• Bitcoin fended off an attempt to break support but is maintaining levels close to USD 7,550
  • The Ethereum Istanbul hard fork has gone live
  • A new report shows that China is the world leader in several blockchain adoption indicators, such as number of blockchain patents (10,000) and developer numbers (5,200)

Sunday has been steadfast for Bitcoin bulls, when fending off a daily low of USD 7,387 to move upwards to USD 7,550 levels where it has remained for most of the past 24 hours (CoinDesk). The US SEC approval of a new Bitcoin futures fund yesterday was met with positive buying action, but served only to lengthen the stay above USD 7,500 rather than to push on to new heights.

Although the 12-hour Bitcoin chart still is decidedly bearish, attempts to rally above USD 7,600 into old trading ranges is not out of the question.

One of the biggest news is that the much anticipated Istanbul hard for for the Ethereum network happened today shortly after midnight at 12:05 am UTC. After many months of work, the upgrade took place at block number 9,069,000. It was the third upgrade, following the St Petersburg and Constantinople hard forks, en route to Ethereum 2.0 when the entire network will have switched to Proof-of-Stake (POS) some time estimated in 2021.

According to the network statistics now, all Ethereum clients have agreed to the new software since it is non-contentions, as of right now hosting and independently upgrading the Ethereum protocol without any hitches. This current one includes six Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) — EIPs 152, 1108, 1344, 1844, 2028 and 2200 — which entail specific code changes to the protocol.

Ethereum venture studio ConsenSys has published a blog post outlining the main issues addressed by the six EIPs:

  • Denial-of-service (DDoS) attack resilience
  • Interoperability with equihash-based proof-of-work (PoW) crypto
  • Gas costs (half of the EIPs actually deal with this)

Thanks to the latest upgrade, the most visible performance change to Ethereum will be a lowered transaction cost. Paid in Ether, the lower costs should increased bandwidth on the blockchain and encourage the use of zero-knowledge privacy technologies such as zk-SNARKs.

The update isn’t with any problems to other platforms, however. Smart contracting platform Aragon, for example will see over 600 contracts broken by Istanbul, leading to Aragon One CTO Jorge Izquierdo saying that Ethereum developers need to be more sensitive to others building on the platform:

“Developers don’t want to build on a moving target, and backwards compatibility should be taken seriously as well. Ethereum is not a toy anymore, it’s a platform with a sizable investment and a big reach, and as such changes like this need to be professionally measured before being taken.”

Meanwhile, a fresh study from blockchain research firm Forkast Insights discovers that blockchain technology is increasingly being applied by China, both by the government and by private firms all over the country. The report concludes that blockchain is rapidly maturing, establishing a growing range of “real-world, practical use cases that are far beyond the experimental stage”.

The report contained deep analyses and insights from the biggest blockchain insiders, academicians and players in the country in a comprehensive examination of how China is going on board this nascent technology.

Among some of the headline findings are:

  • China has filed over 10,000 blockchain patents, far more than any other country in the world, with 68% of total global blockchain patent filings now represented by Chinese patent filers.
  • Major Chinese players in a broad range of industries in automative, tech, healthcare and food are heavily invested in blockchain.
  • Startups are now seeing a major migration of Chinese talent from the giants of Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent in the field of blockchain development. There are now over 5,200 registered developers in the world’s largest economy.

The authors note:

“Despite the country’s nominally free market, it is well understood that the state has a firm hand in steering initiatives. This ranges from Deng Xiaoping’s first reforms and opening up of the economy, to Jiang Zemin’s guiding of these reforms into a free market global economy, to Hu Jintao’s cementing China’s position as the world’s second-largest economy by navigating the country through a turbulent decade marked by the global financial crisis all the while tripling the country’s purchasing power.”

Bullish news from within and without the cryptosphere, that’s for sure!


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