Any speculation about an Apple cryptocurrency has now been put to rest. The company’s CEO Tim Cook said in an interview that currency is not something that Apple, or any other private company, should be dabbling in as it puts too much power in the hands of companies instead of governments.
Cook sees no reason to take such trust away from nation’s and put it in the hands of corporations:
“I am not comfortable with the idea that a private group creates a competing currency,” Cook told Les Echos, according to a translation of the interview. “Money, like Defense, must remain in the hands of States … We elect our representatives to assume government responsibilities. Companies are not elected, they do not have to go on this ground.”
This stance is in direct opposition to Apple’s counterparts in the tech world, such as Facebook and Telegram, who are already well on their way to developing native cryptocurrencies for their technology platforms and applications.
The Ethereum blockchain is in the midst of some major upgrades. Unfortunately, there has been a hiccup in working through the blockchain’s next hardfork, “Istanbul”. While the Istanbul hard fork was being tested on the Ethereum test network Ropsten, the blockchain actually split into two, causing miners to do work on both chains. While this is only on a testnet, and not on the actual Ethereum blockchain, this highlights a potential issue with the upcoming hardfork, one that the Ethereum Foundation will need to solve before it is to be implemented.
Ethereum developer Hudson Jameson knows how hard implementing a hard fork can be:
“The complicated part about proof-of-work test network is getting coordination between miners,” Jameson said in a call Monday afternoon. “Right now, we’re trying to run some miners to get Ropsten on the correct Istanbul chain.”
Meanwhile, Ethereum’s brother, Ethereum Classic, recently announced the successful implementation of its own hardfork, “Atlantis”. This upgrade makes Ethereum Classic more compatible with Ethereum while also improving the network’s stability and performance.
Bitcoin is the largest, most widely-known cryptocurrency in the world. So that must mean it’s the most widely used, right? Think again. Tether, the stable coin pegged to the US Dollar, has the highest daily and monthly trading volume of all cryptocurrencies on the market. The daily trading volume of Tether is estimated to be $20 billion compared to $17 billion for Bitcoin and under $8 billion for Ethereum.
Lex Sokolin, the global financial technology co-head at blockchain technology firm ConsenSys, feels strongly in the importance of Tether in the cryptocurrency markets:
“If there is no Tether, we lose a massive amount of daily volume — around $1 billion or more depending on the data source…Some of the concerning potential patterns of trading in the market may start to fall away.”
One of the main reasons Tether is used so often is that it’s a vehicle for traders to get into Bitcoin, especially in countries where cryptocurrency trading is banned. By paying cash for Tether, traders can then turnaround and trade Tether for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
In an attempt to more widely distribute their cryptocurrency, the Stellar Development Foundation will give away 2 billion Lumens (XLM), worth about $124 million. In this distribution, 100 million Lumens will be given away for the next 20-months. This initiative is being done in partnership with Keybase, an encrypted messaging service with over 300,000 users.
The foundation’s CEO, Denelle Dixon, commented that the airdrop is a step to bring financial services to those in need:
“SDF [Stellar Development Foundation] was founded in 2014 as a nonprofit, non-stock entity…Our focus is global financial inclusion using blockchain and other technologies, focusing on the unbanked, and so from our stand point, what this kind of thing does as an airdrop, is it actually brings more attention to the ability for technologies like this to be able to effectuate nicely, cleanly and efficiently, cross-border transactions to help the unbanked and others out there in the world.”
Yet, there are those that believe using an airdrop to distribute cryptocurrency is actually counterproductive. Bitcoin advocate and developer Jameson Lopp highlighted on Twitter that this airdrop led to a significant amount of Lumens being distributed to cryptocurrency exchanges, thus defeating the purpose of getting the cryptocurrency in the hands of those in need.
Cryptocurrencies are once again highlighted in US politics, but not for the reason you might think. Democratic candidate Agatha Bacelar, who is targeting Nancy Pelosi’s seat in Congress in the upcoming 2020 election, announced she will accept cryptocurrency donations to her campaign. Bacelar, a 27-year old Brazilian-American, will accept payments via Coinbase in the form of Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC) and USD Coin (USDC).
Her cryptocurrency donation page notes how cryptocurrency innovation is moving out of the country:
“The once-bright future for crypto in America has been dimming. San Francisco, once a headquarters for the crypto industry, has suffered as federal intervention pushed innovators out of our district and the country. Blockchain startups no longer incorporate in the U.S., while regulatory inaction and policies favoring big tech companies have allowed monopolies to block out competition that the next web would bring.”
In addition to the donations, Bacelar has vocalaized her support for other blockchain-related solutions, such as improving voting security, privacy, and verification via the use of blockchain networks.