Bitcoin’s Biggest Move Yet

The bitcoin blockchain will be splitting into two parts in the very near future.  This is due to the fact that current technology can only keep up with so much memory and data in transactions, and with the impending future of bitcoin growing and being even more widely used it would not be able to keep up.  Learn more about the transition and hear what Matthew himself has to say about it in the article below.

A new digital currency is about to be created as the bitcoin blockchain is forced to split in two

  • Members of the bitcoin community unhappy with its direction are forcing the blockchain to split.
  • This will create a new, separate digital token called Bitcoin Cash.
  • Every investor with bitcoins will receive the same number of Bitcoin Cash tokens, although not all exchanges will accept them.

A collection of bitcoin tokens stand in this arranged photograph.

Bitcoin faces a pivotal moment as investors are about to receive an entirely new asset called Bitcoin Cash after the blockchain supporting the cryptocurrency is forced to split in two.

“The creation of Bitcoin Cash is certainly a pivotal moment for Bitcoin and its community,” Charles Hayter, founder of digital currency comparison website CryptoCompare, told CNBC on Monday.

“The inception of Bitcoin Cash may prove to be exactly what Bitcoin needs.”

On August 1, a “user activated hard fork” will take place. Members of the bitcoin community unhappy with the direction of the digital asset have set up an alternative “node” called Bitcoin ABC.

Nodes are required to send messages across the bitcoin network, but Bitcoin ABC will use a different set of rules, causing the blockchain (the digital ledger which records every bitcoin transaction) to fork and create two separate digital assets: the original bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

And because Bitcoin Cash will have all the history from the old blockchain, any investors with bitcoin tokens will receive the same number of tokens on the new blockchain.

However, Bitcoin Cash will likely only be worth a fraction of bitcoin. The original digital currency is trading around $2778.39 today, but future values for Bitcoin Cash on the website Coin Market Cap are just $288.35, or 0.103 of a bitcoin.

Why is bitcoin splitting?

The bitcoin community has been divided on how to solve its scaling issue. Currently, only 1 megabyte of transactions can be processed at any one time, leading to delays.

“Demand for Bitcoin has been so high in recent months, that those creating the cryptocurrency can’t keep up, slowing transactions,” Iqbal Gandham, U.K. Managing Director at eToro, said in a press statement on Monday.

“For bitcoin to continue to scale and have the potential to become a globally used currency, this slowdown in transactions has to be addressed.”

Bitcoin miners attempted to solve the scaling debate earlier this monthby signalling support for SegWit2X. This would introduce “segregated witness” to the block chains, which would move some of the data outside the main bitcoin network to increase its capacity, and later increased the number of transaction to 2 megabytes.

However, some investors, miners and exchanges are unhappy with the proposal and think that it doesn’t go far enough. Bitcoin Cash will increase the transaction limit to 8 megabytes.

“This means that the two sides that were once debating within Bitcoin, can instead apply their different views of what the cryptocurrency should be in two different blockchains,” said Hayter.

“So while this is a development that sparked from previous disagreements, it may come to end the scaling debate once and for all.”

Who is supporting Bitcoin Cash?

Bitcoin exchanges are divided on whether or not to support Bitcoin Cash. Several exchanges, such as BitMEX, Bitstamp and Coinbase, have said they will not support or allow trading of Bitcoin Cash on their exchanges, which means investors holding bitcoins on these sites will not receive any new tokens.

Some exchanges are also suspending bitcoin trading, withdrawal and deposits around the time of the fork. Hayter advises bitcoin investors to check for any statements issued by their exchange to find out whether or not they will receive the new token.

Bitcoin Cash may gain more support once it launches, according to Garrick Hileman, research fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

“Because millions of bitcoin users will automatically own Bitcoin Cash, and because a sizable number of wallets and exchanges (including some of the largest) have announced support for Bitcoin Cash, it is likely to live on for the foreseeable future,” he told CNBC via email.

“Bitcoin Cash could be significant but we won’t know more until after it launches. If it fails to sustain support then it could fade away.”

What will Bitcoin Cash be worth?

Aurélien Menant, founder and CEO of Gatecoin, a regulated bitcoin and ethereum token exchange based in Hong Kong, says parts of the community are referring to the new token as Bcash. He says the new coin will pose no threat to the future of bitcoin.

“Investors holding both bitcoin and Bcash may benefit from the speculative price gains in both cryptocurrencies following the hard fork, but adoption of Bcash as a network will be limited in the short term.”

Fran Strajnar, co-founder & CEO of data and research company Brave New Coin, says most cryto currency funds and investors are looking forward to receiving their free tokens.

“Most will likely hold as it’s free, just to see what happens or for hedging,” he told CNBC via email on Monday.

“However a majority of everyday users, traders and investors are vocal about market dumping their free tokens as soon as they can.”

Strajnar predicts the price for Bitcoin Cash could be hit heavily once it is open to trading.

