Finally... a crypto comeback?After weeks in the doldrums, Ethereum and other large cap cryptos pop on the back of Cathie Wood’s ‘The B Word Conference’, where tech billionaires weighed in on the crypto world... and Elon Musk revealed his own stash of Ethereum.
Shares of Ethereum popped to their Wednesday session high after Elon Musk confirmed that he personally owns Ethereum, Dogecoin (DOGEUSD), and Bitcoin (BTCUSD). Ethereum shot up to highs of $2,034 before closing up 11.7% at $1,995.50, its highest price since July 13. The comment was one of many that got people talking at ‘The B Word Conference’, which saw Elon Musk, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, and star stock-picker and founder of ARK Invest Cathie Woods gather to talk about Bitcoin (BTCUSD) and the world of crypto. Talk about an all-star line-up. The tech billionaire pair teed up the debate through a banter-filled Twitter exchange (classic) at the end of June, and the hype has been off the hook.
Musk might be a supporter of Ethereum on a personal level, but at a corporate level he still seems to be riding the Bitcoin (BTCUSD) train. He confirmed this week that his companies, Tesla and SpaceX, only own Bitcoin (BTCUSD) and haven’t yet branched out into other cryptos. Although EV maker Tesla stopped accepting Bitcoin (BTCUSD) in May – a move that contributed to a wider crypto crash that has wiped over 50% off Ethereum’s value to date – Musk also said that as Bitcoin (BTCUSD) is increasingly powered by renewable energy, Tesla would “most likely” start accepting the currency again.
Etheruem lifted 11.7% by the end of the day, and Bitcoin (BTCUSD) popped back up above $30,000 after dipping below that the day before, ending the day up 7.9%. Popular joke currency Dogecoin (DOGEUSD) also lifted 11.8% for the day. Could this be the beginning of a crypto comeback?
Ethereum co-founder bows outEthereum lost 11.2% last week as the crypto crash extended its reign of terror, and co-founder Anthony Di Iorio says that he’s done with the crypto world - though he cites personal security as his reason.
Ethereum has lost over half its value since crypto began a bear run that has decimated the market, and last week’s losses of 11.2% fed worries that the decline isn't over yet. To top it all off, co-founder of the Ethereum network Anthony Di Iorio has revealed a surprise crypto exit, putting the decision down to personal safety concerns. Di Iorio, who was one of the eight co-founders of the network in 2013, has had a security team with him everywhere he goes since 2017 and it looks like he’s fed up.
said Di Iorio, who wont disclose his cryptocurrency holdings or net worth.
In the next couple of weeks, Di Iorio plans to: sell the Toronto-based blockchain company Decental Inc (for traditional currency, not crypto), sever his ties with any existing start-up partnerships, cease funding all blockchain products, and focus on non-crypto related philanthropy. Talk about a quick turnaround.
The rest of the crypto market seems to have lost the faith of some too – Bitcoin (BTCUSD) lost 7.24% last week, Cardano (ADAUSDT) lost 4.30%, and Doge (DOGEUSD) lost over 15%.
ETH suffers under increased weight of inflationEthereum takes another hit, getting dragged down 4.66% on the back of a worrying U.S. inflation report.
Ethereum, along with Bitcoin (BTCUSD) and other smaller cryptos, saw a sell-off on Tuesday as analysts contemplate the latest U.S. inflation data. The Labor Department on Tuesday released June’s Consumer Price Index Inflation Report, and things aren’t looking good. Inflation jumped 5.4% in the year through June, its fastest pace since just before the 2008 financial crisis. The country has seen hikes in food and energy prices, as well as a burst in used vehicles related to the global chip shortage. Several other factors also played a role in the spike, including supply-chain bottlenecks and unprecedented demand on the back of Coronavirus.
ETH prices hit a two week low after the bell on Tuesday following the report, along with Bitcoin (BTCUSD), which slipped below $32,500. Typically, cryptocurrency has been seen by digital asset investors as a hedge against inflation. However, in this case the data itself matters less than what the Federal Reserve might do in response to that data. Traders began selling off cryptos like Ethereum and Bitcoin (BTCUSD) on fears that continuously rising inflation would prompt the Fed to take back its quantitative easing policies.
The central bank has almost doubled its balance sheet since early last year to over $8 trillion, which people see as a key catalyst for the crypto price gains since then. Withdrawing those policies could have negative long term effects.
Hard fork happiness for EthereumEthereum hits a two-week high of $2,389 on Sunday thanks to anticipation for the dramatic London hard fork that's due to take full effect later in July. Are you excited?
The last year has been big for the Ethereum network as it ushered in Ethereum 2.0, which includes a series of adjustments including a transition from Proof-of-Work (PoW) to Proof-of-Stake (PoS). PoW is a very energy intensive way of creating blockchain consensus, and many of the upgrades are looking to address that. One step towards making Ethereum a more environmentally friendly coin is the London Hard Fork update, which will hopefully sort out the crazy high transaction fees that the network has been seeing recently. The upgrades have been a long time coming and June was a major month for the network with four testnet launches, the last of which was June 26. Prices have spent almost every day in the green since, as excitement sends buyers into a flurry.
said Konstantin Richter, CEO of Blockdaemon, a platform focused on connecting blockchain protocols.
More and more people are taking a look at Ethereum more closely recently as the hallmark crypto currency of the DeFi movement, which is seeing unprecedented growth. The relationship is a two way street, and the DeFi market piggybacked on ETH’s Sunday’s jump with cumulative gains of 9%. Some of the positive movement is also thanks to Ether’s $230 million options expiry on Friday, which seems to have fed the bulls who, according to the ratio of call options to put options, start to increase their lead at the $2,200 price level.
Last week also saw the first day in history that Ethereum surpassed Bitcoin (BTCUSD) in daily active addresses, so it’s celebrations all round as we head into July.
A new pet Doge?After a long history of flirting with Bitcoin, the infamous Elon Musk is turning his attention to Ethereum, making friends with the founder in a new bid to build up his pet Doge.
Ethereum has had a rollercoaster ride since the crypto crash hit the market a few weeks ago, driven by Musk and his all-powerful Twitter account, as well as some regulatory crackdowns that sent digital currencies into a tailspin.
The currency plummeted from highs of $4,000+ to below $2,000 in less than 10 days, and has had a volatile ride of weeks since then. China has been a big influencer, playing a key role in the crypto sell-off a few weeks ago and making things worse this week when its biggest social media platform, Weibo, banned a bunch of big crypto accounts.
But hope is not lost, because the Market-Moving Musketeer (see what we did there?) has shifted his attention to Ethereum, buddying up with co-founder Vitalik Buterin to potentially boost up joke currency Dogecoin. If it actually happens, it has the potential to send the crypto market absolutely batshit crazy.
Ethereum last year finally began the upgrade that will (hopefully) deal with frustratingly long wait times and high fees, but it could take a good few years to come through, with a slew of growing digital currency rivals vying for market share in the meantime. As another way to possibly build Ethereum momentum, Vitalik and Musk have agreed that Ethereum could take Doge to the next level.
Well, we’re excited.
Non-Fungible Token (NFT) sales drop by 90%2021 was marked by a rush of Non-Fungible Token (NFT) sales. And like any stampede, the energy of the herd eventually started to peter out.
NFTs are digital assets represented on the Ethereum blockchain, with tokens representing everything from houses, cards and art. After raking in millions in sales – including $102 million in NFT transactions during one week alone - people didn’t appear to enjoy the flavour of the month.
However, seven days later, $19.4 million in NFT sales were processed according to Gizmodo’s reporting, a close to 90% shrinkage in the market. This was accompanied with a drop in the number of active NFT wallets from 12,000 at the NFT peak to 3,900 immediately outside the peak.
Damning stuff by any metric. However, it was important to understand that the censure didn’t come from the technology itself but its application.
Writing in Rolling Stone, Brai Odion-Esene explained:
While NFTs proved the proof of concept of digital assets, Ethereum continued to benefit from the digital boom, with values remaining steadily above $2500.
Another crashThis week's crypto crash left no digital currency unaffected, least of all Ethereum, which fell almost 30% on the back of China’s crypto crackdown.
In China’s latest attempt to reign in its growing digital trading market, it has now given warning to investors against speculative crypto trading and banned all financial institutions and payment companies from providing services related to cryptocurrency transactions. The country has already banned all crypto exchanges and coin offerings, although it hasn't yet stopped individuals from holding cryptocurrencies.
Almost every digital currency took a nosedive this week - Elon Musk's favorite joke currency Dogecoin lost around 30%, while Bitcoin saw lows of $30,000 after tinkering around $60,000 only a couple of weeks ago.
Luckily, all three saw double digit rebounds yesterday though, so don't panic just yet.
Ethereum loses out in crypto crazinessEthereum logs its first weekly loss since March as cryptos go crazy under the thumb of Grand Master Elon Musk and his tweety minions.
The cryptocurrency, which was trading at around $200 this time last year, shot past the $4,000 mark to reach a high of $4,380 earlier this month. But it looks like there might be a chink in its armor, as a crazy crypto week sent its prices stumbling back down past $3,000 on Sunday. Our real world Iron Man, Elon Musk, got tapping on his official Twitter account last week to take a bite out of Bitcoin. As tends to happen in the crypto world, other currencies got pulled into the firing line and around $375 billion was wiped off the the value of the whole cryptocurrency market. Godammit, Elon.
Investor interest in Ethereum has surged recently though – as of May 10, its market cap was nearing that of JP Morgan Chase, which is valued at around $474 billion. One person who’s seen some serious wealth off the back of the surge is Vitalik Buterin, the world's youngest known crypto billionaire and the co-founder of Ethereum. Born in 1994, he founded the currency after taking an interest in the Bitcoin boom, seeing the decentralized system as a way to encourage a “great wealth distribution” when he wrote Ethereum’s white paper at just 19. Redistribution of wealth indeed – he’s now worth well over $1 billion, so guess that particular redistribution worked out in his favor.
While Bitcoin is known as a peer-to-peer payment system, Ethereum can do more than just transactions: it can build and power decentralized apps and financial tools or NFTs – the current boom in which is a big contributor to Ethereum's recent trip to the moon.
The network is called Ethereum and the native currency, just to clarify, is called Ether. Once in Bitcoin’s shadow, Ether has seen some serious surge this year - BTC sunk 2% in April while Ether’s value soared over 40% against the dollar. On the back of growing interest in the space, the crypto market is currently worth about $2.5 trillion: and between them, Ether and Bitcoin account for about two-thirds of it.
But the underlying blockchain tech of Ethereum is not without its own controversies, and has been called out on the climate change front before, so investors could be a bit more cautious since Musk made headlines with his concerns over the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining.
said John Kramer, a trader at GSR Capital.
Ethereum Classic (ETC) soars as Ethereum (ETH) plummetsWhat is going on with Ethereum Classic? asked every single crypto chat at the start of May.
While Ethereum Classic (ETC) spiked, Ethereum itself stuttered.
By April 27, ETC was coming in at $32.22. But between May 1 and May 7, ETC moved from $36.15 to $143 – a staggering 296% increase.
Ethereum Classic was created as a result of the DAO being hacked in June 2016. The Ethereum platform chose to wind back its blockchain through the use of a hard fork. This created a split in the blockchain and birthed Ethereum Classic that spun off into its own blockchain.
But it was not alone in its success.
The infamous Dogecoin also rose in value by 700% throughout January, leading investors to alternate between confusion and embracing the year of the altcoin.
However, observers like Edward Woodford, CEO of Zero Hash, had another perspective he expressed in an interview with Forbes. And one that involved its disowned brother coin.
Whatever the reason, ETC’s rise paralleled the fall of Ethereum, which dropped from $3,985 on May 14 to $2,023 on May 22 – shedding 49% of its value in just over a week.
Pop it and drop itEthereum, the world's second-largest crypto currency, cranks through the $4k mark for the first time ever before sinking back down to $3,655 and closing the day at $3,950. A year ago, it was trading below $200. That’s some serious surge.
Ethereum officially sailed past the $4,000 mark after a stunning rally this year, popping to highs of $4,200 before dropping it back down, reaching a market value of $483.4 billion. That’s only half of the value of rival Bitcoin’s $1.09 trillion, and let’s not forget that in April Ether gained over 40% while Bitcoin dropped 2%.
The currency is making its mark partly thanks to its growing popularity in the DeFi movement – which aims to recreate traditional financial products with blockchain tech - as well as the digital collectables trend (also known as NFTs, or non-fungible tokens) that have exploded in popularity recently. NFTs are basically digital assets designed to represent ownership of virtual items like sports memorabilia and art, and a lot of them run on Ethereum. Ever heard of CryptoKitties? Yes, it involves buying and selling fake cats online. No, we’re not kidding. And prices can reach over six figures 🤯
As nice as it is for Ethereum to be the fake-cat financing tool of choice, the surge in activity is also causing some congestion on the currency’s network. Around seven million new Ethereum accounts were created in the first four months of 2021 alone, taking the total to over 55 million, with the total dollar value of each transaction on the platform coming in at over $1.5 trillion for Q1 - more than all of the previous seven quarters combined. The network is unsurprisingly facing some congestion and its rising transaction fees have led to more competitors entering the market, driving concerns around the environmental impacts of cryptos.
