Over the course of eight years, the Bitcoin ecosystem has gone through several changes. Every new development, either based on software, services or otherwise, has had a significant impact on Bitcoin. There is never a dull moment in the world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, and it appears things will not change anytime soon. Below are five of the top developments in the Bitcoin world right now.
#5 Is Bitcoin A Currency?
One of the longest-standing questions surrounding Bitcoin is how governments classify this cryptocurrency. Most regions have no specific guidelines for Bitcoin, which means it is not a currency. However, Russia declared Bitcoin to be on par with foreign currencies in 2016, which sets a precedent which other countries may follow over the coming years. It remains to be seen if Bitcoin will ever get elevated to “currency” status in its largest markets though.
#4 Centralized Exchanges Remain A Problem
Albeit traders and speculators should never rely on centralized exchanges, there is little money to be made in peer-to-peer markets. That is, unless one wants to buy and sell Bitcoin directly, rather than use long or short positions. Any issue affecting Bitcoin exchanges will send the BTC price spiraling down, and it appears several centralized platforms have run into some issues over the past few days.
Bitstamp had a major DNS issue that made the site inaccessible for most users. It took several hours for the issue to be resolved, and some users remain affected to this point. China’s OKCoin exchange had a brief outage this morning as well, affecting the website, API, and mobile application at the same time. Panicking investors sold off significant amounts of Bitcoin as a result of the outages, even though the Bitcoin protocol itself is not affected.
#3 Segregated Witness Or Not?
Scalability of the Bitcoin network remains a pressing matter as well. It does not appear this problem will be resolved anytime soon, even though support for Segregated Witness continues to grow slowly. Unfortunately, it will take a lot of time until we will know whether or not SegWit will be effectively activated on the network. Right now, the 30% support mark is far from sufficient, yet a lot of services are still working on integrating SegWit.
#2 Bitcoin ETF Approval Remains Elusive
Taking Bitcoin mainstream will be quite a challenge, yet ETFs seem to be the best way to go. Getting approval for a Bitcoin ETF has proven to be quite challenging, though. According to a new report, there is less than 25% chance to see a Bitcoin ETF approval in 2017. Albeit this is not a deal breaker by any means, it goes to show how Bitcoin continues to be opposed by governments, regulators, and financial institutions all over the world.
#1 China’s Regulatory Stance Could Shift Soon
Bitcoin enthusiasts around the globe are keeping a very close eye on what China is doing right now. The impending investigation of BTCC and other major exchanges can pave the way for future regulation. If Bitcoin were to be regulated in China, it would most certainly have a negative impact on the market. For now, there is a lot of speculation and very little credible information to go by. This situation may change over the coming days as the entire Bitcoin world will be watching.
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