Morgan Stanley: We Don’t Expect Cryptocurrencies to be Fully Disruptive

Leading global financial services firm Morgan Stanley has given its view as to how disruptive cryptocurrencies are going to be to fiat monies.

According to the bank, the crypto-revolution is not going to replace traditional currencies.

In a report, Morgan Stanley said:

“We think that cryptocurrencies as a group are likely to see some adoption outside of the incumbent financial system, but we do not expect them to be fully disruptive.”

In a ‘Fintech Gauntlet chart,’ Morgan Stanley has illustrated that disruption is possible, but it will be slow to take place. However, the bank suggests that only through regulation will cryptocurrencies be capable of gaining trust among the people. This will also enable them to enter the financial system.

The bank adds that digital currencies such as bitcoin are acting more as assets than as a way of transacting with.

It stated:

“With high volatility, low acceptance, relatively slow transaction times, and negligible fraud/transaction validity advantages (at least for now), bitcoin (and all cryptocurrencies) are functioning more like assets than true currencies or transaction mechanisms.”

High Electricity Use

One thing that is often debated is the amount of electricity required to mine each bitcoin. When bitcoin first appeared all that was required to mine it was a simple home computer.

However, as the mathematical problems to unlock new bitcoins became more complex to solve, networks with greater power than home computers were set up to mine the coins. As a result, this requires the use of more power and electricity.

According to Morgan Stanley, in the early days of bitcoin the energy generated could power a small power plant. Fast-forward to 2017 and the power generated is more than enough to power one million homes.

Additionally, as reigning networks don’t require huge amounts of electricity to function, it will be interesting to see how cryptocurrencies continue to mature.

Bitcoin Acceptance is Shrinking

This isn’t the first time that Morgan Stanley has made a statement regarding the crypto market.

In July, the bank said that bitcoin acceptance among top merchants was on the decline. In a research note to analysts it said that ‘bitcoin acceptance is virtually zero and shrinking.’

According to the bank, in 2016 the cryptocurrency was accepted at five of the top 500 online merchants. Yet, in 2017 that number had dropped to three. Of course, while the numbers may hardly be drastic, it does give some insight into what merchants are thinking. This is that accepting the digital currency may not be worth it.

It’s believed that this drop is down to the fact that people are more likely to hold on to their coins when its value goes up, rather than spend them.

The analysts said:

“The disparity between virtually no merchant acceptance and bitcoin’s rapid appreciation is striking.”

Overstock’s Confusion

Online retailer Overstock is confused. Confused by the fact that so many online companies don’t accept bitcoin as a payment option.

In July, Jonathan Johnson, the president of Medici Ventures, the venture capital subsidiary of Overstock, said that there had been a ‘modest’ uptick in the number of bitcoin transactions on the site. He also added that it was ‘crazy that so many retailers don’t accept bitcoin.’

One of the reasons may be down to the fact that retailers aren’t willing to pay for the costly transactions of bitcoin. Yet, Johnson believes this is irrelevant.

He stated:

“The cost of accepting bitcoin is very low. It’s actually cheaper for us to complete a bitcoin transaction than it is to complete a credit card.”

When Overstock first began accepting bitcoin in 2014, the company kept 90 percent of bitcoin and converted 10 percent back into cash. Now the company keeps 50 percent in bitcoin.

Such is Overstock’s commitment to the advancements of digital currency acceptance that the firm now accepts over 40 cryptocurrencies. Earlier in August, the company announced that it would allow customers to use major digital currencies such as ethereum, litecoin, Dash, Monero and bitcoin cash to buy online from Overstock’s nearly four million products. By integrating with ShapeShift, the world’s leading instant digital asset exchange, Overstock will be able to convert the cryptocurrencies into bitcoin.

Patrick M. Byrne, CEO and founder of Overstock, said:

“Overstock is pro-freedom, including the freedom of individuals to communicate information about value and scarcity without relying on a medium created through the fiat of unaccountable government mandarins. For that reason, we have been an early proponent and adopter of cryptocurrencies.”

Increasing Bitcoin’s Acceptance

Even though there are a handful of online merchants who accept bitcoin for payments such as Starbucks, Subway, Dell, Expedia and Microsoft, many would like that number to rise.

So much so that cryptocurrency fans launched a petition on Change.org urging Amazon to accept the digital currency. At press time, on the 25th August, there were 5,380 supporters of it with a goal of reaching 7,500.

