Bitcoin Weekly Recap 9-30-2016
Chinese Regulators Block Canaan Sale
After months of consideration, Chinese regulators from the nation’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange have decided to block the purchase of Bitcoin mining hardware provider Canaan by Shandong Luyitong. The deal was going to be the largest Bitcoin industry acquisition in history and would have seen an early entrant in the Bitcoin hardware market purchased to one of China’s well-known electronics manufacturers. Regulators ultimately determined that the risks were too great to allow the acquisition, citing Bitcoin’s short history as a technology and uncertainties about the company. While some had been publicly confident that the deal would be approved, many expressed doubts after officials has decided to intensify their scrutiny of Canaan and the sale terms.
Canaan CEO NG Zhang was publicly optimistic about the results, asserting that the thwarted sale still had positive benefits for his company in terms of increased visibility, improvements in the management structure, and a redoubled commitment to providing product solutions around the globe. The company also remains committed to the release of a 16nm Bitcoin ASIC in the near future.
Japanese Consumers Can Now Pay Electricity Bills Using Bitcoin
In another sign that cryptocurrency continues to make inroads into the mainstream economy, Mitsuwa Industry Co. Ltd has joined with Coincheck operator ResuPress Inc. to enable Bitcoin users in Japan to use the currency to pay their electricity bills. The new Bitcoin payment plan is scheduled to launch in November 2016, and will offer two different options for the utility’s customers by separating them into light user and heavy user categories.
The heavy users will include customers who have knowledge and experience with Bitcoin and its use. Those customers will receive savings of as much as 6% when they use Bitcoin to pay their utility bills. Light users are those with no Bitcoin familiarity. For those users, payment with traditional currencies will earn them Bitcoin. Together, those two options could encourage more Bitcoin owners to make use of their currency, while also providing greater digital currency exposure to consumers who know little about the technology.
Unocoin Exchange Raises 1.5 Million in Funding
Bitcoin exchange Unocoin’s recent funding series saw the company raise $1.5 million in investment funds from investors that included Blume Ventures, ah! Ventures, Digital Currency Group, and BnkToTheFuture. Representatives from the Indian exchange have said that the investment funds will go toward improving the company’s liquidity and achieving operational scaling goals at home and overseas. At least one of the round’s investors has also expressed confidence that some of that money will be used by Unocoin to expand its presence within India’s larger cities.
ACINQ Has Successful Test of Bitfury’s Flare Lightning Network Algorithm
A French Bitcoin firm, ACINQ, has reportedly completed a successful test of the BitFury Lightning Network Flare algorithm. Flare is Bitfury’s solution for using the Lightning Network to make instant payments, and was unveiled this past summer. With the new algorithm, Bitfury has attempted to bring a new micropayments capability to the Bitcoin Network, in hopes of resolving the lengthier settlement times that typically attach to those smaller transactions. According to Bitfury CEO Valery Vavilov, this successful test brings the company “one step closer to bringing the Lighting Network into reality and solving the scalability issue of the Bitcoin Blockchain.”