This week marked the fifth anniversary of the launch of the first-ever general-purpose Blockchain platform – Ethereum. At the same time, the Bitcoin price soared above US $11K, and at the time of writing this article was rallying at US $11,393.43. These and many more in Blockchain – this week.
On July 30, 2015, the first block, a.k.a, the Genesis block of Ethereum, was generated and loaded, thus marking the advent of a new long-awaited decentralized application network. Since then, the platform has undergone many updates, the significant being – Frontier, Homestead, Metropolis, and Serenity. The fourth update, Serenity, commonly known as Ethereum 2.0, is targeted for the testnet launch on Aug 4, 2020. This significantly delayed update aims to replace the energy-hungry Proof-of-Work consensus with the Proof-of-Stake algorithm.
Furthermore, coinciding with the birthday, is the price rally of Ether, the native currency of Ethereum. The price has seen a strong momentum in July, with the rise as high as 50 percent in several exchanges. The uptrend in the Ether price is widely attributed to the recent spike in DeFi due to yield farming.
While the first multipurpose Blockchain celebrated its fifth anniversary, the first-ever Blockchain platform celebrated an accomplishment of its own. Bitcoin, the first application debuted on Blockchain, breached the US $11,000 mark on Monday, with a single day gain of 12.73 percent. It was the first time since February this year that the prices have crossed 11K. The price rise is expected to renew the investor interest in the technology, while reassuring them of the long-term prospects of the cryptocurrency.
COVID-19 data tracking on Blockchain
Governments and authorities across the world continue to show interest in adopting Blockchain technology into their ecosystem. This week, it was revealed that the US Department of Health and Human Resources (HHS) is purported to be using Blockchain to record the data related to the pandemic. HHS took over the control of COVID-19 reporting a couple of weeks back from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Palantir Technologies, a government contractor who has a Blockchain platform, was awarded the project of COVID-19 reporting. Additionally, according to HHS’s response to a question on possible data manipulation by political appointees, they intend to ensure data has not been tampered with, and any such attempts are monitored and flagged. As per HHS, the data will be time-stamped, and hashed, enabling them to track any changes and updates to the data.
Putin signs crypto bills
According to Russian news outlets, the Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed two crypto bills into law on Friday. The bill states that the companies can issue digital securities on a blockchain platform if they are authorized as issuers by the Bank of Russia. It also ascertains cryptocurrencies as property. Hence these digital currencies should be reported for tax purposes but cannot be used as a payment instrument.
Australian State Treasury on Blockchain
In a research paper released on Tuesday, the Treasury Department of New South Wales has highlighted concerns over its falling behind on emerging technologies such as Blockchain. The Treasury also recommends changes to the current regulations to accelerate the adoption of Blockchain. According to the department, these reforms will enable businesses to innovate without having to seek regulatory approvals. This approach is estimated to bring benefits worth US $4 billion to the state economy.
Distributed KYC platform
Dubai is fast becoming the hub of Blockchain adoption in the Middle East. In yet another foray, the Dubai Department of Economic Development launched the UAE Know Your Customer (KYC) platform underpinned by Blockchain, this week. This platform, which has several local banks participating, is intended to accelerate the onboarding of new customers by enabling data sharing between authorities and banks.
EU and China to collaborate on digital currency
On Tuesday, authorities from the European Union and China discussed various collaborative efforts that can strengthen the economies of both the countries. This discussion included the international role of the euro and renminbi. Additionally, both countries have supposedly agreed to cooperate and share information on digital currencies.
Bank of England building a digital pound inclusive payments network
On Thursday, the Bank of England (BoE) announced that it had chosen the tech consultancy firm Accenture to redesign its payments network. The refurbished real-time gross settlement service (RTGS) will be compatible with CBDCs. This new service is expected to go live in 2022.
Power Plants to mine Bitcoins in Iran
This week, Iranian authorities have granted approvals to the country’s power plants to mine Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The power plants, however, cannot take advantage of the subsidized fuel for mining activities. Iran’s economy is in turmoil, and the government intends to fill its depleting coffers by legalizing bitcoin mining.
Fight climate change with Ethereum
On Tuesday, Fasset, a UK-based fintech company, launched its sustainable infrastructure financing system on Ethereum Blockchain. This system is intended for ethical financing for green infrastructure, including the construction of solar plants and wind farms. These assets will be tokenized and accessible to a global pool of investors.
Tokenizing the real world on Blockchain
A new self-service Blockchain platform, Tokenizer, was launched on July 29. This platform lets individuals and institutions to tokenize anything from physical assets to intellectual ones without requiring any coding skills. They can then raise funds or trade their tokens on the Tokenizer exchange.
Track illicit crypto transactions using the new tracer tool
The Digital Forensics firm Cellebrite has launched a cryptocurrency tracer tool. This forensic tool kit enables the investigators and analysts to lawfully obtain evidence and trace criminals who use cryptocurrencies for illicit activities on the darknet. This suite of tools allows law enforcement to collect and process data from a wide variety of sources, including those which are private. The resulting data set is attributed to have over 522 million data points.
In other developments, after a grueling 72 hours forking process, the public blockchain Cardano has successfully implemented Shelly hard-fork, which brings in the Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm to the platform. Crypto wallet provider Ledger revealed this week that over a million of its customer email addresses had been stolen in a data breach that possibly had been exploited for well over two months. This week, the cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, announced that it would launch a fiat-to-crypto trading platform in Australia this year. It has also started shipping its crypto debit cards to Europe.
And finally, William Shatner’s tokens sold at Warp speed
125,000 tokenized collectible cards representing the life and career of William Shatner of the Star Trek fame, sold out in nine minutes according to WAX, the Blockchain-based online marketplace facilitating this trade. Collectors can now buy and sell these cards among themselves.