Blockchain Blog

Bitcoin News for the week of 8/15/16

Welcome to our weekly bitcoin news recap, where we cover top headlines and stories in the world of bitcoin each week. This week, an article co-written by Arthur Levitt Jr., former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Blockchain CEO Peter Smith, challenges bitcoin critics and highlights why the bitcoin blockchain is disrupting payments. We also learned about the first bitcoin software release that will include Segregated Witness code, in an effort to eventually be able to scale transaction capacity. In market-related news, headlines demonstrate the bitcoin price has recovered since earlier this month, and in Japan, trading volume has seen tremendous growth over the past year. Get all this news and more, in our weekly recap.

Faulty arguments from the critics and naysayers
![Bitcoin image courtesy of Bitcoinist.net](https://blog.blockchain.com/content/images/2016/04/bitcoin-world.jpg)
Bitcoin image courtesy of Bitcoinist
[Here’s What the Bitcoin Naysayers Get Wrong](http://www.americanbanker.com/bankthink/heres-what-the-bitcoin-naysayers-get-wrong-1090705-1.html)

Arthur Levitt Jr., former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Peter Smith CEO of Blockchain, penned a joint article on why the bitcoin blockchain is disrupting payments. In late June, Citi Research released a report that asked, “Could the Bitcoin Blockchain Disrupt Payments?” The researchers’ short answer — unsurprisingly — was: no. That short answer, however, was shortsighted. Even more troubling is that Citigroup is not alone in its critique of the cryptocurrency.

According to new research from Juniper, startups working with blockchain and bitcoin technology around the world raised close to $300 million (£231.2 million) in funding in the first 6 months of the year. Even the United Nations is getting involved, announcing that it is seeking two volunteers or technology geeks to help in research and training two staff members on how to use bitcoins for fundraising.

Tokyo based e-commerce giant Rakuten has confirmed that it has acquired Bitnet, a bitcoin startup which it plans to use it as a bitcoin lab for blockchain research. The transaction amount is undisclosed but it follows a Wall Street Journal report in July which speculated that a deal was in the works.

Bitcoin’s most significant code change
![Image via CoinDesk](https://blog.blockchain.com/content/images/2016/08/laptop-code.png)
Image via CoinDesk
[Next Bitcoin Software Update Will Be First to Feature SegWit Code](http://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-software-version-0-13-0-segwit-code/)

A forthcoming bitcoin software update will be the first to feature code that could be later activated and included as part of an effort to scale transaction capacity on the bitcoin blockchain. Called the “most significant code change” in version 0.13.0, the new code added for Segregated Witness will not activate the change, but rather be the next step in preparing it to be eventually deployed, potentially in version 0.13.1.

In other related news, bitcoin implementation Bitcoin Unlimited has announced a $500,000 donation in funding and that it is registering as a non-profit organization. The half-million-dollar donation came from “donors who represent the on-chain scaling community,” and allows Bitcoin Unlimited to transform its structure and future plans.

Trading and price stabilization
![Bitcoin price chart via Blockchain.info](https://blog.blockchain.com/content/images/2016/08/bitcoin-price-8-20-16.png)
Bitcoin price chart via Blockchain.info
[Bitcoin Trading Soars in Japan amidst Volatility and Stable Yen Exchange Rates](https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/bitcoin-trading-soars-in-japan-amidst-volatility-and-stable-yen-exchange-rates/)

Bitcoin trading is booming in Japan as yen exchange rates have stabilized, bitcoin has been volatile and the Japanese government has passed virtual currency legislation, according to the Nikkei Asian Review. A total of 430 billion yen in bitcoins were traded in the first half of the year, 50 times more than in the same period in the previous year.

Marley Gray, Director of Business Development and Strategy for Cloud + Enterprise at Microsoft says blockchain is expected to be implemented by banks and other financial institutions within three years. Gray said Hong Kong, London, New York, and Singapore will be the “hotbeds” of the blockchain financial services.

After a somewhat volatile start to the month, the price of bitcoin has recovered quite well and remains steady as we head toward the end of August and into September. You can keep track of the price movements on the Blockchain Markets page. If you’re looking to invest in bitcoin, you can now buy bitcoin with a credit card directly on Bitcoin.com according to a new partnership they have with Simplex.

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