There’s never a bad time to be sending and receiving bitcoin, but right now is especially good. Fees are at the lowest in 18 months, with the average transaction value now under a dollar. This contrasts starkly with the latter quarter of last year, when rising fees peaked at $34. There’s a primary reason why fees have been dropping since then: with bitcoin too expensive to send, people simply stopped using it as currency. It’s not just the USD/BTC market that oscillates: bitcoin’s fee market follows suit. Due to various factors ranging from network usage to Segwit adoption and hashrate, fees can rise and fall significantly. Throughout 2017, that trajectory was largely an upward one, culminating, in December, with fees becoming infeasible. Transaction fees have been mercifully declining since then, hitting an 18-month low as of February 21, but given that daily transaction volume has halved in the same period, that’s not surprising. A standard six-block transaction can now be pushed through for as little as 15 cents. Bitinfocharts calculates a median fee of 52 cents, versus just over 1 cent for bitcoin cash. This reduction in transaction fees will not be felt by all bitcoin users however. Anyone withdrawing from an exchange will still be hit with standard fees. Binance and Kucoin, for example, set a flat rate of 0.001 BTC, or around $10.60 at current prices. As Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao pointed out in a recent tweet, though, exchanges have a case for charging above the base rate for the service they’re supplying. Whether they can justify charging upwards of $10 a time is a matter for debate though.
It’s only February, but the award for most inaccurate cryptocurrency article of the year is already in the bag. The Financial Post, which bills itself as “Canada’s most trusted source of financial news” has published an editorial that reads like something straight from The Onion. This isn’t satire though – it’s a serious piece authored by the publication’s decorated editor-at-large Diane Francis. “Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are like the Bre-X stock — they will leave investor hopes in tatters” reads the title of the editorial in the Financial Post. Bre-X was a Canadian penny stock that reached $286 CAD in the 90s before collapsing. “These are equity issues without rules and investors should avoid them like the plague” runs the subheading by Diane Francis. The 71-year-old has the accolade of being the first woman editor of a national daily newspaper in Canada and has had a host of academic accolades bestowed upon her. With bitcoin, she is hopelessly out of her depth however.
Misinformed hit pieces about bitcoin are published on a daily basis, and most don’t warrant the oxygen of the publicity they desperately crave. Francis’ effort for the Financial Post deserves picking apart for posterity, though, as it’s filled with a cornucopia of pithy one-liners. “Anyone can create a cryptocurrency out of thin air,” begins the article, quite correctly. It continues: “Some create fake cryptocurrency exchange sites where bogus trading figures and prices are posted to entice money from the gullible.” That’s a new one, but is still one of the saner claims to be found in the article.
Over the past few weeks, many people have noticed that bitcoin core network fees and transactions times have been a lot better than two months ago when fees reached highs of 1,000 satoshis per byte or $30-40 per transaction. Many people are wondering why these issues have subsided, and some people believe it is due to a practice called ‘transaction batching.’ For about two weeks or so bitcoin core fees have dropped significantly after reaching all-time highs a few weeks prior. Multiple theories are being discussed across the web on why the fees and transaction confirmation times have decreased. Some individuals believe the drop is due to the number of daily transactions, as BTC now appears to be used less. Currently, the amount of transactions per day is over 154,000, but during the last quarter of 2017 daily transactions were between 250,000 to 450,000. Another theory is the adoption of Segregated Witness (Segwit) may have helped, but Segwit use still only represents 15 percent of all BTC transactions. Lastly, another opinion of why BTC is operating smoother is because of a process called ‘transaction batching.’ The subject of transaction batching is a hot topic that is being discussed throughout social media and forums right now.
Despite recent claims that bitcoin is becoming less popular for illicit dealings on the dark web, investigations show that it is still the payment method of choice for many. The most recent example comes from the US Navy, where a few entrepreneurial cadets reportedly used bitcoin to buy drugs which they distributed to their classmates for profit. US Navy investigators have uncovered an alleged drug ring at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, involving between ten to two-dozen suspects. Three cadets are accused of buying cocaine, ketamine and LSD on the dark web using bitcoin and selling the drugs to their classmates. The investigation reportedly began nearly three months ago after one midshipman informed the authorities about the drug trade on the base. The top brass ordered a surprise drug test for all 4,500 cadets before dawn on Wednesday morning and DEA drug-sniffing dogs discovered cocaine in the room of one of the suspected users. The cadet suspected of owning the cocaine was at athletic practice at the time and she reportedly made a run for it but was caught and taken in for questioning.
The Bitcoin dress is the brainchild of designer Holly Renee, who began her overall fashion project in 2012 as an Etsy page, though she’d been designing since she was a teen. In terms of the Genesis Block dress in particular, the “inspiration behind the dress was wanting to solidify this moment in history,”. The San Francisco based company digitally prints on the fabric, and each dress is made by hand through “sewing artisans.” The process “provides a zero-waste print-to order technology. The textile file that is created is printed onto transfer paper, then transferred to the fabric with heat rollers which permanently seals the inks into the fibers. The fabric is then individually cut to size, tagged, sewn and shipped,” according to the company’s site. It’s fitting a crypto dress would be printed digitally, and Shenova describes the process as exciting “because it allows whimsical flexibility, and endless creativity. If you can see it, you can print it (then wear it!) The concept is so great because you can literally take something right off the computer screen and onto your body.”