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Five Bitcoin News Stories to Watch

The bitcoin market is enduring a period of soul searching, and the future of the digital currency is at stake. For bitcoin investors, it is impossible to predict which way bitcoin will turn. These are the stories that  bitcoin investors and enthusiasts should watch:

1. What is the Hard Fork?

The bitcoin community is undergoing a civil war of sorts between two groups with fundamentally different views about the future of the technology behind the currency. In essence, it is a debate over the capacity of a block in the bitcoin registry. One group wants to follow the current standard procedure in which a block is 1MB, while the other group wants block sizes to be, potentially, unlimited. The issue itself is not what worries bitcoin investors, rather the potential for a split in the currency, or a “Hard Fork”, has everyone on edge. The debate increased volatility in the price of bitcoin and sent it tumbling by almost 25 percent before it rebounded to its current price of around $1,200. Investors should keep a close eye on this discussion that may change the landscape of digital currency.

2. SEC Shuts the Door on Two Bitcoin ETFs

The first ever application for a bitcoin ETF came from Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss and the security faced judgment from the SEC in early March. The two sought to make the cryptocurrency more accessible to the common investor and to legitimize its use. A similar ETF created by FinTech firm SolidX attempted to clear the same hurdle and was stopped short by the Commission. The SEC cited the same issues for both ETFs including worries over the lack of regulation, trade monitoring, and liquidity. The decisions were disappointing to the bitcoin community but bitcoin markets remained relatively stable in response.

3. Japan and Russia Have Their Eyes on Bitcoin.

Earlier in the month, Japan began accepting bitcoin as legal payment, and many Japanese companies came out in support of the new law. According to CNBC, “Bitcoin trading in Japanese Yen is the second most liquid market globally.” The Japanese adoption of bitcoin is a huge step forward for the global acceptance of the cryptocurrency and other countries are likely to follow suit. Russia is currently exploring ways to regulate bitcoin and hopes to legalize its use by 2018. This is, in part, an effort to combat money laundering in Russia. As Japan, Russia, and other countries normalize the use of bitcoin, it will become a more attractive investment to those who were once apprehensive of the digital currency’s uncertainty.

4. Alibaba Uses Blockchain to Monitor Food Supply.
To combat rising allegations of fraudulently labeled or marketed food products being offered on their online marketplace, e-commerce giant Alibaba, along with PwC, is creating a “Food Trust Framework” through a blockchain platform. This will enable participants across the entire supply chain to monitor and track shipments in real time, and potentially identify any fraudulent activity. The effort is meant to prevent food fraud, or tampering with food products and their proper descriptions. This type of fraud has resulted in deaths in both China and other nations, which is why the ability to identify fraudulent products is important to Alibaba and the partners in this initiative.

5. Experts predict bitcoin could be worth $500k.
Blockchain CEO and Founder Peter Smith and Jeremy Liew, the first investor in social media app Snapchat, shared their thoughts on the future of bitcoin in a presentation sent to Business Insider. The two industry experts argue that Bitcoin could, and should, be worth upwards of $500,000 by 2030. Their reasoning is based on an increased interest in the cryptocurrency largely thanks to recent developments and trends.

Copyright for image: Photographer Page, Stock Photo, License Summary.