bitcoin cash logo fork

Popular bitcoin wallet Mycelium has begun rolling out support for bitcoin cash.

The wallet, which is available from both the Google Play and iOS App Store, underwent a major update on Wednesday to begin releasing its new “modular architecture,” which will allow users to install different “apps” in the wallet client that provide access to additional cryptocurrencies, features, and services.

Citing “high demand,” the app’s developers chose to first release a module that allows users to add bitcoin cash accounts to their wallets.

To access their bitcoin cash, users must install the BCH module from the settings screen and wait for it to sync with other peers operating on the coin’s network.

mycelium bitcoin cash
Source: Google Play

At present, the module in “technology preview” mode and thus has limited functionality. However, Mycelium users who held bitcoin at the time of the bitcoin cash hard fork last August and were unable to access their airdropped BCH can now do so — though in the current implementation they can only exchange their BCH for BTC.

Future releases will add “full BCH support,” so users who want to hold and spend their bitcoin cash through Mycelium will likely have the ability to do so soon.

From the release notes:

“Mycelium Wallet becomes highly expandable thanks to the new modular architecture which allows modules as separate apps maintaining the high security of your funds. Bitcoin Cash Module is a technology preview of the modular architecture capabilities. Only exchange BCH to BTC so far. Fully functional BCH module soon.”

Mycelium is not the first cryptocurrency wallet to support more than one or token, but its modular design is a unique approach.

Most multi-cryptocurrency wallets require users to download software for every coin that they support, even though the user may only own a handful of them.

Mycelium, on the other hand, intends to give provide users the ability to pick and choose which cryptocurrency modules to download, which not only provides them with a clean interface but also increases wallet security.

facebook

Social media conglomerate Facebook has announced that it is establishing a new blockchain research team, and it will be led by a member of the Coinbase board of directors: David Marcus.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced a major overhaul of its executive leadership structure. As part of that reshuffle, David Marcus — the head of Facebook’s Messenger division — will lead a newly-created team that will explore how the company can integrate blockchain technology into its product suite.

“After nearly four unbelievably rewarding years leading Messenger, I have decided it was time for me to take on a new challenge, “Marcus wrote in a Facebook post. “I’m setting up a small group to explore how to best leverage Blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch.”

Neither Marcus nor the company has provided any more details on the project, but with him at the helm the possibilities are staggering.

Unlike many corporate executives who fall into the “blockchain not bitcoin” crowd, Marcus is a sitting board member of Coinbase, perhaps the most well-known company in the cryptocurrency industry.

When he joined the Coinbase board last December, he said that he had been fascinated by cryptocurrencies since 2012 and is “convinced that what the company is working on has the potential to materially change the lives of people around the world.”

It would be overly-optimistic to suggest that placing Marcus at the head of Facebook’s blockchain project means that the social media giant will add support for cryptocurrency, but the fact that the initiative will be led by a voice friendly to cryptocurrency does mean that the chance that Facebook dips its toe into cryptocurrencies is greater than zero.

Such a move would not be unprecedented. Kik, which is much smaller than Facebook but still boasts several million active users, is developing its own cryptocurrency.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Twitter — Jack Dorsey — is an outspoken bitcoin bull, though the social media platform has yet to add native support for cryptocurrencies (Square, Dorsey’s digital payments business, recently added bitcoin trading to one of its apps).

In any case, the venture also serves as a logical conclusion of recent comments from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who in January wrote in his annual “personal challenge” post that he intended to “go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects” of computing “counter-trends” such as cryptocurrency and encryption in 2018.

Featured Image from Pixabay

bill gates

Bill Gates said that he would short bitcoin if he could. Tyler Winklevoss is calling his bluff.

Speaking with CNBC, the Microsoft co-founder and prolific philanthropist said that he wished there was an easy way to short bitcoin so that he could take advantage of the opportunity.

“As an asset class, you’re not producing anything and so you shouldn’t expect it to go up. It’s kind of a pure ‘greater fool theory’ type of investment,” he said. “I agree I would short if there was an easy way to do it.”

That has been a common refrain from bitcoin bears for quite some time, but there’s just one problem — it no longer passes muster.

Bitcoin futures products have existed on cryptocurrency exchanges such as BitMEX and OKEx for years, but skeptics could believably feign hesitation to use these “unregulated” trading platforms.

However, in December, two regulated US exchanges — CBOE and CME — launched conventional bitcoin futures products, enabling bulls and bears alike to stake out their bitcoin positions in a secure marketplace.

That’s why Tyler Winklevoss put Gates on notice that he needs to put his money where is mouth is.

