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Bakkt platform launch date is announced; maximal bitcoin hashrate is provoked by an increase in ASICs power. Istanbul hard fork in Ethereum network will be held in two stages.
Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Bakkt trading platform developer, was finally able to get an approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to stars its work. In order to do that, a self-certification procedure will be launched allowing trade in cryptocurrency futures. Bakkt Trust Company LLC, its subsidiary, was also able to agree the procedure for storing cryptocurrency with the State of New York. In such case, investors do not have to worry about their safety as the wallets are insured for $ 125 million.
The futures themselves are secured by cash; the guarantee amount is $ 35 million. Kelly Loffler, Bakkt CEO, said that the project was given the green light, and the company had to do a lot of work. The issues of liquidity, storage, security, and also operations and commissions risks were resolved. However, starting from September 23, institutional investors will be able to buy bitcoin futures at the highest standards.
As early as July 22, Bakkt announced the imminent launch of bitcoin futures. However, at that time many experts expressed their doubt about the quick implementation of the project. Even the technical issues settling did not guarantee obtaining regulators’ permission, which is now the reason of most common difficulties for American companies.
The platform is being developed by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which is one of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) affiliates. Numerous large organizations take part in the project implementation. For example, Microsoft specialists are involved in software maintenance, and the Starbucks network is engaged as a promotion partner.
As things go now, only giant financial companies are able to go through the difficult negotiation process for the launch of cryptocurrency futures. This is evidenced by Bitcoin ETF, which has not yet received SEC approval. It is very important that for the first time in the US deliverable cryptocurrency futures will appear. Other countries monitoring the situation closely may follow this example.
Earlier this week, a record hashrate of 91 exahash per second was recorded on the bitcoin network. Experts associated this not only with the increased cryptocurrency demand, but also with new ASICs entering the mass market. Bitcoin mining is much faster using them, although some issues occur. For example, Microbt Whatsminer M20S by Pangolin consumes 3.36 kW and makes a noise of 75 dB. However, the device is capable of 68-70 terahash per second, which allows getting a comfortable income.
Four of seven largest mining equipment market players offered devices of a new model range in 2019. At the same time, performance of tens terahash per second has already become common for manufacturers. However, this situation has its negative consequences as well. Specifically, numerous blockchain teams talk about the risks of increased centralization in cryptocurrency mining.
The algorithm of many blockchains blocks the use of specialized mining equipment. However, its developers also do not stand still and bypass the lock very quickly. To create new software, several weeks are enough, while to prepare and conduct hard forks they need months. Therefore, with the best will in the world, blockchain teams cannot seriously hinder the professional miners’ dominance on the market.
Another issue is halving, which is the constant reduction of remuneration for the mined block. It happens every 4 years in bitcoin network, and the next one will happen in spring 2020. Calculations show that it will be on May 17.
Some experts believe that it will lead to an increase in cryptocurrency prices. However, experience shows that market is starting to experience bitcoin deficit with a delay of 6-10 months. The implication is that owners of outmoded mining equipment will not be able to reach a high level of profitability.
In October, the eighth major Ethereum blockchain hard fork will be held, which was announced by Peter Szilagyi, one of its developers. However, contrary to the original plans, Istanbul will be divided in two parts. It is planned that the first part of hard fork will be held in 2019, and the second one will be released in early 2020, but preliminary testing in Ropsten network should take place on September 4.
However, this does not mean the event will happen on the indicated date. The previous Ethereum hard fork was scheduled to be held in October 2018, but in reality it only took place in March 2019. Moreover, the developers got into time trouble, as the difficulty bomb launching deadline was approaching. In case it could not be stopped, mining would be economically unprofitable at the prices of cryptocurrency and electricity of that period. In addition, some complications appeared with the speed of calculations in this regard.
Constantinople updating launched the first part of Metropolis global project, which is supposed to completely change the network configuration. The main task it faced is changing the Proof of Work (PoW) protocol to Proof of Stake (PoS).
However, even fork announced for autumn 2019 will not be able to solve the global task of changing the protocol. According to Peter Szilagyi, two of six planned Istanbul hard fork updates will be rescheduled for the next year and the long-expected change of protocol is among them.
Constant postponing and rescheduling of Ethereum updating negatively affects the cryptocurrency rate, however, much more difficulties can be caused by technical failures. It is worth recognizing that Constantinople is finally took place, and after its completion there were no complaints about the network instability. In addition, blockchain team now faces a more difficult task. Changing the protocol should increase the number of transactions by more than 1,000 times by solving the network scalability issue.