This week on Planet Bitcoin - 26 February 2016

Friday 26 February 2016

Bitcoin has been up and down over the last week, but managed to stay above the psychologically important $400 mark.

From a base in the low $420s, we saw a promising rise to almost $450 - raising the prospect of a move to back above $500, for the first time since that brief spike in November. It didn’t happen, with a series of sharp drops bringing the price back down to $410, before a recovery back to exactly where it was a week ago. Still, sellers didn't feel like testing out the $400 line, which is pretty impressive and hopefully a sign of things to come.


All in, it’s not bad. The picture over the last six months has been an overall trend upwards, and nothing has happened to change that. And this is despite continuing uncertainty over block size - though that may, finally, be set to change.

Meanwhile Ethereum continues to defy expectations. Last week we saw the predictable crash after a textbook bubble formed and burst, sending the price back to half of what it was at its peak (just over 0.017 BTC). Since then, though, it has risen again, a feat which seems to challenge gravity and must surely end in another crash - the difficulty, as ever, being predicting when and how far. Its market cap has topped half a billion dollars. Suffice to say that a lot of traders are throwing a lot of money at ETH at the moment, and the majority will not escape unscathed.

Around the bitverse

Mining isn't going out of fashion, with hashrate up to an all-time high of around 1,400 PH/s - indicating that the guys who secure the network and benefit most directly from it don't see bitcoin going down the pan any time soon. 

Meanwhile, support for bitcoin Classic seems to have stabilised at around 1,000 nodes (about 17% of the network), rising slightly but nothing like as fast as it needs to if it’s to become the standard. The latest news is that some kind of consensus has finally been reached by miners representing around 70% of hashrate: code including Segregated Witness (SegWit) will be released in the next couple of months, buying time, and a Bitcoin Core-approved hardfork to 4 MB total block size will be released in July this year. Assuming there is network support, hardfork activation will occur around July 2017. You can read the full statement of this great big cryptographic group hug here.

In other news, Winklevii-run bitcoin exchange Gemini has adjusted its fees to try to attract market makers and raise liquidity, which will presumably draw in some action from other, better-used bitcoin exchanges in the form of arbitrage bots.


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