Winklevoss — who along with his brother Cameron co-founded cryptocurrency exchange Gemini — challenged Gates to make good on his alleged desire by opening a bitcoin short position on Chicago exchange CBOE.

“Dear @BillGates there is an easy way to short bitcoin,” he wrote on Twitter. “You can short #XBT, the @CBOE Bitcoin (USD) Futures contract, and put your money where your mouth is!”

Those futures, incidentally, are based on pricing data supplied by Gemini’s daily two-sided auctions.

And while these products may be too pricey for the average retail investor, Gates is not likely to have much trouble cobbling together the funds necessary to trade CBOE’s 1 BTC contracts.

His tweet also tagged Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett, who — along with Gates, who sits on the company’s board of directors — was in Omaha, Nebraska for the firm’s annual shareholders meeting.

Buffett, a longtime cryptocurrency bear, took time during the meeting to bash bitcoin as “rat poison squared,” a sentiment his vice chairman Charlie Munger later expounded upon in vivid language.

Featured Image from Wikimedia Commons

bitmain asic

Chinese mining rig manufacturer Bitmain has unveiled the first Equihash ASIC miners, making it likely that it will soon be unprofitable to mine Zcash using GPU-powered devices.

Bitmain began accepting preorders for the Antminer Z9 mini on Friday, and the miners will begin shipping in June.

The Z9 mini is the first application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miner built to mine the Equihash Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining algorithm, which is currently used by Zcash, Bitcoin Gold, and a variety of lesser-known cryptocurrencies.

The deployment of these devices will alter the nature of Zcash mining, which until now has been done primarily with GPU chips, which are available at most electronics retailers.

ASICs — which are only available from specialized manufacturers like Bitmain — are significantly more efficient than GPU miners, meaning that Zcash GPU mining will likely now be restricted to hobby miners who do it for fun — not profit.

Zcash originally adopted Equihash because it was ASIC-resistant, making it difficult for a single company — namely Bitmain — to dominate the production of Zcash miners.

However, now that Equihash ASIC miners are set to hit the market the Zcash community must grapple with whether to make its peace with this development or adopt a hard fork to render the Z9 mini incompatible with the cryptocurrency’s network.

However, maintaining ASIC resistance will likely require regular changes to the coin’s mining algorithm, and even then few believe that it will be able to stave off ASICs forever.

Zcash founder Zooko Wilcox acknowledged this in a forum post discussing his evolving views on ASICs and the mining landscape in general.

“I’m really chagrined that I let it sound like we were committing to a social contract of ongoing ASIC-resistance. That is absolutely never what I had intended to commit to,” he wrote of the original decision to adopt Equihash.

However, he added that — at least right now — he still believes that ensuring the network has a wide distribution of coins is more important than “locking miners into a large sunk-cost investment in the cryptocurrency.”

“Oh, bottom-line, by the way, is that I’m basically still in the same place now that I was four years ago when we first decided to go for widespread-distribution-of-coins at the expense of sunk-cost-incentive-alignment,” he concluded. “I still think that widespread-distribution-of-coins is more important (but I still think that it can’t last forever, and that the other side of the trade-off may also prove to be important).”

Featured Image from Pixabay

closed

Peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency exchange CoinTouch has shut its virtual doors over concerns related to the passage of the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will take effect later this month.

The exchange — which was based out of London and opened in 2014 — did not charge fees, and founder Chris Beach operated it at a loss as a service to the cryptocurrency community.

The platform allowed Facebook and Google users to securely set up P2P cryptocurrency trades with users within their social networks. When a trader placed a bid or offer, it would become visible to the user’s friends and friends-of-friends, which ensured that traders were able to verify the identities of their counterparties. If another trader wanted to fulfill an order, he or she could automatically send a message to the other user through Facebook, where the two parties could arrange the trade.

However, Beach wrote in a statement announcing the shutdown that the recently-passed GDPR — which adopts new standards for individual data privacy and use — introduces regulatory uncertainty that makes it too risky to continue to operate CoinTouch, particularly as a free service.

“I asked trusted contacts in the industry for advice on how to make CoinTouch GDPR compliant. They came back with different answers (through no fault of their own – the law is ambiguously defined),” Beach said. “I concluded that I cannot justify running a free service while taking on a legal risk.”

The developer, who operates a number of non-profit websites, said that he is in the process of shutting them all down before the new rules — which he says actually reinforce the dominance of tech conglomerates like Facebook, Google, and Twitter — take effect.

“So, perversely, this new EU law hurts small website like mine, but helps reinforce the dominance of Facebook, Google, and Twitter, who are able to prepare and defend themselves using established legal teams and cash reserves, and who now face less competition from startups,” he concluded.

Featured Image from Pixabay