Ripple price seems to be struggling near the $0.3700 and $0.3740 resistances against the US dollar.The price corrected lower recently, but it stayed above the main support at $0.3480.There is a major bullish trend line forming with support near the $0.3510 on the hourly chart of the XRP/USD pair (data source from Kraken).The pair could either bounce back towards $0.3700 or decline below the $0.3480 support in the near term.Ripple price is currently trading in a range against the US Dollar and bitcoin. XRP seems to be preparing for the next move either towards $0.3700 and $0.3740 or below the $0.3480 support.Ripple Price AnalysisRecently, we saw a nice upward move above the $0.3500 level in ripple price against the US Dollar. The XRP/USD pair even broke the $0.3650 resistance and the 100 hourly simple moving average. It climbed towards the $0.3800 level, but struggled to hold gains above the $0.3740 resistance. Later, there were a couple of attempts to surpass the $0.3740 resistance, but buyers failed to gain traction. As a result, there was a downside correction below $0.3600 and the price started trading in a range.It broke the 50% Fib retracement level of the upward move from the $0.3256 low to $0.3790 high. However, the $0.3480 support area acted as a strong support and prevented declines. There was also no break below the 61.8% Fib retracement level of the upward move from the $0.3256 low to $0.3790 high. Besides, there is a major bullish trend line forming with support near the $0.3510 on the hourly chart of the XRP/USD pair. The pair is currently trading near $0.3550 and below the 100 hourly simple moving average.There are two possible scenarios, with the pivot level at $0.3480. The price could bounce back and revisit the $0.3700 resistance level. Besides, a convincing break above the $0.3740 resistance may open the doors for more gains. Alternatively, there might be a downside break below the trend line and the $0.3480 support. In the mentioned bearish case, the price is likely to revisit the key $0.3250 support area.Looking at the chart, ripple price is clearly trading in a range above the $0.3480 support level. It may continue to consolidate before the next key break either above $0.3740 or towards $0.3250. In case of a downside break, the price could turn short term bearish towards $0.3250 and $0.3160.Technical IndicatorsHourly MACD – The MACD for XRP/USD is slowly moving into the bearish zone.Hourly RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI for XRP/USD declined recently and moved below the 50 level.Major Support Levels – $0.3510, $0.3480 and $0.3250.Major Resistance Levels – $0.3600, $0.3700 and $0.3740.
Archives for April 8, 2019
ETH price traded to a new 2019 high near $188 and recently corrected lower against the US Dollar.The price corrected below the $180 level and tested the key $174-175 support area.There is a major bullish trend line in place with support at $174 on the hourly chart of ETH/USD (data feed via Kraken).The pair remains supported on dips and it is likely to test the $188 or even $190 level in the near term.Ethereum price remained well bid on the downside versus the US Dollar and bitcoin. ETH corrected lower recently, but it found a strong support near the $174-175 area.Ethereum Price AnalysisYesterday, we saw a fresh increase above the $180 resistance in Ethereum price against the US Dollar. The ETH/USD pair traded above the $185 level and tested the $188 level. The pair struggled to retain the bullish momentum and later corrected below the $185 level. There was a break below the $180 level and the 50% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $165 low to $188 high. There was even a spike below the $175 level, but the $174 level acted as a strong support.Besides, the 61.8% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $165 low to $188 high acted as a support. The price bounced back and traded above the $176 and $178 levels. It even spiked above the $180 level, but the $183 level prevented gains. It seems like there is a connecting bearish trend line in place with resistance near $182 on the hourly chart of ETH/USD, which is acting as a hurdle. A clear break above the trend line and $184 might open the doors for more gains.The next key resistance is near the $188 level, above which the price is likely to test the $190 level. On the downside, there is a strong support formed near $174 and $175. There is also a major bullish trend line in place with support at $174 on the same chart. The trend line support near $174 also coincides with the 100 hourly simple moving average.Looking at the chart, Ethereum price seems to be trading above a couple of important supports near $174. As long as the price stay above $174 and the 100 hourly SMA, it is likely to bounce back towards $184 and $188. There are even chances of a break above the $190 level.ETH Technical IndicatorsHourly MACD – The MACD for ETH/USD is about to move back into the bullish zone.Hourly RSI – The RSI for ETH/USD declined recently and tested the key 50 level.Major Support Level – $174Major Resistance Level – $182
Rachel-Rose O’Leary is a reporter at CoinDesk, covering how cryptocurrencies are being used in areas of economic, social and political unrest.
