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China’s IT Ministry: 2017 Saw ‘Exponential’ Blockchain Growth

Nearly 40 percent of all Chinese blockchain startups emerged in 2017 alone, according to a new white paper published by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Revealed by the ministry’s Information Center on Monday, the blockchain industry paper indicates that currently China has 456 startups that focus on blockchain …

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Back Above $8,500: Does Bitcoin’s Rally Have Legs?

Bitcoin (BTC) has bounced back above $8,500, but the rally is not backed by decent trading volumes, the technical charts indicate. The cryptocurrency closed below key technical levels on Thursday, signaling a bearish breakdown, but the sell-off unexpectedly ran out of steam at $7,925 a day later. Subsequently, bitcoin gained …

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Former OKEx Chief Joins Rival Cryptocurrency Exchange Huobi

Chris Lee, the former CEO of Hong Kong-based crypto exchange OKEx, has announced he is joining rival platform Huobi as its vice president of global business development. According to an announcement by Singapore-based Huobi on Monday, Lee will head the group’s global mergers and acquisitions strategy and supervise international development …

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Colorado’s Politicians Could Soon Accept Crypto Contributions

The state of Colorado could soon allow political committees to accept contributions in cryptocurrency. The Office of the Colorado Secretary of State published a new working draft of its “Rules Concerning Campaign and Political Finance” on Wednesday, which notably includes a new section on cryptocurrency donations. The document, which updates …

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Bitcoin Miner Maker Canaan Files for Hong Kong IPO

Canaan Creative, one of the biggest manufacturers of bitcoin mining chips and devices, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (HKEX). Filed on May 15, the firm’s application is still in draft form and pending approval from the HKEX, so it remains …

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Bitcoin Took a Hit Last Week But These Cryptos Fared Worse

Bitcoin hogged the limelight in the cryptocurrency markets last week as it fell to one-month lows below $8,000. Yet, while the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization suffered a 3.6 percent week-on-week drop in prices, it still outclassed other major names like bitcoin cash (BCH) and EOS, which both reported …

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US, Canadian Regulators Launch Dozens of Crypto Scam Probes

An “international crackdown” on cryptocurrency scams was launched Monday by a group of securities regulators in Canada and the United States. Dubbed “Operation Cryptosweep,” the effort was unveiled during a Monday event hosted by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). Its existence was first reported by the Washington Post …

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Australians Lost Over $2 Million to Crypto Scams Last Year

Australian consumers lost more than $2.1 million to cryptocurrency scams in 2017, the country’s Competition and Consumer Commission says. The Commission announced the findings Monday in an annual scams report, also noting that the rise in crypto-related scams corresponded with an increase in coin prices through 2017. Of the more …

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Move ‘Em Out: ICOs Don’t Seem So Scary Outside the US

ICO issuers are starting to look to jurisdictions outside the U.S. to set up shop. In an environment of regulatory uncertainty, where the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has begun investigating ICOs and the industry surrounding the capital raising technology but has yet to make a formal decision of …

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Bitcoin Cash Fork Leaves Users Behind, But Does It Matter?

Bitcoin cash now has 32 MB blocks and smart contracts.

The controversial hard fork of bitcoin hard forked again several days ago in an effort to add new functionality to the cryptocurrency protocol and further differentiate it from its predecessor. But in the process - executing at block 530350 - a portion of the bitcoin cash community was left behind.

At the time of writing, between 16 percent and 17 percent of bitcoin cash nodes are running old software and because of the way upgrading by hard fork works (whereby changes are not backwards compatible), those nodes are now running on a completely separate network. As such, if any user running one of those nodes were to make a transaction, the new, larger bitcoin cash network would not recognize it.

Critics of bitcoin cash argue it's a bad sign that so many nodes haven't upgraded, since those users are now completely cut off from the rest of the network.

Some have even gone as far as to argue the quietness around the hard fork as a sign that relatively few people care about bitcoin cash. If more people cared, they contend, the changes would see more debate, because people would be worried about the implications, Bitcoin Core contributor Kalle Alm argued on social media.

"You can tell bitcoin cash is not bitcoin by looking at how not everyone is losing their shit all over the place," he said, adding:

"Imagine if 20 percent of bitcoin nodes failed consensus? Everyone would explode."

But proponents of the network disagree.

"That's a rather meaningless statistic. Likely the reason those nodes haven't upgraded is because they aren't in use and the owners haven't bothered yet," said Chris Pacia, lead developer at OB1's OpenBazaar.

A popular fork

Pacia pushed back on the idea the calm surrounding the hard fork means anything but that users were happy with the upgrade.

Despite a portion of users not yet upgrading their systems to go along with it, Pacia said, all miners have upgraded. And sure enough, leading up to the fork, social media comments among bitcoin cash advocates were overwhelmingly in favor of the changes.

