A few days before the eight network upgrade, Istanbul, Ethereum (ETH) price is down by 21% in a month. In comparison, the price jumped almost 30% in a month before the previous upgrade, Constantinople, that occurred on February 28.
Back then, ETH increased even more than Bitcoin (BTC) (+12%). This time, both two largest coins by market capitalization, dropped by c. 21%.
At pixel time (14:07 UTC), ETH trades at c. USD 151, and is up by 2% in the past 24 hours and by 1.2% in a week.
ETH price chart ahead of the Constantinople upgrade
ETH price chart ahead of the Istanbul upgrade
After the Constantinople upgrade, ETH remained relatively stable for a month, before the crypto market rally started in April.
“[Istanbul] is a rather minor upgrade on the roadmap to Ethereum 2.0 and is meant to improve security, network costs, and interoperability with other blockchains. Hopefully, end users will never even need to be aware of the change and only those who are running nodes will need to upgrade,” Mati Greenspan, Founder of QuantumEconomics.io, said in his daily newsletter today.
According to him, as long as Ethereum retains it’s dominance and continues to develop the network for scalability, the value of the tokens should rise, especially as inflation falls.
The upgrade is planned for this weekend, and block number 9,069,000, according to the Ethereum Foundation. It comes after upgrades such as the aforementioned Constantinople, Spurious Dragon, and Byzantium, and before the first phase of the major protocol change, Serenity, planned for 2020. It is otherwise known as the much-talked-about Ethereum 2.0, a new blockchain as explained by co-founder Vitalik Buterin in his 2018 Devcon speech. Further down the line as a part of Serenity, Ethereum is planned to go from the Proof of Work (PoW) consensus algorithm, used also by Bitcoin (BTC), to Proof of Stake (PoS).
That said, even if not a direct part of Serenity, there’s obviously a lot at stake for this second hard fork as it’s a part of the path towards the network’s much anticipated second iteration. As previously reported, when it comes to issues, in an August interview Buterin said that usability, account security and privacy are improving, but that scalability is “a big bottleneck because the Ethereum blockchain is almost full.” The upcoming upgrades are meant to increase scalability and decrease transaction and smart contract costs.
As the other upgrades, Istanbul will change the underlying Ethereum protocol and create new rules to improve the system. Changes that are implemented in Istanbul are defined using Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs). From more than 30 EIPs proposed, 6 were chosen to be implemented as a part of the upgrade:
- EIP 1679: Istanbul Meta, which will make layer 2 solutions based on SNARKs and STARKs more performant, and enable Ethereum and Zcash (ZEC) to interoperate, among other things;
- EIP-152, which will enable a relay and atomic-swap transactions between Zcash and Ethereum;
- EIP-1108 will make zk-SNARKs cheaper, thus enabling cheaper scaling and privacy applications to be built;
- EIP-1344 adds a way for contracts to keep track of the Ethereum chain they are on;
- EIP-1884 changes the cost of certain EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) opcodes to prevent spamming attacks and to better balance the amount of computation in each block;
- EIP-2028 makes zk-SNARKs and zk-STARKs cheaper by reducing the cost of calling data within transactions;
- EIP-2200 changes the cost calculation of storage in the EVM and enables contracts to introduce new functions.
Node operators and miners need to prepare for the update. Any nodes that have not been upgraded will be left on the old chain and will not be able to operate or transact on the new one. Exchanges and wallets need do nothing.
The majority of the node operators are yet to upgrade – 59% of them. 60% of Geth and 55% of Parity node operators have not declared themselves as ready at the time of writing either. Half of the listed mining pools have confirmed to be ready for the upgrade. Bitso is the only one among exchanges listed as ready, though a majority of listed infrastructure provider have upgraded.
Furthermore, prior to the Ethereum mainnet upgrade, testnets must be upgraded. One of these is the Kovan testnet which tweeted back in October that “Istanbul hard fork [is] successfully activated on Kovan.” It’s also live on the Ropsten, Rinkeby, and Gorli testnets.
Wu Jihan takes full control of Bitmain following Micree Zhan’s departure.
Wu Jihan takes control of the company Six weeks after Micree Zhan was removed from the Bitmain. In a recent company meeting, Wu Jihan touted new sales initiatives to attract clients.
According to the Bloomberg report, Wu Jihan has come back in the driver’s seat as the CEO of the company. The co-founder made the first public appearance since he announced to remove the other co-founder of Bitmain, Micree Zhan.
Bitmain announces new sales initiatives to lure customers.
In a company meeting, Wu Jihan and other Bitmain executives announced new sale initiatives to attract customers, including a promise to seel deposits as low as 20% for those who buy its bitcoin mining rigs in large bulk. Bitmain, which is the largest company to sell bitcoin mining machines, has started to face competition. As reported earlier, Bitmain rival Canaan raised over $90 million in US IPO last month.