Whereas CoinGeek, a bitcoin and blockchain news site, sent $100 in bitcoin to the financial directors at 20 of the top online brands. These included Alibaba, Amazon, Tesco, Staples, Uber, MacDonalds, Netflix, Airbnb, American Airlines, LVMH, AT&T, CVS Health, Tesla, Apple, FedEx, John Lewis PLC, Spotify, BMW and Red Bull.

Of those companies Airbnb was the first one to take up the offer in July. However, since then two other companies have followed suit: AT&T and American Airlines. Of course, this doesn’t mean the companies will automatically start accepting bitcoin. In fact the financial directors may simply just be taking the free coins on offer. Hopefully, though, in the not-so-distant-future more organisations will jump on board.

As Johnson said:

“I don’t know why a CEO wouldn’t want to make it easier for folks to spend money.”

Still a Long Way to Go

While the crypto market may be making an impact it still has a far distance to travel if it wants to disrupt finance. And yet, steps are clearly being made. The saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day,’ is very apt here and can certainly be applied to cryptocurrencies.

The finance world is witnessing a change in how people conduct their day-to-day finances and given time the digital currency market could replace incumbent networks.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

South Africa’s Central Bank Says It’s ‘Too Risky’ to Issue Digital Currency

The deputy governor of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has said that it would be ‘too risky‘ to start issuing its own digital currency.

Speaking at the Strate GIBS FinTech Innovation Conference 2017, Francois Groepe, the deputy governor of the South African Reserve Bank, commented on the development of a digital currency such as bitcoin. However, while bitcoin is gaining dominance, he stressed that the central bank needs to ensure that payment methods aren’t abused to fund money laundering or terrorism.

He noted, though, that digital currencies are becoming more recognised as people understand their concept.

As a result, he said that:

“Virtual currencies have the potential of becoming widely adopted. However, for the central bank to issue virtual currencies or cryptocurrencies in an open system will be too risky for us. This is something that we really need to think about.”

According to Groepe, though, the central bank has created a three-member team to look into how cryptocurrencies work. The bank is also expected to launch a digital currency sandbox to test how they function.

He also discussed the financial industry and how innovation is changing the sector, mainly through digital currencies.

He added:

“We are witnessing the disruption of financial services. Over the past decade or so, fintech’s attention and publicity has continued to intensify and increase. It is continuing to usher in completely new ways of banking. Developments in the fintech space are part of an evolutionary process driven by innovations.”

Bitcoin Dominates the Market

As of the 23th August bitcoin is trading at $4,239. This is a 6.93 percent increase in 24 hours, but a 0.08 drop in seven days. At press time, the digital currency’s market cap is worth over $70 billion.

Just yesterday, bitcoin’s price was listed at $3,674 as it underwent an early-week correction period. As a consequence, its market cap value dropped to $60.7 billion. However, this price rally has helped to push it back over the $4,000 mark. The recent drop in price is believed to be down to a hashrate shift from bitcoin to bitcoin cash.

According to a recent report, bitcoin cash surged to a new all-time high on the 19th August when it reached $914. Furthermore, the alternative to bitcoin was reported to have mined its first eight megabyte block, clearing nearly 40,000 transactions. According to data from Coin Dance, bitcoin cash had become 69 percent more profitable to mine than bitcoin.

Not only that, but concerns have been circulating the SegWit and SegWit2x debate, which may have pushed bitcoin’s price down.

Despite this, however, the number one currency is still the leader in the field. Ethereum, in second place, has a market cap worth $30.2 billion. Whereas, bitcoin cash, in third place, is valued at $10.9 billion. Nevertheless, fourth placed ripple is close behind with a market value amounting to $10.8 billion.

Are Fears Justified?

Considering the dominance that bitcoin is showing in the market, it’s may be surprising that South Africa’s central bank thinks it’s too risky to start issuing their own version.

Last August, it was reported that The Bank of England had issued its own digital currency. Known as the RSCoin, it shares similar traits to bitcoin such as being managed by the blockchain. However, one of its key differences is that it is centralised within The Bank of England. As a result, only one bank generates each unit of the digital currency.

The bank has keenly embraced the blockchain, which is evident in an excerpt from a quarterly bulletin. It says:

“… the key innovation of digital currencies is the ‘distributed ledger’ which allows a payment system to operate in an entirely decentralized way, without intermediaries such as banks.”

Not only that, but according to the U.K.’s central bank, they don’t see that digital currencies ‘pose a material risk to monetary or financial stability in the United Kingdom.’ However, it will continue to monitor developments in this area.

