This Week In Crypto is a weekly segment from the Live Coin Watch News team, providing readers with a fun, succinct, and pertinent summary of the most important Bitcoin-related events in the past seven days.
While crypto assets’ price action has evidently slowed across the board since last week’s crazy tumult, the underlying industry was still as crazy as ever. Over the past seven days, this budding ecosystem has seen its fair share of both positive and negative tidbits of news.
In the former category, Binance unveiled plans to launch futures, Litecoin may large steps forward in adoption, and Ethereum moved one step closer to commencing its long-awaited “Serenity” upgrade.
In the latter category, Monero disclosed a notable bug, the United Kingdom’s leading financial regulator has begun to renew its crypto crackdown, Nouriel “Dr. Doom” Roubini slammed the cryptocurrency industry once again, and the use of Bitcoin on dark web forums was revealed to be rising.
This Week in Crypto
- Ethereum 2.0 (Serenity) Sees First Spec Freeze, Upgrade On Its Way: Announced by Justin Drake, an Ethereum Foundation researcher, the first code specification freeze for Ethereum’s 2.0 (Serenity) upgrade recently occurred. “This release marks the end-of-June phase 0 spec freeze, v0.8 is to serve as a stable target as implementers work toward multi-client testnets in addition to on-going efforts in formal verification, fuzzing, and audits”, Drake explained. For those unaware, Phase Zero will be the first live activation of proof of stake on Ethereum. Many analysts believe that the transition from mining to staking will allow for the blockchain to regain hegemony of the smart contracting and decentralized application sphere, which has been partially consumed by EOS, Tron, and up-and-comers like Cosmos and Tezos.
- U.K. Financial Authority Looks to Crack Down on Crypto Derivatives, BitMEX Included: The United Kingdom’s leading financial regulator, the FCA, has just revealed plans to impose a ban on derivatives relating to cryptocurrencies. If put in place, British investors would not be able to use a platform like BitMEX, which is home to the infamous original 100x Bitcoin leverage contract, which some have likened to pure gambling. It is important to note that users often bypass such “bans” with VPNs, which exchanges don’t seem to want to curb.
- Binance Poised to Launch Bitcoin & Crypto Futures: In a recent keynote, Binance chief executive Changpeng “CZ” Zhao unveiled a surprising tidbit of news. Speaking to the crowd at the Asia Blockchain Summit in Taipei, the exchange head revealed that his firm would soon be launching cryptocurrency futures. A slide from Zhao’s presentation shows a preliminary version of the trading platform, which purportedly allows for up to 20 times leverage, and gives investors the ability to long and short key crypto assets: presumably Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Binance Coin at the minimum. This news comes hot on the heels of Binance’s intent to launch margin trading in the coming week or two.
- Litecoin Added to Flexa, Adoption Well on Its Way: According to a recent blog post, Litecoin has now been formally added to Flexa, a payments ecosystem that allows merchants to accept cryptocurrencies and receive U.S. dollars. Seemingly explaining why it was making this addition, Flexa writes in the release that LTC “distinguishes itself” from other blockchain platforms with low transaction fees (often under $0.01), fast confirmation times (2.5 minutes), high volumes, “and an active community of avid supporters and payments enthusiasts.” As of the time of press, Litecoin can now be used to purchase goods via Flexa in over 39,250 stores (and counting) across the United States. Retail and restaurant chains that accept Flexa-backed payments, which are routed primarily through Gemini, include Baskin Robbins, Bed Bath & Beyond, GameStop, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Petco, and Whole Foods
- Monero Bug That Would Have Put XMR Exchanges at Risk Unveiled: This week, a notable Monero (XMR) bug was unveiled by Hackerone, a developer group focused on discovering and patching code mishaps before hackers can exploit them. The vulnerability purportedly allowed for users to send “fake” XMR to an exchange, trade it for an “actual” cryptocurrency, then withdraw funds off the exchange.