But still, it looks like Ether’s payoff is starting to match up to its promise. On the back of growing interest in the field, the entire crypto market is now worth around $2.5 trillion. That’s a lot of fake cats.
Ethereum hits new peak after EIB confirms digital bond issuanceThe European Investment Bank (EIB) announced a “digital bond sale” in April 2021, to be enabled via the Ethereum platform.
The sale was produced in collaboration with Goldman Sachs, Santander, and Societe Generale, and took the form of a two-year digital bond worth €100 million. This marked the first time a multi-dealer led financial product had been issued to the public through blockchain technology.
The decision was taken to get ahead of the curve of digital issuance and address issues that had dominated finance from transparency, transaction speed, security, and building legitimacy for the sector.
EIB Vice President Mourinho Félix underlined the innovative nature of the sale and set their stall out for the years ahead:
As the chosen platform for a major institutional investor, Ethereum was in the global spotlight, and its stock was on the rise. By April 27, one ETH was worth $2,597, and the value of the coin closed the month at an all time high of $2,759.
Ethereum’s design teams produce a detailed development reportShowing characteristic openness, the Ethereum team sat down and opened their guts during the company’s latest update.
April 26 saw the Ethereum Foundation produce a voluminous blog update that detailed the future of development on the platform. It included details about ecosystem support, ongoing research, and more – all broken down on a team-by-team basis.
The Foundation Teams aid.
Listing over forty different projects, the team gave a succinct update about each project at a laymen level and offered granular information about staffing and obstacles being encountered. These offered investors and industry watchers a real sense of the lay-of-the land following the Berlin deployment.
The release may have gone some way towards convincing nervy investors, as the crypto saw a slow, steady increase over the course of the day.
Meme NFT sells for half a million dollarsThe ‘Disaster Girl’ image was one of the earliest modern memes – viral media shared through social networks and websites. First photographed in 2005, it became popular in 2008 after being entered into a photo competition. The image was quickly photoshopped and gained iconic status.
As owner of the original copyright, Zoë Roth facilitated the image’s sale as an NFT through the Ethereum blockchain. The NFT sold for ETH180 – or $473,000.
The buyer was @3Music, a collector believed to be – or be linked to – Farzin Fardin Fard, a Dubai based music produced. Speaking under anonymity to Gizmodo, a representative of the organisation made the purpose behind the purchase clear… ish.
The source said.
While some would consider the image as a metaphor for NFTs as a whole, the publicity did no harm to Ethereum’s prices, which were sitting at $2,406 at the close of the sale.
“Berlin Protocol” update goes liveThe Berlin hard fork went live on April 15 upon the mining of block 12,244,000 on the platform.
Bundling adjustments to gas fees, future proofing, and platform security – the hard fork was seen as a technical triumph. But it was far from a logistical success.
The deployment did not go as smoothly as many of the team’s other projects. The release caused a consensus error – an issue validating the state of the network between agents – and resulted in temporary outages for the platform.
Ethereum representatives quickly swung into action, as Ethereum researcher Alex Stokes tweeted:
This led to minor disruptions across the platform, with sites temporarily being unable to conduct ETH transactions, but the disruption was kept to a minimum.
As expected, Ether jumped in value from $2,147 on April 12 to $2,425 the day after deployment.
“Berlin” protocol upgrade announcedThe Berlin protocol upgrade was scheduled to take place with the mining of block 12,244,000 on April 14 2021.
Following from the Ice Age busting ‘Muir Glacier’ update, Berlin was the first update since the release of the Beacon Chain. If the last release was like landing on a new planet, the Berlin protocol was akin to setting the first boot on the ground.
The upgrade was made up of four enhancements.
The first involved adjustments to the platform’s ‘ModExp’ precompile action, a part of the code responsible for calculating the cost of gas for transactions. The second reduced the cost of gas for ‘state access’ opcodes, making positive changes to cryptography and making them more secure, random, and practical.
The third involved changes to transaction envelopes, improving forward compatibility with future transactions types. The final element addressed issues related to contact lists introduced by a previous release.
All in all, Berlin was a series of tweaks under the hood that ironed out kinks for the big stuff that ETH 2.0 would eventually bring.
After the announcement, the price of Ether rose to $2,468.
Coinbase receives higher valuation than BPOn April 14, Coinbase was valued higher than oil giant BP – receiving a rough valuation of $86 billion, compared with BP’s $84 billion.
Many observers viewed this as a bellwether for the industry. But Coinbase’s valuation was not solely linked to its support of crypto. Coinbase’s business model allows transaction fees from handling currencies and tokens. And with close to six million daily cryptocurrency transactions as of April 13, the site’s value was obvious.
However, questions remained about the rapid rise of the platform. Given the volatile and novel nature of the crypto market, the inherent risks with digital technologies, and sole revenue stream, it was uncertain about where the site was going to be a year from now.
It came as no shock that the valuation bolstered the market, with ETH hitting $3,985 on the same day.
Visa accepts a crypto payment for the first timeMonday March 29 was a big day for Visa, with the company accepting a cryptocurrency payment for the first time.
Visa received a USDCoin – a dollar backed currency – courtesy of Crypto.com. This was seen to be a proof of concept move and a pilot program that would allow it to expand the functionality to include ‘conventional’ crypto in the near future.
USDCoin was considered an interesting choice for the company as it is a ‘stablecoin’ - a cryptocurrency that has it’s value pegged to an external value, in this case the US dollar.
The transfer was enabled through the Ethereum blockchain and followed a string of comments from Visa relating to cryptocurrencies. These included confirmation that Visa was actively looking to integrate Bitcoin payments into the system and that they were also looking to allow access to Bitcoin through the company’s official smartphone apps.
The decision saw a brief spike in the market, with Bitcoin leaping from $54,206 to $57,726 between March 25 and March 29 and Ethereum shifting from $1,697 to $1,774 within 24 hours of the announcement.
Jack Dorsey’s first tweet sells as $2.9 million NFTContinuing the NFT trend sweeping the market, In March 2021, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey auctioned off the first tweet from the platform for charity, raising $2.9 million. The auction was arranged through Valuables, an online auction platform.
For those of you who want a taste of the piece, you can read the art in full below:
The purchase was made by Sina Estavi, the executive of technology at Bridge Oracle. The purchase was made in Ether and converted to Bitcoin by Dorsey and donated to the Africa Response Fund.
Speaking, without trying to convince himself, Estavi tweeted:
Estavi received a certificate of ownership and the Tweet’s metadata. The tweet was still available to the public after the auction was completed.
Ethereum remained broadly unaffected, sitting at $1,734 per coin.
Beeple art NFT sells for $69 millionVisionary to some, opportunist to others – there was no shortage of opinions when renegade artist Beeple sold an NFT for $69 million.
Known as Michael Winklemann, the artist is a graphic designer who specialises in combining the worlds of art and technology. The artist first rose to prominence in 2007 through an everyday project that saw him create a piece of art every day for 5,000 consecutive days – developing a relationship with Louis Vuitton in 2019 as a result.
He was first exposed to the media in the run-up to the 2021 American election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, with his “Crossroad” artwork sold on February 21 changing in appearance based on the final result. This was then sold as an NFT.
NFTs or Non Fungible Tokens were pioneered on the Ethereum blockchain and used digital tokens to represent the sale of assets – such as wine, cars, or art. The Beeple sale was facilitated through Christines and was a collage of his ‘Everydays’ project. The NFT ended up selling for $69 million.
Winklemann received $53 million of Ethereum in the sale, which he immediately converted in dollars.
His decision didn’t seem to affect Ethereum prices which still sat at a healthy $1,734.
NVIDIA limits Ethereum mining capacity on new graphics cardIf there’s anyone you really don’t want to compete with online, it’s video gamers.
In February, graphics card manufacturer NVIDIA directly intervened and reduced the efficiency of their graphics cards by up to 50% when used to mine Ethereum online – starting with their GeForce RTX 3060.
Graphics cards play an essential role in crypto mining. A computer’s central processing unit (CPU) was initially used in the early days of mining. However, the graphics processing units (GPUS) found in the cards were up to 800 times more efficient than the CPU alternative – improving efficiency, speed, and processing power.
This quickly led to a drought in online graphics cards and an inflated reseller market as crypto miners quickly bought up cards to add to mining rigs. The effect was compounded by issues around Covid-19 and created an online “drought” where gamers were unable to upgrade their computers and professionals couldn’t source cards for their creative projects or business activities.
Ethereum was chosen because it had the highest ROI for GPU mining efforts. The decision was clarified by NVIDIA’s head of marketing Matt Wuebbling:
This corresponded with a drop off in Ethereum value with February 18 closing at $1,910 before falling to $1,629 on February 24.
PayPal announces intention to accept crypto paymentsPayPal made its first moves away from being a straightforward payment provider to offering a range of financial services. And chief among these was cryptocurrency.
Speaking on a Q4 earnings call on February 3, a PayPal representatives set out the app’s stall for the year ahead and confirmed that cryptocurrencies would be available on the platform. This would start with Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin cash. These would be stored within a user’s digital wallet.
This was accompanied by a commitment to offering educational materials aimed at making crypto investment more accessible to traditional platform users. This would use internal conversion algorithms, where payees would not actually receive crypto but would benefit from the current value in the correct currency – providing "certainty of value and no incremental fees".
This also included a dedicated crypto investing service that would allow users to buy, sell and hold coins through the Venmo app.
Speaking on the call, Dan Schulman, PayPal’s president and CEO, clearly aligned the platform with the ethos of crypto:
Unfortunately the call came at a time when Ether was steadily losing value, sitting at $1,534 after hitting a previous high of $1,966 on February 2.
Ethereum gains 462% in valueBitcoin started the year with a valuation of $29,254 per coin, and jumped to $33,502 by January 3, making a 15% increase in just two days.
This also marked a highly significant increase in Ethereum’s value in the wake of December’s Beacon Chain improvements that paved the way for the long-awaited Ethereum 2.0 upgrade. On January 1 2020, one ETH coin was valued at $131, but by January 1 2021 it had risen to $736 per coin – a 462% increase.
This corresponded to a weakening of the US dollar against the euro and the pound. As Connor Sephton of Currency.com added, the US dollar had already suffered a number of unhelpful diversions over the past three years.
Ethereum jumps 12% in 24 hoursWe don’t want to use the phrase “Christmas miracle” but there’s a good chance that Saint Nick had his finger on the scale for Ethereum holders. The end of 2020 saw Ethereum surge by more than 12% within a 24-hour period, reaching a market cap of $83 billion.
This was even more impressive when viewed as part of the bigger picture, with the currency starting the year at just $131. By December 28, the price of an ETH coin had risen by 453%.
The soaring values could be credited to the extensive upgrades that the Ethereum network endured throughout the year. This included the launch of the Ethereum Beacon chain which brought staking functionality to the platform and provided the initial mechanisms for sharding in future releases.
The Beacon deployment moved Ethereum closer to its status of a world computer, introduced a more energy-efficient alternative for block consensus, and demonstrated that the crypto had a clear direction.
Speaking to CNBC, Konstantin Richter, Blockdaemon CEO, tried not to sound too enthusiastic… and failed:
By December 31 2020, Ethereum was certainly getting ready to rocket, with a valuation of $739 per coin.
“Muir Glacier” protocol upgrade announcedEthereum had a merry forking Christmas with the announcement of the Muir Glacier Update. This was a protocol with one simple task: to stop the Ice Age.
Set to activate at block 9,200,000 on the system, the Glacier update was designed to delay the detonation of Ethereum’s “Ice Age” Difficulty Bomb by four million blocks on the system. Roughly equating to just over 600 days from the implementation date, based on previous metrics.
The Bomb was designed to increase the computational difficulty required to mine blocks under the Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm, and to push users onto the new Proof of Stake (PoS) system that would be adopted with the launch of Ethereum 2.0.
The release was seen to be a course-correction by the Ethereum team when – despite estimates that it would not impact the platform – block 8,600,000 saw an increase in average block time.
At the time, Ethereum was worth $128 per coin.
Ethereum’s “Beacon Chain” protocol goes liveIt was the first of December when Gondor called for aid.
Ethereum 2.0 finally went live, creating a Beacon Chain which could be used to coordinate Ethereum 2.0’s network of stakers and shards. This tool was designed to be modified and improved in future, but it marked the biggest step toward Ethereum 2.0 to date.
The addition of the Beacon introduced staking to the Ethereum ecosystem. This involved staking 32 ETH on the system to act as a node on the validator network. Of course, people with less than 32 ETH would still be able to stake their money in a pool and enjoy fractional returns – like a much less labour intensive mining pool.
