bitcoin civil war

An executive at a prominent cryptocurrency investment firm says that he doubts that bitcoin and bitcoin cash will be able to avoid the so-called bitcoin civil war as long as they maintain the same mining algorithm.

Since bitcoin cash launched in August, its advocates have made a concerted push to brand it as the true heir to bitcoin’s original vision as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Following the cancellation of SegWit2x last week, the bitcoin cash price surged to an all-time high while bitcoin entered a steep decline, shocking the community into the realization that bitcoin cash’s claims have some teeth.

Many influential figures, including both Andreas Antonopoulos and Jihan Wu, have cautioned the community to stray from framing the scaling debate as a civil war. They argue that the two cryptocurrencies have fundamentally different use cases and visions and can consequently coexist peacefully — just as bitcoin has with the legions of other altcoins that have launched over the years.

However, Ari Paul, chief investment officer at crypto-focused firm BlockTower Capital, stated on Twitter that he does not anticipate that bitcoin and bitcoin cash will be able to coexist as “friendly differentiated currencies” as long as they are fighting a zero-sum battle for a limited resource such as hashpower.

“The idea that BTC and BCH can be friendly differentiated currencies is nonsense,” he wrote. “PoW mining is one of the key underpinnings of ‘trustless digital scarcity’, and it breaks if miners can attack a chain and retain economic value of their hardware.”

Currently, bitcoin and bitcoin cash share the same proof-of-work (PoW) SHA-256 hashing algorithm, meaning that miners can easily switch back and forth between networks to mine whichever blockchain is the most profitable at any given time. Paul says that this necessarily renders one of the blockchains fundamentally insecure, preventing the two cryptocurrencies from ever reaching an armistice.

“As long as BTC and BCH are on same PoW algo, (at least) one is fundamentally insecure,” he explained. “We can have ceasefires amidst a longer ‘war’, but we’re in a state of disequilibrium. I expect the disequilibrium to persist for a while and cause a lot of drama before ultimate PoW fork.”

Technically, this is true of all altcoins that share a hashing algorithm with bitcoin, but no other mining-compatible coin poses as serious a threat to bitcoin’s viability. Paul warns that although they may currently coexist fine, the chain with more ideological support from miners could eventually mount an attack against the lesser one, meaning that its apparent security is merely a facade.

“You can leave a door unlocked for a year without a robbery,” he concluded, but it “doesn’t prove security.”

Featured Image from Zooey / Flickr

bitcoin price

Hedge fund legend Mike Novogratz used last weekend’s bitcoin price decline as an opportunity to deepen his BTC position by $15 million to $20 million.

Speaking at the Reuters Global Investment 2018 Outlook Summit Novogratz — a billionaire macro trader and former principal at Fortress Investment Group — explained that he sees the recent bitcoin price decline as a buying opportunity, not a cause for concern.

After peaking above $7,700 on November 8, the bitcoin price crashed in the aftermath of the indefinite suspension of bitcoin scaling proposal SegWit2x, which had been scheduled to activate this week. The global average bitcoin price tumbled approximately $2,200, eventually reaching a November low of $5,519 on November 12, according to CoinMarketcap.

bitcoin price
Source: BitcoinWisdom

This unexpected bearish turn left many investors panicking, but Novogratz says that he bought between $15 million and $20 million worth of bitcoin during the dip. Despite the weekend pullback, he believes the bitcoin price will reach $10,000 by March on the heels of increased attention from institutional investors. He says the herd will arrive once a mainstream firm begins offering crypto assets as investment options.

“When it’s that easy, the price of bitcoin or ethereum is going to go much higher. And that is a lot closer than people think,” he said, adding that it could happen within the next six months.

Novogratz recently announced the creation of Galaxy Investment Partners, a blockchain-focused hedge fund whose largest single position is in bitcoin. He has invested approximately $100 million of his own capital in the fund, and he intends to raise $500 million, which will make Galaxy the largest fund of its kind.

March is still four months away — an eternity in the crypto economy — so it remains to be seen whether Novogratz’s price target will be realized. However, his bullish bet is already paying off. The bitcoin price has already recovered by more than $1,000 since Sunday. Depending on when he placed his buy orders, the value of his weekend purchases may have already increased by several million dollars.

decentralized blockchain diploma university of nicosia

The University of Nicosia (UNIC) has once again broken new ground in university adoption of blockchain technology by being the first university in the world to publish all diplomas of all graduating students (Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD) on the Bitcoin blockchain, as of the graduating class of Spring 2017.

The University of Nicosia was previously the first university in the world to publish academic certificates on the blockchain (Spring 2014) and, subsequently, to publish diplomas on the blockchain on a trial basis (Spring 2015). It is now the first university in the world to move from trials to full implementation of this pioneering new technology, for all graduating students, on an ongoing basis.

The new service was announced by UNIC’s CEO, Mr. Antonis Polemitis, during his opening remarks at “DECENTRALIZED 2017”, a business and academic summit relating to the technical and societal implications of decentralization, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, organized by UNIC in Limassol, Cyprus on 2-3 November 2017.