This article is part of her ongoing dispatches from Rojava, Syria.
These are two of the more critical responses to my relocation to North Syria, also known as Rojava, to assist in a newly formed academy of media and technology. And while the comments represent some of the worst feedback I could imagine since it’s a dark interpretation (one I don’t buy into) of what I’m doing here, for the most part, I was overwhelmed by messages of support.
Wolfgang Spraul, a leading coder at ASIC manufacturer Linzhi, spoke of his friend, Bassel Khartabil, a programmer who was executed by the Syrian regime in 2015 following three years of incarceration and torture. The execution was part of the ongoing and brutal repression of technological innovation by Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria.
When the news of Khartabil’s death came to light in 2017, it was a deep shock to the open-source community – shock that continues to resonate today.
“Stability is a miracle, so fragile,” Spraul wrote to me. “Be aware you have friends and reach out.”
Another email pointed to a legal system for stateless societies called Creative Common Law, encouraging me to consider the material, asserting that “It would be so wonderful if the world of stateless legal systems and overseas countries wanting a decentralized world could actually connect!”
While I don’t agree with everything in the legal system – in particular, its hard emphasis on property rights – I’d encourage everyone to read the specs.
The interactions convinced me that I am on the right path – even if my mother was quick to remind me that at least some of the contact had been made by “CIA, ISIS sympathizers and the Russians,” trying to pry me for details.
Finally, in an email that reminded me how everything is interwoven, Greg Colvin, the leading programmer behind ethereum’s virtual machine, the EVM, mourned the Syrians that had been killed in last month’s New Zealand terror attack.
While he feared U.S. allies might eventually abandon the Kurds in Syria, he added:
“We can hope that political decentralization and non-violence will make the difference this time.”
Smoke fills the sky on Newroz, Qamishli.
Feeding the trolls
As such, most of these interactions stood apart from the usual barrage of trolling that has followed my work on ethereum.
While the ethereum community has a gentle heart, it can be brutal in cyberspace – something testified to by the fact that one of its brightest contributors, former Parity release manager Afri Schoeden was effectively bullied out of his position last month. A source as well as a friend, not only did Schoedon play a crucial role in the overall coordination of the blockchain, but he was also one of its more critical voices – often trying to forge a link between the developer elite and an increasingly disenfranchised community.
Thankfully, even as Schoedon has fallen silent, other developers are continuing the tradition of challenging the internal powers that be.
If bullying to the point of banishment is how ethereum’s online community treats its most faithful contributors, imagine then, how it treats reporters.
On the ethereum beat, I received regular direct messages from one man, reminding me that I was wasting my life.
Another man, who I later learned had lost his savings trading ether, sent me persistent emails with a single word: “cunt.”
A street at night, Qamishli
But all of this feels very far away now, as the proximity of war has driven things into focus. Aspects of my life that used to feel important have faded into the background. And while crypto-colonialism and neo-fascism aren’t ideal feedback, at least they’re interesting political criticism – miles away from the low-level name-calling I had become accustomed to.
On the surface, our projects have similarities, as both are fueled by a desire to use decentralized technologies at the societal level. However, Pierce’s work, while he has repeatedly insisted is in the best interests of the local population, seems characterized by an insensitivity to the conditions in which it is ensnared.
To highlight this, Klien describes two political movements that are active in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria – there are the community-driven efforts to repair the island with an ecological and democratic focus and then there’s a government plan to entice foreign investors with tax benefits and privatize the island, while continuously displacing its native population.
Pierce’s work, Klein argues, is tied to the latter.
Coupled with statements from Pierce and his friends (such as, “This is where you’re going to bring your wife and kids and build the New World”), the so-called “Puertopia” is largely viewed as a project that is disinterested in the needs of the local population, instead focused on securing a sandbox for wealthy technocrats.
Electricity cables, Qamishli
It is primarily that history, combined with the revolution’s war on fascism and the state, that inspired me and many other Westerners to offer support here. Some came from colonies inside the West; others were born into colonial empires and wanted change.
Yet we haven’t come uninvited, and in all cases, intend to work hand-in-hand with locals and in constant feedback with the needs of the Rojava population.
On a new website, the tech committee – which consists of Kurdish, Arab and other groups from the Middle East, as well as Westerners – details its diverse plans for full technological autonomy of the region, with a particular emphasis on hardware and infrastructure projects.