The chain was also used to pave the way for sharding on the system. This would involve breaking down Ethereum’s digital infrastructure into smaller pieces – or “shards” – to assist scaling by increasing the platform’s capacity for storage. This allowed users to store part of the immense and growing data that makes up the system, making it more robust and scalable and finally becoming the “world computer” that its creator Vitalik Buterin always intended it to be.
December 1 saw Ethereum hit $601 and end the year on a high of $739.
Ether rallies to over $600 per coinIf 2017 was the year of crypto, 2020 was proving to be the year of the altcoin.
November 23 saw Ethereum finally pass the $600 mark – hitting a peak that hadn’t been seen since June 2018.
This pattern was matched by other altcoins. Ripple made an astronomical leap across the period starting on November 19 which started at $0.30 and jumped to $0.66 on November 24, providing a 120% increase in value, setting a peak that - like ETH – had only previously been achieved in March 2018.
Bridging crypto Chainlink also saw an increase in value, recording a 740% boost since the start of the year. Observers linked Chainlink’s success to that of DeFi initiatives over the course of the year with decentralized exchanges, asset management, and borrowing and lending.
However, the answer may be a little simpler.
These gains were preceded by Bitcoin shooting past the $18,000 threshold on November 20.
Speaking with CNBC, Peter Wall of Argo Blockchain laid the facts out:
November 27 saw Ethereum close the week out at $513.
Etherum becomes most traded crypto in Q3 2020According to aksjebloggen.com, Ethereum didn’t do too badly during the pandemic.
Ethereum proved to be the most traded crypto across the period with an average of 1.1 million daily transactions. By contrast, Bitcoin had a relatively low average of 319,000 transactions per day.
The start of the year saw Ethereum hit totals of 537,900 transactions per day, slumping to 463,100 around March and improving from June onward to eventually reach its peak.
This outstripped its altcoin rivals with Litecoin averaging 56,000 transactions and Dash hitting an average of 25,100 transactions per day.
The price of Ethereum also increased by 230% over the course of the year, accompanied by a leap in market cap.
Meanwhile, a report from CoinGecko appeared to confirm that Bitcoin was losing ground to altcoins. Q3 of 2020 saw +59% gains on altcoin returns compared to +18% from Bitcoin.
This perfectly matched Ethereum’s slow but steady climb that started in mid-July – beginning the month at $397 and coming in at $465 by November 11.
Final testing begins for ETH 2.0After a long period of waiting, ETH 2.0 was finally on the horizon.
It promised to be a dramatic upgrade for the system and pave the way for the adoption of Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus methodology.
The roll-out began earlier in the year with the mining of the Beacon Chain genesis block in April 2020. What followed was a string of test nets. The ‘Sapphire’ test system went live in April and began testing staking with smaller 3.2 ETH deposits.
This was followed by the ‘Topaz’ Testnet in May that upped staking volumes to the pre-confirmed level of 32 ETH. The team’s work culminated in the ‘Onyx’ Testnet, that at one point hosted 20,000 validators on the platform.
This resource expenditure marked a tipping point for the Ethereum team’s efforts. The platform had been under stress throughout the year due to DeFi activity, pushing gas costs and fees to premium levels to compensate for demand.
The work spent on this deployment marked a period of steady gains for Ether, with ETH coming in at $264 on the day of the announcement and closing the month out at $347, cementing a 31% increase.
Disaster as Ethereum loses 46% in value within a weekWhile volatility is nothing new in the Ethereum ecosystem, losing close to half the value of your investment is still going to come as a bit of a surprise.
At the start of the week, Ethereum was trading at a robust $203 per coin before sliding down to $110 on Thursday March 12 – a 46% loss.
But it was Bitcoin that made the headlines by losing close to half its value over just two days. After starting the week at $7,875, Bitcoin fell to $5,208 – a staggering 34% reduction within 48 hours.
What was behind the drop off? The outbreak of coronavirus, as observers like Joe DiPasquale, CEO of BitBull Capital noted:
Despite this, Ethereum did well during the crisis. Its hash rate remained steady at ~165TH/s across the period which showed that miners were still putting the work in. decentralized exchanges were also put through their paces as they recorded 550K ETH across the period, with $70 million changing hands on March 12 alone.
Maybe this strength was why ETH closed out the week with a slight gain of $135.
“Muir Glacier” protocol upgrade deploys on systemAnd so it was that a new year brought a new hard fork for the Ethereum platform.
Introduced with the mining of block 9,200,000 on the system, the Muir Glacier protocol upgrade went live on the system on January 2 2020. This came hot on the heels of the previous year’s Constantinople upgrade and served a single purpose - to stop the onset of the Ice Age across the system.
Also known as “the Difficulty Bomb”, the Ice Age would steadily increase computational costs and time between block generation on the system. The protocols clearly set out the need for the upgrade, stating that:
The threat of untenability led the team to release the update and get ahead of the issue.
The result? A slow, steady climb for ETH starting on the day of deployment at $127 per coin and reaching $166 by January 12 2020.
“Istanbul” upgrade goes live on Ethereum blockchainAs of block 9,069,000 – Ethereum’s long awaited Istanbul protocol upgrade went live, bringing scaling and security to the platform.
The release contained six distinct system upgrades for the system and represented the seventh hard fork on the Ethereum platform. The majority of the changes were technical in nature but designed to drive efficiency and speed up transactions of the platform - focusing on mining protocols, code, and data processing.
The most controversial element of the upgrade included an increase in the cost of data recall for the blockchain, with the rise in price helping safeguard Ethereum against the DDoS and spam attacks that had plagued the platform in the past.
Istanbul also included functionality that would include improvements that dApps developers could use to authenticate and verify data with greater speed. This included increased interoperability with the ZCash blockchain and expanded smart contract functionality.
The fixes addressed long-standing issues and took a proactive approach to security as the system continued to grow and attract further dApp development.
The ultimate result? Minimal change. The close of December 7 saw ETH valued at $148 and closed the month out at $131.
Deutsche Bank predicts crypto will replace fiat cash by 2030The end of the year saw Deutsche Bank release its “Imagine 2030” report. And there were a few nuggets for the crypto sector to say the least.
Written by Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid, “The End of Fiat Money” laid out an argument in favour of cryptocurrency, underlying how fiat is underpinned by the “trust” inherent in the government and its ability to maintain value.
He made specific reference to growing inflation and the vulnerability that this could introduce to bond yields – creating a self-perpetuating cycle that embeds inflation and raises doubts about the nature of fiat currency.
This would then increase demand for alternative currencies and provide an attractive alternative as authorities attempt to handle high yield with increasing debt.
December 6 saw Ethereum trading at $149.
Former Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith arrestedThere’s the negative press that comes from a data breach. Then there’s the ramifications of helping a totalitarian dictatorship evade sanctions, as the infamous Virgil “Romanpoet” Griffith was arrested for attending a conference in North Korea.
Griffith was a programmer who worked with the Ethereum foundation as a research scientist. His arrest and charge was officially announced by US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman:
Griffith was arrested after travelling to North Korea to attend the “Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference”. While there, it was alleged that he provided highly technical information detailing how blockchain technology could be used to launder money and potentially evade sanctions.
This led to his arrest and charge under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years. However, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin spoke out in his defence on December 2:
The arrest of the “disruptive technologist” saw Ethereum close the month out by trading at $152.
Upbit hacked for 342,000 ETHIn another blow for crypto exchange security, Upbit was hit by an attack that resulted in the loss of $50 million Ether.
The attack became public knowledge when trading on the exchange abruptly stopped and members of the media were first alerted through social media, learning Upbit CEO Lee Sirgoo to produce an official statement through Twitter.
The exchanges had 34,200 Ether stolen in the attack – the seventh significant hack of the year, following hot on the heels of Bithumb’s breach in March. The organisation pledged to cover the loss of all assets, but the reputational damage would prove more challenging to repair.
The event itself was shrouded in secrecy, with the site owners disclosing little about the nature of the attack. However, it was confirmed that it was a digital or “hot” wallet based attack and the hackers were allowed to take action without having to deal with authorisation.
This came as a surprise as Upbit was believed to have been one of the most reputable exchanges operating in the country and was approved one year to the day by the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA) due to its strong infrastructure.
The day saw ETH trade at $153, finishing the month off at $152.
Microsoft and Intel announce new token-based developments for blockchainIt turned out that the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) had been busy since its founding in February 2017. And Microsoft and Intel were leading the charge.
The EEA was in charge of researching and establishing standards for the Ethereum platform, creating reward tokens to be used across the platform and developed with support from some of its 450 strong membership.
Announced during Ethereum’s Devcon 5 event, the EEA demonstrated how tokens would be used in practical applications. These came in three types – reward, reputation, and penalty. However, these were regarded as exemplars and could be adjusted on a case-by-case basis.
The purpose of these tokens was further explained by Intel's head of blockchain research, Michael Reed:
These tokens could also scale with the blockchain, allowing rewards and penalties to be passed on an individual, group, or company-wide – highlighting their potential in everyday life and shaped by the consortium as a whole.
Unfortunately, this next-level research did little to move the needle, and October 10 saw Ethereum sit at $192.
Ripple faces regulatory lawsuitSome cryptocurrencies get a present under the tree for Christmas. Others receive a lawsuit.
Ripple – no stranger to litigation – spent the last few weeks of 2020 announcing that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was set to sue it for selling unlicensed securities in what amounted to “an unending ICO”, marking a further clampdown on crypto regulation.
The birds came home to roost in early February 2018 when Ethereum found itself in the SEC’s crosshairs, only for it to be declared as not a security in May of the same year. Ripple was not so lucky, with the decision due in part to how their platform was run.
Ripple has no ‘cap’ on the number of coins in circulation. For Bitcoin, this limit was 21 million coins. In addition, all coins offered are also pre-mined on the system. On Ripple’s founding, 20% of the coins were awarded to the founders, 20% held for market trading, and the remaining 60% held in escrow.
The SEC lawsuit argued that this centralised the currency, making it a security and thereby falling under their jurisdiction.
This was met by a statement by Ripple on December 29, characterising the decision as an attack on “the entire crypto industry.”
Read the release from Team Ripple.
While XRP holders may have had the fun sucked out of the festive season, Ethereum was trading at $615 per ETH, spiking to $619 on Christmas Day itself.
Samsung releases blockchain and dApp Software Development KitIf you build it, they will come. At least that’s the ethos Samsung took with the stealth release of a blockchain software development kit.
The software would allow for a range of actions to help make Samsung products more fit-for-purpose when it comes to handling crypto, with South Korea proving to be a fertile marketplace for cryptocurrency – where currencies can achieve up to 20% extra value, an effect colloquially known as the “kimchi premium”.
Quietly announced on the company’s development blog, the ‘Samsung Blockchain’ allowed for the addition of account management functionality, payment and signage, and “cold” wallet support. This was part of a ‘superset’ of tools that would be added to in the months ahead.
However, the release was ring fenced and developers were required to request access before being able to use the tools.
This release didn’t come as a surprise to those that were paying attention.
In May 2019, Samsung’s CEO Hong Yuan Zhen said that blockchain was a key part of the company’s “digital transformation framework”.
However, the release did little to solve Ethereum’s price problems – on July 8 the coin’s value closed at $313, before shedding 36% of its value in just over a week.
Ethereum co-creator predicts crash-and-consolidation future for cryptoThough the words “certain to fail” are often heard by crypto investors, it’s disheartening to hear them spoken by the lead developer of one.
Speaking to CNBC on June 25, Charles Hoskinson didn’t mince his words when he spoke about the future of crypto. Hoskinson worked as a consultant before joining Ethereum as a founding team member.
His time spent with Ethereum was defined by his differences with Vitalik Buterin, the platform’s creator. Hoskin preferred an exacting academic approach that he eventually took to his work with Cardano. Buterin preferred to take a hands-on approach involving practical “heuristic” solutions.
Hoskinson went on to detail how many of these projects were being buoyed by investment and said that the slump would not appear for significant time – with failure being potentially dependent on a company’s burn rate.
These harsh words seemed to have an impact on the crypto market, with Ethereum slipping from $219 on June 25 to $207 two days later.
Crypterium launches prepaid crypto cardPut the words ‘borderless’, ‘global’ and ‘crypto’ in one press release, and investors listen.
Announced on June 12, Crypterium – an Estonia-based Fintech enterprise – launched their card. The card functioned in a similar way to other ‘prepaid’ options, allowing users to load on cryptocurrencies and use them in conventional goods and service transactions. This acted as a bridge and also allowed cryptocurrencies to be used online and conventional physical stores.
The company was spearheaded by former Visa executive Steven Parker, who was clear about the card’s utility:
The card was launched alongside the Crypterium app which had more than 500,000 users throughout the US and UK. This app allows users to manage their crypto portfolio and use it for purchasing actions. At launch, the card allowed for Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), USD Coin (USDC), and the Crypterium’s bespoke CRPT Token. The app also allowed for a range of digital banking extras such as spend analysis and assorted analytics.