Mr Polemitis said: “We believe in a future where everyone has ownership of their own personal data and can share and authenticate it at will, while still ensuring strong privacy. This effort at UNIC is a step towards this decentralized future that will unfold over the next five to ten years. We view our role as a university to be focused on the cutting edge of these technological shifts, both in theory and in practice. I am very proud of our research team’s work. The technological platform was developed entirely internally at the University of Nicosia and includes some very interesting work on difficult topics, such as revocation. We look forward to discussing these developments with our colleagues in academia, business and the broader cryptocurrency and blockchain community at our dedicated summit.”

Specifically, all diplomas issued to the graduating class of Spring 2017 have been digitized and their electronic fingerprint (“hash”) has been added to the public Bitcoin blockchain, a decentralized and distributed digital ledger. This allows students to present an electronic PDF that can be verified by others (e.g. employers or academic institutions) immediately in a secure manner, either by a new verification tool on UNIC’s website or, independently, by replicating UNIC’s open-source instructions.

More details about the approach can be found at www.block.co, which will serve as a repository for the technology. UNIC is now offering this solution to other academic and governmental institutions on an open-source / free basis, in order to improve and further develop this technology in a collaborative manner.

About University of Nicosia (UNIC)

The University of Nicosia is the largest university in Cyprus with approximately 12,000 students, and the largest research-oriented university in southern Europe that teaches primarily in English.

UNIC is regarded by most observers to have the most developed university blockchain and cryptocurrency initiative in the world. It was the first university to offer a course on cryptocurrency, a free MOOC that has been followed by over 12,000 students since 2014. UNIC’s MSc in Digital Currency was the first academic degree programme in the world in this field, and graduates from this programme have been involved in leading blockchain organisations worldwide. UNIC was also the first university in the world to accept bitcoin for tuition.

bart chilton

Former U.S. Trading Commissioner Bart Chilton has long been critical of the fact that regulators have largely allowed the cryptocurrency markets to operate without oversight.

Last year, Chilton — who ran the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) from 2007 to 2014 — called for President Obama to personally instruct the CFTC to establish basic consumer protection legislation, and he has repeatedly warned bitcoin devotees that lack of regulation is a “blind spot” for the industry and could prove to be its undoing.

However, recent developments have made him optimistic that the cryptocurrency markets are maturing and could turn a corner into the mainstream.

“I do think it’s sustainable,” Chilton said of bitcoin during an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, declaring that JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon is wrong to call it a “fraud”.

“I don’t know if it’s sustainable at these prices,” he continued, noting that the bitcoin price had experienced a flash crash of almost $1,000 earlier this week. Bitcoin’s volatility has been a sticking point for Chilton in the past, and he has stated that if he still chaired the CFTC he would investigate what he believes is naked market manipulation on bitcoin exchanges.

However, he says that derivatives exchange operator CME Group’s announcement that it will list bitcoin futures contracts could be a tipping point in this regard. Flash crashes won’t “happen to that extent on the futures, because they will have…circuit breakers” that limit the degree to which contract prices can fluctuate on a given day, he explains.

Of course, many bitcoin advocates fear that regulations will stifle innovation. New York’s so-called “BitLicense,” for instance, famously led to an exodus of bitcoin services from the state.

Nevertheless, Chilton maintains that basic consumer protections such as limiting price volatility and reducing counterparty risk are critical to the nascent technology’s continued growth.

“They don’t have to be crazy, overly-zealous regulations,” he concluded. “I think the bitcoin enthusiasts are starting to get this, but it’s been a while,”

bitcoin cash logo fork

Bitcoin Classic declares that bitcoin cash has achieved victory in the scaling wars following the cancellation of bitcoin’s SegWit2x hard fork, and it is celebrating that achievement by shutting its doors.

In a surprise announcement,  Classic release manager Tom Zander stated that the software development project that began in 2016 with the goal of returning bitcoin to its philosophical roots as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system has completed its goal and is no longer necessary.

Classic’s original intention was to promote on-chain scaling within the original Bitcoin network, helping the network scale to accept increasing numbers of users without forcing them to pay excessive transaction fees. Those attempts foiled, Classic ultimately followed the Bitcoin Cash hard fork, leaving the “Legacy Bitcoin” chain behind.

The announcement comes just days after SegWit2x — hard fork that intended to increase the Bitcoin blocksize from 1 MB to 2 MB — was suspended indefinitely by its leading advocates due to a lack of community consensus. Classic cited this development as confirmation that Satoshi’s vision — as supposedly manifested through bitcoin cash — will endure, while those who follow the Legacy chain will “go down with their ship.”

“The fact that the Legacy chain is stuck at 1 MB, and likely always will be, confirms the Cash chain’s viability,” Zander wrote. “And that means that Classic has fulfilled its promise.”

This promise fulfilled, Zander writes that he feels confident shuttering Classic ahead of its upcoming hard fork, which will implement a new difficulty adjustment algorithm in an attempt to bring stability to the network’s wild hashrate and blocktime fluctuations.

Of course, one must wonder if part of Zander’s decision to conclude the project ahead of the hard fork stems from his objection to the specific details of the fork proposal, some of which he says were made for political purposes rather than technical ones. Due to its sudden closure, Classic will not be releasing software that is compatible with the fork.

In any case, Zander believes that the future is bright for bitcoin cash. In fact, he believes that it will soon eclipse Legacy Bitcoin to become the dominant cryptocurrency. “In at most 6 months I’m sure we’ll just drop the “Cash” and call it “Bitcoin,” he concludes.