Thanks for joining us for this edition of our bitcoin news roundup, where we’ve got headlines on the bitcoin price’s record number of all-time highs, the SEC’s decision to reconsider the Winklevoss ETF, and lightning network developments from peer-to-peer content platform Yours. Read on to find out more!
A rally of all-time highs for the bitcoin price
April was a stellar month as far as the bitcoin price was concerned, with it leaping beyond March’s all-time high, which was just short of $1,300 per coin. May is getting off to an explosive start as well, with record all-time highs continuing to be set. Jonathan Garber of Business Insider reports that early May 4th it cleared $1,600 for the first time and has gained upwards of 65% in 2017 alone.There isn’t one specific force seeming to power this major rally, but a collection of possible factors. One includes [a reconsideration order, due May 15th, for the SEC](http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/26/bitcoin-price-sec-winklevoss-etf-review.html) to decide on the Winklevoss ETF, which was initially denied in March. Traders once again anticipate an approval, which means more speculation and more eyes following bitcoin. Aside from the SEC’s bitcoin ETF reconsideration, demand from Japanese users and a surge in trading volume is another evidently potential price driver. Japanese legislators made bitcoin a legalized form of payment on April 1st, and [a 24-hour look at bitcoin trading volume](http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/01/bitcoin-skyrockets-to-fresh-record-high-on-a-spike-in-demand-from-japan.html) from May 1st has JPY topping the charts with over 52% trading volume, with USD following at 28%.
Russia will legalize digital currency trading; Antigua and Barbuda explore benefits of bitcoin
As we touched on in our last roundup, Russia and India are also enroute to developing some sort of legislative framework for bitcoin. From their press release in mid-April, the government of India mentioned a three month deadline for their virtual currencies committee to report on their findings. And even more promising than related headlines from our last roundup, Russia has recently come forward to mention their plan to draft a bill that will actually legalize the trading of bitcoin and other digital assets.
Joining the list of governments that have bitcoin on their agenda is Antigua and Barbuda, whose cabinet may be moving forward on a plan to accept bitcoin for government services. Not only do they consider this a way to keep the Caribbean twin-island country ahead of the fintech curve, but bitcoin’s transparency and transaction traceability will help establish them as a global ally against money laundering.
Lightning network innovation; Spotify embraces block chain technologyLike our very own Lightning Network-focused project, [Thunder](https://www.blockchain.com/thunder/index.html), other startups in the space are also working on efforts to bring increased efficiency to the bitcoin network. Yours, an ad-free platform designed to help support content creators with peer-to-peer payments, has revealed they’ve been working [on their own version](http://www.coindesk.com/may-just-sent-first-real-bitcoin-lightning-payment/). Most implementations of Lightning are pending use until SegWit is activated. While Yours’ Lightning project is compatible with bitcoin today, CEO Ryan X. Charles admits that it would also see some noteworthy benefits with the activation of SegWit.
On a similar type of mission as Yours, streaming service Spotify recently acquired block chain startup Mediachain. The startup describe themselves as a “peer-to-peer, decentralized database for sharing information across applications and organizations.” For Spotify, Mediachain’s platform could be an innovative way for the streaming service to avoid conflicts over content licensing and proper compensation.
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