Bitcoin has the best security track record of any cryptocurrency. Its network has never been hacked. And its decentralized design means there’s no single point of failure. That’s one of the reasons why we like it so much.
This week, bitcoin’s security got even stronger.
The bitcoin hash rate – the amount of computing power used to validate bitcoin transactions – surpassed 80 quintillion SHA256 hashes per second on Thursday. (SHA256 stands for Secure Hash Algorithm 256 bit, a type of hash function commonly used in blockchain.) That’s the highest it’s ever been. And it indicates the network is stronger than ever.
That’s because bitcoin’s hash rate is generally accepted as a reflection of the network’s security. The harder it is to mine bitcoin (i.e., solve complex math problems), the more computing power you need. And recently, bitcoin mining has become harder than ever.
On to the News Fix…
Former FDA head recommends decriminalizing marijuana: Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, said the U.S. should consider decriminalizing marijuana and create a federal regulatory framework to standardize state cannabis markets (Marijuana Moment). Gottlieb said he doesn’t support full-scale legalization, citing concerns about youth use of THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana). But he said there are “valid reasons” for decriminalization.
Survey says 1 in 7 Americans are using CBD: A recent Gallup survey found 1 in 7 Americans are using some form of CBD (cannabidiol). And about 90% of those users take CBD for therapeutic purposes (Marijuana Moment).
Oklahoma medical marijuana dispensaries sue Facebook: Some Oklahoma medical marijuana dispensaries believe Facebook is hurting their business. So they’ve filed a lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit says Facebook has made a point to “discriminate, censor and harass” and purposefully cause “financial harm” to the dispensaries by taking down their business pages (Oklahoma’s News 4).
“When our pages go down, it shows trends that our business goes down as well. People just assume that we went out of business,” said Monica Green, owner of Green’s Bakery Dispensary.
Hope still alive for legal recreational weed in New Jersey: New Jersey lawmakers aren’t ready to give up on legislation legalizing recreational marijuana. Three months ago, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney announced he was ending efforts to pass a bill to legalize recreational marijuana due to lack of votes. But now Sweeney said he’s not giving up yet (Lehigh Valley Live).
“We’ll make one more run at it,” Sweeney said.
If lawmakers legalize weed through legislation rather than waiting on a voter referendum, residents will be able to get legal recreational marijuana much sooner. And that’s especially important for New Jersey, which, in 2017, arrested more people for marijuana offenses than any other state in the country.
Nike tries to learn more about what customers want: Nike COO Eric Sprunk says the company must be “hyper-focused on consumer behavior” to better serve customers. So to that end, Nike has acquired Boston-based startup Celect to help strengthen its predictive analytics. Celect’s technology produces data insights on things like a cost-benefit analysis of arranging inventory (TechCrunch). Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Crypto startups raising despite ICO slump: The ICO boom of 2017 and 2018 has waned, but crypto startups are still raising millions. Data from ICOdata shows that token sales have raised more than $340 million from 83 crypto fundraising events so far this year (Cointelegraph).
Lyft plans to end lockup period early: A lockup period is a mandated stretch of time after a company’s IPO during which insiders are prevented from selling their shares. It varies by company, but typically ranges from 90 to 180 days after the IPO. In Lyft’s case, it was scheduled to last for about six months, ending on September 24. But Lyft has decided to end it early. Lyft directors and officers will be able to sell their shares starting August 19 (Yahoo Finance).
Lyft’s stock took a dive near the end of July and into the beginning of August. And the lockup deadline is likely to continue the roller-coaster ride.
Crypto tax bill introduced in the House: Rep. Ted Budd (R-North Carolina) has introduced a bill to the House of Representatives that aims to preclude cryptocurrencies from double taxation (Cointelegraph). With the current crypto tax policy being a bit of a mess, crypto investors would benefit immensely from any clarity. And if you’re saved from harsh tax rates, all the better!
Binance plans to open a London office: Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by volume, is looking to expand in Europe. It hopes to open a London office soon (CoinDesk). CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) says the “very neutral and very positive” crypto regulations recently released by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority played a role in the decision.
Britain’s upcoming departure from the European Union (known as Brexit) also has the potential to boost Binance’s efforts. “If anything, [Brexit] is likely to make people adopt crypto more, which is good for us,” CZ said.
Binance deals with a Russian doll of hacking: In less welcome news for Binance, the exchange now has to deal with an extortion attempt (CoinDesk). Hackers hacking hackers. That’s where we are now.
Coinbase blocks hacking attempt: Coinbase, on the other hand, is maintaining its secure track record. The crypto exchange detected and blocked a sophisticated hacking attempt that involved spear phishing (sending an email from an apparently trusted source in an attempt to install malware on a user’s computer), social engineering tactics and more (CoinDesk).
The Coinbase team doesn’t seem too rattled by the attack. A Coinbase security employee wrote this in a blog post:
The cryptocurrency industry has to expect attacks of this sophistication to continue, and by building infrastructure with excellent defensive posture, and working with each other to share information about the attacks we’re seeing, we’ll be able to defend ourselves and our customers, support the cryptoeconomy, and build the open financial system of the future.
And that’s your News Fix. Have a great weekend!
Assistant Managing Editor, Early Investing