On Monday, May 13, the Bitcoin price set a new maximum for 2019, exceeding $7800, with the main currency’s dominance index reaching 59.8%. Bitcoin trading volume saw a sharp increase, reaching a total of $27 billion at the time of writing. The highly positive news landscape has greatly contributed to this growth.

This week rivals November 2017 by the amount of positive news: it has brought us regulated futures from Bakkt, Microsoft platform tests on the Bitcoin blockchain, as well as the potential implementation of cryptocurrency payments on eBay marketplace. We will walk you through all these news in our latest digest.

Bakkt will start testing Bitcoin futures this summer

Institutional investment platform Bakkt will add two Bitcoin contracts to its listing. The company will allocate $35 million from their own resources for transaction coverage. All deals will pass through the clearing house. Futures will have both daily and monthly settlements.

Bakkt will start testing contracts this summer. According to Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler, the company is collaborating with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Microsoft launches infrastructure based on Bitcoin blockchain

The infrastructure from the largest software supplier will be completely decentralized. This open-source solution called ION will be based on the interaction between networks. This solution will identify users and grant access to various types of information. For example, if a user logs into Airbnb with their Facebook account, the protocol will share personal information in their profile with the service provider.

Because ION identifiers will be decentralized, deleting social media accounts will not erase the services connected to them. All published photos will belong to the user rather than the social network. If the project is successful, ION might completely transform the entire tech industry.

Fidelity ($7 trillion) launches OTC trading for institutional investors

Financial company Fidelity Investments, which is currently managing $7.2 trillion worth of funds, will offer Bitcoin trading options for institutional clients in the next couple of weeks. This was announced by Bloomberg.

By the way, a recent study made by Fidelity Digital Assets shows that 22% of institutional investors are already working with cryptocurrencies. At present, the company has no plans to introduce other cryptocurrencies in addition to Bitcoin.

eBay might add cryptocurrency support

A photo of an eBay campaign from major crypto conference Consensus 2019 has made its way to several media sources and social networks.

 

One side of the banner says ‘Virtual currency. It’s happening on eBay,’ while the other features ‘Reach 179 million active buyers in the world’s largest marketplace’. The viral tweet made waves in the crypto community. Users are positive that this initiative will lead to wider acceptance of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

By the way, eBay joined IBM, Microsoft, Fidelity and others as a sponsor of Consensus — one of the largest industry conferences.

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex raises $1 billion in IEO

Bitfinex exchange has managed to raise their planned sum of $1 billion in an IEO that lasted 10 days. The company has also released tokens under the LEO marker. Institutional investors were particularly active, with their total investment exceeding $100 million. According to the platform’s technical director, the average investment was $1 million.

The company plans to use these funds to solve their financial problems – the NY Attorney General had previously sued the cryptocurrency exchange for fraud. According to the Commission, iFinex (the exchange operator) concealed $850 million worth of losses which belonged to the platform’s clients.

Binance exchange hack

Last week had its share of negative news: on May 8, a major vulnerability was discovered in the Binance crypto exchange security system, which allowed hackers to steal 7000 BTC. They gained access to multiple API keys, 2FA codes and other data. The hackers divided the stolen money into smaller pieces to make it harder to track.

Representatives of the exchange promised to compensate users for their losses from the #SAFU fund, where the platform has been sending 10% of all commissions since last summer. At present, both deposit and withdrawal of funds to the platform have been disabled while experts are conducting a comprehensive security audit.

Platform CEO Changpeng Zhao has announcedsome serious upcoming changes which will affect the backend (API, 2FA and withdrawal confirmation), risk management, KYC procedures and user behavior analysis.

The Binance hack was followed by increased activity from its competitors: crypto exchange OKEx launched a promotion offering a 10 USDT bonus to anyone who transfers 100 USDT from the ‘compromised platform’. However, many users criticized this situational marketing approach, expressing their doubts about the security of OKEx.

Upcoming Bitcoin softfork announced

A Bitcoin developer recently posted about two potential improvements to the Bitcoin protocol.

 

They are related to the implementation of Taproot technology. The new BIP describe a version of SegWit based on Schnorr signatures, Taproot and Merkle trees, as well as script system semantics.

The developer noted that changes would have to be implemented concurrently, which would be best done through a softfork.