Both the price of bitcoin and Ethereum’s ether hit new all-time highs for the week beginning May 1. On May 5, with BTC-USD posted a fresh high at $1623.01 on the Bitstamp exchange, while ETH-USD peaked at $97.00 on Kraken; the bullish action in bitcoin was boosted by its highest ever volume in a 24-hour period, which surpassed $1 billion.
Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), and NEM (XEM) also hit new all-time highs in the past week, with Ripple surpassing $0.13, Litecoin hitting over $30.00 and NEM’s digital token inching close to the $0.10 mark.
Away from the price action in the cryptocurrency market, EtherIndex is optimistic about bringing an Ethereum ETF to the market despite the failure of Bitcoin ETFs to receive regulatory approval and a local Japanese government has started to accept bitcoin donations to support the upkeep of a historic site, showing that bitcoin is slowly becoming an integral part of society.
This week’s review is compiled from contributions by Alex Lielacher, Evans Sixtin, Jamie Holmes, Joseph Young, Michael Scott, and Nuno Menezes.
Australian University Rolls Out Blockchain-based Student Record System
The University of Melbourne is rolling out a blockchain-based student record system, one of the first in the world to utilize the technology behind Bitcoin in this way. Working in conjunction with U.S. blockchain startup Learning Machine and the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, the University will test Blockcerts, the blockchain-based micro-credential system.
Arena Music Ignites Bitcoin Royalty Payments
For months Arena Music has been toying with offering payouts in the popular cryptocurrency bitcoin. Now, in a recent announcement, it has unveiled plans to offer the payout program to all artists on the platform beginning in June 2017. After six months of testing involving bitcoin in the cities of Phoenix and Atlanta, the new payment method is being ushered amid a record-setting rise in the cryptocurrency market over the past several months.
Local Japanese Government and Coincheck Exchange Join Forces To Accept Bitcoin
The city of Hirosaki has partnered with Coincheck, a Japanese bitcoin exchange, to allow people all over the world to easily donate to the upkeep of this highly-valued relic of Japanese history. According to one Hirosaki city official, it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain the 50 different varieties of cherry trees at Hirosaki and $1.7 million dollars to maintain the stone walls of the castle structures (donjons, yaguras, and gates) every year. Hirosaki began accepting bitcoin donations on April 20, 2017, and as of 3 p.m. on May 2, 96 people have donated a total of 1.0755 bitcoins.
Using bitcoin to fund a National Historic Site is a first for local government in Japan, and the first time a Japanese Bitcoin exchange has had the opportunity to provide a platform for this type of funding.
Markets Update: Bitcoin Briefly Dips Below $1500, Ether Retraces from $97
On May 5, the market for BTC-USD stood just below the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement level at $1538.97, which provided immediate resistance. However, since then the price of bitcoin has broken this key resistance, trading at $1574.80 at the time of writing, above the 76.4 Fibonacci level at $1571.09. Resistance lies at the recent high at $1623.01 and $1758.98.
Will Ethereum Beat Bitcoin in the Race to an ETF?
Operators of the EtherIndex Ether Trust are confident that their Ethereum-based exchange-traded fund (ETF) will be approved by the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) before the Winklevoss twins’ bitcoin ETF COIN.
On April 21, the EtherIndex team filed a rule change with the SEC and NYSE Arca to its original Ether Trust ETF proposal. The rule change indicated on the official document accepted by the SEC provided the commission with a certain time frame to either reject or approve the ETF.
The UN Uses Ethereum’s Blockchain to Distribute Funds to Jordanian Refugee Camps
The United Nations (UN) is in the final stages of what could be one of the most groundbreaking blockchain projects ever, starting a project on May 1 to distribute funds in Jordan, a country which has taken the bulk of refugees from conflict zones in neighboring Iraq and Syria. The project is said to be using Ethereum blockchain, as part of a trial to support and empower refugee communities.
The goal of this blockchain funding project is to deliver cryptographically unique coupons representing a certain amount of Jordanian dinars to various shops across five refugee camps in Jordan, where they will be distributed among the people. Even though the project uses the Ethereum blockchain, it was developed with people that do not have access to the internet or mobile devices in mind. So, even without access to the internet or a mobile device, people will still be able to receive their share.
Next Generation Social Network AKASHA Announces Progress and Plans for the Future
A year after its launch on World Press Freedom Day, AKASHA has declared the first stages of its project a resounding success. AKASHA, which stands for Advanced Knowledge Architecture for Social Human Advocacy, is a next generation social network powered by Ethereum and the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS).
Founded by Mihail Alisie, co-founder of the Ethereum Project, AKASHA aims “to explore the applications and implications of a permanent web in the context of social networks, freedom of expression, creative perpetuity, and privacy for a better Web in service of humanity”.
AKASHA seeks to create the backbone for the nascent etherweb, which will give people more control over their information, content, and identities online. Though the project has started out in the form of a social network, it aims to evolve into a much larger undertaking with potential for solutions for many of the problems plaguing today’s internet such as censorship and loss of data.
JP Morgan Leaves R3 Showing Big Banks will Abandon the Open-Source Spirit
JPMorgan Chase has reportedly left the blockchain banking consortium R3 due to disagreements over R3 proposed funding plans. The New York-based startup R3 CEV, which leads the 80 firms strong financial services-focused blockchain consortium, intends to raise $150 from its member institutions and investors in exchange for a 60 percent holding in the startup.
JPMorgan has made no announcement as to why they have left the consortium, but it is rumored that a disagreement over R3’s proposed funding caused the bank to leave. R3, however, suggests that JPMorgan left because the firm wants to “pursue a very distinct technology path which is at odds with the one chosen by the global financial services industry represented by our 80-plus members.”
Lockheed Martin First Defense Contractor To Utilize Blockchain Technology
Maryland-based defense contractor Lockheed Martin has entered into an agreement with cyber security company Guardtime Federal in order to incorporate various digital security elements including Guardtime’s blockchain-based infrastructure to improve its systems engineering processes, supply chain management, and software development efforts.
The contracted collaboration between Lockheed Martin and Guardtime Federal comes as a result of around two years of research and tests into the capabilities of data integrity technology, such as immutable distributed ledger technology, as a defense against misrepresentation or falsification of data in sensitive networked systems and weapon embedded cyber-physical systems. The two firms have also looked into the effects of data mismanagement through the development cycle as a whole and for ways to mitigate the challenge.