Bitcoin news roundup April 2, 2017


This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:

MasterCard survey shows European shoppers are wary of digital currencies

According to CoinDesk a survey conducted by MasterCard shows European consumers don’t seem to be too fond of digital currencies when paying for things online. The survey reportedly polled nearly 43.000 people between the ages of 18 and 64, and revealed that a mere 2% of respondents claim to use digital currencies when paying for goods online. As far as interest went, only 11% of respondents expressed it regarding payments in digital currencies, as others preferred alternatives such as e-wallets and QR code scanning. According to MasterCard, the top country in which people are interested in digital currencies is Spain.

BitFury mines a SegWit block, as several companies claim not to support bitcoin unlimited

As reported by DeepDotWeb, the bitcoin scaling debate has been heating up in the past few weeks. This week, BitFury, a prominent bitcoin mining pool, has recently mined a block signaling support for the user-activated soft fork Segregated Witness (SegWit) with Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) 148. According to Shaolin Fry, the author of BIP 148:

  • “Segwit increases the blocksize, fixes transaction malleability, and makes scripting easier to upgrade as well as bringing many other benefits. It is hoped that miners will respond to this BIP by activating Segwit early, before this BIP takes effect. Otherwise this BIP will cause the mandatory activation of the existing segwit deployment before the end of midnight November 15th 2017.”

This week, other companies other than BitFury, specifically BitGo, and the Armory wallet, have publicly stated they do not support Bitcoin Unlimited (BU). Armory, for one, stated it does not agree with “BU’s primary principle that the block size should be decided by user and miner vote”. BitGo, on the other hand, has claimed it doesn’t consider BU to be supportable.

Bitcoin is now officially recognized in Japan

According to reports, Japan’s Cabinet has passed a set of bills in the past few months that were meant to officially recognize bitcoin in the country as of today. Although this is great news for bitcoin, there are still a lot of questions to be answered. According to Nikkei the bill poses a dilemma when it comes to accounting. There are currently no guidelines as to what digital currencies should be seen as and, as such, it’s hard to put bitcoin on spreadsheets, at least for now.

Bitcoin exchanges in the country will have to meet a number of requirements. These including having a minimum capital of 10 million yen (roughly 90.000 USD).

Indian bitcoin Exchange Zebpay restates bitcoin is legal in India

An Indian politician named Kirit Somaiya has, this past week, labeled bitcoin a hypothetical currency, questioning whether or not it was merely a pyramid scheme. Indian media was then all over his remark and, to a certain extent, started claiming bitcoin had been declared illegal in the country. Zebpay, a prominent Indian exchange, stepped in and tackled these reports. In a blog post, the company wrote:

  • “No, that is not true. Nothing has changed regarding bitcoin’s legal status in India this week. In our opinion, bitcoin is not illegal. Bitcoin is legal under all existing laws. It’s business as usual at all Indian bitcoin exchanges including Zebpay.”

In the post, the company also reaffirmed bitcoin is not a ponzi scheme, just like the country’s fiat currency isn’t.

Moreover, there is a now a petition on raised by the Indian bitcoin industry that asks the Indian government to announce bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as legal in the country. At the time of press, the petition has already been signed by nearly 9.000 people.

New exchange emerges in New Zealand after BitNZ shut down

New Zealand’s most prominent exchange, BitNZ, shut down because according to exchange they could no longer continue operations in the country, as banks refused to offer them banking services. According to a press release, however, a new exchange named BitPrime launched this week, and it claims to cater to “everyday New Zealanders”. The exchange works with LocalBitcoins, to ensure transactions by using the platform as a third-party escrow service that holds the bitcoins until a transaction is finished. Looking at the company’s LocalBitcoins profile reveals it has already performed over 100 transactions with over 200 partners, totaling a trade volume of over 100 BTC.

Bitcoin at $1087,42, with a market cap of $17 billion

This year has been amazing for bitcoin, as the currency’s value keeps the 4-digit mark, even though it still has its ups and downs. At the time of press, one bitcoin is worth $1087,42 according to CoinMarketCap.

Litecoin’s value nearly doubled, as market cap reaches $330 million

This week saw Litecoin’s price nearly double from roughly $4,19 to as much as $7,9 in some exchanges. The currency, created by Charlie Lee as the ‘silver’ to bitcoin’s ‘gold’, now has a market cap of over $330 million. Although it isn’t exactly clear why the currency’s value surged, some believe it’s because it can now be exchanged by Coinbase users in New York, as reported by DeepDotWeb, while others believe it’s because of how SegWit-friendly the currency seems to be becoming. At the time of press, one unit was worth $6,6.

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