“If there’s any legs at all to Bitcoin Cash or if the miners backing it deploy large scale and sustained attacks on bitcoin, then Bitcoin Cash may survive its initial violent birth.”

Whatever happens, bitcoin will not disappoint in terms of creating drama, says Matthew Roszak, co-founder & chairman of blockchain enterprise software company Bloq.

“This entire process will be a key test for bitcoin in its evolution beyond a store of value and show its potential to grow into something much greater,” he told CNBC via email.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/31/blockchain-fork-will-create-new-digital-crypto-currency-bitcoin-cash.html

Beaming Bitcoin From Space

You may have previously seen news about Bitcoin in space.  Now, technology created by Blockstream is pushing towards a “Blockstream Satellite” that can get bitcoin from space to anywhere on the planet.  Learn about the progress and problems that Blockstream has faced thus far and what it could mean for the future of bitcoin in the article below.

Blockstream Is Using Satellites to Beam Bitcoin Down to Earth

Aug 15, 2017 at 14:59 UTC by Alyssa Hertig

Sounds fantastical? Maybe, but Blockstream swears it isn’t as crazy as it sounds.

Today, the bitcoin infrastructure company is launching Blockstream Satellite, an ambitious attempt to use leased satellites to beam bitcoin nearly anywhere in the world. Now in beta, bitcoin users in Africa, Europe, South America and North America can already use the satellites to download a working bitcoin node capable of storing the network’s entire transaction history.

But while complex conceptually, the company believes its end result can solve a real issue facing the $66 billion network – without internet, you can’t access bitcoin.

And this poses a problem for bitcoin proponents who believe the cryptocurrency could be especially beneficial to people without internet, who also generally live in areas with economic instability.

So, Blockstream decided to set its sights on a solution, and found it in space.

According to Blockstream CEO Adam Back, the project is all about putting bitcoin into the hands of those who “desperately need” it.

He told CoinDesk:

“There is some coincidence between countries with poor internet infrastructure and unstable currencies. The people who are in direct need of bitcoin are those who currently have unstable access to bitcoin. This project will address that problem, and, we hope, will allow many more people to use bitcoin.”

The vision

While running a full node is a cumbersome process, it’s nonetheless the most secure and trustless way of using the digital currency, and for individuals dealing with political and economic instability, this process could prove crucial.

But because full nodes require an Internet connection and 160 GB of free space, they are a rarity in some regions of the world. There’s allegedly only one man running a full node in all of West Africa, for example.

While Blockstream is now taking care of a way to download a full node, there are a few other choice technologies those that want to take advantage of the satellite will need.

Users will need a small satellite dish – if they already have a TV satellite, they could use that – and a USB to connect the satellite to a personal computer or a piece of dedicated computer hardware such as a Raspberry Pi. The rest can be accessed through free, open-source software, such as GNU Radio for establishing a radio connection.

“The cost to entry is extremely low,” said Blockstream’s head of satellite, Chris Cook. According to him, the package of equipment costs “a little under $100.”

Then, once users have those tools, they can pull bitcoin blocks from the satellite, building a bitcoin full node.

Cheaper technology

But while they’ll now be running a full node, it still takes some sort of Internet connection to make transactions over the network.

While many users in the areas Blockstream is targeting won’t be able to afford mobile data connection plans to initiate transactions, Back argued cheaper communications technologies, such as SMS or bi-directional satellite, could be used instead.

Transactions, he said, take up about 250 bytes, which wouldn’t cost more than one penny to transfer using such technologies.

In this way, Back’s vision of the satellite as bringing bitcoin even to people completely off-the-grid is theoretically possible. He offered the example of a small hut on the side of the road in the Sahara Desert in Africa, adding:

“With a perpetual generator out back with a satellite dish, a Raspberry Pi by the generator, a local wi-fi hot spot, and the necessary software set up, you could be transacting globally with bitcoin.”

Sounds like a lot, but Back argued that it would be pretty cheap, especially if costs are pooled between multiple people, like if an entire village shared the costs of setting up the infrastructure that they could then all use.

Monetizing space bitcoin

While it’s ambitious as is, Blockstream is taking that mission even further, adding more satellites as the year goes on, with the hope the most people on earth will be able to access a bitcoin satellite by the end of the year.

“The only people that won’t be covered are those in Antarctica,” Back said.

While the project is technically feasible, though, is it financially so?

Bitcoin is admittedly a different beast, but other Internet space projects don’t have a great track record so far. Although, Blockstream does have plans to monetize the satellite.

According to Back, Blockstream will eventually release an API for developers and companies to send data over the satellite connection for a small bitcoin fee.

He concluded:

“That might allow a smartphone wallet that sends messages to send it via satellite or some application to send messages via satellite. That’s a way to monetize the infrastructure and to expand to more services on it.”

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Blockstream.

Satellite image via Blockstream

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/blockstream-using-satellites-beam-bitcoin-earth/