It what might be a good sign for beleaguered Bitcoin, which has suffered a series of jolts in 2018, the average price of transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain fell to just over a dollar – or 0.014 of a Bitcoin. The confirmations, moreover, are now taking less than 10 minutes.
In one sense this has been driven by lower demand, which is a reflection of a weakness in the overall Bitcoin market, but the other side is that the SegWit (Segregated Witness) scaling solution that was introduced last summer is beginning to stabilise prices and reduce confirmation times – both of which had previously been considered barriers to Bitcoin’s user case.
SegWit had recently been introduced by the Bitstamp and Coinbase exchanges to save users transaction fees, and this could be a sign that Bitcoin’s utility is improving. And that could open the door to more widespread adoption.
Any holders – sorry, hodlers – or cryptocurrencies are perhaps familiar with the sentiment: from daily, if not hourly, checks on the price of Bitcoin, Ethereum or Ripple at the turn of the year, a good many investors are simply no longer looking at the scale of the declines in the last two months.
Statistics from Similarweb say that traffic to the Coinbase exchange was down 49 percent in February – 123.5 million to 63.1 million. Kraken saw an even bigger drop from 31.7 million in January to 13.8 million in February – more than 56 percent. Well, if they’re not visiting, at least they’re not selling.
You can, should you wish, now buy the Venezuelan government’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro, in foreign currency.
Although the coin can’t be bought with the local Bolivar, investment has been opened up to the Yuan, the Ruble, the Turkish Lira and the Euro – although not any Gulf currency, despite Venezuela’s hope that the OPEC countries would invest in the project. Last week, US President Donald Trump banned any US citizen from buying the Petro.
The buying and selling of Bitcoin in Africa continues to grow, helped in part by the expansion of the peer-to-peer Paxful exchange. According to reports in bitcoinist.com, $40,000,000-worth of Bitcoin is traded on monthly basis on the platform, whose second and third biggest markets after the US are Nigeria and Ghana respectively.
Interestingly, rather than buying and holding for long-term growth, as in South Korea, it appears that the African market is about trading margins as one would with gold, as well as also offsetting the effects of hyperinflation in their own currencies – which, perhaps, is the best proof of Bitcoin’s underlying promise.For all the latest banking and finance news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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