This week brought several signs that cryptocurrency is gradually gaining mainstream acceptance, both in the business world and society generally.
First, it appears that U.S. college students like crypto, with 18 percent of them saying they own cryptocurrency in a recent survey conducted by Coinbase with Qriously. More and more top universities, including Cornell, Stanford, and Georgetown, are adjusting to the demand and offering new courses on blockchain.
Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi bought 73 percent of a publicly-traded firm called Pantronics Holdings. The $77 miilion investment will help Huobi to get, through a reverse takeover, a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Big institutional insurers are also quietly moving closer to the space. British Kingdom Trust, a custodian of 30 cryptocurrencies and tokens, will start providing coverage for theft and loss due to natural disaster. This became possible thanks to underwriters in Lloyd's insurance marketplace — a storied, centuries-old firm that had never previously advertised its intentions to work with crypto.
And finally, Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten announced it is buying a cryptocurrency exchange called Everybody's Bitcoin. Rakuten's customers have been asking for a crypto exchange service, the company said, so now it's planning to get a license for the exchange and also launch its own cryptocurrency.
EYE ON ETHEREUM
Ethereum is on the eve of a big, important October upgrade known as Constantinople, intended to improve the network’s scalability and performance. In the meantime, the community is actively discussing what needs to be changed.Most importantly, the community has to decide how tomanage ether inflationbefore a so-called difficulty bomb hits.
One contentious proposal, EIP 1052, would not reduce issuance, but instead would reduce the amount of ether that is rewarded to "uncles," a kind of block that speeds transactions but isn't included in the blockchain itself. But not everybody agrees with this solution and the coming hard fork needs a broad consensus to be effective.
On Friday, avideo call for developerstook place: 14 of themagreed to reduce the amount of ether issued with new blocks. The amount, if the proposal is approved, will drop from 3 to 2 ETH per block.Also, they decided to delay the difficulty bomb by 12 months.
Another important decision — whether to restrict the use of specialized mining equipment — has yet to be made.