, stating:

  • “For all those who buried us, I will remind you that the service has always worked on trust and we are ready to answer for it. The funds will be returned to everyone!”

Juniper study reveals 6 out of 10 major corporations are eyeing blockchain technology

A study conducted by Juniper Research found that 6 out of 10 (57%) major corporations are either in the process of deploying blockchain technology, or considering doing so in the future. To get to these results U.K.-based Juniper Research surveyed 400 managers, executives, and corporate founders. Notably, in firms who have achieved a proof-of-concept stage, 66% expected the technology to be implemented into their systems by 2018. In the report, major corporations are considered those with over 20,000 employees.

The report’s author warned that despite the increasing popularity of Bitcoin’s underlying technology, some of these major corporations might be underestimating the challenge of adopting it. The report reads:

  • “Companies may have underestimated the scale of the blockchain challenge. For issues such as interoperability, the proportion of survey respondents expressing concerns progressively increased as companies proceed towards full deployment, while concerns also rose sharply regarding client refusal to embrace blockchain.”

The WannaCry hackers started moving their Bitcoins, presumably to a mixing service

Back in May, hackers behind the WannaCry ransomware strain launched a global campaign, that affected thousands of computers all over the world. Victims saw their files encrypted, and a ransom demanding them $300 in Bitcoin for access to the keys that would decrypt them. The hackers managed to net $140,000 in Bitcoin from the campaign, spread across three different addresses.

Quartz set up a Twitter bot dubbed “actual_ransom” to monitor these addresses and pick up on any movement. This week, it pointed ut several transactions of $20,000-$30,000 each, to several other addresses. Experts believe the Bitcoins were sent to a Bitcoin mixer so they’ll be impossible to trace, effectively allowing the hackers to cash out their earnings.

 

World affairs:

Singapore may regulate ICOs as securities

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) recently announced it was to regulate the issuance of digital tokens, as these could fall under the Securities and Futures Act. The MAS’ announcement comes after a similar announcement by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) who also stated that ICOs must be regulated, and at a time in which the country is seeing ICOs increase in popularity as a way to raise funds.

In the announcement, the MAS stated that although it doesn’t regulate virtual currencies, just like most jurisdictions, it observed that digital tokens [issued in ICOs] may represent ownership or a security interest over an issuer’s assets, which means they can be seen as shares or units in a collective investment scheme.

Indian Finance Ministry panel recommends campaign to dissuade people from using Bitcoin

According to the Financial Express, a multi-ministerial panel formed by the Indian Finance Ministry formed to study and suggest measures the government should take to deal with Bitcoin and other digital currencies, now came forward with its official recommendations: for the government to “take immediate steps to stop use of VCs such as Bitcoins to protect people from potential frauds and curb money laundering.” Moreover, if the use of virtual currencies keeps growing, it added that the government can consider “bringing in a legislation to stop transactions via VCs at commercial establishments, curb activities of VC intermediaries, etc.”

The panel, before submitting its report, sought views from the public and cryptocurrency start-ups. The Financial Express’ report reads:

  • “The panel suggested that the government should launch a campaign to discourage people from buying digital currencies and stop advertisements by VC intermediaries.”

Financial:

Bitcoin at $3,159.24 after reaching a new all-time high

Despite the hard fork, Bitcoin’s value surged this week to a new all-time high of $3,169.06, according to data from CoinMarketCap. The event doesn’t seem to have negatively impacted Bitcoin, but as SegWit draws near, the cryptocurrency is surging as the problems that have been slowing it down may soon be over. At press time, one Bitcoin is worth $3,159.24, and one Bitcoin Cash token, as stated above, is worth $241.66. Bitcoin’s market cap is at $52 billion.

Ethereum at $241.93 after spiking due to Bitcoin’s hard fork

Bitcoin’s hard fork led a lot of investors to Ethereum and, as such, its Ether token spiked to $241.93, making Ethereum’s total market cap $22.69 billion. The cryptocurrency is seemingly far from overtaking Bitcoin, but has cemented its position as the number two cryptocurrency, as Ripple’s market cap is at $6.9 billion, and Bitcoin Cash is at $3.7 billion.

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