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Blockchain and bitcoin roundup: what’s current with cryptocurrency

As always there’s a lot happening in the blockchain and bitcoin space, which seems to move at 100mph on a slow day. To help you keep track we’ve combined the headlining stories this week.


Zcash promises anonymious transfers

Zcash promises anonymous transfers

We’ve had Peercoin, Emercoin, Nxt and even Dogecoin but now Zcash has emerged as the latest cryptocurrency wave-maker.

Zcash, much like its bitcoin predecessor, utilises the blockchain. Where this new currency differs, according to its creators, is in its ability to be completely anonymous. Zcash can mask the sender or receiver of the transaction if either party wish it so, unlike bitcoin which is processed via a public ledger.

‘Consumers want to buy and sell things over the internet and need privacy from snips who might use the knowledge of their transactions against them,’ Zooko Wilcox, cryptographer and creator of Zcash.

A number of investors have jumped on board, with particular attention being paid to Naval Ravikant, who was an early champion of Twitter and Uber.

The interest in Zcash could be down to its interesting ‘for-profit’ model, whereby all transactions using the currency will be ‘taxed’ 11%.

What’s a bitcoin?

A Rutgers University study has found that no matter how much you use bitcoin you never really understand that much more.

The research found that more experienced users showed similar levels of knowledge and ineptitude as those completely new to the cryptocurrency. The largest misconception displayed by users was an overestimation of just how private bitcoin usage actually is.

‘Many of the users’ descriptions of the bitcoin protocol did not match how the protocol actually works,’ the paper writes. ‘Yet this did not prevent them from being able to buy, sell and trade bitcoins for goods and services.’

Security issues

Banks putting their blockchain eggs in one basket should consider the ramifications, according to Greg Medcraft, chair of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).

The IOSCO watchdog has warned investors in the technology that they’ll still need to reassure customers that the blockchain process is secure and that transactions made on it are safe.

‘One way to get consumer confidence is that someone has to look at the issue of fraud,’ Medcraft told the Financial Times. ‘Exchanges have to guarantee the customer behind [the trade].’

Medcraft is also a chair of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), which last week charged blockchain firm Digital Asset Holdings with the task of developing a distributed ledger solution for their equities trading market.

The whole truth

Goldman Sachs co-head of technology and managing director Don Duet opened has labelled blockchain technology as a something that will improve the entire financial industry.

‘You could ask the question: Why couldn’t this have been designed before?’ states Duet on a company podcast. The awareness that the financial community is beginning to show about blockchain, he adds, is exciting.

Blockchain, he continues, is able to provide a ‘single truth’ for companies that need to share information on transactions.

Distributed ledger technology, according to Duet, gives firms an opportunity to reconcile onto a single system for everyone, as opposed to multiple disparate solutions competing against one another.

Blockchain rocketed to the top of the trends list last year. But what exactly happened? Read a full history of the technology in the December 2015 edition of the IBS Journal.

By Alex Hamilton

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