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Segwit2x: The Hard Fork That Failed to Activate

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After a tumultuous two weeks, Segwit2x appears to be more like a distant memory. Industry sources have uncovered that as many as 150 nodes running the algorithm have stopped accepting transaction blocks. Although it’s impossible to declare a project like Segwit2x formally dead, the avenues for its implementation have quickly narrowed.

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The stoppage limits miners from actually producing transaction blocks larger than the 1 MB standard. One Segwit2x developer implemented a patch to make it easier to create bigger transaction blocks, but this doesn’t appear to have motivated wider industry adoption. At this point, it seems like the proposed fork has run out of leg room – and the necessary support from the community.

Lack of Consensus

Backers of the protocol, which included miners, startups and other market participants, cancelled the fork on Nov. 8, citing a lack of consensus. The 2x upgrade was supposed to boost bitcoin’s transaction capacity, thereby making it more attractive for consumers. This was part of a broader initiative to make cryptocurrency more relevant from an payments perspective.

The Segwit2x protocol emerged from the so-called New York Agreement, a comprehensive scaling proposal that was signed back in May by a long list of market players. The agreement was followed by months of infighting, including a heated debate about which cryptocurrency would get the coveted BTC symbol.

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Fork day was supposed to happen on or about Nov. 16. Not a single Segwit2x block has been mined since the anticipated fork date – at least, none that we know of so far.

Analysts have also noted that software bugs made the new algorithm’s implementation difficult to pull off well before expected fork day. This was especially the case for btc1, a Segwit note designed to diverge from the original blockchain.

That being said, the activation of Segwit2x in the future isn’t impossible, no matter how unlikely it may appear now. Some analysts think the fork’s backers could file their grievances by supporting another project with similar goals (those aren’t difficult to find, given the increasing demand for scalable bitcoin solutions).

The following chart provides a simple breakdown of what the fork proposed to achieve relative to bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. A more detailed discussion on the matter can be found here.

Bitcoin (BTC) SegWit Activated No Increase in Block Size
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) No SegWit Activated Increased Block Size to 8MB
SegWi2x (B2X) SegWit Activated Increase Block Size

 

Market Response

The cryptocurrency market hasn’t taken the Segwit cancellation lightly. The decision to abandon the fork triggered heavy buying interest in bitcoin and its newly created alternative, Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Over the past two weeks, these coins have demonstrated inverse trading patterns, with BCH surging to levels that would have seemed highly improbable just a few weeks ago.

Both cryptos appeared more in tandem this week, although Bitcoin Cash traded at less than half of its record levels. Bitcoin, on the other hand, touched $8,000 on at least two occasions.

Disclaimer: The writer owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 412 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Canaan Mining Company Is Planning the Biggest Ever Blockchain IPO

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China’s second-largest bitcoin miner is planning to launch an initial public offering (IPO) this summer with the stated goal of raising $2 billion, according to sources familiar with the matter. If successful, the public sale would be the largest the crypto industry has ever seen.

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Canaan IPO

Canaan Creative submitted its IPO application to the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (HKEX) on May 15, having previously short-listed the United States for its public sale. The Beijing-based miner has yet to comment on its plans, but sources say it seeks to raise between $1 billion and $2 billion.

The company aims to start trading shares in Hong Kong by July. Its application is still pending approval by HKEX.

Canaan controls roughly 15% of the global market for bitcoin mining chips. Revenues and profit surged last year as bitcoin prices topped $19,500 on major exchanges. Company financials reveal a seven-fold increase in profit last year to 361 million yuan ($56.67 million). Canaan’s customers are primarily large-scale miners with thousands of machines working 24 hours a day.

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In May of last year, Canaan raised 300 million yuan ($43 million) in Series A funding with participation from Jin Jiang International Group and Baopu Asset Management, among others.

Mining Profitability in Decline

Canaan plans to go public at a time when mining profitability is in decline. Mining bitcoin is 60% less profitable today than it was in 2017, with retailers confirming a sharp decline in rig demand.

Sources familiar with the IPO say Canaan is marketing itself not as a bitcoin company but as a manufacturer of high-end chips. The company announced last year it was developing chips for artificial intelligence applications. In addition to bitcoin mining equipment, it is also focusing on other blockchain applications.

