Thanks for joining us for this weekly bitcoin news recap, a series where we cover top headlines and stories in the world of bitcoin and fintech. This week we saw the launch of the new Brave Payments service, which looks to bring bitcoin micropayments right to your browser. The conversation on scaling the network continues, and this week it includes an update from our team on Thunder. There was also the OnChain Scaling Encore Edition, which featured prominent figures in the bitcoin community discussing bitcoin scaling possibilities. We also touched base on the bitcoin price, and what it is and isn’t doing. Read all this news and more, in our weekly Blockchain recap.
Bitcoin micropayments built into your browser
After months of development and hype, Brave Software Inc. has finally released an update that integrates under-the-hood bitcoin micropayments right into its browser. The update enables users to use its bitcoin-based micropayments system that automatically and anonymously pays users’ favorite websites. It will also allow users and publishers to opt into a better, privacy-preserving ad model that shares revenue with users as well as publishers.
A second platform which also included micropayments as a service, social network Zapchain, has announced that it is shutting down. Launched in 2014 as part of accelerator Boost VC’s fourth batch of startups, it ceased services effective 31st August. In addition to these headlines on bitcoin micropayments, we’re continuing to see new efforts to diversify bitcoin payment applications. Another bitcoin-powered social network looks to launch soon, called Yours. The platform’s main goal is to create a way for content creators to get paid for their digital content directly from their audiences. The project was founded by former Reddit Cryptocurrency Engineer, Ryan X. Charles, who hopes to garner interest from a mainstream audience.
Efforts to scale bitcoin
A web conference this week found a notable selection of industry thought leaders exploring lesser-publicized challenges and solutions for bitcoin scaling. Following a longer conference in June, Tuesday’s “encore edition” of OnChain Scaling saw presentations from Bloq co-founder Jeff Garzik; Cornell professor Emin Gün Sirer; and Berger Singerman counsel Andrew Hinkes. A byproduct of the long-running block size debate, the event has emerged as a way to highlight proposed technical changes designed to be made to the bitcoin blockchain directly, rather than through a top-layer solution.
In our team’s own efforts to tackle the pressing issue of scaling, we released an update to our work on Thunder. In the article, Engineer Mats Jerratsch outlines the benefits, challenges, and details of our solution for payment settlements. Blockchain co-founder Nicolas Cary shared some extra details with Bitcoin.com author Jon Southurst, including that we’re “currently stress testing the network and running internal code and security.” As stated, our focus is on hardening both the capacity and security of the network.
Price theory and speculation
The price of bitcoin as shown above from the Blockchain Markets page has gone completely sideways, with the price remaining relatively the same for the past month. However according to Bitcoinist.net, the sentiment among analysts is that bitcoin is preparing itself for a hefty move in the coming weeks, but still needs a little more time to warm up.
The catalyst for the next big price event is never known, but CoinDesk theorized on a few opportunities that could help drive the price such as institutional approval, technical (protocol) improvements, etc. Research from a Bank of Canada paper recently published suggests that once virtual currencies like bitcoin become more established, the exchange rate will be less affected by speculator perceptions.
Blood diamonds and bitcoin airdrops
World leaders have been working together to eliminate the global market in blood diamonds—stones that fuel violent conflicts through their sale—for over a decade, but they continue to be bought and sold. Now, the Kimberley Process (KP), an international organization that oversees the diamond trade, is hoping that the technology behind bitcoin, the blockchain, can plug the leaks.
Also interested in applications of the blockchain is Visa’s innovation hub. According to a new report from Bitcoin.com, Visa Europe Collab is inviting lenders to test its interbank transfer system that sends money over a blockchain. And this September, blockchain hubs across North America will be giving out bitcoin to begin the next school year. Over a dozen regions including New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston in the United States and Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa, in Canada, are preparing their events. The giveaway, known as a Bitcoin Airdrop, has become a yearly tradition on university campuses.
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