Blockchain and Cryptocurrency News Roundup

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  • March 10, 2021
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10 March 2021.

Here’s a short summary of some of the biggest headlines in Crypto this week. PayPal confirms it’s buying crypto security firm Curv; Ethereum’s Berlin hard fork anticipated for April; DOGE literally to the moon? – Elon Musk teased lunar Starship test; Bitcoin reclaims $1 trillion market cap as crypto hits 2-week highs. 

PayPal Confirms It’s Buying Crypto Security Firm Curv

PayPal said Monday it has agreed to acquire Israel-based Curv, a provider of cloud-based infrastructure for digital asset security. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the payments giant said it plans to use its new purchase to “accelerate and expand its initiatives to support cryptocurrencies and digital assets.” “The acquisition of Curv is part of our effort to invest in the talent and technology to realize our vision for a more inclusive financial system,” said Jose Fernandez da Ponte, PayPal’s vice president and general manager of blockchain, crypto and digital currencies. “During our conversations with Curv’s team, we’ve been impressed by their technical talent, entrepreneurial spirit and the thinking behind the technology they’ve built in the last few years. We’re excited to welcome the Curv team to PayPal,” he said. Curv co-founder and CEO Itay Malinger said, “Now, as the adoption of digital assets accelerates, we feel there’s no better home than PayPal to continue our journey of innovation.” PayPal said it expects the acquisition deal to be completed in the first half of this year. PayPal, which partnered with New York state-regulated Paxos to offer buying and selling of cryptocurrency starting in October, was known to be on the hunt for a crypto custody acquisition. The payments giant was reported to have been in talks to buy BitGo for as much as $750 million, though the deal fell through. Multi-party computation (MPC) shops like Curv and Fireblocks are in short supply in cryptoland – the latter is reportedly working on crypto custody with BNY Mellon.


Ethereum’s Berlin Hard Fork Anticipated for April

While Ethereum developers have been working on perfecting ETH 2.0, an upgrade to the current Ethereum 1.0 mainnet is expected to go live in mid-April. The Berlin upgrade is set to go live on the mainnet at block 12,244,000. The upgrade will be deployed on Ropstein, Goerli, and Rinkeby testnets before making its way onto the mainnet. If all goes as planned, Berlin hard fork is set to go live on Ropstein testnet on March 10, on Goerli on March 17, and on Rinkeby on March 24 – before being deployed on the mainnet on April 14. On the hard fork, four Ethereum Improvement Protocols (EIPs) will be implemented. Ethereum developers have revealed that the hard fork will feature updates to the code read by the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), increased gas efficiencies, and other enhanced protection against denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Ethereum developers advised node operators to upgrade their nodes a week before April 14, which is the estimated date the blockchain update is set to go live. They explained that due to block time variability, the exact date Berlin is scheduled to officially launch may vary.

Ethereum has also been working on implementing solutions to address the increased gas fees on the network. Recently, developers have revealed that EIP 1559 has officially been approved and will come into play sometime in July or August. The proposal will be a major optimization for the network, as it will significantly decrease the amount of outstanding transaction fees users will need to pay when using the network. With the Ethereum Improvement Protocol 1559, lowered transaction fees are to be expected, as base fees will be introduced on the network. Every time a transaction is conducted on the network, an amount of Ether is set to be burned, reducing gas fees and Ether’s supply. This is expected to increase Ether’s worth in the long run and address the issue of high gas fees. Currently, Ethereum 1.0 has still not joined with the Beacon Chain – an ETH 2.0 phase Ethereum developers have been working on in the transition to a pure proof-of-stake network. It is however scheduled to happen in 2021.

DOGE literally to the moon? Elon Musk teased lunar Starship test

Updated: At the time of publication, SpaceX had not ruled out making one last attempt to launch the Starship SN10. It completed a successful launch and landing, but the Starship exploded shortly thereafter.

None of the twelve people to ever reach the lunar surface have reportedly carried any currency with them.  Heavily pumped by Elon Musk’s tweets, Dogecoin may be the first cryptocurrency to literally reach the moon following an aborted launch of a SpaceX ship. The aerospace company attempted to launch its Starship SN10 vehicle today from SpaceX’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas. The final version of the spacecraft will reportedly be capable of reaching the moon after refueling in Earth orbit, but the SN10 was supposed to stay within the atmosphere today for a high-altitude test. Although the Starship’s Raptor engines briefly ignited at approximately 8:15 PM UTC, the spacecraft failed to leave the surface after SpaceX aborted the launch. A successful launch would mean another step for the Starship to eventually be used for hauling cargo and eventually people to the lunar surface. Though perhaps jokingly, Musk has repeatedly implied on Twitter that Dogecoin (DOGE) will be the first cryptocurrency — or any currency, unless astronauts plan to take cash with them — to follow in Neil Armstrong’s footsteps. The SpaceX CEO may have single-handedly been responsible for a number of price surges for the token, which has risen more than 60% in the last 30 days to reach $0.0508 at time of publication. To date, only twelve people have walked on the moon — all NASA astronauts in the 1960s and 1970s — but none of them reportedly carried any form of currency with them. Apollo 11’s Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left behind a silicon disc containing messages from world leaders, while Alan Shepard of Apollo 14 hit a couple golf balls near the Fra Mauro crater. In addition to being considered for NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to send people to the moon by 2024, Starship is being promoted as a passenger spacecraft for those wealthy enough to pay for SpaceX’s travel fees. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has already purchased nine seats on the vehicle for a 2023 launch, offering to give away eight of them to prospective “crew members.”


Bitcoin Reclaims $1 Trillion Market Cap As Crypto Hits 2-Week Highs

Bitcoin bounced back after two weeks of dwindling prices. Tech stocks continue their slide as the US economy gears up for new stimulus. Overnight, global market cap gained 6% to reach $1.68 trillion. That puts it within touching distance of the all-time high figure of $1.76 trillion achieved on February 21.  Trading volume was also up 17.75% according to data company Nomics. Although it’s quick to point out that only 18% of this volume was what it calls ‘transparent’ trading, a term the company uses to distinguish between trading on exchanges with full datasets of all transactions, and those exchanges that don’t keep such records. The bulk of those gains (real or not) came thanks to strong performances from Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin briefly touched the $1 trillion mark during Hong Kong trading hours, before pulling back. At the time of writing however, it has re-claimed that mark hitting a two-week high. 


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