The future will soon arrive, apparently. Bakkt, a bitcoin futures trading platform run by the New York Stock Exchange, is officially set to launch December 12, according to the Intercontinental Exchange, the NYSE’s parent company. Yippee.
So who cares? Institutional investors, that’s who. For those down for a bit of coin but not down to (a) keep it in an exchange or (b) watch in horror as the value steadily plummets, Bakkt offers “cold storage.” No, not in a fridge! N00b. “Cold storage,” rather, means that bitcoin investments (in the form of derivative futures contracts) are stored off-chain, in a centralized Bakkt-backed data trove where their value is maintained.
It’s not the Web3 dreamed of by cypherpunks, sure. But with all that institutional money pouring in, bitcoin prices could potentially skyrocket. Which is a boon for everyone, really. Kinda.
There’s another (marginally) large institutional investor stepping to the fore. Dutch Telecoms giant KPN has officially (again) joined Chinese Ethereum lookalike NEO as a consensus node—that is, it’ll participate in the network’s consensus protocol by verifying transactions and running its own version of the decentralized ledger. Nodes on NEO are selected by vote, so the NEO rabble must have really taken to KPN.
KPN’s official confirmation as a node is big news for the three people who care about NEO. KPN is big money—its annual revenue runs up to $8 billion, and it's one of the Netherlands' largest telecoms companies. It’s also the first entity to join NEO from the outside; it has no built-in affiliation with the project. Who knows—it might set the stage for some other big players to get nodey. We’ll all be nodes someday.
It’s a good day for (some) bitcoin nodes, too. ASIC chip supplier Bitmain has released ASICboost, a controversial software update that gives those who download it a 20 percent edge in mining efficiency. Though Bitmain has asserted the speed boost will be transparent and will not have "any negative impact on the Bitcoin protocol,” some aren’t so sure.
ASICboost works, you see, by exploiting a vulnerability in bitcoin’s consensus protocol. Detractors, many of them Bitcoin Core developers, say this creates a disparity in mining power that harms the network. Vintage Bitmain.
Last big dog of the day. Largest-crypto-exchange-by-volume Binance, with an investment (amount undisclosed) from $2.5 billion-valued capital network Vertex Ventures, is carving inroads into Singapore, and plans, thrillingly, to fund the development of a Singapore-based crypto exchange.
What’s more interesting, however, is that Vertex and Binance will “continue to work together” throughout Southeast Asia, a kind of corporate Starsky and Hutch taking down the middlemen and “spreading the freedom of money" with their enormous stacks of capital. The entrenched corporate class sure is keen on securing true, decentralized financial freedom for all.
Read next: Good government.