Last week Bitcoin (BTC) began trading around the $8,600 mark following the Bitcoin Halving on Monday evening, before seeing a substantial surge upwards throughout the week to once again test the important $10,000 level. BTC is trading at the time of writing at $9,757.
Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, began the week trading at $187, before seeing a more steady surge throughout the week to trade at the time of writing at $215 – a weekly gain of 15%.
The cryptocurrency world this week had all eyes on the momentous Bitcoin Halving, which took place on Monday evening at 7.25 PM (UTC). The halving saw block subsidies for mining bitcoins halve from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC, as Bitcoin continued smoothly along its predetermined supply schedule, with block subsidies halving roughly every four years.
Echoing pseudonymous Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakomoto, who included the London Times headline “chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks,” in the first ever Bitcoin block in 2009, mining pool F2Pool embedded a similar message in the last block before the halving. Referencing a New York Times headline from April this year, the message “NYTimes 09/Apr/2020 With $2.3T Injection, Fed’s Plan Far Exceeds 2008 Rescue,” was embedded in Bitcoin’s blockchain for posterity. In an interview with Coindesk, F2Pool co-founder Wang Chun reflected on the significance of the message at a time of unprecedented financial stimulus:
“History has repeated. Due to the coronavirus, there has been yet another ongoing wave of bailout[s] just like the one Satoshi had seen in 2008, but bigger in scale, like Bitcoin reinvented.”
Reddit Gives Ethereum a Major Boost
Last week saw some positive developments for Ethereum as well, as social media giant Reddit launched two Ethereum-based tokens on the popular platform. Designed to incentivise the creation of “quality posts and comments”, the tokens – named Moons and Bricks – were introduced to the r/Cryptocurrency and R/FortniteBR subreddits on Thursday (May 14th). With nearly 2.5 million users between the two communities, the move is a major boon for the Ethereum ecosystem and has the potential to expose a new wave of participants to the world of cryptoassets.
The news was welcomed by the crypto community at large, with Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao heralding the move as representing “inevitable adoption.”
Telegram Shutters Crypto Project
In perhaps less positive news for the industry, last week also saw the announcement that Telegram, the company behind the popular messaging app, is closing its cryptocurrency project after two and a half years. The Telegram Open Network (TON) and its accompanying cryptocurrency Grams, had raised over $1.7 billion via an ICO, but Telegram was ordered by the SEC last October to halt its token sale as the body alleged that the company had failed to take the necessary regulatory steps for the sale. After offering investors their money back last month, and just two weeks ago explaining that it was looking to launch in 2021, Telegram announced the closure of the project on its public Telegram channel.
In an accompanying blog post discussing the shuttering of the project, Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov, blamed the United States for obstructing the project, adding that:
“Sadly, the US judge is right about one thing: we, the people outside the US, can vote for our presidents and elect our parliaments, but we are still dependent on the United States when it comes to finance and technology (luckily not coffee).”