The Bitcoin Network came under pressure, with fees increasing to levels never seen previously, while Etheruem’s digital asset, ether, soared to new highs simultaneously, breaking above the $100 psychological level.
Never before has the Bitcoin Blockchain seen such a large traffic jam. In the past week, the number of unconfirmed transactions reached a level, at which it hurts. The Bitcoin economy is not amused; BitPay’s Stephen Pair speaks out with exceptional clarity, while Barry Silbert of the Digital Currency Group tries to establish a broad alliance for a new compromise.
At least there is something the Bitcoin community can agree about; the MemPool reached a new all-time high. At the time of writing, more than 200,000 transactions were waiting for space in the blocks. Around 160MB of data is tacked in the blockchain traffic jam. As the network is only capable of confirming 144 blocks with each 1MB in 24 hours, it will need at least one day to clear the MemPool, even if everybody stops using Bitcoin.
The past days are full of examples that the industry is not prepared for this fee event. For example, Trezor, the hardware wallet, charged fees of astronomical $500 for a single transaction, because the provider, to which Trezor has outsourced the fee estimation, could not deal with the full blocks. Meanwhile, users of the wallet Multibit complained that they are unable to spend their balances, and the wallet Electrum reached the limit of “sanity fees” of 300 Satoshi each byte.
Despite the substantial scaling challenges, the price of bitcoin rallied to a new all-time high, breaching the psychologically important $2000 mark. But it has Ethereum’s ether that stole the show this week, rallying from $92.00 to surpass $150.00.
Ether may be displaying such strong gains because of the Consensus event, which will kick off on May 22, where companies will showcase their Ethereum applications, which may attract more attention and provide a boost for the price of ether. The Ethereum Enterprise Alliance will be one of the main speakers in this event, and may see some interesting revelations that will have repercussions for cryptocurrency markets.
NEM (XEM) and Ripple (XRP) continued their rallies to cement themselves in the top five cryptocurrencies by market share while Bytecoin (BCN) entered the top ten after rallying from $0.000455 to $0.004 in the last seven days, despite a warning from Monero’s fluffypony that the inflation bug had not been fixed by their development team.
This week’s review is compiled from contributions by Alex Lielacher, Christoph Bergmann, Jamie Holmes, Joseph Young, Michael Scott, and Nuno Menezes.
Indian Bank Kotak Mahindra Launches Blockchain-Based Trade Finance Solution
India’s third largest private bank Kotak Mahindra announced on May 17 that it had enabled trade financing for one of its clients by applying blockchain technology to reduce the time it takes for the letter of credit (LC) to be completed from 20 to 30 days down to a few hours.
The Mumbai-headquartered lender has collaborated with global consultancy firm Deloitte to conduct this first-of-a-kind letter of credit transaction in the Indian market with JP Morgan’s Singapore branch.
Major VC-Backed South Korean Exchange Launches Ripple Support
Korbit, one of the three leading South Korean bitcoin exchanges alongside Bithumb and Coinone, has officially integrated support for Ripple trading. In an email to its customers and traders, the Korbit team wrote: “Korbit is pleased to announce fuller support for trading Ripple (XRP). Ripple is one of the leading cryptocurrencies and recently experienced a surge in price. You can now buy and sell Ripple on Korbit by placing limit or market orders.”
Chile’s Santiago Stock Exchange Leads Blockchain Implementation in Latin America
On May 17, technology giant IBM and Chile’s largest stock exchange, the Santiago Exchange, announced a partnership to implement blockchain technology into the nation’s financial services sector. The collaboration makes the Santiago Stock Exchange the first exchange in South America to utilize blockchain technology for securities lending on its short selling platform.
The new solution built by IBM and the Santiago Stock Exchange has been designed to reduce errors, alleviate potential fraud and increase processing speed for transactions while also improving the transaction management process and lowering costs for the exchange.
The Disney Ransom Saga: Is Bitcoin Really The Cause?
The Disney film studio’s announcement of hackers threatening to release one of their movies unless a bitcoin ransom is paid has once again unleashed a flurry of media attention targeting cryptocurrency as a tool for nefarious acts.
Disney CEO Bob Iger in a statement on May 15 asserted that the film company has no intent of complying with the ransom demand and is working with federal authorities as a part of an in-depth investigation. He confirmed that the hackers had demanded that the ransom be paid in bitcoin and that the film would be released online in a series of 20-minute increments if the demands are not met. Iger did not name the film, but a number of media outlets are reporting that it is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Payza Becomes the First Payment Platform to Offer Bitcoin Services
Payza, one of the leading global payment platforms, announced May 15 that it would include bitcoin to its payment options and treat it like any other fiat currency. Members of the platform can now hold their bitcoins directly in their eWallets, and use it to perform payments. Additionally, Payza members can instantly send and receive bitcoin to and from other members.
Elliptics’ Plan to Track WannaCry Perpetrators
A day after news of the global “WannaCry” ransomware attack broke, bitcoin intelligence startup Elliptic released its ’Rapid Response to Ransomware: a four-Step Plan for Readiness, Resolution, and Identifying the Attacker’ to promote awareness about how to deal with ransomware attacks when faced with one. Microsoft also criticized the NSA for ‘stockpiling’ exploits, as the attacks seems to have spawned from the NSA’s cyberwarfare tools, leaked by the Shadow Brokers in August 2016.
Elliptics’ four-step plan on how to deal with ransomware attacks outlines easy-to-follow steps for its clients and anyone else who may be affected by this form of cybercrime. “Through our extensive Bitcoin ransomware work in the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe, we have put together a comprehensive plan for ransomware readiness,” says Elliptics’ co-founder and CEO Dr. James Smith.