• Bitcoin above USD 7,070 on the second day of the new year
  • Bitcoin Hash rate hits all-time high of at least 119 quintillion hashes per second
  • New challenger bank Ziglu claims to be the first regulated crypto bank in the UK

Bitcoin price is not showing much strength for the first two days of the new year, with the New Year’s day failure to shrug off selling pressure now met with a daily low so far of USD 7,079 (CoinDesk). Nevertheless, the Americas have yet to trade on a normal working day so we will see if they decide to change the mood for Asia tomorrow morning.

But if price has not lifted spirits of Bitcoiners everywhere, one fundamental metric continues to do so, with the New Year recording the highest-ever hash rate securing the Bitcoin network. Surging past its already very high levels, Blockchair and Coin Dance sources both confirm that Bitcoin hash rate is at its highest ever at between 119-143 quintillion hashes per second on 1 January 2019, the reference of how much computing power is dedicated to validating Bitcoin transactions and keeping the entire blockchain secure.

Hash rate has generally been in an upward trend, in a cycle of up and down throughout 2019, with only a short period after mid-2019 where hash rate tapered off. But the fact that even with price not climbing as quickly as many would hope, the entrance of more computers and devices to the network suggests that interest in the world’s biggest cryptocurrency has not abated.

From a miner’s perspective, generating more new bitcoin (as miners receive newly minted coins for every new block found) and collecting fees for validating transactions is still profitable, with Bitcoin price still ensuring they gain more than they spend in electricity and maintenance bills.

For users, this is only good news. Every day that sees more hash rate means better network security against malicious attacks. While hash rate is virtually impossible to quantify accurately, the lower end of 119 quintillion h/s conservative estimate is still considered good enough, and many analysts believe a strong long-term correlation between that and Bitcoin price.

Bitcoin maximalist Max Keiser, for example, claims that a continued series of new hash rate highs will ultimately lead to new Bitcoin all-time price highs as well. He said before:

“Price follows hashrate and hashrate chart continues its 9 yr bull market.”

Meanwhile, a former Barclays group exec is reportedly planning to launch in the coming months a digital banking venture that will be UK’s first regulated crypto bank.

Mark Hipperson, working at Barclays for over a decade and is also co-founder at UK challenger bank Starling, proposes a new bank called Ziglu, that dubs itself the next era of challenger bank, which is an all-digital account covering multiple fiat and cryptocurrencies, under a single account.

Proposed as a free bank account, users will be able to store balances in all sorts of currencies and swap freely between them. Foreign exchange rates are purportedly at Interbank buy/sell rates, with pricing for crypto buys and sells to be at the best prices available across multiple exchanges.

Ziglu also claims to be able to let people spend crypto anywhere in the world via a Mastercard debit, that will simply convert at any credit card merchant via point of sale. Hipperson claims to have applied to the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to become an issuer of electronic money and is already accepting pre-launch applications from British residents. There are future plans for expansion, though. Hipperson explained:

“While we intend to expand our offerings to other countries in due course, currently only UK-residents who are at least 18 years of age may use our services and are eligible to apply for a Ziglu account.”

While crypto awaits true mass adoption, currently most crypto-accepting merchants are merely accepting third-party processors like BitPay, who accept crypto and settles the payments with merchants in fiat. Another popular way is crypto-enabled debit or credit cards like what Ziglu offers, but these cards tend not to last long, with issuers Visa and Mastercard often withdrawing the license to crypto processors in the past like Bitwala.


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