Bitcoin network: One Week Into SegWit, Hardware Wallets Lead the Pack in

Bitcoin network: After a years-long development process and even more debate and political struggle, Segregated Witness finally activated on the Bitcoin network last week. The protocol upgrade introduced a number of benefits which can enable more advanced second-layer protocols. It also offers a block size limit increase for wallets that utilize the new feature, meaning users can enjoy lower fees and faster confirmation times.

One week in, Segregated Witness has been implemented in several wallets, though overall adoption is off to a bit of a slow start. While many wallets and services indicated prior to the activation that they would be ready for the upgrade, many are taking a bit of a conservative approach when it comes to main-net release, while others have since faced unrelated difficulties that demanded their attention.

So far, hardware wallets are among the first to have jumped on the new opportunity. Both Trezor and Ledger have fully implemented and enabled Segregated Witness. This is not very surprising: Hardware wallets stand to benefit from SegWit more than most wallets, as it helps to significantly speedup the signing process.

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Ethereum Blockchain, Catastrophe Bonds, And The Future Of Disaster Relief

Ethereum Blockchain technology has been extrapolated out from underneath bitcoin and is being applied to a myriad of use cases across the globe. One novel application is disaster relief. Can the revolutionary technology that is taking the world by storm help people overcome storms themselves?

With all that people have built and accomplished, it’s easy to forget that we are on a rock that is still cooling and changing. Our world is dynamic, alive, and dangerous. We are disheartened to be reminded of this fact when natural disasters strike. Despite all of humanity’s imagination, aptitude, and technology, we are still at the mercy of the Earth’s natural occurrences, like weather. The recent events of Hurricane Harvey have once again shown us how susceptible we are. Until we devise ways to control things like hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes, people will continue to get hurt and suffer. And other people will be obliged to help them. This age old story is getting a new chapter – blockchain technology as applied to humanitarian aid. Is this another use case being thrown at blockchain to see what sticks? Is humanitarian aid blockchain’s highest calling? Is there truly a place for blockchain in disaster relief or is the hype driving implementation where it’s not needed?

For nearly a week now, Texans living on the Gulf of Mexico have been enduring the horrors of epic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. While many are suffering, the most significant swath of damage currently stretches north-east from Corpus Christi to Beaumont, and as far inland as Austin. The people enduring this natural disaster, being Texans, will surely recover and rebuild. However, there has already been significant property damage done, as well as precious lives lost. Once the waters finally recede, there will be a great deal of effort needed to restore cities like Houston and prevent reverberative crises like post-flood diseases from finding footholds. As the people of south-east Texas struggle to keep their heads literally above water, some blockchain enthusiasts are already wondering if we can send the people besieged by Hurricane Harvey more than just our goodwill.

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Cryptocurrency Report: China’s Regulators Close to Taking Action Against ICOs

Cryptocurrency Report: Regulators in China have reportedly made up their mind to crack down on initial coin offerings (ICOs), the nascent funding mechanism through which blockchain projects have now raised more than $1.8 billion.

According to a report from Caixin, although the official statements have not been published yet, regulators have deemed ICOs to be violating fundraising laws, a determination that could lead to harsh regulations on the blockchain use case.

On the news, a conference devoted to ICOs in Beijing, scheduled on September 2, has been cancelled.

The decision is notable as it comes at a time when global regulators are considering their position on ICOs, and the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank and financial regulator, has been chief among this group.
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Metropolis release flying under the radar

Published August 23, 2017

Ethereum’s price has taken a back seat in the media cycle for the last few weeks. The Bitcoin hard fork – and the new coin’s subsequent 50% swings – has dominated headlines, and with Bitcoin expected to split again on November 1st, the controversy is by no means over. The phrase “hard fork” now creates a sense of unease and uncertainty; how will a chain split affect the coin price? Which coin will win and which will fail? But not all hard forks are bad. In fact, Ethereum will be hard forking in just a few weeks by releasing the hugely anticipated network upgrade, “Metropolis”. Metropolis is the 3rd of 4 major upgrades to the Ethereum network (Frontier, Homestead, Metropolis and Serenity which is pegged for late 2018). However, this hard fork isn’t contentious, and has always been part of the roadmap outlined by the Ethereum Foundation. For this reason, the likelihood of a group of individuals/businesses successfully creating a new coin (à la Ethereum Classic) by mining on the “old” Ethereum chain, is extremely small.
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