The markets are back in the doldrums. Bitcoin Cash faces reports of severe commercial decline, while Ethereum tripped overnight. There was embarrassing news for Bitcoin too, which in the past 12 months has failed to match the stellar investment record set by reviled dad-shoe maker Crocs.
Nevertheless, people in Turkey are turning to Bitcoin, not foam boating shoes, to protect their assets as the country's economy tanks. Since a spat between Turkey and the U.S. left the Turkish lira spiraling, bitcoin transfers on Turkish exchange BTCturk have shot up by 350 percent.
Maybe a coincidence, but crypto does look increasingly secure. On Tuesday, hackers trying to overwhelm and crash the NEO Smart Contract Platform—”Chinese Ethereum”—were quickly rebuffed by NEO’s core development team after engineers at Qihoo 360 Core Securities, makers of antivirus software, notified the company of the attack. The entire hoo-hah lasted less than an hour.
But some are unsettled by such displays of executive power. Usethebitcoin.com joined the “Is Ripple Decentralized” debate with a striking—and possibly damning—case in point. In 2014, the bank-friendly cryptocurrency froze the assets of founder Jed McCaleb. The freeze wasn’t a response to a court order, as Ripple stated, but the prerogative of the company itself. Usethebitcoin.com concludes the currency isn’t decentralized.
Such flagrant centralization might chafe with Bitcoin Cash advocate Roger Ver, aka “Bitcoin Jesus,” who has pledged to match donations of up to $100,000 to help Defense Distributed founder Cory Wilson beat 21 state courts and realize his dream of mass distributing blueprints for print-it-yourself guns. Ver himself knows the “overreaching arm of the law” only too well, having spent ten years in the can for, er, “selling pest control fireworks online without a license.”
Wilson’s right to distribute the blueprints is upheld by one court: the federal one. The Trump administration, it seems, is all for decentralization. On Tuesday, it granted University of California-San Diego researcher Subhashini Sivagnanam $800,000 to build an “Open Science Chain” to create a living, growing record of scientific knowledge.
With South Korea proceeding on plans to pump $4.5bn into blockchain technology and a large Australian utilities company accepting crypto-payments, the ailing markets may—pending federal regulation—reanimate just yet.