Welcome to our weekly recap of the latest headlines in bitcoin and fintech. This week bitcoin received praise from the CFO of Netflix, UK fintech entrepreneurs spoke out on the negative impact of tougher immigration laws, and updates on much anticipated scaling solutions like SegWit also surfaced. Keep reading to find out about these headlines and more.
Bitcoin is a promising alternative to big banks
Netflix Executive Wants Bitcoin as Global Currency, Considers It Cost-Effective
At a recent conference, Netflix CFO David Wells mentioned bitcoin in a positive light, expressing his optimism about the digital currency and how Netflix can leverage it to make their business better. Just how could bitcoin make Netflix better? According to a researcher, Netflix is looking for alternative payment methods to help reduce fraud.
Wells is among many recognizing bitcoin’s unique properties, including fraud prevention and more open access to financial services. The bitcoin community vocalized many of these positive aspects to outspoken news outlet RT News this week, who recently had their bank accounts shut down arbitrarily. The explicit reason for the account closure is unknown at this time, but it has left RT News in search of alternatives. Access to bitcoin can’t be so easily manipulated by governments and is virtually impossible to totally shut down, so individuals and companies like RT News who get cut off from conventional financial services may begin to see it as an increasingly favorable alternative.
Strict immigration stifles innovation
Bitcoin offers a new perspective on innovation for countless industries. While many countries have established regulations that favor innovation, a recent statement from the UK’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd that described a strict approach to immigration has many fintech entrepreneurs in London concerned. Fintech companies rely heavily on international talent, and tougher immigration laws may mean the local fintech scene will suffer.
Among many foreign entrepreneurs who have established companies in the UK, Blockchain’s CEO Peter Smith showed his own concern about the statement stressing that the UK’s position in global fintech may be at risk.
It’s no doubt that the technology behind bitcoin is helping to uncover new ideas that have far reaching implications. According to an article this week from CoinDesk, a judge in Delaware is pushing for a voting mechanism that uses blockchain technology to empower corporate shareholders. Depending on how this unfolds, it’s possible we could see increased efforts to try a similar innovation for electoral voting as well.
While we love all the optimism, we can’t forget that mainstream bitcoin acceptance is still in early stages and has a long road ahead. This fact is well illustrated in this new proposal from the European Central Bank (ECB), who have said that bitcoin doesn’t qualify as a currency and discouraged promotion of digital currencies. Their concerns centered primarily around the risk high volatility brings, plus the lack of control central banks would have over digital currencies like bitcoin. Despite their hesitation, the ECB did say that distributed ledger technology has the potential to increase efficiency when it comes to payments and transfers.
Development on the Bitcoin protocol marches on
This week we learned that the development of the Segregated Witness (SegWit) code aimed at helping bitcoin to scale may finally be ready for a near-future release. SegWit is a notable and highly discussed topic that provides a potential solution to scaling the network by separating signature data from transaction data, thereby decreasing transaction size and allowing each block to accommodate more transactions.
Bitcoin’s Lightning Network also saw an update this week, as several developers who are working on standalone Lightning code and implementations came together in Milan to discuss integrating their projects. Our very own Mats Jerratsch heads up our Lightning implementation, Thunder; while he didn’t attend the meeting in Milan, takeaway decisions included the use of Jerratsch’s two-stage HTLC approach to theft and fraud issues in the future working implementation.