Bitcoin Wallet Blockchain.Info Raises $40 Million From Well-Known Investors

BlockchainThe popular online bitcoin wallet, Blockchain.info, has announced the completion of a successful series B funding round by raising $40 million. The company started its services back in 2011 and aims to continue making digital currencies easier to use for everyday people. Also Read: State of Montana Funds Bitcoin Mine to Bolster Local Jobs Blockchain Raises

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Blockchain

The popular online bitcoin wallet, Blockchain.info, has announced the completion of a successful series B funding round by raising $40 million. The company started its services back in 2011 and aims to continue making digital currencies easier to use for everyday people.

Also Read: State of Montana Funds Bitcoin Mine to Bolster Local Jobs

Blockchain Raises $40 Million in Funding for Global Expansion and Digital Asset R&D

The online wallet Blockchain.info is one of the oldest bitcoin-based businesses within the industry. The company’s blockchain explorer and data analytics gets millions of visitors, and the platform has issued close to 15 million wallets. Now Blockchain has announced it has raised $40 million in funding from firms such as Lakestar with participation from GV (formerly Google Ventures), Nokota Management, Digital Currency Group, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Mosaic Ventures, Prudence Holdings, Virgin, and Sir Richard Branson.

“Blockchain was one of the first digital currency wallets, quickly grew to market leadership, and has only extended its lead since then,” said investor and current board member, Jeremy Liew from Lightspeed Venture Partners. “Now that bitcoin and Blockchain have started to get broader traction, they are the best positioned to become the mainstream leaders.”

‘A Financial System That is Faster, More Inclusive, and Radically Different’

This week Bitcoin.com chatted with Blockchain’s CEO and Co-Founder, Peter Smith who told us the new capital will be used for global expansion and improving localization efforts, as well as research and development of emerging digital assets. Furthermore, Smith gives our readers some insight into how his company initially started, its primary focus, and how the co-founder sees the cryptocurrency ecosystem today.        

The 14 trillion dollar financial services industry hasn’t meaningfully changed in over a century. Blockchain is on a mission to create a financial system that is faster, more inclusive, and radically different than the status quo.

Bitcoin.com (BC): Can you give our readers a summary of how the Blockchain company was conceived?

Peter Smith (PS): So Blockchain was originally a pretty simple idea. It was just the idea that you could make bitcoin easier to use for everyday people. From the very beginning, bitcoin was hard to use even if you were a developer. Controls were really bad, and the wallet software was hard to use, and we got a start on building software that made bitcoin easier and more approachable.

That’s more or less what we’ve been doing for the entire company history now — Every year and every month making digital currencies easier to use for everyday people.

BC: How would you compare the early days of your company compared to now with Bitcoin interest and price at all time highs?

Blockchain’s CEO and Co-Founder, Peter Smith.

PS: I think the big difference is in the early days there weren’t that many users, and now there are millions of users. In the beginning, there were only a few of us working at Blockchain, and now there are about 50 people that work for the company. So there’s a lot more users and a lot more people working for the company, and that’s probably the biggest difference. What we come in and do every day is still basically the same.

The last few weeks have been particularly busy because traffic is quite high across the whole ecosystem. But I think everybody in the digital currency space has been quite busy.

BC: A lot of people use the blockchain explorer and comprehensive data your company provides. How popular are those feature services?

PS: The blockchain explorer and charts and data from our site sees a couple of million unique active users regularly.  

BC: Since the beginning of January have you guys seen a significant increase in wallet users?

PS: I think the growth over the last six months has been particularly strong. Not just seeing this with people using our feature services but we’ve also seen a lot of market share appreciation which is great to see. I think the price is always exciting, but for us, we define how well we’re doing by how well we do through the normal periods rather than just the big run ups. Anyone can run a successful ski resort when it’s snowing during the year, but the better question is how do you run a successful ski resort when it snows very little. So for us what we focus on is seeking out very consistent growth.

I think the most special thing about our company is we’ve been able to grow and expand even when the overall market is lagging. That’s what we are trying to track very closely.      

BC: From your perspective at Blockchain do you see Bitcoin demand slowing down anytime soon?

PS: Certainly, haven’t seen that happen yet.

BC: What’s your overall opinion of the state of the network right now?

PS: I think it’s clear that we need to scale the network. I’ve been very public about that, and how we should scale the network and of course Blockchain is a strong supporter of the New York agreement. Blockchain is looking forward to seeing that activated over the next couple of months.

