2017 has been a good year for Bitcoin so far, with its price stabilizing above the $1000 mark and reaching to its recent mark $1263.00. Russia and Japan are the ones behind the high rise of Bitcoin this year.
Since the beginning of April, the price of Bitcoin rallied from $1070 to peak at this month’s high of $1227.00 on April 11. At the time of writing, bitcoin is trading at around $1283.81 according to https://blockchain.info/markets. The market value of Bitcoin has increased from around $17.5 billion on April 1 to surpass $19.5 billion on April 20, according to https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/bitcoin/#charts
Japan gives Bitcoin price boost
Bitcoin became officially recognized by Japan on April 1, which obviously gave Bitcoin an immediate boost. Citizens can now use the currency to make purchases. Also, it is exempted from sales tax.
Moreover, following the legalization of Bitcoin, retail giants Bic Camera and Recruit Lifestyle have both made an announcement stating that they will be holding trial payments in order to increase the usage of bitcoins for consumer purchases. Recruit Lifestyle uses the app AirREGI which enables merchants to carry out bitcoin payments. Also, there’s a possibility that over a million Japanese retailers may soon accept Bitcoin payments by the end of 2017.
Japan’s acceptance of Bitcoin has been very helpful since it gave a boost to both local and global demand.
Russia is Changing Its Stance Toward Bitcoin
The Bank of Russia banned the use of digital currencies in 2014 fearing that it would weaken the Russian ruble, which seemed to be struggling at that time.
This ban was the reason behind several bitcoin websites and businesses being shut down. It lead to many lawmakers speaking out against Bitcoin, suggesting that “they cannot be used by individuals or legal entities.”
However, at the end of 2016, The Russian Federal Tax service issued a letter in October stating that under Russian law digital currencies are not illegal and that there are no prohibitions for companies and citizens when it comes to dealing with them. But, this letter still gave no clear indication of how digital currencies will be under regulation in Russia.
Last week, however, Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev said in an interview that The Russian Central Bank and the government are working on an agreement that could see digital currencies such as bitcoin become recognized as a legal payment method as soon as 2018 arrives.
Russia’s change in attitude toward bitcoin has helped shoot up the currency’s price and will likely increase its demand. This could possibly push the price of bitcoin to new heights in the future.
The second-largest stock exchange of Germany, Börse Stuttgart is going to launch a crypto trading app by the end of this year. Sowa Labs, which is a subsidiary of Börse Stuttgart revealed the application on Friday, and said, the app would be available for use from September; also, the app will provide trading support for the following cryptocurrencies:
The official website of the app also says that more assets will be coming soon. The app is called “Bison,” and users will be allowed to download it for free. According to the developers of the app, Binson will not charge additional trading fees. Plus, the app’s prototype will be demoed in Stuttgart during a trade-show this week.
Crypto Trading App
The app is initially designed to offer easy means for investors so that they can gain exposure to the crypto markets. According to the Sowa Labs, the Bison app is going to be the first cryptocurrency trading app that is being supported by a stock exchange and will be the first one to be released by a German company as cryptocurrency stock exchange.
The managing director of Sowa Labs, Ulli Spankowski, said in a statement:
“Bison makes trading in digital currencies easy. It is the first crypto app in the world to have a traditional stock exchange behind it.”
Last year, the exchange developed Sowa Labs, in the month of December and took 100% of its interest in the Ulm-based startup. Even though the accurate figure hasn’t been known, some reports say that the price of the acquisition was in the millions of euros. The progress also shows the current instance of a traditional stock exchange going into the cryptocurrency trading game via subsidiary.
The operator of TMX (Canadian stock exchange company), announced last month that its very-own subsidiary had ‘struck a deal’ for setting up a cryptocurrency brokerage. The brokerage will focus on; bitcoin and ether and will be set to launch in the middle of 2018. The prototype for Bison was unveiled at Invest, which is a German finance and investment trade fair. Reports say, the German version of Bison is scheduled for release in autumn, and after it gets lauched, Börse Stuttgart will announce an English version of it.
So, what’s a decentralized system? In simple words, we can say that a decentralized system works with no servers and each member is permissible to execute transactions. But in the case of the blockchain, each member must have to do some system-tasks as well, such as; storing transactional data.
Fork: Even a group of members can run an alternate-version of reality, which is called “fork.” The fork works by the similar regulations as the original decentralized system – though it might have a diverse state.
Let’s enlighten you about the hierarchical nature of cryptocurrency security!
First Layer – Tokens and Crypto Coins
- One of the first and foremost thing in the crypto world is your cryptocurrency security.
- Whenever you choose a cryptocurrency, you take all the perils and risks related to the protocol.
- If someone can recognize and utilize protocol flaws, they can compromise the whole network, even including you; it won’t be much important which exchange/wallet you are using.