"The network update has the full support of the community, with bitcoin cash aiming to compete with the [lightning] network of bitcoin," said Matthew Newton, an analyst at crypto investment platform eToro, in a statement.

The statement continued:

"Increasing the block size and allowing smart contracts to be built is seen as an important step in its quest to become the dominant cryptocurrency."

The new features look like they're working properly so far.

Pacia was one of the first to use OP_CAT, one of the so-called smart contracts added to the protocol through the hard fork.

And other projects got a boost from the new features too. For instance, because of the bigger block size, users can now write longer messages on the bitcoin cash social media site Memo.cash.

"If this was a contentious change and those nodes didn't upgrade because they legitimately wanted to stick with the world rules than that could be a problem. But I'm pretty sure that isn't the case here," Pacia added.

Reckless competition?

That said, the hard fork continues to draw mixed reception from the broader cryptocurrency community.

The hard fork that led to bitcoin cash was a controversial one and even though the two groups have went their separate ways, there is still arguments over the groups use of language and marketing.

Alm told CoinDesk he thinks it's "insane" that bitcoin cash developers don't care about the node statistic more and "that goes to show how little [they] care about individual sovereignty."

"In bitcoin, the nodes are everything. They are the users of the system. To dismiss cutting off a fifth of your users in a hard fork, controversial or not, is reckless, to say the least," Alm added.

And further, many critics argue the upgrades in the latest bitcoin cash hard fork don't have good trade-offs for the system as a whole.

For example, increasing the block size too much can decrease the likelihood that anyone can run full nodes in the future, since the storage requirements will be more than most household computers generally allow for. This is a particularly contentious point, since many cryptocurrency enthusiasts believe running a full node is the safest and most decentralized way to use the technology.

Still, bitcoin cash advocates see the effort to continue improving the cryptocurrency as a sign of necessary competition within the space.

"What events like these are also making clear, however, is the underlying sense of competition between the bitcoin cash and bitcoin communities," Newton said. "Both are fiercely passionate about these assets and confident that one will emerge as the victor."

He added:

"Ultimately, it remains to be seen how that will play out over the long-term, as both cryptocurrencies continue to develop."

Fork image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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At Ripple’s Snoop Dogg Party, A Search for XRP

Would this be one of those crypto events? A star past his prime pumping the flavor of the month? As part of the first-ever New York Blockchain Week, Snoop Dogg was booked to perform at the XRP Community Night on Tuesday. The event, as the name would suggest, was meant …

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The Use Cases and Applications for Involving Women in Blockchain

“Satoshi is female!” That’s how New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney rallied the crowd on May 13 at the “Women on the Block” event in Brooklyn, New York, where more than 300 people came together to talk about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. The event comes at time of tension within the …

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Fed Governor Says ‘No Compelling Need’ for US Central Bank Crypto

Lael Brainard, member of the board of governors at the U.S. Federal Reserve, has said she does not see a “compelling” need for a Fed-issued digital currency. Speaking at the Decoding Digital Currency Conference yesterday in San Francisco, Brainard said that, while central bank digital currencies may seem to address …

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Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange Turns to Blockchain for New Lending Platform

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) is teaming up with Accenture and The Floor, an Israeli fintech hub, to build a blockchain securities lending (BSL) platform aimed to allow direct lending of all financial instruments. The BSL will act as a “one-stop-shop for all securities lending activities, permitting access to …

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Infosys Partners with 7 Banks for Blockchain Trade Finance Network

Indian IT giant Infosys is exploring the potential of blockchain technology to bring new efficiencies in trade finance. Infosys Finacle, a subsidiary of the firm, announced Wednesday the development of a trade network called India Trade Connect (ITC) in partnership with seven Indian private banks, including ICICI, Axis Bank, South …

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Cornell Professor Unveils ‘Simple Yet Powerful’ Consensus Protocols

A pseudonymous team of developers have created a family of new consensus protocols for blockchains. Cornell University professor and blockchain researcher Emin Gun Sirer announced the new protocols Thursday at Token Summit III in New York, explaining that they combine what he referred to as the “classical consensus” and “Nakamoto …

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Tea Tokenizers Arrested in China for Alleged $47 Million Crypto Fraud

Another cryptocurrency project has been busted by law enforcement in China for allegedly soliciting money from investors with fraudulent claims. According to Guangdong Daily, a provincial government organ in China, police in Shenzhen arrested six individuals Monday who allegedly defrauded 3,000 Chinese investors out of $47 million by selling a …

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Bitcoin Hits One-Month Low As $10K Sell-Off Resumes

Bitcoin’s (BTC) drop to one-month lows below $8,000 has strengthened the bear grip on the markets, the technical charts indicate. The cryptocurrency fell to $7,925 on Bitfinex earlier today – the lowest level since April 18 and has retraced 50 percent of the rally from the April 1 low of …

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