But before we get into that, let’s start Max’s Corner — brought to you by Max Hasselhoff, Bytecoin’s integration engineer — with the evergreen issue of cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity Poised to Remain in the Spotlight
Last week we looked at how much money was pouring into fintech from venture capitalists. Another tech sector drawing a lot of attention and receiving a lot of funding is cyber security. Cyber security issues are all over the news, from the US presidential election to the Cryptopia hack. Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where Facebook was shown to have gathered personal data on over 87 million users, legislation was introduced in the EU putting broad restrictions on data-collecting agencies.
Security is a massive issue in crypto. Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crypto assets were stolen from exchanges in 2018. Major crypto platforms are constantly adapting to new security threats; we saw how Ethereum had to postpone their Constantinople hard fork last month after realizing that the changes would make their network vulnerable to hackers.
The impact that any changes to a platform can have on its security must be weighed carefully. One of the newer Bytecoin developments on this front is the introduction of hardware wallet support, which will give users more options in terms of safe storage of their assets.
Losing billions via security flaws is not compatible with a sustainable model of growth for the crypto industry. The onus must be on developers, platforms, and exchanges to right the ship while we still have time to do so.
Opera Launches Built-in Wallet
Opera, the popular desktop and mobile internet browser, has released the beta version of a built-in wallet for android devices. This release, currently only available in Scandinavia, is the first of its kind among internet browsers. As of now, the wallet only supports Ethereum, but there are plans to expand in the future.
While the selection and availability of this release is quite small, this move is indicative of the general current. If mass adoption is going to take place, this is maybe how it is going to look. Cryptocurrency has to increase its convenience and this is a way of doing it.
Lightning Torch Makes the Rounds on Twitter
If you’re active on Twitter you have probably noticed the Bitcoin “lightning torch” going around. The lightning torch is a project that started as a way of showing the potential that the lightning network has. Started last month by a twitter user named “Hodlnaut,” the lightning torch is essentially a transaction chain that gets passed on from user to user. Hodlnaut started it by transferring 100k Satoshis to someone he trusts.
That person in turn was asked to add 10k Satoshis and transfer the torch on to someone else. The continuation of the train relies on both the performance of the lightning network and the integrity of its community.
As of now, the torch has passed through 37 countries with over 140 people participating in the project. Twice the chain has been broken by bad actors who refused to pass along the Satoshis sent to them, pocketing them instead. However, both times this happened, the person who sent the funds to the link-breaker has relit the torch out-of-pocket (one was reimbursed for doing so via crowdfunding). Hodlnaut has said that the final limit, if the torch can get that far, will be the equivalent of about $150.
This experiment is both a litmus test for the bitcoin community and an audition tape for the lightning network. The community still has its opportunists, but the lightning network seems to be as advertised: a tool capable of paring down operation times on Bitcoin transactions without charging exorbitant fees.
Investors Look to Bitcoin Halvening for Rebound
Although we are still in the midst of a long, cold crypto winter, traders remain optimistic about the future of Bitcoin, pointing to the block reward halving event scheduled for May 2020 as a possible turning point. The “halvening”, as it has been called, is a pre-scheduled algorithmic event which reduces Bitcoin block rewards by 50 percent. Bitcoin halving is configured to take place every 210,00 blocks, and also every four years. As of right now the reward for mining one block is 12.5 BTC. Halving is configured to take place at these intervals to combat inflation.
Investors have looked at market trends and noted that halving is usually precipitated by a period of robust investing, which can start up to a year before the event. Therefore many are looking to May 2019 as the start of a long rebound.
Bithumb Launches OTC Trading Desk
Bithumb, the largest South Korean crypto exchange, has joined other exchanges in accommodating institutional investors with an OTC trading desk. The OTC service is called Ortus, and is based in Hong Kong, with offices around the world. Ortus has said that all of their clients have to go through thorough KYC and AML vetting before they can enjoy the company’s “matchmaking services.”
Looking at the bigger picture, this move expands Bithumb’s international presence. In South Korea, where Bithumb is based, there has been a crackdown of sorts on crypto activity, with regulators restricting anonymous crypto trading. In catering to their institutional clients, with deeper financial wells, Bithumb seems to be signaling a desire to move into more stable waters.