Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News: April 2018 Overview

In a welcome development for crypto-enthusiasts everywhere, the downturn of cryptocurrency prices that dogged the start of the month seems to have turned around, with bitcoin prices rising from low of around $6,600 to around $9,600. There are a number of reasons that this recovery may be happening but one worth noting in particular could be that the wealth of ‘fake news’ that has been posted around bitcoin, including hacks and governments banning it, is beginning to be seen through. Greater understanding of cryptocurrencies by investors reveals its potential and counters the claims that it is a haven for criminals or has no value. Despite this, mainstream media can still be seen propagating FUD as it uses Bitcoin in a negative light as a buzzword to garner more interest, when usually the fact that cryptocurrency is involved is irrelevant. However, serious financial players, including Goldman Sachs, are planning to provide bitcoin services due to consumer demand — highlighting the growing mainstream support.

The benefits of a cryptocurrency are even being realised on a governmental level, with Venezuela launching its own cryptocurrency — rapidly prompting President Trump to ban US involvement in the new ‘Petro’ — which reportedly raised at least $US5 billion, although this amount is hotly debated. In similar news, there have also been reports of other governments considering issuing their own cryptocurrency, including Russia, Turkey and Iran.

On the blockchain side of things, the scalability issue that has been so prevalent and troublesome for the ecosystem is finally seeing some strong movement, with the lightning network beginning to be deployed on the bitcoin blockchain. Whilst it has not yet been adopted en-masse, the early results are promising and it appears as though bitcoin will soon be scalable. Other DLT platforms are moving forward with their own scalability solutions, whether they be a version of the lightning network or another approach such as sharding or tangle. Vitalik Buterin has released a partial proof of concept of Ethereum sharding and other blockchains have already report scalable solutions but as of yet none have proved this on a global scale. With bitcoin leading the way, we may expect to see more concrete developments or commitments from various blockchains with regards to scalability in the upcoming months.

The reception of blockchain technology, whilst still not fully realised, has made good progress recently with the apparent increase in companies looking at it as a solution that has merit beyond cryptocurrencies. Even though a few companies and start-ups have been investigating blockchain solutions in a variety of industries for some years, there is now growing traction across numerous industries with announcements of blockchain solutions for insurance, charity, banking, governments, energy, supply chains and others all being announced over the past few weeks.

When it comes to ICOs, there still seems to be q number of dubious offerings and investors being scammed by old tricks in the new space such as fake wallet addresses and non-existent events. On the other hand, the frequency of fraud, or at least people falling for fraud, appears to be decreasing as investors become better educated on the dangers around investing in ICOs. Increasing regulations can only make it a safer environment and benefit the new form of funding in the long run. Global development of such regulations can be seen in such places as Gibraltar, Switzerland, Dubai, South

Africa, Mexico, Singapore, Bermuda and South Korea amongst others. Another significant development coming this month is the European GDPR implementation which will impact ICOs on a global level, requiring them to go through KYC whilst simultaneously protecting the security and privacy of the investor data — a solution which Blockpass is perfectly positioned to provide.

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