According to Reddit user /u/btc_throwaway1337 who purchased a VPN Router through a payment channel provided by TorGuard., the first ever physical transaction has been completed on the Lighting Network. The buyer opened a channel and completed the instantaneous transaction, amazingly without paying anything in fees The Lightning Network, designed to scale Bitcoin up for a global user base, functions by opening and recording a channel between two users on the Blockchain, with information about transactions only being recorded on the original Bitcoin Blockchain after the channel is closed.
With the information public, TorGuard did offer a warning to users regarding the c-lightning network, stating that it is not yet ‘production ready’. Over the past several years, the increasing transaction fees and times on the Bitcoin network have made direct Bitcoin purchases of low-price items nearly impossible, forcing users to switch to other cryptocurrencies (cointelegraph).
Analysts at Deutsche Bank released a note to clients on Friday, January 19th stating that there is a growing correlation between the price of Bitcoin (BTC) and the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), also known as Wall Street’s “Fear Index.” Masao Muraki, a global financial strategist at Deutsche Bank, along with two colleagues wrote in the note that a lack of fluctuation and volatility in the stock market is leading investors to look elsewhere to make money. Because of institutional investors’ growing interest in more risky investments like cryptocurrencies, Muraki’s main point is that as long as volatility in the stock market is decreasing, the price of BTC and other mainstream cryptocurrencies will continue to rise as investors continue to turn to the crypto market to make money (cointelegraph).
America’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase reportedly made $1 billion in revenue in 2017, overshooting its 2017 revenue forecast of $600 mln by 66 percent, Recode reports, citing “industry sources.” According to Recode, despite the peaked interest of outside investors, the company remains private and does not allow stock to be traded on secondary markets. The platform was swamped by an influx of new users looking to set up trading accounts as Bitcoin entered a massive bull run in November, 2017. Following the announcement of Bitcoin futures launch early that month on CME, Coinbase saw 100,000 new users sign up in just 24 hours (cointelegraph).
Japan-based bitcoin exchange operator bitFlyer has set up shop in Europe, having already expanded to the U.S last year. The exchange announced on January 22nd that it had received a payment institution (PI) license to operate its services in the European Union and is initially seeking to attract professional, high-volume traders – a sector it sees as underserved in the EU. BitFlyer is currently the sixth largest exchange by bitcoin trading volume (BTC/JPY), according to data from CoinMarketCap. Further, it claims to be the first bitcoin exchange to be regulated in Japan, the U.S. and, now, Europe (coindesk).
A European Union commissioner plans to hold a meeting of public and private sector stakeholders to discuss the impact of cryptocurrencies on central banks. In remarks at a press conference for the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) on Tuesday, Valdis Dombrovskis, the Vice President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, said he plans to discuss the issue with a group of as-yet-to-be-named officials and representatives from the private sector. Dombrovskis was quoted as saying: “Cryptocurrencies may have ramifications for many other areas, including for central banks. That’s why I intend to bring together key authorities and the private sector in a high level roundtable very shortly to assess the longer term situation beyond the current market trends.” (coindesk).
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