• After touching 12-month lows briefly, Bitcoin is back strong at USD 5,500 in Asian weekend morning trade
  • Coinbase finally switched to Bitcoin batching of transactions in effort to reduce network congestion and lower withdrawal fees
  • Microsoft Bill Gates has resigned from his company’s board, shortly after donating USD 1.4 million to fund a blockchain security platform in Asia in Africa

 

Bitcoin markets had another horrific day yesterday, plunging to new lows not seen since this time last year as sellers breached the USD 5,000 floor to record a low so far at USD 4,875 (CoinDesk). Prices have recovered in the hours since, however, as Asian bulls took back prices to their current levels at USD 5,500.

But life goes on for the rest of blockchain and crypto, and no matter the market conditions, progress and development continue to happen. As is the case with one of the industry’s oldest names in the crypto exchange, Coinbase.

The company has, finally, after years of delaying, started batching Bitcoin transactions, which is the process of grouping several bitcoin payments in a single transaction, rather than individual payments in their own transactions, as they used to do.

The firm said that this means less of a strain on the Bitcoin blockchain, since the exchange has been seeing more and more transactions due to rising popularity. It hopes to reduce the miner fee associated with sending transactions. Coinbase product manager Eli Haims wrote:

“We anticipate that this will reduce our load on the Bitcoin network by more than 50 percent, and the network fees our customers pay will automatically be reduced by an equivalent amount when sending.”

Of course, critics will be saying it’s taken Coinbase and other exchanges far too long to switch over to batching, as the technology has already been available for years. Large exchanges like Coinbase are notorious for being slow to adopt newer upgrades to the Bitcoin network, such as SegWit, which further trims down on transaction sizes, lowering miner fees paid, since fees are directly dependent on the size of data consumed by the transaction.

Coinbase batching is already live, but it says that customers now need to deal with a “small delay” in the broadcasting of transactions, although this won’t negatively impact confirmation times.

Bitcoin blocks, which are produced on an average of every 10 minutes, will contain verified transactions, and it is this process of having miners verify, validate and include transactions in found blocks that determines if a Bitcoin transaction is successfully confirmed. However, blocks only contain a limited amount of data, so during times of high transaction volumes, congestion happens and a sort of fee queue forms, with miners naturally choosing transactions with higher fees to include in found blocks first.

Markets do tend to become busy when Bitcoin price is highly volatile and in recent days as price dropped drastically, demand for selling it has peaked and fees are now rising. Coinbase’s batching finally means it can stop contributing to unnecessary congestion the way it has been for years.

Meanwhile, Bill Gates, the famed co-founder of tech giant Microsoft, has announced his departure from his firm’s board. A press release detailing this departure also quoted Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as saying:

“It’s been a tremendous honor and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years. Bill founded our company with a belief in the democratizing force of software and a passion to solve society’s most pressing challenges. And Microsoft and the world are better for it. The board has benefited from Bill’s leadership and vision. And Microsoft will continue to benefit from Bill’s ongoing technical passion and advice to drive our products and services forward. I am grateful for Bill’s friendship and look forward to continuing to work alongside him to realize our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”

Gates began Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975. They first released the Windows computer operating system ten years later and today, it is still one of the most popular operating systems used commercially and at home.

The company last year announced a blockchain token and data management service as part of its Azure enterprise service. Gates also funded an Asian and African blockchain security platform Crest with USD 1.4 million this month. A parting gift and an endorsement of blockchain technology.

 

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