Projects include building an anonymous cryptocurrency to reduce the reliance on the Syrian state-issued lira, network anonymity through mixnets and hacker academies to be implemented to educate the population.
A general network called the “backbone” will allow people to access the internet no matter where they are in North Syria. This network will also host tools for services such as digital governance, allowing users to politically participate in the society.
The creation of code frameworks will even allow people without advanced technical knowledge to participate in crypto development, by linking libraries and algorithms into easy-to-use toolkits.
Cumulatively, the projects represent an attempt to modernize the region in harmony with its philosophy; to break out from the poverty trap without damaging the history and culture of North Syria in the process.
“Tech is the top priority for Rojava’s survival. The Syrian lira is dropping like a stone, and worldwide access to markets is crucial given the embargo,” a coder within the technological academies who wished to remain anonymous told me.
And while being aware of the colonial forces that have shaped this area in the past, the goal is much, much different.
Summing it up, the coder concluded:
“We’re not occupying Rojava with white settlers, we’re training people, establishing a mutually beneficial partnership and also learning the philosophy to export it.”
Photos courtesy of Deniz Tekoshin
Bitcoin has been able to maintain nearly all of its recent gains it has incurred over the past week and has been able to maintain stability around its monthly highs of $5,300. This positive BTC price action has led to an influx of capital into other cryptocurrencies, generating gains that have led many analysts to declare the “Crypto Winter” over.Despite the celebrations regarding the end of a long and arduous bear trend in the crypto markets, one prominent analyst believes that it is still too early to get excited, as Bitcoin may make one more large upwards push before hitting a significant resistance level that will lead to what he describes as a “significant retrace.”Bitcoin (BTC) Stable at $5,300 At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading up nearly 2% at its current price of $5,240 and is only trading down slightly from its recently established highs of $5,300. BTC is currently up significantly from its monthly lows of $3,800.Although Bitcoin is showing few clear signs of making any bearish price movements in the near-future, Josh Olszewicz, a popular cryptocurrency analyst on Twitter, recently explained that he does see a bear division building over a higher time zone.“4h $BTC: as others are point out… RW + bear div building into high TF res… 50% = $4750,” he concisely noted, bearishly explaining that a retrace towards $4,750 could be imminent.4h $BTCas others are point out…RW + bear div building into high TF res50% = $4750 pic.twitter.com/DNuP8OA83I— Josh Olszewicz (@CarpeNoctom) April 8, 2019Despite this, Olszewicz further added that Bitcoin could very well continue to surge, drawing a parallel between BTC’s current price action and Litecoin’s overwhelmingly bullish price action last month.“Important to note that probability of reversal is high, but continuation is not impossible. $LTC had the same setup last month and just kept going. I’ll be closing longs up here and won’t be short, would much rather have bids on the book than get bulldozed by bull continuation,” he explained.important to note that probability of reversal is high but continuation is not impossible$LTC had the same setup last month and just kept goingi’ll be closing longs up here and wont be short, would much rather have bids on the book than get bulldozed by bull continuation— Josh Olszewicz (@CarpeNoctom) April 8, 2019Analyst: BTC Will Surge One More Time Before Retracing Although Bitcoin may be laying the groundwork for continuation of its recent bullish price action, one analyst believes that BTC will see a significant retrace in the near-future.Lucid TA, another popular crypto analyst on Twitter, recently explained this postulation, saying that he expects the cryptocurrency to make one more push upwards towards $5,800 before it faces significant resistance that pushes it back down towards $4,500.“Most likely scenario in my view is that we see another pump before a significant retracement. Modestly on $BTC (around $5550 on Coinbase), though *much* more significantly so on alts. Invalidated if $5052 breaks (CB),” he said.Most likely scenario in my view is that we see another pump before a significant retracement. Modestly on $BTC (around $5550 on Coinbase), though *much* more significantly so on alts.Invalidated if $5052 breaks (CB). pic.twitter.com/kFELeXAyYA— Lucid TA (@Lucid_TA) April 8, 2019As the week continues on and the market’s price action continues to unfold, traders will hopefully gain a better understanding of whether or not the long-lasting “Crypto Winter” is truly over, or if the bears still have more ammunition to push the markets lower.Featured image from Shutterstock.