In the first layer, you can find two different types of currencies which include, the coins (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash etc.) and all ICO-issued tokens such as; MOBI or EOS.
What is the Difference?
Well, the difference is in the technical features. Each coin is either an independent network protocol or just a copy of some of it. When you research a crypto protocol from a security stance, make sure to find out if it can be centralized.
Let’s take an example!
In the case of Bitcoin, it’s now centralized around four major mining pools which also means that if all of them collaborate, they can possibly compromise the whole network.
Another advice! Whenever you look for proof-of-stake crypto, make sure to have a look at the genesis. This is also quite imperative, as whoever keeps the preliminary and initial stake can vote for transitions, as well as the network will be also trusting those who have higher stakes. If we take an example of NEO, a PoS network of China, which is same as Ethereum, was distributed 50/50 amid its ICO sales and developer community – unlike Ethereum distribution. Also, the NEO token distribution makes sure that no major stakeholder from the exchange platform or the developing side has enough stake to compromise the whole network.
- Now if we talk about tokens, all of them are based on a smart-contract aspect of few of the coins, which means their reliability and security is first based on the parent cryptocurrency – only subsequently on the smart contract’s code that issued it.
- Mostly, all ICO coins (tokens) are based on Ethereum and just some of them are issued by smart contracts.
- Also, it is imperative to point out that Ethereum got hacked a few years ago due to the DAO protocol hack – later hard forked and rolled back to the state. This also shows that the founders of Ethereum probably have a time machine as it looks like they have the ability to go back in time – yet again if it’s required.
Second Layer – Exchanges
One thing that everyone must understand about the exchanges is that they are written in custom-code with infrastructure security and has got nothing to do with blockchain. If we talk about an exchange, it is just a standard centralized web service arrayed in a data centre. That’s why whenever we talk about the exchanges, we always mention reliability and trust.
Almost every month we hear news about the data breaches and security events that occur because of exchanges.
Here are some latest examples!
- Back in December 2017, $63 million in cryptocurrency was stolen from NiceHash by hackers.
- At the beginning of this year, January 2018, more than $500 million in cryptocurrency was stolen from Coincheck by hackers.
- In February 2018, almost $195 million in cryptocurrency was stolen from BitGrail by hackers.
The hype around cryptocurrencies is due to the number of data breaches. Many exchanges have recently started their business – without investing in proper security measures. Simultaneously, if someone steals tokens/crypto coins from an exchange successfully, it’s nearly impossible to do anything about recovering it.
Third Layer – Wallets
Well, the third layer is linked to your personal security in the crypto world and you must’ve heard a lot about it before.
When you select a wallet for cryptocurrencies, you’ll have two options:
- Hot Wallet
- Cold Wallet
Hot wallet Vs Cold Wallet
- The hot wallet is just like an account in exchange or in simple words, it is a website-based wallet.
- In the case of a hot wallet, your tokens/coins are under the control of your wallet provider.
Whereas, a cold wallet can be a hardware, software or just a paper.
Blockchain Task Force was launched last year by the Finance Minister of Bermuda, David Burt. It encompassed an Authorized and Regulatory Working Group which would make sure that the country is creating a blockchain-friendly environment for concerned startups. After four months, Burt came up with another creative idea, which was to make certain that Bermuda is regulating ICOs for the first time in blockchain history.
David Burt Views About Blockchain-Related Issues
A statement was published on the official website in which talked about the global developments of blockchain-related matters and also the felonious activities that have been recorded in such areas. While discussing this issue, Burt noted that there’s no doubt that these violations have already existed but the technology behind these advances could unsettle traditional methods without any difficulty.
This is the main reason why it has become so essential for the government to deliver an authorized framework because it will make sure that people are not crossing the bounds of the specified regulations while making advancement in their projects. It’s been stated that:
“ICOs have been used to enhance existing product and service offerings and to develop and implement new ones, all without the added costs and burdens of having to hire expensive middlemen to arrange transactions … Bermuda has an opportunity to become a global leader in the Fintech space by being one of the first countries in the world to specifically regulate ICOs. “
ICOs: Limited Trading
Few adjustments will be made in the current Bermuda Laws and a bill will be drafted after that. The finance minister will concede permission to ICOs, and after that, they will be permitted to work legally. But for passing this step, ICOs must have to provide details about the people who are handling the project, roadmaps, hard cap, soft cap, future product development and information of the digital asset.
What should be the next step of Bermuda?
Even though many countries have imposed strict rules and have banned such activities, Burt still suggests that Bermuda should leave its comfort-zone and accept technological revolution there. The parliament of the country is requested to have a discussion on this subject immediately, though, the statement hasn’t specified any date. Burt also highlighted the opportunities that have been set down by blockchain industry and stated:
“We will not stand in the shadows and watch it pass us by.”