Bitcoin in the Headlines: The Blockchain Reigns Supreme

Yessi Bello Perez
Oct 16, 2015 at 22:57 UTC
Updated Oct 19, 2015 at 17:26 UTC
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If you are tired of reading about blockchain technology, then look away now, as bitcoin’s underlying ledger dominated much of the mainstream news flow again this week.

Elsewhere, Bitreserve’s decision to rebrand as Uphold and ostensible move away from bitcoin also captivated the media’s attention, and was subsequently followed by various pieces which questioned the digital currency’s means of survival.

Who’s said what and where? Here’s CoinDesk’s latest look at the top bitcoin and blockchain-related headlines from across the world.

Barclays banks on the blockchain

Writing for New York Business Journal, Michael del Castillo reported that UK bank Barclays had signed contracts with a group of companies that participated in its first-ever New York City FinTech accelerator, two of which were blockchain startups.

Del Castillo added:

“The mood in the air isn’t surprising, considering that following the July accelerator in London, Barclays announced it was ‘exploring opportunities’ with seven companies, including one contract with Safello, a blockchain company.”

“By comparison, today’s large class of actual contract winners is especially notable due to what White [Derek White, Barclays’ chief design and innovation officer] described as a steeper education curve around blockchain technology,” he wrote. “But he also said that while negotiating the blockchain contracts took time to execute, he believes the extra effort will pay off in the end.”

City A.M‘s Clara Guibourg wrote a piece titled “Barclays is teaming up with blockchain startups Chainalysis and Wave as the bank’s bitcoin experiment expands”.

In her article, Guibourg said that Barclays had signed contracts with two blockchain startups in what the bank is calling a “game changer”.

Speaking about the difficulties facing companies in the space wanting to secure a banking partner, she added:

“This is one of the first times a major bank has opened up for such cooperation with blockchain clients, as many bitcoin companies have had difficult access to banking services.”

Barclay’s partnership with Wave and Chainalytics should come as no surprise given the recent fascination with distributed ledgers among the world’s banks.

A PYMNTS article weighed in to the ongoing bitcoin vs. blockchain debate, asserting how the digital currency had struggled to gain legitimacy in the global market.

The article said:

“Its underlying technology, the blockchain, has had far more success, largely thanks to major institutions that have made major investments in the technology.”

The last few weeks, the piece continued, have seen an increasing amount of attention being placed on blockchain technology.

“In other words, the blockchain just might have the opportunity to take off and change the way global, corporate payments are done, whether its sibling, bitcoin, comes along for the ride or not,” it added.

Computer Weekly also highlighted the ensuing battle between bitcoin and blockchain technology in a piece titled “Why blockchain heralds a rethink of the entire banking industry”.

In the article, the publication’s editor-in-chief, said:

“Interest has grown quickly, and comes partly as a result of blockchain shedding its association with the volatile bitcoin currency.”

Lawrence Wintermeyer, the CEO of Innovate Finance cited in the piece, seems to think so, saying:

“Forget about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies …The number one trending topic for the past three months has been blockchain.”

Bitreserve’s ‘pivot’

Bitreserve’s rebranding sparked numerous reports this week, some of which focused on what was said to be the company’s shift away from bitcoin toward a future more geared toward traditional finance.

As the write-up by TechCrunch (entitled “Rebranding As Uphold, Bitreserve Says Goodbye To Bitcoin) said of the announcement: “The company formerly known as Bitreserve is moving beyond its bitcoin roots to become a full-service provider of financial transactions under the new moniker Uphold.”

Yet the publication’s report drew criticism from Uphold’s VP of product, Byrne Reese, who contested “the assertion that we are ‘saying goodbye to bitcoin'” in a statement posted to the comments section of the article.

He continued:

“I find the underlying logic behind this narative [sic], in fact, to be flawed. The idea that when a company like Uphold, Circle, or ChangeTip provides their customers with an interface to the banking world, that we are somehow turning our backs on bitcoin is honestly kind of absurd.”

Uphold is moving further in the direction of supporting cryptocurrencies through the future listing of voxels, a digital currency which will be tied to the Voxelus virtual reality content platform. Voxelus and Uphold share a founder, CNET creator Halsey Minor.

Giant image via Shutterstock.