As part of an attempt to reduce its reliance on Proof-of-Work mining, the Ethereum network will hard fork today to reduce its block reward from 3 ETH to 2 ETH. A previous hard fork had already reduced the block reward from its original payout of 5 ETH to 3 ETH. When combined with worsening market prices, reductions in block rewards centralize the network by degrading the economics for smaller miners on the margins, who are subsequently driven out. Only large miners with the absolute lowest costs are left, making it easy for hashpower to cartelize or collude. Having built a small but die-hard community of "dapp" developers, it seems Ethereum's controllers are keen to consolidate their influence--but to what end?
Constantinople Incoming: Tomorrow’s Two Ethereum Hard Forks Explained
"In less than 24 hours, the world’s second largest blockchain by market capitalization is expected to activate its sixth and seventh system-wide upgrades, at which point its global user base will be asked to make two near-simultaneous changes to its code. Known as Constantinople and St. Petersburg, both upgrades will be implemented as 'hard forks,' or upgrades that add new rules to the ethereum software that are incompatible with past versions. Both will also take place at the exact same block number – 7,280,000."
Bitcoin’s $1.3 Trillion Annual Transaction Volume Surpasses Online Payment Giant PayPal
"Bitcoin (BTC), the largest and most popular digital asset in the market, has surpassed the online payment company PayPal in the number of annual transactions. According to data provided by global statistics portals, Bitcoin handled $1.3 trillion worth of transaction volume in 2018. During the same period of time, PayPal recorded $578.65 billion worth of payment transactions. This is the second time in history that Bitcoin is able to surpass PayPal in the number in terms of transaction volume."
Coinbase’s Newest Team Members Helped Authoritarians Worldwide Monitor Journalists and Dissidents
"But observers on Twitter, including analyst Arjun Balaji, quickly noticed a major problem with Coinbase’s new family members: many of them are former leaders of Hacking Team, an Italian spyware vendor. Though ostensibly a creator of tools to monitor and fight crime and terrorism, Hacking Team also sold those tools to repressive regimes, possibly in violation of international controls on such tools. Those regimes, in turn, used the tools to monitor and endanger journalists, activists, and political dissidents."
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London Stock Exchange Leads $20 Million Bet On Blockchain To Cut Out Custody Middlemen
"If Nivaura gets its way, the world’s capital markets will run like vending machines. Instead of a complex web of depositors holding stock certificates and investment banks holding cold, hard cash, while counterparties frantically move around virtual representations of their assets, investors will deal directly with each other and hold their own assets, using the blockchain technology made famous by bitcoin."
Fidelity Joins $1.9 Million Round in Blockchain Data Startup Coin Metrics
"Blockchain analytics startup Coin Metrics has closed a $1.9 million seed round with Fidelity Investments, Highland Capital Partners and Dragonfly Capital. Announced today, the startup also released its first suite of commercial products for institutions seeking customized research reports. Aside from looking at exchange activity and prices, Coin Metrics also analyzes blockchain data with a methodology that aims to help traders cut through the noise, as Carter put it. For example, purchasing bitcoin on an exchange platform might lead to several hops across wallets related to the platform’s back-end storage. Failing to account for such patterns could artificially inflate transaction data."
A Chinese government-owned company just defaulted on its debt. It's a worrying sign for the country's economy
"Qinghai Provincial Investment Group failed to pay an $11 million interest payment on a offshore $300 million bond on Friday, the first time a state-owned Chinese company has done so for 20 years. Despite attempts to loosen lending conditions in recent months, China's slowing economy is negatively impacting default rates — now worryingly extending to state-owned companies."
Lightning Network Knowledge Resource
"Below you’ll find the most comprehensive list of the best Lightning resources on the Internet curated to help you understand and use Lightning."
100 Crypto Thefts: A Timeline of Hacks, Glitches, Exit Scams, and other Lost Cryptocurrency Incidents
"Printable timeline of crypto thefts, hacks, glitches, and exit scams from 2011 through 2019. ... It is my hope that this dataset can be used by anyone and everyone to form a better understanding of vulnerabilities which still exist in “Crypto,” some which cannot be totally fixed, of course (i.e. extortion…), but some which may also be totally avoidable…such as the Coinomi losses mentioned above."