The card also allowed users to “cash out” through a high-street ATM with spending limits of $10K per day and $60K per month.
Following the launch, Crypterium shipped 3,736 cards in the space of a week to 70 countries throughout the world.
This was fantastic news for Ethereum holders, who saw the value of ETH jump from $263 on June 12 to $334 by June 26.
Microsoft partners with Ethereum for machine learning initiativeBeing the Swiss-army-knife of the crypto industry does have its advantages.
July saw the launch of Microsoft’s “Machine Learning Initiative”. This was announced through Microsoft’s blog and aimed to use blockchain to “make machine learning models more accessible”.
Ethereum was chosen due to its ability to support development, provide security, and work through the delivery of smart contracts on the system. This would allow for on-chain and off-chain development to ensure full version control.
The project was said to offer a way to remove barriers to entry for securing resources for machine learning research – making research cost-effective and more fault tolerant.
Full details for the project were given out by Justin D. Harris, a senior software developer with Microsoft, who emphasised the power of blockchain in collaborative development environments.
Bithumb attacked for the third timeIf it works once, then twice – why not try it again? March 2019 saw a third attack on South Korea’s Bithumb exchange in what was initially estimated to be an inside job by the platform.
The incident began when system administrators noticed a string of irregular withdrawals on the system. This had users pulling crypto off the system and loading them into offline ‘cold’ hardware wallets.
Bithumb quickly came out and identified the attack as an inside job. This was judged to be a critical fault of their internal infrastructure as the platform scrutinised external users but did not apply verifications to its in-house team.
Once the attack began, the platform moved user funds to uncompromised cold storage wallets – meaning that the funds stolen belonged to the exchange itself. This came to roughly 20 million Ripple (XRP) which was then roughly equivalent to $20 million.
This followed incidents in June 2018 when the exchange was hacked to the tune of $30 million in assorted cryptocurrencies – including 2016 Bitcoin (BTC) and 2219 Ether (ETH).
The theft also involved sending the funds to a number of addresses not directly attached to the exchange, making retrieval even more challenging.
Proving that we can get used to almost anything, Ethereum continued to climb, moving from $143 on March 30 to $161 on April 3.
Ethereum becomes more fashionable than everFrom crypto to couture, Ethereum was inducted into the world of high fashion in March 2019 when its blockchain was chosen to authenticate Louis Vuitton with a “luxury” new app.
The system was called AURA and was created to trace the legacy of high-end and luxury goods, to help ensure full provenance. It was developed by ConsenSys with Microsoft Azure.
The app would be used to view an item’s full history from its raw materials, production processes, manufacturing steps, and distribution. This would also include information about any relevant warranties. The platform’s roadmap was also set to address issues like IP protection, fraud, and offer users offers through the app.
An anonymous source talking to CoinDesk saw opportunities for the app to grow further down the line:
March 26 saw ETH hit $134, before closing out the month at $142.
“Constantinople” is finally deployedYou wait for one upgrade and two come along at once.
The end of February 2019 saw Ethereum finally deploy the long-delayed Constantinople protocol upgrade, paving the way for ETH 2.0 and greater system efficiency.
Along with the St. Petersburg upgrade too?
The upgrade was scheduled to take place upon the completion of block 7,280,000 on the system. This was made up from two upgrades, with Constantinople being installed first then St. Petersburg addressing issues around smart contracts that were discovered between the original delay date of October 2018.
While these implemented changes that would only be visible “under the hood” the big change was the reduction in rewards for miners, dropping from three to two ETH once installed.
For the vast majority of investors, this was a long fuse with a tiny bang, with multiple delays and issues surrounding the fork. As Lane Rettig, an Ethereum core developer, admitted at the time:
Unfortunately, the delays and muddled messaging didn’t seem to make any change to the value of ETH, with the crypto closing out the month at $136.
Ethereum-targeting malware detected on Google Play2019 was rapidly proving to be the year of crypto innovation. Unfortunately, a lot of this innovation appeared to be happening within the crypto hacking community.
February 11 marked the first time crypto clipper software was found on the Android store, this time explicitly targeting Ethereum. In this case, the app was an impersonation of the MetaMask app. MetaMask was targeted due to the ‘long string’ nature of its wallets that can be time-consuming to type by hand and often result in error.
The tool works by manipulating data found in a device’s clipboard – the storage area where data is copied. This would replace the password identified with a wallet address of the tool creator’s choosing. The malware could also intercept a user’s personal data and allow them to capture private key information, allowing access to the user’s funds.
The app was found by ESET’s WeLiveSecurity team and publicised through an official blog on the site written by Lukas Sefanko, a malware researcher.
This resulted in the malware being quickly dropped from the Play store.
However, the damage was already done, with Ethereum coming in at $127 on February 11 and sliding to $117 a few days later.
Currency.com launches world’s first tokenised securities platformBased out of Gibraltar, Currency.com was founded with a $8 million investment from Larnabel Ventures and VP Capital.
This site launched in beta mode and allowed users to invest in cryptocurrency markets without having to make the conversion to fiat through a web client and Apple and Android app.
This also allowed users to purchase tokens that would mirror the performance of Microsoft and/or use currencies like Ethereum or Bitcoin to do so, offering users additional options for portfolio diversification.
The release saw Currency.com’s CEO Ivan Gowan focus on the security of the platform – given the recent incident with Ethereum Classic experiencing a 51% attack.
At launch, the platform offered more than 200 tokenized options for investors, planning to expand their portfolio to offer over 10,000 options later on in the year.
January 15 saw Ethereum come in at $121, a fall from its previous high of $158 on January 6.
Ethereum Classic ‘frozen’ in Coinbase user wallets after attackJust when you think things can’t get any worse, you wake up to find your wallet’s frozen.
The 51% attack on Coinbase led to Ethereum Classic (ETC) trading being frozen on the platform as analysts worked to understand the nature of the incident.
Initially, Coinbase identified eight reorganisations on the blockchain that were “double spent”, with 12 transactions also identified on the platform that totalled $1.1 million.
Speaking on the issue Nir Kabessa, President of Blockchain at Columbia University, highlighted the ramifications of the attack:
Even with Ethereum’s commitment to Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus, the bad press appeared to drive down the value of the coin. January 2 saw ETH shake out to $156.
Hackers pilfer $1.5 million from Ethereum ClassicIn June 2016, the hack of the DAO ended up costing Ethereum users $150 million.
Ethereum Classic was created as the direct result of the hack in July 2016, with a hard fork creating the ETC blockchain.
Less than three years later, history was close to repeating itself, as the Coinbase platform underwent a coordinated attack. This time, hackers managed to steal $1.5 million as the result of a 51% attack on the system, a methodology that takes control of 51% of the miners system’s operating on the network.
Coinbase’s response was swift.
Said Coinbase’s Application Security Engineer, Mark Nesbitt.
The 51% attack was a nightmare for blockchain users. This was a ‘deep chain reorganization,’ a hack that involves taking control of over half a network’s mining computer’s to confirm fraudulent transactions on the network – effectively writing the world’s most complex bad cheque – and allowing for a double-spend on the system.
The hack also illuminated a new danger for crypto – the risk that hackers could go straight to the source code and do even greater damage than previous attacks on crypto wallets. It was a direct result of the previous year’s slump, which made mining more unprofitable and making mining computers easier to rent.
While ETC was savaged, Ethereum did not emerge unscathed. January 2019 saw coin prices drop to $151 on January 9 before settling to a low of $130 on January 14.
Ethereum’s founder commits the platform to a 99% energy reductionAs far as New Year's resolutions go, Ethereum chose a big one.
The start of 2019 saw Ethereum commit to reducing its energy consumption by a whopping 99%. This was in response to the x25 increase in processing power that leapt forward in 2017 – the year where Ethereum also jumped from $8 per ETH to $741 at the close, marking a 9,163% increase in its value.
As usual, Vitalik Buterin, the crypto’s creator, stepped up to take ownership of the issue.
Buterin, speaking at the time said.
This was judged to be directly attached to the shift to Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus for Ethereum version 2.0 that the still-scheduled Constantinople upgrade would assist with in late February. If the required improvements were made, the system would consume 1% of the energy being used today.
Buterin’s commitment to making this reduction his “number one priority” led to a tentative increase in the value of ETH coins over the next 48 hours.
The Commodity and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) raises questions about EthereumIn a move worthy of Columbo himself, it seems the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) had a few follow up questions about the Ethereum network in the wake of the additional scrutiny applied by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier in June.
The CFTC was introduced in 1974 and plays a regulatory role with futures, swaps, and derivatives. The commission released an announcement on December 11 2018, asking for public feedback on crypto trading.
It said in a statement.
Individuals had a 60 day window to supply the commission with information. The request was to better inform the council, specifically in relation to the differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum and the projected road ahead for ETH.
The release also provided a number of specific questions about the platform and focused on five specific elements. These included:
- The network’s purpose and functionality
- The technology underpinning the platform
- Platform governance
- Markets / oversight and regulation
These queries may have had a knock-on effect on the market as December 12 saw prices peak at $90 then drop off to $85 across the next few days.
EY launches crypto products and services platformFollowing hot on the heels of Microsoft Azure’s adoption of Ethereum Proof of Authority (PoA) validation, EY got into the game. October 30 saw the professional services firm announce the launch of the EY Ops Chain Public Edition (PE).
It was built around a zero knowledge proof (ZKP) tech powered through the Ethereum blockchain called ‘Nightfall’. A ZKP system allowed users to validate or verify data without exposing any of the underlying information in a blockchain, the same way as password checkers confirmed the accuracy of a password input without fully processing the complete information.
The tool allowed users to securely and privately build and sell tokens on a blockchain and privately access transaction records. This was seen as a landmark for public blockchain adoption in the financial services sector and allowed for secure private transactions in the public space – in this case through the established Ethereum blockchain.
Speaking at the time, EY’s global Innovation Leader for Blockchain Paul Brody highlighted the unique strengths of the system:
The news saw a slight improvement for Ethereum’s position, moving from $197 per coin on the day of announcement to $217 by November 7.
“Constantinople” hard fork delayed as precautionary measureSeptember saw Ethereum delay the long awaited release of its ‘Constantinople’ hard fork.
In October 2018, the Ethereum team publicly announced that the fork would be pushed back to January 2019. The team confirmed the delay during a live streamed team meeting on October 19 in the wake of an early test-net deployment at the start of the month.
The decision was not taken lightly, but the existing release was not judged to be stable enough to risk a live deployment. The test-net revealed that the activation of its schedule block created a consensus error, resulting in a two-hour delay – something that could prove catastrophic for the platform if it went live.
The fork itself was long awaited due to efficiency improvements and upgrades that would begin to pave the way to Ethereum’s long expected transition to a proof of stake (PoS) consensus methodology.
These announcements appeared to make little difference to ETH, with the currency sitting at $205.
Ethereum hits new valuation low for 2018As the middle of September approached, Ethereum’s year-long downturn saw no sign of stopping.
The period saw new lows for currencies as Bitcoin dropped by 2% and Ethereum slumped to its lowest point since May 2017, reaching a value of $175 per coin by September 12.
This price slump followed comments from Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, who believed that the world of explosive blockchain growth, and subsequent gains, was over.
Buterin through his official Twitter account said.
September certainly made it feel like the gold rush was ending.
Leading cryptos such as Litecoin, Dash, and Bitcoin cash all tumbled during the month. Meanwhile Bitcoin remained steady throughout September, maintaining a weekly average value of $6,590.
$32 million in crypto lost as Bithumb is hacked... againLess than a year since its last breach, Bithumb was hit with another hack – this time to the tune of 35 billion Korean won, or $31.6 million.
June 20 saw hackers assault the digital exchange, with the thieves targeting Ripple (XRP). The breach was confirmed early in the morning, but the groundwork seemed to have been laid long before, despite the site spending a reported $9 million per annum on security measures.
A security review held on June 16 found that the raptors were quietly testing the fences – with an increased number of ‘unauthorised’ access attempts. This led the site team to begin to move assets to offline “cold” hardware wallets.
In the wake of the attack, users had their deposits and withdrawals temporarily frozen and committed to adjustments to their wallet system.
Despite the attack, Bithumb learned from previous mistakes and pledged to refund users with their own reserves.
The attack was also foreshadowed by an attack on Coinrail – another South Korean cryptocurrency exchange – on June 10, resulting in the loss of an estimated $40 million in crypto.
Unsurprisingly, market value fell across the board in the wake of the attacks. The June 10 hack saw Ethereum fall to $542 and finish out the month at $450.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules in Ethereum’s favourWhile an investigation was never officially confirmed, the findings were – Ethereum was not a security and would therefore not be subject to regulation.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is an independent agency in the US that advocates for investors and investigates and prosecutes instances of market manipulation. The agency was interested in Ethereum’s status as a novel currency and if it warranted further investigation and regulation.
The SEC’s Director of Corporation Finance, William Hinman officially declared that Bitcoin and Ethereum were not considered securities for the first time in the agency’s history.
