Venezuela launched the presale of its own cryptocurrency, the petro, today. There are currently 82 million tokens available, which the government plans to follow with an initial coin offering (ICO) launch in a month. It’s the world’s first sovereign cryptocurrency, built on the Ethereum blockchain and intended in part to save the country from wild inflation. The bolivar has reached quadruple-figure inflation recently, and one bolivar is currently worth 0.00004 USD.
Square’s Cash app has added new features that allow users to buy and sell bitcoin. Currently, the features are in beta and available to a small number of users, but future updates may add support for easy bitcoin transactions between friends and family members.
Japan has risen above the U.S. in the worldwide rankings for the largest bitcoinexchange market. The country now accounts for roughly 48 percent of the global market share, reaching a high of 51 percent over the weekend.
Bitcoin has been around since 2009, but it really wasn’t until recently that it finally hit the mainstream consciousness of investors and the general public. As of this writing 1 bitcoin is now worth over $5,600 USD. And its meteoric rise doesn’t look to be abating any time soon. Its potential to reshape how we understand and use money is real. But the big question is why are banks and governments so steadfastly against it?
Russia and China see a new way to completely control their financial systems.
Unverified rumors that Amazon (AMZN) will start accepting Bitcoin (COIN) (OTCQX:GBTC) have been shaking cryptocurrency communities lately. Though these rumors might prove to be untrue in the end, facts are that there seems to exist lots of demand for this new way of payment. There even was an online petition to convince Jeff Bezos to adopt Bitcoin as an accepted way of payment at Amazon.
Bitcoin is on an ever-upward trend lately. Today, the world’s first and most popular cryptocurrency is flirting with $4,500 in valuation. Bitcoin is now more than three times more valuable than gold., and, according to one expert, Ronnie Moas of Standpoint Research, we are still only at the tip of the iceberg.
A few days ago, a startup called Bancor raised around $153 million in two hours and twenty-five minutes.
The ICO, short for initial coin offering, followed several similar, equally successful funding events, and the numbers are rising. Prediction market Augur raised around $5.2 million over two months in 2015; this year, its competitor Gnosis raised $12 million in just 15 minutes. And we could only be getting started.
Bytecoin, an untraceable privacy-preserving cryptocurrency, has just seen an astronomical triple-digit percent surge in price. The cryptocurrency soared to the all time high market capitalization of $444,000,000, before calming down to around $300,000,000 and establishing itself at the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization at the time of writing (according to CoinMarketCap). A symbolic turning point for one of the first untraceable cryptocurrencies launched in 2012.
“Code is law,” as described in Lawrence Lessig’s book ‘Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace’, refers to the idea that computer code has progressively established itself as a predominant way to regulate behavior to the same degree as legal code.
With the advent of blockchain technology, code is assuming an even stronger role in regulating people’s interactions.
However, while computer code can enforce rules more efficiently than legal code, it also comes with a series of limitations.
Even years into the deployment of the internet, many believed that it was still a fad. Of course, the internet has since become a major influence on our lives, from how we buy goods and services, to the ways we socialize with friends, to the Arab Spring, to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Yet, in the 1990s, the mainstream press scoffed when Nicholas Negroponte predicted that most of us would soon be reading our news online rather than from a newspaper.
Fast forward two decades: Will we soon be seeing a similar impact from cryptocurrencies and blockchains? There are certainly many parallels. Like the internet, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are driven by advances in core technologies along with a new, open architecture — the Bitcoin blockchain. Like the internet, this technology is designed to be decentralized, with “layers,” where each layer is defined by an interoperable open protocol on top of which companies, as well as individuals, can build products and services. Like the internet, in the early stages of development there are many competing technologies, so it’s important to specify which blockchain you’re talking about. And, like the internet, blockchain technology is strongest when everyone is using the same network, so in the future we might all be talking about “the” blockchain.