This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:

New developments:

Wikileaks founder thanked the U.S. government for the 50,000% ROI it had on Bitcoin

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange recently published a tweet thanking the U.S. government for, starting in 2010, erecting an illegal banking blockade against the non-profit whistleblower organization that led companies such as PayPal and American Express to deny it service. Assange thanks the U.S. government as, per his own words, it caused Wikileaks to invest in Bitcoin, which led to a return of over 50.000%. At press time, Wikileaks’ public donation address has 7.5 BTC in it. The organization now also accepts Zcash donations.

Notably, when it was first revealed that Wikileaks would be accepting Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto wasn’t too thrilled. He stated:

  • “No, don’t “bring it on”. The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way. I make this appeal to WikiLeaks not to try to use Bitcoin.  Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy.  You would not stand to get more than pocket change, and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage.”

The Byzantium hard fork is now active on Ethereum’s network

Ethereum’s network has successfully activated the Byzantium hard fork this week, initiating the first phase of the platform’s protocol update, Metropolis. The Metropolis upgrade has reportedly been planned since 2015, and introduces enhanced security, scalability, and privacy to the network of the second biggest cryptocurrency. This was notably the fifth time the Ethereum network underwent a hard fork, and its price surged since the last one in November 2016.

Developers celebrated the hard fork and, according to Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin, so far everything has been going smoothly, although Ethereum’s price is still around the $300 mark, despite having spiked to nearly $350 before the hard fork.

Industry experts criticize outlets for “Bitcoin Cash is Bitcoin” piece

This week, Bitcoin.com released a controversial piece that stated that “Bitcoin Cash is Bitcoin” , which can also be found on CoinGeek, a website belonging to the Calvin Ayre group. The piece was meant to make a case as to why Bitcoin Cash (BCC) is the blockchain that can “do it all” and is more in line with Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision. It points out that BCC has low fees, and irreversible transactions, just like Bitcoin when Satoshi Nakamoto created it. It adds that the upcoming hard forks won’t give their tokens these properties, but neglects to mention decentralization. The piece reads:

  • “Based on the above comparisons between the various versions of Bitcoin, the whitepaper, and the years of common understanding that Bitcoin was always meant to be an electronic cash system, it is the position of this website that Bitcoin Cash is the version of Bitcoin that most closely adheres to the original design. The position that Bitcoin Cash is Bitcoin is based on its adherence to the design goals and intended purpose that Bitcoin was created to fulfill.”

Industry experts were quick to criticize the piece, stating that it could easily lead to misunderstandings to newcomers who might use Bitcoin.com as an initial portal to learn about Bitcoin. Notably, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee stated it was “full of lies and FUD”:

U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions says Bitcoin on the dark web is a “big problem”

The U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions, during a testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, stated that the use of Bitcoin and other untraceable currencies on the dark web is a “big problem.” In his statement, Sessions addressed the closure of two of darknet’s biggest markets by law enforcement this year, including ecosystem leader AlphaBay. According to CoinDesk, Sessions’ appearance and statements might mean that Congress may be about to take up specific measures against dark web marketplaces.

World affairs:

Russia to issue its own national cryptocurrency, the cryptoruble

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently called for a state-issued cryptocurrency – the cryptoruble – at a closed door meeting between the president and the country’s political elite at Moscow’s Capital Club. Details of the meeting were later on revealed by the country’s minister of Communications and Mass Media, Nikolai Nikiforov, who stated that the cryptocurrency will be developed and issued “quickly,” and that it won’t be mineable.

In a statement, the minister said:

  • “I so confidently declare that we will launch the cryptoruble for one simple reason: if we do not, our neighbors in the Eurasian Economic Community will do it in 2 months.”

The cryptocurrency will be legal tender in the Russian Federation, and those who adopt it will have to pay a flat 13% tax if they aren’t able to declare their source when transacting with them, and another 13% tax on the earned difference of transactions involve buying and selling cryptorubles. Nikiforov further added that the creation of the cryptoruble shouldn’t be seen as an endorsement on decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Head of Brazil’s central bank compared Bitcoin to a pyramid scheme

According to RttNews, the head of Brazil’s central bank, Ilan Goldfajn, was dismissive of Bitcoin’s new all-time high, and stated that it was important to separate Bitcoin from its underlying technology, blockchain. According to Goldfajn, those who invest in cryptocurrencies are merely trying to chase the same type of returns that those who invest in pyramid schemes chase. He said:

  • The Bitcoin is a financial asset with no ballast that people buy because they believe it will appreciate. That is a typical bubble or pyramid [scheme].”

He then added that Brazil’s central bank isn’t interested in “bubbles or illicit payments” and that, as such, activities related to these practices aren’t encouraged.

Financial:

Bitcoin is now trading above $6,000, as its market cap topped $100 billion

This week, Bitcoin experienced a surge in trading volume that helped it cross the $5,700, $5,8000, and $5,900 marks in rapid succession, so it could reach a new all-time high above the $6,000 mark and, at the same time, surpass the $100 billion market cap. In early September, the whole cryptocurrency ecosystem’s market was of about $100 billion, and now Bitcoin alone has surpassed it. The cryptocurrency ecosystem’s market cap if currently of $173 billion, and Bitcoin’s dominance is of 58.8%. At press time, one Bitcoin is worth $6,131.44.