CCN spoke with Adrian Barwicki, a blockchain developer and IT consultant who moved to Germany from Poland for college years ago and never left. Barwicki and a few others work on Honest.cash part-time. Honest.cash is a project that allows people to earn Bitcoin Cash for contributing good content as well as curating it. The concept isn’t new – it’s based on the Yours.org platform, which moved to Bitcoin SV last November. Barwicki says he’d never used Yours.org personally but learned from Twitter that its presence on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain would be missed.
Initially, the idea of “curating” wasn’t evident to him, but Yours.org users made it plain it was a necessity.
“Curator” rewards are earned when someone else upvotes a post you have already upvoted. You get a small amount of the money they spend to upvote, while the creator still gets the majority. The rewards are further split the further down the line they go. If a piece of content becomes popular enough, you can earn your whole upvote cost back.
Bitcoin Cash Has Plenty of Block Space for Honest.cash
Barwicki says he doesn’t believe it was a purely technical move in the case of Yours.org – his website proves that Bitcoin Cash is still handy for the intent.
“Not sure they only had technical reasons to move to SV.”
Yours.org moving to Bitcoin SV left the Bitcoin Cash community without a monetized blogging platform, so Barwicki decided to take the opportunity to build one. He says he had long wanted to get involved in blockchain development but hadn’t seen a real chance until Yours.org created a vacuum.
Ultimately, Honest.cash isn’t trying to compete with Yours.org or even Cent.co – its goal is to disrupt companies like Medium, who earn a lot of money through premium accounts without returning much to the creators.
Permissionlessness Is Most Important
Discussing the principals of Bitcoin, Barwicki says that the most exciting and revolutionary aspect of cryptocurrencies is their permissionless nature. He said:
“Even though I believe it’s important to have a structure that supports privacy, blockchains are not about privacy. The permissionless aspect is more important.”
Barwicki says that, like most people, his first interest in cryptocurrency was in Bitcoin. He appreciates the idea of the Lightning Network, but he does not see any valid reason to limit Bitcoin block size to 1 megabyte at this point in history. Ultimately, he believes Bitcoin Cash will need scaling solutions as well but thinks the premature limiting of Bitcoin’s block size in favor of Lightning Network is a bad move.
“I love the idea of lightning. But I don’t think there’s any reason to stick to the size of 1MB.”
A Growing Platform
Barwicki’s platform enables users to make content “uncensorable” at the click of a button, embedding it in the Bitcoin Cash blockchain. It allows people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to earn cryptocurrency to participate and see how they fare. He estimates the current user base at over 2,000 users. He says he and the rest of the team will go full-time on Honest.cash if and when certain milestones are reached.
The company’s first revenue model was recently introduced: they take a small percentage of content hidden behind a paywall – which is the primary business model of Yours.org.
What would you put behind your first paywall on https://t.co/bSxcqtQZGc? 🤔
And…what would you pay to read / see?
— Honest Cash (@honest_cash) April 6, 2019
He says the team are working on other ways to potentially earn revenue from the site and fund future development.
“90%” of Altcoins Will Fail
CCN asked Barwicki how he feels about Bitcoin maximalism, and about the perception that things like Bitcoin Cash are doomed to fail by nature of “not being Bitcoin.” Barwicki had a lot of thoughts on the subject, best summarized in the following:
“There are right now a lot of shitcoins. There are still a lot of coins that enjoy liquidity. If you want to buy, you can buy without distorting the price, and also if you want to sell, you can sell without changing the price. Those are 2 or 300 coins, and probably 80% of them have no valid use case. […] If you concentrate on the top 10, I wouldn’t agree with the statement that there is going to be just one platform. Bitcoin is for high-value transactions. Ethereum is for smart contracts. [..] For certain use cases, you don’t want to full decentralization. For certain transactions, it’s actually better to just have a consortium of corporations validating them. [..] I think 90% will be dead.”
Barwicki says that, in his experience, most people don’t consider Bitcoin Cash to be a “scam.” The Bitcoin fork continues to produce blocks and pursue development independent of ideas being built on Bitcoin Core. For example, token protocols such as Simple Ledger are beginning to thrive on Bitcoin Cash, presenting the potential for a more vibrant decentralized application community. Honest.cash has a token issued on that protocol.
“Speaking about real life, I’ve met only one person that called Bitcoin Cash a scam. That person didn’t know anything about Bitcoin Cash.”
Honest.cash is still in the early phases of development, but so far it seems to produce fresh content every day, along with a growing community of users willing to risk a little BCH upvoting and buying posts on the site.
