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Ethereum takes center stage, Turkey bans cryptocurrency payments

2021.04.17 Adam James

This week's blockchain and cryptocurrency industry news cycle was dominated by Ethereum.

It's been a hot week for Ethereum-related news after cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain announced new ASIC miners and CME ETH futures metrics hit record highs. Additionally, the protocol underwent an upgrade, which caused some problems for a variety of companies.

On the legal front, the central bank of Turkey is banning the use of cryptocurrencies for payments, while Satoshi Nakamoto-claimant Craig Wright finds himself getting sued.

Here's everything you need to know about these stories, and more, in this week's edition of OKEx Insights' News of the Week.

Bitmain announces new Ethereum ASIC miners

Bitmain is launching a new application-specific integrated circuit miner for Ethereum. The AntMiner E9 ASIC will run on the Ethash algorithm — though prices and technical specifications have yet to be released.

Key takeaways

  • Ethereum miners have seen dramatic increases in revenue over the past year, which has caused a surge in demand for both ASIC and inferior GPU miners.
  • Interested parties might want to temper their expectations as to when they might actually receive one or more E9 miners, given that we are currently in the midst of a global chip shortage.
  • Ethereum is expected to implement EIP-1559 this summer, which would dramatically decrease the profitability of mining on the dominant smart-contract protocol's network.

CME ETH futures see record volume and open interest

Ethereum mining is not the only hot aspect of the second-ranked blockchain protocol. This week, it was revealed that both volumes and open interest for CME Group's ETH futures hit record highs earlier this month.

Key takeaways

  • CME ETH futures primarily serve as a means of allowing institutions to hedge against ETH spot prices. The steady growth in open interest is indicative of growing institutional interest in the second-ranked crypto-asset.
  • At the moment, ETH futures are currently outpacing CME's significantly older BTC futures.

Ethereum's Berlin upgrade causes syncing issues

Berlin, the latest network upgrade for Ethereum, went live on Thursday — but not as smoothly as some might have hoped.

Though Ethereum itself was not negatively affected, a syncing issue affecting software client OpenEthereum caused some problems for a variety of companies, such as Coinbase, Ledger, BitGo, Coin Metrics and blockchain tracker Etherscan.

As of the time of this writing, the team at OpenEthereum has provided a solution to the issue.

Key takeaway

  • Though some might dismiss the syncing issues as a relatively minor inconvenience, it highlights the complexity of upgrading the Ethereum protocol — even when a particular upgrade has been scheduled for an extended period of time.

Lawsuit filed against Satoshi Nakamoto-claimant Craig Wright

A civil suit has been filed against Craig Wright — who has repeatedly claimed to be the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto — by the Square-founded patent-sharing group Crypto Open Patent Alliance.

The lawsuit was filed to the Intellectual Property List of the High Court of Justice Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, and it asks the United Kingdom High Court to affirm that Wright does not own the Bitcoin white paper — despite his repeated claims and legal threats to Bitcoin.org and Bitcoincore.org.

Key takeaways

  • Though Wright has his proponents, the broader cryptocurrency industry has grown tired of the Bitcoin SV founder's repeated claims and threats — particularly because he has yet to definitively prove that he is the creator of Bitcoin and/or owns the private keys to wallets known to be owned by Satoshi Nakamoto.
  • COPA's success in the U.K. High Court would go a long way toward discrediting Wright's further claims.

Turkey bans cryptocurrency payments

The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey announced on Friday that cryptocurrencies may not be used for payments — effectively preventing any company from providing crypto-payment services.

The new restrictions will be implemented on the last day of April.

Key takeaway

  • The central bank of Turkey cites all of the classic reasons — lack of regulation, volatility, illicit usage, anonymity, etc. — for banning the usage of cryptocurrencies in payments.
  • The move from Turkey's central bank comes more than a week after investment bank JPMorgan Chase upped its inflation forecast for the country from 11.2% to 13.4%.
Turkey's inflation rate has been rising steadily over recent months
Turkey's inflation rate has been rising steadily over recent months. Source: Trading Economics

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