The decision hinged around on the fact that the currency was “sufficiently decentralized” to avoid influencing the market.
This decision meant that the SEC no longer held jurisdictional relevance and ETH was classed as a commodity. However, there was no other explicit statement for currencies such as Ripple, leading to mopped brows as the months bore on.
However, the result had little immediate impact on the value of ETH – coming in at $497 on the day of the announcement and closing the month out at $450.
Ethereum falls under Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) scrutinyThe Cryptocurrency Bubble of 2018 drew more regulatory attention to the sector and Ethereum was clearly in the sights of regulators.
The Wall St Journal alleged that the cryptocurrency was under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The investigation was to primarily focus on Ethereum, then the second most popular cryptocurrency. The intention was to judge whether rules for conventional stocks should be applied to crypto – given Ethereum’s $67 billion market value.
The investigation revolved around the degree of influence a cryptocurrency’s creators can exert over its value, despite the decentralized nature of Ethereum. Observers believed that the inciting event for the line of inquiry as the platform’s initial ICO that occurred in 2014 and raised $183 million in Bitcoin – with ICOs existing in a legal ‘grey area’. The Journal suggested that the event was “probably an illegal securities sale”.
Obviously, this negative press did not bode well for Ethereum. The value of one ETH coin sat at $789 on May 6 before plunging to a low of $561 by the end of the month.
deVere group predicts fourfold rise for EthereumSomewhat unsurprisingly for a company that had recently released a crypto app, the deVere group was particularly bullish about Ethereum in April.
The month of April saw cryptocurrency slowly rally across the market, with Bitcoin trading at $9,243on April 27, up from a low of $6,792 on April 5. Attention was paid to Ethereum’s recovery, as it moved from $378 to $666 across the same period.
These movements led Nigel Green, deVere’s CEO and founder, to predict healthy returns for the cryptocurrency.
However, these gains came at the same time that India’s central bank issued an outright ban on cryptocurrency trades. On April 6 The Royal Bank of India (RBI) gave an unprecedented warning for institutions to reverse exposure within three months.
Despite (or because of) this mixed bag, Ethereum continued a healthy rise – reaching $809 per ETH on May 5.
Google’s cryptocurrency ad ban is reversedAnother day in 2018… another regulatory push in the cryptocurrency sector.
This time, the decision came at the hands of Google which chose to ban all cryptocurrency on its platform.
This fell under the banner of Google’s “unrestricted financial products policy” that bundled crypto as a banned product alongside spread betting, rolling spot forex, and others.
This was judged to be particularly damaging to the Ethereum ecosystem. As the platform supports development, many projects require the use of ICOs to gather capital.
Google’s decision was based on the dangers apparent in the sector and the lack of customer protections and care offered through the decentralized platform. This mirrored a move by Facebook in January to introduce a full ban on crypto.
This came on the back of Google’s decision to remove “bad ads” from its system in 2017 – stripping 3.2 billion adverts from rotation that were deemed harmful, misleading, and/or offensive.
Google’s recent decisions were further bolstered by the words of Christine Lagarde – then managing director of the International Monetary Fund. Speaking out on March 13 2018, she said:
The market reacted appropriately, with ETH coming in at $635 on the day of the announcement then dropping $404 by the end of the month.
Coinbase is hit by two class action lawsuitsAnyone who lived through the volatility of February 2018 knew that regulatory enforcement was coming. Just not who it would be coming for.
March saw the Chicago-based Coinbase – a leading American crypto exchange platform - facing two federal level, class action lawsuits.
The first lawsuit accused the company of insider trading in relation to the launch of Bitcoin Cash in December 2017. The suit accused the company of informing employees about the date of the change, allowing those in the know to take advantage of early buy and sell orders to artificially drive up the price of the currency.
Claimed the suit.
The second lawsuit accused Coinbase of unfair business practice, by using Chicago's Unclaimed Property Law to requisition funds. This used Coinbase’s transfer functionality to send money to users, who were then required to generate an account on the system to claim it. When these accounts were not generated, Coinbase invoked the law to claim the funds for themselves.
As if this negative press wasn’t bad enough for Coinbase users, Ethereum holders were also on a slide with the price per coin falling from $815 on March 6 to $693 by March 13.
Ethereum’s commitment to Proof of Stake (PoS) makes waves for minersLong awaited, the move to Proof of Stake (PoS) arrived, marking a huge shift in the online mining space.
Founded in 2013, Bitmain was a privately owned company based in China that manufactured application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chips for cryptocurrency mining rigs. The company was famous for its Antminer line which was often used in Ether mining. However, drops in performance in mining Ethereum Classic (ETC) resulted in a statement that the Antminer E3 would stop mining Ethereum from April 2020.
Proof of Stake was a long-standing protocol for the Ethereum platform. Proof of Work calculations ask miners to expend processing power and energy in solving a complex mathematical puzzle, with the ‘solver’ creating a proof. Ethereum’s Proof of Stake used stakeholders – coin owners – to validate transactions by assigned ‘nodes’. They then receive a duplicate of the block in questions, with the individuals working in tandem to verify the block. The first node to solve the problem is rewarded as per the platform in question.
This shift saw confirmation of the need to future-proof ETH in its move from miners to stakeholders.
However, this positive sign did little to rally Ethereum’s value, as it spent the final week of February 2018 on a decline.
Ethereum finds itself in the SEC’s crosshairsWhile Bitcoin may have been soaking up the spotlight when it came to regulation, in February 2018 it was Ethereum’s turn to face the watchdogs.
February 6 saw representatives from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) testify before the US Senate. This was part of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee and specifically covered cryptocurrency and the potential need – or due cause – to pursue regulation.
Surprising many, the session was open minded and representatives appeared to take a neutral stance, while still keeping an eye on enforcement.
The CFTC’s Christopher Giancarlo said.
However, it wasn’t all good news. When pressed about initial coin offerings (ICOs), the SEC chair Jay Claton bluntly responded:
Many observers saw this as a train of thought which might lead to further study, granting jurisdiction for investigation and enforcement.
The session could not have come at a worse time for Ethereum, with the currency resting at $673 on the day of the announcement.
The Cryptocurrency Bubble continues to burst as Bitcoin falls below $6k per BTCBitcoin has been famous for setting records for its investors… but some of them aren’t so great.
February 6 saw Bitcoin fall to $6,000 per BTC - the lowest its price had been since November the previous year. But while Bitcoin was making headlines, further damage was being done to altcoins market-wide.
Bitcoin cash peaked at $4,091 on December 20, and fell to $766 by February 6. Ethereum plummeted from a peak of $1,352 on January 13 to $673 on February 6.
For many investors, this had all the hallmarks of a bubble. The dip came on the heels of China announcing a ban on all foreign exchanges trading within the country. This included access to crypto exchanges and ICO related sites and content.
However, others such as MIT’s Michal J.Casey believed that the sector may be under withering scrutiny but the technology still held potential and legitimacy.
However, this was cold comfort to Ethereum holders, who saw the month begin at $1,064 per ETH and close out at $853.
$44 billion Bitcoin fall marks the crypto’s worst loss to dateJanuary 2018 saw significant losses for Bitcoin as the currency dropped by more than $44 billion.
At the start of the month, the crypto coin was valued at $13,484 per BTC before finishing out the month at $10,068, the biggest month-long drop in the coin’s history.
Between January 6 to February 6, BTC fell by 65% - marking the start of what many would come to term the 2018 Cryptocurrency Bubble.
To add insult to injury, January also saw Facebook announce the ban of all cryptocurrency advertising on the platform, highlighting the dangers of fraud. These actions signalled the growing appetite for regulation and caution in the sector.
Rob Leathern of Facebook's product management team said.
The threat of regulation and increased scrutiny had a muffling effect on Ethereum, which had been on the rise over the previous few weeks.
Catastrophic $60 billion wiped from crypto as the ‘bubble’ popsThe world of cryptocurrency has always been defined by crests and troughs. And after months of healthy growth, it seemed inevitable that the sector was ready for a fall.
But no-one expected it to be so big.
Later dubbed “The Cryptocurrency Bubble”, the period saw Bitcoin drop to below $8,000, and losing $67 billion across the week as markets crashed and Bitcoin’s value dropped by 65%.
These changes were significant, but not unprecedented.
Regulatory crackdowns had been announced by China’s three key exchanges, alongside a push for compliance and the introduction of trading fees.
The collapse of The DAO also shed light on ICO offerings and produced a report that classed tokens as securities. This also came on the back of major banks banning the purchase of crypto with credit cards.
These market movements did not escape the attention of many stakeholders, with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) head Agustín Carstens highlighting the risk that cryptocurrency represented, and calling for more active regulation.
For Ethereum, this marked a sharp decline that petered out into a lasting drop. By January 28, the coin was trading at $1,181 before dropping to $673 by February 6 – a dramatic 43% decrease in little over a week.
deVere group launches new crypto appWhen the words “soaring global demand” and “deVere group” are used in a press release… it’s time to start paying attention. This saw the creation of a branded app to allow investors easier access to the crypto space.
The app would be available on both Android and Apple devices. Called “deVere Crypto”, it would allow users to store and transfer Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin – with Bitcoin Cash and Cardano added soon after the initial announcement.
deVere’s founder and CEO Nigel Green came out swinging when the announcement was made, highlighting the company’s appetite for decentralized finance.
Green’s announcement was, expectedly, bullish about the sector – with the CEO going on to claim that the value of Bitcoin was set to “skyrocket” in the months ahead. The main competitor for Bitcoin was judged to be Ethereum which he claimed was reminiscent of the VHS vs Betamax tech format war of the 1980s.
The timing was good, as the app launched just as ETH tipped above the $1,000 mark again.
South Korea formally bans anonymous crypto tradingA week can make a great difference, more so in the world of cryptocurrency.
Last week saw the introduction of a potential cryptocurrency ban in South Korea alongside additional regulatory decisions, following the “great concerns” about the currency.
While regulations or the shape of the ban were not fully finalised, the market voted with its feet. Bitcoin dropped by 18% across the period and Ethereum plummeted by 23%. This happened as representatives responded to the public backlash against regulation, with South Korea’s finance minister Kim Dong-Yeon calling an outright ban a “live option” which was still on the table.
This accompanied a push for regulation from other key jurisdictions, with the UK and EU planning crackdowns in December 2017 in relation to tax evasion, and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) actively warning investors about the potential risks posed by crypto.
But the South Korean government was keen not to take its boot off the neck of the sector.
A government representative said.at a news conference on January 15.
However, January 23 saw a formal announcement from the Financial Services Commission (FSC) that anonymous accounts would be banned from January 30 onward.
January 16 saw ETH at $1,062 before dropping to $962 on January 17 amid fears of a regulatory crackdown.
South Korea’s threat of crypto-regulation wipes $100 billion from marketSouth Korea’s Minister for Justice announced the creation of a bill on January 11 that would effectively ban all crypto trading across the country.
This was a massive blow for Ethereum as South Korea was the worldwide number three hub for crypto trading in 2017, after the US and Japan. The regulation was seen as a direct response to North Korean attacks on exchanges in July and August 2017. These brought additional volatility to the global crypto marketplace as South Korea’s dozen-odd exchanges were responsible for up to 40% of worldwide trade – with 10% of all extant ETH traded against the South Korean won.
The new regulations proposed that anonymous crypto wallets must be registered with a bank account in the individual’s name, removing the anonymity behind crypto exchanges. This would also prevent underage investors and ‘foreigners’ from creating crypto accounts in South Korea.
The announcement resulted in $106 billion dropping off the global cryptocurrency market, with the risk of additional sanctions creating a bearish market.
However, even when drafted, the process would require full scrutiny and would have to be presented to the country’s National Assembly, something that could end up taking months.
But with the announcement made, the damage was done. Bitcoin dropped in value by 13.5% and Ethereum followed with a 7.6% drop. By the end of January 11, Ethereum closed out at $1,202 per coin, before dropping to $926 by January 17.
Ethereum hits record high of $1,417 per coinEthereum rang in the new year by hitting a record high, moving past the $1,000 mark for the first time and rising in value to an all-time high of $1,417 by January 10.
This was judged to be the result of speculators entering the market and investing in altcoins. This was due in part to Ripple’s success, which surged in value as the best-performing crypto asset of the past year.
Meanwhile, Ethereum was processing approximately 1.4 million transactions per day, and enjoying more headline space thanks to the Cryptokitties game, and their commitment to the dApps which were available on the marketplace.
But it wasn’t all good news. The same day, Australia’s tax office publicly announced the creation of a specialist cross-disciplinary regulatory team working across law, banking, technology, and finance – marking the first example of legislative kickback in a year that would prove to be defined by them.
Still, Ethereum was in an enviable position as the second-highest cryptocurrency by market cap, with a total value of $131.5 billion.