Speaking of Canaan, a source told Reuters that, “Their customers happen to be bitcoin miners. But they are a chip company, not a bitcoin company.”

Canaan’s IPO could transform the market’s perception of ‘bitcoin proxy stocks,’ a phrase used to describe indirect exposure to cryptocurrency by way of companies operating in the blockchain space. Examples include Nvidia, Longfin Corp and Riot Blockchain.

A successful IPO would likely encourage other blockchain companies to consider a public offering of their own. This would give investors more options to invest in the blockchain economy without having to own volatile cryptocurrencies.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 412 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Google Courts Vitalik Buterin to Assist With Mysterious Cryptocurrency Project

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Despite banning cryptocurrency ads, Google is exploring new applications of blockchain technology, according to Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, who was recently courted by the technology giant to assist in the mysterious project.

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A Job at Google?

In a recent Twitter post, Vitalik Buterin revealed that Google’s human resources department had contacted him about a potential job offer. Buterin shared a screenshot of an email from Google recruiter Elizabeth Garcia, who expressed a strong desire to onboard the 24-year-old programmer. Though the post has since been removed, Garcia apparently said Google would make a great fit for Buterin.

Buterin’s post was accompanied by a poll asking followers if he should quit Ethereum and go work for Google. About 59% of the respondents said he should not abandon work on ether.

It is unclear why Buterin deleted the message, although he later tweeted the following: “Too bad you can’t quote tweet someone and add a poll.”

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Google has yet to comment on the email.

Silicon Valley Embracing Blockchain

Though details remain scant, Google has previously expressed interest in blockchain technology. A spokesperson for the company told Business Insider in March that Google was exploring potential applications for distributed ledger technology, but that it was too early to speculate about possible use cases.

Some analysts believe Google’s Cloud service could be an ideal fit for blockchain applications. Just as Google Cloud customers can use the service to build databases, they might be able to design a blockchain through it.

Facebook, another company that has banned crypto-based advertising from its platform, has already announced plans to explore blockchain technology. The social media giant revealed earlier this month that it is putting together an exploratory blockchain group that will report to directly to Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer.

IBM is another company making strong inroads into blockchain. Though much older than its internet peers, the 106-year-old company is contributing code to an open-source project that encourages startups to explore blockchain technology. In addition to running its own blockchain business, IBM recently announced a partnership with Veridium Labs to develop a cryptocurrency that tokenizes carbon credits. The new currency will be launched on the Stellar blockchain.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 412 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Parity Wallet’s ICO Passport Services Are Shutting Down

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Parity Wallet has succumbed to EU regulatory pressure and is shutting down it’s PICOPS services on May 24th, 2018.

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EU Crackdown

PICOPS, a service which allowed customers to associated a single Ethereum address with their identity to simplify KYC requirements, allegedly due to the more stringent requirements of the EU’s new GDPR legal framework.

The Parity Wallet team itself posted a statement saying, “We are looking at ways of resolving the uncertainty and making PICOPS compliant with GDPR while keeping it useful. However, as things stand the solutions we have identified restrict the service to a very limited set of features.

Because of this, the significant resources required to make PICOPS GDPR-compliant, and the fact that PICOPS is not part of our core technology stack, we have decided to discontinue the service despite overwhelming market needs and demand.”

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The team remained open to restarting the service in the future however, stating, “These challenges make running a service like PICOPS more difficult. We are looking at ways of resolving the uncertainty and making PICOPS compliant with GDPR while keeping it useful. However, as things stand the solutions we have identified restrict the service to a very limited set of features.

Because of this, the significant resources required to make PICOPS GDPR-compliant, and the fact that PICOPS is not part of our core technology stack, we have decided to discontinue the service despite overwhelming market needs and demand. PICOPS’s deprecation does not mean that we are going to wait and see what happens to blockchains under regulation.”

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin tweeted his disappointment with decision on Friday, but didn’t go into specifics about the state of EU regulation.

Based on the company’s statements, it seems likely that Parity Wallet will continue to be an active voice in trying to steer more crypto-friendly regulations into law. But the shuttering of an incredibly useful tool could be interpreted as a byproduct of international government’s growing hostility to all things blockchain.

Governments around the world are still in the very early stages of understanding, defining and adequately regulating cryptocurrencies. The state of crypto regulation varies wildly across the board, with some nations recognizing cryptocurrency as money and others banning them outright.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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