After the DAO attack, where hackers gained control of a large amount of ether, the ethereum blockchain had a hardfork. The second-largest crypto by market capitalisation was on the ‘new’ blockchain, which allowed investors to get their funds back from the theft DAO experienced. Some users were not happy, however, and continued operating the original blockchain. This resulted in Ethereum Classic, which had nowhere near the size or volume of its brother coin. That has changed though, as Coinbase, one of the most significant exchanges, surprisingly announced that it would support trading of ETC on its platform. The coin jumped nearly 25% in the wake of the news.
Coinbase allows users to trade bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum and litecoin – a very small offering. The move to support ETC, which will launch on the site in the coming months, ahead of more widely used and traded coins such as ripple or EOS, caught many off-guard. Coinbase has announced the launch of ETC on its platform early, in response to criticism after bitcoin cash was incorporated. Allegations of insider trading, when employees of the site could have bought up bitcoin cash on other sites prior to the announcement in anticipation of a spike in demand, being levelled at the San Francisco based exchange. ETC was chosen as an expansion coin because of the compliance measures Coinbase is taking, working closely with regulators around the globe. This close working relationship saw it apply for trading licences in the US last week.
The crypto-crazy city of Zug is leading the charge to embrace all things blockchain related. The tiny Swiss canton is known as Crypto Valley because of its openness to tech firms working with the technology. The capital city of the region, also known as Zug, started allowing people to pay for municipal services with bitcoin. Now it is going one step further. Using a pilot program which had digitised citizens’ identification, called uPort, the city is allowing people to vote with the technology which is powered by blockchain. Users will be asked to vote on a number of issues, such as whether the annual Lakeside Festival should have fireworks, if they should be allowed to use their digital IDs to rent library books, and if the system should be extended to be used in referenda. The votes, due to take place between the 25th of June and the 1st of July, will be non-binding, however, but people will be able to use their smartphones to cast their ballots. There are currently around 200 residents using the eID system, though that number is set to increase as the technology becomes more widespread. Voting is one of the potential use cases for blockchain, with the immutability, privacy, and accessibility provided by the technology all lending themselves to better enable constituents to participate in democratic processes.
Zug’s embrace of blockchain is yet another example of a blockchain-before-bitcoin strategy, where the underlying technology of the coin is embraced, while regulatory befuddlement around crypto assets stops nations and established institutions from adopting the first project blockchain was used for. Apple has released new guidelines for app developers which puts a stop to any of their devices being used for mining, while it has previously taken a poor view of other crypto apps. Crypto wallets were delisted from the app store, and Coinbase’s app, which allowed for the trading of cryptos, was also removed. Wells Fargo, one of the US’s biggest banks, has now banned people from buying digital currencies with the credit cards they issue. This is as a direct result of the volatility of these assets, and similar moves have been made by other banks around the world. Lloyds in the UK, HDFC in India, and Toronto-Dominion Bank in Canada all place restrictions on clients from using their services to buy cryptos.
That volatility was again in the limelight this week, and it did not go the way that many holders would have hoped. Taking the lead was, of course, was bitcoin (BTC), which started the week at $7,656.22, and went up for the briefest of moments to gain a weekly high of $7,737.14. It looked like it would be a smooth week, with no massive movements, until the early hours of Sunday morning put that hope to rest. A massive plunge sent the price plummeting, down to $6,291.96, and from there the coin never recovered, ending the week at $6,368.50.
It was no different for ethereum (ETH), which started at $607.95, and had a similarly sedate price with a peak of $616.00. The decline came at the around the same time as for bitcoin, and it sent the coin down to $459.00. From there, there was no real recovery, with ETH finishing off at $477.69.
Ripple (XRP) took the same route as the other two major coins. From $0.675 it went to $0.687. A series of sharp declines shook the coin though, with the fall bottoming out at $0.517. It barely bucked that downward trajectory, and finished the week at $0.533.
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