This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:
Bitmain announced a UASF contingency plan, the User Activated Hard Fork (UAHF)
Bitcoin’s scaling debate is getting harder and harder to follow. A part of the Bitcoin community is to activate the BIP 148 User Activated Soft Fork (UASF) on August 1. The plan is to only accept blocks that support Segregated Witness (SegWit), so that the protocol can be changed without the mining majority. At that point, if the majority doesn’t signal support, however, there’s a chance the move could cause a chain split, dividing the Bitcoin blockchain and currency into two.
Now Bitmain, a major Bitcoin mining hardware producer, announced that it if users are successful on August 1, it would use its mining resources toward hard-forking the cryptocurrency to feature a larger block size, in what the company dubbed a “contingency plan”. Although the move was called a User Activated Hard Fork (UAHF), the term isn’t accurate. As Bitcoin Magazine puts it, the plan would be activated by Bitmain and Bitmain alone.
The move could also cause a chain split, and create what some have called Bitmain’s Bitcoin, or BitmainCoin. It would be created roughly 12 hours after the UASF is activated. Bitmain’s announcement was controversial as, according to Bitsquare founder Manfred Karrer, it may have helped some undecided users choose between the UASF and other solutions.
Two major cryptocurrency exchanges suffered DDoS attacks this week
This week, both Bitfinex and BTC-e were reportedly hit with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. One of the attacks on Bitfinex, according to CNBC, was mitigated within an hour, and even though the exchange was under attack most users were able to use the platform. BTC-e, on the other hand, reportedly went down because of the ordeal, even though no user funds were lost in any of the attacks. According to analysts, the attackers were likely trying to manipulate the market.
Jaxx Wallet vulnerability led to $400,000 being stolen from users
Recently, a report from Vx Labs detailed a vulnerability in the popular cross-platform cryptocurrency wallet Jaxx that allowed hackers to access user funds. Essentially, the report showed how hackers were able to extract a 12-word backup phrase, and then use it to obtain the user’s private keys. After the vulnerability was made public, users started reporting losses that got to as much as $400,000 as hackers took advantage of the information they had acquired. Responding to the incident, Jaxx & Decentral CTO Nilang Vyas claimed that Jaxx is a hot wallet and should not be used to store large amounts, adding that the company is “very comfortable” with its security model.
South Korea to auction 216 Bitcoins (roughly $562,464) seized during investigations
According to local publication Seoul Economic Daily, the South Korean government is to auction 216 Bitcoins, worth about $562,464 at press time, that were seized during an investigation conducted by the South Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency. The investigation led to the arrest of a 33-year-old individual who was, according to reports, “operating an obscenity website”, which would mean the website was either for online gambling or pornographic in nature – both of these are strictly forbidden in South Korea.
According to the country’s asset management arm, the Korea Asset Management Corporation (KAMCO), seized financial assets became government property subject to public auction. KAMCO told reporters that the Bitcoins would likely be sold at lower rates in comparison to the country’s major exchange Bithumb, Coineone, and Korbit.
OneCoin crackdown continues in India, as authorities look for six individuals
According to a report from The Hindu, police in Mumbai are looking for six individuals – four Indians, one Bulgarian, and one Mauritian – who were allegedly promoting OneCoin, a digital currency-related scheme widely believed to be a scam. Police have reportedly issued a notice to airports around the country, so the suspects won’t be able to fly away from the country.
OneCoin promoters are accused of promoting a scheme that tricks victims into investing by promising them huge returns. Back in April, countries like India and Germany started cracking down on the scheme.
Bitcoin at $2,604.83, as the cryptocurrency market recovers from what many called a “bloodbath”
Earlier this week, most cryptocurrencies plummeted, in what various news outlets dubbed a “bloodbath” due to the large scale of declines seen in the 10-20% range, making the total market cap fall below $100 billion. Shortly after, however, the market started to recover as it is widely believed the declines were mere price corrections. At press time, one Bitcoin is now worth $2,604.83, as the cryptocurrency’s total market cap is now of $46.68 billion. Bitcoin’s dominance is now at 38.8%, and the total cryptocurrency market cap is at $110 billion.
The Flippening: cryptocurrency enthusiasts believe Ethereum may overtake Bitcoin this year
The scenario in which Ethereum surpasses Bitcoin and becomes the number one cryptocurrency by market cap, called “The Flippening” by the community, has been gaining a lot of attention this week, as Ethereum now takes up 82.7% of Bitcoin’s market cap, according to The Flippening Website. While some believe this is indeed a big deal, others believe that The Flippening makes no sense, as Bitcoin and Ethereum aren’t competitors, and have different purposes. At press time, one Ether is currently worth $372.84.
Litecoin to be added to Bitstamp and Bitsquare
Litecoin has recently surged to a $2 billion market cap, as one token is now worth $40.45. Behind the surge is Litecoin’s growing influence, as two cryptocurrency exchanges recently announced they were to add the cryptocurrency to their platforms – Bitsquare and Bitstamp. Bitsquare also mentioned that it would be adding support for Dogecoin.
— Bitstamp (@Bitstamp) June 15, 2017
@SatoshiLite Bitsquare will support LTC and DOGE next to BTC as base currency for the next release. More currencies will come later…
— UASF Bitsquare (@bitsquare_) June 14, 2017