Bitcoin’s co-creator believes ETH’s value could triple by the end of 2018Reported to the point of being a meme, “The Flippening” – the hypothetical point where Ethereum overtakes Bitcoin as a market leader - was all anyone in the crypto community could talk about. And one person was particularly obsessed with this trend - technology entrepreneur and early Ethereum advisor Steven Nerayoff.
Speaking with CNBC, Nerayoff laid out the strengths of Ethereum’s platform and protocols. Nerayoff mentioned the billions of dollars which had been poured into the Ethereum ecosystem and the tripling of the price before the end of the year – surpassing Bitcoin when it came to total market cap.
Nerayoff was digging into the utility of the platform, with Ethereum’s dApps. The Ethereum platform was being built to act as a “world computer” with its own distinct programming language that could be created and utilised on the system and added to the power of smart contracts.
The major strength of Ethereum was its transaction speed and the potential that dApps represented on the system. Processing issues were highlighted bythe rise of CryptoKitties the previous year, with scaling introduced as an explicit part of the Ethereum 2.0 roadmap.
Obviously, none of this positive press hurt Ethereum, with one coin worth $1,308 on January 10 and climbing to a high of $1,352 by January 13.
Probably best to take Nerayoff’s advice with a pinch of salt though. In 2019 he was arrested by the FBI on charges of extortion against a crypto startup through his blockchain consulting firm Alchemist.
$4.5 million in transaction fees sets record for EthereumWhile Bitcoin may have been crashing, Ethereum was making hay. January 10 2018 saw Ethereum scoop up $4.5 million in fees through miners with an average fee of $4.5 per transaction. This followed ETH hitting a new high of $880 per coin earlier in the month.
Observers felt that, despite well-publicised crackdowns, Ethereum was increasingly successful at presenting itself as an alternative to high-fee options like Bitcoin. Though Ripple’s recent successes meant that XRP was giving the platform a run for its money.
Mati Greenspan, an eToro analyst said.
However, this jockeying with Ripple did raise questions about the future of Ethereum’s infrastructure. While fees were collected, the platform was arguably pushed to its limit with transactions experiencing significant delays.
While the app was responsible for $15 million in transactions in total, the rise in users to 250,000 individuals in January made users question how Ethereum was going to handle the growing popularity of dApps in the months ahead.
Microsoft stops accepting Bitcoin paymentsJanuary 7 saw Microsoft stop accepting payments from users on the system, after adding Bitcoin payments to the platform in 2014.
As with Steam, the core issues for Bitcoin came from rising transaction costs, rising to an average of $28 throughout 2017.
Though these costs proved attractive (and lucrative) for miners, they were a bitter pill for businesses juggling volatility and transaction times when using the crypto.
The change occurred with little fanfare, with the option simply being pulled from the platform and forcing users to message support directly.
While Steam’s decision appeared permanent, Microsoft’s choice was explicitly temporary, given the crypto’s inherent instability and the “multiple issues” they were encountering.
Once again, Bitcoin’s loss was Ethereum’s gain, as ETH reached a then-healthy valuation of $1,069 per coin.
Ethereum sets record value of $1kAnother year, another record for Ethereum. After cracking one million transactions in December 2017, January 4 saw ETH hit $1,000 per coin for the first time.
This was also accompanied with a total market cap of $100 billion– marking a milestone for the digital currency. The platform’s Q4 report continued this success, noting that transaction volumes had doubled and new accounts per day had hit 100K.
The Ethereum Team said.
The quarterly report set out the company’s stall for the rest of the year – detailing progress made on sharding, bug bounties, and the deployment of the Casper Proof of Stake test net.
However, Ethereum was not alone in its success.
Bitcoin retained its stranglehold on the market with a value of $14,930 per coin, and XRP enjoyed a leap of $0.24 on December 10 to $2.96 – a comparative 1,133.33% increase.
Ripple secures a $100 million market capIt’s the little crypto that could. January saw a belated XRP Xmas as Ripple achieved a $100 billion market cap – stacking up against Bitcoin’s valuation of $231 billion.
Ripple was a bridging crypto that explicitly pitched itself to banks as a way to speed up payments, with the company tweeting that “3 of the top 5 global money transfer companies plan to use XRP in payment flows in 2018” with more in the pipeline.
The BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones succinctly covered the issue:
Which is exactly what ended up happening.
February 5 saw the coin’s value plummet by 49.56% as a troubled market clawed the coin from a month-long high of $3.84 to an end of month valuation of $1.10.
By contrast, Ethereum enjoyed values of $845 on January 2,finishing out the month at $1,078.
Ethereum comes sixth in CoinMarket’s “Biggest Winners” of 2017A runner up prize is never a bad thing, but Ethereum came in sixth place in CoinMarketcap’s review of the best performing crypto assets of the last year.
Ethereum enjoyed a 9,162% increase in value across 2017, but it was just pipped by Dash that entered the top five with 9,265% gains.
However, the biggest surprise came from Ripple. The crypto entered the market with a valuation of $0.01 and saw an explosion of popularity in late December when it leapt from $0.24 on December 11 to $1.93 by January 1 2018. Ripple’s year-long gains clocked in at a staggering 36,018%.
In terms of performance, this was to be expected. Ripple tokens facilitate transfers between financial institutions, with Amex famously partnering with the company in November 2017.
By contrast, Ethereum’s success was seen to be the result of a long-term effort. And, of course, a little luck. The creation of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA) in March produced year-long publicity for the platform, alongside Ethereum’s development platform being used to form multiple ICOs.
Along with being boxed out of the top five, Ethereum owners had to make peace with ETH coming in at $757 per coin.
Ethereum jumps in value, enjoying a 9,163% increase across the yearWhile Bitcoin may have hit the headlines in December - starting the month at $10,261 and ending the year at $13,410 per coin – Ethereum seemed to accomplish the impossible.
Ethereum leapt from $445 on December 1 to finish out 2017 at $741 per coin. Remember, this is the same crypto coin which started the year at $8 per ETH, meaning that the coin had grown by a staggering 9,163% in less than a year.
Accordingly, the end of the year saw Ethereum ranked third amongst cryptocurrencies, coming in under XRP and Bitcoin and just above Bitcoin Cash.
For many observers, the key to this success was the platform’s deployment of smart contracts and the development opportunities it represented, as observers such as StreamSpace’s CEO Robert Binning observed.
It was also a healthy year for other currencies, but for those who bought in January had a smile on their face when the coin ended the year at $741.
The Ethereum blockchain processes a million transactions in a single dayEthereum was the first crypto to record one million transactions in a single day, marking a major milestone for the coin.
This came after a year of transaction issues for the platform. On December 7, the popularity of Cryptokitties throttled the platform – with users spending more than $1 million to buy and sell cats on the Ethereum blockchain.
However, many observers noted that while the transaction milestone was positive, issues remained around capacity and managing transaction volume.
While concerns around energy expenditure would be addressed by the long-proposed move to Proof Of Stake (PoS) validation, Vitalik Buterin - the crypto’s creator – was more than open about the problem.
This peak in transactions also coincided with Ethereum’s best price for a year – coming in at $818 per ETH on December 19.
CryptoKitties’ popularity creates logjam on the Ethereum blockchainIt turns out that Cryptokitties’ developers underestimated exactly how the internet loved cats. December saw the Pokémon-like breeding and trading game gum up the Ethereum platform, resulting in a transaction backlog.
The game that Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin played himself ended up creating six times the number of ‘pending’ transactions on the system. This meant that virtual cat trading was preventing ‘real’ transactions taking place.
The incident highlighted how badly the platform needed the scaling improvements mentioned at Ethereum’s Devcon 3 event – resulting in an estimated expenditure of $4.5 million at the time of the incident.
Despite the negative press, the platform’s creator took an optimistic perspective, highlighting that the popularity was a proof-of-concept for the potential of the Ethereum platform.
Buterin via his Twitter account said.
Representing more than 10% of all Ethereum traffic at the time, the cats drove up the price of gas on the system. For a system aspiring to be a ‘world computer’ this led to a high of $420 to close out the day.
Steam stops accepting Bitcoin due to price fluctuationsIf there’s such a thing as being too successful, Bitcoin (BTC) experienced it in December 2017.
After a year of striking price fluctuations, Steam – the world’s largest online games marketplace – delisted BTC as a purchasing option on the platform.
First launched in 2003, Steam’s digital distribution service had a chokehold on the online marketplace. This was put down to “high fees and volatility” in a release delivered on Wednesday December 6 2017.
The decision was made due to the transaction fees that were accompanying exchanges on the platform – fees which could amount to as much as $20 per transaction.
This pricing issue was compounded when Steam offered buyers digital refunds, as the coin’s value could fluctuate dramatically between the point of purchase and the refund. This resulted in losses for Steam and bad feedback from customers.
The Steam team in an official release said.
While this raised questions about the role of cryptocurrencies in the modern marketplace, the bad press did not affect the coin’s value. The ban occurred during a value hike for Bitcoin at $12,721 on the day of the ban before going on to reach a peak of $18,653 on December 18.
Ethereum also enjoyed very healthy gains over this time, sitting at $438 on the day of the report and nearly doubling in price by December 19 to $818.
Bitcoin exceeds $10kAs the prophets foretold, November 29 saw Bitcoin cross another historic milestone for the year – exceeding a $10k valuation.
This came hot on the heels of the cryptocurrency exceeding $9k on November 26 and marked the beginning of the end of the crypto’s teething problems. The platform had split into a hard fork on August 1, and it had also endured a dip in mid-September after China announced a crackdown on Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Coming back from this dip, the currency soared to new heights – hitting a valuation of $8k on November 20. Many observers attributed this jump to CME’s announcement of a Bitcoin futures project and internal discussions with the cryptocurrency about the proposed SegWit2x? protocol update.
This coincided with another spike for Ethereum, with the crypto reaching $470 on the same day before dropping to $428 to finish out the month.
‘CryptoKitties’ launches on the Ethereum ecosystemWhen a new digital tool is discovered, it’s only a matter of time before someone tries to play a game on it. And Ethereum proved no exception.
Released to the public on November 28, Cryptokitties used blockchain technology to allow users to breed, collect, and – most importantly - sell digital cats through the Ethereum chain.
This was one of the first examples of ‘gamifying’ blockchain technology and was built on Ethereum’s capacity to use Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) through the platform’s ERC-721 protocols and ability to utilise smart contracts.
The game’s USP was its breeding algorithm that used each cat’s 256-bit genome to create unique offspring, potentially allowing for more than four billion combinations. Or ‘cattributes’, as they preferred to call it.
Benny Giang, the game’s Head of Community said.
The influx of attention coincided with a small spike in value for ETH, with November 28 coming in at $470 and finishing out the month at $428.
London Block Exchange (LBX) unveils a pre-paid crypto cardCrypto and plastic. Two great ideas that fit together perfectly. Or so the London Block Exchange (LBX) would have us believe.
Announced on November 15 2017, the Dragoncard claimed to allow users to ‘instantly’ change their crypto to fiat. This included Ethereum Classic (ETC), Bitcoin (BTC), and other leading currencies such as Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), and Monero (XMR), and it was provisionally approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
However, it was noted that card use involves LBX pocketing a not insignificant 0.5% of all transaction fees, including an £20 initial activation charge and additional fees for physical withdrawals.
LBX founder Ben Dives said.
The announcement couldn’t have come at a better time for LBX as November 15 coincided with rising values of $334 for Ethereum, with November 25 coming in at $469.
Bugs freeze digital wallets as possible losses reach $150 millionCryptocurrencies: bringing together the frustration of software bugs and the stress of losing money.
Early November saw Ethereum accrue more negative publicity as one user froze $150 million of Ether by accident. The bug was found on the Parity wallet, with the company producing an urgent security alert on the platform once discovered.
The issue affected users with “multi sig” wallets. These functioned by requiring multiple users to sign off on payments. By deploying the found exploit, these could fall under the control of the attacker – resulting in the funds being frozen.
The issue started when a user constructed a single ‘corrupted’ wallet which quickly cascaded throughout the system and locked users out of their money. This resulted in $32 million being locked in multi-sig wallets.
Then things got worse.
A second bug was then exploited by accident by a user called ‘devops199’ who – after triggering the issue – tried to delete the code that caused the problem, which locked the wallets permanently.
Or, as the Guardian’s Alex Hern put it: “effectively, a user accidentally stole hundreds of wallets simultaneously, and then set them on fire in a panic while trying to give them back.”
The result for Ethereum? Not that bad actually
Remarkably, this multi-million dollar controversy did nothing to slow the acceleration of ETH’s value, suggesting that investors were playing a long game and weren’t going to be easily spooked by system glitches. By November 8 ETH was trading at $428 per coin - an increase of roughly 44% on the previous week.
No such thing as bad publicity, we suppose.
Devcon 3 introduces the latest plans for Ethereum 2.0Another year, another Ethereum Devcon. But this time, one with a difference.
Held in Cancun, Mexico between November 1 and November 4, the event occupied 78,000 square feet of space and saw close to 2,000 attendees.
