Thanks for stopping by for our weekly recap of major headlines in bitcoin and fintech news. This week we announced a partnership with Coinify and the roll out of an in-wallet capability for Blockchain Wallet users to buy bitcoin. Also dominating the news was the big leap in price and updates on the upcoming deployment of SegWit and Lightning. Read about these headlines and more, in our weekly news recap!
Buying bitcoin is one of the biggest barriers to entry
At Blockchain, we were excited to announce a partnership with Coinify, a growing blockchain payments service provider headquartered in Denmark. The joint-venture will enable in-wallet bitcoin purchasing without compromising our noncustodial approach to user security and control. UK and European users are the first crowd to see a gradual roll out of the feature, with a long term plan to launch globally.
At its core, the goal of the Blockchain-Coinify partnership is to remove one of the most significant barriers to entry for bitcoin: being able to buy it. Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed Venture Partners further elaborates on the partnership in a recent blog post, stating that it “doesn’t just improve the features of the world’s most popular Bitcoin wallet, it fundamentally addresses the three dimensions of currency consumption that have stymied Bitcoin adoption (speed, ease and security).” Curious to learn more about buying bitcoin in your Blockchain Wallet? Check out our blog post to get a closer look.
What’s so great about bitcoin anyway?
While ease of purchase is one of the biggest hurdles to reaching the mainstream, understanding the benefits and the extent of possibilities bitcoin holds is will also spark its growth. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, founders of NYC-based bitcoin and ether exchange Gemini, sat down with Marketwatch this week to share how they realized its value and perceive its future, which could be as a daily-use currency, a way to allow for seamless payments behind the scenes, or a new version of digital gold.
With so many entrepreneurs in the space excited and eager to see bitcoin and its underpinning technology grow, increased public acceptance is an inevitable part of its future. And if there’s one aspect of bitcoin that most people have noticed, it’s the price. Following last year’s move from the NYSE to start publishing a daily USD price index for bitcoin, CME Group Inc has now launched a pair of indexes to make bitcoin trading easier for investors. The exchange giant even went a step further than the NYSE by adding daily and real-time indexes that are updated every second.
While the bitcoin price is affected by a variety of market factors, CME’s launch happened days before the price shot up by 4% in 1 hour and reached its 3-year all time high in Europe of EUR699.50. Speculator suggestions for the increase include the weakening Chinese Yuan, low liquidity, a surge in demand, and possibly even a 500,000 BTC exchange order. Whatever the reason, it’s great to see the price hit some high notes.
Coming soon: Segregated Witness and the Lightning Network
A year and a half after the Lightning Network white paper was released it looks like the official deployment is in sight. First we’ll see the deployment of SegWit, an implementation necessary to secure Lightning transactions.
Lightning has widely been considered a promising solution to bitcoin’s scaling issues and transaction malleability, but some have voiced valid concerns about the risks of implementing an off-chain solution. ViaBTC’s CEO Haipo Yang believes solutions like SegWit and Lightning “will turn Bitcoin into something that can only be used by a few . . . [and] will cause Bitcoin to turn into something like Tor: limited to a few grey area use cases, and incapable of achieving mainstream acceptance.” Instead he favors Bitcoin Unlimited, a solution that claims a dynamic market-based approach to transaction capacity. While it’s uncertain if SegWit and Lightning are ideal solutions, many agree that deploying them is the only way to find out.