Digital Currency Weekly Recap 8-21-2016
In Response to Bitfinex Hack, BitGo Calls for Crypto Standard
In the aftermath of the Bitfinex hack that resulted in the loss of some $70 million in Bitcoin, new questions have emerged about cryptocurrency security. BitGo CEO Mike Belshe this week responded to those concerns in a blog post on his company’s site. After disagreeing with the naysayers who suggest that cryptocurrency may not ever be as secure as it needs to be, Belshe expressed his belief that Bitfinex and similar incidents are opportunities for the community to improve the system and its security. The remainder of the post focused on the work done by the Crypto Currency Certification Consortium (C4) to establish standards for the industry – standards that would include how wallets and keys are handled.
Belshe argues that worries about security won’t preclude widespread adoption of the technology by financial institutions because the C4’s Crypto Currency Security Standard (CCSS) – in combination with other standard security practices – will harden system security in ways that prevent attacks like Bitfinex from occurring in the future. He also notes that those standards may even help to increase public confidence in the technology once C4 actively provides certification to Bitcoin companies.
Steem Cools, But Still Fourth-Largest Digital Currency
After bursting onto the scene and rapidly gaining in value in July – riding a wave of enthusiasm that saw its market cap soar to more than $400 million, the digital currency Steem has lost some of that steam in recent weeks. The currency’s current market cap has been hovering around $170 million, which is still enough to make it the fourth largest cryptocurrency in the world – behind only Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. Steemit, the company responsible for Steem, is a social media platform that provides Steem rewards for content creators.
World High on FinTech
Global investment in FinTech companies continues to surpass most expectations, and broke records in the second quarter of this year with a total of $8.2 billion invested in digital currency, blockchain, and other FinTech firms. That number was more than twice the amount of investment received in the first quarter of the year. China has led the way this year, with more than $7 billion worth of funding for Chinese FinTech firms since January 1st. Much of that investment has poured into payments solutions, in large part due to the nation’s less-developed banking industry.
North American and European investment have lagged behind, with $2 billion and about $1 billion respectively. Over the course of the last twelve months, there’s been an estimated 423 billion worth of FinTech investment around the world.
Bank of England Crypto Effort Slowed by Shortage of Experts
One of the problems with any effort to take advantage of cutting-edge technology is that there’s always the potential of reaching a point where there just aren’t enough experts to meet your needs. That’s the dilemma confronting the Bank of England these days as it finds its effort to race ahead with digital currency technology slowed due to an inability to find the requisite expertise it needs to keep pace with its plans. The Bank spent part of this summer searching for someone to lead its exploratory team –and they’re apparently still looking, since they re-posted the job advertisement:
“The Digital Currencies Team is looking for someone to lead the Bank’s economic research on central bank issued digital currency (CBDC). By CBDC we mean the ability for companies, or in extremis individuals, to have access to central bank money in a digital format. The research stream includes, but is not limited to, the macro- and micro-economic impact of CBDC on the economy, the monetary and financial stability risks and benefits of a CBDC, the impact on the Bank’s operations, and the development of strategies to maximise benefits/minimise risks associated with CBDC systems. The work will consider whether there is a rationale for the Bank to issue a CBDC which will include an assessment of risks posed by alternative digital currencies.
The job has five elements: (a) doing own research work/intellectual leadership/original thinking, (b) interacting with other researchers both inside the Bank and in academia, stimulating and co-ordinating relevant research (c) making policy recommendations (d)leading and project managing the Bank’s internal economic work on CBDC, (e) managing and developing one staff member.”
If you’re looking for work and meet the requirements posted with the job listing, you have until September 15th, 2016 to apply.