Bitcoin Magazine’s Week in Review: Gradual Improvements
Script, the smart-contract programming language for Bitcoin, has gotten an upgrade. Developers are addressing challenges on the network through local Socratic Seminars. A Bavarian entrepreneur is promoting Bitcoin through a multisport race. And the curious case of the Asian mafia behind the PlusToken racket.
The PlusToken Scam
This week, we looked into the case of PlusToken, a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme that reportedly spread across Asia promising mouthwatering returns to investors monthly.
The PlusToken scam was rather reminiscent of some of the most popular scams in the cryptocurrency space. But what has made it stand out is its sheer scale, which saw it swindle over 3 million investors in Asia. The PLUS token itself was worth a reported $17 billion in valuation, and investors were milked out of about $3 billion in cryptocurrency.
Authorities were able to pick up several scam operators, but the ring leader as well as a large percentage of the funds are reportedly still at large.
Miniscript: Bitcoin Programming Made Easy
For so long, developers have had to work on Bitcoin smart contracts through Script, a programming language used to encode different conditions that define how bitcoin can be spent. This concept is not without its flaws. Script has been known to be rather difficult to use. Human errors are easy to commit, and these could lead to catastrophic outcomes.
Enter: the revolutionists.
Over the past year, Andrew Poelstra, Sanket Kanjalkar and Pieter Wuille have been working on a simpler means of developing smart contracts with Bitcoin. Their new programming language, dubbed “Miniscript,” strips down the former standard to its bare essentials.
Speaking about the new language, Poelsra, the research director at Blockstream, admitted that in a sense, Miniscript is a tad more limiting than Script. However, he touted the applicability of the language, claiming that “it can do everything that people actually use script for.”
Bitcoin Has a Positive Influence on Government Policy
A new research paper asserts that the existence of digital assets like bitcoin affects the fiscal and regulatory policy of the government in a healthy way. Titled “How Do Private Currencies Affect Government Policy?,” the report was co-authored by professors Max Raskin (New York University), Fahad Saleh (McGill University) and David Yermack (NYU Stern School of Business).
The paper postulates that the existence of private digital currencies could potentially help improve the welfare of people. It provides a rather nuanced definition of what “private digital currencies” actually are.
The researchers also touted bitcoin as an asset that could significantly affect economies with high volatilities and corrupt governments that have little interest in the welfare of people. It also revealed that bitcoin would continue to see increasing demand as economic crises continue to rock nations.
Banking Institutions Still Refuse to Play Ball
While cryptocurrency continues to grow and garner global adoption, the traditional banking industry still won’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.
Several reports have alluded to crypto investors and businesses being denied access to bank accounts all around the world. This week, we looked at how Bitcoin community members have had to withstand restrictive behavior from their banks for trading cryptocurrency. Some have been barred from trading, while others have had services withheld while using popular payment services like Venmo and PayPal.
The importance of banking services to the blockchain industry (especially to cryptocurrency businesses) can’t be overstated. However, given that a lot of these banks seem to either be restricting accounts affiliated with crypto or imposing additional regulations on them, several questions (including whether alternatives exist or how this divide can be bridged) are now being asked.
Socratic Seminars Prove to Be a Great Way of Learning About Bitcoin
As Bitcoin gets increasingly popular, we see many people looking to become more knowledgeable about the asset. That’s why Bitcoin meetups have been so popular ever since the advent of the technology. But even within the world of Bitcoin meetups, the Socratic Seminar method stands out from the pack.
Now reaching its 100th edition, the Socratic Seminar has become a mainstay within the crypto industry. It was introduced by SF Bitcoin Devs and has now reached many major markets, including Boston and Los Angeles, with Chicago and Austin also set to have these types of meetups in the near future as well.
The Socratic Seminar fosters collective knowledge and cooperation through constructive, nuanced arguments. The aim is to enhance collective understanding, thus enabling more people to participate in discussions and apply their knowledge. Such a form of meetups is always welcome, and it has become a mainstay in the Bitcoin space.
The Satoshi Freeathlon: Promoting Decentralization Through Sports
Cryptocurrency promotion has been accomplished in several ways, from actual giveaways to live events. Organizers have shown that there isn’t much of a limit to what you can do to get the word out there about crypto.
Now, Bavarian Bitcoin entrepreneur Vitus Zeller is taking on a bold new initiative to promote the crypto asset through a triathlon. Spanning four days (August 24 to 28, 2019), the Satoshi Freeathlon will feature seven participants from three different nations; they will take on a 222-mile (357-kilometer) challenge, which starts in Zug, Switzerland, and concludes in Munich, Germany. The purpose is to help improve public awareness around not just Bitcoin, but decentralization in general — especially as it relates to money and power structures in the world.