Beijing based Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturing giant Bitmain has announced the sales details for the company’s latest range of crypto-specific chips. According to the company, the Antminer 17 series will be capable of mining more than 50 trillion hashes per second.Sales will take place in two batches over the next two days. Shipping is expected to occur later in the month on a first bought, first served basis.Could New Bitcoin Miners Give Bitmain the Edge in a Competitive Market?One of the planet’s largest and best-known manufacturers of Bitcoin mining hardware has just revealed the specifications and sales dates of its next generation crypto mining chips. The Antminer 17 series will be available in three different models. Two of these are available from today or tomorrow (depending on where in the world you live) whilst the third will be sold at a currently undisclosed date. All the new pieces of hardware feature the second generation BM1397 mining chips, which is the the firm’s most efficient to date.The Antminer S17 Pro comes in two versions – the 53 TH/s and the 50TH/s. Both Bitcoin miners have three different mining modes than allows the customer to optimise their unit for either energy efficiency, flat out power, or a happy medium. Turbo mode runs at 45 Joules per Terahash, the normal one at 39.5 J/TH, and the power-saving mode at 36 J/TH.Likewise, the Antminer S17 comes in two versions. Oddly, the Pro version is not the more powerful of the newly announced products since the standard S17s are listed by Bitmain as being capable of 56 and 53 TH/s respectively. However, the standard does only feature two modes, with the more energy preserving unit running at 42 J/TH and the normal mode running at 45 J/TH.Sales will take place in two batches several hours apart. For those crypto miners in North, Central, and South America, the first will be released today at 23:00 PDT, with the second being available tomorrow from 09:00 PDT. Customers living in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa will first be offered the Antminer 17 series tomorrow at 09:00 MSK and then at 19:00 MSK on the same day. Finally, those wanting a new Antminer in Asia will be able to pick one up tomorrow from 14:00 CST and on April 10 at 00:00 CST. The units will ship between April 20 and April 30. They will do so on a first buy, first ship basis.With such a high hash rate, the new Antminers could seriously put pressure back on those manufacturers that have stepped up recently to challenge the Beijing-based giant. The likes of Microbt Mining and Asicminer both claim to offer machines with higher hash rates. For this reason, much of the industry will be eyeing the price of the new Antminer Bitcoin miners when sales begin. For now, prices remain a mystery but if they are priced at less than the competition, the new units could prove very popular indeed.Bitmain seems to have had a pretty rough start to 2019. Reports from the beginning of the year state that the firm was forced to layoff around half its staff and shutdown its Tel Aviv offices. The crypto mining firm had planned to go public on the Hong Kong stock exchange, a process, which for now, seems to have stalled. Related Reading: Regulator Rules Cryptocurrency Mining Contracts Can be SecuritiesFeatured Image from Shutterstock.
The recent crypto market surge has led most individual altcoins to see some hints of individual trading patterns separate from that of Bitcoin, although their trend has overwhelmingly been subject to which direction BTC moves.The uniqueness of the recent trading activity has led one major crypto fund to shift its exposure to multiple major cryptocurrency assets, which may signal how they expect their fund’s individual holdings to trend throughout 2019.Grayscale Shifts Crypto Holdings After Recent Market SurgeGrayscale Investments, an investment group who focuses on digital assets, announced in a recent set of tweets that they have adjusted their Digital Large Cap Fund’s (DLC) crypto holdings in late-March by notably reducing its exposure to both Ethereum and XRP, while increasing their exposure to Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Bitcoin.In a string of tweets, Grayscale explained the move, noting that the decision to shift the DLC’s holdings came about following their quarterly review, which resulted in a rebalancing of its holdings in an effort to uphold the fund’s rule-based strategy that “seeks to provide exposure to the large cap segment of the digital asset class.”