How could we have a week in review without talking about some real-time bitcoin history? Following along with the excitement of the cryptocurrency community as the market value of bitcoin reached all-time highs was almost as much fun as watching bitcoin grow in leaps and bounds over the last few days. But, as many already asking: What happens next? Via TechCrunch.
I wrote a post earlier in the week about a piece that appeared in Aeon magazine. The author, EJ Spode, writes about how one of the biggest fallacies of cryptocurrencies is that they operate in a “trustless” environment, guided only by the purity of algorithms. While it’s true that one of the biggest advantages of cryptocurrency networks is that they cut out the expensive and inefficient middleman (which for the purposes of this argument we can interpret as humans), it’s worth noting that trust — on a couple of different levels — is still involved. I bring the Aeon piece up again because I do think it’s worth a read, especially to temper some of the bitcoin market enthusiasm. Via Aeon.
I found this Medium post from Coinbase useful as a general intro to Ethereum. The post compares and contrasts bitcoin and ethereum, and even if you feel like you have this all figured out, it’s worth a read. If nothing else, it might help you better explain how these currency systems work to others. Here’s a little example: “Ethereum is different than Bitcoin in that it allows for smart contracts which can be described as highly programmable digital money. Imagine automatically sending money from one person to another but only when a certain set of conditions are met. For example, an individual wants to purchase a home from another person. Traditionally there are multiple third parties involved in the exchange including lawyers and escrow agents which makes the process unnecessarily slow and expensive. With Ethereum, a piece of code could automatically transfer the home ownership to the buyer and the funds to the seller after a deal is agreed upon without needing a third party to execute on their behalf.” Via Medium.
March madness: Bitcoin ETF-style
One of the factors thought to be driving bitcoin to an all-time high market value in recent days, is speculation about a ruling from the SEC on bitcoin ETFs. The ruling, if favorable, is seen as a major step in bring the cryptocurrency mainstream. The decision is attracting a lot of attention — you can even bet on the outcome, which many believe will happen by March 11. From a Bloomberg piece, “When the SEC approves a product, they’re saying it’s ready for prime time for Middle America,” Balchunas said. “And that may be what trumps it all here: by approving it, the SEC would be legitimizing this product for retail investors.” Via Bloomberg.
Protect the passcodes
The cryptocurrency world is also aflutter with the news of a bug detected in Cloudflare, a security firm used by many crypto exchanges to protect passwords. Now is probably a good time to review your passwords and make some changes. CoinDesk is reporting that so far Coinbase, BitPay, Blockchain and LocalBitcoins are affected. I also got an email from Kraken suggesting a password reset. A full list can be found on GitHub. Via CoinDesk.