No doubt aware of how finance is changing, The Bank of England appear keen to maintain a hold on the sector even if that means issuing their own digital currency.

SARB Begins Testing Digital Currency Regulations

Yet, while South Africa’s bank may not be issuing its own cryptocurrency anytime soon, the bank has been discussing regulations for bitcoin.

As a result, SARB are reported to be having discussions with blockchain-based solutions provider Bankymoon. According to a report, the central bank and Bankymoon are to undertake an experiment to test regulations for the digital currency.

Both, however, are in the early stages of seeing where the partnership can go.

Loerien Gamaroff, CEO of Bankymoon, said:

“This is because the Reserve Bank is very hesitant to give a stamp of approval on anything that comes out. The sandbox will only be bitcoin focused during this initial phase, but is focused on applying broad regulations to all cryptocurrencies.”

He adds, though, that it will give a formal foundation to bitcoin, which people will be able to trust.

“I think the regulation will move things along and make people on the street comfortable with bitcoin. With these new regulations, these everyday people can now trust that bitcoin is not just for hackers and criminals.”

The bank has, in the past, expressed its interest in blockchain and digital currencies. So much so, that the bank’s governor stated that it was willing to consider the benefits that the technology could present.

At the time, Lesetja Kganyago, the governor of SARB, said:

“As a central bank, we are open to innovations despite the different opinions of regulators on matters such as cryptocurrencies. We are willing to consider the merits and risks of blockchain technology and other distributed ledgers.”

Taking Small Steps

It remains to be seen what’s next for the central bank. However, the bank has already made significant progress so far. The fact that it has started proceedings into the regulation of digital currencies is a step forward. Nothing is going to happen overnight, but these steps remain positive for the country, which is seeing an increasing number of people using bitcoin for day-to-day purchases.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

10 Digital Currencies Now Have Market Values Totalling Over $1 Billion

The number of digital currencies that have exceeded a market value of $1 billion is 10 with values ranging from $1.3 billion to $70 billion.

The top 10 cryptocurrencies with market values exceeding $1 billion include bitcoin, ethereum, ripple, bitcoin cash, IOTA, litecoin, NEO, NEM, dash and ethereum classic.

 

Bitcoin, the Number One Ranking Currency

In first place is bitcoin with a market value amounting to $70 billion. At press time, it is trading at $4,245, which has seen a 5.42 percent rise over the past 24 hours and a 27.03 percent increase in the last seven days.

After recently scaling the $4,000 mark, there is still huge demand for the digital currency. This is despite the 1st August user activated hard fork, which saw the creation of bitcoin cash. It remains to be seen how far bitcoin can go, but many are predicting it can easily reach $5,000 and even higher.

Ethereum Drops Below $300

Second place ethereum had attained the $300 mark again after flirting with the price for some time last week. Now, it’s trading at $297 with a 0.68 percent rise in 24 hours and 11.23 percent increase in seven days. Its market cap is worth $28 billion.

At one point, it looked as though ethereum may push bitcoin off the top spot as it steadily gained on the digital currency. Now, though, that doesn’t look likely. The currency has come a significant way since the beginning of the year when it was trading at $8.24, according to CoinMarketCap.

Ronnie Moas, Standpoint Research founder, believes it can go much further. He’s predicting that by 2018, ethereum’s price will be listed at $400.

Ripple Maintains Third Place

At the beginning of August, Ripple has lost its third place position to newcomer bitcoin cash; however, it has since reclaimed the third ranking spot.

Currently trading at $0.169272, it has a market value amounting to $6.7 billion. Over 24 hours its value has increased by 0.47 percent, but within seven days it has dropped in price by -5.95 percent. The digital currency is doing well to maintain hold of third place, but for how long?

Newcomer Bitcoin Cash Falls into Fourth

Bitcoin cash is the newest digital currency to enter the market. It’s also one that has entered the top 10 field so soon after its launch.

Created by supporters who wanted a solution to bitcoin’s scaling issues, bitcoin cash has garnered support since it entered the scene on the 1st August.

At the time of publishing, it is trading at $299, which has seen a slight drop in value over 24 hours of -2.96 percent. Yet, it has increased by 4.02 percent in the past seven days. Ranking third when it first came on the scene, it had a market value of nearly $12 billion. Now, though, it’s currently sitting at $4.9 billion.

At its peak, bitcoin cash was trading at $727 on the 2nd August. However, the chart below indicates a steady decline in price.

At its lowest, bitcoin cash was trading at $201 on the 5th August. After making it easier to find blocks for the digital currency its price peaked up slightly, but it has yet to see $700 figures again.