“Following the Quarterly Review (3/31/19), we are pleased to announce the updated weightings for Digital Large Cap Fund (‘DLC’),” Grayscale explained, further elaborating on the DLC fund, explaining that it is “a passive, rules-based strategy that seeks to provide exposure to the large cap segment of the digital asset class (70% target coverage).”2/ DLC is a passive, rules-based strategy that seeks to provide exposure to the large cap segment of the digital asset class (70% target coverage)— Grayscale (@GrayscaleInvest) April 5, 2019Moreover, Grayscale also provided the statistics for exactly how drastic the rebalancing would be, noting that they are increasing the fund’s exposure to Bitcoin from 66.8% to 68.3%, its exposure to Bitcoin Cash from 2.8% to 2.9%, and its exposure to Litecoin from 1.8% to 3.3%.In order to increase the DLC’s holdings of the three aforementioned cryptos, Grayscale significantly cut its XRP exposure – reducing it from 14.7% to 11.9%. They also slightly reduced its exposure to Ethereum from 13.9% to 13.6%.Importantly, they also explained that no new crypto assets qualified for eligibility to be added to the fund following the quarterly review.“Although no new assets qualified for inclusion following DLC’S Quarterly Review (3/31/19), the below table highlights how DLC’s weightings have changed from December 31, 2018 to March 31, 2019: $BTC $ETH $XRP $BCH $LTC,” Grayscale noted in a tweet.3/ Although no new assets qualified for inclusion following DLC’S Quarterly Review (3/31/19), the below table highlights how DLC’s weightings have changed from December 31, 2018 to March 31, 2019: $BTC $ETH $XRP $BCH $LTC pic.twitter.com/HwlKPKTQDV— Grayscale (@GrayscaleInvest) April 5, 2019Fund Rebalancing Likely Sparked by Recent Crypto Market Price Action The decision to make some fairly significant adjustments to the fund’s exposure to the major cryptocurrencies was likely dictated by the recent price action in the crypto markets, which led virtually all major digital assets to surge significantly.Over the past month, Bitcoin has surged from lows of roughly $3,800 to highs of $5,300. This massive surge led the other assets held in the DLC fund to climb, with Bitcoin Cash skyrocketing from monthly lows of $128 to highs of $340, and Litecoin jumping from lows of $50 to highs of just under $100.XRP and Ethereum – which were the two cryptos that DLC reduced its exposure to – both have lagged behind the other major cryptos slightly, with Ethereum climbing from monthly lows of $130 to highs of just over $180, and XRP climbing from lows of approximately $0.30 to highs of $0.37.Grayscale likely expects both Ethereum and XRP to continue to lag behind the other major alts, which would justify their decision to reduce their exposure to these assets, while adding weight to the other three.Featured image from Shutterstock.
It’s a moment true bitcoin nerds have been waiting for.
In the coming release of Bitcoin Core, the 18th version of the cryptocurrency’s most widely used software, the code will finally, natively allow users to connect bitcoin full nodes to hardware wallets.
It sounds technical, but it’s a big step for the security of the network. Bitcoin full nodes allow users to verify that transactions actually took place, meanwhile, hardware wallets are considered one of the most secure ways to store bitcoin. Thus, making it easier to join the two together is a big win for users who don’t want full control of their bitcoin – and don’t want to lose it.
Bitcoin Core lead maintainer Wladimir van der Laan, who is in charge of coordinating the coming upgrade, told CoinDesk it’s one of the features he’s been most excited about for quite some time.
Still, the change is part of a much broader effort to make bitcoin full nodes easier to use for people other than just tech geeks. Casa, for example, has launched a node that works without much setup necessary, while developers of the bitcoin protocol are constantly trying to reduce how much data users need to store to run one (as users need to store every transaction ever sent on the blockchain, it’s pretty weighty).
As Bitcoin Core contributor Andrew Chow, one of the lead developers on the project, put it on Twitter:
“With this [pull request] merged, the upcoming Bitcoin Core 0.18 release will be finally usable with hardware wallets by using [Hardware Wallet Interface (HWI)].”
He admits it’s “still command line only and manual,” but argued “it’s a big step forward” because the functionality is finally there, even if in a somewhat clunky form. Developers will continue to make it easier to use down the line.
Eating your cake
So first off, why use a bitcoin full node in the first place?
In order to send a transaction on the bitcoin network, users need to connect to a bitcoin node. Full nodes now require a couple of hundred gigabytes of data, which is a lot, enough to fill a small laptop.
But it does serve a purpose, as rather than trust that someone else is feeding you the correct financial information, such as whether you really received a transaction or not, you’re able to validate this information yourself.
As the value proposition of bitcoin is to not trust others, some developers go as far as to argue that using bitcoin in a way that removes the full node defeats the purpose of bitcoin.
Bitcoin Core contributor Sjors Provoost, for example, has argued that running a full node is helpful for “knowing your bitcoin is real,” offering the example of Segwit2x, a proposed bitcoin fork from 2017 in which some companies, miners, and users proposed upgrading bitcoin to a larger block size.
