Blockchain Blog

Bitcoin News for the week of 5/16/16

Welcome to our weekly bitcoin news recap, where we cover top headlines and stories in the world of bitcoin each week. This was a huge week for Blockchain with the launch of the Thunder Network, which was carried by several mainstream media outlets including TechCrunch and Forbes. We also cover news about different blockchains, bitcoin art, games, and user adoption. Get all this and more, in our weekly Blockchain recap.

Introducing Thunder

Thunder

Announcing the Thunder Network Alpha Release

At Blockchain, we’re on a mission to create an open, accessible, and equitable financial future. Since our inception, we have focused on building products that make it easy for everyday people to use bitcoin to store and transfer value all over the world. This week, we were proud to release the alpha version of our Thunder Network, the first usable implementation of the Lightning network for off chain bitcoin payments that settles back to the main bitcoin blockchain.

We used it internally a few days ago when we successfully performed Transaction 0. With Thunder, we now have a pathway for scaling transaction volume. For comparison’s sake, the Visa network capable of processing 56,000 transactions per second and we think Thunder can do over 100,000. Blockchain CEO Peter Smith says the announcement represents a significant step forward for the bitcoin network given that the technology is useable at a limited scale today.

“Thunder is already open-sourced. It’s more functional today [than other versions of lightning networks], because it’s the first network of this style that’s settled back to the main blockchain.”

Is it all about the blockchains?

![Image via CoinDesk.com](https://blog.blockchain.com/content/images/2016/05/qiwi.png)
Image via CoinDesk.com
[Payments Giant Qiwi is Building a Blockchain Replacement for its Core Database](http://www.coindesk.com/qiwi-replace-payments-processor-blockchain/)

Russian payments firm Qiwi is currently designing its own proprietary blockchain in an effort to replace its central payments processing database. Called the “Qiwi blockchain system”, the company’s development effort focuses on how its core database of customer transactions could be reimagined to reduce costs.

A big story that’s been underreported is the ongoing crowdfunding of the DAO, a distributed autonomous organization that is said to become the largest crowdfunded project in history!

In other news, the Sydney Stock Exchange announced they are developing their own private blockchain.

Bitcoin Art, Games, and User Adoption

![Bitcoin artwork via Bitcoin.com](https://blog.blockchain.com/content/images/2016/05/bitcoin-art.jpg)
Bitcoin artwork via Bitcoin.com
[Proof of Art: Bringing Bitcoin Advocacy to the Art Galleria](https://news.bitcoin.com/proof-art-bitcoin-galleria/)

A Bitcoin-themed art event, Proof of Art, will be taking place on May 25th, 2016 in San Francisco, California. The event is a melding between cryptocurrency advocacy and an art gallery showing. Many of the participating artists are Bitcoin-enthusiasts themselves, with each of them actively sharing the lifestyle of selling their artwork for bitcoin. The art show will even include an innovative integration of Bitcoin into many of the works on display. Thousands of miles away in Eastern Europe, our first sponsorship at a Kyiv-based event took place during FinTech Week Ukraine, which ends on Sunday. If you’re in Kyiv, we curated the ultimate list of places to spend your bitcoin there.

In the gaming world, the popular bitcoin game Sarutobi is coming to the Android mobile platform. From what the developer announced on Reddit, there are going to be options for Android users that iOS users don’t have, such as the ability to use game items from Spells of Genesis, which is an upcoming game that uses bitcoin as the driver for its virtual economy; more can be found on that game here.

In other news, BitPay recently announced that messaging app Vodi added bitcoin payment options for digital gift cards, phone minutes, and more. Mobile payments are an exciting use case for bitcoin, and gift card and top-up payments have proven to be especially popular with international bitcoin users. In the same realm, targeting users in India, bitcoin startup Unocoin partnered with MobiKwik so that users can top-up their MobiKwik accounts using bitcoin.

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