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Crypto-Winter Is Over: A Blockchain Week Round-up & Microsoft’s New Blockchain Identity Framework

Nick
Author Nick
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Ethereum Stats

Ethereum Price: $249.24
Ethereum Price (BTC): 0.03164 BTC
Market Cap: $26.45B
ETH Network Dominance*: 75.33%
7 Day Candle**: $186.89 / $278.29 / $191.87 / $235.60

The year-long crypto winter is officially over. The price of Ethereum has now increased over 300% since it bottomed out at $82.08 in December 2018 and cryptocurrencies across the board are reporting massive gains. Blockchain Week in NYC seemed to mark a clear break in the bear market as reports surfaced that Microsoft was building a decentralized identity protocol on Bitcoin, as well as NYSE’s Bitcoin trading platform, Bakkt, announcing plans for a physically-settled Bitcoin futures, sending the market into FOMOde. The long-awaited institutional money seems to draw ever closer and with Fidelity Investment’s crypto custodial service soon to launch, the on-ramps for major investors to buy BTC and ETH may soon 10x their bandwidth.

Grayscale Investments’ GBTC price is trading at a premium of 35%, signalling strong demand still by institutions who wish to get exposure to crypto through a regulated middle-man.

Total value locked in MakerDAO is closing in on half a billion, reaching an all-time-high this week as users began leveraging their ETH holdings to – most likely – purchase more ETH.

MSM not yet picking up on these massive movements. I expect we’ll see this run continue for several weeks yet and possibly beyond, climbing to a new all time high which would place the entire crypto market cap at – or above – the 1 trillion dollar market (currently $250BN).

Nick, Owner EthereumPrice.org

Microsoft Hands Data Ownership To The Consumer With The Launch Of Ion

Microsoft is launching the first decentralized infrastructure implementation by a major tech company that is built directly on the blockchain. The open source project called Ion, deals with the underlying mechanics of how networks talk to each other and aims to put digital identities directly in the hands of the user.

According to Christopher Allen, the co-founder of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Microsoft’s move will have a huge impact in the whole of the tech industry.

“A lot of enterprise infrastructures use Microsoft products,” Allen said. “So, if they integrate this into any of their infrastructure products, they’ll have access to DID.”

Daniel Buchner, a senior program manager at the Microsoft Identity Division said this move would ensure that the digital world would be more secure and private.

However not all tech giants are in alignment with Microsoft’s latest development. Facebook in particular does not seem to be wanting to join forces. The social media company has so far declined any invitation to participate in the project. Rouven Heck, head of DID at ConsenSys and member of the W3C, went on to say that Facebook has generally been absent from community discussions across the tech industry about DIDs.

Regardless Microsoft is choosing to make open source initiatives core pillars of its business objectives with consumer ownership and consumer centricity being the core principles for designing Microsoft’s software going forward.

According to Rhodes current experiments with blockchain technology are as important to the world as Microsoft releasing Windows 95 in the past. A release which helped boost mainstream internet usage through a consumer-oriented operating system.

Networking stacks were very tied to logins to existing networks,” Rhodes said of the pre-Windows 95 internet. “Like that, I think [Ion] is pretty significant.”

 Joe Lubin and Jimmy Song Wager a ‘Maximum Pain Kind of Bet”

Last week the stage was set for what Jimmy Song called “… a maximum pain kind of bet,” with over $500,000 in crypto on the line.

During 2018 Consensus Lubin told Song on stage that he would bet any amount of Bitcoin that Ethereum’s decentralized apps would have a non-trivial number of users in five years.

Recently Song has accused Lubin of “weaseling” out of the bet and called him out on Twitter “As Consensus/MCC and other events near, I want to remind everyone of what happened last year. It’s been almost a year and @ethereumJoseph is still squelching on this bet that he proposed in public and on stage. Joe, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.”

But when the two met this year on stage at Consensus the wager was drawn, and the deal terms set. The terms of the wager state that if Ethereum is doing great four years from now, Song will pay Lubin (or his beneficiary) 810.8 ETH. If the Dapp economy is faltering at the time, Lubin will send Song 69.74 BTC.

The requirements for Lubin to win are, Ethereum needs to have five unique Dapps achieving 10,000 or more daily active users and 100,000 monthly active users for any six calendar months in any 12-calendar-month period up to and including May 23, 2023.

When the bet was first made in 2018, Bitcoin was trading at $8,577. Lubin had effectively bet $598,190 based on prices at the time. At today’s value that is $564,307. In stark comparison at the time of the bet last year, Ethereum was trading at $722.86 meaning Song bet the equivalent of $586,095, at today’s value this is only $168,030.

It is with bated breath that the crypto-community wait for the outcome of this bet as to whether Songs belief that Bitcoin is the only relevant thing on the blockchain is correct or if Lubin’s thesis that “ Bitcoin is awesome, and there’s a narrow set of use cases built on bitcoin and that’s wonderful. We love that, but decentralized applications are also really useful.”

Only time will tell but Lubin has adopted a sanguine approach saying:

“It’s possible that there are many many successful applications on Ethereum that are sufficiently decentralized and they don’t hit exactly those .. criteria. So, it’s possible I will lose, and the ecosystem will be strong.”

Consensus Announcements and Round Ups

As always Consensus was filled with sharing of information and the making of big announcements. 2019 did not disappoint. There were a host of significant announcements made by crypto companies and mainstream companies that are adopting blockchain technology.

Some of the highlight announcements:

Flexa and Gemini Team Up for Retail Therapy
Flexa and Gemini announced an initiative that will allow big-name retailers such as Crate and Barrel, Nordstrom and the Amazon-owned Whole Foods to accept Ethereum, Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash for transactions. The initiative will allow crypto transactions through Flexa’s SPEDN and the currency paid into the SPEDN wallet will be custodied by Gemini.

Bakkt reveals a timeline for futures contracts
Bakkt futures contracts for Bitcoin is expected to launch in July. Bakkts recent updates describe the user testing phase for Bitcoin futures, which involve their own custody solutions. This has been long awaited since it was announced by ICE (Intercontinental Exchange), as it plans to be one of the major methods for institutional investors to acquire cryptocurrencies.

Chainlink announce Mainnet launch set for May 30,  2019
Sergey Nazarov, CEO of Chainlink announced that Chainlink, the decentralized Oracle Network, will be going live on the Ethereum mainnet on May 30, “We have been able to successfully complete three security audits, without any really critical issues remaining. So fundamentally, from a security point of view, we feel we are in a position that we can go live on the Ethereum mainnet.”

Microsoft Identity Division
Microsoft announced plans to build a decentralized identity (DID) Network, called ION (Identity Overlay Network), on the Bitcoin blockchain. According to Daniel Buchner, Program Manager for Microsoft’s Identity Division:

“ION is a public, permission-less, open network anyone can use to create DIDs and manage their Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) state. ION is designed to deliver the scale required for a world of DIDs, while inheriting and preserving the attributes of decentralization present in the Bitcoin blockchain.”

TRON founder makes BitTorrent announcement
Justin Sun took to Twitter this past Monday to announce that BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer file sharing protocol that he bought in 2018, will launch on TRON in Q2.

Samsung wallet integration
Samsung announced that it will be releasing a budget smartphone that will have blockchain and cryptocurrency features, including wallet functions for Ethereum, Bitcoin (BTC) as well as two others.