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Digital Euro Sees First Successful Test at the Bank of France

The French central bank has announced the first successful test of a digital euro.

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Per a May 20 announcement from Banque de France, France has become the first country to successfully trial a digital euro, operational on a blockchain, following a call for new technology to back such a development at the end of March

The bank says it tested a sale of securities for central bank digital currency (CBDC) on May 14, signalling the beginning of more robust testing. 

Wholesale rather than retail CBDC

Though the bank’s announcement did not go into great detail, it did indicate that the current pilot program is focusing on wholesale rather than retail uses for a digital euro. Retail CBDCs would operate open to regular consumers à la Bitcoin or Apple Pay. 

A wholesale CBDC would be the province of banks and institutional players — as the French central bank says, “interbank regulations.”

This recent pilot of a securities issuance in exchange for a digital euro was based on software received following the bank’s March 27 call for applications. Per today’s announcement, the bank will spend the coming weeks running similar tests on other files received as part of the same initiative.

France and the push for a digital euro

Banque de France has been known to be especially active in developing a digital euro. Pending the departure of the United Kingdom, France will become the second-largest economy in the Eurozone after Germany.

Blockchain

WeChat Invests $70 Billion in Fintech, Including Blockchain and AI

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Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings will allocate nearly $70 billion (500B yuan) over the next five years in fintech development, including blockchain, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Reuters reported on May 26 that the company, which is behind the WeChat messaging app, hopes to strengthen the development of fintech across the country, following the recent embrace of blockchain by the Chinese government. 

Tencent wants to expand to business services and will invest in 5G networks, Internet of Things (IoT) operating systems and large data centers, among others, 

Pandemic boosts blockchain interest in China

The tech giant said that the COVID-19 crisis had been a critical factor motivating companies to develop their cloud-based technology infrastructure.

According to Dowson Tong, senior executive vice president of Tencent, expediting this new infrastructure strategy “will help further cement virus containment success.”

Tencent’s financial support for blockchain technology builds on its recent announcement of strategic moves to cement its presence in blockchain development across China.

Chinese government adopts blockchain

Cointelegraph reported on April 30 that Tencent had opened applications for its new “Tencent Industrial Accelerator,” with a total of 30 places.

The National People’s Congress, China’s Parliament, and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference proposed a government-backed blockchain development fund on May 24 to build “a better governance system.”

Some provinces in China are also beginning to show interest in blockchain technology, such as Anhui, which has officially launched a blockchain platform for providing government services.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/wechat-invests-70-billion-in-fintech-including-blockchain-and-ai

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After Spiking to February 2018 Levels, Bitcoin Fees Have Dropped 54%

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After spiking a week ago to levels last seen in February 2018, the average Bitcoin (BTC) transaction fee has fallen by more than half.

BitInfoCharts data shows that Bitcoin’s average fee decreased by nearly 54% from $6.65 on May 20 to $3.07 on May 25. The median — or most common —  fee peaked at $3.91, but has now fallen to $1.65.

Bitcoin Cash proponent Hayden Otto told Cointelegraph that if network congestion continues, it will push users to altcoins. He believes this happened in 2017:

“When BTC is operating at capacity with a huge black log of transactions, it will slowly [lose users to altcoins] again. […] I’m sure most people trying to move funds around would convert to another coin before withdrawing from exchanges.”

Bitcoin median and average transaction fee May 20-May 25 chart. Source: BitInfoCharts

Altcoins capitalize on Bitcoin’s congestion

Otto is founder of BitcoinBCH.com, and he argues that there is a direct correlation between Bitcoin congestion resulting in the higher fees we’ve seen recently, and users moving to competing cryptocurrencies. According to him, “this results in BTC’s market dominance declining while that of competing cryptos explodes.”

As Cointelegraph reported in early May, there was a considerable amount of speculation that Bitcoin’s block reward halving might destabilize its blockchain. Otto argues that the halving did indeed have this destabilizing effect on Bitcoin’s functional dynamics, although this was beginning to smooth out.

He said the number of unconfirmed transactions held in Bitcoin’s mempool recently stabilized at just over 20,000, after having reached this year’s highest level of more than 80,000. Otto suggests this is a sign that the Bitcoin network is regaining stability after its economy changed in the wake of the latest recent halvings.

On May 20, Bitcoin’s mining difficulty dropped by about 6 percent. Otto says that this difficulty adjustment is helping decrease the network’s congestion, but one adjustment may not be enough:

“We have already had one difficulty adjustment since the halving but it will take another one or two adjustments until it settles. Due to a decline in hash rate, blocks are being produced slower. BTC’s hash rate has dropped nearly 30% since the halving and the difficulty only lowered by 6%, thus difficulty will need to decrease further before blocks are mined at 10 minute average intervals.”

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/after-spiking-to-february-2018-levels-bitcoin-fees-have-dropped-54

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Blockchain

After Spiking to February 2018 Levels, Bitcoin Fees Have Dropped 54%

Published

on

After spiking a week ago to levels last seen in February 2018, the average Bitcoin (BTC) transaction fee has fallen by more than half.

BitInfoCharts data shows that Bitcoin’s average fee decreased by nearly 54% from $6.65 on May 20 to $3.07 on May 25. The median — or most common —  fee peaked at $3.91, but has now fallen to $1.65.

Bitcoin Cash proponent Hayden Otto told Cointelegraph that if network congestion continues, it will push users to altcoins. He believes this happened in 2017:

“When BTC is operating at capacity with a huge black log of transactions, it will slowly [lose users to altcoins] again. […] I’m sure most people trying to move funds around would convert to another coin before withdrawing from exchanges.”

Bitcoin median and average transaction fee May 20-May 25 chart. Source: BitInfoCharts

Altcoins capitalize on Bitcoin’s congestion

Otto is founder of BitcoinBCH.com, and he argues that there is a direct correlation between Bitcoin congestion resulting in the higher fees we’ve seen recently, and users moving to competing cryptocurrencies. According to him, “this results in BTC’s market dominance declining while that of competing cryptos explodes.”

As Cointelegraph reported in early May, there was a considerable amount of speculation that Bitcoin’s block reward halving might destabilize its blockchain. Otto argues that the halving did indeed have this destabilizing effect on Bitcoin’s functional dynamics, although this was beginning to smooth out.

He said the number of unconfirmed transactions held in Bitcoin’s mempool recently stabilized at just over 20,000, after having reached this year’s highest level of more than 80,000. Otto suggests this is a sign that the Bitcoin network is regaining stability after its economy changed in the wake of the latest recent halvings.

On May 20, Bitcoin’s mining difficulty dropped by about 6 percent. Otto says that this difficulty adjustment is helping decrease the network’s congestion, but one adjustment may not be enough:

“We have already had one difficulty adjustment since the halving but it will take another one or two adjustments until it settles. Due to a decline in hash rate, blocks are being produced slower. BTC’s hash rate has dropped nearly 30% since the halving and the difficulty only lowered by 6%, thus difficulty will need to decrease further before blocks are mined at 10 minute average intervals.”

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/after-spiking-to-february-2018-levels-bitcoin-fees-have-dropped-54

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