IOTA Grabs Fifth Place, Pushes Litecoin into Sixth

IOTA has shown some positive returns on its price in August. As such its price has steadily increased over the month. At the time of publishing, the digital currency is trading at $0.885418 and has seen an 18.37 percent in the past 24 hours. Over seven days, its value has increased by 87.29 percent.

This surge in value is believed to be down to the fact that it has announced collaborations with several groups such as a non-profit organisation helping refugees. Joining the $1 billion club on the 4th August, IOTA currently has a market value of $2.461 billion.

Litecoin is Close Behind in Sixth

Sixth place litecoin is close on the tails of IOTA with a current market value of $2.401 billion. It’s currently trading at $45.66 and has seen a -0.70 percent in 24 hours and -0.33 percent in the past seven days.

Over the past couple of years the price of litecoin has remained within the $3-5 range. However, it wasn’t until April 2017 that its price increased. This was helped along by the activation of SegWit on its network. The support of litecoin on Coinbase also played a role. At its highest litecoin has achieved over $50.

Moas is of the opinion that by 2018, litecoin could easily see it trading at $80. It remains to be seen whether or not the digital currency achieves this price, but it is steadily rising in price, which is giving confidence to many of its traders.

‘Chinese Ethereum’ NEO Takes Seventh

Formerly known as AntShares, NEO – known as the Chinese Ethereum – has a market value worth $2.3 billion. Since undergoing a rebrand the digital currency has soared in value.

In the past 24 hours, it has seen a 1.17 percent increase, but over the past seven days its value has jumped by 154.80 percent. It’s trading at $46.63.

This chart, alone, indicates how far NEO has come in 2017.

NEM Takes Eighth Place

Grabbing hold of a $2.094 billion market cap value is NEM. It’s currently trading at $0.232741, but has seen a -12.14 percent decrease over the past 24 hours and a -13.89 drop in seven days.

As can be seen NEM has experienced a surge in price over the first half of 2017. As we continue into the second half it remains to be seen if the digital currency can produce a higher price.

Dash Falls into Ninth

With a market cap of $1.471 billion, Dash is currently sitting in ninth position. At the time of publishing it’s trading at $196, but has seen a -3.43 percent drop in 24 hours. Over seven days, however, its value has risen by 1.29 percent.

On the 6th July, its value was trading at $222 when its market value was listed at $1.648 billion.

Ethereum Classic Makes Number 10

In tenth place is ethereum classic with a market cap value of $1.3 billion. Even though this is the original ethereum before a hard fork took place, which saw two ethereum coins, the community hasn’t shown too much support for the original version.

At the time of publishing this altcoin is trading at $14.14, which has seen a -1.81 percent decrease in 24 hours and a -7.81 percent drop in seven days.

As shown from the chart above, it was back in June when ethereum classic recorded a high of nearly $23, helping to push its market value to $2.1 billion.

Of course with the market producing such changeable values the top 10 could easily change, pushing some down and others not mentioned up. Who knows who will be next to join the $1 billion club.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Bitcoin to Climb to $5,000; Tech Leaders Say Fork May Increase Volatility

An independent stock research analyst has said that the price of bitcoin will increase to $5,000, ethereum will double to $400 and litecoin will jump up to $80 from $40 by 2018.

Ronnie Moas, Standpoint Research founder, made his predictions in his report on digital currencies – the first two parts of the 122-page report were recently published – where he wrote:

“In my view, the genie is out of the bottle, and cryptocurrencies will continue to rise and take market share away from stocks, other precious metals, bonds and currencies.”

He added:

“I think investors should take a shot on this and hold for a few years. If you lose a few bucks, at least you took a shot. In life, you miss every shot that you do not take. It will probably be more upsetting to watch it (from the sidelines) go up another 1,000%.”

According to Moas, bitcoin will rise to $5,000 while the second most popular digital currency, ethereum, will double its value to $400. Litecoin, currently ranked number five, behind ripple and bitcoin cash, will increase its price to $80.

These predictions were made before the launch of the newest coin on the block, bitcoin cash, so it’s not clear where his position lies with that digital currency.

Moas, however, states that he has bought 10 of the top twenty digital currencies by market capitalisation. This is the first time he has done so and is confident as to where they are going.

He adds:

“In my view, 10-15 years from now, the charts on a few of the top 20 names will look like the Amazon, Apple, Tesla, Facebook, Netflix and Goggle charts look today.”

