Bitcoin Magazine Week in Review

Bitcoin Magazine’s Week in Review brings you the most critical, interesting and popular news stories affecting Bitcoin this week.

The functionality of cryptocurrency wallets has been rather limited to straightforward asset storage, with a few branching out to asset transfers as well. However, a revolution is coming and it could transform how they operate completely. Developers are beginning to integrate exchange functionalities into hardware cryptocurrency wallets, essentially making it possible for inter-currency trading to be done.

After months of speculation, cryptocurrency trading platform Bakkt launched its bitcoin futures contract offering this week.

The contracts essentially enable investors to place speculative bets on the price of bitcoin in the future, and while these aren’t the first such products to be launched, the distinction here is that the contracts offered by Bakkt will be physically delivered — allowing traders be paid in bitcoin upon the maturity of the contracts, as opposed to in cash equivalents.

The bitcoin mining industry has continued to log new milestones, with miners riding this year’s cryptocurrency price rally, growing mining difficulty and the imminent reward halving in 2020.

An industry report from China-based ASIC miner manufacturer Innosilicon has revealed that there are currently 4.3 million bitcoin mining machines on the network, with a demand for another 1.5 million yet to be filled. Once this market gap is filled, the report estimates that the total Bitcoin hash rate could increase by 75 exahashes by the end of the year. 

On Wednesday, reports surfaced that the Bitcoin hash rate dropped about 30 to 40 percent, following a price flash crash in bitcoin’s price from $10,000 to $8,300. 

Given the gravity of the fall in both metrics, speculations arose that the fall in price could be directly tied to the drop in the hash rate. Well, as it turned out, the hash rate is fine. The issue was a deviance in the block times that was being mined, nothing else.

“It was just regular random fluctuations in block times. The longer time period over which you estimate hash rate, the more accurate your estimate is likely to be … and vice versa,” Jameson Lopp, the cypherpunk CTO of Casa, explained on Twitter.

Bitmain, the largest manufacturer of bitcoin mining equipment in the world, is continuing to take advantage of the surge in the mining space. This week, the company launched the World Digital Mining Map (WDMM), a service which will essentially connect miners and mining farms together.

With the WDMM, individual miners who need a cost-effective way to host their hardware can access a directory of mining farms close to them, complete with details of their efficiencies, their mining capacities and a host of other relevant specs. 

Appreciation for cryptocurrencies in Europe and the Americas is relatively high compared to attitudes in Africa. On that continent, knowledge about cryptocurrencies is sparse at best, but this can’t stop those Africans who are interested in cryptocurrencies from embracing them.

In an interview with Owenize Odia, the country manager for Luno Nigeria, Bitcoin Magazine unearthed details about the current push for cryptocurrency adoption in Africa and how effective it has been so far.

News broke this week that France could see up to 25,000 points of sale within the country accept bitcoin as a means of payment next year.

The initiative will see retail software provider Global P.O.S. leverage its wallet application EasyWallet and payment processor Easy2Pay to enable the payment option. Cosmetics giant Sephora, sports gear company Decathlon and others are expected to be part of the program, which will be launching in 2020.

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