News Week 43 / 2018 : If You Want Money, Learn to Code Blockchain

Though the price of bitcoin has somewhat moved within the last days, we are still on the grey area where most of the movement seems to be going sideways. Some kind of a break is sure to be imminent – says this writer after writing almost the same sentence for three weeks straight.

So instead of prophecies we are concentrating on real, actual things that have happened in blockchain. For an example the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries are on the rise, which can be seen from the growing demand for workforce. A new report straight up tells that if you want money and an almost certain job, then you should learn to code blockchain applications.

We are also looking onto the new firmware for Antminer, which allows the use of the controversial AsicBoost technology. Will this be the end of Bitcoin? No, it won’t, and the only reason I wrote that last sentence was click-bait.

On other news we are talking about regulation. Though legal phenomena dealing with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are current topics of discussion, more and more institutions are seeing these in a new perspective. Perhaps we don’t need that much new legislation, for we already have many tried and tested means of regulation.

Blockchain Workers Are on High Demand

If you want to get an almost sure job with a good salary, you should consider studying blockchain and cryptocurrencies. A new report by a Californian job-hunting firm Glassdoor states that the amount of job openings connected to blockchain, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has soared since last year.

In August of 2018 there were around 1.775 job openings in the blockchain field. This is a 300 increase compared to the same period last year. Most of the openings are on the technical side: almost 20% of the job openings have something to do with development of blockchain or blockchain-based applications.

The report also demonstrates that Bitcoin and blockchain businesses offer good salaries when compared to the average. According to Glassdoor the median salary of blockchain-related job openings is $84,884 per year. This is almost 62% higher than the median US salary, which is $52,461 per year.

The report shows that Bitcoin and blockchain are booming and growing enterprises with a high demand for skilled workforce. If you are thinking of a change in vocation, you could try blockchain.

Blockchain promises lucrative careers for those who want to learn the expertise.

Bitmain Releases Controversial AsicBoost Firmware

One of the biggest mining companies, Bitmain, has released the firmware which allows their popular Antminer S9 to use the controversial AsicBoost technology. Bitmain was originally against releasing the firmware “due to uncertainty surrounding the use of AsicBoost”, but they have since then reversed their decision.

AsicBoost first gained notoriety in 2017, when the debate over Segregated Witness update and Bitcoin scaling were in full heat. AsicBoost allows the miner to take certain mathematical shortcuts, which allow them to find valid blocks faster than ordinarily. On the other hand AsicBoost is not compatible with all of Bitcoin infrastructure and it has been used to mine empty blocks, thus harming the whole of network for the benefit of few miners.

The new firmware allows miners to use the so-called “overt AsicBoost”, which means that everyone can recognize the miners and blocks which implement AsicBoost. Previously Bitmain has been accused of using “covert AsicBoost”, which makes the implementation of shortcuts almost unnoticeable. After SegWit update the use of covert AsicBoost has become far harder.

Bitmain’s decision has already raised concerns, since AsicBoost, even in its overt state, could still be problematic for Bitcoin network without offering actual benefits for the user base as whole.

Bitmain’s mining equipments are among the most popular on the entire cryptocurrency space.

ESMA Doesn’t Want New Bitcoin Laws

The Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group which operates under the European Securities and Markets Authority has released a new report according to which ESMA is recommending the European politicians and legislators to consider using existing legislation for cryptocurrencies instead of implementing new laws.

According to the report most crypto assets are of the sort that they could be covered under the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, which regulate unfair business practices. The directive mostly affects the relationship between companies and customers, giving customers protection against malpractice and illegit businesses.

Though the report mentions that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not currently covered by European Union’s directives, in practice the laws could be used to regulate bitcoin businesses also. According to ESMA this thing could be changed by simply beginning to interpret the legislation differently.

By using the existing legislation where ever it is possible, legislators could ease their own legislative burdens noticeably and give the bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses the same status as other businesses.

ESMA thinks that the current European legislation could be used to regulate cryptocurrency and blockchain field.

First Self-Regulatory Institution for Cryptospace

Japan’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency, has approved a Japanese association of cryptocurrency companies to act as a self-regulatory body for the industry. The new semi-official status gives the Japanese Virtual Currency Exchange Association power to monitor the operations of Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges.

Self-regulation has been seen as a possible way to solve the problems with Bitcoin and blockchain regulation. Formal legislation is usually rather slow and draconic. For a fast developing field such as blockchain industry, this slowness of formal legislation can cause several problems, as the legislators and politicians are simply unable to follow the pace of technological development.

With self-regulation the companies and institutions in the field of blockchain can draft their own codes of conduct and take their own actions against violations. As the codes of conduct and self-regulation don’t demand parliamentary actions, this kind of regulation can be far more dynamic than regular form of legislation.

Japanese Virtual Currency Exchange Association is the first formally recognized self-regulatory institution in the Bitcoin space, but there are several similar projects across the globe. For an example the Finnish Bitcoin and cryptocurrency association Konsensus has been investigating the possibilities of self-regulation.

Though regulation is usually seen as the monopoly of politicians, in reality many businesses are successfully using self-regulation and it might work with Bitcoin as well.

Tether Burns Millions of Stablecoins to Ensure Stability

So-called “stablecoins” – that is, cryptocurrencies which are pegged to fiat currencies like dollar or euro – have been all the rage in past few weeks. Cryptocurrencies have been criticized of being unstable, which has led to the growing demand for stability. These stablecoins are offered to be the answer to that.

One of the most famous of these stablecoins is Tether. One Tether (USDT) is meant to always be worth one U.S. dollar. But there seems to be a problem with this idea, which has lead the Tether company to resort to traditional means to control monetary supply, usually employed by governments and central banks.

Tether has redeemed, or bought back, a “significant amount” of their tokens. Tether also revealed that they are going to destroy 500 million Tether tokens from their vaults. This would mean the destruction of over 50% of the current token supply.

Tether’s actions have been attributed to the company’s promise to keep USDT’s value the same as dollar’s. Tether’s monetary policies have even led to accusations that Tether as a company is unable to back their tokens up. In free markets it is almost impossible to guarantee the worth of something without some sort of monetary or economic manipulation.

Though there is real demand for stablecoins, it seems that at least for now the options on the markets have serious problems, which could make using them more risky than cryptocurrencies with floating value.

There’s a real demand for stablecoins, but for now it is unsure whether all of the stablecoin providers themselves are stable enough.

An Altcoin for Gaming Gains Huge Win

Gaming is one of the fields where cryptocurrency and blockchain can be revolutionary. With blockchain it is possible to create virtual items, that are actually ownable by the players. Additionally cryptocurrencies are far more reliable form of virtual currency than the tokens used usually in gaming industry.

A major gaming platform Xsolla has adopted the blockchain payment method and cryptocurrency MobileGO to its services. This is the first time ever an altcoin has been adopted by a major gaming platform. In practice this gives altcoin users the ability to buy more than 500 games and in-game stuff with cryptocurrency.

“Owners of MGO will soon be able to engage in peer-to-peer match play and organize decentralized gaming tournaments in a way never before possible. MGO is essentially the Bitcoin of the gaming industry, the most trusted cryptocurrency that Xsolla is making available to more than half a billion gamers today,” Xsolla’s CEO, Aleksandr Agapitov told in a press release.

This is good news for developers, players and cryptocurrency users in general. If Xsolla’s ambitious plans for decentralized tournaments and alike come to fruition, there might be a bright future for MobileGO.

With Xsolla’s adaptation, many classic and new games are available for altcoins.

Writer Jiri Keronen

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