In July, Moas said that he expected the price of bitcoin to increase to $5,000 ‘in a few months.‘ He also mentioned that had recently bought bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin.

Speaking in an interview at the time, he said:

“$5,000 could happen in a few months. It’s only starting to gain traction right now. It’s starting to spread like wildfire right now.”

He believes that its value will increase to new heights because the amount of bitcoins is capped at 21 million. As the number of bitcoins reaches its limit, it will increase demand, which in turn will push its price up.

At the time of publishing, the price of bitcoin was trading at $2,727, according to CoinMarketCap. The digital currency has seen as 0.49 percent rise over the past 24 hours and a 6.14 percent increase in the last seven days. Its market cap is worth just under $45 billion.

Ethereum is up at $221. Even though it saw a 1.62 percent decline in the last 24 hours, it has risen 8.31 percent over the past seven days. It now has a total cap value of $20.7 billion.

Bitcoin cash, which now takes third place among the top 10 digital currencies, is currently trading at $449. It has risen 5.41 percent within the past 24 hours and 3.14 percent in the last seven days. Its market value is worth $7.4 billion. Its value puts it comfortably in front of ripple with a market value of $6.5 billion and litecoin, which is currently worth $2.2 billion.

Could Bitcoin Split Increase Volatility?

On the 2nd August, the bitcoin community saw a bitcoin fork take place. This created bitcoin cash. Now among the top 10 digital currencies, the new coin has helped to push the total market value up to over $100 billion. Prior to the fork, that figure was resting at $91 billion. It remains to be seen whether the market will continue to rise or if it will return to pre-fork levels.

For the moment, though, the launch of bitcoin cash doesn’t appear to be producing too much impact on the price of bitcoin. Since its launch, the number one digital currency has remained stable. This could be indicative of its growth and market value.

And yet, despite this, some are claiming that the fork could increase volatility and hurt wider adoption.

While the creation of bitcoin cash is designed to increase bitcoin’s transaction capability, Vinny Lingham, CEO of tech startup Civic, believes that it could damage bitcoin’s long-term prospects.

“My biggest concern with bitcoin being split at this point is just the brand dilution of bitcoin.”

He adds because there are two coins it may prove confusing to consumers. This may certainly be true for those who are just entering the digital space and don’t know which coin to use. This in turn could hinder wider adoption efforts.

Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash Core, said that BCH has some issues:

First, Bitcoin Cash has not solved scaling. It has merely kicked the can down the road with slightly larger blocks, but still lacks a credible technology to scale to massively larger numbers of users. Second, Bitcoin will retain the network of integrated services that make the Bitcoin network useful to businesses and consumers. With no substantial enhancements compared with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash is unlikely to be integrated into those same services, given the substantial expense for businesses operating them to do so.

However, while there are people against the split, some are supportive of it.

Anatoliy Knyazev, co-founder of investment company Exante, said this is how digital currencies are supposed to work.

“(This is) decentralized governance in action. Anyone can try to lead and the market will figure it out.”

Many people who are able to access both BTC and BCH may be holding on to the new coins. They may be doing this until they can dump them when their value increases. As a result, experts are saying that traders should hold on to them.

Meanwhile, according to Erik Vooheers, CEO of ShapeShift, he took to Twitter to say he will be dumping his.

In his opinion the SegWit proposal has ‘overwhelming support’ and he will be standing by his support of it. This is true.

At the last check, support for SegWit remains at 100 percent from the mining community. SegWit2x has a support rating of 89.9 percent. Bitcoin Unlimited (BU), another proposal for the bitcoin upgrade, is trailing significantly behind with 35.5 percent support. At this stage it’s unlikely that BU will come to fruition.

For now, all the community can do is wait and see what happens.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Russian Airline Uses the Ethereum Blockchain for Flight Tickets

Russian airline S7 has revealed that it is now utilising the ethereum blockchain to sell flight tickets with backing from the country’s largest private bank.

Reported in regional newspaper Kommersant, Russian airline PJSC Siberia Airlines, known as S7, and Alfa-Bank started using the blockchain to sell flight tickets on Monday 24th July. The report states that one of the key benefits was faster settlements.

However, this is not the first time that S7 has experimented with the blockchain. In December, the airline undertook the first-of-its-kind payment service with the ethereum blockchain smart contracts through a letter of credit with Alfa-Bank.

Services giant Deloitte, who acted as the advisory consultant to the airline, said in a statement that:

“Legally, this transaction meets all the requirements for a letter of credit as a form of bank settlement, and demonstrates the potential of smart contract application in the framework of Russian legislation.”

