This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:
Litecoin to implement Segregated Witness
Litecoin’s scaling debate is seemingly coming to an end, as miners and developers reached an agreement over the future of one of the largest cryptocurrencies. The agreement came after an 8-hour long meeting on WeChat between miners and developers. The final decision was to activate Segregated Witness. It was supported by several prominent organizations including F2Pool, BW.com, OKCoin, Huobi, and Bitmain, as well as the currency’s creator Charlie Lee. According to CoinDesk, efforts are being made to bring other parties such as Poloniex, Bitstamp, and Bitfinex into the group. The document reads:
- 4. Through a voting process, the participating members unanimously agree to the following plan regarding to Litecoin protocol upgrade:
a. To implement Segregated Witness softfork on Litecoin.
b. When the usage of Litecoin block capacity is over 50%, we will start to prepare for a solution to increase the 1MB block size limit through a hardfork or softfork.
The market seems to approve the decision, as litecoin’s price increased after it was made. Through Twitter, Bitcoin Core developer Johnson Lau has recently said he would join the litecoin development team if SegWit was activated, while still continuing to contribute to bitcoin.
— Johnson Lau (@johnsonlau01) April 18, 2017
OKCoin and Bitfinex have frozen wire transfers
This week, two major bitcoin exchanges, Bitfinex and OKCoin, froze fiat deposits citing issues with banking partners. While Bitfinex stated wire deposits would be blocked and refused by Taiwanese banks, OKCoin’s announcement read that the exchange would temporarily suspend USD deposits because of “issues with intermediary banks”. In both cases, users were asked not to make any deposits as these wouldn’t go through. It isn’t yet clear when will wire transfers be functioning again, in either exchange.
Popular exchange Kraken launched new fiat funding options
Popular digital currency exchange Kraken announced via email to its customers that it would be adding support for wire transfers denominated in fiat currencies such as the US dollar. It will also be possible to withdraw in euros and British pounds starting April 24, according to the exchange. The update is notable as other bitcoin exchanges have been facing difficulties recently, as reported above.
Bitwage upgraded its services to EU customers
Bitwage, a bitcoin payroll service provider that allows employers to pay workers in bitcoin or fiat, recently announced it was launching a new upgrade for its users in the EU, effectively speeding up the process. The company announced the launch of unique International Bank Account Numbers (IBANs), an internationally agreed-upon unique string of numbers that indicates specific bank accounts, allowing its EU users access to wages more quickly. The move is part of the company’s plans to expand in Europe:
- Since receiving a grant from Bpifrance and moving half of our team across the world to Paris as winners of the French Tech Ticket, we have been hard at work looking to expand throughout Europe and improve our European solutions.
The service is only available for users who subscribe to their premium service, or who see monthly transactions volumes exceed €1,999.
P2P bitcoin trading in Saudi Arabia hit a new all-time high
According to data from Coin.Dance, trading volumes in peer-to-peer trading platform LocalBitcoins is at an all-time high in Saudi Arabia, as the total record for last week was of over 400,000 SAR, a significant increase when compared to previous weeks. The trading volume surge comes in a time when various nations in the area appear to be exploring blockchain technology adoption.
Bitcoin to gain legal status in India
According to CryptoCoinsNews, CNBC India revealed on April 20 that the Indian government was leaning towards granting bitcoin and other virtual currencies legal status in the country. As previously reported by DeepDotWeb, an Indian politician has, earlier this month, stated bitcoin was a hypothetical currency and questioned whether it was a pyramid scheme, a move that forced Indian bitcoin exchange Zebpay to restate that bitcoin is, under all existing laws, legal in the country. The Indian bitcoin industry then created a petition in which it asked the government to announce bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies legal in the country.
The move seems to have been successful as, last week, the Indian government announced the creation of an interdisciplinary committee to study the existing regulations surrounding digital currencies in the country. The committee’s report, seemingly, is veering toward legislation in the country.
Bitcoin at $1223,16, with a market cap close to $20 billion
The Winklevoss ETF rejection hurt bitcoin’s value last month but that, predictably, didn’t keep the people’s money from bouncing back and, once again, reaching the $1200 mark. At the time of press, one bitcoin is worth $1223,16, according to CoinMarketCap, even though there reportedly are exchanges selling bitcoin at roughly a $100 premium.