But what made column inches was the need for blockchain insurance cover due to the risk of attendees being actively targeted by local police for bribes.
The Devcon 3 talks covered the full scope of the Ethereum platform, including client autonomy, cryptography, smart contract pooling, and decentralized voting.
The big draw came from Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin’s keynote talk, which changed in the short run-up to the event.
Buterin’s original talk was supposed to cover scalability and sharding, but this shifted to a full proposal for Ethereum 2.0 and a proposed new shape for the system over the next two-to-four years. Lasting 30 minutes, Buterin was characteristically open about previous failings – telling the audience:
Addressing a change in “orders of magnitude”, Buterin’s talk laid out a roadmap to Ethereum 2.0. To accomplish this, Ethereum would split development into two layers –‘safe and conservative’ and ‘rapid development and experimentation’.
He also highlighted that sharding was to play a key role in system development, with research opened up through GitHub after the event.
However, these revelations did not manage to cut through the noise of the blockchain insurance revelation, and the value of ETH. The announcement saw ETH raise to $298 on November 1 and finish the event out at $299 on November 4.
Sberbank joins the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA)On October 19 2017, Russia’s Sberbank joined the ranks of Ethereum’s Enterprise Alliance (EEA). This saw them rub shoulders with the likes of Deloitte, Microsoft, Santander, and other major US- and UK-based banking giants. The addition of Sberbank was met with a glowing statement from the bank.
Igor Bulantsev, then Senior Vice-President of Sberbank said.
Surprisingly, this announcement followed a strenuous denial – issued just a week earlier – that the country’s central bank would ever endorse crypto trading.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said.
However the news did relatively little to affect Ethereum’s value. After the announcement of Sberbank’s EEA membership, the value of ETH dropped from $310 on October 19 to $283 on October 23.
“Byzantium” upgrade deploys on the Ethereum blockchainAnother year, another timely (and characteristically detailed) upgrade to the Ethereum platform.
Part of a two-part “Metropolis” upgrade, Byzantium was implemented after the mining of block 4,370,000 on the platform.
Metropolis was a segmented hard fork and updated Ethereum’s rules and protocols.
This upgrade was labelled “Byzantium”, with its sister update “Constantinople” having no confirmed release date at the time.
The update was made up from nine distinct protocol changes that improved the platform’s efficiency and stability. These were built around Ethereum’s three pillars of privacy, security and scalability – aiming to secure “mass acceptability” for the platform.
Byzantium marked a milestone as a collaborative project on what was now considered a mature platform. This was made explicit in the update’s release notes, which stated:
The run up to the release saw dramatic fluctuations in the price of Ether. After starting the month at $277, ETH leaped from $305 on October 12 to $342 on October 14 as traders and investors responded to the update.
China cracks down on ICOs and crypto trading as Etherum crashesWhen China makes a statement, the world listens. After starting the year threatening to limit access to overseas exchanges, the country finally made good on its promise and placed an outright ban on the initial coin offerings (ICOs) - officially designated the crypto trading sector illegal.
ICOs were judged to occupy a ‘grey’ legal area in cryptocurrency as they skirted the borders of being fully decentralized. ICOs were used for initial fundraising drives for new platforms where fiat or established cryptocurrencies were converted into tokens and/or coins for the platform in question.
The response from the market was swift and significant.
Bitcoin closed out at $4,815 on September 1 and plummeted to $3,387 on September 15 before steadily rallying to close out the month at $4,309. These changes rippled out to the rest of the market, leaving Ethereum with bruises in the aftermath.
The start of the month saw ETH close out at a high of $392 before dropping to $236 on September 15, representing a loss of 40%.
Bitcoin hits a $5k valuation for the first timeWhen it comes to crypto, the saying “the rising tide lifts all boats” proves to be true.
After years of volatility, Bitcoin’s value finally soared to reach $5,000 on September 1 2017 – hitting this peak at 02:25 UTC and remaining in place for roughly ten minutes. While the value quickly fell away to $4,867, it was a landmark for the currency and seen as a powerful proof of concept for the crypto.
No crypto asset had ever reached this valuation before – and Bitcoin’s $5,000 milestone came after a prolonged bull market. At the start of 2017, Bitcoin was trading at less than $1,000, before doubling in value by May. Between May and September, the value of the coin doubled again. This was particularly significant given that the rise happened during a period of time when the People’s Bank of China was making active moves to increase oversight of the country’s crypto exchanges.
Bitcoin’s climb was mirrored through the progress of Ethereum, which started August at $218 per coin before climbing to hit $392 on September 1 – marking an astonishing 80% increase within a matter of weeks.
Coinbase labelled a ‘unicorn’ and hosts EthereumWe love it when our friends become successful… and not just because we enjoy the windfall too.
After receiving $100 million in series D funding, crypto trading platform Coinbase became the first crypto ‘unicorn’; a start-up valued at over $1 billion.
First founded in 2012, the funding brought Coinbase’s full valuation to $1.6 billion and total funding streams to $217 million. This put Coinbase in the company of other innovators like Netflix, Twitter, and Dropbox. During the month of August, Coinbase exchanged $25 billion worth of crypto and currency for clients.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said.
The announcement couldn’t have come at a better time. August 11 saw ETH trade at $303 per coin before shooting to a peak of $318 the following day.
Bithumb hack results in $7 million crypto lossBillions of dollars worth of cryptocoin was lost as South Korea’s largest crypto exchange – Bithumb - was hacked. The platform was a leading provider of Ethereum in the country, with the attack resulting in reputational damage and asset loss for users.
The incident began when an official notification was sent to system users on June 30. The breach resulted in a loss of data and significantly disrupted the South Korean market. The site held 75.7% of South Korea’s Bitcoin volume, roughly 10% of global trade. It also accounted for 44% of the country’s Ether trading.
An investigation was immediately launched by the South Korea police and prompted a rapid response from the exchange providing more information about the hack.
Bithumb said in the statement.
The hack affected more than 31,800 customers on the system – roughly 3% of those with Bithumb accounts. The company started an initiative to part-compensate affected users. The breaches also resulted in a rapid response from South Korea’s government who began creating legislation aiming to revise the Electronic Financial Transaction Act (EFTA).
Once the dust had settled, the hack was found to have been caused by vulnerabilities in the Ethereum Classic user wallet following the social engineering attack. While a concrete figure was never found, the total value of the coins taken came to roughly $7 million.
It should come as no surprise that the news put a dent in Ethereum’s value.
By June 29, ETH was trading at $301 before dropping to $278 by July 3. This marked the beginning of a month-long decline in the currency’s value, bottoming out at $153.
The year sees astonishing 4,450% gains for EtherIf June was a banner month for crypto, that went double for Ether.
Not content with being the world’s second largest blockchain-based digital currency, June was arguably the month that ETH went mainstream. The currency started at $80 per ETH and finished the month out at $224 per coin - a staggering 180% rise. The growth of the coin became even more striking when contrasted with ETH’s $8 starting valuation and its $364 as of June 12 – a 4,450% increase.
This stood in contrast to the previous year that saw the platform deal with hacks, multiple unplanned forks, and the creation of “Ethereum Classic”. Ethereum now seemed to have increased legitimacy from the Ethereum Alliance and was gaining momentum.
But not everything was sunshine and rainbows.
However, the rapid rise in Ethereum’s value led to worries about a crypto bubble that seemed ready to burst. The volatility of the market as a whole led speculators to question these gains and the risk posed by the DAO as the recent breaches at South Korea’s Bithumb raised questions about the potential and security of the coin.
Despite this, the explosion was warily chalked up to a growth spurt and investors continued to eye the platform with renewed caution in the months ahead.
Ether’s value multiplies tenfold within six monthsAs the end of May rolled around, 2017 was proving to be the year of the crypto.
Ethereum exploded in popularity in the months leading up to May, starting the year at $8 before accelerating to $16 at the start of March. This upward trend continued, starting May at $80 – making a tenfold increase on its value just six months earlier. But the currency had yet to peak. By May 22, the cost of one ETH was $162 – an all time high for the crypto coin.
And it was partially thanks to Bitcoin.
At the start of 2017, Bitcoin was trading at $986, before climbing to $2,142 on May 24, marking a rise of 117%. These gains were accompanied by an increased appetite and awareness for crypto, which led to similar gains for Ethereum and other currencies.
However, Bitcoin was not solely to blame.
The creation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) helped raise the profile of crypto-assets, with market leaders such as Microsoft, Intel, Deloitte, and more lending legitimacy to the platform.
The prospect of institutional investors marked the beginning of a bull market for the crypto sector. However, some observers feared the beginnings of something more problematic.
Peter Zivkovski, COO of Whaleclub said.
Despite these concerns, Ethereum’s value continued to spike, ending the month at $224.
New blood joins the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA)Unsurprisingly, May 16 saw an explosion of popularity for the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), with the addition of 86 new entities.
This included international representatives from Deloitte, Infosys, The National Bank of Canada, and more. The period even saw members leave the R3 blockchain consortium (the EEA’s closest competitor) and join their ranks.
Julio Faura, then-chairman of the EEA said.
The EEA received “hundreds” of applications from interested parties. Interest spilled over into the creation of a Technical Working Group (TWG) to create reference documentation for future developments on the system. This included a focus on consensus mechanisms, privacy, and rules, roles, and permissions.
In addition to this, EEA members committed to contribute to various groups within the organisation. By May, early proof-of-concept developments focused on banking, security, and supply fields. The group also planned to use the month of June to work on sectors that included pharma, mobile, energy, and other member interests.
The announcement certainly helped to pique public interest. The month started with ETH worth $81, but by the day of the announcement the value had risen to $87. During the remainder of May, ETH climbed to new heights, cresting at $206 on 25 May and finishing out the month at $228.
Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) foundedAfter weeks of hard work to stave off cyber attacks, Ethereum needed a win. And what a win it was.
February saw the creation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), a coalition of industry advocates keen to support and use the platform’s tools and functionality.
The alliance initially included over thirty members and sought to champion blockchain as the new industry standard for enterprise development. The founding board members included representatives from Accenture, Banco Santander, BlockApps, BNY Mellon, CME Group, ConsenSys, IC3, Intel, J.P. Morgan, Microsoft, and Nuco.
The EEA would also play a role in developing standards for the platform and collaborating with the future design of the system. Building on the open-source approach already adopted for the platform, this meant focusing on scalability, security, and benefitting from hybrid approaches in the years ahead. All of which proved attractive to enterprise development.
Jeremy Millar, a founding board member of the EEA said.
In short, this meant establishing new, enforceable architectural standards which were judged to help speed up the adoption of Ethereum with a range of businesses. This included DeFi applications and securities payments, with many more companies expected to join the alliance in the months ahead.
Unsurprisingly, the announcement prompted a spike in Ethereum. By February 28 the coin was sitting at $16 per ETH. But between March 9 and March 17 there was a significant climb as news of the alliance spread. By the end of the month, ETH was trading at a whopping $49 per coin.
‘Spurious Dragon’ protocol releasesThe ongoing DoS battle reached a head with the release of yet another hard fork on the Ethereum platform.
As the platform weathered successive attacks, the ‘Spurious Dragon’ update was scheduled to be implemented at block 2,675,000, set to go live between 15:00 and16:00 UTC. But things were a little different this time.
Where Tangerine Whistle was reactive and “addressed immediate network health issues”.
Spurious Dragon combined a pre-emptive response to DoS issues alongside other long-standing changes, marking the second hard fork on the branch of the system.
Devops and security engineer Hudson Jameson said
The main concern for the team was removing account bloat. This saw attackers transfer 0 ETH to an empty account. While this transaction was of no value, the action was required to be recorded on the blockchain. This created unnecessary and excessive effort and delayed genuine transactions on the system.
The Spurious Dragon release tackled the issue by removing these empty accounts from the virtual machine during transactions. Doing so increased the cost to hackers, who were still required to transfer ETH to-and-from the account to create it, expending their gas. The protocol also adjusted gas pricing for certain operations. The change also added ‘replay attack’ protection which stopped transactions from one ETH chain being utilised on another. However, replay attacks still proved to be a risk to platform users, albeit now as reduced one.
While these changes were helpful, they did little to rebalance the losses resulting from the earlier attacks on ETH. September closed out at $13 per ETH and continued attacks throughout October saw ETH drop to $11 per coin.
Devcon 2 baptised by multiple denial of service (DoS) attacksDespite the best efforts of the Ethereum team, blowing their Tangerine Whistle was not enough.
After deploying the hard fork update at the start of the month, September 18 saw the Ethereum platform face down further DoS attacks before their Devcon 2 event.
As the platform endured another DoS attack on September 22, the development team turned their meeting space into a war room and released a suitably worded response.
Ethereum co-founder Jeffrey Wilcke wrote.
The team produced an immediate fix to prevent disruption for miners. This issue was quickly identified as a transaction spam attack. This created extra blocks in the blockchain to validate, resulting in close to a two to three-fold decrease in the rate of conventional block creation.