Aeroflot, Russia’s largest airline, is also conducting research into the technology, namely digital currencies and how they can be used for flight ticket payments.

The experiments with S7 and Aeroflot are expected to end the 10th December, 2017.

Airlines Turn to Bitcoin

S7 is not the first airline carrier to embrace this innovative technology. There have been several airlines to do so before.

The most recent is low-cost Japanese airline Peach Aviation Ltd., which announced earlier in 2017 that it was to start accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for flight tickets. After the recent interest in the digital currency, which has seen rapid growth in Japan in recent months, it is hoped this will provide an attraction to tourists to visit the country.

Shinichi Inoue, chief executive officer of Peach, said:

“We want to encourage visitors from overseas and the revitalization of Japan’s regions. This is a real first step in partnerships for Japan and we are aiming for more company and service tie-ups.”

The heightened interest in bitcoin in Japan is due to the fact that in April regulations were changed which now see the digital currency as a legal form of payment for goods and services.

As a result, it’s expected that by the end of 2017 there will be as many as 300,000 stores in Japan accepting bitcoin for payments.

Aside from Peach other airlines have also embraced the most popular digital currency for their services too.

These include Latvian airline airBaltic, LOT, the Polish airline and Washington D.C.-based airline Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP).

Three years ago, airBaltic revealed that it was to begin accepting bitcoin payments in an attempt to focus more on the customer. By taking this step the airline became the world’s first to accept the digital currency for its tickets to 60 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

In 2015, LOT announced that it was going to start accepting bitcoin for its flights to over 60 destinations as well.

UATP also revealed in 2015 that it had joined up with Bitnet as a payment processing partner. As a result, the U.S. airline now has the opportunity of providing its network of over 260 airlines the option of accepting bitcoin for flight payments.

These are just a few of the airline carriers which are embracing the digital currency who see the benefits it can provide to customers. This is in contrast to Morgan Stanley’s claim that bitcoin acceptance among top merchants is in decline.

Russia and Bitcoin

While Russia appears to see many benefits with the blockchain – after all, ethereum’s founder, Vitalik Buterin, is reported to have met with Russian President Vladimir Putin – the country is still sitting on the fence when it comes to bitcoin.

However, its current stance is somewhat different from where it lay in 2016. Last year, a new amendment to the Criminal Code by the Ministry of Finance in Russia saw the regulator proposing a seven-year prison sentence for management and executives of banks and financial services firms for the use of bitcoin. The sentence was less for everyday people caught using it at four years.

Fast-forward to 2017 and the country has shifted gears after the central bank’s governor revealed that the authority is ‘analyzing’ the possibility of regulating the digital currency.

Yet, Elvira Nabiullina, governor of the Russian Central Bank, stated that she views bitcoin as a ‘digital asset’ instead of a currency.

She said:

“We don’t consider that bitcoin can be considered as a virtual currency. It’s more digital assets with the regulation of assets.”

She also claimed that there were some doubts as to what benefits the digital currency could bring to the economy.

While it’s not clear as to what Russia’s next move will be, in an April Bloomberg report Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev said that the Russian authorities hope to regulate digital currencies such as bitcoin by 2018 as they undertake steps to enforce rules against illegal transfers.

This will no doubt help bump the price of the digital currency up while also increasing its user base in the currency.

Bitcoin’s Price Slumps

As of the 26th July, the price of bitcoin has dropped to $2,490 with the total market cap of all currencies down to just under $85 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. In a 24-hour period, the price of bitcoin dropped by 2.14 percent while the market cap has yet to climb back up to $90 billion.

It’s thought that this recent slump is down to caution among investors in light of the potential Bitcoin Cash (BCC) hard fork that is expected on the 1st August.

With many people in the bitcoin community not happy with the SegWit2x solution to scaling issues, proponents are venturing to create their own coin, called Bitcoin Cash. Roger Ver, a self-described bitcoin evangelist and a supporter of Bitcoin Unlimited (BU), was reported as saying that a coin split would be ‘a good thing.’

Now supporting Bitcoin Cash, Ver claims that projects such as Omni and Counterparty would choose Bitcoin Cash.

Yet, while SegWit2x is gathering support, one person said that if SegWit2x didn’t activate a lot of people would lose their faith in the currency:

“Not because I have any particular support for 2X or any particular problem for Segwit, but because it shows fickleness and underhand moves based on politics not sensible technical decisions.”

Featured image from Flickr via Takashi Nakajima.