Ethereum would never be possible without bitcoin—both the technology and the currency—and we see ourselves not as a competing currency but as complementary within the digital ecosystem. Ether is to be treated as “crypto-fuel”, a token whose purpose is to pay for computation, and is not intended to be used as or considered a currency, asset, share or anything else.
There are many ways in which you can use Bitcoins within the Ethereum ecosystem:
Trade BTC for ETH: multiple third-party companies are working to make the exchanging of ether and bitcoins as easy and seamless as possible. If so desired one could trade bitcoins for ether with the purpose of executing contracts and trade it back immediately in order to keep their value pegged and secured by the bitcoin network. The latest version of the wallet includes an automatic conversion between ether and bitcoin.
Use a pegged derivative: Ethereum is a great tool for creating complex trading between multiple parties. If you have a source for the price of Bitcoin that all parties trust, then it’s possible to create an ethereum based currency whose value is pegged to the market value of Bitcoin. This means that you could trade bitcoins to a token that is guaranteed to always trade back to the same amount of bitcoins while still being fully compatible with other ethereum contracts.
Use a Bitcoin relay to convert a 2-way peg: the bitcoin relay is a piece of code that allows you to sidechain a bitcoin into ethereum. This means that you can use Bitcoin’s native limited scripting capability to lock a bitcoin into a contract that is directly connected to an ethereum contract, which can then issue an ethereum based token that is guaranteed to be backed by bitcoin. The relay is under development and as implementations are tested and proved to be secure.
Australia’s biggest banks have ruled out any notion of barring customers from buying cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. In marked contrast to a handful of US-based Wall Street banks and one major UK banking group, Australia’s traditional ‘big four’ banks won’t be withholding their customers from buying cryptocurrencies using their banks’ services, including credit cards, Australia’s ABC news reports. While Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) rejects dealing with businesses operating as ‘issuers, dealers or exchanges’ of cryptocurrency due to their unregulated nature, the bank has no qualms about its customers buying cryptocurrencies with their money.
Following a keen study on cryptocurrencies and their trading by the country’s central bank, Singapore’s deputy prime minister has stressed there is no reason to ban cryptocurrency trading among residents. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore’s deputy prime minister and minister in charge of the central bank, was speaking at a parliamentary session yesterday when he fielded questions by three Members of Parliament (MEPs) about any potential ban of cryptocurrency trading in Singapore. The questions pointedly mentioned China’s ban on domestic exchanges and South Korea’s similar – but now debunked – hostile stance with local trading markets. Is “any action…being considered to ban the trading of bitcoin currency or cryptocurrency…?” was one of the questions posed.
The timing of the rollout couldn’t be better. Zug, Switzerland-based bitcoin wallet startup Bread unveiled plans to accept international bitcoin purchases via credit card. Bread is boasting features such as “high limits” and same-day delivery for bitcoin purchases, both of which are often missing from cryptocurrency exchanges. By allowing this service, which is a product of a relationship with Simplex, investors can bypass cryptocurrency exchanges, which incidentally top US banks have taken aim at of late. Bread tweeted – While Bread is making it easier for investors to get their hand on bitcoin, banks are making it more difficult. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Lloyd’s in recent days placed a ban on bitcoin purchases via credit card. Cryptocurrency exchanges appear to be tops on banks’ radar for credit card bitcoin purchases.
The company made the announcement on Twitter, stating that “our engineering team has begun the final testing phase of SegWit for Bitcoin” and that “SegWit-compatible Bitcoin sends/receives will be available for customers in the next few weeks.” As CCN reported, SegWit (or Segregated Witness) was activated on the Bitcoin network via a soft fork last August. By decreasing the size of transactions, SegWit lowers fees and optimizes the limited space in Bitcoin blocks. However, users only take advantage of this feature if they use SegWit-compatible wallet addresses. According to data from hardware wallet manufacturer Trezor, only about 15 percent of Bitcoin transactions currently employ SegWit, down from a high of about 18 percent in late January. This recent reduction could be linked to users taking advantage of lower transaction fees to move funds from legacy addresses to SegWit-compatible ones, but in any case it is clear that the network is not experiencing the full benefits that the scaling upgrade offers, in part because Coinbase and a few other large firms have been slow to implement it.