Despite their commitment to long-term solutions, the threat of further issues loomed clear on the horizon. ETH’s value responded accordingly, sitting at $14.1 on September 21 before dropping to $13 by midday on September 22.
Continued attacks force Ethereum protocol changesThe recent DAO attack had revealed weaknesses in the Ethereum platform. But the system’s development team was not going to stand idly by. Though this did mean turning off the gas.
Ethereum’s ‘gas’ was the fee charged to carry transactions and contracts on the platform. This was a fragment of an ETH and was used to pay system miners to complete a task. This was governed by supply and demand, which means that miners could reject offers if the ‘gas’ fee was not high enough.
However, users quickly realised that gas prices could be manipulated. The cost of gas proved to be too low in certain scenarios. This meant that miners were being underpaid for high effort computational work and certain users could game the system, using large numbers of low-cost operations to achieve the same result as other more expensive, conventional inputs.
In addition to saving money, this disparity allowed certain users to launch ongoing denial of service (DoS) attacks on the system. Before long, the problem needed to be officially addressed.
Security and devops engineer Hudson Jamison wrote.
In response, Ethereum deployed the ‘Tangerine Whistle’ hard fork after block 2,463,000. This adjusted the cost of certain operations and reflected their complexity – effectively making it too expensive to exploit.
Despite the fact that the platform had forked its users twice, the cumulative effect on Ethereum was positive. Starting the month at $12, ETH had climbed to $13 by September 18 before peaking at $14.2 a couple of days later.
Response to DAO hack births ‘Ethereum Classic’When all other options are taken off the table, all you can do is fork. And fork hard.
After facing down a 3.6 million ETH hack through the DAO that represented 14% of the currency in circulation, the Ethereum team was in a tight spot.
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin’s initial proposal of a soft fork was met with a lukewarm response through the site’s social channels and fan pages like Reddit.
Critics focused on the fact that Buterin’s team had explicit links to the DAO, with employees such as platform co-founder Gavin Wood only disentangling themselves a month before the initial funding drive went live.
After opening the issue up to feedback and debate, a decision was made to hard fork the Ethereum platform. This would work to roll the platform back to before the hack and see the missing funds assigned to another smart contract, allowing investors to retrieve their pilfered crypto.
This decision attracted a great deal of attention online as it broke what was judged to be the cardinal rule of crypto, as the team was effectively ‘editing’ the blockchain. Once the arguments were laid out, the decision was put to Ethereum’s stakeholders.
On July 15, Ethereum cofounder Jeffrey Wilcke wrote:
After achieving consensus, the decision was made to enact the hard fork at block 192,000 on July 20. However, doing so had the effect of creating two separate, Ethereum based blockchains. The new “official” fork retained the title of Ethereum (ETH) and the previous platform became known as Ethereum Classic (ETC), where the hacker was still able to access their coins.
Unsurprisingly, all of these actions did not occur in a vacuum. The value of Ether had already been decimated by the hack, but the day of the fork saw ETH continue to recover, rising to $13 by July 24 – still a long way off its pre-hack value of $21 per coin.
Disaster as the DAO project is compromisedThe worst case scenario happened on June 18, when a hacker used an identified exploit on the DAO system to siphon 3.6 million Ether.
This involved exploiting a known vulnerability in the code involved in creating a wallet’s smart contracts. While this vulnerability was being addressed, an individual was able to transfer funds from the DAO onto a duplicated ‘child’ version of the platform. As this new DAO followed the same protocols as its parent, the money was locked for 28 hours, replicating the DAO’s initial funding cycle.
In addition to negative press, the hack created a significant problem for the DAO and Ethereum itself. The DAO represented 14% of all ETH in circulation at the time and the hack highlighted blind spots in a platform that was being actively adopted by millions of other users.
Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin responded quickly with an official statementand put forward the idea of a soft-fork while also preventing money from being moved from the DAO or any of its child accounts.
Unfortunately, any changes to the platform required 51% consensus from system users. The proposed ‘blacklisting’ of an individual created a dilemma for system users and a wealth of negative publicity for the then-young crypto.
Despite Ethereum’s rapid response, the negative publicity had already done its damage. On June 17, ETH was sitting pretty at $21 per coin, but by the end of the day its value had halved to approximately $11.
‘The DAO’ launches on EthereumAs an idealistic crypto platform, Ethereum’s hosting of the DAO felt like a match made in heaven. Started by the German start-up Stock.it, the DAO launched on April 30 2016 with a 28-day funding window.
The acronym stood for ‘decentralized Autonomous Organisation’, and was used to denote a type of business that didn’t have a set board or office. The DAO was an investor directed venture-capital fund and used digital communications to vote and decide on how to invest its capital. On paper, this provided the benefits of an organisation without the drawbacks of resource heavy governance.
The DAO operated by following a stakeholder model. These roles were created and assigned during the DAO’s funding window, where investors were invited to buy tokens of ownership. Token owners were then given a voice and a vote in how the funding was spent, which development projects to pursue, and the overall trajectory of the platform.
By May 15, the drive had raised an unprecedented $100 million, finishing out with $168 million and 10,000 individual backers. This made it the biggest crowdfunding project at the time.
However, critics quickly pointed out the weaknesses of the platform. Patrick Murck of Harvard University pointed out that:
This balance of risk and opportunity obviously affected the markets. On April 30 ETH was worth $9, before reaching $10 by May 15.
“Homestead” protocol upgrade successfully launchesFollowing the detailed announcement on February 29 from the Ethereum team, this month saw the release of the platform's latest protocols.
After the mining of block 1,150,000, the ‘Homestead’ protocol was finally implemented in mid-March, improving on the previous ‘Frontier’ protocol which was released in July 2015.
The release was implemented at 18:50 UTC and resulted in a hard fork on the platform. Homestead marked a major practical and philosophical change for the system. Users were now empowered to build their own products and create proof-of-concepts, instead of being restricted to Frontier’s command line interface.
When it came to cryptocurrency, the improvements included increased costs for contract creations, algorithm adjustments, and a range of UX improvements alongside improved adaptability for future protocol changes.
Despite these changes, the release was designed to be as light-touch as possible. In fact, lead designer Alex Van de Sande was quoted as saying “that was the most anti-climactic event I’ve ever hosted” after livestreaming the deployment.
This newfound confidence in Ethereum was reflected in the price. At the start of March ETH was trading at $8 per coin, climbing to $11 on March 5 and hitting a record high of $15 one week later.
“Homestead” protocol news impresses investorsWhen positive change is on the horizon, investors tend to get excited.
First announced on February 29 2015, Ethereum’s ‘Homestead’ protocol upgrade marked the next stage of development for the platform.
The proposed updates addressed four areas: security, stability, mining, and exchange. As the second major release for the platform, Homestead also marked an official exit from ‘beta’ status to a final stable release.
These changes were set to occur upon the completion of block 1,150,000. This was – characteristically for software development - scheduled to release on Pi Day on March 14. It also produced a hard fork in the system.
Given the collaborative nature of the platform, Ethereum co-founder Jeffrey Wilcke was clear about how ground-breaking the security-focused Homestead release would be.
By all accounts, it seemed to work. February marked a steady rise in the value of ETH, starting the month with ETH clocking in at $2. By February 11, it had risen to $6 per ETH, before falling to $4 on February 17.
Devcon 1 takes place in London, UKEthereum may have just launched, but Buterin’s teams were just getting started.
Following on from Devcon 0 on 24–28 November 2014 in Berlin, this year’s London-based event had three clear categories: basic research and core protocols, dApp development, and the social and industrial implications of Ethereum’s technology.
The first day covered scaling and responsivity, with Vitalik Buterin discussing a “hub and spoke” model for development and using asynchronous development to create opportunities as well as tackle problems.
The second day touched on development strategy. This looked at the creation of distributed apps (dApps) and Ethereum’s potential as a platform. Microsoft’s sponsorship of the event was hailed as proof that there was Big Tech interest in Blockchain as a Service.
The third day looked at Ethereum protocols. Buterin once again walked people through the mechanics of Ethereum’s blockchain and how they related to development - giving real-world examples of the potential for crowdfunding and governance. On the fourth day, attendees looked at dApps that were already in production, with focus placed on fintech applications and gaming and prediction markets.
The fifth and final day looked at the social impact of Ethereum. This contextualised dApps and blockchain tech with the world around us, ending on a surprise performance from Imogen Heap who released new music on one of the Ethereum dApps.
Said Vitalik Buterin, closing out the event.
However, these attractions did little to affect the price of Ethereum. In anticipation of the event, the price of ETH climbed from $0.88 on November 4 to $1.2 by November 9. However, it would go on to slump back to $0.88 by the end of the fifth day of Devcon.
Microsoft Announces “Blockchain as a Service”Sometimes it helps to have friends in high places, and they don’t really come bigger than Microsoft. Speaking publicly in the run-up to Devcon 1, Microsoft became the first major industry player to attach itself to the Ethereum platform.
said Marley Gray, then Microsoft’s director of technology strategy and US financial services.
Wasting no time, the initiative was launched on November 9 and allowed developers access to a cloud-based blockchain development environment. This included two distinct tools out of the box for developers to tinker with.
The first was Ether.Camp, a fully integrated development environment. The second was Blockapps for business-based blockchain development. Putting these tools into developers’ hands was seen as an attempt to create a low cost “fail fast” environment. This would potentially allow for rapid-prototyping and act as a kick-starter for the next generation of apps.
Despite the publicity around the deal and the Devcon 1 event, the value of ETH waivered slightly around the time of the announcement, dropping below $1 per coin.
Ethereum completes its “Ice Age” releaseFollowing on from the release of “Frontier” on July 30, “Ice Age” came into play on September 8. This release introduced Ethereum’s now-infamous “difficulty bomb” at block 200,000 in the chain.
The Ice Age was an early act of future proofing for the platform. As a proof-of-work (PoW) cryptocurrency, computational effort is required to create new blocks, mine coins, and process transactions. The September release embedded this digital bomb in the system. Once triggered, the Ice Age protocol would activate and begin to exponentially raise the difficulty of PoW computations.
It was specifically introduced to encourage miners to move from the Ethereum 1.0 PoW system to the newer Ethereum 2.0 proof of stake (PoS) when it arrived.
Set at a predefined block, the bomb would increase the computational power required to process the PoW algorithm. This would roughly double every 15 days – allowing for a temporary grace period for individuals to transition between systems.
This forward thinking was seen to be characteristic of the Ethereum team’s approach and detailed roadmap for the platform.
Despite the long-term ramifications, the release caused few fluctuations in the value of Ethereum. On the day of the Ice Age release, ETH was trading at $1.2 per coin, before slipping under a dollar within a matter of weeks.
Ethereum joins the Kraken crypto exchangeAfter Ethereum’s successful launch on July 30 2015, the team decided it was time to get Kraken!
One of the first platforms to host the coin was the Kraken Crypto Exchange. The release proved to be Kraken’s biggest volume launch, with more than 3 million ether traded, then analogous to roughly 15k Bitcoin.
Founded in 2011, Kraken was beta launched in May 2013. The following year saw Kraken raise $5 million in a funding round, which was soon ploughed into security and legal compliance. The platform’s initial offerings included Bitcoin and Litecoin, before accepting Dogecoin in April 2014.
Ethereum’s decision was well timed. Kraken’s simplified four-step registration process made it easy for buyers to access the new currency. It also built on the publicity created by their flamboyant ”Farewell New York” message in the wake of their well-publicised issues around BitLicense.
The Kraken team wrote in an official blog.
While many agree that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, the story had little effect on Ethereum’s overall value. The immediate launch saw Ether peak at $2.77 per coin before falling to $0.68 and rising to $1.8 on August 13.
Ethereum Frontier Network launchesAfter months of planning and preparation, the Ethereum platform finally launched on July 30 2015. The team loaded the Ethereum Genesis block, marking the first live release for the project.
The platform was the brainchild of Vitalik Buterin, a Russian-Canadian programmer who co-founded Bitcoin Magazine in 2011. Buterin first detailed the concepts behind Ethereum in a white paper released in 2013. After a period of research and development, Ethereum was formally introduced at the 2014 Bitcoin Conference.
The platform underwent extensive testing and development across the 2014-15 period under the codename of “Olympic”. The team even used Bitcoin to pay bug bounties to fully polish the platform before launch.
This long history meant the eyes of the industry and the press were on the launch. But Buterin’s team were keen to make the release run as smoothly as possible.
Said Ethereum’s CCO Stephen Tual.
Despite its official status as a beta, the robust nature of the ‘Frontier’ release and open approach to development meant developers were comfortable using the platform. Described as a “sprawling project” by the project’s release co-ordinator Vinay Gupta, miners quickly began to join the platform and coders quickly started developing DeFi apps and tools for the system.
This ‘wild west’ attitude captured the hearts of investors. August 7 saw Ether trade at $3 per coin before dropping to $0.6 on August 10. This initial spike saw its value drop to $1.5 per coin and remain there for the rest of August.