Martin Chavez, chief financial officer of Goldman Sachs, called reports that the bank had scrapped its planned bitcoin trading desk “fake news.” Apparently, such a trading desk was never planned anyway. What he did say, however, was that Goldman is looking into “over the counter derivatives” for the currency.
Did the Goldman news foster any resurgence in the market? Barely. Though it dropped five percent upon Wednesday’s “fake news,” it gained only a single percent after Thursday's course reversal. Ether, too, clambered only a measly 0.3 percent out of the pits of despair. Crypto's had a rough week.
Might salvation come from the crypto heavens? “Cryptocurrency payment gateway” CoinGate announced that the super fast Lightning Network would be operational on its platform in September, allowing users to process “off-chain” bitcoin payments at speed with “minuscule” fees. Though Coingate admits the Lightning Network is currently “more suited to advanced users and Bitcoin enthusiasts,” it noted that, sooner or later, bitcoin’s trademark sluggishness would be a thing of the past.
Or maybe bitcoin—among others—will find new hope in news that BlackRock, a $6 trillion-valued investment firm, is reportedly working with crypto exchange Coinbase on an exchange traded fund. Champagne all roun—OH, wait, BlackRock is only advising Coinbase and Larry Fink, its CEO, maintains that cryptocurrency is an “index of laundering.” So unless that’s a backhanded compliment from Larry, maybe keep your Champagne corked, for now.
Perhaps crypto's savior will come from one of its Young Turks? IOTA, the so-called third-generation cryptocurrency, is developing a “Smart Energy Ecosystem” with ENGIE Labs, the research arm of global energy provider ENGIE. It’s certainly not the first bid to put energy consumption on the blockchain, but the involvement of IOTA makes it interesting—IOTA’s Tangle protocol is designed to be infinitely scalable, unlike the cumbersome “blocks” that make up platforms like Ethereum. This could create large-scale utility networks that allow homeowners to meticulously track their energy consumption.
Or could the old guard yet trounce the young upstarts? Sunny King, who invented “proof-of-stake,” has now, er, reinvented it, because nobody really liked it the first time (Ethereum says it's a fan, but seems hesitant to abandon its leccy-sponging mining army). The current system lets cryptocurrency miners verify transactions only if they stake their own funds on the network as collateral, making it far more energy efficient.
But miners must store these down payments off-chain, a process known as “cold-staking” (do they store them in a fridge?). This carries a security risk. King’s solution, called “supernode proof-of-stake,” instead lets users store their funds using specialized hardware, or something: “The project is still a bit light on details,” admits Coindesk. Does anyone know what the hell anyone means anymore? King has probably spent too much time with Goldman Sachs.