This week, GHash briefly gained control of 51% of the network hashrate. Although there is no evidence to suggest that the pool attempted to perform a 51% attack, any pool becoming so powerful is just unnecessarily risky. CCN and the Bitcoin community have issued multiple PSAs about the risk of GHash getting too big, but the pool has remained unapologetic so far. Interestingly, CCN discussed a DDoS as possible line of defence against a 51% attack, and just yesterday, GHash went offline temporarily, possibly due to a DDoS. However, the pool is back online with control of approximately 41% of the network at the time of this post. It’s clear that currently one of the biggest threats to Bitcoin is the increasing centralisation of mining due to pools like GHash.
A few days ago, the US Marshals Service announced that the seized Silk Road bitcoins (almost 30,000 BTC) would be auctioned off till Monday, 30th June. This announcement, as well as the gloom and doom about GHash, caused the bitcoin price to take a dive. The price then briefly rebounded to $600 and is now down to $560. If the winner of the Silk Road auction cashes out on all the coins immediately, a further price drop could occur. Of course, what actually happens remains to be seen.
It looks like PayPal is becoming increasingly interested in bitcoin, or at least, how PayPal’s customers use bitcoin. In a recent customer survey, PayPal asked several questions asking to compare PayPal to bitcoin. However, whoever created the survey seems to have a twisted understanding of how bitcoin works. For example, consider the second page of the survey:
“Resolves account issues quickly” simply doesn’t apply to bitcoin, because bitcoin isn’t a service. The second and third questions are difficult to answer too, since they don’t really apply to bitcoin. Perhaps it would be better if PayPal had compared its service to Coinbase, which is sometimes called the PayPal of bitcoin. Coinbase has made it easy for companies like Dish and Expedia to accept bitcoin payments, potentially threatening PayPal’s existence.
There hasn’t been a lot of Litecoin news recently, despite LTC being the second most popular cryptocurrency. Litecoin, which is based on the scrypt hashing algorithm, processes blocks much faster than bitcoin and was designed to produce four times as many coins as bitcoin. In the past, the Litecoin price has followed bitcoin’s. But recently, despite bitcoin’s price swings, Litecoin has hovered around $10. Has the Litecoin price stabilised and become independent of bitcoin? Or has Litecoin become stagnant?
“Bitcoin 2.0” is one of those buzzwords that’s sometimes thrown around without much thought. However, Gavin Andreson, a core Bitcoin developer, recently discussed his interest in ethereum and the future of Bitcoin. Ethereum is a Bitcoin 2.0 project with features that Gavin found interesting, such as smart contracts, which are contracts that are verified by the network rather than a central authority. However, Andresen believes that several aspects of ethereum are needlessly re-engineered, and that,
“Bitcoin already provides a global currency and distributed ledger– there is no need to re-invent those wheels. Combining real-world information with Bitcoin is where things start to get really interesting.”
Simply put, the future of Bitcoin…is Bitcoin, and nothing else. It’s easier to improve a system that already works rather than start over.