Digital Currency Weekly Recap 7-24-2016
Bitcoin Developers Not Happy About Ethereum Hard Fork
Though many in the Ethereum community were pleased to see the successful execution of the hard fork that resulted in the return of tens of millions of dollars of stolen Ether, the action has drawn criticism from other quarters. Many have expressed concerns that the very idea of the blockchain as a platform that can provide an immutable record of transactions has been cast into doubt by the recent fork. Not surprisingly, Bitcoin developers have been among those who have decided to go public with their concerns about how Ethereum’s actions may impact the entire industry.
According to these developers, the Ethereum hard fork decision may have an impact on public confidence in all applications of blockchain technology. The concern now is that the recent hard fork will establish a precedent that will make it easier for regulators and others to force changes. Moreover, some feel that the so-called consensus used to justify the decision was 1) not really a consensus due to the small number of people who actually participated in the vote; and 2) was only obtained due to the involvement of certain high-profile, influential members in the community.
For some, the decision is akin to the bank bailout that took place in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. According to Gideon Greenspan of Coin Sciences, the recent fork could even disrupt future use of smart contracts, since it sets a precedent that may lead some to expect that they should be bailed out in this manner if a smart contract fails to meet expectations. At the same time, many in the Bitcoin community still recognize that the hard fork may have been the best of a variety of bad options. For while many criticize the decision to fork, taking no action to recover the stolen coins might have led to a complete collapse of public confidence and an even stronger push for government regulation.
Coinbase Launches Support for Ethereum
One day after Ethereum’s hard fork, Coinbase added support for Ether for its customers around the world. That support includes customer accounts and the Coinbase Buy Widget that enables the company’s customers to purchase Ether through the Brave browser or by simply using the website. Those customers will now have the ability to forgo the currency conversion costs associated with converting their Bitcoin to Ether and can instead conduct transactions in Ether and store the coin in their Coinbase account.
England’s Central Bank: National Cryptocurrency Could Benefit Economic Output
A recent report from economists at the Bank of England examined the effects that a central bank-issued cryptocurrency might have on a nation’s economy and found that such action could potentially provide a much-needed boost. More importantly, that increase in economic output might be sustainable over the long-term. The results should spark even more interest in digital currency from national governments – though it is doubtful that it will change many minds where decentralized cryptocurrencies are concerned.
Using the United States economy as a model, the economists simulated the nation’s economic response to the introduction of a national digital currency with a total value of 30% of the American economy in 2008. The study concluded that the net effect would involve a reduction of taxes, transaction costs, and real rates of interest – and produce a GDP increase that could be as high as three percentage points. The results were apparently optimistic enough that the economists’ main concern is that the new digital currencies – which would be introduced and maintained in parallel to existing fiat currencies – would eventually prove so popular that citizens would abandon fiat money in favor of the digital option.
IC3 Partners with Ethereum Foundation for Crypto Boot Camp
Cryptocurrency initiative IC3 has partnered with the non-profit Ethereum Foundation to organize what they are referring to as a Crypto Boot Camp at Cornell University in New York from July 20th through July 28th. Despite the name, anyone who attends with the thought of enjoying a grueling regimen of physical training, marching, and firing range practice will be sorely disappointed. This is definitely not that kind of boot camp.
Instead, participants will be exposed to a week-long period of coding and instruction about blockchain technology, smart contracts, and related crypto technology concerns. The event will also involve daily speakers that include various leading lights from both IC2 and the Foundation. The Boot Camp is open to developers and experts in the field, as well as novices who have no experience with blockchain technology. For more information, visit the event web page.