What do you think about the software platform Blockchain raising $40 million? Do you use the company’s feature services? Let us know what you think in the comments below.  


Images via Shutterstock, Blockchain, and World Economic Forum “Davos Today” broadcast.


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70 Percent of the Bitcoin Hashrate Begins Signaling Segwit2x

SignalingOn June 16 the alpha code for the scaling solution Segwit2x was released to the public following a large number of mining pools having vocally supported the plan. Since then a large majority of miners who back the Segwit2x roadmap have started signaling with their hashrate. Also Read: Australian Opposition Leader Believes Bitcoin is Fueling

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Signaling

On June 16 the alpha code for the scaling solution Segwit2x was released to the public following a large number of mining pools having vocally supported the plan. Since then a large majority of miners who back the Segwit2x roadmap have started signaling with their hashrate.

Also Read: Australian Opposition Leader Believes Bitcoin is Fueling Terrorism   

The New York Agreement Moves Forward With the Segwit2x Alpha Release and Significant Miner Support

Over the past few weeks, the topic of scaling the Bitcoin network and the recent Segwit2x plan has been a hot subject amongst bitcoiners. A few days ago Bitcoin.com reported on the many Chinese mining companies who have agreed to back the Segwit2x protocol. Alongside this, the Digital Currency Group’s Barry Silbert who organized the New York agreement has been sharing information on the progress every day via Twitter.

On June 18 the mining pool Bitfury began signaling for the New York agreement by using the call letters “NYA” in its mined blocks. The very next day a large majority of miners have also started showing support for the Segwit2x plan. As of right now, mining pools who support the agreement by signaling NYA in their blocks are Antpool, Bitcoin.com, Bixin, BTC.com, BTC.top, F2pool, Viabtc, and 1hash. The amount of support for the Segwit2x agreement is close to 70 percent of the network hashrate.

70 Percent of the Bitcoin Hashrate Begins Signaling Segwit2x
The current percentage of blocks signaling Segwit2x according to Blockchain.info at 10 am EST 6/19/17.

What Will Happen If Segwit2x Reaches Consensus?

70 Percent of the Bitcoin Hashrate Begins Signaling Segwit2x
The organizer of Segwit2x, Barry Silbert, has been tweeting about the protocols progress daily.

The Segwit2x idea was first introduced by Rootstock’s Chief Scientist, Sergio Demian Lerner. Since then many miners and businesses within the bitcoin industry signed a pact during the Consensus conference in New York last month. The code itself is being worked on by a Segwit2x working group with Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik leading the way. Since the alpha code has been launched mining pools are now signaling their support for the protocol implementation.

A recent Reddit public service announcement (PSA) that details how Segwit2x will actually work gives a great explanation of the entire process. Essentially if enough hashrate continues to support Segwit2x and reaches 80 percent over a 336 block signaling period that will lock in Segregated Witness. The protocol will then activate after another 336 blocks later for those running Segwit2x implementations. The Reddit thread also explains how the following hard fork (HF) after Segwit will be implemented on the main network.

Then, exactly 12,960 blocks (~3 months) after Segwit activates on the Segwit2x clients, the Segwit2x 2MB hardfork will automatically activate on any/all nodes that are still running Segwit2x at that time. That hardfork, if it maintains 75+% of the hashpower at the time of its activation, will force every other node in the entire network to update to SegWit2x (or Segwit2x compatibility), or be forked off the network.

Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik also adds his two cents to the PSA.   

“Very close on 2M HF activation,” explains Garzik. “The prediction is that miners activate rapidly. Therefore, block 485218 (BIP102_FORK_MIN_HEIGHT) becomes the hard fork point. “+3 months” is the fallback safety measure, in case activation is slower than predicted.”

70 Percent of the Bitcoin Hashrate Begins Signaling Segwit2x
Bitfury began signaling for Segwit2x on June 18.

The Possibility of a 4MB Increase and 8,000 to 10,000 Transactions Per Block

On forums and social media, there are quite a bit of people within the bitcoin community on both sides of the debate who agree with the Segwit2x plan. On the other hand, there are also those who vehemently disagree with the idea of this type of compromise. However it seems a vast majority of mining pools, and many bitcoin-centric businesses are moving forward with Segwit2x despite forum commentary.

