Only two months have passed in 2019, and they have already brought significant changes to the cryptocurrency market. The largest and most anticipated event among crypto investors was the decision to hold the long-awaited Constantinople hard fork on the Ethereum network. Positive news from the key financial centers of the planet like Wall Street and Switzerland have also maintained the stability of the highly volatile cryptocurrency exchange rates in recent weeks, as well as the latest news about the popular messenger WhatsApp which is ready to launch its own token in the first half of 2019. DeCenter figured out how these events have influenced the cryptocurrency market.
The Long-Awaited Constantinople Hard Fork Has Been Declared Launched
So many rumors circulated in recent months around the Ethereum hard fork that some supporters have already begun to despair. But finally, the events of February 28, 2019, can go down in history when the Constantinople upgrade was activated. It was held at block 7,280,000, which was successfully produced last Thursday. The second digital currency in terms of capitalization has successfully updated this time, in contrast to previous attempts in the fall of 2018 and in January of this year when activation was suspended due to critical vulnerabilities discovered the day before the planned update. The company ChainSecurity, which is engaged in the audit of smart contracts, had revealed that the activation of the hard fork would have allowed fraudsters to carry out a re-entry attack, in which hackers are able to withdraw user funds an infinite number of times.
Now, every day, miners produce a maximum of 13,400 Ethers, and the reward was reduced from 3 ETH to 2 ETH, and before the very first Byzantium hard fork, it was 5 Ethers. Note that the reduction of the mining award is traditionally resisted by part of the pool, but in the end, supporters of the further development of the project win. The block time has also been reduced. Now it should not exceed approximately 14−15 seconds. Since last week, the efficiency and speed of the blockchain have increased, and smart contract developers have received simpler tools. Also, there was the activation of the Casper protocol on that day, which launched the hybrid of PoW and PoS consensus algorithms, which is not often found in cryptocurrencies because developers usually prefer to choose one of them. The next step in the development of the Ethereum network is to activate the Serenity protocol, which will allow the blockchain to work in an even more stable and safer fashion, and the event is scheduled for October 2019.
But Ethereum was not the only one with a network update. As early as March 10th, changes should be added to the IOST cryptocurrency network after the completion of the preliminary preparation, which lasted for almost a year. Thus, the cryptocurrency network will launch its own mainnet by switching from the Ethereum blockchain, and on the same day, the first decentralized applications will be launched on the updated platform. Among their clients are applications with games, crypto wallets, stablecoins, and DEX exchanges. Traditionally, against the background of this event, one can expect great volatility on IOST rate in the days leading up to the launch of its own network, but if it is successful, an increase in rates may occur in the future.
WhatsApp and J.P. Morgan Cryptocurrencies Continue to Amaze
The social networking site Facebook, the owner of WhatsApp, cannot deny the information which appeared in The New York Times about the readiness to list its own stablecoin on one or several of the largest crypto exchanges. Its launch is tentatively scheduled for the first half of 2019. Initially, experts assumed that it would be tied to the U.S. dollar, but now insiders report about the possibility of targeting several currencies held in custodial accounts in the banks of the largest social network by the number of users.
In our previous reviews, we also noted the historic event that many financial media wrote about and which shocked Wall Street, namely, the creation of a stablecoin by the J.P. Morgan investment bank, the largest investment and commercial bank in the world. Even the most prominent crypto skeptic and the head of the organization, Jamie Dimon, during an interview with CNBC last week noted the prospects for using the JPM Coin not only in the interaction between the bank and organizations but also on the estimated $6 trillion market of international payments. He also spoke about the possibilities of a new stablecoin for simple consumers. This will greatly expand the capabilities of the new product, but this will be the next stage. And in the early stages, ordinary investors will not be able to use the new cryptocurrency. The generated digital currency will be provided in the ratio of 1:1 U.S. dollars, which will be sent to the storages of the bank’s customers. And in the coming months, we should expect the beginning of the first payments of the asset created by the bank’s specialists.
Last week, Nasdaq launched the Bitcoin Liquid Index (BLX) and the Ethereum Liquid Index (ELX) indices to track the current spot market prices on the most liquid exchanges with a delay of 30 seconds. Also in the near future, the liquid Ripple cryptocurrency may be displayed with the index fund for it receiving the designation Ripple Liquid Index (RLX). In the future, this event should attract the traditional capital of large investors who do not trust decentralized sites but are ready to invest in more familiar instruments that are traded on the Nasdaq stock exchange that has state licenses.
Switzerland Confidently Holds the Lead in the Crypto Market
Another series of news close to financial topics came from Switzerland. This country is ready to create a hand-built watch with a built-in Bitcoin wallet, and one of the largest commercial banks, Julius Baer, will provide services in the areas of storage, transactions, and investments in cryptocurrencies. An agreement was concluded for this purpose with the blockchain startup SEBA Crypto AG. A joint project in the form of a service for banking customers will start working approximately in the second quarter of 2019. The only deterrent is obtaining a license from the local regulator, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). This product is designed to facilitate the use of cryptocurrencies in everyday life for businesses and individuals, as well as for investment purposes in the near future.
On Thursday, February 28, a successful airdrop was held by another major Swiss credit institution, the Dukascopy Bank. This event can be considered one of the very first ICOs with the participation of a regulated bank. Dukascoin will become a utility token based on the ERC-20 standard, which will be received by users of Connect911 banking messenger as a reward for active use and possession of multicurrency accounts.
Also, a message was received from Switzerland about the closure of the $22 million round of financing by the Pangea Blockchain Fund, although further plans include an investment of $200 million. Its main difference from traditional crypto funds will not be investing in cryptocurrencies in the hope of their growth but the search for venture projects in the blockchain area. It is these investments that can further lead to the “transformations in blockchain solutions,” as stated in an official press release. Note that among the key investors were the Copernicus Asset Management SA fund and the owner of Bitcoin.com Roger Ver.
The most important events of the crypto market in March 2019:
An upgrade of the Monero network protocol is scheduled for March 9 when the block 1,788,000 is produced.
The launch of the IOST network is scheduled for March 10, which may lead to volatility of the coin’s rate on that day and in the next few days.