There was concern that in the case Segwit2x broke bitcoin into two, mobile wallets relying on Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) technology would be susceptible to trickery from miners.
“That server can in theory also lie about your balance. In a scenario like SegWit2x, it could decide which side of the fork it wants to show you. With a full node you don’t have to worry about that,” Provoost told CoinDesk.
Then there’s the issue of privacy.
“The wallet software that normally comes with hardware wallets reveals your addresses to a third-party server,” Provoost continued. The full node would replace this wallet software, giving users privacy again.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to the trade-off between convenience and trust,” Bitcoin Core wallet maintainer Samuel Dobson told CoinDesk.
These problems are what’s fueling the idea that maybe one day “everyone” should run this full node software, so they don’t have to trust anyone else to send them accurate financial information.
“Yes, I believe that everybody will eventually run a full node. I wish a future where not having a full node will severely limit your user experience and the realm of things you can do with bitcoin,” as BTCPay creator Nicolas Dorier wrote in a recent blog post.
Secure, offline bitcoin
The other piece is hardware wallets are considered the most secure way to store bitcoin. That’s especially true when compared to storing them on internet-connected computers, which are often totally exposed to hackers.
“PCs are a much larger attack surface than a small dedicated device to store your keys, designed specifically with security in mind. They’re also less prone to random crashes or corruption which could cause you to lose un-backed-up keys on your computer,” Dobson told CoinDesk.
With this new tech in place in the Bitcoin Core software, users can store their bitcoin on an offline hardware wallet, then use their full node to verify the data they’re getting fed, such as transaction data, is correct.
The technology has been a long-time coming. Connecting hardware to a full node is also one of the key goals of Electrum Personal Server, pioneered by developer Chris Belcher. “Hopefully this software can be part of the plan to get full node wallets into the hands of as many people as possible,” he said in the project announcement post last year.
There are pros and cons to each project, though, Provoost admitted.
“The HWI project should reduce the number of separate software components needed, though at the moment I think it’s still less user-friendly [than Electrum Personal Server],” he said.
And there’s still a ways to go to get the graphical interface totally working. “Maybe one day in the future we’ll have this graphical picture that I showed you – and after that we’ll have unicorns,” Provoost said in his presentation on the topic.
While hardware wallet support in 0.18 has generated much excitement, As usual, the release is filled with other contributions from the pool of global Bitcoin Core contributors.
Dobson told CoinDesk about a few features he finds “exciting,” including refinements to a new “language” that the groundwork was laid for in an earlier version of Bitcoin Core. New commands will allow developers to use this language to “import descriptors.”
“You can provide such a descriptor to Core […] and it will parse it and import the keys, scripts, etc. into your wallet for you,” Dobson said, explaining further:
“This is the first step in a longer term goal to rework the wallet and support these descriptors natively within it, which will clean things up immensely and provide a much more natural behaviours, in line with how you would expect things to behave (and which don’t exactly behave that way currently).”
Dobson also pointed to a new “multiwallet” command, which will allow users to pair with multiple wallets within their bitcoin core full node. While the ability to use multiple wallets at once has existed in the code previously, 0.18.0 plugs the feature in the graphical user interface for the first time, so people no longer have to be full-blown developers using the command line to take advantage of the feature.
“Version 0.18 adds support to the GUI to do that, as well as a few improvements in how it works too,” Dobson said.
As of now, version 0.18 is in the “release candidate” stage of the software development cycle, meaning passionate bitcoin developers and companies are still testing it, picking away at the code in an effort to eradicate any bugs, before it’s released to the larger public to download.
According to project developers, it will be available for users to download in the coming weeks.
Bitcoin image via Shutterstock
Western Union continues to make strides in entering the crypto space. Its most recent move entails a partnership with a Philippines-based e-wallet provider.
The lucky partner is Coins.ph, a blockchain-based financial services outfit whose mission includes helping people who do not have bank accounts. In addition to providing a means for crypto purchases, Coins.ph provides mobile wallets and services such as remittances, mobile air-time, and bill payments.
The partnership is being touted as a means to enable more than five million customers to receive international and domestic money transfers directly into their Coins.ph wallets in the Philippines.
The Crypto Thrilla’ in Manila
You may recall the infamous boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier that was held in Manila 1975. That fight was called the Thrilla’ in Manila and became legendary for the capital of the Philippines.
Now, the country’s leaders have been working to become legendary in the crypto space. They have developed several policies aimed at boosting its image as a crypto-friendly country. This partnership with Western Union could help it considerably.
