Blockchain's biggest week is now bigger than ever
The week of Consensus is arguably the biggest week of the year for blockchain in the U.S. As countless crypto-lebrities flocked to New York City this week, Consensus 2019 proved no different as a number of positive and significant announcements were made by both crypto companies and mainstream companies adopting blockchain technology. And is it any coincidence that bitcoin surged to over $8,000?!
Here are some of the most notable happenings from this week:
Crypto used at major retailers
An initiative was announced that will reportedly allow big-name retailers, most notably Crate and Barrel, Nordstrom, and the Amazon-owned Whole Foods, to accept bitcoin and three other coins. The initiative comes from Flexa, a payments startup, and Gemini, the well-known digital currency exchange.
Microsoft Identity Division
Microsoft announced plans to build a decentralized identity (DID) network, called ION (Identity Overlay Network), on the Bitcoin blockchain. According to Daniel Buchner, Program Manager for Microsoft’s Identity Division:
ION is a public, permission-less, open network anyone can use to create DIDs and manage their Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) state. ION is designed to deliver the scale required for a world of DIDs, while inheriting and preserving the attributes of decentralization present in the Bitcoin blockchain.
TRON founder makes BitTorrent announcement
Justin Sun took to Twitter this past Monday to announce that BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer file sharing protocol that he bought in 2018, will launch on TRON in Q2.
#BitTorrent is launching on #TRON in Q2. Glad to also announce another tech giant with hundreds of millions of users will be enabling #TRON ecosys in Q2 as well. Guess who? To be revealed soon on #Consensus2019— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) May 13, 2019
SEC commissioner gives insight on current regulation
Hester Peirce, SEC commissioner, spoke at Consensus on Monday and revealed her disappointment with the state of crypto regulation, but expressed optimism for the future. She feels that to crypto community needs to educate the SEC and push them in the direction of useful regulation. Peirce also revealed that she believes the time has been right for a Bitcoin ETF for over a year now.
.@ChrisBrummerDr : "Do you think the time is right [to launch an ETF]?" @HesterPeirce: "I thought the time was right a year ago ... but there's still questions that need to be answered by you [the audience]."— Nikhilesh De (@nikhileshde) May 13, 2019
Cites market manipulation concerns as one example #Consensus2019
Bakkt reveals timeline for futures contracts
Bakkt futures contracts for bitcoin is expected to launch in July. Recent updates from Bakkt describe the user testing phase for Bitcoin futures, which involve their own custody solutions. We’ve been anxiously awaiting this from Bakkt since it was announced by ICE (Intercontinental Exchange), as it plans to be one of the major methods for institutional investors acquire cryptocurrencies.
Despite reports that Deloitte is completely moving away from Ethereum in favor of VeChain, Antonio Senatore, global CTO of Deloitte’s blockchain wing, confirmed that “Deloitte believes strongly in multi-platform development, and 50% of our projects are built on Ethereum,” and also confirmed a major Deloitte project built on Ethereum will be released by the end of the year.
Samsung wallet integration
Samsung will release a budget smartphone that will have blockchain and cryptocurrency features, including wallet functions for ether (ETH), bitcoin (BTC) and two other tokens.
NEO provides multiple updates
NEO announced another $100m in funding and NEO 3.0, which will “provide optimal infrastructure for mass adoption. The changes of NEO 3.0 include architecture refinement, native support for layer2, optimization of consensus, new functionality eg. Oracle, NeoFS, NeoID and lastly, security improvement." After these positive announcements, the NEO price rose 15%.