Bitcoin started this week by surpassing the $1,600 barrier on Monday. The price reached its high of $1,833 yesterday while now it is keeping close to $1,700. As of the moment of writing, Bitcoin is traded at $1,729.
The upward tendency on cryptocurrency market has been observed since April. In total, Bitcoin has risen over 33 percent for the last month. Ethereum reached its top of $103 last week with market capitalization being $8,986,674,163.
The cryptocurrency boost is rather controversial as there have been a number of setbacks. First of all, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) didn’t approve Winklevoss bitcoin exchange-traded fund. The agency is reviewing its decision now.
Secondly, there have been issues with some exchanges, particularly Bitfinex, which cut off their access to the banking system meaning customers couldn’t make withdrawals in fiat currency.
At the same time, experts point to some positive tendency on cryptocurrency market. The decision of the Japanese officials to recognize bitcoin as a legal form of payment shored up the digital currency. Reportedly, 18 companies are planning to get a special license to operate Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan. It is interesting that more than 10 of these 18 companies are new to the bitcoin ecosystem in the country.
The statistics says that around 50% of daily trading volume comes from Japanese exchanges, arousing speculations that Japan has all chances to overtake China in terms of market share soon. Things are playing out in favor of Japan as China has slowed down trading activity due to the government’s efforts to crack down on cryptocurrency trading.
The second positive factor can be connected with the change in the code of another cryptocurrency called litecoin. It is known as Segregated Witness (SegWit) and it allows the speed of transactions using the cryptocurrency to increase.
It is necessary to delve into the notion of Bitcoin to understand how the example of litecoin can be applied to it.
Bitcoin transactions are gathered into “blocks” which is turned into a complex math solution. Miners process these solutions via high-powered computers to determine if the transaction is possible. Once other miners confirm that the puzzle is correct, the transactions are approved and the miners get reward in bitcoin.
The problem is that the rules of bitcoin only allow a certain amount of transactions through in one block. In March, Bitcoin community faced a possibility of so-called “hard fork”, which could result in blockchain splitting into two parts and therefore the creation of two separate cryptocurrencies.
The example of litecoin proved that there is one more possible scenatio, “soft fork”, that will increase the block size for bitcoin without major disruption.
“That example of a successful soft fork in litecoin has made people start to think that we could get a successful SegWit implementation in bitcoin and that could increase capacity and move us to the next level,” Daniel Masters, director at Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund, said.
Experts admit that Bitcoin has bright prospects. The cost of $4,000 is expected within this year.