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Blockchain This Week – Crypto Price Rallies, Forks and Halvings

Bitcoin Price Shoots Above US $18K

Bitcoin continued its uptrend this week as well. The price crossed the US $18,000 penchant and is cruising at $18,701.10 at the time of writing. It is the first time since 2017 that Bitcoin has reached the 18K mark. However, there was some resistance close to $18,500 as the price of BTC dropped sharply on Binance and Coinbase exchanges. This plunge is ascribed to a large number of sell orders that were spotted on these exchanges. But, the downturn was brief as the cryptocurrency recovered quickly.

Ether Drives To US $500

Meanwhile, the price of Ether, the native cryptocurrency of Ethereum, crossed US $500. It is the first time in over a year that Ether has reached this high point. The uptick is attributed to the overall market optimism as well as the impending Ethereum 2.0 release. At the time of writing, one Ether was as high as US $507.19.

Forks and Halvings

Bitcoin Cash Forks Into Bitcoin Cash ABC and Bitcoin Cash Node

Earlier this week, the fork of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, forked once again. This time, Bitcoin Cash ABC and Bitcoin Cash Node were created. The split was the result of a disagreement over the proposed tax on rewards that the miners had to pay to BCH ABC. A group of developers known as BCH ABC had proposed an update that required eight percent of the mined crypto to be sent to them. According to these developers, by doing so, the miners were financing the network’s development activities. Another group, Bitcoin Cash Node, opposed this update and decided to continue with the old software. As of now, there does not seem to be any support to the BCH ABC community, while several miners have mined multiple blocks on the Bitcoin Cash Node network.

Privacy-Focused Zcash Undergoes Its First Halving

Alongside, Zcash, another Blockchain network that parted its way from Bitcoin, completed its first halving since its inception in 2016. On Nov 18, when Zcash block height reached 1,046,400, the halving event was triggered. As a result, the miners’ rewards were reduced from 6.25 ZEC to 3.125 ZEC. Additionally, the network also activated an upgrade named Canopy, intending to end its infamous Founders’ Reward. Up until the update, the miners received 80 percent of the rewards for mining blocks, whereas the rest, 20 percent, went to the founders and employee compensation fund. The Canopy update put an end to it while introducing a new development fund.

Mainstream Crypto

The Second Largest Bank in the World Halts Its Billion Dollar Blockchain-Powered Bonds

Last week, China Construction Bank had announced that it would issue the US $3 billion worth of debt securities over Blockchain. However, the bank rescinded the issuance this week allegedly at the request of the issuer. The bank has not provided any clarity on if the bonds will be issued on a future date.

The Largest Banks in Japan Collaborate To Experiment With CBDC

Three of Japan’s largest banks are working with a group of 30 private sector firms on an experiment with the digital yen. As per the report, this group consists of banks, brokerage firms, and firms in the telecom and retail industry. They will conduct experiments for issuing a digital currency that will use a common settlement platform.

Japanese Bank To Launch a Blockchain-Driven Payment Network

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, one of the largest banks in Japan, is also set to launch its high-speed blockchain payment network next year. The bank is partnering with the US-based tech firm Akamai. The Global Open Network intends to make the payment services cheaper and more efficient.  

Airbnb Mulls Over Crypto and Blockchain

Earlier this week, Airbnb, the San Francisco based vacation homes online marketplace, filed an IPO prospectus with the US SEC. According to the filing, the firm lists Blockchain as one of the vital technologies in the future. Additionally, Airbnb considers their future success will depend on their ability to adapt to emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies.

Crypto Felonies

Value DeFi Hack

Ironically, a day after the DeFi platform Value tweeted that their recent innovation, the MultiStables Vault, will always keep the users’ funds SAFU (safe), it became a victim of an elaborate hack. Late last week, the perpetrators behind this complex attack drained the network of US $6 million worth of cryptocurrencies. However, the attackers had a change of heart after reading some messages sent to them by the victims. These texts have made them to return $95,000 in Dai.

Origin Protocol Exploited

Meanwhile, a stablecoin project, Origin Dollar (OUSD), was exploited this week, and the hackers made away with US $7 million in crypto. The team is investigating the nature of the attack. According to them, a flash loan transaction is likely the root of the attack. Since the attack, the deposits to the OUSD vault have been disabled, and traders have been advised not to purchase the token as the prices quoted on exchanges would not reflect the token’s underlying assets.

Texas Regulators Crackdown Illegal Crypto Firms

On Thursday, the Texas State Securities Board issued cease and desist orders to 15 crypto firms that allegedly are scams. Ten of these, the regulator says, are controlled by a single person. As per the officials, a common thread across all 15 firms is their use of social media to lure investors in and drain them dry.

Ponzi Crypto Operator’s Bizarre Escape Plan

Mathew Piercey, accused of defrauding people of tens of millions of dollars, tried an innovative way to escape from the FBI agents – a sea scooter. According to reports, Piercey evaded the agents pursuing him for an hour. He fled in his truck from his home in California. It was found abandoned at the edge of Lake Shasta. Then, he drove underwater for around 25 minutes in the sea scooter. Finally, he was arrested the moment he emerged from the lake. 

OKEx Back in Business

After more than a month since suspending withdrawals, the crypto exchange OKEx, had some promising announcements this week. OKEx stated that the full customer withdrawals would resume on its platform before Nov 27. This decision coincides with the purported reappearance of Mingxing Star Xu, founder of OKCoin and CEO of OK Group. Xu was detained by Chinese police last month in connection with an investigation.

And Finally, Blockchain Underpins Noble Causes

UN Partner Firm Chooses Distributed Ledger for Irrefutable Claims on Airstrikes

Hala Systems is a partner firm of the United Nations that has developed an app called Sentry to provide early warnings of airstrikes in war-torn Syrian regions. The app has been around since 2016. It has blended emerging tech such as Blockchain and AI with the conventional first-hand information obtained by affected civilians to provide accurate warnings. The app was using Ethereum as an immutable database for storing the information about airstrikes. The aim is to empower the victims with irrefutable evidence when they seek justice for the war crimes.

This week Hedera Hashgraph announced that Hala has chosen its platform to replace Ethereum. As per their statement, the probabilistic consensus, smart contracts with varying fees, and slower confirmation times in Ethereum led Hala to switch to Hedera.

Diplomas on Blockchain

According to an announcement from Vietnam’s education department, starting in 2021, the diplomas issued to the students will be recorded on Blockchain. The ministry is working with Singapore-based Blockchain startup, TomoChain and will use the firm’s platform for the records.

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