Blockchain and Bitcoin round-up: 8 February 2018
Busy days as this is the third blockchain and Bitcoin round-up this week. (Check out 5 February and 6 February for more fun and games.) This report features Binance down, a “Crypto Rich List”, and VMS Software and Swirlds.
Beginning with bad news, Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Binance has suspended trading. It says it wasn’t hacked but on Twitter explains that “due to an unforeseen slowdown in the speed of our data sync, we now estimate for all trading activity to resume at 2018/02/09 4AM (UTC). In the 30 minutes prior to the commencement of trading, users will be able to use utilise all other account related functions”.
This system upgrade caused some problems – such as stopping trading and the withdrawals of funds – and sent users into the usual bouts of fury and cynicism. Comments ranged from “This is insane! 24 hours of downtime is completely unacceptable!” to “Some of us invested more than $100 and waiting two days is unacceptable in any way!!! Compensation-free trading for a month! This guy [Zhao Changpeng, Binance’s chief executive] is a billionaire because of us”.
Forbes, who clearly have more staff and time than we do, has released a handy “Crypto Rich List” – a compilation of the 20 wealthiest people in crypto. It says there are now nearly 1,500 crypto-assets in existence, valued at an aggregate of $550 billion, up 31 times since the beginning of 2017. While the prices of individual cryptocoins continue to “swing wildly, it’s clear that blockchain-based currency is here to stay and that these virtual assets have real, albeit volatile and speculative, value”.
Chris Larsen, a long-time tech executive and founder of Ripple, tops Forbes’ list. Larsen’s net worth came close to $20 billion in early January 2018, as a result of owning 5.2 billion XRP, the token of Ripple. Joseph Lubin, cofounder of Ethereum and founder of Consensys, has somewhere between $1 billion to $5 billion. Changpeng (Binance again) came in third – with his personal fortune worth as much as $2 billion.
VMS Software (VSI) will use Swirlds’ hashgraph technology to allow customers to implement and operate distributed applications. VSI customers include stock exchanges, international banks, retail chains, manufacturing, government systems, power plants, and transportation companies. It also has its OpenVMS operating system.
“We had been evaluating various blockchain technologies for a number of years, but struggled to find one that could meet the scalability and security needs of our clients, while also being easy to use,” says Duane Harris, CEO of VMS Software. According to Swirlds, its hashgraph uses a new protocol to enable distributed and decentralised communities to reach consensus in a “fast and secure way”.