The protocol is nearly identical to Core’s 0.14.1 client with some minor changes for signaling Segwit2x and the following activation of a soft fork and hard fork across the network. If consensus is reached, block size results would be roughly around 4MB as opposed to 1MB and will hopefully process 8,000 to 10,000 transactions per block. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the New York agreement as it seems to have gained more ground than the Hong Kong agreement in the past. It’s also worth noting that normal bitcoin users who hold their private keys will not have to do anything during the process except watch the procedure unfold.

What do you think about the Segwit2x plan? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, Blockchain.info, Pixabay, and Twitter. 


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Chinese Miners Announce Accelerated Development and Activation of Segwit2x

Chinese Miners Announce Accelerated Development and Activation of Segwit2xA new agreement has been struck among Chinese Bitcoin exchanges and mining companies representing the majority of Bitcoin’s hashing power. They agree to accelerate the development and activation of the Segwit2x scaling upgrade. Also read: Bitmain Announces Hard Fork Protection Plan Against UASF Miners Supporting Segwit2x Segwit2x, also known as the New York Agreement, is an

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Chinese Miners Announce Accelerated Development and Activation of Segwit2x

A new agreement has been struck among Chinese Bitcoin exchanges and mining companies representing the majority of Bitcoin’s hashing power. They agree to accelerate the development and activation of the Segwit2x scaling upgrade.

Also read: Bitmain Announces Hard Fork Protection Plan Against UASF

Miners Supporting Segwit2x

Segwit2x, also known as the New York Agreement, is an industry-wide compromise that CEO and founder of Digital Currency Group Barry Silbert spearheaded in May to activate the Segregated Witness (Segwit) scaling upgrade for Bitcoin. The plan instantly gained popularity among a large group of Bitcoin miners and many businesses globally. On Saturday, June 17, Silbert tweeted:

Chinese miners representing over 80% of Bitcoin network hash rate have reconfirmed their support for Segwit2x.

The confirmation stems from an announcement made on Thursday by a coalition of Bitcoin miners and exchanges known as the Chinese Bitcoin roundtable.

Testing Starts Immediately, Signalling Starts Monday

Chinese Miners Announce Accelerated Development and Activation of Segwit2xThe group held a meeting during the Global Blockchain Summit, which took place on June 14 and 15 in Chengdu, China. They reaffirmed their support for Segwit2x and agreed to a new schedule to test and roll out Segwit2x ahead of the competing BIP148 launch date of August 1.

According to Twitter user Cnledger, the mining pools and exchanges that agreed to the aforementioned plan include Bitmain’s Antpool, Btc.top, Bixin, Btcc Pool, F2pool, Huobi, Okcoin, Viabtc, BW, 1Hash, Canoe, Batpool, and Bitkan. The group said (loosely translated):

In order to effectively solve the problem of Bitcoin network congestion, we will accelerate the development of the Bitcoin scaling solution and promote the sustained, healthy and stable development of Bitcoin.

“We will immediately start the New York consensus Segwit2x program btc1 software test and join testnet5,” they further conveyed. “We will on Monday (June 19) begin to vote to support Segwit2x program,” the group proclaimed. “In order to avoid using the BIP9 vote to influence the official voting results, we will write the “NYA” mark in Coinbase, on behalf of the vote to support the New York consensus Segwit2x program.”

With the goal to release an “official version as soon as possible,” the group reiterated:

We are eager to activate the New York Consensus Segwit2x program by July 31st.

Wu’s Plan to Prevent BIP148

The event and announcement closely follow Bitmain’s release of its hard fork protection plan against UASF BIP148, which CEO Jihan Wu has described as an attack on Bitcoin. He spoke at the Summit on June 14 about how to prevent BIP148 from activating, outlining its weaknesses.

Chinese Miners Announce Accelerated Development and Activation of Segwit2x
Jihan Wu’s slide from Chengdu about UASF BIP148. (Photo: Jihan Wu, Cnledger; Translation: Cnleger)

The Need for Fast Action

Many miners attending the summit feel that the Bitcoin “Core” developers did not honor a promise made in February 2016, at the Hong Kong Consensus event, to hard fork the Bitcoin blockchain and raise the block size limit to 2 megabytes. Enabling Segwit2x would fulfill the 2-year-old promise.

Chinese Miners Announce Accelerated Development and Activation of Segwit2x
Jihan Wu speaking in Chengdu about the reason to take action. (Photo: Jihan Wu, Cnledger; Translation: Cnleger)

Do you think Segwit2x will successfully prevent UASF BIP148? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Jihan Wu, Cnledger


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