Bitmain is also planning to announce a US IPO after its failed attempt in Hong Kong last year.
Bitmain Civil War continues.
In October, Wu Jihan announced that Micree Jhan is no longer part of Bitmain. He also warned the company’s employees from taking any orders from him or meeting him for any business-related issues. Wu and Micree both started the company back in 2013. Jhan claimed that he was removed from the company without his consent and will reclaim his position in the company via legal measures. Bitmain is based in China and is the largest bitcoin mining machines selling company in the world.
Romanian cybercriminals sentenced 20 years in jail for using cryptojacking malware to mine $4 million in BTC and XMR.
The cybercriminal group from Romania infected over 400,000 computers with cryptojacking malware and stole over $4 million in bitcoin and Monero. The US court has sentenced two members of the group 20 years and 18 years of imprisonment.
Bogdan Nicolescu, 37, and Radu Miclaus, 37, both from Bucharest, Romania, were sentenced by the US court to 20 years and 18 years in jail, respectively. Cybercriminals went by the name Bayrob Group. The cybercriminals also gained access to credit cards and other information of victims, which they later sold on the darknet.
Cybercriminals were charged with 21 counts.
The charges against the two members of the Bayrob group included 21 separate counts of wire fraud, money laundering, aggravated identity theft, and other crimes. These members of the group were found guilty of using cryptojacking malware to mine bitcoin and monero on more than 400,000 computers and stealing $4 million. The malware allows criminals to use most of the processing power of the hosts with secrecy.
“Crimes committed using the internet will not go unpunished.”
The US Attorney Justin Herdman said that this sentence underscores the critical work being done to investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent those criminals who think presumed anonymity of the Internet can hide their pervasive and extensive criminals activities. He further added that these sentences send the clear and resounding message that crimes committed using the Internet will not go unpunished irrespective of where the criminals are operating from. In recent time there has been an increase in cryptojacking attacks.
Analyst Buys BTC, Says This Chart May Determine Path Ahead – Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Ripple, Stellar Updates
From two outlooks on Bitcoin’s current trajectory to a new customer at Ripple, here’s a look at some of the stories breaking in the world of crypto.
Crypto analyst Scott Melker of Texas West Capital says he just bought Bitcoin and believes the leading cryptocurrency is now targeting “much higher prices.”
Melker says he’s being extremely cautious and added a stop loss “tighter than an undersized speedo” to ensure he quickly exits the position if the prediction doesn’t play out.
“Straightforward for me at the moment – I want to see BTC hold these two support lines. The horizontal one is from the inverse head and shoulders that everyone was watching…
I don’t think [Bitcoin] will be boring for long. I bought at $7330 and am looking for much higher prices.”
Meanwhile, veteran trader Tone Vays is expecting one more big move to the downside before a renewed rally.
“I give [Bitcoin] approximately a 60% chance that we will go below $6,500 before we go above $10,000. It almost has to be before because if we got to $10,000, I will then give it maybe a 5% chance we will ever go to $6,500 again.
So I still anticipate a final low before the halving. Now that low will probably be higher than $3,000. But it is still possible that the low could be lower than $3,000. How high is that probability? No more than 20%, which is still quite large if you ask anyone in the crypto space.”
A number of rare trading cards on the Ethereum-based game Gods Unchained are now worth a lot of money.
According to the peer-to-peer digital marketplace Openseas, one card just sold for 215 ETH, which is worth about $31,500 at time of publishing.
Gods Unchained is backed by Coinbase and utilizes the Ethereum blockchain to give gamers a unique way to truly own their in-game assets.
Ripple and XRP
3S Money Club, a London-based digital B2B merchant banking platform, is joining Ripple’s network of banks and financial institutions.
The company’s CEO, Ivan Zhiznevskiy, made the announcement on LinkedIn.
“By joining Ripple’s growing, global network financial institutions can process payments worldwide instantly, reliably and cost-effectively.
It allows network members to exchange instant messages such as live quotes and payment instructions over one standardized and validated protocol. In contrast, 3SMC is now connected to four banking partners through APIs.”
So far, Zhiznevskiy has not revealed whether the company plans to use On-Demand Liquidity, which is Ripple’s XRP-based cross-border payment product.
An effort to showcase the high speed and low cost of Stellar Lumens (XLM) transactions is approaching a new milestone.
Stellar holders have been passing a so-called “torch” around the world since June and will soon reach half a million kilometers.
The torch, which is essentially a small amount of XLM, has now been sent across the globe 77 times, with total transaction fees costing less than a penny.