The hope is that the integration of the Coins.ph blockchain-enabled platform and Western Union’s cross-border platform could help Filipino workers. They will be able to receive and hold international money transfers initiated from Western Union’s digital network.
In a statement, Coins.ph co-founder and CEO Ron Hose said:
“There are many overseas Filipino workers who send money back home regularly and are always looking for additional remittance options that will make it most convenient for their loved ones to receive money. By pairing Coins.ph’s payments technology with Western Union’s expansive global network, we are giving Filipinos a seamless choice to receive money digitally, on the go.”
There are an estimated 10 million1 Filipinos working or residing overseas, according to Hose.
Crypto: Right Up Western Union’s 168-Year-Old Alley?
Western Union Hints At Using Cryptocurrency In Its Services https://t.co/202e03MaGd
— CCN.com (@CCNMarkets) December 20, 2018
In March, Western Union announced it was teaming up with a cross-border payments network so its customers can take advantage of mobile wallets. Through Thunes, Western Union customers can send funds directly into a recipient’s mobile wallet. All they need to do is go online or visit one of the many agent locations just as they do to make traditional transfers, CCN reported.
The world’s largest money service is also working on cryptocurrency-related patents. Documents published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2018 show it wants to devise a method to increase the security of electronic payments. Specifically, Western Union’s system would manage recurring transfer notifications and secure payments for a cryptocurrency network.
Finally, Western Union has trialed the ripple (XRP) cryptocurrency, though CEO Hikmet Ersek said the firm was not impressed with the early results.
PayPal has recently announced that it will be keeping all seller’s fees when processing a refund going forward. Could such a self-serving policy drive online merchants towards alternate payment networks, such as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency?In addition to the seller fee adjustments, PayPal has also announced that it will be altering how it handles intentional payments. Transferring funds from one nation to another used to have a flat fee but will cost a percentage of the total amount transferred. Clearly, any crypto can beat this international transaction fee by more than an insignificant amount.Could PayPal Angering Users Benefit Crypto?According to a report in TechSpot, PayPal has infuriated many of its loyal users with its latest changes to its terms and conditions. Previously, the company would take a small set fee of 30c from the seller in each retail transaction occurring on the network, as well as 2.9 percent of the the value of the goods or service sold. If the buyer requested a refund for whatever reason, the set fee would be kept by PayPal whilst the percentage would be refunded to the seller.In the latest revision of its policies, as of May 7 2019, the international payments processing firm has now made it so that it keeps both the set fee and the percentage of the item’s value when a refund is requested. This is essentially the same as charging a seller for the customer changing their mind about a purchase.The report in TechSpot highlights the unfairness of the amendment with an example in which a seller must refund a $1,000 purchase, at a cost of $29 to themselves.Examples such as the recent irking of PayPal users could eventually provide an opportunity for Bitcoin and other cryptos. Essentially, PayPal justifies its fee taking as the cost of ensuring trust between two parties. They act as mediator between two individuals or companies that may not know each other and can charge what they want for the service.Bitcoin and others cryptos do not rely on a central authority to provide mediation. This role is distributed amongst all the network’s miners and therefore no one party can make any demands on the network’s users, as PayPal can do on a whim.International Payments Also Incur Fees With PayPalPayPal also makes money from its users when they send money from one country to another. The firm used to charge a flat fee for this service. However, with the latest terms and condition changes, it has announced that it will now charge a variable fee of five percent. This intentional transaction fee will be no more than $4.99 and no less than 99c.Since the fee is capped, those sending smaller sums of money are penalised with harsh fees of five percent or even more, whilst those sending huge sums will only pay less than $5 maximum. The real impact of this is that the poorest are effectively charged the most.Compare this with cryptocurrency. Crypto like Bitcoin does not care which imaginary lines it has to travel across to get to its destination. Sending Bitcoin, Ether, Dash, or Litecoin to your friend sat next to you or to the furthest point around the world from you costs exactly the same. As these payment networks continue to mature, it is likely that the harsh fee structures PayPal get away with imposing will be a thing of the past.Likewise, crypto cannot withhold services to individuals in the same way that PayPal can and has done previously. Bitcoin is entirely permissionless and censorship-resistant, meaning that no one can stop anyone else from using it. Related Reading: Bitcoin Surpasses PayPal in Yearly Transaction Volume at $1.3 TrillionFeatured Images from Shutterstock.