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Bitcoinist Weekly News Re-Hash: Visa Tackles the Blockchain, Bitcoin XT, and More


Evan Faggart | Aug 17, 2015 | 08:00


Bitcoinist Weekly News Re-Hash: Visa Tackles the Blockchain, Bitcoin XT, and More


Evan Faggart | Aug 17, 2015 | 08:00


Most of the week was relatively quiet in terms of Bitcoin price, hovering around the $265 mark until the end of the week, when it began falling again. As we predicted last week, the Greco-Chinese hype seems to have worn off in the midst of Mark Karpeles’ arrest; the price stayed relatively stable, and the possibility that it would continue falling ended up coming to fruition.

Also read: BitLicense Casualty: LocalBitcoins Exits New York


Daily Bitcoin Price Action

  • Aug 10: $265.89
  • Aug 11: $265.36
  • Aug 12: $270.11
  • Aug 13: $265.51
  • Aug 14: $262.88
  • Aug 15: $265.77
  • Aug 16 Open: 261.36
  • Aug 16 Close: $256.96

Total Change: -3.35%

2000px-Old_Visa_LogoMonday, August 10, 2015 opened at $265.89, kicking the week off continuing the pattern that emerged late last week. Throughout the entire day, the Bitcoin price floated in the mid-to-low $260s, hitting a daily low of $261.60 at 9 AM.

Tuesday continued the mid $260s trend in the morning hours, but the market attempted a comeback in the early evening. At 5 PM, the Bitcoin price jumped to $268.82; the price hit a peak of 271.5 at 7 PM. The upward push had no momentum, though, and the price began slowly declining again at 8 PM, setting the trend for Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in the altcoin market, ShapeShift announced that it had added Ether — the crypto-token for the highly popular Ethereum, a blockchain-based protocol for smart contracts. This announcement apparently sparked huge excitement amongst Ethereum supporters and altcoin speculators, as the price of Ether skyrocketed, at one point appreciating 100%.

August 12 began at $270.11. However, the day opened on a steady decline, as the market slowly liquidated the brief gains achieved in the previous day. At 9 AM, after falling back down to $266, the Bitcoin price began rising again, although the increase would be very short-lived. The increase peaked at $270.41 at 6 PM, after which it fell back to the mid $260s. Wednesday ended on the decline, closing at $265.51.

lightning-slideIn the news on August 12, HashPlex released its open source Lightning Hub, a functionality that will contribute to the highly anticipated Lightning Network. Many people are excited about this off chain network, because it can increase Bitcoin’s speed and scalability. A small group of people even cite the Lightning Network as an alternative to increasing the block size, despite the fact that the Network is not yet functional.

Bernard Rihn, CEO and Founder of HashPlex, described the Lightning Hub:

“A full Lightning Hub is not necessarily feature-heavy. Clients decide to lock-up so many Bitcoins in a payment channel with their hub. If the hub disappears or acts maliciously, they can get their money back. Then they send and receive money. Unlike on the blockchain or with credit-card networks, these payments are confirmed immediately with no chance of chargebacks or double-spends, and they require very low fees.”

Thursday, August 13 kicked off at $265.51, a return to the mid $260s trend that was broken by the brief rally on the 11th. Price activity was flat for most of the day; the Bitcoin price fell to the low $260s in the early morning, but returned to $265 by noon. At 10 PM, there was a sharp drop, in which the price fell back to the low $260s, hitting a trough of $262 at 11 PM, and rising to $262.88 to end the day.

The 14th began at $262.88, but quickly climbed back to the mid $260s. After returning to this range, the Bitcoin price remained sideways for the rest of the day. Part of the stability could have been brought on by big news from Visa, which has began researching the blockchain in anticipation of a possible integration. However, the 14th saw some negative news as well; LocalBitcoins announced that it would be ending its services in New York due to BitLicense, making the popular P2P Bitcoin exchange the latest casualty in Benjamin Lawsky’s war on digital currency.

Rajat Taneja, Executive Vice-President of Technology at Visa, explained the intentions behind the company’s blockchain research:

“For now, the focus of this technology innovation centre will be on Visa Checkout and mVisa, but for certain, India will soon have teams that will jointly work with our two research labs in US and Singapore in studying the many aspects of blockchain disrupting technologies.”

Friday the 14th ended on a quiet note, with the Bitcoin price hovering at $265.77.

August 15 opened at $265.77, and didn’t change much for the first half of the day. However, starting at 1 PM, the Bitcoin price entered a relatively significant decline that would set the tone for the rest of the week. After hitting $261 at 7 PM, the markets calmed down and hovered between $261 and $260 for the rest of the night. At 3 AM Sunday morning, however, the price sharply dropped once again to $256 — even hitting an hourly low of $255. The Bitcoin price spent the rest of August 16 hovering between $259 and $254, eventually closing out the week at $256.96.

Bitcoin XT Drama

Bitcoin Mining ProfitabilityA likely source for this further decline in the Bitcoin price is the community drama over the looming Bitcoin XT fork. As a solution to the incessant block size debate, Gavin Andresen has released an alternative version of Bitcoin Core, called “Bitcoin XT,”  that has a larger block size, which is set to automatically increase periodically. The release of Bitcoin XT sparked yet another debate, as the major mining pools now must decide if it will use XT or continue using the regular Bitcoin Core. Community leaders have turned to censorship in order to suppress opinions regarding XT; Theymos has forbidden any XT-related topics on the Bitcoin subreddit and BitcoinTalk, the two largest Bitcoin community hubs.

This drama will likely have an affect on the Bitcoin price as it unfolds. The deliberation between the mining pools regarding whether or not to adopt XT may end up giving speculators anxiety, causing some turbulence in the Bitcoin price. Additionally, depending on which version of Bitcoin gains consensus, disillusioned Bitcoiners — unsatisfied with whichever version is chosen — may chose to leave the community and cash out their coins. If this happens on a large enough scale, there would definitely be some downward pressure on the price. Nevertheless, the Bitcoin XT drama is sure to create some interesting market action in the coming days.

Are you siding with Bitcoin XT or Bitcoin Core? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Wikipedia, “The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin” (documentary)

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of

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